Göteborgsvarvet 2013

A week after Vincents birthday I ran Göteborgsvarvet for the second year in a row. This was actually my first race I have done twice. The race is the world’s largest half marathon with over 60,000 starters.
Last year it was cloudy and 8c. This year it was clear blue skies, sunny and hot. I started around 2 pm and by then the temp was +24c in the shadow. The start was really crowded, and it took almost 5k to be able to run my pace. At the highest point of the race, on top of a highway bridge, thunder and lightining started along with strong winds, rain and hail. It was nice to cool down a bit, but the sun was back soon, making the rest of the run sauna-like as the steam was coming of the streets. Drinking every 2k and pouring a cup of cold water on my head kept me hydrated and not over-heated. Runners were fainting all along due to the heat.
I finnished a little over 4 min faster in my official time of 1.57.13 and I am very pleased with that. My garmin told me I actually ran 22.1km as I zig zagged alot to pass many in the beginning, so unoficially I broke my PR of 1.56.12 (which is from a very flat half, this is a rather hilly run). And of course I already signed up for 2014s Göteborgsvarv.

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At 17k

At Least He is Happy

It seems as if you have a kid with special needs the ultimate goal is for the child to be happy. About school, language, society the big secret lies within ‘as long as s/he is happy’.
As long as Vince is happy that is what matter, and that should be what defines the challenges in his life.

On the other side, if you have a child without special needs, happiness is taken as a given. Or at least not as a defined goal when it comes to planning the child’s elementary education plan.

Do you realize exactly how ridiculous that is?
I mean, all parents who do NOT want their kids happy, please stand up and put your hand up now.
Anyone?
No, I did not think so.
If you have a kid without special needs (and guess what, I have one of those too so I have some insight) the expectations are rarely for the child to ‘just be happy’. And I am not minimizing the importane of happiness in ones life, not at all, but really? My kid has Down syndrome, and therefore as long as he is happy in school I should be fine with that?

No, I do not believe in that.
I believe he will have to be rather unhappy quite a lot of times. He is happy when he gets to do what he wants to. Does that mean he should be allowed to sit and eat candy and play on his i-pad and take breaks whenever he wants to? Does that mean he should play with the knights and the castle till he is 15, just because that is what makes him happy? Is that how life is and will be for him in the future?
At least my life is not always going as planned (and just as a side note, I chose happy).

So about school again, I want Vince to be challenged to his fullest ability, if that means learning to read when he is 8,12 or 22, is really not the point. That he is challenged after his own ability, and not after what someone else thinks he can do, is what matters. If it means that he will not learn to read because he simply can not, well then we will have to live with that, but if it is because the educational system can not find his channel to learn, him being happy just will not be enough.

You know the saying reach for the stars, it really does not make a difference the number of chromosomes you have. We still aim high for both our kids.

 

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School Thoughts

Yesterday I had an appointment with Vincent’s teacher. It was one of those meetings I think (assume) it is easiest to picture yourself in if you have a child with special needs. It was one of those eye openers or IRL experiences you get every so often when you realize how much your child does not know. It kind of hits you and the physical pain is real:
-Crap, do 6 year olds know THAT much????
I am not trying to compare, but it is pretty impossible not to compare. My issue is not with what the other kids know or what Vincent does not know. It is neither with the school or with the teachers. My issue is within me.

I am extremely proud of Vincent and how he is developing.
I am extremely proud of everything he knows.
I am extremely proud of how mature he is becoming and how much he is his own person.
I am extremely proud of how he has made little friends an big friends.
I am extremely proud of him, just they way he is.

What I am scared of is that Vincent will not have the best ability to learn for HIM. I believe Vincent will learn a lot in school. But the struggle will be to find the Vincent-motivators that will challange him just right. If he does not want to do the work it is going to be tough,close to impossible. But if they can find the key to teaching him in a way that captures his interest I fully believe his potential is significantly higher.
I know that the more time we as parents spend with him working on homework and such, the better equipped he will be for his adult life. I also realize that there is a breaking point where the study effort is not worth it, the cost of other life aspects will be too high. Where that breaking point is, time will tell.

So I thought and my mind twisted and turned. And then I talked to the best people in the world. My bestest friends with the smartest of takes on it. Actually all with ‘only’ so called normal children. And I felt a lot calmer and relaxed and less stressed and no longer so scared and sad.

When I picked up Vince from school today I was told he had a great day. He participated all day and he did excellent in gym classes. He waited in line and took turns and walked to the cafeteria just fine. He played with the boys in his class for recess and was on the soccer field with the bigger kids too.
I talked to his assistant about how she feels she is equipped for first grade next year. She understood my concerns and we came up with some good things to bring into our next meeting in prepping for 1st grade.

The school road ahead of us is long and I have no clue in what direction we will end up. We are starting off in our neighborhood school, and so far so good. Vince enjoys going to school. Vince is comfortable there and he likes his assistant. I like his assistant. I feel we are being listened to and communication is working. And most important of all: Vincent is happy!

 

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Friends

Last night my besties came over for dinner. One night of being able to talk girl talk without getting interupted by the kids or the husbands, just a real girl’s night, sitting in the garden in the warm evening sun. This morning we took a long walk around the lakrbefore it was time to get back to ordinary life. Tomorrow Mr B and the kids are coming back from Austria after a 12 day trip, that will be the next awesome 🙂

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Rodeling

Something we will not have the same access to in Sweden are the Alps. We drove 40 minutes to some friends and had a day filled with sun, snow and fun. Or kind of. That was after we got stuck on the snowy/icy road, which required the use of snow chains that we thank God had left in the car from when we bought them two years ago. That was also after we ran out of gas (in the middle of trying to get up that icy hill). But when we were done with that we had a supreme lasagna late lunch and dessert. That is when we headed up the mountain to go rodeling. Or sledding if you like. About 1.5m snow (that is more than 4 ft) and a perfectly prepared sledding hill was a lot of fun!

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It does not look very steep…

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But it was. Fast too. I was the first (and only) to take a big fall…

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Swimmer

Vince takes swim classes once or twice a week. We have it scheduled for twice, but because of cuts, infections, sick times and or etc it averages out to once a week. He has always loved water, and he really enjoys the class. His coach sent me three little videos from the other week (each about 10s long). He jumps into the deep end (2.40m) and swims back to the pool side.


As he gets out of the water he gets his pretend phone out and calls his doctor ‘Doctor, Doctor’ is what he is saying

Great job with his leg and arm movements!

Tuscany in Pictures

We have had the most awesome week in Tuscany. We decided to drive back yesterday as it was hard to find a hotel for a few nights for a reasonable price. Apparently this week is the biggest vacation week for Italians and per old customs you must spend Monday (some saints day) by the ocean. Hence our early departure. The kids were amazing, and the 10 hour drive was rather painfree.

With that said, warning for picture overload:
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The house we had rented for the week

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With our own pool in the garden

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Thankfully separated with two sets of stairs, so the kids never escaped without our attention to go down to the pool.

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The view of the Chianti Valley seen from the breakfast table

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Fresh fruits and veggies from the market

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And what is better than renting a house together with people who like to cook gourmet meals for both lunch and dinner every day? Fresh fish from the local markets, lots of cheeses, breads, salami, grilled Tuscany steaks, lots of veggies and tons of fruits. And of course pizza! Amazing people, and luckily one of them is the kids uncle:)

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Vince stopping for a break during a walk to eat some fresh blackberries

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A view over the hills and in the horizon Sienna

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My dear Vince

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The kids waving Good Night

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Smartest Mr B brought the bike. One morning we biked down to the bakery and picked up fresh salami and cheese breads.

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A morning trip to Sienna

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Snack break in Ambra, Vince is a bit hmm interesting? with his choices of food. This time ice cream and salami sandwich.

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Walking through Rapale

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More of Rapale, a little village located approx 4 km from the house we rented

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More of Tuscany’s landscape

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and more Salami, cheese,and  bread lunch