Monday, May 19, 2008

Who's the Boss

It's May the what? It's hard to believe, but my big girl is graduating from Kindergarten already in just a few short weeks. I've included a link of her Kindergarten school news station debut. Kids. I think they exist to amaze and challenge us everyday. They remind us of where we came from and how we should look at things. For Mother's day Abby made me a wonderful book at school about all my favorite things... my favorite color (green), my favorite food (sushi)... and my favorite thing to do when I have time to myself.... "kill the gophers." Huh? Where did that come from? I guess I do spend a lot of time trying to rid my garden of pesky gophers. It's hilarious how children perceive the world.

As I sit here, waiting patiently and longingly for the AC repair man to save me from this torrid weather, I scream quietly inside. He tells me when he's coming (somewhere between 3:00 pm and whenever he feels like it), and I sit. I sit. And I sit waiting. I can't make him come any faster and if I get mad at him, he may decide to not show at all. And then who's laughing? I am totally and completely at his mercy. Who exactly is in charge here? I'm a paying customer, right? But who's the one sitting at home with no AC. I left my job to be at home with the kids and decided that I didn't want to work for someone else anymore. I had had enough of dictatorial supervisors and office politics. I want to be my own boss, I said. Except, I'm not really the boss. I still have to answer to my clients. They're the ones that have the money and can tell me they do or don't like my work. So, I ask myself, who's really in charge? CEO's still answer to the board, adults answer to their spouses or to their children (sometimes), and the fate of my comfort lies in the hands of an AC repair man. It's this vicious race we are bound to run in as humans. We run and run trying to lead the pack to find that we are all really just running in one big circle with no finish line. Why don't we all just stop running? Then we could just get fat and sit in one big happy circle - just a thought I had while I was in the carpool lane this afternoon.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Happy New Year

I trust that you had a pleasant holiday and are ready to jump into the New Year. It's been a while since I've updated. I would give you an excuse about how busy I was, but I've resolved to make no more excuses. Although I don't customarily make resolutions, especially the kind that I can't keep, I've created a short list of improvements I'd like to implement:
  1. Be content with the 2 kids I have and stop dreaming about a bigger family. Raising kids is tough and it's even tougher doing it right. We're happy. We're complete. Why am I not convincing you?
  2. Try not to yell and get so frustrated with aforementioned kids. I've been thinking about the way I talk to my kids and the way they hear me. I know everyone occasionally goes Alec Baldwin on their kids. For some reason I get a better response from the kids when I speak in a tone of voice and volume that sounds as if I'm going to hurt someone. Anyway, I've resolved to attempt other more constructive (and more difficult, for me) forms of communication. This also means that I have to be a better listener and learn to empathize with them more. I think it would be easier for me to just get a brain transplant.
  3. Along with #1 and my difficulties with #2, I plan to FINALLY take down the crib in Sarah's room (the one which she has not slept in for about 2 years), switch the office and the kids' rooms and get our closets outfitted with one of those closet organizing companies. I literally drool every time I look at ads that keep coming to my house for California Closets, or Closet World/Factory/Warehouse/Land/Universe. All right already, I'm going to redo our barely functional, barely closets. I guess I shouldn't complain - in NYC you could fit a whole kitchen in one of ours.
  4. I'm going to TRY to stop giving people weird looks (externally and internally). This includes my in laws, my kids, my husband, people on the road, and just about anyone who might tick me off. What gives me the right to judge you? I'm just as weird as the rest of you.
  5. I'm going to slow down on my hoarding. I'm starting to worry that my hoarding tendencies are making me clinical. I think I'm justified though, because every time I get rid of something, I all of a sudden need it again (just watch who's going to be pregnant as soon as I take down the crib). At the same time, I can't find anything I need because it's carefully catalogued among the junk I will never use again, but am keeping just in case. I think this can all be blamed on the time my Dad threw away my security blanket. Cleaning out the closets is part of my therapy and road to recovery.
  6. I need to not set such lofty goals for myself. That is why I'm going to stop my list here. I know I'm not going to work out, procrastinate less, make a family scrapbook and re-sod the front lawn. Or maybe I will. Well... maybe after I complete #1-5.

Here's hoping your New Year is full of hopes that can be fulfilled.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Last Supper

A recent Time magazine article entitled You Eat What You Are got me thinking again about the subject of my last meal. Yes, this is not the first time I've contemplated this topic. It's quite a morbid topic, yet it conjures up all sorts of wonderful sensations and triggers random memories.

At first, I thought for my last supper that I might request the finest and freshest sushi: uni, raw jumbo diver scallops, live sweet shrimp (with the heads fried), yellowtail underbelly. bluefin tuna, unagi, whitefish and finished with miso soup with Asari clams (Katsuya style). And then the more I thought about it, the more I craved the flavors from my past and from my youth. When I want TRUE satisfaction, it goes deeper than just my palate. It goes to the deepest part of my belly; to the heart of my belly or the underbelly, you could say. Here's what I came up with for my official Final Meal Menu, which to me, would be perfect in every way:

First course: boiled live crawfish (heavy on the creole seasoning), along with a Corona and lime
Second course: Texas-style chicken fried steak, with glossy, buttery brown gravy and smooth white mashed potatoes with a crater on the top to hold more of that same gravy
Third and final course: kimchi chigae

I like how the article alludes to the final meal as "the edible sound track to my life." So true. Over and over, the foods that touch my innermost me are the foods I've shared with my family and friends. I believe that our taste buds have a far sharper memory than our visual memory. For example, when I visited Korea for the first time in 15 years (a place that I had absolutely no recollection of) I was offered a beverage which I had not tasted since I was 2 years old. At first glance, I didn't remember ever trying it before, yet I recognized the flavor immediately when it hit my tongue. My palate may have become much more refined and even snobby with age, but give me a bubbling pot of stewed kimchi and all of a sudden the world and all its cares seems to fade away. There's really very little more I need in life. What about you - what would you request for your last meal?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Just Do It

If I were to choose a motto for my life, that would be it. I'm a doer. In fact, I often feel uncomfortable and anxious if I'm not doing something. When we were shopping around for houses, it was the completely remodeled, move-in ready homes that made me feel uneasy. Give me a cosmetic fixer in need of a little TLC any day. And when I want to show someone my care, I don't tell them. To me, actions speak louder than words. That is why I do the meals on wheels ministry for new moms at our church. I'm just not that good at calling people, asking them how their delivery went and all that. I'm concerned, but the only way I know how to show my care and concern is to do something: bring a meal, help around the house, etc... And gifts are just things you buy with money. Anyway, I'm giving this whole personal history, because I feel this is the source of many of the problems I have with people, namely my family... namely my older daughter. Joe on the other hand, isn't concerned with all those things. He just listens and comforts and gives Abby what she really needs. To give a Biblical analogy - I'm Martha and Joe is Mary.

Today was the first day of Kindergarten for Abby. Was I sad? Did I soak in every moment? Not really. Best laid plans aside, I had a horrible time: from trying to get Abby up 2 hours earlier than her body naturally wants to wake up, trying to get myself up early after very little sleep (mainly because I was so nervous about having everything ready), spending time making a breakfast that she was not in the mood to have today, fighting about hairdos, and dealing with bad drivers and the mayhem of finding parking on the first day of school. I, like Martha, was so consumed with all the preparations that I wasn't able to enjoy this very important moment for my daughter. I spent so much time preparing so this moment would be just right and when nothing did go right, I was left with nothing but disappointment. Joe on the other hand, was not stressed about being late, or hair or clothes or breakfast or anything. He was just thinking about Abby and her first day and making it special for her. I think Abby would actually appreciate me more if I stopped doing things like making her lunch and braiding her hair, and started just paying more attention to her and being by her side. I was born to be a Martha though. Doing is what I do best. Unfortunately, the things that I'm good at giving to my daughter, I fear, are secondary to the things she really needs and appreciates.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Peanut Butter and Jelly

This week Joe and I celebrated our 8th anniversary. Wow, eight years! That's 1/4 of my life. People look at our relationship and they tell us that we're like peanut butter and jelly. In some ways we are just like those 2 elements. This is why I think it's so true. We are definitely very different; one of us nuttier and the other a bit sweeter. We did grow from very different trees (our vastly disparate families). On our own, we are both a bit extreme, but together, we make a very nice combination. If you've ever had just a plain jelly sandwich or just a peanut butter sandwich, you know what I mean. We mellow out each other's temperaments and compliment each other's strengths and weaknesses.

This year I've been praying more for our marriage than ever before and I think that has made a world of difference. I don't know how people stay married without faith in God. Our faith is what makes us able to show grace to one another and put the other's needs before our own. I realize more and more with each passing year the purpose of God's perfectly crafted plan through marriage - so that we may understand His love and grace more fully, so that we may have a supporter when we need lifting, and so that we can glorify God with our combined might. And just as we are more sanctified through faith, so too does our marriage strengthen and improve through our love for one another (the very same love that God has given and shown us through His Son). Happy 8th Anniversary, Joe. You are the peanut butter to my jelly.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The R word

Lately it's all that I see in the headlines and hear about. That is, RACE. Whether we're talking about the Don Imus controversy or the Virginia Tech shootings or even everyday relationships, race is part of the topic. We're so overly-sensitized to the topic that we're almost becoming numb and callous. It's very sad to me that after so many years of progress in this country, people still choose to simplify and rationalize behavior according to race. Take for example the horrific event that occurred yesterday in Virginia. It was announced that the alleged student was a young Korean-American man. After the Columbine shootings, the public was rushing to blame either schools or negative messages in media or society... just some reason why these seemingly normal [Caucasian] students turned down the wrong path. Virginia Tech was somehow painted as a different story. The student who committed the crime was "foreign," a "South Korean student." Never mind the fact that he has been living in the US for most of his life and is more influenced by American culture than the country which birthed him. He was obviously a very disturbed individual, whatever his race, ethinicity or standing in life. Why is it so easy for us to point a finger at race? And why is it so often the first explanation people we reach for? Instead of digging deeper to understand why people act and think differently from themselves, so often we just stop after looking skin deep.

I've been thinking about this topic as well in my daily interactions with people. In relationships, I believe we're all attracted to people who are similar to us. We may enjoy the company of a fellow musician, or a fellow artist, or we may even choose our friends based on race or class or sex or occupation. Because we're each of a particular class and race and sex and work field, we don't understand others who don't share common lifestyles and experiences. But our brains try to understand these "others" in the best way that it can, based on inferences and prejudices. It's automatic and can't be prevented. With all the increasing communication, the world almost appears to be shrinking and people seem so much more accessible. But at the same time, the world as we know it also seems to be growing larger and more complex. Because our brains are limited, and because there's no way for us to comprehend everyone within each of our constantly growing universes, it becomes necessary for our brains to categorize individuals. It's as if we are closer (at least in our knowledge of others), yet in order to touch (and truly understand) one another we have to traverse down a chasm so deep because of our prejudice, in order to get to the other side.

I know that I'm not blind to race either. I am a Korean American. I came to this country at a very young age, but my upbringing was not typical. I've experienced racism all throughout my childhood and then moved to NY where I lived closely next to people of all races, shapes and sizes. And now I live in a city so segregated that you can almost see the physical racial lines drawn on a map, much like borders of countries. Yes, I did play piano and take lessons for 11.5 years like every other Korean. And I played in orchestra - violin, of course. I did get good grades in math and even briefly studied engineering. Oh, and I did do the pre-med thing, too. I also value education highly and will probably push my girls to be overachievers. BUT, what you didn't know is that I used to skate (not roller) and listen to punk music. I used to go camping every year with my family. I enjoy savoring a good beer and cigar. I am a landscape designer (not on the Approved List of Occupational Professions for Koreans). I like old homes and even fixer-uppers. I have hairy arms and am built nothing like a Korean. I am concerned with environmental conservation and urban politics. And I've only visited Korea twice my entire life. Of course race is a part of how we live. I think we must stop fighting it; stop denying it; stop condoning the abuse of it; stop pointing to it. It's a part of who we are, but it does not define us.

I know what I'm saying is in no way deep or novel, but I think we sometimes forget to care about individuals, with all their dreams, aspirations, experiences, trials and suffering. I too forgot to care. Maybe I'm just being ideal and oversimplifying it, but I think we will only begin to see real change when we start putting ourselves in other people's shoes and making the effort to understand people for who they really are, instead of who they seem to be.

Monday, March 26, 2007

When I grow older losing my hair, many years from now...

That's a song I used to love in my youth. It's fun to sing songs about growing old when you're young. Not so fun now that I'm growing older. Also not fun is realizing that your jokes are not translating the way you want to the younger, hipper crowd. (Also not hip: using vocabulary like "hip.") For example, I decided recently that I wanted to resurrect some one-liners from television and movies that I thought were great during their heyday. One such quote is, "Have mercy." Perhaps I don't have John Stamos' delivery, but I just don't seem to be getting the gut-busting, side-splitting response that I had anticipated. Another sign of my progressing age: I go to neighborhood watch meetings and plot to catch loitering cars parked with teenagers in them. I hang out with 50 year-olds in my classes and talk about horticulture. The other day I said to my husband, "I could spend all day at the [plant] nursery." I love to go on and on about all the cool options my minivan has. Yesterday I had fun reminiscing with a man I was sitting next to about 8-tracks, and the funny thing is that I was born in the cassette tape era. My idea of luxury is hanging out at a Korean bath house and getting my butt scrubbed. Lately, I have, more often than not, looked around and found myself in a room or venue full of old Jewish people. Who am I?

I made a pact with myself starting this past year that I would embrace every year as I'm living it. I will not long for the past nor will I dread the future. Even when my kids go around bragging that their parents are the most weird and uncool adults on earth, I hereby promise not to: wear ultra mini-skirts (unless my husband requests me to wear them), shop at Forever 21 (or any other store that contains greater than 50% Lycra), text incessantly in secret languages for no apparent reason, pimp my ride to get attention at preschool drop-off/pick-up, borrow from my daughters' wardrobes (unless it looks better on me than them), and take a knife or needle to my face or body. Check back in with me in another decade or so and see how I'm doing with these. And feel free to remind me anytime you see me backsliding. Just a gentle tug on the back of my Lycra/spandex/viscose miniskirt will do.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Manic Monday

It's Monday again. Dread. I have so much homework again. Why does school always look so appealing when you're not in school? I took a class last semester that was so frustrating because the instructor wasn't good at teaching and didn't assign homework, so 80% of the class was lost all the time. In my evaluation at the end of the semester, I actually told the prof. to assign more homework, because almost every class was wasted having to repeatedly go over things a few of us already understood. Oh well, if he did take my advice, at least I'm not taking that class this year. So, this is my last semester of my program. I'm excited. Not only do I feel great about successfully completing the program, I have a lot to look forward to. I have a few projects lined up already and am getting validation from my peers and instructors that I have what it takes. I'm really nervous because I'm working on a friend's house right now and the installation is happening at this moment. I have a clear picture in my head of what I want it to look like, but I'm not sure how it will look in the end: did I choose the right plant material; are the plants I specified the correct size; will the hardscape be laid properly and complement the natural look I'm trying to achieve; will the flow of the yard be smooth and not awkward; and will the homeowners be able to enjoy the space and fully utilize it as I intended. There's just too much think about.

I had a hard week, partly because I had so much going on. I was trying to pack it all in and maximize all my time, and as a result I wound up neglecting the things that were important to me; the things that really matter: my family. I'm always making choices that at time seem to be good, but in the larger scheme of things, affect others. Almost all my decisions affect my family, even the mundane ones. Even the decision about whether to go to the market today will affect the quality of meals they consume for the rest of the week. My decision about whether I should pursue my career soon will affect schedules and inconvenience everyone.

In life, there is a balance. Even if we're not conscience of that balance, we feel it all the time. When our hormones are not in balance, we are emotional or irrational. When our schedules are not in balance, we feel out of control. When our quotient of give and take is not level, we feel drained or guilty. When our relationships are not balanced, people get disappointed and hurt. And when we are not in God's word, we find the temptation to sin far outweighs the will to do what is right. When I lack balance, I find myself easily tipping over.

In recent years I have found solstice in bonding with other Christian married women with children. Sometimes these women are the only people I know who understand all the pressing concerns that come with raising little developing brains and personalities. And I've gotten back in touch with the life I once had as a citizen of the work force. Finding my strengths in the work world I think has helped me be a better wife, because I am more at peace with my life and because I am able to reconnect with my husband in an area of our lives that was becoming more divergent. As a woman and a type-A personality, I want it all. I want to be a good mom and wife and landscape designer and church member and friend and pupil and daughter and sister and neice and whatever other roles I must fill. I must not disappoint anyone. But sometimes I feel like I'm disappointing everyone, especially the ones I care about most, because of my selfish desire to not want to disappoint anyone. How does this happen? This is yet another area of my life in which I need balance.

Life is hard. Have I said that before? Even when you have it as good as I have, it's still hard. I'm not saying my life is nearly as hard as the impoverished children in Africa. I am certainly blessed with more than I ever deserve. Life just seems far more complex than I ever wanted it to be. It's like my faith. I used to just love God like a child - simple and innocent. The more I study His word, the more unanswered questions I have and the more I feel agony for my sin. I do love Him more deeply because I understand His grace more and more, but it's not just a nice, love-dovey, one-dimensional, God-in-heaven type of feeling anymore. There's blood that had to be shed, there's disobedience, there's suffering. What pulls me up in the end? Knowing that God is the author and perfector of everything. Even my suffering and sin has an end - for His good purpose and His glory, so that we may enjoy Him forever. I endure it all for Him.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


When I was five I imagined I myself as Lynda Carter on normal days and Wonder Woman on not so quiet days. By the time I was 10, I was an insecure mess, trying to be normal in a very Texan world (I realized sometime in my 20s after leaving TX that it was in fact TX that was not so normal). When I hit 20, I thought life could not get any better than living in NY and exploring new places, being exposed to new foods and cultures, and being inspired in a different way almost everyday. Before I was married, I dreamt about finding my life's partner and exploring the world. Before I had children, I contemplated just the two of us and all the freedom and fun we would have together for the rest of our lives. Who knew that I would someday be a mom to 2 girls?

Growing up I was surrounded by boys: my brother, most of my close friends, my husband (who comes from a family of boys and 6 uncles on his dad's side). I used to fight with my dad every Sunday about not wanting to wear a dress. I used to do ollies and skate on a half pipe. I have a low tolerance for drama and don't condone many of the tactics used by females to get their way. I have often been compared to a man. When I read Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, it made no sense to me, until I examined myself through the perspective of the man. When I need to resolve issues, I am often the one that retreats to my cave.

When I found out I was pregnant, I almost knew that God was going to bring me a son. After all, I have been trained my whole life to deal with males and think like a male. I didn't believe the doctor's ultrasound, or even the handful of ultrasounds my husband did on me himself. Maybe my little boy was just a late bloomer, I thought.

It took a while for my transformation to who I am today. "SHE'S a GIRL!" I was constantly correcting passer-byers those first few months after Abby was born. How could I blame them; she was always dressed in green or gray, was balder than Yul Brynner and looked like Dom Deluise. I finally broke down and started buying pink.

I didn't even know how to talk to Abby after she was born. That voice that moms use with their babies - that was NOT me. But eventually I learned to communicate with my daughter. My voice did soften and sweeten around her and now my husband can't even tell when I'm talking to them or to him. I guess I have a hard time turning it off.

There was a time when my solution to whining was to yell, "STOP IT RIGHT NOW!" and then leave. Now I've learned to take a deep breath, listen to what is being said underneath the whining, and present alternative forms of communication.

Even my appearance has become more feminine. Someone recently told me that I started to dress better after having the kids. This doesn't usually happen after having kids, but I think I attribute it to being surrounded by more femininity. There are very few people on this earth that are more feminine or interested in being feminine than my Abby. I guess it's just natural that some of that would start rubbing off on me. Does that mean that mothers of boys start to dress in more khakis, polos and sweats?

Years ago, if you had asked me if I wanted children, I would have told you 3 boys. Now? I wouldn't have it any other way. I love having 2 girls and how they've changed me. In a way, they've made me a softer, more sensitive person. They bring out the best in me and let me know all the time that they want to cook like me, bake cakes like me, have long hair like me and someday be a mom like me. When I was little I used to say that I wanted to be Wonder Woman. Today, my daughter told me that she wants to be a mommy.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Not too late for love

It's been such a hectic month that I forgot to wish everyone a Happy Valentines Day. But since we are celebrating love and heart health all month, I know it's not too late. Appropriately enough, I've been reading back through my last several posts and they all seem to be about the topic (that and pee). Not to sound cheesy and fanatical, I LOVE Jesus. Studying Romans in depth through BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) this year has renewed my passion for Jesus. I recommend BSF for anyone seeking to have a closer relationship with God. They have separate men and women's studies all over the world. It's the best. Okay, that's my plug.

So, this Valentine's has reminded me of the amazing love I have in my savior, Jesus. His love covers my sins and makes me whole; it is my reason for living. And from that amazing and perfect love flows my ability to truly love everyone else: my husband, my children, my parents, my brother, my friends and even those I despise. Not only do we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19), we are able to love Him because He first loved us. Also, from that love has grown the heaviness in the pit of my heart for those that don't know Him and those that turn away from Him. My heart is heavy with His love and with this grief.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Love don't come easy

Relationships are tough; everything from friends to family to marriage. Personalities clash. We tend to impose our expectations for ourselves on others. And of course, we are always the normal ones (in our mind's eye). We all go through a honeymoon phase, where everything about the other person is wonderful, fun and exciting (in friendships too). Even the other's supposed "faults" are not so unbearable, because we are willing to give the benefit of the doubt and overlook a lot. Then reality checks in. We get tired of the disappointment, the misunderstandings and the frustration. We are face to face with conflict; a pivotal fork in the road. Whether we choose to avoid conflict or confront it head-on will determine the future of the relationship. In marriage, if it hasn't happened already, 7 years is about the time when we often start to give up in small and large ways and go separate ways. In friendships, the rift can begin with even smaller, more petty things. It's just easier this way, we say. So often we make choices without volition. Seemingly, we don't choose anything and yet that in itself is an act - a declaration of disregard. We choose ourselves. Why do I talk about this? Because I struggle to wholeheartedly love my friends and family, and even my own husband. When God called us to love our neighbors, it was no small, simple task. I realize now, loving others is as easy as hating myself. Yet that's what it requires - not literally hating myself per se, but loving others that much more. I don't know if I'm able, at least not in this lifetime.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Unexpected love

I've been watching a slew of movies lately (we're watching films up for Academy Award nomination). Interestingly, even the ones not set in England seem to have British accents. It's the movie-makers way of making the characters sound foreign. There was one that stood out, which we totally didn't expect to be good. In fact, we didn't expect anything because we knew nothing about the movie to begin with. It turned out to be one of the most moving love stories. If you want to see and feel true love, watch The Painted Veil. I don't want to say anymore. Just see it.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The upside of anger

I haven't seen the movie, but I can predict what its message will be. Today I experienced anger... no, RAGE. To most it may not seem like anything to get my diaper bag all tied up in knots about, but to me, I was at the brink of going ballistic on this stupid, evil man. I was at Blockbuster, just me and the kids. I had to return a movie and decided to run in quickly with the kids and pick up a movie for me and for them. As usual, it was taking longer than expected to make a decision and the kids were getting antsy. They started playing and I had to repeatedly rebuke them. Honestly, they weren't all that bad, but I just wanted to make sure they didn't get hurt or damage anything in the store. So, I'm perusing the aisles and I see this man give me a dirty look, but I keep moving on. His phone rings and he starts talking business with someone on the phone. Looking bothered, he passes by my kids and mumbles something, which I didn't hear. And then he says very audibly to the person on the phone (so I can hear), "I'm sorry, there are these kids and their mom can't control them." But he's saying it in an annoyed, passive aggressive tone. I can maybe understand this type of response if my kids were being rowdy, but they were making a little noise, as children oftentimes do. I chase after him and say, "Excuse me, excuse me. I'm doing everything I can to keep my kids in order, and there is no reason to be so rude!" He says to me that this is a place of business and that I should keep them quiet and then walks off. The thing that gets me is that this is Blockbuster. There is music and previews playing over the loud speaker and if he wants some peace and quiet for his stupid phone call, he should just GET OUT! What is up with people?! Why do they insist on being so rude?

For everyone who's ever given a mom with kids a dirty look on a plane, or in a check out line, or at the mall, or anywhere, SHAME ON YOU! Get a clue. You do not own this f***ing planet. We are people too, who, by the way, are just trying to live and make it through the day like anyone else. Anyway, after my rant, I came home and called a friend and she assured me that I did nothing wrong, but it was just that poor man's inability to be gracious to others. People are just mean. I sometimes have a hard time understanding this, because I often expect people to be conscientious of others. I am disappointed repeatedly, as I was today. Next time I cross paths with that man or anyone who has something to say about how obnoxious my children are, I will just look at them sadly and say, "I feel so sorry for you."

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Pee-pee or Poo-poo

For those of you who have been following my potty-training woes, I have some progress to report. "What the?!!" you exclaim, "You're still potty training that girl?!!" It appears that my younger daughter has made it her life mission to never ever give mom a break. I'm sentenced to a life of wiping butts, I'm afraid. All this time I thought she simply didn't like going to the potty (for whatever reason), and now I find that it's just too inconvenient for her to get her little rear over to the bathroom when she feels the urge. Let's just say that she's the type of girl that doesn't like to be rushed - not to eat, not to get dressed, not to clean, not to answer her parents, not ANYTHING. I weep for her future husband. So, instead of going to the toilet before the pee comes out, she will sometimes do this thing, which tells me that she should really just go in the toilet. When we're at home she will go to the bathroom, but only when she gets good and ready and then she proceeds to remove her pull-up. By this time it is fully saturated and there is no point to her being in the bathroom. Her next step is to grab a clean pull-up and change herself. At least that part of my job has gotten easier. To add to my madness, she likes to keep me on my toes and surprise me with a little game of Guess what's in my diaper. Sometimes she tells me she went pee when there's actually poo or vice versa. So, everytime I go with her to change her diaper, it's a mystery: will it be solid or is it wet or perhaps, a little of both? I don't like being unprepared before I open that diaper. It's like coming dressed in jeans and walking in to find the event is a black tie formal, or training for months for hand-to-hand combat and finding out that the enemy has just released a nuke on you. Why me?!!!

Well, here's when I get to the good news. This week was the first week that Dora has been going up the mountain faster than Swiper. (If you remember back months ago, I had made a diagram in the shape of a mountain with 2 opposing moveable figures on either side: Dora the Explorer and Swiper the Fox. Everytime Sarah successfully goes in the potty, Dora advances a step up the mountain. If she soils her diaper, Swiper gets to move). Way back in the beginning, I tried to get Sarah to dream and set her sights on the amazing prize she was going to win if Dora made it to the top of the mountain first. It didn't take much time for me to realize that this method was probably going to get old before we ever witnessed Dora's first victory. Again, remember that she is not motivated by getting anywhere fast or first. Well, I am happy to report that pretty soon I expect Dora to finally make that long, arduous climb to the top of the mountain before that sneaky old fox. Of course, this does mean that I'm going to have to anty up and get her something really good.

Friday, January 12, 2007

For lack of a better title: Happy New Year

Goodbye 2006
Originally uploaded by hyuhan.
I don't really think it is, but I will endure another one. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot to look forward to this year, but I just sometimes dread the weight of a new year. A new year means new responsibilities and new challenges. It's hard enough getting through all the things I've left unfinished and all that is still left to start. I definitely don't need new pressures. This year I pretended like January 1 was the same as December 32, 2006. I've decided that I don't even like New Year's celebrations anymore. Who wants to be at a crowded party in the middle of the night. No thanks. This whole season exhausts me. Maybe part of my crankiness is due to the fact that I couldn't see my family this season.

Anyhow, 2006 wasn't all that bad. Looking back, there were plenty of wonderful memories. For a moment, I forgot about all the smiles I had, until I started sifting through the thousand and thousands of photos I have saved away on my computer. I wanted to post some of my favorite moments here and share with you some of my smiles from 2006 (just click on the photo to view my Flickr album).