Friday, June 15, 2007

The (Preschool) Graduate

Today was Russell's last day of preschool. To celebrate, his school held a graduation ceremony for the 10-12 students in his class. The kids in his class are a mix of autistic children and regular preschool students. From my interactions with school personnel, I learned that Russell's teachers and aides are a very committed group of individuals. Several of them said they would miss seeing him.

Later this month, Russell will begin summer school at a private preschool. It will be our first attempt at "mainstreaming" Russell with non-autistic kids. Of course, this also means more budget tightening at home. And more aluminum cans for recycling in our garage.

Russell and his friends Donny and Rachel

Russell steps up to the graduation podium

With teacher Christina and aide Raina

This aide said she would miss Russell (and vice versa)

Taking a sip of a cold drink on a hot graduation day

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Russell!

It's hard to believe that my boy Russell is 5 years old. Russell's birthday happens to fall on the last week of school, so he had a little celebration in the classroom (no pics) and one at home.

Many of the birthday parties we've attended have been blow-out affairs, with parents participating in an arms-race-like game of one-upsmanship. Most typically, birthdays are celebrated by renting out a kiddie gym or holding a backyard bash with a giant inflatable "bounce houses". For Russell, we stuck to a low-key celebration, inviting only one family out to dinner to celebrate Russell's birthday. This year, we invited the Goldbergs out to East Ocean Chinese Restaurant, Russell's alltime favorite. The Goldbergs' younger daughter Rachel is in Russell's class.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

And Now for Something Completely Different

For a change of pace, we actually went out twice this weekend. On Saturday night, we visited our friends Wendy and Harry, and their two daughters Bethany and Savannah. The boys loved it so much they didn't want to leave. There was a piano at their house, so it was often hard to make converation over the constant banging on the keyboard. We finally left when the boys kept fighting with each other for toys.

It's June, so that meant it was time for our quarterly date night on Sunday. For the movie of the quarter, we chose a movie called "Waitress". In a sign that my brain was not working this weekend, "Waitress" was not playing when we arrived at the movie theater in Emeryville. We headed down to the theater down the street for a better selection of movies and ended up choosing to see "Knocked Up" instead.

We were running a bit late, so at the ticket booth, as asked the woman at the counter, "Is it too late to get 'Knocked Up' right now?" I thought for a second about what had just said, and then started to crack up. Turns out that we made a good choice in "Knocked Up". Even though there were way too many references to drugs and profanity in the movie, both Jenny and I could relate to the underlying story about how having children completely changes people's lives around. I recommend "Knocked Up" highly. Afterwards, we had Indian food in Berkeley for the first time in ages as we concluded our quarterly respite from the kids.

Russell's making good progress with his handwriting skills

Attention "No Impact Man" Readers: Our latest electricity bill is $16.87 plus tax for 160 kilowatt-hours (about one-fourth of the average American household)

Ludwig van Punkster composes his latest concerto at the piano

A good time was had by all

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Nature's Bounty

Here are some pictures of our backyard. Flowers are in full bloom, the orange tree is full of fruit and the Victory Garden is back again!