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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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Guilty again!

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Yes, I’m guilty again, of not posting because:

  • I don’t have time.
  • I don’t have anything new to say.
  • What I’m interested in saying really won’t interest anyone.

That is really ridiculous, though, as even if no one else reads this, I read it.  I do go back and look at these from time to time, and to see something that makes us smile, or brings a memory, or even makes us cry a little is worth sharing.  Even for ourselves.

So, what have I been busy with?  Well, school until last Friday (Now on spring break, working out of town with Rog) was very challenging (math!) and kept me busy nonstop.  I was also working some at the same time.  During the week break I am on now from that, as you can see by the pictures, we had a snowstorm, and I went on a trip to gather geographic information on Ireland (the obviously Irish pictures) and now we are on our trip out of town for work, and met our friends for dinner last night. 

So I go back Monday, and need to spend double the time on math, as my grade is not so hot right now.  I still have two months to bring it up.  I will be also sending my computer back to Asus for some repairs before the warranty expires, meaning that I will be using Ryan’s computer for the necessities, but won’t be working during that time as I don’t have Windows on that computer, just Linux giving the availability of Internet for bill paying, etc., and open office if I need it.  So I should get more math studied and completed with the addition of transcription projects not being an option.  I don’t know how long the computer repairs will take, as I have never done this before!

Roger’s surgery is now pending most likely at the end of this month, where after almost a year’s wait he will finally have a cyst and hernia removed (they were hoping it would all shrink on its own with time, but it has not).  Roger is probably about 95 pound lighter than he was in February 2010 when he went into the hospital with his gall bladder and related problems, and looks so nice!  I think he’s passing me up with his weight loss <3.  Prayers for him are appreciated.

Still looking for the proper residency for Chris – this is all taking so long it’s driving me crazy.  He’s going to finish off the school year staying with his “mama” and “papa,” and then we’ll see if he’ll come home to our house as he still awaits his residency or I/O waiver caretaking arrangements, or what we’re going to do.  He’s a sweetie.  He stays at our house every weekend, sometimes sleeps, sometimes doesn’t, and still loves to laugh!

To end, I wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s day, and in memory of that:  http://criscollrj.com/2010/03/17/miracles/.  We will have our corned beef and cabbage dinner this weekend, as we will be out of town.  I can’t wait!  And a big thank you to our parents that are keeping up the ship at home while we are gone.

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Trivial and important often reside together

As a person who has always been not so good at multi-tasking, I have had to learn to become quite good at it!

The important things in my mind always are:

  • Taking care of our children and the family’s basic needs.
  • Roger and I getting our work done.
  • Us getting our schoolwork done when we’re in school (Rog from ‘99 to ‘01 and possibly going back next year, me since January of 10).
  • Colleen getting her homework done, trying to get some entertainment/learning activities for Chris, and supervising Ryan in his education pursuits (He’s rather like me where he’s obsessed with school items and loves his alphabet and learning to spell, so that helps – he creates his own educational hobbies!)
  • And just keeping enough clothes to wear to be clean and dishes washed to be sanitary!

So I would always try and do these things first – still am!

But it’s amazing how many other things pile up when you do this.  Things you feel you never have time for.  More dishes that you just can’t get to.  Filing (started that last week as far as cleaning out the file cabinet!).  Grass that needed cut that Rog had been too ill to do (he’s outside now finishing it, and our friends helped us with it last week (pictures coming). 

Then things arise like 500pp of printing needed printed out for various agencies.  Like in one week (happened to me in April).  That means you run out of ink, and have to buy it.  Then you have massive phone calls on this, that and the other.  Every day is full of interruptions.  Necessary interruptions, unnecessary ones, and sometimes annoying ones!  Sometimes pleasant ones!  Sometimes a spontaneous trip to the park is a tremendous treat (hopefully soon!)!

All in all, I’m trying to learn, that it’s not always the important all the time.  Sure, I’m working on getting out my deadlines of the week for work, and do my homework, and cook dinner.  But I don’t want to be a once a year or once every six month blogger any more.  And I want to be spontaneous.  Enjoy Chris today who’s at the house as he didn’t get to go back to school yet after his hospital stay.  Enjoy the trivial.

 

Blessings!

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Almost August and I haven’t even been swimming yet!


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Originally uploaded by criscollrj

We took this back in June when we did take Colleen & her friend to the beach for a while. We haven’t been back. I didn’t go in that day and neither did Ryan — Ryan has been afraid of the “different” lake water and this is the closest he’s ever been to it! It was the first time he ever played in the sand.

So we’re hoping to possibly go Saturday — it’s supposed to be 83 and sunny so I think it sounds like a good day for a picnic lunch! We’re also taking Ryan to the free screening of Veggie Tales in our area.

After working 4-5 weeks at the office and most of the time blending that with transcription fairly seamlessly, this week got fairly rough! I decided in the future I will either work at one job or the other and not try and combine them. Of course that will involve having plenty of notice for the out-of-the home job — I imagine it will be a few months now before they call me in again. I love working there though — it’s like family (worked there before 88-94 & again 02-03).

I FINALLY got some sleep last night and have one more day of work today– if I have time at work I’ll start some of my transcription due next week but at least it’s thankfully not something due today! I also am working on sorting all the papers that have stacked up the last 6 weeks or so.

Got Chris’s guardianship and trust papers all done and am in the middle of filing them. These are papers we had to do with his becoming an adult. He may be coming home soon — we’ll find out for sure on Tuesday. I am very nervous about this but have to have faith, and know that 99% sure he will now get 24-hour care with his being discharged. Our eventual family goal with Rog’s parents is to have our own small group home for him and some other individuals.

Please stay in prayer for Rog’s dad who has been very ill, and doctors are still doing tests to see what is wrong.

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Being led home…

… and I didn’t even leave 🙂

Typing

Wow, after 3 months, I’ve decided to quit looking for a job. I made this decision on Sunday, after 3 months of no-gos and dead ends, and not really being able to give transcription my all because I’m always looking for jobs or going to interviews (only 2) or talking to people and finding out the job is the wrong hours, etc. etc.

So this morning I found out a trans job I did briefly over the summer, that put me on hold because they got slow, have added me back on! So I’ll have 5 active contracts again.

God is Good! And it’s nice to feel at peace about this….

Now if one of the 100 or 200 jobs I applied for actually CALLS me for an interview, that will be another story but we’ll see …

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Fun menu outing AND video camera!

Broke in the digital camera, early Christmas present for us.

Here’s a start:

Going to Erie from Dori H on Vimeo.

And by the way when I said “Open the door” I didn’t mean the car– I can see that would possibly be assumed from my statement

All videos here – and I’m sure this is the site I’ll stick with as they loaded fairly easily (not true at my old photobucket account, not sure why…)

http://www.vimeo.com/user297764

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Funny things said at work

This was in response to a “what was the funniest thing you typed” post at the transcription board —

“These are all so funny! I keep trying to think of one I’ve done and I’m sure in almost 20 years of typing professionally I’ve done many! But I can’t think of anything.

I can sure think of funny things though said at work – I remember once at the law firm I worked at which happened to have the name McNamara in it, my friend and coworker said Macaroni instead of McNamara along with the rest of the firm’s title while answering the phone, and we all just busted up and couldn’t stop laughing.

There was another time I was collecting PI information from hospitals and doctors in order to assemble it to print out final settlement checks. I was printing out checks while I was on hold on the phone. I actually went to SLEEP (Chris didn’t sleep then either – he was 4) and was startled awake by the party coming on the line to see what I needed – luckily I had it written down in front of me!

Another time I fell asleep typing a tech document in the metallurgy department of a local metals engineering firm I worked at in the 80’s. I literally shifted sidewise and almost fell off my chair.

As far as funny/humorous things I typed, I still can’t remember anything. But one interesting one is when I very first started typing care and protection hearings for Mass. in 2000, I typed Wooster for the city there pronounced that way. As several of you may know Ohio has a town called Wooster so I simply spelled it same way!!!

Little did I know it was spelled Worcester! I think my boss laughed about that for a while…”

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Akron Civic Theater memories




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Originally uploaded by criscollrj.

http://www.ci.akron.oh.us/Tour/CivicTheatreGrandLobby.htm

We saw this theater walking today to get menus for Sunlark in Akron. Also took pictures of the Aeros stadium, etc. I should have gotten more pictures but forgot. We went today to work together for Sunlark but also to have a “date” to celebrate our 20-year anniversary (which was in June, but ahh well! ;D )

But boy, the memories here. I believe we saw Amy Grant/Michael W. Smith here in Concert in 1984. We also I believe saw Glass Harp there in about 1988 or so. What a beautiful theater.

We also saw the old Mr. Bilbo’s restaurant that we ate at in 84 and 93 (with our Mr. 2-year-old Christer when we toured Quaker Square and historic Akron – will have to post THOSE pics sometime!). It’s now known as the Lime Spider – here http://www.myspace.com/thelimespider It was closed or we would have looked inside. As dedicated Lord of the Rings fans we were very interested in that place….

We walked our legs off and got very good exercise and made some $ too…

It was nice to have a day out. We used a coupon we had and ate at Cracker Barrel with it – yummy free lunch! http://www.crackerbarrel.com/

Now, back to life, dirty dishes, laundry, and lining up transcription work for next week…

Kids are all back in school and doing okay. It’s nice to be back in a routine. though it gets a little tiring getting up at 5 every day!!! Next week will be the first week they all go to school every day so I plan to work 3 days. Only had gotten in 1-2 days per week the last few weeks.

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