My Family

My Family
Here we all are!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 3 State Special Olympics

We had to be there earlier Sat. and got a closer parking lot spot.  I was hoping we could just swiftly go up the bridge and into the field without Callie getting too freaked out about the buses.  No such luck.  She tried riding Austin's, our helper for the day, back but was having trouble staying on.  As we neared the bus she kept saying - not by the bus - on the bus - like the field trip.  She jumped on the bus and all was well.  Apparently to her being in the monster is better than walking by it.  Definitely an analogy of some sort, but I was much to tired to connect the dots.

Callie had her long jump and as she has done at every practice she jumped once then again and again in the pit to the end.  She had an audience by the second jump who found her "style" adorable.  Then, for some reason, she only jumped once the last time.  She took a silver, which was awesome.

Christian had his 200 meter run first and really ran the whole way taking a gold medal.  Then took a gold for the 50M.  Really surprised us all as he is usually pretty cavalier about his running.  He was really proud of himself as well he should have been.

Our first state meet was exhausting and stressful, but I'm glad we did it and we will do it again.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 2 - Minnesota Special Olympics Meet

Today Callie had her 100M run.  The walk from the parking lot to the field was very stressful for Callie.  There are school buses for shuttling people and city buses as well as general traffic noise.  All of which is completely overwhelming for Callie.  She is terrified of the buses - she fears their loud breaks, their unexpected starting and stopping.  It took everything we had to get her safely up and over the bridge.  She finally made it, but was clearly stressed out by the experience.

 Thankfully she remembered the Boogie Tent - the place where dancing happens.  She did the macarana, the hokey pokey and Surfin' USA - with every song and dance she relaxed.  It was also mascot day - there was the Saints baseball team mascot, the Wild's mascot, McGruff, some others I didn't recognize and her favorite - Buck the Swarm mascot.  The Swarm is our pro lacrosse team - her big brother, a big fan and player of lacrosse,  would have been proud.  In true Callie style she put the mascots together in matchmaker style and brought people in to dance along.

She was ready to go when it was time for her big race.  I watched several other races as I waited for her to line up for her race.  Finally it's their turn and Callie and our friend Julie follow the group into the arena, then across the field and I was perplexed - why are they crossing the field when the finish line is clearly right in front of me - the cheerers are right in front of me.  All of a sudden I realize that she is going to run her race on the other side of the track.  She is going to run the race that we had worked so hard on.  We worked on conquering her fear of the starter gun or even the whistle - we talked and talked about staying strong - not crying or falling down or clawing the track due to her anxiety.  I panicked that I was going to miss this race that we had all worked so hard on.  I jumped up, grabbed my camera and while repeating - you've got to be kidding me - all the way around the track I ran trying to get there in time.  I wanted that first race on video so we could celebrate it over and over.  I realized there was no way I would make it in time.  I could tell she was running well, but not what place she took.

Immediately afterwards she went to the awards ceremony.  We anxiously waited to see what place she came in.  Hallelujah she was 2nd - she appeared to be the youngest by far, but she came in second.  We were all so proud of her.  As Julie and I talked about it we realized that it was very likely she ran well because she was on the far side of the track - away from the cheerers and all the observers.  In retrospect it was a good thing for Callie and after all it is suppose to be about her and her ability to overcome - not my need as a mom to fulfill my desire to madly cheer for our girl who is an overcomer and continues to be an overcomer.  Oh, I was cheering - it was just a quieter more inside type of cheer.  Yeah Callie!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Special Olympics State Meet Day One

Today was the first day of the 2011 state Special Olympics Meet.  Christian had a softball throw and Callie had a tennis ball throw.  While we were waiting for their turn, we watched a wheelchair race.  It was a 25M wheelchair race.  There were 4 men racing.  The first and second ones across the finish line were in racing chairs and tooling along pretty quickly.  The third finished shortly after.

 I thought the race was over and then heard the cheerers, yes they have volunteers whose specific job is cheering the athletes, were cheering for Paul who had basically parked on the side.  He would move just a foot or so after lots of cheering and encouragement.  It was over 16 minutes before he completed his 25M, but no one seemed to lose their patience, no one stopped him because it was taking so long and no one seemed to be at all discouraged - especially Paul.  It seems clique to say it was inspiring, but I don't know what other word to use.

Christian did a great job and took silver in the softball throw.  Callie was more interested in her technique then the actual outcome of her throw, but she was thrilled to get a bronze.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Last practice - Next stop State Meet

Tonight was the last practice for Special Olympics track and field before the state meet this Thurs., Fri. and Sat.  The field was full tonight of young men playing summer football.  Callie started out all right, but as they started playing their game the whistles started and Callie began to lose it.  She wanted to practice her run, but got about half way and fell apart.  She lie on the ground and cried.  I encouraged her to get up and try again and after a couple more false starts she made it.

Friday she is to run her 100M race.  Many of her favorite people will be there cheering her on - although she is not fond of cheering either.  There are so many of us who have a vested interest in her succeeding, but at the end of the day - she is already a huge success as she's overcome so much and, eventually, I have no doubt that this is something she will also overcome.  It may not be this year, but we will continue to cheer her on until she does.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Father Who Lives at My House.

The father who lives at my house is patient, kind and gentle.
These were not qualities I was raised to admire in men or in a father.
Thankfully God gave me a man who embodies the very essence of patience, kindness and gentleness.
He is also tons of fun to be with and why his adult sons often seek out his presence.
There is no greater compliment than when your grown up children want to spend time with their daddy.
Love you Mark - can't imagine experiencing this life without you.  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Toddler Tornado goes home

We had a really fun couple of days with Toddler Tornado.  He has autism and his mom and dad have done an excellent job helping him deal with this confusing world.  It wasn't difficult taking him out places because they've done the difficult job of teaching him to hold your hand when you are walking places.  As long as he held my hand he did a great job of behaving himself.  Every once in awhile he would drop my hand and slowly edge his way further and further away from me.  As he "escaped" he would begin to get over excited and start acting "silly".  It seems as though the hand holding just helped him keep his act together, so to speak.

Probably the biggest battle we had was getting him to eat.  His food choices have become increasingly more restrictive.  He really hadn't eaten anything all day on Thursday and we wanted to be sure he didn't wake up in the middle of the night hungry.  His mom and dad brought steak for him and after cooking it we offered it on a fork, but he wouldn't have anything to do with it.  Finally Mark offered it with the tongs he had cooked it with.  That he would take and he ate it all.  His parents told us he had several forks at home that he favored as well.  Who can know why he has issues with utensils, but he does.

These are the kind of behaviors parents of kids with autism deal with every day.  They can be overwhelming to deal with, or you just realize it's just the way it is and it becomes part of your "normal".  Our daughter Callie deals with many sensory issues as well.  Today it started raining.  She has such an intense fear of lightening and thunder that she climbed into bed and covered her head hiding from what the rain might bring.

I've gotten the impression that some people look at the adjustments we make for Callie and those that are made for Toddler Tornado and think we may be "spoiling" them or giving in to them.  They simply don't understand how deep these issues are - sensory or otherwise.

 I know I had fears as a kid, still have them, but never debilitating enough to hide in my bed.  She is my hero every day that she gets up and deals with a world which often presents itself to be a very scary place for her.  My grandson is my hero as well as he is living in a world that often perplexes him in ways I don't understand.  He begins extensive therapy next week and I'm so excited to see how he progresses as I know he will.  They are over comers - every day that they get up and live in a world which I find easy to navigate, but is often completely baffling to them.

Every time they allow me to take a peek into how they experience the world it's a privilege.  How blessed I am that they are a part of my life.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Toddler Tornado

Today our grandson Dominic, or as his mother refers to him, the Toddler Tornado arrived.  He was wide awake when they dropped him off at 5AM on their way to the airport.  He napped about an hour this afternoon, so hopefully he'll sleep like a log.

We went to the Minnesota Zoo and met Melissa and her 2 girlies there too.  Was a good time and a beautiful day to be there.  This year summer seemed so long in coming that I'm enjoying every nano second of nice weather.

We took Shannie who was a total trooper.  The goats absolutely loved her chair and pushed on the wheels, chewed on the arms - it was pretty funny.  She didn't seem to mind nor was she particularly amused by it, but we were.

When we got home Jacob asked me where Dominic was going to sleep.  I said he would take the bottom bunk, while Jacob slept in the top.  He did the fist pull in move and said - yes! it's like having another brother!  So, apparently the other 5 brothers weren't enough?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Last Day of School

Today was the last day of school for Ella and Jacob who were the last to finish their school year.  They are happy to be off and free of a schedule for awhile and so am I.  The change in schedule is not a good thing for Callie, but she will adjust to this more free style schedule eventually.

Shannon, Callie, Christian and Jacob will all have summer school.  All four have different schedules - yikes!  Hopefully I will be able to keep the schedules straight, although I'm not placing any bets on it.

Tomorrow Dominic will be coming for a couple nights while mom and dad head to CA.  Should be fun, exhausting I'm sure, but fun.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I've never been much of a gardener, but this year decided to tackle our side yard and add some landscaping.  Mark, of course, provided much of the muscle, but I've worked physically harder the past few days then for quite some time.  It is turning out nicely, I think.

 Perhaps this is a sign of old age?  Seems like many people take up gardening in retirement or when they get older.  Not sure why that is because it is really hard work.  Hopefully rewarding, but hard work nonetheless.

I am sitting under my gazebo enjoying a glorious evening pre-mosquito weather and a very cool evening with a gentle breeze.  My favorite kinda weather.  I promised myself I would sit on this wonderful patio every day possible for at least a little bit.  This was a long winter - weather wise and these beautiful summer days are so very precious.