NaBloPoMo - Day 22

Friday was Cassie's field trip to some caves that are an hour away. Once we were there we learned that it was a half mile walk to the caves and what was all entailed from there. Cassie's physical therapist and I decided that we would do it, one way or another.

To get into the caves there was 2 short flights of regular stairs and then 1 set of steep stairs, on which everyone had to walk down backwards. Everyone except Cassie who scooted down all of the steps on her bottom. We then entered the first room of the caves. The name of this room made me wonder if Cassie would turn on her heels and crawl back up those stairs. This first room was The Bat Cave. (I kept waiting to meet Batman, but he never showed. I so could have gotten his autograph and then shown Becky's husband Brian) Here we were given lots of information about the caves, how they were formed, what kind of things we can expect to find in the caves (cave spiders-which were the size of a quarter including legs, cave crickets-they don't chirp, small snakes-but they weren't in the caves we would be going through, and of course...bats. The bats would only be in this first room and they are actually hibernating already. Shhh....the bats asleep!

(3 flights of stairs going down to Bat Cave - that you?)

Cassie looked back at me every time the guide mentioned another thing that would be down here...and I was sure she would cry or bolt, but she just looked at me and then went back to listening. After listening to the informational talk, the kids got to look around some in this room and I found a couple bats that were hibernating in the crevices. Cassie looked at them with me and was actually totally ok with seeing them. I was impressed.

Heading into the next room we went through a nice large opening...we only had to duck a little bit. Cassie, however, was unsure of it. I got her through though and once we were in the next room she found a rock to sit on and we listened to some information about this room. Then there was a crawl that the kids could do. Think small tunnel you crawl through into another room and then have to turn around and crawl back to main room. Cassie was in no way interested in doing this. And this is where the story really begins. The guide, Stephanie, came over and asked Cassie if she would do it if she (the guide) went with her and lead the way. Cassie thought about it for a little and then said ok. And off she went with her physical therapist's help.

And that was that. From there Cassie did every crawl that there was to do. Cassie had her spot each time, right behind Stephanie and followed by her therapist. Stephanie gave Cassie her flashlight to allow Cassie to see more and therefore feel more comfortable. Some of the crawls were extremely tight and you ended up army crawling or wiggling through them. Most connected one room to the next and there were a couple that you had to go through feet first. I, however, didn't go through any of the crawls. At one point I went a separate way and just met up with them a little later in an area where they came in through a crawl. There was no way I was going to go in those little holes and have to wiggle myself through them. (Hello coffin)

(Cassie coming out of a small crawl...feet first, with Stephanie's help)

The most surprising part was there were a handful of girls that didn't want to go any further at that point and took a ladder out of the caves completely with another adult. A couple of the girls were even crying they were so panicked/scared. And none of them was Cassie.

(Warrior Paint - Cassie was less then thrilled about the badge of making it through the included putting mud on your face. And no...I didn't do it.)
Once we were out of the caves (had to crawl up 3 ladders - a 7 step one, 10 step one, and 25 rung one) Cassie sat on a bench to cool off and her therapist and I took the snow pants that I had brought along and put on her. Side note: I'm so glad I put snow pants on her. She was FILTHY!

I was so unbelievably proud of Cassie though. She went past her comfort zone and experienced things that normally she wouldn't have. She also was inspirational for some of the other kids and adults there. She showed that she really can do anything and go anywhere if she wants to and works at it. That is MY girl!

Also...pretty proud of myself. I didn't lose it at all, and I didn't get lost or die. Yeah! Hey...I know you would have missed me. Fun Fact: As long as you are moving you are fine, but if you are dead down in the caves, the cave crickets will actually eat you. Just keep moving... moving... moving.

This morning Andy and I went to help walk dogs out at Happily Ever After animal shelter. I absolutely love going there. The normal walk for most of the dogs is about a half mile. By the time we left today I had walked about 3 miles and didn't even realize just how far I'd walked. Then there are the times that you take 2 dogs at a time and you even get a good stretch in. Dogs don't get the fact that they can't pull you in opposite directions or that crossing over each other and pulling isn't good for the human body. Arms just move like that normally. But you can't blame them. They are so excited to be going for a walk and be getting more loving.

After walking dogs, we headed to my niece, Kaitlynn's, birthday party. Her birthday isn't until Wednesday, but today we celebrated. She had a blast and did a wonderful job of opening gifts and eating her cake. Sure, she got dirty, but there wasn't any cake left when she was done.

(Such a pretty little one)

( What else is in there???)

(fork? Who needs that?)