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Monday, April 15, 2013

Look Twice, Save a Life.

Some bad news from our house this week... James was in a motorcycle accident this past Wednesday. He was lane-splitting through traffic (legal in CA and James only does this in very slow/stopped traffic) and a gap opened in the far left lane to his left. A car from the lane to his right changed lanes without checking its blind spot and didn't see James on the motorcycle. James honked and swerved into the gap, but the car kept on going and hit him from the side. James was thrown from the bike into the left shoulder. He has a broken wrist as well as a shoulder contusion. Worse news: it is his left wrist and his right shoulder so his use of both arms is pretty limited at the moment. Good news: thanks to his armored gear and his alert riding, those were the only injuries.

This is the second time in less than a year that he has been hit by drivers who did not check their mirrors/blind spots. The last time was April 30 of last year when a driver turned right on a red light and did not look to see James coming through the intersection.

In light of these two accidents, neither of which were James' fault, James feels unsafe to continue riding - particularly with our growing family in mind.

I realize that we have friends and family who will be relieved to hear that James has decided to take a hiatus from motorcycle riding. But I would like to ask those of you who fall into that category to please hold back from telling us how thankful you are that James has made this decision. Because the truth is, he and I are both saddened and frustrated that he feels he can't continue to ride.

James grew up around motorcycles. All his siblings rode at one time or another and his parents still ride when they are able. At 17, he took a riding course and got his motorcycle license as well as his first bike - a Honda Shadow. I first rode with him when we started dating in 2005 on his mom's red Harley Sportster. When we moved to California in 2007, there were a few years that James didn't have the opportunity to ride because he didn't have a bike or access to one out here. He bought his current Suzuki Intruder in 2011, fixed it up himself, and then took  an advanced riding course to ensure that he was truly prepared to ride again.

He takes riding seriously. I have complete faith in him as an alert and competent rider - that's why I have always felt safe riding with him. However, I did stop riding with him once I became pregnant with Calvin. After the accident last year, James took a 6 month break from riding while his knee healed. During that time, he struggled with the decision of whether to keep riding especially with a tiny baby at home. He talked with his own parents about it, as well as with other riders who also have kids, and of course with me. Together we decided that James would continue to use the bike to commute. It wasn't a choice we took lightly. Riding was and is a big part of James' life. His many hobbies are a big part of what makes him who he is. He loves riding. He is a safe rider. And on top of that, for practical purposes, it allowed him to have a faster, more enjoyable commute on less gas.

This second accident, however, has left him feeling differently. He doesn't feel safe continuing to ride in traffic because unfortunately, other drivers can't be trusted to look where they are going. I wish the roads were safe for riders like James. I wish other drivers were always as conscientious and careful as he is.

We both hope to one day enjoy riding again, in safer conditions out of traffic and once our boys are older. For now, James is healing and we'll have to adjust to a train commute for him instead.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Big 1

Calvin's birthday picnic was the day before his actual birthday. After the picnic, we all went home exhausted and went to bed early! The next morning we were up at 6 am with Calvin, our early bird, for his first birthday breakfast!

Rocket ship birthday candle! Don't worry, I didn't give it to him lit!

First taste of pancakes! (Sans syrup)

"Dad! This one is burnt!"

"Hmmm... not bad after all!"

"Especially with my applesauce!"

Calvin opened his first few presents that morning too. We stretched out the present-opening over the next few days.

 After his morning nap, we took the last photo for Calvin's laundry basket series! Plus some more pics of the birthday boy.

Then Calvin had some lunch and James, Granny Anne, and I all took him to Gymboree.

Later that afternoon, we went on a very windy hike down by San Andreas lake. 

And at the end of the day, we offered Calvin a special birthday cupcake for dessert. He was not a fan.

Calvin's First Birthday Party

The big 1! Calvin has officially celebrated his first birthday!

To celebrate his first orbit around the sun, we threw Calvin a big space-themed birthday picnic at Golden Gate Park. We invited friends and family to come party with us. The weather threatened rain, but we got wind instead. Still, our picnic site was very pretty with cherry trees in bloom and everyone seemed happy to be there to wish Calvin a happy birthday.

James grilled burgers and hot dogs and we served them with the usual sides plus Filipino lumpia and I made some very special solar system cupcakes. We also served three selections of James' homebrew: "Cal" (a California common - translation: Anchor Steam clone), "Interplanetary Ale" (an IPA), and "Stellar Wind Wheat" (a blood orange hefeweizen). The decorations (some store-bought, some handmade) featured planets, rockets, and stars peeking out from place settings and flower arrangements and dangling from the cherry tree.

Banner of Calvin's monthly laundry basket pics

Rocket tote bag favors - they fold up into little rocket ships!

Stomp Rocket! Launches foam rockets with a burst of air.

The birthday boy!

Calvin's Big Year

This past Monday was Calvin's first birthday. I can't believe my little boy is already a year old!

It has been quite a year for our family. We've had the usual challenges and joys of the first year of parenting, plus some that are a little more unique to Calvin.

We coped with the news of his chromosome anomaly and all the medical implications that went along with it. We kept up with the array of doctors and specialists who continue to follow and care for Calvin (immunology, endocrinology, cardiology, surgery, renal, cranio-facial, his regular pediatrician, and his OT for feeding). Calvin endured many check-ups, blood tests, and even his first surgery like a champ.

We watched him learn to sit up, babble, roll, scoot, crawl, pull up, and "cruise" (walk while holding an edge) - triumphs for all babies, but I think especially for those at risk for delayed development.

From the day he was born, we watched him charm everyone around him with his friendly disposition and that one irresistible dimple. We have seen his sweet personality develop as he showed us which foods he likes best (bananas, cheerios, ritz crackers, and applesauce), what he likes to play with (shakers, the bead track, and books - what a proud teacher mama I am that Calvin loves books!), what makes him laugh (dancing, tickling, peek-a-boo, and when he sneezes), what scares him (jack-in-the box and sometimes the swing at the park) and even his favorite animal (dogs - so far!).

We have also learned about his personality by how he reacts to the world around him. He loves other babies and isn't afraid of new adults. Although he's very friendly and social, he is also fine playing by himself. He is content to explore his toys and surroundings on his own. In new places he becomes quiet and observant, then more active once the new situation has become familiar. Now that he is crawling and pulling up, he explores the apartment with curiosity - looking over and under everything he can reach, opening containers and peeking into baskets, finding new props to help him stand and "cruise" around.

Calvin has been on family trips and outings. Two trips to Georgia: one in late summer, one in winter; hikes and picnics; and two trips to Lake Tahoe. He has celebrated lots of holidays and birthdays with friends and family, including two Easters!

Calvin has also been to a few different baby classes including baby sign language play group, "cuttlefish" swim lessons, and his latest class: Gymboree!

It has been amazing, humbling, empowering, and joyful being a mama to this wonderful boy. I can't wait to see what will unfold for Calvin in the coming year. I don't expect it to be easy! I expect that Calvin's second year - especially with Calvin becoming a big brother! - will have even more challenges, but even more joys for me and his daddy.