Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Summer Fun

As time goes on I find myself finding great joy in reconnecting with old friends from days past.  There's something about seeing each other, our changes in our families and our growing children, it all reminds me of what is really important.  We had just such an opportunity when a friend from CA happened to be nearby after visiting the Tucson AZ temple open house.  I saw Anita almost 5 years ago when Bubby was 6 months old and we were headed out to our cruise vacation.   It was a brief meeting over a lunch (which I of course forgot to take pictures at!) which we had a great time catching up.  She was pregnant with her current youngest and I was still coping with the changes that Down Syndrome would bring our family.  She was so kind and encouraging.   Our most recent vacation in LA and Carlsbad conflicted with their schedule so when we chanced to find an open Sunday to meet we had to take it.

Anita had managed to gather a small group and I made friends along the way.  Her nanny from childhood, me, from her college years and a friend from her earlier married life.  (who is a fellow homeschooler which is still fun for me to find! I'm still such a newbie at this!)  There were 8 adults, twelve kids, good fun and lots of fun!

Marta's husband played the piano so beautifully for us.  It made me miss the days I could just lose myself in a song.

This was the only shot we got of all the kids.  Bubby was having no part in it whatsoever!!

What's better than seeing old friends and making new ones!

Other random happenings at the end of June included baking cookies outside in 115F weather.  We just set them outside on the picnic table and made estimates as to how long it would take and took notes every 20 minutes or so.  At the end of two hours they were not what I would call done, more dried out than anything, but the kids thought they tasted just fine!  I posted the results on Facebook and it inspired a few friends to try similar experiements it parked cars, or solar ovens.  Everything from cookies, to eggs and quesidillas were made.  It was a good way to make the heat bearable.

Taking apart our sunflowers and attempting to roast the seeds ourselves.  Not successful but the chickens we donated the seeds to enjoyed our harvest.

This little Pumpkin wants to be just like the big kids and when given the chance she joined Bug's judo class.  Sensei says she's a natural at it and she's proud that she has lessons just like her siblings.
Silly little girl, just bouncing with excitement to be in class!

On Friday's we attend a special needs storytime which the littlest two LOVE.  Bubby won't pay much attention to the book and activities but can't get enough of the songs we sing.  He's growing comfortable there and will interact with Ms. Jill who runs it.  Just recently he's shown a desire to stay and play a little longer which is encouraging and fun to see.  The wind tunnel was a big hit with the kids and he was careful to take turns and even let out a giggle or two.

Bubby and I had our own afternoon out one weekend.  DS Network held an activity about 40 mins from us at an indoor playground.  I'm always leery of attending these things since it's usually so loud and crowded but since it was just me and Bubbalicious I thought it would be good practice for him to deal with the crowds.  The ball pit was a HUGE hit with him and when the noise got to be too much we found a room where he could sort to his hearts content.  Perhaps one day he will stock groceries as a job!

After about an hour he didn't want to deal with everything so he dragged me to the door and clearly said, "Go!"  I honored his requested and we made it out nicely, walking out while holding hands, shoes on and with no screaming.  For a child with autism that was a big win for all of us.  I had to reward him by pulling into a nearby McDonalds where we split ice cream and French fries and he snuggled happily beside me.

He was worn out as evidenced by our drive home!

Park time!  I love how Pumpkin engages Bubby.  He doesn't want to be outdone by her!

Friends over to play and eat lunch

The crazy of the summer is nearly to an end.  So glad for these fun memories, family and friends.

Monday, July 10, 2017

What Really Counts!

Those who know us well, know that our family is not huge into athletics.  There's a huge time commitment that affects the whole family, politics and issues at times with coaches and or other players and their parents.  Swim team has been a big exception.  For one, when you live in AZ you HAVE TO learn to swim to survive the summers.  For another, it was a measurable 6 weeks that I could commit to and be done for the year.  We never pushed it, but this year Bud pushed himself and we really could see results.  His best time for backstroke beat the minimum qualifying time by 1.22 secs.  His best breastroke time was just 0.77 sec above the qualifiying time.  It was his big goal to simply qualify so he could be with his friends who have inspired him to do better.  Since he clearly beat the qualitfying time, we thought he was in for sure.  He spent days telling everyone and his friends congratulated him and all was well until just after the Fourth of July.

Pictures from the swim team party .... sugar to fill their wildest dreams!

Apparently there's a rule for the Desert Swim League that only 8 people can compete for each stroke per team in each age group.  For the 9-10 yr old boys, he did not make the top 8 scores, let alone the top ten so he could be a alternate.  There are just that many boys who swim so well in his group.  This all came crashing down less than a week before finals and it was a bitter pill to many boys, not just our Bud.

Awards ceremony

It was also a bitter pill for me as a mother.  I had been hard to get him to his extra practices and pay for the stroke classes, to attend extra swim meets to get closer to that qualifying time.  It was particularly difficult to see that disappointment deaden and dull our usually happy go-lucky boy.
He wanted to continue practices and do the last meet before the competition because he loved the company of these friends so much, but the reminders and discussions revolved around what he could have no part of it was clearly painful.  For days we'd see moments  he'd be fine and then something would bring it to his remembrance and his spirits dropped again.  It was his first truly epic disappointment and he was striving to work through it the best he could.

We talked a great deal about what it meant to be a good sport and in his heart wanted to be happy for his friends but was so pained at his disappointment that he couldn't find words to express himself.  the day of the competition he managed to put together a little video clip to send to two of his friends wishing them luck. 

Such fun horsing around with his friends!  He can't wait till next summer when he sees them again.

I was such a proud Mama at that moment.  It took strength and character to do what he did.  I asked him how he felt after the message was sent and his reply was telling," Still sad, but good too.  I can be a good friend and team member."  And that's what really counts in the end and as far as I'm concerned, he won the championships in ways no trophy could ever really commemorate!  Love you Bud!