There is a chance that I was suckered in to letting Kaitlyn get out of bed for a little bit last night during the Orange Bowl. I say there is a “chance” because Amber and I have a different opinion on the circumstances.
We are trying to get Kaitlyn back into her regular routine now that the holidays are over, even though she has a few days before school starts back. In getting her back on track, we had her go to bed before the start of the Orange Bowl. Apparently, that we just not acceptable to her.
Just before the Seminoles started their drive from the 5 yard-line in the first quarter, I went in to check to see if she was sleeping or not. She was not sleeping. In fact, she was sitting up in her bed crying. She wanted nothing more than to be able to watch her friends EJ Manuel and Dustin Hopkins in their last game for FSU. How could I let her sit there crying and not bring her out to watch for a little bit? How could I deprive her of watching her two favorite players in their last game? I couldn’t.
We made a deal that she could come out and watch for a little bit, but would have to go back to bed soon. And it is good thing that I brought her out. A few plays after we sat down, Lonnie Pryor scored on a 60 yard run, and the Noles were in business. Maybe Kaitlyn was just the luck they needed.
Amber and I let her stay up for a few more series, and then it was off to bed. She asked about Bjoern Werner, and spotted Nick O’Leary. When Amber asked how she was able to identify O’Leary, she simply responded, “Didn’t you read the magazine with their names in it?” Amber had not read it, and Kaitlyn has studied it over and over since we got it in October. She is more than familiar with the players.
Kaitlyn missed seeing Dustin break the NCAA record for career field goals, but I think she will be ok with that since the Noles won quite handily. We have finally convinced her that she can pick out new favorite players next year, and can cheer for EJ and Dustin no matter what NFL team they play for next year.
Maybe Amber was right, maybe I was suckered in. I still contend that it would have been impossible for me to deny Kaitlyn the joy of watching the Noles play last night, and the truth is that she probably would have done the same thing had she been the one to check on Kaitlyn.
“We came out here last year, and we’ve been looking forward to it ever since. It puts things in perspective and allows us to play for something bigger than ourselves, bigger than our team. And it gives us a chance to be a part of the community, which is something we strive to be every year.”
–Florida State SS Justin Gonzalez (courtesy of Tallahassee Democrat)
Another season of Miracle Sports came to an end last night, which meant it was time for another Seminole Showdown (here, here). As with the ones in the past, this one did not disappoint, and having members of the Seminole baseball and softball teams interact with the athletes was tremendous.
For Kaitlyn, Thursdays at Miracle have been tremendous for her in helping her overcome some of the obstacles she faces on a daily basis such as interacting and engaging with people. From our first day out there through last night, we have seen a ton of improvement in the way that Kaitlyn interacts with people who are not Amber or I. Whether it is getting a piggy-back ride around the bases or having one of the Golden Girls paint a butterfly on her face, everything Kaitlyn’s experiences on the Miracle Field today is something we could only have dreamed of two years ago. There was a time where she would not let too many people get close to her, and that she was not interested in any types of interactions with people. Because of the atmosphere created at Miracle, Kaitlyn has come out of her shell.
Like all of the athletes, her favorite event of the season is when the Seminoles show up. She gets to interact with athletes that she sees on TV or on the field, and it is a great experience for her. Each time is the thrill of a lifetime for her. She also enjoys when the Marching Chiefs show up and play familiar tunes for everyone.
As a parent, I am very appreciative of the regular “green team” volunteers and also of the athletes who show up for the Showdowns. A lot of the regular volunteers are students, and they are all so giving of their time, and it makes a huge difference to the athletes and their caregivers. I am fortunate that I get to experience both the parent side and the volunteer side of Miracle Sports, and I cherish my time out there.
If you have never been to Miracle Sports on Thursday nights (or whatever night it is held in your community), you are missing out. Even someone like Ann Coulter would come away with a new appreciation of the athletes on the field, and she may even expand her vocabulary some as well.
I cannot put my finger on why it is, but Kaitlyn has seemed to have a little extra bounce in her step this week. Not 100% of the time, but surely more than usual.
She has been a little more lively in the mornings, and has been extremely excited every afternoon when I get home from work. She was happy, instead of put off, when I surprised her by picking her up from school the other day.
Maybe it was the start of the school year. Or maybe the visit from her Pappy, uncle, and cousin last weekend. Or maybe the visit from her Papa and Gran this weekend. Or maybe the newest addition to her favorite family other than ours. Whatever the reason, we will take it.
Amber and I both know that Kaitlyn was very excited for the start of school, so the prospect of that excitement carrying over to this week is certainly there. She really likes when family visits, or when we visit family, because it is rare that she gets to see them, especially now that school is underway and she is about to start gymnastics again. She absolutlely loves having family around when we are with them, and we have benefitted from people like the Spragues and Sinclairs “adopting” us into theirs (it is more that they “adopted” Kaitlyn and had to accept Amber and I as well). She is certainly excited about the new addition to the Sprague family as well; she has asked about going over again very soon (so if you are reading this Ryan and/or Jeni, we will probably be at your door sooner rather than later).
Hopefully this wave of good days continues, at least through the weekend. Seminole football starts tomorrow, and that is always a good day in my book.
One of the most amazing things about participating in Miracle Sports is the support the athletes get from FSU athletes. On any given Thursday, we have Seminoles out there helping out (especially our favorite swimmer).
Tonight was another Seminole Showdown. This past fall, the Miracle athletes took on the FSU baseball team, and tonight they took on the football team.
If it is fair to say the athletes enjoy themselves every Thursday, it is also true that they get even more excited to take on the Seminoles. Smiles were plentiful on both sides of the ball as Team Miracle scored a hard-earned win over the Noles. Kaitlyn scored a touchdown, and played excellent defense as she covered EJ Manuel.
I thoroughly enjoy our time on the Miracle Field. Especially when it comes to playing football. Kaitlyn would not be at home on a football field with “regular” kids playing by well-established rules; at Miracle, she plays like an All American. And, most importantly, Kaitlyn has a great time. I doubt that she would enjoy playing league football, yet she is all about playing football every Thursday.
As is custom, the Seminole Showdown marked the end of another season. I am thankful, as always, to the regular Green Teamers (Ryan, Holly, Mike, David, Caroline, Kristy and everyone else), and also to the football players that showed up tonight (EJ Manuel, Anthony Porterfield, Lonnie Pryor, Dustin Hopkins, and the rest). We have seen so much growth from Kaitlyn since we began playing Miracle Sports over a year ago.
*The picture in this post is of Kaitlyn locking down EJ Manuel*
If Kaitlyn’s first report card was a way to gauge where she was and to set a benchmark for future performance, that would make this one the first “real” one that counts. Her first nine weeks saw her struggle with handling problems and giving her best effort, and Amber and I were hoping to see improvement during the second nine weeks.
For the most part, Kaitlyn has been giving consistent effort in the majority of her work; social studies, science, health education, visual arts, performing arts (music), and physical education. Unfortunately, she has been giving inconsistent effort in two areas, language arts and math. She does not struggle at all grade-wise in these areas, just in giving effort, which says to me that if she were to give a more consistent effort, she would excel in these areas even more.
As for actual “grades,” Kaitlyn scored a satisfactory in visual arts and writing. Basically, she is progressing right on track with her grade level. Amber and I are not too shocked that she would struggle (maybe the wrong word for it) in visual arts and writing. With a literal and linear mind, it will take her more effort (there’s that word again) to really excel in those areas. Room for improvement for sure, but nothing to be worried about at all.
The best part about her report card is the areas where she “extends/applies in many ways” her achievement: reading, math, social studies, science, health education, performing arts (music), and physical education. None of the above come as a surprise to us. As noted on her report card, Kaitlyn is “quite the reader,” and that desire to read is strong at home as well. (She gets that all from Amber; I like to read on occasion, but you are unlikely to find my nose in a book as much as you would Amber.) Kaitlyn practices her math constantly (thanks iPad for having an app out there), and has shown interest in the other areas above as well. We are proud of her for doing so well in these subjects.
In addition to the comment noted above regarding her reading, her teacher noted that she loves to work in their centers and on the computer. She does, however, rush through assignments and needs encouragement to give her best effort, and with encouragement, she is capable of doing excellent work.
For her efforts in the second nine weeks, Kaitlyn was named to the Honor Roll. She missed out on perfect attendance when she missed a day when she was sick. Overall, this nine weeks was at least what we expected, maybe even a little better. The bar has been set, however, for subsequent report cards.
Unrelated notes: Miracle League started again tonight with soccer. Kaitlyn was excited to see her friends and her buddy Sarah. Tomorrow she and I are going to watch our friend Caroline at her swim meet at FSU.