Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summer Update

At least I think it is still summer. Hard to tell with the amazing weather we've had the last week. Temperatures have been 20-30 degrees lower than our typical July scorchers. Since I'm not a big fan of the heat, I'm loving the cooler weather. But last night we had an outdoor swim meet and it was downright cold. Everyone was bundled up in sweatshirts and blankets, wishing Starbucks delivered. And that was just the parents! The poor, wet swimmers couldn't speak through the chattering of their teeth!

Swim team has kept us busy this summer, but this time Ryne and Grace were able to join the fun. All three kids were on a summer swim team together, and Anna continued to swim for her year-round team as well. Yes, it's busy, but it really has been a great experience. I was very nervous how Ryne would do. He is not a strong swimmer and has a hard time following directions when in a group setting. The first day was pretty horrible, so I figured we might last a week at the most. But on the second day I had the coaches place him with a younger group of kids who were all beginning swimmers. Coaching this smaller group of kids were three high school boys, who led practices right in the water with the kids (for all the other groups the coaches stay on the side of the pool and give directions). When I explained to the teenage coaches that Ryne has autism (the head coaches already knew, but I wasn't sure if all the assistants did), one of the boys replied, "No problem, I have autism too. I understand what it's like." At that point I decided to stop worrying about how Ryne was going to do, because obviously God was a step ahead of me in watching out for Ryne.

Well, I didn't completely stop worrying because while the practices went pretty well after that (Ryne struggled to pay attention, but the coaches were understanding and helpful), we still had the actual meets to get through. I wasn't expecting the coaches to enter Ryne in a meet the first week, but they did even though he was still struggling to swim the length of the pool. Worse, Ryne's age group has to swim the length of the pool and then come back. None of this bothered Ryne -- he was so excited to swim in a meet. But it was not meant to be, at least not that night. While waiting for his event, he was horsing around with his sisters and accidentally got an elbow in the eye. He was in so much pain that we had to withdraw him from his event. In fact, his eye got so bad over the next 12 hours that I had to take him to the eye doctor where we found out he had an abrasion on his cornea. He had to stay out of the pool for a few days while his eye healed, so we asked the coaches to hold off another week before putting him in a meet.

Ryne did finally get to swim in some meets, and I learned to relax. We rejoiced at seeing him swim his heart out. It didn't matter if he got disqualified because he stopped in the middle of the race or because he started doing the wrong stroke. We celebrated when he finally got a time in his freestyle (meaning he didn't get disqualified) and then lowered that time twice! And we learned that it's okay to ask for help. Sometimes I feel like it comes across as an excuse when we explain to others that Ryne has autism, but I found that people genuinely want to help and are excited for him. It was heart-warming to hear everyone cheering for Ryne, and the officials who have to be so by-the-rule were wonderful in accommodating us as we helped him out of the pool early (normally the swimmers are required to stay in the pool until the next swimmer jumps off the block from above). If you have a child on the spectrum that struggles with group sports, swimming is something you might want to look into. Ryne is not the only kid with autism in our swim conference -- at least two other teams have similar success stories.

And Gracie? She had a ball. New friends...being in the water...getting ribbons...what fun! She's already asking if she can swim year-round like Anna. So is Ryne for that matter.

When we're not at the pool, we are keeping up with piano lessons and a little homeschooling. Everyone has been doing math, and Anna has been making progress with history and Latin in preparation for starting "away school" (thanks to Sharon for giving me a name for Anna's new education plan). In reading through SOTW 3, however, I am worried that it will be too difficult for Ryne and Grace this year. If Anna were still going to be with us full-time, it would be different -- they would just take in what they can. But now it seems like I should find something more developmentally appropriate, so I've been researching different options.

This time last year my planning was done and we were starting school, but I don't even have our new school year calendar completed, let alone the rest of the planning. I have a pretty good idea of what we're doing, but nothing is on paper yet (or even in the computer).

Speaking of computers...mine is dying a very slow, painful death. It's the reason why I haven't been blogging much lately. I'm so sad because I haven't even been able to post the pictures or video of Grace's ballet performance from June for my 90 year old grandmother to see. I can't access any of my pictures, and I can't even get any of my new pictures off the camera. The things my computer can still do take f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I can check email and search the internet, but it often freezes up on me. So if I leave a comment on your blog, know that I really wanted to comment because it sometimes takes me 10-15 minutes to write that little friendly note! The good news is that I will soon be getting a new computer. I'm just trying to wait for my state's sales tax holiday in August so I can save a few bucks. I hope my computer can make it that long, because about the only thing worse that a dying computer is a dead one. I'd have to start sneaking onto my husband's work laptop at night to check all my favorite blogs. Oh, I forgot, his company blocks access to Blogger (Sigh).

So that's what we've been up to. We have lots more fun coming up...someone is turning 10 years old next week! And he says he wants a harpsichord for his birthday. Do they sell those at Target?


  1. What a lovely update!

    We do swim lessons in the fall and spring. I've often thought about swim team in the summer, but I just feel burned out by the time summer rolls around.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed - hoping your computer makes it!

  2. I'm so sorry about Ryne's eye but think his swimming progress is just wonderful! How great to have supportive people around you.

    I feel so honored that you have taken the time to comment at my blog. You're a real encouragement to me. I hope your computer makes it until tax-free day!

  3. Hey Kellie,

    Sorry I've been a little incognito lately. I can't wait for the sale this weekend too! I've been holding off on buying several things actually, but nothing as detrimental (really lol) as my computer.

    You are welcome to come over and use mine. We got the pool up finally too so the kids can come swim...if we can keep warmer weather like today, otherwise they all might think its too cold.

    As for Ryne, I think it's great things worked out the way they did. My jaw dropped though when you wrote about the kid's reply about having autism too. I don't know what I would have said or done in that instance. I know Mason would love to be swimming too, just definitely not wanting to follow any directions but doing what he wants. :) Someday I hope it will change.

    We started school today but are just easing in. I'm interested in knowing what you decide to do for history for the kids.