Robotics, Stable Eyes, and Our Budding Artist

It’s been awhile since my last blog update, so here’s the scoop…

I’ve been coaching my older son’s Robotics team for the past 2 years.  We were taking part in a Robotics Challenge sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory La Luz Academy on Kirtland Air Force Base.  I had to attend a coach’s training and learn how to build and program a robot myself so that I could then teach and guide the team through building their robot.     It was fun to learn something new and I’ve always like putting things together and building things.  This year, our team was among the 30 teams who were invited to participate in the Expo.  Only 1/3 of the total amount of teams were actually invited to the Expo.  Our team this year was named “USB” for “United Students of Boe-Bots” (the type of robot we used).  The teams completed various activities in which they programmed a robot they built to navigate through different obstacle courses.  There were 2 relatively “basic courses”, a difficult maze course, and 3 more difficult courses where various sensors were needed.   This year we learned how to install and program line following sensors on the robots.  This came in handy for the team because they were the only team to complete any of the more difficult courses.  They successfully programmed a robot to trace out large cursive letters that spelled “AFRL”.  The team showed a lot of determination and persevered despite being unsuccessful several times.   By their last attempt, a room full of people had gathered to watch them run their robot to see if it would work.  When the robot made the last curve of the last letter and stopped at the end, everyone cheered.  It was so cool!!!   I was very proud of the way the kids didn’t give up.  At the award ceremony, our team received the award for “Overall Excellence” for scoring the highest on their assignments throughout the challenge and the various activities at the Expo.  The kids were so excited and happy!  They honestly didn’t think they would really win because last year, they had also been the only team to complete one of the more difficult obstacle courses, but they didn’t win any awards.  So this year, it was a wonderful surprise the way their hard work paid off.  🙂  Go team USB!!!


In other news…Brown Eyes Girl’s eyes are currently stable.  Her last eye appointment was in December and we aren’t due back again until May, assuming all continues to go well.  At the last appointment, there was no inflammation, eye pressures were good, no need to proceed with the YAG laser procedure at this time because her vision is still okay.   She just had an appointment last week with her Rheumatologist.  He said things are going well.  no sign of any  issues involving her joints, so that’s good.  She had to get her blood drawn again (this happens every 3 months), and there were even fewer tears this time than the last few times.  She is still on 2 different injectable medications that suppress her immune system so it doesn’t continue to attack her left eye.  She gets Methotrexate once a week and Humira twice a month.  The Methotrexate injection has become a breeze.  No tears, no complaints.  The Humira injections are still difficult because it stings badly as the meds are injected.  Rumor has it that the USA will someday receive a non-stinging version, like they have overseas, but it just takes a long time to work through the FDA approval process.  We are definitely looking forward to that.  Despite the immune suppressing meds, we’ve been blessed that she’s been enjoying relatively good health.  She’s only had 1 cold this fall/winter so far and it wasn’t even that bad.  I truly appreciate the efforts of people in keeping us informed if there is illness in their families and that they’ve been kind enough to keep the germs away from our girl.  It’s really been helpful!  Sweet girl was started on Vitamin D and is tolerating it well and after several months, her vitamin D levels have gotten back into the normal range.  All in all, she is doing well, healthwise!

Brown eyed Girl participated in a Jr. Lego Robotics League.  She and her team of 3 other girls had to put together a project about honey bees and hummingbirds.  They also built a model of a moving vehicle that would bring flowers from a nursery to where they could be planted so that more food could be provided for the bees and the birds.  Their team had a team cheer and and a team dance where they buzzed around like bees, then moved their arms in figure-8s like hummingbird wings.  At their Robotics Expo, they received a trophy for Team Spirit.

As for our youngest son, he continues to be cute and snuggly and is excelling in Kindergarten  despite the fact that he wouldn’t have been allowed to start kindergarten until next Fall since he has a birthdate slightly past the cut-off date the public school uses.  He is very interested in drawing and he uses up a ton of paper and fills up our walls and desks with his art work.  Everyday, he asks me what kind of picture i’d like for him to draw for me each day.  The other day, he asked me, “Mommy, what would you like today?”.  I didn’t realize that he was talking about drawing me a picture, so I jokingly said, “I’d like a big coffee from Starbucks.”  He drew me a big coffee from starbucks.  🙂  That kid knows how to melt my heart.