Saturday, August 30, 2008

Just when you think

you've got it all together, you realize that you put the wrong date on 20 birthday party invitations for your 5 year old's party.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Watching Barack Obama speak to the 80,000 who came to witness this historic moment was like salve for the soul.  I am so incredibly proud to be a part of his mission and so incredibly proud of our country for coming together to say that yes, we do value education and health care and compassion and peace.  

I go to sleep tonight with a hopeful heart.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Way to go, Hillary!

Gracious, gorgeous, and compelling.

I feel honored and proud tonight.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Go Mom Go

One of the hardest hits a formerly professional working woman takes when she becomes a stay at home mom is the lack of feedback.  

I love it.  I thrive on it.  It makes me grow stronger and better.  Positive, negative, constructive, critical, developmental, glowing.... give it to me.  

And so it was with a admittedly bizarre sense of a job well done that I listened to Ben cheer me on while I was vacuuming up fallen popcorn kernals.  "Go, Mom, Go!  Yes, Mom!" 

Front Yard Update

Greetings from our front yard... Vlad and the boys are playing (now that he has figured out that crazy is FUN, he loves coming over!),  and all kinds of stuff is happening.

Jack, apparently,  does not care that Vlad doesn't speak English.  He is peppering him with questions and taunts while playing.  When's your birthday?  Will you play Volleyball with me?  What grade are you in?  Who do you want to win-  the Packers or the 49ers?  See if you can top this, oh yeah.  

Vlad talks right back in Russian.  Man would I love to know what he is saying.  They are now engaged in a hot game of.... what to call it?  Throw a ball at each other's faces?  One nice thing about playing in different languages is that you can both claim to be the victor and the other won't know it.

Meanwhile, across the street, Garden Supply company of Los Altos is delivering pavers to the wrong house at the wrong time.  6 Spanish speaking men are trying to figure out what to do with the several tons of pavers now dumped in a neighbor's lawn.

And, oh shit, my next door neighbor's sprinkly system just went off and I got nailed with spray.  Let's see how my trusty new Apple computer survives this.   Ben is now standing directly under the spray.  So much for today's outfit.  

My neighbor who doesn't speak to me just saw that I was out front with the crew of boys and turned around to walk the other way.  

Life is exciting here in suburbia, yes it is. 


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Vlad Update

We finally convinced Vald to come over for a playdate.

Apparently play knows no language barrier.


My neighbor, J, has a heart as big as any person I have ever met.    I learned it for the first time one morning, in the midst of a family crisis, when I was standing in front of my house, waiting for a late cab.  I was trying to make it to the airport for an unexpected and urgent flight out of SFO.  J was on her way out her front door to I-Don't-Know-Where when she saw me, anxiously waiting for my cab.  

I didn't really know her at the time, but when she saw me with my luggage, she grabbed her keys, grabbed her baby, and we were on our way to the airport within minutes.  Not only did she drive me there in record time, but she circled around the loading zone until she found out that I made my flight, in case I missed it and needed a ride back home.  

Another time J saw an elderly woman walking with her groceries and her cane down the street on a chilly winter morning.  She stopped her car, pulled over, demanded that the woman get in the car, and drove her and her groceries home.  

She's a person who does good.

Recently an email went out to our community's 4000 person parents' group.  The email was asking for host families for a group of 10 Ukranian orphaned children.  The children were coming to the United States for two weeks to hopefully find adoptive families.  When J found out about this, she volunteered in an instant and became a host mom for a quiet, little 7 year old boy named Vladyslav.   She spent a week preparing for his arrival, doing everything she could to make the little guy feel welcome and less overwhelmed and afraid after making the 48 hour trip from Eastern Europe.  

Vlad has been wide-eyed over life in America.  Everything from flushing your toilet paper instead of putting it in the garbage can to eating roasted chicken for lunch (a far cry from the bread and water he is typically served) to having underwear with, holy shit!, Lightning McQueen on them.  As he is shuffled from one event to another, J has been his advocate and his pal.  

She is determined to find this little boy a home.  Her biggest victory so far has been contacting the local news stations to alert them to the various "parties" the children have been having with prospective adoptive families.  The more people that hear about these fabulous kids, the more likely the kids are to find a permanent home.  But the smaller steps matter as well.  She's called churches, talked up cashiers at the grocery stores, cornered busy neighbors...

My family recently went for a fabulous two week vacation to the midwest to visit family.  Upon our arrival back to Menlo Park, J met us at the airport with her son and Vlad in the van.  Vlad was less than 24 hour hours into his visit; exhausted and probably overwhelmed.  J and I had been excitedly talking in the days leading up to our return home about how much fun Vlad would have playing with our boys.  

When J picked us up, my boys were more than a little excited to be home and share stories of our travels.  They were also a bit stir crazy after having just spent 5 boring hours in the plane (with a malfunctioning DVD player!).  So to say that they were animated during the ride home is a bit of an understatement.  

The next day, we called J to see if she wanted to come over with her son and Vlad to play.  Vlad was resistant.  J could not understand why Vlad wouldn't jump at the chance to play with 3 other kids his age.  She tried to convince him - not easy to do when you don't speak the same language.  After a while of her encouraging him and him refusing, J finally called one of the interpreters available for situations such as this.  "Find out what is wrong!  He doesn't want to play!" she told the interpreter.   

The interpreter talked to Vlad for a moment, Vlad enthusiastically telling her in Russian his side of the story.  When J got back on the phone, the interpreter told J what he was saying.

"I don't want to play with those American boys.  They are CRAZY."

History, revisited

Aaron and I try to have engaging civics and political conversation over family dinner with the boys whenever we can all sit down to together.  Tonight we were talking about speaking different languages (more on that later).  Aaron explained to Sam that the people who first came to America to live were from England so they spoke English and that is how English became the language of America.  

"Yes!" I said, excited to contribute to the conversation.  "When the pilgrims came over with Christopher Columbus to America...."

Aaron looked at me with baffled eyes.  "Uh, can you just be quiet during the history lessons?"

This reminds me of the time when, after a few too many glasses of wine, I asked a group of Russians gathered at my friend Kelly's for Thanksgiving dinner how they celebrate Thanksgiving in their country. When the conversation stopped cold and everyone stared at me I tried to cover for my absurdity by mumbling something about how of course I knew Russians don't have Thanksgiving, per se, but I believed that most cultures had some sort of fall harvest festival.    

I think Aaron has a good point.

Updated:  My husband thinks I should not post this blog entry because he doesn't want anyone out there in Internet-land to think I am as silly* as my comment.  May I just say that in my brain I know the chronological order of events - Native Americans were here, Christopher Columbus "discovered" America in the 1400s and the pilgrims came to what is now the USA over 100 years later.  (I did not even have to google the information disclosed in the previous sentence.)  However, sometimes my excitement gets ahead of my knowledge.

* Silly - what he really means is stupid.  But he knows better to use stupid in any sentence referring to me AND we are teaching the boys that stupid is a bad word.  So while I will happily use the F word in a blog post, I cannot use the word stupid. 

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I'm nuts

We are as sure as we can be that we will not have any more children.  So why then, can I not bare to make changes to the "nursery?"  It is still ready to go, crib, bed linens, and all.  I walk by it every day.  I look in.  I'm not ready for it to go.  

Saturday, August 16, 2008

10 Years

Today is our ten year wedding anniversary.  When I think back to the day, I remember standing outside the stone church, looking out over the ocean and feeling so sure, so complete.  I remember seeing A at the altar, looking so fucking handsome.  I remember saying my vows, listening to his.  Listening to the best sermon I have ever heard, given by my new father-in-law.  

We were standing in our living room today, a complete disaster after two weeks of wood floor installation - toys, books, dirt, food, dust.... everywhere.  The boys jet lagged, tired, crabby. Aaron pulled me in.  "10 years later, is this what you imagined?" he asked with a laugh.

No.  It's much more.  So much more.

Monday, August 4, 2008

My life, summarized by the waiting room signs

I arrived on time for my first mammogram.  I was nervous.  It wasn't just a mammogram either, it was another subtle reminder that I'm not a kid anymore.  

I followed the long winding hallways and signs to the Department of Radiology.  I checked in at the main desk and then turned around to see the waiting room, separated into two sections, with arrows pointing in polar opposite directions.

<----- Fetal ultrasound               Mammography ----->

I looked at the faces of the women on both sides.  I smiled at them.  I took a deep breath.  I walked over to the women waiting patiently to be called for their mammograms.  

Blog worthy

(This vignette from our life is reprinted with my husband's permission.)

Sunday morning.  I had to get my parents to the airport by 8:45 and get back home by 9:15 to make it to 9:30 church on time.  This is a conversation that occurred after I returned home at 9:15 and found the boys still in their pajamas, completely disheveled:

Sandie (to Aaron, annoyed) I thought you'd have the boys ready to go by the time I got home. 

Aaron:  What have I ever done in the past that would make you think that I'd have them ready to go when you got home?  

At least the man tells it like it is.  I love him.