Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shopping Conundrum

I was not a Black Friday participant this year. Actually, I haven't shopped the day after Thanksgiving since my dad would wake us up in the dark hours of the early morning to go buy socks at Fred Meyers. My father....the millionaire who bought his tube socks in bulk, half-price, at Fred Meyers.

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

Ice Skating With the Norths

Matt and Jessica

Joanne and Madeline

Noe is blessed with great balance

Asher and his new BFF Madeline

Post Turkey Talk

We had a really fab Thanksgiving this year.....our first in our new home (last year we spent Thanksgiving in LA with the abuelos). Our good friends from Pittsburgh, the Norths, came down to spend the holiday with us.

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 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

I'm a planner

....not a procrastinator. But sometimes I wonder how far it really gets me.

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 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

dinner conversation

Asher, Noe and I are eating dinner when Ed walks into the house from work. We try our best to wait for him but after 7pm, all bets are off....

Jen: I have big news

Ed: What?

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....

The leaves are down.....

and we got our first bit of snow the other day.......
I'm thinking that winter has arrived in NoVA.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Grandma Goes to Washington

Grandma came to see us last week and we had a fun week playing with her.
On Tuesday, we took Grandma to the Mall. The free I like to call it. We walked along the Mall grounds and saw all the popular sights. Grandma had not seen the WWII Monument, so we spent some time there. But we spent most of our time at the Natural History Museum, looking at dead animals and rocks and the Hope Diamond and insects. The highlight was the live butterfly exhibit. Asher and I had already visited it, but we were excited to take Grandma.

I pretended that I actually knew what to do with a camera.....

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

Post Post Election Notes

Sorry, I can't get the election off my brain. A few more things....

*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

my babes

the liberal media elite

(Portland, OR July a neighborhood diner)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Time Served

This is where I find Asher after preschool each school day. They keep the kids in a patio area that looks curiously like a jail, located directly underneath the preschool. For the first few weeks of preschool, I would walk over to the scene and just laugh my head off. It was just the funniest thing to see a group of 3-year-olds behind bars, sitting on benches that made their legs dangle in the air, waiting for their mamas to show up and post bail.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Home Sweet Home

A Multnomah County judge has cleared a Northeast Portland nude bicyclist of criminal indecent exposure charges, saying cycling naked has become a "well-established tradition" in Portland and understood as a form of "symbolic protest."

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

Housekeeping Tip #2 from Jen

Don't leave a hot iron on your couch. It will leave a horrible burn mark.

Backstory: This summer when I was directing a summer scholastic program, I ended up doing a lot of the building maintenance myself to keep good relations with our Catholic school landlords. I found a genius way to get rid of carpet stains after one of the kids spilled their red gatorade all over the off-white carpeting. Last week I decided to "steam clean" my own couch using the same method to give it another year of life.

So this week we are couch shopping.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

DC Autism Walk

We had a really great morning at the Autism Walk! We were supposed to walk with one of Noe's ABA therapists and her fiance, but she had a last-minute emergency, so Team Noe was the Guzman Four.

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."

Thanks again to all of our friends and family that donated to Team Noe! We were dangerously close to reaching our $1000 goal, which seemed an impossible task just a week earlier.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Post Election Notes

*There is such a great feeling in the air since the election on Tuesday. I know that the initial euphoria will end, but it's hard to not love being an American right now and it's hard not to be optimistic that a better future is ahead of us. I can't even imagine what this election means to African Americans. Listening to interviews with former civil right leaders have been among my favorite part of this election aftermath.

*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

Team Noe - Reminder

Thanks to all of our friends and family who have already donated to Team Noe. We are really excited to participate in the Walk around the National Mall this Saturday morning!

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

Just in from East LA....

According to an unofficial exit poll conducted by Ed's Tia Esperanza (she asked everyone in line who they were voting for), East Los Angeles should go solidly blue.

I Voted in My Pajamas

I had a crazy busy day planned today so I got up at 5:45am, pulled on my Nikes and a sweatshirt, and ran over to our polling place to beat the early morning crowd. I thought Ed was a fool for voting early and dealing with those crowds, until I saw the line in front of our polling place. It was dark and cold and I tried very hard to have all of those "proud American voter" feelings one is supposed to experience, but I was grumpy. Especially because everyone around me was holding their free Starbucks coffee and couldn't be happier about spending the first hour and half of their day in line.

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!'s just a matter of waiting for the results. Fingers crossed!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tuesday Travels: The National Building Museum

Last Tuesday, Asher and I spent our day in the District at the National Building Museum, which is tucked between Chinatown and the Capitol.

It would be a lie to say I take Asher into the District on Tuesdays for his own enrichment. The truth is that I still get major boughts of homesickness for Portland. I still feel like I was meant to live my life in Portland....yet I'm here....and it's not a bad place to be at all. Getting into the District once a week is a good reminder for me that I'm really living a charmed life....even if it's not in Portland.

So we get to the Building Museum and I tell Asher we are going to look at the exhibits before heading to the Kid Zone, a huge construction room for the preschool set. We head to an exhibit entitled "Green Communities" featuring....the City of Portland, of course. It highlighted their transportation infrastructure that really should be the envy of every city in America.

So much for my homesickness cure.