Saturday, October 20, 2012

BYU Game

I had a great experience at BYU for grad school.  Jeff and I went to football games, volleyball games and even World of Dance and more.  It was awesome to take advantage of all that a university has to offer.

And, I'll be honest . . . I more than secretly hope that we can instill a devotion to BYU in our kids.  Yes, I didn't stay home and go to the local college in Virginia either.  But, think . . . they have a choice of locations from Provo to Idaho to Hawaii with BYU!  And, yes . . . absolutely . . . the most important point is that they have a love for learning and a desire to continue in their education to earn a bachelor's degree.  Even if it's not BYU.  Still . . . no harm in getting the kids excited about all that universities have to offer.

And, at our house . . . a great way to get any one's attention is . . . FOOTBALL!

I had already found a daytime game in the schedule that would be perfect for taking the kids.  And, we were incredibly lucky to have friends that sponsored the game through Les Shwab and offered us tickets.  I did actually try to find a sitter for Gage - knowing that sitting in the bleachers for a few hours wasn't going to be his style.  But, my list is super short - and the two options that I called couldn't help out.

So . . . we headed to the game with all four kids in tow . . . fully geared up in our BYU garb (excluding Jeff who was making fun of us a bit).  I told him we would blend right in once we got to the game and I was right.

Local BYU fans are hard core.

I was able to sit down in our seats with the whole family for roughly 10-15 minutes the whole game.  Jeff chased Gage around during this time until I decided to take him and Garrett to the inside of the stadium/behind the bleachers and walk around.

Yes, I missed the whole game.  Yes, I'm the biggest BYU fan in the family.

But, you know what?  I wanted these little precious babies.  And, this is where I am in life right now . . . putting the needs of these wee angels first.

I didn't have one second of regret as I carried Garrett around in his comfortable sling and walked around holding little Gage's hand.  I watched him chase a basketball around and interact with the much older kids that were attempting to make a few baskets.

We climbed into more than one of the golf cart-type vehicles used for transporting BYU food and goods.  Yes, I'm sure that wasn't actually condoned behavior . . . but, Gage thought it was the coolest thing ever.

The game was awesome.  And, I didn't even get to watch it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Back to School 2012

Having a maternity leave that coincided almost exactly with summer break was amazing.  I knew both our summer and mat leave would seemingly fly by.  The first six weeks or more after a c-section is more sitting and cuddling and aching than relaxing and fully enjoying.  But, I wouldn't trade time with my husband and babies for anything.

So, before I knew it . . . it was time for school to begin again.  And, time for Gavin to officially start school.  Having Gavin in preschool in Canada and last year here definitely eased the transition a bit.  But, there's just something about that bus that gets to a mom.  The bus seems so big and suddenly our baby seems so small.

Autumn started school almost two weeks before the kindergartners.  You don't know how many times I have said something or referenced Autumn being in 1st grade rather than 2nd over the last month.  Obviously this mom is in denial that her little girl is growing up!  2nd grade already.  I remember my second grade year in Mrs. Smith's class.  I love school and still do.  I honestly remember 2nd grade being my least favorite year of elementary school.

Autumn has a really amazing, positive and happy teacher, Mrs. Hansen.  Autumn really loves her and so do we.  So, I'm really hopeful that Autumn is going to have an amazing experience this year.

And, then it was time for our little guy to become a kindergartner.  He has the two boys from the neighborhood in his class and Kyler Hicken, his best little friend.  So, we are thrilled that he is surrounded by good boys that can help him - but, also that treat him just like all the other kids.

Jeff and I let Gavin ride the bus - and then met him at school to take some pictures and walk with him to his classroom.  As soon as we got to the gym, Gavin left us behind and was happy to run over and play with the other kids.  Of course he was sitting beside Kyler and being as silly as ever.  On Gavin's left is Bentley - and directly behind Bentley is Koler - both boys in the neighborhood and in Gavin's primary class at church.

Kyler and Gavin love to make everyone laugh.  The video of these two kids is even funnier.  I'll upload that soon.

Gavin had no problem powering down the hall to his classroom.  They literally walk from one end of the building to the other.  The only thing that slowed him down was a too-big backpack sliding off his shoulders over and over.  I quickly remedied the situation with a new Spiderman backpack and sternum clip combination the next day.  Since then, he hasn't slowed down. 

Since the chin-splitting incident, we have been super conscious of water complications.  When it rains, we send him to school with his walker.  We don't want to take any chances of any other falls.  This winter, we are going to have to send a walker daily.

Gavin also has such a cute and happy teacher, Mrs. Stanley.  She has been so positive and encouraging and happy to work with.  I feel very lucky to have her.  And, she treats us like normal people (hard to explain - but, I've only felt really comfortable with a few of Autumn's teachers so far).  Mrs. Stanley is great for Gavin.

We celebrated the first day of school with our traditional Jell-o jiggler letters.  Grandma and Grandpa Peterson were in town helping us put an entire irrigation system in the backyard and plant grass.   So, rather than the full letter display, Autumn and Gavin cut out their initials . . . and then everyone dug in.

Two kids in elementary school already - and two more to go.  It goes by quickly.

And, I won't linger too long on the subject . . . but, man . . . I felt like I had another full-time job coordinating everything that Gavin would need to be a successful kindergartner.  Gavin has had no problems at all fitting right in and doing it happily.  It's all the behind-the-scenes stuff, that I really don't want him even thinking about, that was so complicating.  I spent hours and hours at school in meetings, IEP groups, 504 coordination, meeting the aides, training the aides, educating the nurse and more.  Not to mention, we've both spent hours coordinating with the bus transportation staff for what ended up being a slightly sub-par solution (Gavin's afternoon bus doesn't drop him off at our door.  So, Jeff has to meet him at the corner.  Imagine that with two babies, nap schedules, and eventually snow.)

In our first large school meeting (including the principal, new teacher, aides, resource leads, district personnel and more), I started by walking through a presentation with pictures on Gavin  and Spina Bifida, including his progression and special needs.  A few days later, the special education lead, Lauren, told me how impressed they all were to see the presentation I had prepared.  She said that you'd be surprised at how little so many parents are involved.  It was very encouraging for me to hear.  I had debated whether or not to give the presentation and then had slightly rushed through it.  Lauren has been an amazing ally.  I really appreciate having such supportive people around to lean on.

Yes, we are Gavin's best advocates. And, no, it's not easy.  But, he's worth it.