Zev Family Newsletter: May 2000

May, as always, started with Jonathanís birthday. We took him out to dinner to celebrate. The evening was very nice, only slightly marred when Benjamin fell getting into bed. He bit his bottom lip and there was lots of blood, but we didnít think much about it. The next day, his top lip was so swollen, that Jackie decided to take him to the doctor. His pediatrician said that his top teeth were a little loose (one more than the other) and he had an enormous bruise under his top lip (plus the bite mark on his lower lip, which we already knew about.) She said there was nothing we could do now, or could have done the previous night. She also said that if the root of the tooth was damaged, that the tooth would turn gray, and might fall out. To reduce the risk of this happening, we should not let Benjamin use his front teeth for a week. So for a week we cut up all his food into little pieces. Thankfully, our efforts paid off, and his teeth stayed white.

The next event was a sleepover held by Jonathanís Tae Kwon Do class. Jonathan had a great time, and got to stay up very late. He is eagerly looking forward to next yearís sleepover.

Two days later, we had Jonathanís 7th birthday party. It was a much smaller event than in previous years, with only 5 friends, a few cousins, and Wolverine in attendance. Wolverine was a great hit with the kids. The smaller size made the party a lot less hectic than past parties have been.

The next weekend, we went to the Hurricane Harbor water park with friends. Our friendís school had a fundraiser selling cheep tickets, so we decided to go. It was a nice day, but the water was a little cold for Jackieís taste. The boys were undaunted, and went down one waterslide after another. We stayed until the park closed, and then went for dinner. We got home around 9.

As it turned out, our day was a little more expensive than we had expected. When we walked in, we found that we had been burglarized. The thieves took a tuner, a tape deck (broken), a CD player (slightly broken), a VCR, a boombox, some watches, and some coins. Ironically, while we probably spent over a $1000 to purchase this stuff, we can replace it all for about $500. The good news? They left the computers (thank goodness!) the big TV, and a brand new 13-inch TV-VCR combo. The most annoying things were that 1) they pulled our entertainment unit away from the wall, and itís too heavy for us to move back and 2) they also took the remote Ė not the remote for the VCR (they left that!), the remote for the television! They also left the turntable Ė we speculate that they had no idea what it was.

All in all, it could have been a lot worse. The police think that it was neighborhood kids. It certainly did not seem like professionals Ė they did not bring a bag to take things (we know, because they took one of ours), they took some coins, but left others, they didnít take the computers, they missed the TV-VCR combo. We have a $1000 deductible on our insurance, so weíre not going to bother to report it. Oh, and how did they get in? Well, thatís actually our fault. We had left a door from the backyard into the garage unlocked. We wonít do THAT again!

The next day was Motherís Day, and Jackie celebrated by attending the Los Angeles Million Mom March with her mother. She also took Benjamin, who was an absolute angel, despite a 1Ĺ hour wait through many speeches and reading of the names of the 143 children that died from guns in LA last year. The best part was when we were Marching and people were chanting slogans. Benjamin would shout "1 2 3 4 (mumble mumble mumble)" and sometimes "Kam sa hap ni da!" ("Thank you, sir" in Korean.)

We ended Motherís Day by joining Marcís Mother at a party thrown by Marcís sisterís mother-in-law, Joan. It was a very nice end to the day. Jackie spent some time talking to Joanís sonís wifeís sister, who (as it turns out) has a 3 year old that goes to Benjaminís pre-school, and a 7 year old that takes Tae Kwon Do with Jonathan! (And weíre related how?) Jackie figures that someone really wanted us to meet!

The next day was a big ego boost for Jackie. At her work, her team had been working on a problem for almost a week without success. Jackieís team is only one of a dozen teams writing software for her project, and this problem was holding everyone up. Jackie was very stressed that her team had not tracked down the source of the problem. This day, Jackie decided to take a look at the problem personally. Not only did she find the source of the problem, but also it turned out to be code written by one of the other teams.

The next weekend was completely unplanned. Jackie celebrated by cleaning out the garage. Marc was impressed that not only did she take everything out of the garage and sweep it out, but she managed to get everything back in too. Usually she only gets halfway, much to Marcís disgruntlement. Then, Jackieís brother invited us to go to the lake to use his WaveRunner (like a JetSki). That was a blast! Everyone enjoyed it, including Benjamin.

The following day Marc had to go to work. Viva was launching a new version of the their website (version 1.5) on Monday and Marc had to make sure his code and the other new stuff was working. On Monday Viva launched (on schedule Ė hurray!). Of course this did not mean that all was smooth sailing. One anxious moment occurred when the code Marc had written appeared not to be working. All of his testing indicated that the problem was not in his code, but he still needed to track down the source of the problem. It took a while, but finally the problem was found in someone elseís code (sound familiar?) Although the site went up with no problems, as it turns out, some of the new functionality Marc introduced showed existing flaws in the system. The next couple of weeks were very stressful for Marc, as he became responsible for discovering and repairing the problems. Add to this that he is one of the people responsible for defining the next release and you get some long hours at work and lots of frazzled nerves.

The following weekend was Memorial Day weekend. We spent most of the weekend in the pool, which was up to 86 degrees by the end of the weekend (and we donít heat it at all.) Sunday night both boys had sleepovers at various houses, and Marc and Jackie went out to dinner and a movie for about the second time this year. On Memorial Day, we Marched in the Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade.

On the last day of May, Jonathan had his 7-year old check up. Many doctors skip the 7-year old check up, but we had switched pediatricians a few months earlier, so we decided not to skip it. Jackie was amused to find that he weighs 45 pounds and is 45 inches tall.

As long as this newsletter is already obnoxiously long, a little news about the boys. Benjamin seems to get older and more capable every day, much to Jackieís dismay (she really wanted to arrest his development when he was a year old, and he has not been cooperating.) On the other hand, despite being three, he hasnít left his "terrible twos" behind, and he can whine with the best of them. Once when he was lying on the ground and kicking his legs because Jackie wouldnít give him what he wanted, Jackie laid down on the floor and kicked her legs, too. She doesnít know what the parenting books would say about that, but in this case it was effective at bringing Benjamin out of the mood he was in.

Benjamin (like all three-year-olds?) is filled with contradictions. On one hand, he is really good at jigsaw puzzles, but on the other hand, he canít put his own shirt on. Distraction is a really good technique to use in dealing with him, because he canít seem to remember anything for more than a minute, on the other hand, we were at the JCC, (which he hasnít been to in nine months) and he remembered that they had (used to have) goats there. You ask him if he wants something, and heíll say no, and then the next sentence out of his mouth will be asking you if he can have it. Heís an amazing jumper Ė for example, if an adult lies on the ground, he can jump over them, but he canít ride a tricycle. Heís very easygoing -- except when it comes to toilet training, where he just refuses to have any part in it. Ah well, like everything else in life, all these things will change.

Jonathan continues to be a delight. It has been such a blast watching him turn into a reader this year. A year ago he could sound out short words with short vowel sounds, and now he is reading on a second grade level. Much to our delight, he has turned into avid reader, typically reading 2-3 books a day. Jackie is finding it hard to keep enough books in the house to feed his thirst. Fortunately the local library is close. Unfortunately, he has gone through most of the second grade level books in the library already!

The most amazing thing about our boys is how much they love each other. Jonathan will do anything for Benjamin, and (most of the time) vice-versa. For example, Jackie had an hour-long work related conference call and Benjamin played quietly by himself and left her alone the whole time. So she gave him some candy as a reward. Jonathan asked if he could have some too, so Jackie suggested that Benjamin share his candy with Jonathan. So he did. We are very blessed.

ĎTil next month,

Jackie, Marc, Jonathan and Benjamin