Christmas Letter 2014

A year of changes! God continues to lead! Roger had a necessary but elective hernia surgery and is in rehab recuperating from unexpected after-surgery complications. We miss him very much; luckily he is located close to us. We are personally experiencing Christmas being all about family and letting go of small stuff that doesn’t matter!…

In our year of changes I also discontinued overnight travelling with Roger. That was difficult after 5 years, but my mom’s availability changed with other family responsibilities. Going to Youngstown to work with Rog has become a great time of sharing for us, with our often going out for lunch. I go there myself now weekly.

I attended Western Governor’s from September 2013 straight through August of 2014, and then took a break of 2 months. I had a lot of room renovating to do, and we accomplished much sorting and purging! I did return to school in November, and now am recovering from a pre-renovation basement purging project. We will have newly clean and painted walls and floors! I can’t wait until it’s done and we can enjoy our basement again! My next break from school I’m planning for May

One tradition kept, we DID do was go to Kraynak’s Christmas store and display in Sharon with the Jevnikars, a tradition we do try almost yearly! It was a fantastic day with friends – we even met with my high school friend Annette and her family, as they live near there. We also enjoyed just today with the Jevnikars a Christmas party with pizza outing, bowling, and visit with Rog in the large party room at his rehab center.

Chris’s Autism Interventionist specialist still worked with him most of this year, aside from a leave she took.  We are still utilizing IPad and pecs on communication. He enjoys weekend outings with us!

Colleen continues in college, and this year began creating beautiful small animal artwork to sell, made into necklaces, earrings, and other items, and sewn hammocks for reptiles. I enjoyed knitting/crocheting an outfit for her bearded dragon Buddy.

My mom has been spending more time with Ryan lately, with Rog in rehab after surgery, and Gayle often gets him off the bus too. He continues to learn more and more at school and is spelling very hard words!

A very blessed season to all!

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January 2014 – Poinsetta suddenly turned red!  Snow started in earnest

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February, 2015 – snow just kept coming!  My first phone in a while to really successfully last more than a few months without having something wrong with it!

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March, 2014 – Colleen’s artwork keeps getting better and better – she made it into shows that spring semester!  My last trip with Rog to steubenville/Greene co. PA.

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April, 2014 – Winter finally over – first grilling.  Easter day.


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May, 2014 – Ryan’s haircut!  Colleen’s birthday at Olive Garden.


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June, 2014 – Girls’ day out!  My haircut – finally.


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July, 2014 – Baseball, soccer and swimming!

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August, 2014 – the Fest, and Ryan discovered Pacman!

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September, 2014 – Potato festival, and quite a haul at the fruit market!!



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October, 2014 – Atwood Lake festival, and DOUBLE rainbow!

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November, 2014 – Chris’s birthday, and last day before Rog’s surgery – super day out with friends to Sharon PA

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December, 2014 – Tree alight, and first of the new painting in the basement.


Sharing new IPad opportunity from Autism Speaks

from Doug Flutie’s site.

Autism Speaks’ iPad Grant Application is open today through Friday! 1,176 iPad 4s will be given to financially disadvantaged individuals with autism. They are also including a Kraken A.M.S. case, by Trident Case with each iPad!

Their guidelines are as follows: Applications must be submitted by the person with autism, an immediate family member of the person with autism, or a licensed teacher, social worker or therapist. The Technology Grant Review Committee will review applications and select the iPad award recipients. All applicants selected to receive an iPad 4 will be contacted on December 9. If selected, the iPad will be shipped via UPS directly to the address provided with the application. Others will receive an email informing them of their status.


I already did this for Ryan this morning – hope he gets!  Just wanted to share in case anyone in it would benefit!!  It’s an award program through Autism Speaks with no supporting docs needed!  It ends this Friday Nov.


We are okay – need to update here, but just going minute by minute and day by day.  Roger had a very important surgery and is still in early stages of recovery.  Back in school after 3 month break where I got a LOT done in the house and personal life that was necessary!  As always God is in Control!


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Christmas Letter 2012



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clip_image021Chris we love to see smiling as he enjoys things in his life, visiting with family, as we all share his care along with his aids that he has, and we are grateful for all who love him! He is in adult workshop now, and we are glad the transition was smooth without a long waiting period. Chris’s graduation was a high point of the year with a lot of events and good food to eat! Chris also got to go on fun trips to Atwood Lake Fall Festival and our trip to Kraynak’s in Sharon for Christmas. We are also soon choosing new applications for his IPad for his communication needs.

clip_image023Colleen continues to have a very busy life with college, her boyfriend Scott, and all her animals. She is seeking another job that is year-round and right now is enjoying her Christmas break. I recently heard her sing, and I must say she has a beautiful voice, and she sings well with her boyfriend who also has a great voice! She had an awesome graduation party with Chris – can’t believe our oldest are both done with high school! Her current menagerie consists of two cats, two geckos, two guinea pigs, two betas, six goldfish, about six frogs and two crabs.

clip_image025Ryan is unbelievably in his last year of elementary school – 5th grade. Academically he continues to excel, and he is putting more and more complicated puzzles together in only minutes. He still loves the Incredibles movie and also greatly enjoys the cameras on his IPad, computers, and the TV. Latchkey kept Ryan busy two afternoons a week last year through the spring, and he will be starting back at that three afternoons a week in January for my spring semester. (I didn’t have any afternoon classes this fall semester.)

clip_image027We are still carrying out 3 two-day trips every quarter, totaling 24 days away a year! We are busy all day with data entry then have some time to ourselves in the evening – the last one was December 19, and we did much of our Christmas shopping in Steubenville at a cute mall in the hills. I am in my last semester of “pre” advanced study special education courses at Kent, and hope to find classes next year for advanced study that are NOT at night – as at first glance at the catalog for THIS semester most are at night! That would make the next two years such a struggle with child care. I graduate now officially in spring of 15! I also am still working as a home health aide. Rog is hoping to return to school soon to major in human services.



2012 Summer–super hot, super busy, flying by!

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I began the summer break on approximately May 1, 2012, with the completion of 4 classes – the most I’ve ever taken – centered on teaching itself (prerequisites done!).  I took Democracy and Education, Special Education, Motor Development, and Speech and Language courses, and with the heavy focus on writing in general in these courses I managed to get a 4.0!!!  I was so excited as I never did that before.  Next semester math comes to challenge me again (Math for Teachers) and I will have to take two courses in it, so my expectations of 4.0 for next year are extremely slim – but it was nice to do it once in my college career!

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May 1 we went on the first leg of our summer business trip – the three southern Ohio counties we do the first day – Monroe, Guernsey, Morgan – this huge coal shovel is down in Noble County, at http://www.noblecountyohio.com/muskie.html – we see it every time we go down the winding Route 78.  We stopped on the way home this time, which we usually don’t get a chance to do.  Another view from it – so pretty!  2012-05-02 17.13.15


June 25, 26 we had our first part of our summer business trip, and went to Jefferson County, OH; Jefferson County, PA; Forest and Warren Counties, PA. With this being our anniversary we also went over to Salamanca, NY and ate at Napoli’s pizza and visited our old camping favorite area at Allegheny State Park. July 3 we went on the second part OF the first part of our trip – ha ha – with the addition of 3 counties we had to have an additional one-day trip, where we went to Greene County, PA, and ate dinner with our friends Pat and Tim in Uniontown – we called this our SECOND 25th anniversary dinner Smile

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Mid June brought the beginning of summer camp as well as the full-fledged prep for our graduation parties!

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We also had two attempts to see fireworks, (poor Ashleigh had three attempts), all of which were canceled due to weather – storms or wind.  Meanwhile the state has been in a drought otherwise.  So we’re going to give in one more chance August 5 when we attend the Fest — http://www.thefest.us/

We attended 2 graduation parties and had our own, and it was really fun but very very busy – and so so hot!!!  So far this summer we have had 19 days above 90 degrees.  We are hoping for another day of swimming soon as we only so far have gone on June 10.  I am sure we will go again…

After all that excitement the past few weeks I have been attempting to do a lot of paper sorting, and also cleaned the kitchen, and am going to make some plans for the next paperwork projects and what other cleaning projects I can complete before school starts.  I have gotten nowhere near done what I expected to, but have enjoyed many moments with the family and out in the community, and have met all the paperwork deadlines I had for the kids and college, of which there were many, and many more immediately forthcoming!!  My Better Homes and Gardens goal, however, has again been put off…. early this summer I had the full expectation of having the entire house cleaned and organized by now…

What I’d like to do before August 27, when I start school?

  • Finish all the filing in the office (it’s already sorted by drawer now – yay me! – and all recycling is ready to go across the street).  Clean out files if possible.
  • Almost forgot this one – a big one – try and get 1/4 to 1/2 done with course on educational psych for fall that is already on line – that will put me so much ahead for fall where I’m also taking math for teachers, educational technology, and American sign language [only class on campus, rest online!]
  • Prioritize all paperwork and put on the calendar and make sure it’s done on time.  For Chris, Colleen, Ryan, my college, Rog/Colleen’s college, and anything else I need to do…
  • Sort all clothes in the three bedrooms and give away the tons we don’t need.
  • KEEP deleting emails I don’t need – in the last week I have gone from 18000 emails to 2,000 emails, and still deleting.
  • Go through freezers again and plan more meals to use up what we have.
  • Complete the deep-cleaning of the kitchen by scrubbing out and sorting all cabinets.
  • Finish straightening basement, clean out the fridge bins that are down there for the downstairs freezer
  • Pass out Avon books again.
  • Finish painting living room?
  • Work with Colleen on sorting 4 years worth of school documents and organize them into bookcase and filing sorters.
  • Probably many more ………

As always the summer is flying by.  I go back to school August 27, Colleen starts August 25 (Mon/Wed. 10-4:45 (big break in the middle so far where I’d like to help her schedule a voice class at Fine Arts!), and Thurs. 9-12:50), Roger will start the same week but I’m not sure yet what classes he’s taking – majoring in human services at Lakeland then most likely finishing at Cleveland State.  He already has his arts degree (so he’s farther ahead than I was) so hopefully will finish before me maybe – we hope to finish up by 2015 anyhow!!  Then I’ll be a teacher and he’ll be a special needs social worker.  Colleen is starting her graphic design degree.

Chris is doing well and all kinds of plans are in the works with his I/O Waiver and workers, and he starts workshop in the fall!  He is doing well, praise God! 


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5 more drives —

100_1933(Lilacs at Kent)  Smile   Hard to believe I only go down to Kent 5 more times, to the Main branch, before summer break.  I have enjoyed my year at main, but saving on the gas will be good.  In Fall so far I have 3 online classes, and my only class I have to drive to is ASL and it’s either at Ashtabula or Twinsburg.  So that will save a little gas and even more time!  My other classes will be math for teachers (Sad smile fear), educational psychology, and educational technology.  I will be getting math tutoring at whatever branch my ASL is.

I am taking a bit of a break from Facebook at this point – as I’m heavily into finishing all my papers, etc. for my present classes, and have a ton of reading to do.  So just a little catch-up here before I have my last sprint to the end of my year, and then summer break!

Colleen and Chris are both graduating this year, so we will be planning a graduation party this summer – unbelievable!  My two oldest, such memories, so many years — 26b6They looked like twins back then.  Not anymore!  We love them both so much and am so proud of them – may their lives get better and better —

We’re still in the process of finding Chris’s own home that he can have 24 hour care in – the search continues – there are several possibilities – prayers appreciated!

Christmas, life, Uncategorized, Weather

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:


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 “From Christmas to just Winter”
organizing, relocation, surveys, Uncategorized

sittin’ and waitin’ for the phone to ring

Well, only for a few moments. I’m going to be mindless and do a survey. I already got 2 kids off to school, took a third to speech therapy, and took a great 1/2 hour walk for some much needed exercise and prayer time. Next, back to cleaning and packing, since we’re moving out of here no matter what (just will take longer if we have to wait and sell this house and find another house if this loan fails!)

I may or may not know today, now. Lady last night said it may be a few more days. If I don’t post you know I died from waiting….. ha!

Continue reading “sittin’ and waitin’ for the phone to ring”

health, Uncategorized, weight

My new journal!

2020 – so this was a diet page I made at I believe LiveJournal (https://weighdownagain.livejournal.com/) around 2006 while this blog also was still at LiveJournal.  I eventually merged them and just tagged the weight journals with the appropriate category, but this was the beginning of it… I also have an earlier weight journal at my old pre-blog site, here, that goes from around 1999-2005 – http://www.criscollrj.com/site%20files/Weight%20Journal.html

I finally have it set up the way I want with the background picture! Now I need to find some readers and blog my weight loss like I hope to!

Some of my history is at my home page on my diet page (the second link, above, as this link is no longer valid). I plan to journal more here and hopefully meet a lot of great people in the meantime. This site is also interesting, the one I kept back in the late nineties.  (2020 update — https://www.oocities.org/dorifam/food.html).  Happy there are still links viewable from the “oocities” Geocities archive!!!

I started dieting on and off at the age of 10. I am now 40, so a 30 year history!

but now I must go, 3 year old is crabby!

add me if you’d like!


please check out my home page, https://criscollrj.com