Monday, February 28, 2011

Bowl-A-Thon! Only a few days left to donate!!

Just a friendly reminder that this is the last week to sponsor Caleb and help him raise money for the Spina Bifida Association of North Texas.  The Bowl-A-Thon is this Saturday so there are only a few more days left to make a donation.  We really appreciate those of you that have already donated.  I am so touched when people who have never even met Caleb are kind enough to make a donation.  We even had an anonymous donation!  Thank you to all of you that have been so generous.

If you haven't sponsored Caleb and you want to just click the picture below to go to his donation page.  There is also a donation button on the right side of the blog.
We are still $150 short of our $500 goal.


And really, how can you say "no" to that face?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Wandomness

Yes I know that Wandomness is technically not a real word but "randomness" doesn't start with a W and I wanted a "W" word to go along with Wednesday...so I just made up my own word.  
I can do that because this is my blog.

Anywho...here are some pictures from our day.

When you have a 2 year old, you have to learn to pick your battles.  Some things just aren't worth fighting your toddler over.  So when Benjamin insisted on wearing his "Lightning McQueen" slippers to pick up Caleb from school, I let him.  Not a battle worth fighting people.
He thought he was so cute running around outside Caleb's school in his slippers.  And he did get a lot of attention because of those shoes.


While we wait for Caleb to come out of the building, Benjamin likes to play in this hole.
I have no idea why it is so fun but he loves it.

Caleb has PT today and Ms. Vickie taped up some butcher paper so Caleb could stand and color with chalk.  
This was the first thing he wrote on the paper.
 This is a girl in his class.
I think he is in love.
He's been in love with several different girls in his class this year.
I'm certain they are smitten with Caleb too.

I just thought this was too cute.  
Big brother with his arm around his little bro.
So sweet.
Of course, they were screaming at each other 2 seconds later but the moment was nice while it lasted.

My monkeys in the bath tonight.

So there ya go folks, a typical Wednesday in the McLelland house!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Future Master Gardener?

I have wanted a garden for a long time.  I think a lot of people like the idea of having their very own garden and growing their own delicious food.  But we get overwhelmed at the thought because we don't know where to start and we worry that it will be too hard.  We convince ourselves that we have failed before we even get started.
Then, I heard about Square Foot Gardening.  
I read the book. 
I went to a class.  
I am ready.

Basically, in Square Foot Gardening you build a very simple raised garden.  You use a special mix of soil, instead of using the existing soil in your yard.
You start off with the wood needed to build the box.

Put a weed cloth down.
Then fill your box with the mix.
Lastly, make a grid with 16 squares.

Caleb was so excited about this project.  He couldn't wait until it was finished.

I think the boys just wanted to dig in it.  I learned yesterday that I really need to get them a sandbox or something because they had more fun digging in my new garden (luckily nothing had been planted).

This picture shows the grid.
Basically you can plant different things in each square.  And you rotate crops as necessary and just keep each square in use.
I'm not quite ready to plant yet, I need to add one more bag of mix and then I'm going to start growing some veggies!  We are also going to build a trellis so that I can grow vertically too!  I am so excited about this I can barely stand it.
I plan to start off kinda small since I have never gardened. 
I'll post pictures as things start to grow. 
And things WILL grow!

If any of you have green thumbs feel free to offer tips and suggestions.
I am a newbie to this whole gardening thing.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Playing Hurt

I actually posted this on my other blog last week but for some reason I had it on my heart to post it here as well.  So here goes:

This past Sunday my pastor did a sermon titled: Playing Hurt.  He used football as a metaphor for our walk with God.  A football player that truly loves the game will play even when he is hurt.  He will push through the pain because he has a love for the game.
A Christian that truly loves Christ will stay in the game.  We will follow Christ regardless of our circumstances, regardless of whether we are hurt.

We have to learn to play even when we are hurting physically.
and
We have to learn to play even when we are hurting emotionally.

I thought of my first pregnancy loss in August of 2007.  I had to have a D&C.  I was in quite a bit of pain following the procedure.  Two days after the D&C my oldest son, Caleb, got really sick.  Scary sick.  He had a 105 temperature, vomiting, lethargic, it was awful.  We had to take him to the ER where he was diagnosed with a kidney infection.  We spent 4 days in the hospital with him.  And I remember how I just didn't want to deal with all that was going on.  I was in pain physically.  I was angry at God for allowing me to go through the pregnancy loss and then to allow my son to be so sick.  I was in pain emotionally.
Two months later I got pregnant again.  I was cautiously excited.  We saw the heartbeat.  I was thrilled.  And then 3 weeks later the heartbeat was gone.
Another loss.
Another baby gone.
Another D&C.
I was devastated.
I was furious.
Why in the world would God allow such a thing?  Really?  Wasn't it enough that my first son was born with Spina Bifida?  Now I had lost not one but two babies.  Didn't He know what I was dealing with?  Didn't He know how much I was hurting?  Physically and Emotionally?
I'm going to be honest and admit that I didn't talk to God for about a week after that second loss.  I just couldn't bring myself to go to Him.  I knew that I needed Him more than ever but I was angry.  I was hurt.  I felt like He had pulled the rug right out from under me.  I didn't want to open myself up to any more pain.
I soon went back to God.  
Back to His word.  
Back to what I knew I needed.  
Back in the game.
But not everyone goes back.  Not everyone stays in the game.  Some people choose to turn their back on God when the going gets tough.  I think we want to believe that being a Christian means smooth sailing.  That God will stop all pain, all suffering.
Nowhere in His word does He guarantee us a life without suffering, at least not this side of heaven.
In fact, the word is very clear that as long as we are on this earth, we will go through pain.
"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."
2 Timothy 3:12

Read all the things that Paul went through:

"I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.  Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move, I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at the sea; and in danger from false brothers.  I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked..."
2 Corinthians 11:23-27

Paul was a man living his life fully for Christ.  And look at all the things he suffered and endured.  He had plenty of opportunities to quit.  To say: "Ya know what, I've had enough. I'm done with this whole thing."
But he stayed in the game.

Jesus said that the most important commandment is to:

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
Mark 12:30

Those that choose to quit when life gets rough never loved the Lord the way Christ tells us to.

Love for God is what keeps us in the game.
While we will experience pain physically and emotionally there will be a day when God will wipe away every tear and there will be no more pain. (Revelation 21:4)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Weekend Hodge Podge

I have 3 different events that I want to blog about but I don't really want to do 3 different posts...so I'm just going to lump everything together in one post...hence the title:  Weekend Hodge Podge.

For Valentine's Day, Caleb had to make a Valentines box to take to school.  Pretty simple right?  So I just got out some of my craft stuff, a heart stamp, some ink, etc.  I admit that I didn't really ask Caleb what he wanted to do for his box.  I just decided for him.
Here is what we (mostly he) made
Cute.
Then I saw some of the other boxes that kids were bringing to school.   I wish I had pictures of some of these Valentines boxes.  Fancy. Over the top.  Clearly not done by a 5 or 6 year old.  I'm not suggesting that some parents did the box for their kid (yes I am)....anyway I felt myself get all competitive over this box.  My mind got to racing with all the things I could do to make Caleb's Valentines box THE BEST EVER!  Then I realized that I was being crazy, irrational, and a  nut.
So, I decided to just ask Caleb what he wanted to do for his box.
His answer: Batman
Alrighty then. So here is what we did:
Spray painted a shoe box black.  
Always use caution when letting a 5 year old help you spray paint.  
Do not leave unsupervised.

 I found the Batman symbol online and I used Picnik (love me some picnik) to put Caleb's name on the symbol.  Caleb cut it out.

His finished Batman Valentine Box.
Not near as fancy as some of the other boxes but it was what he wanted and he did it.

Complete with Batman Valentines to give to his friends.

On Saturday we went to see the grandparents.  Gammy and Grandpa Al have a big back yard and the weather was beautiful.  The boys had too much fun playing outside.

Working hard to kick that ball.

Sunday after church we took the boys to Walgreens.  Exciting I know.  We are trying to get Caleb comfortable using his walker out in the community, other than just home, school, and church.  Walgreens seemed like a good place because it is small so he doesn't feel overwhelmed.  He did great.

 Benjamin goes straight for the biggest truck available!!

 Caleb having a seat so he can rest his legs...and play with a toy.  I'm telling you that seat is the best thing ever.  I'm so glad we bought it for his walker.

No, we did not buy this.  Good grief.

I know a lot of you saw this video on Facebook but I thought I would share it here for those of you that didn't see it.  Just a 2 minute video of Caleb walking/running around Walgreens.  Sometimes he gets to going so fast that the wheels on his walker sound like shopping cart wheels.  It cracks me up.  He did awesome.  Of course.

Don't forget to support Caleb by donating to the Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser.  You have until March 5th to make a donation.  There is a button on the right side of the blog that you can click on to make a donation.  Thanks to those of you that have already donated!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Left wondering....but still at peace

Well the Spina Bifida community is all abuzz right now.  Most of you reading this know that the MOMS study is complete and the results are in.
For those of you that aren't familiar, the MOMS study was a clinical trial that looked at the benefits of in-utero surgery for babies with Spina Bifida.  Basically surgery was done to repair the opening on the back somewhere between 19-25 weeks of pregnancy.  The purpose of the study was to see if prenatal surgery on babies with Spina Bifida would lead to better outcomes than having the surgery done after birth.
Well the results showed that prenatal surgery does in fact help.
It helps in terms of mobility, children with prenatal surgery are more likely to walk unaided.
It also lessened the need for a shunt due to hydrocephalus.

The study is getting a lot of mainstream attention, which is great and very needed.  
Here are a few links you can check out:


I am going to be honest and say that I have mixed feelings today.  When we found out that Caleb had SB, I was about 18 weeks pregnant.  We heard about the MOMS study right away and we decided to pursue that option.  We filled out all the paperwork.  I had an amniocentesis because that was required by the study.  We sent over all the medical records.  We talked to a representative from the study.  I told my boss that there was a chance that I would be leaving work months earlier than I had planned.  We were all set to see if we would be chosen for the prenatal surgery.

But while we were making these plans, we never had peace about it.  It never felt like the right thing for us to do.  We were pursuing it out of a feeling of obligation.  That we should do whatever we could to help our baby.  It was a big deal to participate in this study.  It would have required me to be in San Francisco for several months.  And there are significant risks to the surgery.  But there was also the potential for great benefits.

Glenn and I did not have peace.  At all.
Everything in me said that this was not the right choice for us.  This was not want God wanted us to do.  
I remember getting ready for work one morning and Glenn and I were talking about the study and all of our fears and the lack of peace.  We then decided that we weren't going to go through with it.  And in that moment I felt peace rush over me.  I actually felt like smiling.  I was relieved.

I haven't given the MOMS study much thought in the past 5 1/2 years...until now.  And I admit that when I saw that the results were out, I hoped (just for a second) that they didn't find there was any real benefit to prenatal surgery.  I know that sounds terrible but it's the way I felt (briefly).  But the prenatal surgery does have benefit, it can and does help.  So now I am left wondering...what if.  What if we had decided to pursue the surgery?  What if we had been chosen for the prenatal surgery?  What if?  Would Caleb be walking fully on his own?  Would he have a shunt?  Would things be different?  I don't know.  I just don't know.  And I never will.  

I still believe we made the right decision.  I know without a doubt that God did not want us to be a part of that study. It wasn't His plan, at least not for Caleb.
I still have peace.  No regrets.

Now having said all that, I think this surgery is wonderful.  I think the potential is limitless.  I love that Spina Bifida is finally getting some much needed attention.  I love that there are doctors that have a passion and a desire to improve the lives of those born with Spina Bifida.  I love what this could mean for so many babies.  I think that it could save lives.  I picture parents finding out that their baby has SB and just maybe they would find hope in a prenatal surgery and just maybe this would result in less SB babies being terminated. 
And that is a very good thing.

I am thankful for the families that participated in the study.  I know that it was not a decision that they took lightly.  It came with great sacrifice and risk. 

If you haven't already, I encourage you to watch the videos.  It truly is amazing.  
Absolutely amazing!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Catching Butterflies

Caleb has PT twice a week with Ms. Vickie and she came today after school.
She brought a game with paper butterflies and a net to catch them in.
We had Caleb stand while leaning on the couch and catch the butterflies as they fell.

I know it may not seem like much, but this is a big deal.  
Yes he is leaning (just a little) on the couch for a bit of support but for the most part he is standing.
He is using those legs.
Working those hips.
Balancing.
My son is 5 1/2 years old and I have never seen him standing on his own.  Yes, he can walk with walker.  Yes, he can stand as long as he has something to hold on to.
But he can't just stand.  

But today he was trying.
He was proud.
And so was his mom.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

New Look and New Glasses

The blog got a major makeover today.
What do you guys think?
I've been wanting to redesign the blog for awhile but finding the time to sit down and do it doesn't come easily.
I added some tabs including an SB friends tab. Make sure you check it out. I tried to include everyone but I'm certain there are some kiddos I missed so if you want your child on the list, then let me know.

Many of you saw this picture on facebook but I thought I would post it here as well.  Caleb's frames broke several days ago so we had to get him some new glasses.

Seriously, how cute is my kid?
I don't know why but these new frames make him look so much older to me.
He is just gorgeous if I do say so myself.  I'm not biased or anything.

Because of the crazy weather this past week I had to reschedule Caleb's neuropsych test for the first week in March.

Also, Caleb is participating in the annual Spina Bifida Association of North Texas Bowl-A-Thon.  We would love to have your support.  The local SB chapter means a lot to our family so please consider making a donation.  No donation is too small.  You can donate online by clicking on the picture to the right or by clicking here.
You have until March 5th to make a donation.
  

SNOW?? What!

We went from being iced in to being snowed in!  This Texas weather is absolutely crazy.  Caleb's school was closed for 4 days and Glenn was home from work too.
On Thursday night the weather man said that we would get a "dusting" of snow overnight, maybe an inch was expected.
We got about 4 inches here and some areas got around 7 inches!  That's more than a dusting people.
It was absolutely gorgeous though.  Of course we took the boys out so they could play in the snow.  It was frigid cold, about 15 degrees....we didn't stay out long. 

Here are some pictures from our snow day!
That's way more than an inch of snow Mr. Weather Man!


Benjamin didn't quite know what to think about the snow.  He mostly just walked around in it.  We got snow and more snow last February but he was really young and absolutely hated it!  He did much better this time around...until...
He did not like cold snow on his face and up his shirt!
We had to take a picture of his discomfort.

Caleb couldn't wait to get in the snow.  He just wanted to get down in it.  We tried putting a blanket down for him to sit on so his legs wouldn't freeze sitting in the snow.  Since Caleb lacks feeling in his legs we have to be careful about things like this.  He doesn't realize his legs are frozen! I must admit that I was frustrated with Spina Bifida this day.  I wished Caleb could just walk around in the snow with ease like Benjamin was doing.  We could have brought his walker outside but it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, to move that thing through the snow.  It is what it is.  I deal with it and then move on.  I can't let myself linger on that feeling of frustration for long. 
Besides, what really matters is that Caleb had fun.
He tried so hard to make a snow ball but the snow was like powder.  It wouldn't pack together at all.  He was having fun until he realized that his hands were freezing and hurting.  He did not care for that at all and was ready to go in.

Pretty sure the snot is frozen to Benjamin's face!  But he's still smiling!


Thursday, February 03, 2011

Iced In

Remember last weekend when I said that Texas was having spring-like weather?  Well things took a drastic turn this week.  An arctic, iceberg, sub-zero temperature front moved in with a vengeance.  The ice came down noisy and heavy late Monday night and into Tuesday morning.  There was an inch of ice on our back patio.  Ice.  Not snow.  
Ice.  
Solid ice.
And the ice has stayed for days.
No school for Caleb and no work for Glenn.
For Days.

I have been doing my very best to keep the troops entertained these last few days.  It hasn't been easy people.  We have been cooped up in this house for days and we are going crazy, driving each other crazy, about to lose our minds, really enjoying all the quality family time together.

Here is what we have been doing during this arctic chill.
We have stayed in our jammies.
Walked around in my slippers.

We've played MarioKart.
A lot.  
Probably too much.

 We have colored.

 And colored

We broke the nose piece off of Caleb's glasses.
He will now be getting new frames.

We made colorful creations on the LiteBrite.
We also played Chutes and Ladders, CandyLand, and Whack-a-Mole.
We've acted a little silly.
I think all of us are a little delirious.

Benjamin enjoyed some warm oatmeal for breakfast.  He is also wearing some on his forehead.  I love that my 2 year old asks to eat plain oatmeal for breakfast.  So healthy!

Daddy got out his RC helicopter he got for Christmas.  It's always interesting when Glenn "plays" with his helicopter.  The boys love it...but they are also scared of it.  It is the funniest thing.  They are fine as long as the helicopter isn't flying near them, but if it comes close to them they scream.  It's hysterical.  

Today we decided to make some Valentine cookies...early I know but I was desperate for things to keep Caleb busy (other than playing the Wii for hours on end).
He used his steps so he could help me make the dough.
(yes, those are my measuring spoons that B has in his mouth)
There was a time when we had to be right there with Caleb when he climbed these steps.  Not anymore.  His legs do get tired so he does need someone to stand behind him while he is on the steps...just in case.  Glenn and I were remembering the days when we had to help Caleb get in and out of his walker, we had to stand right beside him when he was walking because he was so unsteady.  Those days are over and have been for a long time.  Even we forget how far he has come and how strong he has gotten.  

But I digress...here we are making Valentine Cookies...
 The entire time Caleb was rolling out the dough, he was saying: 
"Can I eat this piece of dough?  
Can I eat this big chunk of dough?  
Can I eat this big ball of dough?"
I think the child would have eaten all the dough if I let him...which I did not.
He had to wait until they were cooked before he could enjoy.  

The cookies were a hit!

And we played more MarioKart...
...while daddy took a nap.

So that's it. 
I'm exhausted.
The ISD is closed again tomorrow.
The roads are still icy and we are supposed to get snow tonight.
It looks like we will be canceling Caleb's neuropsych eval tomorrow. I don't want to risk the icy roads.
The weather is finally supposed to get above freezing on Saturday so hopefully we can get out of this house...at least to go and buy Caleb new frames.  I desperately need to go to the store, we ran out of all meat products 2 days ago!
Oh well, we have 2 dozen Valentine cookies we can eat.
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