Thursday Oct 30, 2008

Boo! 2008

Kids have school off tomorrow for Nevada Day, so today was costume day.  No face makeup allowed according to the school district though, so not as fun as they will be tomorrow.  I prefer cute to scary anyways.

Here's Laney as a Scary Fairy

Scary Fairy

Mags as a Ghost Bride

Ghost Bride

Cami as a Pretty Witch

Pretty WItch

And Bellamy as her favorite thing in the whole world.  A strawberry!



Cami and Bell

Wednesday Sep 24, 2008

First Day of School for Bellamy

First Day Of School!

Bellamy starts school today, a little more than a week after she turned 3 years old.  This is a picture of me saying goodbye as we have a bit (read "a lot") of separation anxiety even when I leave the room, so we felt it best for Mom to take her alone.   Bellamy is entering the program for kids with Autism in the Clark County School District.  She'll be going from 9 AM until 3 PM, 5 days a week.  My wife talked to the mother of a child that went through the program and now he's a "typical" kid (by standardized tests) that is actually in my 7 year old daughters class.  You'd never guess that when he started the program he was diagnosed with Autism and had zero speech.  We will also continue with the private occupational, behavioral, and speech therapies that we've been doing since about March.  She's going to be one busy 3 year old.

We are hopeful, excited, and scared all at the same time.  We've seen great progress over the last 6 month, and can't wait to see how she will grow.  Maybe in a couple years you'll be reading this blog and the topic will be about coaching her soccer team and how she scored her first goal.  Fingers crossed!

Wednesday Feb 27, 2008

Future Debate Team Members

Overheard this evening while my daughters were discussing all things Disney

9 Year Old:  There's only a few characters that I think are real.  Basically I only think the princesses are real.

7 Year Old: What!?? You don't think Mickey Mouse is real?

9 Year Old: He's a guy in a costume.  He was invented by Walt Disney.

7 Year Old: If he's not real, how does he shoot fireworks out of his fingers?

4 Year Old:  Yeah!

Sunday Feb 24, 2008

Family Portrait

Mi Familia

Thursday Feb 21, 2008


Playing with Food

Monday Feb 18, 2008

Typical Tween

All Gone?

Apparently the above is enough ice cream to save in a twelve year old girls mind.  Same goes for a box a cereal with one of two pieces left in it or an empty 12 pack of soda.  I'm still debating if she's just too lazy to take it to the trash or it's a mental thing about not being the one who "finished" it.  Seems the latter as 1/2 the time she goes through the effort to put the empties back.

Update:  My wife says this time it's probably the work of a 9 year old and her BFF.


Thursday Feb 14, 2008

Just another crazy day

Made pizza for the girls
And Ahi for you and I
Just about to sit down to eat
The baby starts to cry
I change her and calm her and it's up the stairs to play
You can't wait for me because there is soccer practice today
You're out the door, I dine alone
Valentines is just another crazy day in this place we call home.

(and I wouldn't have it any other way!)

Monday Feb 11, 2008



Monday Feb 04, 2008

A great week-end

Sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses.  Bellamy had a great week-end and we even had some spontaneous speech.  The best was when we were looking at vacation photos via the Tivo and she saw one of her and mom and said "momma!".  May seem like a little thing, but it's huge in our world.  We also had "dog", "pig", and "ball".  To the untrained ear, it might have sounded like "da", "pi", and "ba", but we knew what she was trying to say.

Workouts were really good.  I've gotten mostly over a cold/sinus thing that if I were a betting man I would have put $50 on strep.

And to top it off, what a great Super Bowl!  The Giants defense was incredible.

Actually the "cherry on top" (even though not technically the week-end anymore) was my tween daughter giving me a hug this morning on the way out the door.  Most of the time, I feel as I'm viewed as a moron through the know it all eyes of a 12 year old going on 20.  ;)

Wednesday Jan 30, 2008

Just one of those weeks

Let's see here...Three visits to the pediatrician as the kids pass something around.  Three of the exact same prescription for each kid, which of course there is no generic and is at the maximum range of our co-pay.  Ch-Ching!

Same sickness has now been passed on to me and my wife have.  My throat is on fire and I'm congested.  I'm supposed to step on a plane this afternoon, but I really hate to do that as the cabin pressure drives these types of things deeper.

The second ABR test for Bellamy failed since she would not fall asleep (again).  After the we could not get her sedated for first test the audiologist asked the ENT to up the dosage, which he refused.  Sleep deprivation coupled with a late appointment was the answer.  Late to bed and up early and no nap, that's the ticket!  She fell asleep in the car for about 10 minutes, woke up right at the time of the test.  And by woke up I mean in a state of panic and terror as she is scared of doctors offices.  Fun!

On the Bellamy front both my wife and I are just plain mentally and emotionally exhausted.  We just want something to go right.  And really a lot does go right, it's just hard to see sometimes.  It's very aggravating that I've cancelled two trips around these tests only to be no closer to an answer.  I really don't like disappointing anybody.

On a not so serious note, but drives me crazy none the less.  The cleaning ladies (we have a service that comes in once every two weeks and does a "deep clean") seemed to have hit ever wrong button possible on my alarm clock while cleaning.  Theoretically an alarm went off, but the volume was set to zero to some spot on the AM dial that probably hasn't seen a broadcast in years.  That resulted in a mad scramble to get everyone out the door on time. 

The only good thing that came out of it made me miss the gym, which in this case is a good thing because I'm sick and I really do need the rest.  I just feel so guilty about rest when there is so much to do.

Oh yeah and twitter was down.  OK, I'm done complaining for the day.

Wait, no I'm not.  It's only Wednesday?  You've got to be kidding.

Friday Jan 25, 2008

Naked Enthusiasm

When was the last time you were this excited to be naked?  Did you catch air?  I think she thought she was going swimming.  Sorry kid, it's just bath time.


Silly Socks

It's "Silly Sock Day" at Campbell's school.  Maggie has the day off for Teacher in-service, so she's going in to be a "helper".

Silly Socks

Friday Jan 18, 2008

Leaky Bottle

And you thought you were having a bad hair day.

Thursday Jan 17, 2008

History Brush Fun

Wednesday Jan 16, 2008

Cheeseburger In Paradise

From kids menu at the Hula Grill in Ka'anapali.


View from their barefoot bar... (Wallpaper worthy, click on it to DL the big pic from Flickr)

Final note, if you are into fish tacos order some of their Chili Water.  It is outstanding.

Donuts with Dad

Today was Donuts with Dad day at Maggie and Delaney's Elementary School.

Thursday Jan 10, 2008

Regarding Bellamy



Many of you that follow this blog or me on twitter probably have read me mention some issues with our youngest daughter, Bellamy. 

Here's the story so far...

It started this past summer when she was about 18 months old.  My wife and I realized that she wasn’t talking much, this coming after several other "delays" we noticed such as walking much later than any of her sisters did.  After consulting with our pediatrician, she recommended that we take her to the state of Nevada's Early Intervention Services to be evaluated.  After 4 other children, you get used to certain milestones and Bellamy just wasn't hitting them.  If you were to listen to family and friends the cause would be due to the fact "she doesn't have to talk, her sisters do it for her".  We weren't buying it.  Like I said, we've been through this four times prior, we know what to expect.

Through the NEIS evaluations we found that she was at least 50% delayed in speech and communication.  She also had quite a few developmental red flags that are sometimes seen with autism.  Also through the  NEIS we were able to be seen by a developmental pediatrician.  Parents whose children show signs of autism will understand how limited the resources are and how hard it can be to find a "specialist".  When you do, good luck on seeing said specialist within a year and good luck having your insurance pay for anything.  But that's a rant for another day.  We are extremely fortunate that Nevada has such a good program with some really good people involved.

The doctor felt that Bellamy did not have autism, but possibly a hearing problem.   From infancy, Bellamy had one ear infection after another, and we came to find out that she had fluid trapped in her ears for an extended period of time.  Simply put, she probably couldn't hear much at all for almost 10 months straight.  The next stop was to an Ear, Nose and Throat doc.  Ear tubes were placed, and adenoids were removed.  We were told that we should expect to see results in about three months.  Well, it’s been three months, and although we have seen some progress, we haven’t seen anything dramatic.  In the meantime, she wants to communicate so badly that she gets frustrated very easily.  This has lead to her pulling her hair out and a lot of heartbreak.  In fact I joke frequently (to hide the pain) that she has "anger pattern baldness".  She also has some other outlets for her frustration that breaks a parents heart, such as banging her head against tile floors when she gets upset.  With a child that cannot communicate properly, figuring out what is upsetting them is almost as frustrating for the parent as it is for the child.

We went back in to ENT this week and we had another "failed" test.  Not because Bellamy actually failed the test, it's because she doesn't understand what is happening and gets upset.  Things deteriorate rapidly when she gets upset, and because of this we are always on pins and needles anytime we take her out in public.  Public "meltdowns" where your kid starts pulling their own hair out and head butting you get old very fast.  I won't even go into the "looks" you get from others.  They have no idea, but that doesn't matter as their "looks" make you feel like a failure.  The ENT has prescribed a sedated hearing exam called an ABR that will measure her brain response to sound.  This will let us know once and for all if she can hear and process any, some or all sounds.  Hopefully this will take place next week (thus the cancellation of my trip to France).  In a highly condensed nutshell, this is where we stand at this point. 

At three years old she will be re-evaluated by the developmental pediatrician, and then we’ll know at that point if the diagnosis has changed.  In the meantime NEIS has behavioral, speech, and occupational therapists visit our house every week to work with Bellamy.  For the most part, she really enjoys these sessions as do we.  Even with all the frustration and meltdowns, Bellamy is mostly a happy kid.  She loves playing with her sisters, running around, jumping on the trampoline, playing peek a boo, and most of all finger painting.  It's tough on a parent though, especially for my wife to have never heard your child say "ma-ma" let alone mommy.  She does say da-da a lot, but we've found that really doesn't mean me.  Her speech is fairly limited to "ba" and "da" sounds, although she does have a few others such as "ning" when she is really mad.  We work on speech therapy daily and love when she makes new sounds.

Please keep Bellamy in your thoughts and prayers, and I will keep you updated on her progress.

Tuesday Jan 01, 2008

My Resolutions

Happy New Year to all my friends, old and new!  Above all else, I wish you good health and happiness throughout 2008.  Here are my resolutions for the new year:


  • Be the best husband, father, son, and brother that I can be


  • Keep doing what I've been doing
  • Get to < 10% body fat


  • Document, document, document
  • Travel less, but be more connected with my customers.

Thursday Dec 13, 2007

Benefits of Working from Home

#7,783: Having your two year old still in her fuzzy PJ's push aside your computer and climb up into your lap.



Wednesday Dec 12, 2007

Christmas Cuteness Redux

In Christmas Cuteness Part I, the world saw a little glimpse into the world of Campbell.  She's back for an encore, this time it takes her a bit to get warmed up but then she cooks.  For a little "attitude" watch for the "You ain't ready for this Jelly" head shake at about 1:28 in.


My name is Craig Bender aka ThinGuy. I'm a Principal Software Developer for Oracle's Virtual Desktop Engineering group.

I architect and evangelize the use of Oracle's Desktop technology including Sun Ray, Secure Global Desktop, and Oracle VDI.


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