May 28, 2017: Happy Memorial Day!


Happy Memorial Day weekend, all! Our weekend started out with just chilling at home, given that the smallest Small picked up a cold. I was up much of Friday night/Saturday morning with him, because he’d keep coughing and sneezing, waking himself up, and then bursting into inconsolable tears. Theo fled their shared bedroom at 10:45pm for this very reason, and I finally gave up and went to “sleep” in there with him at 3:50am—and I say “sleep” because there wasn’t much sleep happening for me, given that Sam was coughing and sneezing, and I’m an incredibly light sleeper. Thank goodness we have a three-day weekend to take it easy—for both him and me! He spiked a fever for a few hours on Saturday, but it was gone by Saturday afternoon, and he’s been back in fighting form all day Sunday—no more coughing, no more fever. I’m wondering if it might’ve been a slight sinus infection. He’s actually been on antibiotics for two days for something unrelated (impetigo rash that wouldn’t clear up with topical cream), so if it is indeed a sinus infection, the fact that he’s already on antibiotics might be why it cleared so quickly.

On Sunday I trekked over to the Peninsula for a “mom pampering day.” Our local Down syndrome organization covers a very large geographical area—nine counties! Within the past year or two, we’ve had a wonderful mom step up in the Peninsula and take over organizing events for that part of the Bay Area, since it’s too long of a drive for many of them to come to East Bay events. They invited me to the Peninsula event, so even though it’s a long drive, I went. I like a lot of the moms over there and rarely get to see them—and hey, who am I to turn down free lunch, massage, and art class?! It was a fun way to spend a Sunday, and Chris hung out at home with the boys. We had a lovely lunch; I got my palm and tarot read (I’m going to live to be 101, after some sort of life-threatening event in my fifties or sixties—be excited about my longevity, people!), just for fun; I got a fifteen-minute chair massage; and I painted a lovely picture! Okay, I think we can see from the picture why I’m not an artist, but still, it was fun!

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Look at the pretty table, set up for us moms!

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With a neat little poem:

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On the way home, I had a great laugh. I had taken Chris’s car, which we lovingly call the Porpoise because it squeals like a wounded dolphin if you use the air conditioner, heater, or defroster. We took it in for routine maintenance six years ago, and it came home squealing. We’ve tried three times to have it fixed, and no one can seem to figure it out. And so, we live with the squealing, which I actually find rather entertaining and Chris is mortified by. I took it to meet a friend a few weeks ago, and a concerned elderly couple actually stopped me in the parking lot to make sure I was going to get home okay, because the husband thought the car sounded on the verge of dying! I assured him it’s been squealing like that for six years, and it’s still chugging along.

Anyway, the good ol’ Porpoise, aside from squealing, also has a side mirror duct-taped on, after it got knocked off about a year ago. So this car is classy already! So there I was, barreling across the San Mateo Bridge at 70 miles an hour, being buffeted by the wind in our trusty ol’ tin can of a car…and all of a sudden the driver’s side window starts rolling down without warning. It scared the crap out of me because I wasn’t expecting it. I used the button to try to roll it back up, but it was no dice. All of the other windows were working, but not the driver’s one. So I pressed the button to roll it down further, thinking that if I could get it to “catch” that way, then I should be able to roll it up.

Um, no. The poor thing shuddered and then collapsed into the door panel. And it ain’t budging. So we’re going to have to have a mechanic dismantle the door to repair it. I’m not sure it’s really worth it—the Blue Book value on the darn thing is only $670 or something—but Chris seems to want to repair it. So, repair it we shall…unless he changes his mind. It’s his car, so up to him. (I’m the one who picked out the car, and he hates it—so I’m staying out of this. This time he decides! I will say, in my defense, that I picked it because it was rated as one of the most reliable used cars, and it has certainly been reliable. That thing has run for almost ten years for us (and four years for someone else before that) without so much as a hiccup. Sure, it squeals like crazy, but it runs!)

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While I was gone on my Sunday pampering day, Chris and the boys went to the grocery store and got the fixin’s for strawberry shortcake, so we had that on Sunday evening. So tasty! Well, three of us did. One of us doesn’t really eat sweets. That is not me, by the way. I adore sweets. But one of my offspring doesn’t much care for them, except for ice cream.

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On the subject of strawberries, Sam may no longer be allergic! He had his last day of his Monday afternoon peer development class—the one he attends with his buddies with Down syndrome. As an end-of-term celebration, the kids made homemade strawberry frozen yogurt. I didn’t realize it was strawberry until he was halfway through eating it, so I just let him continue—he is very fond of ice cream, and I really didn’t want to deprive him of his treat! (Parents aren’t in the class—just the kids, teacher, and aides. There’s a window where we can watch, but if Sam sees me he always stops what he’s doing to wave. So I only peer in every so often—and in one of my stealth glances, I saw that he was eating strawberry ice cream and thought, “Uh oh. I guess we’ll see how this goes…”) Anyway, no reaction this time, so perhaps his strawberry allergy was a fleeting thing??

Theo also had his last basketball class of the season. I had signed him up for a six-week after-school program, and he loved it! He’s very fond of basketball and actually is relatively decent at it (especially for a kid who’s so short!), so I was hoping it would be a fun diversion…and it was. Theo is not overly athletic in general, but for whatever reason basketball is the one sport he’s fairly decent at—and he enjoys it, too.

It was a week of endings—Sam had his last session with his beloved speech therapist, and everyone cried a little bit. (Well, Sam didn’t—I don’t think he realizes he won’t be seeing her anymore. But Kris and I both cried a few tears.) It’s amazing how attached you can get to good therapists. They become like family, really. We are still close with Sam’s physical therapist, and he graduated a year ago! I’m sure Kris and I will remain close, too, because she is a great person and was wonderful with Sam. I’m so sad that we had to stop working with her, but the pool of money ran out, so now we’re doing speech through our medical insurance.

We did meet the new speech therapist this week. She is very young and has only been practicing for about four months. She seemed very nice but quite tentative. I’m hoping she’ll be less shy with Sam as she gets to know him better. Kris was great because she really engaged Sam for the entire session—she would work with him on whatever he was interested in and really keep his focus on producing sounds and words. She’d bring a bag of activities, but if he wanted to do something else, she’d just adjust her speech lesson for that week to focus on whatever he wanted to do. And it really worked well for engaging him. Hopefully the new speech therapist will come out of her shell and engage him similarly.

We also had Theo’s Open House at school this week, which was fun! I love seeing all the work they’ve been doing in class. They’ve done some really neat stuff lately! For example, they recently completed a data project, where they had to collect data from their classmates on a topic of their choosing and graph and analyze the results. Theo chose to poll his classmates on what their favorite type of elevator is. I’m guessing most of them probably couldn’t care less and just gave him whatever answer they felt like, given that not many kids share his love of elevator brands. But still, his final project with the data was interesting!

I was also impressed by the group projects the class did on animals. Theo was in the rhino group, and specifically did the portion on the Sumatran rhino. The final report was really cool—the kids worked so hard in Google Docs, putting together a typed report with images, a bibliography, and of course the main text. It really looked sharp!

I loved reading his writing, too. We weren’t able to take it home yet (they still have two more weeks of school left), but it was fun to read his work in progress. The part that gave me the biggest laugh so far was, “I love my family because they have a lot of money and we travel a lot.” Um…who are these wealthy family members he speaks of?! I showed it to Chris, and he said, “Does he have us confused with someone else?!” HA!

In reality, we DO love to travel, and when Theo has complained that we don’t travel enough, I have told him pointedly that travel is expensive, and he should feel lucky that we do as much as we do. He has also recently been nagging us to buy a hybrid vehicle (because his teacher bought one, and thus it must be the best car EVER!), and my response was, “Our cars work fine, so it makes no sense to spend money on a different one. We’d rather save our money for fun adventures, like our road trip next year.” So I’m guessing that’s where the “they have lots of money and we travel a lot” came from—but it gave me a good giggle!

(Also, seriously—I jinxed it, didn’t I? Said our cars work just fine and there’s no point in getting a new one…and now the Porpoise decides to have a collapsing window?! Not cool, Porpoise…not cool….)

Anyway, I need to get this posted, so without further ado, here are some pictures and videos. The videos are of Sam doing an alphabet puzzle. He was a chatterbox, so I wanted to share!

Chris and I had a respite date last weekend, and I got a sangria sampler!

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We split brussels sprouts:

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We also went to the zoo last weekend and took a few pix:

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Mighty gull:

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For whatever reason, at the zoo Sam will only let Theo pull the wagon:

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Sam apparently now insists on making his own cot at nap time at school. He can’t quite figure out the fitted sheet, though, so instead he rolls himself up like a burrito:

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Pasta with pesto, artichoke hearts, and fava beans. Yummy!

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This shirt is so appropriate for him!

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Sweet potato quinoa burgers with sweet potato fries. I burned these, but they were still yummy!

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I found a baby bird on the sidewalk! He looks big here, but compare him to the sidewalk crack in the background. He was actually just a little bigger than a quarter. I hope he lived! I moved him to a nearby bush so no one would step on him, and he curled up under a leaf. I watched for a while and saw his mama tending to him, so I’m hopeful that he will survive on the ground until he can fly:

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This looks disgusting, but I was actually very proud of it. It was supposed to be a grilled romaine salad, but the romaine went limp after a couple of days and didn’t look appealing, so I took the rest of the ingredients and made it into a scramble. It was surprisingly delicious!

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Reason #xxxx why I love living in this town: A random donkey showed up at school pickup! I guarantee that never happened where I grew up.

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Yummy salad with roasted potatoes, marinated zucchini, chopped almonds, an egg (which I overcooked, of course), and yummy cheese!

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Onion-miso ramen with kale, roasted mushrooms, and soft-boiled eggs. This was soooo good!

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