Thursday, November 12, 2015

I can't ignore it anymore!

When FaceBook throws an old post in your face and makes you cry at work, you can't keep ignoring the fact that your child just turned 5 and could technically have started school! Oliver didn't start school because he's a late birthday, but still.

So, as he turns 5, his father and I are amazed at the things he does and learns and the ways he grows.

Some things haven't changed though. If he's awake, he's in motion. Constantly. No wonder the kid doesn't gain weight, even though he's outgrowing his pants, even the ones I just bought 2 months ago and that were 2 inches too long back then.

This photo is just so him.

He wants to help, he wants to carry things, he wants to push the cart, he wants to scan the items, he even wants to run my card and sign my name! Those last 2 things, I am going to have to keep my eye on!

But honestly, at 5, this one is helping out around the house. He has a list of chores - setting the dinner tables, getting the dog food & water, he puts away his folded laundry, he straightens his playroom after he & his friends have torn it apart at a play date, he uses the hand held vacuum cleaner to clean up small messes, he makes Jeff's coffee & his hot chocolate using the Keurig, he helps me cook!!!

I hope his wanting to help stays through his adulthood and his eventual future life partner will just repeat "I can't thank Oliver's mother enough for teaching him this well." Because, I thank my mother-in-law a lot for Jeff, who's not a helpless husband in any shape.

INDEPENDENT! holy moly, he's so independent! This morning, he informed me that in the middle of the night last night, he peeled a scab off his forehead, so he got down, got a band-aid and went back to bed. Jeff apparently heard him, and managed to get a photo.

On one hand, we are happy to see him grow and learn and not need us. On the other hand, my heart skips a beat at the thought of him one day not needing me for anything, and my lungs start to lose the ability to breathe and my eyes start to blur.

Parenthood. Always a dichotomy. Happiness & sadness at every milestone. Wanting to hold him tight and whisper, "don't stop being my baby," and screaming, "argh, if I hear mommmmy one more time!!!!"

We love you so much, our loud one, our adventurous one, our friendly yet randomly shy one. This last year has brought out your love for dinosaurs and questions of extinction, including when we'll go extinct. And some concerning conversations of our death ... but hey, we'll try to answer everything to the best of our abilities. We can't wait to see what the next year brings with you, but hopefully, you will not let go of the snuggle time in the morning that's become our tradition, or the random kisses and hugs you ask for.

We love you, we are proud of you, and you are our favorite child ;-)

yes, yes, I can already hear you yelling back at me, "But, mommmmy I am your ONLY CHILD!"

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Why we don't scream at each other

Jeff and I went to a family counselor a few months ago. I was very proud that coming from a culture where corporal punishment for kids was the norm, I would never raise a hand against my child ... but I found myself raising my voice. And, research upon research shows that yelling has the same effect on a kid's psyche as hitting. So, I dragged Jeff and myself to a professional to gain insight into ways to deal with a headstrong child without losing it every time.

Then, I started reading articles like this:

And, I realized it's not just about yelling at the child, it's also about yeling in the household. So, Jeff and I decided we would NOT yell at each other in front of Oli. Why that distinction? We know we shouldn't yell at each other at all ... however, we are human and sometimes we fail. But, we don't want to fail in that capacity in front of him.

Now, don't get me wrong. We disagree in front of him, we have our discussions. There is no way I want him to think a marriage is all roses and sunshine. There are compromises, there are disagreements, there are disappointments. What there isn't is disrespect, what there isn't is name calling, what there isn't is inequality between the partners. We treat each other as equals who decided to join each other in creating a life together and then bringing another life into being. We re responsible for this new life together and while we might not always agree on ways to deal with his headstrong life form, we do not disrespect each other's opinions and ideas.

Trust me, we infuriate each other all the time. What we don't do is insult each other or each other's opinions. We don't show Oli that it's ok to attack your partner verbally in any sort of agreement. What we don't teach our child is that it's ok to disrespect or insult the one person you've chosen to live the rest of your life with, with the words you chose or actions you make.

What we do or say in front of our children make a deeper impact than we might think in our daily lives. That single harsh word at our partner for loading the dishwasher wrong or the hands thrown up with an intake of breath because I don't like how the bed was made - that kid watches and learns and takes it with him to his future relationships.

Bottom line, I like, love and respect the man I've chosen to live my life with and raise a child with. If I didn't, I wouldn't stay with him. We've needed professional counseling a couple times, no shame in admitting that we are HUMAN, but we're going strong and hopefully showing Oli what a strong, cohesive relationship looks like, whenever he's ready in about 50 years to look for a partner for himself ;-)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Why I serve ...

I saved this from our Intranet site ... I submitted this a while ago, it just got published recently. I didn't even know, somebody in my office just told me yesterday :-D. Sorry, it's an image, so it might not be the easiest to read.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sex and priorities in the U.S.

I believe the Duggars have worse problems than marital infidelity to worry about. I think it just shows again how weird the things we worry about it the U.S. are, that suddenly the fact that his email address showed up on a dating site for married people took over the fact that he abused his sisters, in the news. I mean seriously? Sex between consenting adults who obviously signed up on a site knowing everyone else who's signed up on there is married as well, versus abuse of minor females who've been raised to believe their self worth is pretty much nothing because they are just females.

Think about it. Which do you want to be outraged over at all? Not more. Just at all. Because for the married thing? It's nobody else's business but the cheater's spouse's.

Oh and btw, there are apparently websites you can go plug your email in to see if the database the hackers exposed has your email address in it ... Google it ;-)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Who's thinking of the users?

This post is a result of the article that was published in the Washington Post regarding the new United States Digital Services coming out of the Obama Administration ( It's a great idea. It's a noble idea. I am personally working with some members of that team. They are wonderful, talented, amazing leaders in their fields. But when the lead architect/developer referes to usability testing as 508 testing and another member of the team whose background is a dual degree in coding and management mentions that their product teams have some people called UX researchers they call to conduct usability testing after their product is designed ... that makes me, as one of those pesky UX researcher people, worry.

You see, as one of those UX researchers, I wholeheartedly believe that in this quest to innovate and move our old slowmoving technology into the modern world, we are leaving the most important variable behind. Our user. We are not Google. We are not Facebook. Our users come to us to apply for services that we cannot afford for them to not understand. I have read the backgrounds of the brilliant minds who've been hired to move us into the 20th century of technology that's eluded us in the Federal government (due to funding, policy and other concerns that don't hound the private industry). I don't see anybody who's putting the user in the center and saying keep him in mind. As one of those UX researcher people, I believe the user needs to be involved in the entire process. Because for some things, the user doesn't care for flashiness. A social media platform can be flashy. A disability application needs to be easy to fill, easy to read, easy to navigate, easy to know what's going to happen afterwards ... But I could be wrong. What do I know? I am not the user! We can change the code, we can change the database, we can change the colors ... if you don't ask the people who are going to interact with it in the end while we are making those changes, it could still fail at the end.

It costs pennies to make a change at the blueprint stage, dollars to knowck down walls at the framing stage and millions after you're conducting the final walkthrough of a house. So, when would you rather ask a homebuilder what changes they want?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why does it matter?

All over social media, people are posting photos of Freddy Gray's criminal history in order to justify his death.

You know why it matters?

Because he's a human being.

By saying that his death shouldn't matter, you are stating that the people in power have the ultimate decision making poweer over your life.

What happens tomorrow when they decide that list of criminal activities only has to be 5 long for you to be killed in the back of a van?

Or only 1 long?

Or just enough parking tickets?

When there are no checks and balances for those in power, that power gets corrupted.

It does not mean all people in power are corrupt.

It does not mean all those with a record deserve to die.

I have a record. Sealed. What happens when somebody decides that my immigrant status and my sealed record makes me a disposable human being?

Will y'all sit around and talk about how I deserved it?

I saw a meme today that is perfect for this:

Not every colored person is a criminal
Not every cop is a racist asshole

Some people of every color are assholes and criminals

We all need to be human, and attack it as humans, devoid of color, race, ethnicity ... can we do it in our lifetime or do I have to worry about my kid growing up in a divisive, racist, anti-humanistic society?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Things I remember

Daily dinners at 8 p.m. with the family, followed by television for an hour ... every day

Evenings spent in the front yard, playing card or board games with the family

Making quick runs to the neighborhood store for spicy snacks to have with tea

Birthdays and anniversaries celebrated with family friends we grew up with

Yearly vacations with the family to new places

Helping my dad clean the chicken we got at the butcher shop

Learning how to make a cake from my mom for the first time

Being encouraged to do whatever I wanted by my dad, to the incredulity of neighbors (because I am a girl ;-))

These are things I want Oli to remember when I am gone and he has his own kids to pass traditions on to.

Unlike me, he'll never be able to say he remembers a clean house ;-)

But I hope he can say he remembers eating all meals as a family

Snuggling on weekend mornings no matter what time we woke up

Seeing his parents at whatever activity he was in - swimming, gymnastics, baseball, soccer ...

Going on vacations to see new things and learning history

Having silly dance parties in the kitchen

Playing chutes and ladders, Uno or whatever game it is with his mom and dad

Singing to the radio while driving places

In the end, I hope he can tell his kids that his parents were there for him. That his childhood memories are of all of us together. Unclean house, piles of laundry not done, dirty dishes in the sink notwithstanding ;-)