February 16, 2011

  • Catching Up

    Happy belated Valentine’s Day to everyone in Xangaland! Johnny’s been in Manhattan, pitching his toy at New York Toy Fair (often presenting for 10 hours a day!), since last Friday, so I spent my Valentine’s Day with Jack, Derek and my friend Michelle, who flew in from DC to visit me for a long weekend. It was so nice of her to take the time to travel all the way across the country (and nice of her husband to lend me his valentine). I miss my college days, when I could see my close girlfriends whenever I wanted.

    We had a great few days and mostly hung out with the kids. But, I did have a blissfully relaxing, girls-only Sunday. With Johnny gone for essentially six days (all of Friday through all of tomorrow — by the time he gets home, the kids will have long been asleep), and me tutoring on Saturday afternoon, I needed a break. So, I hired a babysitter to come on Sunday, and Michelle and I went to Bar Method (yes, I dragged poor Michelle and her friend Katie, who spent one night with us, to an 8:15 a.m. class), enjoyed an outdoor lunch in Huntington Beach and got our nails done. So refreshing!

    Michelle, Katie and I enjoying “lava flow” cocktails — basically pina coladas with strawberry puree mixed in — at Duke’s in Huntington Beach

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    We were there with Roya, whom I’ve stolen from Ben (just kidding, Ben! But that is what you get for moving to Nova Scotia). Anyway, Roya is five months pregnant and still looks amazing.

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    I really enjoyed my little Sunday “vacation,” but I was really glad to see Jack and Derek that afternoon! They had a lot of fun with Susy while I was gone, but I start to get kind of antsy after a few hours, wondering how they’re doing and whether they’re worried that I’m not there. (I’m positive the answer is that they were not worried. They were ecstatic to see me upon my return, but they cried when Susy left!) We spent Monday just enjoying the lovely weather (it was in the mid- to high-70s this whole time).

    Jack blowing bubbles in the yard

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    Derek chasing the bubbles

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    Michelle teaching Jack how to blow huge bubbles

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    My two favorite kiddos!

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    Today it was back to the normal routine with the boys, which was nice in its own way. Jack misses Michelle already, though, since she spent a lot of time patiently playing with him and answering all of his many “why?” questions. We are all ready for Johnny to return. While he’s been gone, Jack (totally unprompted) has taken on the “responsibility” of snuggling in bed with me in the early morning. He says that he is “protecting” me since “Daddy isn’t here.” But today, he said, “I like being here with you, Mommy, but I want Daddy to come back now.” Awww!

February 1, 2011

  • A Few Pictures

    I wanted to share some pictures from over the weekend. First, the garden: It’s coming along nicely.

    On the left is the broccoli, growing taller by the minute. To the right are the spinach seedlings — this morning, a seventh seedling popped up, so now we’re just waiting on two (and if they don’t sprout, then so be it). One of the seedlings is now forming its first true leaves — very exciting.

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    And here we have one of the shallot/onion squares. You can see the green onion leaves beginning to pop up.

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    I’m waiting for the sugar snap peas and the carrots. I just sowed the carrot seeds on Friday, and I’ve read that they can take up to three weeks, so I’m not holding my breath on that one. I know the peas have germinated (bad bad Beverly … I dug into the soil to “spy” on one of the seeds. It’s germinated, just hasn’t poked through yet), so it’s just a matter of time before they’re above the surface. Now I sit back and watch everything grow until mid-February, which is when I’ll put in the tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. In March, I’ll do basil, and in April, I’ll start the okra.

    Now, the fam.

    Johnny with Jack and Atari — every once in a while, we like to torment our dog. Ha. And Derek and I on Sunday morning. He just came up to me and wanted to cuddle on my lap. It was so sweet! I got lots of unsolicited toddler kisses. I’m not sure if there’s a better kind of kiss!

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    Not much else to report. My first SAT class at the center went well on Saturday afternoon. My student is very motivated (but not crazily so). She listens and asks questions, and she’s willing to work hard. Better yet, her dad actually asks her what her goals are, instead of demanding that she makes a certain score. He seems very supportive of her. After working for one overzealous parent and one totally apathetic one, this is a nice change of pace. Plus it’s nice that I no longer have to go out to make my own copies of teaching materials — there’s a receptionist there who will do it for me. Score!

January 31, 2011

  • Creepy

    We hosted our weekly rotating playdate this morning, and shortly after all the kids and moms left (a little after noon), our doorbell rang. I looked through the pane of glass on our door and saw that it was a normal-looking woman in her 40s, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt and holding her car keys. I didn’t recognize her, but I thought maybe she lived on our street and had some of our mail misdelivered to her or something. So, I opened the door a crack and said, “Can I help you?”

    She replied, “I’m sorry, but can I use your bathroom?” No explanation as to why, and less than two blocks away, there’s a Volvo dealership, and next to it, an El Pollo Loco — both places with public restrooms. Plus, she had a car — couldn’t she drive to any of the dozens of shopping centers within a few minutes of us? I felt a little bad, but I smiled and said, “No, you cannot. Sorry! There are public restrooms in a restaurant one block down to your left.” As I was closing the door, I heard her say, “I can’t?” But I didn’t wait to hear more, I closed the door, locked it and bolted it.

    We live in a nice neighborhood — I’m not aware of any crimes here in the recent past, and I also grew up around here and don’t remember any theft or crimes. We don’t get random people at our door — the closest to that are real estate agents or people from fast food restaurants coming to deposit advertisements near the front door. I’m sure chances are that she just really needed to go right then, but she really caught me off-guard. No explanation as to why she needed a bathroom so urgently that she had to knock on a stranger’s door, plus she was looking around behind me (thank goodness we have a long entry hallway, so she couldn’t see inside to where the boys were). I’m not a paranoid person, but I am home alone with two little kids (and a dog, but Atari, despite sounding fierce when he barks, wouldn’t hurt a flea), and who knows if she was scoping out houses so she (or someone she works for) could come back and rob us later? Or worse.

    Perhaps I’ll go out of my way to do a good deed later this afternoon to make up for the fact that I possibly denied someone who genuinely needed help. That ought to restore the karmic balance!

January 25, 2011

  • Seedlings!

    Bear with me — I’m going to talk about the SFG yet again. By far the most exciting development this week (in terms of gardening) is that the spinach has sprouted!

    Look closely: There’s a tiny seedling (with its seed leaves visible) in the upper part of the photograph (near the center of the pic), and one just starting to poke through the soil in the lower right hand corner

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    According to the book, you can plant nine spinach per square foot. So I’m still waiting for six of the seeds to sprout.  They might not all sprout, but I’m hopeful. I just saw the first seedling yesterday, and today two more followed. So perhaps I’ll get a few more in the next couple of days. I’m still waiting for the sugar snap peas, but I’ve read that it can take 10-15 days for the seedlings to poke through the surface.

    Meanwhile, my broccoli plants are doing really well. They’ve grown a lot in the last week and are getting taller every day.

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    I also planted onion and shallot sets over the weekend. Those were really simple to do. This upcoming weekend, I’ll put in the baby carrot seeds. Johnny has also hung up the nylon netting for the trellis, so we’re in full swing!

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    I also wanted to share a picture of my strawberries (which are in the hanging planter, not in the SFG). They’re coming out of dormancy. If last fall was any indication, these berries will be very flavorful.

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    OK, enough about gardening; moving on to the family. This past weekend was the last one that my in-laws spent at our house (for this year). Saturday night, all for of us adults went to dinner at a fusion tapas place (Orris) in West LA. My in-laws generously paid for our sitter and for dinner. Gotta love parents!

    Unfortunately, I spilled half a glass of red wine on this gray sweater dress. It’s at the cleaner’s — I hope they can get all the stains out!

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    We also spent lots of time goofing around with the boys. They love giggling together on Jack’s bed.

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    And Mr. Derek loves to ham it up for the camera. I was looking at pictures on the camera at the end of dinner one night, and when he saw the camera, he said “CHEESE!” and wouldn’t stop until we took his picture.

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    Yeah, he probably knows he’s cute! Oh, and he’s mastered eating with a spoon (apologies if you’ve already seen this on Facebook):

    This week will be a hectic one. Derek has a cold and a little stomach bug (he’s recovering nicely, but it still sucks when your toddler is sick!), Johnny’s gone to New York for work (will be back late Thursday night; he’s also sick, by the way), and I start Saturday morning tutoring this weekend. I recently finished up with two weeknight clients — one took his SAT, and the other had a crazy mom who started making insane/unethical demands — and accepted a job tutoring on Saturday mornings at a local tutoring agency. The pay is good, and the owner of the agency is really nice. She’s lining up private sessions back-to-back for me, so that I only have to go up there once. I’ll probably be there from 9 to noon, or maybe 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., each Saturday during the school year. Of course giving up a Saturday morning is a drawback, but it’s better than going out at 7 p.m. every evening, after a 12-hour day with the kids. Now I’ll get to stay home on weeknights, and I won’t have to pay a sitter when I tutor (Johnny doesn’t get home on weekdays until close to 9 p.m., so I was paying a sitter $10/hour while I went out to tutor). Small price to pay for a few hours on the weekend, plus it’ll give Johnny the opportunity to spend quality time with the boys, which he’s looking forward to. And, during school breaks and in the summer, we’ll have our whole weekend back. Not bad! Anyway, after this week we get a bit of a respite, where we don’t have much going on, and then Johnny goes back to New York (for New York Toy Fair) from Feb 11 – Feb 16. Yuck. Luckily, Michelle’s going to come visit me for a few days during that time — something to look forward to! Honestly, I don’t know how you military spouses do it. A separation of that long would be unbearable!

January 16, 2011

  • Sunny Weekend

    I know it’s probably a sign of impending doom, but it’s been unseasonably warm (even for CA) the last couple of days. Yesterday, I had to dig into one of my summer clothing boxes and whip out a sundress. Crazy! Today I’m wearing a lightweight skirt. I admit, I love it. I try not to think about the global warming aspect while enjoying this sunny spell.

    I took advantage of the great weather on Friday to put the first transplants and seeds into my SFG. So far, we’ve got three squares of broccoli transplants, two of which are visible in the pic below (I bought those as seedlings instead of starting from scratch), and we’ve got one square of spinach seeds (lower left corner; not visible in pic, but you can’t see anything right now anyway) and one square of sugar snap peas (upper left corner).

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    Jack loves to water the garden, and he’s gotten good at not watering the plants, but rather the soil around them.

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    Funny side note: Yesterday, he asked to eat some sugar snap peas that I was washing, and as he crunched into one, he paused and said, “Wait, these growed from the garden already?” He looked so full of wonder. It was adorable that he even thought that would be possible. I hated having to tell him no. But, he wasn’t too crushed, since I reminded him that one day we would indeed get to harvest peas just like the ones he’s eating from the garden.

    While Jack and I tend to the garden, Derek’s been enjoying some outside fun, too. It’s good to see, because earlier this week, he was miserable from a double ear infection. Now he’s all better.

    Waving as he “mows” the lawn

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    He’s been having a word explosion lately. He had a few words down already (like mama, daddy, the names he calls his grandparents, night-night, dog, bye, ball), but now he also says “hot,” “hat,” “hello,” “I love you,” “Jack,” “oh man,” “fruit,” “blueberry,” and a bunch of others.  So cute! I feel like he’s on the cusp of a major leap forward in terms of communication, and I can’t wait to hear him actually talking.

    Yesterday we had company over for dinner, so I dressed up a little. For Christmas, Charles gave me a cute dress from Express’ spring line, and I thought I’d have to wait a few months to wear it, but it was warm enough to don yesterday.

    It’s even cuter without the little jacket, but this was taken in the evening, when it’d cooled down a bit.

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    And just because these are few and far between, a pic of just me and Johnny.

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    Tonight, we’ve hired a babysitter, because all four of us adults (Johnny and I, plus my in-laws) are heading to Pasadena for Victoria’s mom’s birthday dinner party. As I type, I’m waiting for four toenails to dry. Yes, I said four … I’m wearing peep-toe heels that show the first two toes on each foot, so, in a new nadir of laziness, I’ve only painted the exposed toes. Let’s hope I don’t need to take off my shoes for any reason!

January 13, 2011

  • Square Foot Gardening

    Last spring, one of the ladies in our playgroup built and cultivated a Square Foot Garden. In her 4′x4′ garden, she was able to successfully grow tomatoes, peppers, basil, a sunflower, peas, eggplant, nasturtium and some other stuff. I was impressed! I asked her about it and then got the book for my birthday. I loved the book, which describes how many of each crop you can put into each 1-foot square (you can grow a different type of crop in each square, which means you could have up to 16 different types of fruits, veggies or flowers in that small space), and it gets around the issue of poor soil quality (which is a problem in most residential areas).

    My in-laws are staying with us until next weekend, so Johnny asked his dad to help him with the construction of the garden. The two of them went to Home Depot and Lowe’s, and my father-in-law generously insisted on paying for everything, even though that was definitely not our intent, and then they built it in just a couple of hours, with Jack’s “help.” They even built me a sturdy steel trellis at the north end of the garden. The nylon netting for it arrived yesterday; my father-in-law’s going to hang it up on the trellis frame when he fills in the remainder of the Mel’s Mix (a special organic mix of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost and 1/3 vermiculite. I guess SFG is doing so well that now they sell the mix pre-made, so you don’t have to purchase all the different stuff and mix it yourself). Jack was delighted to be out with the men. I hate to perpetuate gender stereotypes, but I have zero interest in tools and construction stuff, and Johnny does like it. Jack has to pick it up from somewhere! I’m not raising a man who isn’t handy … but I sure as heck won’t be the one teaching him those skills. My handiness begins and ends at changing a light bulb. There’s got to be something I’m not good at, right? Just kidding.

    He learned how to use a tape measure, a drill and a hacksaw! Johnny told me that Jack actually cut the steel for the trellis frame.

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    Ta-da!!!! The garden and frame.

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    I’m SO grateful that the garden is built. (Thank you, Dad!) Since our climate is so mild, the last spring frost is actually in mid-February, which means that some of the earliest spring crops need to start going in now. To that end, I purchased broccoli seedlings yesterday. I also got some sugar snap pea seeds and spinach seeds. Those will go in over the weekend. In addition to those, over the course of the spring/summer, I plan to grow baby carrots, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, okra, cucumber and basil. I feel like there was something else, but it’s slipping my mind at the moment. Anyway, there are 16 squares to fill, but I’ll leave some blank (or plant some wildflowers in them) — don’t want to bite off more than I can chew! I also still have my hanging tomato planter, which I’ll use to grow cherry tomatoes this year (big ones will be in the SFG), and my strawberries are doing well in their planter, too. I’m excited and will be posting regular updates here and on Facebook. Gardening is something I’ve been slow to warm up to, but now that Derek’s getting a little older, I need something to “baby,” and I suppose it might as well be home-grown vegetables! We do eat a lot of veggies, and it’ll be fun for the kids to participate in growing them.

    Not much else to report. Jack and Derek are having great fun with Nana and Papa. Jack was introduced to football by my in-laws (Johnny’s not much of a sports watcher, and neither am I). Jack’s now requesting “football, please” on a regular basis. I don’t think he likes watching it as much as he likes being with all the guys on the couch, though:

    My father-in-law and Johnny with the boys

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    Also, all the adults in the family are on a weight-loss campaign. I really let myself go from Thanksgiving on, and gained what I feel like is an unacceptable amount of weight. Now that I’m 30, I really feel like the weight is slower in coming off. It used to be that I could just eat whatever and not pay the price! Since I’m Asian, and given the small frames in my family, it’s never going to get too bad, but still, there’s a personal standard I have for myself, and over the holidays, I went way past it! Anyway, my whole point is that calorie counting and staying on track is much easier when everyone’s doing it! We’re all holding each other accountable and come up with strategies to enjoy meals (and not binge on weekends) while still staying within our calorie budgets. So far, Johnny has lost five pounds, and I’ve lost 4.5. We only started at the beginning of last week, so yay, go us. I’ll be happy to lose 10 pounds total. I think 15 is impossible, but we’ll see. Thanks to my in-laws being here, I’ve also been able to go to two or three Bar Method classes each week, instead of just on the weekend. In addition, I’ve still been running three times a week with the boys, so that’s five days of exercise each week. We’ll see how I do on the exercise front after they leave. Running is easy with the double jogger, but I really love the Bar Method classes for toning, and for the fast results (but you have to keep it up). I will happily do aerobic exercise, but strength training and toning is something I’m really bad at when I’m by myself.

    OK, off to start prepping dinner! Hope everyone’s having a great 2011 so far.

December 31, 2010

  • Christmas in Temecula

    We returned yesterday from a great week at the Temecula Farmhouse with my in-laws, Chris, Victoria and Maddy. I’d heard a lot about the vineyards in Temecula, but had never been there. It’s gorgeous wine country … and so close (only about two hours’ drive away). The farmhouse was situated in a valley about 15 miles from the highway. Every window afforded a breathtaking view of the surrounding hills and vineyards. There was a lot of land for Atari and Murphy (my in-laws’ dog) to run around on, and the three-story, five-bedroom farmhouse provided all nine of us with the right amount of privacy and common space.

    Some shots of the interior and exterior of the farmhouse.

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    We all had a fantastic time and ate too much. Jack and Maddy particularly enjoyed running around together. Of course they had the typical “learning to share” moments, but it was adorable to watch them play little pretend games and chase each other through the house while squealing with delight. Derek and Atari also loved all the outdoor play space.

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    Christmas morning was lots of fun, of course. We had already given Jack and Derek their big Santa gift (a play kitchen), but they still had plenty of other things to open at the farmhouse.

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    I got some great stuff, too, including a Keurig mini personal brewer (yay!) and cute new pajamas from Pink. Oh, and Johnny also got me three new Mickey vinylmation figurines from the holiday collection! Very exciting. We spent the rest of Christmas Day chilling with the kids, playing horseshoes, and eating the yummiest dinner ever, prepared by my father-in-law. Johnny’s cousin, Patrick, and his wife, Kelly, joined us for the meal. I also got to play some Christmas carols on the farmhouse piano.

    Jack and I playing with his new Moon Dough “pizza making” kit; Johnny and I on the porch that extended all the way along the main floor.

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    My mother-in-law, Victoria and Maddy; my father-in-law and I playing Christmas carols together.

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    Jack accompanying us on Maddy’s “flute”

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    Now we’re back and unpacked, and today my in-laws arrive (they spent the night in San Diego after leaving the farmhouse yesterday) to stay for three weeks. Tonight we’re doing New Year’s Eve dinner with my parents and June, so that should be fun. I’m looking forward to 2011 — no resolutions, just a pledge to make this year the best it can be!

    Edited to add: I just realized that my Christmas Day outfit is the same as the outfit I was wearing in one of the pics from my previous entry. I promise I do have more than one special outfit!

December 21, 2010

  • Holiday Hustle and Bustle

    We had a very busy, but fun, weekend. I may be in the minority here, but I love the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Even jostling the crowds while out grocery or gift shopping makes me feel festive! (Well, most of the time.) And I love how everyone wants to get together and is generally more social around this time of year.

    Friday night, Chris, Victoria and Maddy came over to spend the night. We had dinner, some wine and some chocolate-covered strawberries after the kids went to bed. While Johnny and Chris played their nerdy role-playing card games or whatever it is they’re doing (sorry, guys, your secret is out!), Victoria and I talked. We had so much fun that we forgot to take pictures! It was adorable to watch Jack and Maddy playing together. Jack was really excited about his cousin coming. He helped me set up the travel toddler bed, and even flipped down the blanket on top of the bed so that “Maddy would know how to get in the bed.” Saturday morning, we pigged out on monkey bread (curses to my friend Ann for introducing us to that stuff. If there were a way for me to transfer five pounds from my hips directly to yours, I would!). It was a cold and rainy day — perfect for huddling up indoors and eating fatty foods with loved ones. Ha!

    Saturday morning, after Chris and Vic left, I went for a three-mile run. It was drizzling slightly, but it felt fantastic to run in that weather. I didn’t feel all hot and sweaty, and the light rain was refreshing. I almost didn’t want to stop, but well, it was close to lunchtime by the time I finished, and we all know that food comes first! While the kids napped after lunch, I went out to run some errands. By the time I came back, it was time to prepare for our second round of guests. Donna, Scott, Madi and baby Josh (same age as Derek) came over for a laid-back dinner of pizza, wings and beer (obviously, no beer for the kids. LOL). Again, not sure what I was doing, but I forgot to take pictures!!! Derek and Josh were adorable, toddling around together. After they left, Johnny and I rolled ourselves to the couch and caught up on our DVR’d shows.

    Sunday morning, it was time for me to pay for my digressions from healthy eating. I went to the brand-new Bar Method studio in Palos Verdes (I cannot even say how beyond excited I am that they’re now 10 minutes from my house!). My friend Kanako joined me. No one else was signed up for the 9:30 a.m. class (I guess if you don’t have kids, 9:30 a.m. is early?! I vaguely remember those days), so she and I got a private lesson. I was OK with the arm toning exercises (my arms and calves are pretty toned, from lifting the kids and from running, respectively), but oh, man, the thigh work and ab work killed me. I am still sore today. Then again, that’s the beauty of Bar Method … since running does nothing for your inner thighs and abs, I need this class! It yielded such great results for me when I was going to the West LA studio, but after 2.5 years, I’m afraid I’m starting back at square one. That’s OK, though … now there’s a studio close to me again. It’s pricey, but I’m going to put some of my tutoring money toward it, and go on weekend mornings. After class, Kanako and I hobbled over to the Starbucks across the way and chatted for an hour or so over coffee. Then I ran a couple of errands before heading home to join Johnny and the kids for lunch (a very healthy meal of, uh, leftover pizza). While the boys napped, I went over to my mom’s house to practice Christmas carols on the piano. (Where we’re going for Christmas — more on that later — there’s a piano, and even though I played for 12 years, I’m quite rusty these days, so I’ve been practicing at night after tutoring — from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. — and on weekends.)

    Then it was home to chill with the fam until the boys went to bed. Look at my adorable boys!

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    It was rainy and we couldn’t go outside, but Johnny and I kept the boys entertained by chasing them through their new tent. At one point, Johnny went out to the comic book store, and the boys and I used the time to make Christmas presents. (Well, they made Christmas presents while I supervised.)

    After the boys went to bed, I went out to a moms night out “date” with my friend Tomomi. We had a four-course meal at the Melting Pot. I love fondue!

    Here I am with Tomomi during our cheese fondue appetizer course. Mmmmmmmmm.

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    I think I must have ingested 10,000 calories on Sunday alone. So perhaps the Bar Method class didn’t do as much good as it could have. But when New Years rolls around, I’m back on the wagon! I’m going to Bar Method again on Thursday (Johnny’s not working that day), in an effort to combat the massive calories I’m going to ingest over Christmas.

    Tonight, my dad comes back from Taiwan for the holidays. Charles is also arriving on the same flight. He’s been working in China since October. We’re all excited to see him, but of course June is most thrilled! Tomorrow night, we’re all going to my dad’s company Christmas party. Should be a fun time. And then starting Thursday, Johnny is off of work until January 3! It’s our year to spend Christmas with my in-laws, and Chris, Vic and Maddy. Since both of our families have little kids, Johnny’s parents rented an awesome vacation house down in Temecula, which is a manageable drive for us and Chris’ family. We’ll be there for a week. Since it’s no one’s house, it will be very relaxing (no one has the stress of hosting). After that, my parents-in-law will be staying with us for three weeks (which means delicious wines and help with the boys!). So, some fun times coming up. I’ll try to update and comment regularly!

December 10, 2010

  • Jackisms

    It’s been so long since I’ve updated my blog that I almost forgot my Xanga password! These days, thanks to the boys and Facebook, I rarely feel the urge to blog, and I’ve seriously considered just deleting my Xanga account (or at least stopping altogether, even if I keep the page up). But, in the end, there are some things that are too wordy to share on Facebook, and more importantly, blogging friends whom I miss. So, here I am with a long-overdue update, mostly about the funny things Jack says (“Jackisms”) and some pictures (all of which are also on Facebook).

    OK, the Jackisms. Some of you know from personal experience that Jack talks from the moment he wakes up to the moment he falls asleep at night. He loves to provide a running commentary, and some of the things he says are hilarious. I’d hate to forget them all, so I’m going to document some of my favorites.

    Johnny: Hey, Jack, I got some chili cheese fries!
    Jack: Oooh! [Eats some. Pause.] Hey! These aren’t chili cheese fries! They’re warm fries!

    Jack: [Looking at a picture of me from when I was pregnant with Jack] Look, your belly is big!
    Me: Yeah, do you know why?
    Jack: Yes, that’s because I was inside your belly! [Lots of giggles]
    Me: That’s right! I was pregnant.
    Jack: [Pats my stomach] And now you’re not pregnant, so your belly’s not big anymore! [Pause, then puts his hand on my chest.] But wait, you’re still pregnant here! You have a baby inside your chest!

    Nice lady at Trader Joe’s to Jack: Here’s a sample of sparkling blueberry juice for you!
    Jack: Blueberry juice?! Can I have it?
    Me: Yes.
    Jack: [Takes a sip, then spits it out and screams] Oh, no! What’s happening in my mouth?! This is SPICY! I don’t like it!

    [While watching a video of a mother bird feeding her baby birds]
    Jack: Awww, the mommy bird is so nice. She’s feeding her babies!
    Me: Yeah! Does it remind you of anything?
    Jack: Yes! [Turns around on my lap to look at me sweetly]
    Me: What? [Thinking that Jack's about to say something really nice about me]
    Jack: It reminds me that our bird feeder is empty! We need to put food in it!

    Finally (well, not finally, but the last one I remember), last night, as Jack snuggled on the couch with Susy while Johnny and I attended a holiday party:
    Jack: [Patting Susy's chest] What’s that?
    Susy: It’s a breast.
    Jack: Huh? [Side note: He has seen me topless plenty of times, and I have told him that women have breasts!]
    Susy: All women have them. Your mommy has them, too.
    Jack: No she doesn’t! [Ahh, the blows that a three-year-old can deliver to your self-esteem!]

    I’ll share more as he comes up with them. Now, for those pictures!

    In November, Johnny participated in Movember (mustache-growing contest to raise money for men’s cancer research). The results were hilarious (this was his final trident-stache):
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    Johnny and the boys being adorable
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    Jack and Maddy at Maddy’s birthday party last month
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    Derek’s really becoming quite the expressive (and mobile) little man!
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    Johnny and I at his work holiday party last night at Pink Taco in Century City
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    In terms of general updates, the biggest news is that Johnny left Mattel in late November to go to Spin Master, a competitor toy company located in West LA. He was recruited to be a Senior Marketing Manager there, and while it was definitely a difficult decision to leave the Mattel job (which he loved, and which was great for him), he’s very excited about toys he’s managing at Spin Master. I’m very proud of him — in just 2.5 years since graduating with his MBA, Johnny’s really made a lot of strides in his career.

    On the home front, the boys keep me on my toes. I love being with them. Even when they’re being a handful, I’m glad I’m the one dealing with it, instead of some paid stranger. (At least I have motivation not to harm them! They can be quite frustrating when they want to be! LOL. But, most of the time, they are well-behaved.) I’ve really enjoyed watching Jack and Derek’s relationship blossom — it’s amazing to see. They share (most of the time), and they’re beginning to really play together. I’m still tutoring three evenings a week. I did have a fourth night, but that student recently took his SATs, so we’re done. I think I’ll keep it at three evenings a week for now — as much as I enjoy both mommying and tutoring, it’s tiring to go from 12 hours with the kids to two or more hours of tutoring.

    That’s about it for now … I’ll try to post more often!

October 26, 2010

  • Jack Writes!

    I’ve been very lazy about blogging recently. Sometimes I feel like I’m just repeating myself, since I post most things on Facebook, and sometimes there’s just not enough hours in the day. But, every time I think about abandoning blogging, I remember my blogosphere friends … I can’t bear to not keep up with them! So, here I am, with a long-overdue update.

    This past Sunday night, Jack told me he wanted to write his name. This is a frequent request, and always results in some illegible scribbles that do not resemble letters. So, I gave him some crayons and paper, then went to send an email on the computer. I paid Jack no attention, so imagine my surprise when he told me he was done and showed me this:


    Whoa! I started to take a picture of it, but he told me to wait, and then he ran into the kitchen, where he put it up on the fridge. Then Jack said, “OK, now you can take better picture of it, Mommy.” How vain. It would have been so cute if he’d chosen the J, A, C and K magnets, wouldn’t it? Anyway, I’m very proud! His preschool teacher’s been working on writing letters at school, and I guess Jack’s mastered some of them. Sometimes I wonder if Jack would be a super genius if I actually worked with him more on stuff at home. All I do (besides play) is explain stuff in daily life to him, and we’ll point out letters on signs, but I don’t really sit down with him and do “lessons,” per se. We color and work on puzzles — that’s the closest we come to any sort of structured activity. Oh, and we read a lot. He’s beginning to sound out some simple words. Well, I guess if it’s working, I won’t interfere with the current process, or lack thereof.

    Oh! We also got our professional family portraits done. Two years ago, we hired Trina from Monkeys and Peas Photography to take our pictures when Jack was 13 months old. We liked her so much that we decided to hire her again this time around. Like last time, she came to us and set up the “studio” portion (on gray backdrop) at our house, then we went to the botanic garden for the photojournalistic shots. She spent more than three hours with us. Pictures aren’t cheap, so this is probably the last time we’ll do this for a while. We mainly wanted to capture Derek’s fleeting baby-ness. Here are some of my favorites! (I posted more on Facebook; all in all, I got nearly 300 high-res digital images!)

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    Oh, Derek, why can’t I have those eyelashes?




    How cute are these two?

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    Thanks for reading!