And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers.” (KJV)
Last year’s picture blog — https://www.criscollrj.com/2020-monthly-picture-blog/ 2020 picture blog! (2021 note, I may do this at some point for 21 and more likely for 22. I am vaguely disappointed in ways with both that method and this one used here in 21…. would like to find the PERFECT picture display method…. ha ha.)
A text only version of this newsletter — this one is picture heavy. (WILL BE UNDER CONSTRUCTION, IF NEEDED–let me know)
PRAYERS TO ALL this second very strange year! After God brought us through COVID last December, we are thankful for no lasting problems except some extra fatigue for about 6+ weeks.
So grateful also for our sons’ recovery and my mother’s. Strangely no one else in our families got it! We had two humongous snowstorms in December of 2020 that made life interesting trying to get out of the house for COVID tests and needed grocery pickups. Broke limbs on several of our trees! The snow stayed around until at least February, and as we gained strength we started walking at the parks and seeing the frozen lake.
JANUARY started off the year baking cookies that we gave to family and friends!1-4-21 Roger went back to college, and has several classes finished now towards his Psychology/Human Services Degree from Southern New Hampshire University! Later in January I began substitute teaching again. I also FINALLY got back to some transcription for Free State, and did until April when I once again needed a break due to overscheduling! Looking forward to doing some more this winter to “keep my fingers in the pot.” I also often do some data entry at home, both for courthouses and for a friend’s printing company.
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 (https://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”
Chris visiting Daddy in the hospital, Jan ’14
Rog programming his new IPhone 5c
The place where Rog should be sitting in Youngstown court next to me…
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…
7. February – the amazing photobombing bird!
8. A start to one of Colleen’s amazing paintings.
9. Ryan writes so much like I did..
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!!
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!
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.
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!
21. It was Flag football…
22. Got our bathroom redone in May!
23. Colleen turned 21!
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…
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
39. One of the parks in WVa or Maryland.
40 Fire in our cabin 🙂
41. First views of the hills.
42. I want this mailbox!
43. Our cabin.
44. November after Gayle/Chuck moved, Chris visited before they gave away the keys — Emotional!!
45. Breathtaking view of the lake in Auburn on the way to Youngstown.
46. Happy birthday Chris, mom, Papa, Nancy!
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 😉 )
51. Our one snow event a few weeks ago. Before and after, unseasonably warm!
So then we knew we were staying. Roger sacked out on the pull-out couch and napped for the earlier part of my labor, during which I was able to sit in the rocker for a while, recording some things in my baby book, and walk to the nursery and look at the new babies. This was after being monitored for about 1 1/2 hours on the monitor. His heart rate stayed between 110 and 170 the whole time, which is normal. My contraction numbers were about 15-25 no contraction – up from there to about 80 – mild to severe contraction. They left me off the monitor for a few hours, I believe, during which was when Roger napped the most. I remember when I was in the rocking chair it was about 5:00 a.m. and I was just starting to have to use my first level of Lamaze breathing, and the contractions were from between 2-4 minutes apart.
9 days ago our son Christopher Owen was born. He weighed 7 lbs. 7 ozs. and is 20 1/2 inches long. He now weighs 7 lbs. 15 ozs. as of his 11/27 check-up. He’s beautiful!
Last Monday, my due date, I woke at 9:00 a.m. to the phone ringing. I ran to get it, and wasn’t sure if water was going to break (details omitted!). I went back to bed for 3 hours. When I got back up I called the doctor and they said if it stopped it probably was just incontinence, but to call if it did it again or if any pains started.
I can’t believe how long ago it was! I quit working around May 19 to prepare for your arrival.
Colleen was our second child and we did not find out if we were finding a boy or girl – we didn’t find out with Chris, either. (We did, with Ryan, for some reason). I was so happy that we were able to have both boys and girls, though of course all boys or all girls would have been a wonderful blessing as well. But our older two, you did so much together, and grew up together so much.
Now going on 19, I don’t know where the years have gone. Tomorrow came and went and Colleen didn’t arrive, but come the next night I was in labor by late evening! Colleen was born at 4:30 a.m. on May 29, on a Sunday.
With Colleen’s birthday coming up on Tuesday I felt like posting some publishable parts of my old diary, from 5-12-94. Hard to believe it’s been 18 years.
Work told me I’m definitely getting my three-week vacation pay, three-week sick leave, and they want me to do tapes at home. I also may be able to go in and work some mornings and my mom may be able to watch kids on Fridays if I need to work.
First things first, I’m 2 cm. dilated (as of last Friday) and am working only one more week. I’m ready to enjoy this summer off with my children. It will be beautiful. I know I will be tired and frustrated sometimes, with a new baby, more work, less sleep, Chris’s reaction, Chris’s speech delay, worry over finances. Financially we are pretty secure right now but I only have eight more weeks of pay coming.Continue reading “18 years ago —”→
Yes, another birthday today! Amazing how fast it all goes.
Was just reviewing some entries from my journal from back then – actually 5-12-94:
“First things first, I’m 2 cm dilated (as of last Friday) and am working only one more week. I’m ready to enjoy this summer off with my children. It will be beautiful. I know I will be tired and frustrated sometimes, with a new baby, more work, less sleep, Chris’s reaction, Chris’s speech delay, worry over finances. Financially we are feeling pretty secure right now, but I have only eight more weeks of pay coming. We must be very careful. We’ve not charged anything since February/March except for my car repair.
“We are praying earnestly for Chris’s speech. He still adds another word (some of past, some new) every one to two weeks. But it’s trying how slow it goes. He said “baby” at school yesterday, but didn’t say anything today. I will list in a little while all his words as of now. Praise God for them! In January he had none. Here are his words:
“January – present, 35 words: Bye-bye, hi, waffle, see ya later, all done, night night, no, juice, come here, Ma Ma, Pa Pa, Mommy, Daddy, Baby, Bear, Big Bird, lay down, sit down, ears, nose, shoes, socks, binky, hot, cold, yogurt, ice cream, truck, up, binky night-night, car seat, thank you, cracker, horn, beep beep,
“Plus, one time he said to mama, “Now, where did they go?” Now we ache to hear him speak several words daily, and to answer questions, and ask for things by name. The words now are random and to himself, not as a real conversation with us. We are grateful for the words, but pray for their increased purposeful use, and frequency. Sometimes, especially when Chris has been quiet a lot and/or throwing things (today). I cry for a while, a fear comes over me that he will never speak and communicate normally. It is a scary feeling. . . . I have to face these fears, cry over them, then put them at Jesus’ feet and leave them there. If this is what is willed by God (permanent disability) we must face it day by day through prayer anyway, so we will do that through this period of not knowing.
“Chris will be attending preschool for two more weeks, then we’ll be off for two weeks (with me and baby!) then will attend a Friday preschool for six weeks, then a gross motor movement class two days a week for four weeks mid-July –> August. This will be good for him – still a “summer break” from going four days a week, but something to keep him learning and occupied one to two days a week for a few hours (and give me a nap period!)
“The Lord really had worked some miracles – he is great and holy and is taking care of us, and we have a beautiful family: a beautiful loving son Chris and a coming treasure of a baby (boy? girl?) and a wonderful husband (who I wish I could see more).
“I need to get this house organized and check over budget tonight and it’s 7:30! I also need to make dinner! I just spent the evening playing with my Chris and writing in here. Chris and I played color matching, play dough (creepy bugs game!) and snuggled. After dinner I will get him in bed 8:30 – 9:00 and start straightening.
“I dream of getting this house beautiful and organized! Will take years. Yard too! Gotta make dinner. The next time I write there will be probably ‘a waah! a waah!’”
16th birthday party is all done and in the books. I think Colleen and her friends had a good time. I worked on and off the whole time, and we had a busy weekend with also taking Chris to the park with Ryan and Rog too. Rog is feeling a lot better.
I actually still need to send the one blog post still on to the Congresspeople about how there really needs to be way more help in Ohio for individuals with disabilities needing medication adjusting. More posts, prayers, calls, and arrangements are still needed. But thankfully Chris is doing better at this point and we really enjoyed our time at the park with him this weekend!
I have been excited to find Windows Live Photo Gallery and with it Live Space, and plan to gradually get all my photos on there. So going to work on that on and off. Also, long story about how financial aid was messed up for me this summer deleted but short story is that I should be back in my class by tomorrow and have lots of homework to do! busy!
Here’s yesterday, and a schedule of my madness….(from my transcription board)
This was my day yesterday — (below)
Today I’m just going to try and catch up a little, do some dishes and laundry and pick up, and do a schedule so I can get all my work done (I’ll attach that too!)
I hope you guys have a super day today!
You guys probably saw my worklist and event list on Thursday when I typed it out. I have not had one that long before. Grateful for it – boy, do we need the money – but I need to buckle down and focus on everything.
Then yesterday was a horrible day – well, I guess not HORRIBLE, but very trying.