My Family

My Family
Here we all are!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day 3 and final thoughts on the SO State Meet

Christian and Chad both had their 100M run and walk respectively.  Chad did well and came in 4th which was great for him.  Christian did great and came in first - a gold medal.  He was quite proud of himself.

There are always so many characters who stand out in my mind.  There's Joe who I observed in the staging area with a very crabby look on his face.  A sweet young volunteer was just trying to make small talk and Joe loudly and expressively said, "I should be at work.  I had to take two days off for this?  I'd rather be at work".  Poor volunteer had no idea what to say - I, on the other hand, tried hard to suppress my giggle.

Then there's Dennis - every time I saw him he was grinning and joking with everyone around him.  His joy was just ridiculously contagious.  Who wouldn't want to be around Dennis.  He seemed to have an entourage everywhere he went - no wonder with his infectiously positive attitude.

There was also the young lady who walked with a walker and tipped over the curb falling down hard.  The person with her couldn't get her up alone, but within seconds many hands had her up and were brushing her off.  That's why many of us were there - because we care about this group of people - as a group and individually.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day Two Special Olympics Meet 2012

Today Callie had her 100M run definitely her best event.  Thankfully it was the first event and our plan was to arrive without too much time before hand for her to get worked up about the starter guns.  We had a little time to spend at the Olympic town before her run.

Soon, it was time to go to the staging area.  The guns could now be heard and were frequent.  She knew they were coming and that for her a whistle would be used.  The rules allow for the use of a whistle upon request.  This is quite the sore spot for me.  There are so many athletes who have sensory issues and the guns are enough to keep them from competing in the first place.  A mom in front of me said that their team practiced with two pieces of wood being slammed together - we practice with starter guns, but that's no assurance that on a particular day she won't have a meltdown.

Callie was now clasping her ear protectors firmly to her head and her body firmly against mine.  We sat down in our assigned seat - Callie in my lap - not so easy to do anymore.  I tried everything to distract her - sang songs, kissed her arms and cheeks reassured her again that the gun would not be used for her race.

Finally it was her turn.  The miracle was that for at least 10 minutes before her race the guns had ceased.  Thank you Lord for that.  She was really excited to run.  She loves to run.  Are you getting the picture?  The volunteer mentioned the gun and Callie jumped - I reassured her that the whistle would be used.  I looked over and the starter man had the gun in hand.  Oh, no, no, no I firmly said - no gun - whistle for Callie.  The lady with the list of races checked her list questioning me and finally agreed that a whistle start was noted.  I thought for a minute they were going to see a meltdown far surpassing Callie's last one if they didn't blow that darn whistle and put the gun away - not from Callie but from this Mama Bear.

At last all was settled and they were lined up ready to go.  She took her mark.  The whistle blew and a second before it was blown she took off.  I thought they would stop the race as it was clearly a false start.  As I was expecting the race to be stopped I just stood there.  Clearly there was no stopping the race and I can see that Callie isn't stopping and no one is stopping her.  She's running out of the track area and I am running as fast as I can to catch up to her.  There must have been at least 10-15 volunteers at the end of her 100M, but no one stopped her.  I ran as quickly as possible, but she's really fast.  Thankfully, she stopped and I could reach her.

Now I was worried that she would be disqualified and one person was surprised they didn't have a restart and another said if it didn't change the outcome they'd just let it go.  Oh, by the way, she came in first - way ahead of the pack.  Again my Mama Bear was ready to meltdown if she didn't get the medal she clearly deserved because of her early start.  But, no worries - she did get her gold medal and she was so proud - but not as proud as I was I'm sure.  Callie shows us time and time again what an overcomer she is.  That's my girl!

Christian had the running long jump, which was probably a bad choice on my part.  It takes a lot of coordination to run, but not over the line before jumping.  He scratched all three of his jumps.  He took a participation ribbon, but he was fine with that.

Chad had the standing long jump.  Mark watched him and he was pretty sure they were measuring in millimeters.  He has huge finesse swinging his arms back and forth and back and forth and finally jumping like an inch and falling forward and rolling around like he's making sand angels.  It's a hoot.  For some crazy reason - has something to do with his division - he took the gold.

We've decided that Callie has had enough of the sensory overload and we will skip her running long jump tomorrow.  I'd rather end on a positive note for her and continue to praise her for making through her run without a meltdown and staying "calm, cool and collected".

                                                   Olympic Town - Fun and Games
                                                       Chad getting his dance on.
                                                  Callie - clearly ahead of the pack.
                                                 Christian attempting his long jump.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day One Special Olympics Meet 2012

Today was the first day and there were mixed results.  Christian and Chad had softball throws and Callie was to have her tennis ball throw.

Chad went first and took the silver in his division.  Christian was next and he took 5th place. It was his birthday and he was in rare form.  He kept telling the kid next to him that it was his birthday and pointing at me and telling him I was his mom - which was confusing for him.

On our way to the track Christian got more than a little ahead of himself and totally biffed it on the blacktop.  He nailed his ear the most and it bled for quite some time, but he got over it just the same.  It reminded me of a time he fell down at the zoo and every parent around us sucked in their breathe.  Mark and I both just looked at him and said - "you ok?"  "Yup" he answered and on we went.  He falls much less frequently, but falling was, is and likely will be a part of his life forever.  His cerebral palsy just keeps him off-balance and his desire to be independent and occasionally dismiss the warnings to slow down are a recipe for spills.

As we watched some other athletes run or roll their races Callie was a little anxious about the starter guns, but she'd done so well at the area meet I wasn't too worried about it.  We took a little break in the van before her throw and she seemed fine.  It was her turn and she sat on the bench ready to take her turn and then a gun went off and so did she.  She ran and Kylie, her friend and also a college sprinter - I'm no novice - chased her.  We got her to stop, but she dropped to the ground.  She was crying, threw her ear protectors and refused to get off the ground.  We tried everything to get her to go back, but nothing worked.  A volunteer came to ask if we needed medical help.  Thankfully her big brother also came along because he had to carry her to the van.

We're thinking that the gunshots may have been cumulative and so for tomorrow the plan is to arrive in time for her run - just, which is her best and first event for the day and then get her away from the track and the guns.  Hopefully that works - if not she will be done until next year.  Here's hoping that's not how it pans out.

Last, but not least - Christian turned 14 today!   Happy Birthday Christian!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Perfect evening - well, it could have been

Last day of school for Ella and Jacob - now summer is really in gear.  We decided to take some KFC to the park and walk around Sunset Pond.  It's a gorgeous cool evening and all was perfect.  There were 6 of us - Ella, Jacob, Chad, Shannie, Mark and myself.  We enjoyed dinner and everything was going great.  We started walking around the pond and about 1/3 of the way around Shannie started crying.  Sometimes if we walk faster she settles down, but that didn't help, it wasn't the wind, weather was perfect, it had to be muscle pain.  She started kicking out her legs and it seemed clear that was it.

The rest of us were having a fabulous walk, but we decided for Shannie's sake to head back and Mark went quickly while we traveled at Chad's pace, quickly would not quite describe his pace.  By the time we got to the van she was loaded in music playing and settled down.  As soon as we unloaded her at home she began crying again and kicking her legs out again.  We gave her some ibuprofen and she has settled down comfortably in bed.

It's such a rare occasion when everything lines up perfectly and we can go out as we did tonight, which is why I feel so bummed that we had to shorten our evening out.

Thankfully Jacob was in a cooperative mood - Ella pretty much lives in that mood - and we got home without any objection.  Earlier Jacob was shielding Shannie's eyes as the sun was quite bright.  I love how protective they are of Shannie and her comfort.  I can't think of a time when we've had to leave early or change plans due to Shannie's discomfort that they've loudly objected.  They just get it and I'm so glad they do.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ella Turns 11!

Ella's 11th birthday was last week.  She's had a couple really busy weeks.  She was in a play, had a band concert, was in a skit and had soccer tournaments. Whew!  I do not belong to the "keep them really busy" style of parenting.  I believe my job, in part, is to teach moderation in all things.  Having something to do every night and all weekend is not moderation.  It's too much and attitudes, not good ones, flourish.

This week we have track and field tonight and then absolutely nothing else on their calendar.  Love it!

Saturday was full of soccer tournament games and open houses.  Ella had 4 games and Jacob had 2.  We had to do the parental split - Mark took Jacob and I took Ella and then the boys joined us for Ella's last 2 games after a well planned break at an open house - free lunch!  Ella's team had a great season.  They had no losses - made 49 goals and only had 4 goals made against them.  They sweeped their tournament games and had no goals made against them.  When Ella received her trophy she was introduced as the girl with the hair and a great sense of humor.  She signed the coaches thank you card, "Ella was here."

She has 3 more days of 5th grade then she's officially a middle schooler.  I'm so grateful that her school is K-8 and she will simply have a change in schedule and many classmates, but many of her closest friends will remain.

It won't be long and Ella will be old enough to help with her older siblings when Mark and I need to be away.  Notice I didn't say mature enough - that she already is, but 11 sounds too young to be left in charge.  I have no doubt that she could be trusted caring for several of her siblings.  She has helped with Shannie's lifts in a pinch as well.  We are very careful not to expect our typical kids to be caretakers so they develop resentment.  When it's a job, well that's entirely different, and she will love the extra spending money.

I'm so grateful for Ella's calm, kind and funny personality.  She has always been the balance when all goes a little nuts in the house.  As she gets older she will occasionally retreat to her room and that is a very healthy response and I applaud that as well.  Moderation - that's our goal.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

End of the School Year 2011/2012

It's the last day of school for 3 of our kids and in a week the other two will be done as well.  Overall it was a successful year for the kids and I'm very happy with the progress they've made.

There have been awesome achievements - Jacob jumped way ahead in his reading levels nearly catching up to grade level.  And there were some difficulties - Callie's behavior took a nose dive in the spring.

Through it all I realized how many people it takes to raise our kids and how very important they are to us. Last week I took Callie to 3 appointments with 3 professionals 3 days in a row, every one of them plays an essential role in raising a healthy happy Callie.  On top of that I saw various school staff members when I picked her up or dropped her off and was so appreciative of the awesome staff she has had at school.  That was especially bittersweet as it's her last year there and we've had children there for some 8 successful years.

Next year will bring a number of changes in the school setting.  Callie is moving to the middle school which will be a huge adjustment for her.  Ella will move to the middle school level in her school, although the same building she is in now so a little less adjustment.  Shannie's program is moving to a different school, but the same staff - so grateful for that.  Jacob will have new teachers, of course and Christian will have to adjust to Callie riding the bus with him and attending his school.

Now, we have summer to look forward to, endure, enjoy, survive, appreciate - all of these apply - in no particular order.  There was a rainbow last night - always a symbol of hope and promise - a great way to start of summer I think.