Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dean lost one too!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Twin Show

Editors Note:
Sorry for the delay. I brought it up on Monday morning but they were suddenly shy. I'm still hoping to video them but it may be just Dean.

We have big plans for tomorrow morning. Jack and Dean are going to perform a show for us. They handed out tickets tonight and Dean even gave us a little preview. Based on the preview, I have high expectations. With their permission, we will be videotaping the show and plan to broadcast it on youtube tomorrow. Dean is thrilled at the prospect of becoming famous and almost couldn't fall asleep with the excitement.

Remember, you heard it here first.

Saturday, May 23, 2009



Friday, May 08, 2009

Martial Artist

I am reminded all of a sudden that the words 'low contact' before the word 'sparring' doesn't really make that big of a difference when the bruises show up later. In fact, if I'd had gear on I probably wouldn't have so many bruises now, would I?

My favorite part of this morning's session was when Master D told us to sit down and listen to our breathing (after 2 rounds of sparring), went over to where Jack was sitting and said, "Jack, I want to tell you something about your mother. She is an awesome martial artist and she could totally kick your ass, she doesn't because she doesn't want to, not because she can't. Never forget that."

Probably not appropriate to say to a 6 year old but nice to hear anyway.


Jack is reading.
Jack is reading!!!! 
Not just a Dr. Seuss book which has rhymes in which you can divine what will come in the next line.
He's reading the directions that came in the box of Bendaroos. He's reading words like 'middle' and 'together'. And they don't rhyme! The patience he's exhibiting, the effort he's making - it's amazing!
He's reading.
I wish you could hear.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Strep and Scarlet

I took Dean to his follow up appointment with the ENT yesterday. He has healed up nicely and the doc says he can pretty much eat whatever he wants. Which is good because we've pretty much been letting him eat whatever he wants. Jack was with us because he still had wicked swollen glands and I figured it was time to get him checked out. Sure enough, he has strep throat. Boy that kid is stoic. He knew he was going to have to get a throat culture, knew he'd hate it but he just sat there and let the doctor do it. He's had 4 throat cultures in the last 2 years and this was the first that came back positive. I was stunned. He just never seems as sick as he is. We filled his prescription (amoxycillin) and gave him his first dose in the afternoon. Two hours later he was complaining of feeling itchy and big red splotches started showing up on his face, his arms, his torso. My first thought was that he's allergic to penicillin. Makes sense, right? Dean is, why not Jack. I called the doctor and he agreed that might be the issue so he called in Zithromax. I gave Jack some benadryl to ease the itching and then gave him his first dose of Zithromax this morning. He was much better today, lots of energy, throat is feeling better. I planned on him going back to school tomorrow. He started complaining of feeling a little itchy at around 6:30 tonight (about the same time as last night). By 7:15 he was covered in angry red splotches and little bumps. I got a different on call doctor this time and she said that sometimes strep throat patients can develop scarlet fever. She told me to give him benadryl tonight, give him the zithromax early in the morning tomorrow and bring him into the office so they could check him out. So, he'll be out one more day.

The bright side of this illness is that the break has been good for the boys. I mean, it hasn't been great for me to be out of work this much or for Jack to miss this much school but it's good because the boys are missing each other. And that makes them so happy to see each other at the end of the day. They play together better and there's a lot less fighting.

I just finished reading 'The Secret History' by Donna Tartt and now I need to find someone who has read it so I can discuss it with them. It's interesting and rich, so elegantly written that it seems like it was written a century ago rather than 20 years ago. And then to find out that the author was 28 when it was published! I wish I could write like that. Towards the end of the book she writes, "Though Julian could be marvelously kind in difficult circumstances of all sorts, I sometimes got the feeling that he was less pleased by kindness itself than by the elegance of the gesture." I love that line.

I haven't been keeping up with my weekly menu plan but since I've been home all week, it's been pretty easy to put dinners together. Since the boys were sick on Monday I made homemade chicken and rice soup and that fed us Tuesday night, as well. Jack wanted tuna noodle casserole for dinner last night so that was easy. Dinner tonight was angel hair pomodoro and tomato and avocado salad. It was delicious and really easy and really quick. Here's the recipe for the pasta:

Angel Hair Pomodoro

1 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 c white wine
1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 T tomato paste
handful of fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1 T butter
Angel hair pasta, cooked al dente and drained
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and let cook for about a minute. Add the white wine, let cook another minute, then add the tomatoes with juice. Let simmer on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occcasionally until the sauce has reduced and thickened a bit. Stir in the tomato paste. Remove from heat and stir in the basil and butter. As soon as the butter has melted, add the cooked pasta tossing to coat evenly. Serve immediately.
Serves 2 with hearty appetites.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A Long Rambling Update

My goodness but it's been a long time. Lots of goings on since the great tonsillectomy of 2009.


Chad and his family came for a visit at the end of April. It was the first time the cousins had seen each other since the summer of 2007. They had a great time with the three oldest boys getting along famously and Charlie tagging along good naturedly. Oh that Charlie is just pure sweetness. In the days leading up to the visit, Jack was working out the sleeping arrangements:
Jack: I'll sleep in the middle and Charlie can sleep next to me in case he gets scared. Miles can sleep on the other side and Dean can sleep on the end. Dean? Are you going to be scared?
Dean: Well, I might be a little bit scared.
Jack: Hmm, I wish we didn't have 3 kids because I only have 2 arms.

It turned out that Jack couldn't fall asleep with three kids gabbing around him and wound up in our bed, at least for the beginning of the night. Still, considering how excited they all were about playing together and slumber partying, they all did really well.

We went to the observatory and the park on one day and then went for a hike in the Angeles forest the next day. Those activities were great but really, the best hours were spent in freeplay throwing the football at the park, climbing on the playhouse in our backyard and playing with the hose. It was a great weekend to reconnect and we're especially looking forward to our midwest trip this summer when we'll get to spend even more time together.

We went to San Diego last weekend to reward the boys with a trip to Legoland. They've been earning points for good behavior and we told them that when they got enough points, we'd go to Legoland. I have to admit that there were whole weeks when we didn't record any points - not because their behavior didn't warrant it, but because it's just one more thing to keep up with.
We stayed at a lovely hotel near the park and they shuttled us back and forth. Legoland is the perfect amusement park for 6 year olds. Every ride is designed for their age group so they can go on practically everything, sometimes accompanied by an adult, sometimes not. There are also several open play places with rope ladders, ramps, climbing nets and slides where the kids can just cut loose. We also lucked out with weather, there was rain in the forecast which seemed to keep the locals away but it stayed dry so it turned out to be a perfect day. Even kids get tired of an amusement park after 5 hours though, so we headed back to the hotel in the late afternoon. The pool at the hotel was heated to a lovely 85 degrees and the kids spent an hour and a half frollicking in it. When we suddenly realized that it was 7:00 and the kids' fingers were shriveled and pickled, we thought it best to get dressed and find some dinner. The boys were exhausted though and we didn't make it through dinner without Jack falling asleep and Dean almost melting down. Back to the hotel we went to get lost in crisp white linen and the luxury of king sized beds. The boys love hotels.

We were blessed with light traffic on the way home (on the way down, too but that's so 3 days ago) so we were home in plenty of time for me to do some laundry and the grocery shopping.

Dean wasn't feeling very well on Sunday. He was slightly feverish and complaining of a sore throat. It suddenly dawned on us (me and Tom) that he was a little cranky and whiny at Legoland the day before and of course, that's how he always gets in the day or two before he comes down with something. When will we ever learn? The next morning he seemed better but Jack woke up early and in a thick voice told me he didn't feel well. Sure enough, his glands were the size of golf balls. I kept them both home, the last thing I need is the school to think they have the swine flu! Later Monday morning I was advised by Dean's teacher that he is Student of the month! How exciting! Luckily, he felt better today and was looking forward to being honored at the school assembly this morning. He dressed in all black, wearing his new black converse shoes - one laced with a black lace and the other laced with white. He's a trendsetter that boy.
Jack is still sick today but has no fever. He slept until 8:15 - highly unusual. Tom and I were talking last night about how they even get sick differently - Dean always gets cranky and whiny at least a day before he shows any symptoms of being sick and we always wonder what in the heck is wrong with him, then ohhhhhh, he's sick, of course. Jack just becomes quiet and lethargic, content to lay on the couch and watch tv - something he rarely is when he's healthy.


And now. That pretty much brings you up to the present. Except that I haven't written about how hard the last few weeks have been. How I've lost my patience. I beat myself up, guilty of letting my worst self out rather than my best. And this is the worst part of motherhood. The expectations we place on ourselves to be perfect, the expectations that are put on us. I have gone over and over in my mind how I could have been better. Could I have done something different? Of course, I know what I could have done. Looking back without the emotion of the moment there are lots of better options I can see. Hindsight, you know. I went into the weekend in San Diego with the idea of it being the reset button. There were no timetables, no expectations, no work to be done. Just fun, just going where we wanted, when we wanted. The weekend of yes, sure, why not instead of not right now, maybe later, no. We need more weekends like that. I'm going to do my best to make that happen.

In case anyone's interested, I'm a purple stripe belt now - the 6th color belt. And yes, I still love it. I broke a board with my spear hand the other day. Awesome.

I'll try to write more so there won't be these long, rambling posts once a month. But no promises. I don't do well with promises.

One final note: Jack is sitting on the arm of the chair next to me as I type, absentmindedly running his fingers through my hair as he watches Spirited Away. I don't ever want to forget the sweetness of that.