Happy Holidays Friends!
2008 has seen us through an extensive aquarium flood, a hailstorm, a new (well, used) boat, a
helicopter ride, a couple of roadtrips, a new school year, the stock market crash, and new milestones
for each of the kids - and more.
In March we vacationed along the Texas Gulf Coast in a rented beach condo with another family with
equally rowdy kids – it was a blast! We took our newly-acquired boat on the trip, in spite of the
warnings about the salt water, and were glad we did because we got to get up close with ginormous
ocean tankers and dolphins. The town where we stayed, Surfside City, was hit hard by Hurricane Ike
but the house we stayed in is reportedly intact. We were surprised to find that out since it sure did
creak and groan in the wind while we were there.
In June we took advantage of Jay’s Sabre flight benefits for the last time ever as the benefit was
discontinued on June 30th. We brought Andy’s best pal Eric with us and flew stand-by to Vancouver.
We drove to Seattle, attended a Chromosome 15 Family Camp near Yakima, Washington, rode
ferries, watched seaplanes, explored, and generally acted like tourists. Amy and Andy in particular
did not want to come home. Amy fell in love with the lush scenery and climate, and Andy with the
seaplanes. We hope to go back one day to more thoroughly explore the San Juan Islands.
In August we took the pop-up camper (26 years old and still intact if not attractive) on a road trip to
Iowa and Wisconsin to see aunts, uncles, cousins, and model airplanes (sense a trend?) It was
interesting to see the damage caused by the June flooding in Iowa. Andy hit it off with Jay’s Uncle
Glenn over a shared interest in model planes. We all were amazed by Amy’s Uncle’s “home Indian
museum” in Wisconsin.
Jay is now in his 12th year at Sabre. Sabre has had to cut back bonuses in this economy to keep from
laying-off anyone, but it is still a good place to work and we have lots of work to do. He is trying to
work-from-home two days a week and succeeds for the most part. He is also growing as he confronts
getting his work done versus working on side projects that are more fun. He is also still serving as
Activities Coordinator and sort of an assistant den leader for Andy’s Cub Scout Pack, and helping
Andy’s swim team with the electronic timing equipment at meets. Allergies cause his asthma to flare
at times, but he is much better than he was in previous years.
Amy spends most days enjoying Katie’s last year of fun and play before Kindergarten. When Katie
is in preschool, Amy is busy with Special Ed PTSA responsibilities and keeping the household
running. Amy is still working at Trinity in Carrollton two days per week, but eyeing the new Presby
Flower Mound that is being built a very short distance from our house. We have a “kidsitter” that
comes 2 days a week, which allows Amy to work or get stuff done and even allows for a date-night
here and there, although we really don’t know what to do or how to act when out without kids.
Andy is 8 and in the third grade at Flower Mound Elementary. He is smart and loves school, which
has gotten more challenging and interesting this year. Andy has a laid-back male teacher (hallelujah!)
whose style and sense of humor appeals to Andy. He is in the chess club after school, which Mom
helps with. Tournament play is around the corner! Andy also still swims for Lakeside Aquatic Club.
Last spring, just before Andy turned 8, he started swimming as a 10-&-under instead of an 8-&-under
(by choice) so that he could attempt to reach time standards and have more competition. He swims 4
days a week and is impressively physically fit for an 8-year-old. Andy is also active in Cub Scouts as
a Bear this year. After school, he can be found biking, drawing, building airplanes and airports, or
playing Flight Simulator. He would like to add more sports and guitar lessons to that lineup, but alas,
Mom has not figured out how to put more hours in the day – or money in the budget. Andy’s 8th
birthday in May found him flying with a young pilot in a helicopter out of Addison Airport. He
currently plans to be a pilot when he grows up – in his words, “a corporate charter sea plane pilot in
Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands” to be specific.
Ryan is 6 now and has made amazing progress this year. He spent the summer mostly in the pool
swimming doggie-paddle all over the place. This is a good thing, since he was sort of asked not to return
to Special Olympics swimming – long story, but we have another plan for next summer. He still rides at
SpiritHorse, and last spring he participated in a special needs gym class. He had been tagging along on
Dad’s trail-a-bike, but was recently gifted a special tricycle by a charity group. Now he is able to ride a
bike of his own (and he is fast!) and he just loves it. Ryan is still at Flower Mound Elementary in a
Special Ed class focusing on communication skills. We could not be more pleased with his placement
and education in our public school here in LISD. He qualified for a Medicaid Waiver Program called
MDCP last fall and, as a result, he now gets in-home speech and occupational therapy 4 days a week, in
addition to funding which provides our regular “kidsitter” (as Andy and Katie call her since they insist
they are not babies.) Ryan is saying more words spontaneously and some sentences – not sure if this is
due to natural development or the increase in 1:1 therapy or both, but it’s exciting! Along with the words
seems to also be some more comprehension, concept of past and future, ability to understand simple
reasoning, and overall fewer behavior problems and meltdowns. A prime example is our stand-by flight
to Vancouver. We waited 12 hours to get out of DFW and changed gates a handful of times, even went
through the international security checkpoint, and Ryan merrily pulled his suitcase along with the other
kids and cooperated. Not too long ago, we would have had to either medicate him or leave him behind in
order to make a long trip like that. It is nice to finally be able to do some normal family stuff, and even
nicer to see Ryan enjoying these activities.
Katie is 4 and attends preschool at a local church on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. She has 16 kids
in her class and loves it. She is shy at first with this and all activities, but once she warms up, she loves to
write, draw, paint, do crafts, and try to get her favorite boys to chase her. She has been reading very early
reader books like “Dick and Jane” since late summer, so we are working on that at home. Katie loves
stories and likes to hear about Mom and Dad’s childhood adventures and mishaps. She also learned how
to ride her bike without training wheels this fall, which she now just has to do daily, including shooting
down a neighbor’s steep driveway at top speed. She also takes Gymnastics classes at Excite two days per
week and swims at Aquakids once a week. She tried LAC, Andy’s swim team, for 2 weeks but at her age
it was just too much for her and since we’d like her to continue her love of swimming, it seemed best not
to push it. Katie is energetic, creative, and artistic, and each day she wakes up she is either playing with
the cats, drawing pictures of houses, or asking what we are going to do today.
We hope that this letter finds you healthy, joyful and fulfilled, and that your holidays are filled with the
blessings of peace, love, family, and friends.
All our love,
Jay, Amy, Andy, Ryan, & Katie
And Snowy & Sasha the cats & Sonic the ferret