Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Katie's Apex basketball end of season ceremony

Katie loves her basketball and the end of season closing ceremony was none the less fun too! :) They had a magician come in and give his show and called all the kids up to receive thier medals for participating in the league.

Katie with her team up on the stage, waiting to receive thier medals from thier coach.

Katie up close with her medal around her neck, still on the stage:

They then had a magicians show and all of the kids enjoyed that, including Meaghan and Alex. Rei was a good girl and laid her head on the back pack and snoozed through the whole deal until she needed to go out for break around 8:30.

Rei with her head on the back pack:

Katie after the program in her jersey shirt and her medal, grinning from ear to ear!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Trip to the Children's Museum with best friends!

Anne Marie called and asked if we wanted to go to the children's museum with the girls, since Katie and Leah both had a 1/2 day of school. Since it's so hard to get the two of them together, now that they are in different schools and we aren't in the same bible study group anymore, I said sure, lets have a go of it.

We took off and was there for the afternoon and had a blast, especially at Lego Castle. It had a lot of interactive and play dress up stuff that all the girls LOVED, Katie, Leah, Norah, & Kara.

I was also able to get some really good pictures with the camera that day too and Rei was being her photogenic self as well! :)

Warm weather springs- outside time!

The kids have been itching with cabin fever and we took up on the opportunity to play outdoors in the nice warm spell we had.

Katie Plays Apex Sports Basketball

Katie loves playing basketball and has played several seasons now with our church league. Here some shots of her playing.

A pretty good shot of us in the peanut gallery, taken by Meaghan:

Cool guitar

Katie had to build an instrument for a project at school. So she wanted to make a guitar. She and Mike worked hard on this together and it really came out cool!

Goodness, I think I've hit that wall of exhaustion....

It has been an amazing but extremely busy, crazy, frustrating, and wipe out few weeks.

We've accomplished the following things since March 11th:

Built a guitar
Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea for Mike- resulting in a CPAP machine
Testified to the House of Representatives Committee hearing
Played basketball
Great Banquet Weekends- mens & womens
two birthday parties
St. Patricks Day party
Bible Study Groups
Small group connection event
Testified to the Indiana Senate committee hearing
Played outside in 70 degree weather (yes it's IN so it was in the 30's yesterday)
Went to the children's museum
Katie's basketball end of season ceremony
Ate breakfast with Katie at school
Volunteered a half day in Katie's classroom
Soccer season started for Katie & Alex- practices on Wednesday & Thursdays
Re-doing alex's bedroom
sort of spring cleaning the house- put away humidifiers, pull out the lawn furniture, pick things up, etc
swapping out winter/summer clothes
Spring break- Katie is in Washington DC this week with Grandma and Grandpa!
Had a bad day- took out a little kid at church (unintentionally of course!)
Working on arrangements and planning for the InDBA April meeting and summer DB workshop coming up.
Oh yeah- OT at work for Mike
Meaghan starts gymnastics tonight.

Phew! and some more to go. ;) So I'm here in my fav spot on the couch and curling up with the laptop and trying to update. I apoligize in advance, I'm tired so not going to do descriptions on my pictures as I normally do!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Senate Committee Hearing a SUCCESS!!!!

There were 6 dogs in a somewhat small room- a golden, 3 black labs, a yellowlab, and a siberian husky. There were a lot of people standing, as the roomwas beyond full. House Representative Leonard and sponsoring SenatorStutzman both introducted the bill and discussed it. Then they opened the floor to the testimonies, which Gary started off with his statements that he's been receiving contact after contact about various people being forcedto leave places of employment and from school functions because of thier dogs. He gave several examples and the senators were just shaking thier heads.

Then I was called to testify. I was sitting directly behind the table where Representatives Leonard and Senator Stutzman were sitting, and then Senator Alting, committee chair, said that I was welcome to stay seated. I quickly thanked him for that, as I had dogs on both my right and left.

I did my testimony a little different this time and it played out perfectly. The bill was the last one to be heard and it was late afternoon-which the Senators- a panel of 11 were all bored silly and ready to go. They had moved one bill until next week and one of the bill heard before the service dog bill was about schools so the people on that bill talked a LONG time on it. Which several Senators were up and down, out of the room, chatting with other Senators and so forth.

Here is a picture of it:

I had prepared my testimony- printing it out on a half sheet of paper. Then I put it on a landscape sheet of construction paper and then took a holepunch and puched 4 holes in the shape of a rectangle at the bottom. I had ordered a bag of natural white sugar candy sticks that were about 6 inches long. I then took red curling ribbon and fed through the holes I'd punched so that I laid the candy stick horizontally on the and then the ribbon crossed over the top of the stick maiking a red "X" on the white candy stick laying on the black construction paper.

So back to the hearing- I started off addressing Mr. Chairman and then Ladies and Gentleman of the committee, and then said that I'd brought them all an afternoon snack, some sugar candy to perk things up. There was a round of laughter with that. I then gave my testimony which was pretty similar to what I'd said the last time, though I added at the end, that I asked for thier support of this bill and that I asked that they didn't force me to use the white cane, which is represented on my handout as the candy stick, and to please support this bill. You could see the light bulbs allgoing off and the chuckling as they realized what had just transpired.

In my testimony, I stressed that the cane did not work for me and that Rei *IS* my independence and that it bothers me that my state can tell me that I can't come into my kids' schools and that should I return to the work force, that employers are currently able to keep me out, solely because I use a guide dog. I stressed that the way the law currently reads, that even though I have college degrees, have worked in the past, and am an active member of my community, that I am able to be excluded because of the language of the current law. One of the senators muttered under his breath, "Why are we here? This is ADA?!?!?" In an exclaimation of hearing these stories.

The next lady to testify, had testified at the last hearing being a mom of twin boys with cognative and visual impairments as well and she built upon my testimony, saying that the reason we were all in the room today, was that it really comes down to education of the public and so forth, but that because of the current language of the law, that certain people are allowed to exclude instead of accomodate and that we all wanted this changed.

Lastly the director of ICAN testified building upon all of our testimonies that she worked with adults and kids and talking about the level of training that all of these dogs receive. She explained that before the dogs are even given out to a handler, that the school visits or learns about the different environments such as schools, home, workplaces, etc. that the dog will be working in and they make sure that the dog is matched to fit within those situations. She continued on saying that because any of these places have the right to remove a disruptive dog from thier premises, that the teams are trained to NOT be disruptive. She went on to explain too that they work to educate the people around the new team especially for fear issues and concerns of allergies, noting that very rarely are people deathly allergic to dogs and have to touch the dog in order to react to it, meaning that measures can be easily taken to ensure that the person with allergies and the dog do not have contact.

After that last testimony, Mr. Chairman broke in to thank all of the doghandlers for being present today and the committee were honored to have our presence and that within the state building, that we were all welcome anywhere within the building with our dogs. The senator that represented the Carmel area spoke up and wanted to know about the situation of where the lady was denied access to the school board meeting. Another Senator spoke up about a person that he knew that had a dog and that it made him realize how important the dogs were to those who had them and how much they allow the handler to be independent. He went on to say that as a Senator, that they ( the committee as a whole) needed to do whatever it took to allow those of us with disabilities to have our dogs to be able to do the things that other people do everyday.

They then had the motion to vote, which was quickly seconded, and then they voted to pass the bill on to the floor, 11-0! :D

Whooo Hoooooooo!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Update on IN Service Dog Bill HB1603- Hearing this week in the Senate!

Hello all!

The hearing is on Wednesday, the committee hearing starting at 1:30pm. I have been able to arrange transportation and will be there again with Rei. :)

Please write to the committee members below and ask for thier support of this bill. We also have three Senate Sponsors including: Senators Stutzman, Kruse and Becker It sounds like we do have the support of Senator Alting- the committee chair, with this article that Gary Johnson- the gentleman who initiated this bill, came across:


If you are not in Indiana, PLEASE send this information on to anyone you know in Indiana and ask them to write and ask for the support of this bill! This can be friends, family, or other service animal users. I have listed the committee members below and the link on how to email and contact them below. We need your help to get this passed to the senate floor!

Thanks so much for all of your help! We are getting there!

AGENDA FOR: Commerce, Public Policy & Interstate Cooperation

MEETING: March 18, 130PM, Room 431

CHAIR: Alting


MEMBERS: Becker R.M., Delph, Merritt, Stutzman, Waltz, Zakas, Deig R.M.M.,
Arnold, Skinner, Taylor

AGENDA: HB1289 HB1376 HB1524 HB1603

Who the Committee Members are and how to contact them:

Senator Ron Alting SD 22 Tippecanoe County

Senator Vanetta Becker R.M. SD 50 Vanderburgh/Warrick Counties
Senator Mike Delph SD 29 Hamilton/Marion Counties
Senator James Merritt, Jr. SD 31 Marion County
Senator Marlin Stutzman SD 13 Dekalb, Kosciusko, LeGrange, Noble, & Steuben Counties
Senator Brent Waltz SD 36 Johnson/Marion Counties
Senator Joe Zakas SD 11 Elkhart/St. Joseph Counties
Senator Bob Deig R.M.M., SD 49 Mount Vernon
Senator Jim Arnold SD 8 La Porte/St. Joseph Counties
Senator Tim Skinner SD 38 Terre Haute
Senator Greg Taylor SD 33 Indianapolis

Here the link to look up and email these committee members along with your own senators to ask them to support this bill! :)

Look up and email these senators!

Here is the link to look up who is your own senator:

Who is my senator?

Thank you ALL for your support of this!
Kacie & Rei

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Update on the family,

Alex's fever broke overnight and while he still had a bit of a cough, he we fine and went back to preschool this morning. Yeah! I was ready for the kid free time again!

Today, I met up with Anne Marie and we went to the Moms to Moms group at church and got to meet up with other moms and discuss things as being Moms. :) Rei was such a good girl and laid quietly at my feet for the meeting, just putting her head up a few times for a reassuring pat.

After the meeting, we went up to the church offices for some business Anne Marie had and got to visit with several of the staff there in the office. Of course they doted on Rei and Anne Marie's youngest daughter- who is just absolutely adorable. :)

We left the church and headed to walmart to enjoy a Subway lunch in the store- I was good and got only a sandwich and was cautious of what I had put on the sandwich. Mike and I have both been trying to work out and be better about what we eat, since we BOTH are seriously trying to lose weight now. More on Mike's situation in a few, but I was good there and then we did our shopping in Wally world. I picked up some easter gifts for the kids and poster boards for the upcoming Disabilities Weekend booth we'll have in a couple of weeks. Anne Marie didn't find everything she was needing, so we went across the way over to the Dollar store and shopped there as well. By this point it was getting close to 3pm, so we figured we'd better get a move on so we would both be home by the time our kiddos got home from school. We headed back to the house and chatted a little bit longer and then she went on home.

Not too much longer, Katie came home, then Mike came home and we waited for Sue to pick up Katie for her monthly night with Grandma and Grandpa. Mike and I took off after that back to the church to go work out in the gym, which was pretty busy and we only had 30 minutes to do so- in order to pick up Meaghan and Alex by 6pm. So I did one circuit on the weights, of which I'm feeling it a little bit now,and will probably really feel it tomorrow. But I'll admit, I felt better after doing it, being loosened up and feeling a little more energy. Mike did the weights too and hoping he didn't overdo it. ;)

We picked up the kids and then went to Sports Clips, where Mike and Alex got haircuts and Meaghan and I walked to the Pet Supply place a few doors down and checked out all the critters that were there- the gerbils, hamsters, mice, geckos, crabs and even a white bunny. :) Rei's nose was going wild with all the intriguing smells, so it was some good practice for her on listening as well.

We then went to Rockstar pizza for dinner and ordered the kids a personal pizza to split and Mike and I each had sub sandwiches. I again tried to go with the healthier item on the menu- not completely there but of what was on the list was the better option, being the Honey teriakyi chicken. And it was delicious! Rei just conked out cold under the table since she'd been in harness pretty much all day and in and out of a van. At least the poor baby got to come home and curl up on the new microfiber blanket I picked up for her on clearance at walmart.

Mike's stuff- He does quite a bit of snoring when he's first going to sleep. Which he snores so loud that as a person with 110-115 decibel hearing loss, I can hear and feel it and it keeps me awake at night. With some repeated complaints and a promise to go to the Dr. after the first of the year, along with Mike being tired of being tired all the time, he went and went for a sleep study and had some bloodwork done to rule out various things. The blood work came back with a few numbers being higher than they like to see, however the dr said that if there was regular exercise, then we should see those numbers drop easily into the desireable ranges- hence the exercising and trying to be good on the diet. The sleep study itself was last week, of which the techs said he didn't really have that many apneic events. So with the appointment we have on Monday, we'll see what the sleep dr has to say.

Whether he winds up on a CPAP machine or something else, I just pray that they come up with something to help him feel rested. Currently he's tired ALL the time, had dark circles under his eyes and most of the time tends to have a short fuse with both myself and the kids. He tries hard, but no one is perfect when they aren't rested. So I just hope that something can be done to improve his rest, so that we can have the happy and rested dad/hubby back again that there once was.

In other news, since the SSDI has come in and with our tax return, we were able to pay off our van! whoo hoo! No car payment! This is such a huge relief for us, as that puts less of a burden upon Mike's shoulders to have to maintain a certain level of pay, should his job disappear in this floundering economy! Prais the Lord for that for sure!

Well it's late and I need to head to bed and get ready for the upcoming Partners in Policymaking session this weekend during the day tomorrow. It is going to be all about assistive technology, so I'm really, really excited to go to this one and hope to network for some resources for our upcoming InDBA Workshop we'll be having later this summer. :)

Night all and hugs and licks from both of us!

Katie's Baptism & Meaghan & Mike's Birthdays

Ok this is a little late, but better late than never right? Right! :)

Katie had accepted Jesus in her heart within the last year and in the last few months, she had been asking about being baptised. With moving to the Power Time room at church- the big kids Sunday School, they talked quite a bit about being baptised and so forth, so more and more she was asking about being baptised. She finally got to being pretty impatient with us and we checked into it. So Mike took her to the class at church that she needed to take and since she still wanted to be baptised, we set a date and asked her best friend's Dad, Kent, also the Outreach Minister at our church, to baptise her. And then came the cool part, we were able to set it up that she was baptised on Valentine's day and she was thrilled with that in showing her love and acceptance of God by being baptised on this day. :)

Here is the video of her being baptised:

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Prior to going to the church for the baptism, we had Dad's side of the family over for Mike and Meaghan's birthdays.

Meaghan sitting at the island decorated with birthday stuff, snacks and such, blowing out the candles on a white iced cake. Mike is standing behind her overlooking her trying to blow out the candles.

Meaghan and Mike both did well with clothes, a drill, and giftcards. :)