Friday, December 4, 2015

Medtronic vs Animas

    I have been thinking for a while now that I should put down what I think about the difference between the Medtronic insulin pump that we used to have and the Animas insulin pump we have now. I have no affiliation with either company so I am just telling you what I think based on use and not because someone is paying me to do so. I will list some pros and cons for each system and tell you the things that I think are important when making this decision. I am an equipment development engineer and I design testing systems, wire the electrical systems and develop the software for automotive testing for a living. 

Insulin pump evaluation:
    My overall impression is that Medtronic has a better pump just based on software and controls. Both pumps do the job they are designed for and blood glucose is maintained well by both. My problem with the Animas pump is the software hangs and is unresponsive when starting and stopping the pump. It can also be unresponsive when starting the continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM). When entering the carbohydrates or blood glucose number the pump overshoots or undershoots badly and it is very annoying. After using it for six months I thought it would get better but it is just annoying and very frustrating at times. I do like the all of the information that the Animas pump displays. It is good for someone that knows what they are looking at but it can also be intimidating to someone that is just trying to help out like a school nurse, the secretaries at the front desk at my sons school and daycare workers. The Medtronic pump seemed easier to explain and I didn't have to tell them to just ignore things all of the time. It is also easier to edit the basal rate information, sensitivity number and  the food ratios on the Anmias pump. I am disappointed by the Animas pump as it feels that they just added the circuit board to the pump for the Dexcom CGM and really did not work to integrate it with the pump. Having both systems in one small package is awesome, especially when you have a seven year old that is responsible for it's care. The Medtronic pump has a few different meters that send the blood glucose reading directly to the pump. This is a nice feature that I really miss with the Animas pump. Medtronic clearly wins with the careful integration of the CGM and blood glucose meter systems, smooth software flow and simplicity. If I were solely choosing an insulin pump I would pick Medtronic over Animas everyday of the week.

The Continuous Glucose Monitoring System: (CGM)
    Dexcom is hands down the best when it comes to CGM systems. They are more accurate, the sensor wire is smaller and more comfortable and the sensor pad is much larger so it is easier to keep on a seven year old. The CGM is integrated into both pumps but the Animas pump feels like two different systems. The Medtronic CGM is fully integrated into the system and it feels like one harmonious system working together to give the user a seamless experience. The blood glucose number populates with what the CGM on the Medtronic pump while the Animas pump always start at 80 no matter what the CGM is reading. The trend graph for the CGM is always on the front panel for the Medtronic pump. The Animus pump you have to click through three different windows just to see this graph. This further highlights the feel of two different systems. The Medtronic CGM was less accurate for the time that we had it. It was also much harder to keep on a seven year old and he told me it hurt more when I put it on him. I also like having the separate Decom receiver to have by the bed at night to warn me when he is trending high or low. The extra reliever was $500 and I do not have to by my seven year old a phone vs the $2500 it would cost for the "night watch" system that Medtronic had. Plus the receiver is small so I can put it in my pocket and take it with me when we are going somewhere. Also a big bonus!!! The Dexcom 5 has integration with the IPhone. When William gets older this might be an option but for now I am glad that I can keep the receiver with me and not have to pay a phone bill for it.

If I had to pick again I would still pick the Animas but only because it has the Dexcom added, because I would not say integrated. If things stay the way they are now I would look at the T Slim now that the Dexcom has been added to this pump. I would still be looking to see if the Dexcom was integrated or just added to the package. It should feel like one seamless system no matter who you go with. Medtronic has this feel but the CGM is not as good. The CGM to me is the most important part after the insulin delivery.

Just my thoughts

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas is Coming

    Well we made it through Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful time at Jen's brothers house with great food and good company. It feels a little strange for me not to be in the middle of helping make dinner but it is also kind of nice to just sit back and relax for a holiday too. William told me that he went to his grandmothers house for Thanksgiving and he got to see his older sister. I was glad he got to see her again so quickly. He really misses her and he was excited to see her again. Now it is time already for his birthday and then on to Christmas. 

    We put up the tree on Sunday. Jen and I put the tree together and put the lights on. We waited for William to get home to help put the rest of the decorations on the tree. We bought a lot of new decorations last year to add to the memories of old. It is nice to be able to look back over the years and see William and his older brother through the years of Christmas. William asked all kinds of questions about the pictures and the frames that they are in. I need to get a new frame from the craft store and have him paint one for this year and add a picture. I do not want to lose the history of Christmas with William. I will not have William for Christmas this year. It makes it a little harder to get excited about Christmas but I want to make sure that William has the best year ever. Santa will just have to visit a day early.

    It has been a good year all the way around and I am thankful for the blessings that surround us this year. School seems to be going better this year and William does his homework and spelling with little help. He has been doing great on his homework and seems to care about getting them all right. I am glad to see that he is starting to take ownership for his effort. He had a spelling list for this week that we started yesterday. He was disappointed that he got four wrong. I was very glad to see that he only got four wrong on the first day of trying the new list. We are making progress and I do not get any fight from him to get him to sit down and do his work anymore. We sit down, I give him a word, he spells it and then repeats the word when he has completed the word so I know to move on. When the list is done we check his test and he spells the words seven times each for the first day, eight for the second day, nine for the third and ten times on Thursday. On Thursday we also keep going until he has a perfect score. We take a test and any that he got wrong he writes ten times and we take the spelling test again. We keep doing this until he gets them all right. He used to complain about that until I sat down with him and explained that I want him to do his best and that I want him to be proud of himself. I want him to know that he has the capability to do what ever he wants to but sometimes it takes a lot of work to get there. He doesn't complain anymore. In fact we celebrate when he finally does get them all right and he has the biggest smile on his face. He is proud of himself and that is worth everything to me.

    I had William tell me that he is so smart yesterday. It was good to hear him say that. He can be tough on himself for his actions. He comes down really hard for some of the choices that he makes and that is hard to hear. It was nice to hear him say positive things about himself. I have been trying more lately to get him to say good things about how he feels and what he does. Maybe I will start making this something we do before bed every night. Tell me one thing that makes you feel good about yourself today. He needs that extra boost of confidence in himself. I think it will make him stronger as a person. 

    This year diabetes was held at bay for the most part. William's A1C's were below where the guidelines say he needs to be. Lower is better for those that do not have this as part of their life everyday. We have a few new tools to use to make life easier and I am glad that it means more sleep for me at night. He is due for his yearly blood draw and I am not looking forward to that. I guess I will try to take care of that while I'm off for the next month. William hates getting his blood drawn. It takes multiple people to hold him down. I remember when I was younger I was the same way. I remember when a nurse threatened to kick me back if I kicked her when she was trying to poke me with a needle. Now I give blood every two months. Life really does change.

    That is another thing I am blessed with. This year they gave us five weeks of vacation but didn't tell us until July. I was used to only having three weeks off. Now I get most of the month of December off.  I am ready for the break from work. I think I will try to spend some time working with students over the break to get them ready for the upcoming robotics season. We still need to officially launch the new technical center but the community support has been heart warming. I have been involved with robotics a lot this year and I am lucky to have someone that supports those efforts. I have gotten to see every level from K-12 this year. I have also helped the middle school group with programming their robot and figuring things out. I am lucky to have one of my brightest programmers from the high school level there giving her time to help get them running. We have worked together to figure out the new programming language and hardware and we have a moving robot.  

    As you can see I am a blessed man. My heart is filled with love from those around me and it make it easy to give that love to others. 

I am proud of you buddy,

Your Loving Dad

Friday, November 20, 2015

The First Look at FIRST Lego League

    I have been involved with FIRST robotics for five years now. My time has been mostly spent with the high school level of play. This year as I have worked to try and bring the FIRST community center to West Michigan and we will be officially opening in January 2016. I have also been involved with other people with the same passion for this stuff. There is one gentleman that is working to start up more elementary level programs. I would love to have William involved on a team that is at his level. I talked to the principal at his school and it sounds like we will be starting at least one team there next year that is at William's age level. The hope would be to have a robotics teams at every level. I would love to see that happen so William would have that experience as he moves through school.

    William and I stopped by a school that has a the Lego league program running to see what it looks like. The school we visited was getting ready for a competition this weekend. We got to see the field, the different components and everything that makes up the game. William was very excited about what he saw. I was very glad to see him get so excited. Now we just have to figure out how to start this team at his school. The principal told me that he sent out an email about starting a team and he got so many responses that he is not sure what to do. He told me that he also had many parents offer to help and be mentors. That is awesome news. He is waiting to get final numbers so we can decide how many teams we need and how much this will cost. I am excited to get to finally get to have William on a team that he is a real participant in. 

    We have been going to the middle school level robotics the last few weeks. They have asked for help with programming their robot. William gets to help a little bit on this robot. He is still a little young for this level and the students are much older than him. I am glad that they let him get involved. Yesterday he helped put tape on the floor where the field would be so that we can start working on the robot controls. We got the robot moving and controlling yesterday and we got the autonomous part working with a very simple program. There are only three more work days left until the first competition.

Life is good when you are building robots, : )

Your Loving Dad

Monday, November 16, 2015

What an Exciting Weekend

    I have been working now for about a year to start a STEM based community center. It has been a lot of work. Many calls, a lot of taking on the phone, meetings and so many other things. We found a very generous company that gave us space to set up this center and that was the first major step. This week we found out that we got the robotics competition field paid for. That was a very expensive donation from a local company that wants to remain nameless for now. I am now moving on to finding a someone to help pay for the computer lab. What an amazing process this has been.  I am so amazed by how much my community has stepped up for this process and the support that I get from the people around me. The kick off date for this opening is coming up quickly and we still have a lot to do. We have to plan the open house with a few BIG guests. We have the sign to make, the food to order and the volunteers to help run the show. I am hoping to get a cake in the shape of a robot for the opening. This opening is going to be exciting for everyone involved. The community only gets better if you help make it happen. Your dreams can inspire others, I am living proof of that.

    Our robotics team had our last competition of this season this weekend. FIRST robotics sponsors a competition for just the young ladies on our team. It was amazing to see all of the young ladies controlling the robot and having fun with engineering. There where 32 teams that had all girls on them. That is amazing to think about. We had a lot of fun and our young ladies made our team proud. I am glad to be part of an organization that is trying to get girls involved in areas where they would not normally get involved such as math, science and engineering. This is one of the major reasons that I am working so hard to make this community center happen. William came along for this weekends events and we had fun rooting our team on. We got to stay in a hotel and that usually make the trip worth it for him. 

    We went and got hair cuts yesterday. We both needed it badly. We spent the morning cuddling on the couch and watching "Jurassic World". That seems to be one of William's favorites now. After that we hopped in the car with Jen and went to the movies. We decided to go see "The Peanut Movie". It reminded me of the Peanuts when I grew up. We saw the 3D version. William really liked it. 

    Today is my birthday and William told me that he was going to try and do well in school today for my birthday. I told him that was the best thing he could get me for his birthday. I am proud of him and he has been doing so much better this year. 

That was this weekend for us,

Your Loving Dad

Friday, November 6, 2015

We had fun for Halloween

My Knight in Shinning Armor
    Halloween came and went again this year. It took everything to convince William not to be a ninja again. He has been a ninja for the last two years so i made him choose something different. I think the only reason that he was willing to choose this costume was because he still got a sword. The night of Halloween was a little cold and it was raining the whole time. It didn't slow William down even one second. He was happily jumping in puddles and  running from house to house. This was the first time I have had the Dexcom while trick or treating. William usually goes low. I mean really low from all of the running from house to house. I would always stop and check him occasionally but some how he still seemed to crash. This year I could see what was going on the whole time and we had no crashes.
  
His Battle Pose
     We took our dog Lucky with us on our journeys around the neighborhood. He was a big hit and I think he loved trick or treating just as much as William did with all of the people stopping to pet him along the way. He also got to see some of his friends that he only gets to see through the fences up close and personal.   The rain really didn't slow us down this year.  When we were done we went back home and William handed out candy to the late comers to our house. Jen was there handing out candy while we were gone. We had a lot of candy but not as many visitors as usual with all of the rain. I will be taking the candy to work next week so I don't or won't eat it all myself.
  
Mine, William's, Jen's
    I wrote a week ago about going to pick out our pumpkins and all of the fun that we had at the farm. Here is the result of our hard work. We had lots of fun putting these together. William drew his idea for his pumpkin on a piece of paper and I drew it on the pumpkin for him. He did the rest. I was really fun watching him cut everything out all by himself. He did not want help. He told me that his hand was hurting at the end but the result was great. I made a scary ghost. William had a scary face with eyebrows. I thought they were eyes but he was sure to correct me that they were eyebrows. Jens pumpkin has a silly face and appearing again this year.....ears. Her pumpkin also had a "hairy" stem. William broke it off when he brought it in for us to clean a carve. That was Okay we found a creative way to put it back on and you really can' tell in the pictures. Lucky removed it again the next day. He seems to really like taking the tops off of pumpkins.

Here is what they looked like at night.
Happy Halloween again this year my little man,

Your Loving Dad

Thursday, October 29, 2015

My Friend Tim

    How did I meet Tim? I know it was through Facebook. He was the administrator for the D-Dads page. It is a area that D-Dads can go to talk about things as just dads. No Women allowed. It gives us a safe place to vent, share and talk to each other about what is going on in our lives. The only requirements to join are that you have to be a guy and you have to be a dad or someone that has Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). We both qualify since he has two daughters that have T1D and I have William. We met when one of the dads asked where everyone was from. When I told where I was at, we found out that we were both in the same local area. 

    Back in September I got to meet my friend Tim in person for the first time. We have been chatting over the last few years on-line but had never met. We had talked about it over and over again but life got in the way for both of us. Things have gotten better so we finally got the chance to meet. He brought his wife and I brought my significant other and we stopped in for dinner and drinks. We hit it off and had a lot to talk about. We got to know each other on more of a personal level and not just the T1D level. Tim enjoys a good beer once in a while and is going to school. It was good to have someone to talk to that understands what it means to be a parent of a child that has T1D.  It is nice to sit across from someone that understands the fear that you might go into your child's room to wake them up for school and they are no longer there, or to understand what it takes just to feed your child, or the maintenance that it take to just keep your child alive.

    Tim has a blog about his struggles with dealing with two girls with T1D. He tells the story of how he found out about the diagnosis of his two young daughters and the struggles ever since. http://bleedingfinger.com. He has given me a few honorable mentions over the years. I am honored that he feels the things that I talk about here are worth shearing. This week Tim was published on the Healthline website. He has a wonderful article entitled "What It Means to Be a Type 1 Diabetes Dad". The article can be found here:


    Tim is more of a writer than I am, and he really is inspired to make it into a career someday. I am just glad that I have the chance to be his friend and we can talk about life. This article is a quick look into the story of being a T1D dad. Please take the time to read it.

Friends like this are worth everything,

Your Loving Dad

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Picking our Pumpkins for Holloween


The Hay Ride
    Last weekend we had fun. We went to the farm. The first thing we did was a hay ride. We had three horses pulling us. It has been a while since I have been on a hay ride where there were horses pulling the wagon. We went for a ride through the farm and saw the corn fields, apple orchard, stalls where they keep the horses and we even rode through the woods. They had a playground, cider and doughnuts and of course pumpkin picking. They also had pony rides. William got to play king of the hill on some hay bales with a few of the kids that lived there. He had so much fun he wanted to go back the next day. He also got to play on the playground equipment. He was very sweaty and I had to give him hot chocolate to keep him from going low.

Picking our Pumpkins
    William grabbed the wheel barrel as we went out into the field to get our pumpkins. The field was big and there where so many different pumpkins to pick from, I thought we would never get the right ones. William wanted to get a tall pumpkin. I guess he has something special in mind for his Jack O Lantern this year. We are going to carve them up as soon as he get back this week. We have all of the equipment to make our pumpkins look great. The colored LED's looked great last year so I think we are going to stick with that for this years pumpkins as well.

William at the Start of the Corn Maze
    We also had fun in the corn maze. We went in and wandered through the maze and found all of the places to check in. When William was all done he had to moo like a cow because of the order we found everything. It was fun and he lead the whole way. He was in charge and he did a great job finding everything and getting us back out. Each station had a different color chalk. When you got there you stuck a finger in the chalk and you moved on to the next station. At the end you had to match the colors on your fingers to the chart to know what you had to do. We were matched with the horse so we all gave a neigh and laughed as we were coming out of the maze.

Pony Rides
    William got to pick a pony to ride on. while I was putting the pumpkins into the car. He played with his new friends a little more on the playground and on the hay bales. We stopped to pay for all of the wonderful adventures we had that day then we when home. I am glad that we get to spend this kind of time together. It is good to laugh and make memories with the ones that you love the most. Life has been very kind to me this last year. I spend time with my wonderful son and have someone special in my life to make these memories with. When life knocks you down you can stay there or you can get up and live life again. I am glad I chose to live again.

 
I love you my wonderful son,

Your Loving Dad

Monday, October 19, 2015

Vacation Last Week


The view from our room
    I was gone last week on vacation. We had a beautiful time in Northern Michigan at a bed and breakfast.This was the first time that Jen or I had stayed at a bed and breakfast. The owners were very friendly and the food was amazing. We had our own balcony to watch the sunsets. It was a breath taking site to see all around. We where here for most of last week. What a great time to rest and relax. The weather was very nice for most of the days. It was 71 degrees the first day we got there so we sat out on the balcony and had wine and enjoyed each other company.

A panoramic view from our balcony.

The beautiful clear water.
This was the view from right off of the pier. They had kayaks, powerboat and may other things for the guests to do. We did not use any of this stuff as we were busy doing all kinds of things together. We visited over 14 local wineries and got some really great wine. We especially found one wine that could be my new favorite. We also went north to the tunnel of trees and then on to the bridge. We had lunch at a local restaurant and  Jen got to show me some of her favorite places to visit. We also went to a few of the lighthouses that were in Northern Michigan. 


Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
Mackinac Bridge
It was funny how the weather was cloudy in the Mackinac bridge picture and a few minutes later was sunny for the lighthouse picture. It was cooler and windy this day of the trip. We enjoyed the view just the same.

1922 Mortier Dance Hall Organ
We also got to visit the Music House Museum. This was a really cool stop. They had a lot of turn of the century automated musical instruments. Player pianos, repeating pianos, pipe organs, and many other really cool things to see. The engineer in me just wanted to pull them apart and see how they worked. We had a wonderful tour guide that told us the history of each machine and then we got to hear them play. We stopped off in Travers City for a while and visited a few shops. One of my favorites was the Travers City Pie Company. We got a few treats to take back to our room to have with a bottle of wine. I am very lucky to be able to share these wonderful memories with my beautiful lady. 

I feel lucky,

Your Loving Dad

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The new Dexcom and the Gluten Free Diet

    We have had the Dexcom for about three months now. It is an amazing tool I use to help with trend analysis and trouble shooting, and to see what William is doing all day long. It has been great to wake up at night and look at the Dexcom receiver and know if I need to go check him or not. It is nice to be able to see what is going on at the touch of a button. Our lives are better because of it.

    William continues to have anxiety about putting on a new sensor when he gets home on Fridays. It is one of the first things that I do when he walks in the door from school. The last few times he has made a big deal about it but after it was done told me that it didn't hurt. This last time though he told me it hurt a lot. The sensor this time seems less accurate too. I am not sure why this time I am not seeing the results that I have in the past but we will work with it for this week and see what happens when we change it out. The endocrinologist appointment is coming up this month. It will be interesting to see if having the Dexcom made any difference on his A1C.

   This is a wonderful tool and I am grateful to have it. It tells me all of the time when I need to do something. I can give him insulin when he is heading high after sneaking gummy vitamins before bed. That was a long night but I did manage to keep him below 300. I had to give him insulin all night long and seemed to maintain around 230 until about 5AM when it finally came back to normal. I have since taken the vitamins out of his bathroom so we do not have that problem again. It also lets me head off the high that I know that he will get from eating pizza. For some reason William can eat pizza and have perfect blood sugar for hours after but when he goes to bed his blood sugar goes through the roof. I can now keep that from happening and I feel less guilty about giving him pizza. It is still a rare treat but I feel less guilty.

    On the gluten free realm of things, we are trying new foods all of the time. I have not been cooking so much now that my life has changed but I am starting to try and cook some meals at home for William's sake. I made meatloaf a few weeks ago and he told me that he loved it. Using gluten free bread worked quite well and the meatloaf was moist and soft. I am going to try it again tonight along with homemade mashed potatoes and some veggies. I am really looking forward to dinner tonight with my son. He loves to help. He has started pealing the potatoes and helps stir anything on the stove. He is a big helper and I am glad that he wants to be there with me.

    We have found a whole bunch of new breakfast options with Cheerios now being gluten free for most of their cereals. We are trying out the honey nut and frosted cheerios this time. I think it is a nice change of pace from the normal selections that he has. He has also been eating fresh fruits on his breakfast. We have been putting blueberries, bananas, pineapple and strawberries on cheerios and a few other cereals. William loves gluten free pad Thai. I am glad that he is open to trying new things. We also got him to try a salad with dinner. He likes the thousand island dressing and told us he would try it again. 

Another week down,

Your Loving Dad

Friday, September 25, 2015

Three Weeks In

    We have been at school for three weeks now. Second grade is going well. William really seems to like his teacher and he is trying hard on his homework. He has gotten mostly good reviews on the reports coming home with the worst thing so far is not listening. That is much improved from last year. I keep encouraging him to do the right things. I think he is feeling better about himself now and it is starting to show.

    William was telling me a story on the way home from daycare yesterday. He asked me if his teacher had called me and I told him no and asked why she would need to call. He told me that he had been tripped at school during gym and that he had gotten hurt. He told me that the other student that was involved did it on purpose. He told me that he got very mad but decided to take a breath and not react. I told him that I was really proud of him for making a really good choice.

    I will keep working with William and encourging him to do his best. I am going to try to find the things that we can celibrate together and keep him pointed in the right direction as much as I can. I am keeping my fingers crossed on school this year.

One month down,

Your Loving Dad

Friday, September 18, 2015

A love story.

    We were watching a movie last night "For the Love of the Game" with Kevin Costner. It is about a pitcher with the Detroit Tiger, Billy Chapel, at the end of his career. He is playing a game against the New York Yankees. The team he has been playing with for 19 years was just sold and he has to make a decision about his life. He is pitching the best game of his life and he is thinking back over his life while trying to make this decision. This movie also has a lady that Billy meets during the movie. He falls in love with her and she for him, but having him travel all of the time makes their relationship hard. As the movie progresses you find out that this lady had a baby when she was 16. She was strong, as she recalls she she threw her baby on her back as they left the hospital and had two kids growing up together.

    Billy meets her daughter and they become a family of sorts. This whole thing takes place over a five year period of Billy's life. The good the bad and everything else. There is a part of the movie when Billy is talking to the daughter. They start talking about her mother. She asked him if he is her mother's boyfriend. He tells her he doesn't know because of how things are in their life. She goes on to tell him about her mom and the things that she remembers. She tells him that she thinks that her mom has never really had a love story in her life. Later on in the movie the daughter is grown up and in college. She see Billy sitting at a table and stops by to say hello. The first thing that she ask him is does he remember her.

    So you are probably asking am I doing a movie review. No I am not doing a movie review but this move is very good. I wanted to give a little background before I started telling how this movie moved me last night. I have seen this movie before but many things have changed in my life now so I see things from a different perspective. There is the part where the daughter comes to talk to him and asked if he remembers her. This hit close to home for me as it made me think about the children that were in my life for so long. I wonder if they would have to walk up to me and ask if I remembered them. I would hope that they know I will always remember them and I loved them very much while they were a part of my life. I hope that they can remember the good things that we did together and the love we shared. This part of the movie made me cry. I never had this connection to this movie until last year. The feeling of having children in your life that are not yours but where special to you.

    Now there is the part about the love story. Have you ever had a love story in your life? There have been times when I think I was in love with someone. It seemed that I gave a lot but didn't get much back. I was asked during the movie if I believe that you can have a love story. When I was younger I would have quickly answered yes. Last night though, I had to think back on the times when I thought I had a love story and for the first time in my life I had to answer "I don't know". It kinda scares me to think about having someone that I trust with my heart that much again. Is there such thing as a love story? I think that there are a lucky few that find a true love story. They are willing to work through the tough times and find the path together. They stand beside each other and lift each other up. So I find myself wondering if I am in my love story. I have someone in my life that compliments me on pretty much every part of my life. She makes me feel good about who I am and encourages me to achieve. She makes me feel like I have wings and for the first time in a long time I have dreams again. I am talking about future dreams, thing that I hope happen and things that I am trying to make come true. I am scared that this will fade and eventually we will start taking each other for granted. I am afraid that this feeling will fade and there will be nothing left. It is hard getting around those feelings considering what the last one did to me. I am here right now in my life just trying to figure things out.

    At the end of the movie Billy finds out the day of this game that the lady is moving to London. She tells him that she never felt like he needed her and she leaves. Billy still has to pitch this game with the thought of losing her and the pending sale of his team. As he makes the decision at the end of the movie he decides this will be his last game. He is pitching the perfect game. No hits, no runs..... the perfect game. As the movie is coming to a close Billy does pitch the perfect game. This should be one of the happiest moments in his life but he goes back to the hotel and cries. He packs his bags to go to London to find his lost love only to find out that she is still at the airport. Come to find out she missed her plane so she could watch him pitch that last game. He tells her that he loves her and that he does need her.

Is there a love story? Time will tell.

Your Loving Dad

Monday, September 14, 2015

I am a man now.

    We got up for school just like we do everyday but his day was a little different. Usually I get a shower and then go in to wake up William to get ready for school. When I got out of the shower William was down stairs and I could hear him clanking things around in the kitchen. I finished getting things ready to go and went down stairs. William had gotten things out for breakfast for both of us and he had even started making his lunch while he was waiting on me. It was really sweet to see him taking that independent nature and putting it to good use. It was even sweeter that he had gotten out a bowl for me for breakfast too.

    I pulled out his meter and checked his finger. Then I measured out his food and milk. I decided to ask him why he had done all of this. He told me "I am a man now". He is seven right now. I just kind of smiled and kept asking him questions about why he thought he was a man. He told me that he could do everything on his own and that a man doesn't need help. I told him that being a man doesn't mean that you do not need help. The best men that I know need help every day. Being a real man is knowing when you need to ask for help and knowing who to ask. I told him that being able to do something yourself makes you independent.

    A few days later William did pretty much the same things for breakfast again. He told me that he wanted to be a man. I am glad that he has the spirit to become independent. I do not want him to grow up too fast but I do what him to take more responsibility for what he does and says. He wanted to enter all of the information for his breakfast into his pump by himself. I let him for the first time ever. He got everything correct. I was happy that he was paying attention so much. I am very proud of him. I told him that he was never to enter anything into his pump without someone there to make sure he had all of the numbers correct.

    William had a great first week in second grade. He was very excited and came home ready to go back. He got his homework done quickly and correctly everyday. I was amazed at how fast he got things done this year. The first few times he had homework he had around 30 math questions. I sat him down at the table thinking it would take him a while just like last year. Within a few short minutes he came and told me he was done. I thought to myself there is no way he could have gotten them done. When I checked his work he only had one wrong. I am proud.

    He does get closer to being a man everyday. I am glad and sad all at the same time. I want him to be successful in his life. I want him to be happy and find things in his life that bring him joy. I want him to find the same joy that I have teaching and giving back. It took me a long time to find something that makes me truly happy inside other than my children. I hope he finds his thing earlier in life than I did. I hope to be a good example for him to make that decision on.

I love you little man,

Your Loving Dad

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Another day in your life and big things are happening.

    This day feels like so many that have passed recently. Yesterday you built an FM radio using the snap circuit kit that you got for Christmas. You put the circuit together and we read the instructions on how it works and then we heard music. You were so excited that you wouldn't take the circuit apart. I am proud of you for being able to do that all by yourself. I enjoyed watching you find all of the pieces and snapping them together. I really enjoy seeing you get excited about learning new stuff. I still see you getting frustrated at times but you are learning to deal with that frustration much better.

    We are continuing on the series of books that we have been reading this summer. We are on book nine. That is pretty awesome since each book has between 15-18 chapters. You have gotten so much better at reading. Freddie and his friends are cleaning under Freddie's bed in this latest book. It is called "Attack of the Dust Bunnies from Outer Space". Last night something grabbed the broom from Freddie while he was cleaning under his bed. Was it a monster? Was it something scary? We get to find out tonight. I am really glad that we spend time together reading through these adventures.

    My big second grader. Today you start second grade. You were so excited about going back to school that you could hardly sleep last night. I am glad to see you get excited about that since you had such a tough time last year. You were very excited about your best friend (Noah) being in your class with you this year too. We have talked to you about making good decisions and listening today. I really hope that you find a new path for yourself this year that makes your life easier. I am hopeful that second grade will be better.

    It was Lucky's birthday on August 31st. He turned three this year. I was glad to see you celebrate his birthday. We went to the pet store and got Lucky some toys and a bone. I knew going in that the toys wouldn't last long but you and Lucky were both very excited about the toys. I got Lucky a grey and white animal that squeaked. You got him a multi-colored snake that has five squeakers. The white and  grey toy did not last an hour. Lucky ripped it apart as soon as he heard the first squeak. He loved playing tug-of-war with it until there was nothing left. I thought this one might last a little longer since it had a heavy rope inside holding it all together. I am not sure if Lucky likes the new bone or not. It is a real bone and I have not seen him chewing on it much yet.

Back to school, homework and snow,

Your Loving Dad

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Here Comes Second Grade

    William starts second grade in just a few more days. He is excited about going back. He tells me that he misses his friends and his teacher. He was very excited to find out what teacher he has for second grade. I am a bit nervous about him starting school. He had some major issues to deal with last year and many times did not deal with them well. He has started to swear at friends at daycare. He has learned this behavior from someone in his life that should be a responsible example for him, but isn't. He has told me many times where he has heard these words and has asked if I want to know all of the words that he says. It is tough knowing that others bad choices make my sons life even harder than it already has to be.

    I got the list of things that William will need for school. We got a new backpack with the University of Michigan on it and lunchbox and all of the supplies that were required by school. William is very excited about getting to use all of this new stuff. I guess it would be like me getting a new phone. I just want to play with it and learn all of the new stuff it can do. We got a new pencil sharpener too. The last one was cheap and did not work well. The new one makes the pencils so sharp it should come with warning labels.

    Life is tough for a seven year old with two chronic diseases. He is a trooper and doesn't complain much. He tells me at times "I wish I didn't have celiac" or "I wish I wasn't diabetic".  These are the times when I lift him up and tell him how proud that I am that he is strong enough to be a good person in spite of this. I tell him that I wish he didn't have them either but he is strong enough to do it. How bad ass do you have to be to have your finger poked 10 times a day and have your sites changed every three days? I don't know many people that would be willing to sign up to be poked by needles 75 times a week and that is the easy part.

You are my hero and I hope I earn your love everyday,

Your Loving Dad

Thursday, August 27, 2015

This week in our lives.

    This week was a good week for many different reasons. I learned that the STEM program that I have been working to build got final approval to move into a building that we have been looking at. The cool part about that is the company that owns the building is not going to charge us anything to be there. The people that use this building are from a charter school. Three in fact. The building is big and beautiful, heated and lit well. That is much better than where we used to be for building robotics. Don't get me wrong I appreciated having a building to build the robot in. It was awesome, but what an upgrade we are going to have this year. It will be fun being in a building with other teams and to be able to help each other out.

    The school that we are moving into is trying to focus on being engineering focused. The robotics programs that we are going to be bringing there really match up with their goals. When I went to talk to them about my idea for keeping local teams together and helping one another they jumped at the idea. I think they are as excited about this as I am. They want to start teams for every level they have in the building K-12. This will be a good experience for me since I have never seen any other levels other than the high school teams.

    I have been talking to my oldest son. He just graduated from the nuclear program in the Navy. He was deployed on a submarine and is now out for his first deployment. Things have really changed since I was there. When I was there we could only get 40 word messages from home. There was no email and you definitely never got the chance to send a message home. Now I can send emails as much as I want to and I get responses back. Talking to him brings back memories of when I was on the submarine and working through my qualifications.

    William is doing Okay this week. He has started a new bad habit of swearing at his friends. This is a frustrating problem since we do not swear at my house. He was kicked out of daycare two weeks ago and has be written up a few more times since then. He has spent a lot of time in his room because of his choices. We continue to focus his attention to the good things and redirect when the focus goes the wrong direction. This can be a little hard when he get conflicting views from other places in his life.

    Lucky turns three this weekend. We are having a birthday party for him today before William goes to his mothers house. William thought that we would be inviting all of Lucky's friends over for a party. That is a cute idea.  He also thought everyone would be stopping by. I told him that it would just be us. This week we also got to talk about death. We were in the car and we started talking about Lucky when I told William that he need to spend time with Lucky and be his friend because he would not be around for long. He asked if Lucky was going to die. I told him not right away but most dogs his size only last to around 12 years old. He started crying and told me that he didn't want Lucky to die. He has been petting him a lot more and I see him caring for him more now. I guess it made him appreciate Lucky more. I really didn't mean to have a discussion about death that day but I guess it was good at the same time.

    Getting to know me: I guess if I am really going to let you get to know me through this blog than I need to add some stuff about me once in a while. After college, GO BLUE, I went into the Navy. I went through the nuclear power program just like your big brother. I also got to go through an extra school for radiation and chemistry called ELT school. The ELT stands for Engineering Laboratory Technician. This meant that my job was about radiation and contamination controls and chemistry for the steam plant and reactor plant. I really didn't enjoy my time in the Navy. I didn't mind being on a submarine so much. I tell people it was like having one really long bad day when I was out to sea. We didn't get much sleep. We trained all of the time and we drilled a lot. There wasn't much time for fun. You were there to do a job so you did it. While I was in your big brothers' mom left and I became a single father just like I am with you. The difference this time was that I was full time 24/7 with no help from his mom. I got out of the Navy almost a year early because of this. I guess that was one really good thing that came out of that. I also got to spend all of my time with your brother and I am also very grateful for that too.

    I was afraid of becoming a father back then. My father was abusive and I did not want to become that kind of person. I was always told that you become your father over time and I was afraid that anger was inside of me somewhere. When your brother's mom confronted me about having a baby I said no for a long time. Almost a year and a half later, we finally had your brother. I was afraid that the anger would take over just like it did with my father. I found out along the way that it is a choice that you make inside of yourself every time something happens. You chose to lash out in anger our you learn to control things inside and reason through them. There will not always be an answer but it is better than beating someone with a belt until they bleed. I was lucky to be a father to you and your brother. I wished things turned out different for both of you. I wished we could have had the perfect family life with a mother and father but we were not dealt that life. I try to make the best decisions that I can for you. I try to show you each day how important you are to me. I miss you on the days where you make bad choices and you end up in your room. I enjoy reading to you just the same way I did with your brother. It made me smile when he asked if I read and sang songs to you like I did with him. I wasn't sure he would remember. So when I found out he did it really brought a smile to my face. I tried my best to be a good loving father to him and I am trying with you too. I don't always make the right choice but know that I make my choices with love.

I love my boys,

Your Loving Dad

Friday, August 14, 2015

That is not cool any more.

    We were in the car on our way to daycare as is the normal daily routine for summer. We pulled up to the front to go in and check in but this time was different. Before we got out of the car William decided to tell me that I needed to hug him before we went into the building. He told me that it was not cool for me to hug him in front of his friends at school anymore. Okay I knew this day was coming but seven years old!?!? I was a little surprised by this request. He told me it was okay to hug him before we went in, and in front of Jen. My little guy is growing up and becoming so independent. He has even told me that he just wants me to log him into the computer and unlock the door at daycare and then I should just leave. I do not need to check him in with his teacher. I would never do that but it is good to see that he is trying to take charge of the things that he feels he can.

    When I was dropping him off this morning he decided to inform me of how tall he was getting and how he didn't look fat anymore. If you know William you know that he is the skinniest kid you have ever seen. The last time he had any fat on him was when he was two. It seemed funny that he thought as he was growing taller it meant he was getting skinner. He is growing so fast at the moment. I got him pants for school last year that are too small and too short. We will be going clothes shopping when he gets back next Friday.

    Part of growing up for William is him taking over the care of his diabetes. I have started to let him check his fingers before we eat. I do not trust him to do all of the math that it would take to take care of himself and counting carbs can be the hardest part of diabetes. Those things will come in time. I have to say that I am proud of him for something that happened this week at daycare. William was letting the teacher enter his food dose and blood sugar into his pump. When it was all done he told the teacher that it wasn't right because it didn't beep. "It always beeps after, when you do it right". She called me to check and we verified that he was correct. When William put the pump back into his case he must have hit a button on his pump. This causes it to stop giving insulin. I am glad he was paying attention and I made sure he knew it. We are still learning with our new pump. It is not that different from the old one. There is a lot more information on the screen, and I can appreciate that, but I think it makes it more intimidating to someone that is just helping.

    The next training will be for school in just two weeks. They are used to William's old pump. There will be a small learning curve for them but it is mostly the same. They will also be getting used to him having the sensor for the continuous monitoring system on. The monitoring system is great. It has notified me of lows before they are really lows and it has told us when a dose was never given for lunch one day before he was even over 200. I am loving this thing. I also now get more sleep at night. When my alarm goes off at 2AM I roll over and look at the receiver and if the number is good I go back to sleep. In a few more weeks I will probably trust it enough to turn off the 2AM check on my phone.

I really am proud to see you grow up buddy,

Your Loving Dad

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Summer Continued and we got a new Insulin Pump

    Summer has continued and we are still here. We have still been taking it easy. We finished a couple more books int he Freddie Fernortner series. We have three more chapters on book six "Mr. Chewy's Big Adventure". Freddie successfully saved his cat after it got its' tail tangled in a kite's tail and then being swept away by the wind. We will wait to see what happens tonight. We have taken a few weeks off from robotics but things are going to start up again in just a couple of weeks. We have one competition in September and two in October. I have also been working over the last year to try and build a robotics technical center that many teams can call home. My hope is that we can share resources and mentors to better serve the students in our care. I am working with the engineering department from Hope college and FIRST robotics to make this dream a reality. I think we have found a home but there are still many things to work out. I guess the next thing after we sign the papers for the building is to find someone to pay for it. I am so excited to have everything falling into place and much quicker that I could have imagined.

    William started on his new insulin pump this week. He is using the Animus Vibe. This pump has a built in continuous monitoring system. I got a separate sensor and receiver last week. It is so amazing to be able to see when he is going low or to see when he is going high. It allows me to do something about it before it becomes a major problem. There have been a few times now where it told me that he was low or high and I was able to take action. William didn't even feel anything when I asked if he felt low. Today the daycare called and said that his pump was telling them that his blood sugar was going up too fast. When I had her check the lunch dose, it was never given. They are getting used to the new system too. There are a few growing pains but it is nice to know I have technology watching his back when I cannot be there to do it for me. Just a few more weeks and I will be showing school how to use this thing too.

    We had dinner with William's oldest sister last night. We had fun talking and eating together. I was disappointed to find out that she decided to put off college and get a job. I guess that is part of growing up and being an adult. I got to show her the robot for this years game and she told me how she remembered the last game the we played when I mentored the Holland robotics team. I am glad that she was paying attention. We got to talk about Lucky. She told her boyfriend that lucky was her dog and she remembered teaching him tricks and how big he was as a puppy. I am glad that she still thinks about him as her dog too. I have enjoyed getting to know her boyfriend. He seems like a nice young man. I was disappointed to hear him say that he was skipping his first year of college for work too. They are adults and nothing you tell them will change their minds. Only life experience will tell them if they made the right decision. William's sister is a good person and I just hope she finds happiness in her life. We also got to talk about grandpa and what we miss about him. William told me that he misses going on the pontoon boat. Taylor misses the fishing trips and "eating healthy" as grandpa used to put it. Grandma is moving and I think she is happy about that. I know she loved the water but I also know that she will not miss wading or boating into the house every spring. She was there a long time so I am sure there are a lot of memories that are always going to be there. I wonder how surprised the new owners are going to be when they dig up the animal graveyard.

    We have only three more weeks until school is back in session. William has told me many times that he is looking forward to going back to school. He was sad to find out that he was getting a new teacher this year. I guess he didn't remember switching when he went from kindergarten to first grade. We got a new backpack and lunch box. I have the list of supplies and we will be stopping by to get them next time William is at my house. Time keeps moving on and we are keeping pace.

William is getting so big. It is breathtaking sometimes,

Your Loving Dad

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Things that we have done this summer.

    This blog is for William to look back and see his life through my eyes. It is also to let him get to know his father and what he was thinking about as he grew up. I hope that it will be something that he reads later in life and really gets to know me. I have no idea what my father was like, why he chose to do the things he did, or why certain decisions where made in my life. I am not sure if it would help explain why my father is the way he is or not.

    Keeping with the theme of William's life through my eyes, I wanted to summarize what we have been doing this summer. We have learned to ride a bike. Then we upgraded to a new bike "dirt bike" as William likes to call it. We have spent a lot of time working on the robot. William is finally getting big enough to help do things. He helped me drill holes in the can stabilizer using the mill before our last competition. He really wanted to go so he could see something that he helped build on the robot and working. He and I were really disappointed that he did not get to go but I did get to show him videos when he got back to my house. He was excited to see the robot working with his parts on board. We got third place at IRI and it was really exciting in the end. We also got to camp. That is a fun experience to go to a robotics competition and get to come back to a tent and have a campfire and s'mores after.

    We have been reading this new book series called "Freddie Fernortner: Fearless First Grader". There are 12 book in the series and to this date we are on book six. These are cute books that let you get to know Freddy and his friends as they have many fun adventures. Every night William reads one chapter and we read two. William reads the first chapter, I read the second chapter and Jen reads the third chapter. I stand in for Jen on the nights that she is not at our house. William is doing great reading and I see him reading more and more stuff. He is starting to point out things that are on TV or while we are driving. He has become a confident reader and needs little help as we are moving trough these books. I have to say that I am surprised at times when he says some of the bigger words with little or no effort. I am also surprised sometimes when there is a word that is easy that gives him trouble. There are still times when he guesses what the word is instead of reading it. I just have to point at the word and he usually gets it on the second try.

    We have been to Michigan's Adventures a few times this year. We have also go to the park. I am going to get a new bike soon so we can go for rides together now that he is mobile. I have also been thinking about a trip to Disney later this year. I think that would be a fun trip and something that we could enjoy together. William has been playing with our neighbor Brian a lot. His little sister is getting big enough to play with them now. William is also taking care of his dog Lucky more. Everyday when he gets home from daycare or on the weekends he give Lucky his food and water and give him treats. He really likes to see Lucky doing his tricks. He has started to work with Lucky to get him to do tricks without saying anything. He also thinks it is funny when we put a treat on Lucky's nose and make him wait to drop it and eat it.

    Daycare has been great this summer. They have lots of field trips and it gives William lots of things to do during the day. He comes home with many different stories for the day and things to try at home. I am glad that he enjoys going and that things seem to be going well for him there. There have been significant less issues to deal with at daycare and he seems to get along well with the other students.

    It has been a simple summer so far. A couple of motorcycle rides, Ice cream, Craig's Cruisers, parks and fun. William got to drive his first go cart by himself this year. He also keeps asking when he no longer has to use his booster seat in the car. He is getting really close. William has been helpful and even helped make dinner yesterday. William is growing like crazy and I have bough him all kinds of new clothes this year. He is trying all kinds of new foods. He even tried pad thai the other day and loved it. With his limited diet, I try as hard as I can to find new things to make him. I am surprised at how willing he is to try new things to eat.

    We are about half way through summer and still have many more plans. We are keeping things simple and just trying to enjoy life. It is good to smile again and not have to worry about life. The last seven years were tough on all of us. Things got easier as I thought they would, just not the way I expect or hoped. The no pressure life is a breath of fresh air. It makes it so much easier to care about the ones that I love.

Can't wait to see what else life has to offer this summer,

Your Loving Dad

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

We started the Dexcom this week

    William has had a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system before. It was integrated with his pump and was a great idea. The idea failed however because the CGM was very inaccurate and the transmitter was very painful to place. We had to replace his site every three days. The transmitter had to be recharged every time before placement.  It was very disappointing for us to spend all the money on the transmitter and sites only to have it be such an epic fail.

    We started using the Dexcom G4 Platinum this week. The transmitter is much smaller and far less painful to insert. That is a huge bonus for a seven year old. The site has a larger sticky surface to help keep it attached better and can be worn for seven days. The transmitter can be used until the battery runs out. According to the manual that is about six months. The system is also very accurate compared to the old system that we used to use. The receiver is not part of the pump so I can place it next to my bed so I can actually hear the alarms when he is low. When we get William's new pump in a few weeks the CGM will be integrated into that too. That way I can leave the separate receiver next to my bed all of the time. 

    It has been nice to be able to see William's blood glucose numbers no matter where I am at. There have been a few times now where the system has told me that William is low before he even realizes that he is low. It is awesome to be able to head off a really low blood glucose number before it happens. I also love being able to place the receiver next to my bed when I go to sleep. When he is low it alarms and wakes me up so I can go check him. It has been right most of the time when it is alarming that he is low. Anything that can keep him safer is a plus.

We are still waiting on the cure but this makes things a little easier for a while,

Your Loving Dad


Monday, June 29, 2015

He Learned to Ride a Bike

Riding My Bike
    I have been working with William for the last few weeks to learn how to ride his bike. I took the training wheels off of his bike at the end of last summer. I told William that he was old enough to ride a bike without training wheels. He told me he wanted me to put the training wheels back on and didn't touch his bike again for the last few weeks of summer. He told me that I should sell his bike because he didn't want it anymore. This year I got him out on his bike a few times but he kept telling me that he was afraid and that he would fall. We kept trying but he wasn't ready. This last week he finally learned to ride. He told me that his sister worked with him to get him to ride. She made him feel safe and helped him until he learned. Then when he finally did get moving then he told me that his bike was too small. I gave him his older brothers old bike. It was a perfect fit for William and off he went. Now he tells me that he deserves a new bike because he learned to ride. Maybe next year.

On my New Bike
    I am glad that he is past that hurdle. That is a major milestone that he crossed. He wants to ride his bike everywhere now. I guess it is time to get my bike fixed and back on the road. I need some new tires and new tubes. I was glad to see that my chain had been repaired. I broke it the last time I took that bike out for a ride with the family. It had just been sitting there collecting dust because I still thought the chain was broken. I guess the bike fairy must have fixed it. I would like to get my bike fixed so that William and I can take great adventures on our bikes. He especially wants to ride to get ice cream. We are blessed in our neighborhood to have bike trails going everywhere. It also give us a chance to have my lady come along too.

Sunset and Fireworks
    We finished off the weekend with fireworks. It was a lot of fun lighting off fireworks and seeing William smile. He asked me when we were going to be able to do that again because he had so much fun. I am blessed at the things that I have and the things that have happened over the last year. We have come a long way in a year and I am glad that William and I both have some great things to smile about again. We had to celebrate early because I do not have him this year for the forth of July. That is Okay because we had a wonderful time together putting on a show for Jen. William told her that he was the firework shooting guy and he was glad that he got to put on a show for her. Is this a possible new career? Time will tell.

    We also got to spend the weekend with William's oldest sister. We had a lot of fun and got to meet her new boyfriend. He seemed like a really good kid and seems to be heading in the right direction. It was so good to see his sister again and to just sit and talk. The three of us got a little too much sun but I was smarter with William as he was the only one with sunblock on. We got William to go on six water slides for which he earned ice cream. He even earned two dollars for going on a different ride. After a little time in the arcade, we said goodnight and went home. William was so happy to see his sister again and so was I.

What an amazing fun weekend together,

Your Loving Dad

Friday, June 26, 2015

We made it to summer

    We made it to summer and things are going pretty well for us so far. Daycare is going great for William. He is having fun with his friends and seems to be getting along with everyone and just having fun. They had a water balloon fight and eventually just started squirting each other with the hose when it was taking too long to fill the balloons. When I picked him up he was still muddy and his towel was soaked. I got to take home a wet boy for a father's day weekend. We spent part of the weekend with the robotics team. We are making changes on the robot and trying to get ready to go to our next competition. Then we had some time together and William made me a cute chart that he had done at daycare that was all about me. The spelling was a little off but the comments were awesome.

    He moved up to the second grade class in church. He tells me that is not as much fun as the old class because they don't get to play as much. They also do not have an air hockey table in this new room so I am told. He tells me he likes going to his old church. That is the church that we go to. The new church is the one that his mother goes to. It was white but now it is grey and it is boring. You have to love the mind of a kid. I am glad that he wants to go to church. I may not believe in all of that but I want him to have a choice and I am willing to sit and listen even if I do not believe in what I hear anymore. I guess life has a way of showing you what is real and with everything that has happened to me I find it particularly had to believe in a God that would let a father beat a son his whole life, have an uncle that molested him for many years, or to have a cheating mother tell you she is leaving you because God brought this man into her life. There is something really wrong about all of that, especially a woman that thinks that cheating was Okay and that God made it possible to cheat. Last time I checked the bible says that adultery and stealing were sins. I guess that is the new bible version at her new church.

    I got an amazing unexpected surprise this week. William's oldest sister reached out to me and told me that she wants to meet William and I and just catch up. We are going to Michigan's Adventure with her and her boyfriend this weekend.  I am really looking forward to it. I am glad that she respects me enough to still want to keep in touch with me. I miss her and the other two very much. I was worried that William might tell his mother so I asked her if she was Okay with her mother knowing, and she told me yes. I am looking forward to this weekend and I hope things go well.

    On the job front. My company was just bought by the Chinese government. I am now working for a communist government. I really do not feel good about that. I don't like how they trample on the civil rights of the people that live in China. They tell us nothing is going to change but they always say that. I guess that is what being a manager is all about. Telling people what they want to hear instead of telling them the truth.  Time will tell.

    My goal this summer is to make this summer about William and my beautiful lady. I want to go and have some fun and just make some new experiences that let us become closer. This weekend Michigan's Adventure and then we have the robotics competition in just a few short weeks.

I enjoy every miniute with you my dear son,

Your Loving Dad

Friday, June 19, 2015

William is officially a second grader and Freddie Fernortner is fun to read.

    I got notice from the school this week that William was officially promoted to second grade. I wasn't sure he was going to make it with everything that had happened this year. His report card was really good for every class that was not with his home teacher. It seemed that he got along with all of his other teachers pretty well. He just had a hard time listening to the home room teacher. I am glad to see him move forward. We are going to have to hit things really hard right off the bat for next year. Get him doing the right things and letting him know very strongly that things like he did this year will not be tolerated.

   William is a very loving and sweet kids. He likes to hug and help others. This sometimes gets him in trouble because he wants to be up and helping even if he was not asked to do it or he was busy doing work. It makes me very proud to see him hug another student or to have another student run up and hug him. I know that makes him feel good inside when this happens.

    We have started a new book series with William and he really seems to be enjoying them very much. We are reading the Freddie Fernortner Series. He is the fearless first grader that is smart and has great adventures and the only cat in the world that chews gum and blows bubbles (Mr. Chewy). In the first book he and his friends build a flying bike. The second book was the Super-Scary Night Thingy. We are on the third book right now. It is about a haunted house. There are twelve books in total. Right now I have William read a chapter and then I read two. I want to have William reading two chapters and me reading one by the end of summer. I am also hoping to make it through all twelve books. He really seems to be excited about reading them every night. I think he also identifies with him being a first grader.

Here are to the many adventures that you are going to have in real life and in books,

Your Loving Dad

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The last day of First Grade

    It is the last day of first grade. It has been a long year and I am glad to see you finally get there. I really hope next year is a more successful year for you. You had lots of trouble adjusting to everything going on in your life this year. I want you to know that I am proud or you for making it through. I look forward to seeing you have friends and getting excited about going to school next year. It is now time for us to have some fun for the summer. You need to learn how to ride your bike. I know it is scary to you right now but you will look back some day and laugh that you were afraid to ride your bike.

    I have a few trips planned especially now that I have five weeks of vacation. We should be able to do all kinds of fun things this summer. I still want to take you to Disney. Now that things are going great again in our lives. Some big things are coming around the corner. I know that you will be excited for these changes. We will be talking about them soon. Your life is just going to keep getting better as long as you try.

I am proud of you for making it through first grade,

Your Loving Dad

Thursday, June 4, 2015

How to get him to do the right thing?

    My biggest worry in life right now is William. I have many reasons to worry. The type one diabetes, celiac disease and now ADHD along with dealing with the fallout of everything his mother did to our family. William has a hard time at school with sitting still and listening. He also has a problem with acting out on occasion. I lose sleep at night worrying that he will make the right choices the next day, the next week and for the rest of his life. That is a lot of weight to take on. I can manage the diabetes and celiac for him, for now. It is totally up to him to make the right choices at school and daycare.

    I have tried many things to try and motivate him to make good choices. So many days in a row without hitting and he can play video games. That worked for a while. Getting scores above 80% at school. They rate his behavior every half hour. That is a story all in itself. That works some of the time. This week I started something new again. For each day we start off with a goal. The goal has a few parts. First he get to pick a number that he believes that he can achieve the next day. He usually picks 85%. On really good days he will tell me that he is going to get 95%. Then we pick an activity that he is rewarded with if he achieves above 80%. I have been doing this the last three days with great success. Two days ago his goal was 80%. The reward was ice cream for his 8:00pm snack. The first day he got 81% and ice cream. The second day he wanted ice cream again. He got 85% and we went to a local ice cream place and got an ice cream. Today his goal was 86% and he wants to go on a motor cycle ride with me. I will let you know how that turns out.

    The way this system works is we talk about the goals at night after we finish reading.  What score and what reward he will receive.  I talk to him about it again while he is eating breakfast the next morning and then again when I drop him off at school. The morning ritual is; what is the number? What is the reward? How are you going to get to your goal? We talk about not hitting, listening to the teacher, doing his work and a list of a few other things. I tell him that I am proud that he is going to have a super day, that I love him and to have fun at school. I want to plant into his head that he is going to have a good day before he even goes into the building. I really hope this system keeps working. I will let you know. We are transitioning to summer. He will still be going to daycare on my side so there will still be structure in his life. I hope we have fun this summer and that William makes progress with his feelings.

I am rooting for you buddy,

Your Loving Dad

Monday, June 1, 2015

Last Week of School

    Well this is the last week of school. This has been a tough year for you. I am glad to see this year come to an end and I am very hopeful for the next year. We have some work to do over the summer to get you ready for next year. I am hoping a little more time will show you that you cannot act the way you did this year. Hitting someone is not OK. Not listening to the teacher says is not OK. I know that you have had so much to deal with in your young life. I am sorry for my part in that, but you have to step up and become a better person in spite of everything that has happened in your life. You need to find strength inside yourself to be a better person. You need to choose to find joy where maybe there is none at the moment. I am there to hold your hand and help you get there and I will love you no matter what.

    We have had some fun times over the last few weeks. I am trying to show you if you work hard there is a reward. For now the reward is ice cream or a trip to Craig's Cruisers or maybe even a new pair of shoes. We need to get you thinking about what you lose if you do not think before you act. I can not tell you how I look forward to the smile report at the end of the day. I am hopeful that I will see many happy faces on the report and I will be able to tell you good job. It seems that those days are far between right now. I know you want to do a good job at school but you do not regret what you do until after it is too late. I hate to see the frown faces and the sadness that I know it brings you and me both. I know there is a sweat heart inside of you because I see it all of the time.

    I see your heart when I pick you up from daycare and I see you hug the much younger kids on the way out the door. I see them come to you and give you a big hugs. I know that must make you feel great. I know it makes me smile to see them come to you. I can see the trust and the love for an older kid that shows them respect and friendship. I do not understand why you can not seem to do the same thing when it come to others your same age. I believe that it is because you want to be in charge. When someone else wants to be first or gets to lead you are somehow hurt inside and you lash out. It is OK for someone else to be in charge once in a while. I do love your independent nature. I know that will make you a leader someday.

    It is time to take the summer off, let the pressure of the school year go by and have some fun, but we must not forget the lessons that we have learned from this year. I am really looking forward to doing fun things with you over the summer. I hope that you get to have a lot of fun with both of your families.

Time for a break from the pressures of school and just be a kid,

Your Loving Dad

Friday, May 22, 2015

Doing a Little Better This Week

Spending time with my boy
    William has had a little better week this week. No major infractions and not kicked out of school. That in itself is worth a lot. Yesterday was a good day. William got an 85% on is daily score. I have started a new thing with him that when he scores greater than 80% he can choose something fun to do for that day. I give him a few things that he can choose from each day and we go do one of them. Yesterday he chose to go to the park. We had a good time and he made friends really fast with a few kids that were there.When I went to take the picture he said wait ... wait... I need to put my glasses on. They were on the top of his head . It was funny. I am trying some new things to see what I can do to motivate him to have better days in school. That is a tough thing for him right now so I am doing anything I can. Adding a few good things where we get to spend time together for good behavior seems good for both of us.

Have to love the glasses
    We also mowed the law yesterday. He loved helping mow the grass. Lucky was barking at a rabbit. I was joking with William and told him that Lucky was telling the rabbit that only he could poop in the yard and that he was telling the rabbit not to come back. William laughed because I said poop. I think he thought it was funny that Lucky might actually be telling the rabbit that. I am glad that William enjoys spending time together. We were going in circles and William told me that we were cutting the lawns beard. We were giving it a trim. It is fun to listen to William tell stories. He has the most fun ideas about things. When it came time to mow around the trees William wanted off of the mower. He told me that when he buys a house in a couple of years that he wasn't going to have any trees in his yard. Then he asked how many more years it would be before he could get his own house. It seemed to disappoint him when he found out that it could be as many as 15 years before he got his own house.


View from the back Porch
    Spring is in full bloom and the days are getting longer. We get to spend more time together and William and Lucky are both getting up earlier and complaining about going to bed before the sun goes down. Lucky has been barking to get out of his crate in the mornings lately. I expect this is because he sees the sun up for so long in the morning. If we make the slightest sound he starts barking to get out. I am looking forward to having fun with William this summer. I am planing to take him camping, to the beach and to other fun places. I really love summer. I am going to work on William to try and get him to ride his bike without training wheels this year. When I took them off last year he wouldn't try to ride his bike anymore. Every kid needs to learn how to ride a bike.

Enjoying the simple things in life together,

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 ...