Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wanted: A cycle for Caleb

A few weeks ago a dear friend of ours at church told us about a guy who builds custom hand cycles and he thought this would be a good resource for Caleb.  So over the last few weeks Glenn and I have been in contact with Justin (the gentleman who builds hand cycles) about having a custom hand cycle made just for Caleb. 

In the past Caleb has had an AmTryke, here is a picture of that:
Caleb has had this for a little over 2 years and it has served it's purpose.  It was great for when he was younger but he has definitely outgrown it.  There are larger AmTryke's available but to be quite honest they look like giant tricycles, plus they tip over easily.

Justin makes cycles that look more like this:
(That is actually Justin in the picture.  I blurred out the cute little boy's face since I don't personally know him)

Okay, so how cool is this cycle?!  As soon as Justin sent me a picture of this amazing cycle that he made, I knew I wanted one for Caleb.  It's perfect.  It's low to the ground which makes tipping over less likely and it will make it easier for Caleb to get on and off the cycle.  The cycle speaks for itself but I also appreciate the fact that Justin uses hand cycles himself.  He competes in races using a hand cycle and he does wheelchair races (I didn't even know that existed).  He takes this very seriously and it is without a doubt a labor of love for him.  He is the real deal folks.  Plus I like that he is local to our area and I will actually get to meet the person who is making Caleb's cycle.  The cycles Justin has made in the past have been for double amputees so he is working on a somewhat different design for Caleb.

I suggest sitting down for this next part....the cycle will cost close to $2500.  I know.  I know.  That is a lot of money to spend on a bike for a not quite 6 year old.  I agree.  It is a lot of money but the fact is that I can't just walk in a Wal-Mart and buy Caleb a bike.  He can't ride a standard bicycle.  He has to have a hand cycle.  And whenever you are dealing with a specialty item, the cost is high.  Good grief, his wheelchair was almost $6000 so we know all too well how much equipment costs.

Despite the cost we really want Caleb to have this cycle.  I have no doubt that he would absolutely love it.  And one day Benjamin will be riding a bike and we want Caleb to be able to ride a bike with his brother.  So we have begun the process of saving for this cycle.  I'm not sure how long it will take us but we will save until we have enough money.  After much thought I decided to set up a "Chip-In" page so that family or friends (or strangers even) could donate toward the cost of this cycle.  I felt a little weird about doing this but I decided it was an easy way for people to help us if they felt led to do so.  So, if you feel the urge to help us buy this cycle for Caleb then click on the "Chip-In" button below or on the right of the blog to donate.

On a totally different note, I have spent many hours labeling every. single. blog. post.  I wanted there to be an easy way to search the blog and now there is.  The labels are listed on the right, so now you can click on "HKAFO's" and it will pull up every blog post with that label. Or if you want to read about Benjamin's NICU  stay then click on "NICU". If you want to see all the videos ever posted then click on "videos" Or if for some reason you want to see every post that has a picture of Glenn then click on "Daddy".  :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ketchup Blogging

So I'm doing some Ketchup ("Catch-up") Blogging.  Hehe, get it?  Clever right?  I wish I could say that I'm so witty that I thought of this on my own but I actually saw another mom do it on her blog.  I thought it was a cute way to say "Hey, I'm a little behind on my blogging so I'm playing ketchup!"  And this happens to be the ketchup I buy in case you are interested.  Anywho, let's get to the good stuff.

A couple of weeks ago Caleb saw a commercial for an airplane show in our area.  He immediately said that he wanted to go.  This surprised me because he knew that the airplanes would be very loud but he wanted to go anyway (although he made sure we took his headphones with us).
So, last weekend we took the boys to the Air Power Expo which was on a local military reserve base so it was all military planes and helicopters.  The boys were so excited and I kinda was too.
There were dozens and dozens of planes out for the public to see.  This was the first plane we saw when we came in the gate.  It was HUGE.

Caleb had so much fun.  He was all over the place looking at the planes.  There were so many to look at that he didn't know which way to go.
Hey, who is that with Caleb?  Oh wait, that's me!  I actually made it into a picture!  It's a miracle!
Caleb almost had a fit (the good kind) over this car.  He loves NASCAR and was so excited to see one up close. (his excitement is not represented well in this photo-but I promise the boy was excited)
Caleb got to see the cockpit of a plane.  And he got to talk to a couple of pilots.  It was after this picture that Glenn started thinking about joining the Air Force.  I told him that he was too old.
This is "Fat Albert".  It wasn't easy to get pictures of the planes as they were flying...they are kinda fast. 
The Blue Angels.  
Oh my, these planes are so fast that you had no idea they were anywhere near you until they were flying over your head!  They totally sneak up on you.  These were Caleb's favorite.
Watching the Blue Angels.  Notice all the dirt on his hands and arms, from his wheelchair.  It's amazing how dirty those wheels can get and therefore how dirty his hands and arms get as well.
(No, we did not get any compensation from Dasani Bottled water for advertising their product in this picture)

So you are probably wondering "Where is Benjamin"??  He was there, chillin' in the stroller for most of the day.
He seemed to enjoy the air show as well.  He is still talking about the planes and the "smoke" that came out of them.  Both boys (mom and dad too) had a great time at the air show.

Finally, here are a few pictures from Caleb's baseball game this morning.
Father and son.
Love this picture.  
Love that the rock Caleb is sitting on has "Miracle Makers" etched into it.
MeMe came to watch Caleb play today. 
No idea what he is doing here.

And the best picture of the morning...
This is the reaction you get when you try to get Benjamin to sit on a rock for a nice "brotherly" photo.  I guess he wasn't feeling very "brotherly".  And look at Caleb's face, he's thinking "What is wrong with this kid?  Why do mom and dad insist on trying to get him in pictures?"
Hope you enjoyed ketching up with us!  :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Collecting rocks and Truckin' up that hill

I thought I would share some pictures from Caleb's most recent therapeutic horseback riding session.  They took the riders outside so it was much easier to get good pictures.
While riding, Caleb has to really work.  They have him reach out to grab things which works on strengthening his trunk muscles.
"I got it!"

While "bubba" is riding Benjamin likes to walk around and find rocks to put into his paper cup.
Looking for the perfect rock.

"Look at my rocks!"

Caleb gets done riding around 5:15 and I am usually anxious to get in the car and head home so that I can get dinner started.  I've learned that just because I am in a doesn't mean my boys are!  Caleb did not want to use his walker to walk up this ramp, he wanted to do it without his walker.  I knew this would take about twice as long but I loved that he wanted to try.  So I let him.

Walking up the hill.  Look at that grin, he's proud of himself already!

Slowly but surely making it up that hill!

Sometimes we fall....and that's okay.  We all fall sometimes.

What's important is that you get back up and keep truckin' up that hill.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring Baseball

 Caleb started the Spring Season of baseball through the Miracle League yesterday.  He was so excited about starting up with baseball again.

Caleb's team, The Pirates, started in the outfield.  The games are very relaxed, non-competitive.  The purpose  is to allow kids that wouldn't otherwise be able to, the opportunity to play baseball.  Something so simple brings all of these kids so much joy for an hour each Saturday.

Caleb up at bat.
Caleb did great!  He used his walker the entire game.  Last fall he was only able to use his walker about half of the game before his legs were tired and he wanted his chair.  I really saw how his endurance has increased in recent months.  I was amazed.

Caleb's friend Ethan is on his team this year.

Benjamin was kept busy by Gammy and Grandpa Al, or rather Gammy and Grandpa Al were kept busy by Benjamin.  It was nice having them at the game to entertain Benjamin so that I could watch Caleb play.

I know many of you saw this video on Facebook but just in case some of you missed it, I thought I would post it here.  This is a quick video of Caleb RUNNING to first base yesterday.  Not only has his endurance increased but so has his speed!

So proud of that little booger.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

A train ride and the usual chaos

Yesterday we decided to take the boys to ride the mini train.  It's an open air train that travels over a few bridges and through a park.  It's a lot of fun and the boys were so excited about going.  Benjamin just loves trains right now and the last time we road the train he was just a few months old so this was his first time to really experience the train.
 Benjamin stayed busy by walking up and down the track as we waited for the train to come.  
Watching the train come around the corner.  He could barely stand the wait.  He was so excited.

Caleb was just as excited to ride the train.  The entire time he was saying: "I love this"
I sat by Benjamin while Glenn sat with Caleb the first half of the ride and then we switched.  While I was sitting by Benjamin I noticed that he kept one hand on my leg the entire time.  I took a picture of it because I thought it was so sweet that he felt the need to touch his momma.  And then, when I was sitting by Caleb, I felt this little hand on my leg.  I guess even big boys feel the need to touch their momma.
It just warmed this momma's heart.

Well as all things do, the train ride came to an end and it was time to get back in the car.  Benjamin did not hold back his feelings about leaving.  Here is what he thought about it:
If these pictures could produce sound then you would be hearing a lot of screaming, spitting, hissing, and just basic fit throwing noises.  Oh, and he is arching his back which makes it virtually impossible to buckle him into the car seat.
This is what Caleb thought of his brother's tantrum:
Caleb grabbed his headphones and he could hear Benjamin no more.  I really need to get myself a pair of these headphones.

So the train ride is over and now the chaos begins...
 We decided to get a bite to eat at a restaurant.  Caleb wanted to sit and eat outside, so we did.  We were the only ones eating outside until a big group of people came out.  Keep in mind that we are eating outside, right by a busy road.  There are cars going by, big city buses, motorcycles, birds chirping, all kinds of environmental noises.  Not bothering Caleb at all, he is tolerating all the noise just fine.  And then one of the guys sitting behind us starts coughing...well for some reason this is the loudest noise Caleb has ever heard and he just loses it.  Starts crying, holding his ears, and begging to go.  This is a scene that we have been through many times with Caleb because he is sensitive to noise but it has been a very long time since I have seen him react this way.  It was a mess.  So, we finish our meal (quickly) and head home.  

We are back in the car and Caleb says: "Oh my gosh!".  This is a phrase we hear a lot and we are desperately trying to break him of this habit.  I know that in the grand scheme of words he could be saying, this is not the worst, but we don't like it.  We tell him over and over not to say "gosh".  Of course, all of his friends at school say it so he is confused as to why he can't.  So, anyway once again we tell Caleb not to say that.  Here is what happens next:
Glenn and I: "Caleb don't say that, okay?"
Benjamin: "Gosh"
Caleb: "Stop Benjamin, don't say that!"
Benjamin: "Gosh!"
Caleb: "Stop!"
Benjamin: "Gosh!"
Caleb: "Stop Benjamin, we don't say that!"
Benjamin: "GOSH!"
Caleb: "STOP!!"

And this goes on and on.  And trying to tell a 2 year old not to say "gosh" is pointless because then he just says it more.  So, Glenn and I are trapped inside the car while these 2 lunatic kids are hollering in the back seat.  I have said before that I want one of those limo windows installed in our mini-van so that I can just push a button and a window would slide right up offering Glenn and I immediate silence.  But we don't have a limo window so there is no silence.
Now, when I get frazzled, stressed-out, or anxious I tend to get the giggles.  Serious giggles.  I got to laughing so hard that I had tears just running down my face.  It's how I cope with the craziness.  So I am in hysterics all the way home.

When we get home Glenn starts talking to the neighbor and the boys are running around outside.  Benjamin immediately finds a muddy puddle that he has to jump in.  By this time I have waved the white flag in surrender so I just let the kid go crazy in this stupid puddle.
(I just threw these socks out)

Then Caleb comes flying down the driveway in his walker, he loses his footing and falls into the puddle, the muddy puddle.
I'm still waving the white flag so I just let him sit there for awhile.

Hi, my name is Cassie, and I have no control over my children.

I am convinced that we could have our own reality TV show, I believe that people would tune it to watch this chaos.
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