Favorite part of the year!

I love this post-Christmas, pre-New Year time of year. Time to go over what went wrong and what went right this year. Making New Year’s resolutions that one hopes to keep and thinking that with the New Year, you get a chance to start over and begin again.

Just a few things to wrap up… Of course, what I wanted for Christmas the most this year was a cure for Rett Syndrome and I didn’t get it, so here’s hoping that my wishes will come true next year, a little reminder that if you are looking for charities to donate to before the end of the year, please consider RSRT! 98 cents of every dollar donated goes to funding research which will make my holiday dreams come true. 😉


Merry Christmas!

We had a very nice Christmas – we traveled to upstate NY to spend the time with Jeremy’s parents. I know I complained about Christmas earlier, but this year, I managed to make it through with good cheer. It was a pretty quiet year for us, no job turmoil, no one really sick, no moving, no drama. Thank goodness!

After the snowstorm, Jeremy plus kids plus dog headed up to the Hudson Valley. Since I don’t have very much vacation time, I stayed behind and worked until it got closer to Xmas.


It was weird being in the house all by myself – so I borrowed a neighbor’s dog during the day (it’s not easy taking a well-exposed picture of a black dog).


While I was working, the kids picked out a tree:


On Xmas eve, I went up via train and met up with the Martins.

Opening gifts (one gift on Xmas eve):


Vince with his big Xmas gift on Christmas morning:


Other nice pictures:



Merry X’mas & Happy New Year

Merry X’mas and Happy New Year!

A week ago, we had a big snow storm. Picture 1 showed that we were in the process of digging-out ourselves. All our neighbors have snow blowers but we don’t. Hard labor but good for my glucose.
Next picture, Mom is very proud to show-off our new camera from Doris & Donald as a X’mas gift. She also was pretty happy to show off her roses for my birthday.
With the new camera, we took the following three pictures:
3) My birthday cake and flowers
4) Mom’s dry fish hanging-in our garage
5) With our first garage door opener, a new car and a column in the middle of our two-car garage, we decided to install two garage-easy-drive-in reflection mirrors and a garage-drive-in-easy-stop red ball. This picture shows our final product. Mom tried a few times. It looks pretty good and fairly practical. Isn’t it?
Again, Merry X’mas and Happy New Year!

We’re trapped!

Spent the day shoveling out from under the snow. Jeremy had shoveled twice yesterday and said that he was pretty sore, so I did the last shoveling today – only about 6 inches worth, but it’s light and fluffy, so it wasn’t so bad. I felt virtuous all day and had extra helpings of lunch and dinner because of it.

Vince learning to use a knife. Ack!


Roth IRA Conversion

The following is a copy of an article from “Retirement & Tax Planning Specialists”

To Roth or not to Roth – that is the question!

It may be a good idea to convert part or all of a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA in order to receive tax-free investment returns and escape minimum distribution requirements. Conversions are subject to ordinary income tax. If a Roth IRA conversion takes place in 2010, the taxpayer has the option to spread paying the taxes over the next years – 2011 and 2012. You do not have to convert 100% of your IRA into a Roth. You can make a partial conversion; the amount usually depends on both your current income tax bracket and your estimated future tax bracket.

The ability to convert from an IRA to a Roth IRA depends on your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), which must be less than $100,000. Unfortunately, many taxpayers who would like to convert are not eligible. However, this AGI limitation goes away in 2010, so if you’re currently ineligible it may be a good idea to start planning for this possibility in the near future.

If you do convert, you are allowed to change your mind and reverse the conversion (also known as re-characterization) in the future (but only one reversal per year). For example, if you find out later that you exceeded eligibility limits or that your account value has dropped, you can reverse the conversion at a lower tax cost. In fact, you can do this as late as October 15th, 2010.

The tax rules regarding Roth IRAs can be very complicated and confusing. For example, a Roth IRA distribution can only be qualified if you’ve had the account for at least five years and the distribution is made after you’ve reached age of 59 1/2, otherwise early withdrawals could result in a 10% federal income tax penalty….

Technology update.

Household technology update – got FiOS and ditched Comcast. It’s a little nerve wracking to see someone drill a hole in the side of the house, but FiOS is awesome. Working at home has lost the little 0.5-1 second lag time and everything streams better now. Verizon gave us window of 9 am – 5 pm for the installation. They came at 4:45 pm and stayed until 8 – which wasn’t a huge deal, but I felt bad for the person installing in the cold and the dark. I actually asked if she wanted a “snack”, forgetting that one usually asks adults if they want something to eat and not a snack. Adults don’t have snacks, right?

These are the guys who dug the trench in our lawn the day before.


We also got a hand-me down TV from folks who are updating to a flat-panel TV. This is where I learned the technical difference between a flat-screen and a flat-panel TV. We got the flat-screen hand-me-down TV. The screen is flat, but the TV certainly is not. This is going to be the largest TV in the house – both in terms of screen size and in volume. Jeremy was trying to figure out how to bring this heavy monstrosity down to the basement and he decided that loading it into our special needs bike stroller, strapping it with tie downs and wheeling down to the back door was the best idea.


Hairstyle cramping our lifestyle.


Vince is lovin’ his new hairdo. Everyday, he meticulously puts on a dab of gel to make the front spike up like a skateboard ramp. Jeremy thinks it looks pretty good – but for me, since Vince has been in a scowling mood recently (every little mom-suggestion is usually met with a scowl), it makes the scowls look so much more pronounced.

Also, since he’s lovin’ his hair, he’s switched from being a biker to a walker because wearing a helmet will mess up the sculptural effect – which means that we have to add 5-8 minutes extra travel time to school.

Pinch hitting babysitting.

Eliana is back in Columbia for a few weeks for the holidays, so since my parents are in between nuclear power plant gigs, they are our pinch hitters for babysitting.

A pretty classic photo of what goes on when my parents are babysitting:


Pua pua is the eager feeder, Gong gong is play furniture. Edda loves being the center of attention and Ruby is hoping for a meatball.

We finally got some results from August’s trip to Johns Hopkins. I have not been pestering them about the test results because I felt like there wasn’t going to be any earth shattering news (OMG, you mean her brain is making weird EEG traces?!? you’ve got to be kidding me!! – ha ha.) but last week I got kind of a frantic email/phone message combo that said that Edda’s pH probe test came back and she has pathological reflux and we needed to put her on Prevacid pronto. I was surprised and actually a little bit skeptical because we have so few issues with her eating and I would actually say that there are no symptoms of reflux – no vomiting, no crying associated with meal times, no fussing on lying down, etc, etc..

So we went to our local pediatrician who said that she was happy to write the script for Prevacid and that we can follow up with a GI specialist (which we don’t have). We asked what would happen if we left reflux untreated and they said, well, long term exposure to stomach acid could lead to esophageal damage. So then we asked, well since she has no syptoms of reflux, what do we look for if we give her the medicine? See if she gets happier? It’s kind of a weird mystery – was the Hopkins test a fluke? Is Edda in discomfort all the time and not really complaining (that would be very much like her doctor-adverse mom)? Who the heck knows? The world is full of mysteries.

My guess is that we’ll give it to Edda for a month or so and we’ll see no difference and then we’ll stop giving it to her. I am a dedicated reader of special needs blogs, the Rett Syndrome ones I always keep on my blog roll, but folks with kids that have other issues always drift in and out of my list as my interest in them waxes and wanes. So it doesn’t help that like 2 weeks before we got this suggestion that we put Edda on reflux medication, I read that the author of this blog was reading two other blogs that talked about kids who were hospitalized due to long term reflux medication use – and for the life of me, I can’t find the blogs that the person is referring to. It’s driving me a little bonkers.