Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ice cream.

The kids made ice cream using a ball ice cream maker.  Ice/salt on the outside and cream/sugar/vanilla on the inside and you kick it around the house for 15-20 minutes.  Wonderful!

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Friday, December 30, 2011

The 22nd of December.

I was in charge of making dinner the first night of our holiday week.  I made this challah bread from a recipe given to me by Edda's camp counselor.  Yummy!

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Some photos of my family that day!

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cutting down the Christmas tree.

I am spending the morning taking down the (artificial) Christmas tree at our house and I will share how the kids cut down the real Christmas tree a week ago.  The Christmas tree farm had a bunch of stumps that were low to the ground and had grown this fungus (?) on it:

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I was campaigning for this Charlie Brown-esque tree, but I was outvoted.

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Felix:

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Vince:

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Edda (trying to avoid all the prickly pine needles):

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Back from Christmas.

We are back from our Christmas vacation in the mid-Hudson Valley.  We spent a lovely week with all of Jeremy siblings (3!) and all of the grandchildren (4!).  It was a lovely time - Katherine, my mother-in-law, did a lot of planning and arranging to make sure that the cooking/cleaning was evenly divided, that gift giving was primarily focused on the little ones and that there were little outings to break up the times that we were eating.  The kids had a lovely time together and I really enjoyed a week where I ignored all my email and responsibilities for a week and rested and ate and slept pretty much to my hearts content.  On the 6 hour drive home, Jeremy and I managed to put together a long, 2-column list of things to be done by the time we are back at work on Monday.  So we are back slowly in the swing of things.

Backing up to before the holidays, Vince and Edda were in the annual Christmas pageant.  I'm pretty sure this is the last year Vince is going to be in the performance.  To say that he was not enthusiastic would be putting it mildly.

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Edda was a chicken this year.  Vince was a dog (which is really a role for a 5 year old, so one of the reasons he was a bit ornery was because his costume squished his noggin too much and gave him a headache).  I have been searching high and low for a chicken hat as awesome as the one the church has, but so far, I have been unable to find one.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Office holiday party -

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Went to Jeremy's office holiday party at the Hotel Helix downtown last night. It was a hotel so hip, it had these awesome lamps all over the place:

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How long did it take me to drive downtown last night? Oh maybe 1.75 hours. Mostly down Connecticut Avenue. I hate driving so much, but every once in a while I am presented with a driving challenge so great that I know I need to do it - you know, to keep my driving skills up to snuff. And frankly, everyone is travelling at 10 mph, no one is going to get hurt.

My two kids have very different attitudes about late-night partying.

Vince (life of the party):

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Edda (what? a party? I'm taking a nap):

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Monument walk.

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Vince, Jeremy and I (and the two doggies) did a moonlight, 4-mile monument hike last Saturday night. I had never seen all the monuments and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do them all in one fell swoop. Also - we would get to see the new MLK monument that just opened a few months ago. We went with the mid-Atlantic hiking club - so there were about 200 other people who showed up to the hike. I was a little worried that Vince would find it a little tiresome (and he did complain after the first monument that his feet hurt), but after a little while, he cheered up and did the rest of the walk without complaint. We had lots of discussions about the different wars (esp. the Korean War) and Maxi freaked out over the soldier sculptures and barked her head off at them.

Vince and Eleanor:
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This was the first cold, long walk we've done with Maxi and it was pretty clear that she was freezing her little butt off, she doesn't have the warm undercoat that Ruby has.  We need to get her a doggie sweater.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

All the way from Singapore!

One of Edda's teachers from Singapore just happened to be on a tour of the US this past Monday. The tour just happened to book at a hotel less than 5 miles from our house, so we had to run and pick her up and hang out with her for a few hours. She taught Edda when she was 2-3 years old - thanks Miss Audrey for coming over! I hope your cough is better. DSC_0474.JPG

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sharp dresser.

Vince and Jeremy sporting the same outfit to school and work today. Vince is performing in a holiday concert today and asked if Jeremy could match his outfit this morning!


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Monday, December 12, 2011

Friends.

Sometimes I get a little down because Edda does not have friends in the most traditional sense - friends to tell secrets to, friends to argue with, friends to trade clothes with, friends to get in trouble with.  I don't really think Edda thinks about it as much as I do, which I guess is OK.  But Edda is always surrounded by people who love and care about her which always, always brings joy and happiness to my heart.  Jen, her counselor at camp this summer, came by this weekend to spend some time with Edda.  Here is a photo which is happiness all around and the feeling of the holiday season all wrapped up in one single moment :)

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

My little victories.

I try and count all my victories and successes in my life - no matter how small. I present my littlest victory this week - I got my mother's gardenia to rebloom! Earlier this summer, she gave me this plant and within a month all the leaves started turning yellow and falling off and little white capsules infested all the leaves and stems. I was disheartened. I thought the plant was on it's way the compost bin. I learned that gardenias are difficult indoor plants and that they are often thrown away after their initial blooms fade, but I persevered! I rescued it and now I have one beautiful bloom which  fills the foyer with a wonderful smell. Now my goal it to try and keep it alive until spring when I can put it outside on the porch again. It will be tough, we don't get enough light in the house - but I'll keep my fingers crossed.
 
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nightime routine.

Jeremy reads to Vince at night.  Edda is in the same room and usually she is already asleep.  I pick out the books and even though I am in the bed with Edda, I am usually surfing the web or reading my own book - I don't usually pay attention to the book that the boys are reading, I just like picking them out for them.  Right now the boys are reading Jacob Have I Loved - which is apparently really weird.  There is stuff in there about eternal damnation (Vince had to ask what exactly that was), a 14 year old girl having a crush on an older man and weird sibling/twin stuff going on.  Jeremy asked where I got the idea that we should book and I said that it was a Newbery Medal winner and that it takes place in MD on the Chesapeake Bay.  What could be better than that?  Anyways - it's weird.

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Poor Edda, she is suffering from chapped skin from mouthing her hand in the winter.  I try and combat it with a slathering of petroleum jelly at night to heal the skin.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Walking in the woods.

I do love under scheduling the kids.  I love it because then we get to do more things as a family or more things with friends and I don't feel like I'm driving the kids all over the place.  This weekend we had all Saturday free and went walking in the woods near the house.

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This was to get us all out of the house - it is really easy for all of us to hunker down in front of respective electronic screens and tune out the rest of the world.  But this is more fun for all of us.

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Especially for Maxi.  Someone (ahem) dropped her leash and Maxi took the opportunity to flee!   What a crazy dog.  Doesn't she understand that we are the ones who feed her and give her a warm place to sleep at night.  Took us 20 minutes to catch her!

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bacon boat.

How long can we ride the bacon wave? Apparently for a long time. This year - in the Raingutter Regatta - Vince crowned his boat "THE B B" aka the bacon boat.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving was a blast.

Thanksgiving was wonderful.  I missed my own family (my parents are in China, my brother decided to do other *more exciting* things), but the Martins are good cooks and good fun.  We ate a lot and talked a lot and went to see the Muppets after the turkey dinner!  I have to admit we had never taken Edda to see a full-length feature film in the theater.  I was worried that she would be too loud, but frankly the movie soundtrack was so loud to begin with that it really wasn't a problem.  She really loved it and (although the movie was a little slow at times) we loved it that she loved it so much.

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Here's her favorite clip :)


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Achilles

Jeremy went camping this past weekend. He does not often take leave of us on the weekend, but this was something special. He brought Ruby (but not Maxi who cannot be trusted to come when called) and had a great time. Ruby had a wonderful time tromping through the leaves along the wooded trail, she ate all the discarded apple cores from the boys, got petted by a whole Boy Scout troop and slept at the foot of a sleeping bag.

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Jeremy's been worried about his Achilles heel and how painful it has been just walking around the neighborhood (the picture below shows him icing it after a neighborhood walk). He was worried that maybe he wouldn't be able to hike in the woods, but for whatever reason, his heel didn't bother him that day.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Hippotherapy -

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I never went through a horse phase when I was growing up. So when I took Edda to hippotherapy this past weekend, I thought I would say hello to some of the horses to see if I could conjure up some sort of affection for these enormous animals.

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I think I still don't like horses.  They are very large.  They look at me suspiciously.  They wonder why I didn't bring them a carrot.  I don't really like horses, but I do love horse accessories - all the leather saddles and the boots and this little guy holding a lantern!

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy 70th Birthday to Mom

















Happy 70th Birthday to Mom. Yesterday (Sunday), a day before her birthday, we got up at our regular hours and took a walk along the beach just across our apartment. Afternoon, we went to the the market to buy roses and several ingredients for her birthday cake. In the evening, we made her birthday cake together. At night, we chatted a lot, while reflecting upon on our life, our encounters and endless memories - both bad and good.

In fact, in our life, we are pretty lucky to have Doris and Donald came along, plus Jeremy, Vincent and Edda. Furthermore, both of us are pretty healthy and "don't need a lot medical attentions" which is a Blessing. Only one thing, that we would do differently, is to spend more time with our kids. I believe we did our best at that time but probably more should be better and sweeter. Anyway, so far, we are blessed to enjoy our birthdays together - a pair, not just one person.

Tonight, after work and alone, we are going to have dinner together. Of course, both of us look forward to dating again :) Only this time, we know each other for 46 years and have married for 41+ years.

picture 1: Mom with a stick and a home-made fishing boat
picture 2: Mom, roses and her home-made birthday cake

Not the only turkey.


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Edda was a turkey in the school play last week.  I mentioned this to a good friend of mine and she said that she hoped that Edda wasn't THE turkey in the play.  Frankly, it hadn't really crossed my mind that Edda might be the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving feast because a few days before the play,  Edda's teacher and I were discussing the odds of Edda even being awake for the play and perhaps if Edda was sound asleep at 10 am (which is her regular morning nap time) then maybe she would sit out the play.  Anyways, I was relieved to see the following photos from the school, Edda wide awake - off to the side (of course) -  being a turkey with a thousand other 2nd grade turkeys.  Now you might be wondering what sort of weird Thanksgiving day play offers up a hundred turkeys?  Maybe the turkeys are holding a rebellion for a national holiday centered around putting their own necks on the line?  No.  Apparently it was a debate on whether the national bird should be a turkey or a bald eagle.  (Bald eagles not seen in photo and probably on the other side of the stage). 

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Muck and mire.

Well. Things don't often go as planned and unfortunately, the drilling rigs were supposed to be done on Tuesday - but today is Friday and they are still here in the backyard.  I have a lovely photo of the work on Monday, nice leaf covered backyard with the sluice from bedrock/water mixture coming from the bore hole.  Since Monday, it had rained and various problems have cropped up - including city permitting issues as well as hitting the aquifer - which has basically turned the backyard into a huge wrestling mud pit.  I actually do not know the details and I'm trying not to worry about the whole thing because I think we are past the point of no return.  We are going to run those loops 250 ft into the ground, by golly, come hell or high water.  Oh, I guess the high water is already here.

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On Thursday, we went to Edda's school to meet with a psychologist/teacher/team to discuss how to "classify" Edda's disability.  Edda is doing great at her school, this week she went to see the symphony at the Strathmore with all the 2nd graders and enjoyed it and she also was a turkey in the school play on Wed. Basically there were two classification categories to be picking from (as Edda is not blind or deaf or whatever other categories there are) - autism or intellectual disability.  We requested to have her classified under both categories to basically try and encompass more services for Edda going into the future.  I thought we could get it all done at that meeting, but apparently, she has to be assessed and the team has to write up reports and do all this extra stuff to figure out that she is really OK to be in both categories.   Seems like extra work to me, but what do I know.  Nothing (both about psychology and drilling 250 ft into the ground).

I do handle a lot of the school meetings and appointments for the kids, but for these kinds of meetings (which I have done alone before) I asked Jeremy to try and make room in his crazy busy schedule to come home and attend with me.  Even though I know all the teachers and staff want the best for Edda, it is always so hard to hear what Edda can't do.  And she can't do a lot.  And I know there is a lot she can do - most importantly love us and be loved by us - but in many ways what she cannot do always weighs heavily on my mind.  It's always heart wrenching and, you know, I want to cry and really , I want Edda without Rett Syndrome and no amount of school intervention is going to make that come true.  Anyways, thank you to Jeremy for being there for me.

Finally, we returned the eye gaze machine to the rep - I'm glad that we got to trial it for a month.  It really allowed us to see if we would really use it on a day to day basis and the resounding answer is no.  It really is cumbersome to use, it takes up a lot of room on the dining room table and crashes all the time.  Edda did not enjoy using it, we did not enjoy using it, and the teachers did not enjoy using it.  I think it is - by far - the easiest way for Edda to access choices and maybe if it gets cheaper or smaller in the future (think iPad or Kindle small) then we'll pick it up again - otherwise we are letting it go for now.


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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Scouting for food.

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Scouting for food is one of my favorite scouting activites.  Combine a beautiful fall morning with a morning walk and collecting food for the food pantry and doing it all with friends make my heart sing. Poor Ruby got voted to ride in the wagon while being pulled by a bunch of nine year olds. She was not excited.

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Edda had a great time walking with the boys.  Or at least starting the walk - the boys rapidly outpaced her. but she really loved being outside in the sunshine - lots of smiles and laughing.  It reminded me and Jeremy that we need to take more outdoor walks with Edda even though it can be a pain to get us all up and outside and actually walking.

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Donuts and hot chocolate for everyone.

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Boys with their papas.  And the butts of our two doggies.

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