Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Apparently...I Can't Stay Away

Today was one for the books.  Andy heard a weird clanking sound in his car, so he ended up taking the van to work and I was left with the Lexus, trying to figure out how to get it fixed.  First, I asked if I could exchange carpool pick-ups, then I asked my friends who all live nearby and have kids in the same classes as my #2 and #3, and then I was left with just #4 (#1 already went to school).  But before that could even happen, let's talk about my kids.  My kids have now been eating cold cereal and toast for breakfast, pretty much every single day.  I used to offer them hot breakfast like scrambled eggs, pancakes, breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches, the whole nine yards.  At a certain point over the summer, they began to see the joy of cold cereal and have never looked back.  Hot breakfast became a thing of the past.  But with packing lunch almost everyday for Jordan, I didn't mind it so much.  Today, as I was scrambling to call different car repair places and the Lexus dealer, while texting the mom friends to exchange carpools and arrange for my kids to hang with their buddies before school started, my kids decided this was the day they were craving some scrambled eggs.  Not wanting to get a pan out, I did the mom hack of microwaving scrambled eggs in a bowl (be sure to spray the boil and plate that goes on top with tons of oil first) and my kids devoured it, as if they had never had eggs in their lives, telling me how wonderful it was to have scrambled eggs for breakfast.  Of course.

I had a quick work call (so the television babysat my kids), and then managed to get a load of laundry in before and make sure my kids were all dressed with their teeth brushed, before we made our way out to fix the car.

I ended up going to the Lexus dealer, because I wanted that free ride home in case it would take longer, and there I could rest and wait for all my older three kids to get home. That, and I love dealer lounges because if I'm going to wait there, I'd much rather wait on a nice couch, or in a dirty play area (versus a dirty waiting area), and I am glad I chose the Lexus dealer, because that customer waiting area was phenomenal!  They had Jimmy John sandwiches (cut into fourths but I had three little ones), yogurt, granola, salted nuts, soda, water, tea, coffee, packaged crackers and fresh cookies.  Cooper and I enjoyed the dirty play area, the free hand sanitizer nearby, and lots of chamomile tea on top of the yogurt and sandwiches I had for lunch.  I read some magazines, watched some TV, and chilled with Cooper while he looked around from inside the confines of the Ergo, or crawled around to play with the toys in their dirty toy room.  No really, it was disgusting in there, there was a piece of cookie being devoured by a group of hungry ants in one corner, we didn't stay for long in there, even the couch parents sit on was filthy, but Cooper did eat his cookie in there so I'd feel less guilty about the mess he made.

Turns out this huge drill bit was stuck in our tire, and clanking against the inside of the car, and sure enough, it ruined our tire.  Well, we needed new tires anyway, so we counted ourselves quite lucky, and $48 dollars and 3 hours later, we were off.  I'd call it a successful day.

And yet... adulting is no fun.  So many things got overlooked, no laundry got folded today, we had quesadillas, leftover chili, and pho noodles in a bowl from Costco for dinner, and the dishes didn't get cleared until late at night.  I still have to call insurance to see if Jordan's teeth anesthesia can be covered (any little bit helps!), and many other little errands of calling someone or following up on something Andy asked me to do a week ago.  I mean, that's the kind of stuff I live off of normally, but when a wrench or a drillbit gets in your way, it all gets put on hold, and that throws me off guard a bit.  I truly absolutely love being at home with my kids, it's a true blessing to be able to, especially when most of my closest friends are the breadwinners or all have to work along with their husbands, I count my lucky stars that I get to be home with my kiddos, but then something like this happens and I'm reminded that as good as I have it, I'm still an adult who has to deal with adult problems from time to time.  *sigh.  Remember when my biggest dilemma was what to wear to the first day of school?  I don't long for those days, but then again, maybe I do.

And ultimately, the point is, I want to keep blogging, whether it's personal or public, or a combination of both, because I love looking back and seeing that this is how I felt or what I wrote at that time.  I want to remember the tender mercy of being able to handle this car stuff while Andy's at work.  Of having relatives nearby who can come pick me up if the Lexus dealer can't take me.  Of feeling like my village of mom neighbors and carpool buddies can help me out when I get a day like this.  So yes, apparently... I can't stay away.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Journaling Is Good For the Soul

And I need to do it more, but in the meantime, all my public stuff will be reserved for sharing my stories of growing up ABC.

So head on over there if you want to see what I've been working on.  As for family journaling, we probably won't be using this public domain space much for it anymore.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jordan on Being Gone For School

"Dad, I'm gone all day like you now.  Do you ever miss us when you're gone?  Because I didn't even have time to miss Bubba and Dagny, I was too busy doing stuff."

"Dad, when you go to work, I go to school.  When I'm done, I come home, and then you come home too.  So now I don't have to miss you all day, because I'm doing stuff too."

He sure knows how to makes it sound like we do absolutely nothing at home all day long.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

First Grade Here We Come

Jordan's starting first grade tomorrow.  That means I won't have him home with me for the majority of the day, he will be gone from 9 AM - 3:45 PM everyday.  I used to laugh at the moms freaking out over their kid leaving for school, but now I am in the same spot, freaking out a bit.  But let me explain why...

School orientation and registration for first time parents is ridiculously awful.  As a parent with a child going into first grade at a new school, I was hoping to learn a few things during registration.

How to:
1. drop off and pick up my kid
2. buy lunch
3. excuse an absence

Maybe I didn't read through the information thoroughly (I did), but none of this information was presented to me!  I had to go to the office to ask about everything, which was quickly explained to me, but wouldn't a simple worksheet have solved that for me?

Now as I'm pondering through what time to wake up to get all four kids packed so we can walk him to class the first day, I'm getting kind of nervous.  It reminds me of all those "first time parent" insecurities and questions we had the first time around.  How hard it was to figure things out, how much we scoured the internet and more experienced friends for help.  How dumb we felt.  How ill prepared we felt.  How lost we felt.

I'm so nervous for Jordan.  Mostly because he doesn't have any guy friends with him.  He'll know two girls because their moms are my friend and they came to our house for a 3-day Chinese camp, but all his besties from kindergarten are going to different schools.  I know Jordan won't have any problem making friends, but I'm still nervous for him because I want him to make good friends, ones who will be kind and supportive, honest and good, and most importantly a good influence on him.  I want him to feel proud of himself, I want him to love learning, I want him to love recess, and I want him to love first grade.  I have so many memories of trying to make new friends, of being a loner, of struggling to find people I connected with, and my heart is just praying that if he has those same experiences, that they'll be short lived and a distant memory.  

The other thing I'm scared about is that Jordan is not a sharing information type of kid.  My other kids will tell me what they did, what their favorite thing is, the best part of their day, etc., but Jordan is kind of mums about it all.  If I ask his Primary class what he did for the week, he says, "I forgot" when I know what he did, because I was with him all week.  If I ask him to tell Andy what he did that was fun during the day, he shrugs it off and doesn't respond. It hasn't been a problem for me because I'm with him all day, but once he's in school for most of the day, I won't be privy to his day so much anymore.  And that makes me sad.

Nevertheless, first grade... ready or not, here we come.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Some Humble Pie For One

I Sometimes, I get to thinking I am the bomb.  My pride inflates when I am able to make it to places with four kids on my own, like swimming lessons.  It doesn't help when my friends praise me with things like, "supermom!" or "I don't know how you do it."  And then I go to swim class and have a piece of humble pie when another mom with four kids, all close in age also, shows up and her baby is definitely less than a month old.  And she didn't even have a carrier with her!

Today while I showered during my baby's nap and while the big kids were eating, I thought about this incident as the water trickled and I got some much needed silence.  I started to think about how life is funny, perspective is everything, or it's all relative.  We might think we are having the roughest day, only to hear someone else had it worse.  Or alternatively, we might think we are doing awesome, and there's always someone better or ahead.  Wherever we are on this path of adulthood, there is always someone else who has it harder or easier, and we are all different.  It was a good reminder that I should be proud of my own accomplishments, but not let it get to my head, and to stay humble. Usually, I have to remind myself not to compare my weaknesses to someone else's strengths, but on the other spectrum, is reminding myself not to compare my strengths to someone else's weaknesses.

 It was a good piece of pie.  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day Ba-Ba

A few weeks ago, we went to California to visit.  My dad has consistently purchased us Disneyland tickets everytime we visit since we moved out of California.   Through his work, he gets a small discount, and in the beginning, there were only three of us.  And then there were four.  And then there were five.  And now there are six. 

This was the first time we decided to go to Disneyland for two days.  It just felt like it’d be less rushed and we could take our time since we now have two kids who can ride a lot more and three kids interested in everything going on.  My parents always like getting a hotel nearby so they can be home when we return, they also think we’ll stop by for a nap or a rest, but so far, we’ve only come home when it’s time to leave the park.  So naturally, we all got a hotel with adjoining rooms so we could stay a bit closer to Disneyland before the fun began.  That first evening, after the kids had gone to bed, I went with my dad to buy the kids’ tickets from the hotel (because his work didn’t offer discounted kids tickes anymore).  As we were walking back to the room, I looked at the two Storm Troopers, tickets I had asked them to give me the same of since I knew the kids might fight over them if there were two different ones.  Then, I wondered what the other tickets looked like.  All of a sudden, I was overcome with this weird cloud of oh crap.  I asked my dad, almost hesitated to do it, because I kind of knew the answer… “where are our tickets Dad?”  He told me he had already given them to me.  “Oh no…”   So this is the weird thing about my brain now that I’ve become a mom.  It’s true, mommy brain, or whatever the crap they call it, my brain doesn’t work quite like it used to.  Most of the time, I am just distracted or I can’t process it all at the effectiveness I used to.  So here’s what I remember.  I saw the tickets.  It’s as if I had a dream and I saw them.  But while my Dad was showing them to me and telling me about them, the next part is a haze.  Like a dream, it just sort of fades away.  I had to go take care of a screaming child or I was needed somewhere, I’m not quite sure, nor do I remember it, I just remember I saw the tickets and then I was supposed to put them away, but I never did. 

I was overcome with weird emotions, I felt so so dumb.  So ungrateful.  My dad was so generous, getting us all these tickets, and here I had gone, losing them.  We were 45 miles and minutes (or more with traffic) away from our home, where the tickets most likely still were.  That, or my kids had taken them and thrown them away by accident.  I knew without a doubt that I did not have the tickets, because I’m a controlling person that would have put them somewhere safe, and yet all I remember is the haze that was seeing a glimpse of the tickets and then being distracted.  I checked my bags, Andy’s bags, all my secret hiding places for top secret stuff (my maternal grandmother used to do the same, I fear we share that in common), and nothing.  No tickets anywhere.  Ugh.  Do you know what it’s like to have a problem you feel like you can’t solve?  Helpless.  Frustrated.  Stupid.  Paralyzed with my inability to just solve the problem, I felt so awful.  Here my parents had not only paid for all of our tickets, they were paying for my brother to come one day and my cousin the other so we could have more help with the kids and ride more stuff, they had also gotten us a hotel, and they were basically just hanging out at the hotel at night when we were there, during they day, they’d go back to work and then come back to meet us at night.  I felt absolutely horrible.  Awful.  Like I had failed as a mother, daughter, and what I normally deem an “organized” person. 

My dad said it wasn’t a big deal, that he’d drive home to check, and worst case, he’d get new tickets.  My mom chimmed in with the same, telling me it wasn’t something money couldn’t solve, and that luckily, we were in a place where money was not a problem anymore. 

Do you know how crummy I felt?  How absolutely absurd that they could even say that made me feel like an entitled brat.  Because Andy and I do deal with money issues, we do budget like crazy, and I know we are not in the same position our own parents were when we were younger, but we can empathize despite having super supportive and generous parents who help us out all the time and a stead income.  I felt like I didn’t deserve such parents.  They didn’t even scold me, tell me I was being irresponsible, remind me how scattered brain I was.  I felt like they should have.  Like I deserved a good reprimanding for my irresponsible actions that now meant they’d have to drive an hour home and an hour back, and might not even find the tickets.  I wish I could transport myself home, my brain back to the moment my dad gave me the tickets.  I felt so utterly useless. 

My parents reassured me it wasn’t a big deal.  I felt so many emotions that night, waiting for them to drive to and fro.  I had offered to go with my dad, but they both insisted I get some rest.  I felt so lucky to have such supportive parents, who in the midst of a huge mess up, didn’t remind me how I could be better, but were just 100% supportive.  They told me everyone messes up, and that there were worse things.  They told me not to stress and to just relax as they went about solving my problems.  It felt weird to be 35 years old and have my parents take care of me like I had just fallen, and they had the magical band-aid to fix everything.  It felt weird, but also good.  It felt good to have my Daddy solve my problem.  It felt good to have my Mommy tell me everything was going to be okay.  It felt good to just let someone else take care of me.  It felt good to be a little girl again.  

And more importantly, it made me recognize the immense love I have for my parents, an emotion I'm not always willing to admit because I live so far and don't see them as often as I'd like.  It made me recognize the familiarity and comfortableness with my parents who have always done whatever they can to give me opportunities and safety – financially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  I wanted to yell, “I love you guys!” but the Chinese part of me just said a timid, “Thank you.”  I love my Dad and Mom so much and I miss them all the time.  I call my mom all the time, I love hearing her voice, even when she nags me about this or that.  I try to call my dad a lot too, but men are different with their love of conversing on the phone.  My dad always wonders if I have news when I call.  Instead, I just send them both photos of what we're doing all the time.  I share all my Instagram photos on Facebook to a family group, but mostly I am sharing the photos with them because I know they use Facebook all the time.  I hope they know how much they mean to me, and how much they have taught me and inspired me to be a good person.  I love them both so much and I cannot think of a better story to show how awesome my dad and mom are.  But since it's Father's Day, this one's just for Dad.  Happy Father's Day Ba-Ba.  I love you.  

They didn’t find the tickets that night.  And they ended up buying another set.  My mom told my dad they should say they found them and that the newly purchased ones were it.  My dad told my mom that wasn’t a good idea, and they told us the truth.  My parents are so cute.  My dad is super honest and kind, my mom is super thoughtful and protective.  But me?  I was determined to fix this huge dumb problem my own absent mindedness had created, so I spent a few hours at the park talking to guest services, and eventually called the office my dad had bought the tickets from, obtained an emailed copy of the receipt, and begged the Disneyland Guest Services to place reissue me new tickets.  They must have felt sorry for me, because I know they bended the rules a bit to give me six more tickets to replace the ones I was sure had been lost because of me.  At one point, I may have even cried about the whole situation (just a bit) because I am not a crying person, I knew that this meant a lot to me.  

It worked out…. We will now be going back again before the end of the year to use the tickets.  And I’m still a little girl at heart, because my parents still saved the day for me.  And for that, I’m eternally grateful and I love my parents.  And all that they do for me.  The end.  

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Back to Cali Cali...

Bubba has been so excited for our trip to Southern California, ever since his birthday party was over on Cinco De Mayo.  He has been eagerly asking how many days, a few times we meant to make a countdown chain, but it never happened.  They have been SO excited about visiting po po and gong gong and jiou jiou, that we've begun more religiously studying and practicing Chinese words here and there.  Bubba will ask me how to say it in Chinese now, for pretty much everything, because he is so diligent about practicing so he can show po po and gong gong.  "We're going to California!" they've been telling pretty much EVERYONE and ANYONE who will listen.

Jordan's last day of school was the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, we had a neighborhood ice cream social that Andy was helping to plan (he bought a ton of ice cream for it), and then Friday morning was a whirlwind of packing before Andy came home.  We made our way out at 2:30 PM, and ended up making a stop in St. George at Evens Stevens Sandwich Shoppe (one of our favorite places in SLC also) before making the long drive to LA, getting in around 12:30 AM CA time, 1:30 AM Utah time.  Our sleeping arrangement was Andy, Cooper, and me in the queen bed, Dagny in the pack n play next to us, and the boys on the sofa pull-out in the room down the hall from us.  We tried to make it into the home without exciting them, we had learned from our last trip during Spring Break that our kids can indeed wake up at 1 AM and create chaos for a few hours, laughing and joking with one another.  So we first strategically put Dagny into her pack n play, which she loves.  I think she is attached to that bed as she spent four months in it during all our rotations last year.  She groggily asked, “where are my boys?”  I ignored her, hoping she'd go back to sleep.  She peeked up and saw Andy sneaking into the other room with Bubba and explained to me, “Oh, there’s my Bubba” and then as she saw Jordan, “Oh, and there’s my Jordan.”  Me to Dagny, please go to sleep.  “What are the boys doing?” she asks.  They are sleeping I tell her.  “Oh, so am me.”

Saturday – I managed to sneak in a haircut appointment at 10 AM, so off I went with my mom while Andy took the kids to grab donuts with my dad.  We met up with them and my cousin, Thomas, at the Arcadia mall for lunch at the newly updated and renovated, also very Americanized and a bit too fancy for my taste, Ding Tai Fong (the food took forever to come, it wasn't like that before!).  We stopped over at the Disney Store first, where the kids all picked a towel from my mom.  Lunch was good, but the kids were so hungry because Andy and I did not let them have any donuts since they already had breakfast with my mom when they woke up around 7:30 AM, but unknown to us was the wait would be an hour, even though Thomas and Andy both arrived at 10 minutes past opening time.  It’s just super busy on weekends!  We have found that the kids eat better when they’re hungry, so we let them be hungry.  Too bad the food took forever to come out and then once it was out, it was too hot for them to bite into immediately!  Jordan had 17 xiao-long baos, which he has deemed “bag dumplings” and Bubba asked for soup and drank all of his chicken soup.  Afterwards, I tried to shop a bit with my mom, but it is not fun shopping when you still have baby weigh to lose.  We quickly stopped and joined the kids in the mall playground.  Two mall playgrounds and one automated coin ride later, we were back home.  Andy was still tired from driving the night before, so he took a nap while the rest of us played outside in my parents' backyard.  The weather was great and the playground, newly painted albeit a bit dirty from lack of use, was awesome!  We played until it was time for dinner and then sent Andy off to get something he wanted.  The kids LOVED the backyard, but po po said they could only play supervised because there had been recent coyote sitings in Arcadia (my parents' backyard is completely fenced, so we were safe).  My parents also added a covered patio in their backyard, so there was also plenty of shade for a nice respite in a cushioned couch.  It was great, I really do miss the weather in California, and the flat backyard since we live up in the mountains.  They scootered back and forth for what seemed like forever, and then enjoyed the playground as well.  It was nice to just sit back or stroll Cooper if he got anxious, and so great to hang out with my parents and my kids in the backyard.  It gave me the idea that maybe we should just cater Sunday reunion brunch with the rest of the family, especially since the backyard was SO awesome and inviting.

He came home with Malaysian and Hawaiian food.  It was a LOT of food but it was delicious.  The kids went to bed and then I met up with my HS friend, Jenny, and we tried to get Rite Aid ice cream and Half and Half, but both were not available or closed, and we ended up at good old Tapioca Express for some papaya milkshakes and lots of catching up.  I could have stayed up all night talking to her but I realized I had to be an adult and get some rest as Church was at 9 AM the next day.