Thursday, October 31, 2013

Edda as the supergirl that she is.

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I volunteered at Edda's school today for the annual Halloween party.

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Jeremy went to work as Nemo.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin-fest

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After two years of producing fabulous handmade costumes for my children, I have officially run out of steam this year and have made nothing for either child.  I had grand plans for making Vince a working Operation Game costume and Edda a Supergirl costume, but by yesterday, neither costume was in existence.  I will make excuses - Vince is too old for Halloween anyways and Edda, I think, doesn't mind too much and has already forgiven me.  At least we have some chocolate in the house and Jeremy bought some pumpkins earlier in the week, so we will at least be a tiny bit festive for the holiday.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Casa Mezcal - NYC

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From Deleware, we headed to the Lower East Side of Manhattan where we went to Casa Mezcal to celebrate Leah and Avery's wedding.  The were married a month ago in Yosemite and we couldn't make it out there then, but we knew we were going to be able to see them in NYC.  Avery is related to Jeremy through their great grandparents - Avery's grandmother Clara was Jeremy's grandmother Sylvia's sister.

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Leah and Avery run Make it Good, a place that uses textiles for dish towels, clothing, bags, etc and it's based in Portland. 

Edda had such a wonderful time at the party.  Excited as soon as we got up to the 2nd floor walk-up space - full of smiles and wandered around and said hello to a lot of people.  She especially enjoyed the desserts.  She was a little bit loud during the meditative/yoga part of the day and there was nowhere really for me to go with her as there was only one room and the door lead down a flight of stairs, but I think, actually I'm sure, no one minded.  I think I need to get Edda going to more parties.

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And here we all are - dressed up for a single moment in time.

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wilmington, DE

Road trip this weekend. We left DC Friday afternoon after school. Picked Vince up from his first middle school dance (he reported that the boys just ran around and the girls were on their phones and the big difference between middle school dances and elementary school dances is the absence of parents) and headed to Wilmington, DE. to visit our friends Yushan and Shaocong.  The last time we visited them was on their son's David's actual birth-day.  Somehow our visit to their house in Riverside, CA coincided exactly with Shaocong going into labor and they still insisted that we come and visit. It's nice to see David now eight years later.

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It's fun to talk to Yushan and Shaocong because as they are first generation Chinese immigrants with a 16-year-old totally-Americanized teenage daughter who was just learning to walk at our wedding - it's kind of like talking to a version of my own parents when I was 16.  Shaocong even pulled out the exact thing my parents said to me when I was 16 which was that - compared to all the other Chinese parents we know, we are the most lenient and accommodating, the least like tiger parents and so therefore, you are one of the luckiest ABCs around.   Maybe all Chinese parents think that of themselves?  Of course, we talked about getting into colleges and which of the professional schools (JD, MD or MBA) is the most lucrative to pursue. 

Vince and David got along smashingly.  Nothing like the common language of video games to keep everyone entertained.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Grief.

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Look at this beautiful photo of Edda before we knew anything was wrong with her. Sometimes I feel like I was such an idiot back then, just living blissfully thinking everything was perfect and just worrying about - oh whatever regular parents worry about.

Last week Monday, a pal of Edda's passed away from a huge seizure.  Of course, he had always had seizures, but seemed just fine (well, as fine as any severely disabled child can be fine) when he went home on Friday from school.  But on Monday he had a low grade fever, so he stayed home from school and then took a mid-morning nap and then woke up to the seizure that he never recovered from.

I had spent some time with Miko, he's the other 4th grader in Edda's class - so often on field trips or class parties, I'd hang out with Edda and Miko in a sea of typical 4th graders.  The other mothers a little hesitant to say hello.  The kids kind of surprised to find out the Edda seemed to have a mom just like theirs. 

I'd never had the chance to meet Miko's parents, so I introduced myself at the funeral - saying that I was Edda's mom and that Edda is (was? I stumbled over the present/past tense) Miko's classmate.  And Miko's dad smiled at me and told me that Oh!  Edda!  Miko's best friend!  It's so nice that you are here.

Anyways, I'm spending the week trying not to be consumed by grief over what a shitty hand my little fraternity has been dealt.  And all I know is that tomorrow Edda will go on a field trip to Baltimore without her best friend and that next week, I'll be at the Halloween party without Miko next to me.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Backyard Gate with X'mas Decors



After came back from our tour to Central and Northeast Oregon, with Mom's design, we finished our backyard gate.  There are two X'mas red balls hung on the door, one at each side.  The door of the gate consists two 2x4 beams, the top one can be swung down which is hinged at the left, the bottom one can be taken off and put back on two brackets fairly easily.  Note that there are two farming tools of spade.  Left one is a hand tool, right one can plow the land, of course, with help from an animal.  We got those two from a garage sale here nearby.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Antique Show




Mom loves antique, we dropped by a lot of antique shops while traveling.  Here are some of her new collections along the way.  Picture 1 showed one of her collections - a brown flower vessel, the green one in picture 2 and old meat grinder in picture three.  Last night, we came home pretty late around 10:00 PM.  After showing, I went to bed right away.  But, I didn't know when Mom went to bed.  I guess she spent time to sort and enjoy her new collections.

Of course, I think one of her antique collections is me :)

John Day Fossil Bed, Oregon




John Day Fossil Bed National Monument has three sites - all within approximately a 45 miles radius circle.  The oldest site is Clarno site (Picture 1).  The middle age one is the Painted Hill site (Picture 2), the youngest one is the Sheep Rock site (Picture 3).  The trial with a bridge that Rena stood one is properly the most expensive trail in the world, I think, because within a 3/4 mile of trial, it has at least 10 bridges like this one in the picture.

We liked the trip and, hopefully, will receive Vincent phone call using his first cell phone soon :). 

Collapsed Mountain


Over the weekend, Rena and I took a break from on our yard work and went to Central & NW Oregon for a short trip - 3 days, 900 miles.  After we passed a gorge (V-shape mountain in the middle of the picture), we found out the gorge was a result of a collapsed mountain millions years ago.  At that time, the mountain top, sat on a minor fault line, suddenly dropped more than 1,000 feet and created this magnificent scenery.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

In love.

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Someone is excited about getting a cell phone.  Don't worry - he'll call you soon.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Corn maze!

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Jeremy got back from Chicago last night.  He mentioned just before he left that he was planning on taking Friday off when he got back.  As the kids were out of school as well (teacher professional day?), I decided to take some time off as well and take us all of us out back to my favorite corn maze in Fredrick, MD.  I've been there before with Vince and Edda a few years ago, but this time, I managed to drag Jeremy, Nat, and five of Vince's closest friends - so that's two carloads of kids.  It was a little bit more like a field trip than I had originally anticipated.  I think it was more than Jeremy bargained for when he agreed to chaperone.

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I don't think I'll be able to indulge myself in these childish things for very much longer using my own children as an excuse.  I can tell that Vince loved being with his friends, but did he really want to be at the corn maze?  Perhaps not.  Oh, everyone had fun, but I can tell that perhaps this was my last year going with my kids.  I'll just have to do it on my own from now on.  Or else borrow someone else's toddler.

There was one panic-y moment during the trip.  I don't know if you can tell, but the photo of Edda with Nat above is taken in kind of a silo filled with corn kernels that the kids just tumble around in it.  Sam realized at some point that his cell phone had fallen out of his pocket into the huge pile of corn.  I looked at it all - so much corn, so full of screaming children - and decided at that point that we were never going to be able to find the phone.  But I decided to call Sam's phone and I got lucky - the phone started vibrating right under my foot.  This was a trip dominated by small children with cell phones.  All of them had cell phones (except Vince, poor deprived child) and they all wanted to split up in the corn maze saying they could text each other.  I was a little confused because what more can you say inside a corn maze besides, yes, I'm right next to some corn?

Finally, it's mid-term time.  I'm spending the weekend with psychiatric disorders, blood coagulation disorders, carcinomas, immune response, and the thyroid. 

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Boba!



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Boba is here this week. His mom (lucky her!) is in Paris this week.  I told Boba's mom that all I wanted from Paris are the delicious raw cheeses that are impossible to buy here in the US.  Unfortunately, I don't think I convinced her to do any cheese smuggling past customs.  I'm lucky that Boba is here because Jeremy is not - he's in Chicago all week.  So Boba is very proudly occupying Jeremy's spot in the bed at night.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Gate @ Our Backyard


The gate at our back yard has been completed.  Now, it is the drawing time for our building permit.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My turn as waitstaff.

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My friend Lauren owns a catering company and had a huge wedding on Saturday.  I really wanted to work for her - I've never done food service before and I think it's an important for a person to experience.  Lauren makes such delicious food and she everything is served so beautifully.  I worked a long day - almost 10 hours - mainly setting up the tables, then serving food and then busing all the dirty plates.  It's hard work!

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Still raining!

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Still raining today.  Look at this mess at middle school pickup today.  I usually don't pick anyone up because Vince can find his way home by foot or by bus, but today I felt sorry for him.  But, of course, with Vince being Vince, he came along with two other friends who wanted rides home so pickup today lasted an hour from when I left my desk to when I got back to my desk.

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And then I promptly sent Vince out to camp in the rain for two nights.  I hope he doesn't get too wet, but it just can't be helped.  I practically individually wrapped each piece of clothing in a plastic bag hoping that he'll put on some dry piece of clothing when he needs it.  But I won't be surprised if he comes home in the same clothes he left in.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Rainy day.

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Yesterday, I spent 13.5 miles of the day outside.  I walked the dogs, I ran, I biked back and forth to class and finally a ran a little bit with Vince.  I would have never believed that I could pack 13.5 miles of outside time on a day that I both worked and went to school - but there you have it.  I'm not sure when it will happen again, but I love being outside in the fall.

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Today it just poured all day.  So I spent almost no time outside.  I actually spent the morning at the DMV straightening out car stuff.  And then the rest of the day in my office.

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Poor Vince.  Sixth grade can be hard.  It's time to learn how to actually study.  Not just to get by on what you hear in class, but actually to sit down and figure out how to get it into your head.  I don't think it's going to be very pretty - teaching him study skills, it does not play to his natural strengths.  Also, apparently middle school kids get in trouble by possessing such things as e-cigarettes.  Umm, this is certainly a different phase of parenting.

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So the half-marathon last weekend was cancelled because of the government shutdown and then rescheduled for November 10th.   So I'm basically going to do the last month of training all over again.  I told Jeremy tonight that I was going to be really mad if I do all this running again and if come November 10th, the government is still shut down I would have prepared to run 13.1 miles twice for nothing.  Jeremy reminded me that by then, I probably will be more mad that I'm not getting paid.  He's totally right.


Preparation Work on Addition Completed, except City Building Permits





The preparation work on the addition has been completed except the building permits. Now, we are working on the City Building Permits - studying city building codes and a lot of drawings to do.

Picture one shows part of the retention wall and the gate as well.  Picture 2 shows the other part.  Picture three shows the fence moving out about a foot with the temporary three-posts tall screen on the side.  And picture four is Mom's flowers bed beyond the retention wall.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sleepless nights.

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Vince has decided that he wants to join in on working out.  Last night, right before dinner, I laced up my running shoes and Vince put on a pair of my old running shoes (we have almost the same sized feet) and we ran a mile around the neighborhood.  And this morning, he and Jeremy did one round of the 7-minute workout just before he left for school.  Jeremy's heels have prevented him from running for a long time now, but maybe he'll start running slowly with Vince.  Jeremy even mentioned that maybe we should go to the track on the weekend - what kind of crazy are we?  I told Jeremy that if we all end up the track on the weekend to workout, that I get to push Edda in her stroller.

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I've not been sleeping well for a few months now.  Generally the clock hits 4 am and I'm up and awake, but I do try and go back to sleep for a couple of hours.  Last two nights, I wake up and before I open my eyes, I hope that the clock reads 3 or 4 am, but when I turn around, it reads 11:30 pm.  I can't believe I'm having my first bout of insomnia of the night before many people I know even go to bed.  Where is the Lee sleeping gene?  We are famous for being able to sleep anywhere, anytime.  Yet, somehow I have misplaced it.

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Gene and Bette, Jeremy's aunt and uncle, are getting ready to downsize.  So I got some jewelry that Bette is getting rid of.  Apparently, some of them are Sylvia's.  Anyone recognize them?

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Wheelchairs

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We ordered Edda a new "lightweight" wheelchair this weekend.  The one that she has, which is crash tested and has a five-point seat harness, is just too heavy for me to take in and out of the car every time we need it even though I think I'm as strong as I have ever been - it's just that the wheelchairs get heavier faster than I get stronger.  So the heavy one will be just for school where we can wheel it onto the bus and have it secured with tie-downs while our family out-and-about wheelchair will be the lightweight one.  The lightweight one is made by Maclaren which was my favorite brand of stroller when the kids were teeny-tiny.  I think it has fallen out of favor with the new generation of parents, but it has a special place in my heart.  I'm hoping that at 16 pounds, the lightweight stroller will not be such a bear to get in and out of the back of the minivan.

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I was speaking to a friend of mine who has two kids slightly younger than Vince and Edda.  We were talking about the mythical third child - how neither of us could imagine having a third baby.  Although now at 41, that door is rapidly shutting behind me now.  She talked about how she could not image going back to not being able to travel as extensively as they do or waiting for babies to take naps.  My traveling days are as hard as they ever were in terms of logistics and struggle - it will never be easy for me.  

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sleepover

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Friday afternoon, Vince comes home from school asking for a sleepover. I think sleepovers need a little more than 24 hour notice, but somehow we got a bunch of his friends to come over on Saturday night.  At some point after Edda fell asleep at 8 pm and when we rustled the boys up to bed at 10 pm, Jeremy and I were hiding in our room upstairs because the first floor was just so, so loud with shouts and foot stomping.  I love how much fun Vince and his friends have during sleepovers; everyone gets along great, but I hate that everyone cranky and pissy the next day from not getting enough sleep and I hate handing back the kids to their parents the next day in that state. So I did the unpopular mom thing and basically turned off the lights at 10:30 pm and sat in the room until all the kids were snoring.  Actually, I waiting until all the kids were snoring except Vince who at 11 pm, was still rustling in his sleeping bag asking for ice packs (?).   I also told them that if they woke up any earlier than 7 am, they were not allowed to leave their sleeping bags or talk to each other or play any sort of electronic game.  I think it meant that they actually got at least 6 hours worth of sleep which is what I consider to be the minimum amount of sleep a person can get and still be functional the next day.

Preparation Work for the New Addition





Preparation work for the new addition continues..., but almost done.  Picture 1 shows our neighbor's alumina post.  We just left inside our fence.  This is much easier for both of us.

Picture 2 shows the view from the front.  This fence, with three solar lights, is an extension to the fence in between our house.  The reason for this fence to hide the view our next neighbor's junk car and other messing stuff.

Picture 3 shows the retention wall that we built.  Two gate posts are the the right.  The new fence in the front is newly erected.  The three-post screen was also temporarily erected there.  After the completion of the new addition, it will be moved back to master bedroom windows.

Picture 4 depicts the new fence which is ~ one foot to the left of the old ones on the stand-alone fence.

At this point, preparation work for the new addition is almost done with minor stuffs left.