Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Friday, December 17, 2010


Hooray!  One room decluttered!  Part of the herculean attempt to keep the house orderly and ready for relators coming with potential buyers is attacking the excess junk priceless stuff in our home.  We're making progress and I'm glad to report one room down!   Spell check seems to think "decluttered" isn't a valid word, but it's precisely what we've been up too :)

Other things to share:
One of Cameron's highlights this week:
Beating his athlete mentor at chess... fair and square!  He'll tell anyone who asks all about it :)

Cute antics:

• noting while reading us a book about antique fire engines, "Of course, there were no skyscrapers in those days.  So, the ladders didn't need to be very tall."

• jumping right in to my goofy "Old McDonald" song as I tried to challenge him with unusual animals.  He asserted the ostrich would go "bonk, bonk" because it's eggs were falling to the ground and the turtle would go "in out, in out" because of it's head.  I stumped him with Old McDonald having an octopus though :)  (Hey, Andrew said the car was too quiet... that's an invitation in my book!)

• singing on our bus tour of the holiday lights, "I want a pet dementor."  (Anyone else for a magical pet that sucks happiness and destroys souls?  I mean, it's such a cheery thought.  At least the next verse was a little more innocuous, "I want a baby walrus.")

• referring to the long bus ride, "I started to feel like a catfish in a wet sack." ( I requested clarification and got, "just slapping around in a sack."  Hmmm, he's getting a wee bit too much out of my idiom dictionary?)

• requesting for dinner, "I think I want some cowhides for meat." (Reading too much "Old Yeller"?")

• getting up at midnight and preparing for school because he thought it was morning time!

• and one that his speech therapist sent me:
SLP: Are you staying home or going on a trip during winter break?
Student: I'm going somewhere cold!
Cameron: He's going to coldville! 

Monday, December 13, 2010


It's amazing how powerfully you can communicate virtues by providing kids with a personal example.  In our reading of "Strive and Succeed: Julius and The Store Boy" by Horatio Alger (engaging stories from the 1870s), we came across an example where the hero, Julius, is tempted to take a wallet of money he has found.  He considers what it would mean to his life and returns it to the owner.  The book states he acted with "integrity".  Naturally, my kiddo wants to know, "What is integrity?"

OK, so... why the candy bars?  The bottom of the Halloween candy bowl has almost been reached and these three have been my kiddo's favorites.  He didn't really understand the idea of a wallet with money and how that would relate to integrity.  He was clearly understanding the words of my explanation and of the story without really grasping the connection to reality i.e. similar to understanding a story's fairy magic.  It was not real to him, within his context of a seven-year-old's experiences.  I asked him to imagine coming downstairs, first thing in the morning.  On the table, he sees a candy bar unwrapped and next to it a Crunch wrapper.  Next to that, there's another unwrapped candy bar and it has a Milky Way wrapper alongside.  Finally, there's a third unwrapped bar with an identifying Snickers wrapper.  Behind this display is a sign that says, "These are for Daddy."  I asked, what do you do?  

This was a vivid experience for him.  He talked about doing the right thing, even though tempted.  He discussed what would happen as a result of each action and saw for himself how the moral is always the best longterm choice.  I just mirrored and observed and WOW, it was awesome!   He is so still a seven year old, boisterous, impulsive kid, but he's thinking more and more long-term and it's a glorious process to watch!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Photo Editing!

Yay for my mom's awesome photo-editting!  Her efforts resulted in a family photo where we're all smiling :)

Other things to share:
• I loved learning about the man who has saved more lives than anyone else in history.  The guy is amazing!!! Maurice Hileman developed nine vaccines and has such an endearing, cantankerous, go-do-it attitude! (Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases)
• The best cake wrecks in a long time... my husband and I were both laughing out loud!

 Cute antics:
• chanting to a lulla bye tune, "Take the pawn.  It's a good move."  (Um, ya, pawn for queen sounds like a grand trade!)
• wondering why the narrator of my Conquistador film was saying "spanish", he assumed they used to say "spinach" differently.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Objectivist Round Up

Welcome to the December 9, 2010 edition of the Objectivist Round Up.  Since I'm enjoying having my husband home from traveling,  I picked out this quote for the round up:

Romantic love, in the full sense of the term, is an emotion possible only to the man (or woman) of unbreached self-esteem: it is his response to his own highest values in the person of another—an integrated response of mind and body, of love and sexual desire.
“Of Living Death,” 
The Voice of Reason, 54.

Here's to ample time with loved ones during this holiday season!  And, now, this week's Objectivist Round Up:

Burgess Laughlin presents Neoconservatives' two forms of mysticism posted at The Main Event, saying, "One element of neoconservatism's grave threat to America is its two levels of mysticism. Both forms provide a rationale for neoconservatism's metaphysics of supernaturalism, its ethics of altruism, and its politics of statism."

Miranda Barzey presents My Future Plans posted at Building Atlantis, saying, "A breakdown of my interests and career possibilities and where I'm going with each."

RickMarazzani presents Celebrate a rational holiday with the Atheist Christmas Coloring Book posted at MindPosts, saying, "The Atheist Christmas Coloringbook was made by an objectivist for his rational kids."

Edward Cline presents Obama’s Emerging Enabling Act posted at The Rule of Reason, saying, "Long, long ago, in a world far, far away, philosopher and cultural critic George Santayana in 1905 noted that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”*

Have Americans learned from history? Have they any core knowledge of the past from which to draw wisdom, conclusions, and rational guidance?"

Rachel Miner presents Holiday Letter posted at The Playful Spirit, saying, "My playful take on the annual holiday letter. I have a grand time writing this each year. Multiple choice tests are such fun :)"

Tony White presents Post 2: A Favorite Paragraph in The Fountainhead posted at Peripatetic Thoughts, saying, "The second post on my new blog is an essay on an aspect of The Fountainhead. I spent a fair amount of time on the piece, and I think it will be of general interest to Objectivists. I am not any kind of libertarian or "tolerationist"; I have a brief discussion of myself and the blog in my first introductory post."

Rational Jenn presents TSA: Let's Play the I'm Gonna Touch Your Junk Game! posted at Rational Jenn, saying, "I am repulsed by the TSA's efforts to try to make scanning and groping fun for the children. This is an opportunity to teach children (and other adults, for that matter) about not giving your sanction to intrusive government policies."

Benjamin Skipper presents Planning and Acting as Therapeutic posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "As some may know by now, currently I'm going through a period of immense frustration in my life where I'm trying to oust a problem I've been dealing with my whole life, but cannot get rid of as quickly as I'd like. Throughout this ordeal I've learned a great principle on how to deal with long-term problems and maintain one's mental health in the meanwhile, and I'd like to share it.

Note: I have to speak cryptically because I'm hiding the nature of my project from certain people. I use the word *P*roject to denote this specific endeavor, to separate it from my other projects, and *C*ircumstance to denote the problem that's driving me to these means."

Ari Armstrong presents Roads, Not Walls posted at Free Colorado, saying, "This short talk continues with the theme of the open road versus the closed wall, suggested by John David Lewis's "Nothing Less Than Victory.""

Kelly Valenzuela presents Why "Illegal Immigrant"? posted at Mother of Exiles, saying, "Guest blogger, Santiago Valenzuela, has been on a roll lately with great posts about immigration reform. In this post, he explains why he prefers to use the term "illegal immigrants" vs "undocumented immigrants.""

Lynn Peters W presents Bernie Sanders and his "Amazing Speech" posted at The Lone(ly) Vermont Objectivist, saying, "A dissection of Vermont's socialist Senator recent speech to the U.S. Senate from a rights respecting perspective."

Paul Hsieh presents A Day In The Life Of A Neurosurgery Resident posted at We Stand FIRM, saying, "What does it take to become a brain surgeon? Will we still get the same kind of men becoming doctors under ObamaCare?"

Diana Hsieh presents Productivity Versus Productiveness posted at NoodleFood, saying, "What's the difference between "productiveness" and "productivity" -- and why does it matter?"

David Lewis presents extremism in eating: eat to live or live to eat? posted at david in real life, saying, "Extremism or the art of searing (meat)--is an "extreme" diet really such a bad thing? Do I need nutritional egalitarianism? Do I need diversity in dieting? Do YOU?"

Greg Perkins presents Rebooting The Objectivism Seminar posted at NoodleFood, saying, "The Objectivism Seminar has been running strong since it started back in 2007, and now we're going to launch a new series for helping people systematically study Objectivism!"

Gene Palmisano presents Politically Correct Psychosis posted at The Metaphysical Lunch, saying, "The dangers of political correctness"

Jeff Montgomery presents Mount Falcon Snow And Sun posted at Fun With Gravity, saying, "This is a trail run that started out stormy-looking but had a surprise weather change."

Sean Saulsbury presents Privacy Paranoia posted at, saying, "Some thoughts on privacy with respect to companies vs. the government."

Valery Publius presents After the Election, the Tea Party Protests Must be Ongoing posted at, saying, "Do Tea Partiers need to revolutionize their understanding of morality if they want to continue to repudiate the current political regime?"

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of objectivist round up using our carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Two Highlights from the Train Ride

Twenty hours traveling from Seattle to Sacramento in a sleeper car was quite the family adventure!  We had a lovely family celebration of Thanksgiving.  As for those highlights:
• Hearing over the train's loud speaker, "Ladies and gentlemen, you cannot send children to the lounge car to purchase alcohol." (What a laugh! They went on to mention that such actions happened to be illegal.)
• A glorious several hours reading and watching the afternoon sunshine warm houses, trees, rivers, barns, fields, and various other parts of the countryside visible from the train tracks.  So peaceful :)

Other things to share:
Objectivist Round Up

Cute antics:
• describing an ornate house we saw from the train as an "orange cake frosting house".
• stating he was"quizzing by like I was about to be whizzed"
• asking a question that answers itself, "Why does this elevator smell like a honey bucket?"
• feeling Andrew's sharp teeth and stating, "It looks like you have too many canine teeth."
• responding to my statement that he'd made it through to this Thanksgiving with a gleeful, "Without being kidnapped once!"
• requesting that we "toggle gravity"
• telling his 11 month old cousin to "look at the camera"
• informing me that he was supposed to be winning because, "We're opponents, that's the point."
• responding to my note that the counselor session wasn't more than play i.e. that we were going to stop going with, "Of course it's play; that's what kids do."  (Well, when he's right, he's right.)
• continuing with his new word for "release", I tickle him and he says, "Will you please un-imprison me."
• responding to my playful, "You're being fresh." with, "Of course I am!  Why else would I be as nice and fresh as a vegetable!"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Letter

As Chanukah begins, lets get the annual holiday letter out there!

... and the text in an easier to read format although I'm not going to fight with making everything line up. Remember, we're in low maintenance blog zone until moving is complete :)

Hello to all our friends and family,
We have had a full year of fun and lots of changes!  Once again, I've reviewed the year's calendar and come up with a multiple choice quiz.  So, here's a fun review of our news for everyone!  :-)
1. This year Cameron turned:
a) seven and had a party at GymStarz Gymnastics
b) seventy and tottered up Everest
c) seventeen and left for college early
2. Leaving Microsoft: Live Labs to work at Kima with his two best friends, Andrew has:
a) started the process of working one week in San Francisco and three from home each month
b) become an expert at Craigslist and Ebay ads while we de-clutter and try to sell the house
c) regained his passion for long hours spent tackling a problem that fascinates him
d) intensified his passion for his new iPad and shared computer games like Zelda, Myst, RushHour, Angry Birds, and TrainYard with his son
e) become a fan of his son's indoor butterfly habitat or all of the above
3. While Cameron has been excelling in first grade and successfully working through challenges with the help of both his classroom and special education teachers, he spent time outside of school:
  1. indulging his new passions for legos, chess and visiting his Athlete Mentor
  2. listening to Mom read the full Harry Potter series, Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and reading himself  Beverly Cleary novels like Henry Huggins and Mouse and the Motorcycle
  3. jumping all over his parents as he practiced Jiu Jitsu and the house as he showed off his new appreciation of goofy slapstick
  4. dressing up as the "daytime sky for Halloween" or a through d
4. Rachel and Andrew took a(n):
a) trip to Crystal Mountain where Rachel didn't die skiing, but did get tobogganed off the mountain
b) group of many hundreds of essays to grade for the Ayn Rand Institute 
c) weekly voice lessons and dip into artistic bliss with the arrival of a huge painting titled "Inspirational living" in honor of our 10th anniversary
      d) pause in our routines for hosting pleasures with visits from blind friends, grandparents, and Objec-
tivist lecturers in history, economics, and values.
      e) polar sled ride or a, b, c, d
5. As a family we:
a) went on our first overnight tent-camping trip
b) paddled our new canoe on local lakes / rivers
c) shared our fondness for musicals including HMS Pinafore
d) gathered and pressed our backyard apples into cider
e) built a tree house where we now eat coconuts all day or a through d
6. Rachel relished mom-hood, her new love of connoisseur chocolates, beginning a parenting blog, creating autobiographical memory boards for Cameron, growing a veggie container garden, visiting her favorite childhood spot (Sea Ranch), and extra fun with: 
a) attending the Olympics 
b) apprenticing as an online history teacher
      c) tackling the challenge of her funky thyroid and her bronze statue's whacky wax issues
      d) hiring an in-home masseuse that pampers her every hour and happens to be a gourmet chef or just 
too content with a-c to turn over that much time to pampering... yet :)
We hope you've all had a wonderful year!
Happy Holidays,