Sunday, August 31, 2008

Apraxia news

Nea has a new speech therapy baby. Other people have therapy dogs. We’re doing it one better. OK, OK, Natalie isn’t technically an ST baby. She’s not certified or anything. But Nea said, “Ma turn! Ma turn!” when she wanted to hold Natalie at the park last week, and that’s enough qualification for me. Nea’s second spontaneous two-word phrase ever.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to make a list of the good things about having an apraxic child. You know, the silver lining. So far it’s a little short. Maybe someone can chime in.

  1. You don’t get ratted out by your kid when she gets an extra cookie or when you tell someone a little white lie.
  2. Your kids don’t endlessly go around with “did not” “did, too” “did not” “did, too” “did not” “did, too.”
  3. Blissfully quiet house when Boo is at school.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ah the harvest

[today's butternut squash]

Like most totally rabid insane people with a hardcore hobby, I don’t understand people who don’t partake of my interest. I speak, of course, of my veggie gardening obsession. Why wouldn’t you want to grow your own food? Why wouldn’t you want to feed your kids the healthiest organic-ist freshest vegetables? Eating locally important to you, as an environmentalist? What’s more local than your own raised bed?

I know it has made a big difference for Boo, having her own plot. She has eaten more tomatoes this year than your average ketchup-consuming child. Our green beans, they squeak with freshness! The zucchini, they are gobbled up as pancakes! And cherry tomatoes are lovingly offered to playmates. And rejected by them, but that’s not my point.

So, as all good hobbyists, here are some photos of my own special craziness. Forgive me as I burst with pride.

Obviously this is only a representative sample. My best guess is that I'm harvesting at least $5 of organic produce per day. Strange how I don't have a single photo of the gorgeous swiss chard or kohlrabi.

7-20 - includes first potato

7-27 First onion! First carrot!

8-1 Rest of onions

8-12 Mmmm ... green beans

8-15 Robbed some more potatoes

8-19 I love veggies


Wow, I am a slothy slothy blogger. But I have a good post lined up, I swear. Just need to get it together.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This post in 3 parts

Three! Three parts that have nothing to do with each other! Why, you ask? Because I can!

Part One: Flashback to 4.5 years ago ...

I was diagnosed with AMA on the phone with the OB/GYN's receptionist.

She said, "I see you've been diagnosed with AMA."
I said, "What's that?!" (panic panic)
"Advanced maternal age."

I hung up and was thinking, "Really? You can diagnose that yourself? What did you use, a calculator?"

Part Two: Food pantries

I used to buy an extra item or two at Trader Joe's and have Boo put it in the food pantry bin. But in these tougher economic times, giving money directly to larger organizations makes the dollars stretch. Please consider donating through the Aidmatrix site. You can choose a food bank near you (I just scrolled through and saw Seattle, Boston, Northern Illinois, Baton Rouge, etc. etc.).

My very very large corporate employer uses this site for their internal company donation efforts. It's definitely a real organization.

Part Three: Trying to organize for the school year

For both organizational tips and packing lunch tips, try Cindy's Porch! Scroll down to the "Goal #1 for August" section.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dreading the coming school year

For the coming year, we decided to put Nea in special ed and in Boo’s old preschool. So, one is 4 afternoons a week. The other is 3 mornings a week. She will only have 2 long days, and I’ve got someone lined up to take her from one school, sling a lunch into her, and bring her to the other school. This helps with my work schedule. More on that later.

Boo will be going to full-day kindergarten. Not at the school where Nea has spec ed, which is in our district, but at a different school. Her school lets out 15 minutes after Nea’s afternoon class, which would be fine, except Nea’s bus generally drops her off about 15 minutes after her school ends. Can you pinpoint the problem? Yeah, me too.

So, all of this means that after nearly 6 happy years with a work schedule of 2 long days (10 hours) plus a stray 4 hours on other days, for a total of 24 hours a week, I am now moving to 4 shortened days (roughly 8:30 to 3:00 Monday-Thursday). Which just seems like more work, although the actual number of hours is the same. The plus side is that my mom can work less hours doing child care here. The negative of that is I’m going to have to start pulling my weight speaking German to the kids, who will see a lot less Oma during the school year.

Added on the madness is having to pack Boo’s lunch every day. I don’t know why I’m all freaked out by this, but I am.

Naturally all of this only works when I’m working from home. Twice a month I go downtown. Then the whole carefully constructed house of cards will fall. I assume I’ll be carpooling with another mom, which will make everything easier. Probably. But although we have talked about it, it doesn’t feel that official.

I’ve already screwed up once, and school hasn’t started yet. I turned in Nea’s physical form to the wrong school.

Gee, I just don’t know where the insomnia comes from.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Oh for crying out loud


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!


As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

OK. I like a cute little online quiz as much as the next person. I do. But of all of all the unbalanced, revisionist-historical, bullshit quizzes. I mean, I’m sorry, honey, I *want* to be more subservient. Really. I just can’t quite do it.

But how do he get credit for paying attention to the kids and household chores?! Sure, that’s cool now. But in the 1930’s? I’m thinking the neighborhood husbands would have strung him up.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Very very popular lemon bars

What makes these better than other lemon bars? Not too sticky sweet!

Lemon Bars (a la Jill J)

1 lemon cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp grated lemon peel
1/4 c lemon juice

Mix 1 egg, butter, and lemon cake mix until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup. Pat into 13x9 pan (recipe says ungreased, but I find a little greasing works best). Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until light brown.

Beat remaining eggs, sugar, baking powder, salt , lemon juice & peel until light and foamy. Pour over hot crust.

Sprinkle with remaining cake mix crumb mixture (sometimes mine gets a little sticky if I let the butter come to room temp. I break it up w/a fork and presto!)

Bake about 15 minutes more until light brown.
Sprinkle w/powdered sugar if desired.

Begin eating edge pieces.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Helpful tips for childrens' birthday parties

  1. Too many activities are perhaps overkill, but one or two games or organized fun events are helpful.
  2. If you are starting the party at 1 or 2 pm but plan to serve a full meal, mention it in the invitation.
  3. If a lot of people will be smoking right next to the kids, mention it in the invitation? Or something?
  4. If you said “no gifts please” don’t prominently display the presents that were brought.
  5. Anything over a pound of candy per kid to take home is excessive.
  6. Filling the goodie bag with toys that will break and become landfill within 5 minutes is not the goal.
  7. Champagne party poppers are a bad idea for the under 6 set. See the warning label for details.

    I’m sure I’ve forgotten plenty of tips. Let me know what you have experienced first-hand at parties. All of the above happened at a party we attended yesterday. Unreal.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Garage sale score!

Boo’s birthday is coming up and I was getting a little worried. Not much in the gift closet to pull out. Not a whole lot of good ideas percolating for cheap yet awesome prezzies. Then BAM, today N and the girls drop me off on the way home at a garage sale that had already been going on for at least 6 hours. I’m not expecting much, but hey, it’s worth a look. The guy has a 10 pound box (he weighed it) of Playmobil toys that he’s asking $30 for. Take a look at eBay. Go ahead. I’ll wait. (Those are actual items in this box!)

Yeah, that’s an amazing deal. So naturally I offer $25 and practically run away with it, zigzagging with my loot under the hot sun.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Schuyler's monster

I just finishd reading Schuyler's monster: a father's journey with his wordless daughter by Robert Rummel-Hudson. I was so excited with I found it in the new books section at the library! Nea's apraxia is not the same as his daughter's diagnosis -- she has a brain malformation called bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria -- but I'm just loving reading something related to what we are going through.

Actually, it’s eerie, how the journey is similar. Daughter, non-verbal, very happy, accepted by peers, very social. Also, beautiful. And funny and smart. And the hand coordination issues that make signing difficult. And then the realization that there are assistive communication devices. And the repetitive breaking of the parent’s heart. Why, really, the whole book felt like a validation of the difficulty of our journey in the last two years. Hey, remember that super-fun sedated MRI, last summer? They were checking whether Nea had that same rare brain malformation.

Giant plus on this book: the guy is really funny. I truly can’t distance myself enough to say whether this book would appeal to a wider audience, but if it was written for an audience of me it’s hard to imagine a better fit.

For even more Schuyler, see

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Zuke pancakes and veggie/meat marinade

I made this recipe before I realized that this blog is related to the CSA boxes from Angelic Organics, which N and I learned about from watching The Real Dirt on Farmer John. Also, it turns out we are friends with someone who worked there awhile. It's almost like we should sign up for our own share there. These zucchini pancakes were a smash smash hit with the kids, who ate them with sour cream and applesauce, like potato pancakes would be. I barely got any, and I used up 1.5 large zukes.

And this recipe comes to me via Erin, who also gave me some eggplants from her garden! Thanks, Erin.

Tuscan Marinade (for grilling)
1/3 c olive oil
3 T lemon juice
2 tsp garlic powder
1.5 tsp dried basil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

Use on mushrooms, eggplant, onion, squash, etc. Also can be used on chicken. Marinate in the fridge for a full 24 hours before grilling!