About Us

Welcome to the Brookston family blog. We'll post updates here on what's going on in our part of the world, and especially with our son, Porter, who has been diagnosed with some form of autism. Our hope is that this blog will help us deal with all the issues we'll be facing and keep our friends and family informed as well.

Jay B.

Sarah J.

Porter Brookston
born September 10, 2001

Alice Brookston
born July 7, 2004

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March 31, 2006

My Pet Giraffe

Categories: Photos, Porter, J — J @ 4:22 pm

Thank goodness it wasn’t a goat! I wasn’t sure how Sarah would react to having a giant stuffed giraffe in the house but once she saw how attached and even affectionate Porter was with Melman, it was pretty hard to ignore his charms.

Porter proudly posing with his new friend Melman. He even introduced his friend Mommy to his pet giraffe.

Showing Mommy just how excited he is about his new giraffe.

When we went upstairs for bath and bedtime, Porter wanted Melman to come along. He even tried to take him in bed with him, but there really wasn’t enough room. So he settled for having Melman stand next to the bed so he could watch over him. When I turned out the light after we read Dr. Suess’ Fox in Socks, Porter asked me if he could still talk to Melman.

Porter petting Melman.

Trying to pull him down on the chair so the three of us could snuggle together. It’s really been quite amazing to see the emotions and affection Porter has shown for this stuffed giraffe, which he sometimes refers to as a “soft giraffe.” We’ve had dozens and dozens of stuffed animals in the house since he was an infant and apart from his one white stuffed rabbit, he hasn’t shown much interest in them at all. He’d play with one if it was in front of him or once in a great while, but he never really seemed attached to any of them, again, except for the white rabbit, which he often liked to have in bed at night. So this has been very interesting.

A few weeks ago, toward the end of February, I posted that Porter had finally starting using the term “I love you” in such a way that it finally seemed like he understood what it meant. And that’s continued as he’s applied it to us, his grandparents, aunts and uncles, and his friend T.J. A few times he’s said “I love you” to some of his favorite toys, too. But this s different. He’s actually showing his affection by kissing and hugging Melman, trying to take him everywhere, along with saying he loves him. It’s so great to see him develop an ability to love, I can’t even tell you. Often times, supposedly Autistic kids have difficulty with understanding emotions, let alone being able to express them. Porter obviously seems to have no trouble in that department, and it makes me love him even more, just to watch him express it. My heart melts everytime he refers to me or Sarah as his friend Mommy or his friend Daddy. To him, that’s the highest title he can bestow upon us and I try every day to live up to the awesome responsibility of being his friend.

• • •

Strawberry Face

Categories: Photos, Alice, J, Food — J @ 2:41 pm

Yesterday evening Alice snacked on a basket of strawberries turning her face red in the process. Then she decided she would crawl up on my lap.

Alice and her strawberries on my lap.

Red-faced but smiling with Daddy.

• • •

Lunch with Uncle Tucker

Categories: News, Photos, J, Family, Food — J @ 1:18 pm

It’s official. Porter and Alice’s Uncle Tuck and Aunt Debbie have become our neighbors here in San Rafael. Yesterday they picked up the keys to their new condo on the water about five minutes from our place. Tuck took the day off from work to take care of last minute details and we had lunch at the brewpub Rafters on Fourth Street.

Tucker and me at the bar at Rafters.

Tuck proving he will drink a good beer once in a while, bringing me much joy.

• • •

Group Photo Phriday #6

Categories: History, Photos, Friends — J @ 11:59 am

Continuing the King Sheldon theme, this is one of the earliest of the infamous Round Table Pizza birthday parties for Sheldon I could find. How many years in a row dd we have pizza parties for him there?

From left: Karen, Christi, Keith, Sean, Nikki, King Sheldon, John, Suzanne and Mark C.

• • •

Porter’s First Pet

Categories: Photos, Porter, Family — J @ 10:23 am

Porter’s first pet is not a cat or a dog. In fact, it’s not actually alive in the traditional sense of the word. Porter’s first pet is a five-foot stuffed giraffe, who he’s named “Melman,” for the giraffe character in the animated film “Madagascar.” Grandma and Grandpa fund him at their local consignment pound … er, store. He was so excited when he saw Melman that we were quite taken aback. He hugged him and kissed him and tried to get on his back. He picked him up, with some effort, and tried to walk him around. He even wanted to take him in the car with Grandpa and Grandma.

Porter gets eye level with Melman.

Points out his ears.

And pets his nose.

Then he gives Melman a kiss.

And a hug.

Then jumps down to pet is back.

• • •

Siren Says, Help’s on the Way

Categories: News, Photos, Porter — J @ 9:02 am

On Wednesday Porter filled up one of his sticker strips, which are strips of paper with the numbers one through ten written on them. They use them at school to reward good behavior such as sharing, following instructions, helping someone and using the potty. It’s sort of like the gold star idea from my childhood, except that they use different stickers. For each good deed, they get a sticker and when all ten are filled up, they get a small prize. For example, for his last filled one Porter got a small plastic camel. So I’ve tried to adapt that idea here at home for potty training and I have one hanging on the wall in the downstairs bathroom with a bowl of stickers on the sink. For every successful visit to the potty he gets one sticker (two for #2). When he fills up the strip with ten stickers, he gets a prize from the playroom closet, where I keep a bag of prizes. But on Wednesday he wanted a fire engine, as that’s his new thing right now. I didn’t have any fire-related toys in the closet so I promised him we’d look at the toy store after his Occupational Therapy session.

So after O.T. we went to Toys R Us and there on the shelves were a whole bunch of new fire engine toys, going by the name of Firehouse Tales. They’re essentially like Thomas the Tank Engine insofar as they’re different color fire engines with weird faces in a universe of fire stations and fire trouble. There are even bathtub toys with rubber fire engines that squirt water! One of the stations came with a DVD of two episodes of a cartoon series that will begin in the fall. Porter absolutely loves it and we’ve watched it now … oh, six million times or so. And I got some more good news about it this morning. It turns out Firehouse Tales is already on the Cartoon Network, every day at 12:45 as part of their Tickle U. programming block, so I’ve got to start taping them Porter. At least I won’t have to watch the same two episodes over and over again.

Porter going to school yesterday with the Chief (in Blue) and Red (you figure it out).

A Firehouse Tales book.

• • •

March 30, 2006

Dialing for Cuteness

Categories: Photos, Alice — J @ 4:17 pm

During our walk yesterday, Alice was very taken by a pay phone outside the San Rafael Library. She reached out for the phone and pointed to it, giving me a pretty good idea that she wanted to use the phone.

If I could reach the buttons, I could make a call.

Hello. Hello!”

Oh, there you are. How are you today?

I’ve missed you too.

Uh, Daddy … this is a private call. Can I have some privacy, please?

They grow up so fast, don’t they?

• • •

Dick Cantwell: Brewer, Author, Fashionplate

Categories: Photos, Birthdays, Friends, Beer — J @ 3:02 pm

Today is Dick Cantwell’s birthday. He’s the head brewer and co-owner of Elysian Brewing in Seattle, Washington. Happy birthday Dick.

Award-winning Portland beer writer Lisa Morrison and Dick Cantwell at an Elysian event during OBF.

Showing the proper way a hipster dons his chapeau.

Enjoying a pint at the Falling Rock in Denver during GABF week.

Working the judges at the Celebrator Swimsuit Contest at CBC in San Diego.

• • •

T-Ball Season Begins

Categories: Photos, Porter, Movies — J @ 1:43 pm

At O.T. yesterday, Porter was insistent that he be able to play baseball. Last year, his therapist, Theresa, got a tee ball set specifically for Porter. Apparently, it was time. It’s been sitting in the corner for months and week after week Porter has effectively ignored it … until this week, when it was all he could talk about. Baseball season is defintely upon us.

Porter in the on deck circle.

Porter’s backswing.

Coming around on his swing.

Addressing the ball.

Hitting for the bleachers.

Here’s a Quicktime movie Porter’s tee ball swing, which as you can see still needs some work. You can either download the movie to your desktop or just click on the link to play it in your web browser (assuming your web browser has the quicktime plug-in installed).

• • •

Puddle Jumper

Categories: Photos, Alice — J @ 10:23 am

While Porter jumped and ran at O.T. yesterday, Alice and I took our regular walk to the library. Unfortunately, Alice got sidetracked when she happened upon a deep puddle that had collected in the parking lot after our recent record-breaking rainfall. By the time I’d caught up to her, the damage had been done and her feet and legs were already wet. So i let her splash around in the puddle for a while, bu even that was too short and getting her to leave was something of a trial.

hey, look, a puddle!

The first tentative step. “What happens if I do this?


Hey, that’s pretty deep, my whole shoe disappeared!



This is more fun than taking a bath!



This will cure my diaper rash!

Uh-oh. I’m getting pretty soaked, aren’t I?

Uh, hi Daddy. I think my feet are wet.

• • •

Wednesday Workout

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice — J @ 8:56 am

Porter had another good, physical occupational therapy session yesterday.

Emerging from the barrel.

Trying to knock it over, by lying on top.

Meanwhile, Alice watched from her swinging dolphin.

Porter jumping down after swinging on the bar attached to the ceiling.

• • •

March 29, 2006

Green Umbrella

Categories: Photos, Porter — J @ 4:44 pm

Yesterday morning, Marin was again bathed in heavy rain (we just set a new record) and Porter wanted to carry the umbrella himself.

Trying to hold it down from the heavy wind.

Walking up the hill to his school bus stop.

• • •

Pointed Remarks

Categories: Photos, Alice — J @ 2:29 pm

While I was working at the kitchen table, Alice came up and sat on the chair next to mine. Apparently she had something she wanted to tell me, but I never did figure out what.

I have something to say, Daddy.

Blah blah blah blah, ha ha ha ha.

See what I mean?

What do you mean you didn’t understand what I said?

No biggie, Daddy, let me say it again.

• • •

Backpack Carry

Categories: Photos, Porter — J @ 11:44 am

Every day he goes to school, Porter takes with him an adult size backpack that includes his lunch, notebook, change of clothes, an extra toy, and god knows what else. We tried to find one more his size, but then the notebook doesn’t fit because it’s a normal 8 1/2 x 11 inch notebook. As a result of its size, Porter rarely actually carries it himself. It may as well be a briefcase, for the way that it’s used. But yesterday morning, Porter insisted that he wanted to wear his backpack and carry it all by himself.

Porter with his backpack on his back.

Hanging low.

I think he may be leaning against the mailbox just to keep his balance.

Getting excited as his school bus roars up the hill.

• • •

Morning Helper

Categories: Photos, Porter, Sarah, Food — J @ 9:09 am

Yesterday morning when Sarah came downstairs to make her coffee, Porter wanted nothing more than to help her.

Porter helping to scoop Mommy’s coffee.

• • •
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