Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tethered swimmers!

And the final piece of the paratriathlon puzzle... Lowell and Warren tried the tethered swim for the first time! True to my word, I was lurking beneath the surface, creepily capturing footage of the historical moment. Thank heavens for a wonderful Nana who graciously arrived to sit on our babies at 6am!

As one would expect, the boys rocked it. A pool is undoubtedly trickier than an open water swim because of the turning-around factor, but they still nailed it.

Tethered and ready!
Discussing their turning-around options. Tricky business!

I am SUPER photogenic and feminine at 6:30am underwater. FYI.
Such form! Such grace!

Photographing speed demons under water is not as simple as one might hope, but I still had a blast treading water, holding my breath as long as possible, and trying my darndest to document this epic moment. I felt honoured to be a first-hand witness... I LOVE watching these two together.

By the way. If you're new here and have no clue why the heck Lowell and Warren are swimming tethered together and I am proudly/creepily photographing them, go right on ahead and read about their paratriathlon ambitions.

These boys rock my socks off!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Remembering Colbie Marie Rose

Me with my precious niece Colbie when she was born.
Today would have been Colbie's half birthday. Half birthdays are kind of a big deal in our family... but this one is tough. Rather than celebrating this 6-month milestone, we're mourning Colbie's loss and tearfully wondering about what could have been. How that impossibly thick mop of black hair would have grown even more. How she'd undoubtedly be pulling off the goofiest of grins. How she'd have the most infectious of giggles and the most beautiful of personalities. She'd be SO UNBELIEVABLY ADORABLE. She'd be sitting up, rolling around, throwing back solids, babbling away, and basically making everyone she comes into contact with fall madly in love with her. I can picture the potential so vividly it hurts.

The other night, three-and-a-half year old Fraser told us that Colbie was safe in heaven with Jesus, and Jesus was giving her a back rub. He went on to say that we miss Colbie, and we want to visit heaven so we can give her a back rub too. Right on the money there, Fraser. Right. On. The money.

Many tears were shed as Lowell and I created this video in the days following Colbie's devastatingly unexpected passing. Many more are being shed now.

Sending extra love and hugs to Shareen and Craig as they continue to remember their baby girl.

I love you and think about you every day, sweet Colbie. Today we will be consuming ice cream cake in your honour. xox

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Stefan is two!

Last week, Stefan turned two. Despite my multiple efforts and very intentional priming ("Super heroes are wicked fun, and we happen to have these awesome super hero outfits that you love.... so anyhoo, what do you want to do for your second birthday?"), Stef continued to insist on a hockey game for his party.

Alrighty then.

There were no actual hockey games happening locally, so we opted to gift him a mini net, sticks, and balls, borrow jerseys (thanks Amy!), and have our own little game.

The party attendees included three generations of the C family: Papa Nicky & Nana Steph (our gracious grandparent representatives), Uncle Nick & Auntie Chels, and Nico & Summer. Just the perfect little fun, easy going crowd.

This shot captured Nico in rather an aggressive stance... I don't think any blood was shed!

Poor Summer (aka Tiny Tim) couldn't participate in the hockey game as her poor little leg was broken... so she focussed her energies on eating popcorn and looking adorable.

The birthday boy scored a pre-dinner snuggle with Auntie Chels...

Next up... hot dogs. Mmmmmm...

Then hockey puck cake pops! Or more accurately, "cheater pops".  I confess- I covered Oreos with chocolate to achieve the puck look. (I really have no idea what I'm doing here in the cake pop world, friends. I've made actual cake pops a few times, and each time I just fly by the seat of my pants simply trying to be a little more proficient and slightly less awkward than the previous attempt.)

Apparently the hockey game was not enough to release all the boyish energy... DOGGY PILE!


The C family proved more than generous: a toy baseball set and a scooter. SCORE!

I love this shot with all the wee boys gathered 'round Papa Nicky.

Stunning duo: Nana Steph & Summer.

So to sum up... popcorn, hockey, hot dogs, cake pops, presents, party over. So simple yet so delightful.

Happy birthday big boy!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Paratriathlete ambitions!

Lowell and his friend/guide Warren just ran their first race tethered! They are aiming to compete in paratriathlon at the international level, and this run was just part of a very involved training process.

Warren is an accomplished triathlete, and had a very respectable finish at Worlds last year. He noticed the momentum that paratriathlon was gaining, and knew Lowell was blind and motivated with a penchant for triathlons. He approached Lowell, they teamed up, and they have been individually working their behinds off since.

Their original goal was Brazil Paralympics 2016, but the week after setting this goal, male visually impaired paratriathletes were excluded from Rio 2016. BOO! Despite this disappointing news, they are continuing to work hard in hopes of competing internationally, and even aiming for Tokyo 2020.

They've tried the tandem thing (which sadly I was not around to photograph).
They've now run tethered.
The final piece of the puzzle is the tethered swim. And worry not... I will be there lurking under water with a camera.

Here's a glimpse of their first tethered run: the Lethbridge College 4 mile run...

They're off!
The boys waited patiently in the freezing cold wind, and began enthusiastically jumping up and down when they spotted Lowell and Warren coming around the bend!
Here they come! I may have become a bit of a sobby emotional mess when I spotted Warren's arm gently guiding Lowell. Gosh... so special.
See how they're connected by the cord between them? GO BOYS GO!
30:10 was their final time for the 4 miles, and that put them in second place. Lowell was a tad frustrated with the time, but I think that a) it's an amazing time, and b) it was a stinkin windy day on actual terrain (vs a treadmill) with people all over the place, and it was their FIRST TIME TETHERED. A highly successful first if you ask me!
The boys and their coach, Lori. She has quite the list of achievements herself, and she's donating her time to help them achieve their goals... I love her!
Lowell and Warren are working so hard, and doing all in their power to be the best they can be. Owning a custom tandem bicycle to fit their measurements is a dream, but somewhat of a costly dream. Soooo... if your brother's friend happens to have a wealthy uncle looking for a great cause to sponsor, feel free to give us a dingle! ;)

I'm so proud of these men and their ambitions. I can hardly wait to see where this journey takes them!