Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Friday, January 28, 2011


Cameron loved hearing about the Titanic this week and watching the movie with us over several days.  He even watched it in the morning for five minutes before the bus came!  He liked to yell at the characters on the screen that the ship was certainly sinkable :)  

Other things to share:
Fascinating TV segment on a kid composer.
Some parenting thoughts beautifully presented by my friend Jenn.

Cute Antics:
• Daddy: "And what do you think would happen [to me] if I couldn't work?"
Cameron: "You'd be executed?"
(Ya, we discussed some other options.)

• Kid sounds from upstairs that indicate violent pretend play with the comment, "It will go BANG and CRASH!"
Mom: "You don't sound like you're going to sleep kiddo."
Cameron: "I'm sitting on my bed."

• Surpassing his father in bible story knowledge.  (I was amazed how quickly he just remembered the whole saga almost all the way up through Essau!  He thought the Abraham and Isaac trip up the mountain deserved a "What in the heck?!?!?")

• sing along from the cartoon "They're Pinky and the Brain. They're Pinky and the Brain.  One is a genius the other's... in Spain!"  (Um, that would be "insane", but Cameron does paint an interesting image with that misunderstanding."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An Awesome Blog and an Awesome Site

I'm modifying the original one blog recommendation to make this a bit more of a meaty post and because there's only one other website I came to through Autism research that I think is of general interest.  So... here's my take on the first one.

I wanted to share a quick note on this absolutely awesome blog:

This is the article that has me buzzing now :)
Part I
Part II

I've just gone through the whole site again, if you skip the entries on para-educators, I don't think there are more than a dozen posts.  I'm really excited about working on understanding how a paragraph works.  My kiddo is absolutely analytical enough to get this and will likely take a huge leap in his understanding.  Right now, his reading is still mostly fiction focused and I've already spent tons of time working through many of their suggestions on gaining from fiction.  These are just awesome ideas for helping kids get the most out of reading.

So... I just placed a hold on a non-fiction book on the history of legos and I have lots of paper plates ready. This is going to be fun!

Fell asleep reading Old Yeller... reading glasses still decorating the forehead
The second website was recommended specifically for hyperlexic kids because they tend to be so visual in their learning.  Google SketchUp is actually a free application (this site is for the videos, just go to the home page for downloading).  I have been amazed by the detailed graphics that kids can create with this tool.  My kiddo has been designing fanciful buildings for two years and printing them as presents.  If you have a kiddo at all interested in design, this program is great for showing how three dimensional shapes are going to interact.  Happy exploring :)

Friday, January 21, 2011


It's a new family favorite!  This fish soup with white wine and sweet touches of sauteed celery / onions was served at a recent Objectivist social.  Every one of us loved it!  Andrew then made a huge pot for us based on the same recipe.  I never thought I'd see my kiddo have fish soup for four dinners in a row!

Other things to share:

This week's Objectivist Round Up.
Cute antics:
• commenting while very focused on his homework and after I sharpened a pencil for him, "Thank you for your assistance." (Okee dokee, getting a wee bit official in his old age!)
• setting his mentor laughing by unintentionally washing his hands with lotion instead of soap.
• calling from upstairs, "Mom!  What's "lube"?!?!"  (Ya... turned out he was reading about a trip for an oil change in a Beverly Clearly book.)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My 2010 Done List

I compiled a "done list" each month for 2010 and now I'm trying to decide if I want to do the same for 2011.  I write weekly updates that cover most of these things, but they are much more lengthy.  I did enjoy looking back at this concise list and realizing how much I had accomplished.  I think I gain most of the same though from scanning the past year of updates, so I'll probably discontinue the practice.  Here are some of my favorite accomplishments from 2010 though :)

Organized Scott Powell lecture in Seattle
Tempered chocolate (lots of tricky temperature modulating)
Skied with Andrew (my challenges with this sport are the stuff of legend)
Saw Olympic skating (a delightful dream come true)
Hiking trip (first of several outings we organized to include friends)
Cameron met his Athlete buddy, Jordan, for the first time (loots of coordinating efforts on my part)
Took Cameron to his first drive in movie theatre
Read "We the Living" for the first time
Visited a personal trainer for the first time to do Body By Science training
Tried bone marrow for the first time.  Yum!
Began Mommy School with Lindamood Bell Verbalizing and Visualizing focus
Enrolled as a history teacher apprentice (and completed the intensive, beginning training)
Got back to Sea Ranch for first time in more than ten years
10 years of married bliss celebrated with an Arvid print, "Inspirational Living" (See below) 
Learned new directions for canoeing (our new favorite family outing)
Harvested my first irises, cauliflower and tomatoes from the container gardens
Learned about economics for the the first time
Visited a race horse vet hospital
Shot a revolver and semi-automatic for the first time.  Powerful.
Learned the call in system and started being a TA for History at Our House
Hosted Toni, Debbie and Keebler the guide dog for several days. Cameron got cozy with a bigger dog :)
Visited Theo's Chocolates when the factory was operating for the first time... love that decadent aroma!
Weekend of sharing Cyrano with friends and bottling our cider to make the first hard cider
House listed for sale with Al (neighbor)
Multiple garage sales and craigslist ads working well to sell items
Cameron went trick or treating as "the daytime sky"(fun costume to make together)
Found the Claudio Corallo store in Seattle (my favorite chocolate... especially their balls of 100% chocolate around crystalized ginger)
Hosted our last Northwest Objectivists social
Hosted Andy Bernstein visit
Took the train to Sacramento, 20 hours!
Root canal survived... no desire to repeat that accomplishment
First cookie bake for wounded troops
Seeing The Lion King on Broadway
First good snowball fight with Cameron (lots of guiding for the different social interaction)

Here's to a 2011 of new accomplishments and adventures!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Illness Ickies

I'm afraid the fever, shakes, chills, and massively-ouchy-aches struck our home!  Now, we've all moved on the coughs and sneezes phase which may be irritating, but at least we're all vertical and getting things done!

Other things to share:

Cute antics:
• writing in one of his thank you notes, "My favorite board game is chess and I think I can be famous at it too.  Eventually, I'll beat the computer at it and maybe even come home with twenty dollars because I play chess so well."  

• informing me, "I have to break the machine.  How else will I get out of check."

• naming his toilet which has been flushing very slowly "Mr. Slowpoke" and then, after I'd done extensive plunging, "Mr. Mediumpoke".

Friday, January 7, 2011

Eclipse, Holidays, Germs

That about sums it up!  Our fun before travel was viewing the lunar clips.  Our travel to New England for a bustling, vibrant holidays with family was filled with warm visiting.  Our resistance to germs was challenged as we were surrounded by tummy and respiratory viruses too... my husband and son succumbed after getting home.  So... we're healing :)

Other things to share:
This week's Objectivist Round Up.
Hysterical take on if you're ready for having kids.
I'd like a little more clarity about his service comment, but this is an inspirational 15 minutes from the founder of Amazon.  It's all about choices :)
Awesome, easier way to tie shoes!

Cute antics:
• coining a synonym for sleepy: Honk-shoowy [snore sound]
• referring the Hindenberg as "the biggest blower upper in town".
• asking this alarming question, "How in the heck will I take the applications out of the trash?" (The computer was not destroyed.)
• chiming in during our voice lesson after a series of decending tones ya ya ya ya ya, Cameron added, "Yo."
• looking at our book titles and grinning, "It's the order of the capitol of Arizona."  (Yep, the Harry Potter book, Order of the Phoenix.)
• showing his math progress and his new passion to get an iPod touch which would require he save another $100, "Can we do an allowance every day so that in twenty days I'll have another hundred dollars?" (Um, no.)
• Emma [niece] cheering for Cameron on the iPad in her high, breathy voice "Yay, Cameron!"
• filling in nicely for me in my singing of Old McDonald... apparently, this farmer had a lady bug with hydrophobia on his farm that went "flutter flutter splat".
• exclaiming "Gee whiskers!" instead of gee wilikers.
• using yoshabelle (Moses's mother) as a nonsense word

My son offering a "friendly" snowball fight!

Fun with my three year old niece

Glorious, morning stroll in Brooklyn

Monday, January 3, 2011

Finding Objectivism

This is an odd first post of the new year, but, as I returned from holiday travels, I thought that this philosophical journey was one worth sharing.  I've told this story so many times, but rarely the full version and, because my path to finding Objectivism was particularly unusual and dramatic, I wanted to finally write it down.

I graduated high school at seventeen and decided that I would spend my first year of college in Israel.  I joined a program called Nativ that was "dedicated to creating and inspiring the Conservative Jewish leaders of tomorrow."  I took ideas seriously and went filled with enthusiasm for the adventures I felt sure awaited me.  I did have adventures and became quite proficient at hopping buses for solo travel to any destination picked by my curiosity.  One day, about four months into this experience, I was strolling down Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem.  I had finished another university class and knew I'd be leaving for a couple months of working on Kibbutz Sa'ad soon.  I was stocking up on books to read, something to do when I wasn't milking cows or strolling the almond orchards.  One of the books I picked up was Atlas Shrugged.  It was one of many I gathered from the used book store.  I knew the author.  I had read The Fountainhead in high school and thought it was a just another good book.  I did not have any clue what I was in for when I began reading Atlas Shrugged.

My kibbutz days were mellow.  I loved taking care of the calves and grabbing a carrot or pomelo from the fields while on a stroll.  From the top of the water tower, you could see Gaza and the kibbutz was surrounded by protective fencing, but I didn't have any experiences of danger.  It was just a secluded spot and I began to read through my books.  I don't have a clear recollection of the process of reading Atlas Shrugged, but I vividly remember where I was when I finished it.

There was a trip offered by Nativ.  It was not a pleasure trip.  It was a trip to Poland.  It was called The March of the Living because, in addition to other experiences, those who attended walked the path from Aushwitz to Birkenau which had been called the "March of Death".  Aushwitz Birkenau was the largest concentration camp built by the Nazis.  I decided I wanted to participate in this trip and took a summer job to pay the additional costs.

I was in Poland when I finished reading Atlas Shrugged.  I was in a desperate moral crisis.  I remember the concentration camp of Majdanek especially with it's buildings full of shoes, double barbed wire fences, and ovens for the bodies.  I sat on the edge of mausoleum looking at a small mountain of people's ashes and every fiber of my being "naturally" wanted to pray.  The atrocities were so great and the tears and anguish so close.  Every thought of "My god!" was answered by another though, "Do I believe in god?"   My coping strategy was to give myself permission to answer that question over time.

It did take time.  I was so immersed in Jewish culture and I had so believed that the religion was true; I had years of intellectual work and honesty ahead of me.  I still love to bake hamentashen, dance Manavu, sing yerushalayim shel zahav, play dreidle and enjoy many other aspects of Jewish culture.  I don't, however, find any truth or joy in fasting on Yom Kippur to ask a god for forgiveness of sins against biblical rules.  I don't deal with the guilt of never being able to fulfill all those commandments, of always needing to be forgiven, of always being in someway bad.  I have Ayn Rand to thank for that joyous philosophy that has made living so much more of a delight. It was truly a precious gift.