Saturday, November 02, 2013

Buddy Walk and TOPS Soccer!

Today was yet another busy but great day!

We started off the day at midnight... or does that count as yesterday? :)

We prepped all their clothes, set up extra clothes for the day, got breakfast stuff and meds as prepped as we could, set up drinks and snacks, and...  and generally tried to make this morning's preparation go smoothly.  IT WORKED! :)

We had everyone up, dressed, fed, shoes on, hair brushed, glasses on, medicines done, to the bathroom for a second time, the wheelchair switched out for the stroller, and Wesley showered (he spits up pretty much every morning), then we were out the door for the third time (um... we still have that "oh, right... we forgot _______" even with the best of planning ahead of time...)  by 9:30am.

A thirty minute drive to the park, then we met up with Elizabeth (Meredith's sister) and her two boys, Meredith's parents, and many friends, neighbors, and strangers that we enjoyed the morning with!  A 1-mile walk along the river in beautiful weather and only the threat of rain at about 11:40 made for a great time!

Of course things couldn't go off without a hitch... so right after the 1-mile walk, we found a shaded area and put out a blanket and... discovered that Wesley's feeding bag had POPPED.  Yes, there was formula everywhere, pooled all in the cooler and dripping out of it as well.  Thankfully we had a water bag with us as well, but it only held less than half of the formula.  With the help from my dad, we dumped the water, poured the formula over to the new bag, dumped a bottle of water in to a cup and filled the bottle with formula, then set the bag aside in the grass to come back to later when we had a second empty water bottle available.  WHEW.  Twenty minutes of craziness to get that all done and cleaned up and then grab some food for the kids (and adults) and snack a little.  That was the one crazy hitch of the morning... then the impending rain that was threatening as we were enjoying some of the vendor booths :).

And... I got NO team picture from the Buddy Walk this year! :(  We even talked about it before the walk but were about to leave and... well, afterward with the feeding pump issue and the impending rain we just didn't think about it again!

We headed out around 12:15 and got directions to the soccer fields in Viera where we were looking forward to our first ever TOPS soccer gathering.  When we pulled up we quickly found that not only was rain still threatening, but the temperature had DROPPED about 15 degrees, and what was a comfortable morning in shorts and t-shirts was now a COLD afternoon with rainy wind blowing crazily!  I walked out to the field to meet the people running the event and just get an idea of what was going on, knowing that most of the kids would be curled up in a ball with this weather and nothing but a t-shirt and sport shorts on!

What I found was two super-organized leaders and I never did get a count on the teen workers!  We did go grab everyone out of the car as the mist let up and the sun came back out a little bit.  Before we'd even really decided to bring all 9 kids out to the field, one of the coaches and 4 volunteers showed up at the front of my van and offered to take the kids they were working with.

I can't say that I have EVER experienced an event like this one where the volunteers, the leaders, and the overall set up of the event was so seamlessly organized that we, as a family of 11, could give literally less than 24 hour notice that we would like to come and WATCH and instead be met by a team willing and ready to let the kids participate immediately!  We were highly impressed!

Aside from the behaviors of our children not being the best-- Micah basically tried to run away the entire time to get the workers to chase him, Aleksa tried to sit on people's lap and hang on them in an inappropriately affectionate way the entire time, and James decided to hang in a more literal sense when they would take both his hands and run with him between 2 volunteers, looking for the sensory input WAY more than he was interested in listening or obeying.  Then there was Emma... who we searched for without finding for a minute, but based on the organization of the program there was not any sense of panic... and she was soon located at the top of the bleachers with her buddy... Not where we were looking, exactly! LOL

Kristopher and Lynae
Kristopher and Lynae took a couple balls and played around, ran, a couple of the volunteers went and played with them a few times, and they had a great time as well!  Delaina hung out in the stroller with Wesley for the first half, but once the volunteers had been encouraged to put some boundaries on the kids, we felt like we could back up a bit and let them PLAY.  Wesley and Delaina came out on to our laps (we didn't think to have Wesley's wheelchair since our primary goal for the day was the Buddy walk and the soccer idea was a last minute thought!), and Wesley and I made a new little friend.  A four yr old little boy with Spina Bifida was hanging out on the ground with his braces on his feet, and his cesostomy tube that he eventually 'showed off' to Wesley (then Wes grinned as I showed the little boy Welsey's matching g-tube and our little friend gasped that he had one too!).

Kristopher and Lynae
By 3:30 we were home, and Kristopher was excited to be met in the driveway by his friend that lives across the street.  We lost the two of them to MineCraft and things like "did you spawn those in my house?? They're killing me!" keep coming out of their mouths as the little girls watch them building houses and banging on dragon looking things breathing fire...

Now for the Mexican Lasagna in the crock pot for dinner and a RELAXING evening here at home.  Everyone had a great day, and most of them enjoyed it with the questionable exception of our one child who cannot deal with change very well, and who the whole "going off with a stranger" may have been too much (even though we were right there).  She is now showing "the dark side" of her personality and has spent quite a bit of the last hour hanging out in an area where she can be in the same room with everyone but can't physically interact with them.

It's a balancing act, trying new things and trying to let all of our children experience fun activities and yet knowing what the after effects of activities like this will be for some of our kids that just don't adapt well to changes. We continue to work out the struggles, and to prepare for them ahead of time, and today was no exception.

All in all, it was a great day and we look forward to future TOPS gatherings in the coming weeks!

1 comment:

  1. yay for TOPSoccer!! I love it an amazing opportunity, my Church hosts a TOPSoccer season twice a year for the families in our area, spring and fall. Next week is our last one for the fall :-(