Living out the London Olympics

Energy, excitement, inspiration, and engagement are on high alert and frequency around our house these days. We are consuming the London Olympic Games like a honey badger might consume the head of a snake.

Our Marriage and Michael Phelps…

Drew and I were married 8 years ago and began our wedded bliss with the 2004 Olympic games in Athens on our brand new 40 inch TV in our 720 sq ft apartment with only network channels. There, Michael Phelps’ won his first 6 gold medals and stood atop medal podiums with a young face and a laurel crown of olive leaves. In 2004, no Twitter updates or Facebook posts spoiled our enjoyment of the Olympics “Live” during prime-time’s tape delayed presentation. We cuddled, cheered, and together appreciated the awe of the athlete’s accomplishments, the connection to the Olympics ancient history, and the rise of new US superstars whose names we learned for 2 weeks and then mostly quickly forgot.

By 2008, Drew and I had added 2 kids to our  family by the time Michael Phelps would add 2 more gold medals to his Beijing cache- winning 8 this round. Elijah was 2 and sported his Olympic t-shirt with pride. Andi Gayle Grace was 3.5 months old and made staying up late to watch the Olympics a little tougher since she was interested in waking up 2-3 times a night for feedings at that point. Sleep was weak but our connection together for Olympic zeal was strong.

Now it’s 2012 and the pulls of technological consumption are tight. We’ve had to be disciplined to avoid checking Twitter or reading the side bars of any internet sites to protect our time on the couch at night, seeing the events together, enjoying explaining and sharing the excitement with Eli (now 6) and Andi (now 4) who are very interested and  inspired by all the different events and the people who are accomplishing so much on their own or as a part of a team. We are all four experiencing the moments of grandeur, surprise, defeat, and human accomplishments. We  (Drew and me) knowingly and subconsciously (E and A) appreciate the beautiful diversity and the simple commonality of the people of the world doing similar feats.

As Michael Phelps retires, now with 22 medals- adding 4 more golds to the overall count- Drew and I will continue our marriage without the “every-4-year-Michael-Phelps’ hiatus” to break up the normal flow of our hot Missouri Augusts. We celebrate all Michael has achieved but even more so celebrate our achievement of 8 years of marriage and anticipate our golden anniversary in a short 42 years!! Love never tarnishes.

London on location: Olympics Osborne Style on this side of the Pond

Mostly, these Olympics have been about living out what we see. Elijah has been especially inspired by the events he’s watched on TV.  In his vibrant and busy imagination, Eli can see no reason why he can’t try out his skills in some new ways. Watching the Olympians really has given him courage to risk without fear and aim high.

Last week we played field hockey in the dormant grass on the side of our house Monday evening with a knee hockey set.

On Tuesday Eli requested the opportunity to long jump at a track. When we got there he long jumped and decided to run a 400M lap for time. His time was 2:33.  (Eli’s long jump– check out the video of Eli’s LOOOONG run and quick jump- very low tech videography on my part- eek.) Andi did one long jump, ran 50M, and then decided to play in the sand and examine two dead birds (the summer heat has been brutal!).

On Wednesday we went to a pool with a diving board so the kids could do springboard diving tricks. Eli said he would do a running flip off the board and end with a dive and indeed he did!!!  Eli’s diving– the thrills are quick and exciting here.

On Thursday they both swam 25m in the pool unassisted in honor of Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte, Rebecca Soni, and other swimmers.

On Friday, they couldn’t wait to try out new gymnastics moves at the Mercury Gymnastics Open Gym hour. In a surprising turn of events, Andi ended up winning the pommel horse event- an event exclusively for men in the actual gymnastics.

Yesterday afternoon, Andi joined Drew and me in a frisbee golf round that we considered discus for her.

Later, during a birthday gathering last night, Elijah and buddy Beckett crafted a pole vault event out of two kid chairs with a branch in-between.Using deck posts 2×2’s  they jumped over the branch bar.

Today, while I was at a doctor’s appointment for Baby Booyah, Uncle James swam with the kids. They did synchronized swimming, diving, and water polo all in an hours time. That Andi can say “synchronized” better than I can spell it to type this blog post shows on its own the emotional, time, and energy investment we have in these games!

Perhaps one of the best things about the kids’ Olympic antics is the lack of technology (can’t spoil it as it happens live and only once!) and the personal achievement and enjoyment they feel without any crowds cheering.




It’s been a wild 10 days so far, can’t wait to live out the rest of London with my family. The baby inside is a full participant with kicks, cheers, and intimate moments of staying up late with his/her parents to watch the world at play.



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