Friday, May 17, 2013
Posted by Foursons at 3:32 PM
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
For any new readers (Bwhahahahahahahahaha, sometimes I just crack myself up) or anyone who may not remember, my son Jakob has Aspergers. Sometimes life is just a little more difficult for him and he is unable to appropriately react to situations in which he is unable to rationalize- especially when it is adults who are behaving like Neanderthals. Meltdowns are fewer and farther between now, but when they happen they tend to be more severe then when he was younger.
Anyone remember the letter from Chris that I posted last spring during baseball season? If not, and you really don’t want to go read it (although it would make what I am about to say that much more atrocious), I will fill you in. Jakob was playing in a game in which he was the catcher. He wasn’t doing the greatest of jobs but it’s not his normal position to play and he was only 10 years old. Long story short, the ump threw him out of that position during the game. Can she do that? Can you hear my resounding “NO!”? The result of her actions was that she got fired from umping a game in our league the rest of the season.
Fast forward to this spring season.
Jakob is now eleven and playing in a league for 11 and 12 year olds. He is not playing the catcher position (he has refused to ever since this ump decided she had more power than she really does), he plays outfield and 3rd base. The game playing level has increased 10 fold with some of these 12 year old boys. Our pitcher throws around 72-73 mph which is the equivalent of a 100 mph fastball if he were playing on a major league field. He throws hard, fast, and accurately- most of the time. We need to keep in mind that this kid is only 12 years old and so there are going to be some wild pitches. We also have to find a catcher who can catch a ball that is coming at them that fast because honestly, there are very few kids who can get a hit off our pitcher.
Well, last night the ump who was fired last year walked onto our field to ump our game. Chris and I had silently communicated that we would be on guard for Jakob, but I never dreamed she would repeat the same behavior that got her fired last year. Our catchers, who are 11 years old, had a hard time catching the pitches last night. Chris put two different catchers in to try to help the situation but it is a tough job that usually leaves our catchers shaking their hand trying to stop the pain. The ump decided that our catcher wasn’t doing a good enough job again and made decisions that were not hers to make. Chris was ready for her this year and immediately protested the game (the game will not go down in the books as a completed game and will be replayed) due to her inability to do her job and putting our catcher at risk of injury due to some of her suggestions.
While all of this was going down, I watched from the press box as Jakob started pacing on the field and pulling his hair out. This progressed to him running off the field screaming into the dugout and him eventually in the press box with me screaming and crying because of flashbacks of this ump mistreating him so badly last year. We managed to make it to the truck where he continued to scream, cry, and crawl underneath the seats trying to somehow come to terms with the fact that this ump was not only allowed to work again, but allowed back on the field where he was playing. Thankfully my mom was at the game so she was able to drive us home while Chris finished coaching the game that was going to have to be replayed anyways. (I will save you from reading all the bad calls she made against our team after Jakob and I left, but lets just say she was holding a grudge.)
Chris has sent two emails to the league about the situation and we are waiting to hear back about what will happen. Chris will not allow this to just disappear with lack of action. Something will be done about it and I can’t wait to tell my boy how dad has fixed everything.
Posted by Foursons at 5:35 PM
Friday, April 19, 2013
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I tend to get quiet when horrible tragedies happen. I had so much going through my mind when the Newtown shooting happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I was working with 6 year olds that day and had been given beautiful drawings from those sweet children who accepted me into their classroom on a day that their teacher couldn’t be there. I heard about the massacre before school let out and all I could do was watch these babies and know that across the country parents were having their hearts broken in half and they would never be fully repaired again.
Monday morning I went for a run in honor of the Boston marathon. I don’t think I’ll ever run a marathon but I have so much admiration for those who are able to complete such an amazing feat. When I got home I watched the winners cross the finish line on my computer and marveled at their athletic abilities. I even called Chris and talked to him about what an amazing accomplishment it was to complete a marathon, not to mention that the winners did it in a little over 2 hours.
Boston. I love that city and have had the privilege of visiting there twice. My dream has been to one day pack up everything I own and leave the only thing I have ever known and move to Boston. It is an incredible city steeped in history and filled with the most compassionate people. I want to be a part of that.
So yesterday’s bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Patriot’s Day has left me speechless again. I relate to the runners. I relate to the city. And I am heartbroken that the human race has the capacity to have evil dwell within it.
Posted by Foursons at 12:53 PM
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Dear State Board of Education in TX:
When you create new standardized testing called STARR you stress out the superintendents of the school systems.
When you stress out the superintendents, they in turned stress out the principals of each individual school.
When you stress out the principals of the schools, they in turn stress out the teachers.
When you stress out the teachers, they in turn stress out the students.
When you stress out the students they perform poorly on the test that the State Board of Education created.
Something must be done.
I have an 11 year old who has been going to math tutoring in order to try to understand 5th grade math curriculum that focuses on a test.
I have an 11 year old that asked to go to an extra tutoring session the night before the big test because he was so stressed and worried that he would fail the test.
I have an 11 year old that has been told repeatedly that if he fails the test he will not pass 5th grade.
I have an 11 year old who came home today and said he cried three different times during the test because it was so hard and he was so frustrated and STRESSED.
State Board of Education:
You need to do something NOW. This is unacceptable. A student who struggles academically is not in an environment in which he can possibly be successful because everyone is so stressed! Now…add in a condition like Aspergers in which a student doesn’t have the coping skills to deal with such stress and you’re just asking for failure. Failure that he is unable to cope with either because it is not in his genetic make-up to understand the ramifications of failing such a test.
State Board of Education:
I (not so) cordially invite you to attend my son’s ARD (admission, review, and dismissal) meeting in which we will be discussing the consequences of him failing a test in which you did not give him the slightest opportunity to be successful. I promise you it will not be boring or a waste of your time but you WILL feel the need to go partake in some adult beverages because when you leave that meeting I will have YOU stressed.
Posted by Foursons at 4:08 PM
Sunday, March 17, 2013
All pictures that Chris did not take were copied off the Warrior Dash website.
Yesterday was the big day. I showed up to run a race in which I would be so physically exhausted by the end that floating through a mud pool sounded like a good idea.
This is our BEFORE shot. We’re nice and clean and all smiles at this point. (I am down 32 pounds since November. No skinny button was used in any of these shots. *grin*)
I watched videos on You Tube of the Warrior Dash and felt relatively confident that I could finish the race. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I knew I could finish it. What I didn’t know, and am still unable to find video of, is the terrain in Smithville, TX. All the videos I watched looked like a jog through the beautiful countryside on dirt trails. I could never have prepared for what we actually faced yesterday. The terrain was so much more difficult than the obstacles we completed. I’d show you a picture if I had one, but my “drawing” will have to suffice.
I would just like to add that the Iron Warrior Dash was going on at the same time as the regular Warrior Dash and we did many (if not all) of the same obstacles and hiking that they did. We stuck to the 3.1 mile trail (which I think was considerably longer than the posted 3.1 miles) and 12 obstacles while they did 15 miles and 20-something obstacles. So yeah, I am an Iron Warrior. Kind of.
This is not an exaggeration. The trail we were “running” on was filled with ankle breaking rocks and craters that you had to watch every step. We had at least 10 of these giant hills to climb up and down on and the path was very narrow. Only two runners could go side by side so when someone came up behind us who was faster we’d have to step off the trail to let them pass. There were people who sprinted out of the starting line and up the first 2 or 3 hills and then I imagine they hit a virtual brick wall because this was so dang difficult. We did this for about the first 1.5 miles of the race.
When we weren’t climbing these hills that felt like mountains we were in a single file line slip sliding down smaller gullies that had us grabbing for trees trying to keep our balance and looking for any kind of hand hold or foothold to get back up the other side. (Sorry for the misspelling on the picture of “gullies”. It would be to difficult to fix it now.) There were several of these challenges along the way.
At the starting gate.
Here we are starting out with no idea what was to come as I so expertly drew for you earlier.
When I finally saw our first obstacle I was so relieved because I knew that most of the “running” was behind us. This was the map of our run.
So we came to our first obstacle- the Barricade Breakdown.
It looked exactly like this, not to hard. You had to jump over the walls and go under the barbed wire.
The next obstacle was called Road Rage. It kind of looked like this picture, but we didn’t have the cars (because who could get cars through that terrain?!) and there was a cargo netting covering it so we had to go under the netting while running through the tires.
Two by Fall was next. This picture was taken off the Iron Warrior website. What it does not show is that they also had it raining on us while navigating the obstacle so it was super slippery.
The next obstacle was almost my undoing. Since my family reads this blog I will not go into detail of my injury but if you’re really curious I will let you know in an email if you ask. It’s called the Giant Cliffhanger and I watched two people fall off the thing while I was waiting my turn for the long rope to get to the top. One woman slid down on her stomach while hanging from the top and a man fell flat on his back from about 1/2 way up. Definitely not a confident booster for me. I tried to get up the cliff from the short ropes and after 3 tries and failing and quickly exhausting all my energy I waited in line for the long rope.
This is the only picture I could find. We only had one long rope and all the other ropes were about 1/2 way up the wall. Also, the backside was not a ladder. It was just as flat and slick as the front side and when I muscled my way over the top ledge and tried to go down the backside I injured myself. I then flipped on my back like a turtle and slid the rest of the way down while holding onto the rope on my back. Definitely not the most athletic way to maneuver the thing.
After this obstacle we had a few muddle puddles to run through, some more rocky ground to cover, and probably a hill or two. And then we came to the trenches. Barbed wired ran over the top of mud and water filled trenches. Not difficult to complete, but definitely a hands and knees obstacle. This is not the best picture to show the trenches, but just imagine long skinny holes under the barbed wire.
And if I am remembering correctly, it was after this obstacle that Chris was able to start taking pictures of us. He caught us walking out of the wooded area. I tried to run and I told my friend several times that I wanted to run but I just couldn’t do it. She was amazing and stayed right by my side the whole time even though she probably could have finished 1/2 hour earlier (or more) than we actually did if she hadn’t waited on me.
Of course as soon as I spotted Chris we pretended as if we were running the whole time.
Truth be told- Chris said he was about 2 minutes away from finding someone to check on us because we were taking soooooo long that he and the boys were worried.
The next obstacle was called Pipeline. This consisted of hanging “pipes that you had to crawl through, but ours were made out of cargo netting- infinitely harder. Some people were going through them on their hands and knees and some were going through on their back. I questioned which way we should do it and Chris hollered from the sidelines to go on our backs. He was right. It would have been much harder on our hands and knees.
This picture cracks me up. I am in those blue and white shorts and the guy standing was in the tunnel next to me. I was going on my back and he decided to do it on his hands and knees. It looks terrible, but was completely innocent. Half way through we made eye contact and he said, “Hi, how ya doin’?” I responded, “I’m not sure.” I heard lots of laughing on the other side of me.
Here I am celebrating that I got through the Pipeline challenge.
The next obstacle on the map says Hard Rain but we didn’t have that obstacle yet. We came up on big mud hills that I think were just thrown in for fun. Here is some physically fit guy running through as if he does this every day.
Next was Chained up. Relatively simple but I went down the backside facing forward which of course made it harder for me. Here is Chris’ gratuitous butt shot.
We also did not have the Underpass but came up on the Muddy Mounds. We climbed big muddy hills and jumped into what I call graves. I’m sure the designers of this race called them pits, but they were graves. Three sets of muddy hills and graves. I made it through the first two sets ok.
And then I came up on the 3rd grave.
Every person in that grave was stuck. The walls were slick with mud and they couldn’t get a hand hold or a foothold anywhere. They were exhausting themselves trying to get out and getting nowhere.
I made the executive decision to skip the last grave and judging by the number of people standing on that hill, I don’t think I was the only one who made that decision.
My friend? She was in that hole. Stuck. I helped rescue her and had I not been there she may still be there today.
The Warrior Roast was next and Chris was unable to get over there fast enough to take pictures. I’m hoping that the professional photographers who were there got a good shot that I can buy.
The obstacle course designers then slipped in the Hard Rain obstacle, a very hard one to do at the end of the race. Chris did not get pictures of this either, but we had to walk through a shallow pond with a very muddy bottom that threatened to suck your shoes off. Then we climbed the ladder side and made our way down the other side, while it was raining on us, all while trying not to reinjure myself like I did on the Giant Cliffhanger. This one had the skinny side of 2X4’s to step on so at least we got 2 inches and a rope to aid our way down. Seriously? I thought I was going to plunge to my death.
And finally Muddy Mayhem, the last obstacle of the race. I was so physically spent by this time that I couldn’t have run even if I wanted to. I made my way to the mud pool with barbed wire running over the top of it and collapsed to my hands and knees. I thought I could crawl all the way through it but in the middle it got to deep and I had to swim. There were a lot of people and Chris was unable to get a good picture of what the obstacle really looked like so here is another stock photo.
I emerge victorious!
I was so happy to be done. Tired doesn’t begin to describe the feeling. It was a physical exhaustion like I have never felt. I got my medal and immediately put it around my muddy neck.
The final insult to injury? We got to clean off in a community mud pond. Good times, good times.
And then… we went home with a t-shirt, warrior hat, and medal in hand to prove we survived The Warrior Dash. I AM A WARRIOR!