Friday, December 18, 2015

Costco runs

There's something so wonderful about arriving at Costco bright and early and getting your favorite parking space that it warrants its own blog post.

This morning, after dropping Jordan off at school, my two babies and I made our way to Costco, only to be greeted with an almost empty parking lot. It was spectacular. They recently opened the office Costco at our chain location so the entire store opens at 7am! However, news has been slow spreading this update so even at 9:30, we were among the few that were there (10 is the normal opening time).

The three of us strolled leisurely through the warehouse and grabbed what we needed. We even had time to snap photos and walk through all the toy aisles. I think we may have to make Friday morning Costco runs a normal routine. 

Bubba wore his Captain America mask and held his shield the entire time. We got a few weird looks but mostly adoration and praises about how cute bubba was. I think he liked the attention. Dagny kept trying to turn around and see what I had put in the cart. We enjoyed a smoothie and a churro on our way out, and I thought to myself... If all my Costco runs were this simple, I might spend more money so hopefully this isn't always a norm. Hehe 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

When Jordan Grows Up

Dear Jordan,
The other day, I asked you how many kids you were going to have when you grew up.  You said 6, and then asked me where you were going to live.  I told you I hoped nearby so I could see you a lot, and that I hoped your brother Bubba and sister Dagny, also lived close by.  You told me you could live next door.  And then, like an epiphany, you told me you could live in our basement.  And, since we just got a free futon from a neighbor, and you just learned the terminology, "futon," you explained that your kids could all sleep on the new futon.  After I expressed concern over the space issue, you said you could solve it with just having four kids, this way, they'd all fit on the futon.  Problem solved!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Stuck Home All Day Potty Training

It's almost 1 PM and I'm already dying from staying home ALL DAY, intently focused on Bubba and his every move, trying to see when he needs to pee.  So far, he's escaped from me twice, had two accidents, peed once while he was playing on the iPad right in front of me into bball shorts (I think they mimic swim shorts and don't feel quite wet, and at that point, we just went PANTLESS.  He wouldn't go pantless yesterday because he kept asking me for shorts or pants or pull-ups.  Today, he finally gave in (or he's also sick of changing pants everytime he pees in 'em).  So we have had one successful pee in the little potty, and now we're just pantless and waiting for the next pee to come around.

The boys are armed with their ipads, poor Dags has been strapped in her little high chair to hang with us at the dining table and we are all bored to death.  PEE BUBBA!  PEE!

No poop yet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What Sex and the City Taught Me

I love the Sex and the City series.  It is smart, funny, and honest.  But after joining the Church in 2009, I had to make the decision about the stuff I watched on TV, listened to on the radio, and what I wanted to expose myself to.  To the old me, that sounds prude and archaic, but to the new me, it was smart and brave.

I remember when I started dating a fellow who didn't watch rated R movies.  I thought wow, this guy is straight laced.  And then, when he asked me to marry him and we had the tough conversation about whether or not I would also adhere to his no rated R movie promise, I wasn't sure if I could do it.  There are so many great rated R movies out there!  Plus, there are so many PG-13 movies that are even worse than some rated R movies!  But honestly... it actually wasn't even a huge deal until Sex and the City 2 came out.  All my closest girlfriends (my bridesmaids) wanted to see it.  We made plans to go see it.  I thought it'd probably be okay if I went without Andy... right?  But then I felt ... well, not quite right about it.  So I made the tough decision to tell them I didn't want to go.  I felt like I was destroying my friendships with them, abandoning them and what we loved so much before, changing into this newfound religious prude that didn't want to watch the second installment of a movie we so loved and celebrated together.  Andy told me it wouldn't be a big deal.  I felt otherwise.

And then the movie came out.  And it was horrible.  And all my girlfriends told me how awful it was, not even worth wasting the time to see it!  And I thought, well that was lucky.  And with that, I decided to commit to no rated R movies with Andy and see if it really would made a difference in my life.

And then we got a clear play early on in our marriage, and were able to watch a ton of rated R movies we had wanted to, with certain language and scenes edited out of the movies keeping the plots in tact.  It was a bit choppy at times, sometimes it'd skip, and always I would be on the side googling the movie plot to ensure we hadn't missed any important plot logic scenes.  We never missed any.  It was then that for the first time I realized there was a lot of awful language that wasn't necessary to the plot line or character development.  I remember my English teacher from HS saying if you were really smart, you could figure out how to say something without a curse word.  To express the anger or disappointment or frustration with words.  Not bad words though.  For someone who used to say a lot of F bombs for emphasis (and to be funny, or so I thought...), this was quite the epiphany for me.

I still love the Sex and the City series.  If it's playing on E, I find myself watching a few episodes here and there (when my kids aren't around), especially when there are marathons, reminiscing about the times my BFF and I would rent the DVDs from Blockbuster after it was just released and watch it together during college winter break or summer break.  In the beginning, we were in shock and disbelief at the audacity of the series.  We couldn't believe some of the scenes, the nudity, and the "sex!"  But by the time the series ended, we were numb to it.  It was just part of the show.  It was part of the plot and the show was after all about four thirty something on the verge of forty something girls in the city and ... wait for it, sex.

I know that by watching rated R movies unedited, it's doing the same thing for me.  Numbing me in a sense.  Making it so that the crude jokes aren't so crude, the nudity isn't so nude, the violence isn't so violent, and so on and so forth.  I know that each person is different with their ability to be exposed or to endure something.  Just like not everyone will become an alcoholic upon drinking alcohol, or become an addict if they try drugs once, but still... I am grateful for the simple counsel that has inspired our family to stay away from rated R movies.  I am grateful for the new website that allows you to pick and choose what curse words are silenced, the level of nudity and violence, implied or not, because now it seems like keeping myself away from those great films isn't really that big of a deal, and now we can watch all the rated R movies we want with a rating even better than PG-13.  And I am also grateful that my brother, a film major and huge movie nerd, upon hearing I did not watch rated R movies, threw out a few curse words, made fun of me a bit, and then respected my decision and never questioned me about it again.  And that E plays edited episodes of Sex and the City on rerun all the time.

These little tender mercies sent to me from my Heavenly Father help me to understand that it was a good decision, full of blessings that I was not aware of when I decided to try it out.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Monthly Girl Stickers

Free download, for personal use only!  Print on sticker paper and cut out with scissors or a punch (I prefer the punches because you can even get a 2" scallop cut out and it's more uniform than cutting by hand).

This set is pastel.  Stay tuned for other colors.

Click on the below to download the PDF files.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Screams That Were

Today, Dagny was sleeping and the boys were playing together downstairs.  I was upstairs, had put the laundry into the dryer, put all the clean dishes into the cabinets, and was kind of bored.  I ate lunch by myself, and for the first time, in a long time, I felt a bit lonely.  I normally eat lunch while the kids eat, or before they eat, and there's usually a lot of noise around me with them running around or Dagny is sitting in her chair munching on something while I eat.  Other times, I have my phone and can scroll through photos on Instagram or read the news.  Today, my phone was charging in another room, the baby was sleeping, the boys were downstairs... and it was just me.  Me and my thoughts.  Or lack thereof.  No projects.  No magazines.  A pile of mail I refuse to go through until tomorrow.  Nobody to talk to on the phone.  Nobody to talk to in real life.

I realized that the contrast from vacation (we just got back from SD) where there was always someone around (Andy's mom joined us Wednesday, his aunt, and two uncles were all there with us) may have added to the sudden realization of loneliness.  But still it was a bit odd.

All of a sudden, I heard shrieks.  Well, that didn't last long, was my first thought.  As I was about to ask them what happened, and play judge again, Bubba ran right by me.  Then Jordan ran up with a car built of these pieces my brother had gotten them last Christmas.  Jordan told me, "Mom, we made the most amazing car ever!" and then he ran to the living room, where Bubba was waiting for him.  Those shrieks?  Not from fighting, but from pure elated joy.  "Did you build a car with gege?" I asked Bubba.  "Yeah!" he screamed back with excitement.  "We're going to see if it works" Jordan told me, and off he went to the living room where there's enough wood floor for him to test it out.

It's moments like these that make motherhood so priceless.  "Give me five Bubba, what a cool car!" I told him, and he just smiled and smiled and was giddy with anticipation while Jordan moved the car on the floor.  It made me so happy to see them play together, in unison with such harmony.

I hope they always remember the times when they are working together to create something great and having a good time together.  I hope they always remember the fun they have all day every day.  I hope they always are this good with each other.  I know they won't always be, but today was enough to remind me that they do love and adore each other.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Patience and Macarons

This morning, like every morning, I woke up with five people in my bed.  My second always sneaks in around 7 AM to my right, he likes this position so he's the only one on that side and he can grab my hair.  On my left was my youngest, who had been crying for some miserable reason at 5 AM, so I gave her a bottle and she went back to sleep and I was too lazy to return her.  On the left of her was her big brother, who had joined the party latest, so far - he likes sleep the most, but balanced with his disdain for missing out, he begrudgingly woke up, brought his yellow blankie with him, and then told us al that he was going back to sleep.  To the left of him, lay my dear husband.  Yet even without the kiddos taking over our bed, he still is far and away on his side as is the joy of a king sized bed.

I asked my eldest to please take his blanket back to his room as I made our bed.  He told me he would in a bit and then proceeded to do whatever he was doing.  I asked him again, and again, and then again.  All nicely, no screaming, just calm and relaxed.  I finally gave him my look of what the heck are you doing, I am about to lose it, to which he responded, "be patient Mommy, I'm going to take the blanket back soon."

I tried my best not to react, but I was dying on the inside.  I then asked him again to please take the blanket back and that patience was something we reserved for situations not of the present.  "Mommy, I'm praying that you will have more patience"  this after he heard my own personal prayer outloud asking for patience and humility, especially when dealing with my kids.  Funny that he should mention patience though, as much was needed as I plowed through making 250 French macarons (which are sandwiches, so really I made roughly 500 shells but probably only 200 came out nicely, the rest were burn or overcooked, or concave shells of nothing, but I filled 'em all! anyway).

We forget that Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways.  Like how miraculously my eldest had a playdate in the afternoon, or how my youngest slept for 2 hours as I worked away on filling all the macarons, or how my husband's cousin offered to come help me fill the remaining shells after she had gotten off work, or how my MIL was free to come watch the babies while we finished them all.  And then, there was the surprise when my husband came home from the bachelor party (paintballing and Brazilian BBQ) outing that started at 11 AM at 4 PM just in time to take over the kids and get us all ready to grab our car from the shop.  And then, there was us getting lost on our way to a dinner buffet as the kids bugged us about how hungry they were, but then once we were there, the hostess told us if we had arrived 20 minutes earlier (about the length of the time we got lost), we would have waited for huge bus parties to finish.  Well, in my book, that is serendipitous if we can have our kids buckled down driving around lost instead of waiting around (oh the complaining and whining that would have ensued!).

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Memories of Motherhood

As I was lying in bed tonight with my boys, ages 4 and 2, waiting for them to fall asleep... I began to think about memories.  For some reason, one of the vivid memories I have of life living on the Westside in California (near Santa Monica) is not in the apartment or even in the car (where I spent most of my time commuting through LA), but running (which I don't even do often) in the dark on the streets of LA, trying to keep up with my roommate who was a hs and college track star.  I remember it was on the way to darkness and gradually got darker as I was running.   I was focusing on the sidewalks, not wanting to trip over an uneven step, wondering how far I'd have to go before I caught up to her.  I couldn't fathom why anyone would run for fun.  I was miserable.  As my feet hit the sidewalk with each step of pathetic attempt to catch up, I wondered if I'd get lost, get hit by a car, or die of lung failure.

I never ran in the streets again after that night.  Shortly thereafter, I signed up for a gym, and I would continue my pathetic attempt at running for as long as my track star roommate, but it would be in the lighted comfort of a gym that made me feel safe despite the lackluster smells and overcrowded stuffy room.

I often wonder why that is the one memory I have of life on the Westside.  I try to remember what the bathroom looked like, what my bedroom set-up was, what the kitchen layout was, even the living room with our tiny TV.   I don't have a lot of photos from our apartment, a few here and there, but I wish I did so I could remember more.  Then again, it's not a time in my life that I want desperately to recall, but in a way the emptiness I cannot seem to piece together displaces me a bit.

And then, as I think of all the things I want to remember each day, the smells, the sounds, the happiness, the irritation, the bursts of desperation, the moments of genuine joy, I realized I should probably try to record it all again.

I want to remember the random things Bubba started mimicking his brother in bed at night that honestly made me want to slap them both, but also tickled me a bit at how fast they're growing.  I want to remember the sound of Jordan's legs scratching the walls as he tries to stay awake while I'm next to him.  I want to remember Bubba annoyingly grabbing my hair and murmuring "I want your hair" or "let it go hair Mommy?" when he's older and not even giving me hugs willingly.  I want to remember that I swept the kitchen floor (where we eat) about 5 times today and when I walk across the kitchen barefoot (that's how we Asians do it), I still picked up some crumbs - of what, I do not know nor do I want to know.  I want to remember Bubba drumming my hair back and forth with his eyes wide open not even a bit tired as I admitted unwillingly that it may be time to give up that two hour nap that gives me so much free time during the day.  I want to remember Dagny's sweet look of glee when she sees her Daddy come home, how much of an accessory she is on my hip (more than my other two), and how she has for some odd reason, taken a liking for her binkie once again today.  I want to remember the mustache tattoos I put on both boys and then took off with scotch tape and baby oil.  I want to remember having a sink clear of dishes because my sweet mother in law had us over for dinner again (we go about twice or three times a week).  I want to remember how quickly I was able to superwoman calm my son who walked into the bed frame in the dark after he closed the door with just a sweet hug and whisper that I love him.  I want to remember thinking how awesome I was that I cleaned both upstairs bathrooms in half an hour, but then how pathetic I was when I only managed to get ten minutes in on the elliptical before I decided I needed to comfort my happy baby who was awake in the room next door.  I want to remember my husband spending hours dedicated to setting up the projector that he is so excited about getting (both for his birthday and Christmas) as I pondered whether I should get him anything for his birthday that is this Saturday. I want to remember making 100+ macarons for my husband's best friend's wedding this weekend.   I want to remember talking on the phone with my BFF and sending her photos of my straight legged jeans circa 2007 with a thumbs up since flares are coming back in.  I want to remember sending my BFF songs from the throwback hip-hop station I found and jamming to 2Pac and P Diddy on the radio.  I want to remember Bubba picking out his own salmon shorts and a monster t-shirt to wear today.  I want to remember Jordan telling me it was okay that his PJs were still wet (because I put 'em in to wash too late) that he had originally wanted to wear for PJ day at school.  I want to remember that we had frozen pizza and a smoothie for lunch.  I want to remember all these things in my life.  I'm not sure why, but I just want to.  And they seem so mundane as I type them all out, but I still want to.  And so I'm going to start documenting again.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Love What You Do

So often, I hear the world encouraging us to find something we love and to do it.  Do what you love.  Work won't seem so much like work when you love doing it.  But how often is that really truly possible?  Is this lie that the Milennials are perpetuating really truth?  If everyone did what they love, who would do the not so fun stuff?  Or is our world so perfect that we can truly reconcile every single job to someone who would truly love doing it?

My mom made a comment today while we were facetiming with her about how bored I must be.  She can't grasp what I must do all day with three kids in tow.  On the contrary, I am never truly bored.  There is only a rare occasion when there is nothing to be cleaned, organized, cooked, or nowhere to drive to.  I am maybe honestly genuinely bored with my life about once a week when all the chores have been done, all the kids have been fed, and my kids are fed up with running errands or making trips to the park or mall and just want to hang out at home.

I think in many ways, I have found that I am loving what I do.  I am finding ways to be more efficient, noting the time it takes to unload the dishwasher, re-organizing things here and there to make it easier to find, doing one load of laundry a day and feeling accomplished when it gets into the drawers, and teaching my kids to clean up during the day (yes, even if they're just going to take it out again, because isn't that after all, what life is all about?  Doing over and over and improving along the way?).  I am finding so much joy in simple things.  In perfect balancing a meal for my kids at lunch and then sweeping the crumbs and droppings away right after, in making the bed as my kids jump onto the mattress, a minor obstacle now, in packing the right snacks and drinks as we venture off to the mall playground on our own for a break, or in practicing some letters, reading books, or playing together.  And the day goes by quickly, the week even quicker, and then I am at a new week once more.

It's hard to see the big picture sometimes when I'm stuck with poopy diaper after poopy diaper after poopy diaper changes.  It's hard to imagine the mundane things I've managed to find meaning in will mean much in the long run.  Nobody will care that I've fed the kids, changed their diapers, given them baths, or cleaned the house.  But I still find joy in it.  Like I can take a nap whenever I want with the help of the crib and a television/ipad/iphone.  Like I can eat whatever I want for lunch since I'm making it.  Like I can dictate what we eat on a weekly basis because I am meal planning and grocery shopping.  Like I can go to the mall during the day and just roam around aimlessly as I please.  Like I can post some thoughts on the internet as my kids play with the toys right by me at 11 AM on Friday morning.

I think about when I was in audit.  Did I truly love my job then?  Yes, I found joy in copying and pasting, in detailed testing, writing memos, and creating excel spreadsheets.  Of course I didn't truly enjoy that!  But I enjoyed the teamwork, the young people I worked with and the friends I made and the inside jokes we had during the day, while we commiserated over free fancy dinners at our work desks, and continued to work through the night and then met up for happy hour once work was done as if we couldn't get enough of each other.  I loved the perks of the job, the free travel, the free branded stuff, the free weekend community activities, and the experience that was adding to my resume, helping me to catapult myself for something greater in the future.  It was the whole package that I loved.  And it was that experience that prepared me for the multitasking, difficult people, problem solving thing called parenthood that I so entertain these days.

Love what you do.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What We've Been Up To....

After an actual hiatus, I'm back - but not for our family blog.  In my free time, since the year 2004, I have been trying to write a book.  Obviously, nothing has come to fruition as it has been 10+ years now!

But with the recent premier of the Fresh Off The Boat show on ABC, I decided it was time to get my act together before all my ideas get stolen (well not stolen, but you know - we ABC kids have all the same experiences so it's just a matter of who tells their story first!).  Luckily for me, the show centers around a dude's experience of being in America with immigrant parents and my experiences are from a female perspective.

Anyway, in an attempt to get my book finally written, I'm buckling down and getting it done.  Along the way, I created a blog to help with the creative outlet and try to gather some followers along the way.  It might not work, it might just be me telling stories that only I want to read, but oh well.  It's worth a shot.

Follow my new blog: Chinese Mom Say 
Follow me on Twitter: @ChineseMomSay
And leave me a comment!

In terms of an update: We had another kid, a girl this time!  And we have two more years of residency after Andy switched to occupational medicine.  Everything else is pretty much the same.  Oh, and I kinda sorta like Utah now.  Well, I'm enjoying it here.  The weather has also been really tame this winter.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Things Kids Say

Jordan on constipation: My poo poo was being naughty.  He was holding onto my stomach and not letting go.