Monday, July 5, 2010

Post VBS Bliss

Last year I was a big baby and blogged about the hellishness of having vacation bible school and swim practice on the same days. This year I grew up a little, which is good considering I turned 40 last month (more on that later). I enjoyed both VBS and swim practice tremendously and wouldn't have given up either one for more sleep, and that is saying a lot.

We're talking over 2000 kids!

Originally I had hoped to sit out this VBS and kick back. But my oldest begged me to be her leader. I told her, please I need a break, but like always she ignored me. She gave me the old unfairness line, that it was so unfair that I was her sister's leader last year and not anyone else's. By the way, that ploy doesn't work on me; if it's one thing I've learned from having 4 kids who are complete opposites, it's that every kid needs something different.

I finally gave in, not because of her fairness logic but because I was surprised that she really wanted me as her leader. This was after an entire year of being taught by moi, an entire year of me ordering her around during school and after hours. If she still wants me after all that, who am I to deny her? This is also just a few years before she she hits adolescence, before she starts to draw away from me and starts denying me publicly. I may forget my children's names from time to time, but I still recognize a good opportunity when I come across it!

It is amazing how many good outcomes have arisen because I've been forced to do something for the kids.

I loved being a group leader for 4th grade. The kids were smart, sweet, and fun. I didn't have to drag anyone to the restroom and tell them to just try, like I had to last year, and I didn't worry if occasionally one kid wandered off on his own. The kids were old enough to understand the real gist of the gospel message, instead of just being stuck on Jesus as a mere friend. And I got to sing and dance along with Jana Alayra, instead of being a bystander who is too mature to do silly dance moves. (Jana is to Christian children's music like Gaga is to mediocre synthesizer music with stupid outfits).

What I loved most was getting to know the kids. While we stood around and waited for our activity rotations, the kids often opened up about their families and lives. One kid gave me his entire itinerary for his upcoming trip, another blabbed on about her parents and siblings, spilling secrets her parents would have been horrified about.

During one conversation with a set of fraternal twins, the larger twin remarked that he actually ate much less than his smaller twin. They told me that the smaller twin eats almost double the food as the larger twin. I said something innocuous to the smaller twin, like "Where does it all go?" He then proceeded to go into detail about his bowel movements, telling me how often he goes and how big they are. I am not kidding.

Apparently, the male obsession with BM's begin early.

Now that I've been the leader for two of my kids, I'm pretty much committed to doing this for the other two. After that, the first two want another turn. Translation: I'll be volunteering at VBS until I die. Or at least until I'm too old to dance to praise songs. At which point you can consider me as good as dead.

VBS rocks! And I'm not just saying that because it's over.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

All About the Husband

...from the kids' perspectives.

1. My dad's job work with computers, paint walls, and cook dinner.

2. He enjoys...going out with us, taking me out to Toys 'R Us, and talking to Mommy.

3. Dad looks handsome when...all the time, he is at a meeting, and he is nice.

4. His favorite dinner is...Mediterranean food, McDonald's, and chicken.

5. The thing he likes best about me is...that I'm sweet, that I'm his son, and that I love him.

6. My favorite thing about him is...he is strong, he lets me play on the computer, and he is nice to me.

7. My favorite thing to do with my Dad is...going out with him, playing at the park with him, and playing with him.

Happy Belated Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Last 3 Months

There have been half a dozen times in the last couple of months that I started a post and then ran out of time to finish it. Or maybe that's just how my brain works now, a fleeting thought and then that's it.

I could go on and on about what my life has been like these few months, but I think pictures would convey it best.

Activity 1 - Baseball
Little boys dressed up to watch grass grow on the field. Except for the pitcher who is usually the coach's son.
A whole 5 minutes of batting time in a 1.5 hour game
Thank goodness it's over.

Activity 2 - Softball
Ditto what I said about baseball except substitute "girls" for "boys."
Activity 3 - Dance
Times two

Not pictured: soccer for younger daughter, piano, violin, art, girl scouts, boy scouts, and swimming.

Now that we're all caught up, I promise I'll do a real post soon.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Barfy Birthday

I'd like to take this opportunity to tell my sisters how lucky I am to have my hubby. He's tall, dark, and handsome. Plus he's got genes for good teeth to pass on to my kids and evenly divided X and Y sperm. How lucky could a girl get?

Oh, but there's more. Because this past weekend, he spent a good chunk of his birthday scrubbing out vomit bedding and clothing voluntarily (I didn't even have to ask him).
This was not just any old birthday, either, but the big important one that I was supposed to plan some sort of elaborate surprise party for, decorated with OVER THE HILL signs everywhere. That's right, the husband turned 40 this weekend.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, the whole family came down with the stomach flu. Hence the vomit bedding and clothing. My kids now carry around little buckets around with them as an accessory, because you just never know.

I was also out of commission, suffering from a fever that originated from my gum surgery, although the dentist is convinced it was from just a normal cold. Never mind the fact that the fever started the same day following my dental procedure. And that my ear on the same side he worked on had shooting pains. And that only one side of my throat hurt.

The important thing is that I did not have to plan the big OVER THE HILL party, although this reprieve came at a very great cost. Physical pain v. party planning. Wow, tough choice, good thing it was not left up to me.

By the way, for those of you who want to know what it feels like to turn 40, the husband replies,"The same, except with more vomit."

This should probably be a separate entry for later but by the time next month rolls around I will have forgotten.

Our baby boy was lying in bed with us last night, just like he does every night. He was rolling around, hiding under the blankets, sticking his feet in my face and announcing, "Here are your cupcakes!" (See a previous post about the cupcake reference. I do not know which post that was, maybe from 2008.)

After I rubbed his belly he said, "Mommy, your hands are cold!"

I replied, "Yes, they are always cold at night."

He immediately turned, put his hands together, closed his eyes, and prayed,"Dear Jesus, please help Mommy's hands not to be cold all the time. Amen."

It is no wonder, perfectly logical and reasonable that I spoil that little guy the way I do.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Gratuitous Kid Picture

Not just because I have nothing to say but because I love looking at my kids and assume the whole entire world feels the same.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why is the sky blue?

Everyday I walk four times to our neighborhood school: early in the morning to drop off my son, later in the morning to drop off my kindergartener, early in the afternoon to pick up the kindergartener, and later in the afternoon to pick up my son. Lucky for me we live in Southern California.

I don't mind the frequent treks. The walks are a nice break in my otherwise agoraphobic existence. Nothing wakes up the body and mind like the chilly morning air and a quick chat with beloved neighbors. And nothing warms my kids and me up like a walk in the afternoon sun, a game of tag with friends, and a good-bye until tomorrow chat with beloved neighbors.

What I love most about our little walks is the view.
(This is not our house, but I wish it was. Ours is much smaller and has a lot more weeds & toys in the yard as well as an abandoned car in the driveway.)

The blue is not just in front of me, it's all around me. It's impossible to miss. And be awed.

I can't help but think about how the longer wavelengths of color like red are absorbed by air particles, leaving only the shorter wavelengths to be scattered and reflected. Hence, blue sky.

I'm grateful these days for any coherent thought, nerdy and out of touch though it may be.

Then, because I have nothing else to do except sit around and ruminate, I wonder: Why are the long wavelengths absorbed, leaving only the shorter ones? Why is blue a shorter wavelength and red a longer one? Why is the sky not red or some other color?

God made it so, and not just randomly. Every bullfighter and decorator knows that color affects mood. Red, for example is associated with power, anger, desire, violence, and can actually raise blood pressure. I'd hate to be surrounded every day by red.

represents peace, tranquility, stability, harmony, unity, trust, and truth. Blue can slow the pulse rate and lower body temperature. Out of all the other positive moods evoked by other colors, God chose peace and harmony to envelope us with. Not only in sky but in water as well. That's a big chunk of the world!

God knows us so well. He knows we're ornery people who fight about the dumbest things, from whether a car cut us off to who gets the biggest dessert portion. He knows we need a reminder, wherever we are in the world we are, from sun up to sun down, to live in peace with each other.

Plus, blue just goes so well with the rest of the earth: white clouds, green trees, brown earth, and bright flowers. I have personally conducted some research attesting to how blue jeans go with everything.

This concludes our science lesson. Next time, I will address the age old question of is Pluto a planet? Oh, let's get real. I'm not going to have anytime soon to blog again. So...

Pluto is a dwarf planet which is not a planet at all. Certain astronomers were unwilling to let go of Pluto as a planet and so stuck the term planet in the new category, thereby proving to everyone that scientists enjoy confusing people with nomenclature. The real answer is, of course, who the heck can tell from 5 billion kilometers away?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Warts, Moles, and All

This year I resolve to be less paranoid about having my picture taken. It's some sort of phobia that I have, except I can't find it on the official phobia list. Photophobia, the most likely candidate, is the fear of light, so that's not it. After screening down the whole list of P's, past pagophobia (fear of ice), papaphobia (fear of the Pope), and pteronophobia (fear of being tickled by feathers), I gave up.

And I thought I had issues.

As I was reviewing all the photos from 2009 in an attempt to put together a photo calendar for the grandparents, I noticed that I was in maybe 10 pictures. Out of 8489. The overwhelming majority, of course, was of the kids. If a parent was in the photo, it was the husband. Granted, he's a bigger ham, more photogenic, and just better-looking than me, but still. I don't want the kids to look back after they've grown up and wonder where the heck I was during their childhood. See kids? Mommy was not in front of the computer all the time.

For my kids, I gave up my photograph hang-up. Just like I've given up my job, television, brain cells, tight abs, free time, junk food, social life, everything! But hey, I'm not bitter.

Lucky for me, the kids don't need to see a full frontal view to see how I adore them.

But wait...if I'm in front of the camera, who would be there to capture these kind of moments?
Forget it, I'm going back to behind the scenes again.

The resolution was good while it lasted. Next year we'll try to make it last longer, like maybe two days.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Bright Spot

in an otherwise gray day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Way Back

The reason I haven't blogged lately, despite having two kids in school, is because my mornings are occupied now. Mornings were the only time I could blog before because it was quiet, and my brain was alert after just awakening. It was and still is my best thinking time.

I save that time now for something better. Someone better, I should say. Everyday, after walking off the grogginess in the brisk morning air while dropping off my son, I come home and spend my best time with God. I pray and read the Bible. I jot down thoughts. Most importantly, I wait. I don't rush through this time anymore. My prayers are long and winded, much like my blog posts. Sometimes, they don't even have a point. I read the Bible and come up with way too many questions for someone who has been a believer for 20+ years. I contemplate the answers to these questions, and every once in a little while, I might come up with a decent guess. More often than not, though, I have to let go of my need for knowledge.

This humbling process started with homeschooling my son. I knew homeschooling him would be difficult and tried to arm myself early on. Yes, I prayed, but nowhere near the amount of time that I spent researching, reading books, attending classes, and drilling veteran homeschoolers. When my efforts fell apart, I doubled my research time and halved my prayer time. I gave myself the 4-kids-without-epidural talk: I can do this! I just need to change my methods a little.

One of the ironic things about homeschooling is that although parents are initially attracted by the freedom and lack of Big Brother watching over them, some (like me) become trapped by the overwhelming responsibility of not just being in charge of their children's health, safety, and emotional well-being, but also being solely responsible (and therefore blameworthy) for whether or not their children can diagram sentences or write a haiku or tell the difference between a simile and a metaphor. I took that responsibility seriously, so much so that it became oppressive.

God rescued me from that onerous burden. Despite my best efforts, I had no choice but to relinquish the control I held onto so tightly. And yet, instead of being angry at me for not trusting Him, instead of punishing me for my pride, He lovingly reminded me that He is sufficient. He comforted me, reassuring that He loves and cares for my son more than I do. My son and I are safe in His hands.

A common theme of parenthood is letting children learn responsibility by allowing them to experience the negative consequences of their actions. In all fairness, I should have suffered a whole range of unpleasant consequences. My son could have hated me, he could have fallen behind academically, the school could have turned him away, or he could have gotten a horrible teacher. None of that happened. I didn't even have to fill out paperwork for my son because they still had his stuff from last year. That's right, a government institution which normally requires a pre-application, application, and post-application (all of which ask for the same information) said I could skip them all! That is how merciful our heavenly Father is. He took my negative consequences and replaced them with forgiveness and love.

So you see, saving my best time is the least I could do for Him.

I might have given blogging up completely, except that I missed it terribly. I missed thinking of the perfect wording, scanning through the kids' pictures to choose the best one to upload, using vocabulary I didn't know I had, and being creative in my own limited way.

My posts may not be as well put together as they used to be (it is after midnight now). Still, when I'm senile one day, I'll look back at this blog and think, wow I was so coherent way back when.

When it comes right down to it, there's one reason I'll never give up blogging: I have much to say and no one over the age of 8 to say it to.