Swim Lessons Save Lives – Why to Consider ISR for your Child


Here is scary fact for any parent:

Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in children under 5 years of age.

There are so many things that I won’t be able to help protect Max from in this life, but I was determined that my son would learn the skills that can help prevent the unspeakable from happening so we enrolled him in ISR Self Rescue swim classes at his daycare.  Max graduated from his ISR classes this spring, now I have the peace of mind that Max will be OK should he fall in the water someday when I am not there. I wanted to share a little bit about our experience with ISR Self Rescue swim classes in hopes that maybe someone else might consider sending their child to these classes, and just maybe help save a life one day.

Q: Did Max cry the first lesson?

A: Yes he did, and a few lessons after that, but in the end it was all worth it.

Yes, it was difficult to see him cry, but as hard as it was, the end result is what is most important to me.  I felt it was my duty to make sure he learned skills to survive in the event he found himself in the water alone. Now this kiddo will jump, dive, swim and float happily. There is no more crying now, just excitement and smiles.  He is such a little water baby that I have to coax him to get out of the pool – he would swim for hours if I let him.  And probably the coolest thing is seeing him so proud of what he has just done, smiling ear to ear after he’s reached the edge of the pool or our outreached arms.  When he is floating and catches your eye, he will smile and sometimes even wave, letting you know that he knows you are watching, showing off just a little.  I’ve even noticed that when he is tired or upset now outside the pool, he puts his arms above his head as a way of calming down and relaxing.  In short, I am so happy we did this.

Here are the facts. We live in Florida. We go to the beach often. We have a swimming pool in our back yard, and living in Florida, lots of friends and neighbors have pools. As much I think I can be a helicopter parent at times, the fact of the matter is that I won’t always be there, and not every pool will have good supervision, fences or alarms. Drowning can be quick and silent. It’s easy to lose track of your child for a second, especially in a crowd or at a party.  (If you have a pool nearby and lose track of your child, run directly to the pool first and check to make sure they are not there. Every second matters.)

ISR instructors provide one-on-one survival swimming instruction during daily, 10-minute lessors, starting as young as 6-months of age. Infants from 6-12 months will learn to hold their breath under water and roll onto their backs unassisted. Children over one year of age will learn how to hold their breath under water, swim with their heads down and eyes open, roll onto their back and float, rest and breathe, and then roll back to swim, continuing this sequence until they reach safety at an edge or wall.

Please be sure to look for an instructor that is certified ISR Self Rescue certified to make sure that your child has the safest and most effective experience, establishing good breath work before moving on to the next steps.

Some parents are apprehensive to start swim lessons because of concerns about  secondary drowning, which is extremely rare but has received increasing new exposure over the last several years.  Secondary drowning can happen hours or days after water has become trapped in someone’s lungs, which causes inflammation and fluid to build in the lungs, which ultimately causes the drowning. (To learn more about the signs and symptoms of secondary drowning, click here.)  ISR classes can help reduce the likelihood of secondary drowning because a key part of the instruction is learning proper breath control.

Swimming from daddy to the pool stairs, holding his breath under water.


I’ve included two videos below so you can see what the lessons look like, a few months apart.

The first  is a video of Max from late this spring as Max was starting to get a little bit more comfortable in the water, practicing a combination of swimming and floating to learn to make it to the edge.

The second  video is from just last week.  Max will dive into the water on his own now and absolutely loves it.  He can float for a very long time and is totally at ease.  We are so very proud all of his hard work, and thankful he had such a great teacher to work with!

For more information, click here to watch a video about ISR, or visit the website at www.infantswim.com.


This is why I run

As I was packing for a business trip earlier this week, my running shoes were automatically thrown in my overnight bag.  I have been a runner for nearly 25 years, and running has seen me through good and bad times and helped shape the person I am today.  Like an old friend, my relationship with running may change over time but I know we will always have a special bond.  In honor of my love affair with Forrest Gump’s favorite sport (I maintain he loved running more than table tennis), my top 10 reasons why I think running is the best sport:

  1. Smartphone of fitness. Running is a one stop shop, working legs, arms (yes, I said arms), core, heart and lungs all at the same time.   Cardio and toning all in one.  It’s the most efficient way for me to get a total body workout, which is especially important now that I’m a working mommy and feel like I have zero time to spare! 
  2. Practical.  It is easily portable, and doesn’t require a gym membership or a class to rush off to.  You can run on your own schedule, which will change over time.  When leaving on a trip, just stuff a pair of running shorts, sports bra and socks into your running shoes to help save space while packing.  And unless you plan on doing a ton of intense training while away, typically I don’t pack more than 2-3 running outfits for even the longest of vacations – wash and reuse people!  If you want to get fancy you can get a GPS sports watch, but honestly there are so many apps out there now, you don’t need it.  Also, take that smart phone people – great from a safety perspective and can also help you find your way back if you make a wrong turn.  Pop in at a local running shoe store to get fitted for the right sneaker for your foot strike and gait.
  3. Solo or Social.  Whatever your preference, you can find what works best for you.  I often like to run by myself to decompress and meditate, without so much as music.  Other people thrive on working out with others, and there are running groups out there for all levels and types of runners (again, pop by your running shoe store and you’ll likely get a list of local groups… or just find some via social media).  Ideally I like working out with one or two close friends that I can chat with and won’t judge me if I have to hock a big running loogie (sorry, sometimes it happens), taking my dog along with me, or pushing my jogging stroller with my little dude in tow (I also love the fact that I don’t have to sacrifice time with him or working out – jogging stroller offers me the best of both worlds!) 
  4. Fosters Goal Setting and Confidence.  Running is a sport that easily lends itself to goal setting.  First it’s running a mile, running for 5 minutes, then it might be the corporate 5K, a 1/2 marathon, or that crazy marathon that your friend “made” you sign up for.  Personally I stink at running shorter distances, but I’m pretty good at marathons, so I enjoy long distance running more than short ones.  Picking a race, a distance, or a time as a goal and working toward that goal is great way to build a sense of accomplishment outside of school, work, relationships, etc.  Setting and achieving goals, even small ones, is a great way to boost your self confidence.
  5. Easily Adaptable.  At some points in my life I had more spare time than others, so it was easier to train for a marathon when I could afford to easily run more than 100 miles in a month.  Now as a working mommy, I don’t have much time so I try to do more frequent shorter runs to get my heard and lungs going just a little bit each day, and then I try to amp it up a few miles on the weekends.  While I was pregnant and right after having my c-section, I couldn’t run and instead chose to walk instead (and it had the added bonus of being easier on my joints).  Just walking or running 2 miles every other day can have a great impact on overall health.
  6. Helps you feel better.  Running consistently helps me maintain a happy healthy weight, and it also helped me shed the more than 50 pounds I gained over my pregnancy within 16 weeks after giving birth.  Walking or running just a little bit every day can add a boost to your metabolism (which is even more important as you start to age).  And on a bit of a healthy/not-so-healthy note, I’ve always found that running is a fantastic way to sweat out a hangover and recover more quickly (along with water, LOTS of water…)
  7. Exploring.  Running is great way to keep up with your workouts while traveling, and explore a new place at the same time.  When I studied abroad in law school (back in the archaic days before smart phones), each time I visited a new city I would grab a map and ask someone who was local where a good place to run might be.  It is a great way to quickly explore some sites you may be interested in visiting later, and discover some more things you didn’t even know you wanted to see.  Now you can just grab your smartphone and just wander away!  Btw, running past George Clooney’s house on Lake Como is my favorite travel run. 🙂
  8. Zen.  When I am running my brain goes through a detox, where all the clutter of the day is categorizes, my inner peace reset, and life is put into perfect perspective again (which is part of why I enjoy running on my own so much).  I think running is a fabulous way to relax and decompress.  Exercising regularly is shown to help reduce stress levels, improve mental health, and help make runners happier people (your body releases a ton of endorphins, so there is a physiological reason).
  9. Longer Life.  Running can be hard on the joints, I readily admit that, but the pros still far outweigh the cons for me.  Running and a generally healthy lifestyle helps keep the heart and lungs strong, and I have read that regular runners can lower their risk of death from cardiovascular disease by nearly 45 percent.  If running isn’t for you, walking has so many of the same benefits.  After having triple bypass heart surgery over seven years ago, I could probably count the number of days on my two hands that he hasn’t walked at least 2 miles a day – and he’s fit as a fiddle today.  You don’t have to be an ultra marathoner to reap the benefits of walking and running, a moderate schedule will have lots of the same benefits.
  10. Everyone Wins.  While running isn’t thought of as a team sport, you have the comradely of a team in every other runner.  Go to any 5 K or marathon and you will see runners cheering on other runners, from the sidelines, during the race, and nearing the finish.  I love nothing more than seeing someone who has struggled with fitness, or someone who is just catching the running bug, succeed and meet their target goals.  Just because you want to hit a certain time, distance or speed doesn’t preclude you being genuinely happy for someone else who has also done the same.  I love the fact that runners are one big family, cheering each other on, supporting one another, and helping each other over the finish line.

Hit the trail soon!


Juice Cleanse

Leading into Labor Day weekend, my husband and I wrapped up another a 3-day juice cleanse. Although some people who have never tried a juice cleanse may think we are crazy, it’s honestly not that hard. I mean, I definitely want to eat food while doing it from time to time, but your body totally adjusts and don’t get very hungry at all.


I tried my first juice cleanse after finishing up an IVF cycle where I’d pumped my body full of hormones, which would make me gain a few pounds of water weight and just made me feel “icky”. I juiced for a full 5 days my first cleanse and made all my own juices at home, which at the time was doable because I didn’t have a little one under foot.  I was super happy with the results, I felt more energetic and like I washed all the “icky” right out of my body.

Since then I’ve found that for me, doing a juice cleanse for 3 days every other month or so is a great way for me to keep my mind and body on a healthy track.   Juicing is a great way to get a lot of beneficial vitamins and nutrients found in fruits and veggies into your body efficiently, and may help counteract certain inflammatory diseases.  I like knowing that what I am putting into my body is healthy and useful. When you are a working mom and always on the go, it helps make sure you don’t skip meals and is an efficient way to get the vitamins you need. If juicing at home, find a great produce store with reasonable prices to help keep costs down.  At home juicing machines can range from $50 to $300 and up – cold press machines are best because they help keep the optimal amount of nutrients in your juices.


Since having my little dude, I’ve been juicing more at my local cold press juice bar in Winter Garden, Press’d at Plant Street Market.   Press’d has great juicing packages, and all you have to do is pick up your 6 bottles for the day every morning or the night before.  Easy peasy.  You can also pick up different premade juices or juicing plans at Whole Foods and on-line, which are good in a pinch, but I always prefer something I know is fresh.

During a juice cleanse, it’s important to make sure that you are consuming enough calories (at least 2000 for an average person), and drink TONS of water.   Juicing shouldn’t be thought of as a quick fix for weight loss, and that shouldn’t be your goal, although some people do experience weight loss and juicing helped me lose those last few pregnancy pounds that I couldn’t even shake with marathon running.


Before starting something like this, it is always worth having a conversation with your doctor, especially if you have an existing medical condition and especially if you are pregnant (I would maybe just enjoy some juices along with what you are already eating in that case, but be very cautious about making sure you properly wash all your veggies to clean off any bacteria and contaminants like Ecoli that can be found in the soil).

For me, when I am juicing I am more energized, think more clearly, and feel stronger.   And when I’m done, it helps to reset my body as to the quantity and types of food that I’m drawn to eat.  When finished, I tend to eat smaller portions, and when I do eat foods or drinks that are not as healthy, I can feel a tangible difference, so it helps keep me honest and on track.   Juicing makes me want to put healthy foods in my body, and helps me maintain a healthier lifestyle.  Instead of ice cream, I’ll opt for something like this amazing acai bowl (also from Press’d by the way!).


Here’s to a healthy next week!