Excitement

When I realize that one of my children has finally fallen asleep, my stomach makes the same nervous leap of joy that it used to make in high school when I saw my crush… What does that say? *insert crying laughing emoji* #whydoesn’twordpresshaveemojis

Emotional and Social “Firsts”

We put a ton of emphasis on children’s “firsts” but generally only the physical ones – first smile, first roll, first step. I think we should also be celebrating the emotional and social “firsts” – the first time he handed the toy in his hand to another child, the first time he stopped, and thought, and decided not to hit. The first time he looked at Mom for a moment, took in what she was feeling, and reacted to help and to serve.

These are just as meaningful. ❤

T said: “Umma, are you still tired?” I said “Yes”. He said, “You can go back to sleep. I’ll take care of W.” *melt*

Successful Momming Day

*Note* This is from the beginning of the Summer. Just never got around to finishing my draft. Working full time with 3 kids is a total CIRCUS!! #notimeforanythingever

There are days when I feel like I’m running on empty. I’m trying to keep going – the chores, the school drop offs, the breaking up of fights, the life lessons – because, well, I have to! It’s my ultimate responsibility in life. I try to stretch myself so much that I get to my breaking point and I snap at everything. I just yell and yell and I’m so emotional that I can’t parent properly. I can’t parent the way I want to, the way I know I should, and then at night when everyone is asleep, I feel guilt on top of guilt for it.

But every once in a while, days just go right. I have just a little more patience. My kids talk just a little softer and get along just a little longer. The sun shines a little brighter and the breeze blows at just the right times.

Today was one of those days. A friend and I spontaneously decided to schlep our 3 kids each to a nearby farm for strawberry picking. We were bold and daring. The open fields were calling. So many things could have gone wrong, but nothing really did. We found our way just fine, found a parking spot just fine, walked to the fields just fine, picked a thousand beautiful strawberries, took a thousand beautiful pictures. Everyone was smiling, eyes wide in wonder. I guess nature (and good friends!) will do that to you. Especially in this area, we need it more than we realize.

 

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We had lunch in a little picnic area where the 6 kids raced around and around in circles laughing their heads off. Then we visited the petting zoo. The kids loved watching the fuzzy bunnies hop around, bouncing into each other like fluffy snowballs. They giggled and trembled as the giant llamas hobbled over and ate pellets out of their hands with their funny, wobbly, lips.

I felt so good. I felt like, “Hey, wait a minute, I am a good mom. Look how happy my kids are. Look how they’re so content and just living this moment to its fullest in the glorious present.” I was patient and kind and poised during the whole excursion. This is the kind of day I want my kids to remember. That relaxed, smiling face is the face I want them to remember when they think back to their childhood.

And after a long, stressful week, now I’m just so at peace. Today was a successful Momming day. Virtual high five!!

Tell me about a Successful Momming or Dadding day you’ve had! 🙂

Silly Sleep

So…Y turned 4 in October… It is now April…nearly 6 months later. I’m finally forcing myself to finish this post. I mean, this is just embarrassing. What can I say? Uuuuhhhmmm….nothing, really. I have no excuse. Welp, no use whining about it! Here it is!

Silly sleep memories from Y’s third year of life:

That time she was sick and decided this was the most comfortable place for her to sleep. She pulled those chairs together herself. Whined and cried and couldn’t sleep any other way until she set this up. *Shrug. Girl knows what she needs.

And here she is snug as a bug in a rug with her pillow plastered onto her body. Anyone recognize our “dol chimdae”s? Traditional korean “rock beds”. Sounds like the worst idea ever, I know. But they’re a hot commodity to those traditional Koreans! Halmoni gifted it to us beaming with pride. Anyway, my kids will sleep anywhere; they don’t care.

That time she pulled her shirt up over her head and stuffed herself into a pillowcase…in the middle of the night…sleep-moving?? #ummmm

This girl and her pillowcase shenanigans. She hasn’t even grown out of them yet. She’s obsessed with them. I never appreciated the “That’s my pillowcase!” line in the “All About That Bass” parody by MyLifeSuckers (a positively accurate picture of motherhood, by the way) until Y started removing ALL THE PILLOWCASES IN SIGHT. Here she is, yet again, in a pillowcase. She had rolled herself off the bed onto the floor all the while managing to stay stuffed into the pillowcase alongside its resident pillow… (don’t mind the gray carpet stain. It’s paint from a great idea she had earlier in the day).

So, that’s my girl when she was 3! She really liked to sleep in all kinds of funny, contorted positions. This was one of her favorites- who knows why. She must be a yogi at heart. (We moved her to the floor by this point since she never stayed on the bed anyway.)

Ah, 3 year olds. Gotta love em.

Random, Unimportant Facts You Don’t Really Need to Know About Me

Because all my avid fans asked (ha), I’ve put this list together to give them a glimpse of who I really am. In no particular order of importance or relevance whatsoever, here’s what kind of person I am:

1. I don’t have any notifications set up on my phone. Lord knows I don’t need something constantly dinging or popping up – or worse, squealing “katalk!” at me (the Asians will get that one) – I have enough noises startling me and begging for my attention as it is.

2. I’ve always wanted to be a mom. In fact, I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home mom. Ever since I can remember, the thought of running around raising babies seemed blissful and fulfilling to me. (Yup, I was crazy! But also, I was right 🙂 )

3. I am borderline obsessive-compulsive. I like having certain foods together in one mouthful in bite sized portions. For example, chocolate (or anything sweet) must go with milk. One bite chocolate, one sip milk. If I’m out of milk, but I still have one remaining bite of chocolate, I have to go to the fridge and pour myself exactly one more sip of milk. Very similar with Chinese food (or any Asian food really). The ratio of savory food in my spoon to plain rice (to balance out the flavor) needs to be 1:1. I could go on, but I won’t. *Shrug. Beats me. We all have our quirks.

4. I have been known to finish entire bags of baby carrots and tubs of hummus in one sitting. Yes, one tub of hummus is 8 servings. But I’m eating all those carrots!! They cancel each other out, right?

5. I will carry every single grocery bag I have in my trunk into my home in one trip, or I will die trying. I mean, two trips?! Back and forth?! Seriously, what a waste. I have more important things to do.

6. I officially found my first white hair six months ago, thought about writing about it, and then forgot. Anyway, it was a sad, sad day. It’s these kids, I tell you! Darn them! *Sigh… The things we go through for those little pudgy faced rascals… Oy, they’re really so cute though…

7. I really enjoy scheduling time with people. I literally gain satisfaction (maybe even a rush of endorphins? Would have to get my brain scanned and come back to you) from  going into my calendar and writing down “Lunch with Leslie” or what have you. I guess that’s why I’m pretty good at keeping in touch with people (well, admittedly it’s getting harder the more kids I have…). But I’m usually the one to send that extra text asking, “Hey, you said you were free next week? What day is best for you?”

8. My world came alive when I had kids. I see everything in more vivid colors now. Basically, everything is beautiful to me. I find beauty in everything….except….those decorative cabbages hotels like to plant in their yards…I just can’t…cabbages as flowers? I don’t get it.

9. I am very good at ignoring and shrugging off small, insignificant details. Most of this came about since becoming a parent. Some things simply don’t matter to me. Whether baby’s socks match, whether my hair is properly styled on any given morning, whether I’m wearing pajamas as I rush to get my son to school the second before he has to sign a late slip. Having children (also, losing my mom) has made me really come to the decision that some things just aren’t worth stressing over. Like, at all. A good segue into…

10. I’m a “no frills” mom, as you may or may not have noticed. I am usually sleep deprived, stiff, sore, late, AND anxious or stressed about something. Despite all this, I’m actually very happy, but here’s an anecdote that I think paints a pretty accurate picture of my mom style.

— at an outdoor bazaar, a while ago, back when I only had two kids —

Friendly, well meaning vendor: Hello! Here is our selection of children’s socks! Are you looking for boy’s or girl’s?

Me: Boy’s. My daughter will just use his when he grows out of them.

Nice lady: Ok! What does he like? We have Spiderman, Paw Patrol, Ninja Turtles…

Me: Oh, we’re not picky.

Nice lady: Any particular colors?

Me: I’d really like just a bunch of the same – like 20 of the same exact sock. No colors or shapes is fine. Actually, black is good. That way the stains don’t show. The short kind that he can pull on and off himself.

Nice lady: Here you go!

Me: Perfect, thanks!

Yup! My mantra in life is essentially: “Keep it as easy and simple as possible”.

And that about wraps it up! Ooooh, speaking of presents! Happy early Christmas!! And whoever loves me the mostest, please buy me for Christmas 1) a dishwasher 2) 10 pairs of women’s large socks in blue, 10 pairs of big boys’ socks in black, 10 pairs of medium girls’ socks in pink, and 10 pairs of baby socks in green. (My most updated genius idea for sock organization – they’ll take 2 seconds to identify, right? Total time saver!) oooor choice 3! Paper towels!! Loads and loads and loads and loads of paper towels!! Thanks, you da best 🙂

My Threenager

threenager

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

Daughter: 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… 😆

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” 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? 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 Jersey 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? 😉

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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