June 20, 2015: Celebrating Dads, Anniversaries, and New Opportunities!

What a week around here! First and foremost, let me say Happy Father’s Day to the dads out there! My boys are lucky to have an awesome dad…but you already know how great I think he is. 🙂

Our Father’s Day was actually pretty quiet. Chris and I didn’t return home until 10 in the morning, so we just hung out at home, watched the third Harry Potter movie with Theo while Sam napped, and went to Costco in the late afternoon to stock up on such exciting staples as toilet paper and paper towels. We really know how to party, huh?! But I left it up to Chris, and he was game for a quiet day at home. Being the lousy wife that I am, I didn’t even get him a gift. He didn’t mind, though, because he didn’t really do anything for Mother’s Day, either. We also didn’t do anything for our anniversary. It’s all good—we’ve been together long enough to skip gifts on such occasions. 🙂 And since I’m occasionally a nice wife, I changed the “he hasn’t pooped in two days” diaper that Sam finally produced late in the afternoon. That, my friends, is the best gift I could’ve given Chris!

Speaking of which, Sam is a poop liar. He’s not particularly fond of having his diaper changed, and he has no interest in attempting to poop on the potty, so these are typically the answers I get when I ask him about poop:

We did have a little breakthrough this week, though. On Thursday night we were grabbing a quick bite to eat before a meeting, and I asked Sam if he had pooped. Instead of the usual “no!” he replied “Yeah…” Woohoo! Maybe one of these days, he’ll deign to do it on the potty.

Speaking of that quick bite we grabbed, I have to share something that has been making me laugh all weekend. Lately, when things don’t go quite as they should, Theo has a tone of what we call “righteous indignation” when he expresses himself. He’s also very LOUD when he’s making proclamations about whatever didn’t go the way it should. And proper restaurant manners are still a work in progress for us. (He’s pretty good, but he doesn’t always clue into certain finer points of manners.) So we were grabbing a bite to eat at a fast-casual Mediterranean place that recently opened, and I left toward the end of the meal and walked across the street to the park, leaving Chris with the boys while they finished their meal. (I had to be at a meeting at the park at 6, and the boys were eating slowly.) According to Chris, all went fine except that Theo decided he had to go to the bathroom. It was a single room with a locking door, so Chris felt comfortable sending Theo in by himself while he stayed at the table with Sam. It all went just fine until Chris heard a loud voice boom across the restaurant: “OH…MY…GOD, DAD! MY POOP DIDN’T FLUSH DOWN THE TOILET!!” Chris says I wouldn’t believe how fast he leapt out of the booth and hurried over to quiet Theo and remedy the poop situation. HA! I’ve been snickering all weekend, thinking of poor mortified Chris and the fellow diners who were probably DELIGHTED to hear about a poop issue while they ate. 🙂

But enough about poop. The meeting at the park, by the way, was about Sam’s preschool, which is in turmoil. It’s a very long, tedious story, but I am hopeful that things will soon settle down. It’s a great group of kids and a wonderful preschool, so I hope it will stay that way. I swear, I jinxed it a few weeks ago by saying we were at a stable place with both boys’ schooling!

Our eighth anniversary was Wednesday, although I can’t say there was really anything noteworthy about it! Chris worked at home, but we couldn’t go out to lunch because he had a conference call about office furniture. (No, I’m not joking. His company is very into making decisions democratically. Chris couldn’t care less whether he gets a blue chair or a white chair in his new desk space, but evidently he needed to be on this call anyway.) And we couldn’t go out to dinner because I had to teach (though we probably wouldn’t have anyway, since we didn’t have a babysitter). So the extent of our celebration was going together to pick the boys up from camp/school so that we could grab a quick coffee together. It worked. 🙂

Chris has been insanely busy on his very long work project (which is now supposed to spread into October-ish), and I spent the week writing a book on inventions of the Vietnam War (which turned out to be surprisingly interesting to write—I learned a lot!), so we were definitely ready for a break by the weekend—and that’s when we did our celebrating.

Grandma Kathy and Papa came to watch the boys overnight, and we headed out for San Francisco on Saturday morning. It was Genentech’s annual Genentech Gives Back charity concert, which we look forward to every year. Such a fun event! They spend a lot of time in June doing charity work and fundraisers, and this year they raised a ton of money for orphans of AIDS in Malawi, among other charities. The concert is the big celebration, and it’s a lot of fun. Every year they rent out AT&T Park (where the SF Giants play) and have a concert with three mystery performers. It is an incredibly well-kept secret, and we always have fun guessing who it might be. This year, for the first time, I actually guessed one right! Though I said it probably wouldn’t be this person, because she’s too big of a star. But still—I said her name as a possibility, so that counts!

Curious yet? The show opened with Jason Derulo. I had no idea who he was. He was fine, though not my type of music—I’m not generally a fan of hip-hop type stuff. The second performer was Imagine Dragons. I had heard their name but had no idea who they were—I thought they were kids’ performers or something. Nope! Turns out they’re an alternative rock band, and they were actually quite good—I liked a lot of their songs. The third performer (and the one I guessed!) was Katy Perry. Given that she did the Super Bowl halftime show this year, I figured she was too popular for a corporate gig, but I guess not! I actually like quite a few of her songs, so I enjoyed seeing her. There are very few people I would pay to see in concert nowadays, since tickets are so expensive, so it was nice to get to see a performer who I actually really like but wouldn’t normally pay to see!

They actually did a neat thing this year, too. They featured the stories of two people who had received life-saving treatment from their drugs, and they brought the people out on stage. One was a young woman who had stage IV metastatic breast cancer and is now in full remission thanks to a new targeted chemotherapy drug (in addition to standard chemo treatments). Another was a teenage girl who needed a heart transplant and who now takes on of their anti-rejection drugs daily and is back to living a full life. Say what you will about Big Pharma—I know people question their interests, the insanely high drug costs, etc.—but it is really sobering and touching to see two people who are alive today because of advancements in medicine and pharmaceuticals and watch them say, “Thank you for the work you do. I might not be here today if not for your dedication.” I step out of the conversation when people start in about the evils of Big Pharma, because the bottom line to me is that some of these drugs save lives, which is an amazing thing to me. I’m glad Chris gets to be a part of something that helps people….

After the concert, we walked to Union Square for dinner—Chris wanted to go to Burger Bar, and I never turn down a trip there! We had burgers and shakes, then wandered around Union Square window shopping. We had thought to see a movie after dinner, but the movie times weren’t very good, so instead we walked to our hotel and rented a movie in our room. Gone Girl, in case you’re curious. Chris loved it—said it was one of the best mystery movies he’s seen. I fell asleep several times, but when I was awake, I liked it too. 🙂 I had actually read the book a few years ago and hated it, but I wanted to see the movie. The book was so popular a few years ago, but I just hated it because even though the plot was interesting and full of twists, the two main characters were just horribly loathsome people. It’s hard to like a book when you hate the main characters! Turns out I liked the movie better—the male lead was a little more likable in the movie than he was in the book.

Here’s a total first-world problem for you: We have been in major water-saving mode at home, since we’re in a drought and we just put in a small lawn that needs a lot of water the first few weeks. So I’ve been limiting myself to three very short showers a week, and I turn on the water only long enough to get wet, then I turn it off to soap and shampoo up, then I turn it back on to rinse. Chris has been doing much the same, though he takes a shower every day. (He’s a neat freak about hygiene. I, apparently, am a slob! My words, not his…) And Theo, much to his chagrin, has to deal with us bellowing into the bathroom, “Hurry up! This is a DROUGHT! You have FIVE minutes!” He hates it.

Anyway, it was cold at night in SF, and Chris and I both decided we’d take nice, warm showers in the hotel room. And because it wasn’t our water bill, we thought we’d splurge just a bit and not turn off the water while soaping up. Oh, the luxury of being able to spray for more than 30 seconds at a time!

Then we got to our room. For some reason, they had given us the disabled room, and the shower was terrible! It was a roll-in shower with no lip or door, so the water pressure was super low so it wouldn’t spray out of the shower area. And the sprayer was a handheld that was mounted at waist height, so you couldn’t stand under the spray. So, we hand-held a pathetically dripping sprayer and attempted to shower without much success. Ah well, total first-world problem. There are plenty of people in San Francisco who are sleeping on the streets, so I’m not about to complain. But I did think it was kind of funny that we were so excited about the hotel shower, and then it ended up being quite the letdown!

Speaking of water, here’s a cute video of Sam enjoying our sprinklers. Last week we had a very strong breeze blowing in off the golf course, and it was blowing some sprinkler spray over the edge of our patio. Sam had a blast running through it! As soon as we can unfence the lawn and let him go on it, I bet he’ll enjoy the sprinklers!

I apologize for the lack of pictures this week. I have no good excuse except that I spent all week laboring over the Vietnam book. Let me say right now that I may or may not get the blog up next Sunday night. I leave on Thursday morning for the NDSC conference in Phoenix, and I get back Sunday afternoon. Given that Chris will have been a solo parent for four straight days at that point, I suspect he’ll be keen to hand the boys over to me as soon as I return. 🙂 Blog may have to wait a couple of days.

I am so excited about the conference! A good friend from my Rockin’ Moms group is going to be able to come, and we’re sharing a room. We’ve never met in person but get along famously as Internet buddies, so I suspect we’ll have a blast! I’ll also get to meet a few other Rockin’ Moms who are working at the convention, and we’re trying to plan a Saturday night out for all of us Rockin’ Moms. Can’t wait! Janessa (my roomie) and I are also going to meet up with a new mom of a little girl with DS on either Thursday or Friday night, which should be fun. I’m going to miss my boys, but I suspect the weekend will fly by.

Before I sign off for the week, I need to share one exciting bit of news! I have a new job! (That makes five now—Chris said I need to stop getting jobs and leave some for other people. HA! Seriously, they are all part-time gigs: editing, writing, teaching, medical outreach, and now the new one. They all take up a few hours a week and total up to me working about 30–35 hours a week. So it’s not nearly as overwhelming as it sounds.)

Anyway! I had no plans to get a fifth job, but my boss at Down Syndrome Connection emailed me Friday morning and asked me if I’d be interested in taking on a new position. And so, I’m now the legislative advocate for DSC! I’m also representing DSC on the National Down Syndrome Society’s Government Affairs Committee. I’m not sure yet what this will all entail, but I know it involves writing to our congressional reps. I’m pretty excited, as I’m hoping this is another way I can be part of helping to make change for people with Down syndrome. Someday, when I leave this world, I want to know I did everything in my power to make it a better world for my sons, and hopefully this is another way I can do that.

The funny thing is, I typically avoid politics at all costs. Well, let me rephrase that: I typically avoid discussing politics at all costs. I read and form opinions and share them privately with Chris, but that’s about as far as it goes. I don’t like all the drama that can creep in when politics become a topic of conversation. (And in case you’re wondering, no, Chris and I don’t always agree. We’re usually pretty much on the same page, but not always!) So anyway, I guess now I’ll have to discuss politics! But only professionally. I can still keep it out of my personal life. 😉

So that’s the news from here! Happy first day of summer tomorrow! I hear it was 114 degrees in Phoenix last week. I think I’ll be staying inside….

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