Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Letter 2014

Dear Friends and Family,

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  I feel like I say this every year, but what a year it has been!  This has been a year of many transitions.

Ana, now 18, graduated from Williamsville East High School in June.  She is now a freshman at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where she is studying Materials Science and Engineering.  She is enjoying every moment as part of the WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) academic club, FASA (Filipino-American student group), working in a lab engineering cartilage replacements, going to football games, and college life in general.  This Thanksgiving she came home showing us her math and programming projects and both Sam and I were impressed because she got good grades and we both admitted we could not help her with her homework anymore.
Graduation party

Graduation from East

 Carlos, age 14, graduated from Transit Middle School and is now a freshman at Williamsville East.  He played on the JV soccer team and is trying indoor track for the first time.  He plays for the Amherst Attack travel team.  He has taken on the responsibility of being the oldest kid at home and is indispensible in babysitting, lawn-mowing, big chores, and working for Sam as office help on the computer. 
Graduation from Transit Middle
Erie County Fair

Philip, age 11, began attending Heim Middle School in February where he attends the autism class and has opportunities with regular kids in homeroom, specials, lunch, and speech.  He loves his new school because his teachers are understanding and accommodate his communication through typing.  He learns interesting lessons in all subjects and is making lots of friends.  This year Philip attended a big autism conference by the Institute of Communication and Inclusion (ICI), learned to type on a keyboard in addition to using his letterboard, and got baptized!  Philip is part of our church scout group Stockade and goes to special needs soccer.  He enjoys sharing his insights on autism and his life in his blog and Facebook page, Faith, Hope, and Love with Autism.
Philip's Baptism- August
ICI Autism Conference at Syracuse University

Lia, age 9, is a fourth grader at Maple East Elementary.  English is her favorite subject.  She is involved in Girl Scouts, Church scouts GEMS, soccer, and gymnastics.  She started the trumpet at school and loves it.   She is our little social butterfly.
Wearing her flamenco costume from Lolo and Lola
Pioneer Girls moving up ceremony

Sam is doing well in his ENT practice.  I am getting more involved in autism advocacy and am looking to train in Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) with Soma this summer.  Most days are busy doing the normal stuff.  Life is good, but I am thinking Sam and I need to go on an adventure just the two of us, so I can report something more interesting about us next year!
Last day before bringing Ana to college

It has been an interesting year seeing everyone filling out the unique call God has on our lives.  It is like a gift that keeps getting unwrapped little by little.  As I do each Christmas, I leave you with our verse this year which is from Ephesians 2:10- For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

                                                             Wishing you Blessings Always,

                                                   Lisa, Sam, Ana, Carlos, Philip, and Lia Reyes

Eating Words

This essay was written in response to my questions, "How do you have such a good vocabulary?  How did you learn the meanings of so many words?"  Philip had fun with this one, often smiling and laughing, as he typed this delicious essay onto his iPad.  (spelling of saute was corrected by me as it was originally spelled sote)-Lisa

By Philip

I practice my words with attention to detail. To think of words is to learn the meaning of a delicious thought. I cook up savory phrases to pack in flavor to my ideas. I hunger for scrumptious morsels of vocabulary. I catch fresh words every day. I sauté words heard from conversation, TV, and songs. They get tasty being seasoned with my outstanding imagination and spices from my stored up words.  Pop music satisfies cravings for each kid by having beats to move our bodies’ pent up energy. Words dance in radiant motion when accompanied to music. Beats of music ease my mind.

I know a lot of words. I hear conversations well. I hear the news. I hear TV at home. I savor new words I hear. I chew on them to make sense of them. I love daily eating to possess meaningful words.  Devouring academics and books read to me manages my hunger for words. You eat lots of food to produce energy. I eat words and devour ideas to write my careful essays. I relish telling my thoughts. Many people address the moment ascertaining what is going on around them. I address each each word heard. I dare to make sense of the situation by what i hear. Each time I hear new words, I make sense of it by understanding the motive. I easily pick up new words by amplifying my hearing towards words. It takes effort to block out other sounds like TV and other sounds but it is easier than before. I notice voices best because I mean to be a part of the conversation and the world. I dare to make my voice heard now. I serve up my message with really appetizing words to make sure you come back for more.

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Philip and good friend Kaylie making cookies