Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Preparing for our Jesse Tree ADVENTure!

As you may know, we don't do Santa, so last year I set out to make our own traditions.  I stumbled upon the Advent Calendar on another SB moms blog.  I loved it, so last year we did our first Advent Adventure (you can read about all of our Advent Adventures by clicking here).  This was a HUGE hit, especially with Caleb, he absolutely loved opening the door and reading what our "adventure" was for that day.
Given the success of last year, I knew that we would definitely do this again, but I wanted to add to our traditions this year.  I decided to do a Jesse Tree with the boys as well.  Here are some of the resources I am using this year.

(this isn't a Jesse Tree or Advent Book but I'm going to use the stories in it along with our scripture readings)

I also found a cute e-book that I downloaded.
Really cool book for those with younger kids that want to make an ornament for the Jesse tree every single day.  I originally wanted to do this but the thought of making an ornament every single day stressed me out a bit.  Caleb loves doing crafts but a simple craft that should take about 15 minutes will take him well over an hour because that is just how Caleb is.  And I love that about him.  I didn't want to stress over the ornament part of it but this is still a really cute book with really cute ideas.

I found this today, which I LOVE!
This offered all the Jesse tree symbols and scriptures!  This was such a lifesaver for me.  So, I followed the tutorial on the site (minus the fancy boxes) and made all the ornaments today and I'm going to use all of the resources listed above for our devotional each day.  There were things I like and didn't like about each book so I'm going to just pick and choose what I want.  I've learned that there is no right or wrong way to do a Jesse tree, it's just about the daily journey of discovering Christ from the Creation to His birth.  I'm really excited about it and I think the boys will enjoy it too.

And yes, I know that Advent technically started this past Sunday but since my Advent box is a 1-25 calendar, we are starting our Jesse Tree AVENTure tomorrow on December 1st.  I'll share our activities and devotions as the month goes on.  If you have any great resources or ideas you want to share then leave a comment.  I would love to hear what you do with your family.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Family Camp 2011

This past weekend was a weekend I look forward to all year long...Spina Bifida Family Camp!!  So. Much. Fun.  I feel so blessed to live in an area that has such an active SB chapter and has such a wonderful camp available for all of us families to get together.  Prepare yourself for a lot of pictures...go ahead and have a seat if you aren't already sitting down.

Our local SB family!  This was the biggest Family Camp ever with 24 families!

There was a huge get-together the first night.  It was great to see so many familiar faces and also have a chance to meet some new ones.  This was our 5th year to camp so I feel like I have truly seen many of the kids grow up.

It is so nice to spend a weekend with people that "get it".  I don't have to explain anything about Caleb because they are on the exact same journey.  They understand our day to day because their day to day is similar.  The know all the jargon and lingo.  It's just nice.

I think Benjamin felt a bit left out that he didn't have a wheelchair after seeing so many other kids with one.  He stole Caleb's chair several times over the weekend.  I think he was just trying to fit in with everyone else.  It's funny that Benjamin was the minority because he didn't have a wheelchair!

Caleb enjoying a snow cone.  He got to eat a variety of food over the weekend that he doesn't normally get to enjoy.

Caleb wanted to take the cooking class.  He got to make and eat a bunch of junk and he loved it.  Although I didn't let him eat the "squid dogs" (middle picture).  There is just something gross about a boiled hot dog with pasta noodles shoved through it.  Yuck.

Caleb climbing the rocks at the outdoor chapel.

The chapel has several large stones with scripture engraved in.  The chapel is probably one of my favorite locations at camp.

I have no idea what I am laughing at in the picture but it cracks me up.  Something must have been pretty funny.

I took over 200 photos at camp and this one, without a doubt, is my favorite.  This picture just captures my life.  

Since Benjamin was less than cooperative (see picture above), I decided to just get a nice pic with my first born.  I love this kid.

Best smile ever.

Daddy taking Caleb to read one of the scriptures.

Playing dress up with some silly hats.  Benjamin refused to participate...see previous uncooperative photo a few pictures up.

Hanging out under the bell tower.

Caleb with his buddies, Bryce and Nathan.

Playing with Taylor.

Benjamin found a ball as big as he is!

 Time to fish! (we didn't catch anything-but Nathan's mom did!)

Watching Bubba fish.

View from the fishing dock.

Benjamin found a friend :)

This is the Saddle room.  The families hang out here in between activities so they can chat and let the kids play together.  So much fun. 

We were cabin neighbors with Bryce.  The boys found it fun to play in the water fountain.

This is at the entrance to camp.  I have wanted to get a picture here every year and I finally got it this year!

Caleb and Landry (Bryce's big brother).  Caleb adores him.

 It was a long, exhausting weekend for both boys (mom and dad too) but no one was more tired than Benjamin.  He fell asleep pretty quickly on the way home.  It was just a lot of fun for such a little guy.  By Sunday morning he was saying: "I'm ready to go home. Let's go home."

All in all, it was a really great weekend.  We look forward to Family Camp every single year and the older Caleb gets, the more fun camp is.

Here are links to previous years:

I would also like to thank my mom for watching Izzy for us so we could go to camp.  This was my mom's first  last time dog sitting Izzy.  When I called her to let her know we were back from camp, the first thing she said was "Thank God".  I think Izzy gave my mom a run for her money :).  My mom enjoyed having a playful puppy in the house but she ran out of energy long before Izzy did.  God bless you mom for taking care of our lunatic dog.  We really appreciate it.

Zoo Field Trip!

Caleb had a field trip to the zoo on Friday.  Glenn went as a chaperon because I had to get us packed and ready for Family Camp.  Glenn managed to get a few really great pictures that I just had to share.

 In the days leading up to the field trip Caleb kept telling me that he wanted to be "buddied-up" with 2 of his friends.  I hear about these 2 kids all the time.  And I believe that there is genuine friendship between the three.

Holding hands (cue the "ahhhh's")

I LOVE this picture.  Glenn told me that Caleb hopped out of his wheelchair and just started climbing up these steps so he could sit in the carriage with his friends.  I am so proud of him, not just because he was able to climb the steps on his own, but because he had the confidence to try.

Picture with Daddy

Caleb and his friends.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Roller skating, petting zoo, pooper scoopers, and more!

I feel like it has been forever since I have made a blog post.  That either means there hasn't been anything to blog about....or I've been so busy that I just haven't gotten around to it.  Not sure which is the cause of my lull in blogging but regardless, I am blogging now.  I know you are so excited.

Caleb just wrapped up the second 6 weeks of school.  He is doing really well and seems to enjoy it quite a bit.  I really like the kids in his class this year.  They all appear to be friends.  It just really feels like a close knit group of kids.  It has been a busy month for birthday parties, Caleb has received 3 invitations in November alone!  Last weekend he went to a classmate's birthday party at a skating rink.  I'll admit to being a bit concerned about how this would go considering Caleb can't roller skate (well, I assume he can't, but you never know with this kid) but he was allowed to just take his wheelchair onto the rink.  The boy had a blast.  I couldn't get a decent photo to save my life but I thought I would share a quick video clip of Caleb having fun at the skating rink.

I am seriously considering having his 7th birthday party here because he had so much fun.  They have a smaller, private rink that you can rent out for parties which I think would be perfect.  I would love to strap some skates on Caleb (with the wheels pretty tight) and just see what he could do.  I kinda think he could skate a bit using his walker.

And yesterday, we had another birthday party to go to.  It was at a petting zoo/farm kinda place.  We went to a birthday party there this summer as well.  The boys were so excited and the weather was beautiful.  The kids played on the playground first, which had a huge wooden train (Benjamin was in heaven-the boy loves trains).

 I thought this was such a cute picture and then I realized that there are 2 port-a-potties in the background!  Nothing like a couple of portable toilets to ruin a good picture.

Daddy thought it would be fun to put Caleb on top of the train.  Caleb is smiling...but trust me, he's terrified.  Oh well, it made for some cute pictures and isn't that what really matters?

For some reason there are about 115 cats just roaming around this petting zoo place.  Caleb got to pet one of them.  This poor cat was picked up by every child at the party and was totally okay with it.

While Bubba was brushing the goats, Benjamin went to say "hi" to a pig.

And run circles around this tree.

Then it was cupcake time!
 (I love him)

 That's my boy biting into that cupcake like there is no tomorrow!

(I love him too)

And I figure I'll go ahead and throw in some random pictures as well.
 Benjamin and Daddy.  I just love Benjamin's face.  He makes this face a lot.

Now that we have a dog (don't even get me started on Izzy) I find myself picking up after her in the backyard (you know what I'm talking about).  So, I bought a pooper scooper.  Benjamin loves it and played with it for several days until I finally had to actually use the pooper scooper in the way it was meant to be used.  Benjamin was not too happy to see me scooping up poop with his new toy.  Maybe I'll get him one for Christmas.

 Being silly.  As usual.

Benjamin's position of choice for nap time.

And finally, Izzy has grown a good bit since we got her.  She is an absolute mess, she drives me so crazy. It's like having a really hyperactive toddler.  Glenn and I look at each other at least 8 times a day and say "Why did we get a dog."  But the boys love her.  And one day, I will too :).

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