Sunday, December 27, 2009

Post Christmas Story

First off, I'm suffering from Post-Christmas Stress Disorder.  This is probably not the official name for this condition, but it should be.  Come on, American Medical Association or whatever organization that make up names for ailments, traumas and conditions.  Let's get on the ball.  I'll tell you my symptoms a little later. I think it's more important to tell you that the kids had an awesome Christmas.  Awesome means that they received all they've ever wanted from "Santa" and so much more.

We flew down to celebrate Christmas with M's father this year and I think the boys really enjoyed it.  It was the first time they got to celebrate with Grandpa, and they made out like a bandit (like always). Too many presents to list, but let's say they have enough cars and action figures to last them through a toy factory worker strike.  And we needed to borrow a suitcase to fly the booty back home.

On Christmas Eve, we had a huge meal.  M's friend Chris and his wife came over for dinner to liven things up. I was glad that they were able to make it because we hadn't expect them to. Their little doggie was just released from the animal hospital and they weren't sure if they were able to come. The more the merrier!  The kids got to open 1 present each that night.

Michael was so excited for Santa Claus to come visit.  We told him he had to be asleep for Santa to come.  If he didn't go to bed when he was suppose to and didn't fall asleep, Santa would skip the house and move on to the next.  That caused a little incident between the 2 Fisher brothers. When Matthew refused to be quiet and go to bed that night, Michael punched him in the face.  I asked him why he did it, and he tearfully explained that he was scared Santa would skip the house if Matty didn't stop talking and go to sleep. So he thought the solution was to punch his brother in the face. I guess I didn't do such a good job of explaining to him that violence is not the answer.

Christmas morning came early.  I think they were up at 6 in the morning.  Good thing they went to Grandpa's room first.  I got to sleep for an extra 2 minutes.  They ran downstairs and ran back up to inform me that Santa did pay them a visit and ate ALL the cookies they left out for him.  Matthew then realized that we forgot to leave out the milk and was upset about it for a second, but the presents demanded his attention.

We flew home the morning after Christmas to another round of presents at my mom's house.  "Santa" brought them more toys.  This time, more of the hi-tech variety.  They got remote controlled toys, video games for their Wii, and a little game called Rock Hero. However, Michael got most excited about this thing call "Big Top Cupcake." He screamed like  a girl and held it up in the air like he had won the lotto.  Big thanks to Yee-Yee for that gift.  Matthew was very excited about the remote controlled car carrier.  When he saw it, he exclaimed, "Oh, this is what I always wanted!  How did you know that this was what I wanted!" It was so, so, so cute. I wish I could capture his expression in a little bottle.

If you've read this far, you're either really bored with nothing else to do or this post is really riveting.  I don't care either way.  I'm just glad you're still here so I can explain to you what Post-Christmas Stress Disorder is.  It's when all the presents are open and the room looks like a hurricane came through.  Then you realize that you have to clean it all up.  On top of that, you realized that Christmas is over and there will be no more Christmas music until next November.  Then you think back to all the sugary goodness that you've consumed and notice that your jeans are not fitting quite the way they use to.  And to top it all off, you realized you missed the whole "A Christmas Story" marathon on Christmas Day. Then you don't feel quite so cheery.  That, my friend, is Post-Christmas Stress Disorder and I am taking credit for identifying it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Break

This is the last day of school for both boys until the new year.  I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  On the one hand, I don't have to wake them up at the crack of dawn and rush them to get ready to be out of the house by 7:25 am. No homework right after school for Michael (a break for me really). No having to pack lunch and setting out the clothes the night before. 

On the other hand, I have them ALL DAY LONG for TWO WHOLE WEEKS. Enough said. "Yeah" for Christmas break.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Cookies

I think I just volunteered to bake 4 dozen cookies for the teachers at Michael's school.  I'm not sure how it all happened.  It happened so quickly.  I had planned on baking the requested 2 dozens and helping the Home and School Club assemble the cookies into packages for the staff.  The only problem was no one told me when I was suppose to drop them off at the school.

So this morning, I asked one of the moms who is pretty active with the H&SC if she know when and where the cookies were needed.  She told me when and where and then said that she was very appreciative of my volunteering to bake because not a lot of parents participate.  That last year they did not get enough cookies. That this year, there is double the number of teachers and staff and that the HS&C will probably not get enough cookies again.

I felt so bad that I told her I'd bake extra cookies.  Extra cookies turned out to be another couple of dozens. By Wednesday morning.  Me and my big mouth.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Sympathy

This weekend brought some sad news to us.  My father's aunt passed away Saturday afternoon from a car accident.  I was not particular close to her.  In fact, most of what I know about her life, I heard from my parents.  She was a widow out of the barbaric Khmer Rouge rule.  She is survived by 6 children and numerous grandchildren, the youngest being under 1 year old.  She's also survived by 1 great-grandson who is less than 1 year old as well.  

Although I saw her maybe once a year, I know that she is almost always present at special family occasions.  She was there for the occasions were very important to me - both of my weddings, and the 1-month celebration for Michael.

I know that we were able to come to the United States because she was our sponsor.  I know that we lived with her for a short period of time in Washington until my parents were able to get on their feet in a new country. For this, I am very thankful for.

I know that every year, her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews gather to celebrate her birthday in August.  I don't remember when this tradition started, but it must have been at least 7 years ago.  This has grown to become our version of a family reunion.   Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the last 3 years when we were living in Texas, but I was honestly looking forward to finally able to go to this year's celebration.

I know that she is loved by many and will be missed by many.  To them, I send me deepest sympathy for their loss.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Santa Knows...

Today, I discovered PNP or Portable North Pole.  This is a website that you can go in and customize a video from Santa to someone special. I can't begin to tell you how awesome this is.  A big "thank you" to my friend Jen for sharing this.  I made a video for both Michael and Matthew.  When you create one, it asks you specific questions.  You answer the questions based on your child and you can even download a picture of your child so that it shows up in Santa's book of children. So easy!

Like I said, Michael and Matthew were so excited to see the video.  Michael got a kick out of Santa knowing what he looks like.  Matthew liked Santa's answer on whether or not he ate all the cookies the kids left out for him. I got a kick out of their reaction when Santa asked if they have been good boys.  They both looked very nervous and shook their heads. They were very surprised that Santa put them on the good boys list.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Santa Claus

Michael and Matthew got to make their gift requests to Santa last Saturday. I don't think Michael cared all that much about Santa Claus.  Matthew was excited, but I just didn't see any excitement from Michael.  I think that Michael is more mild mannered and more reserved around others.  I don't see a lot of passion from him.  Matthew, on the other hand is Mr. Drama Queen.  Everything is either a tragedy or the greatest thing ever.  When he's hungry, he's "so, so hungry.  I'm going to die.  You're making me dead." When he loves you it's "I love you infinity!" He's got a lot of fire in him to say the least.

I was underwhelmed by this year's visit to Santa.  The event was touted as "Brunch with Santa," but really it was more like "store-bought boxed pastries and some grapes with Santa." Sure there were some neat crafts there, but my expectations were a  little higher since I paid $20 bucks for each kid. Anyway, I think the best part of the whole visit for the kids was when they each received a candy cane from Mrs. Claus.  Matthew discovered his was broken and ran back to Santa to exchange it for a new one.
At least we didn't have to wait in a long line at the mall for a picture with Santa.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

It's an ice day in CA! This morning we woke up to 28 degree weather with everything covered in a layer of ice.  So pretty. It reminds me so much of North Texas weather.  Except in N. TX, the schools would be closed, the news would comstantly warn us to stay off the roads if possible, and most businesses would be closed.  Oh, how I miss TX ice days!

The ice will be gone in an hour or so.  I wish I had taken some pictures because it's such a rare thing in CA. We even had snow on the mountains not far from us.  It's almost completely melted down, but it was so beautiful while it lasted.  We will have to take a trip to Lake Tahoe.  This is one of the reasons I'm happy to back in CA.  The snow is only a few hours away.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Friday Funnies

Last night, Michael wanted to test some new jokes he had learned from his schoolmates on me.  I love it when he does this.  It gives me a glimpse into his school world and he is geniunely excited to deliver the punchline. So, it's only natural that I share this with you. Because I'm generous that way.

Joke #1
Michael - Knock, Knock.
Me - Who's there?
Michael - You
Me - You who?
Michael - Are you calling me?

Joke #2
Michael - Knock, knock
Me - Who's there?
Michael - Cows go
Me - Cows go who?
Michael - Cows don't go who, they go moo

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...

I love Christmas and the Holidays! I love the decorations. I love the smell of Christmas trees. I love the Christmas drinks (hello, gingerbread latte). And the music! Nothing better than a round of Jingle Bells to get me in the Holiday spirit. I love the lights and all the fun activities that come with the Holidays - visits with Santa, Christmas in the Park, and yes, the SHOPPING. Love it all. 

We still have to make a visit to Santa for the obligatory picture, but we are planning it for this weekend.  This year, we will be avoiding the mall Santa in favor of having brunch with Santa. Not that I'm a snob or anything.  I find it more festive taking pictures with Santa while we're stuffing our faces, not standing in a long line. In any case, our tree has been decorated and out cards have been sent. OK, the cards have not been sent out, but the tree has been decorated.  Here are some pictures to prove it.  Complete with the smiling family.

Matthew trimming the tree

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Does This Make Me Cheap?

So last Sunday we went to the Christmas tree farm to get a tree.  Buying a tree from the tree farm was my true intention. I figured since it's a farm and that's the source of the tree, it would be less expensive. Right? That would be a big fat WRONG. Can you imagine my surprise (shock) when I saw that a 6-foot tree was $70? Needless the say I decided right there that we were going to Home Depot to pick out a tree. But not not without taking some pictures.  By the way, the tree at Home Depot was almost half the price.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Turkey Day

This is the 1st year in a very long time that I've spent Thanksgiving with my side of the family. For the past 8 years (at least) we spent Thanksgiving with M's family.  This year, we decided to mix things up and spend Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with M's dad in So-Cal. 

We had the obligatory turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce. All delicious. But with this being a Yam Thanksgiving, we must also have the obligatory egg rolls, chow mein, rice, and a mish mash of other goodness. And like all Yam gatherings, it was nice and loud with entirely too much food.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Today and every day, I'm thankful for all the blessings that I've received.  I'm thankful for my parents who left a country they know with nothing and came to a country they've only heard of and made a success of themselves.  I'm thankful for my 2 healthy boys Michael and Matthew (sooooo thankful).  I'm thankful for my hubby who is a great husband and an even better father. I'm thankful for a healthy life and thankful for the loving family who surround me. Last, but not least, I'm thankful that we have more than enough of what we need.

How can anyone not be thankful for this? Seriously...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

City By the Bay

We had a great time hanging out with the boys in "The City" last weekend.  It truly takes being away from it to really appreciate the beauty that is San Francisco.  For all the years that I've lived in Northern California, I've never really truly appreciated how beautiful and diverse it is.  So last weekend, we spent a couple of days playing tourists and visited some of the famous sites that people travel across the world to see. We also got a chance to visit with some dear friends.

We spent a day with the kids at the California Academy of Sciences.  Amazing!  Within this glass enclosed building (compound is more accurate), we visited the Aquarium, the Planetarium and a biosphere that mimicked the rainforest. The kids saw a show at the planetarium for the first time and LOVED it! Michael was so impressed, he asked M to get him the DVD.  Might be a bit of a challenge getting the same effects since we don't really have a 3-story screen. They were much less impressed with the rooftop garden, but I thought that was actually one of the coolest part of the CAS.

We also took them to see the sea lions at Pier 39.  They had a great time watching the sea lions laze around.  They were enamoured with 2 particularly sea lions who were wrestling and fighting to keep each other off the wooden platform. 

Then it was off to see the Golden Gate Bridge.  They wanted to walk on the bridge. Joy. Let me tell you that I must love them very much because I agreed inspite of my fear of heights.  Especially high places that are suspended by cables across a body of water and vibrate every time a car passes by.

Michael's List of Favorites in San Franscisco:
1. Planetarium show "Journey to the Stars"
2. Sea lions at Pier 39
3. Aquarium

Matthew's List of Favorites in San Francisco:
1. Everything

My favorite part of the trip was watching the boys enjoying the sites.  I love seeing them discover new things and become curious about how things work and why things work the way they do. I love to see amazement on their faces.  That was my favorite part of the trip.

View of San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge

Matthew with Golden Gate Bridge in the background

And because it's very hard to get good pictures with both of them in it, here's Michael and the GGB

At the Palace of Fine Arts

Being part of the fresco at the Palace of FIne Arts

Rotunda at the Palace of Fine Arts

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Halloween in Pictures

Our visit to the Uesagi Pumpkin Patch.  The kids were not in the mood to take pictures that morning. This is one of the better family pictures.

My little green dragon.

Trick or Treat!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Here and There...

For all 4 of you readers out there, you've probably noticed that I haven't posted in a while.  I'll be honest.  I haven't posted because I haven't really felt like it and not for the lack of materials.  I'm in a transitional stage and I haven't been able to bring myself to write about it.  I'm still unemployed, but am trying really hard to take advantage of the "free time." That means being able to attend field trips with Michael's 1st grade class and volunteering to help out with class parties.  I enjoy being able to take the kids out to the park in the middle of the afternoon and I love being able to pick them up from school instead of sending them to after school care.

Like anything else, there are always advantages and disadvantages to a certain lifestyle. I like my life the way it is now, but I miss the way my life was when I was in TX too. I miss having a job, but I don't miss the morning rush to drop off the kids at school/daycare in time to make an 8am meeting. I miss my beautiful home in TX and our wonderful neighbors. But I like having my family around to depend on in CA.  I like being able to have my parents babysit when M and I go out to dinner or just leaving them with my mom when I need to make a quick run to the grocery store.

The kids seem to have adjusted pretty well.  Michael is enjoying his new school and he's doing very well. I had a parent/teacher conference with Mrs. H on Monday and she is very happy with his progress and said that he has adjusted very well. Again, like every conference I've had for him, she says that he just needs to pay attention and follow directions. No surprise there.

Matthew loves his new preschool. He only goes 3 days a week, but he has told me he wants to go everyday.  I take that as a good sign. M is going well at work.  Aside from having to travel every week, he enjoys it. Of course, he never has problems adjusting to anything.  So that just leaves me with the adjustment issues. All I can say is that I am a work in progress.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Look, Mom! No Wheels...

Another milestone has been reached by my not-so-little boy, Michael.  This week, he learned to ride his bike. Without training wheels.  In literally 5 seconds.  M was prepared to spend an hour holding onto the back of the bike and chasing after him.  Michael had no need for that.  Not even one single fall. Again, I'm amazed.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Best Buddies

Matthew’s best buddy at Crème is Riley. They’ve been in the same class since they were 2 ½ , so technically they’ve been friends for half their lives. A couple of weeks ago he had his 4th Birthday party at a fire station. His mom shared with me the heartbreak Riley suffered at the news of Matthew’s move. She said when he found out, he cried for 2 days and was so upset that he wouldn’t talk to anybody at Crème. Bless his heart!

Matthew and Riley

Reaction after Matthew asked if it was OK to call 911 if a tent was on fire

Friday, September 25, 2009

Random Thoughts

Today is the last day at Pink for Michael and the last Day at Creme de la Creme for Matthew. They don't not seem to mind, but I’m not sure they get it quite yet. Maybe they do and they really don't care. I think maybe I’m taking the move much harder than the kids are. I just can’t believe that we are 3 days away from heading out west. I’m not quite sure how a feel about it still.

This week has gone by so quickly because we've been so busy with Michael traveling and me having to tie up the loose ends at work. I blinked and here we are: Friday. I did take some time off and had lunch with my Michael on Wednesday at school. It is always amazing to see how independent he’s become.

Unfortunately, I was not able to get the scoop about him from his buddies because it was a “silent lunch” day. Apparently, they were being too rowdy for the past couple of days and the teachers felt that they needed to be accountable for their behavior. They were allowed to whisper if they had a visitor, but for the entire lunch period, the children were expected to eat their lunch in silence. Well, as silent as 130 1st graders can be.

My Little man & his Mickey D's. Braden is in the background. He and Michael were on the same T-ball team together a couple of years ago and were reunited in Ms. Spain's 1st grade class. He can talk your ears off.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How 'bout Them Cowboys?

We had the good fortune to see the Cowboys play their 1st home game against the NY Giants at THE new Cowboys Stadium last Sunday. Let me tell you, there was a lot of hype. Every radio and TV station talked up this game and how historic this event will be. It was hard not to buy in on the hype. I was ready to go buy myself a Cowboys jersey until I saw how much it cost. And then I realized I’m really not a Cowboys fan. Them are fighten’ words here in Cowboys territory.
Regardless, I was very excited to see the new stadium with my own eyes, and it was fun to see the pageantry of the 1st home game. The Cowboys Stadium is pretty impressive. Like most everything else in Texas, it is Huge with a capital “H.”

We had awesome seats! Row 20 in the lower bowl. Awesome. A huge Texas “thank you” to Chris M for our tickets. There was so much going on even before the game started. Former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush were there to do the coin toss. The Dallas Cheerleaders performed. I have to admit, I was as mesmerized by them as M was. These ladies are beautiful and they can sure move those hips.

And the game? It was pretty exciting. The last field goal decided the game in favor of the NY Giants 33-31, which was a little bit of a let down. All in all, we had a great time and I was glad we were able to be a part of the hype, even if it did cost us $60 just to park.

Cowboys Stadium

Game in progress

Ring of Honor, honoring the Cowboys of the past. You can't really see them, but Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, and the other Cowyboys greats are in this picture.

Then there's us: M, me, Grayson and Chris

Friday, September 18, 2009


Yesterday, as I was being an industrious person, doing my part to earn a paycheck, I get a phone call from M. It’s a phone call that most working mothers dread. “Matthew is sick. They want us to pick him up from daycare.” By “us” M means me because he’s like 400 miles away somewhere in this great state of Texas. So I hastily pack up and drive 35 minutes to pick Matthew up.

I get to the daycare and he’s lying on a mat in the director’s office looking drained and tired. Brenda tells me that he does not have a fever and when asked if he has a tummy ache, Matthew says no. She thinks it's best if I take him home and let him rest since he seems lethargic and not acting like his chatterbox self. All I can do is agree even when I’m thinking, “I pay you how much to look after my child, and you expect me to take off work and take him home every time he claims that he’s tired?” But that’s not the point of this post. So I tell her, yes, I’ll take him home. As I’m telling her this, I look over at Matthew (still oh so tired on the mat). He gives me a sly smile, and it all comes to me.

The day before, our neighbor’s daughter was sick so she got to stay home from school. The night before, as I was putting him in bed, he told to me that he needed chicken soup because he wasn’t feeling well. I told him to go to sleep.

My 4-year old has just punked me and the entire staff at Crème de la Crème. As we walked over to get his stuff from his classroom, I told him to look at me and tell me the truth. I asked if he was really sick or if he just did not want to be at school. I say him struggle to find an answer and he said, “Both.”

Needless to say, when we got home, he was happy as a clam and was not so tired anymore. Can a 4-year old win an Oscar?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Loony Bin

I find myself being a single mom again this week and it’s been getting to me. Actually, it got to me Monday night. M travels a lot for work and it’s usually not that big of a deal since it’s been 3 years and I kind of got use to it. Well, with all the moving to CA business, he’s curbed his traveling for the past 2-3 weeks so my routine changed. Now that he’s traveling again I feel like I’ve had to start all over with having to get use to him being gone. The short of it all is that it sucks. And I know it sucks for the boys too because they are being more unruly than usual.

Monday night, I put them to bed at 8:30 and they did not settle down until at least 9:30. They were playing, laughing, fighting and altogether being 2 very bad listeners with bad listening ears. I threatened, pleaded and screamed to no avail. Needless to say, I was what they say “at my wits end.” So I pulled out the scare tactic from my bag of bad parenting. And I am not ashamed.

I told Michael that they were going to send me to the loony bin because they were driving me crazy. He asked me what the loony bin was and I told him that it was a place where they send people who went crazy. I said that if he and Matthew don’t start behaving, the loony bin people were going to come take me away and they won’t see me ever again. Does he want that to happen? Things settled down a little after that.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Maybe this is a sign. It’s been raining for the past 3 days here in good ole Texas. Not the typical North Texas rain either. North Texas rain is angry rain. It’s torrential and short-lived. You see the clouds approaching dark and thick with flashes of lightening and roar of thunder. Then suddenly, the clouds burst and you find yourself under waves of heavy rain. Then, 10 minutes later, the clouds part and the sun is shining.

This latest bout of rain is more like the Northern California rain where is it’s more like a grudge or really a pout. It’s light, misty and even when there’s no rain sometimes, it feels wet and gloomy. It sticks around and rains down every so often so that you don’t forget that it’s there. Pouting. It’s been like this for 3 days. Maybe Texas is pouting because I’m leaving.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Why I Love September

1. It’s the month that I married my best friend and the love of my life

2. It’s the month that the aforementioned love of my life was born

3. It’s the start of Fall and I heart Fall & Fall colors

4. It’s the start of a new school year with endless possibilities

5. It’s not as hot as August and not as cold as December

6. Starbuck brings back their Pumpkin Spice Latte! Yummy...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Will Work for ...Something

We are back in town. You didn’t even know we left, did you? We had a great visit to CA to test drive the moving back thing. Gotta say, I’m feeling a lot better about moving back now that we have a plan. The plan is that I find a job ASAP. This means I need to get my butt in gear and start updating my resume and job-hunting. It has been almost 4 years since I’ve done that, but you know what they say, once you’ve done it, you will never forget. Oh wait, that’s about riding a bike. Crap!

Yes, the CA job market is in the crapper, and every time I tell people that I’ll be looking for a job, they act like I’ve just been through a family tragedy. But I think that everything will work out just fine. I’d be overstating it by saying that I’m optimistic, but I’m very hopeful that I can find something soon.

There are lots to do and many details to take care of, and I still don’t know if we’ve made the right choice, but the choice has been made and the best thing to do is keep moving forward.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

House Rules

Matthew has just moved up in his daycare class and is very excited. He even had homework last night, like his big bro. Well, it wasn’t really homework, but we had to work together and write down what the rules of the house were. Here are a couple of notables he came up with:

1. No jumping on the bed because we might fall and break our head like the little monkeys.

2. Don’t put your hand in the water because if there were sharks in there they will bite your hand off

Because Texas is known for shark attacks...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Memory Keepers

We will be spending this weekend getting our home ready to put on the market. I am sad about having to sell the house. I have grown attached to this house and it has become our home. I love the layout. I love the neighborhood. And I love that it’s a 2-minute walk to the pool. If y’all don’t know TX weather, anything more than a 2-minute walk will leave you gasping for air in the sweltering summer heat.

I know I will become nostalgic as we go through each room to pack things up or throw things out. I am bracing myself to argue with M on what we keep and what we throw out. Already, we’ve had words on the value of the boys’ artwork and “art” projects. I want to keep everything. M does not want to keep anything. He doesn’t understand that memories fade and we need something tangible to remind us of how much the boys have grown and learned. I have papers from a couple of years ago where Michael was just learning to write his name. It was unrecognizable, but it takes me back to how proud I was of him to try so hard. Yeah, his “c” was backward and his “E” had 4 lines across not 3, but he was still a genius to me regardless.

I think I have a difficult time throwing anything out because everything has the power to draw out memories. Each object has the power to trigger feelings from the past. Each handprint that my boys made brings back vivid memories of the day they made that handprint. It brings back the way they smell, the way they talk, and how things use to be. I’m afraid that if I don’t have the objects anymore, I will lose the memories too.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken…

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth…

This is one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost. I think of it every time there is a big decision to be made, and it gives me comfort. After all, life IS about making choices for better or for worse. This poem affirms it for me.

The reason I bring this up is for the past couple of weeks now, we’ve been faced with diverging roads and we’ve been wrestling with what road to take. When I say we, I really mean me. M. bases his decisions on facts and logic while I struggle with the intangibles and emotional. If I had based this particular decision on logic and facts, the choice I made would be a foolish one by that standard. Thank goodness I have a husband who is willing to accommodate my foolishness.

We have decided to move back to California. It’s a choice that I still struggle with, hoping that it’s the right one for us. I was very excited when we first moved to Dallas. I was excited about the great financial advantage that comes along with the lower cost of living. We have done very well here. We have retirement saving, college savings, savings account, and we have established on an emergency fund. M. is doing great at work and I have a very stable job. For all intents and purposes, we are thriving financially. Why would we want to go and move back to a state that is in bankruptcy?

Because for at least the past year, all I think about is how terribly lonely it is not to have family around to share in our good fortune. Yes, we have met some great neighbors who are great to hang out with. The problem is when Memorial Day or Fourth of July holidays roll around, they celebrate it with THEIR family. I don’t begrudge them that. I just want to be able to do the same with mine.

So now that I am standing at the fork in the road, I have chosen to take the one that will take me home. I just hope that going home is the right thing to do.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How Do You Spell....?

Last night, Matthew wanted to go play an online game on the computer. I said no because he only had 10 minutes until bedtime and bedtime is already a struggle without the “get off the computer” fight. He got upset and walked over to where my laptop was.

I few minutes later, he came to me and asked, “How do you spell I love mommy?” with a little smile on his face. I smelled a rat at this point. I asked him why he wanted to know. He gave me a huge smile and said, “Because I love you that’s why.” Something was definitely up. I walked over to look at my laptop screen. He had managed to pull up the online game website and was in the process of logging on. All he needed was the password which happens to be luvmommy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

School is Now Open for Business

The schools were opened up for business again yesterday and I can’t escape from teary narratives of moms crying as their little ones bound into the great wide halls of learning institutions. On the radio, moms (and sometimes dads too) are in tears talking about junior’s & juniorette’s first day of school and how they will miss their little ones. At work, I hear stories of moms crying in the car silently as their kids hopped out without so much as a good-bye kiss.

I frown and nod in the right places because after all, I do have a 1st grader. I do understand and I am a little sad about him going off to school and being a big boy. After all, he did tell me this summer that it’s embarrassing that I kiss him in front of his friends, which frankly broke my heart a little. With that being said, I cannot muster up a tear for the beginning of this school year. Maybe because I’ve been dropping him off at Summer Camp every morning already and seeing him off at school is really not different in our daily routine. I don’t know.

What I do know is that we had an excellent 1st day of school. Last minute, we decided to walk to school yesterday morning with our neighbors. It was a beautiful morning and you can feel the excitement and anticipation just pouring out of all the children (and there were lots of them). I think Michael enjoyed being a part of that crowd and I was very happy that I can at least give him that. Even though he will be at Pink Elementary for another month, I want that 1 month to be as "normal" as I can make it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Isn't There a Child Labor Law?

You fly all the way to California thinking you'll be getting unlimited supply of donuts and they put you to work. In the words of Matty, "What the heck?!"

Well, at least we got a sweet ride out of it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ballgame...

M and I took Michael and Matthew to see the Rough Riders game this Saturday and had a lot of fun. And before I write about anything else, it’s official. My kids are the cutest ever and here’s why.

As we walked through the ballpark gate, we were approached by one of the gals who put on the little contests they have in between innings. She asked how old the boys were and I said 6 and 4. She asked if they would want to participate in the on-field games. Michael is shy, so he declined and we thought Matthew might be too young so we declined for him. In the end, they didn’t go out there, but the point is, they were asked which proves that they are the cutest kids ever. Sure, they found some other kids to do it, but those kids were second choices.

I was very surprised that Michael really was interested in watching the game. He paid attention to strikes and balls. I’d hear him say, “Uh-oh he’s got 3 balls. 1 more ball and he gets to walk.” Or “This guy has 14 homeruns. He’s good!”

He danced when the songs blared on, and was on the lookout for flying baseballs. Unfortunately, no baseball came our way, but we had fun watching out for them nonetheless.

Matthew was not as interested. He played with his Gameboy most of the time, but I think he had fun eating the popcorn and ice cream. We did not stay the whole game because they had a big day swimming at the pool with the Chen girls earlier and were exhausted by the 6th inning.

It was such a joy to be able to share this new experience with them. Michael wants to see a football game next. I would love to take him to a Cowboys game, but I might have to start playing the lotto first. I just found out that it costs $5 for a bottle of water at the Cowboy Stadium. I can’t imagine how much tickets are if they can charge $5 for a bottle of water.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Candid Camera

My lil' bro sent over a CD with tons of awesome pictures of the boys when they were in CA. Love them! I love looking at the pictures he took. In fact, we have several of his pictures enlarged and framed hanging in the boys' playroom. They were perfect candid shots and perfect for that room. Here are some of my favorites.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Funny Man

I was looking through the calendar this morning and it hit me that we only have 4 mores months before the year ends. Yes, I know y’all can read the calendar, but really folks, less than 4 months of Christmas shopping left. Just thought I’d point that out.

We’ve got exciting news yesterday but all the details are still fuzzy so I can’t say much until things clear up a bit. It’s something that M and I have been planning for but did not think would come until much later. No, we're not pregnant.

I flew in from beautiful Albuquerque last night and got home in time to tuck my little ones in. Matthew was especially talkative that night. Michael had a couple of jokes he wanted to try on me. He asked me to spell ICUP. I did and he and lil' brobot rolled around on their bed laughing their heads off. “Get it? I-C-U-P” More LOL from both.

And my heart is full.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Boys Are Back In Town

I’ve been meaning to post more pictures of our Hawaii trip, but my boys are back and my head has been just with them. Add getting ready to launch a new product at work and a few business trips to the equation and you’ve got me running around like my head’s been chopped off. Needless to day, it’s been a busy couple of weeks.

Most important thing is that my boys are home and I’m very happy. They are still adorable as ever, maybe even more so now with their new haircuts courtesy of a professional barber who can do more than just a short buzz. Michael is very fond of his haircut. He even took to styling it when he was at my mom’s house. Here’s a conversation recounted to me by my mom.

Michael went into the bathroom and was in there for a little while apparently styling his hair. When he came out, he went over to my dad.

Michael: Gong-gong, how does it look?

Gong-gong: Oh, it’s looks good.

Michael: Remind to comb my hair tomorrow.

Should I be more concerned that he needs to be reminded to comb his hair or that he's taking more time to do his hair than me?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Road to Hana

The day after we went on our bike excursion, M and I decided to drive around on the island along the Hana Highway or “The Road to Hana.” A-MAZE-ING. The road itself is pretty terrifying especially past Hana. It was full of tight turns hugging the edge STEEP cliffs. There was a long stretch where it was unpaved and so narrow that when we met oncoming traffic, we had to pull over into the bushes to let the cars pass. But the views and stops along the way made the drive worth it.

Our 1st stop along the Hana Hwy. was called Twin Falls where we huffed and puffed up a hill for about a mile. Then it was off to a couple more waterfalls and lookouts. The best stop was at Seven Sacred Pools.

When you see the place, you can understand how it got the name. Imagine a fountain with 7 levels of pools, with the higher pools flowing into the lower pools creating cascades at each level. Them at the lowest of the pool, the cascade flows into the big, wide ocean. It was, let’s say it together, amazing. We took a little dip and watched people cliff dive. We only lasted a little while because the water was cold.

The trip took us pretty much the whole day. With all the hiking and the walking, we were satisfyingly exhausted, which is better than unsatisfyingly exhausted, I guess. Well, it made me feel less guilty about all the food we ate at the very least.

Here we are in front of Twin Falls

The view from 1 of the lookouts we stopped at on the way to Hana

Another lookout picture
One of the pools at the Seven Sacred Pools

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pure Joy

My waterbabies in Santa Cruz.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Home of the Sun

We are back from beautiful Maui! Even though M and I had an amazing time there, it’s always nice to come home. I do miss the nice weather, the awesome scenery and the lounging around. So many things to write about that I don’t know where to start!

We stayed in Wailea for the first for 4 days and had a room with an awesome view of the ocean. Our 1st excursion was biking down Mt. Haleakela. We were driven up to the summit of Mt. Haleakela and saw the volcanic crater with the ancient lava flow. We were up about 10,000 ft. and with the cloud cover below, it felt like we were walking in the sky. No wonder they call this place “Home of the Sun.”

After our time on the summit, we were driven down to about 6,000 ft. and were given bikes to ride down back to the bike shop. It was such a thrilling experience to zip down the mountain, navigating the hairpin curves and stopping at different points during the ride to look at the breathtaking ocean view.

M did such a great job making sure we didn't get run over by passing cars! I was very proud of myself for taking on this challenge. Something I would not have done if I didn't have M with me to keep me safe. It was one of the most unforgetable experiences I've had.

View off the balcony of our room.

Up near the top of Mt. Haleakela. This site is supposedly where the ancient Hawaiians sacrificed the virgins to the gods.

View down into the crater

You can see the ancient lava flow in this picture. It's the darker shade of gray behind M.

This is a Silversword plant (not yet flowered). It used to grow all over Mt. Haleakela, but was almost extinct because wild goats ate them up. It's now being protected and is slowly making a comeback. It only flowers once in its lifetime and the blooms can last from 10 to 30 years. It really is silver. The picture does not do it justice.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Tough Life

Before M flew to CA to drop the boys off, he asked me if I was excited to go to Hawaii. At the time, I was dreading the day that I would have to say good-bye to my babies, and I was not looking forward to buttoning things up at work before taking time off so I sullenly said “No, I’m not.”

He said something to the effect of “Oh no. What a tragedy. You get to go to Hawaii on vacation for 10 days. Life is so hard.”

I’m not certain, but I think he was being sarcastic.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Matthew Celebrates Another 4th Birthday

It' been 5 days since the boys left for California and it looks like they are having a great time. These are pictures my Baby Bro emailed me from Matty's 2nd 4th birthday party at my Mom's house. I'm very happy that Matthew got to celebrate his birthday again with our extended family and friends.

The homemade cake

Singing "Happy Birthday!"

Blowing out the candle

Cutting the cake!

Enjoying the cake!

Michael with a tropical beverage

Making S'mores with Kow-Fu


The "Crash"

Gotta sneak in a picture of baby Connor G. at 2 months! What a cutie.