Friday, December 29, 2006

Forever Friends

Yesterday was a great day. A group of friends and sorority sisters all got together. This is the first time in years that we have all managed to be in the same place, at the same time, with all our kids and our hubbies. It was a great day. We, too, have a blog, but it's not the same as actually being together.

Love you girls! College and life would never be the same had you not been there beside me. Whether good, bad or mischeivous times...they were great!

(cw)Me, Connor, Ben, Katie, Austin, Tim, Sam, Elana, Max, Nik, baby Katie, Cindy & Jessa
Jeff and the boys have some quiet time

Katie, Kevin & Jessa and Me getting my baby girl fix

Too much to do and too little time

I had a nice post all writeen on Wednesday and then my server crashed. Let me get a quick update on here for all my faithful visitors.

Saturday we had Christmas with the Rems, then we had dinner at Kelli's. Sunday we had Christmas with my dad's family. Monday we had Christmas morning with the in-laws then off to my mom's house. Needless to say it was a hectic few days. The kids got way too many toys, and had to de-tox, but they seem to be doing better now.

I hope you all had great holidays. Here are some pictures from the weekend.

Connor, Carli, Allison, Ben & Austin

Cowboy Connor and Cheerleader Austin...glad I passed something onto my boy!

They had fun playing with Carli and Allison's dress up stuff...all except Ben who wanted NOTHING to do with it! Yet he thought the tea set we got for Ashely was 'cute'. Actually his exact phrasing was 'that's so cute!", but he refused to have tea with her.

Ben with Big Papa and my three boys with their new hats...Jimmie Johnson, Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine.

My BIL Eric with our very full Christmas tree and reindeer Elmo.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas

First, I'd like to take a moment to wish all my visitors a very Merry Christmas. I hope you and yours have a safe, joyous day.

Second, I wanted to share the best Christmas present I think I have ever received. A good friend of mine from college served in Iraq over a year ago. While he was overseas, I had the chance to email live with him on a few occasions. During one of our talks he mentioned that his squadron was flying flags during missions. He asked if our family would like a flag flown for us. I, of course, jumped at the chance for a piece of history that would show my strong support for our troops. Now whether you support the war or not, I feel it is vital to always support our troops who are doing their job to protect and ensure a safe future for our children and grandkids.

Tom has been home from Iraq for a little over a year and left the Corp about a year ago. I admit I had kind of forgotten about the flag. Well, today I arrived home to find Priority package in my mailbox. Imagine my surprise when I opened it and found our flag and a certificate stating it was flown for our family by VMFA(AW)-224 Fighting Bengals on June 30, 2005.

I am so excited to own a piece of history and to know it was tied to my friend Tom. Tom, if you are reading this, thank you so much...not only for the flag but for serving our country! Love ya!!

Yes I know I have some work to do on folding, but I will get the fold right and get it in a shadow box to protect it. Then I just need to find a proper place to display it.

We have a busy few days ahead, but I will be sure to post an update of our holidays when I can.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Donate Blood

I gave blood today...have you given recently?

You never know who's life you could be saving.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Sweet Respite

I think I finally have found some time to write a post. Generally the end of my work year is kind of slow and most of the engineers are out for the Holidays, but this year, we keep getting hit left and right with work. By the end of the day I am exhausted and the last thing I want to do is go home and get back on the computer.

Last weekend Jeff helped his brother install a laminate floor at his girlfriend's new house while the g-friend and I went shopping. It wasn't supposed to work out that way, but at least my shopping partner was more enthusiastic then Jeff would have been. Sunday Jeff and I went to Melodies of Christmas. If you are local and have never been...GO! It's for a great cause (Albany Medical Center's Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Center) and all the performers are fabulous. We had a great time and it helped put me in a festive Holiday mood...of course that mood was squashed as soon as Monday rolled around :)

Monday I got to go to Connor's pre-school for a cookie decorating party. I have only been in the classroom one other time and that was his first day of class. It was strange to see him interacting with his peers (and not just his brothers). He is 6-12 months younger than most of the other kids, but he seems to be doing really well. His OT in particular was commenting on how great it was to have him in her group sessions. They work with a lot of food activities...making and eating different tastes and textures and she said what a great role model Connor is because he will try just about everything. I truly don't know where that kid puts all his food...he's such a skinny boy....certainly doesn't get that from me :) But the cookie decorating was a really fun, if messy, experience. Poor Connor didn't want me to leave though. He thought that since I was at school then I was taking him home...he keeping saying 'don't like work, Mommy no work'. Poor kid! I also just got his IEP report in the mail and he's doing great!

Ben also just got a report card. He is also in a class with kids that are 6-12 months older than him. His Mema had a space in her 3's class and invited him to join in. As you can see below (click on the photo to enlarge) he is doing fabulous! And the areas that he is not doing so well in are really tasks that are beyond him at this point, so we are not in the least worried.

I will have to wait until I get home tonight to see Austin's report card, but I am guessing he is doing well also. AND, he's trying really hard with the potty lately. The doctor's keep telling me this is separate from all his other issues, but it is so frustrating. For the longest while he just had no desire, but the past week or two he has really been trying. Of course we keep using the fact that Santa is watching him. I guess we'll have to switch over to the Easter Bunny soon!

We have plans to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra Friday...dinner with my brother in law's girlfriend's family on Saturday and then my dad's family on Sunday and then my in laws and my mom's family on Monday. It's going to be busy.

Well, I guess that's case I don't get back on here...I hope everyone has a great it Hanukkah or Christmas or Kwanzaa. If you are safe!


P.S. Great news...Sarah should be headed home on the link to her site at left.

Friday, December 15, 2006


After 6 years of eager anticipation...the president of our company is FINALLY retiring. Aside from the 'ethical' differences I have had with him over the years, he's old and just doesn't have the mental ability to help our company move forward into the next generation. We have been bought out by a UK based company, who is well know for their skill and business acumen. We have also learned they are GREAT to their employees. So much better than the Christmas bonuses we didn't receive this year!!

Have a drink for me in celebration!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Could You? Would You?

I know I said I need to stop reading the news...and I found a fair number of reasons to yell at MSNBC today, but I also came across this.

The Hualapai Indians in Arizona are building a Skywalk. A 70 foot cantilevered glass bottom walkway overhanging the Grand Canyon, with a 'view' of the Colorado River 4000 feet below.

The engineer in me is excited and amazed by the prospect, but the mom in me says no way, no how. I am a thrill seeker. I am a roller coaster junkie and I am not afraid of heights, but I think 'heights' only refers to when you can see the ground. And yes I know you can see the ground from 4000 feet in the air, but it's really not the same thing.

I think this will be something I will admire from afar.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Note to MIL

Note to MIL- I hope when you read the title to the previous post, you didn't think I was refering to Austin being asked to leave school yesterday. I support your decision and he seemed properly chastised regarding it. He awoke from his nap stating he wanted to go to school on Wednesday and that he would behave and follow directions.

Note to others- Austin's mema is his nursery school teacher. When he wouldn't cooperate and engage in the required activities yesterday he was removed from the situation. Unfortunately I think the real problem is he is still not potty trained. The other boys have noticed and commented on it. I think this upsets Austin. At first I was upset that the boys were commenting, but I have decided that perhaps a little peer pressure will help this situation. Austin is not incapable of going potty in a toilet. He can do it, WHEN he wants and on his terms. Unfortunately, he is choosing not too. Although I have seen an increase in his desire to use the potty since the 'peer pressure' began.

I am open to advice from others on this situation.

4 year old Suspended

This is going to far. What is our society coming to when a 4 year old boy is suspended from school for hugging a teacher's aide? The original letter to the parents from the school district stated he was involved in ' "inappropriate physical behavior interpreted as sexual contact and/or sexual harassment" after he hugged the woman and he "rubbed his face in the chest of (the) female employee" on Nov. 10 ' After the boys father complained the school district removed references to sexual contact and sexual harrassment.

What 4 year old even know what sexual harrassment is? And how is a hug from a 4 year old ever inappropriate? If the teacher has concerns with a child touching her, perhaps she SHOULDN'T BE A TEACHER! I understand that at a young age you need to talk to your child about inappropriate behavior, such as, hitting and physically harming others, but hugging?!?

As I mentioned this to a co-worker he related a story about a male friend who drives a bus. One day he helped a little kindergartener up the steps and the mother threw a fit. Again, he was being gentlemanly and he gets chastised.

I understand this country is a melting pot and we need to respect others, but there comes a point when PC goes a little too far. I could go on and in point, the removal of Christmas trees from Sea-Tac airport.

I have come to the conclusion that perhaps I should stop reading the newspaper and internet news. I find myself yelling at inanimate objects. It can't be healthy!


I read this article yesterday on debt to income ratio. While it may seem straight forward on how to calculate it, I found the ratings interesting. I thought I would share.

Add all your monthly debt obligations (using minimum monthly payments for credit cards) and divide it by your monthly gross income.

If you are under 36%, you are in great shape. If you are between 37-42% you are in an acceptable range. If you are in a 43-49% range you have too much debt and if you are over 50%, you are in trouble.

I haven't gotten up to courage to calculate our situation yet :)

Monday, December 11, 2006


Blogger Beta transition much easier to modify the template...wish I had done this sooner!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Autism Legislation Passed

I was hoping to blog over the weekend, but time just got away from me.

On Friday I read an article in Newsweek. It is regarding the Combating Autism Act which cleared the House last Wednesday. The bill authorizes nearly $1 billion in research, a national public awareness campaign and early screening programs for each state to diagnose and treat children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

This is phenomenal! When we first started noticing Connor's delays I went to the Ped. I get the feeling that she thought I was slightly exagerating. But she trusted my opinion that an Early Intervention evaluation was needed. When we felt an appointment with a Developmental Ped was necessary, she again trusted my opinion. It was determined that he had PDD-NOS. Pervasive Developmental Disorder is a behavioral disorder of speech, communication, social interaction, and repetitive type compulsive behavior. There are five types....Asperger's, Autism, Rett's, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and PDD-NOS.

Had I not been pro-active, I wonder how long it would have taken to get Connor diagnosed and treated? Would we have just assumed he was a little slower than his brothers? Would he have made it to a mainstream school and been pushed aside because he was slower? That's the real concern. How many kids in the public school are seen as slow, or dumb, or 'retarded', when in actuality they may have a Pervasive Developmental Disorder. This bill will help identify those kids at a younger age. If treated, these kids have a lot of hope for improvement and will be more able to mainstream into a typical classroom.

As the parent of a child with a pervasive developmental disorder, I stood and cheered this news. I do a lot of silent grumbling about our government, but for once I am excited about a useful piece of legislation. I just hope it's not too late for some kids.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Why is it that the last month of the year, when most of my fellow engineers are on vacation for the last 4 weeks, we are the busiest. Everyone saves their vacation time, but they are also trying to use up the last of their budgets. So us poor saps who are stuck at work get bombarded with requests. I hate it!

On a more positive note, I managed to win 10th row tickets to the Trans Siberian Orchestra performance. I was just telling my neighbor last week that I would love to go. She already has tix since her step-dad is a tour manager for the West Coast TSO tour. Now we can all go together!

Kids are sick again...another round of Amoxy. Of course they love the stuff so they don't mind. I just would like healthy kids for Christmas.

Our friend Sarah is back in the hospital after a visit to the ER and a harrowing ride up the Pike. Stop over to her site and send some positive thoughts their way.

Monday, December 04, 2006


I have added multiple posts today, so be sure to scroll down.

2 last pics from this weekend.

Breakfast with Santa at the firehouse and Connor after dinner

Out-Teched- take 2

I just posted the story about Ben and the remote. I decided I 'd quickly download all the photos I took this weekend and had a surprise waiting for me.

Saturday afternoon while the kids were napping, I was helping Jeff with some of his homework. He'd been taking photos of some of his machined parts and the camera had been left out. Shortly thereafter I feel asleep on the couch. I think the camera had been on the table next to me. Well the kids woke up and obviously found the camera. 17 pictures later, I remember waking up and finding the camera next to me on the couch. I assumed I must have somehow turned it on in my sleep. I guess not.

There were lots of finger pictures, but these are a few of the best.

A self portrait...I can't even tell if it's Ben or Connor! :)
And a pic of Austin and last, but not least, the ceiling

Out-Teched By a 2 Year Old

We have multiple components hooked up to our TV...a VCR, a dual receiver DVR, a DVD, a stereo receiver and a CD player. It got to the point it required three remotes to watch something. We finally bought a (very expensive) universal remote. It made our lives MUCH easier.

Well on Saturday, while Jeff was at work, the boys were watching a show on the DVR. I slipped into the other room to eat a donut (w/o the help of kids) and overheard Ben asking to watch the Rudolph DVD. The next thing I know Austin is screaming. Ben got the remote and switched from the DVR to the DVD to watch Rudolph. Austin was not happy. BUT...the point is, it required Ben to first hit the activities button, then the watch a DVD button and then start up the DVD when the menu appeared. Most adults that visit our house need WRITTEN instructions on how to use the remote, but not Ben!

I think we are headed for trouble with that one...he's a little too smart for his own good!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Parent Teacher Conference

Probably the quickest conference ever because they were running over 30 minutes behind schedule...but in sum...they all LOVE Connor (I have to admit he is the sweetest little boy). They think he is making wonderful progress, and expect even more from him when he starts attending full time in January.

It was such a hard decision to put him in an integrated classroom. After all we had been through with Austin, no one had ever suggested he go to an integrated class. Maybe it was because he started therapy at a younger age, or perhaps it was that by the time Austin was 'of age' for a classroom setting he was doing MUCH better. So when it was brought up with Connor, we weren't sure what to expect.

I am so glad we went forward with it. He is the baby of the room. He started at 32 months and most kids were already three and four, but the teachers feel that he's working at an appropriate level. It look forward to even greater progress at our next meeting.