Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fun Day at the Olympics

Winners receiving their medals in one of the alpine skiing events at Bogus Basin

Caleb at Qwest Arena where the figure skating competitions were in progress
Caleb, T, J and B at the ice skating rink

Caleb playing ice hockey at Boise Center on the Grove

Yesterday I was a criminal and kept 4 of our kids out of school. I just could not have the Olympics so close and not attend--especially since I am the mom of some special kids myself.

(Our older daughter didn't want to miss school because somehow good attendance keeps her from having to take semester tests--so she got to go to Grandma and Grandpa's house after school. I think the one-on-one time with them was good for her, too.)

The rest of us went to Boise via the tire repair shop in Twin Falls. Thankfully before we left Kevin had noticed we had a low tire and upon further investigation found a screw or something sticking out of it. I was bummed at getting such a late start but glad I didn't break down out in the desert somewhere. It was nearly 12:30 when we got into Boise and the kids voted to go straight up to Bogus Basin to watch skiing. Though I have lived in Southern Idaho nearly all of my life, I have never been to that mountain. My husband warned me it was a winding mountain road and he definitely knew what he was talking about. The sign said 16 miles and I'm glad I set the trip odometer so we'd all have a clue about 'how much longer?' The scenery was gorgeous with snow-flocked pines and wonderful views of the valley below. One sign I passed marked the altitude at 6000 feet.

We finally reached the lodge and found a place to park. For some reason (!) they wouldn't let us go through the 'athletes only' entrance though the nice volunteer manning the entrance indicated it was only because we didn't have official badges, not because of any obvious lack of the 'athletic look' :) She gave Caleb a pin from Croatia. So we had to return to the entrance my middle son had found in the first place. We got inside to find a big group of people gathered around the medals podium and group after group of athletes being given awards in various divisions of competition. I know there was a giant slalom event but I'm not sure what else. We were standing right where the athletes would exit after being given their medals so I know my oldest son B got to give some high-fives. I honestly was disappointed that there was no flag-raising ceremony or playing of the national anthems for the winner of the gold but I know that would be a huge undertaking. It was fun to see so many countries represented and see the excitement, pride and sheer joy on so many faces. We watched these medal ceremonies for quite awhile, then decided to see if there was anyone still coming down the mountain--no, not really except a really short run. We visited a shop where J bought one of those throw-away type cameras on a 50% off sale--no one else bought anything. Of course, he had to take a few photos. Then back to the van and back down, down, down, down the mountain road to Boise.

I did amazingly well re-finding the Qwest arena where they were holding the figure skating competition (MANY of the streets in down-town Boise are one-ways so I couldn't exactly re-trace my path)--I'm bragging because this is quite an accomplishment for me :) We had a great time watching the freestyle figure skaters and I was pleased to see that this competition was also divided into several skill levels and age levels as well. It was cool to be in the midst of such a supportive crowd clapping and cheering and shaking those clacker-things when an athlete succeeded at performing a particular move and clapping encouragingly when someone fell and got back up to try again. It felt like an emotionally safe place to be. My daughter T is 12 and often embarrassed at her older brother B's behavior (14 with an autistic spectrum disorder) I did try to maintain the noise level of his screaming cheers and discussed again the inappropriateness of hugging strangers (he did well on that one) but otherwise felt like he was probably mainly among friends. The older kids all had money in their pockets and a concession stand close by--I guess I could count all that walking back and forth as PE if we were still home-schooling :)

And what can I say about Mr. Caleb. . . . One funny thing was that the seats are like theater seats and his kept wanting to fold up with him in it. As usual if anyone else had food, he felt like he needed some, too. Finally he was getting so antsy with sitting that I got up with him to let him walk around. He was just in his socks and I didn't want to bother putting on his boots. So he decided he was an ice skater, too, I guess, because he was sliding his feet on the smooth cement, twirling in circles, trying to do the splits and trying to do somersaults--yes on the cement and yes with people walking all around him. Almost everyone thought he was adorable--and most of the time I did, too. He was having a GREAT time. A couple times, though, he nearly made someone trip because he'd be walking along normally and he'd just out-of-the-blue drop to the floor and start performing his antics. While he was 'on tour' we even got to see Louise from A New Beginning Adoption agency there in Boise. That is the agency we used for our home study. I was pleased when she said she follows our blog and knows we are still waiting for court.

We left that building about 7 pm and went over to another building, I think called the Boise Center on the Grove, and there was a place where the public could sometimes interact with the athletes. While we were there I didn't see any athletes but our kids had so much fun anyway. Caleb got involved in floor hockey and did not want to quit. Whether with other little kids or even bigger kids he was like a little tank in there with a mixture of the energizer bunny thrown in for good measure. He did have to be reminded repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly (you get the picture) to 'keep your stick down' so it didn't become a baseball bat. B and J faced off for a wii baseball game, followed by T and J first with baseball and then bowling. B went on to the Foosball table. No one wanted to leave but I had to remind everyone of a school day on Thursday. Before I leave this place in the story I do want to say how kind and helpful all of the volunteers working there were.

Then back to the parking garage, past Burger King for a milkshake and down the trail for home. We got home around 11:15 pm, I think. It was definitely a fun day at the Olympics.

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