Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sick Days

Being sick is no fun. Just ask Avi and Itai; this week they both have been sick.
Avi missed speech therapy at the end of the week and is still feeling really sick. He's been doing a lot of sleeping during the day and staying awake all night. He's been too tired to run laps around the house and too sick to go to primary or anywhere else. Itai is feeling better finally, but his nose is still really stuffed. But he's feeling good enough to get back to his usual mischief and even though Avi is too sick for his usual mischief he's found other things to do to make trouble. (There's a chunk of the cheese missing.)

The strange thing about Avi being sick is that he has been more vocal and reciprocal. We hate for him to be sick, but it's so nice to hear his voice and have him tell us what he wants and needs.

Oh and one last thing. Now that Itai is a big boy and is going to nursery he has a question: does anyone have a baby he could borrow? He just loves them! Until he gets one this Elmo will have to do.

Friday, January 29, 2010


While in the ER a nurse called out, "Jared?"

I turned to answer and saw that she was actually calling for Jared the nurse. After realizing there were three of us named Jared last night I decided to ask for a new nickname. I got such lovely suggestions: Stan, Bud and Kip. Nice. When Kip was suggested I wrinkled my nose.

Registrar: "Kip fits you perfectly! It's short, simple and not very common."
Me: "Wait, did you just call me short and simple?"
Secretary: "And not very common!" Followed by hysterical laughter from both the registrar and secretary.

Ah...the joys of being short, simple and not common. At least the last one can be construed nicely.

Monday, January 25, 2010


The new semester has begun. Things are pretty cazy right now. There is little time for trips to see the fishies, to feed the ducks, or anything else lately. What have we been up to? Well, I've been reading, driving, working and sitting in class. The boys are much more creative with their time.

They have arts and crafts, potty training and...
driving around. Why get on the car when you can get IN the car.

Hiding under the blankets and taking really short naps. Have you found him yet?

Helping out with the chores and cleaning toys all at the same time.

being generally cute

and texting friends.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Let Us Out

How do you know when winter has lasted too long? Well, one clue is when your little boys press their noses against the window and look longingly toward the outdoors.
Look at Itai,

he says, "Please, let me out! I'll be good."
Where is that evil little groundhog anyway?

Brownie Hunting

Avi and Itai truly have the Andes genes. Debbie woke me up this afternoon so she could head off to work for a few hours before I went back in to the hospital. We spoke for a few minutes and I suddenly noticed the smell of brownies floating around the house. Yum! I have always had a sweet tooth, something that I think most of my family shared. Today the boys proved they too loves sweets.

While Debbie finished getting ready for work I took the brownies out and set them on the stove top to cool. While they cooled I got some lunch (which was breakfast for me) for us. Avi noticed the brownies but I told them they were for tonight and not to touch them. after lunch we were all playing in the front room until Avi disappeared. He came back with a wide grin and chocolate all over his lips. Hmmmm. Where could this chocolate have come from? He couldn't possibly have reached the brownies could he? I decided to follow him the next time he disappeared.

My investigative skill showed this shocking behavior:

Getting into position

Successful brownie caper (complete with Elmo underwear)

Eventually I decided to spare him the climbing and just cut a small piece for Avi and Itai. This is where Itai showed his genes too. Avi ate most of his, but in his typical fashion, left a little on his plate to come back and pick at later. Once Itai finished his piece and got out of his high chair he immediately hoped in Avi's chair. Within a matter of seconds Avi's food storage was devoured.

Itai, do you feel guilty about stealing brownies? Oh, you've stolen a bowl of something else, huh? I guess that's no.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Itai has become quite a little character. He is constantly trying something new. One of his latest accomplishments was learning to climb onto the dinning room chairs. He's been interested in this for a while, mainly because that is where the food is, but also because he's developed a bit of hero worship with Avi. If Avi is doing it then Itai is studying how it's done, trying it or doing it. So after a few days of trying to get on the chair he made it. His reward? Avi's chicken leg. Avi had taken a few bites then decided he'd rather run around for a while than sit and eat it. Itai on the other hand decided that since this was his first chicken leg he should eat it all the way down to the bone. He barely left a scrap of meat on it. He have rock climbing in his future, he has found a way to climb his high chair and the shoe rack/bench and he has his sights set on climbing out of his crib (help!).

And if you're wondering if the chair is broken or if it's an optical illusion ask Avi what happened.

Itai also likes a nice clean nose. If he's given a tissue he'll wipe his little nose and hand the tissue back to you so he can continue playing without what Debbie calls "snotters." I mentioned the hero worship. Since Avi is a big boy and sits on the potty Itai naturally needs to do it too. Of course, he's wearing his diaper and normally sits for just a second or will sit to read he has to have his turn after Avi. And since he is so hygienic he also has to wash his hands after, or at least stand on the step stool. Oh, and a crib is cool but a toddler bed, Avi's toddler bed, is much cooler. As soon as he's out of the bath Itai runs as fast as he can to climb in while it's safe. Since this place is one of the best places in the house he really puts up a fight when forced to leave.

If you're worried that he's changing too much, don't worry. He still maintains some of his former favorites.

Like making a mess.

Like counting wipes to make sure we have enough

Or rearranging the kitchen.

Or making sure our hand towels are evenly distributed

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Question

I have heard many parents of children with autism say, "I wouldn't take his autism away even if I could." I remember the first time I ever heard someone say it. I wonder if my eyes bugged out of my head. I was completely surprised. My silent response the first time I heard it was, "Why?!" To be honest, if there was a way to take it away I would have done it in a heartbeat. I have thought about this a lot in the two years since I first heard it. I've talked it over with different people and here I am, two years later, thinking the same thing. IF there was a way, I would take his autism away in a heartbeat.

You might wonder why I would think about this for so long. First off, just know that I'm just weird like that. Second, it really engendered questions of my abilities as a father. Was I a bad father who just couldn't accept his son for who he is? Am I just missing something that all these parents seem to grasp so easily? Trying to come up with an answer on my on just wasn't happening. I discussed it with other parents of children with autism and others and still I didn't understand it. Each of them explained their view very well, but I still didn't understand. After discussing it with a coworker who has a knack for putting things into perspective I still didn’t understand. He brought the matter to a spiritual matter. It brought me to one question, "What is wrong with me?"

So, I looked in the scriptures. I started with scriptures on healing (I figured they'd help prove me right), :) but still I was unsure. Then I came across a scripture that gave me a better understanding of their view. Alma and Amulek were forced to watch the burning martyrdom of the saints. Amulek wants to save them but Alma refuses saying the Lord would receive them in his glory. Ok, so maybe that's the answer. I talked this answer over, and it felt good, but still, IF there was a way I knew I would not hesitate.

I was left with one conclusion, I just don’t get it. I love Avi, I have even learned to love things about autism, but there is still so much that is difficult, overwhelming and heartbreaking. As a dad I find myself filled with a desire to protect my children from unhappiness, sickness, loneliness, rejection, scraped knees, sadness, bad hair days and fear. Even though I know it defeats the purpose of life I still would defend them from injustice, cruelty, wickedness and all of the rest of life's worst. Why wouldn’t I want to save Avi from this?

Just when I had given up on finding an answer, and on myself, I came across a well known scripture that seemed to answer it for me. As Elder Holland once said, “If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.” That was it. Even the Savior wondered if there was another way. In the moment of his ultimate sacrifice the Savior was still teaching. It is ok to wonder if “there isn’t an easier way” so long as we are willing to place our will second to His.

Maybe I wasn’t totally wrong. Maybe just half wrong. If there was another way, I would take it. It would be dishonest of me to say anything different. I don’t know if I’ll ever reach a place where I could say to myself that even if that way existed I wouldn’t take it. I hope to one day understand why this is the way the Lord elected, but until then I’m just trying to trust in “the wisdom of Him who knoweth all things.”

I love Avi. I love and trust God; I just don’t understand Him perfectly. For anyone reading this that truly wouldn't change the autism in a person they love, please don't be offended. I look up to you, I almost envy you. You have obviously reached a level of understanding that I have not. I have heard your feelings and understand you, but it just wasn't me, not yet at least.

If you’ve made it to the end of this lengthy post (it's two years in the making!), please feel free to enlighten me on anything I may have missed, or completely misunderstood.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Love to Hate

Jared: "Hi, my name is Jared and I'm here to do your EKG, OK?"
Patient: "I don't care what your name is."
Jared: Ouch.

I am so popular it's a curse really.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Weight Loss Secrets

Who needs an expensive meal plan or fad diets? Those things are obsolete with the newest diet craze: eat 20% less. How can you accomplish this? It's easy, two little boys will each eat 10% of everything you try to put in your mouth. Simply try to open any package that crinkles, crunches or crackles and two boys will appear to take their share. You'll be left with 80% of what you would have eaten. Simple right?

But you can also get rid of that expensive gym membership, home equipment and personal trainer. How? Those same two boys will line up and patiently to be lifted or tossed into the air...repeatedly. The beauty of the system is that as you lose weight they gain! This increases the workout each time. Now all you need is a good chiropractor or some really good back pain medicine.

What to do when one hand is busy holding a fork and the other is holding your roll? This!

Thinking about eating brownies? No way! You'll never get them past these two.

You wanted this cookie? Plpppppppp! (that's a raspberry sound if you couldn't tell.)

Have you ever seen such a love of food?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Recent Reads

I had a goal to read a book every week while on winter break. I heard that the classes I have this semester will be pretty difficult and nobody gets a great grade in one of them so I figured that I wouldn't have much time to read once school begins.

The first book I read was a gift from Tiffany. Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom is the story of what happened to a man who was asked to give the eulogy at his rabbi's funeral. After straying from his faith, and faith in general, Mitch feels uncomfortable with with the request. He decides that in order to respond to the request he needs to know the rabbi better. He begins regular visits with him and finds faith again. I loved this book. Thank you so much, Tiffany.
Two quick quotes from the book, "A man buried his wife. At the grave side he stood by the rabbi, tears falling down his face..
'I loved her,' he whispered.
The rabbi nodded.
'I mean...I really loved her.'
The man broke down.
'And...I almost told her once.'
The rabbi looked at me sadly.
'Nothing haunts like the things we don't say.'"

Later the rabbi talks about forgiveness.
"[That] is why our sages tell us to repent exactly one day before we die."
"But how do you know it's the day before you die?"
He raised his eyebrows. "Exactly."

It's not really a how to on developing faith, but it shows the power of faith to sustain and change.

Book number two was When Times Get Tough, by John Bytheway. I read it a while back, but I didn't remember much of what was in there. There are five topics with five scriptures that help in those situations. For some reason the tough times part stood out a little more this time. One of my favorite quotes from the book comes from President Hunter, "Please remember this one thing. If our lives and our faith are centered upon Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, nothing can ever go permanently wrong. On the other hand, if our lives are not centered on the Savior and his teachings, no other success can ever be permanently right."

This book is more of a how to book, with great ideas, quotations and scriptural references.

The last book I read had almost nothing to do with the first two. The Curious Case of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon. This book is written from the point of view of a teenager with autism. It one of the most quirky (quirkiest? who knows) books I have ever read. It was both funny and heartbreaking. I am curious to learn how much of the book came from the actual teenager. Some of his phobias and other quirks were fascinating, his logic and intellect astounding and other parts terrifying (as a parent wondering what is in store.) I think the best quotation I could share from this book is the last line, "I can do anything."

I'm glad I was able to read a few books before school started, thanks to everyone who gave/lent me the books to make it possible.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Avi is starting to talk more and more and it is really interesting to see his personality coming out. One thing we've learned is that he loves family. We visited the Mendozas last week (thanks again Mendozas) after Avi asked for them for days. He really enjoyed the time with them, he was just a little too excited to eat. On the way home we passed the exit we would have taken to see grandma and grandpa. We were heading north, and haven't taken that exit in ages so we didn't expect that he would know where we were but as we passed it he got really upset and started asking, "What's the matter?" We asked and he said, "I...want...grandpa...pwease!" Every morning he wakes up and says, "Want Uncle Robin" or Uncle Tom, Aunt Sheri, Uncle Jon/Jonny, Aunt Heather, Aunt Valerie and even Aunt Tinnanny (Tiffany) He hasn't seen her that much compared to the others, but it doesn't change how much he wants to see her.

Another thing he is started to do is "read." He loves looking at his shirts, signs or whatever else has letters on it. The first time we saw this was at Costco. It was really cold out so I went to get the car while Debbie and the boys stayed under the heat lamps. While I was bringing the car around Avi was staring at the sign over the door. Finally he pointed and said, "E-N-T-R-A-N-C-E." Debbie wasn't sure whether she had heard him correctly so she asked what and he repeated it. Since then he has "read" his shirts, a shopping cart at Kohl's, books and more.

Avi doesn't have a lot of friends so he gets very excited about having kids his age around, especially boys. When Neil and Annie came over (and a BIG thank you to them for taking so much time out of their busy holiday schedule to visit us) Avi couldn't have been more excited. He ran up and said, "Hi! Hey! Hi!" Then he turned to us and said, "See boy!" He kept saying it and kept signing boy until we taught him Boston's name. He's waiting for more friends to come and visit. The waiting room at his speech therapist's was more crowded than usual. Normally we arrive and it's just us. Yesterday there were two little boys playing when we arrived. Avi smiled brightly and said, "See boy!"

That's it for now, but stay tuned for more Avi-isms and new Itai-isms.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What It's Like to Be Loved

It happened again. Another person was so impressed with my persona, so overcome with loving emotion that they had to let me know it.

Visitor at church: "What do you do working nights?"
Me: "I work at the hospital in Provo."
Visitor: (With huge smile and a laugh) You have the look of a med tech, all tired and beat down!"
Me: :(

I'm declaring tomorrow a national holiday, Be Nice to Jared Day. If you can't muster up a compliment at least say my head is nicely shaped or a good reflector or maybe just stare at my "tired, beat-down-ness" in silence. Ok, well maybe I'll just stay inside tomorrow.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Duck, Duck, Snowman

Days like today make up for nights like last night. Once Itai and I were both finally awake we needed something fun to do. What to do on a tight budget with a limited amount of time? The duck pond of course! The apartment complex right next to us has a duck pond, but we've never gone before. The Andes men made the long and perilous trek through the snow to visit the ducks. I figured they'd be hungry; it's winter and who feeds ducks in the snow? We were mobbed by ducks! They were starving and knew exactly what we were doing there. Avi was so excited. He yelled, "See water!" Then once the ducks came after us he shouted, "Ah see ducks!" (For some reason his I has become an ah.) Itai was also excited, but once they started crowding us he was a little less certain. He held tightly to the seam of my pants most of the time we were there.

One of the big whited ducks was very interested in Avi's hands. It looked at Avi's fingers as though they were made of bread. I had to scare it away from Avi more than once. Avi didn't care though, he loved being so close to them. He started singing the quack quack song from The Wiggles. Itai eventually warmed up to the ducks and started waving to them, but by then it was time to wave goodbye.

We got home from the duck pond, but the boys weren't ready to go in yet. Since the sun was shining neither was I. So now we needed something else to do. Avi and Itai came up with the solution this time. There is a huge mound of snow in front of our door and both boys have been slowly picking or poking at it. It was time to let them dig in. We brought out the beach bucket and they went at it. After plying with the snow for a bit I decided to build a snowman. This is the first time since I was young that I built one. My skills have fallen off a bit, but it still more or less looks like a snowman. Avi was happy to help and Itai was happy to give a skeptical eye to the whole process. While I was making it though, Avi and Itai became fascinated by some kids on their bicycles. It's hard losing out to a couple of 12 year olds! Oh well, eventually they left and I was cool enough to look at again. Avi was happy to add the arm...or poke at it with a stick.

Here is the finished product. So it's not exactly a classic, but it's a beginning. Itai knows that no snowman is complete until they get a kiss.

I'm a little late, but here are a few Christmas photos. Thanks to both sides for sharing the holiday with us and for spoiling our guys.

Avi modeling a few layers of his new clothes. Thanks again everyone.

Itai in his new "work for present program."

The brothers at brunch. I'm not sure what Avi sees that is making him so surprised/excited.

Itai showing some Christmas cheer.
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