30th Anniversary

July 15th, 2020

Today is my mother-in-law’s 30th death anniversary. It still amazes me how filial her three boys are even after all these years. They are now older adults and they remember their mother so fondly and affectionately. When I first married into the family, one of the things that impressed me was how strongly they feel about their mother to the point of speaking about her in tears upon her memory. She was indeed a special woman.

Tonight, we had a family WeChat get-together in her honor. It was special for all three sons to pay tribute to her. The two sisters-in-law (me included) said a little something. I focused on the people who keeps her memory alive year after year by putting flowers in front of her picture and doing the annual tomb-sweeping. I also resolved to keep her and my father-in-law’s memory alive by reminding my children of the importance of their grandfather and grandmother in their lives.

happy reunion

Nail in the Tire

July 14th, 2020
Small puncture

A few days ago, I saw the light turn on in the car. I knew it was the tire, but I thought it was just tire pressure. When we pumped it, the light went away. Today, it was lit again. We found this little nail on the tire. It will cost a few hundred dollars to replace. It’s one of those things we need to do during this pandemic, besides getting the Bugman to come and the Samsung guy to fix the fridge for the ice maker to work.

Homeschooling continues to go smoothly. The kids know what to expect and they are locked into the routine. Today, instead of PE, we did something different: Bubbles. They had lots of fun.

bubble fun

It didn’t hurt that they had a yummy pancake breakfast in the morning.

J’s plate

One for each kid.

Ian’s plate

My Boy

July 13th, 2020

A few days ago, I wrote about my girl and all the ways she reminds me of myself. Today, I thought I’d write about my boy. I’m sure many mothers think of their boy as the most special and the most … everything. At the risk of sounding cliche, I do think my boy is truly special. He is a sensitive soul who loves deeply and listens to his heart. Even though he has a mischievous side and gets rowdy to the point of roughing up his sister, he earnestly comforts her when she is distressed. There was one time I was teaching her a lesson by denying her dessert because she hadn’t finished her meal. I tried to ignore her crying but he couldn’t. He came up to me, whispering of course (as is his habit), and said, “I prayed in my heart for her.” I told him he can go ahead and talk to his sister. He went to her and encouraged her that she can finish her meal so she can have her dessert. The other night, I got impatient with him because he was so distracted that he wasn’t listening to my instructions for bedtime that I asked his father to tuck him in at night. He sobbed in his bed until I came to talk and set things right. Even though he thinks and feels deeply, he is also a happy, cheerful soul. I’ve always told people that ever since he was a baby, his default look is always a smile. When he is upset or angry or sad, it doesn’t take much to make him smile.

Every now and then, I’d get questions from people about physical activities we do during homeschool. I don’t know if it’s the stereotype of homeschooling families not to have scheduled PE, but I’m so glad I did. I am well aware of his need for exertion, and so I put together the running/basketball/baseball/soccer/dodgeball section of our PE time. Just recently, I added tennis. And so, it makes me proud when people ask him his favorite sport and he can confidently rattle off all these sports, and finally say, “soccer.”

Here he is playing ball with his Dad this afternoon. He is getting taller and leaner each day. When I hug him and kiss him, I can feel that he is thicker and heavier and bigger. Where is my baby boy? He is a big boy now. But as every mom says in her heart, and what I also say, “He will always be my baby boy.”

playing catch

Shady Canyon Haircut

July 12th, 2020

We did something different today, something we haven’t done since the pandemic started. We were actually invited to someone’s house for lunch. It was in Shady Canyon, which meant there was going to be plenty of space, plenty of good food, and plenty of time spent at their big house. Sure enough, all of those things happened.

The first thing the kids noticed when we got there was the plenty of space in the backyard (where we social distanced during lunch). We passed two fountains, which the kids delighted in observing.

wishing rocks

There was also a view. One thing I noticed about my kids is how they have gotten used to taking pictures and posing for them. This one is from the backyard where there was a view.

smile!

We had lobster, steak, calamari, fried rice, veggies, eggplant, fish, and all kinds of dessert. I think I’ve eaten more than I have in a very long time. It was like being in a buffet restaurant! It was also good fellowship with our hosts. Too bad we didn’t take a picture.

One more thing that happened is something that means a lot to me at this time in this season: Haircut! It’s an answered prayer to be able to lighten my load, so to speak, especially this hot summer. I was able to get a haircut from our host who used to be a professional hairdresser. Here’s the result:

new haircut!
back view

Lost and Found

July 11th, 2020

It has been a while since I’ve lost anything that has caused me deep consternation. The last time was when I couldn’t find my phone. Many, many times in the past was when I lost my wallet, my credit card, my camera, and yes, my cell phone. It was that familiar feeling of a cold chill running down my spine the moment I realize I lost something.

Today, I lost my wallet that’s attached to my phone by magnet. I usually leave it in the drawer but it wasn’t there when I checked. I thought I just misplaced it somewhere but I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t as bad as my experience in the past but it cost me some rising anxiety throughout the afternoon. We looked all over the house, upstairs and downstairs. The last time I used it was when I got baked goods yesterday. So, as a last resort, after a phone call that told me they didn’t have it, I made a desperate attempt to ask personally whether or not I left it at the counter. It wasn’t there.

In my heart, I knew I brought it back home but I second-guessed myself. When I came home, I felt strongly that it must’ve been in our bedroom because I remember taking the jacket off while I used the cell phone at night. Sure enough, it was under the bed.

lost and found!

The experience reminded me of the parable of the lost coin. The woman was so joyful and relieved to have found her coin that she celebrated. In a way, the relief that I felt upon finding my wallet that contained my driver’s license, credit cards, and prescription was overwhelming that I felt so relaxed after wards. It’s as though I could breathe again.

This was the biggest deal of the day.

Outdoor Fun

July 10th, 2020

We started homeschool today by going out for a walk. The kids woke up at 7:30 a.m. By our standards, this is super early. Rather than waste the opportunity, we went ahead and got an early start. This is our walk around the neighborhood this morning, buckets and all.

Early start

They collect flowers, sticks, pinecones, snail shells, interesting leaves, and sometimes, little pebbles. I guess one can call this our nature walk. Even though we had an early start, it got really warm towards late morning. On a side note, we talked to one of our neighbors whose kids are slated to attend public school. Even they are doubting whether or not to send them out or keep them homeschooled. These are the times for this type of questions.

love the hats!

One thing about my kids is that they have an appreciation for flowers and different kinds of bugs they see along the way. I don’t mind taking the time to let them just observe what is around them. Today, we even saw some crows above us, cawing away. It’s our little portion of nature in our neighborhood.

hats and buckets

We stopped by a shaded area and cooled off. It was a nice respite. It’s also a nice place to take some more pictures.

For dinner, we picked up Jollibee chicken. It was the first time the kids went out with masks on. They were happy to be out and about. When I came out, they were playing on the sidewalk with their masks off. I guess we can’t expect kids to keep it on for too long. Such is the debate these days for and against school opening in the fall.

Masks on!

Grounded

July 9th, 2020

It doesn’t happen often but probably more often than I care to admit. Today, I blew up on Ian because he wouldn’t quit fooling around during lunch. Usually, it takes him almost an hour to finish his meal. He talks and laughs and plays and gets distracted. What’s worse is when he gets his sister to goof around with him. Maybe I had a short fuse today but after about the fifth time of telling him to stop and settle down, I yelled and basically … blew up on him. I sent him to his room for the rest of the afternoon. I told him he stays there until it’s time for dinner. And so, he was there for around four hours. It did provide some good quiet time for everyone, but that’s not the point. It took me a while to cool down. At the end of it, I was able to think more clearly. When I was able to talk to him about what happened, I found that he actually understood that he needed to stay in his room because he didn’t listen and he was being defiant. Granted he couldn’t control his laughter/emotions during the 5th time I asked him to stop, it was still unacceptable that he did not obey in the first place. I believe we witnessed the “peaceful fruit of righteousness” we’d heard so much about. And I believe I also witnessed what it means to be “grounded” and why it’s such an effective consequence for this generation’s children — for my child, at least. Being grounded means having privileges taken away as a form of punishment. Instead of yelling and threatening and bearing it, taking action and carrying out the consequences of one’s actions is a more effective way of changing one’s behavior.

My Delight

July 8th, 2020

I have written much about how I have taken delight in so many projects, whether it’s baking or curriculum-planning or gardening. These days, I’ve also been cherishing my time with my two little ones. Day by day, it is amazing to see them growing right before my eyes. One day, they are dependent on me for things they need to do, and another day, they are proactively creating their own game or songs or stories. Today, they asked Alexa to play them Disney sing-a-longs. How did they know how to do that?

In particular, I find myself watching this little girl bloom. There are days when I’ve just been so distracted or so tired that I miss out on those little things that she says and does that bring me much delight, whether I’m aware of it or not. Sometimes, she would say something so innocently about something that she feels so strongly about. She is a passionate and vivacious little girl. She can be competitive but she often shuns the pressure. She refuses to play second-fiddle to her brother, and yet, she never fails to root for him. She is a willing playmate to his many ideas, while at the same time, she is not afraid to say “no” and speak her mind when she feels uncomfortable. She is also very affectionate, loves to cuddle and welcomes embraces. There are times, dare I say, when I see myself in her on occasions, especially when she has a certain look. It’s like seeing myself when I was a little girl! Today, she participated in an online story time for church. She turned out to be the only student who showed up — and there were three teachers! I watched as she answered questions confidently, interacted with the teachers, and delighted in what she was seeing.

I wish I am this observant everyday. They are growing up so fast. I will cherish these times with them, especially during quarantine.

storytime

Rainbow Crepe Cake

July 7th, 2020

Another day, another project. Today, it’s the rainbow crepe cake that I’d been seeing a lot when I go surfing online for food videos. Not only does it looked appetizing, it looked doable, too! I’ve been dreaming of making it, and I had the chance (and the inspiration) today!

I started off with the batter, all seven bowls with different colors.

red, orange, yellow …

Then, I flipped crepe after crepe, three from each bowl. That makes it … 35?

mmm … crepe!

It’s always fun to do these projects, especially when there are willing participants to eat it! Here we go!

Happy camper!

And here’s the other one who’s been eager the whole dinner!

the tower of crepes

And here’s a close-up shot of my rainbow crepe cake.

chocolate rainbow crepe cake

It looks beautiful and appetizing! If I were to do an honest assessment, though, I’d probably just give myself a B. For one thing, I didn’t have enough whipped cream to give it a moist texture in between crepes. Another complaint I have is the crepe skin was too thick. Between these two, it lowered the quality of the overall cake. I had to add the chocolate ganache over the cake in each plates to give each slice more flavor. No one complained so it was all good. We have dessert for the next few meals!

On to the next project … !

New Glasses

July 6th, 2020

These days, my eyes have been bothering me. It started early last week when I got some type of paper cut when I was turning a page. My right eye started becoming blurry the whole day. I knew it was because of the small cut. But maybe it strained my other eye. Every time I looked at something, especially up close, it always looks too bright. I have to close both my eyes. They got better over time, but I think it’s also the strain of watching the phone and the tablet. In general, my vision has just gotten worse.

I’ve worn glasses for most of my life so the last thing I want is to go back to it. I would even consider contact lenses again if I get desperate. After much resistance, I caved and made an appointment to see the optometrist. Today was the day. It wasn’t too bad. We had some coupons for the visit and I got a nice stipend for new glasses. Even though my eyesight wasn’t bad (.5 and .75 on either), I splurged. I even got to pick a style.

New look

I only plan to wear it when I’m reading but I went ahead and opted for progressive lenses, just in case. It’s a very light frame and I like it a lot.