Thursday, May 19, 2016

Canine Companions for Independence Graduation, Lonestar Chapter

The Lonestar Chapter of CCI had their graduation last Friday. Even though we have had Hallow since February, we were invited back to participate in the graduation ceremony. Hallow's puppy raiser, Joan, flew all the way from California to be here for the graduation. We were so excited to meet the woman who raised Hallow for the first 18 months of her life.

Graduation day started with a brunch.

We got to meet Joan in person for the first time. It was so fun to sit with her and go through Hallow's puppy book together. Hallow was Joan's 4th puppy to raise for CCI. She is raising puppy #5 now! There were people at the brunch that have raised as many as 18 puppies for CCI! Puppy raisers impress me so much. They give 18 months of their lives to a dog that they will eventually hand over to someone else. That is a beautiful act of love and generosity.

Joan was so kind to bring gifts for Hallow and the boys. Benjamin loved the Coast Guard coin she gave us.

The graduation ceremony was sweet and emotional. They showed videos of all the graduates with their dogs. Each puppy raiser meets the graduate on stage as they hand over the dog to the deserving recipient. It is very moving and caused a number of tears. They had boxes of tissues on every row.

The whole crew with Joan. We were so thrilled to have her here. It was such a blessing to meet her and Hallow was so excited to see her. It was quite the reunion. 

Love this.

Earlier in the week we had to head up to the CCI training center for interviews.
We did an interview for a local news story as well. I swear, I am becoming pro at interviews.
As far as I know, the story hasn't run yet, but I'll post the link once it does.

It was a great day and we were so blessed to meet Joan and to be there to witness other kids and adults receive their CCI dog. I can't say enough about Canine Companions for Independence and all they do. They are truly a great organization with some really great dogs. We love Hallow and can't imagine life without her. 



Monday, May 09, 2016

At MeMe's for Mother's Day

We took advantage of an activity-free weekend by heading to MeMe's house. It has been a while since we have been down to see her and we were anxious for her to meet Hallow....oh and see her great-grand kids as well.

One of the first things we saw in MeMe's back yard was a Heron.


All smiles at MeMe's house.

Our sweet Hallow enjoyed the big back yard. She made herself right at home.


I realized this weekend that I officially take more photos of the dog than I do the kids. Oh well, we have plenty of pictures of the boys right?


Benjamin had fun walking along the bank and collecting shells.


Pretty sure Caleb is thinking about pushing Benjamin in.

MeMe has the best backyard every.

Most of Sunday morning was spent at the kitchen table, coloring.

Enjoying some early morning time outside. 

Pretty girl with a pretty collar. 


The FreeWheel was such a help over the weekend. We love this thing and highly recommend it. If you missed my full review of the FreeWheel (plus a coupon for $100 off) click here.

Being a mom isn't easy but it is good. I'm stressed, but blessed and my heart is full.

Happy Mother's Day.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

TexasFest for CCI

We get to do the coolest things ya'll. I'm always humbled by all of the fun things we get to do, things that we would never even know about if it weren't for Spina Bifida. We were invited to represent Canine Companions for Independence at TexasFest, a local gala put on by The Irving Healthcare Foundation. The foundation raises money for CCI and other organizations.



The boys watching an armadillo race....only in Texas ya'll.

Caleb was brave enough to touch the dillo.

Since it was a CCI fundraiser, we had our girl Hallow with us. She got quite a bit of attention.

Pretty girl.


There was a magician that the boys loved. He did several slight of hand tricks that had them mesmerized and somehow he got one of my rings into a sealed envelope. Mind blown on that one.

Isn't she pretty in her collar and flower? I finally have a girl to buy pretty things for.

And finally, a rare family photo. 


Friday, April 22, 2016

1,000th Blog Post!

This is my 1,000 blog post ya'll! Seems like a major milestone to recognize.

The very first blog post was way back in November of 2006.


Caleb was just over 1 year old. I originally started the blog as a way for family and friends to stay up to date on Caleb. I had no idea I would still be blogging almost 10 years later with 1,000 posts under my belt. I had no idea the people this blog would bring into my life. I had no idea my blog and my family would impact others. Who knew?

For fun I looked at my blog stats to see what words or phrases have been searched that lead folks to my blog. Not surprisingly "spina bifida" was the number one search entry. I love that people find my blog while searching under spina bifida. I love that they see Caleb living life with SB. 

A few of my most viewed posts are:

(I reviewed two different TiLite chairs and their features/options)



 (this was a very popular post in October, SB Awareness month)


And my personal favorite....

I've been on the scenic route with Caleb for over 10 years now and I still love the view.

A big thank you to all of you that take the time to read our blog. It has truly become an online scrapbook of our lives, recording the good....and the not so good. I've always tried to be honest and share my heart along with the everyday things. I've shared the loss of 2 pregnancies. I've shared the ups and downs of having a child with Spina Bifida. I've shared my heartbreaks and my rejoicing. I've shared our lives. Thanks for being a part of that. 

1,000 blog posts. I can't believe it. Here's to 1,000 more.


I would love to hear from you folks. What is your favorite blog post? How did you find this blog? How long have you been following our family?


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Tapestry of Grace, Year 2, Unit 3

We just wrapped up another TOG unit. This was my favorite unit by far. It covered Colonial Times, so we learned all about the founding of the 13 colonies. We managed to squeeze in a number of activities during our studies.

We learned about the paper art of quilling. Quilling involves spiraling thin strips of paper and then shaping them. Appently this was a popular activity in Colonial Times.

Caleb found it cool but tedious. It requires a good amount of fine motor.

A quill heart.

Benjamin loved quilling and made several shapes. 


We planted seeds in an attempt to grow our own food, just like in CT. Several colonies planted and grew tobacco...we planted cantaloupe seeds. Seemed more appropriate.

Caleb worked on a 13 colonies book throughout the unit. 




For language arts, Caleb had to write a short play with a colonial times theme. 
We chose Legos to act out our play. Clearly Benjamin played a role in this project.

Basically Derick (left) is the leader of a new colony and Dekemunbo (right) is the leader of a local Native American tribe. Derick comes over to make peace and Deke agrees but while they are chatting, a fight breaks out between the two sides...

...and it ends in a blood bath. Only Derick and Deke remain. Clearly this play was written by 2 boys.

Caleb also wrote a fable. It was about a horse and a macaw who go head-to-head in a slam dunk contest. Writing and creating stories is not easy for Caleb so I was tickled at his progress during this unit.


Since cameras weren't invented yet, the colonists relied on silhouettes. The boys thought these were so cool! Obviously they should have been smaller...but oh well.

And of course, we completed another lapbook. Still love the lapbooks.

Benjamin joins in on some of Caleb's activities but also does his own curriculum, My Father's World 1st grade. Benjamin will be a full-time TOGer next year. He's doing well and making progress. Reading is a challenge but he gets better every week so I'm not too worried. 

Only one unit left to finish out this year. I think we will take our time getting through this last unit, take a couple of breaks during, and finish up at the end of June. My plan is to take all of July off and then start back up August 1st. I think I like the year-round approach to homeschooling. It allowed us to take as many breaks as we needed throughout the year. October is always a crazy month so we need time off then. I also like taking all of December off. Plus, we travel throughout the year so it is just nice to spread our school year out instead of trying to follow the public school schedule.



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