Monday, April 29, 2013

Life Rolls On: They Will Skate Again

So last year Caleb had the opportunity to try some "extreme sitting" at the Life Rolls On: They will skate again event, hosted by Rise Adaptive Sports. He had a blast and has talked about it almost weekly for the past year. He was so excited to learn that the event was coming to our area again this year. So Saturday we headed out so Caleb could shred it at the skate park.

Sportin' his new "Wheelz" t-shirt. It seemed appropriate.
(good grief, could this kid be any bigger!)

Stalling at the top of a ramp...not too sure he wants to go down.

Sometimes even a 7 year old needs to hold Daddy's hand.

Sometimes you need a little pep talk from an experienced extreme sitter. A big thank you to Christiaan Bailey for offering his time on Saturday.

Sometimes you need a little push too.

All smiles.

Um...that ramp is a little steep folks. Don't worry, there were a ton of volunteers out there to help the kids up and down the ramps.

Take a wheelchair down some steps? Hmmm...what could possibly go wrong here?

It ain't extreme sitting until you flip over in your chair and take a volunteer down with you. Don't worry, he was fine. Lesson: Wheelchairs and stairs are not friends.

Benjamin had his own kind of fun.

Putting leaves down a drain hole.

Running up ramps.

Caleb had so much fun. He was most upset when it was time to go. I'm so thankful he has these opportunities. It is so fun to watch him challenge himself and try new things.

We had a fantastic day.

Gettin' a sports chair!!

Last fall we applied (through Challenged Athletes) for Caleb to get a grant for his very own sports chair, specifically for basketball. We have been waiting months to hear back and we recently found out that he was awarded a grant! We are so excited. The grant doesn't cover the full cost of the sports chair (those babies are pretty pricey) but it gave us enough that we could cover the rest on our own. Caleb went to Per4Max  last week to get fitted for his new chair.

While we were there we got a sneak peek at how they make all the chairs in-house.
It was really neat.

It's remarkable how they can transform these plain pipes into amazing sports chairs!

This is the style of chair Caleb will be getting. He chose Royal Blue for the frame with white rims on the wheels. We can't wait to see it. It should be ready in just a few weeks! Yay!

School and Basketball pictures

Both boys recently had their pictures done at school.

Somewhat of a "toothy" grin...but still a good lookin' boy :)

Caleb also had some basketball pictures taken.
So cute.

If you've ever wondered what a four year old would look like with a toupee... might look something like this.
Poor Benjamin was in desperate need of a haircut but I just didn't get to it before he had his school pictures taken. He still looks cute with his little hands folded so sweetly on his knee. Love that boy.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Meeting Thomas the Tank Engine

Once a year Thomas the Tank Engine comes to our area. Like most little boys, Benjamin loves trains so we decided to take the boys to see Thomas up close and personal.

Getting ready to leave the station.

I think Caleb is probably a little too old to really appreciate riding Thomas the Train. Benjamin was super excited....Caleb was just along for the ride.

Benjamin brought his Thomas toy along.

After our train ride, the boys got some temporary tattoos.
Caleb was super careful with his tattoo all day. He asked me a million times if it still looked good and he wouldn't wash it off in the he went to bed with the tattoo on his face tonight.

 There was a miniature train display. 
This was Benjamin's favorite part of the entire day. I think we could have skipped the actual train ride (and saved quite a few dollars) and just watched the mini trains and he would have been in heaven. Seriously, he could have watched these trains all day long.

Caleb eventually got bored with the trains and went outside to watch a magic show.

First taste of funnel cake. So yummy!

The boys watching a blacksmith make cowboy hats out of nickels.

Kinda cool.

Seriously, the boy loves trains. He had so much fun today.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Unexpected Detour: Homeschooling

So, we've decided to homeschool Caleb next year. I don't think anyone is more surprised by this decision than I am. I have always considered homeschool as an option and I've kinda kept the idea in my back pocket as an alternative to public school if we ever needed to make that switch. I figured I would homeschool if I had to. I truly wasn't expecting to start this chapter in life right now. Gotta love those unexpected chapters in life, right? I have dozens of reasons for making this choice (2 full pages to be exact) and I'm not going to go into all of them here but I do want to share 2 of the biggest reasons that brought us to this point.

TIME: There just isn't enough of it. Caleb is gone a full 8 hours every school day, that's 40 hours a week! I barely get to see him. The time I do have with him is rushed because we have to get out the door for school every morning and when he gets home he has PT or horseback riding which takes an hour or more. After that, I have to make dinner, there is homework, bath, and bed by 7:45. I have almost no time with him at all. And the time I do have with him is often strained because he is so tired from a long day at school. Tired kid = A Grumpy Kid. I just want more time with him. I look at him now and I can't believe he is 7 1/2 years old, it has gone by in a blink. He's growing before my eyes and I feel like I'm missing it.

HEART: I feel like I've lost a little bit of Caleb this year. He has changed. We have dealt with some behavior changes in him this past year and I don't like it. I think there are several factors that have contributed to some of the less desirable behaviors we have seen lately. It's been a tough year for him...and for me. I think some of his behavior is just being tired. I get glimpses of my sweet Caleb on weekends when he is rested and relaxed. He is just a different kid. I think the long school days, the constant rushing, the daily stress is too much for him and I know it is too much for me. I just feel like he needs to be home. I fear that if I don't step in now and get a hold of his heart....then I may miss my chance.

I have felt such discontent this past year. I feel like my relationship with Caleb has changed and there is a disconnect somewhere. This sounds so terrible but I found myself actually praying for God to help me enjoy my kids. Really enjoy them. Savor them. I love my boys so much but I don't always enjoy them. I feel like a terrible mom for even admitting such a thing....but maybe I'm not the only one. Everything is always so rushed and stressed. I'm weary from it all. The decision to homeschool came quick and without warning. Over Spring Break I got a week long glimpse of a rested, relaxed, well-behaved Caleb. I saw brothers playing together, laughing together, and enjoying each other. I was more relaxed. I was enjoying my kids. It was so nice. Then the week was over, Caleb went back to school and immediately the strain, stress, and discontent was back. Within a couple of days I made the decision to homeschool Caleb next year. I know, without a doubt, that this is what God wants us to do. I think homeschooling is His answer to my request to enjoy my kids. I made the decision in faith with my heart. I didn't do any research on homeschooling until I had made the decision, which I am thankful for. I have done nothing but read about homeschooling for the last 3 weeks and everything I have read has only confirmed and solidified my decision to homeschool. I'm glad I made the decision with my heart first, the decision has given me such peace. While the decision came easy, it is bittersweet. Caleb has been at his school since he was 3 years old. It's all he knows. We have been so blessed to have such a wonderful school. We have had hiccups here and there but for the most part public school has been a positive experience for us. I didn't expect to be leaving his school so soon. I've invested so much this year at his school with Inclusion Week. I thought for sure that I would continue to do that for the years to come and impact the entire district. But maybe it was just my job to get it started and then let someone else take over.

So, we're homeschooling next year (Caleb will be finishing out this school year). I'm nervous about it. I'm not so nervous about the "schooling" part of it because there are an endless stream of resources out there. There are so many different approaches and methods to homeschooling, I've enjoyed reading about all of them. I had no idea there was so much possibility! I am nervous that Caleb won't be accepted. He is going to have to start all over with making friends. Everyone at his school knows him but no one in the homeschool community does. There are a ton of local activities, groups, co-ops for families that homeschool which is such a blessing. I guess I'm worried about the same thing I worried about when Caleb entered public school. Will he make friends? Will he be accepted? Will people look past the green wheelchair and see the most awesome 7 year old ever? Will they take the time to get to know him? Will he be happy?

This is such a giant step for our family. I don't doubt the decision, I know it is what we are supposed to do. This decision is the best thing for our family right now. Even though I know all that, I'm still worried. As I type this, with tears in my eyes, I'm reminded that if I'm in the middle of His will, then there's nothing left to fear. I'm trusting Him.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Tethered Cord Surgery...One year later

Wow. Has it really been a year already? I just need to let that soak in a bit. It has not been an easy year, and the truth is that Caleb is not where I expected him to be. I never dreamed we would be a year out from surgery and he still wouldn't have gained back the function he had prior to surgery. That stings a's been stinging for a year now.

I remember sitting down with Caleb a couple of days before he was scheduled to have surgery. I explained to him the reasons he needed surgery and I promised that the surgery would help him. I told him that the surgery would help him walk better. I feel like I mislead him.

I didn't know he would have to start all over. I didn't know that he would lose everything that he had worked so hard to gain. I wasn't prepared for that. I didn't prepare him for that.

I just told him what everyone had told me. I was told that the recovery would take weeks, not months, and certainly not a year. I wish I had been better prepared for what could be. I wish someone had told me, had prepared me, so that I could have done a better job at preparing him.

Despite the fact that we had to start at the bottom of the mountain, despite the fact that we have already climbed this mountain before, Caleb has been a trooper. He always has been. He has pushed through physical therapy 3 times a week. Every week, for the past year.

He works hard. He may not be where he was and he may not ever gain back the function he had. But let me tell you, it isn't for lack of trying. He has given everything he has. I am in awe of him.

(he's a fantastic speller by the way)

Yep, that about sums him up.

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