Monday, June 30, 2008

Vacation Bible School

Last week, we were busy with our summertime ritual known as Vacation Bible School, or VBS. It was run by our church from 8:45 to 12:30, and only the older two went, but still, it took a lot out of us. We all had to wake up early, me especially to get stuff ready. Made me really, really glad we homeschool and don't have to do it everyday. Don't hate me for this but I never use my alarm clock except for VBS week. In the afternoon, it took us about 15 minutes to pick up the kids in their different classes while stopping to chat with other moms, another 15 minutes to make it out of the parking lot (there were 2000+ kids attending), and another 30 minutes to drive home thanks to those signal lights who I think were programmed by teen pranksters (haha, let's see how many times we can get the cars to stop). Suddenly I am very passionate about signal light timing. Anyway, by the time lunch was ready, it was 2:00, which every decent mother knows is way too late.

After cleaning up and sending the little ones to nap, I would pass out on the couch, with the two older kids doing who knows what. They would ask me,"can we draw on the wall?" and I would say,"mmph" which they took to mean as yes. I tried to blog around that time, but I was just so brain dead.

It would have been worse if I had volunteered at VBS like some of the other moms. They had to get there extra early and stay extra late. I did it last year, but the two babies hated being in childcare for that long and cried a lot. Plus, I figured this would be a good way to get some alone time with my younger daughter, which is very rare. Turns out she just fights with her baby brother and rebels with me. Go figure.

VBS was worth it, though. The kids had an absolute blast. They played outdoor games, made crafts, had snacks, listened to Bible stories, learned about missions in other countries, and (this is the best part) sang songs with Jana Alayra. They're still running around singing,"It's so good to know that no matter where I go, you will always be with me, Lord." What's even cuter is that as they do the motions along with the songs, their baby brother joins in and copies them.

We had an extremely good and tiring week. I will continue with pictures, as soon as I figure out how to download and upload them from the website.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Little Girl

Today my youngest daughter turned 4. As usual, I have a lot of mixed feelings that I'm not sure I know how to express. I'm sad that she's growing up (one year makes a big difference at her age), and I'm also proud of the girl she's growing into. It's tough being the third child, squashed in between two rambunctious brothers. For the longest time, she would just follow her older brother and sister, copying whatever they did. Lately, she's come into her own, developing quite the personality. I hope she continues on her own path.

She's already opened quite a few gifts today. Later on, we will go through her baby pictures, telling the story that goes with each picture. I get to relate the pain and joy of her birth, while her daddy will tell her what her favorite baby foods and words were. We'll have cake, ice cream, etc.

I may not be completely pleased that she's growing up, but I'm 100% glad that she's ours.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Heat Wave

What to do when a heat wave hits suddenly? If you live in crazy but wonderful California, you hit the beach (note: the man with the butt crack is not my husband)
Of course, everyone else and their mothers had the same exact idea
Our girl learned the joy of body surfing
And our baby learned the joy of pouring sand on himself
Later on in the day, I talked to my parents who are in Texas. I complained about the weather, then asked them how it was there. My mom replied,"it's over 100 everyday, just like normal." Which is why no one will ever be able to drag me back there.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Following Jesus

I love this quote from Eugene Peterson's The Jesus Way:

"Following Jesus is a unique way of life. It is like nothing else. There is nothing and no one comparable. Following Jesus gets us little or nothing of what we commonly think we need or want or hope for. Following Jesus accomplishes nothing on the world's agenda. Following Jesus takes us right out of this world's assumptions and goals to a place where a lever can be inserted that turns the world upside down and inside out. Following Jesus has everything to do with this world, but almost nothing in common with this world."

Nicely put.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Girls' Day Out

This past weekend, I spent a whole day with girlfriends. It was like stepping into another world: no kids, no husbands, no house, no responsibilities. We had lunch for two hours, then stood around for another half an hour or so saying good-bye. I am amazed that we have so much to say to each other. We hadn't seen each other for a few months, and we did a good job of catching up on everything from our jobs to our clothes and mothers-in-law. We talked about things that annoy us and then we all laughed about them.

After lunch, we went karaoking (is that a verb?). It was my first time ever. Just goes to show, you can have new kinds of fun with old friends, it never gets boring. Now, I can officially rule out dreams of being on American Idol. Actually, I could get on it if I wanted to be like that terrible Vietnamese guy who people liked only out of pity (what was his name?). Not to worry, though, according to my friends, I still have a good shot at my 15 minutes of fame by getting on What's in Her Closet (something like that) or any other makeover show.

You'd think our day would be done after that, but nope, I had dinner had my friend's house, where we looked at her wedding album (made me want to get married again) and some old albums from much younger days. We concluded that we (me at least) had sorry taste in hair and men back then. Hey, wait a minute, my hair looks pretty much the same!

We just talked and talked. Even after 10, which is late for us moms, we were still yakking, although in my defense, I did inject a few "I have to go"s in there. Between the karaoke and all the talking, my voice was done for (the kids would like to say a special thanks here). Thanks to my husband for capably taking care of the kids the whole day - I didn't worry once about them. And thanks to u-no-who (Voldemort?) for putting up with me for the whole day. Next time we have to do it with the guys as well. How else am I supposed to be able to call your hubby on the phone like mine calls you?

So that was my big date. I came home fairly late and went to sleep right away. In hindsight, maybe I shouldn't have gone the day right before Father's Day, because certain preparations got...postponed because I was not here to take care of them. I thought I would be gone only a few hours. Don't know what I was thinking.

The moral of this story is: thank goodness for girlfriends!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Speaking of birthdays...What is your favorite gift-getting style? Do you like to be completely surprised with a gift? Or would you prefer to get something that you've asked for? I've gotten both kinds of gifts, and I love them all.

Before we had kids, we asked God for a baby, a healthy baby. I even secretly prayed for a girl. And for her to be beautiful to shut up all the people who said our "mix" would not be attractive. Man, did God answer those prayers, even the ones I told Him He didn't have to.

He did it again for our second one, a boy.

Our third baby was like someone giving me the exact present that I wanted - except early! We were going to wait until the first two were older before we dared again, but we thought, at least we don't have to flip-flop over that decision anymore.

Then the fourth one came. He was the birthday gift that I'd never even considered... and it wasn't even my birthday! I now understand why people hate surprises. I also understand why people think surprises are the greatest.

That's how good God is. Not only has He gifted me with much, but He's given it to me in a
variety of ways.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Birthday Wish List

My little girl is turning 4 on Wednesday (sniff sniff). People have been asking what she would like for her birthday. That's a tough one. She has hand-me-down clothing and shoes from her older sister, Barbies and other girl toys from her sister, and loads of boy toys from her two brothers. She doesn't really need anymore of these, but what else is there? We also have a ton of books, both our own and from the library.

The things I would love her to have are dance lessons and martial arts lessons (for defense against her older brother), but no one wants to get her something that costly and intangible. Would it be terrible just to set up a fund for her and have people contribute to it? I can see how some people would consider that tacky, but what else do you get a girl who already has everything?

She's obsessed with dog and cat stuff but has been for awhile, so she's got quite a bit of those things. The only things I can think of are these:

lunch box (with cat or dog theme)
backpack (with cat or dog theme)
dog or cat coloring books
Crayola paints that only show up on special paper
swim toys
twin mattress

Okay I hope that helps.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

No More School

Last week was our last week of school for this year. Instead of ending it on a high and fun note with yearbook signings and popsicles, I ended it by losing my temper and yelling at my girl when she couldn't get what I thought was a very basic and easy concept. My daughter excels in a lot of her academics, so I have a high expectation of her to learn everything quickly. When she doesn't, I just can't believe it. I think, she's just not concentrating. Or she's just being lazy. I forget that my little 7 year old has her weaknesses too. She's only almost perfect.

I've learned my lesson, at least until the next time I mess up. Thankfully, my daughter is very forgiving. Also, thankfully we had ice cream, cookies, and chocolate in the house which beats a plain old popsicle any day.

So summer vacation is officially here. Yay! This week we plan to decompress and do nothing. Yay! Then after all that rest I can make the kids do our spring cleaning which is otherwise known as the Big Clothing, Toys, and Garage Stuff Throw-out. After that, we have a busy week of Vacation Bible School at church, followed by more needed decompressing. Yay! Beyond that I have no clue. It's on our agenda for the next family meeting.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Post Cruise Evaluation

I typed this awhile back, then forgot to post it online. Them darn brain cells again.

Overall the cruise was great. Kevin had fun, the kids had fun, the in-laws had fun, and even this homebody had fun. But onto the important details.

I weighed myself today, and miraculously I haven't gained any weight on the cruise. Even more amazing, I've lost weight, about 4 pounds! So I guess the fever and sore throat diet does work, even under extreme circumstances. It's a wonder that someone hasn't packaged and distributed viruses commercially for this very purpose.
Compared to some of those crazy diet methods out there like stapling a stomach and alli diet pills (actual warning: You may feel an urgent need to go to the bathroom. Until you have a sense of any treatment effects, it's probably a smart idea to wear dark pants, and bring a change of clothes with you to work), it's not so far-fetched. Presenting:

The Microbiotic Diet
Lose weight effortlessly
No exercise
No food restrictions
Side effects may include fever, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, coughing, runny nose, stuffy nose, body aches, fatigue, and death.

And don't be getting any crazy ideas, because everything on this blog is copyrighted. I may only have a few brain cells left but the few that's there are brilliant.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Every week I am amazed at church. I go expecting a pretty good service. After all, that is why we chose to go to this church. But every week, it is beyond good. I sing my guts out (you just can't help it), cry for forgiveness, laugh with the pastor, and listen with rapt attention as another message hits bulls-eye. I come out humbled, forgiven, awed with God, aware like I just woke up from a coma, determined to do better, peaceful, and so very rejuvenated.

I try to hold onto these feelings, thoughts, and goals but life inevitably gets in the way. On Monday stress starts to press in (on my eardrums that is, from the kids screaming and crying). On Tuesday, I'm thinking of God less. By Wednesday I've already let myself and Him down many times. By Friday this crazy world has once again sucked me in. By the end of the week, I'm so far off my set path (and yet only vaguely conscious of it), that I need something, Someone huge to recenter me. I'm like the scale you have to zero every so often, otherwise my numbers start to be be skewed. Sometimes my numbers are just a little off, sometimes off the scale. I'm thankful that God finds this worn-out machine worthy of being recalibrated.

That's why I look forward to church. Don't ask me to skip church because I can't. I need to go, for myself and for the sake of everyone around me. There have been times when Kevin and I were mad at each other going into church. Then we listened to songs, prayers, and lessons about love and redemption, God and forgiveness. Before the service ended, we embraced and made up without saying a word. God is powerful, loving, merciful, trustworthy, wise, and strong. His Church reminds me of that every week.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Birthday

Another birthday has come and gone. It was a good one, pretty calm and low-key, like me. Over the weekend my sisters drove down here to celebrate, which is a big deal in LA traffic and today's hectic lifestyle. Then Kevin cooked one of my favorite meals complete with homemade dessert. That man is heaven-sent.

As I get older, I'm more partial to birthdays. It's the only day that's about me, no one else but me. Christmas is about Jesus and the kids, our anniversary is about both me and Kevin, Mother's Day is about my mother and mother-in-law, only my birthday is Pam's Day and no one else's. As a mother who's trained to think of everyone else
(still working on that), I'm holding onto my birthday for myself, even if it means getting wrinkles and losing brain cells.

Besides, I'm thankful for the time that has allowed me to have 4 great kids and 15 years with a heaven-sent man. So I'm another year older, another year happier, hopefully another year wiser. Thank you to everyone who made my birthday - and my life - special.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Family Meeting

The other night we had our first family meeting. To begin with, we designated a wooden flute as our talking stick. Right away, our 5-year old raised his hand.

Here's the stick, what would you like to say?
"I love you Daddy."

Great. Next up...yes, Baby Girl?
"Ummm...hmmm....ahhh...ehhhh...never mind"

Thus went the whole meeting. We covered maybe 5 minutes of what we wanted to talk about. Then we gave up and played Go Fish.