Sunday, March 28, 2010

Leftover Paralympic Pictures

I like to call this picture Ears 1 and Ears 2. LOVE what the giant hats do to those ears! The boys wore these giant red foam stetsons at the Paralympic Ice Sledge Hockey game to support Team USA. They really were too cute! We also checked out the cauldron that day:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pics from Paralympics

Here are some of our photos from the Opening Ceremonies of the Paralympic Games Friday night:

On Saturday, we went downtown Vancouver to check out the pavillions and attractions that we didn't get to experience during the Olympics. Unfortunately, the line to hold Olympic medals was still about 3 hours long, so we opted for Canada House, Manitoba House, BC Hydro House and Robson Square. No free Ziptrek for us, as the wait was still quite long and Jack's broken arm and small size would have excluded him from the fun! However, we did go down to Waterfront to see the Paralympic cauldron. The camera died at that point so Mike took a couple of photos on his phone. We'll upload those soon! From Waterfront, we rushed off to our Ice Sledge Hockey game at the brand new UBC Thunderbird Arena.

Fun Fun Fun! What a great event! The athleticism and dexterity of these guys was so impressive! It was a fast, hard-hitting game. I would like to see any NHL player try ice sledge hockey. Man oh man, I was exhausted just watching them! Ethan and Jack were cheering loudly for USA, and they ended up beating Korea 5-0. Our two little cuties made it onto the Jumbotron as they were wearing giant red foam stetson hats that said USA on the sides! Fame... They were pretty pumped!

And today? We hung out in Home Depot for hours. The spring is inspiring us to get cracking on a couple of minor home repairs, like fixing the ugly doorbell. Well, at least it inspired us to go out and purchase some of these fixit thingys. We'll see how fast we actually get them all done!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Opening Ceremonies - Paralympic Style

Last night, I took the boys to an absolutely amazing event - the Opening Ceremonies for the Paralympic Winter Games. Vancouver 2010 continues!!! Susan came with us, and all four of us enjoyed the night immensely. I have a TON of photos, too many to download right now, but I hope to post some of those later.

We got to the stadium just after 4 pm. We got through security quickly (Jack didn't beep so they didn't make us un-sling his arm, thank God) and found our seats inside. The boys were thrilled to be in such a gigantic venue. It was a magical atmosphere just walking inside! We all got a kit on our seats that included a coloured poncho, white pompoms with flashing lights, a gold flashcard and a beautiful keepsake book about the Paralympics, along with song lyrics and basic instructions on the audience role in the ceremonies that night.

At 5 pm, they started to teach us when to use our pompoms, when to use our flash cards, when to sing and when to dance. The idea of the dance was to get all 60,000 of us dancing at once, thereby setting a record for being the largest "flash mob" ever. It was all very cool! Ethan kept us in line, making sure we all did the right things at the right time. (That boy LOVES rules)

We ate hot dogs and chips and made a couple of last-minute bathroom runs (Sorry to everyone in row LL for the number of exits and entrances by this frazzled mom) and then the ceremony started. Watch it at 2 pm today on CTV if you get the chance; it was awesome!!!

Highlights: Almost too many to mention! But I'll try: Tributes to Rick Hansen and Terry Fox, the Breakdancers, the Extreme Wheelchair stunt artists, the Quebecois rock band that entered on giant motorcycles, and of course the athletes. The crowd was super supportive of every one of the 40+ countries that entered. The four of us cheered the loudest for Andorra, USA, Great Britain, and of course CANADA! When Canada entered at the end, the crowd went absolutely WILD.

I kept thinking to myself that I had only paid $20 each for these seats. I just couldn't believe the quality of the show!

The boys got tired around 8:15 and I'm pretty sure Jack would have been happy to leave, but we had to wait for the lighting of the Paralympic flame. It was very impressive! It took a while to get all the spectators out of the stadium. It's a little nerve-wracking to watch your children get crushed behind people who don't even realize they're there! And Jack's one-armedness complicated things too, as he's very awkward to carry at the moment. But of course we got out safe and sound!

And today, we are heading downtown to catch some Paralympic vibe and check out some of the Pavilions and activities in Vancouver before attending Ice Sledge Hockey this evening. The boys are SO excited to see ice sledge hockey, and I must admit that although I bought the tickets for them rather than for me, I am certainly swept up in their enthusiasm for this sport. It looks very exciting! Ethan and Jack will be cheering for the USA today in their game against Korea. They will be wearing their giant red foam stetsons, so I'll be sure to get photos of that!

If you get the chance to see some of the Paralympics, I highly recommend it. These athletes are so inspiring in so many ways! The party continues in Vancouver and Whistler...

Monday, March 8, 2010

On the Mend

The full birthday story:
Jack's sixth birthday started out like this! Oh, so very happy! We went bowling and out for pizza with Ethan's hockey team to celebrate the end of the season. They had a great time! From there, we went straight to Jack's party. This year, we were having it at the Great Escape. It's a giant indoor adventure playground, like a Chuck E Cheese on steroids. Jack really begged to go there for his party, and I obliged because I thought it would be easier than trying to pull together an at-home party in four days once I got back from Whistler. All I had to bring was cake and goody bags! So I cut a cake into a rectangle, iced it white, and took 5 minutes to throw some candy on top. Voila! A Wii controller - the kids loved it, and it was easily the easiest cake I've ever done! We only had a total of 8 kids at the Great Escape, including Jack, Ethan, Liam and Kieran. It was manageable with 4 of us adults to supervise! The kids took off, climbing, playing, sliding. They were all red and sweaty within 10 minutes. Within 30 minutes, though, the older boys came running to tell me that Jack had hurt his arm on the slide. Rob and Mike were right there and brought Jack back to the party room. It was pretty obvious his arm was hurting badly. We got some ice, but we couldn't even touch it.

We decided he needed to go to the ER. We got all the kids back to sing Happy Birthday to Jack and have cake before he left. The little man couldn't even eat a marshmallow. Look at this picture, doesn't it break your heart? I made him a sling out of my sweater. Mike took him to the ER, while I stayed and waited for the other moms to come and pick up their kids. Of course, I hadn't taken cell phone #s, so I had to wait 90 minutes before we could go! Luckily, Ethan, Victor and I were all able to fit into Briana and Rob's van with Liam, Kieran, and all their Ikea shopping too! We went home to wait for news from Mike.

He phoned about an hour later to tell us that Jack had indeed broken his arm - a clean break just above the elbow. He got his arm set in a temporary half-cast, to allow for swelling, and we'll have to get a new cast on Friday. Jack didn't even take anything for the pain until we made him take some Tylenol at 8 pm. Nearly 5 hours on a broken arm with no pain medication!!!

He had a rough night the first night. Every time he rolled over, he woke up crying. I brought him into our bed at midnight. We didn't sleep much until 5 am. I'd given him Tylenol again at 4 am, and he finally slept from 5 until almost 9 am. But he was feeling good enough the next morning to play with Ethan and his cousins. We walked to the beach and saw Grandma and Granddad in the afternoon. He was in good spirits. A little Advil before bed, and he slept well last night. Today we got him a better sling and even managed a bath! He's looking forward to going back to school so that all his friends can sign his cast. He is SUCH a trooper!

Spring? Is that you?

At the beginning of February, I left my house in the midst of winter, and came back last week to this:Forsythia
You might think that Spring is here, but today the sun shone, then it rained, hailed, snowed, and the sun shone again. We'll see if these flowers mean that winter has passed!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

An Unhappy Birthday for Jack

Poor Jack had his 6th birthday party yesterday. And he broke his arm on the slide. Little man has a cast and he looks SO sad. It was a LONG night last night, as every time he rolled onto his arm, he woke up crying.

Off to the store today to get an actual Jack-size sling, and more Tylenol/Advil.

He had a lousy stinky birthday - send him your good wishes please!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Olympics - The End

In an effort to fill the gaping hole that is my post-Olympics life, I have been spending time with the kids and sleeping. Ahhhhh.... sleeping!

The morning of the Closing Ceremonies, I was up at 6am so I could pick up the car and go get a dignitary and his wife, pick up their luggage and take them to see Paco in the last Cross Country race. Back at WVL, absolute chaos reigned. We were helping them finish packing, checking them into their flights, packing carry-on luggage into the cars, and going through the checklist to check them out of their accommodation. (Making sure they weren't taking a VANOC coat rack home with them or something)

Paco and everyone watching him got back to WVL and we all had about 15 minutes to eat and get the athletes onto the buses to go to Closing. I drove the dignitary and his wife down, which was quite a pleasant ride. Right around Squamish, we realized that the Canadians must have won gold in men's Hockey, as all the police lining the road began honking and waving, and literally dancing along the highway. The president said, "Police don't act like that in our country!" I said, "Normally not here, either - gold medal hockey makes everyone act differently!" I got them to the hotel in Vancouver around 4 pm, then drove on to get changed and pick up a key at Ben's place. On the way to Ben's, I got stopped by a peaceful protest. They were walking down Hastings towards downtown, blocking all the traffic so we were stopped dead. I felt a wee bit vulnerable all by my lonesome in my VANOC car, surrounded by protestors. I took this photo while they were still far enough away not to realize I was taking pictures. I put the camera down once they were surrounding the car. You never know what a mob can do... After I left Ben's, I prepared the car for the turn-in by washing it and cleaning it out. I got to the Vancouver Athlete's Village around 7 pm. Here's BC Place during Closing (as close as I got anyway!) I watched about 5 minutes of the Ceremonies from the Vancouver Athletes' Village and then before I knew it, the team was all coming back to the village. They all got changed and off we went to downtown for our 9:30 dinner reservation.

Walking through Vancouver was 100% crazy. Red and white everywhere, people dancing, singing, high-5ing, screaming, honking, waving... NUTS! It was packed, wall to wall people. We barely made it to the restaurant without losing our athletes in the crowd!
I've got lots of great photos from the night, but only one's ok for posting: Here are me and Mariana at the restaurant: After dinner ended just after midnight, off we went dancing. We finally got back to Ben's around 4am (I am TOO old for this...) but I wasn't able to sleep due to his very inquisitive cat. She would NOT leave me alone. You try sleeping with a cat who is combing your hair with her claws. Even hiding under the covers didn't work as she found her way inside somehow, ending up meowing on my chest.

As of about 6:30am, we were on call as the first batch of Andorrans headed to the airport. They didn't need help, thankfully, and we are assuming they got on their flights ok as we didn't hear from them. We got to the village for 9:30 and on the bus to Whistler at 10. Once we got to Whistler, we finished packing our stuff and reported for our last shift. It involved simply turning in our cell phones and accepting our last shift gift - a Swatch watch.

Then we raced to the 4pm shuttle and Mike picked me up at YVR just after 7pm. It was SO good to get home! Now I've slept a little more, and we're getting back into our regular routine. We will really enjoy having Spring Break in the next two weeks! WIth Jack's party on Saturday (Big man turns 6), we are kicking spring break off with a bang.

Summary of Olympics: FUN FUN FUN. Most definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I will never ever forget it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 17 (Sunday Feb 28)

All I am going to say about the last day of the Games is WOW.

I really need about 18 hours of sleep before I can properly process everything that's happened in the last 40 hours, since none of those 40 involved sleep.

But for now, I am just feeling very happy and satisfied. And HOME. I'll write more tomorrow!