Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Update

I've now been sending out weekly updates for more than ten years.  I haven't mentioned them here in awhile, but the latest one was so fun, that I wanted to share.  If there are friends not getting my updates who want to, please just email or leave me a comment and I'm glad to add you.  I also have a smaller list mostly of my kiddo's teachers who get an abbreviated update entitled "Cameron clips".

My latest update (actually longer than usual and not using my frequent format of summarizing then adding a list of good things):


Hello everyone,

I’m feeling so happy, I figured I’d paste everything together and get out the update early.

My child is turning into a flip monster!  After going through the grumbly, complain-y, it's-too-hard-to-try stage at gymnastics, he's having so much success.  And here are a few clips to show that progress:  

He finally has his front flip solidly (did 22 in a row on the trampoline) and moved off the trampoline for the first time (landed it on the floor only once):
He got really upset several times over the last couple months when he found he’d lost the skill after so much effort and had to relearn it.

He progressed on his back flip from requiring the belt assistance to the teacher assistance and then landed a few on his own!

He made huge strides in a social skills area this week too, so I'm in a mommy zone of warm-and-fuzzy, parenting-is-the-greatest-thing-ever bliss!

Second (and he’s proud of this too, so he was glad for me to share with friends and family what I wrote to his IEP team):

I just had a wonderful experience that showed Cameron's growth and is making me feel all smiley glow-y.  I’m copying Ms. Johnson so she knows I shared with you guys.  I think this is such a huge win for his team and for him!

He didn’t want to go to the after school winter concert even though his class was one of the two classes leading / performing.  Of course, as a kiddo with a high-functioning-autism brain, he works super hard at social skills stuff throughout the day and I have never pushed him to attend after-school activities. When I found out that his class was one of those presenting though, I said that I thought he should tell his teacher he didn't plan to go.  This is the email exchange that ensued.  The first time he has written his teacher, he didn't think he could say it.

Dear Mrs. Johnson,

      I do not want to go to the winter concert because i’ve never gone back to school after I finished it. When I get home I like to play. It isn’t just for this concert, I’ve never gone back for after school activities. There was one time I went back to school for an after school activity at another school and got back later then I liked and it wasn’t enough fun. One time in another class my class was picked to stand on the play structure and lead the school in song. It wasn’t any better then singing it on the ground. I’ve enjoyed practicing with you and have sung the songs at home, but I don’t want to spend extra time at the concert. I am writing this letter so you aren’t counting on me to come.

                                                                                                                                      Most Sincerely,

                                                                                                                                      Cameron Miner


I am very sorry that you will not be at our concert. Sometimes we do things not just because they are fun, but because we are part of a group.  It would be a great thing if you would particiapte in some of these events to support your class.  Think about it.

Take Care,
Ms. Johnson

Dear Ms. Johnson,

I see that you are worried about me supporting my classmates. I will participate in both concerts tomorrow therefore supporting my class. I know it would be more supportive to go today also but my quiet evenings are important rests for me on week days. They help my mind cool down from school and make it much easier to focus on school the next day. I hate going to school with a foggy head and I do try to get my work done well.
                                                                                                                                Most Sincerely,
Cameron Miner

And then I wrote Ms. Johnson:
Thank you so much!  This is a huge growth experience for him!  He has spent at least a half hour each on writing these and trying to take different perspectives.  He has deleted multiple excuses after writing them and then thinking about them.  He has tried to be honest and respectful.  He hasn’t complained once about the time or effort; he clearly considers it time well spent.  He went to sleep yesterday after saying that was a hard letter, that he’d written plenty of thank you notes, but it was harder to write something when you knew the person wasn’t going to like what you said.  I’m deeply appreciative of the learning he feels both motivated and safe to accomplish with you.  Thank you so much!

Cameron is growing and I'm just in a super, happy place observing the giant leaps this shows his in social maturity. I wanted to share my gratitude with you!

Third, we got our tree and got it decorated and had a delightful day with friends.
(It’s definitely a “cute antic” that Cameron wore the giant socks given to him by his gym coach.  Finding the lights turned into a spontaneous attic cleaning as Andrew pushed out tons of boxes and stuff which made our house look like a disaster zone.  I have reclaimed downstairs and a hallway and two closets… there’s more to go.  It is also a good thing that I didn’t break my foot when a 10b container of metal beebees fell on it while I was looking for those lights. Both the tree and my foot are colorful.)

Fourth, Andrew’s birthday was delightful!  The cold didn’t hit until after all the celebrating.

Fifth, our power outage was very brief so Andrew could stay home and take it easy as he worked on beating that icky cold.

Sixth, my holiday craft was completed after Andrew taught me how to use the mandolin.  Crazy shipping costs, but this year’s small gifts were handmade “Christmas in a Jar”. (Pdf appended)

Here’s to a holiday of such delights for each of you,


P.S. Cute antics:

• moaning as he came upstairs, "Ohhhh, my belly." (Um, ya, he just ate 5 1/2 cans of lentil soup over one evening.)

• writing this for his literature class, "My computer is like Nat’s Prinicipia.  Its games are as precious as a page of the Principia to me because they’re so fun and exciting. I also bought it with my own money which propels its importance because I spent $500 on it.  My computer is like Nat’s Principia to me.”

(I asked the lady who developed it and she agreed that this could then be strained and honey added for a cozy, tea finale!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday Card and Letter 2014

This year I'm going for the smoother idea of placing our holiday letter online... lots less folding and stuffing.  Here's wishing all our friends and family a glorious holiday season!

Card (click to see larger):

Letter (click to see larger, text below):

Letter Text:

Hello to all our friends and family,
Last year's theme was "we settled” both among the redwoods of the Santa Cruz mountains and among the social settings of work / school.  This year’s big adventure was Andrew founding his own start-up, Redwood Labs, and working on bringing his product vision to  life with Graffer.  It’s not there yet, but he gave himself from March 2014- March 2015… we’ll report!  We also welcomed a guide dog puppy, Tracker, to our home from February - November.  He’s back at the guide dog school in training, so we’ll have his outcome to report on in 2015 too!  Now, let us embark on this year's holiday quiz and see how  well you've been keeping up :)
1. This year Cameron turned:
a) eleven and celebrated by fighting pool noodle battles at the park
b) 111 and reminisced about the Model T
c) 1111 and regaled us with tales of his life as a knight templar

2. Andrew left Groupon, began his start-up and:
a) received his yellow belt in a Korean martial art
b) continued his passion for Minecraft building
c) attending the weddings of two close friends
d) tackled the supreme challenge of teaching Cameron both debate skills and proper handwriting
e) decided he hates MINI Coopers or all of the above

3. Cameron has thrived in fifth grade at Vine Hill Elementary and spent time outside of school:
a) advancing to intermediate level gymnastics… boy that boy can flip! 
b) cultivating a passion for Minecraft and Civilization V (video games) and putting his body underneath the guide dog puppy (I must have a hundred pictures of that because he always finished with the demand, “Take a picture!”)
c) passionately listening to audio books, especially the “Eragon” series and “Lord of the Rings”
d)learning how to ride a bike for the first time and trying out scuba diving a second time
e) attending his first overnight camp for two weeks or a through e

4. The Miner Family took a:
a) cruise to Hawaii for holiday relaxing, car ride to Sea Ranch for our annual spring treat and flight to Connecticut for family visiting
b) kayak on the Santa Cruz bay because visiting a kelp forest up close is super cool and sea others super cute
c) break for unscheduled family time for two weeks this holiday season, or a through c

5. Rachel relished parenting, taking an online art class, visiting the ocean with every grocery visit, and extra fun with: 
a) visiting one friend to help with her new baby and being a giddy passenger with another friend who is an awesome, new pilot
b) experiencing her first ride on a gaited horse… so thrilling!  
c) finally getting into using her audible subscription to enjoy tons of literary treasures
d) raising that wonderful guide dog puppy who’d better graduate because she demands  happily-ever-afters for everyone this year or a through d

Happy Holidays