Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year... to not be a member of a cult.

I grew up in a cult. Not an animal-sacrificing or snake-handling type cult, but a cult (according to books on the subject and most mainstream Christians at the time) nonetheless. This had a lot of effects on my life- too many to really get into here in this post.  But one of the times when we felt it most as children, and when I feel the freedom from it most as an adult is at Christmas time.

Christmas 1992 (and pretty much every Christmas before and several after).  I was a member of the school choir.  Participation in the Christmas Concert was required and my grade in the class depended on it.  But, I was not allowed by my church to sing Christmas songs. So I sat quietly in practice for the songs deemed too-Christmasy.  At the concert, I stayed backstage until we got to a song like "Winter Wonderland" which didn't actually mention Christmas, when I darted out and stood on the end of the row to sing, returning backstage at the end of the song.

When holiday parties were had at school, we had to go home early instead of participating. This was also true for Valentine's Day parties and Halloween parties.  When we were out shopping in November and December, cashiers would ask my brother and I what Santa was bringing us, and we'd say "nothing, we don't celebrate Christmas". Then I would feel superior to all the other people around us, because we knew the truth about what a pagan holiday Christmas was and they did not.  We never said anything about Santa to other kids though, we were too well trained for that. 

My grandmothers were not allowed to give us presents for Christmas or for our birthdays. We did get presents from our parents in the fall, when our church celebrated a week-long Jewish festival. Yes, we celebrated all of the Old Testament Jewish holidays. Not Hanukkah though, as that was traditional rather than Biblical. Although now as an adult, I realize that even Jesus likely celebrated Hanukkah. But I digress.

Christmas 2013.  I woke to the sounds of my kids kicking each other. The cat had peed on Vivian's bed the day before, so she was sleeping at the end of Ethan's bed. And they were kicking each other and fighting over blankets before realizing that it was Christmas! The night before they'd happily gone to bed saying "we have to go right to sleep! Santa is going to come!" And after getting a few kicks in in the morning, they popped out of bed yelling "Mommy! Daddy! Did Santa come?"

Daniel and I blearily dragged ourselves out of bed, made coffee and stumbled upstairs where the children were quivering with excitement in front of our little tree.  We don't do a whole lot of presents, but everyone had a decent little pile to open.  Soon the kids were surrounded with wrapping paper from the presents that Mommy and Daddy and Santa had brought.  They had huge smiles on their faces and were very patient while we wrestled with the slightly evil packaging that surrounded the new toys.

I hadn't actually planned to have Santa as part of our Christmas celebration, but Vivian latched on to the idea. And it was really fun this year. They tracked Santa on the NORAD site. They were convinced to behave slightly better than usual on the days before Christmas so that Santa would bring them gifts.  They believed in the magic and wonder of it all.

Santa and gifts are not and never will be the main focus of Christmas in our home. Going to church on Christmas Eve and reading the Christmas story from the Bible and lots of conversations about Jesus's birth and what Christmas means are the main focus.

But still.  I sat on the couch on Christmas morning, watching my kids and looking at our Christmas tree and lights, and all I could think was "it's awfully nice to be normal now." I guarantee that if I had posted that on Facebook, I would have had a huge response from the many Facebook friends that I have who also grew up in the same church I did.  We bear a lot of emotional scars from our experience. It was not all bad by any means, and good things did come out of it, for sure.  But I'm still glad that I'm out of that and that my kids are growing up "normal" (in this respect at least). 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Fairy princesses and frustrations

It's Monday again, and I'm supposed to be doing laundry or cleaning the floors or something. Which reminds me.  We were at Target on Saturday (bad decision! It's almost Christmas!) and I told Daniel I needed a new laundry bin for the kids' room.  I chose one that would fit in our tiny space, then Daniel piped up with the helpful comment: "That's not going to hold a week's worth of laundry!" Because he apparently thinks I do laundry only once per week. It's more like every other day, as someone is constantly throwing up on things or spilling on things and a certain little boy only has a few clothes that he'll wear without a fight.  I responded to Daniel by glaring at him and suggesting that he should start doing his own laundry if he was going to make statements like that. 

In related laundry news, Daniel's now dressing in business casual clothes for work, which means ironing! I haven't ironed since we moved in here a year ago and am not sure where the iron is.  I may just go buy him lots of new clothing instead.

Anyway, instead of doing laundry today, Vivian decided to run around and be a fairy princess and I decided to take lots of pictures and upload them everywhere.

Seriously. I am crazy about this little girl and am starting to worry about what I'm going to do when she goes to school next year. But then that makes me feel guilty, because right now is a challenging time with her brother and an easy time with her. Vivian loves to go places with me and when I'm busy she sits and reads books or colors. She wants to play dolls and help me with the laundry. When we drive in the car, she sits quietly in the back seat. She's just so easy to be around right now.

I keep thinking that I'm writing this blog post so that I can come back and laugh at myself in about 8 years. Because I am 150% certain that my view of my children and who is easiest will have totally flipped by then. Vivian is extremely opinionated and strong-willed, and I live in fear of her adolescence.  She already has this look on her face that she gives me sometimes that says "I let you win this one, old lady, but you just wait..."  Ethan on the other hand is relatively easygoing and loves to follow rules and please people. If he continues on this path, he'll be my easy kid in the next stage of life. 

But, Ethan is challenging right now. He's all boy. He wants to crash all his toys and sing at the top of his lungs and spend all of his free time playing "catch and crash into the furniture" up in the living room. He never, ever stops moving or talking and he is always loud.  And he is struggling so much at school, which makes me feel so overwhelmed and helpless. We were sitting in his IEP re-evaluation meeting last week and listening to specialist after specialist tell us how far behind he's falling and how tough he is finding everything. Not only has he not made progress (except for in one area) over the past three years, he's actually qualifying for even more help. And I am SO grateful he is, because when presented with the multitude of things that he needs help with, I just don't know where to start. Just getting him to eat and gain weight is overwhelming enough for me right now, without everything else piled on top.

But, my little boy is absolutely darling at the same time! He's such a sports fan- I'm finally finding a use for all of the sports knowledge that I accidentally collected in my brain, thanks to my dad and brother.  He is universally loved by every adult who meets him, because he is sweet and friendly and polite, even when he's refusing to do something.  He always has a smile on his face and he tries hard at the things he needs to work on.  He still wants to give me snuggles and hugs and kisses, whenever he has a free minute. 

Seriously, I'm still waiting for the real grown-ups to show up around here. I'm pretty sure I'm not mature enough or qualified enough for this parenthood stuff. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I just want to make it all better

Back when Ethan was three, he was identified by his primary care doctor as having some delays.  In Seattle, kids 3 and up are the responsibility of the school system, in terms of therapy, so he went for an evaluation. Unsuprisingly, he turned out to be delayed in a number of areas and he was able to get into a special preschool and get lots of help.

Since then, he's been making huge progress and learning skills and to us seemed to be struggling less in a lot of areas.  Unfortunately, that turned out not to be true.  I was able to compare Ethan to Ethan, but not really to other kids his age, so I didn't really know where he was falling on the developmental scale.

Then today, in preparation for his 3-year re-evaluation, we got the report back from the school. His therapists at school (three of them), the school nurse, the school psychologist, the resource room teacher and his classroom teacher (I think that covers it all!) all submitted reports and it was compiled into one big set of recommendations.

As it turns out, he's still massively delayed and hasn't really made noticeable progress in many of the areas.  And I am so frustrated.  It is so hard watching my child struggle so much with so many things in his life. I hate when we all try to encourage and help and support and he still feels like he isn't succeeding. And he seems to have inherited the bad habit of avoiding things he's not good at (his dad and I both do that), so on many things he's more or less given up.

And he's still just so tiny and cannot gain weight. And I can't fix that either, even though I seem to have no problem getting fatter myself!

It's hard to see your child struggling and going through so many challenges. It hurts that I can't make things easier for him.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


A lot of my friends have been doing a daily thankful post on Facebook.  I prefer to reserve Facebook for random complaints about the existence of dinner or the loudness of my children.  But I'm feeling particularly thankful this afternoon, and since my Thanksgiving grocery shopping is done and the kids are out of school now for the Thanksgiving holiday, I declare it time for thankfulness.

This has been an absolutely insane, fast-moving, but great year. 

1) We were able to travel a ton this year. I love visiting new places by myself and with Daniel and the kids. We travel extraordinarily well together, so it's almost always a fun time. Thankful for my job that lets us explore so much!

2)  Health. Everyone remained relatively healthy this year, other than my lung infection in March. We shall  not do that again.

3) We are almost ready to celebrate the anniversary of moving into this house. It's been amazing to have more space and a quieter environment and to be walking distance to so many great neighborhoods. And it's just really pretty in this area. Right now I'm sitting in the dining room looking out at the trees and snowcapped mountains. Seriously, I'm spoiled.

4)  Daniel is starting a new job in a little less than two weeks. I'm actually more excited about it than he is :)  It was unexpected and everything just came together perfectly.  He's not been unhappy at his old job, but the commute is getting old. And now he's going to be working in Seattle, not on the Eastside- and working at my favorite company in the city- Seattle Children's Hospital! At last count, Ethan has been treated by something like 8 different departments at Children's.  The OT there is the one that figured out his sensory disorder and started us on the road to understanding that, and the GI department has been by our side and fighting with us through all of Ethan's refusal to eat and weight loss and feeding tubes and everything.  I can't think about that place without my heart brimming over with gratitude and appreciation, and now Daniel is going to be working there!

5) My kids.  They are such funny little people. I love that they are at an age where they can play together and have long conversations. And when I'm out with one of them, we can actually talk and have fun.  They're so interesting and silly and crazy (and loud) and I laugh at them and with them constantly.

6)  School.  I've been in school for so very, very many years, but for the first time I've found something that challenges me and inspires me and that fits exactly with my interests and strengths. It's sad that it took until my mid-30s to do that, but I'm so very glad I finally made my way here.  It's been a lot of work, but so rewarding as well.

7)  Still ridiculously spoiled by Daniel. He's always supportive and encouraging and wants me to chase my dreams.  And he's really cute too :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Hey! We're still alive!

Last Sunday night we came home from a trip to the coast and fully unpacked. For the first time in months.  We've been on the go so much since July that we've just been leaving our suitcases semi-ready and standing in the corner of the room.  I've lost track of how many trips we've been on. It's been a blast, but we are so excited to be home and have nothing scheduled for this weekend!

School is trudging along for all of it. I'm really loving my class this term. It's a lot of reading and thinking, but I really am enjoying it immensely.  Vivian's preschool is going about the same as usual and she's even interacting more with the other kids.  Ethan loves kindergarten (mostly recess) and is making friends. But struggling mightily with learning stuff. He qualified for special reading help (no surprise there) and he still refuses to draw anything other than squiggles in his writing/drawing assignments.  I knew he would be behind the other kids, but it's discouraging to see him so far behind.

However, in a happy turn of events, it looks like my kids might have a fighting chance of being good at math! They both beg to do Ethan's math homework, would rather play their addition/subtraction game than anything else, and when we're in the car, they want me to ask them math problems constantly.  My brother is a math genius (really), and I'm decent at most math (although questioning the usefulness of most of the higher level math in real life) and Daniel's brother is also really good at math stuff. As I type this, I realize I don't have any idea where Daniel himself stands on math. Things that we haven't discussed in almost 10 years together... Anyway, it's nice to finally see something where Ethan just gets it without frustration on all parts.

Speaking of school- kindergarten is so much more time and money consuming than I ever imagined!  I had a co-worker at my science job who worked when her kids were little and then quit when they hit public school. I never understood that, but now I do. Volunteering and bringing/planning things could be a full-time job if you let it! Makes for a well-run class, so I'm grateful for the parents who step up and help out (cough, meaning, not me. At least not most of the time).

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Life of My Own

We're on week 2 of school and so far things are going well. Vivian's at the same preschool as last year, and she suddenly has started talking to all of the teachers (several of them weren't entirely sure she knew how to talk) and even put on one of her singing shows for her class today. So that's good. And Ethan is really liking kindergarten, although all I get out of him at the end of the school day is that he played race cars at recess and ate lunch with a boy with a blue lunchbox. He doesn't believe in asking people's names, so is identifying them as things like "my new friend with the blue lunchbox".

In my world, I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I'm going to have a life of my own again, independent (for a few hours at least) of the little people and husband.  For the first time in 6 years.  Between the kids and sharing a car and the fact that Daniel and I pretty much do everything together when he's not at work, I rarely go anywhere alone.  And now I have a car of my own and time without the kids.  So I can sign up for the Bible study at church! Or go grocery shopping alone! Or something else- I don't even know what! It's very weird.

In other news, I joined the PTA and signed Ethan up for soccer and Vivian starts gymnastics tomorrow and it is finally starting to dawn on me that I am a mom.  Like seriously.  I'm freaking out a little.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I have freeeeedommmmmm!!!!

It's 8:45 AM.  It's pouring down rain and thundering/lightnining? Yesterday the kids wore shorts, today it's rainboots and raincoats. Whatever. I didn't have to do drop off this morning so rain gear is not my issue.  Even though it's dark and rainy, I'm smiling because I AM FREE!!! Until 1 PM, at least.  Both kids are off at school today (and will be gone at the same time every Tues and Thurs) and I HAVE A CAR!!! 

We've been a 1 car family for 7.5 years. And we made it work. Daniel bussed sometimes to work and the kids and I took buses a lot too. We're on a bus route, it's convenient and worked well. But now Ethan wants to play sports. And Vivian wants to take gymnastics classes. And we looked at each other one day and realized that we need a second car, if we don't want to spend all of our time figuring out who was going to have the car and where.

So Daniel did lots of research and found a car online and we picked it up last weekend when we were on a family trip (going to the area where the car was anyway!) and it's nice and comfy and even has a DVD player that the previous owners didn't know about. Seriously.

Now I can study in the quiet and run errands and see people and leave the house occasionally!

Oh, and Vivian went back to school today.  Same school as last year- new teacher, but one we already know well.  I'm in denial that she's going to kindergarten next year too.  This growing up stuff is ridiculous.

She wants to be a princess, a plane guy, a mommy and drive a car when she grows up.

My kids outfits speak the truth- Vivian is in princess gear and Ethan's shirt says "I have to win." Truth.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First Day of Kindergarten

I was sure that I was not going to be emotional on Ethan's first day of Kindergarten. SURE OF IT.  For one, I'm not a very emotional person.  And two, he's been riding a bus to school and going off into the great unknown for 2.5 years.  Kindergarten is nothing, right!

I cried this morning.  It started when we were walking from our car to school and I just kept thinking about taking him to daycare when he was 6 months old and wearing him in the baby carrier because I just wanted to be close to him. And then the other parents were tearing up when we were waiting outside the classroom. And THEN- the teacher made us sing "You Are My Sunshine" as a group before saying goodbye to the kids and that was that.

Ethan hasn't been too excited about school but he acted like a pro today.  I think kindergarten is going to be great for him.  And it's fun to have time with just Vivian again. And boy is it quiet in the house with him gone! I'm accomplishing things! But I do miss him.

It says "When I grow up, I want to drive the M&M NASCAR car and play all the sports."

Monday, August 19, 2013

Totally random things about me

It's the first day back at grad school, so I'm procrastinating..... BIG TIME.  I swear, cobwebs have taken over all of my brain space since April.  Ugh. 

So, for your reading enjoyment, here are random things about me. 

1) I get asked for directions constantly.  I have a few theories as to why.  First of all, I'm short and chubby, so very non-threatening.  Second, I walk fast and look purposeful. Maybe I look like I know where I'm going.  I've been asked for directions pretty much everywhere, including in foreign countries. It's really weird.

2) I love filling out forms.  When else in life do I have all of the answers? The exception to this is immunization forms. Those kill me.

3) My kids collect rocks. But not fancy rocks.  We're talking pieces of gravel or random medium-sized brown/grey rocks. 

4) I dislike the outdoors intensely.  I do not get along with sweating, dirt or bugs.  But in the past 18 months I have climbed a glacier, gone ziplining, done an aerial rope course, explored a series of caves, kayaked (twice!), ridden a bike, and camped.  It's disturbing.

5)  I have an insane phobia of calling people on the phone.  I blame the summer I worked as a telemarketer and then in a customer service phone bank and the fact that I had to answer the phone a lot when I was a kid and be polite to the church members who were calling (my dad is a pastor) and I used up all my phone skills then.  I now only call my grandmother.  And when people call me, I often don't answer the phone. I have issues.

6) I don't like reading books to my kids, because when I read books out loud, I have to read them in order. When I read to myself, I read a paragraph or two at a time, not necessarily in order and not all of the words.  This method has served me well for 30 odd years, including in school and my old job, when I was known for my skills as a document summarizer.  It does not translate to reading to kids and I'm having to read more carefully for this round of classes as well, since I'm often reading document from hundreds of years ago. But for the fluffy chick lit stuff and fiction that I read on my own, it works fine.

7) I come from a long line of women that are terrible and disinterested cooks. Actually, more disinterested than terrible. We just don't care enough to try hard.  The men in the family are great cooks (but don't cook the main meals).  My male cousin is actually thinking about attending cooking school, and his sister can't cook. That's just how things go in my family.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The 0.14th percentile

Ethan had his well child appointment today. He not only failed the hearing test (okay, so maybe he isn't just ignoring me?), but he actually weighed in 2 pounds LESS than last year.  And 1 pound less than in February.  He's now in the 0.14th percentile for weight.  7th percentile for height though, so that's good.  I'm dealing with the after effects of this appointment by eating lunch and continuing my march into the 1 trillionth percentile for weight.  DAMN IT.  We have to go back to Children's soon for yet another appointment with the GI clinic and I am so tired of all of this. It's been going on for four years now and we are worn out.

We've been using Ethan's feeding tube and he's been eating and drinking his supplement, but he is SO active and never ever stops moving and burns off all of the calories that he takes in.  I need to infuse him with some of my slothlike behavior of late.

The weekend at my grandmother's was mostly good. Hard emotionally and weird to help take care of my grandmother in such a personal way.  I was able to do one night of the caretaking and my aunt got a full night's sleep, which made the trip worth it. And we were there with lots of relatives to celebrate grandma/my great aunt's birthday yesterday.

Oh, and also, my BABY TURNED SIX!!! Please someone tell me how that happened!

Ethan at six is funny and loves everyone. He's never met a stranger and loves peppering new acquaintances with questions about their favorite colors and sports teams.  He also is fond of saying "what's your number?" which means "how old are you?", but comes across very differently sometimes! He loves every sport in the entire world and his life goal is to win American Ninja Warrior and be a Seattle Mariner when he grows up.  I love this little kid that made me a mom- he's such a blessing to us.

Friday, August 9, 2013

An elephant is sitting on my lungs

I'm heading off tomorrow with the kids to stay with my grandmother for a few days. I'm mostly feeling 1) guilty that I didn't get down there before, 2) horribly terrified that I will be useless and 3) scared out of my mind about losing my grandmother. Honestly, she's doing well. She is turning 87 on Sunday and not in good physical health, but made it through a broken leg (which has a really high mortality rate in older people) and a surgery in which she lost a lot of blood and a long recovery. So she's doing well.

But she's still turning 87 on Sunday.  And Daniel's parents are in their late 70s. We got started on kids 10 years later than our parents did, and honestly, none of our parents had kids very young. So our parents are 10 years older than our grandparents were. I'm 36 and have one biological grandparent (and one foster grandparent who is only 13 years older than my dad, who himself is considered a senior citizen at this point) left.  Every time I think of my kids growing up without knowing their great-grandparents (who I was fortunate enough to know in several cases) or even their grandparents, I descend into a mass of tears and feeling guilty for not finding a husband/getting engaged/married/pregnant faster than I did. Which I did pretty quickly, for me.

Family history really matters to me.  I've always been interested in it- my dad's side of the family is a spaghetti mess of marriage and divorce and I don't even know what and my mom's side is pretty normal, and my husband's side is even more messy than my dad's side (multiple simultaneous wives in the old Chinese world and leaving wives to marry new ones at the same time in the not-so-accepting of that! world and who knows who is related to whom, they are all uncles and aunts!) but I want my kids to know who they are and where they've come from. And losing these older generations before the kids are old enough to care is a big blow.

And I'm just not ready to say goodbye and explain to Ethan and Vivian where these people who they love have gone. I'm a massive wimp in terms of unpleasantness and sadness. I just am not ready for this. Whenever it happens and whatever form. It's not here yet, but I'm still not ready. And I doubt I ever will be.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My next free weekend is in 2015

Back in June my grandmother fell and broke her leg. She was in rehab for a while, then came home and my aunt has been managing her care.  I really should have gone down before, but between travel and the whole family getting absolutely leveled by the worst stomach bug of all times, I haven't gotten my act together and gone down there.

But this weekend is her birthday (Ethan's as well- Grandma's first comment when I called to tell her about Ethan, was to say "couldn't you have waited another 2 hours so he was born on my birthday?"  Given that we'd been trying to evict him for a solid week (failed induction! Fun!), I let her know that that wasn't actually possible), so the kids and I are heading down on Friday to help out and celebrate.

She made some comment today about me helping out with the cooking, which proves that the medications have gotten to her, since I am a product of her family and am therefore a terrible cook.  We have a long tradition of the women in the family being terrible cooks.  We'd really rather just read a book.  So that should be interesting.

I'm glad to be going down, although I am a little discouraged lately about her getting older and Daniel's parents really starting to age.  Heck, Daniel's going to be closer to 50 than 40 after his birthday next month.  I'm still not ready to be a grown up, much less a middle-aged one. 

School starts for me in just under two weeks, so that'll be fun to add back into the mix. Along with having various travel plans and family in town every weekend until Ethan and Vivian head back to school in September.  I'm being as slothful as possible in the interim.  I try to only accomplish one task per day. Don't want to strain myself :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I'm putting my pajamas back on in 3 hours

I did not fall into the lake last Friday.  I also didn't leave the marina with my kayak.  Instead I paddled around a bit near the big fancy boats for a while and then spent an equivalent amount of time trying to haul my not-so-small self out of the kayak without falling into the lake. Then I quickly returned the paddle and life vest to the bell staff at the hotel and went for a lovely walk.  Walking is my thing. I did ride a bike yesterday and only fell off once and managed to fall into a large bush, so didn't get hurt. Given that I hadn't been on a bike in about 20 years, I view that as a success. Admittedly, I did walk the bike a lot, but it's still progress.

We just got home last night from three back to back trips.  Two work trips on each end with a family visit in the middle. And it was all really fun and great to escape from real life. But this little introvert is wrung out.  Being around people non-stop and having to be "on" for a week straight pretty much used up all of the energy that I have.  I am picking up Vivian from school in 2 hours (yes, she's STILL in school!) and then we have a few errands to run and then I am putting  my pajamas back on and staying in them until Saturday late afternoon.  It's good to have goals, right :)

In other news, how cute are my kids?

Monday, July 8, 2013

The sound of silence

At 9 AM this morning, I dropped my kids off at sports camp with a big smile on my face. Fun for them and alone time for Mommy- that's a win-win!  They're going to camp 3 hours a day this week and I don't know who's more excited about it, them or me.  It's been kind of an exhausting summer so far. Ethan's so full of energy and questions and has to be entertained every. second.  He wears my brain out by the end of the day. And Vivian is doing an excellent job of being a 4 (going on 13) year old and spends most of her day working on pushing every boundary that she can find. Good thing they are both cute.

In other boundary pushing news, I've agreed to go kayaking and biking on Friday.  Fortunately I will be having a pedicure on Thursday, so my feet will look nice while I fall in the lake/off of my bike.  This just simply cannot end well.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Canada Day and Happy 4th of July!

It's our annual "dress up the kids in various patriotic clothing and take pictures" week! To further celebrate being American, we are going to IKEA today to eat Swedish food.  :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I think it's Wednesday. Not entirely sure, since Ethan's on summer break and Vivian didn't have school yesterday for some random reason and I haven't combed my hair since Sunday morning. I am not kidding about that last one. Not even a little bit. I also haven't put on makeup since Sunday morning (I always wear at least some makeup, so that's huge!)

I have finished up a huge project that I've been working on for Trekaroo, one that's been on my schedule since January and has been lurking in the back of  my mind and now it's done! And I can not worry about that now and I don't start school again for two more months and so I can turn off my brain completely now.

In not good news, my grandmother fell this morning and broke her leg and it's apparently a bad break and I don't know much more than that yet, but I'd appreciate prayers for her.  We were down visiting her this past weekend and I was just telling my mom how well Grandma seemed to be doing and then this. It's just not good. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My teeny tiny baby is now a kindergartener

Ethan takes after me in his approach to mornings- he prefers to avoid them if at all possible. Lately Daniel and he have been playing a game where Daniel scoops him out of bed and calls him his "teeny tiny baby" and rocks him like a baby and then everyone laughs and the day begins.

My teeny tiny baby finished preschool today.  Everyone sniffled through the party at his school.  These kids have been through so much already in their short lives- most of us are all too familiar with therapists and doctors and Children's Hospital.  And everyone has come so far, thanks to the amazing teachers and therapists and school.  We were all proud of our kids and sad to be moving on at the same time. 

I knew I was going to be emotional about this whole thing, but I didn't expect the amount of emotion I've been feeling. Yes, I've been sending my kid away on a school bus to preschool for 3 years now, but kindergarten still seems strange and just so grown up.

I actually cried at the park today when a bunch of middle school boys ran past and they were just so loud and telling off color jokes and I wanted to wrap my teeny tiny baby up and run away to "stay-a-preschooler-forever" land.  I'm definitely not taking the hugs and hand-holdings for granted anymore. I know there aren't too many days where he will walk to a park holding my hand left in my life.  STOP GROWING UP ALREADY!!!

I need to put my overtired self to bed now. 

February 2011

June 13, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

Only nine days of preschool to go

My little guy is finishing up preschool next Thursday.  I'm not too worried about kindergarten in September- I think he's ready and he will have an IEP for at least the first part of the year, which will help with the transition.

But next Thursday I have to say goodbye to his teacher and his therapists at school.  These people came into my life at one of my lowest points. Ethan had been tested the previous fall and diagnosed with a whole host of developmental issues.  Oh, and that was also when his eating issues were at their most severe and he was going through testing at Children's and there was so much unknown.  And we'd finally decided to try a NG tube to get calories in him.  So he started preschool with that in his nose and taped to his face and everytime I saw him my heart broke a little.

Then he started school and suddenly our life was filled with knowledgeable people who soon came to love our son and fight for him to catch up and manage his problems.  And 2 1/2 years later he's getting ready to enter a mainstream kindergarten class. Several of his other classmates didn't even talk a few years ago in those early days at preschool- one of them growled and licked adults.  They're all chatting up a storm now- and the growling kid is a polite, verbal, funny little boy.  The girl who used a walker and had braces on her legs runs along side the others in their preschool races.  It's been nothing short of amazing to see these kids blossom at school.

Next Thursday we have to say goodbye to these kids that have been part of Ethan's life (they come from all over Seattle and all bussed to school and will be attending different kindergartens) and the teachers and staff that have done nothing short of working miracles and who have encouraged me when parenting a special needs child got hard.  I'm afraid I might break my no-crying rule. I don't see how it can be avoided.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Turning four

I've spent the majority of the past week trying to convince Vivian that she is not allowed to turn 4 and be a big girl.  How exactly did my baby get to be 4 without me noticing?  And why does she act and speak like a 14 year old?  And why am I not skinny yet?  (Actually, I can answer that last one).

I was telling Daniel the other day that it seems like it's taking forever to get Ethan to kindergarten age, but now all of a sudden Vivian's just a year from that herself.  Crazy.  Oh, and poor second kid.

So, Vivian at 4.  She's a darling little girl that loves to take care of people and her dolls. She's very nurturing and worries about others all the time. And she totally micromanages pretty much everything in our home.  She also spends a lot of the time "taking care" of the cat, who actually has no need of being taken care of and who in turn spends most of her time looking at me sadly or hiding from Vivian.  Vivian is thriving in her preschool and learning so many things so quickly.  She hates groups and is never happier than when she arrives at the playground and sees that it's empty. "Mommy! There's no one at this park! It's wonderful, actually!"  (Most sentences end or begin with the word "actually").

She has recently (finally!) started sleeping in her own bed most of the time, but her favorite thing to do is to have a sleepover in her brother's big bunk bed and share books with him and giggle at stories they make up.  She's a morning girl and loves getting up early to have breakfast with Daddy (Mommy and Ethan are not morning people).

I love spending time with this little girl. Whether it's over a cup of hot chocolate at the coffee shop or walking down the street holding hands and discussing flowers and school and fluffy skirts, she always makes me smile. I'm blessed to be Vivian's mom.

With her birthday crown :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lost cats, scratched up kids and piles of laundry

So I went to California last week and it was sunny and warm (downright hot in the desert) and filled with palm trees and I had a great time.  This trip was even busier than usual- our short day was a 14 hour one from leaving one hotel to checking in to another one. I didn't even turn on my computer for three straight days.  So I really didn't have time to miss the kids or Daniel.  But I was happy to return to them on Monday night.  Even though Vivian had apparently fallen in the backyard and her legs were all covered with scratches. And Ethan's face was scratched from some altercation at school. Oh, and his friend had hit him in the face with a ball and popped the lenses out of my glasses.

Oh, and then there was the first night of  my trip when I was getting a tour of a gorgeous oceanfront resort (I SO need to become independently wealthy...) and Daniel called to tell  me that my cat had gotten out. Given the fact that the cat had escaped in Seattle and I was in California at the time, I'm not sure what my role was in this.  Fortunately he found her after about an hour of searching.  She has recently decided that it's vitally important that she become an outdoor cat and spends a great deal of her time trying out how to make this happen, so I wasn't upset at him for her escaping. Calling to tell me before he found her, that I could have done without. 

After I was filled in on all that went on while I was gone, I accused Daniel of trying to make me think that he couldn't handle things at home so that I wouldn't travel anymore. I also informed him that his plan had not worked. Although I am planning to stay home for the near future.

I'm feeling a little panicky today in general, because press trips generate a lot of work to do once I'm home and then the laundry is piled up and it's the day that I need to pay the bills and ha! I have a whole review blog that I haven't done anything for in ages! And Vivian wants a sandwich. No wait! She wants noodles! No wait! She wants me to update her toy that requires being connected to the internet. Is it too early for a drink? (Yes, yes it is.)

As usual, my solution to the massive list is to not do any of  it and instead browse the internet to see what I missed while being mostly offline during my trip.  Makes total sense, right?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The traveling one

I remember thinking several distinct thoughts at some point in my early relationship with Daniel. One thought was "I'm so glad he's happy in his career and that he also hates reading and studying and will never go back to grad school."  The other was "I'm so glad he works for a company that doesn't require him to travel."  My dad didn't travel much when I was a kid, but he did go to grad school several times and then my mom did as well when I was in high school. It wasn't bad, just busy.  And I have friends whose husbands travel a lot and it doesn't look like much fun for those at home.

Those thoughts came to mind this week as I'm preparing to travel again next week, this time being away from home for 5 full days.  My in-laws will come down before I leave and be here until just hours before I get back, so Daniel will have help.  Last time I traveled for work he went up to Canada.  He's got a job he can do from home and he works approximately 100,000 hours per normal week, so it's not like he's getting in trouble for only working 80,000 hours per week while he juggles the kids. 

And I juggled grad school  and work and kids and the review blog for the past 9 months. And if I can do it, he certainly can. But still. I feel a little guilty. I'm the stay-at-home mom, and I'm flying off on another trip without the family. (Being a stay-at-home mom and a travel writer at the same time is weird). 

Daniel is uber-supportive and I couldn't do any of this without him.  I just never expected to be both the one in grad school and the one traveling away from the family.  It's not bad, just not where I expected to be.

But in other news, I get to go on a hot air balloon ride on this next trip! BEST JOB EVER!!!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

In which I feel like a failure and then get annoyed at myself for feeling like a failure and feel worse.

Three years ago I ran in the Free Them 5K, a race that raises funds and awareness to fight human trafficking. That event pretty much turned my life upside down and led to me applying for grad school to study public policy.  It's a really important event to me and I believe in it thoroughly.

Except it's coming up this Saturday and I do not want to run it.  Correction, I don't want to show up and have to walk it, because the main thing that has not been making the cut on my to-do list is exercise. I was doing pretty well until the great plague of March, and then I just never got back into it. And now we're just a few days out and I'm going to be lucky to just walk the 5K.

But then I get annoyed at myself for beating myself up about that.  And the vicious cycle of feeling like a failure continues. 

I'm not even dealing with grad school right now, but for some reason I'm feeling overwhelmed.  Post-semester stress disorder?  :)  I don't actually even have that much going on right now and I generally get my to-do list finished every day, and occasionally I even remember that dinner exists and that I have to cook it before 7 PM (not often, but occasionally). 

I wish I could cut myself some slack. I just can't seem to convince my brain that it's okay to not be great at everything.  I just want to do everything perfectly and get so upset at myself when I can't. Or in this case, when I was lazy and didn't put effort into something that matters to me.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013


So I went to San Antonio last week. And three of the four press people that were on the trip were from the Pacific Northwest.  So it, of course, rained for most of the time we were there. We accepted the blame.  Fortunately, I returned to sunshine.  But the sunshine is making me do weird things. Like finally call the dentist to schedule a cleaning appointment (afraid of making phone calls, not afraid of the dentist).  And making plans with the next door neighbor for dinner! 

Our poor next door neighbor. We've been making plans with her and postponing for weeks. But I was having massive allergy issues, then Daniel got slammed at work, then I was finishing my semester, then I went on my trip, and now things are finally slow enough to stop and take a deep breath and socialize.  She seems very nice, so I'm looking forward to getting to know her better. And I've decided that it's time to finally hire a babysitter, so also looking forward to getting to know her teenage daughter.  For all my talk about putting marriage first, that hasn't really been the reality.  In truth, I'm so worn out by the time Daniel gets home that I'm not a very interesting person to hang out with. And our weekends have been filled with separate activities. So it's time to hire a babysitter and go spend some quality time together. Until I fall asleep in my dinner.  Whatever.

In other news, Daniel took this picture of the kids this past weekend and I LOVE it. It sums up everything about my kids' personalities.  Ethan is outgoing and loves hamming it up for the camera and being around people. Vivian is more reserved and cannot be convinced to do anything she doesn't want to do. Especially if strangers may be in the vicinity. And Ethan wears brown, black or yellow all the time, while Vivian prefers more colorful outfits (to put it mildly).
I love these two!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In which I come thiclose to forgetting to send my son to school today

I'm leaving tomorrow morning, freakishly early for a press trip to San Antonio.  You can be a little jealous.  San Antonio sounds fabulous and I will be having fun.  (Note- I promise, press trips are definitely work. I'm not going off on vacation, my days are scheduled by someone else for 14 hours at a time.  But it is the best work ever.  I'll accept that.)

So I got up this morning and had a snuggle with the kids and then the cat came in and was yelling at us about getting her treats and we didn't respond in a manner she approved of, so she wet on the bed. That we were lying in.  I actually appreciate it when things like this happen the day before I am leaving. Makes it easier to leave.  Vivian decided to bite Ethan today too, so she's doing her part.

And then I was trying to pack myself and wash the sheets and figure out what  I was missing from my suitcase. And get the kids stuff organized so that Daniel doesn't have to deal with too much while he works from home with them underfoot. And I was writing schedules down for school pickups and drop offs and suggestions for lunches and dinners.  I even told Ethan he could wear a shirt today that he's not allowed to wear out in public. And I didn't comb my hair after my shower, or put on makeup (I always wear at least a little makeup).

Then I made the kids lunch and sent them off to sit outside and was making my lunch. Then it finally dawned on me that Ethan had school today too! And the bus would be here in 10 minutes.  So then we kicked it into high speed and made it outside with enough time for a short baseball game.  Whew. 

So now I'm almost packed and the to-do list is almost checked off. 

On another note, can I say how very, very much I love having two preschoolers?  I can sit and have conversations with them (definitely Vivian more than Ethan. He usually has a pressing need to go find something to crash).  And they play together so well, making up games and silly scenarios.  They have been pretending to be zoo animals a lot lately. I'm never quite sure what to expect when I go upstairs.  They laugh together and fight like crazy and hit and bite and at the end of the day, they beg to both be able to sleep in Ethan's big bed.  Separating them is about the biggest punishment that I can apply to them (most of the time).  It makes that whole two kids under 2 thing that we went through back in 2009 totally worth it! I think I might actually miss them a little faster than usual this trip.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Summer Vacation to me!

I actually got out of school for my summer break on Friday.  Which, coincidentally, was the last day of my kids' Spring Break.  East Coast school and semesters adds up to early escape for me!  And the sun is shining today and it's lovely, so I'm feeling very summery.

We're not outside though, because I'm catching up with the many, many small tasks that I've been letting slide since Spring Break.  Just minor things like balancing the checkbook :)  Oh, and SO MUCH LAUNDRY.  Not that I've been putting laundry off since Spring Break. But the pile is big enough that that would be believable.

I'm also working on packing, because I'm off to San Antonio to attend Fiesta! on Thursday.  San Antonio has been on my wish list for ages, so I'm super excited.  And Daniel, my fabulous husband, is going to juggle things here and work from home and manage all the kids stuff. He's never actually been home alone with them overnight- his parents usually come down when I'm gone.  But I typically pretend to be allergic to all the kids' bedtime routines, so he manages that all anyway.  Oh, and nothing ever fazes him, so he'll be fine. They probably wont even notice that I'm gone. 

Vivian's begging to go to the playground, so I should stop wasting time and get out in the sunshine. She asks to go, even though I warned her that there will be other kids at the playground, and she is, as a rule, against going to the playground when there are other children around. She is SO my kid :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Google Friend Connect is going away soon

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Monday, April 8, 2013

In which I suffer some sort of psychotic break and interact with nature

Last week I was waiting for Ethan's bus and looking at the yard and thinking that I didn't like some of the plants. And then it dawned on me that we own this yard and I could change things.  So after the bus came, Vivian and I headed to the store and loaded up the cart with plants and planting stuff.

And she happily dug in the dirt and helped me plant and I wore gloves and managed to not interact with the dirt too much and the yard looks great.  For now.  I am death to plants, so there's a good chance it wont last long. I still can't believe that I voluntarily went outside and got that close to nature.

Speaking of outside. We had some insane rain this weekend and it was cold and my kids spent the whole time begging to play outside.  Sixth generation Northwesterners have a very different concept of good weather to be outside in than normal people.

Oh, and we sold Vivian's toddler bed! The last baby-related gear is gone!  She's still not sleeping in her own bed though. She's actually been sleeping at the bottom of Ethan's bed. The bed is long and they are short, so they both fit comfortably.  We are having an ant issue in their room right now, but after that's dealt with, we're really hoping that she'll transition to her own big mattress.  But when she tells me that she asks to sleep with me in the middle of the night because she's lonely and she loves me, it's awfully hard to say no. 

In other news. TWO WEEKS LEFT OF THIS SEMESTER.  I cannot wait.  I am so ready to not have to think every day. Although my old job did ask if I'd be willing to pick up some work for them.  They wanted me right away and I said I couldn't until May, so we'll see if that follows through.  And we'll see if there's any science brain left in my head. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Raise your hand if you have a beautiful face!

I'm good at a lot of things, but I fail completely at anything involving creativity. I have none.  At all. So when my kids and I play games, they tend to be pretty basic.  Take our favorite game to play in the car, for example.  It's called "Big house, little house".  And it consists of looking out the window and yelling "big house!" or "little house!". Or if we're feeling REALLY wild, we'll also yell "tree!".  I am not even remotely kidding.  Fortunately, the kids find this game to be hysterical, so I can continue lacking creativity for a bit longer.

The other favorite game that we play constantly is called "raise your hand if..."  It's a marvelous distraction for the kids. Again, it consists of things like "raise your hand if you're in the house!" or "raise your hand if you're eating breakfast!"  The kids could play it for hours.  But yesterday Vivian caught me offguard with the game. 

So, we were sitting at the table, eating lunch and playing "raise your hand".  And we did lots of silly questions, and then Vivian piped up with "raise your hand if you have a beautiful face".  And I didn't raise my hand, and after looking at me, neither did she. Motherhood FAIL. 

I don't consider myself beautiful. Vaguely cute is the best I can aspire to, especially lately.  I don't believe that even Daniel finds me to be beautiful. Maybe the kids do, because they don't know any better. But I don't want Vivian to think that way about herself, and my actions influence her.  Raising girls is hard.

I was actually talking about daughters with two different friends yesterday, and we all agreed that girls present a unique challenge.  I think we feel like we should understand them because we're all female, but we don't.  And they develop such personalities so young.  And these are the easy years with girls and I'm already pretty much totally lost.  Sigh.

In other news, I went to a book reading/Q&A thingy last night and was in this massive hall stuffed full of book nerds and I felt cool for the first time in my life.  My people! Except for the ones who murmured with excitement about the prospect of an upcoming biography of Woodrow Wilson.  I'm far cooler than them :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Please bring back the sunshine!

We had some AMAZING weather here in Seattle for the past 4 or 5 days. I don't remember how many, it all blurs together into a symphony of smiles and basking in the sun and being friendly to strangers (a sign that I'm seriously happy!) and taking pictures of cherry blossoms and breathing in the blue sky and warmth. 

And today is not that nice, but it's not raining and it's Monday anyway so whatever.

And I am WELL AGAIN!!!!! All that's left of three weeks of coughing and taking piles of medications is a little twinge in my side from my pulled muscle.  Oh, and sore legs, because I did a ton of walking Friday and Saturday, and I haven't hardly moved from the couch all month, so things like walking up our hill about did me in.  But I'm feeling good again! 5 weeks until my next 5K, so I need to be well and get busy with training.

We had a nice Easter weekend.  Daniel's parents came down, which meant I could largely ignore the kids.  And they all went out on Saturday to go to Costco, Walmart and dim sum, and I dislike all of those things, so I stayed home and worked on a paper for grad school.  It was hard to be inside working on a paper about human rights abuses with blue sky and sunshine outside, but I have to finish the paper early since I'm going to San Antonio the week it's due. 

And Sunday was lovely with Easter baskets and a  great worship service at church and dim sum lunch (I can't escape!) and the kids playing in their new wading pool, since it was a scorching 65 degrees outside. And then Daniel and I fed the kids and then escaped to our little balcony and sat and chatted and ate a yummy dinner and it was all perfection.

Now, please turn the sunshine back on.

Happy Easter!

My tiny little guy on stage singing on Easter. He's not the youngest one up there.  Welcome to mommy and daddy's world, short stuff.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

In which I am old. And not interested in eating birthday cake.

Okay, so at what point am I going to start feeling like a grown up?  Seriously, I keep waiting for it to happen, but my brain still isn't having it. I keep waiting for someone to expose me as a fraud. 

So... it's my birthday.  So far the excitement has included lots of birthday hugs and kisses (good!) and laundry (boo!).  My in-laws are coming tomorrow night, so I need to get ready for that.  This is clearly going to be a wild and crazy birthday.

I am feeling better though, which is nice.  Except for the muscle I pulled while coughing (I told you, OLD!).  Daniel slept funny last night and his neck was hurting this morning and my back/side muscle hurts, so trying to kiss each other goodbye in the car this morning when I dropped him at the bus stop was pretty funny looking. 

And in a sign that I've clearly gone insane, I'm actually not that interested in going to the store and buying cake for tonight. It just doesn't sound that exciting. But I suspect that there are some preschoolers in my house who are much more interested in cake and who will punish me if I skip it :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My birthday is looming

My birthday is on Thursday.  Which is fairly exciting because I do love presents. Daniel gave me my big present already (a new chandelier for the dining room) and installed it on Friday night and it looks fabulous. Yesterday he cleaned all of our many floors as a gift. Today he did everything with the kids while I laid on the couch. Because I AM STILL sick. 

I went to the doctor under protest on Thursday because Daniel was really tired of hearing me whine about feeling bad and he was starting to look a little deranged when I kept saying that I didn't want to go.  I like my doctor, but rarely go. I'm not a big fan of antibiotics and so don't see the point of going in for routine illnesses.  I was sure that she'd say it was just a cold.  Instead I ended up on a nebulizer because my lung function was so bad.  So she gave me an inhaler and oral steroids and had me schedule a follow-up for Saturday. 

The inhaler and steroids didn't work, and my lung function got worse, so Saturday earned me another breathing treatment. And a chest x-ray.Which was a little inconclusive, so the doctor decided to go ahead and start treating me for  pneumonia too.  I have enough medications on my counter to open my own pharmacy.  But hopefully something will start working soon because IT'S MY BIRTHDAY ON THURSDAY. 

Oh, and while I was in the doctor's office getting all these treatments and prescriptions, my parking expired and I got a parking ticket. Not happy birthday to me. :(  But I'm just counting it as part of the medical bills that will be coming in soon from this week's adventures in medicine.  

I'm going to be old, in case you were wondering.  This is the last year that I can pull off "mid-30s" and not "late 30s".  But that's why it's handy to be married to someone 10 years older.  I always have someone around to make me feel young. 

In other news, one more month until grad school is done for the school year. It's been fun, but I am so ready for summer vacation.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

The lost week

Oh my goodness. This week.  Is a giant blur of kleenex and lying on the couch and coughing and I am SO tired of being sick. I do not do sick well. I hate being unproductive and I really hate feeling rotten.

And my husband? The best.  Tuesday and Thursday he got up, took Vivian to preschool, drove the 20 miles to work, left work at lunchtime, picked up Vivian to bring her home, and then drove BACK to the office. He did that twice.  He also missed two hours of work today to take Ethan to sports class when Vivian woke up sick this morning and it was clear that she couldn't go.  He's put up with undone laundry, uncooked meals, dirty bathrooms and much whining from me.  I would not have been one millionth as gracious and kind if the situation was reversed.  Without him and fairly self-sufficient kids, I don't know what I would have done.

Seriously. Do not catch this cold. It is awful.

In other news, getting a lot of shows on Netflix watched when I've been feeling well enough to open my eyes.  I've recently discovered Drop Dead Diva, which I love. And which has been educating me on the importance of wearing well tailored clothing if one is "less than thin" (as I put it). 

And in other, other news, Vivian has learned how to put DVDs in and out of the player and start her shows on her own.  So I guess the week was a success after all!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Would someone please explain to me how it is March already

I'm on spring break this week.  My first one in 10 years. And sadly, I'm about as boring on spring break as I was when I was younger.  So far my activities have consisted of doing laundry and watching TV on my iPod. WILD AND CRAZY!

Seriously. March? The 5th? I totally missed January and February somehow. 

The best thing about March is, of course, my birthday.  And since I was born in the year of the snake and this is again the year of the snake, I managed to convince Daniel that I deserve an extra special present (and I declared that since he is Chinese and the animal year thing is also Chinese, I was totally right). I love presents and spend months counting down to my birthday. I think he's giving in to me on this one. Especially since he wants a car for his birthday in September. 

In other news, 5 1/2 years into this parenting thing, I have FINALLY figured out a discipline system that works on Ethan. I don't like to spank my kids because I have a temper and I don't think it's a good idea.  And timeouts don't work on him because he just sits there and daydreams and could care less that it's supposed to be a punishment.  Same thing with being sent to his room. And he has too many toys to care if he doesn't have one in particular. And I'm not going to take away TV time because that would probably do me in. So I've been trying to figure this out for a while and FINALLY realized that Ethan a) loves sports and b) is the most competitive person I've met, other than my brother.  So I originally printed out these score cards, but then I got lazy and just started arbitrarily assigning him points for things or taking them away for misbehavior. And Ethan is obsessed with this, especially the idea of beating his sister. And it totally completely works.  His teacher overheard me assigning him points at school and she's started doing it too.

I know this wont work too much longer because Ethan will eventually learn to count and will also realize that Mommy is making the whole thing up and doesn't actually remember how many points he has.  DO NOT TEACH MY KID TO COUNT (actually, he can count, he just has trouble understanding what's a bigger and smaller number).  That's going on the list with telling time.  Skills that they don't need for a long time yet. 

And the other beauty of this system is that Vivian does not care one little bit (she's too busy plotting my overthrow as benevolent dictator of the house), so she's totally not bothered when Ethan has more points than her and so it's a win-win.

In other, other news, Ethan and I were out way late last night at a screening of Oz the Great and Powerful (review to come on the other blog soon, but go see it!) and he was up late and Vivian was at home with Daniel and also ended up staying up late and now she's napping.  I WIN AGAIN!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Note to self. It will get done.

I've decided that I'm no longer looking forward to kindergarten next year. The kids play so well together when they're both home (right now they're pretending to play soccer upstairs- Sounders versus Chelsea, and are marching around the living room in snow boots), and it dawned on me that it'll just be Vivian and I most of the time once Ethan starts school full-time in September.  Oh, and Ethan prefers to not wake up before 9:30, so that's going to be fun when he has to be at school before 8:30. 

So, yesterday was a preschool day for both kids and those are pretty much a loss to me in terms of productivity, because I spend the day waiting for buses and picking kids up and stuff like that. I'd hoped to work on my paper in the afternoon, but instead ended up taking my furbaby to the vet for bloodtests. Turns  out her kidneys have declined since October and she's lost more weight. It's not kidney failure yet, but we have to give her special food and bring her in for bloodwork every 6 months. Oh, and give her antacids 2 times per day. That'll be fun.  But hopefully she'll stick around for a while yet.

The vet appointment took over my afternoon and sucked the last bit of emotional stability that I had left.  I got a message from a friend in the afternoon suggesting a meetup (with cake!) that evening but I just wanted to go to bed. Also turned down a suggestion from Daniel that we go out to eat. I've never done that before.  I was in bed by 7, eating mint oreos (so good!) and watching shows on my PBS app- (love Market Warriors!).

But then today was better and I got things done. Daniel, after THREE hours at the ENT and being told that there was nothing wrong with his ears and he just is going to have allergies forever (whee!), made it home to take the kids to their last sports class of the session. It was parent participation day and having me participate may have scarred the kids forever, so I'm thankfully he took them.  And I got my paper done and then got it mostly edited this afternoon so I'm on Spring Break! I don't have to use my brain again for 10 days! Love grad school, but definitely love the breaks as well.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Please let it be March 6th already

My second paper for the class I'm taking this term is due on March 6th. I just want to get it DONE already. I am so tired of reading the book that I'm reviewing and thinking about it. I AM OUT OF THOUGHTS!!! This class is interesting, but I have to have thoughts about books and documents and my brain is worn out.

In other grouchy news, we took Ethan to Children's the morning before my parents came to visit- so a couple of weeks ago.  Just wanted to check on the placement of his g-tube, since he's gotten quite a bit taller since it was placed 18 months ago.  And it was fine.  We hadn't been using it every day, since he's finally eating quite well... but at the appointment he weighed in at 32 pounds.  Less than 1st percentile.  Face palm. He's still beating Vivian weight-wise, by a whole pound or two.  So now we have to keep pushing food and pray that he is hungry (one of the other issues with using the tube is that he's not hungry in the morning) and using the stupid feeding tube that we are SO tired of. 

But the tube is good and he's gotten taller and made HUGE strides developmentally. He really needed the calories that he wasn't getting from food. It's been a good thing. We're just tired.

However- I am looking on the bright side. I told Daniel I wasn't willing to travel to Hong Kong until Ethan's tube was out, and that's at least a year away, so I don't have to go be the freakish fat white lady in Asia just yet. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In which I need more caffeine. But am too tired to walk to the other side of the kitchen.

My parents left yesterday to head home.  This is always a very emotional time.  Ethan says things like "I'm gonna miss ya!" (He's suddenly saying ya a lot) and my mom dissolves into tears.  I'm not a crier myself, but it is sad when they leave. Instead of making me cry, emotions just make me very, very tired.  Last night I was in bed by 7:30. My cell phone rang and I actually thought "why is someone calling so late?"  It was one of my alma maters calling to try to get me to give them money.  I don't have any money for them, and probably should answer the phone and tell them that, but I'm fascinated by how determined they are. They've called twice a day for a MONTH.

Ethan and I dropped off mom and dad at the airport yesterday morning and then went to IKEA and spent $90.  Retail therapy always helps.  Had to get a new comforter because my cat was annoyed about people in her space (the cats' stuff is in the basement) and she kept peeing on my bed.  Hopefully she'll get over it now. 

The kids are upstairs playing their favorite game "my stuffed animal is sick and needs to lie down".  It's very strange. They trade stories about how long their babies have been sick and what exactly their symptoms are. Occasionally Ethan will decide that the game has gone on too long and will declare loudly "I am God and I have healed you!".  I kid you not.

I'm avoiding my homework and the paper due next Wednesday (ugh) and am instead making a to-do list for household chores for next week- my spring break! So ready for a week off of school. Ready to get all the little organizing things done that I haven't had time for lately.  Progress will be made!

Now.  Who is going to come over and make me more coffee?  Must train kids to work coffeemaker.  (New item for the spring break to-do list!)

Monday, February 25, 2013


It's our seventh wedding anniversary today- happy anniversary to us! With every passing year I grow more and more concerned with Daniel's sanity.  No sane person would have married me, much less stuck by me as I grew progressively older and crazier.  He's definitely a keeper. 

Last weekend we did our annual photo at the spot where we got married. Wedding through 4th anniversary at this post.  Too lazy to repost them. Years 5-7 below.

A few observations can be made from these pictures. 1) Last year was a bad year for my kids, haircut-wise. 2) Ethan's glasses are much better than his old ones. 3) My husband does not age. And still has most of the clothes in the pictures from 6 years ago. And wears them. 4) These photos are a sad documentation of me getting fatter every year. Would like to reverse that particular trend.   Still, love having all of these photos up to look at- it's such a fun way to remember our great wedding day.

Today is our actual anniversary and Daniel and I have so far celebrated by trying to hug in bed with Vivian in between us (she's mostly not sleeping with us but has had a couple of rough nights lately), then briefly passed in the kitchen before he left for work.  But we did get to go out last night (hurray for grandparents and free babysitting!) and had a nice weekend last weekend when my parents and the kids were gone. So we feel well celebrated. 

Still can't believe it's been 7 years.  Last year in particular was nuts- we were talking last night and decided that our goal for this year was to just try to establish some sort of routines. Back in January 2012 we had no idea that in 2012 we would: go to Iceland, go to Disneyland, I would go to Quebec, I would start working as a travel writer, and we had NO idea that we would end the year in a new home.  We spent the last year constantly trying to find our feet in new situations and this year can go ahead and be a little calmer. And we also, of course, made the usual goal about date nights.  Which we REALLY need to do. We always feel so much better about everything when we do get some time just the two of us, but we forget that when we get busy and stressed.  MUST REMEMBER! 

Anyway, so, happy anniversary to the best thing that's ever happened to me. Do not come to your senses anytime soon ;)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Not too shabby of a day

The sky is blue, the air is fairly warm. From my dining room table I can see the snow-covered mountains in the distance. And my house? It is 1) silent and 2) clean. And I do not have to make dinner for anyone!

My parents and the kids left for Portland this afternoon. Daniel's at work but claims he's coming home early (it's 4:40 as I type this, so we have very different definitions of "early").  But I'm okay with it because I never get to be alone in the house except for when I'm studying. Which I did today. And balanced the checkbook and did the laundry and tidied the toy room and the kids' bedroom. And cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen. Because it's possible to actually accomplish things without two preschoolers under foot.

Yesterday my grandmother emailed my mom and said she wasn't feeling well and didn't know about them coming down.  Which my mom wasn't going to accept, because she only sees her mom twice a year.  They talked about abbreviating the trip (they still might) and I believe my mom uttered the words "I'm sure it would be fine with everyone if we came back to Seattle Saturday night instead of  Sunday" and then she looked at me and realized that it would be fine with everyone EXCEPT Daniel and I. Seriously, do not take away part of my 48 hours of freedom.

I was on a press trip once and I was the only parent in the group, and one of the other writers asked me how long it takes me to miss my kids.  I promptly said "four days", because that's the honest truth.  That's how long I can enjoy the novelty of being a grown up and going to the bathroom without an escort or two, and not be too overwhelmed with missing the hugs and the squishy little cheeks. I am feeling a little guilty though, even though they've only been gone for a few hours, because Ethan's gotten really attached to me lately and when they were leaving, he looked at me and said "I'm going to miss you SO much, Mom."  And he doesn't like sleeping at my grandmother's house and kept begging for a hotel instead (he's a travel writer's kid!), so he's already not entirely happy.  And last time we went to Portland we went to the mountain and he's desperate to go back, so he was sad that no snow was planned for this trip.  But he does have my dad and my dad is his favorite person in the world, so that should balance out everything else. :)  

So far my parents have had a hard introduction to our home. Our good cat has taken to peeing on things when she gets annoyed (and she's usually annoyed), and she peed on my parents' suitcase. So they shut the door so that she couldn't get in, but then they trapped our psycho cat (Gracie) under the bed, so she pooped on the blanket. And then after we got those cleaned up, Jenny vomited in the walkway between their bedroom and their bathroom. And this morning Ethan used their toilet and missed big time.  I think my uncle's house (where they used to stay when they visited) is looking better all the time. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

In which I confess to definitely not having it all

Belated Happy Chinese New Year! Also known as the day when I dress the kids up in their Chinese outfits, bribe them with chocolate and take pictures before they get tired of their outfits (25 seconds later).

That's how Ethan smiles for all pictures. He's saying cheese. 

2 pictures later. Shedding parts of her outfit.

We unexpectedly got invited to dinner at our friends' house and enjoyed celebrating new year with them.  I love unexpected and unscheduled fun! 

And now, it is Monday morning.  I took one look at my to-do list and decided that the only thing to do was to ignore and blog about it.  I'm mostly stressed about the laundry. It's the first thing to go when I get busy with work/school and now there are piles everywhere.  And the cat keeps peeing on our down comforter and it takes FOREVER to wash and dry a down comforter (but it can be done) which backs up all of the rest of the laundry.  I keep looking at the cat and thinking fur rug...

But my parents are coming in 50 hours.  And they are going to entertain the kids and I'm going to get things done and then spring break for me is the week after they leave! 

In other news, I've actually really started to enjoy the mornings when both kids are home. They fight a lot, yes, but they've also started playing really well together and it's lovely! Daniel told them that they could watch TV this morning, and I immediately yelled "no they can't!" We do not squander TV time on morning when I know that they will go play if there is no TV/electronics around.  TV time is precious for getting through the evening time, especially since Daniel has a board meeting tonight and will be late. 

In other, other news, no more ants! The guy came and treated the house on Wednesday morning and we saw a few dead ants over the next few days and then done. Such a relief! No more creepy crawlies allowed!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

It would be faster and easier to just withdraw and burn the contents of my savings account

February is an expensive month for us.  Policies come due and things seem to always break around our anniversary at Daniel's rental property.  This year I was dreaming of a sunny getaway for our anniversary, but we decided to be responsible adults (whatever that means) and stay home. My parents are taking away the kids for a few days anyway, so we will have the place to ourselves. Daniel romantically suggested that we work on our taxes. Oh and visit the new history museum. Be still my beating heart (actually, I am excited about the idea of going to the history museum).

This year we had remodeling and moving costs added in this month. And the deposit for Vivian's preschool. And the ant eradication fees.  Which I paid happily. Getting rid of the ridiculous hordes of ants is worth pretty much any cost.  In related news, I saw a friend of mine this morning who was openly laughing at my ant problem because I had been so amused by our other friends' bat problem. I do recognize the humor value in the situation. Apparently other people in Seattle have rat issues, so I'm feeling less horrified by the existence of ants in my house.  If any snakes show up, I'm moving out.  With or without my family. That's just common sense.

And now I need to stop stalling and do homework. Or attack the dishes in the sink.  The wild and craziness continues!

Monday, February 4, 2013

I have turned my 3-year-old into a killer

I woke up yesterday morning to an announcement from Daniel that our kitchen and dining room had "droves" of ants coming in. We'd been noticing large black ants here and there for about a week, but by yesterday, they'd decided that our house was a good place to hang out. Vivian was sick, so she and I stayed home from church and I spent my whole time squishing ants and freaking out. 

In the afternoon I escaped to Target.  Which was deserted, because the Super Bowl had already started.  So that was fun.

Then I returned to our infested house to find that Daniel had located the spot where the ants were coming in and had put 7 bait trap in that area.  And then I hid upstairs and decided to pretend that I was not living in the middle of an ant farm.  And I spent my time not watching the Super Bowl, but instead reading everyone's tweets about it, which were, really better than most of the game. 

At some point, Vivian ran in from her playroom, exclaimed "I need to kill an ant! There's one in my playroom!", grabbed a tissue and ran back to excitedly squish the ant.  I am worried that I have mentally scarred her with all of this ant stuff.

Pest control is coming later this week, and of course, there is not an ant in sight since we called them, but we pretty much live in a carpenter ant's dream home, so we still need to take care of things. Because I like my house and do not want it to be consumed.

Sigh. This is all probably because I laughed at Maggie's bat problem last week.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

At least I do not have a bat in my bathroom

Monday was pretty unpleasant, thanks to a non-exciting list of task and the lack of diet coke in any form. Then Daniel came home at 7 that night with 4 boxes of my favorite, Diet Cherry Pepsi, and I had high hopes for Tuesday. Then Tuesday turned out to be a lot like Monday, except I also was working on my homework for grad school and got to read a chapter in one of our books about torture.  In fairly horrible detail.  That was kind of a downer, especially given that I am a Highly Gifted Unpleasantness In Any Form Avoider.

So I was kind of dreading today, but then I did my usual quick scan of Twitter when I woke up this morning and saw a tweet from one of my friends, noting that it was 2 AM and there was a bat in her bathroom.  I'm not making this up. Go here to read it. 

And I'm sorry, Maggie, I should not be cheered up by your trauma (but the bat was alone and there is no colony in your attic and no one got bit and I TOTALLY would not be cheered up by this if any of those things were true, I promise!).  But today when I had to unload the dishwasher, my first thought was "but there's no bat in my bathroom!" And when I killed the 7th creepy ant in  my dining room, I thought "but it's not a bat!" And so on.  Yes, I know I'm disturbed. 

And then I banished Vivian to her room this afternoon with books and blankets and her babies so that I could work on my scary paper (almost done!) and SHE FELL ASLEEP!!!!!!!!! She hasn't napped since Ethan got out of school last June, and so this is a miracle. I was so excited that I called Daniel to tell him to not call me to check in, because our phone is loud and it might wake Vivian up. I win. And there is no bat anywhere in my house. (The bat was caught and dealt with, and she no longer has a bat in her house either. So you win too, Maggie!)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Post-party Monday letdown

Somehow I ended up at home today. Without a car, and WITHOUT ANY DIET COKE!  I am having trouble coming up with the energy to attack my hideous Monday to-do list, which includes things like laundry! and reading government documents for my weekly assignment! and mopping my floors! and working on my scary paper!

The party on Saturday kind of rocked.  No pictures to post because I didn't take any.  Too busy having fun.  We weren't sure how many people were coming, but I think we had close to 40. Mostly church friends, but a few of my relatives and Daniel's best friend and some blog friends too.  Who had to answer the question repeatedly "so, wait. You met Carrie on the internet?"  I'd like to point out that I met Daniel on the internet too. 

And we didn't know if people would be bored and just look at the house and leave, but everyone stuck around and ate most of the food that I'd made and got to know one another. And it all made me think that maybe talking to people isn't so awful? Maybe? 

And Ethan's girlfriend (she's 3) came to the party and he asked her dad if he could marry her and her dad said yes. He hasn't gotten around to asking her yet, but he has big plans for them to have 10 kids and sleep in his room (she gets to sleep on the lower bunk where Vivian sleeps) and their kids are going to sleep on the bed in the basement and Vivian and her husband (who he has helpfully picked out for her) are going to sleep in Mommy and Daddy's bedroom. Daniel and I are apparently being kicked out.  Ethan's been fixated on this idea for some time, and he doesn't ever change the plans, just adds on to them.  She apparently loves him too, even though they don't actually really talk to each other, but they both tell their parents how much they love each other.  Kind of funny.