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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

April 30, 2009

Chris is busy studying for APs and getting ready for Prom. Kelly won’t let him get away with being a cheap date. He has to rent a real tux and a limo and the whole shebang. I’ve given Chris a list of housework he could do in order to earn money. We have some outside work as well, but so far he hasn’t done much. He says he is going too, but I don’t know. We are like, you want $300, you better start working your rear-end off. Especially since prom is only a couple of weeks away. We don’t just dole out $300. If he won’t, I think Eric will. He still has a long way to go before he has enough money to go scuba diving. Chris is enjoying going in late to school because of TAKS testing.

We had a wicked storm come through on Tuesday that flooded a bunch of stuff. We usually only get that much rain associated with a tropical storm or hurricane. It flooded school out for the day all over Houston, including Katy ISD. That messed up the TAKS testing schedule, because all the schools were suppose to start on Tuesday. It works out well for me though, because now Chris will be home on Friday so he can put John on the bus while I take Daniel down to Texas Children’s. Now Rob doesn’t have to stay home. Tomorrow I will spend the entire day at the hospital. Bleck! But at the same time, I am looking forward to the MRI. I need the calmness that will come from the thing in his head not growing. I worry. I’m mom. I always worry.

Anyway, on to Eric…uh…uh…I can’t think of anything that I didn’t already write. Chris and His band both got superiors at UIL. I already talked about getting ready for Scuba diving…Oh; he drove to church last week. He has a cavity. He is still ticking like crazy…that’s about it. Oh, I think he earned his life badge on Wednesday. I just messed up on blue cards for cit. in the Nation. I have to run his (not one of Chris’ old ones) over to brother Crabtree today. It is a little out of whack, but I think we will make it work.

Mark went to Fiesta Texas last Saturday. He was exhausted for two days. He really needed that rainy day school cancellation in order to catch up on rest. He won two stuffed animal, a pikachu that he gave to Daniel and a floppy dog that he gave to John. They were pretty big, about half the size of Daniel. I am really glad he didn’t go for the biggest size. Mark has earned enough merit badges to advance to life but he still needs about 3 more months time as a star. That is really good. Eric is going to have to bust his…behind to get Eagle before Mark does. Mark just smiles about it. Brother Short wasn’t very good at doing merit badges when Eric was in the troop. He has a whole schedule down for Mark’s group though. Eric just has to be more independent.

As for John, there is always something to write about John. He is on a fieldtrip to the zoo today. He was saying, “I don’t want to go on a fieldtrip with my class.” Poor kid. The only one in the world that doesn’t like fieldtrips. I tried to explain what the zoo was, but it just made him more afraid. I suppose a kid that is afraid of a plant growing is going to have trouble with the idea of the zoo. I should have gone, but I just don’t have the energy for it. I have too many other things going on.

On to Daniel, hmmm, can’t think of anything much. He is his happy go lucky self. He loves school, he loves home, he loves going places, he loves playing games. About the only thing he doesn’t love is John hitting him and who would like that? Yes, John still takes his anger out on Daniel. Daniel is 85 lbs now and John is only about 65 lbs. One of these days, Daniel isn’t going to just collapse on the floor, he is going to take John out and I think John deserves it. I told Daniel in the car last night to have at John. It wasn’t like I could stop them. I was tired of yelling so I just said, “hit him back Daniel.” Well they had a tiny little tussle, but John lost his shoe and then they were both laughing. John keeps telling Daniel, “don’t hit me back when I hit you.” I keep telling John, “Oh, yes he can. That is what people do when you hit them.” He doesn’t get it yet though. I’ve also been trying the, “do you like to be hit? Well, neither does Daniel.” John keeps expecting Daniel to hug him right after he hits Daniel and then says I’m sorry. Daniel is usually not quite ready to forgive at that point. Then John gets mad and hits him again. It is a crazy, silly thing. It will work out eventually though. It isn’t fun when it is happening, but I thing it is funny at other times.

April 16, 2009

Rob and I went on our annual anniversary trip to a hotel. I enjoyed the break, but John has regressed quite a bit. I think that combined with a four day weekend made things really difficult for him and he is acting out a bit. Kids do that.

Chris is gearing up for next months AP testing and of course band UIL. He isn’t feeling very well though. He and Mark are having trouble with their voices. I guess a virus is going through our home again.

Eric just finished his classroom stuff for Drivers Ed and we spent 3 hours at the DPS getting his permit. He passed with flying colors.

Mark isn’t doing much. He and Eric passed off their swim test for camp. That is about it. He helped Eric with the teacher’s quarum fundraiser of mulching. Eric will be going scuba diving this summer. He will be scuba certified for life when it is over. Rob doesn’t much care, but I think it will be a good thing for him.

I went to John’s ARD yesterday. It is fun to talk to his teachers and see how he is doing at school. He had a rough day yesterday. He was wet when I went to get him for the bus. He had undressed, so he was late for school and I wasn’t too happy either. He kept saying, “I don’t want to go to school!” I’m thinking that there is no way he is going to learn that if he wets his pants he doesn’t have to go to school. This is the first time he has done anything like this in a long time. I thought maybe he was regressing like I mentioned before but when I got to the ARD I learned another reason for it. Last week his class planted seeds. His teacher said that he enjoyed it and was right in there with the rest of the kids but when he got back on Tuesday the plant had started to grow. John was totally freaked out and wouldn’t have anything to do with his plant. She said he was standing with his back to the wall wa-a-a-y on the other side of the room. When I talked to him about it he said, “I don’t want to take my plant home today.” (Whatever that means.) I tried to explain what had happened, but I am not sure he understood. He made a little easel at cub scouts. He had a good time learning to put it together. He got to use a hammer and screw in eyelet screws. The pounding noise didn’t even bother him. He was happy about that. He loves playing with the babies at wolf den. The leaders have not yet sitting up babies. I think he is about at their social skill level so I kind of let him play with them instead of learning about tools.

Daniel was hilarious last night. Chris printed out something on the Kids computer. Daniel stood there staring at the paper as it came out totally fascinated so Chris wrote him a little note and printed it out. Daniel was totally keyed up about it. He could almost read it himself and it came out of the printer and he saw it on the computer screen! I guess he didn’t know about printers before. He thought it was pretty funny. He is doing great in school and is even trying to write words phonetically.

As for me, I am keeping busy with dr. appointments. My back has been hurting for about a month so I got myself a new doctor and now I am being prodded and poked. Hopefully, after she gets all her information, things will slow down. I am just trying to stay busy until Daniel’s next MRI on May 1st. I am not really worrying about it, but it is a lot easier not to worry about it when I am busy. I am just glad the talent show, day camp forms, and pack meeting are over. I don’t feel half so stressed out.

April 9, 2009

Nothing much is going on because I am too busy with cub scout awards. All done for this month! Wohoo! Chris has been feeling poorly for a long time and Mark is loosing his voice so we have a little bug running through our family as always.

UIL is keeping the band boys busy. Chris says that once UIL is over things will calm down. I asked him why and he said because then he and Eric won’t be running around doing band stuff. I wondered, what has that got to do with anything? I will still be running around. He said he would be home more. Oh that helps. Not! Just one more kid underfoot. He’ll be headed off to college soon though so I need to enjoy him while I can.

I feel a little guilty about going away for a couple of days this weekend. It’s our anniversary celebration. Because Chris hasn’t been out with his friends in forever. He really hasn’t been feeling very well for quite a while. I think the recovery from the teeth is a lot slower then he expected and then there was conference and now we have our anniversary. Eric and Mark can babysit sort of. I don’t really trust them. They get lost in what they are doing and forget to take care of stuff like food. Chris is much better about actually taking care of John and Daniel. I asked Chris to talk Eric and Mark about it. I thought they might listen a little better to him. John sure listens to Chris. Chris has gotten him to where pants almost all the time and he is doing a lot better about going in the toilet. He still isn’t perfect, but it is a lot better about going when we tell him too.

I am not talking about conference because I barely remember it. I had a headache and was overly tired. I have to listen on line again, but I have been too busy with cub scouts. I plan on listening to one talk a day over the next few weeks or I will read the Ensign when it comes.

Life is good. I am really busy, but it is all the same old stuff like, speech, and ARDs and doctor appointments. It seems like hundreds of doctors appointments. I can’t figure out why I am always at the doctor. They take so ridiculously long. Yesterdays took 4 hours. I didn’t have that much time. I had to label and distribute all the awards. I was running like crazy last night to get everything done in time for pack meeting and then when I got there, I had forgotten the list of awards! Chris was staying home because he didn’t feel well, so he ran them to us just in time.

I got x-rays of my foot, back and hips to see why they hurt all the time. I hope the doctor can figure it out. I am tired of being in pain. I fell down the stairs in October and injured my ankle (again) and it just won’t heal right. My hip has always had trouble from time to time, but now it just won’t stop hurting and the same with my back. I think my back hurting is aggravating my hip which makes me limp which means I am likely to step wrong on my foot and then my ankle hurts. Oh, well, that is why God gave us motrin. I will survive and keep going and someday all the aches and pains will be gone.

I really am babbling because I can’t think of anything to write. What other stupid stuff can I think of….hmmm…any Johnny or Daniel stories? No, I have been too busy to notice. Oh! A Chris story... We have a tradition of going to Denny’s or IHOP between the Saturday conference sessions. I don’t know if you remember it because Chris didn’t. It kind of went away for a little while when we started getting conference on the computer at home. I asked Rob to bring it back a couple of years ago and he thought it was a great idea. Chris didn’t remember because for the last…I don’t know how many years, band has had something over both conference weekends so he has missed Saturday conference. He was sooo excited to go out with the family to Denny’s. You know how Chris can get. He was so funny. John and Daniel were great at the resteraunt. They are learning manners. They even ordered their own food.

Okay, I need to go do some dishes and laundry and go to quilt group (I promised a lady to help her make a pattern for he grandchild from one of my kwick sew books.) Then I need to pack because we are leaving tonight cause the kids have tomarrow off. We’ll be back on Saturday. As usual, we are not going far. Just over to a hotel on Fry behind best buy and maybe to the Houston temple on Friday if I am not to wacked on the medication’s the doctor gave me for my back and pain. Today is good so far, but they may not have kicked in yet.

Tthe Relief Society talent show I sang one of the songs I wrote (way back in mount Vernon) and every one seemed to enjoy it. I also played the quartet I wrote. I changed the cello part to a viola part. It didn’t sound as good that way, but I was to shy to call the one cellist (that I know about) in the stake. Anyway, although the violins messed up, nobody noticed and everyone loved it. Caleb Riggs said it was his favorite. (He was suppose to be in the nursery doing a service project.) I am considering trying to record my music in…like a studio or something, but I really don’t know how to do that, so It will probably take me a long time to get up the courage. I have just been surfing the internet to see what is available in Houston. I thought that would be one thing Rob and I could talk about when we are anniverarying.

April 2, 2009

I was busy last week with final preparations for the Relief Society birthday part enrichment which was that night. Sister Dolan (RS pres) wanted a talent display and show and guess who got the task of putting the show together. Originally, I was only supposed to be the person that other people reported too, but Sis. Combs was released and we got a new Enrichment leader for the committee and she didn’t know what was going on and that is a hard calling to step into in the middle of preparations for a talent show. It turned out that instead of other people putting things together like musical numbers and skits, it all fell to me. No body wanted to do anything. We have such a talented ward and the only people who sang were me and Tiffany Janis. Oh, and we had everybody sing a couple of songs that were suppose to be by groups but they sort of backed out. Even the RS presidency backed out on the skit they were suppose to do at the last minute. I made them do a really easy Cub Scout skit called “Bored Cowboys” that night anyway. For all the last minute changes and things wrong in the program it turned out pretty good anyway. I did make a lot of mistakes on the program though. Oh, well, maybe they will never ask me to do that again. This is the second talent show I have had to put together, (I had to do one as a youth leader) and I hope I never need to do another.

It wouldn’t have been too bad if spring break hadn’t been the week before so everyone was out of town, or if I hadn’t been trying to get all the forms I needed from all the cubs and the leaders going to day camp. What a nightmare that is! Ask anyone who has ever tried to do it. The parents are pretty good at getting the boys information, but try to get the leaders shot records! Most adults have no clue about their shots! Not to mention getting people to go on line and do Youth Protection Training or a Sex Offender search! (I ended up doing the search myself.). You have to be registered and have a BSA number to do YPT training and of course most of the adults don’t know their BSA number or are not registered until after you turn in the registration at day camp sign up. I still have 2 more YPT trainings to get, some shot records, and a couple of forms that were not the right forms. Grrrr!

Plus, on last Thursday Daniel had an appointment at Texas Children’s to talk about possible medications. It turned out that at this time, he doesn’t need any. Maybe as school progresses and they can’t deal with the adhd part of his autism he may need some, but kindergarten and 1st grade it really isn’t necessary. While we were there though, we signed him up for an autism sleep study. The study is trying to determine what the optimum melatonin release is so they can help parents who have autistic kids that don’t sleep. (A very common problem, that we are blessed not to have with John and Daniel. Some kids only sleep about 2 hours a day and 4 hours a day is not uncommon for children with autism.) Melatonin is what makes you tired. We okayed it, so Daniel is wearing a wristband with a button in it that we click every time we put him to bed and when he wakes up. We also click it if we take it off. This will happen for 1 week so we are almost done. We also have to fill out a bunch of forms. Daniel is the 1st person to actually wear the wristband so it is kind of exciting. Nurse Bell thought it was cool that Daniel was a part of a study. He will have a 24 hour stay at Texas Children’s sometime soon so they can observe him and by chewing on cottonballs (yuck) every so often they will measure his melatonin in his saliva. There could be one glitch though. All of the paperwork has the date in February instead of March. If the watch is set for February, we will need to redo the whole week. It wasn’t hard though. Daniel is pretty consistent in his sleep patterns.

This week has been really calm. Even speech was cancelled. I am catching up on a bunch of stuff that has needed done. Like making appointments for dentists and updating websites and writing e-mails about my callings and stuff that I have been putting off because of day camp forms and RS. I am really looking forward to feasting on the Word at conference. I am so glad we have them every 6 months. I start conference starving to hear the prophets and apostles and leave feeling absolutely stuffed.

Next week I will have Cub Scout awards to do but band has a UIL concert so I won’t have band board meeting till the week after. Wohoo! That really helps. Someone else is doing the band board next year. I am really grateful; I have been totally overloaded with that and everything else. I thought I could do it, but It was just one thing too many.

John has been doing fantastic! He struggles with cub scouts and homework, but getting him to the bus has been a breeze. Ms. Suzette, (his autism teacher) says he hasn’t needed her hardly at all for a long time. This means he is doing really well in the classroom. The incubator is in the classroom again, and of course John sits right by it. Just like last year. His teacher will move him if they have trouble with him. I think he understands it better this year and won’t have nearly the trouble they did last year. Even still, if it is a problem they have a solution. If all else fails he can go back to YCAP.

Okay, I am having to really think hard of anything else. Eric is taking driver’s Ed. Poor guy, he has to drive the van when it is time. He won’t learn to drive a stick as well as you, but we will make him learn on your dad’s car. Chris is busy making the second half of his calculus book and getting ready for AP tests. Mark is…not very busy. He is almost ready to move up to life rank. He is pretty much doing time right now. He has to wait another 3 months. He is going to beat Eric to life, and with as many merit badges he will get a camp, he will probably beat Eric to eagle. Eric is going to have to start turning things in! He has like 1 thing to do on 4 different required. I will make him finish up this summer.

Life is going along as it always does. Busy, busy, busy, OH No, something weird happened! Pray about it, it will be okay, and back to Busy, busy, busy…

March 19, 2009

It’s spring break so we are all busy doing nothing important. I still have to get all the paperwork for day camp and pull together the program for Relief Society next week, but it is coming along. I’ve had to assign out skits so we would have something else besides singing. Some of the ladies are going to do a sing along of Mama Mia songs and I have given people my first two pieces I wrote, the flute solo and the quartet. Unfortunately, everyone wants to sing in a group but no one wants to form one. I don’t know what to do about that on this short notice, but…I think everything will turn out all right. I have the Lord’s help in this.

Chris is having trouble chewing so he is still mostly eating pudding and jello. John is incredibly jealous. He wants all the pudding. He feels fine other than that.

Eric is busy mulching peoples yards for a scout fundraiser. They want to go on a high adventure scuba dive which is about 650 dollars per kid so the teachers are fundraising. I also just signed him up for driver’s ed. He will be 16 soon. I find that hard to believe.

Mark finished the Star Wars battlefront 2 before Eric. He was pumped. He bought Tales of Symphonia for the Wii and he and Eric defeated that as well. There is more to do on both games, but the most important stuff is done.

John is throwing fits. He wants complete control of all the screens in the house. We are trying to teach him that just because he wants it and asks for it (over and over and over and over) doesn’t mean he gets it. My TV in particular. It isn’t sinking in very well.

Daniel is doing…whatever. Mostly following John around or playing some game upstairs. He is happy as always, but his speech is degrading. It does that when he is home. I don’t know why.

Everything else is normal, I guess. It is a pretty quiet week.

March 13, 2009

Chris is getting ready for AP testing and signing up for housing at BYU. The full orchestra had UIL yesterday, but Chris did not know how they had done. I listened to the pre-UIL concert and of course it was GREAT! I am sure they did as well as ever, but Chris said that Oliver really messed up on one song and sounded like he was sight reading, sooo, I will have to let you know next week. One of the songs was Jupiter. Oliver had better not mess that one up as often as they have to play it for the alma mater. Next week he gets his wisdom teeth pulled. Hopefully without any cardiac hitches.

Eric is totally engrossed in a fantasy series. It has 10 books in the series and he has done nothing but read for the past month. I know exactly how he feels because I spent last month reading them myself. I am just now coming out of my book fog. Next week Eric will be busy mulching yards. The scouts are doing fundraisers so they can go on a Scuba trip for their high adventure. It is going to cost a lot, but not as much as Disney world or New York. Eric doing fundraising will help.

Mark found a new series of cartoons on Google so he is engrossed in watching that. Actually, all the boys gather around the computer and watch it with him, including Chris. It gets pretty crowded over in that corner. Mark is also excited to finish a Nintendo game before Eric. He has come down every night this week and said, “I have almost beat Eric.” I don’t know what game it is, but I think Eric is to busy reading to play the game much. Mark told me he had never finished a game first. I told him that was because he was two years younger then Eric, not to mention you and Chris, but he is still really determined to finish this game before Eric.

John had pinewood derby last night. Rob made the car. It is a green wedge one. John painted two white stripes on it. For the first heat, he wouldn’t take his care to the track so I did it for him. For the second heat, I dragged him over to the car, but he wasn’t kicking and screaming and he was happy to watch the race. For the third heat, he did everything all by himself. I was so proud of him. Now we just have to remember to do everything 3 times so he will do it himself! He had a great time and carried his car home all proud and possessive. It was wonderful. He has been getting on the bus great for 3 whole weeks. He comes running downstairs to eat, even when I have to wake him up, he eats, and gets dressed without any fuss and then when the bus comes he runs out to it. Can you believe it? I am still dazed and expecting to fight every morning, but I have only had one small fight in about a month and that was because he was sore and didn’t want me to change his underwear because he was a little messy. I’ll take that after years of big fights over going to school.

Daniel is doing fabulously as always. He went to a birthday party for one of the girls at school. He was the only boy there. The girls just dote on him. I heard lots of great stories about him from parents. I was told the girls fight over who gets to help him at school. One girl was furious because another girl wouldn’t let her help Daniel. Another story, the girls like to chase Daniel at recess. I was told that when one of the girls gets home she is asked, “What did you do at recess?” “We chase Daniel.” “Do you catch him?” “Sometimes, when he falls down.” Of course, Daniel is oblivious to all of it. At the party one of the girls said, “Now, Daniel, don’t get to wild!” The funny thing is, until the very end, he was the calmest of the bunch. His teacher told us at his ARD that he has just started to learn to swing. He isn’t going very high, but he is starting to pump and get the rhythm. So much for the girls chasing him. He is probably going to spend the rest of the year trying to learn to swing.

Rob was all stressed out about pinewood derby, but that is over now. Now he gets to stress over getting Chris to college. Other then that, it is just work and WEBELOS and everyday normal stuff for him for now. I am sure something will come up to stress him out though.

Maybe his stress will be me stressing out. I am trying to get all the Cub Scout forms ready for day camp. UGH!!!! I hate that. We are short about 6 volunteers and I don’t think we can come up with that many. We have a lot of 2 scouts in a family with mothers with really young babies. That means they cannot attend because they can’t leave their babies for 7 hours. I don’t know where we are going to come up with the volunteers. On top of that, I am in the midst of planning a talent show for the Relief Society birthday party on the 26th. That is scary in and of itself. My worst problem is that spring break is next week, so I am trying to finalize everything by the end of this week. Trying to do cub scouts and relief society, both finished by Friday afternoon is making me crazy! My callings are clashing. That is stressing me out. I’ll be fine. I just have to keep on keeping on. One foot in front of the other and somehow, with the Lord’s help, it will all come out okay. Time will take care of stuff. It will all be over at the end of the month, and then something else will take over. It is a good thing to have the comforter keep telling me that I can do this (whatever this is at the moment). One day at a time and then time marches on and then this too shall pass.

March 5, 2009

Chris decided to go to BYU. Chris said his latest calculus test was easy. His grades were pretty bad this last six weeks though. Other then that, he is busy with his friends, the Orchestra and Band, and church stuff. He is playing basketball a lot on Saturdays with the priests. He got out of marching in the Rodeo Parade because of it. Mr. O (the band director, don’t make me spell his full name) couldn’t get out of it. He wasn’t happy, but said he would make sure he was busy next year.

Eric just went to his DI tournament. They placed 3rd in one category and 5th or 6th in another so they don’t have to (get to?)go to state. I think that is pretty good for a freshmen group, but I have to admit not knowing much about DI.

Mark’s DI team dropped out. They couldn’t get enough people on their team to commit to putting DI before sports and other stuff when the tournament was approaching. They were down to four kids from eight, so they voted to give up. Mark had a great time though. He was committed and working hard. He even gave up a couple of camp outs and cartoons to go to DI. You know how he hates giving up his TV time.

John is doing well. We had a little trouble at Stake conference last Sunday. He wasn’t pleased with going to church in the first place and then to arrive and find out we had to sit in the hard chairs instead of in our normal bench didn’t go over well. Rob, Chris and I sat in the foyer for the first hour with him and then he came sat with everyone else the second hour. It was a broadcast from Salt Lake for most of Texas and parts of Oklahoma and New Mexico so only Katy 2nd, 3rd, and Nottingham Country were in the building. Because of Cub Scouts, a lot of people know about John. I just told people who asked that the entire stake doesn’t know that we need to sit in the same bench (or 3) every Sunday. Our ward knows, and some people from the other wards knows, but not enough to save the bench for us even though we were half an hour early.

One other story about John. For FHE I am teaching the Nursery Manuel to help John and
Daniel understand the gospel a little better. The lessons are short enough and to the point that I can keep their attention and it teaches very basic principles which they have not yet learned. This week’s lesson was on prayer. It had a handout with that song about…We begin by saying Our Heavenly Father and Thank if for the blessings he sends…
Well, John had closing prayer. He read the hand out. He said his first alone prayer and it went like this, Our Heavenly Father (space while he thought) We thank thee for blessings… (space) We ask thee for blessings, In the Name of Jesus Christ Amen. This is exactly what was on the handout. OH…, and during the lesson he very knowledgeably told us in no uncertain terms, “At the end of the prayer, we say AMEN.” I had to prompt for the In the Name part. I think Daniel got it.

Daniel is his happy go lucky self. Robert was home one afternoon watching Hogan’s Hero’s when Daniel got home. Daniel immediately said to Rob…”Woo Ga! Woo Ga!” Rob was completely puzzled and Daniel was getting frustrated until one of the older boys stepped in and said, “He wants to watch Word Girl.” To the rest of us we understood him perfectly. We know Word Girl is on when Daniel gets home, and if it isn’t he asks for it. To us, it was clear as day, but to Rob who doesn’t know this, it was gobble-de-gook. He has been getting so good at saying things that sometimes I forget how garbled it sounds to other people.

Rob is busy with work, scouts, and getting Chris’ college stuff taken care of. He seems a lot less stressed then he normally would be. It has been really nice.

As for me, I was sick for so long at the beginning of February that things have gotten pretty far behind. I need to take care of a bunch of paperwork for band, putting together some skits and stuff for the RS talent show we are doing for the RS birthday thing, gathering Cub Scout day camp forms and imputing them, Daniel’s ARD and all the normal day to day stuff. I reinstituted the 10 minute tidy. It has been working pretty well. The house is looking better at least. John is doing great on his chore of putting away the pillows and blankets and Daniel is helping by picking up stuff that is under tables and computers and stuff. Even Mark is doing it without complaint. I just keep saying stuff like, clean up that spot or take that out to the garage or vacuum.

One of Daniel’s autism tests discovered he was missing one of his chromosomes, number 12. Well, it turns out it is 3 genes on chromosome 12. So, the neurologist had Rob and I do some blood work to see if it was an anomaly or what. It turns out Rob is also missing those genes. Now we are working on seeing if John needs to get some blood work done as well although it seems to me if Rob is missing the genes then all of you would be…so…what does this mean? Not much, other then the neurologist finds it interesting and the doctor that is doing some gene studies for autism that took John’s blood back in august is REALLY interested. The gene doctor was studying something else and that came out normal, but according to the neurologist they are kind of excited about the findings in Daniel and his dad. He said something about it being an indicator of probability of autism as something like 2 in 8 kids. I said something like 2 in 6 qualifies. Later I realized that if you add in Dianna’s girls that would be 2 in 8 although we don’t know if her girls are missing the genes as well. I think it would be interesting to check, but for now we are waiting for Texas Children’s to decide what to do next.

Chris is about to head off to college in a few months and we will be down to four kids at home. Admitted they are an interesting four kids, but still…We have been having family home evening and stuff without Chris a lot because of orchestra practice and because there is a lot of stuff on Sunday evening so we can’t seem to have it then. It feels pretty odd to have Eric, Mark, John and Daniel for FHE and for Scripture and Prayer, since Daniel and John disappear it is even weirder. I am trying to figure out how to get Daniel and John in the room for scripture and prayer without causing a lot of contention. I don’t think it is possible, but I will pray about it. I am sure God has the answer even if I don’t. He can accomplish the impossible.

February 19, 2009

The boys had a four day weekend last week and tomarrow is early release, so I have a very short week. That is okay because I really am not doing much.

I took John to wolf cub scouts. He has been going about a month. He really enjoyed the blue and gold dinner last month. He especially loved the watermelon cheer. He and Daniel were giggling up a storm over that one. He is still trying to run away from den meeting, but it is less urgent and he isn’t screaming when he runs. There is another boy that has autism in wolf den from Nottingham country ward and Noah has something going on but is really high functioning. The den leaders have their hands full with this group, but there are 3 den leaders and two moms, (me and the other autistics kids mom) so it is under control pretty much. They just need to do a lot less writing and whole lot more moving.

Valentines day was a big hit for John and Daniel. They were bouncing off the walls all weekend. The older boys were baffled, but sugar and chocolate make little boys crazy. It was almost silly. Rob and I had to explain to John that he was way overreacting to things because of the sugar. He was a little baffled but I think after a while he actually understood a little and went off by himself.

Mark, Eric, and Chris are doing normal stuff. Playing with Nintendo. For some reason Chris and Mark are into some pokemon game. They spend all afternoon on the DSs playing. Eric discovered a book series with about 10 books in it. I read it over the last month and now he is into it. Both Eric and Chris’ grades are suffering, but I figure it also the time of year. I always got kind of…trunky (that actually fits the feeling) during the January and February time of school year. Rob on the other hand is VERY unhappy. Chris is refusing to do calculus homework so he is failing that and English. Senioritis is setting in I think. I got my worst report card ever that last quarter of my senior year. I seem to remember you struggling as well. Oh, Chris was accepted to BYU but I think he might want to go to A&M, so we will see what he decides later.

February 12, 2009

This week is pack meeting week and band boosters meeting so I have been busy with awards and band. I suddenly realized this morning that school is out tomarrow so I need to get John and Daniel’s valentines ready for the exchange and make a box for John. Oops! I got busy, but didn’t finish until after the buses had already picked them up, so I realized, Hey, I’ll just take them to the school, drop off the flower I bought for my visiting teachee and go to quilt group. It worked well.

Feb 5 2009

Daniel has been the only thing on my mind for a couple of weeks. I made a bunch of doctor appointments to keep me busy until my obsession would pass. We all got sick on top of that so the amount of doctor appointments doubled. Between strep, a stomach virus and the appointments I had already made, I was spending a lot of time waiting around for doctors. I think we have all recovered now, including me. I won’t know for sure until I digest the food I just ate, but I feel a lot better then I have for the last week.

Chris took some national test today. He said it was really dumb. It had questions like: there is ash in the air. What would make it go away? Or Are you taking science this year? He just did solo and ensembles but I was too sick to ask him how he did. I will have to do that tonight. Oops.

Eric spent last week at home. He missed most of the taks benchmark testing because of strep. He didn’t have much to catch up on though. He is still coughing up a storm. I keep wondering if I should take him back to the doctor, but he is already on antibiotics so I don’t see the purpose. I think I will wait one more week. He had to make a mask for English last night. I had told him quickly how to do it the night before, but he skipped it. I showed him how to make a paper mask. I don’t know if he did it. It will be a day late anyway.

Mark is busy with DI. He has a lot to do for that. Last week we had to throw together a costume at the last minute. He had mentioned it a few times, but…Why do kids always say something at the worst possible moment? I know I don’t have a lot of good time to ask, but in the middle of diaper changing? I get easily distracted and forget things like that. He managed to get something together with my suggestions, my costume book, and help at DI.

John got sick over the weekend. He was home the first 3 days this week. He has been making me crazy. I haven’t been able to get on the computer all week because he wants this one to play on. I don’t know why the other one isn’t good enough. But he is John. Yesterday at the doctor’s office he met a little boy in the waiting room. It was just the four of us, (the mom, me, john and roy) so they got to playing. The little boy had sponge bob and a wrestler. He had John rolling on the floor laughing. They were talking and playing and running around together. Just like John does with Daniel. It was wonderful to watch. It was funny in a way because the little boy was obviously younger then John but directing the play and what they did. Normally, the older child (obviously John) would be the one doing that, but…well it is John. Just seeing him try to make a friend was wonderful.

Daniel is doing great. He had to get a chicken pox shot booster today. He was NOT Happy! He screamed and yelled and kicked Chris (who had a well child checkup and got a shot as well). We held him down and got it over with, but then Daniel tried to throw a chair! We stopped him, but he doesn’t get like that very often. My poor baby. It wasn’t till the nurse mentioned it that I remembered that the last time he got immunized his whole upper arm swelled up from an infection. No wonder he is upset about pokes. When he saw the little tray with the shots he screamed, “No poke!!! No Poke!!!” Other then that he was really cute. He had already had his well child check up but he wanted to do everything Chris and Mark had done. He wanted the hearing test, and the eye test, and the blood pressure test. He was only there for the immunization. He had strep during his “well” child check up so they wanted to wait until he was well to immunize him. The sad thing is in three months he has to have another MRI and will have to have and IV. I wonder how we will deal with that. I am pretty sure Texas Children’s will no how to handle it though.

As for me, like I mentioned, I’ve spent the last week in bed or barely getting around. I had an infection, probably strep and then I got whatever John had which I am wondering if I am over yet. I feel a lot better today though. I don’t feel like I’m walking through mud like I have been whenever I was up for the past week.

Daniel has a Cyst or Tumor

Last week Daniel had strep and I hadn't gotten a good nights sleep for 3 days. Today I have strep so I am all exhausted. I am on medicine and will be better tomarrow. I just don't get strep very often. Eric has it as well. This one is a mean one. Your throat doesn't feel like it is on fire so you don't know you have strep until 3 days later when you go to the doctor. I think Rob has it as well. We will survive. There is one more reason. II have attached some pictures because I figure if you can send pictures you can recieve them. If not, go to a library or look at a members book of anatomy if they have one.

1st Letter... On Monday January 12, 2009, I took Daniel in for an MRI. It is routine test that Texas Children's Hospital does when diagnosing autism. When John did it, his came out fine. Daniel's didn't. He has a small growth in what seemed to me to be the middle of the his brain. The nuerologist said that it looks benign and shouldn't be a problem but is sending us to a Neuro Surgeon to be sure. He said he was worried about the "plumbing" because of the location of the growth (aka tumor). There is a small chance that it is a cyst or the very beginning of something malignant, but he didn't think so. Daniel will need for sure another MRI and may only need to be monitored for a long time to come. We will find out more information on January 23rd when we visit the neuro surgeon. In the mean time, we could use the prayers for him and to help us cope with the stress. I told the neurologist that I would not panic yet, but I have to admit to being a little worried and am trying to stay really busy to keep my mind off of it as much as possible. Staying busy is not very difficult for me. ...........

2nd Letter... Rob and I went with Daniel to the neurosurgeon at Texas Children's last friday. The short answer is--watch and wait. The tumor or cyst (they can't tell which from and MRI, tumor is tissue, cyst is fluid filled sac) is located in his right brain vetricle (yes brains have vetricles). It is about 3/4 of an inch tall, 3/4 of an inch wide and 1/8 of an inch deep. Rob described it as looking like a very small yo-yo (actually 1/2 a yo-yo). It is near the bottom where the fluid from the ventricles drains and circulates to the rest of the brain. If the tumor/cyst grows it could block the drainage of the fluid that is produced by the ventricles. The ventricles produce about a cup of fluid a day. This would cause headaches, dizziness and/or vomiting. (I have never seen Daniel get dizzy even though he spends a lot of time spinning.) At this time, Daniel does not show any signs of the tumor/cyst bothering him. The tissue surrounding it is completely normal, showing no signs of swelling or intrusion. The tumor/cyst is well defined and did not absorb any of the dye that was injected into Daniel to see if it would change the tumor. Not absorbing the dye and being well defined is a very good indication that it is benign. The location of tumor makes it easy for a neurosurgeon to opperate even though it is in the middle of the brain. There is a common treatment (for a neurosurgeon) for a disease or condition that causes a buildup of fluid in the vetricles. They go in through the brain and with something like and endoscope and relieve the pressure by draining the fluid. The neurosurgeon can use the same techniques to biopsy the mass if necessary, and probably remove it. Right now we are to wait three months and get another MRI. If the mass remains the same, we get another MRI six months after that, and then 1 year later. After that, an MRI each year for five years. If the tumor/cyst has not changed then we will leave it alone. If there is a change then we will see what the next step is. I would think a biopsy, but for now just MRIs. If Daniel begins getting any of the symptoms, we are to take him to Texas Children's for a CT scan. It is a quick scan that will tell the doctor something. I am guessing it doesn't have the waiting list the an MRI does, or maybe he doesn't need sedated and go in on an empty stomach. Because it is a children's hospital, It is difficult to get appointments early enough in the morning for the 8 hour no food rule.

This is pretty much all that has been on my brain for the last two weeks although both doctors are very positive that it is okay. I only get scared when I try to tell someone else and their eyes get all big and have a big intake of breath. So breathe and don't worry too much. We won't know anything more for 3 months so put your heart and soul into serving the Lord and trust he will take care of Daniel. The rest of us, besides strep, are doing fine. I'm going to start allergy shots in a couple of weeks. The allergist said that I am allergic to Houston. My main thing is dust mites though and, unlike the other allergist, I didn't come up allergic to animals. I think I reacted so strongly to the dust mites that it looked like I was allergic to animals.

January 15, 2009-John went to his first official Pack Meeting yesterday

There was no one to do the discussion for book club so I got drafted. The problem was, no one had read the book except me, so I needed to do a seminar on it. The book was “Leadership for Saints” by Rex D. Pinnegar and somebody else. It all went really well, but the next couple of days I collapsed like I always do when I stress out.

Rob is busy with work and webelos. One of his home teaching families lost their job so he has been helping them get their resume ready and helping them know where to look for a job. He has been really calm since Christmas break.

Chris is busy preparing for solo and ensembles and finishing up the essays for collage. He finally got his board of review at the last second and is now and eagle scout. Wohoo! He was waiting to turn in his applications because he wanted to put down that he was an eagle scout on them. We were like OooooH.

Eric is doing DI (destination imagination not Deseret Industries) again and they are gearing up for their competition. He gets to read Romeo and Juliet in English. We had to fill out a form about the traits of the perfect mate for him. That was really hard. He is not ready for a mate and I haven’t really thought much about it. He is also busy being Teacher’s Quarum president and all the attendant responsibilities.

Mark has joined DI (did I tell you this already?) He chose to go to DI this weekend instead of the campout. It was a tough choice for him but it makes my life a lot easier.

John went to his first official Pack Meeting yesterday. He did really well for him. We went over the wolf book a little before we went so he kind of understood. He had a really hard time going to school on Monday because I forgot to change the calendar from a vacation day to a school day. Your dad was totally surprised that John actually uses the calendar. I was taking Daniel to his autism MRI so I didn’t have to deal with it, but if I had been home I would have noticed and fixed it. John thought we had this Monday off because of Martin Luther King day so he was really mad.
John got a uniform for his birthday.

John also had a birthday.  He is afraid of the fire on candles so we haven't gotten him the room this past year for any of the traditional blow's so we skipped the candles altogether on his cake and he pretended to blow out the candles.  I love that he pretended.

Daniel is his happy self. He has a little runny nose, like always, and he has that red rash under his nose. He also has a very dirty hand where the tape for the IV was. I tried scrubbing it off, but his hand is a little bruised so it hurt him too much. His teachers tried as well, but we all decided to just let it wear off. I don’t have much time to let him soak in the bathtub this week. Oh, Daniel said the funniest thing on the way to Texas Children’s on Monday. He saw one of those buildings with the upside down cones on top. I think it his a really big heater/air conditioner for the medical center. Anyway, he said, “wook, mom, volcano!” I laughed and laughed, he kept saying, “I sorry”. I tried to tell him that volcanos were mountains not buildings, but of course he has never seen a mountain that he remembers. Last night when we were driving to and from pack meeting he was talking about no sun and stars and dark. He is fun to listen too because everything comes out in an odd way, but we can understand him.

As for me, Monday was Daniel’s autism MRI. Tuesday was Band boosters meeting, Wednesday was pack meeting (awards take up my days) today is Mark’s asthma appointment and I am going to the allergist (same doctor) and tomarrow I leave to go to Derrick’s sealing in Washington. Oh, and your dad has to report for Jury Duty. Saturday is region band for Chris and Eric. I am glad that Mark will be home on Friday night because we aren’t sure if Rob will be home before Chris and Eric have to go to Region. When we thought Mark was going to the campout we were trying to figure out how to make it all work if your dad ends up on a jury. Btw I will fly back to Houston on Monday.

I gotta go pick up Mark now. Actually, I’m a little late.

New Years Eve

I don’t have much to report this week. Chris and Eric will be home tonight, late, just in time to celebrate new years. Mark went to a deacon’s sleep over on Monday night. I know, not suppose to do stuff like that on Monday night, but oh well. He had a great time at brother shorts house. They played a whole lot of Rock Band and watched a movie. He has been doing great with John and Daniel while Chris and Eric are gone. I have been impressed.

John has been absolutely engrossed with Wheel of Fortune. He plays on the Wii a little, but he has confiscated the kid’s computer with Wheel of Fortune. Mark and your dad are spending a lot of time watching Stargate on the big screen TV. It isn’t a monster screen like Justin’s but it is pretty big.

Daniel is enjoying a lot of Wii playing and watching PBS shows all morning. He is pretty bouncy, but doing well.

Every one loves the new ball game thing we got that has 4 electronic games on it. It plays some hot potato type games. I am surprised at how much Mark and Chris liked it. We bought it for John and Daniel.

The weather has been fabulous. It has been in the sixties and absolutely beautiful outside. It is a big change from the three weeks prior to Christmas when it was going from snowing to record highs.

It is really lazy around here right now. I am sure things will pick up once Chris and Eric get back and school starts again. In fact January is pretty well booked.

Preparing for Christmas

The crazy week is over and this last week I did nothing except sleep. I couldn’t bring myself to do anything. I did finally get the grocery shopping done on Thursday or Friday and on Saturday I got the traditional Christmas Eve PJs and picked up some material to make John and Daniel some pants. No matter what I buy Daniel doesn’t fit the pants so I decided I will have to make them myself. I should be able to get it done pretty quickly, but I hate hemming so hopefully they will be done before the kids outgrow them. Other then that we should be Christmas done.

Chris was done with finals except for band on Wednesday. He just kept going out to lunch and breakfast. Of course band was on Friday and who wants to skip the band final?

Eric didn’t go to school at all on Friday. He exempted the class that had the final and his other class was study hall. They don’t have to do, (to quote Chris) the stupid check in thing. It was too much of a hassle.

Mark survived the week and finished all of his big projects some how. Rob kept asking him how he did on his presentations and Mark would say, “We haven’t done it yet,” and your dad would demand why not and Mark would just shrug his shoulders. It takes time to get through all the kids and Mark had to come home one day because he had ear infections that caused a headache. He got sent home on Friday but told the nurse his ears had hurt since Tuesday. The doctor said that it looked a lot like strep (yes strep has a look) but he didn’t test because he was going to get antibiotics for the ear infections anyway. When the doctor looked in his ears he said, “Ooh, Ouch!”

John has been John. Brother Short, who sits behind us a lot told me today that he had noticed John had come a long way lately. He really has gotten better since switching schools. Yes, he protests and fights but it isn’t nearly as hard as he used to. I have only had to carry him to bus twice this year. The first day of school and the first day after Hurricane Ike. The rest of the time he has done his pretend run the other way but has gotten on the bus. He may stand at the door, but I have only lifted him onto the bus once. Church…I don’t know when that will get a lot better, but he seems to be listening some of the time. When I got the Nativity sets out he know it was baby Jesus. That is something. Daniel got a bag of candy from his teacher and John wanted one. She was John’s teacher last year so she is very kind to John and often has an extra one for him. She asked him how he liked Christmas. He said, “I hate Christmas.” She said, “What about presents?” He said, “I don’t like presents!” She said, “I know you like video games…” He said, “I don’t want anything for Christmas!” That sure isn’t what he has been telling us!! He wants a ton of video games. I told her about how he opens one present on Christmas and then has to lay on the couch and take a break. Funny thing is this year he and Daniel are the ones getting most of the presents. Chris and Eric’s gift is going to Orlando plus the family gifts. Mark we got a couple of things but not much because he has one good gift plus the family gifts. I wonder how John and Daniel are going to do with having more to unwrap then everyone else.

Daniel was sick with the same thing as Mark. He had a runny nose for a week and got that red mustache he gets, so he went to the doctor with Mark and got on the same medicine. His nose cleared up in no time. He didn’t miss any school because we ended up going to the doctor on Saturday. They couldn’t fit us in on Friday. When he went to school on Monday he complained, “Ear Hurt,” so his aide took him to Nurse Bell immediately. The Aide said that she had never heard say anything like that before so she acted fast. Nurse Bell called me and had me bring some Tylenol cold. I told her he had already been on antibiotics since Saturday evening, so I just needed to bring him pain medication. That was the last we heard of it. He loved the last week of school. It is a lot of fun in kindergarten. He got a chocolate santa from Ms. Anita, his speech teacher. He called it, “Look! Ho Ho Ho!” When we got in the car he said, “ooh, chocolate” in a voice of wonder. I guess he didn’t realize it before that he could eat it. He is such fun sometimes.

Rob has the rest of the year off as usual and is buying Christmas. He loves to shop which is a good thing since I hate it. He has always been the Christmas time shopper. I try to buy as the birthdays go by, but I couldn’t seem to do that this year. When I got back from the doctor for Mark and Daniel I told him to go to as what they had was probably was what he had. He had a sinus infection. He struggled to sing the quartet they sang last week and the Epiphany concert took his voice completely away. Today we sang our Christmas program at church and he didn’t have much trouble at all. He still has to do a lot of throat clearing, but things are getting better.

Obviously, we have had illness but the weather isn’t helping. It snowed the Wednesday of Pack meeting and then last week we were hitting almost eighty. We had to turn the air conditioning on the last couple of days because the humidity got so bad. One day John was giving me a hard time about school but when I opened the door and he saw the mist and fog he did great. Now we are barely reaching sixty and the evenings are getting pretty cold. Crazy, Crazy Crazy. The weather people were mentioning how rare it is for a hurricane to hit Houston and then how rare it is to have snow in Houston and this year we have had both. It has been an interesting fall. Oh, speaking of weather, the channel 26 weather guy is in the Nottingham ward and his wife is the one who organized the music with Epiphany so channel 26 did a quick little news blurb about the concert. Your dad sat next to the channel 26 guy so he was on tv and since Strings sit in the front of the orchestra and they showed the conductor I was on tv as well, but Chris didn’t make it. Oliver and Kelly were on screen but Chris was too far to the right. Aw.

Derrick and Lindsey are getting sealed on January 17th in Seattle so my Christmas gift is to fly to Seattle that weekend and attend the ceremony. Lindsey is so happy. She thinks Derrick really needs the support of his family and I think we are the only ones worthy to go. If I am wrong I will be delighted. There is a possibility that my parents or Becky might be able to but from what I can tell it is a pretty slim chance. Rob has Jury duty that week and Chris and Eric have region band. We don’t dare leave Mark in charge for that long. An hour or two is okay but all day long…too much for him. It would have been to much for you if you had to clean up a seven year old. A baby is a lot easier. Chris made area and will be trying out on January 10. Eric made freshmen region band. Only eight trombones tried out for freshman region. They all made it.

Christmas is coming up

Mark had an okay birthday. Our budget is tight because expensive things keep coming up like fixing the heater and about $1000.00 in dentist fillings. Mark got a watch and I finally ripped Paul's order of the arrow badge off and sewed on Mark's rank badge so he has a shirt that fits now. He really was happy with the watch and some yu gi oh cards. I didn’t get the kind he wanted, but I did the best I could with limited information.

Thanksgiving was great. I have it down to a science except the green bean casserole that nobody except me likes. I have to replace that. Lindsey and Derrick came with their baby, Aroura. She is a doll. She actually looks a lot like our pink baby dolls. Daniel ran to get that doll and show the baby. She is about 2 months old so she didn’t really care. She is quite the little wiggler. I have never seen a baby that young wiggle so much. Daniel thought she was great! He got to hold her. He was grinning up a storm. Aroura seemed to like it as well.

What are we doing for Christmas? Staying here mostly. Chris and Eric will leave at 1 am Christmas night to go to Orlando. They are marching before the “Champs” bowl and playing during half time. The organizer’s couldn’t choose between a band from Conneticut and Cinco so they will both march. They will participate in a marching contest the next day. They’ll be going to Universal Studios, Blue Man Group, a Pirate’s of the Carribean dinner, and of course Disney World. Then they leave at about 1 am to come home. It is a very scheduled full week. They’ll have a great time. As for the rest of us, we get to stay home and play with the stuff we got for Christmas.

Today, Mark has a concert and I have book club which is my calling. Tomarrow I am going to the Temple for our ward’s fill the temple day. Saturday is practice for the Epiphany concert. I get to play in the orchestra. I think there are other things as well, but I am not sure. Sunday is fast offering, church, the 1st presidency devotional and pack committee meeting, my other calling. Pack meeting is on Wednesday so I will be working on awards Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Believe me, it takes all three days. Tuesday night is the Band Booster’s meeting and an orchestra concert, I need to ask if the full orchestra is playing, Chris is playing in the orchestra. And John is performing at Exley in the 1st grade musical.. Wednesday is an Arrow of Light ceremony/Pack meeting. Thursday, I don’t even want to think about. It is the Relief Society Enrichment night (I am on the board), roundtable, the Band Concert with the Holiday reception (I am over the band volunteers but I got a chairman). I don’t know how to be in 3 places at the same time. I am going to the Relief Society thing. Friday is the Ward Christmas party. Saturday is Region band tryouts which I got someone to chair but I am still over the volunteers and another practice for Epiphany. And Sunday is the concert. Then everything goes away and I have nothing until Christmas. Of course Eric and Chris have finals though.

So what am I doing for the Holidays? Collapsing after all the school functions.

Rob asked Daniel, “What do you want to write to Paul?” He answered with a furrow in his brow, “p-a-u-l”. The letters. He knows how to write your name. I guess he was confused about write. He was thrilled about the Christmas tree. As Chris was bringing it downstairs I could hear Daniel chanting, “Chri-ma tee, Chri-ma tee” as he walked down the stairs. It cracked me up. He is just too cute.

John has been his usual self. Grumpy. He is into watching DDR videos on google, or is it Mario Mix videos, anyway, he says his favorite in the locomotion. He tries to sing it, but…he hasn’t quite got all the words or the tune right. At least he is trying. He also jumps around like he is on the dancepad trying to follow the arrows. If he were on the dancepad he wouldn’t be hitting the arrows. His feet are to close together. I am making him do homework this year. That isn’t going over very well, but we get about half of it done. Pretty good for John.

Mark has joined destination imagination. He said he was bored. He is enjoying band, I think and getting better on his flute. I talked about his birthday already so that is about it for him.

Eric is busy talking to people on facebook all the time. He likes to play the games on it. He is also has DI on Saturdays and gets busy doing research for it.

Chris is gone all the time. He is doing a physics project with Kelly so he is either Frisbee-ing, band-ing, video-ing (he and his friends are into watching old Disney Movies) or just plain exhausted.

Rob is stressed about work and getting all the boys interviewed for arrow of light. He is also training Katy 3rd people for webelos. They will be meeting in a new building so they will have their own dens but will still meet for pack meeting with us. I think that will take some of the stress off your dad. 6-10 boys are easier to deal with then 13-20. The dens have needed split for a long time. It will be harder on me to get all the awards information, but that is okay.

Cinco Ranch High School Beats Katy High

Rob is really upset about John going into a regular classroom instead of staying in YCAP. I didn’t realize he would be that upset about it. Every time he has called me (he is in Germany) he has complained that it is too soon. I’m torn, part of me says that John will have major regression (he hasn’t used the toilet much this week) but at the same time, the YCAP curriculum doesn’t teach enough variety for John. In other words, he needs science and social studies as well as math and spelling. He does return to YCAP if he has any behavior problems and someone is with him all the time so I am not too worried, but…, well we will see.

Chris has been sick this week. He has been moping around and hardly talking at all. His throat hurts. He just isn’t his normal exuberant self, but I am not to worried because he says he is not. I will take him to the doctor if he isn’t better by tomarrow. He says it doesn’t feel like strep but I think it could be mono. The tiredness has me a little worried. He doesn’t seem tired enough for it to be mono but it could be early stages. (I am one of those people who know enough to be worried, but not enough to fix things. Poor doctors.)

Eric is doing great. He had to get a vaccination a little while ago. He didn’t give the updated records to the nurse, so I had to run them over yesterday. Other then that, he seems to be adjusting well to high school.

Mark is, well, Mark. He is grumpy at times and helpful at others. He is watching Stargate Atlantis on the computer constantly, which is annoying everyone. He gets all frustrated if he can’t get on the computer because it is being used. Problem is, we all want the computer too.

John, I pretty much already talked about. He has homework now. That is just another battle (sigh). He needs to learn to do it though. Since it is first grade stuff it is pretty easy. It isn’t the writing that is causing problems anymore. Just John’s stubbornness.
Daniel is doing great. He always has a big smile. He even loves doing his homework. Yesterday he came home, grabbed his turkey that he is coloring this week and insisted on doing it right then. He was very pleased with himself when he colored all the feathers that had “yellow” written on them yellow and then wrote a sentence about yellow. He has a few behavior marks at school, but I think that mostly is him not understanding or being able to explain. He can be obstinate at times. John knows. Most of the time he is as sweet and cuddly as ever.

I think that pretty much catches you up. Oh!! Cinco beat Katy last Saturday for the first time ever and won the district championship. The game was televised. It was a great game. I wished I could go but Mark had scout stuff, Chris & Eric had to be there with the band and your Dad flew to Germany. I cannot imagine bringing John and Daniel to a football game. I took Daniel to the band area contest. He was bored out of his mind. I thought he would like the music but he kept covering his ears. He thought it was “too loud”.

1st week of october 2008

I think I mentioned last week that John came home sick. Not the cold kind, the other kind, where I clean up the carpet all the time. Daniel got it Thursday night, and Mark came down with it Saturday night. Then I got it, only I never threw up. It has been crazy, awful here. But, we survived as always, with a lot of prayer on my part to help me get through it, and we are all better today. I was worried about John. He has been the slowest to get back to normal. I almost sent him to school on Friday, but because Daniel was sick and I wasn’t sure. It was inspiration. John had a relapse on Saturday. He was the first sick and the last to get well, poor baby. He still isn’t totally back to normal, but at least he went to school with no problems to day.

I am overwhelmed trying to take care of the hosting of the Marching Band UIL. I have a bunch of sorting people and e-mailing and trying to figure out how to let the Taylor band people watch their band. It is making my head spin.

Ike Aftermath

We have been busy trying to Christopher’s paper work done for his eagle before his birthday. Just like you, it is down to the wire. I told him I didn’t want to do this again, but I guess he didn’t listen. Mostly he just needs his scoutmaster conference, the signatures, and his letters of recommendation. He has already requested his recommendation letters and is waiting on them to return. His scoutmaster conference will be on Sunday after the 1st session of general conference and then your Dad will take the paperwork to the scout office on Monday. Hopefully, it will all be okay, but the way our lives are it is unlikely. We’ll have to wait and see. Chris complained last night that this was the worst possible week for someone trying to get their papers in because of the extra band practices to make up for the hurricane and because it is general conference weekend. I told him if he had done it year ago when I was pushing him, this wouldn’t be a problem. He was not happy with that.

Eric’s ticking is less noticeable now. They seem to be moving around a bit. He is enjoying marching band and following Chris around. I am trying to get him to talk to Sis. Crabtree to finish up his citizenship in the nation and community so he can become Life, but he won’t write or call her. His grades are pretty good. I can’t believe the school district went ahead and sent out grades this last week. We had only 1 full week of school. That was the 1st week and you know how that goes. In my book it doesn’t count. The second week was Labor Day. Then they took Friday off and the next week because of Ike, then it was that last week of the six weeks so they had a half day off on Friday. The teachers were all shrugging their shoulders. Originally the first 6 weeks was only 5 weeks anyway (because of trying to get the first semester in before Christmas) and now it was only 4 and a bunch of missing days at that. Crazy. I guess it would be really hard to rearrange the school calendar at this late date. People have already made plans on when to take vacations and stuff.

Mark is doing okay according to him. His grades are good so far. He went to a football game on Tuesday and played during the game. He seemed to like it. The only problem we had was we couldn’t find a flute lyre. He kept telling us he only needed a flip chart. I assumed we could use Chris or Eric’s. I forgot to ask them the night before though, so we went to the music store, where Mark explained that a flute flip chart has a way of attaching to your arm. The store was out of flute lyres and said that all of Houston was out of them. I believe it with the number of (how do you spell flautist?) that are in the greater Houston area.

On to John. He is doing well. We skipped OT because Daniel had an appointment at Texas Children’s that day. He has continued to use his “big boy voice” at school. He is home sick today because he threw up last night. He is doing fine today though. He has been dancing to the videos on Google even after he ate cereal so he isn’t all that sick anymore, but I am not taking any chances. He did have a fit about Eric’s birthday. He wanted Eric to get Mario Mix. He didn’t understand that we buy what the person wants for his birthday not what we want. I told him I would look for it because he was talking out loud, but that didn’t help much. He calmed down after we checked the internet and found out they sell for about $200. He seemed to understand that that was just too much money to spend on a game. Go figure.

Now for Daniel, last but not least. He is as cute and energetic as ever. I took him to the ADOS test on Thursday and his Psych test on Monday. They were with the same doctor so after everything was done I asked her what she thought. She said he was an interesting case. Obviously something isn’t right with his speech. She said she thought he might have appraxia. That is he can’t bring the word to mind when he wants to use it. DUH! She said he had been trying during the psych test and was obviously frustrated by it. He seemed to know that he knew the word, but it just wouldn’t come. I told her we have all had that word on the tip of our tongue issue, it is just all the time with Daniel. She agreed. She also said that he is socially aware in some ways and is obviously social but that something was missing. She wasn’t sure what. He is aware of some things, just not others. It is really hard to explain. I agreed. She said they like interesting/tough cases and Daniel fits in that category.

Rob is busy with work and webelos. He has a bunch of boys he is trying to get finished with arrow of light. They all have different things they need to finish up. He is very frustrated and stress. He will be going out of town the last week of October, then home for a week, then gone again. He is stressing out over those meetings as well.

As for me, I am busy cleaning up after John, and working on band boosters, and book club. We have UIL coming up for band which I need to focus on. Book club is tonight so I am madly reading “The Secret Garden” so I can be done with it. I still have 100 pages to go. I also signed up to walk for autism on the 18th and fund raise for that. It is only 2.5 miles so I think I can do it. It will take a while though. I am trying to get out everyday and increase my endurance. I thought it would be good for autism and good for me, so why not? I made my fundraising goals really small so I don’t have to work to hard. I pretty much have reached it and had to increase the goal already. Your aunt Mona took it upon herself to send my request for donations to her entire office and friends (no complaints here) but the fundraising software has a glitch so I don’t know exactly how many other people have donated or how much at this point. I figured I would send out 5 e-mails a day and let that be good enough. After one day I raised at least $60. My goal for the three weeks was $50. I didn’t realize there was a minimum payment of $20 online. I increased my goal to $100. With my $20 plus what Mona and Joy contributed it has to be at least $60 so I am well on my way after 1 day. Mona said I should have larger goals. I told her that I was worried because of the hurricane and the financial problems our country is facing. I figured if I met my goal I would add to it, then I looked at other people’s goals and some people’s goal was $100 but they had raise over $1000. Maybe I will just go that way. I don’t know at this point. It has only been 24 hours since I signed up.

Hurricane Ike 2008

The last time I really wrote in detail was on Labor Day. That seems an eternity away now. Derrick and Lindsey were here waiting for the okay to go back after hurricane Gustav. We were all carefully watching hurricane Hannah and were relieved when it went up the Atlantic shoreline. Then Ike was next in line. We are all really pleased that there is nothing in the tropics at the moment. We are tired of hurricanes but I bet not as tired as Haiti and Cuba. They have had 4 major hurricanes in the last month. I wonder if they had any good days all month.

Everyone returned to school, work and home on Tuesday after Labor Day. It was really quiet. I cleaned up a bit and slept a lot. Since our air conditioner got fixed it seems a lot more humid in our house then it was with the previous one. I wonder if the old one had a dehumidifier or something like that. I used to turn on the air conditioner for a little while just to get rid of the mugginess, but it doesn’t seem to work anymore. I wonder if it is just me. Anyway, I tried to catch up on sleep. Chris was a grump because he slept on the love seat the first night, (he didn’t want to sleep in Daniel’s bed) and then slept in Daniel’s bed after that. He didn’t much care for it, but it was the only way we could think of to get everyone in the house. It worked out well in the end. John and Daniel kept waking me up though. Daniel wasn’t feeling well and John…who knows?

Tuesday night I had a band booster’s board meeting. It is interesting to know everything in advance. Wednesday I don’t remember, I a basic go to scouts day I think. Thursday is speech for Daniel. He is getting better and better all the time. We had cake and ice cream for his birthday. He got a hot wheels race track thing for his present. He loves it! He has started actually eating what he calls lollipops. They are actually popsicles. He is actually eating something cold!

Friday was a relief society movie night. We watched the 5 hour Pride and Prejudice movie. I loved it. So did the other sisters who went. We decided on our books for the next year. Now I just need to get houses and discussion leaders together. That pretty much takes care of that calling. Oh, I was finally called to the Cub Scout committee. They decided to make my service official. No change in what I do, just official now.

Saturday was a bunch of little stuff and stake conference adult session. It was about going to the temple and taking advantage of the temple near us and doing family history with the new family history search web site.

We got a call from Derrick. He had arranged with his bishop and others to be ordained an elder on Sunday, so-o-o we left Chris (who wasn’t feeling very well) with everyone except Eric and went to Derrick’s ward. We were welcomed and asked who we were. They apparently want people to move in because I was asked several times if we were moving in. I think the ward learned a lot about Derrick they didn’t know. Number 1 being that his Aunt has a different heritage then he seems to have. I think they were a little surprised that I was white. Nobody said anything, it is just a feeling I got. I don’t think Derrick went around showing pictures of his mom. I wouldn’t have. It didn’t occur to me that we might be a surprise and connecting us to Derrick would be difficult. Anyway, your Dad ordained Derrick. Derrick wanted that. He said it would be neat because Robert baptized Derrick as well. I had forgotten that.

After having lunch with Derrick and Lindsey, we headed out and drove to San Jacinto Park so Eric could visit a national historic place for his citizenship in the nation. That is why we made him come. After a stretch and a quick walk around and reading about the Battleship Texas we went home. When we got home we found out Chris didn’t take anyone to conference because he was sick. I don’t blame him. Going to conference with John and Daniel when you are sick is not very palatable.

Monday was a rest day for me as well as OT for John and FHE. John’s regular OT was on vacation so he saw a new one. He was a grump from school to Katy but in the end he worked hard and had a good time. He really does love OT. I talked to his teacher at school. She said he is doing great and is considering and ARD to see if he can go into structured resource. She says he is “so smart! I don’t think I can do enough for him.” I agree, but his behavior is such a problem. She says that he tries to fight, but she just doesn’t put up with it. He has learned to do his work.

Tuesday was the general band boosters meeting. We got a little twist in that if anyone wants to video tape at a game they have to have a pass, so I spent the evening collecting the $1 fee and getting people to sign forms and giving out passes. I was very busy.

Wednesday was a band booster meeting about UIL/Katy Marching Festival. I learned a lot and have some work to do in getting volunteers organized. I still don’t quite get it, but everyone else seems comfortable. It was also a day when everyone started worrying about Ike. All the football games were changed to Thursday night and people started filling up tanks, getting food and plywood.

Thursday, 9/11 was pretty calm. I was just waiting to take care of handing out the flags for the half time show Mr. O had planned but all after school activities were cancelled because of Ike. Evacuation orders were sent out to Galveston and the coastal areas, the ward checked to see what everyone was doing. Lots of telephone calling was going on.

Friday there was no school, so Rob, Chris and Eric boarded up the downstairs windows, and we gathered our supplies for the hurricane. Nothing much happened until about 11 pm when the power went out. We spent most of the evening watching hurricane coverage. We were wondering if anything was going to hit us. My brother Tim called earlier in the day. He wanted us to come stay with him. His wife is the webmaster for the National Weather Association so he felt he had the inside scoop on the hurricane. He didn’t get the forecast correct thought so… whatever. By the time he called it was too late for us to do much anyway. I certainly wasn’t going to drive through the path of the hurricane to get to DC. If we were going to evacuate, Rob has plans for a hotel or we could go to Grandma Nancy’s house. That isn’t in the path of the hurricane. At eleven pm the power went out. We have that radio that has the TV channels on it so Rob and I listened to hit on and off through out the night. We brought the foam pads down to the living room and I woke up Chris and made him come downstairs to sleep. He wasn’t too happy about that but his bed is right by the window.
The wind was blowing pretty hard, probably about 65 mph. The rain came, horizontal of course. That was about it. The hard wind and rain lasted till mid morning some time. By two pm it was cloudy and wet but mostly calm. There was very little thunder and very little lightning, just wind and rain.

We went outside to check and everything is okay. In our area there were some broken trees and broken fences and lots of little branches and leaves all over the place and it was really soggy but that was about it. That evening a big thunderstorm came through. It was really loud in comparison to the hurricane. John was terrified.

Daniel thought it was cool that we had to use flashlights. He kept trying to steal them all. He woke up in the middle of the hurricane and came to my room. He didn’t really say anything until I turned on the flashlight. His face lit up and he wanted to play but I made him go back to bed (the couch). He fell back to sleep. John, who had been sick for a couple of days, woke up too and checked on me, but then he went back to the couch as well. John hated that we filled up the bathtub in case the water went out. He hasn’t been able to stand the sound of running water since then. He screams every time we wash our hands or flush the toilet. It is annoying.

We got our power back on just as everyone was going to bed at 8 pm. Rob says we were without power for 21 hours. I wish it had waited 10 minutes more. Then everyone would have been asleep, but no, everyone was so thrilled to have the computers and TVs back that they stayed up really late. I have to admit though that it was really hot and humid so it was nice to cool off.

Sunday church was cancelled. The bishop asked us to have a FHE and then go out and help our neighbors clean up, so your dad made everyone read an article from one of the church magazines and then they went out to clean up the big stuff and helped a neighbor clean up. I wasn’t feeling very well. I think I ate bad cheese. I didn’t dare go very far from the bathroom at that time so I watched John and Daniel. Actually, come to think of it I only watched John. Daniel held the garbage bags open. He was the first one to get tired though. That afternoon/evening a cool front came through. That has been a true blessing. The temperatures for the last few days have been 60s at night and not above 80 in the day and low humidity. Things could certainly be a lot worse for those without power. It has made the clean up a lot easier then it could be. You know how hot it can be here.

Monday I drove John to OT. Every other stop light was out. There were a lot of tree and fence debris and lo-o-ong lines at the gas stations that were open. It was and interesting drive. It was strange that one stop light would work and the next one wouldn’t. It was literally every other light. Some of the stoplights were missing as well. There was blue tarps on some roofs and boarded up windows. It was kind of strange. The damage was kind of hit and miss.

Tuesday we tried to get milk but there was none available. The stores are packed because we have power and all of Houston does not so the open stores are advertised on the news. Nothing perishable is available. A lot of the stores are running on generators that can’t handle the freezers.

Wednesday Rob and I drove to Texas Children’s for and appointment to start Daniel’s evaluations for autism. We didn’t have any trouble getting there but once again it was hit and miss on the lights. Rob kept getting confused at the lights. (Is his autism showing?) He doesn’t like not knowing where he was going and doesn’t trust my instructions. I made on mistake that was easily corrected, but for some reason Rob would do the left, left, left turn around. He said something about not being sure he could get back. That always puzzles me. Anyway, the next street worked just as well to get there. In fact it probably is a better way. He was surprised that Texas Children’s is just down the road from is office. Oh, that reminds me, school was at first closed through Monday. Then they added Tuesday. Then finally Tuesday night they decided to close through Friday. Rob had the same experience with work so everyone is home and has been for a long time. I was looking forward to school starting, but I don’t think we have had a full week yet. Now I know why Texas schools start in early August. That way they can have a week or two to get into a rhythm. Rob’s office building was hit pretty hard. All of the windows are out and of course there aren’t many available in the area to replace what has broken. All the high risers are missing a LOT of windows. They are slowly boarding everything up.

Galveston, the Bolivar peninsula and all the areas around Galveston bay are totally destroyed. Boats are up on the freeways not to mentions enormous amounts of debris from piers and destroyed houses. I don’t think that area will recover for at least a couple of months. That is not including rebuilding all the destroyed houses and businesses. Other names of towns around Galveston bay you might recognize that were destroyed are Kemah and Texas City. NASA has a lot of repairs to do as well though it mostly just roof stuff.

It has been an eventful couple of weeks. FYI the storm went pretty much right between Derrick’s home in Lake Charles and us. We were closer to the Eye by far, but we were on the “clean” side. That close to the eye there isn’t really a clean side though. Texas Children’s has power because it is a hospital but the rest of down town probably won’t have power for another week. Houston has a boil water order in effect. I don’t know how much you know so I’ll just give some statistics. During the storm, over 2 million people lost power. About 1 and ½ million are still without power. Most of the area west of I 45 will have power sometime Friday, but the east side of I 45 will probably take another week. The hardest hit area will probably be several weeks. There isn’t much left in that area. Water is slowly coming back. As far as I know our water is okay. We have power and more and more grocery stores are opening. Perishables are the hardest to get but not impossible. I was finally able to get milk yesterday.

The one thing we learned during the storm is we need to figure out what to do about your Dad’s compressor. He couldn’t sleep hardly at all, which of course made it impossible for me to sleep. We are discussing our options on that.

I think that is it. Other then the John and water issue we are all doing great. It was an adventure for John and Daniel.

I have a couple of stories that are funny/interesting. Daniel had FHE lesson on Monday night so I put in the Video tape with the church film strip stuff that comes with the teaching the scripture readers. When Daniel has lesson I have been sticking that in and watching one film strip. The one on Monday was “Clean Up”. We were all laughing. It was about a group of boys that wanted to play baseball so they cleaned up a lot that had a bunch of junk in it. We talked about cleaning up stuff like that. We don’t have many junk lots in Cinco Ranch. On Tuesday Chris’ Frisbee group wanted to play in their spot. So guess what they had to do before they could play. While they were cleaning a lady walked by and asked which youth group they were from. When answered, “None, we…”
She interrupted and said, “Oh, that is so nice!” Chris thought it was hilarious.