Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's Not Easy Being Green...

Learning to appreciate your differences is never easy, at any age. It can be said with certainity that some people never learn to value what makes them different from others. They become the "yes men" of the world. Always terrified to let people get too close for fear that others will see what makes them unique and special. Blending in and just existing is always easier than standing up and being seen for who and what you are. Not very interesting to be around, but much easier. As a parent, I feel it is my job to help my children appreciate their quirks and essentricities. It's what sets them apart.

Last week I watched as Bella played in the wet sand with her implants off. My heart broke a little as I watched her play. Why? Because she is learning that sometimes your differences set you apart from others, literally. Now for the backstory.

Bella was at girl scout camp in the water, swimming and playing with the other girls in her group. She didn't have the implant/water set up we use for swim team because it is a hassle to put together and as her unit leader I couldn't spare the time to get it all set. Besides swimming at camp was only 20 minutes so I thought it would be fine. Anyway, one of the teenage helpers for our group decided to play a game with the girls in the water. She tried to tell Bella the directions, but it was tough since Bella couldn't hear. Finally, Bella said, "I can't hear you without my implants." That comment in itself was pretty telling. Usually Bella fakes her way through conversations if she doesn't have her implants on. She is a great lip reader, but even so things get missed. I guess learning how to play a game and lipreading all the directions was a bit too difficult. So the teenage helper brought Bella back to play by the sand since she couldn't hear the directions for the game. The game the group finally decided to play was "Marco Polo." You know, the one where one person has their eyes closed and yells "Marco" and listens for the others to say "Polo" so they can tag someone else it? Well, that is definately limiting if you are deaf.

After it all happened, I spoke a little with her about how sometimes it is hard to be different and how some people's differences show more than others, but we all have them. I also told her it takes a lot of strength and courage to own your differences. I'm sure it is a conversation we will continue having, now that she is getting older and more self aware.

The rest of girl scout camp went great! She made lots of new friends, played games, did crafts, and ate yummy snacks. The theme this year was "Reality Twin Cities" so all of the activities were based on reality shows like Biggest Loser, Minute to Win It, Project Runway, etc. The highlights for Bella were the Cake Boss craft/snack where a team of 4 girls got to design a cake and then they got to eat the whole thing themselves. Most didn't finish theirs, but the idea of eating a whole cake was appealing to all the girls. Bella also liked climbing the rock climbing wall and of course singing all the songs. Paddling a canoe was also a big hit. I did let her keep her implants on while she was in the canoe, but did silently pray that it did not tip over.

We missed the last day due to puppy pick up. Details to follow...

Highway to Hell...

So who thinks going to pick up a puppy should be fun and enjoyable? Who thinks that a car ride to pick a puppy is a perfect time to cry, whine, and fight with your siblings? Well, apparently that is the choice my children picked. Actually, Becca wasn't really involved. It was more Bella and Harry. The true details escape me, as it a bit like having a baby. All the pain and agony fade away once you see the cute newborn.
I do have vague recollections of hitting, screaming, and hysterical crying. The puppy's breeder was in Wisconsin just past Hudson so the trip was a little over 2 hours round trip. In my mind, it seemed to go on for days...

But it was all worth it. Here's Enzo the cockapoo, finally home with his new family.

Here's Enzo's proud parents

Enzo is settling in well. Ika is good with him, but he doesn't really play with him. Ika has always been more of a person dog. He does let Enzo jump all over him, take his bones, and drink his water.

Glad to have the car ride over and start the adventures with Enzo as a Rowe...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Go to Extremes...

Let me start by saying that yesterday the heat index for the Twin Cities was 110. Perhaps you remember just a few months ago when I posted this picture from my dash

It has certainly been a year of extremes in MN weather. In April, Harry went to a Twin's baseball game and it was snowing, on Monday he went and it was everything he could do to not get heatstroke. Wonder how this crazy weather pattern will continue.

We have been really busy the last month so my blog entries have been non existent. Here are some highlights from the past month:


In July we went to visit the cabin in Brainerd we stay at once a year with Erick's family. It was lots of fun with plenty of good food, nice weather and time to chill and relax.


Last week our church had vacation bible school (VBS). I was on the mystery bus with (almost) 4th and 5th graders for Monday-Wednesday from 9am-4pm. Each day was a different service project, something fun and all activities were connected to a bible verse of the day. There were water games, trips to the park, a memory board craft, and service for those less fortunate. Bella had a blast and I was exhausted each night.

While I was busy on the bus, Becca and Harry were helping out at the church with VBS. Becca was in charge of arts and crafts in the morning and teaching 2nd graders in the afternoon. Harry performed as "Justin Time", the VBS bus driver each morning in a series of skits to entertain the young kids. All in all it was a very rewarding, yet tiring week.  Here's a picture of Bella and the other mystery bus participants performing in a variety show they put on for a retirement home.


In the midst of our busy week of VBS, Harry had football tryouts. On the day he went, it was about 100 degrees for a heat index. Made it a little hard to believe that Fall is around the corner, but he toughed it out with the help of lots of water.  Harry had a great tryout. He had an unbelievable standing long jump of....7 feet 4 1/2 inches! To put it in perspective, most of the other 7th and 8th graders were jumping from about 5 feet 10 inches - 6 feet 2 inches. Coupled with his 40 yd dash score of 5.2, he looks to have another great season!


This past weekend, we went to the local amusement park, Valleyfair, with my sister and her family. It was super hot and humid, but sooo much fun. The older kids went off on their own for a few hours to ride the roller coasters. I used to ride roller coasters, but you know that drop that happens to your stomach on the way down the big hills? Well, I don't need to artificially induce that feeling anymore. As a parent, I have that feeling about twice a week... In addition to the rides, we spent time in the waterpark, and my sister and I dueled it out on some of our favorite carnival games. We did quite well and won several stuffed animals for the kids. Most importantly, the cousins will have memories from the day that will last a lifetime...

There was a sad point in the day when Bella fell, running fast to get back to Valleyfair after our picnic lunch. She landed with a very loud THUD on the concrete. She's a trooper though and shortly after returned to the fun.

As you can see from this picture. The day got to be lot for Erick. We started at 11:30am and ended at 8:30pm. A very full day.


Other things keeping us busy: Becca became a referee for girl's lacrosse this season. She reffed for about 6 games and hopes to continue doing it in the future. Look how official she looks!

Harry has decided his weekly chore of mowing the lawn might be a good way of making money, so he and a friend in our neighborhood created flyers for a yard mowing service. He has had two jobs already and one is becoming weekly. It keeps him busy and he makes money. Win, win.

Bella finished up her spring/summer swim team session with Foxjets. She really improved a lot on her strokes this last few months. But there is no rest...On her six week break, she wanted to continue improving so we put her in a once a week swim team at Lifetime and a 2x a week camp at Foss to work on specific strokes. At Lifetime, she is swimming 1 1/2 hours compared with the 45 minutes at Foxjets, so when she goes back, it should seem quite easy. Here's hoping!!