As for our middle, he just doesn't like skating in general which is understandable. Having Down syndrome and low muscle tone the feeling of feet sliding willy-nilly underfoot is not for him. We will keep trying but for now if going on the ice with boots makes him comfortable that's OK. He enjoyed smacking a puck around either way.
Today was a beautiful sunny day and not too cold to be outside. We went to our school's ice rink and while I bit bumpy, it was great. The ice rink volunteers have been doing an awesome job of making and flooding the rink.

We were the first ones out which gave us much freedom in racing around and shooting some pucks. Our youngest is learning hockey, and lets just a hockey career is not in
his future. Turns out he doesn't really like skating/hockey as much as he thought he would but none the less he actually enjoyed himself and even asked to come back tomorrow. I think he just liked that he could just do whatever he wanted and not do drills.

Our daughter is the one that always loves doing things and find almost anything fun, so she naturally she enjoyed herself and was the last one to say lets go home.
My big kid, hubby, enjoyed it lots too. He plays hockey with a bunch of guys once a week. The type of playing that you give it all and don't hold back. However today the ice won. He caught his skate on the ice on a turn and fell hard to the ice, land in the boards. I missed seeing but two of the other kids saw and thought it was great. Hubby's elbow didn't find it all that great. We debated if he should go get an x-ray but after icing it for a while he said it was feeling better and could lift it higher than before. A bit swollen on the funny bone area, which probably was the reason for the tingling running up and down his elbow.

I read that some Montreal scientist predict that there will be fewer and fewer ice rinks in the future based on weather data in the past. ( Considering that last year a rink couldn't even be built and this year, and this year the ice building couldn't even start until the end of December, there could be something to this. The volunteers had battled plus degrees temperatures and basically had to start over again once already. Recently we had a good cold spill, but plus temperatures are expected again this coming week. Guess we better get the skating in while we can.
My mom cooked and baked a lot.  We didn't go out to eat often as kids, nor did my parents go out much to eat themselves, and the closest thing to ready made food was canned peaches.  It was a different time then than now... or it seems that way. We saw our mom cook and bake and eventually we did too.  She didn't make it a lesson but more "here, do this while I finish this".  We saw, we learned and then we repeated.  As we got older, should we get home before our mom and saw she put something out to thaw for supper, we sometimes would just start making supper. She didn't care what we made as I think she was grateful that someone started something and she didn't have to cook.  (After so many years of cooking, day in day out, ya I wouldn't be picky either.) 

My mom also made us lunches, even when we were in high school that had a cafeteria. While I think it was more monetary motivated than health, I look back now and think we were fortunate.  In the long run I think we ate a lot better than cafeteria eaters at school. And yes, I did long to get a hamburger, pizza and fries, but nope I had my lunch and no money to do otherwise.... and I'm better off for that.

We also had this class called Home Ec. Ya, do you remember that? We were taught in school about food, food groups, how to prepare food and follow a recipe. Are there classes like this still? I don't know, but I hope so.

So as I read and hear more about childhood obesity, the junk food and lack of exercise being the main culprit, and the general lack of knowledge of what real food is,... something has to be done. I think about my kids, and while I think I'm doing well, I still question, am I?  I have and do involve my kids in making supper and when baking and when grocery shopping show them foods and tell them what things are when they ask.  When making their lunches, I am consciously aware to include all food groups and yet still struggle with what to do with the picky eaters to make sure they eat something and hopefully something healthy.

I watched this link of Jamie Oliver.  He has done several Food Revolution shows and he is passionate about it. I found this motivating and want to continue improving on healthy eating, home cooking, real food and educating my kids on all this along the way. I'd love to find ways to take this out further as well. How about you?
I came  across a website, People For Education, and read about a study on the concerning decline of reading enjoyment in children. I found this interesting and concerning as well. I recommend reading this study.

When I look back over my life I didn't struggle with reading, spelling was another thing, but reading I think I was OK with. I enjoyed books and when needed for home work I researched in encyclopedias, books, magazines and newspapers as
taught by our librarian or teacher. I can't say my parents read with us a lot but they did encourage us to read and the simple fact that resounds loudly to me, we didn't watch endless amounts of TV as there wasn't endless amount of children shows. 

Fast forward to my children.  When my daughter was born, I read to her as a baby.  My mom and especially my Oma thought they saw it all... reading to a baby, ridiculous, but I did it anyways. As she got older I read more books to her and went to the library. I can remember distinctly when she was in the My Little Pony phase there was one My Little Pony book that we
read everyday and many days more then once.  She had memorized each page pretty much completely. We found it funny.  I didn't focus or force her to learn to read, I just read to her.  Come grade one, oddly enough, we found out she was
behind in her reading skills.  I guess in our reading for fun, I missed the point of teaching her.  So we focused on her reading each night and in no time she was up to where she should be.  Reading hasn't been an issue since and she still loves to read, so much we sometimes have to forbid her to read because she stays up at night reading to finish the book.

Now my boys.... this is a different story.  I know I did not read with them as babies, like I did with my daughter. Maybe its because with more kids in the house, they didn't get all that attention I had when it was just one.  Maybe because of having a child with special needs and focusing more attention on other needs like physio therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy,  reading just didn't get in there for them. (Not to forget my daughter still asking for her reading time, I thought/felt like I was getting reading time in.)  Maybe its TV, Internet, etc. Don't get me wrong, I am doing their home reading programs and compared to my daughter, they can read more sight words than she could at the same age.  But that love of reading, the interest to hear the whole page of each page of the story, the wishing that the story would continue when coming to the end of the story is not there.  It seems more task driven than desire....

Until tonight.  I saw my son with Down syndrome, open his home reading book and babble along making up his own story.  At first I thought I need to get him to look at the words and "read" the words, but he quickly told me "No!" and returned to
his reading.  He flipped page by page and read his story and at the end I asked him if he liked the book, "yes".  I did my other son's home reading making him read each word and practise sight words and then we were done.

Now reading this study, I'm taken aback.... I reflect on our home reading program time tonight and compare the two... what use is the ability of reading without the love of reading?  I think I have lost focus, purpose, desire.  Another New Years Resolution has emerged. One that should make a difference to all of us. Time to get back to the Love of Reading.
Several months ago I had a dream that stuck with me.  I enjoy walks/hikes and this is how this dream started off.  I was walking along a trail on a beautiful sunny day and remarking to myself how perfect this hike was when I abruptly came upon a cliff.  So abruptly that I simply stepped right off it without even seeing it.  I landed in a raging river and while sputtering back to the surface I'm thinking to myself "How did I not see it? I don't normally walk off cliffs... this can't be happening." While I'm trying to keep myself afloat and staring at the tall cliff I just walked off, I hear a voice behind me saying "Hey, come, follow me this way".  I turn to see someone afloat in a tube in the same raging river but smiling while waving me on, "The end of the river is this way, you'll be OK."  Still numb and unable to think, I just start to swim my way along side her and begin to notice that the water doesn't seem as raging and I'm able to swim smoother.  Getting over the shock, I look ahead and I see that there are others swimming in the same river towards the river's end, which in the distance looks so much more calmer.  My goal becomes, 'get to the end of the river.'  As I swim I start to feel stronger and I look back at the cliff I had walked off and to my surprise I see someone walking off it like I did, and some more already in the water behind me.  I holler back to them to "Come, this way, you'll be OK!"

As I'm swimming along and gathering with others swimming and floating along the way I notice that there is a couple at the shore edge being helped out of the water.  My first thought was "hey, how come they get to get out earlier", but quickly
change my thought to "its better to stay in the river" as I see and hear their cries.  Yes, stay in the river and swim to the end, that is best place to be.

I woke up shortly after that.  That was where we were in our journey of childhood cancer with our middle child.  We had walked off a cliff we didn't see, floundered a bit as we asked "why, why our son, why our son with special needs, why our family, why us, why me."  We found our way among others on a similar journey ahead of us that were more than willing to be supportive and encouraging.  And yes, the reality of those who left the journey early to start a different journey of loss and grief. 

Now we are further down the river.  The waters are calmer and the sky sunnier.  The river is still going on.  How long is it, I don't really know... but I like swimming too and we are together.

Seems that everyone remembers to be thankful at Thanksgiving weekend and I am no different as we do have lots to be thankful for.  First, we GET TO celebrate Thanksgiving around table of food with family and friends.  We GET TO because we have food and family.  We take that all for granted but it is still true none the less.  And with that I encourage everyone to drop food off at a food bank collection and share in your abundance whatever it is and when you are sitting around your table with your family, take a look at them all and at the very least say "thank you" in your heart that everyone at your table is with you this year.

We have an extra thing to be thankful for this year.  It is our biggiest, most bestest thankful thing and it is that our son finished a long 3 1/4 years of chemotherapy at the end of August.  I was reminded last night when an ear infection started on him and I brought him in to get checked out.  I expected it to be a quick look and antibiotics and we are out, but he also had a fever.  Since he is considered immune compromised for several month after chemo as well, that meant blood tests to check his counts which if they were low he would be admitted, which in turn would mean not able to attend and host thankgiving dinners this weekend.  It's happened before and you learn to roll with it, but I'm am very thankful that his counts were good after all and he could go home with antibiotics and a follow up on Wednesday.  

So this Thanksgiving we also GET TO be together as a family.  

Yes, I am  Thankful.