Friday, August 31, 2012

Bond between brothers

Caleb started school on Monday and Benjamin starts preschool next week, so summer is officially over. I think this has been my favorite summer. I enjoyed all of our "Cool Summer Days" activities, I loved going to the SB conference in June and I am thrilled to see Caleb making significant progress. All great things about this past summer.

But hands down the highlight of my summer was this:

Brothers playing

A brother shares childhood memories and grown-up dreams. ~Author Unknown

Brothers wrestling

Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring - quite often the hard way. ~Pamela Dugdale
Brothers tickling

The highlight of my childhood was making my brother laugh so hard that food came out his nose. ~Garrison Keillor
Little brother getting ready to karate chop big brother

Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero. ~Marc Brown
My boys, these brothers, have played more together the past 3 months than I have ever seen.

A friend is a brother who was once a bother. ~Author Unknown
Brothers reading

It was nice growing up with someone like you - someone to lean on, someone to count on... someone to tell on! ~Author Unknown

Brothers kissing

There's no other love like the love for a brother. There's no other love like the love from a brother. ~Terri Guillemets

Brothers smiling

These boys are the closest I have ever seen them. Benjamin just craves his big brother's attention. It was just such a blessing to watch their relationship develop over the last few months. Hopefully, it is just a glimpse of a bond that will continue to grow. Of course it wasn't all smiling, tickling, reading, and playing. There was a lot of yelling, hitting, and tattle-telling too. But mostly it was good. 

I love having 2 boys.
 Love it.

All for one and one for all
My brother and my friend
What fun we have
The time we share
Brothers 'til the end.
~Author Unknown


Monday, August 27, 2012

First day of 1st grade


My first-born started first grade today. I'm still not sure how it is possible that my baby is now 7 years old and in the first grade. For some reason first grade feels like such a big deal, bigger than Kindergarten even.  Caleb has been at this elementary school since he was 3 years old so he knows his way around. He is comfortable and confident with his surroundings. But it is still a new teacher, new classmates, new routine, new curriculum...it's just new. I always worry at the beginning of a new school year. It's hard to hand your child over to someone else. Someone who doesn't yet know his personality and his strengths. I've heard amazing things about his teacher this year. I trust that he is in good hands and I'm certain he will flourish and grow this year.

He did have a great first day. One of the first things he said to me after I picked him up this afternoon was: "I made new friends today." Well, it just doesn't get any better than that.



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Progress Indeed

Standing yesterday...taking STEPS today!





I have no words right now. I just can't believe it. This kid has been holding out on me or something!

Wow, just wow.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Progress: The view looks pretty good from here

Caleb has made significant progress in the last couple of weeks. Significant. Progress that came at just the right time. I had been feeling like we were losing so much ground because of his swollen knee (that whole thing is still a mystery even after 2 x-rays and blood work. Oh and the knee is still swollen, although it is better). He took it easy in therapy for several weeks because we were so worried that we would do more damage to the knee. I was so frustrated during that time. I had psyched myself up to climb the mountain again, only to be sidelined because of the knee. I have felt absolutely panicked because Caleb starts school next Monday and he was still lacking in strength. I kept wondering if we were pushing him to do things that he just couldn't do, and may never do again. We've (or he's) been working so hard the last couple of weeks. And as a result of all that hard work, there is progress.  All of a sudden his sit-ups are better and his bridges are higher.  He is getting up to a tall-knee position.  He is climbing up on the couch. All of a sudden he is getting stronger, and I can see it. 
And today this:
Standing up.

This is the first time I have seen him stand up since April 2nd, the day before his tethered cord surgery.

Over 4 1/2 months since I've seen him hold his own weight with his legs.
4 1/2 months.

He obviously has a long way to go to get back to where he was pre-TC but I see the possibility now. A possibility that I didn't see a month ago. I'm just so glad to see his hard work paying off. I know he has felt discouraged too. Who wouldn't? He sees the progress he is making and I see him gaining confidence and pushing himself. It is still a long way up the mountain but I feel like I just caught a glimpse of what is to come.

The view looks pretty good from where I sit right now.

It was definitely a good day for this momma.

Now having said that...if I'm ever told that he needs TC surgery again, we will promptly pack our bags and move to a tropical island, where we will put our heads in the sand like an ostrich and pretend we never heard the words "tethered cord". 



Monday, August 20, 2012

Lemonade and Lava

This is our final week of summer. Caleb starts first grade next Monday and Benjamin will return to preschool (2 days a week) the following week. I'm trying to cram as much fun into these last few days of summer as I can.

No summer is complete without some homemade lemonade.

Juicing lemons is hard work.

Mixing the sugar in warm water.  Benjamin looks pretty excited!

Drinking the fruits (literally) of our labor.

I think he liked it.

Benjamin has a new fascination with volcanoes.  I bought a couple of books about volcanoes for the boys to read.


After reading about volcanoes, we decided to make our own. *I scaled this "recipe" down a bit because we used a water bottle instead of a 2L soda bottle.

Mixing the dough.
It is the same dough we used to make our Olympic medals.

The boys pressed the dough around the water bottle.

Okay, so it doesn't exactly look like a volcano.

Anxious to see what happens...

Volcanic eruption!!

The boys thought this was really neat. For me it meant about 30 minutes of prep and clean up time for about 3 seconds of lava fun.  Oh well, the boys loved it and that is the reason I do all this messy stuff to begin with.




Monday, August 13, 2012

Our failed attempt at making slime

This is actually our 2nd failed attempt at making slime. I'm not sure what we are doing wrong but we must be doing something wrong because the end result is not very slimy. While we didn't end up with very good slime, the boys still had fun. Here is how we made (or didn't make) slime. You may not want to follow my directions considering the outcome.

First you squeeze an entire bottle of glue (4oz) into a bowl.

Mix with 1/2 cup of water.  You can add food coloring too.

Mix 1 teaspoon Borax with 1 cup of water in a separate bowl.

Pour Borax solution into glue solution, stir, and you should get slime.

We managed to get some slime but most of it was liquid.

Caleb got his hands right in there.

Technically all of the liquid should have turned into slime, leaving very little water in the bowl. For some reason we ended up with a small amount of slime with a lot of liquid left.

This is what it looks like when you knock over the Borax box onto the bowl of failed slime.  Sigh.



Making Daddy's birthday card

Sunday was Glenn's birthday so last week I had the boys make him cards. Benjamin was just too cute while he was making a card for daddy. I had to take pictures of his cuteness.  

He chose to decorate Daddy's card with different colored pom-poms and squiggly eyes.

He loved using the glue and he was surprisingly neat the entire time.

Gluing more pom-poms.

Daddy received a very colorful card for his birthday.



Saturday, August 11, 2012

Water Park Fun!

We have a water park about 3 minutes from our house and we usually try to take the boys once or twice every summer. Today the water park had "Champions Day", when they open the park at 8:30 in the morning (2 hours before it opens to the public) for kids with special needs and their families. So we just had to take the boys. They didn't know we were going until they woke up this morning, they were so excited.
Benjamin is ready for some water park fun!

We headed to the wave pool first. We learned that the water is a tad bit chilly at 8:30 in the morning, but the boys didn't seem to mind at all.

I love this picture.  I wish I knew what they were saying to each other.


Benjamin trying to catch the waves.

Benjamin picking his wedgie.  :)

Because we had access to the park before the public, there were no lines for any of the rides.
Glenn decided to take Caleb on this one. Caleb didn't want to ride it, he was definitely nervous. Glenn hiked Caleb up a million stairs while carrying a double inner tube. That was not an easy task but daddy's are good about tackling stairs while carrying a 43 pound 7 year old.
Coming around the corner!

I could hear Caleb screaming the entire way down, it was an "I'm having so much fun!" scream, not a "Get me off this thing!" scream.

Nothing but smiles!

The first thing Caleb said after coming down the slide: "I want to do THAT again!"
So, daddy tackled the stairs carrying a 43 pound, 7 year old and a double inner tube...again.
Being silly with Daddy's sunglasses.

We only stayed about 3 hours but it was a fun-filled 3 hours.



Thursday, August 09, 2012

7 years old

Today is Caleb's 7th birthday. What!? How is that even possible? I just can't understand how he got to be 7 already. 7 seems like a big deal to me, but I guess I felt the same way about 6 and 5....4....etc.  It goes by so fast.  In a blink he is 7 years old and about to start first grade.  Bittersweet for this momma.

Since Glenn had to leave for work this morning, we woke Caleb up a little early and surprised him with a donut. You can see the giant sleep spot on his forehead.  I think it took him a minute to figure out what was going on and why all of us were in his room singing "Happy Birthday".

Breakfast in bed!

Benjamin enjoyed a donut too.

For several weeks Caleb has been begging for a skate board park system that he saw at Target.  Basically you can buy several different elements that you would see at a skate park and you can put them together to create your own skate park.  It comes with a small finger skate board that you use on the different ramps.  Anyway, he really wanted this toy which is unusual for him because he doesn't normally ask for toys. Of course, we got it for him
The look on his face when he opened the present.  Yep, I think he was happy.

We got him 3 different sets.  Each set comes with a finger board but we also wanted to get him something a little more his style to use on the ramps.....

...a dude in wheelchair! Rock on!
This action figure is actually from the movie Avatar and I found it by doing a quick search for "wheelchair figurine" on Amazon.  I was so excited!  And so was Caleb.


He was doing some pretty cool tricks.

Not sure what this face means??

They played with this all day.


Caleb did take a break to play his new "Donkey Kong" game that he got from Gammy and Grandpa Al.  He loves the game but it is a little hard for him so I end up playing it quite a bit to get him through the levels.  He's so lucky to have a momma that is so awesome at video games.

For dinner we had pizza, Caleb's favorite food.

Followed by a delicious homemade cake (so yummy).  Caleb wanted the #7 candle AND 7 candles.

7 years old.  Wow.  

In celebration of Caleb's birthday, here is the story of his birth.



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