Monday, July 27, 2009

Camp Health Hope & Happiness

Last year for the first time ever Jake went to camp for a week. By accident one day I stumbled across the Camp HE HO HA website (here if your interested, Jakey is actually on the website now!) and found out that it is a camp just for kids with disabilities. They have two seperate camps, one for kids with physical challenges and the other for mental. Luckily I got in soon enough and he was able to go! Krista went with him as we were nervous about having him by himself for a week and they both had a blast!

This year he went again, only he flew solo this time. Krista loved it last year but felt he would benefit and do well without her so on the 12th of July we took the drive to Seba Beach, Alberta to drop him off. We really couldn't have picked a worse time to go to camp as it was pouring with rain, but as soon as we arrived there were kids and their counsellors running all over the place and jumping in the puddles!

Needless to say jake was NOT impressed when he figured out what was going on, but I met two of the young ladies that would be involved in his care and felt confident that as soon as I walked out his cabin door, he would be having as much fun as the rest of the kids.

After 6 very peacefull days for us and 6 fun-filled action packed days for him we were anxious to see Mr Jakey again. He was so excited to see us but we could tell he had a great time. The theme for the week was Super Heroes and we even saw Superman in the flesh wandering around. Apparently Jake was quite the hit with the lady folk as we discovered on our way to the car and managed to melt a few hearts with his killer smile and sparkly eyes.

What I said in my earlier post re the Ronald Mcdonald House rings true for Camp HeHoHa. It is a fantastic place with a sweet spirit that is evident as soon as you enter the grounds. The people that take care of the kids are amazing and I am just in awe of how they choose to spend their summers. It really does give me reason to hope that this world isn't as mean and nasty as it sometimes seems.

Because it is such a specialised camp it is expensive, but most of it is subsidised by generous businesses and groups so that at the end of the day families like ours that already have alot of extraordinary costs related to having a child with a disability are able to have a break for a week for a relatively small fee. And this I am so grateful for!

Canada Day - Warburg & Breton July 2009

So this year we got to celebrate Canada Day twice! It is a lucky thing it is Anna's favourite holiday!

The weekend before Canada Day we attended the Warburg parade and celebrations. We only caught the tail end of their parade, but for what we saw it looked good. After we went to their gathering area where they had some vendors and games for the kids. Anna and Orrin got to see a clown for the first time and he did some tricks with them. They went on the bouncing castle and played at the playground. Jesse had to get some things done at home so he and Orrin left for a bit while Anna and I went with Bonnie and Taylor to watch his baseball game.

After the game we met back up with Jesse and Orrin and went to watch the 4th annual Demonlition Derby. It was a lot of fun and in my opinion a lot more entertaining than the Mud Boggs. My only complaint was a sore butt from sitting on the ground for so long! I will definately plan to go to the one next year.

And on Canada Day we had it in Breton. I don't have any photos of the parade this year cause I was in the parade, so I will post some of last years as it was pretty much the same! I have to say it is a very different experience being in the parade and a lot of fun waving to all the kids and throwing them candy. It is a huge parade for our little town and people come from all over Alberta for it!

After the parade we went to the dunk tank for a bit where Anna tried to dunk the High School Principal and missed only by a hair! We looked at the vehicles at the Show 'n' Shine and went to play area for the kids to play some games.

Tribute to the Blue Blankie

I was one of those Mum's that as soon as my kids were out (as in born) I was counting down the days to when they would be going to school. I have never really been a baby person, I don't know if that is because there was such a big gap between myself and younger sisters that the whole 'baby thing' lost it's appeal at a young age or what, but I just prefer older kids.

Well this was all before I had Orrin. I don't know what it is with him but I loved being pregnant with him and anyone that was around when I was pregnant with him knows it was no picnic. I loved the baby stage with him so much so that I created a total monster that wouldn't sleep unless I was holding him. I may be over analyzying myself here but I do have a theory. When Jakey was a baby he was in hospital alot. When Anna was a baby Jakey was still in hospital alot so I guess I missed out on your regular baby things with the older two and combined with knowing that Orrin was going to be my last I guess I just wanted to just have a baby that everything was normal. I absoloutely love being at home with him and dreading the day that I have to send him off to school.

Orrin has had a security blanket since he was a baby. When he first started to talk he called it "Kie" and now it is called "Blue Blankie". He mostly just sleeps with it these days but he always drags it around with him when he first gets up in the morning and when he is tired during the day.

Tonight before bed I was reading him a story on the couch. His 'Blue Blankie' was right by us and after the story I asked him to go hop into bed and I will come and tuck him in. As he was going to bed I noticed Blue Blankie was still on the couch so I called out "Ooops you forgot this!" to which he replied very matter-of-factly "I don't need it, I can just sleep with my Wiggles blanket" (he has a Wiggles duvet) I just stared at him and said "You don't want Blue Blankie anymore?" "No I'm just big now". I must admit I felt tinge of what I am dreading when I send him to school for the first time. I went to tuck him in and I asked him why he doesn't want his Blue Blankie anymore. He told me this "well today my Dad said that when I'm bigger I can use my chainsaw and cut wood with him". Well that was it for me and I just started bawling in front of the poor kid. My baby is feeling ready to move on so I should be too!

Here are some photos of Orrin and his Blue Blankie from over the years....

UPDATE: I checked on Orrin and he has his blankie in bed with him...not quite ready I guess...PHEW!

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Ronald McDonald House 16th-18th June 2009

In June, Jake and I got to spend some one-on-one time together. For any dental work that he needs to have done he has to have a general anaethetic. He needed a filling and some cleaning to be done. His mouth has always been a pretty sensitive area and so I am actually surprised we have gone 8 years without any problems.

His surgery was booked for the 17th June at the Stollery Children’s Hospital and because we would need to stay in the city for 2 nights we got to stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Edmonton.

We went in for his pre-op appointment on the 16th and because the weather was sooo nice and the house was only a mile or so from the hospital we were just able to walk. I have never spent any time on Whyte Ave, but heard a lot about it so it was nice to feel like a city slicker once again.

The house was just beautiful! Jesse and I had stayed at RMH in Australia when Jake was a baby but that one was much smaller and not near as fancy as this one. It only cost us $12 per night and it truly is a home away from home.

The house’s main floor had 2 play areas plus 3 kitchens and a dinning room. There was also a library and a T.V/quiet room. There were 2 upper floors that had bedrooms and a laundry plus some more T.V rooms. There is enough space in the house to accommodate 30 families. In the basement there is a sort of teenage area with a fuse ball table etc. They have a few paid staff, but most of the people there are volunteers. Once a week some Hutterite women come in to bake for the families.

For the past 8 years I must admit for probably seven and a half of them I have wished that Jake was just a regular little boy that could speak and act appropriately in public, use the bathroom, not have to be on medication and cart some clunky communication device around and certainly not have to be admitted for surgery for a simple filling! But if he was just a regular boy we never would have had the amazing experiences that we have and having the privilege to feel the sweet spirit at Ronald McDonald House was one of those times.