Sunday, August 11, 2013

Creation Museum

While in Cincinnati we had a lot of down time and a long list of fun things we wanted to do. The first place we went to was the Creation Museum in Kentucky. It was remarkable. I think "remarkable" was the word of the day while we were walking around the museum. All I could say the entire time we were there was: "This place is just remarkable". We spent about 5 hours there and I took over 300 pictures. I won't share all 300 pictures here...but close.

Quote from Caleb: "This place has a lot of stuff about dinosaurs and Jesus" :)

The museum was full of realistic figures. We got to see Isaiah, Paul, Moses, Noah, Adam, Eve and more. The museum tried to recreate several stories from the bible. It was pretty cool.

I love this picture, it looks like this giant lizard is eating Benjamin's head.

A rare family photo. Thank you to the stranger who offered to take our picture.

There was a really neat video on the creation. Cool stuff.

Noah's Ark exhibit.

The "Insectorium" was remarkable. There were thousands of insects and critters. I seriously had no idea there were bugs that big. It was kinda freaky.

While we were enjoying the inside of the museum, it was pouring rain outside. I was so disappointed because the museum also has a beautiful botanical garden, camel rides, zip line course, and a petting zoo. I was worried we would miss out on the outside stuff because of the rain but luckily the storm passed and the sun started shining. The outside may have been more remarkable than the inside.
Why won't Caleb just give me a normal smile? Benjamin always does the head tilt when I take his photo.

Checking out the Koi pond.

The garden was full of beautiful flowers and plants. I had never seen anything like it. Remarkable.

So pretty.

My boys. Again Caleb with that face.

This is a Zorse (a zebra-horse combo) So cool.

The boys loved the petting zoo.

The place was so accessible. There wasn't anything off limits for Caleb. He loved all the trails and hills. 

The suspense bridge. Benjamin thought this was pretty cool.


I seriously can't say enough about this place. The photos I shared are just a fraction of the awesomeness. If you are ever in Kentucky, I highly recommend the Creation Museum. I am so glad we went. It was definitely a highlight of our trip.

Friday, August 09, 2013

The long (I mean very long) drive to Cinci

Fact: It is a very long drive from Texas to Ohio. About 14 hours to be exact....and that is if you drive non-stop...which of course isn't possible with 2 kids. So we broke up the drive over 2 days, stopping overnight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Since our stay in Cinci is so long, I've decided to blog about it over several different blog posts. There is no way I could squeeze this lengthy trip into one post.

Here are some pics of our drive to Ohio.

To prepare for our lengthy time in the car, I created busy binders to keep the boys entertained. We used cheap cookie sheets as tables. Really the binders didn't get used very much. Benjamin was pretty content in the car and Caleb did a lot of reading. The boys did really well on the long drive. I was quite surprised. There was a lot of "Are we there yet?" and "Are we STILL in Arkansas?", but overall both boys handled the many hours in the car pretty well.

The boys thought it was so cool when we would enter another state.

We drove as far as we could handle the first day and made it to Memphis. We got some sleep before we headed out on the road the next morning.
Enjoying some hotel breakfast.

After breakfast, we hit the road again.
I took a lot of photos from inside the car. I had to entertain myself somehow.

 We stopped off for lunch in Nashville. I did a quick google search for the best places to eat in town and this place came up. So that's where we ate.
Turns out this hole in the wall place in kinda famous. Guy Fieri (Diners, Drive-In's and Dives) made a visit to Arnolds. And with good reason, the food was fantastic. You wouldn't think much of it looking at the place but seriously it was good eatin'. 

Benjamin gobblin' up that southern cookin'.

This was my view for the majority of the 14 hour drive. Turns out there are a lot of trees between Texas and Ohio.

Woo-Hoo, we made it to Kentucky!!

This is the bridge that crosses from Kentucky to Cincinnati. We actually stayed in Kentucky and then drove over the bridge for Caleb's appointments in Cinci. The boys thought that was pretty cool.

And that pretty much sums up our drive to Cinci. Stay tuned for more Cinci posts to come!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

SK8 (Caleb's 8th birthday party)

Before we talk about the awesomeness that was Caleb's 8th birthday party, let's try to wrap our brain around the fact that this child is turning EIGHT years old. How did that happen? I can't even begin to fathom how my first born is going to be an 8 year old next Friday. Seriously blows my mind.

Okay now to the good stuff.

Planning Caleb's birthday parties are always a bit tricky. His birthday is in August and we live in Texas so anything outside is pretty much off limits. And we also have to think of places that are accessible and fun. Not such an easy task.

No fear, because we found the perfect location.

"The Pier" is a local indoor skatepark. It is 22,000 square feet of fun. It's awesome and the perfect spot for Caleb. So we had our location, next we needed a theme. Hmmm....a skatepark birthday party for an 8 year old....

Introducing the PERFECT theme:

I was so proud because I made this invitation all by myself. Thank goodness for PicMonkey (love me some PicMonkey).

Caleb's Birthday Banner (thanks PicMonkey!)

 Even though "The Pier" is an indoor skatepark, it isn't air conditioned. The park itself is in a ventilated, open-air space with large fans. The lobby has a/c but the park does not. So, I knew that our guests would likely get a bit warm while they were shreddin' the ramps. I tried to provide them with some relief from the heat.

I made these neck coolers for the kids (and parents) to wear. I found a tutorial on-line and it seemed easy enough so I made a bunch of them. I already had the fabric so I only had to purchase some water absorbing crystals. Now, I don't sew so I had to borrow my mom's sewing machine and learn how to use it. While this project would likely be easy as pie for a more skilled seamstress...this was a giant pain in the booty for me. I don't ever want to sew again. Ever. I'm glad I made the neck coolers though because they were a huge hit. 

I also made some fans (thanks again PicMonkey).

I made a skateboard out of cardboard for the guests to sign.

Now to show you what the inside of this place looks like.

Amazing, right?
The perfect place for a boy's birthday party. We had all 22,000 square feet to ourselves.

Caleb wasted no time and got on the ramps right away.

Benjamin didn't have any wheels but that didn't stop him from having his own fun on the ramps.
First he would run full steam.

Run up the ramp, grab the rail, and then pull himself to the top. I'm pretty sure he got this from watching "America Ninja Warrior".

 The ramps made perfect slides.

The boy was filthy. 

Caleb and his buddy Nathan.

Too much fun!

After the kids got good and sweaty on the ramps, we headed inside the lobby to have snacks, eat cake, and open gifts.

Prepare yourself for the most amazing cake ever!

(no I didn't make it, our wonderful cousin did)

Green spokes and everything!! Perfection.
Not only did the cake look amazing, but it tasted delicious.

Happy Birthday Caleb!

 The SK8 crew!

Wheelie Awesome!

Our local SB chapter does a Walk-n-Roll fundraiser every year. Well it is that time of year again so we are gearing up to raise money for our wonderful SB chapter.

Our team last year.

You can click here to make a donation, or better yet, join our team and come walk with us (if you are local). This year we decided to team up with Caleb's buddy Bryce to form one "Wheelie Awesome" team. We would love to have all of our friends and family out there showing their support for Caleb and Bryce. The event is at Burger's Lake and it is so much fun. Come join us!

This year we decided to have t-shirts made for our team. I've always wanted a shirt for Caleb that read "Wheelie Awesome" so with the help of a fellow SB dad (he took my idea and made a design) we have some "Wheelie Awesome" t-shirts for our team. The best news is that the shirts are available to anyone to purchase but only for a limited time.

Click here to order a shirt.

We have youth and adult sizes available. All profits will go directly to the Spina Bifida Association of North Texas.

So there are multiple ways you show your support. You can make a direct donation to our "Wheelie Awesome" team. If you are local you can Join our team and come walk with us (make sure you get a team t-shirt!). Or you can just buy a "Wheelie Awesome" t-shirt, or buy 2 or 3!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Encouraging Independence...and saving mommy's back

Caleb is heavy. His wheelchair is heavy. Lifting that kind of weight multiple times a day has taken a toll on my body, and by result, made my chiropractor rich. Side note: my chiropractor just took a week long vacation to the Bahamas...I'm pretty sure I paid for that trip. So in an effort to save my back and our bank account, I've been trying to avoid lifting Caleb. In the past, we have always carried Caleb to and from the car. Well no more of that!

We bought these foam puzzle mats:

We lined the mats along the wall in the garage, giving Caleb the perfect road to crawl on.

He crawls to the car.

He gets on his knees.

Gets up on his feet.

Climbs into the car.

Bumps his booty in the seat.

All by himself.

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