Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friday to the Folks

On Friday, Lee & I took Connor with us to visit with Mom & Pop. Trevor & Diana both had homework to do, so we left them at Myrna & Doug's to get that stuff done.
We had a nice visit with the folks. We even got Pop hooked up on Facebook, and I'm looking forward to reading his posts :)
While we were busy with that, Connor was playing the organ for Grandma. He was actually repeating little sets of notes, and it sounded like a song - Lee & I looked at each other a little questioningly with that. Maybe our boy needs a keyboard? Hmmm.

Thanksgiving at Donna & Jim's

Donna & Jim graciously hosted Thanksgiving this year.
I didn't get photos of everyone (?) but in attendance were: Mom & Pop Kiester; Karen with daughters Megan & Collyn + Collyn's fiance, Scott; Myrna & Doug, Crystal & Daniel (Jon is in Colorado); Kraig & Nancy, Jeff & Amber (Karrie & Shane and their sons were at Shane's family); and Donna & Jim, Brian & Anthony (Marla, Braymer & kids are in Mesa, AZ).

We played Dance Dance Revolution on the Wii that Diana had brought; we watched the games on Jim's new TV (with resolution so good you can see the individual beads of sweat on the atheletes, as well as the individual blades of grass on the turf); we ate a LOT of really good food & did a lot of visiting & laughing.
Myrna & Doug were nice enough to let our family stay with them through Saturday & the tree hunt. We got to visit with the folks on Friday for a while & we had a good time there as well :) Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Celebration of Caring 2009

Every year, I get a ticket (this year it was $16.50) to attend this United Way fundraiser. Macy's opens to ticket holders from 6:00 to 10:00 pm, and the whole store is pretty much on sale (except their 'everyday value' items). When you walk in the door, they hand you an additional 20% off card as well - just for that night.

The aisles of the store are set up with tables from local wineries & restaurants, caterers, etc. This year seemed to be mostly dessert (what a shame! lol). There were at least 12 wineries, if not more. Most give you just a small sample in a little cup, but Henry Estate is always more generous - I love Henry's :)

Since I was there at the very beginning, I was able to scope out what was available right off the bat. The tricky bit was actually savoring the wine before I got to the next sample :P I wanted to find the 'real' food before I got into the desserts though. The smoked salmon was awesome, and the parsnip soup was really nice. I got some good sauteed mushrooms and great garlic dip with veggies too.

By that time, my buddy for the evening, Kathe, had found me in the milieu so I took her to the 'real' foods before we got in line for our back massages. :) Kathe filled out silent auction forms for various things while I held her place. I was really relaxed by the end of my supposed-to-be-five-but-went-15 minute massage :)

We then started in on desserts - now we had to wait in the lines, but that's fine - that's why you bring a buddy :) There was a nice ramen soup we hit in the middle of it all, which was very nice, but they'd just run out of tofu. I'll have to look for them earlier next time. Of course, we're still sampling wine while we're getting the desserts...

After we hit Umpqua Ice Cream for Egg Nog & Pumpkin Pie Spice ice cream, I was full. Hee. Now it was time to start shopping!

I typically get socks because, #1 I like nice socks, and #2 they have good ones that last in a great variety. However, with Lee's weight loss this year, I wanted to find him a nice shirt. Well, when I say 'nice' I mean good-quality shirt he can use for work. I found him a long-sleeved polo that usually sells for $38. With the discounts & that 20% off card, it was only $11 & change - :D I also decided to get a sweater for me, because for whatever reason, I don't think I have enough :) My sweater was a different original sale, but same starting price, for $15 & change. Sweet!

As the vendors run out of food & wine, they pack up their stuff & leave. The ones that brought extra are more than happy to give you a hefty sample now, so they can go too. This was the first year I didn't get back to Henry's for the BIG cup of wine :P That's okay though.

The last part of the evening is the drawing from the ticket stubs. When I bought my ticket last Friday, I went to the actual United Way office, and they put my stub right into the rolling see-through bin thing. So I knew my stub was in there for sure. I have never been drawn in the seven years I've been going to this event.

They start off with items you can buy at Macy's - most things are at least $50 in value, but many are about $200. I don't buy perfume, but they looked like nice sets they were giving out. I didn't want any of those though. I like the stuff from housewares or clothing more :)

You do need to be present to win the door prizes, and many people have already left by then. Kathe stuck it out with me and we waited to hear if our names would be called. When the Oregon Ducks hooded sweatshirt & t-shirt came up, I was hoping for that - since Diana is a Duck and it's fun to wear that stuff in Eugene :) No dice. Then they were on the same thing for the Beavers (rival Oregon team). First name - no one claimed it. Second name - no one claimed it. The announcer figured they were all Duck fans and wouldn't step up :P Third name - was ME!!

As I walked up there to claim the shirts, I said, "But my daughter's a DUCK!" The manager turned to me & said, "You can exchange it in the men's section, if you'd like." So I said, "Thanks very much!" and took my prize. Yay!!

Kathe didn't win anything this year - she won the very first year she ever came, and hasn't since. I think I'll make sure she gets her ticket for next year at the United Way office. Worked for me!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happenings in the 'Burg

Last week, we got our first student. I'm being told that we're in the 'honeymoon' phase of his time with us, since he's really not exhibiting most of the behaviors that got him placed with us. This week we started a new girl as well. She's got a shorter fuse, but has been able to turn her attitude around when things have gotten dicey. That's due more to the teacher's skill in de-escalating behavior than anything else. There's another boy starting soon as well. The teacher is getting a little concerned about teaching 3 cirriculums in one classroom now since these guys are all different age levels. Kind of like homeschooling, only with out-of-control kids that you're not allowed to discipline as if you were their parent... lol. So we have a skills trainer in the room with us, but she's already told me she's feeling overwhelmed (?!).

So that's my work life - at least I'm not being shoved off to different places anymore and I have my own desk & space. The computers are very restricted however, so I can't even look at blogs, much less post to mine, hence the lack of postings lately.

Once I'm home, I tend to get busy with house & cooking & stuff like that.

Then poor Diana had a thing start up last week. She had a bump that developed into a cyst which was in a very uncomfortable place. She went & had it excised at the college health center on Saturday morning, but even on Vicodin, it was so painful she could barely move. There were also a couple of other bumps that had to burst too :( Then she also developed a cough, which settled into her chest immediately.

Those things together made me want her to come home. So Saturday evening Lee went to Eugene to pick her up. She was really miserable and spent the next two days in bed. The cough got worse over Sunday, so I was really happy she was home with us. She wound up staying through this afternoon and then Lee took her back for her follow-up appointment at the health center.

She missed a couple of days of school and work, but she hopes to be well enough to go to school at least tomorrow. Then hopefully by Thursday she can add in work as well. She took our humidifier with her, because although the cough is almost gone, coughs tend to linger with her.

Connor was supposed to have his IEP 3-year evaluation last week, but his teacher got the flu so we moved it to after Thanksgiving. We'll be heading to Donna's for the family dinner, and spend the weekend with the Wulff's, ending with the tree hunt in the mountains on Saturday. I'm making stuffing dumplings, mushroom gravy & cheesecake for Thanksgiving, Apfelpfannkuchen while we're at Myrna's, and we'll have chili & veggie dogs on the tree hunt. We will be home again Saturday night so we have Sunday to get Diana back to school, and get ready for Advent & everything.

I need to finish Renee's baby shower present & get going on Stollens. Carolyn, you want the almond one again, right? I might make a Mohn stollen too - I got a can of it in Kelowna!! :D

Trevor seems to be doing well in his classes. He's doing Physics, Weight training, Creative Writing & AutoCAD this term. He's enjoying all but the Physics, but he's doing fine with that too.

Lee is just finishing up his Mon/Tues days off, and he will have Fri/Sat off for December & January (which is nice for Christmas & New Years, of course).

So, that's what's going on with us!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day 2009

Lee & I, Trevor & Connor are all off work/school today. Diana is not. Seems the University of Oregon doesn't think this is a worthy holiday. She'll have MLK off tho :P

The four of us at home in town went for a nice walk downtown to enjoy our Veteran's Day Parade. It started a little after 11:00 and lasted until a little after noon. We had a lot of vets in the parade, and a lot on the sidelines as well. I liked how the folks marching would shake hands with the vets lining the streets. There were plenty of Boy & Girl Scouts, and lots of other groups that marched to show support. There were two full high school bands as well. All this with a 90% chance of rain today - well it came, just before & after the actual parade - we were dry for the whole two hours in to town & back home :) yay!

We have a new big hook & ladder to go in our new Fire Station, and all the emergency vehicles used their sirens. People on the 'floats' threw candy, and Connor pretty much kept his ears covered the whole time :) He still managed to get candy tho.

Our dog, Liberty, came with us, but the sirens proved too scary for her, so when the owner of the quilt shop next to us invited Lee & Liberty in, that's where they spent a lot of the parade. The lady in there thought Liberty was just such a great dog! :)

It was interesting for me watching from the sidewalk after all the years marching in the parade with the scouts. I saw a lot of people I know doing different things, from the dog trainers for the blind, to Altrusa, to Relay for Life. I have a lot of volunteering friends :)

So - good walk, good parade, good time. We're glad we went!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Goal-shooting skill

Connor, the Silver Medalist!!

Sunday we drove to Corvallis (home of the Beavers) for the Oregon State Special Olympics. Since Connor is so new to soccer, he was not on a team yet (although he was very anxious to join anyway).
The ground was really muddy with a lot of standing water. It made it hard to make soccer balls roll, and there were a lot of athletes slipping and falling, but everyone was having a great time.

Lunch was provided by Panda Express for the athletes.

Connor took the Silver Medal for the Men's Soccer Skills Competition for the State of Oregon! Whoo Hooo! Go Connor!!!

He also ran around the track a number of times - Poor Kaitlyn, his partner, had to go twice. Lee went twice, and I went once.

It was a very good day!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Connor's Class Crafts

Connor's class has about 6 students with varying degrees of autism, Down's Syndrome and other things that prevent these kids from doing the typical Jr. High kind of stuff. Instead, they are learning how to cook, go shopping, count money & do more craft type things.
The students put together these lovely table centerpieces.

They made all the ornaments, and helped make the dog & cat toys (they couldn't figure out how to braid, but they ripped the fabric and held on while an adult braided for them).

I asked Connor to smile here -- silly boy. He really enjoyed sewing, his teacher said. It was all straight lines, but still - sewing is a good skill!

Any time there was a sale, Connor was to take the money, and count back the change to the customer. He didn't need a lot of help, really. It would have been easier for him if it had been written down or using a calculator - visual stuff is always better for him. But still, he figured the change for a purchase of $8 paid with a $20 was $12.00 :) Good stuff!
That's his teacher in the bottom photo. There was a booth with german sugar-roasted hazelnuts, so we shared those - yummy! Like the Christkindl Markt in Germany!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Little boy with cancer

I had posted something earlier about connecting with Facebook & stuff, and then that you will discover people you knew have some big issues in their lives.

I thought when something came around about a little boy with cancer who was requesting Christmas cards that it was someone personally known to one of my friends. Turns out they were just spreading the word about this little guy.

So if you would like to contribute to the little boy's wish, here's the info to send a card:

Noah Biorkman
1141 Fountain View Circle
South Lyon, MI 48178

It's a valid request - here's the snopes post (and you can even check his carepages if you'd like).

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Sick again!

Connor caught another version of whatever is going around - I've heard besides H1N1, there are 4 other flus or viruses going around our area :/

A few weeks ago, he just had a fever & was tired. A couple of days later, he was fine.

Last night while we were just finishing up watching a show on the DVR, we heard an odd noise coming from his room. Lee went in and found Connor was throwing up - over the side of the bunk bed (at least the room has a hard wood floor). Lee got Connor out and washed up, and I started collecting all the laundry & cleaning up the floor. Three laundry baskets later (comforters are big) and a good floor-washing later, the room didn't have that icky smell anymore.

Connor went to sleep in Diana's bed with a bucket next to him. Trevor used a sleeping bag and we put a towel over the washed down part of his mattress. I've been doing the laundry today.

I stayed home with Connor today. He didn't get up until 9:00 (very unusual for him) and when he did, he had to throw up again. Then he had the dry heaves :( In the afternoon now, it's worked down to diarrhea. He has been drinking water in small sips, and he's had some crackers. So far he hasn't had to vomit again, and I hope he's okay now.

The rule for school is you have to wait 24 hours from the last time the student vomits or has diarrhea - so we'll be home again tomorrow. That's okay - I always have plenty to do when I have a chance to be home!

At least Connor's mood is upbeat. He doesn't complain or whine about throwing up - he pretends to be Calvin (Calvin & Hobbes) and uses lines from the comics from when Calvin is sick. Then he cracks himself up. He's just resting on the couch & watching his favorite movies. The stomache part is the only symptom besides him being more quiet than usual - no fever, chills, sweats or any of that. He's not holding his head like he has a headache or anything either. Weird flu.

I'm washing my hands a lot :)

Monday, November 02, 2009

Neewollah Parade & Wildlife Safari

Toon Link, Princess Zelda, Twilight Princess Link & Steam Punk Jad Then Pilot.

Diana & friends from Japanese club.

He's got a ZAT!! (SG-1 reference). Very cool homemade costume!

Our favorite shop downtown!

Thanks Brett, Nancy & Jerry!

The Incredibles!!

Foxy Diana!

Icing cookies.

Ning's first time trying frosting :)

Llama face!!

Toon Link aka Connor

Hero sword & Hero sheild!

I couldn't get the hair very spikey, but oh well.

I don't know why he's making that face, but I thought it was pretty funny!

Halloween pumpkins

Trevor's 'mad' pumpkin.

Lee's moldy pumpkin (pretty scary toward the end there...). We had a warm Halloween this year - temps in the 50's made for pumpkins trying to get into the compost pile that much faster :)
Diana & her roommate from China, Ning. Ning has only been in the country for a month, and she's never experienced Halloween before - we did our best to let her have as much Halloween as possible :)

Connor in his Toon Link costume - yes, I sprayed his hair yellow-gold :) He liked the pumpkin :)
Oh - check Lee's blog on Oct 26th for our carving of pumpkins last weekend. :)