Friday, April 11, 2014

Edda's well check up.

Today I took Edda to her well check-up.  Neither Edda nor Vince had been to the office for the full year between last year's well check-up and this year's.  I'm not sure if that makes me a terrible mother because I refuse to take them in when they feel bad for a day or two or if it means that my kids are so super healthy and I should be grateful.  I think I tend towards the grateful side.   Grateful that I have healthy kids (except for the underlying Rett Syndrome, of course).

Again, the student doctor was there and I had a nice time telling him about Rett Syndrome.  He, of course, had never seen a clinical case, so it was an interesting conversation.  Told him how mildly affected Edda was, in the grand scheme of things, how lucky we are that she's so healthy.  But also acknowledging that it's a severe disability and that she requires care in all aspects of daily living.  

Edda got no vaccines this time.  Just a very thorough assessment because it's interesting to do.  The only assessment that I thought was interesting to note is her small head size.  So we measured it.  But they don't generally chart head size for a 10 year old, so the information wasn't really useful.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cooking and more cooking.

Only at Jeremy's work is there a vegan soup club.  Every month, Jeremy is responsible for bringing in a vat of soup to the soup club.  The idea that the office should have a soup club did not seem super well thought out.  Given that the bulk of the employees take the Metro to work, it's not really easy to bring 25 servings of soup on the subway.  This time he made something with leek.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Happy spring.

Beautiful spring day here in Rockville.  It's so hard to work when one is faced with days like this.  You just want to be outside and soak up all the sunshine...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Doctor appt.

I took Vince to the pediatrician for his annual check-up earlier this week.  It was the first well-check appointment where I thought that maybe I should step out of the room while they examined him - that maybe he would have questions for the doctor that he wouldn't want to ask in front of me.  Vince laughed at me when I asked if he wanted me out of the room, he said there was nothing that he would ask the doctor that he felt he couldn't ask me first.  He got a meningitis vaccine which means (rounding-up person that I am), of course, that he's almost leaving home for college.   Jeremy sometimes says that Vince and I bicker like an old married couple (sometimes we do and it's almost always my fault), but he's really the best son I could have asked for - kind, outgoing and happy-go-lucky.

There was a student doctor doing a clinical assignment in the office, so it was his job to do Vince's assessment.  I'm learning the same assessment techniques at school - so we had a lot of fun doing all the extra assessments on a willing Vincent.  Usually, as a med student, you don't want to ask a patient to sit still for a million assessment tests just for your own practice, but Vince was game and was in no hurry to get back to school and I kept asking - what about bicep reflex?  ear exam? cranial nerves? auscultate the bowel sounds? pitting edema? heart murmurs?  palpate the liver? I kept asking Vince, OK pull up your pants, pull down your socks, pull up your sleeves, OK, now turn around.  The student doctor was excited and pleased.  Everything was normal, but I guess you only learn abnormal from doing a million normal ones.  Fun.

Also, one always feels compelled to lie when they ask how much screen time?  How many fruits and vegetables?  Enough exercise?  Not so much junk food?   They told me the guidelines put out by the American Academy of Pediatrics and I just said - that's unattainable.  Simply unattainable.  Has any one in this whole country been successful in getting their teenage kids to eat more greens or use their screens less?  I can hardly make myself eat more greens and use my phone/computer/internet/Candy Crush less.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Headed out.

Mom and Dad were both in town this weekend, so we recreated Edda's pancake breakfast at 7 am today.  Jeremy had frozen the leftover pancakes after Edda's party and we still have some leftover bacon.  Any meal with bacon feels both fancy and casual at the same time.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Violin / cello duet.

Oh! Vince and Kappa played the Toy Symphony together today.  It was so beautiful.  Kelly did a great job putting together students into chamber groups.  Lots of moms accompanied their children.  Lots of siblings played together.  It made the recital really sweet and the music more interesting.  Vince worked hard on his piece and the pair did sound really wonderful together.  It makes me almost a bit weepy.

Edda came to the 6:30 - 8:30 pm recital.  Sometimes we get lucky and she falls asleep, but not tonight.  She decided that she did not want to be there about 5 minutes before Vince and Kappa went on to perform.  Jeremy ran out with Edda when the piece began and then I ran out after the first movement to insist that Jeremy go inside to listen to the 2nd which then resulted in Jeremy shocked that I was causing more of a commotion by running in and out of the room.  Sigh.  One does what one can.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Old friends

These are the Hungs.  Le Pei was mom's roommate in college.  And many years ago, they housed Donald in their shed for a few months.  Donald ran an extension cord from the shed to their garage for power.  They were lucky enough to buy into one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the Silicon Valley decades and decades ago when it was just sort of expensive and not insanely crazy expensive - so we made fun of Donald who would tell people that he lived in Los Altos Hills and when his pals gasped, he'd have to explain that he lived in a shed (and not a shed-like house, but an acutal shed with a lawnmower).

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy birthday Donald!

It's Donald's birthday today.  He's turning 38.  We are so old.   I always like to think about the mothers on a person's birthday because it was a big day for them too.  So mom!  Happy birthday of Donald to you too.  Did I go to the hospital with your mom and dad to wait for the arrival of Donald?  I vaguely remember that - but I could be making it all up...  Thanks for giving me the best brother ever, even though he's a bit stubborn.

Happy Birthday Donald

Happy Birthday Donald.  Mom and Dad wish you all the best.  

Monday, March 31, 2014


Trying to introduce Tanner to Ruby.  Tanner lives next door.  We are hoping that they become friends and not frenemies.  I count the play date as a success.  Not much growling, no hurt feelings and no pee spots on the carpet...

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Owen and his mom hung out with us today.  We were planning on taking the boys on a photoshoot outdoors, but it was SNOWING!  Snowing!  It's suppose to be spring!  Instead we geeked out on Photoshop and took some indoor shots.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


On one of the evenings when Vince was off camping, Dara (Nat's boyfriend) came over for dinner. He's a civil engineer, working on building road and bridges in the DC area. Jeremy and Dara talked a lot about traffic.

Also, during that dinner, Jeremy said that there were no pictures of me on the blog, so he grabbed the camera and took these photos.  My own family is so well documented except for me, they will just have to image me taking all the photos when they look through the photos on the blog.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Working out.

These are Jeremy's new workout shoes.  He tries to keep his exercise routine each day to under 15 minutes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Outdoor education

Vince is spending the next two nights camping out with his 6th grade class. MCPS used to have outdoor ed last a full week.   I remember going on this trip myself 30 years ago. It was a lot of fun when I went, but those poor teachers who had to spend a week managing hundreds of pre-teens. Thirty years ago, I'm sure it wasn't SNOWING when we went.  What a crazy winter.  Every 5 minutes, it's snowing.  I'm hoping this is the LAST snowstorm of 2014!  It's almost April...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Edda's birthday.

Today is Edda's actual birthday. If you'd like to make a contribution on behalf of Edda, here's the Rett organization that we like: Rett Syndrome Research Trust. They send 97 cents of every dollar raised to a science lab somewhere in the world full of pipettes, mice, electrophoresis gels and DNA polymerase.  I used to really hope for a cure for Rett Syndrome, but lately I've been happy just thinking I'm raising money to fund a poor gradute student's stipend to further research about the brain. I used to be a poor science graduate student! I loved that I had a stipend so I could spend it on burritos at Baja Fresh! Not that I wouldn't send a box of chocolates every day for the rest of my life to the graduate student who figured out how to fix Edda's brain.

 Here are some behind-the-scenes photos of the pancake breakfast:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Edda's pancake breakfast.

Ten thousand people at the house. OK, really more like 140 people at the house. Our 2nd annual birthday pancake breakfast was a huge success. So many people came to the house to celebrate Edda's tenth birthday. It was overwheming and beautiful and touching and a perfect way to celebrate Edda's birthday. I can't believe Edda is 10. She was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome 8 years ago and I thought I would never be happy again. But here we are, not so many years later and we are just motoring along, doing all the crazy stuff we are doing and having a lot of fun.  

Our family did not implode like I thought it might. We did not stop having fun together like I thought we might. There have been so many sad birthdays with just us sitting around our little table trying to celebrate Edda's birthday without feeling too sorry for ourselves (I'm sure I can look back on this blog and find the photos I posted of those times, but I'm not going to). But sitting in the middle of that party yesterday, I was just so happy and grateful that we turned what had been such a traditionally hard day for us into something that just made my heart burst with joy and happiness.

My mom cooked 25 pounds of bacon.

Jeremy made 500 pancakes.

Turned our house into a cafeteria.

All the grandparents came.

A beautiful tiered birthday cake and tiara.

And Warren, the pizza guy, and his sidekick, Harry, made it the best party ever!

Rett Syndrome, you can kiss my ass.

Happy Birthday, Edda

Happy Birthday, Edda, from Grand Mom and Pa, rena & noel.

While waiting my flight back to Oak Ridge, TN & sitting at a small round table, having my dinner with chicken salad at the National Airport of Washington DC, there are a lot of things taking off and coming back down through my mind.  When gradually settling down, I wish Edda has a wonderful birthday.

I guess I know Edda better than she knows me.  But, it may be not. Who really knows?  It is hard to say in which way it really is.

This morning, Rena went shopping for Edda dresses at Macy's.  And she is not too sure about her sizes. Next time, I definitively will take Edda shopping with Rena.  So, we will make sure the dresses will fit and also enjoy her companionship.


Thursday, March 20, 2014


Running around trying to tie up loose ends for Edda's birthday party on Saturday. One of my errands involved going to the pizza place and having the lunch special - two slices of spinach pizza & a Diet Coke for $5.29. This is Warren. He's the main cook at the pizza place. He'll be at Edda's party on Saturday.  Be there or be square.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Quiet week? Maybe? OK quiet hour.

Jeremy's been out of town in SF for the last week from Monday to Monday. Now he's off to Deleware today. So I stop shooting photos and the blog gets neglected. Ummm, let's see what happened? I managed to make it to the mid-way point of this semester of nursing school. This week is spring break, although it's not very spring-like with 10 inches of snow dumped on the ground on Monday night. That resulted in the 10th day of school being cancelled this year. I've done a bunch of clinical days where I go into nursing rehab facilities where I practice a bunch of vital signs and help patients transfer in and out of their beds. Vince and Edda are doing well. Edda went sledding on Monday, I need to find the video of that and post it here.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Oak Ridge, TN

After staying in a hotel for a month, it was time to move out to an apartment.  My apartment at Oak Ridge is a pretty new one, about 2 years old.  It is bad because the high voltage power lines are just in front.  It is good because it locates on the same street as my office is and  it is on lake shores.

In my hotel stay, I collected a lot of tissues, bottle water and toilet papers (picture 1).  They can probably last for a while.  The washer and dryer room are inside my bath (picture 2).  And bed is same as at home or at hotel.  One night on real bed is okay.  But, for several nights, I prefer to sleep on the floor.  It makes my back better.  The breakfast place of the apartment is turning into a dining and the place for working (picture 3).  The table and four chairs were bought from "Big Lot" which is one of Mom's favorites.  The light fixtuer is from Walmart.  And the new black-&-white printer (I don't like pictures and color in general.  I prefer text and black & white) is from Staples. On the kitchen counter top is a picture of  Mom and myself which I have carried to everywhere I work, for a long time.  It once was on my office desk in China also.