Memorial Day 2017

I left the house this morning without remembering what day it is. I had an “appointment” which was code for Mommy’s alone time at the nail salon.


I forgot it was Memorial Day. I mean, I knew what day it was. Many people have today off for this reason.

But I forgot that it was Memorial Day for Rob and dozens of his friends. 

This day is so hard on them in a way that’ll never understand. I have the privilege of not fighting for my country, something I will never take lightly. 

Thank you to those who gave their lives so we could live ours.

The Valentine Consumption

Valentine’s Day has always been bittersweet in our home. Most Valentine’s Days R was deployed or out on a training so I had to do everything myself. From candy to cards to a special meal, I did it all. Anything for the kids to know they are loved by not just one parent but by two.


This weekend R asked me to meet him and the kids at the local PetCo… to pick out a new kitten for me for Valentine’s Day! Luckily he warned me because I said no.

Our pets mean the world to me and while I know that the orange cat who had to be put down last year is in a better place, I don’t know if a new kitten would be welcomed in our already full house. The old gray cat may have been loving towards a new kitten but the chihuahua would have definitely made its life a living hell. 

The middle was really upset by my decision and understandably so. She’s very emotional and loves animals… well, she’s a lot like me. She’s doing better now, of course.

Last night R and I gave each other our presents. The kids “helped” us choose the other’s favorite candies: Scotchmallows from See’s for me and Lindts for him. And to be expected, we shared with the kids. 

This evening I took the kids to eat at one of our favorite burger joints and had frozen yogurt afterward. I am so full right now (of both love and food)! 

While R and I didn’t have a romantic dinner together because he was in class all day, it’s nice knowing we don’t need to. I always told him I never wanted flowers because flowers die and me being me, if I want flowers, I’ll buy my own flowers. 


He did buy me a mini rose plant one year but it didn’t stand a chance. We will have our weekly meal out and without the kids but we know it would happen without the Valentine’s Day label.

And that’s just fine with us.


Top 2000, bottom 2/3/2017

The Christmas Conjecture

I forget that he is disabled.

My husband hides it so well that I make a lot of decisions based on me forgetting that he is unable to handle crowds and control his anxiety that I accepted free tickets to a big football game this week. 

He said he’d be able to handle it and I didn’t want to push it. He’s had a few weeks off from school and we had to reschedule the kids’ dental appointments for that day anyway. 

Last week we went out to eat and I don’t remember where we ate, only that halfway through our meal, he was making a face. Turned out that he felt there were too many people in the restaurant and he didn’t know what to do. I told him he could go for a walk, switch seats, or we could leave but he said he’d be okay. I believed him. 

We didn’t go anywhere for Christmas as his family are a long drive away and many of my relatives flew to the Philippines for the holiday. I started my month long break with a bang visiting family in L.A. and going to Disneyland but the passing of my aunt has made for a somber December. For so many reasons, Christmas has just felt so different this year, surreal and numb and overwhelming all at once. I thought I was sure everything will go back to normal but as it turns out, this is the new normal. We are so very grateful for our family and friends and pray that 2017 will be even better.

Happy holidays!

The Maternal Memories

When I was about five years old, I told my parents my tooth was loose. Mind you, they were very old school, traditional Filipino immigrants so this wasn’t a celebration by any means. No magical being was going to show up in the middle of the night and put a quarter under my pillow because what does a five year old need with money? And free money at that?

Oh no, this child of immigrants was taken next door to her aunt, a medical profession, a nurse.

A nurse is NOT a dentist.

My auntie Delen (short for Magdalena) carried me and sat me up on her tile kitchen counter. “Where is it?” she asked.

I opened my mouth, pointed, and just as I was about to say, “It’s right here–”

SON OF A BITCH!

She pulled out that fucker before I even knew what was happening. I don’t remember much after that except for lots of blood and tears but I lived. I learned valuable lessons in trust that day:

  • Can’t trust my parents, separately or together
  • Can’t trust my aunties
  • Especially can’t trust that auntie
  • Can’t trust my family in general

While I eventually got over these issues, I remember that I was taught that every sister of my father and every sister of my mother (who sadly I have not met my mother’s sisters to this day; one passed away when I was younger and the other still lives in the Philippines) was like another mother and I needed to treat them as such. Same as their brothers on both sides. In our Filipino community back in the day and I’m sure it is in many Filipino communities today, this extended to their family friends. Pretty sure my teachers thought I was lying about ANOTHER uncle passing way. (Sure, you’re going to his funeral. Again.) But that’s how it was and that’s how I teach my kids now.

It was with great sadness that we celebrated the life my auntie Delene last week. Family members set aside their differences (hopefully permanently but what do I know) to pray and be with each other at this time. She was married to my dad’s brother so I saw many of her relatives from around the country, all of whom saw me grow up and met my husband and children for the first time. It’s funny that even now I think about all of my aunt’s family. I never thought of them as her family, just as family.

There were Filipino (specifically Ilocano) rituals and Catholic rituals that we followed. And although my husband converted to Catholicism a few years back, he still prayed the rosary, an activity that is strangely strictly female. He didn’t have to be blessed by my auntie Leonore (auntie Delene’s sister), he did anyway.


My brother did too. He’s a dork. I can say that though; I’m the sister.


There was a lot of food. Family members took turns cooking. Actually that’s wrong. They ALL cooked to relieve the burden of preparing food on my cousins but that’s what they do. That’s family.

I don’t have recipes and I didn’t have room in my stomach to try everything but I can assure you from past experience that this food was amazing.


Rest In Peace, Auntie, and no, you still can’t look in my mouth. 

The Couch Challenge

The girls and I are off track this month (that’s year-round talk for a third of our “summer vacation”; we’ll be off track again in April) but the whole family has been celebrating for a couple of weeks.


You’ll notice someone missing from these pics… my husband! 

He’s almost halfway done with university but couldn’t afford to miss any classes and time from homework. 

Quite honestly, I think he was relieved to not come with us to the Happiest Place in Earth. We (I) take advantage of military discounts, including a great rate at the Disneyland Hotel where we started staying after R’s accident so he didn’t have to trek too far if he needed a break from the parks. Anyone who stays at the Resort hotels can get into the parks AN HOUR BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE. 

And as you may or may not have noticed, I can be a little…

Intense.


I like to be in line before everyone else– we are in an line an but before the park opens.

I like to bring food from home– we bring pop tarts and fruit and drinks into the park.

I like to have a schedule.

I can’t help it.

But I can’t also help but notice that we were all quickly getting exhausted from early wake up calls and late nights so on the third day, we swam.


I would’ve had a drink too if I weren’t so hyped up about the next day. We surprised grandma with a special breakfast with some special people.


It was amazing and exhausting and was happy that R didn’t mind too much. 

Fast forward a week and here I am, updating my blog that I have neglected while everyone sleeps. R has to wake up at 4 am and the boy still has school. I was about to retreat to my favorite couch in the loft because I don’t want to wake up to R’s alarm when what to my wandering eyes should appear?

Three sleeping children without a sofa for me!

I thought about waking them and sending them to their beds because I surely didn’t want to wake up when R did.

But then I realized that if that is my biggest problem, I am pretty lucky.

The Fireworks Fallacy

Independence Day, I’ve noticed, isn’t really studied in school. Yes, teachers have their curriculum and standards but we tend to stick to the next holidays on the calendar and even year round schools aren’t in session the first week of July. 

I just don’t think people are as patriotic and proud to be Americans as we used to be.

There. I’ve said it. 

You know, as a retired military spouse (I don’t even know how to word that phrase, if it even is one) and as an American, I’m not supposed to say shit like that. It’s like there are a whole bunch of quotes that we are supposed to say in this day and age and if you don’t follow the script, you’re on the other side. I didn’t even know I had chosen a side. 

Should we be more patriotic? Are we too patriotic? What does it mean to be patriotic anyway? Are we no longer allowed to be proud of who we are and the country we live in?

I thought I knew the answers when I was little but a lot has changed since I was a kid. We can’t say the Pledge of Allegiance anymore. Even if we did there are kids who don’t even have to stand for it and it’s not even a citizenship issue, some religions see that as idolotry. Ironic, isn’t it? 

It’s frustrating that we cannot have discourse without checking the Internet or quoting your coworker said or what everyone else is saying. We have lost our ability to think for ourselves, to express ourselves with evidence and without resorting to name calling. 

And don’t even get me started on fireworks. There are three fireworks stands within a half a mile distance from my house! 

Fireworks are a waste of time and money. My husband came home with the kids and a box of fireworks that set us back almost eighty dollars!

Eighty dollars? What the heck! It wasn’t even athe biggest box!

Still, we buy and light them up for the kids but does that make us patriotic? Spending too much money, setting stuff on fire, and making loud noises means we love our country and in turn, makes us good Americans? 

I don’t know who is messed up more from these loud, crazy ass fireworks going off tonight: the dog or the husband. Both cringe and shake when they hear the explosions. Both will probably have trouble sleeping fir the next couple of nights.

Now don’t get it twisted, I’m not saying to quit buying fireworks to prove something or that you’re unpatriotic if you don’t. We aren’t that house that has the “No Fireworks” sign that warns  others about a member of the household with PTSD. I think we should rethink our definitions of Independence Day, patriotism, and what it really means to be an American. I don’t have the answers but I’m pretty sure you won’t find them in a box of firecrackers. 

The Arcade Ambiguity

Most of the time my husband and I are a good match. He listens to my incessant talking and I listen to his thoughts on history and the Bible. I like the orange Starburst candies and hate the pink ones. He is the opposite so we trade.

Most of the time we are a good match.

Most of the time.

Now, hear this, I’m not here to air my dirty laundry. I’m not.

I just noticed that lately we’ve been letting stuff slide. Things that make him angry, things that make me stew, things that we have been avoiding just so we can sweep issues under the rug.

But we can’t do that.

Because in the end it only makes things worse.

It’s easier to ignore comments, pretend you don’t feel the way you do. It’s way easier than actually confronting the person. 

No one likes confrontation. No one wants it. 

But we need it.

I’d rather we talk about stuff and not let it sit. I’d rather have the difficult conversation now before we forget why we’re arguing, before we forget why we love each other.

I’m not going to go into specifics but the only way I could verbalize what was happening between us was to picture that old arcade game Dig Dug. It’s a game where you are digging your way to destroy monsters before they destroy you but the funny thing about that game is that no matter how weak your tunnels are, the tunnel never collapses. 

Marriage is NOT like Dig Dug. We have to fight the same monsters, not each other. Despite all the digging we do, it will come crashing down if we are not careful. I’ve never said I was perfect and if you think about it, my husband and I have not been married under the same roof for very long. It’s still new to the both of us. It’s up to us to make sure we don’t make monsters of each other.