Thursday, July 31, 2008

Just Another Quake

So how'd everyone do with the earthquake? It was a good one, strong enough so that we all felt it but not so strong that any serious damage was incurred. It was a warning one, just to remind us that we still live near a fault and need to strap our stuff down. I know of certain family members who panicked, but we were just confused and then went right back to watching TV. Here's one time when the hypnotic effects of TV was useful.

This is what I did exactly during the earthquake. I stood up, looked around, and grabbed my baby's hand to drag him over to the kitchen doorway. He, in turn, dug his heels in and screamed no because I had interrupted his play. While I was dragging him and telling the other kids to follow, the quake ended.

So I'm thinking about the next time. For example, we cannot all fit under the table. Also how do I make them stay under the table. I'm not sure about that table anyway because it's pretty old. Stuff to talk about at our next family meeting. Yay, fun.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Growing up

My oldest daughter is not a little girl anymore. I know this because she sat next to me last night watching Phantom of the Opera, as enraptured as I was. The two older boys snored away while the youngest two kids ran circles chasing each other. After it ended, she could not stop thinking and talking about it. She claims it is the best movie she has ever seen.

So she has graduated from one dimensional Disney knight and princess tales to a sophisticated love story with rich characters, emotions, and language. The costumes, singing, and dancing completely enthralled her (and me as well). To go back to her fairy tales will be like seeing a shack after viewing the Guggenheim Museum.

Her sweet and pure heart is still intact, though. Her favorite character was the Phantom, even if he was a murderer and bad guy. His tortured life and ending heartbreak earned her undying sympathy.

We've reached an important milestone here. Mother and daughter can now enjoy and cry at the same things.

Monday, July 28, 2008

To Jerk

Dear Jerk from the movie theater,

You really put a glitch in what was otherwise a lovely movie and time for us the other day. My kids had looked forward to seeing Prince Caspian for ages. We read the book, waited till it finished running in the regular theaters, until finally it was here at the Dollar Theater.

So what if my baby touched your shoulder ever so slightly while he was sitting on my lap? Even after you turned around and saw that it was just a baby, did you have to say so rudely,"tell him not to touch me anymore"? Now normally I am the queen of apologies. My husband has scolded me about how often I apologize over nothing. So lemme tell you, if I thought that little brush was anything, anything at all, I would have apologized. I didn't, because it never entered in my head that it was due. But hey, you got what you wanted, I told the baby not to touch you again. Don't know how much he understood, considering he's a baby and all, but I figured that was your problem.

Then you had to rear your head again to tell shush my kids. Not just regular shushing which I could understand but obnoxiously rude shushing. For your information, no, we do not want to step out and fight. What do we look like: teenagers on steroids or psychos like you?

So here's the deal, Jack. Prince Caspian is a children's story. It's rated PG. If you can't handle being in a theater full of kids and all the disruptions that come with it, you need to wait for the dvd and watch it in your own home. Either that or go to an R flick instead. Or, duh, just move to another seat. Do yourself and everyone else a favor.

My kids weren't even that bad. The baby didn't cry a single time. Did you see the kids throwing the tantrums? Or all the other kids coming and going all the time blocking our view?

Shame on you. Shame on you for behaving the way you did in front of your two young sons. For their sakes at least, you need to seriously go to anger management therapy. Meanwhile, stay out of Kung Fu Panda.

I am Mommy. Hear me roar.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Comfort Books

When things get tough, the tough go to the library. Current books on my shelf:

Feeding Your Child for Lifelong Health
Dr. Susan's Kids-Only Weight Loss Guide
Rescuing the Emotional Lives of Overweight Children: What Our Kids Go Through - and How We Can Help
Cook It Light: Pasta, Rice and Beans
The AD/HD Book
Positive Discipline
The Hearing (a fiction one to relieve me when my brain needs a break)

Thursday, July 24, 2008


My friend who was on hospital bedrest developed some complications and had to undergo a C-section yesterday at 25 weeks (normal pregnancy is 40 weeks). Her baby boy is here, but he weighs just 1 pound and 15 ounces. For now, he's in the NICU hooked up to a breathing machine. All they can do is hope and wait.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When It Rains

Today I took my 4 year old girl to get her speech assessed. We don't know all the results yet, but the assessor told me that she definitely needs speech therapy.

She actually did really well, sat patiently through the whole 2 hours answering questions. If it had been my son, he would have gone crazy after the first half hour. She's had delayed speech for quite awhile now and has actually improved a great deal since Kevin's started working with her on phonics. But apparently not enough.

Since we're going through the school district, it'll be another month before they come up with individual plan for her. After that, she'll go to a special preschool a few times a week depending on her need.

I'm just lucky the baby doesn't have to see a doctor this week. I am never going to schedule a bunch of appointments together like this again. Since Monday, we've learned that Kevin has one cavity, our older son has two cavities and possible behavioral problems, our older daughter is overweight, and our younger daughter needs speech therapy. And it's only Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Doctor Disappointment

I'm walking around the house moping right now. Of course the reason is related to the kids. When everything is well with them, I'm at my happiest. When the littlest thing is wrong with them, I get upset. And right now, I'm depressed.

That's because I took two of the kids to the doctor this morning for their physicals. My son went first and got a battery of shots for kindergarten. I had to hold him down while he tried to kick and hit the nurse. That wasn't so bad. The doctor said he's healthy all-around.

When the doctor came back to examine my daughter, however, he noticed how my son was bouncing off the walls, touching one thing after another, yelling at the top of his voice, and not listening to me. So he suggested another appointment with me, a behavioral appointment which will last an hour long. Uh-oh, said my gut.

The uh-oh feeling continued when he started my daughter's examination, telling me right away that she is overweight, that the whole family needs to attend some nutrition class. He gave me this whole spiel about healthy eating, and I'm thinking, yes I know, we've been trying. We've been careful so that we're not starving the other kids and depriving them too much. We've also been sensitive to not give our girl a hang-up about her eating, but I guess it hasn't worked very well.

We have no choice but to get serious about this problem. This means no more junk food for the whole family, no more letting them get away with eating no veggies, no more listening to well-meaning but ignorant family members, and no more trying to pretend like she doesn't have this issue to deal with.

As for my son, I don't know what to think even. I don't want an ADD diagnosis or the drugs that come along with it. On the other hand, it's a relief to me that it's not just me, that it's a real and official problem. Because I'm tired of hearing, he just needs more attention, love, affection. What the heck do people think he's been getting?

My husband, whom I had to call in my low moment, said that the doctor hasn't really told us anything we don't know. Yes, but now it's official. Now the problems are not just a phase or imagined. They're real.

Friday, July 18, 2008

My Very First Prayers

Dear God,
Help me to grow up good,
and show me the way I should go,

so that I may come at last to heaven

and already feel at home there.

Dear God,
Please hear my prayers

even when I cannot think
of the right words to say.

Dear God,
Are you very grand?

Are you very holy?

Am I allowed to come near?

For I am not at all grand.

I don't really understand holy.
But I feel your love all around me.

By Lois Rock

Some prayers never change.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Yesterday I went to visit a pregnant friend in the hospital who just got put on bedrest. She's showing signs of early labor, something she's had to deal with before. The doctor put her on bedrest in the hospital (because she has a toddler and a teenager at home) for the remaining 3 months of her pregnancy. The first thought that popped in my mind when I heard about this was, I wish that was me.

I can just imagine it: sleeping till I'm sick of sleeping, reading tons of books (trashy stuff!), catching up on TV shows I've missed, surfing nonstop, being served food, and not picking up after anybody. The kids come to visit and give kisses, then they go home for someone else to deal with their messy diapers and temper tantrums. This, mothers, is as close as it gets to heaven on earth.

My friend, however, was not so enthused. She's hooked up to an IV and that annoying contraction-detecting belt that has to be redone every time she shifts positions. She misses her husband and children who can only visit every now and then. And she's worried to death about the baby inside her because if he comes out now, he's not going to make it. Add to that late-night mommy visitors (that's the only time we can get away from the kids) who keep telling her how lucky she is, and I can understand why she might be a tad miserable.

I could read her mind. You are so lucky that you popped out four kids with no major trouble. Or maybe it was just my own subconscious mind. So, okay, hospital bedrest for 3 months may not be heaven. Two weeks would be. Or at the very minimum, one week, definitely.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Stinker

Today is my youngest sister's birthday. You know, the one who is athletic and naturally smart. She who put no effort whatsoever into studying and yet managed to get decent grades. She who surfs, bikes, snowboards, golfs, motorbikes, and scuba dives. She who just got married about 2 months ago. I was a little disappointed that she wouldn't be living with us in her spinsterhood. I had the room all set aside for her and everything.

She's not just my sister though; she's my best bud. Under normal circumstances, she can be a real nuisance with her incessant pessimism and criticism. But during times of crises, she's the first one there and the last one out. She's like beer or sushi: you may not be too crazy about her at first, but with time you love her to death. Hey, Birthday Girl, you know I would love to get you something extravagant (what, I can't imagine) but all you get is this blog post! P.S. Don't forget I was the first to wish you. because this counts!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Books on My Shelf

Parents in Charge: Setting Healthy, Loving Boundaries for You and Your Child - It was pure wishful thinking when I saw the first part of the title.

"Mom, Jason's breathing on me!": the Solution to Sibling Bickering - Great title, not so great content. The author claims that a main point of sibling arguing is the struggle for the parents to take each child's side, so the "solution" is to always stay out of it, never interfere. I had such high hopes for this book.

Learning to Cook - better late than never

WomenHeart's All Heart Family Cookbook - healthy recipes that read great but get laughed at by my husband. For example, using tofu instead of cream in alfredo.

Who's Afraid of Marie Curie?: the Challenges Facing Women in Science and Technology - since both me and the husband majored in science, I figured chances are good that one of my daughters would get into it. Thought I would check out what she would be facing.

Sex & the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America's College Campuses - again, to start preparing for what the kids have to face. Plus it had the "sex" in big letters.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Our Butt Genius

Yesterday, my mother-in-law came over for lunch. Before we started eating, my husband's 5 year old son said a brief prayer - "Dear Jesus, thank you for this food. Amen."

My mother-in-law found it somewhat lacking (not the first time), and appended it. "Thank you Jesus for this beautiful day; thank you Jesus for Nana coming over; thank you Jesus for your love..."

At which point he inserted,"Thank you God for Nana's butt, thank you God that Nana can poopoo out of her butt, thank you God for her butt clothes,..."

Of course I scolded him. As soon as I was able to suppress my laughter.

Later on, my husband responded,"Wow, he's already at the Butt Phase? Eric (my adolescent cousin) didn't hit it until he was 13."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quote of the Week

Conviction that is not undergirded by love makes the possessor of that conviction obnoxious, and the dogma of that conviction repulsive. - Ravi Zacharias.

Fellow Christians would do well to remember this the next time they disrupt a homosexual wedding, march with weapons at the Mexican border, or just talk to anyone about God.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

10 Things

We watched a movie called Because of Winn-Dixie this weekend. I'm not too keen on the "owning-dog-saves-all" theme because I can personally vouch that owning a dog does not solve a single problem but in fact creates many that you never dreamed of. My fear is that my kids will one day believe this oft perpetuated idea and start begging for another dog. In which case I want to leave a note to myself right here: if you're even considering it, slap yourself.

Anyhow, the movie had this part where the dad told his daughter about her mom (who left them when she was young) in 10 short points. Got me thinking what my 10 things would be.

1. I love humor (this was true of the movie mom). I love stupid humor, smart wit, satire, and even sarcasm. My favorite funny people are my husband, dad, and Dave Barry.

2. I can't cook. This was also true of the girl's mother. I believe the dad's words were that she would burn water. I'm not that bad, but I have to admit, everything I make either involves either the microwave or boiling water.

3. I love to read. Can't live without it. I'm good and fast at doing it.

4. I always root for the underdog. Because I've always been one.

5. I'm not at all fashionable. I wear the same few clothes because they're my favorites, and I almost never wear make up. Thank goodness I already have a man, who is not a metrosexual.

6. I hated growing up in Texas. It was hard being rejected during the time when I most needed peer acceptance. I would've done a lot better there if I was Caucasian.

7. I have a lot of moles. That's the first thing you would notice about me, probably.

8. I am the studious one in my family. As opposed to the sister who is the naturally smart and athletic one and my other sister who is the pretty but not so smart one.

9. I think I have a pretty good amount of common sense, which is actually not that common.

10. I love my kids more than anything and would never in a million years leave them.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Before and After

I have a new skill thanks to the kids. Maybe I'll go pro after the kids are grown. I should have enough practice by then. See if you can't tell what it is

Not bad if I say so myself

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Carpool, anyone?

I just paid $4.63 a gallon to fill up our minivan, which came to a grand total of $95.74 for a tank of gas. I know I shouldn't complain because other countries pay double what we pay. If they had increased the price slowly, maybe it wouldn't have been so bad, but the way it just skyrocketed, well, of course everyone is moaning and groaning about it.

According to Kevin's colleague who has a friend who owns an oil well, the increase in price goes almost entirely to profit. This guy says that a barrel of oil costs about $35 to produce, including taxes. Yet it's selling for about $150. And contrary to belief, there is plenty of oil out there. The "shortage" is intentional, because the rarer the commodity, the more expensive it is. This is very similar to the diamond cartel, except that you can avoid the diamond market if you wanted to.

I don't see how the price will decrease. Consumers boycotting and cutting back is not going to help that much. Do the oil people really care if 50 people pay $2 or 20 people pay $5? Either way, they get their money and then some, because most of the 50 people will just continue to pay. We can't cut back that much on oil. It's a basic necessity. And there's no way any sane business man would relinquish so much profit voluntarily .

So it's either the government stepping in to cap the price or we suck it up and pay. I would use the bus, but I'm not sure if I'm ready for a 3 hour ride to the grocery store with 4 little kids. I think the only feasible alternative available to us is to sue the oil companies. There must be someone out there suffering because of these gas prices, perhaps a mom who was assaulted because she refused to chauffeur her teenagers somewhere. Come on, people, speak up and file your claims! What better way to celebrate the 4th of July? It is the American way.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Mother's Load

Do you want to know why I am so consumed by motherhood? Yes, I love the kids and want to raise them up right. But have you noticed how many things could go wrong these days? Not just a little wrong, like oh no, little Billy is going to become a painter, but seriously wrong, like little Billy might get abducted or become a serial killer. Just read the newspaper or watch the news; there's so many worrisome things facing kids. That's why I resolve to do right by them, to do everything in my power (which I now admit is not much) so that they don't suffer and/or become bad people.

Take this book I'm reading now: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen Covey. Here are some information and quotables from this book.

The top disciplinary problems according to public school teachers in 1940 were: talking out of turn, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, cutting in line, dress code infractions, and littering. In 1990, the list was: drug abuse, alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, assault.

"When you raise your children, you're also raising your grandchildren. Patterns tend to persist."

"You have the potential of being the only really solid thing in their lives."

"The role of parents is a unique one, a sacred stewardship in life. Is there really anything that would outweigh the importance of fulfilling that stewardship well?"

"Good faith is absolutely insufficient. Good intentions will never replace bad judgment."

"Today the average child watches 7 hours of television per day. By the end of grade school he's seen over 8000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence. During this time he's spent an average of 5 minutes a day with his father and 20 minutes with his mother."

"This is perhaps the greatest role of parenting. More than directing and telling children what to do, it's helping them connect with their own gifts - particularly conscience." (how in tarnation do I do that?)

"If we don't take charge of [our children], someone or something else will. And that something is a powerful, turbulent, amoral family-unfriendly environment. This is what will shape your family if you do not."

Scared sufficiently? And that's just to the middle of Habit 3. I can hardly wait to see what other tidbits await me.

So why don't you just not read the book, you ask. Because it's got elements of truth, if not all of it. I see these things he talks about with my own eyes, not just through the TV lens. Because it's got great ideas for how to avoid these terrible results (hence the family meetings). Most importantly, because I can't take a risk, not with my children.

Parenthood really does require a proactive mindset (Habit #1). Otherwise, you wake up after 18 years and realize that you wanted to do better by your kids but it's too late. That will not happen with us!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

VBS Pictures

My son and daughter, here with her group, enjoyed one on one bonding with their friends and cool leaders,Games and races,
Awesome worship,
Jana's catchy songs and moves,
And water slides on water day.
Not pictured - crafts, stories, and snacks