Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Noe!

It seems like yesterday we brought you home from the hospital, all 4 1/2 lbs of you and your thick mop of black hair! You were so small that you would sleep for days on end....now if we were only so lucky! Our journey with you has been much different than we expected, but sometimes altered travel plans can be full of good surprises.

Monday, December 29, 2008

post office

I was at the post office today and had the following conversation with the post office worker, all while trying to mail my package and wrangle my boys:

POW (Post Office Worker): Wow....your boys look nothing like you! They sure are cute....

Me: Umm...Thanks?

POW: Look at those eyes....beautiful! They really don't look like you at all.

Me: Ummm.....ok.

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

Feliz Navidad!

We hope your holidays were filled with....

making cookies in your pajamas....

lots and lots of train exhibits...

and a few surprises!!!

Homecoming, part ii

While Ed was away, Asher built this train track on top of our table and insisted on leaving it up until his Papi could see it, which forced us to crowd around our breakfast bar for meals. In the end, I left it up ..... for Asher and Noe (Noe actually played with it for sustained periods of time) and because I think it looks kind-of festive. It's also nice to have train tracks off of my floors for awhile.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Ed returned from NYC in time to celebrate Christmas Eve with us. He brought home some really fun gifts for the boys. Noe got the "N" for Noe t-shirt. The N-train was the main line we used from our beloved little Astoria apartment. We lived here for the final year of our 4-year New York stint. Asher got the 7-train that fits onto his Thomas tracks. We rode the 7-train for our first three years living in the city. This was also the train line he rode home from the hospital. The box packaging advertised the train as "safe, sturdy and fun!"
Hmm...those three words don't come to mind when I think about my time riding the real 7-train.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Diagnosis

Asher's diagnosis: double ear infection and bacterial conjunctivitis

Mom's defense: it's hard to figure out your child is sick when he answers, "I feel so happy" everytime he is asked how he is feeling.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

el patio, empanadas, christmas lights and creches

We've had to modify our holiday schedule a bit with Ed's insane work schedule and a steady run of head colds, conjunctivitis and other and ailments, but last night the Guzman 4 was out in force!

We started our night at El Patio with empanadas and Argentine club soccer on their big-screen TV. We arrived for the second half a crucial playoff showdown between Boca Juniors and San Lorenzo. We watched a great match (3-1, Boca) and learned that Asher can shout "GOOOOAAAL" with the volume and passion of the very drunkest of Argentine soccer fans.

One thing I love about living in a city with the diversity of DC or New York is that you can transport yourself to that country without actually traveling there. This is great when you have young kids, or lack of time or money (or all three, in our case), but wish to escape the suburban bubble for awhile. That evening, we might as well have been sitting in cafe in B.A. watching soccer and sipping mate with the locals.

Sufficiently stuffed with empanadas and arroz, we drove over to the Festival Lights at the Washington, DC temple. It is one of the most popular DC holiday attractions, and they really do a great job. My favorites were the live nativity and the international creche exhibit. When we were looking for a parking spot, we drove by the temple entrance and saw a group of Japanese tourists with an aresenal of cameras trying to enter the temple. Oops!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ethnic Family

The boys are getting a wooden dollhouse found on craigslist from Santa this year. I ordered a few accessories to go with it, including this ethnic family. I wanted their "play family" to reflect their own, and decided this was a close fit. That is...until it came in the mail and I looked at the mama doll and remembered that I am, in fact, a white woman with green eyes and brownish-blond hair who would blend in unnoticed in most northern european countries.

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

The Milkman

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

Gone Running....

basketball season starts in a month and I've
got some serious work to do.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Hug from A Stranger

I can't wait for this week to end. It's been a hard one for our family....a constant drip of hard news and uncertainty. I won't go into detail, but by Thursday afternoon I was pretty unhinged. Ed has been working lawyer hours for the last couple of months. Working until 2-3am has become the norm these days. Noe has been sick for a better part of the week. His sweet little self disappears when he is sick and he turns into a teenager on meth....angry with a lot of unfocused energy.

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.

Our Santa Almost Got Downsized

Last week, we made our only trip to the mall this holiday season to see Santa....just in case they change their mind again.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

little people update

A little update on the midget freeloaders who bunk downstairs....

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

Happy 4th Birthday, Asher....

It's been quite a ride with you, my Ashercito, ever since that very first one.....

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Starting New Holiday Traditions

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

Middle-of-the-Night Binges

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

School Days

Hunters Woods Preschool
November 2008

Asher on Sharing

Papi = Ed

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

Put on Your Genes and Play

Ed doesn't often contribute in this space (at least not yet) but this item was too good for him to pass up...

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.