Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fall Soccer, 2012

This should really be titled, "High Highs and Low LOWS".

This season for Thomas was especially challenging in many ways.  He lost one teammate that we relied on and gained 4 teammates from the other Lakeside team.  To say it was a challenging transition was an understatement.
The first practice started badly.  Kids mouthing off to each other, disorganization, rough housing and behavioral issues.  Forget being able to "coach".  Our coach was too busy running herd on the new kids that were goofing off and causing breakdown with the group.  If that wasn't bad enough, finding a new mom standing over my son berating him nearly sent me in to a rage.  I turned my head for one minute to help the coaches pick up cones and I see that she has my son cornered, standing over him.  She apparently felt it her right to go after him for something that was said on the field, something that one of the coaches had heard and didn't think a thing about.  When you're about to take a shot to the face as goalie, a little banter is allowed.  She didn't get that memo, and when Thomas said something to the effect of "you're gonna miss" as he got prepared to drill it at Thomas, she took offense to this.  She ended the little tirade with, "You know you're better than him, Tommy.  You don't need to be snarky, too."
Say what?  Really?  In front of your son?  And my son?  You have the nerve to say this?  No need to point out Thomas doesn't even know what "snarky" means, nor could he pull this off.  It's not his character....yet.  Now his mom?  Quite possible he will inherit it down the line.  He just hasn't figured it out yet.

He was in tears.  In tears down to the house.  In tears in the house, and when he woke up in the morning.  I followed it up by several near-rant texts and emails with the coach.  I pointed out in multiple ways how inappropriate this whole thing was, and how devastated Thomas was over it.  He didn't even want to go to practice again.  For his part, Coach sent out a detailed email, and made a big point that this was not going to happen again and that if anyone had anything to say about anything, it would go through him.

AND...I didn't talk or acknowledge this person again until forced to at the end of the season.  Childish? Possibly.  I don't care.  Challenge me on it.  See how I respond.  You have my respect until you do something stupid. Then it is gone.  You WILL NOT MESS WITH MY SON.

Oh, and did I mention one of the other new kids punched Thomas at the end of the spring season?  Oh, yeah, that made first practice even better.  Did it get dealt with?  Not so much.  The kid is a twin, and neither twin would fess up to it, or so the story goes.  Did this child's mother care to bother with finding the child and parent and talking about it?  Apologizing for her son's pathetic behavior?  Nope.  And so the story goes.  You have my respect...until you do something stupid.  This would be in the stupid category.  No apology for pathetic behavior- no respect for you.

The true story of this season was continued training with Joel Grossman.  Joel is our lifeline for Thomas  continuing to improve his soccer game.  Thomas LOVEs training with Joel, made even better that he can do it with his buddies, Yale, Connor, Isaac and Alex.  It's not cheap, but it is working, and I am thankful that despite the troubles on his Lakeside team, Joel remains our reinforcement.  What should have been incredibly frustrating and disappointing big losses for Thomas, he found happiness in his individual play.  He had big saves as goalie and goals that kept him smiling. He showed moments where my heart couldn't swell bigger, and it made a hard season bearable.

I put pictures of Tommy's last soccer matches up here.  To me, they show a little boy with a warrior's heart. In the pouring rain, swampy field and inches of standing water around him, Thomas played his heart out.  Already wet, he dove for the ball, laying his body out to keep shots from scoring.  He had to wring his goalie gloves out between plays.  He had water dripping off him, down his legs and arms, muddy water filling his shoes.  He played on.  At the end of the game, he came off defense and came to me crying.  The reason for the tears?  The cold, the wind, the soaking clothes?
No.  He wanted one more chance to go in.  He wanted another goal.  Winning was not enough.  He NEEDED another goal.
"Coach, please can you put me in again?  Please?"  Still wiping tears away from his muddy face.

I couldn't have been prouder.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Disney 2012- The Planning and the Surprise

Our last visit to Disneyland was 3 years ago, in 2009.  Cooper was a wee little boy of 2, still in diapers, still nursing a bottle, still sucking on a pacifier.  Thomas, a big 5 year old blondie, was big enough for Indiana Jones, but still couldn't figure out how to poop on the pottie.  We schelpted a lot of diapers, formula and pacifiers on this little jaunt down the coast.
Following that visit, John and I agreed we would go again in three years.  We didn't want to lose the "magic" of Disney in waiting too long, but because Disney will nearly suck the life out of you while there, as well as drain your bank account, we needed 3 years to build up stamina to slug it out again.

This year we planned to take one Large suitcase.  Everything had to fit in that one large suitcase to avoid the huge fees the airlines are charging.  That meant no diapers, no bottles, no formula, no dubbies, no stroller.  That was a HUGE win for us this time around, and we were able to pack all 4 of us in to one suitcase.  It was amazing.  It was momentous.  It was relief and a big step as parents not to be lugging all that extra gear around.

We also decided to surprise the kids.  It was hard not to mention it, not to talk about it and plan it out in front of them.  Of course, John was also training for the Bellingham Marathon, hoping to make a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon in the spring of 2013.  It was not to be this time around, but the weeks leading up to the big trip found us very busy with training, family in town, 3 kids parties, my shared birthday with Isaac and soccer.  There were times I didn't think we would pull it off, didn't think we could wait it out.  I wanted to share with them our excitement, especially on the days where it was a struggle to get the kids out of the house and on to school.  I so wanted to use it as a major reward, an incentive for good behavior, something fun to look forward to.

We pulled it off, though.  We saved the surprise.  On Monday we took the kids to school as planned, then went home to finalize our packing.  We had Bruce ready to take us to the airport and most of our stuff ready to go when we walked back up to school to get the boys around lunchtime.  We had the office staff pull the boys out, and it was so fun to see little Cooper walk down with his backpack all ready to go, but not sure why.  He eagerly waited for Thomas to show up in the office.  When Thomas arrived, straight off the playground, he stopped dead in his tracks, a stunned look on his face.  "What?!" he cried.  "I am NOT getting a shot!  NO.  I am not going!"   He looked about ready to bolt...and cry...or both.  John and I both burst out laughing,  a little bit lost as to what to say.  We quickly shooed them out the door and down to the house.  We drug the surprise out a bit to allow Grandma time to see their reaction down at the house.  We told them that we should probably take advantage of the sunshine and go out on the boat instead of school.  The boys agreed with this, although not very excited.  When down at the house, John continued with the little charade of Grandpa taking us out on the boat.  I then piped up with, "I think we can do better than that, can't we?"  "What if we said we were going to Disneyland?"
Of course you can imagine the whooping and hollering that followed.  "When are we going?" they yelled.  They still hadn't figured it out as we walked out the door to the packed car, ready and waiting for us to drive off.  Thomas had a bit of anxiety, taking off quickly to find his Bounce.  He didn't want to leave his little bunny.  They each made a production of making sure I had packed Jace and Baby Bounce A Lot, their miniature stuffed animals they sleep and play with.  Once they were assured of this, we took off for the airport.
Although the Bellingham Airport piece of the trip was very hassle free, our delayed arrival in Seattle and wrong Gate Number led us to be "that" family running down the concourse to find our correct gate.  John literally ran ahead, with Thomas giving chase.  I hustled down not quite at a sprint, 3 bags of "stuff" flopping along my body and little Cooper huffing beside me as we tried to keep up.  I couldn't help but laugh as I imagined we were quite the show running down the hallway.  We made it just in time, though.  Just in time.  And too close for any comfort.

Suspected-Point Shaving at Northwest Soccer Field

Unconfirmed reports by credible sources indicate potential point shaving at Northwest Soccer Complex in Whatcom County on Saturday. A U6 soccer team (which means 5 year olds), coached by Jim Zurcher, continue to dominate their opponents, with Cooper Whipple leading all scoring and assists  this season.  However, on this day, after scoring 5 rapid goals, Cooper Whipple appeared to be charging down the field for his 6th goal of the match.  There was no defender to block him, nor any other obstacle.  With only inches left for the ball to travel in to the net, Cooper appeared to stop, looked behind him, then kicked the ball.....BACKWARDS.  Coach Jim Zurcher turned towards Whipple's parents, a look of confusion on his face.  Meanwhile, the rest of the team players were just then getting down to the field of play, having been caught up playing ring-around-the-rosie in the grass downfield.  On the next play, Whipple again stole the ball and charged down the field.  With no defender around him, he raced towards the goal.  Again, with only inches left, he stopped, then kicked the ball off to the side of the field, effectively stopping the game and giving the other team the ball.  Coach Zurcher, standing midfield, threw up his hands and looked towards Whipple's parents.
When later questioned, Thomas Whipple admitted that earlier in the day, when his mother (Mrs. Whipple) mentioned a challenge involving a candy bar, he'd chosen the number 5 for the amount of goals he thought Whipple would score today.  With 5 goals scored already, Whipple and his brother, Thomas, agreed the younger Whipple would not score again, which would account for the almost unheard of backward and lateral passes inches from the net.  Cooper Whipple would not comment for this report, saying only, "Tommy lied to me," in a whining voice.  Thomas Whipple did not comment, though a sneaky grin from the sidelines told the true tale.  Mrs. Whipple ate the offending chocolate bar, vowing to never play with her sons again.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Delivering a Baby

Two days ago I would have told you I would never, ever, ever watch a baby being born voluntarily.  No thank you, no way.  I didn't even want to deliver my own children, I was such a wimp about all things childbirth.  I don't like it, I don't think it's cool, sweet, amazing, or any other adjectives people come up to describe the birth of a little, squishy, gooey baby.
However, a strange thing happens when your nearly term buddy, who has no husband or boyfriend, tells you, on the day before what turns out to be her early delivery day, that you are going to be her "team".   You agree.  You don't say no.  You don't balk.  You don't scream and cry and throw a fit about the unfairness of this request.  Because?  Because she is a friend. Because she is your adventure buddy in an adventure neither one of you signed up for.  And you step up and stand strong for a friend.  You don't back down.  You don't make an excuse. You don't panic.  You simply say yes.
BUT, you don't think it's going to happen the next morning.  You think you have time to prepare, to process, to plan and get ready.  Time to tell your husband about your next adventure.  Time to process what being on this Team Delivery means.  Time to talk strategy with your new teammate, Lisa Hayes.
Well, babies don't work that way, and on Thursday morning, without so much as conversation with John about any of this, Lisa called to say Baby was on the way!  Oh, by the way honey, I forgot to mention to you that I am helping deliver a baby today and might not be back home for...oh...maybe the weekend.  Love you.  Yeah, right.  Like I even had time to say that.
 I rushed out of the house to work, trying to tie up loose ends, figuring out coverage for a full calendar of court hearings that afternoon.  Lisa took a slowly laboring Mama Kris to her house, following a quick trip to the doctor's office.  Kris decided to labor outside the hospital in Lisa's living room at 5 cm dilated and 100% effaced.  Who does that? What baby isn't almost dropping out at 5 cms?  And we joked that Kris better not have the baby in the driveway or in the back yard or in the living room of Lisa's house because I was having None of THAT hanky panky.  Labor really never kicked in, but by 5 o'clock we found ourselves resigned to the fact that we needed to be at the hospital to figure this out.  Lisa and I jockeyed for position of hand holder for the eval room.  I won that round.  Lisa stewed out in the lobby until we were finally able to be Team Delivery once again upon admittance.  Room 14 was where the party was to be.  And thankfully Kris was nervous, anxious and a bit hesitant enough to decide that she wanted an epidural for this event.  (I silently did a ginormous baby dance in my head and heart upon this news, but tried to keep the "supportive with whatever decision" look on my face).   It took time to get checked in, time to get the paperwork done, time for the nurse to contact the the epidural guru and then not call him, time for the doctor to decide to check to see that the epidural dude had been called (he hadn't been), time for the doctor to finish his dinner with the other epidural guru on OR rotation. It played out in slow motion, or at least that's what we all agreed on.  When the epidural doc finally arrived, I felt a slight bit better.  Knowing that this would provide relief to Kris was a huge blessing, and took a lot off my nerves.  Lisa continued to change out the washcloths and I held her hand and stroked her face through the procedure.  Did I point out that I am one of those girls who HATES needles?  And now the count is One ugly IV procedure and ONE Largest Needle in the World Going in to Her Spine procedure?  Yep, we were living the party one procedure at a time.
By 10 o'clock Team Delivery was called in to action, or at least more action than cloth swapping and hand holding.  Kris got down to business, and this started our rotation as leg supports and shoulder holders.  By this I mean that Lisa and I would lean over the bed, place one of kris's knees into our chest while at the same time pulling her shoulder up so she could bare down and try pushing.  Over and over and over Kris did this.  We broke it up with breaks to switch out washcloths, hold various pieces of stuff for the nursing staff and do whatever we could quickly do before once again assuming the pushing position.  At some point Kris required oxygen.  Lisa and I were quick to give each other a "look", like we could silently convey some heightened level of awareness or concern by this "look".  At another point, Kris was warned that we were two hours in to this funny business, and needed to get down to stern business apparently, garnering yet another "look" between Team Delivery.  Nurse Erin gave me directions.  "You want my hand where?" I wanted to ask.  "And I also need to continue to hold her hand?"  "And you think I am somehow qualified to help in any of this?" I thought frantically.  But Team Delivery does not fail, and yes, I found my hand holding a monitor very, very close to where baby would be exiting, while holding Kris's hand with my other hand and kneeling precariously on the tile floor in a very unladylike position.  I want to blame my finest hour on Lisa, who forced us to switch positions on the bedside so that we wouldn't tire out too quickly.  At one point, while Kris gasped for air between pushing, then was pushing and Lisa and I were leaning over her with leg-in-chest-and-shoulder-pull position, somehow my belly hit the Down button on Kris's bed, sending her jolting downward----mid push.  Can you imagine?  You are pushing down with all your focus, with all your might....and your bed goes jerking downward?  Lisa was able to contain her snickering while we held position, but I could not.  I giggled.  Flat out giggled while my friend continued to grimace and push this baby out.  I pulled myself together and Team Delivery continued on, with neither Nurse Erin or Nurse Eleanor chastising me at all.  Nothing to see here, nothing to see what I thought in the moment.
Kris continued to push, and continued to be denied much movement with her pushing.  It was exhausting just going through the process on our end, much less her amazing effort, as the hours went on.  Finally, several other nurses joined the party, and the mood turned serious.  Kris had 30 one wanted to say it out loud, but we all knew Lisa and I would be paper-rock-scissoring for c-section duty.  As I looked at my friend's face, with the oxygen mask masking her exhaustion, I prayed and prayed for this to end.  I prayed something would work, somehow this baby would rock out.  Dr. Dowling came in one more time, and this time she saw something she liked, something that had her quickly pulling off the covers of her table of instruments and gowning up.  Nurse Trene whispered to us, "It's a good sign when the doctor doesn't leave," and I felt enormous relieve, coupled with even bigger fear.  This was going to happen?  The baby would come?  What then?
There wasn't time to panic, because after almost 3 hours of pushing, and pushing the absolute limits of a guaranteed c-section, Baby Karina finally slid home!  Kris did it!  I frantically gestured for Lisa to get the camera going, and tried to help comfort Kris while the baby was being taken care of.  No interventions were needed and Karina was able to stay with Kris for the cleanup.  When the doctor asked us to cut the cord, I didn't know what to do.  You want me to cut what?  The cord?  Are you kidding me?!!!  Without thought, I grabbed Lisa's hand folded over the scissors and we shared in what certainly will be a once in a lifetime event.  We cut Karina's umbilical cord.  I will say, it was a little hard when a bit of blood squirted on my hands, but I didn't pass out or anything silly like that.  I think I actually wiped it on my jeans, maybe in a little bit of shock?  I don't know.  There wasn't a manual in the room on how to cut your friend's baby's umbilical cord gracefully.
I think it took me at least a good day to recover.  I say this with a smirk, as I know it was Kris who actually did the work.  However, it was exhausting.  It was emotional.  It was foreign and unknown, scary and exhilarating.  It was an event I never imagined, a position that I would have never seen myself in.  Team Delivery made it through it.  We saw things we've probably never imagined.  We saw our friend at her finest...bringing her precious daughter into this world.  That is a treasure that can't be repeated.  And I'd say- Team Delivery did not fail our friend.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Geneva School Days-Like Going in to Battle

At least I can fake a smile as we head to do "Battle".  Between tears, 1st day Fridays and migraine, the smile on my face does little to show the undercurrents.  The faces of my two warriors is more accurate.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cooper's 1st Soccer Practice

Today, Cooper officially joined Lakeside Soccer!  After 3 years of watching his older brother in countless games and practices, Cooper finally has his shot.  And what a shot it was!  1st practice out and he scored two goals in the ending scrimmage!  Even did his little "victory dance" for one.  It should be noted, though, that despite our dire prediction that at some point Coop will be the one to force Lakeside to institute a kinder red card for flagrant aggression, he somehow managed to keep his hands to himself, didn't tackle anyone to the ground and kept his cool for the entire 45 minute practice.  That is amazing!  HA!  Welcome to Lakeside, Cooper!  Mommy and Dad are so very proud of you!

Cooper's 1st Lakeside Practice

Monday, August 27, 2012

Neurology 2012

This month found us down once again at Seattle's PolyClinic in the neurology clinic.  A bit of acceleration for headaches had me calling down to check in, and we found it was time for a check in anyway.  Of course it would see us traveling down to Seattle on one of the hottest days of the year, with Seattle checking in well over 90 degrees that day.  I initially tried to change the appointment when we saw the forecast, knowing it was a rare day and perfect for doing anything but crawling down I-5.  Not to be, as the next available appointment was way out in to September and wouldn't help us get med paperwork for the school done in time to start the new school year.
Thomas has grown 4 inches in 2 years, which was the last time they measured him.  He has put on 18 pounds in 1.5 years, which sounds staggering.  However, on the growth charts, he went from the 50th percentiles just up to the 70-75th percentiles for both areas.  Hardly a chunky monkey and not even worthy of them commenting on until I asked what that looked like on a growth chart.  His main headache med is a known appetite stimulant, also used for failure to thrive kids.  We knew to initially watch for excessive eating, and don't seem to have that problem.  With that said, it's comforting to know that we don't have to worry about a too-skinny kid, either.
Earlier in the month I'd called Daniel, Dr. Plawner's assistant, after Thomas has a particularly rough day vomiting most of the afternoon.  I called him that night, telling him that I needed something else to help when the migraine went all the way as it had that day.  I told him the ibuprofen/tylenol/caffeine cocktail wasn't working and I couldn't get another round down him due to the vomiting. They brought on board Zofran, to be given at the first notice of nausea.  Thank goodness, as Thomas couldn't get relief from the pain as he just vomited his med cocktail up each time we tried.  What an awful spot to be in!  We also now have nasal spray Imitrex to use at our discretion, either in place of the cocktail or when the cocktail doesn't work.  I am not ready to give up the cocktail, as it seems that a lot of headaches respond to the mix, and I hate to think our first course of action is a heavy med like Imitrex.    I try not to think about the fact that my son has a prescription for this med as it is, much less something we might need to use multiple times a week.  My prayer each night is that someday his headaches will just go away.  I am very grateful for the doctors down in Seattle, for the meds we have.  I also pray that someday he won't need to suffer with these things.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

In Search of the Perfect Island Pool

We went sailing the islands in search of the perfect island pool.  This time around our itinerary included three island overnighters.  Our first stop was to be Orcas Island/Rosario Resort and Marina.  We left Bellingham filled with anticipation of great weather and great times out on the water.  The weather couldn't have been better, really.  Sunny skies and warm temperatures made me feel as if we'd won some sort of Pacific Northwest weather lotto.  The kids played down below, content to draw, read and play games with cousin, Jack, who joined us for this little adventure.  It was relaxing to stay up at the front of the boat and enjoy a pretty quiet time of peace and sunbathing.  A perfect combination after a hectic week at work and the chore of packing for four days away in a 37 foot sailboat.  Of course, candy never hurts, and Grandpa Bruce remarked that with the amount of candy and treats brought on board, we could eat candy for days without dipping in to the food stash.
Rosario was an amazing marina.  If you want a convenient swimming pool, I do believe Rosario will give any resort/marina a run for it's money.  Walk up the small dock and there you have the pool.  Right above the marina docks.  Tucked back against the cliffs, the Mansion is quite the commanding sight.  Don't let that fool you, though.  It may look grand, but the mood of this marina is very laid back and homey.  The attendants at the dock were helpful and friendly, and the dockside store and grill provided everything we could need.  There are different activities to do on Orcas.  We did check out the mansion, listed to some pipe organ music, and searched for ghosts on the haunted second floor.  However, our needs consisted of finding more candy, buying floaties for the pool, and the mandatory sailing vacation ice cream cones.  We tend to be pretty self sufficient with the supplies we bring.  We don't have grand plans of island culinary genius.  We do, however, grade on pool and ice cream.  I won't say Rosario won any big points for ice cream (the grill and store only sold soft serve), but they won big for a pool steps from the marina docks.
After a fabulous sleep, John headed up the road for a Orcas Island run, and I took the boys up to search out pool floaties that had been shopped in the store/spa the night before.  God forbid they not have a pool floatie at ages 5 and 8.  I just chalked it up to vacation whims and didn't fuss about it.  What we saved by staying in the boat instead of the Mansion rooms afforded quite a little monetary cushion for floaties and ice cream I suppose. Following an early morning swimming pool session, we once again loaded up and said goodbye to Rosario.  What a treat it was!
Lopez Island
Off we were to Lopez Island/Fisherman's Bay.  This was the pool the boys were looking forward to.  They hadn't quite believed us when we told them about Rosario and the pool setup they have.  They were determined to get to Lopez.  Lopez again delivered.  With its laid back vibe, and simple, unpretentious marina, Lopez was again a hit.  After having been there a few weeks ago, the kids quickly made their way up to the pool.  Not before hitting up the ice cream cooler, though.  They knew exactly where to go for the ice cream.  John headed out for an afternoon exploratory run out to the peninsula, and we quickly headed for an afternoon of pool time.  Later, after dragging the boys out of the water, grandpa took the boys out by dinghy and John and I walked in to meet them in town.  Guess what was our first stop?  Yep!  The ice cream store!  To be followed up by some browsing in the island bookstore.  Although my plan was to browse and possibly buy a book the read on the trip, I spent the entire time in the kiddie section helping the boys decide on what books they wanted to take back to the boat.  It warmed my heart to sit on the floor reading jacket covers.  How cool it was to have the boys find such enjoyment in looking over the selection, picking ones out, then returning when something more enticing caught their eye.  Again, as I did with the pool, I basically had to drag them out of there or they would have left with an armful of books.  I took one last look back, though, as we left.   However heartwarming it was, I could only look longingly back at the shelves of books I might have picked out.  Oh well!  There will be another time!  When we got back from our jaunt in to town, John took the boys out by dinghy to "Shipwreck Island".  Skeleton boats litter this little peninsula (the boys will forever call it Shipwreck Island, I believe) where they did a bit of exploring and built a fort using items they had collected.  After dinner, we headed up once again to the pool, but not before having a wonderful dinner prepared by Grandma Lil with John's prepared meatballs.  However, following the swim, Thomas was super hungry, and filled up on restaurant chicken strips and fries. Whereas John and Cooper could care less about restaurants, Thomas LOVEs to eat out.  Oh, and should you feel sorry for poor little Cooper being left out... once again Cooper had another ice cream from the freezer section of the lobby.
Roche Harbor
After an early morning swim and hot tub  (Lopez is leading on the pool crawl due to the inclusion of a steaming hot hot tub as well as a great pool), we headed out around lunch time for Roche Harbor.  The trip to Roche was not for the weak stomach.  The wild water and big, crashing waves truly tested the strength of my seasickness patch.  I had listened to the marine forecast with Bruce earlier, and knew we would be hitting some interesting water.  However, when I brought up to Bruce the "small craft advisory" that had been mentioned, I was unprepared when Bruce replied back, "This is it."  Simple enough, I guess.  No other choice really.  We just kept steady and plowed right through the "Small Craft Advisory".  It was supposed to be a quick one and a half hour trip.  I do believe it was the longest two hours plus I have been least out on the ocean. Four to five foot seas and twenty plus knot winds.  Crazy.  So when the marina finally came in to view, it was a big relief for all of us.  Later in the day we heard from two families with 22 foot sailboats that they went to leave the area for Victoria, only to turn back once they realized the waves crashing over their bow was too dangerous.  The deck folks that helped us dock asked us how it had been, then remarked that a lot of people were chattering about it, and it was talk of the marina.  Wasting no time, we quickly loaded our swim gear up and headed to the playground and pool.  While it was decent enough weather, the clouds and breeze kept things a bit on the cooler side.  The boys did not like the water temperature nor the depth (the whole pool is no more than 3.5 feet deep) and quickly tired of the pool.  Here we are at one of the most beautiful marinas in the country and the boys quickly tire of it.  So, what does one do when the pool is not enticing?  Dingy lessons?  More ice cream?  Bocce Ball in the courtyard?  Fish and Chip?  Spooky trek to the McMillin family mausoleum?  Fish and Chips and Burgers overlooking the marina?  Check all of the above.  What a fabulous day, although Roche may not make it on our next island pool crawl.  Roche is haughty, pretentious, the super model of marinas.  Super yachts with their fancy pants accessories and big screen plasmas.  Parties on the back of these super yachts, fancy clothes, dinghies that look like a mini boat instead of a dinghy, and money spilling out of everywhere. It gets tiring, really.  While the horns were sounding at the evening flag lowering ceremony, our guys blasted the fog horn and goose calling horn.  Just call us the rednecks out on the far deck!  It was a relief to call it a day.  In the morning, Bruce went to work teaching Thomas how to operate the dinghy.  Cooper got in the action, too.  Both boys refused to swim, even though the sun was hot.  I had the great fortune of sitting out in the sunshine, content to let the hot morning sun work its magic.  Before wrapping up Roche, we once again hit the ice cream stand and the grocery store (diet Coke and a fish net that Coop wanted).   It was no hardship motoring away. We bid goodbye to the lifestyles of the rich and famous and hit the waters for home.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Packing for San Juan Sailing

It could be said that packing for a sailing trip should just be like packing to camp, right?  Light and tight?
Well, not so fast.  Take the medicine bag, for example.  How do you not pack the bandages, ointment and tape?  What about the random splinter/hangnail that must be dealt with?  And don't forget about a middle of the night onset of croupy cough, the pesky headache that won't go away or the trip ending earache?  Can't forget the tylenol, the ibuprofen, and the prescription strength cough syrup for such an event.  Add to that Tommy's migraine meds.  Don't forget the sunscreen and the aloe vera gel in case of sunburn.  After all, it can happen quickly out on the open water (dare we think there will be sunshine out this time of year?)  Did we get the earplugs, because Thomas can't swim without them.  And on top of that, John and I tend to enjoy a good night's rest on a cramped boat courtesy of a bit of melatonin/benedryl combo we have to pack in this mess.
Light and tight?  Not quite yet.  However, it is a blessing not to pack the diaper/bottles/formula and other assortment of "baby gear".

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cooper at 5

Cooper loves to dress up. If he watches a show on tv, inevitably he wants to dress up as a character or a player for that particular spot.  So if he wants to watch soccer, he will try to find as many of his clothes as possible to get just the "right" look to be exactly the player he wants to be.  Right now he is in to being a baseball catcher.  What that means is that not only does he get a uniform on, consisting of dark blue fuzzy pants, a jersey top, soccer high socks, shin guards and a helmet, but he must also find his mouthguard.  Now, though, he sees that baseball catches look "puffy" with guards, so he has taken to finding a life jacket and then putting the jersey of the jacket so that it looks exactly like a catch.  Then he wants to know what number he is wearing, then you must go to that particular sport and find a player with that number and tell him the name.  Then he "is" that player for the rest of the minute, hour, half day or whatever time frame he has until he switches to another character.  The other day he was on to White Sox, and he had me searching Google for images of what White Sox players wear so that he could find just the right outfit in his dresser.  Minutes later he was a Sounders player, heading down to grandpa's to play him in a match.  Later, he was a Mariner, complete with new uniform.  Then he came out of the garage with his little work out tight shorts and big puffy mittens, saying he's been "working" out boxing.  Then he punched me in the gut and asked if he had a six pack.  A while back we had to get a number put on his Sounders jersey, after days of begging and fussing about it.  Cooper can be relentless, and he will wear you down and out some days.  He loves to talk, and will carry on and on about the stories he has going on at that particular moment.

Lopez Island Sailing Trip 2012

With the weather as nice as it's been, we decided to run away for a sailing trip.  You can't take nice weather for granted when it comes to the islands, so we jumped on the idea to sail away for a quick adventure.  The key to an island sailing trip is a great pool.  Last year's adventure to Roche Harbor's pool was a success, so after seeing that the Lopez Islander had a marina with a pool, we decided to head there instead.  Grandma Lillian is the queen of inside cabin activities for the boys, and while the weather outside wasn't all that thrilling for tanning, the boys were having a blast down below.  Every now and then they would peek out to see what was going on up on top, but quickly headed down for more journaling, books and games with grandma.  The trip over to Lopez was fabulous, and we were even treated to a dolphin sighting that Thomas spotted on his trip to the front of the boat.  The water was dead calm at that time, so it made for a marvelous sight.  Shortly after that, though, the adventure turned sketchy, as we entered a fog bank.  With John and I scouting out the side, and Bruce manning the instruments and front, we slowly crept through a thick, scary fog bank.  It was disconcerting to hear a fog horn, yet not have a clue where it was, or how far away it was.  At one point, Bruce motioned for me to see a large, yellow dot on his radar, and I switched from watching the side of the boat to scanning the back.  I can't tell you how amazing it is to see an enormous ferry emerge out of the fog right on your tail!  It was like a scene out of a movie.  "Bruce!  Bruce!  It's a ferry!  Right behind us!" I yelled.  That yellow dot was not just any old boat coming up on us.  I am sure Bruce thought I was nuts when I said, "Can you just pull over?"  Uh...pull over, like a highway?  Hmmmm....

Can't really do that on the open water, now can you?  However, Bruce did change his direction just a tad, and instead of the ferry overtaking us (sailboats have a tendency to just disappear out on the water), it also changed course just a bit.  I prayed and prayed that the sun would break through the fog so that we wouldn't be in such a sketchy sail much longer.

Lopez Island treated us well, and we found that the laid back marina was much to our liking.  There was nothing fancy about it, no mega-bucks boats and their parties to contend with.  We spent the majority of the afternoon playing up at the pool and hot tub, then had dinner out on the deck of the restaurant.  We timed it just right, as the thunder and lighting that we could see on the horizon all day finally overtook our little slice of heaven and the storm hit.  It was an amazing thunder and lightning storm.  It's an interesting situation to be inside a sailboat, out in the water, with lightning strikes all around and pretty continuous.  Normally you would run from such a situation, but when in a marina, all we could do was hunker down and enjoy the show.  And what a show it was!  We played Scrabble, the boys played with the Ipad and cards, then when the power in the marina went out with one powerful burst of lightning, we all settled in for the night.  I loved this trip.  It was a perfect, amazing little adventure, and I couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity to do this with our family.

Summertime Fun 2012

Finally, summer is here.  Although the weather did not cooperate much in June, we finally managed to get the cousins here for some tubing fun!

Cooper Turns 5

Cooper had several birthday parties this year.  He had a preschool friends birthday party at Jump Around Fun Zone.  He had a Whipples/Lawrences birthday party at Red Robin, our standard birthday celebration.  Followed up by a birthday party at home complete with presents, Georgia-decorated streamer and balloon fest and ice cream cake.  It is hard to believe that this little guy is already 5 and what life he has brought to our home.  He continues to amaze us with his big talk, his big plans and his even bigger than life adventurous spirit.  We love him dearly!