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Monday, March 30th
I picked up another part-time work gig, so things might get kind of busy around here for the next couple of weeks.  I signed a contract with a publishing company to do some writing for a textbook they're updating.  I've actually done some writing for them before; they publish paramedic and EMS-related stuff.  This is the 9th edition of the textbook so it's pretty well established already.  My job is to rewrite some components of the resource documents.  It's a pretty short timeline but hopefully I'll find time to squeeze it in between changing diapers, Little Gym, swimming and teaching people how to drill bones.

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Sunday, March 29th
The funeral for the four Oakland police officers killed in the line of duty was held at Oracle Arena on Friday.  I suppose like anyone else, it's hard to fathom exactly how to feel about it.  Certainly profound sadness, anger and disgust.  But two words keep coming to mind:  selfishness and sacrifice.  The creep who whipped out his semi-automatic killing machine and gunned down the police officers was nothing more than a selfish thug.  How could he be anything else?  To be willing to take someone else's life to cover your own selfish needs is astonishing to me.  And then there's the sacrifice.  We hear all the time about cops making sacrifices on behalf of the people they serve and protect.  Well, it's no joke.  These four guys chose to go into a profession to serve their community - selflessly - and died for it.  So to me this all comes down to the very dangerous intersection between selfishness and sacrifice.  Doesn't it sometimes seem like our world is really made up of those two types of souls anyway?  Too bad more people don't see the difference and dedicate more of their energy to being sacrificial, doing something selflessly for others in ways that make the world a better place.  And yet so many people live their lives obliviously focused on #1.  So selfish that it never dawns on them to perhaps live any other way.  I'd like to think that we're all here on earth with some kind of higher purpose to achieve or strive for, despite the fact that some apparently think we're just a bunch of mosquito's fighting for the best position in front of the patio light bulb.   Feels daunting.

Then I watch our sweet bright toddler run by with his giant smile and endless energy and realize it may not be so daunting after all.  To have an opportunity to raise children with the potential for good and to hopefully be balanced in his perspectives about self, doing good for others and understanding sacrifice, gives me hope. 

Peace and prayers to the fallen officers.  Their sacrifice will never be fully comprehended.

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Saturday, March 28th
I didn't get through all the laundry this week so we ended up without any clean pajamas for Caden last night at bedtime.  We pulled together something for him to wear but it definitely constituted a "fashion emergency."  I don't blame him for wanting to hide behind the plant.



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Friday, March 27th
Caden woke up with a fever this morning and isn't feeling exactly wonderful.  But you can always get him to laugh no matter how bad he's feeling.


Celebrate!  It's Friday. 

 



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Wednesday, March 25th
Wouldn't it be cool if we all had the talent of chameleons?  The music is pretty irritating but the video is must-see.



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Tuesday, March 24th
Vermont's legislature has voted overwhelmingly to approve marriage equality in their state.  They would be the first state to approve same-sex marriage through legislation instead of through court action.  And what does their Governor say?  That he'll veto it.  Why?  Because there are "more important" things they should be focused on right now.  What a jackass.  I'm so tired of gut-less, nut-less politicians who pretend to represent the public and then fail to operate on basic, fundamental principles of human rights and equality. 

If you have two and a half minutes, I think the comments in this video are spot on. 



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Sunday, March 22nd
Caden crashed on the couch after we got home from the hockey game tonight.  It didn't take long for one member of the family to take advantage of the situation.



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Friday, March 20th
We met up with our friends Sarah and Layton today for a play date at a cool park in Los Gatos.  We met through Little Gym and always love spending time with them.  It's not often you find friends as cool as they are so we feel really lucky to have found them.  The boys are very close in age and have lots of things in common. 




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Thursday, March 19th
On Tuesday for Saint Patrick's Day, John thought it would be fun to get into the spirit with Caden by coloring his milk green.  So we took a little green food coloring and, well, you get the idea.  We made corned beef and cabbage and that was pretty much the extent of our celebration.  Until today that is.  I opened up Caden's diaper and about fell over.  He had the biggest shamrock shit I've ever seen.  You'd have thought it was a deposit from the Jolly Green Giant or something.  The thing was glowing neon green like nothing I've ever seen before.  I think next year we'll just buy him a Hallmark card instead.

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Wednesday, March 18th
It's pretty entertaining to watch him talk on the phone.  Someday when we're paying for gobs of cell minutes every month, we'll have to pull this video out and remind him that he was once a man of few words.



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Tuesday, March 17th
There is another new little Zenker in the world!  My nephew Matthew and his wife Amy had a baby boy yesterday in Santa Cruz.  He's very cute.  We went and visited them in the hospital for a few minutes yesterday.  Caden seemed kind of cool to the whole idea of there being another kid around.  In fact, he gave off a couple of dirty looks that I'd never seen before.  It's hard to know what's going through a toddler's mind.  But later when I explained that he'll be able to teach his new cousin (second cousin?) how to play hockey, well then everything seemed right with the world again.

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Monday, March 16th
Not that the government is slow or anything, but ... we just got Caden's permanent birth certificate in the mail today.  Yep, only 21 months after he was born.  It obviously takes longer in an adoption, but this is ridiculous.  I keep envisioning some woman sitting in a cubicle in Sacramento processing birth certificate applications between cigarette breaks and playing solitaire on her computer. 

Now we can apply for a social security number and passport for him.  Not that we've been putting world travels on hold or anything.  But it does feel good to have this last and final adoption milestone completed.

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Saturday, March 14th
This photographer uses time-lapse photography and a special "tilt-shift" lens.  I think it's amazing.  There are more here.



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Friday, March 13th
Some people get Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) during the winter when there isn't enough sunshine and depressive mood changes set in.  Luckily, we get enough spurts of sunshine around here that we haven't succumbed.  But we definitely have H.A.D. right now: Hockey Affective Disorder.  The Sharks are on a bit of a losing streak and I'm amazed how much it affects our mood.  I know, I know ... boo hoo.  It's not like we're walking around kicking chairs or anything, but after having started the season so strongly, it's depressing to watch the losses.  Perhaps we're being unreasonable considering they've had the best season on record and have been leading the entire league all year.  I suppose they deserve to have a little slump once in awhile.  But it still sucks and I'm ready for them to start winning again - and contributing to a more positive atmosphere around here.

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Thursday, March 12th
I guess I was a little naive to think that there would be at least one poop for every couple of pee's.  As you can see, he has no problem raking in the stickers for taking a wizz.  Yesterday he stuck his hand down the back of his diaper and pulled out a wad of doo (uh, no stickers for that performance!).



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Wednesday, March 11th
My parents brought Caden a new toy yesterday since we'll be house-bound for a few more days while he gets to feeling better.  They still make Mr. Potato Head!  And they haven't felt compelled yet to soup him up with computer chips or lights or sounds, even though Caden naturally searched for the buttons. 

Of course in our house, any new toy is just another occasion to force participation of our often reluctant cats.  I think they'd do anything if it would make Caden laugh.

   

 

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Tuesday, March 10th
An artist has made images entirely of crayons.  Crayon tips sticking up out of a box.  I'm not sure whether to feel impressed or whether to worry that some people don't have enough to do.  There are more here.



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Monday, March 9th
Caden was admitted to the hospital yesterday.  After continued breathing treatments at home and no change in his shortness-of-breath, we threw in the towel and went to the emergency room.  I'm glad we did.  They were able to provide some more aggressive breathing treatments as well as IV steroids and antibiotics.  We stayed overnight in the pediatrics unit last night and he's 100% better today.  They're still thinking it's probably a virus, like RSV.  The doctor said he's never seen a year as bad as this one for kids getting bad respiratory infections.

Caden was really good throughout the whole emergency room visit.  He got pretty scared during the chest x-ray and when they started the IV, but we otherwise came well prepared with lots of books and some videos for him to watch.  By evening time, we were settled in our room and he was living like a king, eating ice cream and watching whatever he wanted to on TV.

The hospital just opened their pediatrics unit in a new wing of the hospital so it was pretty nice.  Their facilities encourage the parents to stay in the room with your kid, so I slept there with him for the night.  He woke up about ten times during the night but got back to sleep pretty quickly most times.  And then of course they had to check his vital signs every couple hours so, let's just say ... I was "greeting" the clock at least every hour last night.  But he got some better rest and we felt really good that he could breathe again.  John and I were really impressed with Caden's demeanor around the staff.  He was such a polite patient and always said "hi" and "goodbye" and "thank you" to the hospital staff poking around at him the whole time.

By morning we could tell he was indeed fully back in control of his breathing again and could probably go home.  The doctor agreed and we were discharged before lunchtime.  It'll probably take at least another week for things to clear up completely and we'll need to continue the breathing treatments at home.  We promised Caden that we'd stop at Target after he got out of the hospital and buy him a new toy for being so good.  We didn't forget and neither did he.  So we're home now, new toy in hand and a much happier kid too.  But I think he's wondering where that endless supply of ice cream has gone.

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Sunday, March 8th
We landed back in the pediatrician's office yesterday morning.  We were just about to haul Caden to the emergency room and then I remembered that Caden's doctor has office hours on Saturdays for a few hours so they were able to squeeze us in.  His virus has gotten a lot worse.  He isn't barking like a seal anymore but he's having lots of trouble breathing.  He's grunting, retracting, using accessory muscles, and breathing really fast.  And throughout it all, he continues to smile and remain in good spirits.  That's always the tricky thing with kids: they tend to compensate very well so you have to be really careful because once they burn up all their energy, they can decompensate very quickly.  Anyway, the doc sent us home with a breathing machine and a bronchodilator to help relieve his wheezing.  So far he's not too keen on having a mask on his face, but the breathing treatment does seem to help a little bit.

Last night was a nightmare.  Caden just couldn't get comfortable and we only slept a couple hours.  I just feel so bad that he's uncomfortable and wish I could do more to make him feel better.  We consulted the doctor again this morning and were advised to just stay the course and try to ride this out with the breathing treatments every two hours.  Ugh.

This has all probably been caused by RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus).  Almost all kids are infected with it by the time they reach their second or third birthday.  It's pretty common this time of year and it can impact different kids differently.  The main thing we need to watch now is to keep it from progressing into a worse lung infection or pneumonia.

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Friday, March 6th
I had an opportunity yesterday to watch part of the televised testimony before the California Supreme Court regarding the validity of Proposition 8.  To say the least, it was very interesting albeit pretty technical.  I felt kind of sorry for the attorneys being grilled but I guess that's their job!  Regardless of how this gets decided, I wish everyone could have seen the depth to which the debate was taking place.  It's not really about marriage anymore.  It's about the state constitution and whether or not a simple majority of voters can revise it. 

I was most struck by the way the testimony is taken in the Court.  An attorney will approach the bench with quite possibly the most perfectly prepared and articulate argument, start speaking, and any one of the justices can immediately interrupt and basically burn up their remaining time with questions or their own statements.  Justice Kennard was particularly bizarre in that regard.

I couldn't help but sit there and realize how such a momentous decision - like human liberty - is really in the hands of a tiny number of select people.  Not to mention that they'll also be deciding whether our marriage is valid or not. 

It gave me a sickening, visceral feeling to see Kenneth Starr arguing on behalf of Proposition 8.  I thought he went back to live under the rock he came out from under.  What a pious creep.  As I watched him talk, I couldn't help but think about this study that was recently published.  But then again, we're up against much worse.

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Thursday, March 5th
Caden apparently brought home a seal with him from Monterey on Sunday because he woke up in the middle of the night last night barking like one.  He has croup!  I've taken care of hundreds of little kids in my career with croup but when I walked in his room last night and heard him barking and struggling to breathe, I have to admit it freaked me out!  I can understand why some people call 9-1-1.  Croup is caused be any number of viruses and results from swelling and narrowing of the upper airway.  It manifests in seal-like barking sounds when the kid breathes or coughs.  What's characteristic is that the child will go to bed fine and then wake up in the middle of the night barking and short of breath.

One of the best treatments is to take them outside into the cool night air and to use a cool mist humidifier.  I gave him some Tylenol and felt like his symptoms were mild enough that we could wait it out until morning to call his doctor.  But I did sleep in his room just to make sure things didn't get worse.  I decided not to wake up John because I was worried he might freak out and then not be able to go back to sleep.  That was probably not good thinking but at least he went to work rested and able to function in the morning. 

Our pediatrician did ask us to come in to be evaluated the next morning and prescribed some steroids to reduce the airway inflammation.  Our goal now is just to keep him from running around like his usual mad-man self and from getting too agitated.  Hopefully this will pass in a couple of days.

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Wednesday, March 4th
Today was my last day of teaching for awhile.  Hopefully I'll be more regular with blog updates now that we'll be back on a more regular schedule.  And then of course there's that 941 point to-do list of things waiting for me to do around here...

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Monday, March 2nd
So you know how I tend to get all preachy about gratitude and how we should all be more thankful for what we have?  Working as a paramedic tends to make you that way.  John's mom sent me the link to this video, which I LOVE.  It's so perfect.  Watch it all; the best part is toward the middle and end.  I think Louis CK is pretty funny anyway but I especially liked this stuff.



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Sunday, March 1st
Today was my birthday.  Whoopdie doo.  I find as every birthday approaches, I am happier and happier to let it go by unnoticed.  We kept it low key and actually went down to Monterey to the aquarium.  It's a pretty awesome place and it's really fun to have something this amazing so close by.  It was especially fun to watch Caden's reactions.  He's very oriented toward water and fish as it is, so we enjoyed seeing him take it all in.  Every time we'd approach an exhibit, he'd run up, pause for a second and then belt out a very loud "WOW!"  It was really making people around us laugh.



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