Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Story by William

William's letter about Lucky
    William sat down yesterday an wrote a letter about Lucky our dog. He wanted me to publish it. So I have decided to put it here so he can see it in a few years. I am going to attach the original letter and I will retype what he wrote. 

    I was impressed that he chose to do this in the middle of summer and without prompting. All of the punctuation is William's. Here is what the note said:

William and Lucky
" Lucky
First of all he loves to sniff and lick things he knows seven tricks shake he gives his paw and shake it. high five: you show your hand like you are going to high five. two legs: show the T-R-E-A-T above LUCKY and he will go on two legs (William spells treat so Lucky doesn't know when he is getting him a treat. The problem with that is that he spells it every time he gets a treat so now Lucky knows exactly what is going on.) , Sit, Down, Speak, treat on the nose: Unexplainable he is hyper and he is sometimes very lazy. the end"

    William is just starting to become friends with his dog. He is taking more time to be a part of Lucky's life. He pets him more and I can see Lucky finally starting to come to William for attention. William feeds lucky and gives him water everyday he is home. He wants Lucky to sleep in his bedroom but Lucky has never done that. They have about five or six more years together or more hopefully. I hope William remembers Lucky with fondness as he grows older.

Your Loving Dad

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Catching Up

William has been growing and the end of another school is fast approaching. We have been doing a lot of things lately. We have been on a few field trips with school, Lego League will be starting soon and William baked his first cake. Diabetes has been relatively quite.

Field trips:
Windmill Island
One of our field trips this year was an adventure to Windmill Island. The students from William's school got the afternoon to explore what Holland is about. They got to learn about the history and see the beautiful flowers. The windmill is a working windmill that is used to process corn into corn-mill. The windmill towers high above the visitors to this beautiful and historic landscape.  We visited many stations where the characters took us through the history and how it applied to their part of history. We met fur traders, shop keepers, soldiers, the blacksmith and many other locals. We made many stops and learned many new things along the way.

Tulips at Windmill Island
One of the attractions in Holland are the beautiful flowers that are planted each year. The tulips come up each May and are celebrated with the tulip time festival.  The festival celebrates the Dutch history of the historic city of Holland. The city grows dramatically each year for one week as visitors come to take in the Dutch heritage on display. It is wonderful to be part of a city that celebrates the history of who they are. The student have to learn all about Holland as part of the school year and before each tulip time celebration.

Lego League:
William will be moving to fourth grade next year. Things have gotten easier for him and school is getting easier. In forth grade William will be moving up to Lego League from the Lego League Jr program that he was involved in last year. This is a robotics program that starts when the students are in kindergarten and they can participate all the way through high school.  The Lego League program if for students in 4th - 6th grade. We are excited to be part of the team and we are looking forward to finding out the game we have to play.

William baked his first cake:
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One of William's most recent school projects was to use real world math to solve a problem. The project required the class to find a recipe to bake at home. They were required to have at least five ingredients.  They had to make the recipe and take a picture to bring to school. They had to double the recipe and halve the recipe. With William having Celiac disease, we had to find a gluten free recipe. William chose a chocolate, chocolate chip cake. The triple threat of chocolate.  The cake turned out delicious. The class also had to present a poster board of their project. William had a great time and is looking forward to his next baking challenge.

Many new things are coming down the pipe. Keep tuned in!!

Your Loving Dad

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

A Story by William

William's letter about Lucky     William sat down yesterday an wrote a letter about Lucky our dog. He wanted me to publish it. So ...