Friday, December 4, 2009

The Long Road to Assertiveness

Kid #1 asks me something, Kid #2 responds, "Oh, don't bother, she can't talk." The school labels me as a mute.

All my friends abandon me because a girl claimed that I stole something of hers. I don't deny it even though it's not true.

The first boy ever in my whole life "likes" me. I end up going with him despite him being a total loser.

The first boy ever in my whole life thinks I am pretty (wow, not just because I'm nice). I end up going with him despite him being a loser, though not as big of a loser as the first guy.

I decide that I don't really like him in that way and break it off.

After listening to him from 1 am to 5 am, I decide to give it another try.

Two days later, repeat 1989b.

One day later, repeat 1989c.

Stammered through presentation of research assignment.

Got drunk for the first and only time in my life because "friends" insisted it was the proper way to celebrate my 21st birthday. So-called friend ordered a Long Island iced tea. I subsequently slept through dinner.

After seeing us hang out together, Loser #2 warns the husband to stay away from me because I don't know my own mind.

First day as graduate teaching assistant. After my first class, a girl comes up to me and tells me in front of the whole class that "I am the worst teacher ever." Another girl feels sorry for me and says I was not that bad.

Was coerced to drink again by fellow graduate students. I did pick my own drink at least, after giving the bartender the third degree about which drink to order. Finally I ordered a fruity concoction which turned out to be nasty.

Presented thesis without embarrassing myself completely.

Frequently sent high schoolers to principal's office while substitute teaching because they so enjoyed torturing me. Towards the end of my subbing career, I would just bring a tape of Shawshank Redemption and make them watch it, not matter what subject I subbed.

Started attending a bible study with a conspiracy nut and an ex-stoner. Guess who offered the best answers to the pastor's questions.

Had 4 children. Started yelling nonstop a lot.

November 2009:
Reprimanded a student for his lame drawing of a flower. I told him: my 5 year old could do better than this (it was really that bad). He sputtered,"But that wasn't my part! My lab partner drew that, and I got it from him!"

I replied,"What, you got no brains of your own? If your partner had drawn a booger for a flower, would you have copied that?"

Yes, the road has been long but it's been worth it.

Monday, November 30, 2009


It's been so long, I don't even know where to start. I guess a quick update is as good of a place as any.
  • My son started off public school really well. And by really well, I mean that he was only a shell of himself, with an alien on the inside. An obedient, quiet, and calm alien that all schools and teachers love. Not to fear - through willpower (he always did have more than enough), my son defeated his inner alien and reverted back to his rambunctious self. Which is why he had a few detentions lately. But that's another story, a looooong story that I'd just as soon forget.
  • I am My older daughter is loving all the quiet at home now. She wakes up late everyday, does her school work, plays with her baby brother whenever he jumps on her, helps out around the house, and spends the rest of the afternoon reading on her bed. I love having her at home. We have the best conversations, about everything from why plants can't move to what envy is and how it is the downfall of every woman. Just this week, I told her a simple truth: Girls are a lot smarter about feelings than boys are. She understood completely and nodded in agreement.
  • My younger daughter is doing great in kindergarten. She reads, writes, and listens very quietly at school, and then comes home to let it all loose. Walking her to school everyday is a treat. Unlike her brother, she insists I hold her hand the whole way, and not just limply. I have to squeeze her hand the entire way. When we reach home, she takes all her schoolwork out of her backpack right away and shows off what she's done. She loves to be held still, and between her and her baby brother, the husband's and my arms are almost always full.
  • My baby boy turned 3 last month. I don't have the words to say anything else about it. Bittersweet and nostalgic doesn't begin to cover it. For a whole week, everyone walked around saying, "I can't believe he's already 3!" His older sister would deny, "He is not growing up!" and showered him with so many kisses that he screamed at the sight of her approach. To hear him giggle is joy for all of us. Despite our constant spoiling, he remains a sweet kid who apologizes and shares his toys readily.
  • The husband is still the best husband and father in the world.
  • I am still blessed beyond belief.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Our Halloween

The kindergarteners on their trick-or-treating fieldtrip. Because the school knows there's nothing cuter than a bunch of kindergarteners.
The princess holding up her underwear which kept sliding down.
The brave dad who let his daughter paper mache his face to make a mask.
The other princess.
The superhero who ran around scaring the princesses and ended up breaking a nail.
The baby monkey who had to be carried from door to door.
The reason why many of the houses ran out of candy.
The loot. There are 5 more bags just like this. Candy, anyone?
The birthday girl with her nieces.
Hope your Halloween was as sweet as ours.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A New Beginning

First off, I apologize. I'm so very sorry for dropping off cyberspace suddenly without a word. I realize that my dear readers, all three of you, wondered if I perhaps died. Not quite but I'm sorry if I caused anyone to worry.

At this point, I have to physically force myself to quit apologizing, because otherwise the husband will ask,"why do you keep apologizing?" He is very sensitive about me apologizing, ever since he saw some news report about how women are too nice and apologize over nothing, whereas men are abrupt, rude, and never admit when they're wrong.

The only time when he doesn't come down on me apologizing too much is when I'm apologizing to him.

Also, I'm not supposed to say,"I'm sorry" when apologizing because it carries the connotation that I'm admitting more than what I did wrong. As in, "I'm a sorry excuse for a human."

The reason I have been MIA is because I started homeschooling my son. I had expected it to be hard, had tried to prepare for it, had prayed about it, and still, I was blown away at the challenges I faced daily.

My son loved and hated homeschooling. He hated the schooling part, but he enjoyed all the free playing time with his toys. I loved and hated it, too. We struggled everyday with one thing or another. These daily battles took so much out of me that at the end of the day, after schooling my older daughter, driving the kids from lessons to practices (on time), preparing for and going to work, researching different ideas to engage my son for the next day, and coming up with ideas for dinner, nothing remained of me except carnage. Most certainly I did not have enough to put two sentences together on a blog. I considered putting up one sentence, "kids are driving me nuts, don't have mental capacity to blog anymore" but was afraid that would really get someone to sic a government agency on me.
Who, me? What'd I do?

Last week, we put our son back in public school. It was an agonizing decision, especially for someone who is as wishy-washy as me, but
God is unbelievably good. He not only gave my son the most incredible teacher, but also gave him lots of friends. He has friends from last year, from soccer, church, and Boy Scouts. God has surrounded him with good people. As an extra bonus, I get to communion daily with the wonderful moms in our neighborhood.
First day of school shot, 1.5 months late

Best of all, I'm back, Baby!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

First Day of Kindergarten

Last week, my baby girl started school. For the first time ever. In her entire life.
Sure, she went to speech therapy all last year. But those sessions were only 45 minutes each, and the therapist had to pry her off my leg almost every time.
She's also been to Vacation Bible School twice, which is a week-long half a day program. The first time, she cried so badly when she glimpsed me walking by that her teacher told me never to walk by her class again. Her second time at VBS, I was her group leader.
And okay, she does go to Sunday School for 90 minutes every week. Even so, a few weeks ago, her Sunday School teacher had to come fetch me because she wouldn't quit crying. Luckily, her big brother is in the same class as her, so he's been assigned to stay by her at all times.

It was the only time that she actually wanted to stick with her brother.

I was afraid that she would have a hard time letting go on her first day. Instead, it was me left standing there all teary-eyed.

What in the world? I had sent two other kids off to school with nary a tear. Why was this time different?

And no, it was not my emotional time of the month, as the husband puts it.
Mommy, I had fun at school today! I colored and cut out an apple by myself! I talked to my teacher, too. I'm a big girl now!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hail Patriot Day

Early this morning, my boy and his troop went to raise the flag at our neighborhood school.
That's one of the best things I like about the Boy Scouts of America, that they teach patriotism and love of country. As opposed to the fundraising, which I despise. I also adore their uniforms.
My boy was not even born when 9-11 happened. But he and his troop are the hope that sprang from it's ashes. We will not forget.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

First Day of Homeschool

Here's how it went. The kids woke up at 10 am. An hour later, my oldest was sitting nicely at the table doing her math worksheets. My son was upside down on the couch chanting,"I don't wanna do homeschool, I don't wanna do homeschool..."

I actually caved in and gave him the choice of going back to public school or homeschooling. Just tell me, which one do you want to do?

None of them.

Good to know it's not just me.

So I had do school his way. He chose a book to read to me. He chose when to end math. As I read about nomads in ancient history, he walked around like a caveman devouring the toy food set. When he "depleted" all the food, he dumped the food somewhere else and devoured it all over again.

As we talked about amphibians and the life cycle of a frog, he leap-frogged and ribbetted around the living room.

Instead of writing a story in his journal, he ended writing all the titles of his favorite cartoons. They include Ice Age 1, Ice Age 2, Ice Age 3,
Madagascar 1, Madagascar 2, Spiderman, Transformers, just to name a few. Then he drew pictures from each cartoon. He spent a good long time working on it.

He really enjoyed spelling time, only because he loved making up crazy sentences with each word. Such as, the baby made poopoo on the rug.

I spent less than an hour doing one-on-one with my daughter. The rest of the day was devoted to my boy. Finally, I had to get ready for work (the first day of which naturally has to fall on the first day of homeschool) and called it quits.

To my surprise and eventual annoyance, my boy kept coming around and asking,"Can we do more?" When the husband came home and asked how everything went, my son replied,"Homeschool was fun! I liked homeschool."

Yeah, I'll bet he did.

Meanwhile, I'm working on a puppet show about nouns and verbs. Will someone please shoot me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Summer I Hardly Knew Ye

Summer is over. I figured it out last night as I was busy cleaning out a year's worth of paper crap in our file. You know, the file that supposedly has all the report cards, school notices, and let's not forget the bane of homeschooling - records and logs. People see the nice flat surface of the file, which is the only clean flat area in the room besides the floor, and just start piling stuff on it. Then they pile more stuff on it. It's like a black hole in our house.

Who am I kidding - every cabinet, closet, and shelf is a black hole in our house.

In the process of cleaning the file out, I found a 7 inch stack of unopened mail (so that's where our bills went!), a rebate check that we've been scouring for, 3 library books that were due a month ago, and a partridge in a pear tree.

I've put off the cleaning for the whole summer, just like I've put off everything else over the summer, but since school for the older two officially starts on Monday, I gave myself the "4 children with no epidural" pep talk and dove in. It's actually pretty good for a chronic procrastinator like me to start a whole 4 days before the deadline. Anal-retentive about cleaning and organization, I ain't. In our household, that would amount to insanity:
doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Next on my organizing list is the bookshelf. You know, the bookshelf that supposedly has the kids' school books lined up nice and neatly so that they can just grab the right one and get to work themselves while I'm wiping the baby's poo off the floor. Except right now it's a big mess. We're using a swim floatie and baby powder as bookends. I'd love to post a picture of it, but unfortunately I can't find my camera. The last place I saw it was on the bookshelf.

When summer first started, I thought, yay, I finally have time to do all the things I need to do and had been putting off. Among the items on the list was revamping this blog. You can see how that went. I was very happy, however, to scratch off "drag all children to the swimming pool daily." Almost off the list is potty-training my youngest, which is otherwise known as "letting your child pee and poo all over himself and the carpet until the neighbors can smell it." Who wants to come over?

Only 4 more days till the end of summer. Who cares if it doesn't technically end until September 22. For all intents and purposes, it's gone. Sigh.

Note: It is 5 days later. School has begun. The bookshelf looks the same.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Life in Song

Six o'clock already
I was just in the middle of a dream
I was kissin' Valentino
By a crystal blue Italian stream

Back to life, back to reality
Back to life, back to reality
Back to life, back to reality
Back to the here and now yeah

We've got to hold on to what we've got
'Cause it doesn't make a difference
If we make it or not
We've got each other and that's a lot
For love - we'll give it a shot

I refuse to believe that we're only here to live and die
In the futile days of a faithless haze
Never asking why, why would I
When I've felt the hand of eternity
Its a legacy I will leave, I want to leave
For the children of the world
Every single little boy and girl
Heaven plants a special seed
And we must have faith for these

I will get down on my knees and I will pray
I will get down on my knees and I will pray
I will get down on my knees and I will pray

And I ran

I ran so far away
I just ran
I ran all night and day (actually I hate to run but I love this song)

I hear babies cry
I watch them grow
They'll learn much more
Than I'll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Is anybody out there
Does anybody care
Oh, I just gotta know
If you're really there and you really care

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Lazy

Ahem, is this thing still on? Feels like it's been ages since I've had a coherent thought.

Swimming ended about two weeks ago, and along with that, my drive to wake up in the morning. For the first time in maybe 3 years, we had nothing on our schedules. No school, no soccer, no swimming, no music, no agenda.

It was such a shock to our systems after running around for so long that we did what anyone in our situation would naturally do. We lolled about the house for about a week. Actually, we're still lolling, except I have to periodically dash to the toilet with my baby and hold his weewee down so that it doesn't spray in my face.

I only started the potty training so that I could declare to the husband that I was doing something useful during the day. Besides reading fiction books and catching up on my Hulu shows, I mean. Lucky for me, potty training is just about the only activity that requires us to stay home consistently.

Pretty soon, though, it'll be back to our usual craziness. School's about to start for the two oldest. We've decided to homeschool both of them and see how it works out. Which means I have to get curriculum plans all done. Which means I have to buy the curriculum. I guess I should decide on the curricula soon. Just thinking about it makes me want to take a nap.

Will you look at the time? It just so happens to be naptime!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Before and After


My younger daughter has always had short hair. Her hair is thin and fine, so any untrimmed growth appears scraggly. At least, that is what my mother-in-law says. Any time my daughter's hair has grown out just a little bit, there my MIL was with the scissors.

We would drop my daughter off to be babysat, and when we picked her up, her hair would be hacked off. It got to the point where the husband would warn his mother not to cut our girl's hair while we were gone. The problem was, after a few months, we would naively think that my MIL actually didn't need this warning anymore. Big mistake.

Notice her bangs, courtesy of her grandmother.
That's okay, it's just hair, right? And hair grows back. It grows and grows and...
Bam! It gets chopped off again.
Uh-oh, she's starting to look like a girl.

This week, my mother-in-law did it again.

I wouldn't have minded the haircut so much, except that it was very crooked. Did I say crooked? Actually, I meant TOTALLY, UTTERLY BUTCHERED. One side was about 2 inches shorter than the other side, and long strands that were missed by my MIL dangled everywhere.

It was so bad that I couldn't bring myself to take a picture. I didn't want to traumatize my poor girl when she grows up. I didn't want her to say, what in the world did you guys do to me?

It was so bad that I didn't dare fix her hair out myself. I paid for a professional to do it. Not just any professional, but the most expensive one that specializes in children's hair. It was the first time any of our kids have ever been to a children's barber. That's how hacked off my daughter's hair was.

The hairstylist was worth it, though. She took a complete monstrosity and turned it into something cute.

Plus, the hairstylist gave my girl a luxurious shampoo. Luxurious in this case to mean in which no water or shampoo ends up in one's eyes. She also put flowers all over my girl's hair. And allowed everyone to play with their vast collection of toys.

So now my other kids are begging their grandmother to cut their hair.

In the case that a certain someone reads this and gets the wrong idea, let me just say that I absolutely love and adore my mother-in-law. She may cut the children's hair badly horrifically, but she takes excellent care of the rest of their bodies.

Still, the husband will be removing all scissors from her house and inscribing a plaque for her birthday that says Do Not Touch the Children's Hair.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Different Take

My turn, my turn! I do, I do!

When Mommy and Daddy were running around the house throwing stuff all over the place, I had no idea that they were busy packing and loading up the car, and that I would have to sit in the carseat or stroller for a whole week. Good thing I don't like to walk on my own much anyway.

The drive was kind of fun. I got to kick the dvd player and eat a lot of junk food (yummy chicken nuggets) that Mommy normally does not give me. Plus I got to tear up napkins and throw them all over the car. Mommy was usually asleep, and Daddy was too busy driving to notice. We sang songs, looked at the clouds (I saw a dinosaur!), and played games. I won every single one, too, as soon as I started crying.

The hotels were fun, too. We got to watch cartoons that we normally don't and jump all over the bed. I got the large bed with Mommy and Daddy every time. After all, that's how it is at home.

Everything was great until I got sick.
I was really mad that I got sick.
It was Mommy and Daddy's fault.
And also my sisters' and brother's fault.
I didn't feel like doing anything after that.
I didn't want to even leave the hotel in the morning.
I just wanted to lie down all day. The porch was a nice spot for that.
No way did was I going to smile for the camera.
Well, maybe just one teeny one. For Mommy and Daddy, because they were so understanding and gave me whatever I wanted. But only one.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Home Sweet Home

After the Grand Canyon, we drove straight home. But first we stopped in hell for dinner.This was in Needles, CA, the first city in CA on highway 40, which is the old Route 66. For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would choose to live here. Unless they're in the air-conditioning business.

We sweated through dinner, as it was a balmy 90 degrees inside the restaurant. The air-conditioner was working, it had just reached its maximum cool down threshold.

Are we there yet? We're hot and hungry and thirsty and tired and bored and cold.

The rest of the drive was forgettable. We were so glad to be home. I almost kissed our carpet. Home, with all of its stained carpets and broken closet doors, never looked so good.

It took me a few days to unpack and clear everything out of the car. Actually, I'm still working on it. Just a few more loads of laundry, and I should be done.

Who am I kidding, the laundry is never done.

What a trip. It was...intense. The long drive, our suffering from our colds, the beauty of every single state we drove through except for Nevada, the 24/7 time we spent together in close was all intense.

Is intense good? I'm still figuring that out. But first I have to do another load of laundry.