Saturday, May 30, 2009

3 For 3

Yesterday, my parents, Grammy, and Jack and I dropped my MIL off at my SIL's house and headed down to my Alma Mater, Cal State University Long Beach, where Dave met us on his way home from work, and we got to watch my baby brother graduate!!! Yay Travis!!! Travis, and 5 others, graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Music Composition from CSULB's Cole Conservatory of Music. It was so fun to watch him walking across the stage and receiving his empty folder diploma, and we were all very proud of him! He's so talented, and he's worked very hard for this! Congratulations, Travis! And congrats to mom and dad, too! They're 3 for 3 with kids earning their degrees. Amy got her BS in psychology from CSU Dominguez Hills, I got my BA in Religious Studies from CSULB and my AA in music from El Camino College, and now Travis has his BA as well! Something tells me that Travis will be the only one to actually USE the degree he earned, IN the field that he earned it, to make a living, though.

While we were standing around deciding where to sit, Jack chose his seat

But we decided on the bleachers

Dave's truck broke, but he made it just in time!

Here he comes!!! Can you see him?

"Mommy taking picture?"

Jack always pretends that he is playing with binoculars, and was so excited to actually get to play with real binoculars! Unfortunately he couldn't quite get it right

Cameron Manheim, the emmy winning chick from The Practice and a whole lot of other stuff, was the keynote speaker. She was entertaining, and though she did talk too much, she was at least interesting!

Up on the stage!!! See the announcer guy next to him? He had such a booming "announcer" voice as he read the names of the graduates! We got a kick out of hearing all the names read as though they would be followed by "... you just won the superbowl, what are you going to do next?!"

Jack was so good through the whole thing! It was a long ceremony, though, so Dave took him to run around while we waited for Travis' name to be read

Congratulations, Travis, and mom and dad!

And one more, just because I can

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jail Break!!!

This past Saturday, May 23rd, Jack and I had officially been cooped up in the house for a full week. He was going crazy, I was going crazy, and both of us just needed time out of the house! Aside from Jack's croup-and-pneumonia, MIL had been living with us for exactly one week, and, as we didn't want to leave her alone but weren't sure if taking her with us was our best option, we couldn't just pack up and go according to our whims anymore. Plus, Dave had worked all but two of those days (okay, I know that doesn't sound like he was gone that long, but keep in mind, he works 24 hour shifts, so he had only been home on Monday and on Friday) so the monotony of the same ol' same ol' day in and day out was really getting to us. So I was very excited when Saturday rolled around and we actually had a place to go, and no excuse to stay home! Dave was working, so Jack and I brought MIL over to visit with Sarah and Joe and Sofie (Dave's sis and BIL and our gorgeous niece) and went, with my parents and sister, out to witness the baptism of Avah James. Avah belongs to Kenny, our cousin, and his wife Margherita, our cousin-in-law.

Jack was so good during the baptism. He occasionally forgot to whisper, like when he announced "I like that song!" after each hymn, but for the most part he just sat on my mom's lap, pointed out the lights and patted her shoulder saying "Okay, grandma" when she reminded him to whisper.

After the ceremony was over, as usual, the paparazzi descended upon the poor sweet innocent baby and we passed her around for picture after picture! Here are just a few...

Four Generations

Proud Parents, Margherita and Kenny, with their little Avah

Avah James

Jack got thirsty while waiting for us to finish taking pictures, and he was stoked to find a water fountain just his size!

After we finished at the church, we kept the party going! If you know our family, then you know that we'll find any excuse to get together! Especially if there is wine! ;)

Jack and grandma found the M&Ms!

Amy and Aunt Joanne trying to get NJ to kick

Chris and Danielle- I did my first Engagement Photo Shoot with them recently!

Linnette and Sarah, proud grandma and auntie of Avah

Kenny holding his sleeping baby girl (best thing ever, right Kenny?)

Me (yay I got in a picture!) and Laura, my cousin, who was Maid of Honor at my wedding

We had such a nice afternoon, and couldn't have been happier to be surrounded by our family. Congratulations, Avah, and thanks for letting us celebrate you!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another Reason Why Housework Is Overrated

I can't believe it's only been a week since we brought MIL down to LA! It feel like so much longer. I know I keep repeating myself when I say that we've had quite the week, but really, we have! Lots of drama, a broken truck, a lost wedding ring (Dave lost it inside a burning building. We're both bummed, but realize that it could have been worse, and all in all a ring is just a ring. The ring went out in a blaze of glory, though! Literally!), a new inmate for Casa de Chaos (did we pick an appropriate name or our abode, or what???), and an ER visit for Jack.

Yes, I said an ER visit for Jack! Poor Jack Jack! On and off for the past two weeks he had a really low grade fever. It wasn't anything for me to worry about though, and he seemed fine other than feeling slightly warm. On Thursday, my mom and I turned the house upside-down and upset a lot of dust as we got MIL's room ready for her, and, since my kid is a walking talking allergy, that must have tickled his lungs. On Friday morning he woke up sounding hoarse, and then when he woke up from his nap he was burning up with a fever, and sounded terrible!!! Saturday morning he was worse, and when I went to pick him up from my mom's after the wedding, she said that he was even worse after his nap that day so Dave and I took Jack to the ER. We were lucky and only waited 10 minutes in the waiting room and were seen right away (I guess they hear 2 year old with trouble breathing and take it very seriously!). He had a high fever and they diagnosed him with croup right away and gave him an oral steroid. They also started him on albuterol from a nebulizer, and the doctor also decided to order some chest x-rays, just in case. Dave and I weren't sure it was necessary, but when the x-rays came back we were so glad that he had! They were positive for pneumonia! My poor baby! He gave Jack a shot of antibiotics, and 4 hours later we were released with a prescription of amoxicillin once they were able to get his fever down.

Between adjusting to having Grandma Han live with us and being very sick, poor Jack has been having a hard week.

What too much housework can do to you:

PS, if anyone is keeping score, Jack gained another 1.5 lbs, as we found out at the ER. he now weighs 38 lbs.

Friday, May 15, 2009

On Housework And Motherhood, and Crayolas

I'm sure you'll agree that we've had quite the eventful week. We found out on Tuesday that MIL needed us, brought her here on Wednesday and made the decision to move her in, turned the office/craft room into a bedroom for her on Thursday (a lot of work for one day!!!), and today we're moving our stuff out of that bathroom and back into the master bath (the Worst Remodel Ever is still not completed, but at least the master bath is liveable-ish! Could you imagine if we all had to share one tiny bathroom?). Tomorrow, Saturday, MIL is moving in. We've definitely not had much time to adjust to such a major change, but we're managing.

I really have never been a great housekeeper, and since Jack was born, I've gotten much worse. I mean, I still do the essential housekeeping things, but my list of essentials is pretty short, and I will drop what I'm doing in a heartbeat if Jack wants me to hold him or play with him. My feelings on balancing motherhood and housework is best summed up by the well-known song, Song For A Fifth Child, by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton (not well-known to you? Click here to read it). Children grow up so fast, and I don't want to miss a moment of it. No bit of housework is more important than spending time with my son, and I never ever want him to think, even for a second, that mommy is too busy to play with him, or rock him, or that any bit of housework is more important than he is. It's not. Nothing is. And the housework will still be there after playtime/cuddletime is over.

Since we've had such a crazy week, it has been necessary that I concentrate on housework. I haven't been able to just drop whatever it is that I'm doing the moment that I hear "Okay come on let's play toys!" or "Let's go rocking chair!" I'm sure that poor Jack doesn't really know what to think of all this cleaning going on over here! I am trying to find ways to entertain him and occupy him in such a way that I can still get things done. Sometimes, just being in the same room with me is enough, sometimes I actually have to hold the helicopter high over my head and spin the rotors and make the noises and talk to the pilots and the whole nine yards (whatever that phrase means!), and sometimes I just need to get him started and he'll play mostly alone as long as I pop in and out of his activity so that he knows I'm still paying attention. Usually if I know I'm having a big cleaning day I will see if someone can come over to play with him, or if I can take him to play with someone, so that I can concentrate on cranking out the work and not have to worry that he's being neglected. That way I can work faster so that I can concentrate on him sooner, and I know that even though I may not be the one playing with him or rocking him at the moment, someone he loves and who loves him IS.

Anyway, on Wednesday Dave left early to go pick up his mother, and he wasn't going to be back until the afternoon. I had to start making a dent in the major task of cleaning out the office/craft room (if you know what my office/craft room looked like, you'd know that major was an understatement!), and I had to do it with no one else there to entertain Jack, so I opened up a brand new box of crayons, taped some clean white paper to his easel, and let him at it! He loved it, and it entertained him so much that I only had to stop what I was doing to draw a helicopter, taxi, or airplane a few times when he asked me! Of course, I did drop what I was doing to grab my camera! I couldn't resist, he was just having so much fun!

I'm going to draw here!

See, I'm drawing there!

The two-handed technique

I also pulled out his Ta-doodle stampers and he LOVED those!

Different angle for you ;)

Do you have that stupid camera again?!

To get him to smile these days, I have to ask "Where's your happy face?" Of course, he'll smile, but his hands are up at his cheeks then!

Finished at the time, but he added a LOT more after his nap. The crayons were stubs by the time he was done with them! (Don't judge my drawings... I'm terrible!)

Change of Plans

As of yesterday, I no longer have an office/craft room (by the way, that was the official title... the "office-slash-craft room".... in case you were wondering). Wait, don't get too excited... it did not cease to be the office/craft room because it's going to be a nursery, we haven't hopped on that train yet no matter how long I've been sitting at the station waiting for my husband to hop on board. The reason that as of yesterday I no longer have an office/craft room, is that as of tomorrow, my mother-in-law (MIL) is coming to stay with us for an undefined period of time. I won't get into all the details because it's a lot and I'd like to respect my MIL's privacy, but as of right now, this is our best option and we have been blessed to be put in a position where we are able to help. And, as her family and as Christians, we are willing to do so. Dave and I are nervous- I really don't know her very much at all but she's always been respectful of me. I am virtually a stranger to her, too, so we'll have to see what our relationship becomes as we get to know each other better. It is going to be a major adjustment for all of us, and one that we never wanted to make, but she needs help right now and this is the best short term solution that we can come up with. Please pray for our family during this transition, and please pray for healing for MIL. Please also pray that it won't be long before we can help her get started again, on her own.

As for Jack, he seems to like MIL well enough. He's only seen her a few times in his 2 years and I doubt he remembers the last time he saw her, but I have always showed him her picture, and he is a smart cookie. He caught on right away that she was his grandma, though at first he was a little confused on how to differentiate between his two grandmas. It quickly became apparent, though, that we'd have to come up with a way to tell them apart during conversations, as Jack came up with his own way of telling them apart:

On Wednesday, the first day that MIL was here, Jack was calling her 'grandma'. Right as I was wondering if I was being silly for worrying that he'd be shy around her, he asked me a question that I misinterpreted to be "Where is 'little' grandma?" Thinking he was referring to MIL, I told him that she was on the couch. As I was rocking him before his nap, however I realized my mistake!

Jack: Where [little] grandma?
Me: Little grandma is on the couch!
Jack: No, where YELLOW grandma?
Me: (thinking, holy crap who has he been listening to that he knows about the concept of skin colors?! and MIL is Korean, but he's never noticed stuff like that before) Yellow grandma?
Jack: Yellow grandma at work!
Me: (still wondering and not quite sure what to say, making note to ask Dr. Google for advice later) Um, okay...
Jack: Yellow grandma at work! Where BLACK grandma?
Me: (huh?) Huh? Black grandma?
Jack: Black grandma on couch!
Me: (recalling a conversation a few days ago between my mom and Jack, regarding hair) Oooooooh!!! You mean yellow and black HAIR colors!!!
Jack:(very likely thinking "Duh mom, what else would I mean?") Yes, it the hair!

So, as the day wore on and Jack started referring to MIL as Black Grandma and my mom as Yellow Grandma, I started to wonder what someone would think hearing him say that and not realizing what he meant. I explained to him that Black Grandma was daddy's mom and Yellow grandma was mommy's mom. Then he started calling them Daddy's Grandma and Mommy's Grandma.
The next day (yesterday) I asked MIL if it would be okay if Jack called her Grandma Han.

Anyway, tomorrow is MIL's actual move-in date. I will be gone all day tomorrow*, and I feel bad about missing her first day in our home. Please please please be praying for our family as we make this transition, and for healing for MIL, as well as for us to have the wisdom and the resources to be able to find a long term solution (us= Dave and I, and Sarah and Joe... Dave's sister and BIL).

*I got a phone call from Pat-The-Photographer today, and he is shooting the Wedding Of The Century Tomorrow. As he is shorthanded (his sidekick- his wife, Tamara- is unable to shoot with him), so he asked me to help! Awesome! Pray for me because I'm nervous, but this will be a great opportunity for me!!! I get to observe the pro in action, and I even get to shoot with HIS camera! Awesome! And he's paying me! My very first paying gig and it's for a huge wedding of a well-known Long Beach family! Have I said "Awesome!" yet?

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Third Mothers' Day

Dave had to work on Mothers' Day this year, so I was pretty bummed. I was busy all day on Saturday, with a birthday party in the morning for one of Jack Jack's friends and then a double header for volleyball after that, so we didn't really get to do much 'Mother's Day' stuff. Dave was sweet, though, and had dinner ready for me when I got home! He had made swordfish! He had also run out and got me some flower, and replaced the wipers on my car (I needed new ones SOOOO badly, right Ang?). He also mentioned that he is still planning on getting my car detailed, like I had mentioned I'd appreciate. It really needs it- it hasn't been washed since the firestorm a few months ago, and I popped the hood last week to check some levels and there was still ash all over the inside!
Anyway, the next morning when Jack woke up, I put him in bed with me and turned the TV on for him at a reasonable volume (meaning, he could still hear it and my earplugs dulled the noise enough to still be able to rest!) and I cuddled him while I tried to wake up enough to get out of bed. After breakfast, Jack got really sad about his little 'helicopter' toy, because the battery died! He was so upset that his toy was broken, that I took him on a special trip to Target just to get a teeny tiny screwdriver and an appropriately-sized battery to fix it! He was thrilled when it was finally working again and I felt like the Mom Of The Year!
My mom called while we were at Target, so we headed over there to pick her up and take her back to our house, since the plan for the day was to hang out with Grammy (who lives next door!), and we stayed there until Jack's naptime, when we came back home so that he could sleep. My parents and sister came back to our house with us and we had a nice visit while Jack slept, and then after he woke up we went for a quick dinner, dessert, and then to my parents house to play a little bit before bedtime. Jack had a great time, I had a nice day, and I think my mom and Grammy both enjoyed their Mother's Day as well!

Luciano and Lucy

Emmaleigh... she's getting so grown up!

I can't believe how tall he's getting!

Emmaleigh gave us a concert on her cello

Jack, of course, was enthralled and kept talking about the cello the rest of the day! He loves instruments!

My mommy and her mommy and Lucy

We tired Lucy out!

Me, Travis, Jack, mom, dad, and Amy (with NJ in her tummy!)

Me and my boy ;) (my necklaces are from Grammy's toy box... Jack put them on me)