Christmas Newsletter 2015

2015-12-16 08.42.44 2015-12-25 03.04.18

 

Well, all we continue to say after last year is that we are so glad Roger is with us this year!!  As I wrote last year, he was in the rehab center all last Christmas and it continued into February.  He was finally able to come out then and recuperated at his parents’ until sometime in March.  We were so happy to finally see some strength return by about April and May, and I continued to do a lot of work with him on data entry.  We truly are a team!

We still go to our Youngstown courthouse every few weeks and enjoy getting a lunch together at a local Chinese restaurant.  We also were blessed to enjoy a family vacation (http://www.criscollrj.com/2015/10/22/october-2015-maryland-vacation/) for the first time in 9 years.  Even though it was a bit colder than expected (with a little snow even!), we all really really enjoyed it and hope to return again soon.

We did completely have our basement renovated last year–as I wrote in the last newsletter that said renovation had begun–and then had our bathroom repaired in May.  With school again from July until just a few days ago, I am yet again ready to start cleaning out corners and cobwebs and ready to finally get Ryan in his own room as we had planned last summer, that didn’t happen.  I am on another term break now until March 1, when I will start yet another semester.  Three more semesters until student teaching!  A bit scary, actually…

We returned to Kraynak’s again a few weeks ago with our friends the Jevnikars, and reunited with my high school friends Annette and her family, and also our mutual friend Becky.  It was very enjoyable, and we especially found delicious the food at a new place, Hickory Grill.  We had unseasonable warmth through much of December except for a few brief snows.  It has been in the 60s this Christmas week. Strange to see daffodils coming up in places — will they come back in the spring?

We were thrilled for Chris to be enrolled in a new workshop in October where the focus is on autism intervention/training for workshop.  He is doing so much better and also has seen a new medical expert that has tried some new medicines for him.  He is sleeping better and is usually in a great temperament!

Colleen found a fantastic job this year and has been working since April at a pet store.  She is a lizard/fish expert and that of course is right up her alley.  She works a lot of hours and is very content with that.

Ryan moved on to the high school this year, in the 8th grade.  He continues to excel in his academics and made honor roll this semester!  He is now taller than all of us except Roger.

With all of the things that have occurred in this past year and before, we continue to trust that God has us all in His Hand and is watching over us.  We have had many challenges and trials, but am so grateful that many things are resolved now, with just a bit more to get through yet.  Some time ago this popped into my head, particularly the part that begins at 2:14

 

I didn’t realize I posted this on Facebook on December 10, 2014.   Guess I should have posted it on last year’s newsletter, but here it comes now for some reason…

From Facebook 12/10/14:  “This is a song I used to sing all the time in high school, and I’d forgotten about it. Starting about 1:03, listen to this song (though the first song is good too!). The part that says “I want to thank you for the gift of your son,” just randomly came in my head when I got home from the hospital today, at 2:13 on the track. Word for word it came out of my mouth, and I hadn’t heard the song in about 33 years. I felt like thanking God for seeing Roger today and that things hopefully are going to look up soon, and I thanked God, and then just started singing this song. Didn’t even know who it was by until I found on YouTube! Just knew I was in high school probably when it came out. I needed to hear the words today… been such a struggle.”

“I want to thank You for the gift of Your Son,
And for the mystery of prayer,
And for the faith to doubt and yet believe
That You’re really there.

The mysteries of Your Word are the questions of my days.
I search them now to understand the wisdom of Your ways.
Jesus walks before me and clearly walks the path
To guide me to the Father and to peace at last”

10914903_10205983340081198_3590404490849666519_o10926826_10205983340201201_10979476330714069_o1796045_10205894918190706_3647321818737088356_o

  1. Chris visiting Daddy in the hospital, Jan ’14
  2. Rog programming his new IPhone 5c
  3. The place where Rog should be sitting in Youngstown court next to me…

10897846_10205894917390686_5664258782150021957_n10626281_10206164796857504_9191397711182103575_o11011230_10206308624773112_6747486443724303155_n

4.  I am at Youngstown Courthouse

5.  February 2015 – and the snow just keeps coming.

6.  And the cold!

A particular memory is how the heat quit working in my car when I was driving to Youngstown, and the real temperature outside was -17.  Talk about cold toes!!  Later found out it was my radiator, which I had replaced in May of 15.  You’ll see below what happened in June…

10960442_10206216771596840_2377231499281057964_o10960481_10206324719375467_3109095408222117095_o10896151_10206308760216498_5510041801262380031_o

7.  February – the amazing photobombing bird!

8.  A start to one of Colleen’s amazing paintings.

9.  Ryan writes so much like I did..

10991248_10206308748096195_1678507192278303153_n11035624_10206411571386713_2200449505655345525_o1540432_10206471298599856_1243492633748859502_o

10.  The cold just keeps up.

11.  March – painting almost done!

12.  Rog is back at his mom’s, and we finally had Ryan’s and my birthday parties!!

 

11016790_10206471295879788_6157580943120602158_o10959004_10206445574756776_1166824431193662006_o11034463_10206698481439285_5370211083827422942_o

13.  Boys at mama’s and papa’s house.

14. Ryan’s SpecialSports Basketball 🙂

15. March also finally got Rog back in that special chair at Youngstown Courthouse!

1555448_10206725442873304_7529182690099004215_n11149325_10206698523920347_9075246095849060838_n11084220_10206863696249552_3871633147509749309_o

16.  That was an amazing temp after all that cold!

17.  April brought new glasses, after years, that turned to sunglasses!

18.  Colleen’s beautiful sculpture.

11164678_10206863695329529_5518986584846667454_o11194585_10206863688489358_6716599357478090300_o11415555_10207148059278450_5140975078126352250_o

19.  Another one of her gorgeous art show entries.

20.   Rog and I got to Meadville to work May 1 and ate at 5 guys!

21.   Ryan at the football camp in May for Specialsports!

11351481_10207015940655567_3780123208110532372_n11203575_10206950516860013_6921016491801957771_o10556908_10207207183156510_6388565965911622156_o

21.  It was Flag football…

22.  Got our bathroom redone in May!

23.  Colleen turned 21!

10329874_10207148072398778_1163145983457371079_o 11393655_10207207168476143_6324556786937872980_o

24.  June – Ryan’s really enjoying summer!

25. End of June said goodbye to Old Bess after she caught on fire.  13 years — 195,000 mi.  Yep, a month after replacing radiator.  I was pouring radiator fluid and power steering fluid in it for months…

11180621_10207302810627137_2742625538707720002_n11245811_10207099184696616_6226856533371540438_o11357069_10207099181616539_7701664396995200921_o

26.  A few weeks later this 2014 T & C joined our family.  30,000 miles, and now it’s already up to almost 44,000.

27.  Sophie and I enjoying our  basement, much nicer after the Christmas ’14 repair!

28. July, a little trip we took Chris on where Colleen was doing some fishing.

11312687_10207099178656465_8377033104179640975_o2015-08-15 19.32.482015-04-29 11.38.21

29.  Mom and her friend Allen Helm helped us plant a lot of beautiful plants and shrubs my uncle Don gave.

30.  I saw Rainbows on Chris’s wall on 3-4 separate occasions this year, amidst worry and struggle.

31.  Sometime the summer/fall Peach went to live with my mom.  She is flourishing!  She lost her “sister” Pumpkin a few months before that.   

2015-07-25 18.13.592015-08-06 10.34.04

32.  July – my mom and Chris and I enjoyed attending the Montville bicentennial.

33.  Ryan always enjoys getting his Dairyman’s Chocolate milk,  a daily trip he calls “getting Biggerline Dairymen’s chocolate milk here.”….  and boy what a fit if one of the stores has run out of stock on it…

 

2015-08-31 06.54.312015-09-13 16.55.382015-09-16 09.27.38

34.  September – we did get 15-20 tomatoes!

35.  Mantua potato festival 🙂

36.  Getting rid of old couch and fridge.  Lots of newer furniture and a fridge, and lots of boxes and other things, came in when Mama/Papa moved!  I’ll be sorting and arranging all these on the current break I just started.

2015-09-27 16.37.392015-10-16 15.06.02

37.  Took Chris to the shore one night, Lake Erie.

38.  Our trip in October to Maryland.  More pics on my blog!  Runaway ramps in WVa.

2015-10-17 17.29.032015-10-17 21.16.17

39.  One of the parks in WVa or Maryland.

40  Fire in our cabin 🙂

2015-10-16 14.39.042015-10-19 09.06.44

41.  First views of the hills.

42.  I want this mailbox!

2015-10-16 17.29.052015-10-25 12.46.35

43.  Our cabin.

44.  November after Gayle/Chuck moved, Chris visited before they gave away the keys — Emotional!!

2015-11-09 07.32.482015-11-26 14.21.10

45.  Breathtaking view of the lake in Auburn on the way to Youngstown.

46.  Happy birthday Chris, mom, Papa, Nancy!

2015-12-13 12.24.192015-12-13 12.29.22

47.  48.  49.  50.  Kraynak’s trip with Jevnikars, Kromer’s, and Becky Freeman 🙂  Boys are at the chocolate store, and Colleen took this lovely selfie in the car (didn’t take a selfie in the Santa chair that I asked her to 😉  )

2015-12-13 13.43.182015-12-19 06.48.122015-12-19 16.27.34

51.  Our one snow event a few weeks ago.  Before and after, unseasonably warm!

52.  Chris at Broadmoor party.

2015-12-25 19.07.01

53.  Pretty house decorations.

Christmas letter 2013

 

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6.

image

A very blessed Christmas season to you all!  I am so sorry I did not get cards out this year – I will try and get them out next year along with a printed newsletter.  We enjoyed our Christmas very much and had a lot of family time.  Colleen and I are enjoying our tradition of baking together.  We also sat and watched movies and went to see Pettiti’s garden center’s Christmas display as well.  Unfortunately a bad virus kept us from attending Kraynak’s in Sharon with the Jevnikars but hopefully we will get there next year. 

2013-11-18 11.48.07Chris is flourishing at his adult workshop after some adjustment hiccups last year, and he has a wonderful Autism Interventionist specialist now working with him this year.  This has made a huge difference for him, and we are so grateful!  He also after a few years’ wait finally has working hearing aids and is starting to wear them all day there at school.  He is also being provided the Autismate program for the IPad soon which is an excellent program for autistic individuals to communicate better.  http://autismate.com/Home/Comprehensive-App-For-Autism-With-Visual-Supports/  Chris continues to say occasional words, the most recent being Juice! 3 times as I took a container of orange juice out of our basement refrigerator!

1277992_10202637956815563_1986459377_oWhile continuing college Colleen continues to take care of a lot of animals, the new one of which is Buddy, a Bearded Dragon!  All of us including her boyfriend Scott have said NO more, but, boy, she sure enjoys what we have!  She continues to draw and won great praise from her art teacher, with her art being shown at the school, also.  Colleen baked delicious cookies this Christmas again, making her decorated sugar cookies and buckeyes,  among other things, and I also made my monster cookies.  We wanted to make a gingerbread house that I bought from World Market, but unfortunately, in the strange way things tend to go, the entire kit went missing, and we have yet to find it.  So I suppose it will be a later winter gingerbread house when it is found…. sigh. 

pets collage

 

2013-11-12 07.06.36I think lately what is striking me is how tall Ryan is, suddenly!  He is growing into a young man before our eyes.  His academic progress is fun to watch, and the fact that he enjoys it all so much is thrilling.  Currently Ryan’s favorite game is Minecraft either on Dad’s IPhone or my Kindle.  He also sometimes plays it on Chris’s IPad (while we hold it!!!) – unfortunately he broke his own IPad last March.  He played Minecraft on his PC for a while but then didn’t want to anymore, for some unknown reason.  Ryan’s high point is outings with daddy every weekend and he loves “the little grocery store” and “Marc’s Store.”  Keeping Ryan by us in a store still can be a challenge as he wants to dash off and get his favorite chocolate milk and chips.  He is getting so independent!  He misses latchkey as he was cut out of it this school year with his school not offering it any longer (he is now in middle school in a different building). 

Graduation from fifth grade was a highlight of Ryan’s year!  It was very emotional to say goodbye to Leroy Elementary School!

image2013-06-06 15.05.14

 

2013-07-20 20.23.15

Getting back to Port Clinton/Marblehead this summer with the Jevnikars was a wonderful outing!  We hadn’t been there with them since 2005.  Ironically Roger then also was assigned Ottawa and Sandusky counties with his work, so he gets to go back there every few months – I went with him back this fall one time.  It was super having an all-day camping day with our friends in July and we enjoyed swimming, walking, eating barbecue, and traveling to the Marblehead Beach!

2013-07-20 13.47.192013-07-20 13.47.562013-07-20 16.07.272013-07-20 16.07.452013-07-20 18.14.302013-07-20 20.08.162013-07-20 20.12.432013-07-20 20.13.062013-07-20 20.17.092013-07-20 20.27.35

 

IMG_20130627_122352Things continue to the same in our data entry work – God has enabled us to keep up the 3 two-day trips every quarter! Prayers appreciated for some medical issues for Rog that continue.  I also continue to perform home health care with two companies.   Rog has chosen Columbia College online in Missouri to obtain his bachelor’s degree in social work – just awaiting the right session to enroll in.  I have transferred from Kent State over to the online college Western Govern University, where I continue to major in special education.  I really like it a lot – and of course, though, I loved Kent as well, but the scarcity of any classes locally or at a time that was convenient to go was becoming a bigger problem every semester.  WGU’S degree also adds an elementary school license which may be very handy for flexibility in job-hunting!  They go on a six-month semester, and one can start any month.  I started September 1 and go through the middle of February, and then start again in March.  I can take a month or two off in between any semesters as long as I give them notice.  I also still hope to go back for autism certification and ABA after I receive the bachelor’s.  Can’t believe I will be student teaching in just a few years or less!

Anyone who wants to read the list of my complete courses at WGU can click here — http://www.criscollrj.com/2013/08/15/transfers-and-changes/  ha ha!

I started using My Fitness Pal in January 2013 and have kept up with it fairly well to date.  I am not logging each day now though, as I should, but hope to get back to that today!!!  I have lost another 10 pounds or so – it wavers between 20 and 25 pounds total loss since early 2012.  I need to lose more but do feel so much better being down about one size!  In the new year we hope to attend a water fitness class at the Y every Wednesday.  A very bad cold/virus got me away from walking in late November, and I hope to have my strength completely back when Ryan goes back to school January 6 so that I can start walking every morning again.  The entire family was down with this virus between mid November and mid December – it was awful!!  We also have a really nice exercise bike in the basement that we want to start riding now that everyone is starting to feel better.

3ToqYg6hO4VybqyNnyyHl0cJoYsv0p4r5i0UEAJjJoE2013-06-04 16.42.152013-11-07 08.18.572013-09-23 16.34.48

 

2013-11-09 13.01.402013-11-12 07.08.172013-11-12 07.12.332013-11-12 07.12.382013-12-24 11.50.312013-12-25 17.42.492013-12-03 18.37.552013-12-04 17.28.01320x480-Student2013-12-07 12.57.18ryan2013-12-10 06.27.412013-12-10 09.03.342013-12-15 10.20.152013-12-15 10.20.392013-12-15 17.15.012013-12-15 17.21.202013-12-15 17.22.232013-12-25 18.12.392013-12-25 18.12.492013-12-19 16.59.352013-12-19 19.35.182013-12-20 19.55.232013-12-25 17.42.18

Christmas Newsletter, 2011

A blessed Christmas!
www.criscollrj.com (new)
– for online Christmas letter with pictures. We can’t believe that it has been 3 years since we sent a Christmas letter. Quite a few of the old links to our 1990’s web sites are updated on there but not all. Describing more in depth all the changes you might have missed are the 2010/2009 Christmas letters. God has been in the works for our family as always, and we keep trusting as we go, never know what we will see next in this journey.

CHRIS was in his group home for 14 months (Sept. 08 – Nov. 09), and it didn’t quite work out so he has been living with his Mama and Papa since November ’09 (Roger’s parents). Those of you that I have kept notified via blog and Facebook know this, of course, but just reiterating how they have worked wonderfully with him and how much we appreciate their care. Now 21, he also went back to his school of his early childhood, the DD program of our county. He also recently has become eligible for some wonderful aides through our state, two gentlemen and two ladies so /far, and they may have a new residency for him, whenever it seems to be the right time. He also has another company working with him that provides more summer recreation and after school groups. Preparing for graduation this year, and for his adult workshop next fall are other new tasks before us. Learning a new communications program at school this year is keeping him very busy and focused! Additionally, he and Ryan were both recipients of IPad grants (their Christmas gifts!) on which he will receive more therapeutic programs that individuals with autism are using all over the world. He still also has his aide of many years, Vicky, though she is actually leaving soon and will be missed very much!

COLLEEN is a senior in high school this year, so we will be having a dual graduation party! We are busy with paperwork in regard to college and ACT testing this year, and we are excited for the new opportunities she will have, most likely obtaining her Assoc. Degree at in Graphic Arts/Design and then choosing where she will continue. A new chapter. She also worked at a haunted house with her friends this fall and had a good time with that. Last year she sprained her ankle twice but so far this year has not had any mishaps. All these years she has still been involved with her anime group (expanding to individuals all over the NE Ohio area as well as a few from Columbus!), and her love of animals continues. Currently we have still our beloved cat Sophie; plus two betas, Luna and Amethyst; 5 goldfish; 3 tadpoles; and a leopard gecko named Spike.



RYAN is excelling in the fourth grade in his autism class. Continue reading

From Christmas to just Winter

101_0120The tree unadorned, awaiting just the unassembly.  I did get the tree up right after Thanksgiving, but was a little late getting it all decorated (a week or so after Thanksgiving?)  But as always we treasured it’s beauty, and planned to take it down the 7th.  However, because Colleen was having a New Year’s party January 8, I decided to leave it up the 8th and take it down the 9th.  Life got busy and I didn’t finish until the 12th!

101_0121101_0122101_0123101_0124This is my attic, and what a super attic it is!  As you can see in the 3rd picture on the right there there is plenty of room to stack boxes 4-5 high even in the eaves.  That is my Christmas corner where everything will snooze until next November – –

This is my first year to establish a snowman corner

101_0040101_0041101_0042101_0043The lights are put away now, of course, but the merry white figures remain.  It seems to be good timing with scenes like this:

101_0096101_0097101_0098101_0099

This was the beginning of the most snow we received at once this year.  This was, I believe, Saturday the 8th, the day of Colleen’s party.  We have had snow since then for 4 days from two different systems – I believe we now have about a foot of snow – less than some snow belt areas around us and some states to the Northeast in the blizzard, but enough to remind us that it is indeed January!  I have always loved the snow.  I don’t know what it is, but snow makes me feel refreshed and energetic.  I get crabby and lethargic in the heat, and am much more active in the winter.  I hate the heat, and you don’t want to be around me if the air conditioner fails on a hot summer day!

Things continue to be about the same in our household – we are in prayer over many issues and know the Lord has us in the palm of his hand. 

  1. We continue to pray for Chris’s placement.  A place that will offer him autism and deafness therapy and a safe residency, covered by our insurance or development disabilities funding, has not been found.  His grandparents continue to care for him in the week . . . Continue reading

Reflections on Christmas cards and wrapping traditions, and our year.

SONGS that moved me this year:

 

There you have my probable two favorite songs of the year. One is the reflection upon the heavenly eternal Christmas where we think of eternity with Him and our place in the heavens. I do think about that, though, of course, I want to be sure to serve others here on earth and do my best here as well – our home is here, but There as well —

Worthy is the,

Lamb who was slain

Holy, Holy, is He

Sing a new song, to Him who sits on

Heaven’s Mercy Seat

[Repeat 2x]

(Chorus)

Holy, Holy, Holy

Is the Lord God Almighty

Who was, and is, and is to come

With all creation I sing:

Praise to the King of Kings!

You are my everything,

And I will adore You…!

Yeah!

Clothed in rainbows, of living color

Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder

Blessing and honor, strength and

Glory and power be

To You the Only Wise King,

Yeah

(Chorus)

Holy, Holy, Holy

Is the Lord God Almighty

Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah

With all creation I sing:

Praise to the King of Kings!

You are my everything,

And – I – will – adore You!

Yeah!

Filled with wonder,

Awestruck wonder

At the mention of Your Name

Jesus, Your Name is Power

Breath, and Living Water

Such a marvelous mystery

Yeah…

(Chorus)

Holy, Holy, Holy

Is the Lord God Almighty

Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah

With all creation I sing:

Praise to the King of Kings!

You are my everything,

And – I – will – adore You!

Holy, Holy, Holy

Is the Lord God Almighty

Who was, and is, and is to come,

With all creation I sing:

Praise to the King of Kings!

You are my everything,

And – I – will – adore YOU…

(Chorus) (Repeat at a cappella)

Come up lift up His Name

To the King of Kings…

We will adore YOU Lord…

King of heaven and earth

King Jesus, King Jesus

Aleluya, aleluya, aleluya!

Majesty, awestruck Honor

And Power and Strength and Dominion

To You Lord,

To the King, to King

To the King of Glory

(Singer: Kari Jobe)

More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/g/gateway_worship/#share

Then more recently I have heard the Selah Christmas song, above, that I never heard until this month. What a beautiful tribute to the Babe in the hay whose birthday is tomorrow, and who I keep reminding Ryan is the reason for the gifts, and the reason for the story of Santa (St. Nicholas) who also worshipped 🙂

Hail, hail to the newborn King

Let our voices sing Him our praises

Hail, hail to the guiding Light

That brought us tonight to our Savior

Halle, hallelujah

Halle, hallelujah

Halle, hallelujah

Halle, hallelujah

Come now, let it shine so bright

To the knowing Light of the stable

Kneel close to the Child so dear

Cast aside your fear and be thankful

Hail, hail to the newborn King

Let our voices sing Him our praises

Hail, hail to the guiding Light

That brought us tonight to our Savior

Chorus

Hail, hail to the newborn King

Let our voices sing Him our praises

Hail, hail to the guiding Light

That brought us tonight to our Savior

Chorus

More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/s/selah/#share

There are so many traditions about Christmas that I love, and we try and do every year. Beautiful boxes of Christmas cards in front of me are one thing that just makes me feel inspired about the whole season — I got the most beautiful cards this year – even though I vowed at the beginning of the year I wasn’t going to do any. But here I am, ended up buying them anyway – because after all even if I don’t "send" any I still need them for teachers, friends receiving gift cards, etc., and I ended up starting them to mail anyway – Started to write them out yesterday and will probably not get them out until next week before New Year’s. But it’s a very special tradition to me, and I miss getting as many as I used to, and even sending as many as I used to, and I’m just not ready to give it up. I love receiving them and sending them – the way they feel and the different color pen colors on the ones I display, and the different kinds of envelopes, and even how some have a foil stamp and others may have a unique picture, and still others may be handmade or with a family portrait. Christmas cards – they are an art, and something I am not ready to give up.  Click for the rest of our letter —

Continue reading

Christmas Newsletter 09

Psalms
Chapter 121

1
1 A song of ascents. 2 I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From where will my help come?
2
My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.
3
God will not allow your foot to slip; your guardian does not sleep.
4
Truly, the guardian of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps.
5
3 The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade at your righthand.
6
By day the sun cannot harm you, nor the moon by night.
7
The LORD will guard you from all evil, will always guard your life.
8
The LORD will guard your coming and going both now and forever.

Another year of challenge and change, and we know that God was with us through it all and continues to be.  It was a strange year of ups and downs, but God brought us through and still continues to.  We do praise Him and continue to pray for wisdom.

As I wrote last year, Christopher went into a group home in September of 2008.  Though he had a rocky start, things seemed to even out later in the later fall and winter, and we thought everything would be fine.  However, as he seemed to scream out more and not sleep, talk of his being asked to leave the group home began to become more active, and by August or September we had a solid decision by the group home management company that Christopher would have to leave.

We looked at some group homes in the area in September or October, but none seemed more able to meet his needs than the wonderful-seeming one that he was leaving.  Most of the staff was very caring, and it was with heavy hearts that we said goodbye on November 1st.  We weren’t really sure what to do, but our early plan has been to share care with Christopher’s grandparents, Roger’s parents.  He has been in our custody since November 1st and mostly he has been staying with Roger’s parents, where we have him some of the weekends and take him on outings and appointments.

A glimmer of hope is that he does actually seem happier and also seems to be sleeping a LITTLE better, though he still often stays up all night — 2-3 times a week, usually.  He also just now (last week) obtained his old aide back who had him in 04, Vicky, whom he loved to be with.  He also is still attending the school system he started last year, that works with autism and seems to have a good plan for Christopher.  My mom has also watched him some in our home, after school.

We also are still considering a school for the deaf/autistic disorder that is in Florida and still may be looking into that.  But for the moment we are trying to still reach a sense of routine and normalcy and figure out how to best meet his needs as an extended family.  He is a senior and will still most likely attend the school he is at until he’s 22.  We will also be seeking what adult workshops, etc. he will be attending, and that is an exciting time of exploration.

                                           Colleen with Uncle Al’s dog

As a sophomore Colleen is now observing classes at the vocational center, and she hopes to attend in the graphics program.  Hard to believe she’ll be a junior next year.  She has been wishfully speaking of driver’s ed but with her birthday all the way in May we feel this will be a junior, not sophomore, activity!  She is ready, but we’re not!!  Of course she is still creating her artwork and videos, working to keep grades up, and is hoping to get her first summer job this summer.  She also attended another anime convention this past spring.

Colleen is planning another holiday party this year with pizza and friends over, as she had a blast last year with one of those at Christmas and another at her birthday (where she and her friends slept out in a tent out back).  Colleen has also been taking care of a fishtank full of goldfish, and just recently obtained 3 tadpoles in another tank.  Along with all this we also adopted her a cat recently; we had had a cat earlier in the year but sadly Stella died of cancer suddenly (she was a stray and we didn’t realize how sick she was until her 2nd visit to the vet for vaccinations).  Sophie so far is very healthy and will have her first maintenance visit at the vet in January.

                                           Sophie, our cat

Ryan’s speech is really growing by leaps and bounds this year.  He has not been successfully wearing his current hearing aids, but we will be soon ordering new ones.  I hope we can get a different style that he’ll be comfortable wearing, and I’m sure his speech will be getting even better.  Right now he is in love with the Cars movie and is watching it many times a day.  Our county awarded him a new computer in the fall, and he is greatly enjoying it.  He loves www.Starfall.com and also loves to watch Youtube videos about the alphabet, Leappad, and, of course, Cars.

He got to see a few movies in the theater this year, Madadascar II and also Veggie Tales, the search for Noah’s Umbrella.  He loved it!  We hope to take him again soon and can’t wait for Cars II to come out but hear that’s in 2011 so we have a little wait!

                                                                                      Ryan swinging at the Potato Festival last fall.

This was the year where Roger and Dorene first attempted to take business trips together, as Roger’s out of-town county duties grew and it was sensible to share the work between two people.  We went on these trips in February, April, July, and end of September, and are about to go again the 2nd week of January.  This is one of the mountain views we saw in July and September, where we took a side drive away from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania (one of our courthouses) and discovered the beautiful world of Deep Creek Lake, Maryland.

In a very large coincidence, we discovered after a friend wrote to us after seeing our blog pictures that she and her husband LIVE there, and thus we were able to meet them for dinner in that town in September.  We hope to do this now every year or two incorporated into our business trip.

We have both been thinking again of returning to school, where I was thinking of returning in the spring semester and Roger perhaps in the fall.  I actually signed up for a class towards my Associates of Arts degree and will be starting on Fridays starting 1/22 at Lakeland with my first class in 22 years.  I have approximately eight classes to take to get my Assoc. of Arts, and this class I start with, that fits into my schedule, is Comparative Religions.  So it shall be interesting!

I have decided to study Speech and Language Pathology with an eventually transfer to Cleveland State towards a master, as I would like to be a speech therapist in the schools.  Roger and I would both like to work with the deaf/autistic population, including our own sons, and Roger is still deciding what major he would like to have (possibly deafness captioning).

In the meantime, we are continuing with our present careers of transcription and court research which we do enjoy very much.  My main client at this point is a firm that assigns me cases about Immigration deportees; it is very interesting and plentiful work!

I had the enjoyment this year of being contacted to fill in as a sub at my first law firm where I worked in ’88-94 and ’02-03, while the head attorney’s secretary goes on vacation or is out on any extended break.  That has been nice extra money and also a chance to see old friends and have a change of scenery.  I worked for a few days in January, February, April (I think?) and quite a bit in July/August, then again in early December.  I’m supposed to work in March again, for about a week.

We just continue to work and pray and live in the hope and goal of helping our family as much as we can while still enjoying each other and doing our best with whatever we are doing.  We did get to go away on some outings this year, and I will close with some pictures from these.  A blessed holiday season to you and yours.

Our beach outing, last summer.  Paula came with us and we also brought Colleen and Brenda who were swimming.

Fourth of July parade, Fairport.

                                                                                 Fourth of July picnic with Rick and Nancy and kids at the park

That was Chris’s 1 sleepover during this 14-month stay at the group home – he slept all night for us —

Our first look at mountainous Maryland in July.

Humphries reunion – Gayle & Craig’s dog loved Colleen!

Colleen at her summer camp that she attended with Ashleigh.

Eric’s graduation party – we were so happy Chris had a good time there.

Ryan loved the rope swing there!

 

Outing with Ryan the day we saw Veggietales, went to the beach, and had pizza out in Madison.
Fish we obtained in May —
Kitty in September.  This is Stella but she did pass away in October.
Beautiful neighborhood flowers
Grandma with us at the fair
Fall leaf-burning festivities!  (I’m in the leaves, yes)
Thanksgiving dinner and Chris, Papa, and Grandma’s birthday party.
At Christmas World, and afterwards we had Spaghetti dinners.
Our Christmas party, with Chris, Gayle, Chuck, and Rick & Nancy, Ashleigh & Nick

EMAIL: transcribing.mom@gmail.com

EMAIL: typealign@att.net

EMAIL (Rog) thedodger1@att.net

BLOG:NEWEST – http://criscollrjblog.blogspot.com/I decided to move my blog from WordPress.com to blogger.com as my other new blogs are at Blogger.  So far as of 12/22/09 I have moved one year of the six years contained; the rest are on the blog following.

BLOG: 2009, most of the year – http://criscollrjblog.wordpress.com/ – intermediate blog that I copied everything into when my WordPress.org blog was closed (www.criscollrj.com/blog, now closed) when I didn’t renew my domain at that time.  Will probably just leave up as a backup.

LEGAL TRANSCRIPTION BLOG, 2009 – http://type-align.blogspot.com/  All about how I got into legal transcription and tips I think of as I go.

AUTISM LESSONS BLOG, 2009 – http://autismlessons.blogspot.com/  New blog where I am writing about the things we’re learned through the years about autism and deafness. 

PICTURES: http://www.flickr.com/photos/criscollrj/

HOME PAGE: www.criscollrj.com – home

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com – search for Dorene Enea Humphries and contact to be added.

BUSINESS BLOG/INFO: http://line-brightservices.web.officelive.com/default.aspx.  This (replacing line-bright.com, where I also did not continue to renew the domain) is the area where we will be explaining more about both of our businesses, summarizing my legal transcription (which will be more in detail on my legal trans blog, above) and discussing Roger’s court research position.

Roger, Dorene, Christopher,

Colleen & Ryan

[ad#Google Adsense]

I never posted my 08 goals–

So thought I’d post here. I will then look over them over the next week and make up my 09 goals. I don’t even expect to reach some of these, it’s just good to have them all written down to have an awareness of them.

2008 GOALS (the year that will be over TOMORROW! wow)

HOMEWORK
• Every few weeks check Colleen’s progress on web site and follow through with teachers on items needed to be made up.
• Boys – try and get them to write their names, and spell extra, 1-2 times a week. Find computer games for them to play. Try and help Chris focus on academics a few times a week and show Doreen how to do it too.
CHORES
• Colleen to continue picking up her room and to start doing her dishes (soap squeegie!) and laundry.
• Get icon board up and done for boys’ chores.
• Try and get us in position where dishes and laundry and daily pickup gets done every day and figure out as a family HOW!
HEALTH
• Me – Weigh Down. Lose at least 20 pounds. no dieting at this stressful time.
Continue reading

Christmas Newsletter 08




DSC00074

Originally uploaded by criscollrj.

Well, here in NE Ohio we have managed to have a white Christmas after all, after having a white “Pre” Thanksgiving and it all melting before Thanksgiving, and then having a foot of snow just a few days ago in a generous Lake effect Northern Ohio storm, and having it all melt yesterday. So now the little flakes are coming down on our green grass that had emerged yesterday, and it’s enough to make me feel indeed it’s a White Christmas.

It has been an eventful year, full of changes and unforeseen events, but God’s hand in all as always. He continues to oversee us through the years and we trust He always will.

More pictures are in Flickr to the right.




DSC03191

Originally uploaded by criscollrj.

CHRIS moved into a new home this year. It was quite a surprise to everyone, and came about when he was almost 18, in September. We had turned down about 4-5 other residency placements over the past few years, but this one seemed perfect. It’s a small home in Northeast Ohio, with 8 people.

He has adjusted well and he enjoys our outings and visits. He has lost weight and looks great! He is also attending a school local to his home and ours, instead of his old school, in the 11th grade. His health has also greatly improved. Sleeping is still rough, though.

Chris has outings with us frequently, going to the chiropractor, mall, restaurant, and sometimes our house. He is also doing very well in school with increased focus. He is also on some new medications.




DSC03177

Originally uploaded by criscollrj.

COLLEEN had some changes this year too, with briefly homeschooling (ECOT method) from May to sometime in July, then again in September, then returning to her district school in late September (I needed to increase my work hours). She’s still involved in her art, anime, and friends.

Colleen had her first teen Christmas party this year and had a ball in the basement with their doing DDR and Playstation games, along with several them bringing over Guitar Hero and X-Box. She also went to 2 anime conventions with friends this year, one in Columbus and one in Beachwood.

Bass lessons are a near future possibility and she is excited about that. She also is still involved in art and received recently a lot of art supplies to practice painting, and an easel.




DSC03183

Originally uploaded by criscollrj.

RYAN is in first grade in a local autism class and is getting great grades and is able to write many words and do simple math. He loves school and is thriving with a recent med change he’s had that’s really calmed him down a lot.

He is enjoying a Leapster he just got, and also had a lot of fun with the crayons, playdough, cars and coloring books he received for Christmas this morning. He has fun seeing his brother and says, “Chris is at the blue house.”




DSC03185

Originally uploaded by criscollrj.

ROGER and DORENE are still in the same jobs, and Dorene is hoping to test for the AAERT certification in June of 09.

Roger is still performing court research in many N.E. Ohio and PA counties as well as some southern Ohio and PA counties. We are planning to travel together to one of the PA counties to gather information together in a few weeks as they do not allow laptops in their courthouse.

I just recently got a laptop for work that I’m enjoying, and Roger updated his in May, as his old one had crashed. My old 4 or 5-year-old work computer also crashed, as far as programs freezing and an external (but essential) hard drive failing. So we both entered the land of Vista this year, entering the later end of our decade finally.

I have not updated web sites very much this year. I mostly go on Facebook, if anything, and update here occasionally. I usually do put new pictures on Flickr every time I take any. Below is the pretty up-to-date list of our sites 🙂

EMAIL: transcribing.mom@gmail.com

EMAIL: typealign@att.net

EMAIL (Rog) thedodger1@att.net

BLOG: www.criscollrj.com/Blog

PICTURES: http://www.flickr.com/photos/criscollrj/

HOME PAGE: www.criscollrj.com – home

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com – nick: dori typesalot

BUSINESS BLOG/INFO: www.line-bright.com – business

Transcription 101 publication – http://generaltranscription101.com/?hop=criscollrj

Roger, Dorene, Christopher,
Colleen & Ryan

[ad#Google Adsense]

Christmas 08

It’s a good thing I love Christmas, as it comes whether you want it to or not! Pics in flickr 😉

I’m going to order the kids presents today, and Colleen is having a little party for her friends this Friday night. Next Saturday the 20th is the family party. I look forward to that every year. We make special food like broccoli casserole with chicken in it and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and just relax. Chris will be here too that day! He was here for Thanksgiving and he had a good time. He really seems to love his new home too and is content as far as I know.

I just worked about 8 days straight and am taking today off. Have a huge to-do list – here’s some of it:

invoicing for work
Request work from E for tomorrow
order Christmas gifts
look over bills
make drs. appts for Rog and I (dentist, eye doctor, foot dr. for me, etc.)
laundry
finish decorating tree
take thanksgiving stuff to attic.
Dailies (5 minutes each room)
Plan dinner
Call about Chris’ guardianship
Begin to look at Christmas newsletter
Order printer ink, and stamps.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...