Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Whirlwind Women's World Cup Weekend

How do you like that for some alliteration?!

We spent this past weekend, for those of you who didn't see my onslaught of photos on instagram, in Vancouver - most notably to watch Canada play in the quarter final of the FIFA women's world cup.

We originally bought the tickets because Rio is becoming really invested in soccer, so we thought it would be a really great chance to show her some strong female role models and how far they've gone in her sport. At the time of ticket purchase, we had no idea who would be playing in the match.

After continuing to advance, we realized it would be Canada. We were ecstatic! I mean who doesn't want to cheer for their home country, on home turf? Sounded pretty dreamy.

Oh it was I tell you, it was. That game exceeded my expectations on every level. When we walked in the girls were just taking to the field for warm up, and I felt absolutely overwhelmed by the energy in the 55,000 person stadium. It was a sea of red shirts, hats, flags, tattoos, face paint - you name it. The stands were full of Canadians - and very proud ones at that.

The game was phenomenal. Although Canada did not emerge victorious, they played a hard fought game and in many ways were the better team on the pitch. It was a truly memorable experience and has put "seeing as many international sporting events as possible" to the top of my bucket list.

The rest of the weekend was fun too. We stayed with family and ate too much all weekend. We gave the boys their first skytrain experience (full of excited hooting and screeching the whole way - darn small-towners!) and walked along the seawall. While we were at the soccer game the boys even got in a trip to the beach with their auntie and uncle! The weather was lovely and the company was lovelier. All in all a wonderful start to our summer. The photos don't do it justice...

No face paint? No problem. 

So excited!

Yup, still excited!

That open roof is beautiful - unless it allows the sun to shine directly in your face for the second half, as it did ours.

Almost ready to start...

Teams take to the pitch for all the pre-game pomp and circumstance

And like that it's done! Very hot, sweaty, and a bit deflated, on our way home

Great afternoon at Kits beach for the boys

Staying as close to the water as possible to enjoy the breeze

Beautiful city in the background, cool dude in the foreground

Thursday, June 25, 2015

School's Out For Summer!

You better have just been singing Alice Cooper when you read that title, that's all I'm saying.


What a huge year. Our "babies" started kindergarten, our big girl went to Grade 3, and mama went back to work. Oh and we finished our reno too - that little thing.

First day of Grade 3 and Kindergarten (still living at Auntie's):

You know how it all went? AWESOME! We all passed with flying colors, and are now looking forward to a great summer to relax and refuel before it all starts up again in September.

Their report cards were all excellent - yes, in academics, but most proudly in the really important parts like effort, respect, and positive attitudes. I am so immeasurably proud of all of them. Our miracle babies just absolutely nailed kindergarten and will now start Grade 1 with a solid foundation of what inclusion looks like in their school and classroom. I see nothing but opportunities for them to flourish ahead. They are truly remarkable little human beings.

Rio is showing herself to be more of a leader every day. Not only at home bossing around helping her brothers, but at school too. She is a bright light and both gives off, and attracts, goodness everywhere she goes.

I feel like I've finally gotten a hold on this whole "working mom" thing - just in time to drop down to 2 days/week for the summer. I look so forward to my mix of work time and kid time - and plan to pack as much into this summer as possible. That starts with this weekend when we surprise the kids with a trip to Vancouver - notably to take Rio to the FIFA women's world cup quarter final. Canada vs. England - can you say dream match?! Our little soccer player is going to lose her shizz. Can't wait to tell her!

In the mean time we're going to spend tonight celebrating the accomplishments of this school year with pizza and ice cream, and tomorrow being laaaaaazzzzzzzy. I'm calling jammie day!! I think it's well deserved.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Beach Day!

The boys' class, along with the two other kindie classes in their school, had beach day yesterday. Although I was unable to attend, their EA graciously snapped some photos for me. Think they had any fun?!

When Rio's kindergarten class had beach day, poor Rio had to watch them all walk by our house while she waved (and cried) from her bedroom window because she had the stomach flu. In Grade 1, it was rained out. In Grade 2, canceled because of the teacher's strike. Grade 3 - no beach day planned. So although big sister has been at the school three years longer than her brothers, she was green with envy. I guess the good news about being surrounded by beaches is that it's pretty easy to remedy her jealousy!

Only five more school days until we have the whole summer* to do what we want. The kids are done, and more so, I am done. Enough of the morning routine - let's get this summer break started!

*I have most of the summer - I will still be working but only two days a week for the time the kids are out of school. When I'm not here they'll be with their cousins, so I think we all have a pretty great summer to look forward to.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Little Athletes

The past two weekends I feel like we've had a glimpse into what it's like for parents of adolescents who play sports - basically running here, there and everywhere, getting your child wherever their sports team needs them to be.

This past weekend, the boys had their horse show. OH. MY. HEART. Adorable. They had both practiced their moves very hard and were absolute stars. They had a whole cheering session there, including one of their best friends from school. It was so great to see and so appreciated that everyone came to see them because man it was hottttttt out!

Nolan and Maryke 

Asher and Smudges

The weekend prior to that, we took Rio to her first out of town soccer tournament. It is a looooong soccer season in a city that gets no snow. September through March, and then spring academy started in April. Rio has really blossomed on the soccer field this season and getting the extra hands on coaching in academy has been so fun to watch. They're learning their positions (Rio likes midfield best - oh so much running!) and generally getting so much better at handling the ball.

The girls were such troopers for the weekend. They played one game on the first day and then three (!) on the second! Three full (60 minute at this age) games in the blazing sun, with minimal complaints. And as an added bonus, Rio got to play against a friend since birth who lives out of town. They meet up on occasion on the ski hill, and now on the soccer pitch. Fun for the parents to catch up too.

All in all, so much fun had with both the soccer tourney and the horse show. All of that said, I'm getting pretty excited to have the summer off from both! These kids have a WAY better social calendar than I do and I'm ready to have a break!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Botox - Round 2

Well well, would you look at that. It's only been a week since my last post. I was actually scared to open my blog because I couldn't remember how long it had been since I'd updated. A week is pretty good, considering!

Ok so onto the news. Asher had his second round of botox today, and in typical Asher form, he was an absolute rock star!

To back up a little bit...

Last time Asher had botox (in December) he had it in his hamstrings, calves, and adductors. He did it with zero sedation so it was painful - really painful. But the kid was an absolute champ, and while he did cry with some gusto, he was back to his cheerful self within minutes. It was pretty amazing. Although it was painful for him, and for me to watch, we wanted to avoid sedation because of how Asher has reacted in the past. That time, I am sure we made the best choice.

This time, however, it wasn't so simple. The doctor wanted to, in addition to his legs, inject his tricep, bicep and pronator in his right arm to help with the pattern of tone where his right arm becomes "stuck". Not only is that arm useless most of the time, but it's actually often a liability if it takes him off balance, or if it goes flying out of control while going through a doorway. The goal of the botox was, at worst, to help calm that arm down to a regular resting position, and at best, to allow it a little bit of functionality as a helper hand to his left hand that does the bulk of the work.

The difficulty with injecting his pronator (the muscle in the lower half of your arm that causes your arm to pronate, or turn in) is that it is very close to several other muscles. This led to the risk that the wrong muscle could inadvertently be injected. So the doctor proposed he use electrical stimulation to determine he was in the right muscle. And because that would add to the pain, and would require Asher to stay more still, he suggested we sedate him.

Oh dear. Like I said, sedation never goes well with Asher. However, this was a very mild sedative. It wasn't meant to put him to sleep - only to calm him and to act as an amnesiac after the procedure. Of course we had to give it some thought, but at the end of the day the risk seemed to outweigh the benefit, so we decided to go with sedation.

Sedation means no food in the tummy. So the start of Asher's amazing day meant waking at 6:15 a.m. to have a piece of toast jammed in his mouth when he was barely conscious. He then went off to school where he was thankfully shielded from all food and drink until I picked him up at noon for the procedure.

Of course at the hospital he was his regular charming self. Once he got all checked in and sorted, without a peep of complaint about being hungry without food for six hours, we were left to wait for the doctor to arrive. I don't think Asher minded:

Private TV for no louder, bossier siblings to chirp their demands about what show to watch? Yes please!

Thankfully for my nerves, we weren't left waiting long. The doctor arrived and Asher was given his sedative. Up the nose with apparently a bad taste and a bit of a burn. Ewww. But again, he nailed it. Once he got loopy - and I mean loopy - they were set to begin. Before the first poke the doctor reminded me Asher would still feel pain, and still react. In other words "Mama, prepare yourself. This isn't going to be pretty". So I held Asher's hands and whispered to him, not sure who was going to cry first.

Poke. Poke. Poke in the legs. No tears. Barely more than a wince and a couple of "let go of me".

Then came the arm, hooked up to all the leads for the electrical stimulation. For once Asher was hooked up to wires that weren't traumatizing me! Seeing the doctor test the muscle and seeing the muscle respond was really cool. A few more pokes and he was done - again no tears. No sound even came out of him this time. Stoic would aptly describe him.

And like that we were done. Over the course of the next hour we watched Asher slowly stop slurring and bobbing his head, to turning back into regular Asher - constantly questioning when we were going to the gift shop to get his prize!

Now after all of that we're home and he's showered the hospital germs off (because I get a little paranoid about MRSA and c-diff lurking in my home - the pleasure of knowing what those things are from spending so much time there).

I could not be more proud of him. Not that it is about him not crying - I don't care if he kicked and screamed, I'd be equally proud. It's that he does everything with such grace and calm. He is just amazing.

But I've got to tell you, I'm proud of another person today. ME. You know why? For the first time in 5.5 years, I didn't cry going to the hospital. I've got baggage as I'm sure you can imagine. Even if it's for something somewhat routine, like NICU follow up, I have always still managed to cry. Today - NOPE! I did not cry a single tear.  That is a milestone. Maybe the wounds are finally starting to heal.

Now onwards, let's see over the next few days what this botox does. Here's hoping...