Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In which I realize that I actually survived this summer

I was telling a friend the other day on Twitter that I've had a headache pretty much every day since Ethan got out of school. I love him, but BOY IS HE LOUD!!! And when he's loud, Vivian has to try to match/beat the loudness and it's not a good thing.  The days certainly have been very long this summer.

But then yesterday I was at the park with a friend and we were talking about how long the days were and she asked what I had going on for the next 20 days until Ethan goes back to school (19 days now!) and I said that today was full of playdates and outings and shopping and then I'm off tomorrow on a press trip and then my parents show up Monday and we're off on a family beach trip and then Vivian starts school and then Ethan starts school the day before my parents leave.... and I realized that yesterday was the last day that I had to figure out how to entertain the kids until bedtime.

I SURVIVED! I'm not on my own with the kids again after tonight, and we are busy, busy, busy today!!!!

Big smiles from me :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

In which I am a secret not-Asian, but sort-of-Asian person

I went to a baby shower on Saturday. I only knew three people there- the honoree, the hostess and one other attendee. I know all three of those people from church. Both the honoree and the hostess are Asian, as were all of the other guests except for my one other church friend who was there (2 were Indian at the party, the other 16 or so were Asian, of varying types).

I'm almost never in a situation in which people have no idea that I have any association with an Asian family. Either it's a situation like I keep getting into with work or my travel job, in which everyone communicates with me online and sees my name before me and assumes I'm Chinese and then is confused when they meet me in person. When I worked as a scientist, I was constantly getting invites to join the Chinese chapter of our professional organization.

Or people meet me and I have the kids with me (particularly if it's Vivian in tow) and they assume that she's mixed and that my husband is Asian. Except for those few people who still ask where I adopted her from.

Or, in the simplest situation, I meet people when I'm with Daniel and it's all immediately obvious.

But yesterday I was only introduced by my first name and I wasn't with my husband or kids.  So people kept explaining the Asian foods at the baby shower to me. Or other Asian-related stuff. And I sort of just laughed inwardly and thanked them and didn't say anything.  Eventually a few people did find out, when we started sharing about the joys of red envelopes (one of the best things about being in an Asian family is the tradition of giving gifts of cash in red envelopes for many occasions- love it!).

It's a weird in-between world- to have people assume I'm Asian when they meet me online or think my daughter is adopted when they just see her and I together or to assume I have no clue about Asian customs when I'm in a situation without any of my Chinese people in tow.

Nothing about this was bad, just kind of weird and unexpected!

On another note- tomorrow is week 2 of insanity and I get to add in traveling to the things I'm juggling. Should be interesting!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The best week in a long time

Monday night Daniel came home to find me lying on the living room floor, glass of wine in hand, watching whatever happened to be on the channel that was on the TV when I pressed the power button. I had spent the day watching training videos for work and taking the intro to the library class for school and reading legal opinions and my other course material for the week. I had woken up at 4:30 that morning and not stopped moving all day. 
Monday was rough and I was totally overwhelmed. Then came Tuesday and it wasn't too stressful because I'd gotten so much done on Monday. And the week continued and I participated in class discussions and the professor seemed to not think I was too idiotic with my thoughts and I was enjoying what I was reading and it did not suck.
And I'm finding ways to fit things in.  And having the "I hate to relax" personality that I do, it's actually helping me get more done. 

I realize that I'm only 4 days into things and next week I am traveling for the travel site (alone! Whoo hoo!) and will have to do school while on the road. But it's okay. 

I'm kind of having a blast :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The last day

I am feeling an overwhelming need to cram the reading of lots of trashy books into my evening (I read fast) because today is THE LAST DAY. Tomorrow is the beginning of my 20th year of formal education (why I am I still so dumb and clueless most of the time with that much school behind me?) and today I also got the (slightly overwhelming) training materials for my work with Trekaroo.  (The greatest family travel site out there- seriously! I don't get paid for my job, so I can say that with no conflict of interest!)

But, in other, less stressful news, I ordered a pretty school year organizer on Amazon and bought pretty folders and files at Target and a super gorgeous file box at the Container Store.  So I am clearly focusing on the essentials and I am ready!

We spent the weekend at more birthday parties and hanging out with Daniel's best friend and eating lots of restaurant food and stuff like that. But today I FINALLY made it to lap swim time at the pool. I haven't swum for exercise in almost 20 year and boy is it tiring! But I love any aerobic activity in which I do not sweat (I despise sweating) so I think I will stick with it. Although I've totally forgotten how to side breathe and spent all my time doing butterfly or breaststroke and not sticking my head in the water. But still, it was exercise and I need that, so that's a win still.

Oh, and the sun finally went away most of the weekend and Ethan and I spent all of our time gazing at the cloudy sky and saying things like "look at the pretty weather!" and "it's so nice when the sun isn't out!" We have issues.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My princess

We are in self-imposed post-parties/gatherings/classes quarantine here at home.  SO many birthday parties this month.  TV is apparently very dull in November. The kids are currently playing some sort of game that involves hitting things with their plastic golf clubs.  The cats are safe in the bedroom with me, so I'm not overly concerned.

Ethan's party went well, and I only had to take an extra half dose of my antidepressant/anti anxiety medicines to go.  Also, I shut myself in my bedroom for an hour and a half before the party, which helped.  Everyone had a blast and the party was fun and well run by the amazing people at The Little Gym and the kids ate cupcakes and Ethan loved all his presents.  A successful party!

Vivian's been cracking us up even more than usual lately. She is in full on princess mode.  At Ethan's party, when the teachers were asking everyone their names, she introduced herself this way. "My name is Vivian, and I AM A PRINCESS."  She's not let me wear pants in weeks (princesses apparently do not wear pants) and this morning scolded me for wearing a dress in the wrong shade of pink. She then went to my closet and picked out a new outfit for me and instructed me to put it on.

The funny thing about this is that one of my earliest memories is of living in a tiny house in Pasadena, CA and having a fight with my mom about skirts versus pants. I did not want to wear pants ever, and she thought I should.  I still prefer skirts, but it's funny to be having this same battle 30+ years later with a different opponent in a similarly tiny home.

T-minus 7 days until grad school and the other job start. Whimper.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Five!

Today my baby turns five. Five!

So far he's celebrated by opening a present, fighting with his sister, having Happy Birthday sung to him at Tot Bop, playing on the playground, going to Fred Meyer and eating sushi. Busy morning! And this afternoon we go to his friend's birthday party (which is confusing as heck to a 5 year old- to go to someone else's party on HIS birthday). :)  Ethan's party is tomorrow and I have only a vague idea of who is coming or what will be going on, but I'm fine with that.

Ethan's pretty excited about being five and will show anyone who listens that he's a whole handful old now. He doesn't think he's grown up yet though, because you apparently have to go to kindergarten to be a grown up, and he has one more year before that.

He's a funny kid with lots of ideas about how to do things and how fast yellow cars can go and whether the Mariners are the best team ever.  He's sweet and loving and has never met a stranger- everyone is a best friend in Ethan's world.

Ethan made me a mom five years ago and he's blessed my life every day since. Happy birthday, my love!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Deep breath

Grad school starts in 17 days now.  I'm only enrolled in one class this fall since the kids wont ever be out of the house at the same time (Ethan goes to preschool 4 days/week in the PM and Vivian two days/week in the AM) and they say to estimate 9 hours/week of reading/work per class.  And I thought 9 hours/week was manageable.

And then in June I got asked to travel for a family travel site I've been contributing to for years and now I have two more trips lined up for the near future. And yesterday I talked to the people and have now committed to working with them in an more official (but unpaid) position. That requires 10-15 hours/week. But, it will give us a chance to do local travel as a family, and with the expense of grad school, there isn't going to be any money to travel for a couple of years. So if we ever want to leave the house, this is a good thing.

I suddenly have the equivalent of a part time job, and my kids are still going to be home. I was telling my parents that I'm going to be living the life that I could probably manage easily two years from now when they're both in school. Except I'm doing it two years earlier than I should.

Still, the opportunities are too good to pass up and I think I can do it. I actually thrive on being busy (or at least I used to, and hopefully it's in there somewhere!). And I have a ridiculously supportive husband who is behind all of this.

I am having mini panic attacks though, just because this is all unknown (I hate the unknown) and it's all happening at once. I have clearly lost my mind.

Philippians 4:13- "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (I printed this out and stuck it on my door). 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In which I went outside for an extended period of time and did not die

I'm home now. In case you noticed I was gone. We've been camping for the past three days. My dad says it's not camping because we stayed in a cabin and not a tent, but it was a rustic cabin and in a state park and we had to use the same bathrooms as people with tents, so I say it's camping.

I'm sunburned and puffy from too much salt and am feeling a little allergic, but we had a great trip and it was all worth it.

The campground that we chose was a couple of hours from here and required a ferry ride! And driving! And the second day we were there we ventured into the nearby National Park where we made friends with a lot of deer and saw some of the most spectacular scenery that I've ever seen in my life.

My city kids got to run around barefoot outside and throw rocks into water and climb the side of mountains and do all sorts of other fun things that they never get to do.  I still am not a fan of nature myself, but I know the kids need it, so we will probably continue doing this version of camping in the future. Not soon though. I intend to lock myself in my condo in the city for at least the next two weeks.