30 June, 2008

Back to School...and work

We had a great weekend post vacation-Jake camp-Lucy sleepover week. It was nice to just be us, at home. We did have Sage and her wonderful family over on Saturday night. They are such an easy crew with whom to pass the time. I love that her seemingly quiet husband has become the joking conversationalist as he has come to know us, and that their daughter is now a little chatterbox where she once looked wide-eyed and a little afraid of us. We are not a quiet family with a quiet life. Even on a sleepy day we still have Jake and his unpredictability and Lucy and her wackiness, and me with my drama and need to please and entertain, and two gigantic golden retrievers, and my dear Descartes who by sheer height can worry some people (it's a good thing he has a baby face...).

It's been a good thing to have people over more often. We will figure it out. Now that the backyard has usable space I don't feel like there is nowhere to go. I know we always have enough food and drink, but I worry about trying to crowd people into too small a space...especially people with kids who need a lot of space, or distance from my special kid. If I can just get a grip on the clothing mountains and the paper foothills variously piled throughout closets and corners I'm sure the place will feel bigger. I saw a shed at Costco last night and contemplated putting it in the side yard and calling it my office. (Don't worry mom...I'm kidding)

Driving around the state with Descartes I realize by all of his comments, how happy he would be, how happy each of us would be, if we had a little bit of fenced-in land that was not so close to neighbors. Jake was always so, so happy in Montana, and of course Descartes loves to build things. If my property in north-eastern California were closer, I'm sure we would have a small cabin by now. It would be nice to have it while the kids were little and still wanted to hang out with us, but I am hoping that within ten years we will be able to buy just a few acres...somewhere.. fence it in, make it safe for Jake and be able to relax while Jake plays in the woods (his favorite thing in the world to do). We've talked about buying a place near here in the Santa Cruz mountains. Something close by we could use every weekend if we wanted. I keep checking the ads... one day we will find the perfect place.

Jake went back to school this morning and Descartes went back to work. They both put on cheerful faces before they left the house, but I know that neither one of them enjoyed getting up this morning. Lucy and I have already had breakfast and played the www.pbskids.org Caillou games. I do not understand her obsession with this whiny, balding, four year old kid, but the television family seems decent enough and he gets busted when he's mean to his sibling, so the lessons aren't bad at all. I need to get Lucy her own computer. Something sturdy she and Jake can use. Jake has always loved computer at school, and with more help and practice it could be a very useful tool for him... and Lucy wants to "move da mouse squeak squeak" and "Click now? Click now? Now mommy?" So I am thinking she's ready too.

Lucy meets her new day care provider this afternoon, but first she must go to her 2 year old appointment. Will there be shots? Hmm must remember to bring lollipops.

27 June, 2008

Anniversary Trip Day Six: Picking up the kids

We left Sebastopol early and picked up Lucy at Oma and Papa's house. It appears she had a great time. They look exhausted, but happy. Lucy falls asleep in the car the minute we pull out of the driveway.

We drive across the entire bay to pick up Jake from camp, stopping only briefly at home to drop off some of our belongings and to pick up Jake's five point harness car seat.

Jake looks happy and tired. His counselor is precious, kissing Jake on the forehead several times before we leave. His English accent makes Jake sound even more "brilliant" than Sam claims he is. It was a good time for both of them and Jake looks very well taken care of, though he is rather grubby from all of his dirt sorting. I'm his mom so I can tell he's skinnier.

We stop at a drive through on the way home to get Jake a vanilla milkshake. He sucks it down in five sips. We stay at home all afternoon, everyone playing quietly. Descartes and I are beat. We have driven nearly 1200 miles since Sunday afternoon. Jake has a nice long bath and is sound asleep by 5:45pm. Lucy follows just an hour and half later.

We are so lucky.

26 June, 2008

Anniversary Trip Day Five: Fort Bragg and the Wine Country

Fort Bragg--> Glass Beach
Glass Beach-->Husch Vineyards Alexander Valley
Husch-->Scharffenberger Celllars
Scharffenberger Cellars-->Philo, CA
Libby's Restaurant
Philo, CA-->Stryker Sonoma
Stryker Sonoma-->Martinelli Winery
Martinelli Winery--> Dutton Estate Vineyards
Dutton Estate-->Sebastopol

25 June, 2008

Anniversary Trip Day Four: Ferndale, Lost Coast, Fort Bragg

Ferndale-->Lost Coast Petrolia

Westermost spot in the U.S. or at least that's what the sign says.

Petrolia--> Avenue of the Giants
Drive Through Tree
Avenue of the Giants-->Myers Flat
wine tasting...
Myers Flat-->Start of Highway 1
windiest road ever
HWY 1--> Fort Bragg
Safe and sound in a B&B Country Inn

will fill in details later

24 June, 2008

Anniversary Trip Day Three: Crossing the State

We start out in smoky Reno. We won't need to stay here again any time soon, especially since my sister lives in Lake Tahoe, but it was fun, and cheesy and cheap and the room was clean and the food at Trader Dick's was actually pretty good.

We get on the road and head west.
Reno-->Eagle Lake total miles driven today 114 miles

Eagle Lake is very pretty with no real place to eat, and apparently we are sort of hungry. The campground at Eagle Lake looks promising for a family trip possibly with Descartes' parents and their RV. Fairly easy road in, lots of flat area to park, and not crowded, always a plus for our family. It was a little sad for me in Yosemite to really look at the tent cabins in Curry Village and realize that we will probably not be able to do that with Jake. It would just be too crowded and too close to other people. Heck, it might be too much for Descartes too. Again it brings up the problem I am constantly churning..how to ensure that we give Lucy access to all of the things we love and believe in, like the great outdoors, and camping and hiking and sea kayaking and bicycling, and public transportation and fine dining and funky locals dining and travel to foreign countries where you don't even speak the language. How do we do all that with a kid that does better with routine and our Not-so-mini-Van. It will mean splitting our family up in the future, so Daddy can take Lucy hiking in the back country, or Mommy can take Lucy to Paris and Barcelona. We did a lot of scouting on this trip, and did find a few places that looked safe for Jake and fun for both kids.
Eagle Lake-->Chester total miles driven today 170 miles
We are hungry so we stop in Chester. The catalogs which advertise houses for sale leave me chuckling. I guess there are a lot of Country Club type places around Lake Almanor and has gained a bit of prestige. Still looks like a small lake town to me.
Chester-->Bumpass hill total miles driven today 211 miles We hike at altitude 8000-8300' for nearly four miles to see California's version of Yellowstone.It is a great hike, and we laugh that we sure do exercise a lot more without our kids around. I vow to figure out how to take Jake on a hike. I have friends who would go with me/help me. It is now a summer goal. Descartes and I take mental notes of the people we pass wearing inappropriate footwear, given that there are sheer cliffs, talus slopes, snow, geothermic, bubbling gooey pots

and fumaroles. Jeesh people at lest wear some tennis shoes. It takes us a bit longer than the two hours..more like three because there are people wearing Tevas and no socks trying to avoid puddles, and there is a lot more snow than we expected. I think they had just opened the trail. Quite often high-country trails don't open until July. We wind our way through the rest of the park. We've both been here before, so while we are impressed by the beauty, we decide not to hike anything else.
We are headed to Shingletown and possibly Manton, where there is a small winery and an inn.

Bumpass--> Shingletown total miles driven today 247 We enter Shingletown and spot 5 fire trucks in front of the local pizza parlor, none of them local. Fresno, Clovis, central valley types. After purchasing a local paper we discover there is a fire named after the town. Can't stay here so we head towards the other small town.. only to find that the road is actually closed because the road runs right through the fire. We go back to 299 and continue west.

Shingletown-->Redding total miles driven today 276 miles. We simply can't stay here. It's too smoky and ugly. I tell Descartes that we can't stay in Reno and Redding on the same trip...but there are good burgers at a roadside stand and a Starbucks at the right turn to continue on 299 west

View Larger Map

Redding-->Whiskeytown/Weaverville total miles driven today: 321 can't stay here there's another fire.

Whiskeytown-->ARCATA BAY total miles driven today: 417 on nearly all windy roads
There is fire nearly the entire length of 299. Beautiful at night. We pull over to the side of the road near the seven rivers area and listen to the crackles and pop of flame and watch an entire river valley go up in a frightening blaze. There is no wind, so it is quiet except for the roar of the fire. Beautiful and tragic.

Arcata-->Eureka total miles driven today: 425
We land in Eureka and expect to find a hotel room at 11:30 pm because it is Eureka in the middle of the week and there are a ton of little Travel Lodge Best Western type places because Humboldt State is not far from here. We go from hotel to motel to dive and find everything is booked except for one room which is so disgusting the owner of the motel offers to show it to us first because she says it is "really no nice at all." It was so bad. It was bad like meth head bad. Like Trainspotting toilet scene bad (at least from what I remember because I can never watch that again

Eureka-->Ferndale total miles driven today 444.
We head to Ferndale, hoping for a small in with a door bell and a grumpy but hospitable inn keeper. It is 12:43am and it looks like Ferndale is asleep for the night, which I think is pretty reasonable for a Victorian Village and then guess what happens as we are calmly and quietly going 5 miles an hour down this quaint low-lying coastal town? The tsunami warning siren goes off.
As it turns out our Not-s-mini-Van can flip a u-turn and drive 68 mph through a very small town and over a one lane bridge very very quickly when Descartes is driving. Faster than I could google "tsunami warning" or "major earthquake". Descartes makes an executive decision that we are going inland even if the siren was a mistake. I love my husband. There is no way in hell we would have slept if we were in a hotel near the water. We would both be waiting for the water.

Ferndale-->Grizzly Creek Redwood State Park total miles driven for the day 472
We head back towards the center of the state on highway 36. It is 1am. We are on plan "Q" seeing as plans A-P have fallen apart slowly over the course of the day. We head to the nearest campground, clean out the back of the van (stuffing everything in the front seats, crack open a bottle of expensive wine and toast our good luck. We are alive, and dry and not on fire and although Descartes is 6'5" and has size 16 feet, he can still fit on our Japanese Not-so-mini-Van. I praise his foresight in having brought a lantern, two headlamps, two pillows, a blanket, a tarp and a wine bottle opener. We wake in the morning to find ourselves, not so entirely sore or cold, and in the midst of a great, uncrowded campground. We smell like a campfire from having driven through 600 of them, but overall, we are no worse for the wear, and it makes for a much better story.

There is no one in the world with whom I'd rather take a road trip. Days like those.. they make me know Descartes and I make a great team and work really well together. Now I understand how we made it through those 50 days when Jake didn't sleep...

23 June, 2008

Anniversary Trip Day Two: Yosemite

Monday morning. Descartes is clearly on vacation because he cannot sleep in. He dosed me with cold medicine last night so I'm groggy as all get out which we decide is pretty funny since it appears this may be about the only way to get me to be quiet. I do not fully wake up for hours...I sleep with my eyes open through breakfast and the drive into the park.
We pack it up and head back to downtown Groveland to drop off our room key and eat the free breakfast. Back in Yosemite National Park we park our car and unload bikes. It is a beautiful day. I'm nut sure where all those people are from last night, but they aren't here now.

Riding bikes on the valley floor is fairly easy, but we do find one small (still paved) trail to huff and puff up for a very short while. We end up at Mirror Lake, where we lock up and do a little trail walking. In spite of the wildfire smoke, it is beautiful as well. I keep saying, "Wow I feel lucky today."

We decide we should have lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel. It is an old skool place. If you have never seen it, I put it in the same category as the Claremont in Berkeley and the Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki Beach. We sat on the patio of the Ahwahnee Bar and were pleasantly surprised by how good the food was, having heard not so many raving reviews. The cheese plate was really high-end, with pistachios, dried cherries and a very yummy goat cheese being my favorites of the selection. I drink a sidecar, because I figure we are in the perfect place to have one, and I miss my friend Squid who loves them. It was perfect. Little munchkin chikarees race around our feet as we eat and I am thinking this is possibly the best day I have had in a long time.

We call it a day for the valley floor, pack up our bikes and head out of YNP toward Tuolumne Meadows and on to Mono Lake. Mono Lake is interesting, but as far as I can tell, I actually don't need to go there again.

Total miles driven on the trip so far 519

We make a left on 395, marvel at the crazy amount of smoke from the wildfires and drive straight through to...RENO.

Seriously? Yes. We stayed at John Asquaga's Nugget. More for a joke than anything else. We went here a long time ago with very good friends and had a terrific time. This time we get upgraded at the desk, and stayed in a very nice redecorated room that had a freeway running right outside the window. We dined at Trader Dick's and for nostalgia's sake we had a Scorpion bowl.

Between the two of us lost a total of $39.00 and managed to play video poker and some roulette for hours.. so I am thinking we got our money's worth.

In the morning, the smoke outside from the wildfires is so think it seems that Reno is on fire. Poor Nevada..bad enough to live in Reno, but they have all of this horrible smoke from California and no ocean breeze to knock it away any time soon. It's just sitting there hanging. A satellite image from MODIS. We learn on the news that there are over 800 wildfires buring in California. We decide that we will head west. It is 81 degrees at 8:30am. Ugh.

22 June, 2008

Anniversary Trip Day One

(Lucy was picked up Saturday afternoon by Oma and Papa... we are down to three of us at the house.)

Sunday we finish loading up the car. I am able to sweep the kitchen floor before we leave. Jake is excited about Camp as we drive away. Our bikes are on the back of the Not-so-Mini Van. The trailer hitch scrapes the driveway as we make a right off of the hill. We don't care. My suitcase is filled with clothes I'm sure I won't need, and a bottle of really good aged Cab that I'm sure we'll want. We have Rockst*rs, and Lifesavers and we have remembered Jake's sleeping bag and pillow.

Jake is safely deposited at Camp until Friday. He has an awesome counseleor, Sam and his counselor from before Liz is the cabin head in charge of his cabin. Jake is quiet, and happy and we leave the Santa Cruz mountains knowing that Jake is in good hands.

Miles driven: 21.6 Time: 2:45pm Sunday June 22, 2008

We take off. Descartes has loaded the CD folders with an amazing collection of music. Lots of it is oddly enough from ten years ago. We realize that this is not because we loved the music then (although we did like a lot of it) but because this is the last time we spent money on music. Withni one year of being married we spent 8 weeks in Europe (which is a reasonable way to spend money..) Then we got pregnant 6 months after that, and bought a house 5 months later.... there goes the music budget.

It is hot and a bit smoky as we head inland, but the car has just been tuned so the A/C runneth cold and the air filter removed all of the large particles. We had to the center of California, and keep going. We check in with Oma and Papa. Lucy is precious on the phone. She apparently is he mother's daughter as she has decided her new bedtime is many hours after it should be..but she still wakes up before 7am. A little miniature both-end candle burner. That's my girl!

We decide to stay in Groveland, CA. The Hotel Charlotte is technically booked but they have an "off-site" property.. which is a house. So we rent the house, drop our stuff and drive into Yosemite for the evening. It is more than a little bit cool that we have managed to go to Yosemite for dinner. The park is packed, but the beer is cold and we find a table to eat our pizza and salad. We listen to part of a park ranger lecture about the Firefall as the bats fly about. Then head back to our house for the night. Along the route home we stop at a vista point and watch the stars for a minute and gaze out at a roaring fire across the valley. It seems like there are more fires than we have ever seen before in previous years.

The house is cool and quiet. The bed has three mattresses and takes a ladder (practically) to climb into. We drink a beer, toast our good fortune and sleep well.

Miles driven since last stop: 252
Total Miles driven: 273.6
Time: 11:45pm Sunday June 22, 2008

21 June, 2008

OMG I just was thinking about this as an example last night when I got another one of those scams (I won a Euro Lottery did you?).
Go to
for more hilarious cartoons.

"I'll Miss You Daddy"

Yup. That's what our two year old said as she hugged Daddy one last time. She packed her Princess purse (thanks a LOT Squid) with her keys (an old key attached to an old doggie collar tag, her cell phone (princess phone stolen from cousin Bubsy), a kitchen timer shaped like an ice cream cone (a "time out timer" from Monster, we keep calling it a cupcake) and a small zebra.

Lucy gave her brother a hug, sat in my lap and held me, then marched out to the car. She waved good bye from her car sear, asked Papa to "Turn engine on please." for the A/C and they left for the week. That is one independent kid.

I cried a little. A little because I will miss her. A little because my "baby" is able to be without me for a week!

and a little because she was able to tell me she loves me and tell her Daddy that he will be missed. Those last two are a few messages we don't get to hear from Jake, though I know he thinks them. I am just so thankful that Lucy can communicate all of her emotions. It seems silly perhaps, but today, again, it feels like I have witnessed something amazing.

Jake walked everyone out to the gate, and initiated goodbye to his Papa. He is getting very good at ducking into people's arms for a small cuddle. Friends and family have noticed him initiating this more and more. He build relationship in his own way with each person.

When my dad left this morning Jake walked to the door too. Now it may be that he just knows he has a chance to escape, but I think he really is becoming a part of the good bye process without needing prompting. It was so nice to have BIAD here. We went crazy at the teacher supply store buying Lucy her birthday presents (art supplies, enough for a preschool), and he got to meet a bunch of people I know, even Sage made it back from Tahoe in time to meet him. He got to see Lucy swim and drop Jake off at school, eat Amici's pizza (one of our favorites) and help me pick out a new coffee maker. He also relaxed on the couch and read a few books, which is probably exactly what he needed.

Now back to packing Jake for camp. My house is suddenly very very quiet. It is still very hot, and we saw lightning in the distance. Hoping Jake's camp remains fire-free this summer.

20 June, 2008

So I got a Leetle sucked in...

when I recently ran across this article Young HA, et al, Thimerosal exposure in infants and neurodevelopmental disorders: An assessment of computerized medical
records in the Vaccine Safety Datalink, J Neurol Sci (2008), doi:10.1016/j.jns.2008.04.002

I am not one to flutter about (HA!) having the life sucked out of me by the Internets

okay Yes I am, but I really started to read this study and I thought KRAP..maybe that damn thimerosal is the culprit (knowing full well that Jake had no thimerosal in his vaccines...) It's published by the Journal of Neurological Sciences it really seems legit, but it kept saying funny things (a direct quote follows):
"For example, 37% of autism cases in the study were diagnosed
after 5 years old with about 50% diagnosed after
4.5 years old. This is a conservative estimate since it includes
the 2 years (1995–1996) that had shorter follow-up times.
Examination of the distribution of age of diagnosis by birth
year for autism revealed that only about 15% of cases were
diagnosed after 5 years of age in the 1995 birth cohortwhile the
1996 cohort had no cases diagnosed after 5 years of age and
only 3.5% of cases diagnosed between 4.5 and 5 years of age.
Based on the average age at diagnosis for all cohorts, the 1995
count of autism cases was increased by 45 cases with the assumption
that all of these would have been added in the 5 year+
age group (bringing this percentage close to the overall average
of 37%diagnosed after 5 years of age). The same was done for
1996, but the number of cases was augmented by 80 because it
was assumed that these would be diagnosed in the 4.5 to 5 and
5+ groups essentially bringing the percentage diagnosed after
age 4.5 close to the overall average of 50% diagnosed after
4.5 years of age. The newaugmented frequency counts of cases
in 1995 and 1996 birth cohorts were then used as the new case
counts in the analysis."
I am pretty sure if you re-read that a few times it seems like they ADDED autism diagnosis where there were none. They added them because in other years there were more? Because it seemed like there should have been more? Isn't that not exactly examining the data? Isn't that actually making up the data? I went poking around the Internet and discovered that I was not the only person to think it was a leetle bit off.. a much better explanation of all of the faults can be found over at Epi Wonk . Thank you Epi Wonk for being so smrt
(If you rad through responses to her post you'll also find some of the best crazy comments by John Best who is a very angry man who I will not bother to link to.)

Anywhoo I know this has been out for about a month but as usual I am slow to respond. BTW it also seems like half of the references in the "study" reference one Geier or another. Isn't that a little bit suspect as well?

okay all done...

Lucy dislocated her elbow today threatening to throw off our entire "escape from Deadwood" plan... I thought she cracked her wrist the way she was holding it. I was holding her hand when she decided she did not want to go get her special needs brother from the short bus (we need to drive down the hill to pick him up) She dropped to the floor and twisted at the same time. I heard a horrible sound. What I heard was her little bone slipping out from between her other two little bones. Yechh. She cried. I cried. I made an appointment to go to the urgent care where the doc promptly shoved her little elbow back together (making me feel a little like an idget since my dad and I had JUST talked about this happening to me 6 hours prior). It is called nursemaid's elbow. I called it milkmaid elbow in a Tweet earlier but I have now figured it out.
So she is fine now and Jake is sleeping soundly, and it is only 85 degrees outside at 12:20am and I only need to pack Lucy and Jake by tomorrow am. No big whoop.

I think I shall go to bed.

Forget What I Said Before...

There are not many ways this time could be better managed. No matter what, it takes 20 minutes to get across town, 15 minutes to get dressed after swimming, 9 minutes to get gas (if there isn't a line), 1 hour at the pharmacy (if there is a line). It takes 1.25 hours to grocery shop including drive time, and another 12 minutes to put it all away.

I got to lay down for 8 minutes just now. My dad is still here so he was watching the clock for me. Lucy got sneaky and stole the Eucerin and made little blobs of it all over her face. She had already undone a jar of very expensive shea butter and honey cream downstairs and spread it allover Descartes' alarm clock while I pulled the wet clothes into the dryer (3 minutes). She is tired so she is being naughty, but also refuses to lay down.

She is currently in Gappa's lap counting the number of things in whatever book they are reading. I think she has grasped the concept of counting now, and can easily get to 7 by herself no prompting. Quite often 7 is followed by the number eleven. Hmmmmm.

18 June, 2008


Maybe I'm not managing my time well. It all seems to be slipping away from me. I have so much to do and not enough hours and at the end of the day? I still feel like I haven't accomplished much. My MIL, Cookie, told me once how she was constantly frustrated when her kids were little because when her husband would build a wall, or set up the sprinkler system, or some huge task, everyone (her self included) would cheer and praise his big accomplishment... and somehow, everything she seemed to do was undone within hours and needed to be done again, over and over again-- with no one cheering.

I'm sure I am not alone in my frustrations. Other SAH's or WAH's must feel this way sometimes right? Lucy is two and I have a child with special needs,but I still think I should be able to get a lot more done. But lately? Well, I am just too tired to tackle the big stuff. Probably depression? Normally when I get the blues I start to kick-ass. I was told years ago that this kicking-ass part is just another way that people cope. I am hoping that the kicking comes back soon, I have a LOT to get done.

In other news.. we had a terrific IEP the other day. Jake will be evaluated in all categories including ABA, which we have never previously pursued. I feel like he finally has the ability to physically sit still long enough to benefit from this kind of learning, and he has been doing discrete trial learning in the classroom set up by his teacher Janet. I think an outside set of eyes can help determine a good home/school plan that will help him keep moving onward and upward which he seems to be doing lately.

He went on the second grade field trip at school. The entire second grade went to a local children's discovery museum. I was actually a chaperon and had not just Jake, but TWO other boys in my group. Anna, Jake's regular aide was out sick, so Lala went with us. She was great with him, and it allowed me to actually have this small but "mixed" group. Of course one of the kids was George, Jake's buddy from the other classroom. He continues to be one of the nicest children I have even met. The other boy was Freddo, who I had never met before. He was shy at first and rode to the museum on the school bus..but he asked to ride home in my van with Jake. It could have had something to do with the little tv showing ShrekII, but I will take it how I can get it. Jake was such a good boy all day. I think he was thrilled to have his friends in the car with us, and I think I may try to take all three boys to Gilroy Gardens or some other fun over the summer.
I have always thought the the children at Jake's school were nice kids. Of course there are going to be a few bad eggs, but on the whole, well-mannered, well groomed, good spirited kids. I was thrilled to see all of "our" second graders behaving so well at the museum. I watched with dismay those kids from another school not sharing, blocking the stairs, pushing each other, running inside and generally not saying excuse me if they stepped on your toes. One of our kids asked so nicely to use a toy (that the other child had TWO of) and when that child said "no", our kid reiterated that he would only have it for a minute, and when the response was still no? Our kid said, well, okay, and pretended-on in his game without the toy, leaving the other kid standing there with lots of toys and no one to play with. I think I am going to write a letter to our school principle letting her know just how great our kids were, and how nice it was to see all of the school mission statements being played out in public.

To Do:
Lucy thank you cards for amazing birthday gifts from friends and family
Letter to Jake's principle
Call the Director of Special Ed and talk about scheduling evaluations
Pack Jake for camp (he leaves this Sunday)
Pack Lucy for Cookie and Papa's house (she leaves on Saturday)
Pack Jennyalice and Descartes for anniversary trip (leaves on Sunday)
Buy a new coffee pot

Hey--my dad is in town. He finished up his grades at the college, cleaned up his office and came up here this morning. He will be here until Saturday morning. I believe Lucy is calling him Grappa now. So she has Grandpa, Papa and Grappa, Grandma, Oma and Noni. Pretty lucky kid. I am just so excited that he is here. He is an easy house guest, happily reading on the couch, offering love to children passing by.

Tomorrow I will take my dad to coffee so he can meet Squid, Liz, Badger, Ep, Jo and the incomparable Barak.
[just so you know I had to take a break here because Lucy is doing some self-potty training and decided to drop her drawers in her room , but whne she couldn't find her little potty she bacame upset, and apparently, while I was happily sitting in the backyard on my laptop enjoying a cool breeze.. she crapped all over the place and was very distraught by the mess. So the Daddy hosed the girl and I crawled around and cleaned poop off of every surface where it was, and most surfaces where it wasn't as well. I also scrubbed out the cushion covers from the million dollar glider that is in the room, and her pajamas.. all covered in poo. Who knew that the NT kid would present me with more poo problems than the "special" kid?]

Lucy goes to her last day of daycare at Nanny Kidwell's house tomorrow. Nanny is moving on to preschool pastures and a matching 401k. Sux for us, but a smart move for her. It has been a great place for Lucy to grow and learn.. and get out of my hair! HA! We bought Nanny a pretty ring with a blue stone to thank her for her affection, determination, structure and warm heart. I am so glad we got to know her and her two wonderful daughters (who can still babysit!)


I need to make lists now. Lots of lists.

Maybe I am feeling a dose of ass-kickery coming on? Maybe?

12 June, 2008

Lucy Turns Two.. and We Party for a Week!

So yesterday was Lucy's second birthday. She is damn cute.

She's mine, so I am supposed to think that, but really she is.

Ways we celebrated:

Descartes, Jake, Lucy and I drove to Carmel on Friday to meet my parents. Gloria and PJ were so very generous and got us a place at the Carmel Highlands Resort for Friday night. Poor Descartes, he had to work all day, so he worked via laptop with a beautiful view and takeout lunch while Grandma and Grandpa and I took the two kiddos to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I drove my parents in my Not-so-mini-Van, and was, once again reminded that it is not as clean a car as some might like. Thank goodness for baby wipes which we keep by the bushel full in the car.. saved my mom from riding in a PILE of petrified chicken and fries which had tried to liberate themselves by crawling under my son's car seat.
The aquarium was great. The weather was beautiful. My passes are still valid. My kids looked clean (enough). It was really very nice. Apparently my daughter and her grandmother share an affection for sea otters. Jake was in awe of the anchovies swimming round and round in the ceiling at the entrance to the Outer Bay display.
There were lots of "Jake's friends" at the aquarium. My parents are better at spotting "them" now, just as I can rather easily identify the 8 year old that still needs to hold hands, or the soft smile on even a tiny infant with Down Syndrome, and the stroller that is really a mobility device. It's a skill that, while I appreciate my parents learning, I wish they had never started looking. I wish I had never started looking. I think it makes them feel like there is no safe place, and no family goes untouched. Sort of how I am amazed when ANY kid comes out of a womb without a major difference. My mom spotted the little boy wearing noise canceling headphones following his dad while holding a very short string as we were leaving. She asked, "Is he...?" and then I am the expert in a subject that has no course outline. Thinking to myself all of the reasons a kid would possibly be wearing headphones, which are not connected to anything, I conclude that, along with the hand flapping and lip chewing, the child might be "a friend of Jake's". I explain that one of the reasons we "all" come here is because it is a safe, enclosed place which feels open, near water without being dangerously near water, educational, and FILLEd with places that allow our children to 'stim' and have it be "normal". I have never seen a kid who did not look up at that anchovy exhibit without awe and a desire to stare for several minutes longer than mom and dad like.

I just read this back and realized that every other sentence has something in fake air quotes.
sorry to be so annoying.

I haven' t posted in a million years, so I will have this small segment be the end of part one Lucy's birthday. More to follow.

01 June, 2008

Enjoying Life

really... I am so very thankful this evening for my family and my friends, for our continued prosperity, for our rich, wonderul, amazing life.

My sistow is here, with hubbins and the boys. Our kids had so much fun playing today. We put up the little pool in the backyard and they splashed about...Lucy poured a bucket of the chilly water over me while I dozed in the sun. After "all of those children" went to bed we adults polished off a tankard of sangria. We haven't seen each other since the end of March, so it was nice to talk..all four of us. I love how Descartes lights up when he's telling a story to Jaster and Demanda.

They like our new car... which is just like the one pictured here (except ours has blue interior). My husband is crazy.
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