Sunday, March 29, 2009

Great Falls

We grew tired of waiting for good weather around here and put on our rainboots and sweatshirts in search of the outdoors, Portland-style. Despite falling on slippery rocks en route to this awesome view, we had a great adventure at Great Falls (15 minutes from our house on the Virginia-Maryland border).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Rock Star

We attended an event at Noe's elementary school last night and learned a little bit more about his school life. The kid is a rock star.

I knew that the teachers and office assistants adored him. He is always a big distraction to the office staff on the days I retrieve him from school early for his ABA therapy.

But I didn't know how many of the other students knew him. Just walking through the crowded cafeteria as we looked at student exhibits, the other kids were completely drawn to him. Kids of all grades would yell out "Hi, Noe!" and were genuinely excited to see him. Noe mostly ignored them, but we're working on that.

I had so many fears sending Noe off to public school and none of them have been confirmed. His school has such a great atmosphere for inclusion. Within its walls is a large special ed program, lots of general ed classrooms and a GT (gifted and talented) program. There is even a handful of special needs kids who are in the GT program.

We're so lucky to be a part of this that values so highly education, diversity and tolerance.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Working Life in 21st Century America

Ed was issued a crackberry at work yesterday. I am not pleased. The lines between work and home are already blurred enough at our house (not that Ed isn't a devoted father and husband, but his job is demanding). With this newest leash, I mean, device....the lines are all but erased.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Passover those cookies, why don't ya?

We had a fun package arrive at our doorstep today. Elise, a good New York friend and former colleague from the Times, sent us pan chocolate chip cookies with walnuts. She was getting rid of the flour in her apartment in preparation for Passover, and we were the lucky recipients of her baking generosity.

Have I ever told you how much I love Jewish holidays?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

on mornings

There is a genetic rift in our family: the morning people (Ed and Asher) and the non-morning people (Noe and I).

This morning was a perfect example.

At 7:45am I awoke to the pitter patter of little footsteps in my room. Noe, fully dressed and breakfasted for the day by Ed, climbed into my bed, snuggled against me and promptly fell back asleep. Meanwhile, I could hear Asher and Ed downstairs. Asher was peppering Ed with questions about tomorrow. He wanted to know exactly what he was doing, who he was playing with, what he was eating. Not today...he already had figured that all out yesterday. That little guy, what a planner.

Meanwhile, I wonder how long Noe and I can hide out in bed before Ed comes back upstairs and rips the covers off of us.

I am not one of those people who likes to sleep in until noon, but it takes considerable effort for me to get up before 8am. Physically, it matter what time I went to bed the night before. I'd like to blame it on my low blood pressure, but I've never had that link verified by medical professionals. I do know that various members of my family have similar morning "pains", so I am convinced that there is a genetic link.

I once longed to be one of those people who works out, makes a huge breakfast, reads the paper, and cleans the house, all before 7am, but these days I'm more of a realist. I can get a heck of a lot done between 9-midnight.

I have learned to adapt. I am really good at getting things organized for the morning the night before so I expend the least amount of energy necessary to ensure we are out the door in time.
But most mornings still don't go as well as planned. Yesterday, we managed to miss Noe's bus. As I ran him up to the school to avoid a tardy (can you get detention in kindergarten? I'm really not sure...), I looked back to see the contents of his lunchbag dotting the sidewalk like breadcrumbs from our car. Apparently, I hadn't closed his backpack completely shut. And when Asher and I take the city bus up to his preschool, most mornings we are running to the stop. Asher thinks it's all part of an elaborate and dramatic game, but most mornings we will miss the bus if we don't run.

And then there are the other preschool moms. I sometimes wonder if they think I am one of those alcoholic housewives when they see me stumble into Asher's classroom in my sweats, hair undone, grunting my morning greetings. Not addicted to alcohol, just sleep.

Monday, March 16, 2009

March Snow

would have been better appreciated in December,
but we made the best of it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

today.....or rather yesterday

Today..... I took Asher to a local working farm to see the new baby animals. I have been spending a lot of hours on a work project this week and wanted to get him out of the house. After he deemed the sheep "too loud" and the baby bunnies "too scary," I remembered how much we both dislike the farm and saw the trip for what it truly was....mommy guilt.

Today.... I burned the rice for dinner, but nobody seemed (or dared) to notice.

Today..... I chose to stay home from Tuesday night basketball to rest my ailing back. Instead, I put in a "pilates" workout dvd from the library. As soon as Kathy Smith told me to "mambo," I instantly regretted my decision to skip my beloved bball night and saw the dvd for what it truly was..... 80's aerobics disguised as pilates.

Today..... I got a check from our insurance company. They are over a year behind paying their percentage of Noe's speech therapy and I have been harassing them for months. Unfortunately, the check was made out to our provider....which has since changed I can't even give them the check for credit towards our account. Universal health care are beautiful beautiful words to me.

Today...... when I got Noe off the bus from school, he waved and gave me a sly smile, then whispered to me "Hi Mama." I forgot all about the stupid insurance company and the mommy guilt and saw my life and my kids and my Easy Ed for what they truly are....wonderful.

Big Jobs for Little People

It's always a great day.....

when you have an important job to do.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tonight's Dinner Brought to You by Trader Joes...

and my friend, Michelle.

I seriously don't think I could get past the monotony and time of preparing meals every day without TJ's....and Michelle. It's never a bad thing to befriend a byu home ec major when you seriously lack those types of skeelz.

Some of our current favorites:

*chicken and potato curry (Michelle's inspiration)

*TJ's salmon fillets in dill sauce with jasmine rice on the side

*homemade pizza (TJ's refrigerated pizza dough and sauce, fresh peppers and mushrooms)

*chicken wild rice soup and TJ's cornbread mix. If I'm having a really busy day, I'll substitute homemade soup for TJ's turkey chili.

Michelle also introduced me to this brand of loose-leaf herbal teas....yum!

May I never spend more than 20 minutes in the kitchen ever again.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Thoughts on 'Dreams from My Father'

Just before the election, I read Obama's 'Dreams from My Father'. It details his relationship with his father and his struggles to find a place in the world as a black male raised by a white mother.

I mostly enjoyed the book. I thought it was a little long-winded and I had to push through the first few chapters. However, I loved reading about his trip to Kenya and how he found family and strength, and also disappointment and regret, as he works to reconcile his relationship with his father.

There is one small detail in the book that has stayed with me. In one of the middle chapters, Obama is describing his life out of college. At this point, he has developed a strong sense of self as a black man, and has a wide array of friends from all backgrounds. He details a relationship he has with a white woman. They were quite serious, but the relationship ends when he takes her to an African American play and realizes that she would never be willing to bridge his world. That he would have to exist solely her white world and leave his "black identity" largely behind.

It hit me that Ed made such a decision to be with me eight years ago. I don't know if it was conscious or implied, but it was there. I'm sure that he realized the first time he took me back to his East LA neighborhood that he would never return except for brief visits. That I would use words like "colorful" and "vibrant" to describe his neighborhood, but never seriously consider a move. That the white mormon girl would never survive the suspicious stares of neighbors and the lack of freedom to run and bike the neighborhood on whim. That his children would speak splintered Spanish at best. That his days of authentically homecooked Mexican meals were numbered.

Maybe he made that decision way back in his freshman year of high school when he took the scholarship to the Boston-area boarding school, or when he chose Stanford over ELACC (East LA Community College) to the true disappointment of one his aunts. But regardless of when that decision was made, marrying me put the nails into that coffin for good. He would exist in my world, not the other way around. He was the chameleon, able to thrive in all settings..... a black- tie journalism event, a Sunday dinner with my large, rowdy family, a quinsinera back in the old neighborhood. I was the one who spoke ugly gringa spanish and refused to eat the jello cups and tamales from the guy on the corner who sold them out of his van. we are eight years later. Despite the flautas and rice Ed cooked for dinner tonight and my attempted infusion of Mexican holidays, we live a pretty typical middle class American life. And lately, I have to wonder if the Target-shopping, swimming lessons and summer camp life that I talked Ed into is really so much greater than his childhood life in an immigrant neighborhood.