Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
POW (Post Office Worker): Wow....your boys look nothing like you! They sure are cute....
POW: Look at those eyes....beautiful! They really don't look like you at all.
POW: Your husband is Asian, right?
Me: Actually, no. He's Hispanic.
POW: No....those kids are definitely Asian.
Me: No. They're Hispanic.
POW: Are you sure?
[I probably get asked if the boys are Asian once a week....and I understand completely why people might make that assumption with their almond-shaped eyes and dark hair, but this is the first time that someone has actually rejected my response.]
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Do you think they would let me exchange just the mama doll for one in the white family? Maybe there is an untouched market for mix-and-match doll families....I'd better get on that business plan ASAP!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Once in awhile I stumble across something wonderful in my local library, and this was my little treasure from last week....
It is a story about a milkman getting up for his home delivery route early in the morning, and
working in his neighborhood. Along his route, he finds a lost dog, gifts a rattle for a newborn on his route, and greets everyone in the neighborhood by name.
My grandpa is a retired milkman. He had one of the last home delivery routes in the Portland area. He retired when I was still pretty young, but I have solid memories of bright plastic milk crates to store my toys, grandpa's white Alpenrose delivery shirt with his name stitched into a front pocket, tubs of ice cream in our freezer all summer long, unlimited egg nog at Christmas and the most delicious swiss chocolate milk in half-pint containers.
On Christmas Eve each year, my dad would work alongside my grandpa so he could come home and celebrate with us sooner. I even got to help him with part of his route for a day just before he retired. I thought it had to be the best job ever....much more interesting than my dad's office job....and I still think so.
My grandpa's milk delivery route was in the West Hills, the wealthiest area in Portland. He knew all of the local Portland celebrities, including television personalities and former NBA players. He even become a mini-celebrity himself when he was profiled for a local news show.
I've been thinking a lot about my grandparents lately. Their health is declining fast. My grandpa's heart is very weak and my grandma is entering the last stages of Alzheimers. It is bittersweet. My best childhood memories are intertwined with them and now I slowly prepare myself for their absence.
Oh yeah....and the boys liked the book, too.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
I was determined to get something done that day, besides wrestle with Noe, so I decided to run a long-overdue errand. Car rides usually relax Noe, and Asher manages himself well these days. A group of autism families is sponsoring a family. The family is a single mom, teenage daughter and two young boys with autism. We are helping them set up a home therapy program for their boys, training the mother and daughter to be therapists. We are also supplying the house with therapy materials and appropriate toys and games. They have no job, no insurance, no prospects (and why I am complaining about my own charmed life right now....I have no idea). They are supposed to be anonymous, but I have met them. Amazing mother. The teenage daughter is so bright and determined. The boys....smart, with lots of potential, but a handful.
Anyways, I was supposed to deliver my part weeks ago.....the woman in-charge probably had given up on me. Mapquest said it was a 20 minute drive to her house. It took us an hour in the rain and traffic....it felt like 10 hours with Noe's screams. I was crying and shaking by the time we got to her house, the week had done me in. An hour before we got into the car, I found out we had lost a big appeal to our insurance company for some of Noe's therapies. I was spent, angry. When I got to her door, it quickly opened. I had planned to leave the goods inside the door and leave, considering my state. This woman I knew only from email appeared. I gave her my donation, apologized for the lateness. Before I could run away, she was hugging me. She knew. Her son is 12, doing great, but it was a long road. She said my son will get there too....with time and work. I believe her.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
noe: is quite the comedian these days. his favorite joke is turning the light out on us and then running away in hysterical laughter. his other favorite joke is doing his puzzles, and then putting the very last piece in the wrong way, also in hysterical laughter. Ok, so he won't be on Comedy Central anytime soon....but this is a big step up from his 2s and 3s which were mostly spent in tears and blank stares (for both me and noe).
asher: is really into practicing his writing and spelling skills at the moment. i was pretty happy to see this because he hadn't previously shown a lot of interest in drawing and coloring (as in most of his coloring books and crayons look way too new). we spent the better part of last week spelling out the names of all 20 kids in his preschool class. the last couple of days he has stepped it up a notch. instead of simply writing names, he wants to record details of his day at school. "asher's mom (yes, that's what he calls me now)....how spell... C no share scooter?.....how spell L push me and i fell and cry?.... how spell.... M forgot helmet today and can't ride scooter?" I am more and more convinced asher is preparing to write a preschool expose.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Last night Ed and I dropped the boys off at an undisclosed location and went off to explore
Historic Leesburg. We perused through the coolest antique stores I've ever visited, enjoyed the holiday decorations, had a colonial-style feast at a local restaurant, were caroled to by people in period dress while eating, found a bakery selling gingerbread men, and enjoyed the general merry atmosphere. Ed has an office in a WaPost bureau located just a couple blocks off the historic district so we walked over there so I could see it for the first time. It looked a little lonely as he doesn't frequent it as often as the others due to the overall lack of free food. The bureau was empty, but don't worry, we didn't make out in Ed's office with the door locked and shades down or anything like that.
We had a great time together and vowed to do this every year, our own little holiday tradition sans little people who break antiques and don't enjoy fine cuisine.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
We found our favorite chocoholic autistic son camped out on the cold hard cement floor of our pantry, stuffing himself with chocolate kisses. Based on the forensic analysis of the discarded silver wrappers, he ate somewhere between 10-15 kisses before we hauled him back to bed.
Can't begin to imagine what the damage would have been if we hadn't caught him in the early stage of his binge...
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Baba = Me
PAPI....you need to SHARE computer with Baba! Baba no like that. Baba wants to use computer TOO!!! TAKE TURNS!!! First Papi use computer, then Baba. Papi's turn, then Baba's turn. OK?
Yeah Ed...Come on....SHARE!
i think we'll soon be a two laptop family.
Monday, December 1, 2008
One of my former colleagues at The New York Times wrote a piece over the weekend about how there is a DNA test that can determine whether your child has any kind of athletic ability.
Yes, for the low, low price of $149, these scientists can determine whether your son or daughter is better suited for "speed and power sports like sprinting or football, or endurance sports like distance running, or a combination of the two" based on how much of a certain gene they have.
(And yes, even the scientists behind this stuff admit it's not 100 percent accurate since it doesn't account for things like motivation, resources or just plain luck.)
Now, we all know about "those" parents who push their kids in a certain direction and we all at one time or another have daydreamed about our kids maybe doing this or that someday.
But I'm curious to hear from other parents about something else: if there was a sure-fire test out there that would be able to determine what your kids were good at, would you want to know?
Speaking strictly for myself, I'm not so sure.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
It would be a lie to say I hate shopping, but I do have to be in the right mood. Shopping with hundreds of trigger-happy suburbanites coked up on Starbucks and leftover pumpkin pie doesn't get me in that mood.
This year I finished my shopping before Thanksgiving and pretty much avoided shopping malls altogether. I should be relieved, but what I mostly feel is guilt. I keep thinking that maybe I should be shopping and helping to save people's jobs right now. If people like me aren't shopping, then maybe the economy will collapse even more. But then again, if something were to happen to our jobs, and we had spent money on Christmas and thus had less in our emergency savings .... well, that would be a problem.
And on the green side of things, I rocked it this Christmas. I bought two gifts for the boys used on craigslist. They were practically new, but with no packaging, gas spent on shipping, etc. I even made a couple of small gifts.
Yeah for me!!! My carbon snow print this Christmas will be pretty small. Boo for me!!! I'm putting people out of work as I avoid the mall. Yeah for me!!! I am preserving our savings.
Ohhhh.....what to do?
Friday, November 28, 2008
We started the day with a service project. The community center across the street had a massive canned food drive and needed help sorting and categorizing the food for delivery. It was very well organized .....playing to my anal retentive ways.....and there was a great spirit among the volunteers. We were very efficient and done in about 45 minutes. My kind of service.
Next, we went ice skating in our town's outdoor mall/gathering place. We all had a great time! Noe was pretty comfortable in his skates, Asher less so....and Ed....well....he gave a great effort for his first time!
Somewhere in the day we got dinner ready. We had friends from our ward, the Jensons, over as well....and we seemed to make the crowd work in our little house. Despite my general anti-socialness, Thanksgiving is not a time I like to be alone....so it was good to be surrounded by friends.
Today, we are enjoying one more day with our friends. We will probably hike down to the lake and take them to the Air & Space Museum annex that is near our house. Matt & Joanne's girls have been so great with our little guys and we have enjoyed their company a lot. We will hate to see them go.
Monday, November 24, 2008
For example, right now I am in a mad rush to get my Christmas shopping finished and do last minute preparations for Thanksgiving. I'm also working on a couple of house projects and trying to keep up with the boys' constant needs. And reallocating our finances. And working my part-time job. And baking for Noe's classroom Thanksgiving feast....you get the idea.
I am completely exhausted right now and just did some really bizarre things. When I came home from shopping tonight I put my keys up on the light switch. I also purchased two kitchen utensils that I already own, which will require a return trip to the store. And Ed just found my missing curtain-sewing-project underneath his bedroom pillow.
He thinks I need a brain scan....and he wasn't teasing when he said it. I just think I need to focus on one thing at a time.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Jen: I have big news
Asher: I WANT MORE PIZZA!!! I WANT MORE PIZZA!!! (heard in the background of our conversation)
Jen: (still looking at Ed)...There is another one in the oven!
Ed: (I see him getting very pale... he steps back and almost trips....) YOU'RE PREGNANT?
Jen: NO. The PIZZA'S in the oven. I was talking to Asher....
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
while Grandma, a closet scientist, had fun identifying all the butterflies.
Asher had much more fun with Grandma than with me that day. Grandma knows EVERYTHING about bugs and rocks. Unfortunately, I didn't inherit any of her scientific genes.
Our last stop at the museum was the live aquarium. There was a large aquarium filled with clown fish. A small army of 3-year olds had gathered around, trying to figure out which one was the real Nemo. A little girl next to Asher shouted, "I SEE NEMO!" Asher, having never seen the movie, replied, "No, it's not a NEMO, it's a FISH!" The girl ran to her mom in tears..... We quickly ushered Asher out before the other kids could ascend on him.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
*We are already getting multiple requests from friends to stay at our house for the Inaguration.....gotta love it! We actually have a waiting list. If I didn't want to be here so much myself, I would totally rent our house out for the weekend and take the family down to San Juan, PR with our extra cash.
*Who said newspapers are dying? The Post sold out their newspaper on the day after the election. They scrambled to print an afternoon edition of the paper the same day and sold those out. I think they are on their fourth printing and the price is up to $10 a paper. I keep telling Ed not to get excited... that this is just her final breath before the Gray Lady finally kicks the bucket.
*I am really disgusted with the criticism that Michelle Obama is getting from some in the media about her recent comments that being a good mother will be her primary focus in the White House. How dare that she delay her own policy agenda while helping her daughters through this life-altering transition! They say she is wasting her intellectual potential, her multiple degrees, throwing away a lot of power and influence, setting back the feminist movement. She will have plenty of time to exert influence if and when she chooses to do so. Choice feminism, people. Look it up.
*My mom mentioned casually that the guy who beat out incumbent Gordon Smith (a wealthy Republican Mormon from the Arizona Udall family) in the highly contested Senate race is from our neighborhood in Portland. I looked it up and sure enough...he graduated from David Douglas and came back after a few Ivy League years and jobs in DC to the old 'hood to run for office. Wow...I can't believe someone from my old neighborhood did so well for himself and then came back! And, although he got some help from the crappy economy, it is pretty impressive he beat Smith with all of his name recognition and money. He must have attended David Douglas High before it was overrun with half-wit jocks for teachers who assign word finds for Biology class and spend their prep periods drawing up new football plays.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Next time I'm home for a visit, I'm totally going on a nude protest ride.... pregnancy stretch marks and all!!!
Maybe I'll protest my stretch marks.
Read the news article here.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
The weather was gorgeous....even warm. There was a large, enthusiastic crowd, great speakers, food, music and a resource fair. We forgot our camera, of course, but we took a few pics on the cell phone.
An interesting note from one of the speakers: There is a rumor circulating that Prez Elect Obama is planning to appoint an Autism Czar.
We walked from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial and back. When we got to the Lincoln Memorial, Asher asked, "Is that Obama's house?" And then he answered his own question as we got closer and Asher saw the statue of Abraham Lincoln. "No. Jesus lives here."
Thursday, November 6, 2008
*Guess who shed the most tears during Obama's acceptance speech? Well, it wasn't the "hormonal woman" and the boys were asleep if that gives you a clue.
*Speaking of Ed, I think he is determined to make me sick of our president-elect before inaguration by playing clips of his old speeches and interviews non-stop in our house.
*After Obama's acceptance speech, news commentators kept referring to the rush of people who would be headed to Washington. They predicted a lot of talented people who were currently in the private sector, would seek out Washington to lend their hand to the "movement." Something along these same lines occurred during the Kennedy administration. My first thoughts were along the lines of ..... maybe housing prices will finally start to recover for us with all of these people coming! Perhaps I haven't quite caught the vision of the movement yet.
*The only downside to this election for us was the passage of Proposition 8 in California. Rather than write an entire rant, I will just say that we were saddened by this outcome.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
We are still working to reach our team goal of $1000, so if you would like to still donate, please do so here.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Oh blessed mail ballot voting. I was tempted to run back to our house and pull out my senior honors thesis on Oregon's Mail Ballot Voting system and a megaphone and orate to the crowd about its benefits. I am all for democracy-in-action but there is a better way to do this folks!
Now....it's just a matter of waiting for the results. Fingers crossed!!!
Monday, November 3, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
*If you are obviously too old to be trick-or-treating, without costume, ring my bell AFTER I have turned the lights off for the night and I am STILL nice enough to give you candy, please don't kick our pumpkins off our front steps as you leave.
*Noe didn't make it inside a single house. That was my small victory for the night. (His latest "behavior" is finding neighbors with open doors and exploring their houses uninvited. Luckily, my neighbors have been really cool about it so far. But holy crap...the stuff you learn about your neighbors as you are chasing your child through their house.)
*Our new Indian neighbor kept answering his door to trick-or-treaters and then had to explain that he had no candy. "So so sorry...." he said over and over in his thick Indian accent. I finally took it upon myself to tell him that he should probably turn his porch light off and close his door if he didn't want to be bothered all night. Poor guy....all of these strange American holidays and customs.
*Ed was so lucky he got to escape to work tonight. Between the sugar-induced tantrums and my sugar-induced headache, I am ready to call it a night.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Anyway, I figure going to vote a full 11 days ahead of election day, I'll just breeze in and out, we'll go to the library and come back home.
We get there, and parking's impossible. We parked a few blocks away. Then we get to the polling place... and the line is out the door. Who says we're an apathetic bunch? I felt heartened by the sight of Democracy at work. Since we stood in line for more than an hour, me and Asher had plenty of time to talk and I explained to him what was going on. (And to his credit, he was an amazingly well-behaved boy while we waited all that time.)
So I told him, over and over again, that we were going to vote for the next president. He seemed to understand, until about 30 minutes in, he started asking me "we gonna ride de boat?" Apparently, he thought we were waiting in line at a Disneyland ride or something. Once we got to the booths, he saw there wasn't a boat. He was a little disappointed, but he got excited again when I put on one of those "I Voted" stickers on his shirt.
One of my best friends told me of a time she went with her father to the polling place in 1964 when she was three years old. It's not a typical memory, but she remembers it fondly. So who knows, maybe someday Asher will tell his friends about the time he rocked the "boat" with his Papi.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
And what a cross-section! Young, old, professionals, blue-collars, veterans, with several ethnicities and cultures represented. It made you fully appreciate the scope of Obama's candidacy. This went beyond him being "the black candidate" or "the liberal candidate" or (gasp!) "the socialist," as the McCain supporters at the park entrance kept calling him. This was about people being genuinely excited about the possibilities that lay ahead for our country, about actually feeling optimistic about something in politics.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
WhAATTT???? THIS SUNDAY? Like TOMORROW SUNDAY?
I had an autism workshop scheduled for all day on Saturday, and then Ed was working Saturday evening. I had no clue how I was going to get ready for their arrival in time. But Ed did a ton of work on Saturday on basically no sleep....and here we are tonight....so far so good.
While Mama Solis and crew are taking over my house for the next few days, I'll be reading....
Andrew Pham's breakthrough book.....his bike journey through Vietnam and the story of his family's escape after the fall of Saigon......
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
We had planned to spend Columbus Day weekend at Rohoboth Beach, Delaware. Ed looked up our hotel confirmation earlier tonight and noticed that our check-in date was for a day last September (probably the day I made the reservation). I called them, with little hope they had an extra room for this weekend (its supposed to be in the 80s....gorgeous)...yeah...and I was right.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I finished my pajama job yesterday. I was helping to rewrite Kaplan's curriculum. I am so bummed... it was such a great gig. My office was usually the couch, my uniform.... often pajamas and my hours....whenever I felt like working as long as I met my deadlines. Best of all... I didn't have to talk to anyone.
Noe lost his first tooth tonight. I was so surprised...I don't remember losing any teeth until the first grade. It makes me sad that he doesn't have the language yet to get excited about this milestone and look forward to the tooth fairy. But then again, I guess it will save us some money.
How is it that a three year old who calls our television set the "TB" and our portable DVD player the "train box" (thomas the train videos), work both machines better than his mama?
Monday, October 6, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
He also took Noe on a bike ride. He didn't even get out of his work clothes because it was starting to get dark. Ten minutes into their twenty minute loop, they got caught in a huge rain storm. I offered to pick them up, but Ed insisted on finishing the ride because Noe was having a good time. They came back into the house, two happy wet dogs.
The boys don't have a clue how lucky they are to have such a loving and dedicated father....but someday they will.