Steady Improvement

For those of you who haven’t heard, I’m on child number 3 now. It’s been….real. It’s been real. Humbling and excruciating and glorious.

But considering I feel my level of sanity (insanity) being home every day has on average, stayed about the same despite the fact I have ADDED A KID I think says something!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m getting the hang of this parenting thing. I’ve learned a few tricks. Gotten faster. Gotten smarter. Definitely gotten cooler. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Ž

And here’s a picture of my third doing yoga in wolf ears, just cause. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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I Hate Legos

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I have a love/hate relationship with Legos.

That’s not true. It’s just hate.

Ok, I should specify. I mean the small legos. The ones that come by the hundreds and thousands in a box. That have the pointy edges and are just the perfect size to crunch and stab right into the small of your foot or between your innocent, unsuspecting toes. That always seem to find their way perfectly into the exact path you walk in the middle of the night from your bed to the bathroom. Or the crib. Or the table to get the whining toddler the water.

Yes, I love creativity. Yes, I believe children should let their minds run wild and free, and CREATE and HAVE FUN! Let them be kids, for God’s sake! Yes, yes. I just can’t do Legos anymore. I tried for so long. Off they go. All of them. Into little plastic baggies and readied for the next donation opportunity. God bless the mom who courageously accepts them into her home.

Sorry, Legos, you’re just not making the cut. At least not for now. Maybe I’ll bring y’all back when all three of my kids are over 4 and can clean up in a more consistent and orderly fashion. We’ll see.

Theft

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So, while I was in CA, I had my bag stolen. My Handy Dandy Helpful (anyone know that book?) diaper backpack from Lullababy (Thanks, guys! And…sorry, guys…). What happened was we were wrapping up our little exploration of the downtown San Diego area, and were getting loaded into the car, when Y said she had to pee. You know how we are when our 3 year olds say they have to pee: we drop everything, grab their hand, and run. So, I quickly said to my husband YoungJoon (Ooh P.S. Congratulations to him for becoming a citizen! You can call him Kai now! hehe…), “Can you put the stroller and the backpack in the car?” and he said “Yeah”.

I had left the bag on the floor (Cue eye roll. Yes, yes, I know, I’m setting myself up) right next to the tree we were parked in front of. So, Y and I use the bathroom at some random business I walk into that I happened to actually study a bit while I was waiting – it’s called Hostel on 3rd (anyone ever stayed there?) and it looks pretty interesting, but I’m not sure I would ever trust staying at a place like that. Anyway, we walk the 15 steps back to our car, jump in, and leave. When we get to our destination, an In N Out about 20 minutes away, I ask my husband for my bag.

“What bag?”

“My gray backpack with all W’s stuff in it”

“Oh I don’t know; did you leave it in Hwajeong’s car?”

“No…I left it by that tree…and I asked you to put it in the car…”

“You never said anything about a bag, just the stroller”

“…”

“…”

“… If you didn’t pick it up and put it in the car, then it is not in our possession. We’re going back.”

“Are you sure you brought it from the house? Or did you leave it somewhere while we were walking around?”

“No, I didn’t. I’m 100% sure. I know sometimes I forget things and can be absent minded, but in this instance, I have 100% recollection that I took the backpack off and placed it next to that tree back where we parked.”

So, I pray the whole drive back that the guy that told me Californians are all heroically friendly and kind (certainly nicer than New Yorkers) was right.

Doo doo doo doo doo

*Twiddling thumbs*

Pulling up to previously parked at spot

Exiting vehicle… hoping… praying…ย NOPE. Nada. The bag is gone.

*Sigh. I mean, of course it is. Life is cruel. People are heartless and pathetic. Oh well, nothing surprises me anymore. So, I start to accept my fate – the most valuable things in there were my $300 Benz key and my iPhone. I waved a symbolic goodbye. It does sting when people take things from you, but at least I still had what really mattered – my husband and my kids. At the end of the day, that’s truly, truly all that matters – the people. I hugged my baby extra tight when we got back to the In N Out.

But then! My brother in law is so smart. He reminded me of the Find My iPhone feature. So, we went to a Best Buy and tracked it down. Found an approximate location. The police said they would be willing to meet me and just supervise as I approached the house and asked if they would please return my phone. That’s all they could do.

We decided it wasn’t worth the trouble and tried going ourselves. My husband and his friend knocked on the door and asked and were denied. Not sure it was the right house, cause the location is only approximate. BUT they proceeded to use the Play Sound feature (that works even if the volume on the phone is off) and lo and behold, the phone started moving, so hmmm. The phone was speeding down the highway and ended up at a shopping center with a Starbucks and a sky diving place and I don’t remember what else. There was no point going into the Starbucks and searching for someone looking guilty…where would we start? How would we even do that? Walk up to each customer and yell menacingly, “You! It was You! Give me my diaper backpack!” Actually, I did have this idea that I thought was pretty smart: Run into Starbucks in a huff, make a huge scene, scream something like “Everyone, stop! Freeze!” until the place was quiet, and then play the sound on the phone and try to figure out where it had come from or look for someone jump out of their chair (we totally should have done that!)

At this point, I leave and my husband and his friend and brother stay to search. They said the phone did move around a bit, and then finally, it just stayed still, at which point they searched in the bushes where the navigation seemed to indicate.

Two hours later, we’ve all given up. It’s 6 pm. We all reunite and move on with our lives.

Then, around 10:30 pm, we’re all in our hotel room after our dress rehearsal (our trip to CA was mainly for my sister in law’s wedding) hanging out and chatting, when my sister in law hands me her phone and says, “Diane! You’re calling me!”

???

“Hello?”

“Hi, yeah, I just found this phone, so I’m calling you.”

“You found it? Where did you find it?”

“After work when I was walking out to my car, I found it in the bushes.”

“Oh wow, thanks for calling me! Can I get it back from you? Can I come meet you now?”

He agreed and gave me an address, but then I was waiting in the car with my brother in law and friend (I’m not a total idiot), and we look at each other and are like hmmmm let’s think this through. It’s late, it’s dark. What if this is the same person who stole the phone and this is part of his plan? What if he’s a professional phone thief that just goes around looking for phones, then calls people to meet him in the middle of the night, then when they show up, he jumps them and takes their money- or worse?”

We decided to call him back and say listen, it’s late, can we meet tomorrow. He said sure. The next day, however, was my sister in law’s wedding, and it was just crazy. I had no spare moments to call or to meet anyone. That afternoon, he calls me asking so are we going to meet? I say I’m really sorry, I’m so busy, can we meet tomorrow? We decide to meet at his job (a restaurant) right before he starts his shift.

Next day. It’s around 12 pm. I call from my husband’s phone (which I’ve been using to communicate with him the past 2 days) when I arrive, and walk out with my brother in law to meet him. He explains again how he was just walking to his car and saw the phone in the plants. (For the record, throughout the course of our smattering of short conversations, I did ask if he had also “found” a gray backpack, but he said no)

My best guess is that whoever took the phone originally got nervous somewhere along the line, whether it was from seeing the same car following him/her around, or seeing a bunch of guys searching in the bushes, or hearing the alert sound play a thousand times as the phone spastically switched between Lost Mode and Found Mode. The location Caesar (the phone returner’s name) found the phone at was the same approximate location we had tracked the phone to earlier that day – the same shopping center as the Starbucks. Maybe the thief really did decide to just toss it and be rid of the stress.

I dunno; I believe Caesar. He never acted suspicious and he was very communicative. I never felt like he was hiding anything. I mean I guess when I saw him in person, he didn’t say much, and barely looked me in the eye, but maybe that’s just his character?

So, Yay! I got my phone back! The thing that made me the most sad was the thought of losing all the great photos and videos from our trip so far (SeaWorld, Lego Land, San Diego Zoo, etc.) I have a really cute video of W clapping to one of the songs during the dolphin show.ย  I’m super grateful!

Also, fun fact: my phone had a smudge of chocolate on it. At least I hope it was chocolate… didn’t care to taste test it. But how weird is that?? That was not my chocolate… I didn’t have chocolate the day I lost the phone (hard to believe, I know). But like what kind of person doesn’t even do a quick wipe on a phone if they spill something on it?… Or maybe when he found it in the bushes, the chocolate was already on it. And he didn’t want me getting pissed that my phone wasn’t exactly how I had left it and blaming him like, “Hey, where’s my chocolate?!! I was saving that!!”

I’ve noticed I have a pattern of stubbornness when it comes to being a theft victim. I instinctively put on a defiant face, hold my head up high, and proclaim to the universe that I will not let these instances affect me. It reminds me of the way the Divine Principle (my church’s main Scripture) explains that God simply cannot acknowledge anything evil. Evil is not in His Plan, and therefore he has no choice but to ignore it. Addressing it is acknowledging its legitimacy. (Not calling myself God, ha! Just noticed the comparison. Also, I’m actually very forgiving of criminals. I try to consider what may have happened in their lives that caused them to resort to crime. And I hope with all my heart they somehow find a better way and find real meaning and real love.)

But to sum up my philosophy, I refuse to change my life in any way (besides what’s necessary, like canceling my credit cards and getting a duplicate driver’s license). I am NOT going to spend money on a new diaper bag when that money rightly belongs to something else. I’m going to make due with what I have. I have enough bags lying around. One of them will be my new diaper bag – right now I’m just using a plain tote bag I got free from Victoria’s Secret last year. Not the sturdiest thing, but it’ll work fine if I don’t stuff it to the brim or put a brick in it (maybe I should start carrying bricks around seeing as how thieves seem to be drawn to me…) I will not let this experience affect me emotionally or financially any more than it needs to. I will not buy a new diaper bag, because then the thief wins!! Never! Over my dead body.

Any ex phone thieves out there? Care to weigh in? Was it Caesar?! Am I completely naive?

My Threenager

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Ah, 3 year olds.

I’d forgotten how annoying they are… So dramatic, so illogical. Toootal divas. Everything has to be exactly a certain way (and I guarantee that way will change 7 thousand times), or they lose it.

Let me explain to you how ridiculous my life is right now. My daughter is currently passing a cup of almond milk back and forth between microwave and fridge to get it to just the right temperature. This is what I’m hearing:

“It’s too cold!” *scamper scamper *beep beep

“It’s too hot!” *scamper scamper *swoosh swoosh (what sound does an opening and closing fridge door make anyway? Well, you get the idea)

“It’s too cold!” *scamper scamper *beep beep

“It’s too hot!” *scamper scamper *swoosh swoosh

*Facepalm. I can’t… What… What is happening…

And the screaming!! What is it with the screaming!!! She is getting so sassy and rebellious these days. She looks me dead in the eye and quips an emphatic “No”. Like she’s challenging me, DARING me to say otherwise. She clenches her fists, widens her eyes, and convulses her body in rage, and screams til she’s red in the face.

I just want her to grow up.

And yet I want her to stop. She’s already learned too much. She’s learned that it’s pistachios, not “pikachus”ย (I wanted that one to last forever!). She’s learned how to put on her own pants (working on shirts). She’s learned how to have a replacement toy ready to hand her baby brother if she takes one out of his hand, so he doesn’t cry.

I’m holding tight to her remaining adorable linguistic habits. She still says anyone instead of no one. As in:

Mama:ย Y, who’s sitting here? (in this empty chair)

Daughter:ย Anyone!

She still says “cited” instead of excited, “byoofuw” instead of beautiful. She still beams passionately, “I missed you soooooo much” every time I come back to her after being out for 2 hours.

And in reality she’s really not that bad at all. I’ve dealt with way worse three year olds in this family… Won’t name any names…ย ๐Ÿ˜†

I Committed a Horrendous Crime This Morning

All I wanted was to go about my morning simply and peacefully- my head low, keep to myself, keep out of trouble. Go through our regular routine – feed the kids breakfast, change clothes, brush teeth, off to school. But noOooOooOo, we would have none of that nonsense. Nope, absolutely not. There was no way. It was just too much to ask.

T (now 5) decided he wanted to get a haircut (who do they think they are with their little tiny brains having their own little tiny desires…well, actually in T’s case, whatever desires he has, he makes them HUGE. He makes them KNOWN. He has steadily honed his skill of pestering and prodding and aggravating and infuriating until he breaks you…). One of my husband’s good friends (we call him Samchon – “uncle”ย in Korean) showed up to church on Sunday with a brand spankin new haircut, and T decided he wanted one just like it. I specifically explained to T that it was still too early (too cold; not yet “Spring” enough on this snow covered 23rd day of March…God, I hate the weather) to have the sides of his hair shaved and the top of it long and flowing off to the side. I asked him to wait. No, he wanted it now. I said let’s do it after school. He said I said that yesterday. I said I don’t have any experience cutting hair; let’s go to the shop later today. He said he wanted me to cut it. Sigh. This is the boy I exploded at a few days ago for being obnoxious and defiant telling me he hated my lunch and wasn’t going to eat it (I made him eat it). I still feel bad. I mean there are ways to get your message across and elicit change without losing your cool (So I hear. Any and all instructions welcome below!). So I gazed at his adorable little face (my face) and his skinny little body (when did he get so tall and skinny?) and I nodded ok. He gave me his word that he would accept a compromise of just a trim today and a more thorough, shorter cut in 2 or 3 weeks. We had 30 minutes until we had to be out of the house. We shook on it. My fate was sealed.

So, listen guys. I personally think I did a hell of a job. My first time cutting a boy’s hair! It looks half decent, no? It did take me the full 30 minutes – maybe a bit more. We were closing in on being late for school and the kids hadn’t eaten breakfast. Aiyaiyai what are you thinking, Diane, just WHAT are you thinking, really?ย I guess I felt like a challenge?! A little race against the clock to really get the blood pumping and start the morning off right?! *Eyeroll. I was almost done. A little snip here, buzz there, comb this bit out, even that bit out. Aaaaand….. THERE! Done! Good enough. T had been smiling the entire time – very fidgety, but he made it through. He was excited.

He walked to the mirror. Of course this wouldn’t be Parenthood if he smiled and said, “Thanks, Mom, great job!” He LOATHED it. He screamed at the top of his lungs and proceeded to wail and wail as if I had just burned all of his toys.

I should have known.

I should have known.

The rest of the morning is a blur of tears and screams and threats and bribes and questioning my choice to become a parent. I thought 5 year olds were past tantrums. To be fair, though, I realize full grown adults can also have the same reaction about a haircut gone wrong. I’m sure he’s not the first person, young or old, to swear they would never leave the house until their hair grew out.

We did finally get to school. Only 90 minutes late. Ironically, I have to go to T’s school at 1:30 to watch him receive his Student of the Month certificate.

My daughter literally just looked at the hair scissors and said to me, “I want to do a haircut Umma!” Lord help me.

The Winds of Change

I recently realized I totally take for granted the fact that I can enjoy four distinct seasons. (Fact you already know #139: Some states essentially have only one season!) That’s one great thing about living in the Tri State area (among many other things! No, that’s not the ONLY good thing about New Jerseyย ha ha very funny…)

I love the transition between seasons. It feels mysterious and expectant. One period ends and another begins. My heart flutters with hope. Possibility. Like the possibility of buying new clothes… what did you think I meant? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I wouldn’t mind moving, though. During our recent Thanksgiving trip to Alabama to see my sister in law’s family (Congratulations on Baby #3!), I found myself retracting what I had said during our first visit about never even considering moving there because it was just too dang hot. I realized that was probably because I was pregnant and my body temp was off the charts. Also, my logical brain and emotional brain were scrambled up like a bunch of eggs.

I love the idea of experiencing life in different parts of the country and the world. I seem to thrive on change actually. I get restless/antsy if things stay the same for too long. I noticed this especially when I was pregnant with my first, and then had my son, and then went back to work, and then stopped and became a stay at home mom. All of these four events were about 9 months apart. The consistent changes kept me engaged and excited. It all worked out perfectly actually.

Ah good ol’ New Jersey. Snow in March. What else ya got, Mother Nature? Bring it on! (But just let it be Spring before April, please. Thanks.)

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I GOT THIS

Having three kids has been… well, I can’t sum it up into one word. Except maybe “hard” ha!

But I am slowly, surely getting back to living life as we had known it (as much “living” as that is… some might say having your schedule -not to mention your mind- revolve entirely around very noisy, messy, emotionally unstable miniature people and being restricted from going out to party on Friday nights, traveling the world, or enjoying an uninterrupted hot cup of coffee while binge watching your favorite shows on a lazy Saturday is not exactly living the dream, but I don’t care. This is the life I chose and I love it (Ok, I love/hate it. It’s complicated.).

I’m proud of myself because two days ago I finally made my alone-with-three-children-to-the-mall debut. It started out rough because the whole time we were getting ready to leave, Baby was in the car seat wailing, but thank goodness, he fell asleep halfway through the car ride because Older Brother so generously held his pacifier in for him. He’s a sweetie when he wants to be! Actually his sweet streak continued through the whole time playing in the play area and eating his lunch. Of course I used bribery. I held McDonald’s (not even the food, just the happy meal toys is what he’s excited about) over his and his sister’s heads, and that did the trick. We made it through the three hour outing without a scratch! Woohoo!!

And to add encouragement to accomplishment (I’m coining a new term. This is the flip side of “add insult to injury”. Tell your friends.), yesterday, I got all three of my offspring to bed ON TIME, BY MYSELF (Appa had an errand). I started it all off with a desperate prayer, then I held my breath and dove in. I TRIED to put my 5 month old to bed first so I could then focus on the older two, but of COURSE he woke up 20 minutes after I put him down (it’s been this way for 2 weeks now. Lord help us.). Sooo, there I was having to deal with all three. Baby has also just been exceptionally fussy; always wanting to be held, but I had to just let him cry for a little while while I got my older two into pajamas and insured that they brushed their teeth. It had to have been a comical scene to an outsider. My 3 year old and 5 year old are rolling around every square inch of the bed and spilling over onto the couch, bookshelves, everything. Rolling over each other, laying on top of each other, whining, screaming. “That’s it! No stories!” I shout. Lights out. My baby in my arms is writhing around like a rabid beast. I am completely clueless as to what has gotten into him. All I know is he has a VERY serious case of ants in his pants! Finally, gradually, the chaos dwindles. I decide to start singing (hey, I’ll try anything!). I sing all my favorite songs in an attempt to distract myself from how frustrated I am and how my arms have begun to throb and my fingers have gone numb (remember, I’m still bouncing, patting and rocking my baby, changing his position sporadically). But I just stayed consistent and let my kids all work out whatever the heck they had to work out for 30-45 minutes, and then, finally, by the grace of God, they drifted off one by one. Man, talk about relief. *Insert emoticon of woman wiping sweaty brow*

And TODAY!! Oh my God, today I bathed ALL THREE OF MY CHILDREN. I even bathed!!! It’s been a great week.

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The sweet, sweet, gratifying image of a sleeping baby…

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I am sort of at a loss for words. A fitting title is not coming to me.

But to my point – do you want to see something so funny?!!

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No, I did not get into a fight.

That is a hickey!!

My five month old did it!!! I am on the floor laughing.

He was so fussy and wouldn’t sleep at his usual bedtime. I’m nursing him and rocking him and bouncing him. He’s doing everything but sleep. Chatting up a storm; going back and forth between giggling and whining or crying. Finally, he started sucking on my chin and I didn’t really think anything of it and just let him, cause I figured hey, if it calms him down…. and now I have this!!! I’m laughing my butt off. I swear parenting never ceases to amaze me… Every day is full of new surprises…