My kids are enjoying swimming this summer. All four of the older children ages 6, 8, 10, and 13 can swim independantly. Our daughter, the 6 year old, just joined the ranks of the independant swimmers this summer and she is having so much fun. The younger two children ages 1 1/2 and 4 still need assistance and hold onto mommy or daddy while they are in the pool.
The kids learned to swim from the few times we have gone on vacation and swam in the hotel pool, and a few summers ago, they swam on vacation when they visited their aunt who had a backyard pool. The older three boys spent a little time honing their swimming skills during our family fitness adventure at the YMCA last winter. After we worked out, they would swim in the pool for 30 minutes to an hour once a week. Sometimes I joined them, and sometimes I skipped the pool and enjoyed the steam room instead. The YMCA provides a lifeguard and will watch the children ages 7 and over if they know how to swim, so the parent can workout in the facility if desired. I never left them to workout, but I did watch them play in the pool from the glass windows of the steam room. It was good to know they were safe, and could swim, and at the same time I could have some time to relax and detox in the steam room. Though we all enjoy swimming, we are not very experienced swimmers, and there have been plenty of summers when we did not get to swim.
To be honest, before this summer, I probably would not have bought a swimming pool if given the choice to do so while my kids are little. I have thought that perhaps I might have gotten them a pool when they are all older and strong swimmers, and if there were funds to do so. But I wouldn’t have considered it while the younger children are so little, because of safety issues, and the expense of having a pool.
But when we moved to this homestead the end of May, we found an above ground pool that had been seriously neglected. Though my husband had seen the homestead twice before moving, I had never seen it before. That’s right folks. I moved sight unseen! Crazy? Maybe!
When I arrived with my 6 kids, my first question for my husband (as I held back more than a few tears about the condition of the delapadated house), was what in the world are we going to do with this?
Well, my husband had a vision of our family using the pool to have a great summer. He had a vision for the potential of the homestead and everything that is here. He just needs me to get the same vision too. It took a lot of work, some pool supplies, and through due diligence, my husband was able to get the old delapidated above ground pool up and running and manifest it’s potential. I hope the potential for the house manifests soon too!
My husband diligently cleaned the pool daily for two weeks before we could use it. The bottom of the pool had two or three inches deep of decayed leaves, moss, and debri. The water was brown and the bottom of the pool was brownish/greenish/black. YUCK!
It also had a few holes in the liner that needed patched too.
Slowly for an hour or more after work each day, my husband worked on cleaning the two or three inch thick slimy bottom of the pool. He probably put in 15+ hours of vacuming and netting the water to remove the debri. Day after day, the process repeated as he worked on the pool. Honestly, his heart sank as he realized how bad it really was, and each hole in the liner he found, and new problems he would discover like a broken net, broken pool steps we can’t afford to fix, broken pump, etc.
I told him it would be easier to take down the pool as I was too worried about safety for the younger children. I also told him if he was determined to keep this pool, it might be easier to drain the whole thing and clean it and refill it with clean water if he absolutely was determined to make this pool work. But he assured me that he could make it like new, to trust him, and he kept working at it little by little.
The first task was to replace the broken pump. Then he added some pool chemicals and kept testing the water. Then he kept straining, filtering, and vaccuming. I don’t know how he had the patience to vaccume and use the hand net over and over. He had to get out of the pool several times each time he used the vaccume to unplug the pump and clean out the lines. He saw the potential for a fun adventure for our kids that I couldn’t see at the time.
The pool deck needed several gaps in the lattice fence replaced.
The pool also needed a gate to protect the children from access to the pool.
Be sure to read the story about the kids helping daddy build the gate.
The kids had fun learning carpentry skills, measuring lengths of boards with a measuring tape, marking lines with a carpentry pencil, sawing, and drilling screws with the cordless drill, while helping daddy build the gate. They had lots of opportunity for several weeks to practice patience as daddy worked to fix the pool.
“Can we swim?” “Can we swim?” The kids asked daily if the pool was ready, and if they could swim yet. Day after day they watched daddy. They helped too. They ran the hose for him, or fetched the hand net, or whatever he needed.
After much work cleaning and shocking the pool, several repairs to the liner, repairing the deck safety fense and railing, building a gate, and replacing the broken pump and filter system, the water is now crystal clear, and the bottom of the pool is ocean blue.
“Yes, let’s swim!” The kids let out the loudest “Horay” w
hen daddy told them the pool was ready and it was time to swim.
The pool is now running smoothly and we have enjoyed it almost everyday. How did he see the potential of this old pool? How did he know it would turn out this clean and inviting? I don’t know, but we are so glad he did!
This pool has been a great summer adventure for us. We have enjoyed swimming in the backyard. We can hear the birds, crickets, and cicadas singing praises to God while we enjoy splashing, swimming, and playing in the pool.
I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to my husband’s sister. Swimming in the pool this summer would not have happened without her help too. My husband spoke with his sister by phone several times about what to do to care for the pool, how to clean it, repair it, etc. as we have never cared for a pool before. She walked him through step by step of everything to do from cleaning to how much pool chemicals to use and how to take water samples and check for safety. She also sent the supplies needed to care for it. Caring for a pool was not in our budget this summer, so it would not have been possible without her advice, encouragement, and generous gift.
We were certainly blessed! Her gift seems to keep giving and giving as summer progresses on. The kids love swimming in the pool.
The old farmhouse is hot this summer. It was very hot for several weeks in a row, and we still have a lot of summer to go! Somedays, I didn’t think I could bear another minute of the heat and the sweat running down my neck and back and I don’t dare heat up the oven to bake a meal for fear it will raise the tempeture in the house even more.
This pool is a great fitness activity we can all do together, and it has been a good way for our family to cool down in the evenings. We have swam a few times during midday, but usually we wait until about 6pm or so when the sun goes behind the trees, but we still have about 3 hours of daylight to swim and play. Then we don’t have to worry about sunburns too.
As a Coppertone Water Mom, we have lots of Coppertone Water Babies Tear Free Sunscreen Lotion on hand to use on sunny days if we want to swim when the sun is higher too. We take it with us everywhere. We use it when we play at the park, visit the zoo, the lake, when we swim, and go on other outings during the day. It works really well.
But most of the summer so far, we choose to swim later in the day. The kids think it takes forever for evening time to come, and I agree with them. Summer days are long! But thankfully, the evenings are long too. It doesn’t get dark here in Indiana until 9:30 at night during the summer, so the kids have plenty of time to swim in the evenings. They also sleep better. Swimming helps use up their energy, and makes them more tired at bedtime, their bodies are cooled down and they handle the heat of the house and sleeping much better after swimming in the evening.
I am so blessed! WE ARE SO BLESSED! I am so thankful that this pool was fixable, that my sister-in-law sent advice and supplies, that my husband was willing to work so hard to fix the pool, for all six of my great kids, and for long Indiana summer days. My family is on vacation in our own backyard, swimming in our own pool, and they are having so much fun!