Jan 31, 2009

Thank you, SONY!

My 2-year-old daughter has decided to earn an official title of "Terrible Two." She is usually a very pleasant, sweet little girl. But, oh boy, she can scream when she is mad. She goes down to the floor, roll and cry, with tears and everything. She knows what she wants and she has to get it no matter what. What a stubborn girl. I wonder where it came from!? (Ask my husband and my mom. Oh, they know.)
But, I found a solution! Well, more like a distraction - A camera. Our Sony digital camera (thanks, Mom!). Even when she is scream crying, bouncing her legs, and her face covered with tear and snot, if I have the camera on she poses and smiles. I mean, in a split second, she is done crying and switches her face to a pretty smile. Wow!
You know, somehow crying kids' faces are cute (when I decide them to be) and I have been trying to capture her tantrum. But because of this, I have not been able to do that. I'm not so sure if it's a good thing or not. At least, though, I found a good distraction to stop her tantrum. That's a good thing. Thank you, SONY!


We went to sledding at local sledding hill this morning. It is Saturday. The temperature was not so bad (i.e., 20 degree F). We had fresh snow yesterday. The sledding hill was in the perfect condition. But, NO ONE was there. The sledding hill was only for us. And we had fun. Of course, I screamed louder than kids, somehow managed to go down backwards, splashed snow to kids and myself, and maybe possibly made this sledding-with-mommy-experience not so pleasant because of it. But it was a lot of fun.

And it gets even better.

We went to have freshly made donuts and tasty hot chocolate at Tim Hortons (I love their price!). Kids' happy faces were covered with chocolate - their smiles were just glowing. They slurped, giggled, licked the chocolate off the fingers, giggled, slurped more....I could tell they were having a good time. It made me feel warm and happy. And, to top it off, we all took good naps in the afternoon.

What a perfect winter day.
Snow is not so bad, sometimes, on a day like this.

Keep on rockin' me baby

Ever since we played Rock Band with XBox360 at my brother-in-law's last weekend, we have been rock 'n rolling everyday at our home. The favorite is Steve Miller's "Rock 'n me," of course. J calls the song as the "Rockin' roll song." We don't have guitars, but kids figured out they can hold their pillow to pretend playing their own guitars. J with guitar last weekend

So keep on rockin' me baby!

Jan 26, 2009

Things I did today

Today was R&R day after a long week away from home last week.
So, here is the list of things I did today.

1. Waken up by kids jumping on our bed
2. Made oatmeal for breakfast
3. Stayed in pajamas till almost noon
4. Read books to kids
5. Took a nap
6. Played piano with my daughter
7. Made and ate dinner with my daughter (menu: banana pancakes, sausage, orange juice)
8. Took a bubble bath with my daughter
9. Cuddled with my daughter
(My husband took my son out. That's why they are not in the picture.)

Now, I am enjoying this moment. It's so quiet. I love it.
Maybe I had a good Rest and Recover day today.

Eight Things About Me

I got tagged this one by my friend, Liz. This is my first time being tagged.
We'll see...

*8 favorite TV shows (Oh, boy, I don't really watch TV nowadays...plus we don't have satellite or cable. Out of things available to us, I'd choose)
1. Mentalist
3. Eleventh hour
4. Cold Case
5. CSI (original)
7. Curious George (default. It's on every morning. But I like it. I learn things with kids.)
8. PBS Frontline

*8 things I did yesterday
1. Slept in
2. Ate the best sticky buns my sister-in-law baked
3. went to church
4. took a nap
5. played ROCK BAND with family
6. Scored over 400,000 points on "Rock 'n Me" (Of course, the song was in my head rest of the day)
7. Ate the best home-made pizzas my sister-in-law baked
8. Slept in a car all the way home. (Thanks to my dear husband for driving!)

*8 things I look forward to
1. Warmer weather and more sunlight
2. Making something yummy in my kitchen tomorrow
3. Seeing my husband tonight (He is out trying to fix his car)
4. Gardening in spring
5. Next date night with my husband
6. My parents coming to visit this summer
7. A planned vacation this summer
8. A good night sleep tonight

*8 favorite restaurants (we don't really go out to eat)
1. My friend Tami's home made meals (It's not a restaurant, but I think it's best in town!)
2. Mountain Town (local restaurant)
3. Panera Bread
4. Grand Traverse Pie Company
5. Dragon Express (local Chinese restaurant - cheap!)
6. IKEA's cafeteria (good meatball!)
7. Pizza Hut Bistro (surprisingly good pasta)
8. McDonald's playhouse (not for food)

*8 things on my wish-list
*8 people I tag
Sorry, I'd rather skip these two.

Now....Tagged! You are it!

Crafting with 4 girls

While I was staying with my sister-in-law's kids, her 4 girls (age 9-14) and I made some French Memo Boards one night. I took my leftover fabrics, batting, ribbons, and buttons. With several cereal boxes and hot glue, Ta-Da! It was fun crafting with girls, and made me look forward to doing so with my daughter some day. It was very interesting to see how each girl had very different taste in things. They all turned beautiful!
Here is a picture of the girls' boards (some is completed and others in progress).

Jan 21, 2009

My life with 7 kids

I'm staying at my sister-in-law's place this week to baby-sit her 5 kids while she and her husband are out of town for a business trip. My 2 kids + her 5 kids = 7 kids. Wow!
Here is my morning schedule:
6:45 am - get out of bed
7:00 am - make sure kids eat breakfast (her kids are really good at taking care of themselves)
7:13 am - oldest 3 get out the door with my husband
8:12 am - her younger 2 kids get out the door to catch their school bus

But somewhere in between, I had to squeeze time to;
- hold my 2-year-old "baby" who wants to be held or otherwise scream and cry;
- make sure everyone brush their teeth, pack their lunch and homework;
- try to print one of kids' homework out of super-duper old computer, just to be failed because it was not hooked to a printer (of course!), try to transfer via USB drive, again, to be failed because that computer somehow didn't want to cooperate with me, and try to e-mail from one computer to another, finally after fighting with that for 20 minutes we were able to print successfully.

Yesterday, I got to run to chase one of the kids down the street because she forgot her lunchbox - me in my pajamas in 5 degree F weather. It must have been a quite comical view.
Today is a slow day, but other days I have to go back to my home by 9:00-9:30 am, which is 40 minutes away, on the top of it. Did I mention that I am not a morning person?

But when I was running around this morning, holding my 2-year-old on my hip, saying out loud "7:10 am! Brush your teeth! Did you pack your lunch? Where is your backpack? 2 more minutes guys! Out the door!!" My husband smiled and said proudly, "You can totally handle 7 kids!"
Ummm, thanks, but I don't know about that (mostly because of hard pregnancies I have had, but I won't mention here).

My sister-in-law has always inspired me in many ways(luckily I have many of those). Her love towards her husband and kids, love towards other people, thoughtfulness, creativity and ideas, and most of all, shining light of joy that she is happy and enjoying her life. I believe it's pretty contagious in a good way. Now I am experience just a tiny bit of her daily life, I admire her more than ever. I am learning a lot from her kids things she does as a mother. I can tell kids love her and they know their mom loves every one of them very much. She is a wonderful mom. I'm thankful for this opportunity to let me experience what a mom's life is like with school age kids. It's a good practice for coming years. But, wow, it's crazy! I'd better thank my mom for making breakfast and lunch everyday in my school years!

Jan 18, 2009

Old friends

I have two of my friends from high school visiting me this weekend. It's only for the weekend, but it's been fun. I hope they are having fun as much as I am. One of them has been to our place 3 times in this past 9 years since I moved here. I hadn't seen the other one for over a decade. We talked to fill up the gap - yes, a lot of updates. I believe we all have changed from what we were when we were in high school, but yet something about it has not changed. Maybe because we know how we were like and how we are now? Or maybe we are aging together (technically, not "together", but you know what I mean?). I have met so many people in my life. Some became really good friends, some not. Some of them are no longer friends, sadly, because of some contentions. Some, well, like these old friends, give me a sense of comfort, like home.

Jan 16, 2009

Confidence Booster

I'm not a big fan of McDonald's, or fast foods in general. We eat there only out of necessity, like traveling or something. But tonight, I had no energy to cook or even deal with kids after a long busy week, and had kids with too much energy left. So, we decided to take kids to McDonald's play land for dinner to get their energy out and give Mom an evening off from cooking duty.

And you know, it was worth it. Not the food part of it, but the play land part of it. We were there for more than 1 hour. My son J tempted to climb all the way to the top, but never crossed the tunnel - the wiggly one hang from 20 feet high. He was not sure about the safety of it, or just being scared (I don't want to admit that my son is a bit sissy, you know). He'd say to other kids "Oh, my sister is scared. I need to stay with her right here." (What an excuse!) But his 2-year-old sister decided to go and came down a slide exclaiming "Weeeeee!"

Then, finally, and of course, after I said "That's the last one and we are going home!" he decided to try one more time, with much encouragements from us. His sister was a cheerleader, saying "Go! Go! J!!!" clapping and shouting. It's only a play land, but I was cheering him as if he was in Olympic or something!! And he finally went through the tunnel! Oh, what a moment! (Good thing we had only another family in the room.) Finally, he was able to overcome the fear and savor the joy of coming down the long twisty slide. He just loved it. So, we let them play another 15 minutes to ensure that J is not scared anymore.

We believe our son gained a confidence today. Who would have thought that McDonald's play land helps you boost confidence? Yeah, it was a worth trip for that (and a triple-thick-vanilla shake).


I have my daughter M sitting next to me eating applesauce right now as I write this. She loves it so much. I'm glad that I canned 20 some quarts of it. Oh, boy, she is savoring! She is feeding herself with a spoon moving like a airplane flying into her mouth "Vrooooom!" Apple sauce is everywhere - around mouth, nose, hands, hair....you name it. She is working on second right now. At the end of the first serving, she had the bowl upside down over her face trying to lick the last bit of it. Now, I believe she is almost done and decided to play with it. She is singing some her-own-creation-happy-song, playing with the spoon, and experimenting the sound of applesauce squished in her hand.
Oh, there she goes again, her face up, and the bowl upside down.

That's a good applesauce, isn't it?

Jan 9, 2009

Leo & Us

Tonight, my husband and I went out for a date, a make up one from last week. And we went to see a movie Marley & Me. A friend of mine told me about the story from a book she's read. Each of us have a dog, a Chocolate Labrador, and 2 little kids. Oh boy, I cried. I mean, I cried a lot during the movie. And my husband cried also! I don't remember last time I cried that much during a movie, but I don't recall if he ever cried during a movie. Maybe because we have a dog and little kids. Maybe because other aspects of their lives too.

So, I thought, maybe I can write a letter to our dog, Leo, like I did for my son.

J and Leo (Fall 2005)
Dear Leo,

We consider you as our first kid, a big brother to J and M.

When you came to our home 5 years ago as a 8-weeks-old puppy, you had huge paws and didn't know what to do with the floppy paws when you ran around. Like many people said, you grew into the size of your paws. You are a big 90 lb. boy. I like how you are a beautiful "dark chocolate."

When J was born and came home from hospital, we were a little worried. But soon you became J's brother, a guardian, who watches over the little one. When J cried, you would slowly walk by him and sat next to him till one of us get to him. So, when M came along, you were like a pro. You are always careful around kids.

J loves to have you sleep in his room. We like you there too as a security guard as well as J's roommate. Sometimes J gets in trouble and we try to take you out of J's room, but you often refuse to come out. There is some secret brotherhood bondage going on there, isn't there?

M loves to give you a hug and pat you more than anyone. I have seen her putting some beads necklace around you. Just wait till she starts dressing you up for a tea party. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

You love kids so much. They are just perfect height for you because you are such a big dog. Your happy wiggly tail is a perfect height for kids to get tickled in their faces.

You are so good at not eating food off table. I believe you learned a lesson after you ate an entire loaf of home-made whole wheat bread. Your Daddy was so mad when he saw the empty Ziploc bag on the floor, because he was so looking forward to it that day. But you get your share enough from kids, don't you? We like it too, you know, because we don't have to pick up food pieces off the floor. Oh, it's so nice of you to do that job for us.

You are sure part of our family. Even your nickname tells you that. You are "Stinker", J is "Stinker Pot", and M is "Stinker Pie." Well, I didn't name them, Daddy did.

Sorry if I have ever been mean to you. I probably had a bad day or something. Don't take it personal, okay?

We love you, Leo.

We have our own story just like the movie, "Leo & Us."

Jan 7, 2009

A letter to my son

Dear J,

You are such a sweet little boy. You are so kind and thoughtful, just like your Daddy. It is so nice of you to cover me with a blanket, turn the TV down, and tell your sister to be quiet when I am on a couch resting.

Today, while your sister was taking a nap and Mama was resting in her bed being sick, you were playing so quietly all by yourself. Thank you for the quiet time. I had a good rest. When I woke up, I found you sleeping on the top of the stair case, with your favorite pillow and a blanket. You probably didn't want to wake us up, but wanted to be close by us. It was so cute.

Your favorite food is spaghetti meatball, and you LOVE them so much. I have had so many practices making those meatballs that I am becoming very efficient in making them. And I love watching you eating those meatballs with such happy face. When it's really good, you give me a thumb up while you nod your head with mouthful of food. I feel like I pass a test when I see it.

You are such a strong boy. Even when you were really sick, you didn't complain much. I have a lot to learn from you. I enjoyed our "special date" (i.e., a trip to a walk-in clinic last Saturday) as much as you did, the time just two of us. We'll do that again, just not to a clinic, maybe somewhere more fun.

Everyday I learn something new from you. I am amazed by your bilingual skill at this young age. It is so fun to see you switching languages back and forth without any problems. Sometimes you use them to tease other people. Now, that comes from your father. You are a smart boy.

You are such a funny boy. You are full of imaginations and so many stories to tell. You always have a smile on your face. That's a really good thing. Did you know that your smile really makes other people smile? Isn't that a magic?

You are such a wonderful big brother to your baby sister.
And you are a wonderful son, our precious boy.
I am so happy to be your mom.

I love when you give me a big hug saying "Yoshikun Mama daisuki! ("J loves you, Mama!" in Japanese). I really need daily dose of those.

Will you do that again for me when you are sixteen, please?

your mother

Jan 6, 2009

50 year - gold, 25 year - silver, 8 year - antibiotics!?

We had our 8th wedding anniversary on Sunday.
January 4th, 2001, I married to my best friend.

This was the most descent picture I have in my computer (this was taken by my father-in-law's digital camera)

You know, how anniversary gift list goes, like famous ones are gold for 50 year anniversary, silver for 25 year anniversary, and so on. According to such a site happy-anniversary.com (just a result of random Google search), traditional 8th anniversary gift is bronze, modern one is pottery. But this year, we picked antibiotics, not by our choice. My husband, my son J, and myself got strep throat last week (luckily M has been very healthy). We had our grand anniversary date planned (dinner, a movie, and good hot chocolate. Pretty fancy, huh?) for Saturday night. Both of us have been really looking forward to it. But we didn't even have energy to move out of couch. So, it got canceled. I don't even remember what we ate. But sure we had our share of antibiotics.

We didn't have wedding vows like some other wedding ceremony, but this sickness really reminded me of those wedding vows saying "in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph, I will love you..."
We have had our times of sickness and health, joy and sorrow, and failure and triumph. And I'm pretty sure we will have plenty of more of those.

Hey, we have made it for 8 years. We can do a lot longer, right? I have met several mature couples who have shared their lives together for more than 60 years. We have grown together this past 8 years, and I am looking forward to growing (a lot more!) together, like those mature couples.

No matter what, I know, I will always love my husband, my very best friend, for eternity.

Happy anniversary, honey!