Sunday, November 13, 2011

Special Days and Gold Medals...

Last weekend we had the privilege of watching Jared compete in the Special Olympics State Basketball Tournament.  Over the years Jared has been an on-again, off-again athlete - more off than on most years.  His decision to participate has always been tied to what particular sports were being offered (horseback riding, bowling, etc.).  As various sports have come and gone so has his interest. 

Jared has not been a fan of team sports since he was about 8 years old.  When we lived in California Jared participated in baseball, and learned how to play the game.  When we moved to Montana the only available option for him was the Challenger League that included kids of all ages.  Jared was up to bat, and unlike the rest of the team he had been educated on the rules of the game.  He proceeded to hit the ball and run to 1st base, where he stopped and waited for the next batter.  The next batter was a 16-year old young man with Down syndrome who towered over Jared and weighed about three times as much.  This young man proceeded to attempt to hit the ball and began to run to 1st base.  As Jared noticed that this man was running he began to make his way to 2nd base.  Half way to 2nd base this young man literally ran over Jared as he hadn't stopped at 1st.  From head to toe Jared was scratched and bruised and bleeding...and has never had any interest in playing on a team since. I can't say I blame him!

That being said, Jared participating in the State Basketball Tournament was quite a feat unto itself.  This year, for the first time, his team offered what they called Individual Skills.  Our fine city played host to over 700 athletes from around the state, and of those athletes 36 competed in Skills; three of those 36 were from Jared's team, the Great Falls Lions.  This was the first time that Jared had ever participated in basketball. 

We had a fantastic weekend!  It began Thursday night, November 3rd, with opening ceremonies. 

We were Footloose!  Needless to say, we had fun!
Friday was competition day - time to get serious!
Coach Jerry Sept, Kristen Davies, Ryan Sept, and Jared
The three Lions competed, individually, in three areas of basketball skills. 
Shooting hoops


And dribbling...
Jared began practicing his skills eight weeks before the competition.  His coach noted that when he started this adventure he was dribbling in just over 10 the competition he completed his dribbling in 4.4 seconds.  Pretty darn impressive!  

Saturday was all about gold! All three Lions were awarded Gold Medals for their efforts...doesn't matter that all 36 Individual Skills athletes received gold medals - they were awarded based on their individual skills!

The gold medalists!
The funny thing is that both of the boys (Jared and Ryan) had a tied score!  They both received 85 out of 112 points.  Teammates who practiced together week after week and they tied! Someone mentioned that they'd never seen that happen before in many years in Special O!  There was also a record breaker, the highest score ever was given to an athlete during the competition - the gentleman scored 96.  Pretty impressive!  

It was a great weekend and we're already looking forward to doing it again next year!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


It dawned on me today when my son Justin posted that he was sitting in his 6th grade math class on September 11th that there are few days in one's life that you remember so vividly where you were at and what you were doing when something happened, good or bad. 

I can remember where I was at and what I was doing on January 28, 1986.  I can remember the conversations I had that morning with my fellow co-worker, as we stood around the radio at work waiting for more news, about how she could vividly remember where she was on November 22, 1963.  

I can remember where I was and what I was doing on October 28, 1989.  You won't find that dates' importance to me on Google or Wikipedia though as it was the day I became a mother for the first time.  

I can remember where I was and what I was doing on June 28, 1991.

I can remember where I was and what I was doing on September 11, 2001. 

Thinking back over my life and these days that are so momentous I will never forget where I was at or what I was doing I'm thankful that the good momentous days outweigh the bad ones. 

My hope for this world, but most especially for my children, is that those days that are so good we can't and don't ever want to forget them outweigh the days that rock us to our core, the days we'd rather forget but are unable to. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Conversations with our children...

Long car rides are always a great opportunity for conversation with one's children...about a week ago we piled into the cars to drive Justin back to Missoula, for his (gulp) senior year of college. Jared and I were in the Suburban, while Jeff and Justin were in Justin's Blazer (it takes two vehicles to deliver one college student and all of his bedroom items).  As were driving along Jared looks at me and says "You and Dad are the best...annoying sometimes."  To which I replied, "But the best?" His answer, "Just annoying!"  Not quite sure where that came from or how to take that, but I'll choose to take it as a compliment!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Adventures in Camping...

So we finally pulled out the old tent, packed up the Suburban and took off for a couple of days of adventure in 'the wild'. None of us can even remember the last time we went camping, it's been that long, so we were due.

We drove to Hauser Lake, just outside of Helena. Set up camp and within minutes saw lighting and heard thunder. The first crack of lightning and thunder were split seconds apart and I instantly said to Jeff, "That was close!" So we hopped in the Suburban and went for a quick drive to check out the area. As is usual form for afternoon Montana storms the skies were clear in less than 20 minutes, so we headed back to camp. (Had some good views of a double rainbow - that the photos just don't do justice too.)

The last time we camped (years upon years ago) we went to Holter Lake, between Great Falls and Helena. On that venture we discovered that Holter's bathroom did not have running water so after using the restroom one had to head to the nearest outdoor spigot and wash ones hands, soap-free (unless you had thought ahead and packed some camp soap that is). So the decision was made to give Hauser a try this time around, as Hauser actually has/had running water & soap in the bathroom (the little things turn out to be quite important when one is tent-camping).

So we arrived back in camp, after the little storm passed through. Got moving on the campfire, made our dinner and enjoyed the meal. After dinner we ventured to the water pump to get some water for washing dishes and discovered there was no water! Turns out that little lightning strike hit a transformer immediately outside of the campground and the water pumps were electric - so no water for us! We managed, it was like tent camping in the back country (haven't done that in almost 30 years)!

Our campsite - definitely one of the best tent sites

After s'mores by the campfire we headed to bed for the night...Jeff and I quickly realized a few hours in that our bodies just aren't made for tent camping anymore, but we lived to tell!

Ventured out on the lake over the next two days and enjoyed our little adventure immensely!

The view of the Hauser dam from the boat

Hauser Dam

Jeff - ready to tube!

Jared - always loves being on the boat!

Jeff & Jared in the 'rocket' as Jared called it!

Jared & Teddy - just waking up on Day 2

Friday, July 29, 2011

Like a Kid again...

The Blue Angels are in Great Falls!

No one seems to understand or appreciate my enthusiasm...but it truly brings out the kid in me!

I grew up a Navy brat, and an officer's brat too boot! The only time I can ever remember my dad pulling rank was when an air show came to town. We had the privilege of sitting in the VIP bleacher seating with every air show - and in my opinion, there really is no other way to see an air show.

Today we had the privilege of being invited to the airport to watch their dress rehearsal. This invitation was made possible by the fact that we have a Special Olympian in our household - so you could say we pulled rank today. All I can say is that it was amazing and I remain in awe of the Blue Angels and their incredible abilities. It was wonderful to be able to be in an audience of about 200, we all were in the front row, as opposed to the 20,000 they are expecting over the weekend! There really is no other way to view the Blue Angels!

Over the years, Jeff has also attended many air shows, but apparently he's never been that 'up close and personal' as he had never witnessed what I call the 'pomp & circumstance' that make up the Blue Angels. The mechanics do everything in sync, the pilots parade out and their entry into the cockpit of their planes is timed perfectly with the announcer introducing them, etc. These are some of the little things that make an air show and the Blue Angels so special - precision.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Funny Story...

Wow, it's been a long time - more proof about the theory of time, flight and speed! Who knew it seems like just yesterday!

Funny story to share...Jared got into the shower recently and in a big loud voice yells "It's damn too hot!" So I went into the bathroom and said, "Excuse me, what did you just say?" He peeked out from behind the curtain and gave me this sheepish grin and replied, "Nothing!" I again asked what he had said, same reply but this time with hesitation as he thought he might be in trouble. I then said, "Don't you mean, 'It's too damn hot?'" And he laughed and said "It's too damn hot!"

Well that's tonight's quick post...hopefully I won't forget about my blog for so long next time - til then...stay cool!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Metal Mouth

Jared began the adventure of getting his braces on a couple of weeks ago…he has four braces on his top front teeth. Next month they’ll finish putting the braces on his top teeth and will probably start on the bottom in two months. I have to digress and say just how very much I appreciate and like our orthodontist – for taking the time to work with Jared and helping him adjust to this huge change in his life. Jared is adjusting quite well, all things considered…from having been adamant that he was not going to get braces six months ago to now we’ve come pretty far. But it’s going to be a long road ahead! I’m feeling mother’s guilt though…I’m feeling bad for his pain (and I’m personally very familiar with the type of pain he is experiencing) and I’m also feeling bad that I should have been able to anticipate at least some of his questions, especially since Justin (and Jeff for that matter) went through this whole process about five years ago. One thing I definitely tried to avoid was the subject of pain – I didn’t want to give him any preconceived ideas. If he’d asked I would have been honest, but thankfully before this adventure began he did not ask. But I still should have anticipated some of his questions…the first question he asked after getting them on was if he’d ever be able to eat. Shortly thereafter he asked the question of whether or not he could take them out to go to sleep. Followed by the question of how long he’d have braces. Of course he’s already asking how they take them off too. Some of these questions I could have and should have anticipated, but others I couldn’t have begun to foresee. Overall, he is adjusting extremely well. He’s learning what he can and can’t eat and figuring out how to eat the things he really wants to (break up the cookie rather than just biting into it). Thankfully, the pain issue has diminished as well – as it does…of course it always goes away just in time to go back to the orthodontist!