Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Family photos

We had professional pictures taken this year. We had them done two years ago, and I imagine this will be our last opportunity for at least another two years. We used a white backdrop and I've learned I really prefer a natural setting. Must remember that next time...

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Here comes Santa Claus

This is the first year that Jack gets the Christmas idea. I haven't introduced the religious part (sorry mom) but I have started to explain the Santa idea. Understandably, Jack finds it a little suspicious. He comes into our house? He lives at the North Pole but he is also at the U Village? Other people have to fly to the North Pole but he takes a sleigh? Why do we leave him cookies? He is not questioning the leaving presents part. I don't remember questioning any of it. I just thought 'cool. presents.'

We visited the Fairmont last week where they had lots of Christmas trees and a suite decorated with teddy bears, presents and candy canes, and this week, we attended the Reindeer Festival at the Cougar mountain zoo.

Jack wasn't really into the reindeer noting that they smelled bad. He did like the sleigh.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You made me play second base!*

This whole thing with Jack's preschool has been enormously stressful. I have thought of almost nothing else. I wonder why I chose a montessori program when now it seems so obvious that it wasn't going to work for him.. or me. I am looking at another school but wonder if it's wise to change schools in the middle of the year. I think a lot about kindergarten (yes, it's two years away). I think I probably need to send Jack to private school (20K a year) because our public school has 27 kids in the kindergarten. Will that be too much? Will he learn anything? Will he just drift though our sad public school system.. unmotivated.. uninspired... lost. Or go to private school with the ultra-privileged only to become an insufferable, ungrateful ass who votes republican and doesn't take care of his impoverished parents?

In parenting, do small decisions matter? or big ones? do all the decisions matter? none? some? I don't know. I'll never know. I am writing this post to remind my future self that I thought a great deal about every decision I have made for Jack. However it turns out, I am doing the best I can... it's just that when it's your first kid your best feels like a stab in the dark.

Also, it snowed.

*only my brother and sister will get the title joke. it's from the movie parenthood -- steve martin's character makes his son play second base -- he then has two fantasies about how the decision will affect his son's future-- his son either graduates from harvard or goes on a shooting spree and while shooting yells to his dad "you made me play second base!"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

From the fall

It seems like winter now so I thought I should post some pictures of the fall. We went to a lovely pumpkin patch / fall carnival. Jack loved it. When I am out at these events, I just enjoy them and now when I want to post pictures from them I think, why don't I make more of an effort to take pictures?! I don't think this will change.

So here is Jack in the cow car which he loved. We went with our friends and neighbors who are pictured behind us. Their dad is a privacy lawyer at msft and probably wouldn't want me to put their names anywhere on the blog...

My neighbor Kate (mom of above mentioned children -- not a privacy lawyer so I can use her name) and I took our kids (5 of them) to Vancouver Canada for 2 days and 1 night. It was insane. Not a moment of peace. However, it was a fun adventure we will never forget. It was a beautiful sunny day. We drove to Stanley park and hung out there almost all day. We went to the aquarium and the playground. Then we went to dinner at a restaurant that caters to kids called the white spot. We did priceline for a cheap hotel then onto Granville Island in the morning. Chaotic but lovely.

outside the aquarium (amazing place btw)

Sonia at stanley park

Jack mesmerized by the gears

Granville island - we took a ride on a little commuter ferry

For halloween Jack was the space needle (per his request of course) and sonia was a lion. we were in Arizona that weekend and had to fly during the prime trick or treating hours sadly.

Lastly, here is a picture of jack with a couple of his friends at his birthday party. We had a very simple neighborhood gallery. We had a "fishing pond" where kids could fish for prizes. I made the fishing poles out of curtain rods, yarn and clothes pins. very lowtech

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Jack!

Jack is 4 today. I woke up at 430 this morning (I went to bed at 830). Sonia was coughing and I couldn't go back to sleep. I started thinking about what I was doing at 430 in the morning 4 years ago -- trying to push Jack out into the world. So Jack has been in the world for 4 years and 9 minutes as of right now.

I've had such an educational 10 days. A week and a half ago, we had a parent teacher conference (my first but I really wish it had been my last). It was awful. The teacher at Jack's montessori school seems to think he is delayed, atypical, slow and possibly, deaf. I was VERY upset when I walked out. I consulted with Jack's doctor (per the teacher's insistence since he clearly needed to be evaluated) and then with a friend who has a doctorate in educational psychology and three young sons. It turns out the teacher is FOS. I am really angry that I went through two days panicking about Jack's dim future. However, I was reminded that no one knows Jack better than I do at this point. And no one can advocate for him as well as I can. Also, there is certainly a lot of pressure to have a "normal" child. How many normal adults do you know? We all have different talents and weaknesses. News flash: kids are like this as well.

I am trying to find a different school for Jack although he doesn't seem unhappy there. He seems to roll with things... much better than I do.

Ryan was also with me during our parent teacher conference. Ryan was completely unfazed and uninterested in what the teacher had to say. When we left he said, 'there is nothing wrong with jack. he's great!' Ryan is much better at ignoring authority figures ( jack seems to have picked up this talent).

Parenting is such a profound experience -- and experience is always the best teacher. I think if I had to summarize the lesson I've learned this week it would be one that a yoga teacher of mine repeats frequently -- she says 'we are perfect and whole as we are.. there is nothing wrong with us'

Saturday, October 16, 2010

viva mexico

Jack took his second international trip last week. We went to Mexico for my brother's wedding in Rocky Point -- about 60 miles south of the AZ border. There are no airports in rocky point so one must drive across the border. I was reluctant to do this with a child due to the large war going on between mexican drug cartels and all people in mexico. I knew Jack would love the beach, the pools and the adventure so the two of us went. Jack was so excited to get on an airplane. When I woke him up at 530am to go, he wouldn't get up until I said, it's time to go to the airplane. He shot up like a cannon. He was a great traveler. We had to fly then drive for 4 hours to rocky point. He patiently sat through the parties (at least for a while). He was so happy to be outside in the water.

We have gotten into our fall routine. Jack started going to preschool three days a week. It's a longer day for him. He seemed to adjust to the new schedule without any problem. I have noticed changes in his personality. He goes to a montessori school which encourages independence. He is more interested in doing things for himself. He has also become increasingly uninterested in following instructions I give him. For example, whenever we need to either leave the house (or any location) he refuses. Unfortunately, these stand-offs end with me carrying him to or away from whereever we are while he screams. When I carry him, he says, "I wasn't listening?" So he seems to get it and doesn't like the consequence but doesn't want to change his behavior. I am not sure what to do. Friends bribe their children with food or others threaten punishment or time-outs. None of these things modify J's behavior in any way. Hmm.

While the days Jack doesn't have school are harder, I enjoy them more. When it's just me and Sonia, we play a little, she naps, and I usually run errands or do housework. Jack makes everything more exciting.. for better and worse.

We went to a farm a few weeks ago for the rides and pumpkins. Here we try to get J to pose for a picture. Per usual, he refuses. I am laughing here but I do that less these days..

Sonia is moving to one nap a day so we can hit the parks more often. However, she still eats the bark which makes the experience much less fun.

One lovely fall day we went on a canoe ride with our neighbor.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Weekend with the grandparents

After Sonia's party, we headed to the Olympic Peninsula. Had a lovely time with the grandparents who are always so hospitable and happy to see the grandkids (even though their house becomes messier and chaotic).

Happy 1st Birthday Sonia!

Most days of the year I have no memory of what I was doing on that day a year earlier. It's funny how I well I remember September 12 and November 17.. the day before Jack and Sonia were born. I remember everything up to the point they were born.. then it's all a blur.

Jack was at my mom's on September 12. My water broke at 8 am. Ryan and I spent the day walking around .. trying to induce labor .. I spent a while trying to find an acupuncturist (with no luck). Ryan drank quad shot cappucinos.. figuring he would be up all night. At around 6 I ate a white bean and kale soup. At 8 we went to the hospital per the request of the midwife to get monitored. They suggested I stay since I was having contractions. I declined as I could not feel them. At 9, I headed to my friends' house to socialize and get my mind off the next day.. convinced I'd be induced the next morning (since that was my experience with Jack). The hospital staff insisted the second time was different and they have been right about that through today.

It's been completely different the second time. Sonia is her own little gal. She is walking .. she says mama! dada! and yea! She climbs everything.. explores everything. She doesn't sleep that well.. she still gets up almost every night to eat. And she eats a lot. Very different from her big bro.

We had a fun birthday party on Saturday at a nearby park. We had the party with one of our neighbors who turns two today as well. Lots of neighborhood kids came. It was a beautiful day.. much like one year ago today.

This year has been hard in so many ways but Sonia has been a breeze. She is full of joy and energy. We are all so happy she is here (even Jack most of the time)

Here is Sonia for an hour at the party. A neighbor suggested I take this picture in order to compare it to her 21st birthday. Then we felt terrible condoning alcohol consumption in our children.

Our neighbor also born on the 13th. Not enjoying being photographed. There were a couple of us taking his picture.

Unlike Jack, Sonia was not interested in her cake:

Our beloved friend, doula, and babysitter:

A week earlier, we attended the wedding of our former nanny and family friend, Gen. Lily was the flower girl and we miracuously got Jack to pose with her

Sunday, September 05, 2010


I have a hard time getting pics of sonia and don't have any of the two of us. My friend Jenny has been watching my kids once a week (all summer!) so Ryan and I can go out. We've had such a great time .. such a gift to have such great child care. Jenny has a much nicer iphone than I do and snapped these pics:


Well, I had intended to update the blog more frequently. This has been an unusually stressful summer. We moved out of our home into a rental to start our big construction project -- unfortunately our construction still hasn't started. Also Ryan's company was acquired by a much bigger company -- it turned out fine but he had to interview for his job .. lots of instability.

Other than that, the kids are getting bigger .. older. Jack is very verbal now. He is very expressive.. although he went through a tough phase where he melted down almost constantly over small things. I think its part of the process of individuation (or whatever child development people call it). It's important but not so fun for others. We have eliminated videos from our life because he could never accept that video time was over. Life has improved since. Sonia is starting to walk. She is very active and into everything .. Jack was a much mellower baby. We have to child-proof our house now.

We enjoyed the warm, sunny summer days (when we had them)

We visited our friends' cabin in the san juan islands with my college friends.. here's jack with one friend's kids:

We hit some of our favorite water spots with friends:

We visited the Olympic peninsula with the grandparents. Here's sonia enjoying a picnic at the beach:

We camped on the kitsap peninsula (well we went to the camp for the day as Ryan had to leave town for work and I could not get the camping stuff together). Jack had a blast in the inflatable boat of one of our friends ( I can never get him to pose):

I went to Virginia for 5 days with my bro and sis to meet my dad's family and visit the place he grew up -- including his child hood home. It's amazing how many of his family members remain in this very rural area. Everyone knew and loved my dad -- It was fun to hear the stories -- A favorite was the time he flew one of his airplanes over the river that winds through the town and over the family home.

Here is the "river" It's much smaller now:

the homestead (built by my dad's dad and his brothers)

From the left, my cousin's husband, my cousin (the youngest looking 59 year old I have ever seen), my aunt (who is 79!) and my bro and sis

Family photo on moving day -- also my birthday:

The company that acquired Ryan's paid for the employees and spouses to go to Hawaii for three days. My mom and stepfather watched the kids (only way we could have gone). We had an amazing room on waikiki -- and had a great time surfing (body boarding, longboarding, stand-up paddle board - the perfect place for such activities) and just hanging out.

Ryan at Makapu beach:

Me at Hanauma Bay

View from our room

Always great to come home