Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Almost February

    Almost February and it has been quite around here. William's numbers are good and we have been plugging away at school. Robotics season is in full swing and things are progressing. I am getting to spend a lot of time with Jen this robotics season or at least more than usual. Work is going well and it is 2017. Wow it is 2017. 

    William had his check up with the endocrinologist a couple of weeks ago. Things went well. We made a very minor adjustments did his normal checkup and that was that. William also got a flu shot. That is really important for someone with an autoimmune disease. He was not very happy about that part. I am glad that things on the diabetes front seem OK for right now. We also had the dentist appointment last week and they told William that he was doing a great job. He loves to tell everyone that he is using mouthwash now. Kids are funny about what they think is important. I'm just glad that he is taking care of his teeth. They told us that he should start losing the rest of his baby teeth really soon.

    The robotics team is in full swing. We have most of our design worked out and we are trying to make progress to having a functioning robot before the deadline in just a couple of weeks. This year I have been working with a company that develops hardware for the robotics groups. I help write all of the drivers for the main pieces of hardware for navigation and we also started working on software to help make the robots more accurate and easier to control. The owner of this company has a pretty good plan for the next few years of what he wants to accomplish. It will be interesting to be at the forefront of this development. William has been helping out and the students have been including him and making him feel welcome. I am glad to see them asking him to help. He does tell me that the students swear once in a while. I try to remind him that it is not OK and that it does not make you grown up to swear. 

    Work is going well. It seems that we are going to get buried under work over the new few years. We are expecting the work load to almost double of the next year or year and a half. That is good news unless they don't add the people to do the work. 

Movig ahead together,

Your Loving Dad

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

How are Things Going?

Birthday Cake
    I haven't posted for a while but I thought i would catch everyone up on how things have been going. Thanksgiving was very nice. We went to Jen's moms house and everyone came over. The food was great and we all had a great time together. Next we had William's birthday party. We had another fun cake this year. William is becoming a responsible young man. We are still working with hm to take care of things better. He loves to just jump and no matter the consequences. This is a good thing and a bad thing all at one time. I know that he gets this from me as I tend to do this same thing from time to time. I sure hope that I am a little more metered when I do this however. It is always about making the correct or best decision. I am glad to to see that he has not fear and I think that will serve him well in the future.

Dinner at Jen's
    Christmas was a very nice time this year. We spent time with Jen at her house this year. It was a very nice setting with the whole family.  We had Ham and potatoes and a very good rice dish that Jen found online. Everyone ate dinner and then we moved to open the gifts. I went and picked up William and we went home in time to get him in bed before Santa came. When we woke up the next day Santa had come. William had a very nice Christmas at home this year. During our break we also stopped in to see the new Star Wars movie: Rogue One. William really liked it and even got some of the Lego's for Christmas.  He also got a few different science projects and a new Quad. It is very fast and can go pretty high. William broke it the first night but it was easy to fix with a new motor. We took it to an open field and tried again with much more success this time. It was cold out so we only stay long enough to use up the two batteries and then we headed home for hot coco. 

     I am blessed to have Jen and William to spend the holidays with. We did miss my oldest son this year. He is serving his country this year so it is hard to talk to him. William really missed him a lot. William also got really sick the last week of school. That meant that there was a lot of homework to do over Christmas break.  That was a real bummer.

    Well we are rested up for our long break and back at school and work today. It is bad that I am already looking forward to the next break. : )

I love you buddy,

Your Loving Dad

Monday, November 21, 2016

Lego League Jr.

Our Model
    I helped start William's FIRST Lego League Jr Team at his school. We started in September this year and it was quite the journey. Lego League Jr. is the beginning level for robotics for FIRST. This program is designed to be for student in kindergarten through third grade. They have a new theme every year and this year was "Creature Craze". In this challenge the students had to learn about bees and then select a creature that live int he same habitat as a bee. Our team selected the skunk. I am not sure what drove that idea but we moved ahead just the same. The challenge also required us to make at least one part of our model move.

video    We were given a Lego kit that included a bee and the hive it lives in. We had to include them in our model. Everything else came from the imaginations of the students. It was hard to find all of the Lego's in the right color for the model. It was especially hard to find black and white for the skunk. We did manage to find enough to make a skunk. It was designed to be coming coming out of the ground. He did not want to get stung by the bee s he is waiting for the bee to go away. The model also had trees and flowers and water. We did a lot of research about skunks and learned many new facts. We got to share these ideas with the school where William attends. We had an after school expo and the next day had three more expos for different grade levels. It was really exciting for me as well as the students to see the level of engagement from the students at every level. 


The Display
Our Team
    We chose to be part of the local expo. Teams from all around our area came together to show off what they had done. It gave our students the chance to see other models and to talk to other students that were accomplishing the same task. We had to me a show me poster and display our model. Once the area was set up judges came around to talk to the students about what they had learned and what they had built. I was very proud of all of our students for how well they participated in this event. It was the first time that William has been part of a team for robotics. He was very excited. I was glad to see how well each student took to each area of the challenge. I was also very excited to see everyone of them program our model and enjoy it. I would say that this year was a huge success.

I look forward to William moving up to Lego League next year. 

I am proud of you,

Your Loving Dad

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Big Moment in William's Life

    There hasn't been much to talk about lately. Things have been churning on and things are going as expected. William's numbers are good and we are having no problems with the Celiac diet. I haven't been getting up too many times over night to have to correct something for William's blood sugar. I guess that makes life good. On the personal side of things we started making improvements on the house and they are going well. It is a slow process with a constant drain of money. It is nice to see how things look when they are complete.

    We did have a major milestone on Monday. William finally let me move his site that delivers insulin from his pump to his body to a new place on his body. William has always had his site placed on his butt since was three years old. He is a skinny kid so there is not a lot of fat places on his body to place the site. He has gotten used to it being placed on his butt. The endocrinologist has suggested the last few visits that we need to find a new area on William's body to place his sites to give his butt a rest. When you use a place too often it gets hard like a callus and eventually stops working effectively. It is sad to think that we poke him with a needle so often that his skin is getting hard. Monday I finally talked William into moving his site to his tummy. William was not happy about me putting his site on his tummy. He told me he was scared. I think most people would be if they were poked by a needle as much as him. I got everything ready and when as fast as I could so that he didn't have to think about it too long before it was done. I really didn't want him psyching himself out and freaking out. Change is not really for him when it comes to diabetic care. Everything went smoothly. He has been wearing the site on his tummy for the last few days. He is scheduled to change his site tomorrow so we will do it again then.

    I did notice when moving to this new area that I see more response from the insulin. His blood sugar numbers seem lower and I have had to get up the last few night to correct lows. I am not sure if this is because of the movement to a new area or a shift in numbers, with this disease you never know because it is always changing. I will keep a close eye on it for the rest of the week and make some adjustments before he heads back to his moms house.

    I am glad that we have moved to a new area for his site. Moving to his tummy also will allow for William to start putting on sites himself. I am glad to see him own diabetes but I do feel sad that he is growing up. It makes me feel old. I want to see him grow into a wonderful man. He has a heart of gold and I hope that he learns to let it shine more often. Life has already thrown him so many curve balls. I guess it will make him stronger when he gets older. I hope that he learns that just because something isn't fair that you can still flourish.

Here is to my brave little man,

Your Loving Dad

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Lego League Jr

    Yesterday we started our journey in FIRST robotics. I say we because William is finally on the team. We are on a Lego League Jr team that is hosted at William's school. William is very excited about being part of this and I can't wait to see these students learning. There are three areas that this program focuses on. Research, speaking and building and idea. Each week the students will have to go home and do research. They will have to bring their research back the next week and talk about what they found. Then we will build and idea and make it come to life with robotics. 

    We had our first meeting yesterday. We unpacked the Lego kits and sorted all of the pieces. That was a lot of fun actually. We were able to see all of the potential for what our imagination can accomplish just sitting there in front of us waiting to be explored. What will our first project be? Will a future engineer or scientist come from our group? I would like to hope they do. There is an amazing journey that we are about to embark on and I am glad that I get to be a part of that.

Here is to exploring with you,

Your Loving Dad

Friday, September 9, 2016

Working on the House

    We started working on making a few changes around the house. The house is 21 years old and has seen the wear and tear of all of the people living in the house. It is time for changes around this place. We started with cleaning out the flower beds and getting rid of the old bushes. There was one really big bush that had died or was murdered, you be the judge. There where rabbits living in it when we got out dog Lucky a few years ago. Lucky did not take to kindly to having rabbits living in his yard. With this in mind, he started peeing on the bush to get rid of the rabbits. It was even better for him in the winter when the snow would fall and would pile up next to the bush. This allowed Lucky get on top of the bush and pee directly down on the rabbits. If he couldn't get into the bush to get them out he would pee them out. He was successful. He killed the bush in the process but the rabbits don't live there any more. I guess Lucky won. : ) So this week I had a landscaper come in and remove the old bush and add new flowers in the flower beds. There should be a lot of color later this year or spring of next year.

Before and After
    Jen and I have also started refinishing the cabinets in the house to give them a face lift. I have never really refinished furniture before. This particular method is simple and we are getting pretty good at it. The cabinets were the original cabinets that the builder installed. They were looking every bit of the 21 years old. We decided to give them a new java finish. It is dramatic change. Jen found the article on Instagram or some other social media outlet. It told us how to do this and it was very easy to do. We spend more time waiting than anything else. It takes about a week to finish one cabinet. Most of that time is waiting for the coats of stain and poly to dry. Total work time involved is about 3 hours per cabinet with a total cost of about $50 for each room, which includes the new knobs and toilet paper holder. I need to replace the light in this bath room and get rid of the 1990's brass fixture. A paint touch up new molding and new floor will make it nice. 
Laundry Room

    The refinishing project was so easy to do we decided to continue on into the laundry room. Where the change was just as dramatic. We spent the same amount of time and money on this cabinet. Things went a little smoother on this set and Jen and I were starting to get a rhythm. After we put this back together we have now moved on to the cabinet in William's bathroom. We are trying to perfect our method before we try and tackle the kitchen. That is a much larger project and will take more time. 

    Over the next few months, I am hoping to have the floors on the first floor of the house redone. I also want to get the base boards replaced. Having three boys that were young growing up in this house made me realize why there are baseboards on walls. This house was well "Loved". There is chipped paint and the walls could stand to be freshened up. Over the next few months I hope to remove the dirt and replace the warn and well used parts of the house. All of these changes should make this house feel young again. I will try and post some pictures as we go to show the improvements. William's bathroom should be done this weekend. I will try and get some new pictures out next week. If the flowers start to bloom before the end of the year I will try and get a picture of that as well. It just makes me want to rip every thing out and make it new again. In a few more months we will have this house looking great. 

 Making the old house feel new again,

Your Loving Dad

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

We Started Third Grade

    We started third grade this week along with many others across the nation. There was not much that is new at this point. We get up and go to school for the first day. This year William was very excited to go to school. We were getting ready to go like we always do. I get him up. He gets dressed. We go downstairs for breakfast. He brushes his teeth and we get our shoes on and go.  This is the same routine we have been doing for the last four years. It works for us. This year William got up and went down stairs before I had finished getting a shower. He was waiting for me so we could hurry up and get done so we could go. He was ready a full 20 minutes ahead of time. He wanted to go right at that moment. I am glad to see him so excited about getting back to school.

    So how did diabetes do with the first day of school? I put a new continuous glucose monitor (CGM) on William earlier in the day before he went to bed. We calibrated as usual and things seemed to be going well. I checked him at 8:00pm for his normal snack. Then we went to bed and read. Around 10:00pm the Dexcom alarmed that he was a little low. I went up and gave him something to get his levels back to normal. At 11:00pm when I went to bed, I checked William and he was still low. I gave him more to correct his low. I stayed up for a while so I could keep an eye on his numbers. The Dexcom told me that his numbers were still dropping. after about 45 minutes I went back in a gave him even more to correct his nunbers. The numbers continued to fall. I must have fallen asleep for a few minutes because the Dexcom went off again at around 1:00am. It said he was very low now. I could not understand how this could be. I had given more correction than I ever had and it had no effect. This time I pulled out his meter and checked him. The meter said he was at 130 and steady. That made more since. I calibrated the meter again and went back to bed. At 3:30am William woke me up to tell me that he felt low. I looked at the Dexcom and it said he was at 108. That is a great number. Since I had seen the meter and the Dexcom so far off earlier I had him check his finger with his meter. He was at 58. WTH this thing is all over the place tonight. I gave him something to correct his number and back to bed again. 

    When we got up in the morning the Dexcom was reading around 170. When we checked with the meter he was actually around 120. This Dexcom was still off. I have never had a sensor that seemed so far off for so long. It was very disappointing. I wanted William to have a sensor on for the first day of school. I let it go and hoped for the best. When he got home from the first day of school the numbers were finally matching the meter. It has been good ever since. We had a really rough start to this first day of school for the Dexcom.

   Things where much better this morning. Everything went as planned and we enjoyed a relatively normal morning today, the second day of school. He was a little low last night. I had to get up to correct his low one time. Much better than the night before.  William is working to have a great week at school. Lego League Jr. starts next week for all of us. We are both excited. There will be a lot of that to come.

We make it through the long nights with no sleep,

Your Loving Dad