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A Nightly Tradition

I grew up in a very religious family, and Lo Gung and I are trying to impart that tradition to our children as well. In 2011, my mother asked for just one thing for her birthday, from all 5 of her children. She wanted all of us to read our scriptures, every single day, for the next year. The 365 days were officially up in December, but daily scripture study is a habit are trying not to break.

In our house, I’ve tried to incorporate this tradition from my family with a fabulous tradition from Lo Gung’s family as well – nightly “fruit snacks”! Growing up, Lo Gung’s mother would serve a plate of cut up fruit to her family to eat before bedtime.

Each night, after the kids have changed for bed, we gather back around the dinner table and listen to scriptures on my phone while I peel fruit for the munchkins.

This time of year, Cuties are our nightly treat. By this time, I’ve peeled so many…I decided to get a little more creative.

I call this one Orange Lily. Nice, yes?

 

 

 

 

Ming Wai noticed this little guy. Mom! It looks like Jack Frost’s tree! 

Thoughts on Siu Jeun

Siu Jeun is my freshly-minted 4 year old. He is the most stereotypical “boy” I have ever met, and yet…he is so completely him.

He crawls into bed with me nearly every morning, before dawn. This morning I didn’t even wake up when he wriggled under the covers. Around 7:45, when we both agreed it was time to get up, I started talking to him about his new little sister (coming soon!) and how he’d have to be careful after she was born. “She might already be in the bed…and you’d squish her!” He sat up, put one finger up in the air, and solemnly said, “Well….’den…..I dec’ware she should sleep in her c’wib!” (Yes, dude. And you should sleep in your bed. But life doesn’t always work like that, now does it??)

After breakfast, he was playing on the floor with a toy. “Mommy? Does the baby have a name yet?” “Nope, buddy. We haven’t picked one yet.” “Oh, well…then we should call her Norman Price, ok??!”

Last night, his sister got her nails trimmed, and then asked for some sparkly purple polish for New Years. I put it on her, and then turned to SJ – it was his turn for a trim. As I finished up, he said, “Mommy? I want some nail po’wish on my toes!!” Well, dude….sure. It’s winter, you’ll be wearing socks…nobody will see them to make comments. (I’m not so much worried about the polish as I am about…well, it’s almost always dark colors, and it looks like someone slammed all his fingers and toes in a door! It’s even worse if I only do one nail, so I have to do all 10 to make it at least look intentional.) As I finished up, he held his foot out appreciatively and gasped. “Mommy! My toes ‘wook ‘wike…….DARKNESSSSSSS!!!!” Yup – that’s my dude.

A few weeks ago, he was upstairs playing with his sister. She must have started a game of dress up, because he came to the top of the stairs in the absolute frilliest, fluffiest petticoat she had in her stash. It was lemon yellow, with hot pink trim. “Daddy! ‘Wook at me!!” Before daddy could even protest, he started spinning around as fast as he could. As the skirt spun away from him, forming a perfect circle around his whirling body, he shouted, “‘Wook!! I’m a BEYBLADE!!”

Little Siu Jeun has the uncanny ability to find almost ANYTHING “feminine”, appropriate it…and turn it into something so “masculine”, destructive and/or just pure awesome, you can’t believe you never thought of it before! I have no idea what he’s going to grow up to be…but I know it’s going to be spectacular, whatever it is.

Christmas, Present

My friends, Christmas 2012 has come…and just barely passed. For most of us, the lights and tree are still lit up and looking dandy. The stockings might be emptied, and re-hung. The corner of the kitchen where you stash extra cookies and cake is probably still overflowing. And the toy box is most definitely looking a little on the crazy side. The guests have headed back to their corners of the world, and you are enjoying the last few days off of school for the little ones. Here in the Pacific NW, we didn’t get any snow, but I’m not sure that matters – I can’t seem to pry the kids out of their rooms. They hide in there, giggling together, huddled over the gifts that thoughtful family members found for them. As the kids get older, Christmas just get more fun. They are able to enjoy their gifts, and the rituals of the day, just a little more.

Before I forget, I need to write down two tips, so I can remember them for next year.

1) Lo Gung and I tried to follow the adage “Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.” Four gifts for each child. To keep track of what I had wrapped, I labeled each gift according to its portion of the rhyme. As Siu Jeun (my four-year old) went to open each gift, we would read to him the writing on the package. “Oh, this is from Mommy, and it’s something to read!” He immediately responded, “Oh! It’s a book!” Then, when he opened it and found a book…he didn’t throw it on the floor in a crying fit. He accepted it, and moved on to the next gift. What a happy accident!

2) Santa got smart – he brought “fruit ropes”, plus a few pieces of chocolate, for each stocking. (Fruit ropes are a product from Clif Kids – look like licorice, but they are made of dried fruit puree.) Again, the issue at hand is Siu Jeun. When he sat down to eat the entire contents of his stocking, I didn’t feel like I needed to stop him.  A pile of fruit puree is a whole lot better than a pile of high fructose corn syrup and red dye #40. (You may disagree – I’m simply going with what I know to be true of my kids.)

 

A sneak at the stockings before the kids woke up. 

 

The tree, pre-present demolition.

 

I could have sworn the kids left two pieces of peppermint bark out for Mr. Clause. Someone must have come by and eaten one. *erp*

 

The kids leave out food for the reindeer every year – a snazzy little concoction of raw oats and glitter. The oats are to eat, and the glitter makes it visible by the glow of Rudolph’s shiny little nose. 

 

Perhaps my most genius move this year. All of my husband’s family is out-of-state, or country, so we use the post man to deliver most presents between us. This year, I decided not to risk ruining the surprise for whatever person opened up the brown boxes. We simply put all the packages in front of the kids on Christmas morning, with Daddy manning the scissors, and figured out which presents belonged to who. The kids got to open more packages, and Lo Gung and I were BOTH surprised by our gifts. Win!

 

Christmas morning. Just digging into the stockings. We do that first, and then dine on Li’l Smokies, pancakes, and orange juice. It’s tradition!

 

The kids both get new PJ’s every year, opened on Christmas Eve. This year, we found this adorable set for Ming Wai on Zulilly.com. Matching PJ’s for her, and her dolly. Precious! 

 

 

Wishing all of you a very merry Christmas season, and an amazing New Year!

There is a fairly new app for the Microsoft Surface, built to share photos straight to Facebook (instead of the clunky, current method of saving to sky drive, sharing the photo from there, and then inadvertently sharing your ENTIRE stream on your wall. Oops.)

After I found it, I told Lo Gung about it. “Honey, there’s an app called “foo” that will help you share photos.” Only it’s not SPELLED “foo.” So, when he asked a few minutes later for the name of the app, I decided to spell it out for him so he could search for it. It went like this:
“Hey, what was the name of that app??”
“F.U.”

*crickets*

“Uhh…wait!”

(Seriously, who NAMED that app?!)

(Oh, and? The app works great. Just FYI.)

This Little Man

 

 

This is Siu Jeun.

 

This dude is the reason I’m as grey as I am. He’s also the reason I get up in the morning.

I mean that literally. He’s more punctual than any alarm clock. The day he learned how to turn on cartoons for himself was a happy, happy day.

 

This dude touches everything. EVERYTHING. He will bend it, tap it, study it. He’s the one who will stare at a simple machine for a few minutes while you chat with a friend, and then suddenly pull on your sleeve and tell you how it works.

 

He gives the best hugs, but you’d better take them when he offers…because it might be hours (or days) until he feels like sitting still long enough to give you another one.

He’ll sit still for stories, though. For a little while. Just until he figures out that whatever issue has arisen in the book IS, in fact, going to be resolved. Until then, he’s on the edge of his seat, brow furrowed, mouth agape, waiting for the Happy Ending. Because life always must have a Happy Ending.

He can watch an entire movie (like, oh, Brave, for example) and learn nothing but how to moon someone. “Feast yer eyes!!” Fantastic.

He dances with abandon, until he notices you watching him. Then he’s as stiff as stone. But give him some space, and he just can’t help it. His little hiney twitches from side to side. His mouth curls up into a smirk. His arms are passing back and forth in what look like perfect mimicry of Ninja Moves. Suddenly, he strikes a pose…and the song in his head is done. He continues on his way, like nothing ever happened.

 

He is my Booger. My Prince. My Dude.

(And he can rock a Dora tricycle like nobody’s business.)

My kids are in bed for the night. It always seems like a struggle, but tonight was particularly drawn out. (This is probably directly related to how tired their parents were. Heh.) I finally got them in bed at 9:45, but neither one looked very ready to nod off. Thankfully, I keep a bottle of lavender oil around for just such an occasion. A drop on each of their necks, and they were out within 10 minutes. Amazing stuff….

Tonight, our bedtime story was called Grandma’s Hurrying Child, by Jane Yolen. It’s a beautiful birth story while being completely non-graphic. It prompted all sorts of questions from the kids, though. Ming Wai, especially. I told the two of them about THEIR birth stories. Ming Wai was a WAITING child. A trip to the hospital late at night, sent home the next morning, waiting all day, going BACK to the hospital that night, and she was born the next morning. (By the time she came out, all I wanted was a NAP. Lo Gung was in the same boat. My father was the first one to make it to the hospital, since he worked just down the street. I handed him the baby, gave him some sort of mumbled congratulations, and promptly passed out.)

Siu Jeun was a bit quicker. I woke up in the middle of the night, calmly charted contractions all night, and waited for Lo Gung to get up in the morning. I told him it was just about time to go. We dropped Ming Wai off at a friend’s house after breakfast, and Siu Jeun was born a few hours later. Lo Gung picked Ming Wai up around dinner time. Atta boy.

Of course, birth stories lead to other questions, and Ming Wai seemed FULL of them tonight. How does the baby get out? Do they have to cut you open? Does the doctor reach in and pull her out? Will you still love me? Or will you love her best? Finally, Ming Wai decided that I should love Ming Wai…and love Siu Jeun more than Ming Wai…and Ming Wai more than Siu Jeun…and Penelope Picklebottom (catchy, no?) more than Ming Wai and Siu Jeun. Because that would make sense to her. “Uhh…does that make sense to you, Ming Wai?” I got a solemn nod. “Alright. Then, yes. That’s exactly how it will be.”

There are a LOT of unknowns as I prepare to go from Mama To Two to Mama To Three. (Not the least of which is HOW WILL I STAY SANE WITH MORE CHILDREN THAN HANDS?! I mean, have you MET Siu Jeun?!) The one thing I need the children to be sure of, though, is that there is MORE than enough love to go around. And they will adore their new sister as well.

Except when they don’t, because sometimes they won’t. And that’s normal, too.

(Wish us luck! Just a few days over 7 weeks until D Day.)

(Ming Wai and Siu Jeun playing with trains at the Children’s Museum. They have GOBS of tracks and trains at home, and haven’t touched them in a year. Go figure.) 

Thanksgiving, 2012

Thanksgiving, in my family, has always meant food. Lots of food. We have done it potluck style for as long as I can remember, so nobody is too stressed when we all finally get together in the afternoon. Dad roasts a huge turkey and makes the stuffing. He saves the juices for Grandpa, who is the official Gravymeister. Auntie Ann makes Jell-o, because the kids love it and their mothers (read: I) am too disorganized to make a dessert that requires 5 hours of refrigeration. The various other salads and sides are divided up between whoever is left. This year, because I was 7 months pregnant, I took the easy road out. I opted to host, because that meant I wouldn’t need to follow my kids around and make sure they didn’t break anything. My (awesome!) twin sister came over and helped move the heavy stuff (tables, chairs, benches) to get ready for the dinner. At the last minute, I threw together a batch of french bread…but that’s hardly any work at all.

I’m pretty much a genius. Easiest Thanksgiving EVER.

Of course, once the meal is done, the real celebrating can take place. It is time to simply sit, and digest…and we do that with GUSTO.

From LoLo Life 2012

Grandpa, of course, is the pro. That is his throne, every year. If you want to talk to him, YOU go to HIM, not the other way around. He’s earned it. (The gravy alone gives him King rights for the day. Yum!)

From LoLo Life 2012

The table is deserted, save the lone (gag) centerpiece provided by my little brother, and some big red cups.
(Quick story – Apparently, there’s this girl who thinks my brother is awesome. She’s, obviously, a genius. So, a few days before Thanksgiving, she presented him with an entire Seattle’s Best chocolate turkey, on a bed of raffia and truffles. He graced our table, and finally met his demise the next week at my little sister’s Art studio.)

From LoLo Life 2012

Some of the boys set up shop on the couch and played Halo 3. It’s a bonding experience, right?

From LoLo Life 2012

Siu Jeun decided to join the Big Boys, but he was just no match for turkey-induced sleepiness and the soothing sounds of gunfire. He passed out after about 5 minutes.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays…I hope yours was fabulous and delicious as well!

(I realized that I took zero pictures of the ladies. We were there, but….well, after a feast like that, it’s best to give the lady folk their privacy. Which is a shame, because my cousin brought her new baby and I was too busy cuddling her to take a picture! But she is beautiful.)