Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Orlando Watersports Complex - Central Florida's Hidden Gem

My family was invited to check out Orlando Watersports Complex. Every time I drive to the airport, I catch glimpses of this place that's situated off 528 in Orlando, but I really didn't know what it was. I could see people on the water and it looked like they were skiing, but I rarely saw boats which led me to the only logical conclusion - the boats were invisible. Or the people had magical powers. As it turns out, they were wakeboarding using a pretty cool cable system.

My kids and I had never been wakeboarding before so we were eager to give it a try. Actually, my kids were very eager. I was a little more scared silly umm, apprehensive what with me being nearly 50, very out of shape, and possessing no discernible athletic ability whatsoever.

My kids had varying degrees of success. Lexi took off and made it halfway around the lake on her first try. Brooklyn face-planted about .8 of a second after taking off. An hour later, however, everyone was doing well. And me? Well, I opted to knee board instead, believing that I'd have an easier time balancing on my knees than attempting to stand on a board. In the water. While it was moving. And I had a blast!

OWC has been here in central Florida since 1999 and not only do they have wakeboarding on their standard cables, but they also offer classes, paddleboarding, advanced cables with jumps, summer camps, and their new Aquapark which just opened earlier this year. The Aquapark features a modular series of interlocking obstacles, a climbing tower, monkey bars, slides, pathways, and more. When we checked in at the Aquapark, there was a birthday party going on, and I thought what a fun place to have a birthday party! I looked up the prices for parties and found affordable options like $15 per kid for a session (50 minutes) for 10-24 participants.

OWC has all sorts of great specials including Ladies Day on Thursdays when ladies 18+ get a FREE 2 hour cable pass, Wednesday Happy Hours where you can take advantage of half-price riding from 4PM to close, and Kids' Day on Mondays where kids 16 and under can ride all day for discounted admission.
If you have your own equipment, bring it! If not, never fear, OWC provides life vests, helmets, and boards to rent. Feel free to pack a lunch and stay all day, or grab a bite at their snack bar when you need to take a break from riding.

My talking about this hidden gem here in central Florida doesn't do it justice so I put together this short 3 minute video from our time at OWC. Check it out. And see proof that I actually did it! And let me tell ya, I discovered something about myself that day. I have the upper body strength of a hamster. Oh my arms! They're still sore today! LOL! But I would totally do it again! It's a pretty cool feeling flying across the surface of the water like that.

If you live in central Florida or if you're planning on visiting, this is a must-see attraction! Take a break from all the theme parks and have a fun relaxing day at Orlando Watersports Complex. And to that end, I have an awesome giveaway courtesy of the folks at OWC. I will be choosing 3 random winners!

The 1st winner will receive 2 Aquapark tickets good for 1 free session each

The 2nd winner will receive 2 all-day cable passes including basic gear rental

The 3rd winner will receive 3 all-day cable passes including basic gear rental

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Make A Splash To Stop Childhood Drowning

I recently wrote a post about 20 ways in which Florida will kill you. Admittedly, it was a little tongue-in-cheek. I mean, a needlefish falling from the sky, thanks to a hawk with anger management issues, probably hasn't actually annihilated anyone. But I maintain that it could happen! In this post, I talked about how Florida is number one in lightning strikes, pedestrians hit, motorcycle fatalities, red lights run, and shark attacks. Well, I learned another disheartening fact today - According to the Florida Department of Health, Florida's drowning death rate among children ages 1–4 is the highest in the nation. Florida has really GOT to stop striving for number 1 in these categories! But in all fairness, it's not just Florida. Child drownings are still the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 14, and the leading cause of preventable death for children ages 1-4 nationwide.

Today I was invited to a press conference where Olympic swimmers Rowdy Gaines, Cullen Jones, Ryan Lochte, and Caeleb Dressel, ambassadors for Make a Splashspoke about the initiative to raise awareness of the preventable tragedy of childhood drowning. In the 10 years since the program's inception, they've helped 6 million children get swimming lessons! And it's an excellent accomplishment as swimming lessons reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by a whopping 88%!

Rowdy Gaines likened swimming lessons to car safety seats. You wouldn't drive your child around without first strapping them in their car seat because you want to keep them safe. Learning to swim isn't just about having fun, or keeping busy with an activity over summer break; it's about helping to keep your child safe. He stated that there's no such thing as being entirely safe in the water, but swimming lessons make you safER and that's the goal.

At the age of 5, Cullen Jones almost drowned at a water park. It was 30 seconds. Only 30 seconds under water. That's all it takes. He was lucky that his parents and lifeguards were around to pull him out. He joked that after being resuscitated, his first question was, "What ride are we gonna go on next?" His mom got him signed up for swimming lessons after that. And now look - he's one of the fastest swimmers on the planet and he's using his platform to speak out for a cause in which he believes. It doesn't always have such a happy ending. Olympian Bode Miller's 19 month old daughter drown over this past weekend.

Here are some other facts I found interesting. I really had no idea so many people can't swim. I guess I've taken my ability to swim for granted, but now I see that I was fortunate my parents signed me and my sister up for swim lessons every summer.

o       79% of children in households with incomes less than $50,000 have little-to-no swimming ability.
o      64% of African American children in the U.S. have little-to-no swim ability
o 45% of Hispanic children in the U.S. have little-to-no swim ability 
o 40% of Caucasian children in the U.S. have little-to-no swim ability 

Not only does this program strive to bring awareness about the importance of swim lessons, but through the Make a Splash initiative, the USA Swimming Foundation has partnered with learn-to-swim providers in all 50 states, to offer free and reduced swim lessons because learning to be safe around water shouldn't be limited to families with incomes over $50,000. Thankfully my kids know how to swim, but if they didn't, I would be in no position now, as a single mom, to pay for lessons which can be really pricey! ($150 for 8 lessons for preschoolers at the I Drive YMCA, for example.)

To find a provider near you who has partnered with Make a Splash and the USA Swimming Foundation, click HERE and enter your zipcode.

If you're in central Florida and you listen to Z88.3 (our local Christian station), then you know one of the DJs, Ellis has talked about how he never learned how to swim. This year he's decided to take up Rowdy Gaines on his offer of lessons! He'll be at the Oviedo YMCA this Saturday, June 16th if you want to stop by and say hi. Also, the Y is offering adult swim lessons for 50% off if you stop by any Central Florida YMCA to sign up ON Saturday, June 16. This offer is only available on Saturday, June 16.

Please share this because it only takes a few seconds for your life to irreversibly change. Fortunately, through the Make a Splash program, it only takes a few seconds to find affordable swim lessons for your kids also.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

CozyPhones Giveaway

When the folks at CozyPhones asked me if I'd like to review their product, I glanced at Brooklyn who was watching some Disney something-or-other on her phone, and thought - Yeah, I'll review a product that enables me to write in peace without hearing some Good Luck Charlie Bunk'd Bizaardvark show in the background.

CozyPhones are soft, fleece headbands with adjustable, removable speakers that can be customized for a perfect fit. And because they're removable, the headband is washable which is really important with kids because sometimes peanut butter gets in their hair and sometimes they smoosh Playdough on their heads because kids do weird things for no particular reason. 

Your kids can use these when they're allowed technology time. They can watch shows and play games without everyone in earshot hearing. CozyPhones are perfect for waiting rooms, travel, and running errands in the car. For kiddos who like to fall asleep listening to music, or the white noise of ocean waves or rain, for example, these are extremely comfy to wear to bed or while relaxing with no ear buds poking you or a hard plastic band over your head.

And they come in cute characters. If you have any toddlers who are into Paw Patrol, they'll love their new designs including Chase, Skye, and Marshall. And if you have any teenagers, they'll love the kiddie characters too because like toddlers, teens are weird and like to wear kid stuff to be ironic. I have no idea why this is, but trust me. You've seen teens go nuts over little kid character footie pajama onesie things, right? 

I'm going to order one of the plain adult CozyPhones for myself because I have started working out again and the only way I can stick with the treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike for more than 2.4 minutes is to watch a movie on my phone so I can temporarily forget about the torture of exercise. But I sweat like a hippo and my ear buds occasionally slide right out of my ears as sweat drips down my head. (I know, I'm super ladylike.) With the comfortable lycra mesh headband, not only will I not have to worry about earbuds sliding out on a river of sweat, but the headband will keep it from dripping in my eyes, and I'll be able to work out until I look like a super-model. Total win!

Have a kiddo you think would love a pair of CozyPhones? Enter here for a chance to win your own set! Winner can choose character from over 10 designs. Enter below by leaving a comment on the blog, visiting CozyPhones on Facebook, and/or tweeting a comment. Good luck!

I was given a pair of CozyPhones to review. My opinions are mine alone.

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Update On Lexi

A few people have asked me for an update on Lexi. (In March, I wrote about Lexi's issues with tachycardia. If you missed it, you can get caught up HERE.)

At that time she was going to be having a stress test with pulmonary function, and was going to be wearing a heart monitor for 30 days so the doctor could get a clearer picture of what was going on. The stress test was normal. The heart monitor she wore for 30 days, however recorded over 150 incidences where her heart rate went abnormally high. The electrophysiologist who originally talked about an ablation because he thought Lexi had an arrhythmia changed his mind and said she doesn't have an arrhythmia after all. He insisted her heart was fine and suggested her high heart rate was all in her head. 

"But I thought the monitor picked up a bunch of abnormal heartbeats," I asked, confused.

"Yes, but maybe it's anxiety causing it."

"Nope. She doesn't have anxiety."

"She should just exercise more. She's out of shape."

"Nope. She's thin, fit, healthy, and exercises regularly. She's been in sports her whole life. She doesn't get out of breath or have a hard time exercising. Her heart rate just goes ridiculously high."

"She just needs to drink more water and eat more salt. Her heart itself is fine. She probably just has an autonomic problem."

Okay then. We're done with the cardiologist, but still don't have answers.

A couple weeks ago, Lexi was skating when she developed chest pain and dizziness. Her fitbit showed her heart rate was 213. Half an hour after stopping, she was still crying because her chest hurt so much so I took her to the ER, scared that something bad was going on. 

In the end, she wasn't having a heart attack or anything. Her potassium was a little low so they gave her some. Then they instructed us to follow up with a cardiologist. Yeah, been there, done that.

About a week ago, she had an appointment with the neurologist she sees for her migraines. She pointed us to a cardiologist at Nemours who specializes in POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.)

We'll see. Not holding my breath.

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