Apr 27, 2011

Getting to Paris

We made it to Paris!!

I am currently eating a banana and enjoying the lovely view from our apartment window:

Taken just a few moments ago. It's overcast today with a high of 65 and a low of 43. Perfect.
I'm in heaven.

Getting here was a little stressful though! I've been traveling since Monday night, and Doug has been traveling since Friday afternoon. Needless to say we are so happy to actually be here.

Once we got to customs, we were in a different country. For example, as we were boarding the plane there were two lines: 1. US Passports 2. Regular Passports. Haha - I thought we were still in NY... On the plane we were obviously in the minority, speaking English, and I found myself wishing that Jesse (and Catherine, of course!!) or John or Ryan (all of whom speak Russian) were with us. Alas, we survived the Russian airport and Aeroflot. I was unaware of a few cultural differences (ie: the toilet paper doesn't go in the toilet) but all that really mattered to me was that we arrive in Paris with all of our baggage (said: be-gej, duh.). Which we did. Hurray!

Let the festivities begin.

Apr 23, 2011


We are graduated!!

We began the graduation festivities Wednesday night after our last finals at Carrabba's with the whole stats crew (stats masters students and their spouses/kids).


Commencement was on Thursday (we barely made it, haha!) we sat in the 2nd row.
Richard G. Scott and Cecil O. Samuelson gave great talks!

I'm usually not a big picture person, but here you go anyway!

It was really fun to walk across the stage, even though the gowns are quite silly. Also, my parents and Doug's dad flew all the way out! It has been so fun having them here. They are good packers too ;). I can hardly believe we've finally made it to this point. Everything -from graduation, to packing, to saying goodbye - feels so surreal.

This is us standing in front of Shelby, which is stuffed with a lot of our stuff! Ready to face the rest of our lives. BYE PROVO!!


Apr 18, 2011

My new "thing"

Someday these two are going to get together:

And these two:

Or maybe these two:

I can feel it.

Bones is my new favorite TV show. In fact, I'm waiting for it to come on right now :). Miriam got me hooked and I just realized she's been holding out on me (by keeping the 3 seasons she owns from me). Just Kidding!! But seriously, I'm only in Utah for one more week. How am I supposed to watch 3 seasons in one week? sigh.

Don't worry, I won't miss Bones more than I miss all my friends!

heh heh.

Apr 12, 2011


This is awesome. I wish opportunities like this were available for all people, not just those with special needs! (oh wait, they are...still, it's super cool) I think that activities like these: painting, sculpting, interacting with animals, etc, do a lot for a person's self esteem. 

I'm definitely not the expert on the impact that an animal can have on a person's health (please step in if you are) but I believe that it is beyond beneficial. I know of several families who got a dog primarily to help their son with autism cope. One mother specifically said that her son does not stutter when he talks to their dog, but he does when he talks to people. Animals simply don't judge people and I think that if you feel misjudged or misunderstood a lot, animals can be a relief from person-person interaction.

P.S. I learned that it's called Animal Assisted Therapy. Here's a cool website about it.

Apr 10, 2011

And the packing begins.

Here would be posted a boring picture of a corner of boxes that have already been packed. Alas, my computer is not recognizing the SD card and will not upload my pictures. Consider yourself spared. 

Fortunately, most of those boxes are being left for Maria to pick up when she gets to BYU. I can hardly believe that she is old enough for college. And that I'm old enough to be graduating!! Weird. I'm looking forward to being done with my bachelor's degree, but at the same time, I'm really going to miss BYU. Mostly the "bucket-loads of library databases!" Hah, you think I'm joking. 

Seriously though, Doug leaves in TWELVE days to drive out to NY with his dad. And we fly out of JFK in SIXTEEN days to go to PARIS. And then we move on to a completely different chapter of our lives. I'm 8 parts excited, 2 parts anxious.

Apr 5, 2011

What dating might lead to...

So I have a friend, who has a friend, who has a cousin, who is dating this boy. 

Didn't fool you? Okay okay, she's my friend, pure and simple. Dating here is defined as exclusively dating, boyfriend/girlfriend type dating... in case you were confused. So I just wanted to ask your opinion on a small matter. 

They have been dating for a month (friends for longer, of course) and he is planning to fly out to her home and stay with her for a week or so during the summer. She told me that and I said, "what, are you guys getting married or something?!" Because I think that is a bold move and shows that he means serious business. But maybe I'm overreacting. Of course I'm all for them getting married (assuming he's a good guy...I haven't met him yet) but I don't know if she realizes the reality of the situation. 

What do you think?

a) he wants marriage
b) he doesn't have anywhere to go for the summer
c) he just wants to be really good friends
d) something other reason that I can't fathom

Apr 4, 2011

Medicating children with Autism

I realize I haven't posted about Special Ed. in a while. That's because I really haven't come across anything too exciting and controversial. I also realize many of my sped posts seem to be about autism. That's probably because a heck a lot of the new research is about autism, most of my experience is with students who have autism, and it's super interesting to me. So here's another post about autism.

Background: Because autism is prevalent in our society (1.1% of children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to the center for disease control and prevention (CDC)) more and more people are looking for solutions, treatments, etc. Parents make up a huge portion of the population looking for treatments. Unfortunately, parents are not an unbiased party and tend to look for someone or something they can blame (MMR vaccines is a common one - which the British Medical Journal declared fraudulent earlier this year by the way) and some miracle way to fix it (diets, behavior therapies, sensory therapies, and others).

Issue: A new analysis of studies has concluded that most of autism treatments "fall short;" meaning that they are not effective for populations of people with autism. Note: there have been individuals who have had successful results with medication. Recently, there was a small breakthrough in research that may connect autism to a single gene (HOORAY! - though my excitement may be short-lived, this "breakthrough" has happened several times before). Let's continue with the assumption that we have not yet found a one-all be-all solution and ask ourselves: is it worth it to medicate your child with autism hoping that this particular medication will work for your child?
If you immediately understand this picture, you understand autism. haha.
A common trait found in autism is stacking, organizing, piling, lining up, etc.

What I think: This is a super tough question for me. I do not have a child with autism so it is hard to go with my gut and say "no I would not medicate my child." Not because I don't believe in medicine and not because I'm okay with the behaviors that come along with autism, but because research currently shows that they do not work. If the medication did not have any side effects, then sure, no biggie. But there are side effects. Big ones. And I don't think it's worth it to medicate my child when the chance of it working is smaller than the chance of serious side effects. 

But, like I said, I am not a parent of a child with autism. I'm not the one with sleepless nights because my child wakes up in the middle of the night, unlocks the door, and wanders outside. I'm not the one who deals with the random tantrums, with the headbanging, with the lack of communication, with the social ostracism from church and community. I'm not the one with the heartache of watching your child rejected by his peers. I'm not the one whose child doesn't say "I love you too." Of course I would want a solution. I just don't believe that the solution can currently come through medication.