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

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 ...