Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell 2011!

Ah, the end of 2011 draws near. So far we've spent this last day over at Green Lake, where I ran very slowly while the kids and Daniel played.  I've also braved the madness at Trader Joe's to stock up on a few things for tonight and tomorrow.  Daniel's off cleaning the car now, because I can't possibly start 2012 with a dirty car. And there's a Target trip still in our future tonight. We've managed to go to Target on Black Friday, the Saturday before Christmas, Boxing Day...(and many, many days in between) so let's round off 2011 with another crazy venture into the busy shopping world.

At Thanksgiving Daniel said that he was thankful for a good year, and at that time I wasn't sure if I was totally in agreement. Yes, it's been a fairly quiet one, overall. January and February were insane with the situation with our renter who didn't believe in paying rent, but that finally got settled (not financially, but she left, and that's all I care about).  January also was when we did the first feeding tube for Ethan.  Occasionally he'll see a picture of another kid with a NG tube on TV or at the hospital, and he'll say "Mommy? Remember when I had a tube in my nose?"  And I assure him that the image is branded on Mommy's brain and will probably be there until the day I die.  The gastric tube that he has now is still complicated at times, but it's much easier for me to deal with emotionally, and he's getting the calories that he needs for brain development and is gaining weight too. We are so blessed to have such an amazing hospital like Seattle Children's nearby, with all the amazing doctors and nurses and therapists that work there.

But it's also been the year that Ethan got into his special preschool and started getting tons of therapy and started making huge progress on the areas he's delayed in. And he made friends and started having this whole life outside our home.  Which was weird, but also meant that I got to spend some more solitary time with Vivian, who pretty much grew up overnight this year. She went from a baby at the beginning of the year to a toddler/preschooler (who thinks she's a teenager) by the end.

And it's been the year when I finally admitted that I was not okay and got help from medication and my therapist. And when God showed me where He's leading me to spend my spare energy and passions. I submitted my application for grad school this week- keep your fingers crossed for me! 

I think I have to agree with Daniel that it's been a pretty good year, when I look back at it. Challenging, yes, but that's life in the adult world. I'm blessed to have been able to share this year with such an amazing husband and wonderful kids.  We have a home that we love and friends to share our lives with us.  So, farewell to 2011 and welcome to 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Math makes me want to cry

I last studied algebra and geometry sometime in the late 80s, early 90s. And I did well at them the first time around, but I was 13-16 years old and still had all my brain cells. Now I am almost 35 and I haven't used my math skills (not in the way they use them on the test at least) in almost 20 years and I have been studying for a month and STILL just failed the practice test. Which makes me want to cry.

I did ace the verbal part of the test though. Because I have used my verbal skills in the past two decades. 

Daniel took the kids out and (I AM STUDYING, DANIEL! Don't judge!! This blog post is taking 2 minutes to write while I eat lunch!) and I'm supposed to be learning everything that I can about geometry and algebra.  I only have a little over a month before the GRE and I want to hide under my covers and cry instead of studying.

Sadly, I threw away all the Christmas cookies.  Probably a wise choice, but I'm regretting it now.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Just when you think you know someone

Daniel and I went out on our first date in May of 2004. That's a pretty long time ago. We got engaged in April 2005, and after that, we spent Thursday-Sunday of every week at each other's home.  But we were not sleeping together, in case you were wondering. Then we got married in February of 2006. After which we did start sleeping together, as evidenced by the two small people who showed up in rapid succession.

I thought I knew Daniel really well. In the almost 8 years (really!?) that we have known each other, I have seen him get really mad or emotional probably twice.  Which is really impressive, because I am a bit crazy  and I have LOTS OF EMOTIONS! and I do not fight fair and I know his triggers and everything. Still, he remains calm. Daniel is one of those people that you should watch in a really serious situation, because if he is freaking out, you are doomed.

I think if you asked anyone who has ever met him, (other than his coworkers, who have muttered to me things about him being a crazy workaholic), you would hear that he is a nice, calm guy.

Tonight we went to our second hockey game as a family.  We watch a lot of hockey on TV, because we get the Canadian station and Ethan is obsessed. And Daniel wanted to go to a game tonight and it was half price ticket night (and $2 beer night!) so we went. I thought I knew what to expect, since we had been to a women's hockey game during the Vancouver Olympics. And we walked in and there were lots of families and SO many tiny babies and other little kids and I felt comfortable.

And then the game started. And suddenly players were being slammed against the walls and sticks were flying and my dear, sweet, "nice" husband was joining in the crowd clamouring for a fight. And when a fight broke out (and went on for several minutes), my nice, passive husband was cheering and screaming along with everyone else.  And a few minute later, he, who I have not in 7.5 years even heard say the word "darn" was screaming something about the opposing team "sucking".

BEFORE YOU HATE ME- I don't have a problem with any of this, I'm just trying to wrap my brain around hockey in general and my husband having a side of him that I had no idea even existed.  I asked Daniel if perhaps hockey is the reason why Canadians have such a reputation for being nice, because they get all their bloodllust out on the hockey field.  Maybe that's a good thing? I have been to NBA games and professional baseball games and I have never seen the mix of such a family-friendly environment and people screaming for fights and cheering the roughness.  Maybe it's just because the stadium was small today and I am just not seated near these people. I don't know.  Admittedly, I haven't ever been to a football game or other sport with crashing and slamming, so this is all new to me. 

I'm just trying to figure all this out because I have a 4-year-old who, with a feeding tube is in the 4th percentile for size, and who dreams of playing hockey and soccer and football and every other sport that he sees.  He talks about hockey constantly and is always playing that or football in our living room. Obviously I am going to be a sports mom in the future, so I need to get used to all of this.  But it's so outside of my "girly" world.

On another note. Dudes- this week? With so many extra people around and so many outings and things to do? Kicking my butt. And tomorrow I get to go on a playdate with my son to visit one of his classmates and I don't know if I'm supposed to go or stay and I am FREAKING OUT! and Christmas vacation just needs to be over already.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The sound of silence (oh, and the washing machine)

I'm alone in the condo, listening to the washing machine wash the first of what is going to be many loads of laundry. And also listening to the remnants of the turkey bubble on the stove as I make turkey stock for later use in soup.  There are no other sounds, because I have been left all alone. Deep sigh of pleasure.

Daniel and the kids are off to lunch with Daniel's family. Given that we ate out on Saturday night and Sunday brunch, and had a big dinner here last night, I bowed out of lunch today. My system cannot take another high salt meal.  I'm so old. It's kind of pathetic.

Also, I have lots of laundry to do and review blog posts to catch up on and then there's the GRE prep math book lurking on the counter.  For the past month I've been saying "oh, I'll study and work on my admission essay the week after Christmas when Daniel's home to watch the kids." And now it's that week and I'm procrastinating by de-decorating the house and doing laundry.

Christmas went pretty well here. The kids started opening presents, one at a time, on the 23rd and continued until Christmas afternoon, so they're pretty happy campers.  I'm proud that we spent less than $100 total on gifts for the four of us.  I know we wont be able to keep that up when the kids are older, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

I am a little annoyed at one participant in the Christmas festivities- me.  I am getting so used to being home and not having people around that when people show up with stuff and noise and disorder, it absolutely freaks me out. I was snippy on a couple of occasions this weekend and overreacted to minor things and wanted to slap myself at times.  Seriously, I'm almost 35 years old... WAY too old to be acting like I did. New Year's Resolution, behave better!

Speaking of turning 35, now that we're done with Christmas, we can all focus on this big (and kind of scary) birthday that's only 3 months and 2 days off. I'm requesting a party from Daniel, but I'm not sure if we'll have the time/energy for that or not.  And, given the things I detailed in the previous paragraph, that might be a good thing :) I also requested a new purse, then I won the purse I wanted last week on a Facebook giveaway, so that's taken care of!

Anyway, algebra calls. Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Things I still need to do before Christmas

I'm looking at the date on the screen of my computer and am having a bit of difficulty comprehending the fact that it's December 21st already.  Seriously, where did this year go?  After a totally wasted day yesterday, when I may or may not have let the kids watch a bunch of TV and also watch me play a kids' game on the Wii for many hours, we left the house this morning for a shopping trip to Target and a playdate with friends. 

Even though I went to Target, I neglected to do the top thing on my to-do-before-Christmas list- buy gifts for Daniel's parents and his brother and sister-in-law.  Which is a problem, because they will be arriving here to celebrate Christmas with us in just a few days. 

I also neglected to buy any groceries for Christmas dinner. Which I have known about for months, but somehow it never dawned on me that I actually had to plan and cook the darned thing. My brain has a total block on accepting the concept of cooking. 

So, now I need to load the kids up in the car (hurray for a car day!) and head out and do the two things that I still need to do before Christmas- buy gifts and buy food. Both without spending much money, as I just paid our credit card bill (Merry Christmas to us- a major plumbing issue and a dental crown for me!) and I can't currently handle the idea of spending even another penny.

In other news, I started studying the algebra section of my GRE prep book and I think it's starting to come back to me.  So that's good :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Santa update

So, I put the kids in reasonably good clothes on Friday and headed to the mall near Daniel's office, where I knew there was a Santa and generally not too huge of crowds.  When we got up to Santa, I learned that photos with Santa aren't cheap- at this mall it was $18 for one picture.  Which might be normal, I have no idea. But it was sticker shock for Daniel and I, and after discussing it, we decided we could use the money in much better ways.  The good news though was that photos weren't required, and the kids were able to go sit on Santa's lap and meet him, which is all that really mattered to Ethan anyway. He asked the kids what they wanted for Christmas, they muttered something that no one understood, Ethan pulled on Santa's beard and we were done. Oh, and there were candy canes, so everyone was happy :)
Candy Cane eating break

Then today, in a quest to stay busy during this long week of Christmas break, I took the kids out for sushi for lunch, then we headed over to the Children's Museum.  And when we walked in, one of the people who worked there said to us "would you like to meet Santa?". The kids did, so we headed to Santa.  No lines, no other people. Free picture :)  Now this is my kind of event.  Again, the kids mumbled something to Santa about what they wanted for Christmas, and then they excitedly picked up their full size! candy canes and we headed off to play.

With Santa. Ethan is again, pulling on Santa's beard.

Santa tries desperately to understand what Ethan is asking for

 So, Santa visits are done and the kids are happy (and really sugared up from all these candy canes).  And I got a picture of them and Santa and we didn't have to spend any money. Win-win!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas vacation is almost here. Send chocolate and wine, please.

Yesterday Vivian had one of those fabulous, super-long naps that make mommies so happy. I got SO much done, which was such a blessing after having everyone home sick the week before and getting almost nothing done for days.  Today she didn't nap (drat), but I still got a few last things done.

Which was important, because today was the end of the "Ethan off at school" days until January 3rd. I'm almost hyperventilating just thinking about that.  I've barely recovered from Thanksgiving break and now another break is almost upon us. I love getting to spend time with Ethan, but I've gotten really used to my couple of hours of free time to do things (read- time to fold laundry without little people unfolding it again, and going to the bathroom without anyone on the other side of the door asking questions about what I'm doing in there) and a few hours of break from the constant bickering.  Deep breath.

Ethan actually has school tomorrow, but I have things going on during the time he's gone and wont be home myself. One of those must-dos for tomorrow is to figure out what on earth to buy all his teachers and therapists! Nothing like leaving it to the last minute, hey?

On the plus side, Vivian and I went to the grocery store today and they gave us free advent calendars. Since it's the 14th, that means that we have 13 extra days on each calendar to make up for. I may go through all the extra by the end of the day Friday :)

And on a totally unrelated note, I made pomegranate relish this afternoon and am now in the middle of making a roasted beet salad. I feel the need to record this, given my hatred of cooking and usual total failure in the kitchen.  I feel like I've been possessed by some Food Channel cook or something. 


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Santa Claus

Daniel and I are both very ambivalent about Santa Claus.  I didn't grow up celebrating Christmas at all, so there was definitely no Santa for me.  When I did start celebrating Christmas, I was too old for it to be an issue. I remember my college boyfriend explaining his family's view on Santa, that they didn't have a problem with it, but that the parents worked hard to buy gifts, and they weren't giving away the credit for the gifts to someone else :)

Daniel apparently didn't grow up believing in Santa either- I don't think it's a big deal in Hong Kong and by the time he got to Canada, again he was too old to go for the idea.

Neither of us has a problem with Santa as one of the symbols of the season. But we don't plan to give the kids gifts from Santa, and I never saw the point of taking the kids for photos with Santa.  Keep in mind that we are both insanely frugal, so it just didn't seem like a necessary expense.

Then came Sunday. We were downtown doing the whole Teddy Bear Suite/Gingerbread Village thing, and on our way back to the monorail, we walked past the downtown Santa. We watched the kids visiting with Santa, then we walked on.  A couple of hours later, Ethan wandered into the room and said "Mom? When can I go meet Santa?"  I explained that it wasn't something we planned to do.  I think I said something about Santa not being real, and just being a symbol of the season. Ethan pointed out to me that he had seen Santa that day and he was in fact real.  Outwitted by a 4-year-old. Then I asked why he wanted to go see Santa, and Ethan said "I just want to meet him."

So now I'm planning to take the kids to see Santa at a nearby mall on Friday. My parents, who are ardent anti-Christmas-other-than-church-stuff people are going to have a heart attack.  But it's apparently important to my friendly little boy, so, what the heck.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

In which I express my great desire for my husband to just go away for a little bit

I love my husband. He is hands-down the best man for me. I rarely complain about him here on the blog because there's almost nothing to complain about.  He's an incredible friend, husband, and dad. He's a hard worker and provides so well for our family. There's no one I'd rather spend my time with.

But right now, he is driving me insane. He's been sick all week and has pretty much not left the house except to go to work Monday-Wednesday. Thursday he worked from home (and monopolized our lone computer) all day. Then yesterday he was supposed to be taking a sick day, but still ended up working from home  most of the time.  Again, on my computer. Which is problematic, because my entire social life is online. And it's not like he was interacting with us. He was just sitting in the middle of my living room, in his pajamas (which I'm so tired of looking at now that I want to burn them), staring at the computer screen.

Between wiping Vivian's nose and glaring at Daniel and trying to mentally move him away from the computer, nothing much else got done this week. And I'm realizing how desperately I need a break from my family from time to time.  It makes me appreciate them so much more if they go away occasionally.

Ethan and I left the house of germs today to go run errands and pick up my race bib and shirt for the Jingle Bell Run that I'm "running" tomorrow. Between the sicknesses and lack of training, it's going to be a pretty pathetic effort. But they give us a free pint of beer at the end of the race, so there's that. Yeah! Free beer at 10 AM! Outside in the rain and 40 degree weather! Whatever, I'm still drinking it. It's been that kind of week.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Green lights

I would like to start this post with a disclaimer- this is the most random thing that I have ever complained about. And possibly the most ridiculous.

God is seriously big time green-lighting this grad school thing. It started in October at the Women of Faith conference.  At that conference, the university that my brother attended was advertising. And at that point, the words "law and public policy degree" popped into my head.  I did not want to hear those words, so I ignored them. But they wouldn't go away.  So I finally went to the university's website and was relieved to see that they did not offer a law and public policy degree. Off the hook.

Then I randomly googled law and public policy and online degree. And another school popped up. One with an all online program. And a certificate program, rather than a full-on master's degree, but with the option to transfer credits to the master's program later. Oh, and it's a Christian school with faith-based learning. And it's really well known.

Then I started the application and tried to send it in, only to get an error screen for several days.  A sign that this idea was a bad one? (I secretly hoped so).  Then I got an email from the university saying that my application had been caught in a system upgrade and that they were waiving the application fee for me because of that. Seriously?

So then I was thinking "okay, I still have to write a big paper and pass the GRE and  maybe I won't do well at that".  Today I got another email from them, letting me know that people who are applying for the certificate program don't have to write the big paper, just a personal essay. And the GRE is optional, and really only needs to be taken if planning to enter the master's program later on.

I'm starting to think that I'm not going to get out of this.  :)  I'm going to have to learn to study again and spend my time doing something more than blogging or playing on Facebook.

I'm still going to take the GRE because I have the study books and it's scheduled and I have some time to study in the afternoons now, and I think that I probably will continue on to get my master's degree after Vivian goes to school in a few years.

So far the only negative is that certificate students don't qualify for financial aid, so we'll be doing this all out of pocket.  Not ideal, but not something that's going to stop me from doing this. It's kind of funny- I've had lots of decisions to make in my life, and so many times I've dreamed of a big arrow pointing to the right choice or a neon sign saying "do this".  This is coming awfully close to that neon sign and it's a little scary, to be perfectly honest.  But it's nice to have the reassurance too.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Studying

I'm studying math today. It is about as much fun as it was the first time around, 20 years ago.  Fortunately, I've always been fairly good at math. Unfortunately, I've forgotten every speck of what I learned in middle school and high school.  Today I started studying for the GRE, which is about 50% math.  To see what I needed to focus on, I took some assessment tests.  Basic math skills I did fine on, since those are actually useful, but geometry and algebra haven't entered my life in any real way since I walked out of the classroom.

Ironically, even though I spent several hours today studying math, I failed to spot the fact that our plumber overcharged us by $100 until well after he'd left.  So much for real-world application of math skills. It's been a very expensive day- bunch of money to the dentist this morning for a crown, then a staggering amount of money to replace the pipe and faucet in our bathroom. Which, according to the plumber (who did look apologetic as he said this) were clogged up because of my hair.  Yeah, I needed to be reminded of my role in this as I  handed over my credit card. 

So now I'm eating cookies and recovering from the agony of trying to remember algebra and geometry and of spending large sums of money on totally non-exciting things.  It's definitely a Tuesday!