Friday, April 28, 2017

Gymnastics season has been quite a ride this year!  Over Christmas break, we went to the gym in Mt. Vernon and were pleasantly surprised because they got a new coach.  Ainsley was sick the first week we were there so she only practiced twice, but it was very impactful!  She got all of her beam skills back, got some great drills for her giant and found her love of gymnastics again.  She was pretty frustrated when we left because she lost her giant on bars and was not having much fun on beam.  We never thought she would be ready to compete when we got back, but she was, so they entered her in the first meet in January.  She didn't look too confident, but she didn't fall on anything and finished with almost a 36 all-around score.  Her giant on bars was hit or miss the next couple months and it was super stressful for her and us.  They changed her routine to make it harder and that actually seemed to help.
Before that change in her bar routine, we traveled to San Diego for her first travel meet and it was quite an experience.  We booked really late because we didn't know if she would be ready, so we ended up sharing a room with another family.  It worked out great, but the mom was a heavy breather and Ainsley had trouble sleeping which wasn't good since we had to get up at 5:30 to get ready for the meet which had a 7:40 report time.  Bars was her first event and she looked pretty good in warm up, but missed her giant 3 times in a row and didn't finish her routine.  She was devastated!!!  I felt so bad because there wasn't anything I could do :o(.  Then she went to beam and was competing her round-off back-tuck dismount for the first time and missed a foot and luckily she pulled it around, but it was a bit scary.  Floor and vault she had personal bests on, so she finished the day in a great way.  9.5 on vault....we were all happily surprised.  It was nice to get the meet overwith, so we could enjoy San Diego!  The girls went to the beach and swam in the freezing cold water and then went back to the hotel and swam and sat in the hot tub.  Then they played games until it was really late!  The next day we went to SeaWorld and had an amazing time there.  She loved hanging out with her gym friends and can't wait to travel with them again.
 I did touch that shark!

She had a meet the very next week and her back started hurting at the beginning of the week but because it was a meet week, she was told she had to complete her assignments, so she pushed through.  As I was watching her at the meet, bending over to relieve her back and grabbing her back, I didn't feel so good about what was happening.  She had her best meet by far, finishing 1st on vault and 2nd on floor and 3rd all-around with a 37.175.  I kept her home for several days and it improved a little, but even with acupuncture and guasha, she was still in a lot of pain.  She was doing very modified skills for at least a week when one particular coach made her do a skill that we discussed was not a good idea.  So, we immediately stopped going and thankfully, I had already scheduled a doctors appointment.  They took an x-ray and the doctor saw something suspicious, so ordered an MRI.  It was a very stressful couple of weeks and I had words with the coach and head coach about my disappointment in what had transpired.  I was pretty sure she had a stress fracture because after 3 weeks, it was still not better, but the MRI turned out negative.  This news was bittersweet....I was hoping to be done with this crazy, time consuming, injury causing sport, but Ainsley wasn't having any of it.  So...I had to be THAT parent and stay on top of everything she was doing to keep her healthy.  We started PT and she did a lot of cupping which seemed to help.  She is in the process of learning to use her abdominal muscles all the time to protect her back and hopefully, she can figure it out.  This process took about a month and she was still modified with only 2 weeks before state.  I guess she likes to cut it close!  Everything came back quickly but she lost her giant again (which is weird since that is the only event she could actually practice during her injury) and was a complete head case.  This sport has taught her a lot and this year she learned how powerful her thoughts are and what they can do to change a situation, for the positive or negative.  So, she has been working to train her mind as well as her body and she also prays often :o).  And, it has been really effective!  She had her best meet at state and qualified for Regionals.  We went to southern California last weekend to finish off her season and again, she had 3 personal bests there.  9.375 on bars, 9.35 on floor, 9.35 on beam and a 9.75 on vault, finishing 5th all-around with a 37.825 and 1st on vault!  She was over the moon with excitement!

Wonder what her vault coach was saying to her after she warmed up?????

Turns out there were a lot of other parents unhappy about a couple of the coaches, so the head coach strongly encouraged them to work on being positive coaches and it really made a difference!  One decided to resign and two others cut back their hours, so Ainsley won't be coached by them anymore.  She is sad about one, but super excited about the other changes.  Another life lesson about speaking up when there's a problem and luckily in this case, change happened :o).
We went to Universal Studios afterward and had some fun visiting the new Harry Potter land and riding the rides.  The kids were much more adventurous this go around!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Cat fun

Elsa brings us presents every now and then when we're home, but almost always when we are gone. We've had giant grasshoppers, lizards, rats and birds.  This time she brought in an entire bird nest.  No bird, but feathers and bird poop.  I looked all over for the bird, but never found anything.  Lucky Ainsley was the winner....look closely at the picture.
She also got really sick right before we left for Southern California.  The timing was good because if it was a week later, she probably would have died because we wouldn't have been home.  She had some sort of infection and I noticed she didn't move from the couch for a full day (its hard to really know with cats because they sleep all the time), but something wasn't right.  She was laying with her eyes open and looked too tired to move.  I got out her favorite wet food and she got up, but could barely walk.  She ate a few bites and then collapsed.  I took her to a new vet since ours didn't have an appointment and they wanted to charge me over $700.  I looked at the line items and it was $250 to take a urine analysis, so I asked her if treatment would be different based on the results and she said no, so we took that out.  I later followed up with our vet who charges $80 for the same procedure....grrr.  It took a couple days for her to recover and we were all very relieved.  I am just hoping whatever happened doesn't repeat when we are gone this summer.  We have some friends checking on her a couple times a week and, hopefully, that will be good enough.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Dolphin Swim

After Ainsley swam with the dolphins last year, I really wanted to do it, so Ryan got that for my birthday!  He had it planned for June, but I got online and they were doing a spring break special which was $79, so we switched it to the day after Easter since the kids didn't have school.  Ainsley wanted to do it again, so that was her early birthday gift and I thought it would be a good experience for Reggie (who is not interested in trying anything new).  It was such a neat experience and really informative.  They are amazing animals and are very smart and I know Reggie had a great time and was happy he participated.  Khalif is still too short :(.
We just watched the movie "The Cove" and I'm really glad we did it before I saw that movie.  Most of the movie was focused on what Japan does every year to thousands of disturbing!!!!  It also touched on the captivity piece and how they're meant to swim, and swim far on a daily basis.  I guess every animal in captivity, whether its a zoo or aquarium is not it the right environment.  There are, however, a couple dolphins at Six Flags who have medical issues that would not allow them to survive in the wild, so that makes me feel a little better.

Video of Reggie's nice, calm ride
My ride was a little faster and I lost both my shoes!

Las Vegas

After our cruise last year, it was clear to us that the kids loved having a new travel experience, so we are going to be a little more adventurous in our travels.  Last fall, Liha suggested we go to Vegas for spring break and when our timeshare did an open booking, we took advantage.  The whole group went, mom/dad, Aunt Pam and the Rinehardt's.  It was a little stressful getting there....our rental car took 2 hours to get and the Rinehardt's and Aunt Pam got diverted to another airport because of lightening and had to wait there until the storm passed.  Thankfully, everyone made it for dinner because Jim and Ruth drove from Utah to have dinner with us!!  It was so great to see them and catch up :).
We did a lot of walking and exploring the hotels, stores and sights which I'm not sure the kids fully appreciated.  The magnitude of these hotel creations is quite amazing.  Khalif said the pyramid was his favorite.  They did appreciate all the toys and cool things in the shops!  We got suckered into a nail stamping demonstration and we left with bags in hand.  Aunt Pam got the girls their birthday presents and I can tell you that Ainsley has gotten her money's worth, creating all kinds of beautiful designs.
Tasting coke flavors at the coke store

We ran into a few friends (Mickey Mouse, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca and Pikachu while watching the water show at the Bellagio
Khalif getting a break while watching the Mirage volcano show

Having some fun trying on sunglasses
The Worldmark in Vegas is one of the best properties that we've been to in our timeshare, with multiple large pools, a lazy river, hot tubs, shuffleboard, basketball, ping pong....we didn't have time to enjoy all that is there, but we spent many hours in the pool playing volleyball.  The weather was a little on the chilly side, but that made it comfortable to lay in the sun and the volleyball pool was was super warm, so we stayed in it for a really long time.  Unfortunately, the pad of Wade's big toe got nice and soft and tore off and Aunt Pam got a deep bruise from hitting the ball that lasted several weeks.  We sure had a lot of fun though!

We went to old downtown to zip line on Fremont street and saw lots of interesting things.  They had peddlers doing comedy, breakdancing, magic shows, writing names on rice and a few odd balls dressed up very strangely.  It was pretty funny to see the kids reaction and grandma's!

Khalif was too light to do the zipline and with Reggie's fear of heights, he didn't want to either, so Ryan, Ainsley, myself, mom and Aunt Pam signed up.  It was sold out, so we had to go back the next day.  While we were there, we had a delicious and inexpensive buffet and if you ask Reggie about the trip, he'll tell you that his favorite part was the food!  No surprise there.  Before we went to zipline, Ryan, Ainsley and I went to do the Big Shot on top of the Stratosphere.  It was CRAZY!!!  Ryan was glad he did it, but wouldn't do it took him a couple hours to recover.  Ainsley did not like it at all.  While we were there, I saw a new thrill ride where they hook you to a line and you jump from the top of the Stratosphere and fall to the bottom.  Maybe someday I'll go back and do that :).  Ainsley was happy that the zip line was pretty mild and everyone loved it!!!  She still talks about going back to do that again.
Spencer and Liha having some fun on a roller coaster!
 Big Shot-this picture makes me laugh

Video of the grandma's zip lining!!!!