Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Snippets

I know I've been MIA lately. I'm on pseudo spring break at work, just off from one school. While we can't physically go on vacation because the kids are still in school, my brain has already taken off. Hence this post.

1. The girls had another awesome game on Saturday. My daughter let in one goal as goalie but blocked a couple of crucial plays as defense. She took a big ball to her stomach and stepped in without hesitation during her quarter off when her coach needed her to. So proud of her.

2. There is something wrong with the fact that my younger daughter can wear her underwear sideways...and it still fits decently. What does it say when her waist is the same size as her thigh?

3. My crazy son got another award at school, for being quiet in the library. What is this world coming to? Not only that, but he got all but one perfect mark on his report card. I swear we are not those kind of parents. He just enjoys reading.

4. For my friend's recent birthday, I gave her a book that I really wanted for myself but was too cheap to get. Turns out she just bought the book herself and had started reading it, so she gave me hers (my gift was an autographed copy). Now we're going through it together. Cool how that worked out.

That's all the snippets in my brain. Sad, I know. Yet somehow I have to muster enough brain power to teach about protein synthesis later. Oh yay.



Friday, March 27, 2009

16 Years and Counting

The husband and I celebrated our anniversary this week. 16 years of being together, 12 of those years in marriage. Dang that is a long time. I'm happy to say, we are way better now than when we first got married. That's because we were stupid and immature before. Luckily, marriage followed by parenthood has matured us. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for marriage, but believe me, I'm glad I no longer have to dress up and wear makeup just to impress someone. Not that I ever did.

To celebrate our anniversary evening, I went to work. The husband cooked, fed, and bathed the kids. Yippee. I bought him a chocolate ganache cake because he loves chocolate. He came home early from work to spend some time with me and washed the dinner dishes so that I wouldn't have to stay up after work doing them.

It doesn't sound like much but with four little ones and two clashing work schedules, it was all we could manage. We may do something later, unless we forget or life gets busy, in which case we won't. Anyway, after 16 years, I've learned it's the little things that mean the most. And yes, I have experienced big things.

I mentioned this last year, but I think it again. By society's standards, we started off with nothing: no money, no job, no home of our own. We had our meaningless college degrees (eg. Bachelors in Biology), two supportive families, and most importantly, the love of God. Now, together, we have everything.

Except for the digital SLR camera and laptop.



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Not About Me For Once

I saw these questions over at a-nut-in-a-nutshell.blogspot.com and just had to steal it. It is all about my mom. She definitely deserves the spotlight.

1. What is something your mom always says?
The word eat. As in "what do you want to eat" or "did you eat" or "do you want something to eat" or "what do you want me to make you to eat."

2. What makes your mom happy?
Connecting with her family. Not just us but her brothers and in-laws too.

3. What makes your mom sad?
When my dad is inconsiderate of her. Also when her daughter (not me) goes on vacation with the mother-in-law instead of her.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
By doing off-the-wall and unexpected things. For example, using a piece of pvc tubing to whack herself on the back (it's her massager). And also when she goes into a jealous tirade over my dad's ex from eons ago. Watching my dad sputter is hilarious.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
She claims she was rebellious. Her mother, my grandmother, was the most old-fashioned and out of touch person, so anyone would have been considered rebellious coming from that household. She was (and still is) very pretty and spoiled early on but then became the responsible one after her older sister passed away.

6. How old is your mom?
She would kill me.

7. How tall is your mom?
5'4"

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Talk on the phone, go to her senior dance class, watch the news, read the newspaper.

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Hang out with her friends, go to her senior community functions, drag my dad to the health club, cook a week's worth of food for us, hem all of our clothing.

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Either for her vast knowledge of the news or her sukoku skills.

11. What is your mom really good at?
Guilt trips, sudoku, cooking.

12. What is your mom not really good at?
Saying no to a request for help, driving.

13. What does your mom do for a job?
It's a hard one - my dad's caretaker.

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
Sticky rice cake, fish eyeballs, crab, anything with red bean.

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
Her determination to have a healthy, independent life outside of her kids. This is hard for her because she's kinda codependent.

16. What do you and your mom do together?
Eat and talk.

17. How are you and your mom the same?
We love to read the newspaper. And we both have kids. Not to mention 50% of the same DNA.

18. How are you and your mom different?
She likes dealing with financial numbers, and I hate it. She loves to go out and stay busy, but I'm a total homebody.

19. How do you know your mom loves you?
What kind of dumb question is this?

20. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
The mall.

I'm very lucky to have had her as my mom. I only hope to be as good of a mom as she is!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Terrible Two's

Yes, it has hit our household. Again. I was really really hoping that one child would bypass this stage. Just one out of four, is that too much to ask? Apparently so. I know it's his way of expressing independence and growing into his own, but does it have to be so difficult? And loud?

All of a sudden, he's throwing himself on the ground at the mere suggestion of changing his diaper or sitting in his high chair. Heaven forbid we should try and put on his socks. Thankfully he still has a few moments of his old self where he wraps his arms around me and says,"I wuv you so much." Usually right after he has a blow out tantrum.

Please, don't let his terrible two's be like his brother's, who went through the mother of all terrible two's.

One week down, one year and 51 weeks to go. Till then, these memories will have to keep me from giving him away.


videolll

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Soccer Rundown 1504

Another weekend has passed, and you know what that means. Another exciting soccer game for us, although not so much for the opposing team. Usually our girls are just warming up the first half and don't do that great. Then during the second half they kick into high gear, making goal after goal. If they haven't allowed too many goals during the first half, then we win. Otherwise we run out of time and the other team wins.

I explain all this because during this last game, one of our girls scored a goal in the first quarter. And she had never scored a goal before, ever, in the 2 years that she's been playing. In the second quarter, another girl scored a goal for the first time ever. Her mom cried. For the first time during halftime, we were not behind. What a great feeling.

At the beginning of the third quarter, we got 3 more goals. The other team made a few good attempts but luckily, or unluckily as it turned out, our best goalie was defending. At this point (5-0), our coach knew that we were going to win and didn't want to score anymore, so he sent my daughter, who usually plays defense because she dislikes too much running, to the offense. In fact, he held back all our good runners and told them they could not cross the midline.

It was just my daughter and another defense girl playing offense. They took the ball close to the goal, my daughter kicked it, and IT WENT IN! She was thrilled and so was I. It was her first official goal! She had sort of resigned herself to never making a goal, because she always chooses defense. I was especially happy because the first thing she did afterward was run over to me for a big hug. Our poor coach was torn. He was happy for my daughter but felt bad for the other team.

Because the majority of our team was in defense, the other team had a hard time scoring. It was hard to rein in our girls (they just see the ball and GO), so we scored a couple more times. Finally, our coach had to take out players, but it was too late. The final score was 9-0. I hope the other team just had a bad day, that they're usually better.

My daughter stayed excited for the rest of the day. On the way home, she asked me not tell her dad, who had to stay behind while the babies slept in. She wanted to surprise him and relive the excitement with him. She also told me that she's considering playing offense now.

Of course we adults now look dubiously on their goals, thinking these first-time goals aren't really that special considering what they were up against. The girls, however, haven't stopped reveling in their own accomplishments. I can't help but think it is better to be a kid sometimes.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Name That Tune

Feel free to listen to it all day long. Because I have to.


video

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yet More Proof that I've Lost My Brain Cells

Ever since we got that truancy letter from my son's school, I've been very careful to wake him extra early so that we don't wind up late. I tickle him, bribe him, threaten to take him in his pajamas, and sometimes literally drag him out of his top bunk.

Digression Warning: This reminds me of my high school days when I had to wake up my sisters and drive them to school. It took much yelling and shaking to get my youngest sister up. We started off every single day fighting and mad at each other, then when I picked her up, it was like nothing happened. Except it would happen again the next morning. Good ole days.

Anyway, so this morning I went through the usual song and dance with my son. We finally left the house right when school's supposed to start, which I thought would be all right since the teachers always bring the kids in a little late (can't say I blame them). But when we got there, no kids, parents, or even cars pulling away could be seen. Uh-oh, this meant we were really late. We rushed to the front office to get a late slip, then hurried to class.

As soon as my son looked inside his class, he knew something was wrong and came back out. I'm thinking, what is his problem, and dragged him into the class. Another kid was telling my son, it's okay, even if it's not your time yet, it's okay. I'm wondering what the kid is talking about. That's when the teacher came over and told me that I was early, that his late kindergarten doesn't start for another hour.

The class looked at me like I'd lost my mind. And I had. So we're off to an auspicious start to the day. I wonder what else the day will bring. I think I'm going to pray now.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Our So-Called Date Night

Last night I went with the husband to a bible study on family life. It's the first time I've been able to go with him since September because I usually work during that time, but this week I'm on spring break. They should really really extend spring break.

Anyway, the topic was handling conflicts in your marriage, like how to fight, and more importantly how not to. It was great hearing other people's perspectives, but the best part was when the husband and I had to answer some questions privately. I hadn't realized how much I've missed that alone time with him. These days, he comes home from work, and I go off to work. I get home, and it's bedtime.

We still communicate throughout the day. We talk over the phone, we have a few nights a week together, and we do stay up after bedtime sometimes. Still, it's nowhere near like how we used to curl up together and forget about time. It was great not talking about what's for dinner or what the grocery list is for once.

Not that we talked about conflict resolution either. Because after all these years, we have our own way of dealing with arguments, eg. call my sister and have her scold the husband (her response: again?). It may not be the best, but it's not that bad, and it works for us. Besides, there are just too many rules to follow. My brain can't handle remembering more rules.

In other news, my son got an award at school yesterday for cooperation, responsibility, and respect. Really, this is just too much. I think his body is being overtaken by aliens. But only while he's in school.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Scary But True

Yesterday I did my bimonthly volunteer stint in my son's kindergarten class. Once again, I was in charge of the students completing a phonics worksheet. And once again, I have renewed respect for teachers. I walked away from school in shock. Because I see now that the teacher wasn't kidding when she raved about my son being well-behaved and doing his work well. I never thought I would be saying this, but he is one of the best students of his class.

That just shows how unruly the rest of the class is. Anyone who has spent any amount of time around my son knows he is no angel, that he is what they call "strong-willed." Out of all my kids, he is the one who requires the most attention. Imagine my surprise yesterday when he completed all his work without any help, nagging, or scolding, then went off to play quietly on his own with another kid.

Whereas I had to finally separate these other 4 boys because they were goofing off so much (pretend fighting or maybe real fighting). One boy wanted me to help him answer every blank and another kid would not sit still to do his work. I later found out he can't write very well so of course he didn't want to do his assignment.

Then these two girls got into a little tiff, and Jennifer finally apologized to Kayla but Kayla refused to accept Jennifer's apology so Jennifer got mad all over again and spat on Kayla, whereupon Kayla started crying. Jennifer explained to the teacher that "I get mad a lot because I have a lot of problems, " but the teacher gave Jennifer a time-out anyway so Jennifer started wailing too. Just another fun day at school.

I'm confused now. I may have readjust my entire thinking about my son. Except that when he comes home, he is nowhere near like how he is in school. Homeschooling 2: Public School 2.


Monday, March 16, 2009

A Collective Groan Goes Up

It begins again. The return of the soccer blog.



Thursday, March 12, 2009

More About Me, Me, Me

My sister told me that my posts are a little lackluster lately. This is the same woman who sent an email to the whole family saying that she's going to starve to death just because my mother is going to Texas for two months. But she does have a point. My life seems a little boring lately. Of course boring is good compared to my friend whose daughter fell off the second story landing and broke both her wrists.

I only have so much spark to go around, and I have to save a good chunk of it for teaching. There's nothing worse than having a zombie go on and on about osmosis. Still, that leaves a dull mom for the kids. What I need is another conference to go to. Until then, welcome to the real me.

Thank goodness for Facebook questionnaires. Here's another one to fill in the big hole that is my life.

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? No, but I wish I was 'cuz I hate my name
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
During the last Motherhood conference
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
It's not bad
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Pastrami
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
Ha!
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Depends on what type of person you are
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM?
If you think I'm bad, you should meet the husband
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? What kind of question is that? Yes though
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
No I have nothing to prove
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Frosted Flakes
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Only the ones that have laces
12. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Strawberry, pistachio, jamoca
13. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Their height and overall style
14. RED OR PINK?
pink surprisingly
15. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
Indecisiveness
16. WHO DO YOU MISS?
Friends who live far away or whom I haven't talked to in awhile
17. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Navy sweats and black slippers
18. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
The sweet sound of silence
19. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Sky Blue
20. FAVORITE SMELLS?
My baby's stinky feet, anything baking
21. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
The husband reporting for his morning check-in
22. DO YOU KNOW THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?
Duh, of course, how else could he have sent it to me. Some of these questions...
23. WHAT SPORTS DO YOU LIKE TO WATCH?
My daughter's soccer games
24. HAIR COLOR?
Black
25. EYE COLOR? Brown
26. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
Not anymore. I had Lasik, best $1500 I ever spent
27. FAVORITE FOOD?
Ice cream, sushi, water spinach, fried okra
28. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Definitely not scary movies. Happy endings only
29. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
The Dark Knight
30. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
Gray
31. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Summer, that's why I'm in California
32. HUGS OR KISSES?
Both, especially from the husband and kids
33. FAVORITE DESSERT?
Tiramisu, cheesecake, strawberry pie, ice cream
34. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
Saving Darwin - it puts me to sleep every night
35 WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
We don't have a mouse pad
36. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT?
Nothing
37. FAVORITE SOUNDS?
The kids' laughter, applause, beautiful music
38. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
Neither but if I had to choose, Beatles
39. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
South Africa
40. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
None whatsoever.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reason 2478 Why We Love California

The San Diego Wild Animal Park
Sad that the cheetahs are so inbred that none of them show any immune reaction to skin grafts
The best seat in the park


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Son the Truant Scholar

Earlier this week, my son's kindergarten teacher flagged me down after school. I thought, uh oh. Much to my amazement, she raved about what a great student he is, how well he listens, reads, and does his work. I looked at her suspiciously, like she had some ulterior motive for telling me this, then asked her,"Are you sure you're talking about the right kid?"

After all, she is still relatively new. She's the long-term sub since his real teacher just had a baby and is taking the rest of the year off. The sub either really means what she said about my son or can't admit that she got the wrong kid. In any case, I'll take it!

I also got a letter in the mail saying that my son is a truant for being absent and tardy so frequently. The letter threatened to prosecute us if it continued, which I thought was really funny considering I'm already thinking of homeschooling him. If I can't get him to school on time at 10 am, what chance do I have next year when school starts at 8 am? So far, it's Homeschooling 2: Public School 1 (the big 1 for him being out of my hair).


Monday, March 9, 2009

The Secret to Your Child's Success

I usually don't quote passages straight out of books, but this one touched me.

"More than anything else, it is love that separates those who thrive in life from those who do not. Love is the main ingredient of the recipe that makes for happy adults. So revel in your love for your child. Enjoy your child. Spend as much time together as you can. Have fun with each other. Work problems out, whatever they might be, knowing that in the long run love will carry the day. This can be difficult, but if you commit yourself to doing it, you will be carrying out the most important and rewarding work in the world. It is work few people will notice, no one will grade you on, and no one will pay you to do. Indeed, your career may suffer if you give loving your child the time it deserves. You may not make CEO or first violin or top billing. But you will be doing the greatest thing a parent can do, which is to give your child the best start in life he or she can get. An on your deathbed, the place where perspective sharpens, you'll rejoice inside that you gave all the love you could to the ones who needed it from you the most--your children."

From an unlikely source, Superparenting for ADD
by Edward M. Hallowell.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Language of Friends

Excerpt from an actual conversation between two old friends...

Grace: Have you talked to Susan lately?
Lisa: Nooo!

Grace: But wait...
Lisa: NOOOO!

Grace: Amy is so mad at her.
Lisa (jumping up and down): NO WAY!

Translation: Susan, who already has 4 kids, is pregnant. With twins. They're both boys, which is why her only daughter is mad at her.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The First Time

On Facebook, people are always passing around one survey or another, like 25 random things about yourself (sorry, that is too hard for me).

Here's one I can answer because it's all about the birth of my firstborn.

1. WAS YOUR PREGNANCY PLANNED? Yes

2. WERE YOU MARRIED AT THE TIME? Yes

3. WHAT WERE YOUR REACTIONS? Joy. Then went out and checked out every single book on pregnancy and baby names from the library.

4. WAS ABORTION AN OPTION FOR YOU? Why would it be when it was planned.

5. HOW OLD WERE YOU? old (hence it being planned).

6. HOW DID YOU FIND OUT YOU WERE PREGNANT? My body felt like it was ovulating again.

7. WHO DID YOU TELL FIRST? The husband of course. Followed shortly by my mother, his mother, and my two sisters.

8. DID YOU WANT TO FIND OUT THE SEX? Desperately but we never found out because she was always blocking it or something. (That surprise upon birth is so overrated compared to the joy of finding out beforehand).

9. DUE DATE? I don't remember. I kept telling them my due date was actually later because of my cycle but them doctors don't listen to anyone.

10. DID YOU DELIVER EARLY OR LATE? Late.

11. WHERE DID YOUR WATER BREAK? In the hospital during contractions.

12. WHAT DID YOU CRAVE? Marinated artichoke hearts and ice cream (but not together).

13. WHO IRRITATED YOU THE MOST? My sisters, for shooting down every decent name we came up with. I finally quit telling them.

14. WHAT WAS YOUR CHILDS SEX? Girl.

15. DID YOU WISH YOU HAD THE OPPOSITE SEX OF WHAT YOU WERE GETTING? I was so relieved because a girl was exactly what I had secretly wanted.

16. HOW MANY POUNDS DID YOU GAIN THROUGHOUT THE PREGNANCY? I gained around 30 pounds.

17. DID YOU HAVE A BABY SHOWER? Yes.

18. WAS IT A SURPRISE OR DID YOU KNOW? It was thrown by my sisters, which meant I pretty much did everything. My sister ordered the cake which said,"Pam's Baby Shower."

19. DID YOU HAVE ANY COMPLICATIONS DURING YOUR PREGNANCY? Besides the backaches, joint pains, swelling, lack of sleep, acid reflux, why no.

20. WHERE DID YOU GIVE BIRTH? Summit Hospital in Oakland.

21. HOW MAY HOURS WERE YOU IN LABOR? Way too many. About 14 hours in the hospital.

22. WHO DROVE YOU TO THE HOSPITAL? My husband

23.WHO WATCHED? My husband, sister, and who knows because after awhile I quit caring.

24. WAS IT NATURAL OR C-SECTION? Au Naturel - my motto.

25.DID YOU TAKE MEDICINE TO EASE THE PAIN? No but I did take some morphine at 2 am so that I could sleep for a few hours.

26. HOW MUCH DID YOUR CHILD WEIGH? 7 lbs 6 oz.

27. DID YOUR CHILD HAVE ANY COMPLICATIONS? None, thankfully.

28.WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT YOUR DELIVERY? Pushing her out. And trying not to push because I wasn't fully dilated (it's impossible).

29. HOW OLD IS YOUR CHILD TODAY? Almost 8 years old. But I shall never forget the details of her birth.

30. OTHER COMMENTS? I was lucky I went with a midwife. She was so patient throughout the long process and didn't question any of my decisions. The doctor for my third birth wanted to give me Pitocin, even though my fluid had already leaked, I was in the hospital, and my labor had already started. He just didn't want to wait around on a Friday night. After I said no, he sent the nurses to convince me. For the first birth, a patient doctor or midwife is a definite must!

Thank you Ann, for asking me to relive the pain and joy.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Scenes from the Weekend

Yes, a tornado did hit. Two tornadoes, actually, ages 2 and 4. They had freedom over the house like they've never had before. Their dad and two older siblings were out of town, while their poor tragic mommy mostly slept on the couch with a 103 degree fever (that is what dying must feel like) from strep throat.

I learned a couple of things through my suffering: (1) the human body is an amazing thing, and (2) the husband has no telepathy skills (he was up in the mountains with no cell reception).

In between sleeping, I staggered around, managed to make fish sticks or something for them, and more importantly, took a few shots of the devastation and the proud perpetrators.




Monday, March 2, 2009

Conversations

Over dinner the other day, my parents grilled me about my marriage. On one hand, it's kinda sweet because they clearly have an attitude that the husband is not good enough for me. On the other hand, I wish they'd let it go, as we've been together almost 16 years already.

They asked me if I would take back the husband if the husband ever cheated on me. I didn't even have to think about it. I immediately said yes. Actually I wanted to say that the husband would never do anything like that, but then my mother would just give me example after example (it is rather scary how many examples she has) where a certain person thought it would never happen to her but it did. I figured she wouldn't quit until I gave her an answer either way.

They were completely displeased with my answer. Now they think I'm spineless and wimpy, that I'm completely "whipped," as the commitment-phobes say.

What surprised me is the husband's response when I relayed the conversation to him. Of course he was offended that anyone would even remotely think he would do such a thing. But then he told me that I shouldn't take him back in that situation because at that point he would no longer be himself. He would have lost his right mind, and I should just take the kids and run.

In other words, he would become insane before he ever cheated. Is it any wonder that I'm utterly whipped?