Criscollrj’s Blog (2003-present)

autism, chris, colleen, college, health, Ryan, weight, work

Transfers and Changes!

2013-06-04 16.40.07

summer13

 

After a very busy, enjoyable summer, we are headed into a fall of changes yet excitement!

First, Chris had a very nice summer camp, along with Ryan, part of the time, where the boys got to swim, go to the mall, the movies, play at the park, and just generally get a lot of activity and movement in the sun, and rain!  Both boys enjoy it a lot and we hope they get to attend next year!  Then Chris went back to his workshop and is really accelerating his progress now after their acquiring an autism interventionist (which is what I’m striving to be, eventually!) that is working wonders with him.  I am also putting more programs on the IPad including Autismate Lite and a Social Story program that we hope will be helpful to him.  He also has been playing on a spelling matching game with me that he enjoys a lot!

Ryan also greatly enjoyed that summer camp, and went to another as well, which was from his school and was an autism camp at a local school.  That was more academic, and we were so pleased that he was actually promoted to a higher level class when he was there.  He then decided to test that teacher with some behaviors but then calmed down and did his work the rest of the time he was there.  He then had another week at the activities camp, and is now half done with his first week of NO camp.  This has been hard on him and we are just trying to keep him busy and happy.  Today is scheduled with going out to the store and later going for his before school physical.  Then tomorrow I work and Grandma watches him, then the weekend is full of time with his brother and then only one more week!  AND the 20th he has 2 hours at his school for orientation.  Before I know it, Ryan will be in 6th grade – August 26!  New school, new teacher, but most likely mostly the same classmates.

Colleen is preparing for her 2nd year of college and most likely will be working at the same time.  This will be a busy new year for her, and she and Scott continue to plan their future and have fun together.  He is working a lot and they try their best to schedule time together around their schedules.  She continues her love for all pets, and our telling her NO MORE PETS continues.

As always Rog and I are scheduling our quarterly business trips together and have some much needed alone time as we drive miles around the area to these SE Ohio and Western PA counties.  We most likely are next going on October, with the blazing fall leaves.  It is cool to see the seasons change as we do these trips.

Other than that, I’m still working for my senior ladies – two years now! And we have Chris every weekend and have fun with him and the family. Rog and I are battling our own health issues and trying to get healthier. I lost 13 pounds this year doing MFP and walking – think he has lost some weight too, but not sure how much. I’m looking forward now to fall walking and plan to sign up for hopefully two Y classes and start lifting weights a little. I think that will start my weight loss back up. I actually have lost a total of 25 since 2010 and think I do look better. Double chin is gone!

My driver’s license pic in 2010: license

 

Me now. About 25 pounds down…wgu pic

50 to go!

After waiting since March when I signed up for Western Governor’s to see any progress on my entrance (such as my schedule or what classes I personally need to take) I finally got my orientation page and my schedule page, along with all the courses I need to take, on my main portal today!  They had told me before the magic date would be the 15th of August.  So I get to start my orientation activities, which probably will take me a week or so, along with all my classes to investigate.  This is my cup of tea so I will be overly excited about it for a while… ha ha.

Time to put in a “more” tag and then those of you interested can read all about what classes I’ll be taking! Continue reading “Transfers and Changes!”

colleen, reflections

When you get that text or call…

I was getting a hearing exam Thursday (yesterday) and was in the chair with the thick ear pieces in my ear, hearing the series of beeps to say yes or no to.  When I was all done (hearing hasn’t changed – my old hearing aid was cleaned and still good) I checked my phone. 

It was unusual to have about seven missed calls and two texts when I’d only been unavailable for about an hour.  The one that came up first was:

“You need to call Colleen.  She got into an accident and is on her way to the emergency hospital.  We have been calling you over and over again.”  From her fiance.

The visions that pass through your mind suddenly in that situation are horrific.  It is probably not very different from when you have a near accident yourself and your life passes before your eyes.  I immediately called my daughter and heard her voice, a little weak but not faint, and she said that she had broken her nose in a car accident, and that her friend driving had some bumps and bruises but was okay.  The overwhelming joy was such a relief over the prior fear.  How lucky they were.  How strong the relief and how scary the thought of what could have been, what God protected us from.

Thankful for seatbelts and defensive driving maneuvers today!  Thank you, Lord, for your mercy to us all!

By the way, her noise wasn’t broken – at first they thought it was but after CT scan nothing was broken.  A concussion is suspected, so her injuries were treated as head injuries, and she underwent her 24 hours of not being allowed to sleep for more than two hours at a time (which, of course, we did not either).  That is happily over and she is okay, though still sore.

Love you girls!

070411213718eeb5collashminnie

college

Goodbye for now, Kent State!

2013-06-17 09.00.59

A few months ago I decided after some researching to apply at Western Governor’s University (more about that here https://criscollrj.com/2013/05/17/migraine-aura-lethargyexhaustionrelaxing-blog-time/).  This saves me time and money, as the courses are less expensive and everything is online.  However, before I had made that decision I had applied for scholarships at Kent, and I was awarded the one above AFTER I made the decision to leave!!!  What a beautiful plaque and a nice feeling of accomplishment!  I did try and enroll in a class online so that I could still use the scholarship, but was unable to arrange for the splitting of the financial aid between the two colleges, and this morning was just told by Kent that because I wasn’t full time at Kent I would not be able to use it.  But I still will treasure the plaque – my first plaque of this sort!!  My best wishes to whoever they award it to next Smile

So now in two and a half months I will start an unknown venture of studying online at Western Governor’s University – I am just waiting for hearing what transfers and what I have to take first.

Meanwhile the deep cleaning of bedrooms has begun – I am half done with my bedroom.  Ryan starts summer camp next week and Chris started today.  It is cooler this year, which I like… though the plants may need a little more sun!  We have had a lot of rain so far!!

birthdays, colleen

Tomorrow you were due —

19 years ago.

IMG_0013IMG_0008

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. 

IMG_0042_NEW

reflections, travel, work

My story about Tionesta

 

No photo description available.Image may contain: sky, tree and outdoorA post I have been planning to write for a while…

First the present – we have been travelling together to Jefferson Co., Warren Co., and Forest Co., PA for Rog’s work for about a year now (he has been going longer) and it has often crossed my mind that I wanted to tell the Tionesta story.  I have not taken the time until now when I’m recuperating from a migraine and feel too tired to do anything else except type my data entry files that I need to do for our work– which I’m going to do next!

So I have become familiar once again with Tionesta (in Forest County) along with the neighboring Tidioute.  We see them every three months.  They are beautiful, in the PA Alleghenies.

My first experience of the Alleghenies and Tionesta was with my dad in about 1979 when I was about 14.  He had begun when I was about 11 to take me on a vacation every summer.  In approximate order it was 1977 – New York City, 1978 – Detroit and Ste. St. Marie, Michigan, and 1979 – Alleghenies, PA.  We started off driving 6 and/or 322 and I remember visiting Corry, Warren, Tionesta, and Oil City.

http://pics4.city-data.com/cpicc/cfiles70616.jpg

(we were as a family in 2007 in Oil City when Rog worked there briefly gathering data for work – I have pics somewhere but not findable at the moment, this is from Google)

My dad and I also drove all around the rivers and mountains in the area, visiting Kinzua Dam, especially.

kinzua-dam-spillwater.jpg (550×366)

http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/03/b9/17/e0/kinzua-dam-spillwater.jpg

I was so taken with the area, I decided someday I wanted to move there.  I also remember eating at a restaurant in the town of Tionesta that had delicious pie.  I don’t know if this is where we ate —  http://www.pierogiemama.com/Pages/default.aspx (2020 dead link) but I know Rog and I had tried to eat there, but they’re only open for breakfast and lunch so we keep missing it!! 

When I was about 14, I wrote my own book about a girl named Karen, that lived in Tionesta, PA.  I loved that book and really thought it was the best writing I ever did.  I put my heart into it and it reflected a lot of things I was growing up with at the time, being overweight, lonely, learning to achieve my own goals, make friends, growing up.  I finished that story in 9th grade and totally was devastated when I no longer had the story anymore, as it was either lost or thrown away.  But that’s how important Tionesta was to me at that time…

Years later in 1984 when I met Roger and we started dating, we took a drive back there and ate at the same restaurant my dad and I did.  We drove many of the same roads as well.

We drove there in 84, and I think in 86 and 87 too – it’s getting a little blurry now!  We also discovered the Allegheny State Park in New York around that time, which my dad and I did not visit.  Camping there in 89 or so, 90, and 94, to my recollection, followed, with lots more wonderful memories!

Image may contain: sky, tree, cloud, mountain, outdoor, nature and water

Then we have our own NEW memories in Tidoute, which I don’t remember from before.  So we have a neat progression of very old history, with my dad; still old history with my husband going back all the way to our dating years; and then brand new history in a new town in the mountains.

 

 

college, organizing, weight

Migraine aura lethargy/exhaustion=relaxing blog time

 

 

2013-05-07 08.45.00

Had my post-stress migraine today but luckily not a huge headache with it – just a bit of achy eyes and exhaustion.  So seemed a good time for a well-overdue blog post!  I am too whipped to do anything else.

My last posts were mostly about weight, so my quick update about that is that I am STILL on a plateau and starting to doubt if I will ever lose more than ten pounds.  Well, not really, I have to have SOME hope since I have to lose 50 more pounds.  But either I have to change something or be patient – yep, those are the choices.  HA!  Being that what I have been doing WAS working I will just try a bit longer.  Perhaps I am just still building muscle….  The plateau will be 8 weeks tomorrow.  Still having about 1700-1900 calories and walking fairly regularly, and also count heavy cleaning my once a week as exercise, plus some of the cleaning at home.  Also just started Tai Chi but only once a week.

Big change that I didn’t post about – I found out through researching some online schools this college program:  http://www.wgu.edu/education/teacher_certification_special_education_bachelor_degree, and I decided to apply.  I have since taken their entrance test (yes, an entrance test! I was so nervous! but I passed) and transferred my credits in.  I am aiming for a September start.  I LOVED Kent but the drive was getting more difficult as I was going to have to drive 4 days a week including 1-2 nights in the fall semester.  So I am eagerly awaiting receiving a schedule for fall.

Took a look at my posts from last summer where I saw this one https://criscollrj.com/2012/07/23/2012-summersuper-hot-super-busy-flying-by/ where I have a list of what I wanted to accomplish.  Let’s see how it compares to now:

LAST SUMMER:

  • 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.   Did get this done sometime before school started.
  • 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!] I did very poorly on this, and continued to procrastinate throughout fall semester too, finishing most of the courses in the last three weeks of the semester.  I did get an A but only by ignoring the whole world….  This is a bit scary with my new college being totally self-driven – I have to do better on self planning and WILL.
  • 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… I actually have done fairly well with this.  I love syncing of gmail/calendar on phone and computer!! Open-mouthed smile
  • Sort all clothes in the three bedrooms and give away the tons we don’t need. Laughing hysterically.  Nope, not even close.
  • KEEP deleting emails I don’t need – in the last week I have gone from 18000 emails to 2,000 emails, and still deleting. Yes, did do this.  I actually told someone about this yesterday but thought it was 80,000 emails, guess in one year I quadrupled the number in my head!
  • Go through freezers again and plan more meals to use up what we have. I believe I did do this.
  • Complete the deep-cleaning of the kitchen by scrubbing out and sorting all cabinets. Nope.
  • Finish straightening basement, clean out the fridge bins that are down there for the downstairs freezer. Did first thing but not second.
  • Pass out Avon books again. I think so…
  • Finish painting living room? Nope.
  • Work with Colleen on sorting 4 years worth of school documents and organize them into bookcase and filing sorters. We did do about half of this but they’re still in a box.
  • Probably many more ………

THIS SUMMER:

  • 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. Yep, exactly the same amount has built up – plan to do this this coming weekend and next week.
  • Sort all clothes in the three bedrooms and give away the tons we don’t need. Bedrooms are supposed to come the end of May, to mid-June.
  • Clean out email again
  • Complete new paperwork projects – I do have a few right now for the next weeks/month.
  • Clean off Toshiba computer and prepare it for Rog’s back-up computer.  Buy new flash drive to store excess files on for backup.
  • Thoroughly scrub down both refrigerators and hopefully swap one for the other (the basement one is bigger and nicer!)
  • Complete the deep-cleaning of the kitchen by scrubbing out and sorting all cabinets.
  • Clean out basement.
  • Pass out Avon books again.
  • Finish painting living room?
  • Finish work with Colleen on sorting 4 years worth of school documents and organize them into bookcase and filing sorters.
  • Have some fun family outings – more than last year?  Hopefully it won’t be so HOT!

Some pictures from the last few months…

2013-04-27 15.37.27

Lake Erie’s double horizon phenomenon, seeing Canada!

 

 

 

2013-04-07 13.44.41

Picnic a month or so ago across the street – winter was finally over!

 

 

2013-04-09 09.24.16

Rog hard at work at Tionesta PA Smile

 

2013-04-30 08.51.45

Gallia County Ohio River glory.

 

 

P4040654

Ryan at Wendy’s before his haircut Smile

weight

“Not” a plateau—

After about 38 days on my weight loss plan, I have hit my first what I thought was a plateau.  After reading a bit of the posts on my MFP (My Fitness Pal) community boards, it seems it isn’t really a plateau until you’re on it for weeks or months, but it still doesn’t feel nice!  I know I need to just keep an eye on my measurements, and I am, and they have gone down!  So I am trying to remain focused and stick with it.

Meanwhile, I started blogging a bit of my history on MFP and thought I’d post here 🙂

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/blog/criscollrj/view/introduction-to-my-weight-journey-501402

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/blog/criscollrj/view/continued-introduction-to-my-weight-loss-journey-503083

255508_4781571935818_270967441_n

Maybe someday I’ll approach this weight, though I probably won’t look 22 again… 😀

 

 

photos, weight

Crystalline

5131084279_760e129f19i

http://farm2.staticflickr.com/1175/5131084279_760e129f19.jpg

 

I did not take this pic, but I saw a similar effect yesterday driving to Ashtabula Kent Campus.  It was actually even more striking than this if that is possible.  The silver-tipped trees against the blue sky was very similar, but there was also the effect I could see, while driving and unable to stop and use my cell phone camera, of the rays of sun casting a sideways silvery glow across the sky adding to the blue and iced trees. It was magnificent!  I was full speed ahead to take my Math exam, which I was late for, and I wished I could stop on the way back to take the pictures but by then the effect was gone.  But the vision in my mind remains.

One thing I wish I could take the time to do, and the money of course, is to learn to use a better camera and take really  magnificent pictures!  But until then I will enjoy others’ and snap away with my Android phone which doesn’t do too bad —

Some of my favorites I’ve taken:

100_0551100_05392012-01-09 19.45.282012-01-10 08.39.412011-05-21 15.56.012011-05-21 15.38.462011-05-22 01.10.032011-06-22 15.22.472011-06-22 15.25.482013-01-21 09.10.50100_1485

God’s beauty in all seasons is amazing!

In other news, on the 30th I’ll be on my MFP (my Fitness Pal) plan for one month and so far I’ve lost 5 pounds!!  I’m the lowest I’ve been since about 2007. 

God, weight

Calling on you…

2013-02-12 08.25.24Since I dropped two of my courses (was too overwhelmed, they weren’t needed right now, and I’m already taking the two required right now) I have been trying to walk each morning again for 20 minutes.  Today the snow was falling very lightly, not accumulating at all on the ground that currently has no snow, and was just barely coming down on my coat.  It reminded me of many walks I took in high school where I bundled up every day and walked my dog Cocoa in the back woods at our farm.

cocoa 2When I walk it is one time I can really try and pray without much distraction.  It’s a bit different than when I drive to Kent – that is also an important time as I try and listen to 103.3 Moody Radio and really focus on the sermons and conversation.  I don’t always listen to radio – I tend to switch from that to the Fish to just classic rock or mix stations, whatever I am in the mood for.  But listening to the shows on the drive to Kent had become a habit and one I do want to continue even now at home.  But the walking and praying was different, and I had missed it.  I have not consistently done it in a while, just because it had been so hectic to always get out the door to get to school, or get Colleen to school (last year), or whatever I was doing.  I am grateful the time is back.

I am also walking consistently as I am still doing the My Fitness Pal – two weeks tomorrow.  All the exercise gets deducted from the day, giving more calories available, and revving the metabolism!  One pound gone…

This song came into my mind today and I looked it up on YouTube.

 

Stryper – Calling on You

Inside of me there is a lonely place
Sometimes I just don’t know it’s there
But when I’m all alone
That’s when I have to face…
[Bridge]
The part of me that needs someone
To be by my side that’s when I call on…
[Chorus]
You, You make my life complete
You give me all I need
You help me through and through
I’m calling on you
I can’t explain just what You do to me
My love grows stronger everyday
You give me love, You give me company
And when I have to face the rain
You bring sunshine into my life
[Repeat Chorus]
[Solo]
[Repeat Chorus]
More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/s/stryper/

God

How He loves us….

 

 

Have had occasion to hear this song twice in the last 24 hours <3  And feel convicted to share it.  I also feel convicted that I need to show Him I love Him.  I am definitely experienced in depending on God for His patience, wisdom, deliverance, comfort, peace, and a shoulder to cry on.  But how many times do I spend time reading His word, worshipping His being and not asking for anything or worrying about my problems, or just being With Him?

 

How He Loves Us  — lyrics

He is jealous for me,
He loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are,
and how great Your affections are for me.
And oh, how He loves us
oh oh how He loves us
how He loves us so.
He is jealous for me,
loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are,
and how great Your affections are for me.

[ From: http://www.elyrics.net ]

He loves
oh how He loves us
oh how He loves us
oh how He loves
we are His portion and He is our prize
drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
and if grace is an ocean,then
we’re all sinking’
and heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss
while my heart beats violently inside my chest
and I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
when I think about the way
He loves us oh
how He loves us
how He loves us
how He loves
yeah He loves us
oh how He loves us
oh how He loves
yeah He loves us
yeah He loves us
how He loves us
oh how He loves all