Friday, November 6, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up {Celebration!}

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Whew! What a couple of weeks it's been -- the Royals won the World Series!!! More on that in a bit.

Sorry, I missed last week's wrap-up. I was out of town for the kids' last cross country meet of the season and just couldn't find the time or energy for blogging, so I'll try to recap two weeks at once.

Classical Conversations: Two weeks ago, Ryne had his first debate. They had been studying the debate process all semester, but this was their first actual debate with teams and everything. I'll admit, it was pretty awful, but I'm so proud of him.

First of all, the kids picked their own topic and didn't realize when they chose it how impossible this particular topic would be to research and argue, for either side of the resolution. That made preparation a giant headache for everyone, but it was a good lesson to learn and a mistake they won't repeat if they get to choose their topic again. : )

Second, my son is just amazing. Debate is hard in general, but a thousand times harder for a kid with autism who has trouble verbally expressing himself. Several of his statements were hard to understand and his points didn't flow well. Yet, he did it, and I think he even enjoyed it. He has no fear of speaking in front of people (which can also be a problem sometimes!), because he doesn't get all caught up in what other people think about him. He does, however, thrive on the interaction with people. When he was growing up, I would never have thought he'd be an extrovert, but I think he is! That leaves me as the only true introvert in our family, and we wonder why I'm always so stressed out. {Kidding, dear family!}

Moving on. Two Thursdays ago, Grace had her choreography night at ballet, a tradition the middle grade ballet students do each year around Halloween. Instead of just dressing in costumes, like the youngest kids, they get to choreograph their own dance to perform in front of the class. Grace stayed up late Wednesday night trying to get all her homework done and then spent most of Thursday working on her dance, which was a cute (poking-fun-of) day in the life of a One Direction fan, using music from The Piano Guys. I had my phone all ready to record her performance at class that night, so, of course, I totally forgot to record it and I'm going to hate myself forever.

Soon, you will notice a recurring theme.

Friday, we left for the out of town cross country meet. That evening the team had a meeting and the seniors each got to share a few words about their cross country experience. I sat hidden in a corner so no one would be able to see my tears flow when it was Anna's turn to talk. I was doing pretty well holding myself together until the very end when she got teary, but then as she started to get emotional Ryne walked right up to the front of the room and wrapped his arms around her. Waterworks, ya'll. That was too much for this momma to handle.

After that, I figured Saturday I'd be an emotional mess since it was Anna's last cross country meet ever. Instead of puddles of tears, however, we had rain puddles. It rained and rained and rained all morning. There was no thunder or lightning, so the races went on as planned. But it was my daughter's last race and I was not going to let the rain prevent me from getting the perfect photo of it. I take thousands of pictures each cross country season, of every kid on the team. If I do say so myself, sometimes I get pretty amazing pictures -- of other people's kids. My own kids' photos usually turn out so-so. I think it's because I have a harder time focusing on taking the photo since I also want to cheer them on. Yet, this was my last chance for Anna, so I just wrapped a plastic bag around my camera and kept snapping away.

She had a pretty good race with a strong finish. I stood near the finish line taking continuous photos as she approached, but it was exciting because she hadn't had that kind of kick at the end of her race for more than a year. And then as soon as she passed me, I burst into tears. That was it, her last race.

The rain continued through the award ceremony and the team prayer afterwards. Everyone was soaked to the bone, so it was a little hard to be emotional when you just wanted to find dry clothes and food. Momma meltdown prevented, but it was also a bit of a letdown.

At least I'd have great pictures of her last race. How could I not when I took hundreds just of her?

Nope. The best ones were so-so, and I'm going to hate myself forever.

Sunday was Grace's 13th birthday!!! And guess what her big present was? The Royals winning the World Series!!! Yes, we had previously arranged it with the team, so while the rest of the city was sweating it out when the game extended into 12 innings we were as calm as could be. ; )

Tuesday was the big celebration for the champions. Parade at noon and rally at 2:00. City officials were planning for 200,000 people to crowd downtown Kansas City. Area schools cancelled classes. To accommodate the crowds, buses would be available at various locations around the metro area to shuttle people in. In my great wisdom, I decided taking the shuttle would be much easier than trying to find parking downtown.

Well, I wasn't the only one who had that bright idea.

This was taken when we first got in line -- these are the people who showed up in the 15 minutes after us.

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And this is about two hours later. That's the line of people still in front of us.

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The crazy thing is that NO ONE complained. When city officials traveled down the line to tell us we probably wouldn't get there in time for the parade, no one left. We just kept steadily moving up the mile-long line, cheering and waving each time another busload of people pulled out of the lot. Thankfully, we brought sandwiches with us, so we just stuck it out for three hours. You can tell we're homeschoolers in that my kids were excited that the bus we got to ride on was a yellow school bus -- ha! Or at least they were excited until we got on the bus and it was 100 degrees and our bus driver got lost. Still, no one got mad -- everyone just kind of laughed it off and helped the bus driver find her way back to the highway. I was beginning to wonder what planet I woke up on that morning!

A few more than 200,000 people showed up for the Royals celebration. The mayor's office said that it may have been 800,000, and I don't doubt it a bit. For a metro area  with a population around 2 million, that's a pretty big crowd!

Our view was a bit more limited.

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It was almost impossible to be in a bad mood that day, but yes, I'll hate myself forever that we didn't get to see the parade. Everyone I know that drove in themselves somehow found a parking spot and got amazing pictures of the parade. The rally, which is what is shown above, was cool in that we got to be part of it, but the parade would have been much better.

Photos of the daytime fireworks will have to substitute for photos of players and the trophy (or even a decent photo of my kids, because even those didn't turn out well).

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My favorite photo of the day was actually from the car on the way home (we had Marc pick us up rather than wait three more hours for a shuttle; even with Marc getting us it took awhile to get out of downtown).

My parade shot. Ha!

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The rest of the week was a little anticlimactic. : )

You know me, I'm a visual person. It kills me when I'm not able to capture the moment with my camera and I beat myself up for not doing a better job. It's in those times I'm reminded that words can also preserve those memories. So, I apologize for the length of this post, but these were all memories I wanted to hold onto a little longer. There was a lot of celebrating happening the last couple of weeks: a son who didn't back down from a hard task, a daughter who finished strong, another daughter just starting out her teenage years, and a team that made a whole city proud.

Have a great weekend, and happy homeschooling!

Okay, just one more thing... in case you're wondering what the big deal is about the Royals, here's a link to my favorite article of the week. It's a good read even if you don't know a thing about baseball and couldn't point Kansas City out on a map (most people I meet have no idea what state the city is in). : )

Royals Crowned Kings of Improbability and MLB
If there ever was a team that could find itself two runs down to the Dark Knight in the ninth inning of a World Series game and think, "Cool, we've got these guys right where we want them," this was that team -- the kings of improbability. They'd spent an entire postseason acting as if down were up. So why stop now?
Bye, for real this time!


  1. We decided not to go to the parade and just watch it at home. I wasn't worried about the crowds, but I was worried about driving in all that madness. What a celebration! What an exciting time for us Missourians! So proud of the Royals! Did you see that Julianna Zobrist had her baby yesterday and named her Blaise Royal Zobrist? Such a neat story. Hope we get to keep at least some of our Royals.

    1. Yes, I saw that about the Zobrist's baby -- love it! For me, it wasn't even the driving in all that madness that kept me from going ourselves, but the parking. I'm a terrible parallel parker to begin with and just knew we'd drive around forever all stressed out trying to find a spot. After seeing some of the crazy places people had to park, I'm still glad I didn't have to go through that. But if someday we are blessed with another championship and parade, we're just going to plan on getting there very early. We saw a few families who just parked their campers near the Liberty Memorial, and I'm convinced THAT's the way to go. : )

  2. Loved this post...and so happy for Ryne : ) great job on his debate.