Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tooth #6

Caleb lost tooth #6 this morning after breakfast. The poor tooth was barely hanging on, so daddy gave it a quick tug and out it came.  Caleb headed to school with one less tooth :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wheelchair Basketball

Caleb loves wheelchair basketball, absolutely loves it. It is so fun to watch. I feel blessed just watching all these kids work so hard and have so much fun. The coaches don't mess around, practice is 2 full hours of learning basketball basics, increasing endurance, improving agility, and just good ole' exercise.

Here are a few pics from yesterday's practice:

A 10 foot goal is a bit too high for the younger kids so a special backboard attachment is put on the goal to make the goal 8 feet. 8 feet is still too high for the kids Caleb's age, but I've seen some of the 10 year old kids make a basket at that height. 

The younger kids were working on defense. Coach Michelle was teaching the kids how to block another player but putting your chair right in front of them.

 They also worked on some drills.
First, you had to back up next to the chair

Then, do a spin around the back of the chair.

And finally end up on the opposite side of the chair.

I just love seeing all these wheelchairs. It makes my heart smile.

The USA men's wheelchair basketball team won the Bronze medal at the London Paralympics and the kids got a chance to hold it. Very cool.

Caleb holding an actual, real-life Bronze medal.  So cool.

Benjamin got a turn too.
Don't ask me why he is in Caleb's chair, I think he assumes because all the other kids are using chairs, he should too. The other day Benjamin pointed at his head and said: "Here is my shunt!" I said: "Benjamin, you don't have a shunt." His response: "YES I DO! It's right here!" (while pointing at his head). It cracks me up that Benjamin thinks having a shunt is cool so he wants one like his bubba.

I noticed today that my "Wheelchair Review" blog post has gotten several hundred views this week! Good grief, who knew so many people wanted to read about wheelchairs and their accessories!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Benjamin meets a fire truck

Caleb's school celebrates "Patriot Day" on September 11th. The entire school gathers around the flag pole to sing songs. Benjamin and I stayed up at the school to watch the ceremony. Benjamin was in little boy heaven when a real life fire truck pulled up to the school. I don't think he has ever been that close to a fire engine before and he was absolutely thrilled.

Sometimes it can be hard to get Benjamin to cooperate with photos. Not this day. The child stopped every 2 feet and asked me to take a picture of him.

Next to the tire.

Next to all the gauges.

Next to the ladder.

Behind the truck.

We took a picture by every square inch of that truck.
He loved it.

We caught a brief glimpse of Caleb as he was rolling out of the school toward the flag pole.
I love that he looks so happy at school. And he looks so much older all of a sudden.

I used to worry a lot that Caleb wouldn't have any friends and that he would feel left out (of course these worries seem silly now). I went to eat lunch with Caleb this week, thinking he would be so excited to see his momma...well the boy barely talked to me, he was much too busy chatting with friends. I might as well have been eating lunch by myself. I didn't take it too personally though, I was happy to see him happy.

Oh, and I just have to share what I found in Caleb's backpack this week:

Caleb is smitten with 2 girls in his class. So cute.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


A huge thank you to all of you that donated. I am always blown away by the generosity of others and how so many people are willing to give money to support Caleb. I'm especially touched by those of you that have never met Caleb but show your support anyway. I set a pretty lofty goal of raising $1,500 and we almost met that goal. I couldn't be more happy with the amount we raised and all of the wonderful people that donated are to thank for that.

The Walk-n-Roll was this past weekend. This is our SB chapter's 3rd time to host this event and it has gotten bigger every year. We always have the event at Burger's Lake which is a really neat place and the boys are always so excited to go.  Here are some pictures from Saturday:

Benjamin supporting his big bro with a PROUD Brother shirt.

Caleb's Crew at the Walk-n-Roll

One PROUD family!

Cousin Jay showing his support with the 3E Love Logo.


The SBANT raised almost $65,000! That is awesome.

After the walk it was time for some fun in the sun and sand.

Benjamin and cousin Hunter wasted no time and got busy digging with shovels.

About 45 seconds after this picture...

 ...I took this picture
This is Glenn pouring water into Caleb's EYEBALL! Caleb managed to get a ridiculous amount of sand all in his eye and I mean IN HIS EYE!  His EYEBALL was covered in sand people! Thankfully Glenn was able to rinse it out and we proceeded with sun and sand fun.

And Benjamin proceeded to scoop sand up.

And then dump it in the water. He pretty much did this the entire time.

After the whole "sand in the eyeball" fiasco, Caleb headed to the water.

Riding on Aunt Whitney's back.

The little ones are still busy returning the sand back to the water.

Burger's Lake

It was a really special day for us. We are so thankful for the family and friends that came and walked with us and for all of you that donated. We are so blessed to have such a great support system. 

Thank you.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wheelchair Review

We ordered Caleb's first wheelchair right before he turned 2 years old. We knew absolutely nothing about wheelchairs. We didn't know the different brands. We didn't know the different options and accessories available. We knew nothing. We did a lot of research on our own through the web, visiting different websites to learn about the chairs available to Caleb. I suddenly became aware of every person I saw in a wheelchair and found myself approaching people in Target and asking them about their wheelchair. I asked them what brand of chair they had and if they like it. I'm certain people thought I was crazy but I had no way of knowing what would be the right chair for Caleb. Rigid or Folding? Aluminum or Titanium? Pneumatic or Solid tire? It was overwhelming. Ordering a wheelchair is very much like buying a new car...except you don't get to test drive it first. After a couple of months of researching we ordered Caleb's first chair.

TiLite Aero Z
Seriously, I can't stand the cuteness right now. Look at my Caleb when he was only 2 1/2 years old!

The Aero Z is a rigid chair, aluminum frame. We chose red. Glenn called it Ferrari red, Caleb called it Elmo red. This first chair had some extra bells and whistles that we were able to take off as Caleb got more stable (the head rest, side and hip supports). This chair served Caleb very well for 4 1/2 years. It was a great chair but we definitely learned a few thing over the course of those years. We learned things we liked...and many things we didn't. So, as Caleb grew out of the red chair we had some very specific things in mind as we began to research and plan for his new chair.

Which leads me to Caleb's new wheels.

TiLite Twist
Atomic Green! (this picture does not do the color justice-it is awesome!)

I thought I would share some of the things we did differently with this chair. I figure some of this information might help a parent out there trying to pick the right chair for their child. I wish I had more help in choosing Caleb's first chair. I would have loved a blog post like this that shows some of the different options. Granted both of Caleb's chairs have been TiLite's so I can't comment on Quickie or Ki or Colours. I can only say that after much research on all of those brands, we stuck with TiLite.

I'm going to compare Caleb's old chair with his new chair:

Wheelie Bars
The first chair had 2 small wheelie (or anti-tip) bars in the back. They worked really well and I didn't have too much of an issue with them until Caleb got older. Caleb would try to tip back in his chair to go over a bump but the wheelie bars wouldn't allow him to go back far enough. The new chair just has a single caster wheel on the back and it is much higher off the ground (it is adjustable). This allows Caleb a lot more freedom in tipping back in his chair...and more freedom for doing wheelies.

 Seat Belt
Caleb's first chair had clip style seat belt. He had to pinch the sides to get the belt to release. My biggest pet peeve with this seat belt was that it was floppy so it would constantly fall down between the seat and the wheel. I would have to squeeze my hand through to pull the seat belt back up. It would get caught in the wheel spokes too. It drove me crazy! Caleb's new seat belt is more like the seat belt in a car, it buckles the same way. The best thing about this new seat belt is that it is rigid on the sides so it never, ever falls in between the seat and the wheel. It is wonderful and I love it. And you can push it up and out of the way if you want to.

 Seat back
There are several seat backs and seat cushions available for wheelchairs. We didn't really know what we were doing with Caleb's first chair so we went with what the vendor suggested. We didn't really have too many issues with the first seat back and seat cushion. For Caleb's new chair we wanted a very low back rest. Caleb has pretty good trunk control so he doesn't need a whole lot of support. With a lower seat back, he has more freedom to reach behind him because there isn't a big seat blocking his way. The seat back we chose for this new chair was a Jay Zip, we got the 6 inch which is the lowest back available. It is perfect. We love it. In the center there is a spot for a handle bar. The Twist actually comes with 2 handle bars but we prefer just one in the center. We really don't use the handle bar often because Caleb doesn't like to be pushed (he is 7 years old after all) and I've learned that a handle bar makes other kids want to push Caleb which has led to him getting hurt.

The brakes on Caleb's first chair were push to lock with a really long handle. One thing we noticed with these brakes was Caleb would hit his hands on them when he was pushing his chair, especially when he was going fast. So for this new chair we went with a pull to lock handle. It is much more compact and less "in the way".

We made big changes with the wheels this second time around. We went with colored spokes to match Caleb chair and we went with the "natural fit" hand rim. With the natural fit hand rim, there is no space in between the hand rim and the wheel. We liked the look of it (makes the chair look sportier) but we also heard that the natural fit hand rims are easier on the thumbs and wrists. More ergonomic I guess. His new wheels also have a little bit of a tilt to them (also called camber). We have always gone with the solid tires instead of the pneumatic which are similar to bicycle tires in that there is a tube in the center that can pop or need to be aired up. We didn't feel like messing with that but I have heard that the pneumatic tires offer a smoother ride because they give a little. I've noticed that older kids and adults seem to prefer the pneumatic over the solid. For now though we stuck with solid. 

Foot plate/Caster wheels
Not too many differences here. The TiLite Twist has a different approach to positioning the foot plate. On Caleb's new chair, the foot plate is back a little further which is supposed to keep the center of gravity in balance. Of course the must have for all pediatric wheelchairs are the light up caster wheels. There was no question that we would do those again. Caleb gets compliments on those "cool light-up wheels" all the time.

We put carbon fiber side guards on Caleb's new chair. They help keep his pants from rubbing on the wheels and I think they give the chair a sportier look. The pull off easily too.

I think that just about sums it up. Hopefully this post will help someone that is beginning the process of wheelchair shopping. 

And for you local folks, I highly recommend Innovative Seating and Mobility as a vendor. It is a smaller, newer company and they are fantastic. I contacted Mick (the owner) for the first time on April 26 and we had Caleb's chair on July 31. From start to finish, we had Caleb's chair in about 3 months. Anyone of you that have been through this process know that it can take forever. Caleb's first chair took almost 7 months to receive and that's not even counting the couple of months it took to meet with the vendor and get the chair ordered. Mick and his company were amazing and so patient with me. I had very specific things I wanted for Caleb's chair and they made sure everything was perfect. When we got the chair in late July we quickly realized that the back rest we had originally ordered wasn't a good fit for Caleb. Mick worked quickly to get a new back rest ordered and delivered in about 10 days. That is record speed folks. A big thank you to Mick and his crew. We couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

It's not too late to donate!!

If you are friends with me on Facebook then you have been subjected to a variety of clever and witty statuses where I basically beg for donations toward the Walk-n-Roll for Spina Bifida. Along with my clever and witty status, I include an equally adorable photo that is impossible to resist. I thought I would share those photos along with captions on the blog in order to shamelessly beg for money. The Walk-n-Roll is this Saturday the 8th, so only a few days remain to make a donation. Our team goal is $1500, we have raised $975 so far. That means we are $525 short of our goal. I am now going to attempt to woo you with photos with the hope that you will consider making a donation to the Spina Bifida Association of North Texas.

He's watching you folks. 
Have you donated to the Walk-n-Roll for Spina Bifida yet? Get to it people, you only have until Sept 8th!

"You will make a donation to the Walk-n-Roll for Spina Bifida. You will do it now." 
Caleb has resorted to mind control folks. I don't know what he will try next so you better make a donation soon. Any amount helps us reach our goal and it isn't too late to join our team if you want to come walk with us!

Iron Man and Spider man left the set where they are filming their next blockbuster movie to tell you that it isn't too late to make a donation to the Walk-n-Roll for Spina Bifida.

If you would like to make a donation and show your support for Caleb, then click here.

A HUGE thank you to those of you that have already donated. We have already raised $975, which wouldn't have happened without the generosity of those that have already donated.

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