Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cool Happenings at the Local Park

I currently work part-time, and I try to take the kiddos somewhere to do something fun on my 2 days off each week. On Thursday, I took them to our favorite park. Some really cool things happened that I feel compelled to share.

Since everyone seems to get so bent out of shape about every single opinion in existence, I'll preface by stating that everyone parents differently and I am sharing my own thoughts and opinions.  You don't have to agree with me.  I won't be hurt.

Anyway, helicopter parents.....ahh, helicopter parents.  That must be exhausting.  That's all I'll say about that.

I pushed each of my boys on the swings for about 10 minutes, and then sat on a bench to watch them play.  I wasn't on my cell phone, though it's no one's business if I would have been.  I was enjoying the late-summer breeze and watching my kids, along with a group of 8-10 year old boys, play while enjoying the sunshine on my legs.

The helicopter parents were abound.  Heck, there was even a helicopter grandpa there.  I was quite astonished at his energy level!  It even wore his grandson out, as he finally asked, "Can we not play the monster game anymore, grandpa? I want to climb on the ladder."  That made me chuckle.

While I was sitting on the bench observing, I felt the eyes of a couple heli-moms on me.  I'm sure they were aghast at my level of laziness and my utter disregard for what my boys were doing.  I was probably disgusting them with my self-centered presence at the park that morning.

But a few things happened Thursday morning at Vickie Powers Park.

Jameson - who has forever been quite un-graceful and hesitant to do anything daring - climbed up the steps of the jungle-gym, and proceeded to go right down the slide all by himself. Then, beaming with pride, he did it again.  After the small slide became super lame, he moved on to the bigger slides.

A few minutes later, he started hopping across the tires that are half-buried in the ground, whereas he wouldn't even get up on them the previous times we'd been to that park.

He also climbed up onto a ride-on horse toy, with no help from me, though he'd requested it - something else he's never done on his own before.

Hendrix saw another boy standing on top of one of those tubes designed to crawl through.  He asked me how to get up on top of it, and I answered that I wasn't sure, but I knew he could figure it out.  And you know what?

He did.

He got frustrated a few times, and he failed a few times.  But the other young boy ended up giving him a few pointers, and the next thing I knew, Hendrix was King of the Playground Jungle and he had figured it out without my help.

Again - everyone parents differently, but letting kids figure things out themselves really does them quite a bit of good.  And from the heli-grandpa paragraph above, sometimes I think they really do want adults to butt out and let them be kids. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Kamp for Kids 2014

I know I'm not the only person begging the powers that be for a "Slow the crap down!!" button for life. Can I get an amen???

Last thing I knew, we were returning home from our family visit in Iowa, planning out the rest of our lazy summer.  Now, half of the trees surrounding us are yellow and orange, and we're headed to the pumpkin patch this weekend.

I have about 6 drafts saved for blog posts, but can't seem to find 5 seconds to work on them, and I'm looking into getting a second job, so time isn't going to be becoming any more abundant in the near future, but I'm working on it, guys.  I promise.  

This post is 3 weeks late, but alas, here it is.  We headed to our first ever weekend of Diabetes Camp at the beginning of September! We knew about camp last summer, but Jameson was only 2 at the time, and we were still feeling really "new" to South Dakota, so we chose not to attend.

Through the last year, though, I made a few D friends, and my good friend, Amy, reminded me about camp in early August, so we registered and spent the next month in anticipation.  It did NOT disappoint.  Really, it was awesome.

Friday evening, after a spaghetti dinner, the Black Hills Raptor Center put on a very cool program about birds of prey. The presenter was very articulate, and did a fantastic job of explaining about each bird in a way that everyone could understand, from the 3-year-olds like Jameson, all the way up to the adults. She spoke about how birds of prey all have 3 characteristics: huge eyes, sharp talons, and curved, sharp beaks for tearing apart flesh and carcases.  Sweet, right?

This is Icarus. She's grouchy, all the time. She tried a couple times to fly off the presenter's gloves.

Remember this little guy - you'll see him again in a second.

This is Little Red Riding Hoot.  She was molting at the time of the show, and had a big poof of feathers around her neck and everyone in the room wanted to grab her and put her in their pocket, and love her, and pet her, and.....  Yeah, she was adorable.

This is Phoenix.  I didn't get a photo of the action, from picking my jaw up off the ground, but we watched this guy demolish half of a rat.  I'm not even lying.

Told you you'd see this guy again!  His name is Hendrix.  Clearly, MY Hendrix thought it was so very cool to meet a bird of the same name, and when he spoke up during the program that he and the bird shared a name, the presenter insisted that they take a photo together once the program was over. :)

After the raptor presentation, we all went out behind the lodge for a big bonfire and s'mores!

Saturday morning was just gorgeous.  It had frosted a bit overnight, and everything was crisp and cool on the ranch grounds.

After breakfast on Saturday morning, there were several sessions for everyone there.  Matt and I were able to sit through 3 different sessions, knowing that Jameson was taken care of by other diabetics who understood the whole shebang.  Way cool.

A lot of the sessions were for parents of older diabetic children, but it was still good to be a part of them, giving us an idea of the issues we'll face in the future.  One of the sessions was on depression and the emotions of the disease.  One mother shared the story of her daughter's depression and talk of suicide.  She stated that she didn't realize it until she went to pick up her daughter from school one day, but that her daughter was considering suicide and had the weapon for the job right in her hand: her insulin pump.  My emotions got the best of me when I was listening to this story and I just cried.  I can't imagine. We also had a session about Diabetes support groups, and how to go about finding support when you need it, because God knows we all do.

We met several other D families, one of which had a 3 year old daughter, (she is 6 months older than Jameson) and another with a 5 year old son. I'm still trying to locate those families on facebook, but I hope to be able to get the kids together sometime soon!

I went out to check on the boys between sessions, and that's Jameson, on the far side of the parachute in the yellow shirt, bent over, having the time of his life. My heart still flutters when I think about watching him in that moment.

Lunch on Saturday was eaten with the Cosmopolitan Club of Rapid City. They are an organization that fights diabetes.  They represent a huge portion of the donations that are given to Diabetes Incorporated each year.

Jameson was showing his pump and meter to the Type 2 diabetic gentleman seated with us.  They were comparing their goods. The gentleman pictured, along with his wife and another couple were just cracking up at the character of my boy!

The Cosmo Club presented Diabetes, Incorporated with a $10,000 check after lunch that day!

Saturday afternoon was spent playing games, having races, and riding horses!  Or, *almost* riding horses, I should say.  We enjoyed petting the animals while they boys were waiting their turn to ride.  The horse that Hendrix is petting in the photo below was such a clown.  He sneezed all over Hendrix, everyone flipped out and busted up laughing, and the horse spent the next 5 minutes or so opening up his mouth like he was going to sneeze, then faked us all out with no sneeze at all.  It was so funny!

Ready to ride!  Maybe??

These boys looked forward to the horse riding all weekend, mounted the horse, stayed up on the horses for about 30 seconds, and then got off.  Silly kids.

After the almost-horseback riding, we meandered over to the paintball guns!  This was something else Hendrix had talked about for 3 weeks leading up to camp!

On Saturday evening after dinner, there was a dance. Please, if you do nothing else today, check out Jameson running around with all the teen and tween  girls dancing to some Taylor Swift.


Hendrix chose not to go to the dance, and wanted to watch Frozen instead.  Jameson and I joined him and Matt later to watch the movie.  After that, we all fell into bed out of exhaustion!

Sunday morning was a lot of relaxation.  We chatted with friends, the kids played, and then we had lunch and headed home.

It was such a fabulous weekend. We are so very blessed with family and friends who support us on all levels.  But it was so heart-warming to connect with other Type 1 families who truly get the 1 AM alarms, the sugar-stash in the cupboards, the placing cardboard sticks in our kids' pee, the fear that a common cold strikes in our hearts.....because they do it every single day, just like we do.

I laughed.  I cried.  We connected.  We formed new friendship bonds.  We had fun. We CANNOT WAIT to go back next year.  Thank you, Diabetes, Inc for a fantastic first year at Kamp for Kids!