Friday, June 03, 2011

Kindergarten Wrap Up

Well the school year is over for Caleb.  Man, this year has flown by!  The past couple of weeks have been busy with programs, award ceremonies, and end of the year party.  So I thought I would just lump everything together in to one blog post.
This was taken at the Kindergarten Music program a couple of weeks ago.  The theme was "Kids Rock" and Caleb was super excited about it.  He worked so hard memorizing all the songs and was singing them for days leading up to the program.  I was super proud of him because the cafeteria was packed with people, it was really noisy and chaotic. There was a time when that type of environment would have been too much for him but he did great!

Earlier this week Caleb's class had an awards ceremony.  I figured Caleb would get an award for "Cutest 5 year old on the planet" or "Spikiest Hair" or "Fastest kid in a wheelchair".  I guess those aren't categories for awards so he was just given a "Kindergarten Certificate" just like all the other kids.  He thought it was cool.
All the kids got a cookie about the size of my face!  It was a huge cookie people.
This is Caleb and his buddy Jacob.  Caleb and Jacob started school together when they were just barely 3 years old.  They were in the same PPCD class for 2 years and then in Kinder together this year.  I have seen Jacob and his parents almost every day the past 3 years and I am so sad that he will be going to a new school next year.  We have seen our boys grow and develop and mature so much over the years.  I am really going to miss seeing Jacob's smiling face next year.  But the good news is, Jacob and Caleb will be riding horses together this summer and we have made plans for some swimming pool play dates.

And then yesterday, Caleb has his end-of-the-year party.
The kids got to do a few games outside.

I'll admit that I found myself feeling a bit down as I watched Caleb outside in his chair.  I am watching all of these kids running around like crazy and having so much fun, they aren't having any trouble getting around.  I see Caleb who has to work so hard to participate and he has to work so hard to get around in the classroom.  I found myself getting sad and even a bit angry if you want to know the truth.
But then I see this smile.  This huge smile.  I see a kid who is having fun.  It may be harder for him to participate, but he IS participating.  And he is having a blast.  He is having fun outside with his peers.  And I am reminded that my sadness is not his.  If Caleb isn't sad then why should I be sad?  It's all about perspective.  And even I need my perspective adjusted sometimes.
Benjamin met some fellow little people.
And he found some dirt to dig in.

Waiting in line for a snow cone.  Benjamin kept trying to cut in line.  He is cute and little so he can get away with it!

Enjoying his Lemon-Lime snow cone!  Now that is a happy kid.

And just for fun...
Is it just me or had Caleb aged about 3 years in the last 9 months!  Maybe it is the new glasses and spiky hair but he looks like a little man!  I just can't believe how much he has changed this school year.  I am so proud of him.  Kindergarten was not easy for him.  He really had to step up his endurance this year.  He has come so far and has gotten so strong.  I've mentioned before that we have decided to give Caleb one more year of Kindergarten.  That was a hard decision to make but I think it will be the best thing for him.  It will just give him that extra year to really solidify all the basics that are learned in Kindergarten and another year to mature socially as well.  He was just barely 5 when he started school this year so I think another round of Kinder will be a good thing for him.  Not only has Caleb had to learn all the Kindergarten curriculum but he has also had to learn how to navigate through school and have the endurance to keep up.  I hate that he won't be moving up to first grade with all of the friends he has made this year but I know that there will be a new group of kiddos coming in next year that he can be friends with.  Plus there will be a ton of new pretty girls for him to fall in love with.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Zoo!

Last week Caleb's class had a field trip to the zoo, but due to the horrible tummy bug that had taken over our home, he missed the field trip.  And he was super disappointed.  So, we promised that we would take him to the zoo once we all got to feeling better.  Today was that day.  And it would figure that the day we decide to go to the zoo, Texas has the highest temperature so far this year...100 degrees!!  Good gravy, it was steamy today.
The boys were so excited about going to the zoo.  I don't think the heat bothered them near as much as it bothered Glenn and I.  Although Caleb started getting grumpy after a couple of hours because he was so hot.
I've learned that zoos are not super wheelchair friendly.  Caleb couldn't see much from his chair so Glenn had to pick him up a lot so he could see the exhibits.  Of course, Benjamin couldn't see well either since he is still so little so he had to be picked up quite a bit too.
Not sure what Caleb is looking at here but I just loved the expression on his face.  Plus its a good shot of his spiky hair that he is so proud of!
This picture cracks me up.  Even the animals were hot.  I bet they get sick of thousands of people staring at them every single day.  
I've named these two guys Caleb and Benjamin :)
I wonder if meerkats make good pets??  They are so cute.
I just thought it was funny how this duck was laying.


The zoo currently has a dinosaur exhibit with several life size dinosaurs on display throughout the park.  These dinosaurs actually move a little bit and make sounds.
Benjamin checking out one of the dinosaurs.  Um, he wasn't too sure about it.

Here is what Caleb thought of the life-like dinosaurs...
...clearly not a fan.

The boys had the most fun riding the train.


And then we had a furry little friend join us for lunch.
This squirrel had absolutely no fear.  He (or she) came right up to the table and practically begged for food.  So I gave it a piece of bread from my sandwich.  He (or she) loved it and quickly came back for more.  Who knew that squirrels like homemade whole wheat bread, it must be the bits of pecans I bake into the bread that enticed this squirrel.  He (or she) just kept begging so I kept feeding him (or her).
I think this silly squirrel was my favorite part of the entire day!

My sweet Benjamin was exhausted by the time we were done.  He was literally falling over asleep in the wagon.  Isn't that face just gorgeous? Sweet boy.

All-in-all, a good day at the zoo.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Last game of the season

Caleb had his last Miracle League baseball game yesterday.  He has really enjoyed playing baseball this season.  We are so thankful for the Miracle League and the fact that this even exists for Caleb and other kids.  It's impossible to watch these kids play baseball with the biggest smiles you have ever seen and not feel a bit emotional.  They are truly enjoying such a simple pleasure and it means the world to them and to their families.
Hangin' in the outfield.  It was a bit toasty yesterday so Caleb managed to find a small bit of shade to park his chair in.
(I love the fun things I can do with photo editing)
Benjamin helped by putting all the balls back into the bucket.
Having some fun in the play area.  Benjamin isn't much for sitting and just watching Bubba play baseball so we have to find other ways to keep him busy.
I seriously can not believe how big this child is.  He seems taller every single day.  I can't believe my precious baby is going to be SIX years old in August.

For every game the team has one "Grand Slam Home Run Hitter" and that child gets to bat last and score a home run for the team.  Caleb got to be the home run hitter yesterday.
Here is a video of him strolling past 3rd and heading to Home plate.

 
I love how he is taking his sweet time and then suddenly decides to start sprinting as he gets closer to home.
 
Most of you on Facebook know that we had a bit of a  shunt scare yesterday afternoon.  Caleb had been complaining of headaches for a couple of days and he would just want to lie on the couch when his head was hurting.  So we called the neuro and he said to bring him in.  Turns out everything is fine, thankfully.  Whew!  I really thought Caleb was facing another shunt revision.  With shunts you just never know if a headache is just a headache or if it something to be concerned about.  I just don't take chances when it comes to Caleb's brain and I figure it's better to take him in just to be sure and to have the peace of mind.  Caleb did amazing at the ER too, didn't get upset over the CT scan or shunt series.  He even stayed calm when they took his blood pressure which really surprised me considering how much he HATES to have his blood pressure taken.  Caleb has been poked and prodded, has had so many IV's, tests, scans, hospitalizations, etc...and somehow his biggest fear is the blood pressure cuff!  But he was a trooper the entire time.  So proud of how well he handled everything.

So thank you for all the prayers and encouraging words on FB yesterday.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mission: "A Cyle for Caleb"...COMPLETE!!

You might remember a post I made a couple of weeks ago: "Wanted: A cycle for Caleb", where I shared how we were in the process of saving $2500 so that we could purchase a hand cycle for Caleb.  I even shamelessly added a "chip-in" button to the site so that we could receive donations towards this purchase.  I knew that it would take quite awhile to save up this kind of money but I knew we would get it done.  A fellow SB mom, Jennifer (a.k.a. Charlie's mom) told me about a program called "Athletes Helping Athletes".  She thought they might be able to help us get funding for a cycle.  So, I did a bit of research.  AHA is an amazing program that is run by RoadRunnerSports, and they specifically provide grants for hand cycles.  So, I sent in an application.  Crossed my fingers.  And expected to hear something in about 3 months!  And within days I received a phone call letting me know that Caleb was getting a hand cycle!  FREE!!!  Hello!!  Woo-Hoo!!  AHA had 2 hand cycles that we could choose from and here is the one we chose for Caleb.

It's the Invacare Top End XLT JR.  We chose this one because it most closely resembled the custom cycle we had originally wanted made specifically for Caleb.  Because we were approved for a grant through AHA we can't have a cycle built for Caleb, we had to chose one of the Invacare bikes.  But this one looks a lot like what we had planned on anyway so we are super excited.  And the fact that all of this happened within days of me sending in the application is amazing! Caleb should be receiving his new cycle the first week of June.  Just in time for summer vacation :)

I truly can't believe it.  I never dreamed we would be able to give him such a wonderful gift so quickly.  Some of you parents know how long it can take to get anything our kids need, it can take months to get a wheelchair or a walker, or save money for an important piece of equipment.  So to have this cycle coming to us so quickly just blows my mind.  Truly an answer to prayer.

I do want to thank those of you that donated on the "chip-in" site (everyone's money was refunded).  I was touched by the handful of you that were so quick to give money towards a bike for Caleb.  So a big thank you to:

Jason, Monique and Aiden Clark
Gammy, Grandpa Al, and Aunt Rachel
Jill Bell (a.k.a. Kingsley's mom)
Kimberly Dill (a.k.a Jonathan's mom)
Kathy Stafford (Jonathan's grandma)
Northside Christian Church in Oklahoma (this is also a thank you to Melissa Bell who told her church about Caleb and they raised $350!)

You guys are awesome!!

I highly recommend looking into AHA if you need a hand cycle for your kid.  The process was so easy and so fast.  This foundation LOVES giving these cycle to kids, they are passionate about it, and they move quickly.
Another resource is Challenged Athletes, they also provide grants.  They only take applications once a year (I think starting in September).  So check them out as well.  I'm so thankful to Jennifer for telling me about these programs.  I had no idea there was anything out there that would provide Caleb a hand cycle.  Us parents need to share these valuable resources with each other so if there is some organization or foundation that has really helped you or your kid then leave a comment for others to read.  I'll start a resource section on this blog to make all these great resources easy to find.  So let me know if you know of any other great organizations!

And I will certainly be posting some pictures of Caleb on his new cycle as soon as we get it!  I can't wait.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Attempts at the perfect Mother's Day photo

Last Sunday on Mother's Day I really wanted to get a decent picture of me with my 2 boys.  That was my mission.  I knew it would be a daunting task because I have 2 young boys and getting both of them to cooperate and look at the camera (with a smile) at the same time is, well, impossible.  But I was going to try anyway.

Here are some of the attempts at the perfect Mother's Day photo
In this particular shot Caleb has throw himself backwards and Benjamin is trying to scale the chair (notice I am holding on to his britches, trying to pull him back down).

Now in this one Benjamin has decided to sit down and actually look at the camera and Caleb is showing half of his face.  A small step in the right direction but not quite the perfect Mother's Day photo.

Finally everyone is looking at the camera but Caleb has his hand over his mouth for some unknown reason and I look like I am dozing off.  Not the perfect picture.

Here is the best picture we managed to get. 
It may not be a perfect picture but it's close.
I am one blessed mom!  I love my 2 boys.

(You may have noticed the lovely scratches around Caleb mouth.  That is because he decided to go flying down our driveway in his walker and he fell.  On. His. Face.)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Feelin' Crafty

I was recently bit by the craft bug and I thought I would share my masterpieces :)
I wanted to make something "original" for my mom and mother-in-law for Mother's Day and I stumbled across and idea of turning ceramic tiles into coasters.  So I went to Lowe's and bought some 4X4 tiles as well as a 6X6 tile.  I used stamps to decorate them and then covered them in sealant.
Here are the coasters I made.

I made this tile for my mom.

Then I wanted to see what else I could make using tiles.  I bought some small glass tiles and turned them in to magnets.  This was my first time to use Modge Podge...I was scared of it at first but now I love it!

The magnets are cute right?  I think these would be such great gifts for Grandparents and Great-grandparents.  Everyone uses magnets and what makes a better magnet than my adorable kid's faces!

I also bought a 4X4 glass tile and made this.
So I went a little crazy recently with tiles and modge podge.  It was fun and gave me some cute ideas for gifts.  My mom is thinking about making some nice coasters and decorative tiles and selling them on her site.  She has some cute stuff for sale already if any of you want to check it out.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Beans are for more than just eatin'

Benjamin has 2 favorite toys right now.
A scoop truck and a dump truck.  He LOVES them. Only $2 a piece at Target. :)
Yesterday I had the idea to give him some dried beans that he could scoop up and then dump in the truck.  Who would have thought that something so simple would provide hours of entertainment for this kid?!
He made the cutest little truck noises the entire time.  It was so stinkin' cute.  He made sure every single bean made it in the dump truck.
Getting ready to unload some more beans into the dump truck.  I love how he would just lay on the floor to play.
Every last bean.
He would fill the dump truck full of beans and them dump them out or "dunk out" (that's how he's says it) and start all over again.  And he did this for the longest time.
Hours of fun people, hours of fun.

And then Bubba came home and he had to check out the beans.
And for the briefest of moments the 2 boys were playing nicely together.  Beans had brought peace and harmony into the house.  Unfortunately the peace didn't last.  About 3.2 seconds after I took this picture Benjamin was screaming and trying to smack Caleb while Caleb was pelting Benjamin in the head with the beans.  Nice.
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