Cooperfish

Cooper started swim lessons early this summer and he has been a total natural. Over a year ago we tried the baby-and-me type of swim classes where either Mike or I would be in the water holding him the whole time which he liked enough but he wasn’t interested in doing anything more than splashing. This summer, a switch must have flipped. He was all of a sudden obsessed with water: the pool, the hot tub, the bath tub. It was time to get him into real swim lessons!

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It’s funny how much confidence a pair of goggles can bring. Once he was introduced to them, we hardly ever saw him above water. On more than a few excursions to the pool, he would constantly duck under water just to check things out. He was holding his breath longer and longer underwater. He soon figured out how to propel himself, even if only for a couple of feet.

As lessons progressed through the summer and fall, I was amazed at seeing this little person have so much fun in the water and being capable of so much already. He is far from being independent but we can already tell he is taking after his swimmer daddy.

Maxon in Kindergarten

School started on August 24th and we are now two months in. He has been having a blast since Day 1 and he is still excited to get up and go everyday! It has been quite the adjustment, and to be honest, we are still trying to smooth out the new rhythm but it has all been positive. He has biked or walked most days to school, he is thrilled to pick what he has for lunch (usually either a peanut butter-and-jelly or ham-and-cheese sandwich), and looks forward to whatever classroom “jobs” he’s assigned for the week.

According to our parent-teacher conference (for real), Maxon is settling in very well in the classroom and is quite the teacher’s helper when other kids need help with reading. He’s made a lot of new friends and has requested playdates. And he’s already gone on a field trip to a farm out in eastern Boulder County, which marks the first time Maxon has been somewhere that neither Mike nor I have been. I love that he is building and filling his own little part of the world!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Whistler

It was inevitable. Everything had gone relatively smoothly up until we set foot on the plane. We were on our way to Whistler to cheer Mike on at Ironman Canada. We had left the house on time, didn’t have to rush to unload the suitcases and car seats at the RTD station and parking was easy. Some things were out of our hands though. The RTD driver was very slow and methodical while loading luggage into the storage area (or perhaps it was resentment) so right off the bat we were running 15 minutes behind schedule. We had to cross the entire terminal to get to our airline’s counter to check our luggage in. Still, we made it with minutes to spare and no real problems arose. Until we made it to our seats on the plane.

Cooper already had one of his coughs in progress. He had a fever a couple of days before and anytime this kid gets sick, a cough ensues and lasts the next 5-7 days. Expecting this chain of events to occur during our travel out of the country, we started the usual nebulizer treatment right away and brought enough medication to last throughout our trip. As we got settled into our seats, the kids demanded their morning snack. Just as the cabin doors were getting ready to close for take-off, Cooper started in on a coughing fit. A pretty bad one. So bad, in fact, he caught the attention of the flight attendants (and everyone else on board, I assume) as he began to gag and cough out his food. Out came the air sickness bag. Out came the huge plastic cover they put on seats when a bad mess has occurred. Concerned flight attendants decided to call for the Customer Service Representative where they assessed our situation and deemed us as too risky to fly. We were asked to deplane and told we would not be able to fly together until we returned with a note from a doctor giving Cooper the all-clear.

While waiting for the paramedic, Mike and I tried to determine our next course of action. Which overbooked flight should we attempt to get on? Should Mike go on without us? What if Cooper actually required a hospital stay? What if the kids and I did not go at all? None of these questions had good answers. The biggest hurdle was that we were not flying anywhere near Whistler. Our flight was to Seattle (originally arriving nice and early) and then we were going to drive the 4+ hours up to Whistler. Separating onto different flights would actually create more hassle.

The airport paramedic finally arrived and called off the firefighters (!) once he could see we were not requiring their emergency services. I’m fairly certain NO one wants to see a team of firefighters burst through a set of authorized personnel-only doors at an airport but it’s even more alarming when you know they were called because of you. This is where my memory starts to get fuzzy. I’m not entirely sure what the paramedic’s role was in this whole scenario but ultimately, he served as a strong proponent of having an ambulance take us to Children’s Hospital in case there was a more serious situation we were not aware of yet. In all fairness, Cooper had stopped his coughing fit but he still had not bounced back and looked a little peaked so there was still some concern for his health in our since-it’s-Cooper experienced eyes. Since we did not drive our own car to the airport and our car seats were in the belly of a plane that had long departed towards Seattle, we all hitched a ride in the ambulance.

I do have to say that in the event you should ever require ambulatory service from the airport, be prepared to receive admittance through all of the authorized personnel-only doors. If there was a ever a high point of the day, this was it!

I’ll fast forward through the rest of the day and just give the highlights. Cooper was checked out, his oxygen levels were good, and the doctors rolled their eyes at everyone from the airline personnel to the airport paramedic but thankfully took us seriously enough to give Cooper the next level of treatment, an oral steroid, to take with us to Canada. As we were to find out, it would take completing that entire steroid treatment regimen until he got noticeably better. We would have been on pins and needles the entire time we were out of the country so perhaps the universe was telling us something.

Free to fly!

Free to fly!

With doctor’s note in hand, we took a taxi back to the airport later that afternoon and caught an evening flight to Seattle. We resigned to stay in Seattle that night instead of trying to push through but it was still midnight by the time we got to the hotel. We had a restless night’s sleep in the tenth hotel that I called that had the only vacancy in town and we started anew the next morning.

At the end of a terrible, no-good, very bad travel day

At the end of a terrible, no-good, very bad travel day

The rest of the trip was mostly without drama and turned out to be a pretty amazing trip. We were able to catch up with some old Boulder friends in Vancouver after the race although we did not nearly have as much time together as we thought. This was such a unique journey in so many different ways but I think we’ll keep our feet on the ground for the rest of the year!

Cooper Turns Three

Ah, yes. The curse of a winter birthday runs through this whole family. We’ve had some luck planning outdoor-oriented parties with decent weather but we were not so fortunate this year. After a very warm start to the month, the week preceding Cooper’s birthday party was filled with snow and bone-chilling temperatures that ensured that the snow wouldn’t go anywhere. Luckily, we decided to deviate from our usual party script of letting the kids run rampant in the backyard to hiring the music teacher from their school to entertain the kids (and the adults!). Despite the fresh 15 inches of powder that dropped over the weekend, we had a great turnout, thanks to our wonderful and hardy Boulder friends.

As for the birthday boy himself, he is definitely not one to let weather or inconvenience get in his way either. While slight in build, he is big in everything else. The smiles are from ear to ear and ready to unleash on anyone. He can be on the brink of laughter at any moment, yet the tantrums can come on quick and loud and the disappears quickly with the slightest distraction. The dinner plate is refilled and emptied. He wants to do everything himself and is determined to do anything that Maxon does. His imaginary world is big, too. Although Halloween is long past, he insists on wearing his puppy costume often, although he experiments with being other animals that require petting. His Matchbox cars and Sodor’s finest tank engines have running commentary. One of his favorite games is to build houses and stations for his animals and trucks.

To our dismay, potty training came to a crashing halt and then a severe rewind since our breakthrough in January. We all but gave up for a good month but he’s started to show some interest and confidence again since he’s figured out how to pee standing up so hopefully we can hop right back on that potty train. It’s not a question of “does he know how?”, but more “does he feel like it?”

The coolest development I’ve seen in recent weeks is his writing skill. And please know I am referring to a toddler’s version of “writing.” He has more of a vision of what he wants to create and is able to put it to paper, even if it’s not quite in the right order. Here are some of my favorite creations:

I know we have a big year ahead of us with this cool little dude. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

When Your Dad is a Tarheel

…he will build you a Dean Dome. Finally, a game that doesn’t come with a billion pieces to lose or step on!

Preparing for free throws have gotten elaborate.

Practicing some defensive moves.

And when a little monkey brother sees and he also wants to do, you try to give him his own space.

Maxon assigning hoops

Maxon assigning hoops

Maxon has also come up with some snazzy names for the people on his basketball team. He’s even named those that are on the opposing team and some have specific positions. Generally, these are one-and-done players but some have had some significant time on the court. Here is the list as of today (spelled phonetically; Maxon didn’t specify spelling):

Delicate Shawner
Minijae Edgar
Harold Mirage (plays for Louisville)
Fist Bonner
Alex Neader
Mark Forner
White Brown (plays for Georgia Tech. Usually assigned to Daddy)
Sallin Michael (call him “Sal”)
Crist Bonner (plays for Louisville. No relation to Fist, curiously)
Michael Graver
Oscar Grover
Kyle Blake (plays for NC State)
Cobb Cabber (plays for Georgia Tech)
Miles Calisto (on the bench)
Scott Stillman (plays for New York)
Earthorn Marson (plays for Lousiville)
Clam Slibber
Junior Cactus (plays for Michigan State)
Rattle Justin (plays for Stanford)

Welcoming Winter

It started off a little like this:

And then it got a little bit more interesting:

Oh yeah, and then there was Christmas:

Introduction to Disneyland

I don’t even know how we made it happen. It started off as a half-joking invitation from one of my best friends who was planning to take her daughter (and Maxon’s dear friend) back to Disneyland as a last hurrah before their international move. Of course, my knee-jerk reaction was “no” but slowly turned to the reply, “why not?” We could keep it super easy by leaving our too-young, higher-maintenance, second-born children at home with their very capable fathers. We could split a room to reduce lodging costs. And the big kids would have a fabulous time together, as they always do. And so we did.

It was not without several obstacles. The first being a mental one for me. Neither Mike nor I had ever been to Disneyland and Mike and I are very gung-ho about family trips. We have also had our fair share of travel this past year, both as a family and on our own. This was not in the budget and the whole family was not going to be together for what is probably considered a milestone. The second was that we managed to miss our outgoing flight because neither adult was paying attention to the clock or the layout of the concourse. We missed it by mere minutes [insert expletive]. We booked ourselves on another flight and tried to move forward. However, the missed flight had a domino effect and ended up creating a headache for the return flight home [insert at least two expletives]. Luckily, it all got resolved before we even set foot back in the airport. Of course, as we were merrily rolling our way home from the airport, patting ourselves on a well-executed Disney vacation, a tire went flat at 70 mph. Of course it did [expletives: many]. Let’s just say we were able to get roadside assistance not long after we had pulled over and got home safe and sound shortly after.

And we all lived happily ever after.