Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Favorite part of the year!

I love this post-Christmas, pre-New Year time of year. Time to go over what went wrong and what went right this year. Making New Year's resolutions that one hopes to keep and thinking that with the New Year, you get a chance to start over and begin again.

Just a few things to wrap up... Of course, what I wanted for Christmas the most this year was a cure for Rett Syndrome and I didn't get it, so here's hoping that my wishes will come true next year, a little reminder that if you are looking for charities to donate to before the end of the year, please consider RSRT! 98 cents of every dollar donated goes to funding research which will make my holiday dreams come true. ;)

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We had a very nice Christmas - we traveled to upstate NY to spend the time with Jeremy's parents. I know I complained about Christmas earlier, but this year, I managed to make it through with good cheer. It was a pretty quiet year for us, no job turmoil, no one really sick, no moving, no drama. Thank goodness!

After the snowstorm, Jeremy plus kids plus dog headed up to the Hudson Valley. Since I don't have very much vacation time, I stayed behind and worked until it got closer to Xmas.

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It was weird being in the house all by myself - so I borrowed a neighbor's dog during the day (it's not easy taking a well-exposed picture of a black dog).

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While I was working, the kids picked out a tree:

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On Xmas eve, I went up via train and met up with the Martins.

Opening gifts (one gift on Xmas eve):

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Vince with his big Xmas gift on Christmas morning:

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Other nice pictures:

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry X'mas & Happy New Year



























Merry X'mas and Happy New Year!
A week ago, we had a big snow storm. Picture 1 showed that we were in the process of digging-out ourselves. All our neighbors have snow blowers but we don't. Hard labor but good for my glucose.
Next picture, Mom is very proud to show-off our new camera from Doris & Donald as a X'mas gift. She also was pretty happy to show off her roses for my birthday.
With the new camera, we took the following three pictures:
3) My birthday cake and flowers
4) Mom's dry fish hanging-in our garage
5) With our first garage door opener, a new car and a column in the middle of our two-car garage, we decided to install two garage-easy-drive-in reflection mirrors and a garage-drive-in-easy-stop red ball. This picture shows our final product. Mom tried a few times. It looks pretty good and fairly practical. Isn't it?
Again, Merry X'mas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

We're trapped!

Spent the day shoveling out from under the snow. Jeremy had shoveled twice yesterday and said that he was pretty sore, so I did the last shoveling today - only about 6 inches worth, but it's light and fluffy, so it wasn't so bad. I felt virtuous all day and had extra helpings of lunch and dinner because of it.

Vince learning to use a knife. Ack!

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's snowing.

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It's snowing around here. It's snowed so much that it's up to our armpits. OK, it's just up to Ruby's armpits. Or legpits. Whatever. It's a lot of snow.

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Roth IRA Conversion

The following is a copy of an article from "Retirement & Tax Planning Specialists"

To Roth or not to Roth - that is the question!

It may be a good idea to convert part or all of a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA in order to receive tax-free investment returns and escape minimum distribution requirements. Conversions are subject to ordinary income tax. If a Roth IRA conversion takes place in 2010, the taxpayer has the option to spread paying the taxes over the next years - 2011 and 2012. You do not have to convert 100% of your IRA into a Roth. You can make a partial conversion; the amount usually depends on both your current income tax bracket and your estimated future tax bracket.

The ability to convert from an IRA to a Roth IRA depends on your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), which must be less than $100,000. Unfortunately, many taxpayers who would like to convert are not eligible. However, this AGI limitation goes away in 2010, so if you're currently ineligible it may be a good idea to start planning for this possibility in the near future.

If you do convert, you are allowed to change your mind and reverse the conversion (also known as re-characterization) in the future (but only one reversal per year). For example, if you find out later that you exceeded eligibility limits or that your account value has dropped, you can reverse the conversion at a lower tax cost. In fact, you can do this as late as October 15th, 2010.

The tax rules regarding Roth IRAs can be very complicated and confusing. For example, a Roth IRA distribution can only be qualified if you've had the account for at least five years and the distribution is made after you've reached age of 59 1/2, otherwise early withdrawals could result in a 10% federal income tax penalty....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Technology update.

Household technology update - got FiOS and ditched Comcast. It's a little nerve wracking to see someone drill a hole in the side of the house, but FiOS is awesome. Working at home has lost the little 0.5-1 second lag time and everything streams better now. Verizon gave us window of 9 am - 5 pm for the installation. They came at 4:45 pm and stayed until 8 - which wasn't a huge deal, but I felt bad for the person installing in the cold and the dark. I actually asked if she wanted a "snack", forgetting that one usually asks adults if they want something to eat and not a snack. Adults don't have snacks, right?

These are the guys who dug the trench in our lawn the day before.

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We also got a hand-me down TV from folks who are updating to a flat-panel TV. This is where I learned the technical difference between a flat-screen and a flat-panel TV. We got the flat-screen hand-me-down TV. The screen is flat, but the TV certainly is not. This is going to be the largest TV in the house - both in terms of screen size and in volume. Jeremy was trying to figure out how to bring this heavy monstrosity down to the basement and he decided that loading it into our special needs bike stroller, strapping it with tie downs and wheeling down to the back door was the best idea.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Interesting books that come in the mail.

Six bucks, used from Amazon.

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Bro - I can't believe that you guys let this one go.

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Awwww..

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hairstyle cramping our lifestyle.

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Vince is lovin' his new hairdo. Everyday, he meticulously puts on a dab of gel to make the front spike up like a skateboard ramp. Jeremy thinks it looks pretty good - but for me, since Vince has been in a scowling mood recently (every little mom-suggestion is usually met with a scowl), it makes the scowls look so much more pronounced.

Also, since he's lovin' his hair, he's switched from being a biker to a walker because wearing a helmet will mess up the sculptural effect - which means that we have to add 5-8 minutes extra travel time to school.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pinch hitting babysitting.

Eliana is back in Columbia for a few weeks for the holidays, so since my parents are in between nuclear power plant gigs, they are our pinch hitters for babysitting.

A pretty classic photo of what goes on when my parents are babysitting:

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Pua pua is the eager feeder, Gong gong is play furniture. Edda loves being the center of attention and Ruby is hoping for a meatball.

We finally got some results from August's trip to Johns Hopkins. I have not been pestering them about the test results because I felt like there wasn't going to be any earth shattering news (OMG, you mean her brain is making weird EEG traces?!? you've got to be kidding me!! - ha ha.) but last week I got kind of a frantic email/phone message combo that said that Edda's pH probe test came back and she has pathological reflux and we needed to put her on Prevacid pronto. I was surprised and actually a little bit skeptical because we have so few issues with her eating and I would actually say that there are no symptoms of reflux - no vomiting, no crying associated with meal times, no fussing on lying down, etc, etc..

So we went to our local pediatrician who said that she was happy to write the script for Prevacid and that we can follow up with a GI specialist (which we don't have). We asked what would happen if we left reflux untreated and they said, well, long term exposure to stomach acid could lead to esophageal damage. So then we asked, well since she has no syptoms of reflux, what do we look for if we give her the medicine? See if she gets happier? It's kind of a weird mystery - was the Hopkins test a fluke? Is Edda in discomfort all the time and not really complaining (that would be very much like her doctor-adverse mom)? Who the heck knows? The world is full of mysteries.

My guess is that we'll give it to Edda for a month or so and we'll see no difference and then we'll stop giving it to her. I am a dedicated reader of special needs blogs, the Rett Syndrome ones I always keep on my blog roll, but folks with kids that have other issues always drift in and out of my list as my interest in them waxes and wanes. So it doesn't help that like 2 weeks before we got this suggestion that we put Edda on reflux medication, I read that the author of this blog was reading two other blogs that talked about kids who were hospitalized due to long term reflux medication use - and for the life of me, I can't find the blogs that the person is referring to. It's driving me a little bonkers.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

And the weekend is over.

The weeks go by so quickly these days, I know that Christmas will be upon us in no time and then new year! Even though I'm working at home, my days still fill up with various errands, I often still feel like my days are packed and there is still so much left to do - including fun things that I wish I could do more of like seeing old friends or spending extra time in the tub.

Edda and I found ourselves in Old Navy for the first time in many years. I don't think that Edda has ever been in Old Navy - although when Vince was little, little, all his clothes came from Old Navy. I was a little disappointed that the store seemed like it was just heaps of disorganized clothing.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mowhawk. Faux-hawk.

I paid someone else to cut my children's hair today. Vince really wanted to get a mowhawk. Then he asked for a faux-hawk. We compromised on a short haircut where you could put gel in to spike it up a little.

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Freshly shorn and rabbit ears!

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A Japanese Car !

















Mom just bought a Japanese car today! It is a 4-cylinder one, amazing!








Friday, December 11, 2009

Xmas party.

Last night, we drove into DC to go to Jeremy's work Christmas party. It was freezing cold and we got there at 6:30 - I wasn't sure how long we were going to stay as, you know, we all get sleepy at 7:15 pm.

You know, most Christmas parties are famous for someone getting drunk and acting all stupid, but at this one, they broke out the banjo and 3 guitars and sang songs around the candle-lit tables.

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Edda fell asleep - which meant that we could stay a little longer at the party - although she did get up at 9:30 pm really angry that she wasn't at home tucked into her real, warm, soft bed. (We did leave pretty soon after that).

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Vince would have liked to have more kids at the party, there were only 3 other kids that were around his age, all the other kids were 6-18 months old. They took over Edda's DVD player and watched Toy Story and Madagascar.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Animal night.

Edda's school had a little special program in which an animal foster organization brought in foster dogs and talks about what they do for the animals and how they find forever homes for these doggies. Since Vince had never been to Edda's school and he would ask about it every once in a while, I figured this was a nice opportunity to head on over.

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We get a little tired if we are out past 7:15 pm.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Getting ready for the holidays.

This weekend, we had a potluck at church. I love potlucks, it's the whole reason I joined my church. Food, folks and fun! It was a super interesting challenge, because we were trapped in the house the day before because of the snowstorm, so I was determined to make a dish that did not require any grocery shopping. We had a bunch of cake ingredients, so for the sweet dish, I made a plain white sheet cake decorated with rainbow sprinkles and for the savory dish, I made (well, Jeremy made) a Japanese curry with rice. We had the curry mix in the pantry and had a bunch of carrots/onions/potatoes also sitting around and we chopped up a bunch of frozen chicken breasts.

After potluck, there is always a round of crafts. Edda and Jeremy frosted a cookie with "E" for Edda. Neither Edda nor the high school volunteer manning the craft station look too thrilled about the whole thing. Crafts are not Edda's forte. Those cookies were yummy.

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On the way out, we found a little snowman and I wanted to take a picture of it because it was super cute and Vince yelled out, "Wait! I want to make it a little more Christmas-y" and he stuck his two crafty Stars of David on the tree. I didn't tell him that he actually made it more Hanukkah-y. Pretty funny.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Snow day!

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It snowed all day today - the first snow of the winter. I had plans to go to gymnastics, church, Trader Joe's, Target and IKEA today, but none of it happened. I decided at 10 am that I wasn't going to run any errands today and slowly but surely, all of our plans with other people this weekend got canceled one by one.

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Jeremy had to work most of the day today (with a break for swapping in the snow tires) and Vince spent most of the day outside in the snow getting soaking wet and playing with pals - so Edda and I (the super-home-bodiest of the bunch) stayed inside and ate and baked! I baked two kinds of cakes today - used up 4.5 cups of sugar and 0.75 pounds of butter. I also did a lot of Christmas shopping online - yah internet and fuzzy slippers. Since I've been working from home, I think I've spent a total of 8 hours outside of the house in the past five days. I'm not sure that is a good long term ratio of slippers vs. outside human contact.

It was Eliana's first experience with snow, it was very cute watching her try to catch snowflakes!

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Walt Disney (Cruise & Magic Kingdom)





































Walt Disney Cruise & Magic Kingdom Pictures to Share:
1), 2) 3) On Disney Wonder Cruise Ship
4) Special Beach Stroller on Castaway Island
5) Where is Vincent - Hide inside the Tube, Castaway Island
6) Next Generation Walked into the Hotel
7) At Hotel Bus Stop to Magic Kingdom
8) Turkey Dinner at a Hotel Restaurant

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Banana splits.

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We split some bananas tonight. Vince contemplates the mysteries of the ice cream scoop.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lice.

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Vince made me do a lice check today on his head. Lice is a big thing at school these days (I think a couple of cases have been reported at school) and the kids were talking to each other about it and Vince thought his head was itchy and wanted to make sure that he was lice-free. Which he was. But as I was looking though his hair, I decided that my own head felt itchy. Arg. Just thinking about lice makes my head itchy. Scratch, scratch.