The Tween Temper Fluctuation

I knew the truth. This abillity to weed out lies and exaggerations is something one learns through years of experience. I was lucky to be a teacher before I became a wife and mother.

Daddy was wrong.

Pet responsibilities are divided amongst the three kids. While the littlest at five years old may not be able to fill the giant water bowl, she still does her share. The older two take turns cleaning up after the pets and giving them food and water.

Last night the kids were going to spend the night in the living room, watching movies with Daddy. As I walked up to my room for the night, I asked the middle child A to feed the dogs. I didn’t know this but she proceeded to pass the buck to the youngest who had fed the cats earlier. The boy fed the dogs this morning.

When the youngest L said she was too tired (she was almost asleep on the couch), my husband told M to feed the dogs.

And he did.

But he was very upset.

He even came up to my room where I was enjoying knitting by myself while a book on CD played in the background. “Mommy, before you say anything, please don’t tell me that I’m just tired!”

So I listened his story and didn’t say he was tired (even though he was). I said I’d take care of it. He cried very loudly and retreated to his room. I yelled down the stairs to A to feed the dogs.

She did. Immediately.

R came up the stairs as soon as he heard the dramatic crying and I whispered what had happened. R went to M’s room and admitted he was wrong. He tried to talk more but M was too upset.

My husband came back to see me with a tired look on his face. He shook his head. “How do you deal with this? I feel so bad!”

I had to share my newfound knowledge in a nutshell. The girls were calling him downstairs. M’s behavior was normal. Our guilt was normal. His temper flares will appear quickly but disappear just as fast. He’ll probably go back to his normal self in the morning. (He did. He needed rest. Ha! I knew it!)

“You’re a great dad,” I reassured him. “I only know all this because I’ve done a lot of reading! See?” I pointed to a couple of parenting books on our dresser.

He sighed. We both know we have a lot to learn, especially him when he retires from the Navy and becomes a full-time father.

As he left the room, I said, “Can you imagine? We get to do this two more times! And with GIRLS!”

Yep, I’m pretty sure he groaned.

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

I love Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and ukeleles so naturally I love this video:

We just got home from my cousin’s house after ringing in the new year with family. This does not include the other party we went to for lunch! Yes, we are pretty full, exhausted, but had a lot of fun being with friends and family.

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I gather that you’ve figured out that I’m Filipino and can barely understand and speak Ilocano, let alone Tagalog, so imagine my family’s surprise when my husband R busted out this karaoke song. (Obviously he’s not Filipino and didn’t understand what he was singing but I think I caught everyone’s reaction to his song!)

Hope you and your loved ones have a safe and prosperous new year!

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The Presence of Presents

Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas this year? Funny question to ask since all month I’ve been trying to emphasize His Presence over their presents.

20121230-170154.jpg A and a friend bringing in the Advent chain right before mass procession

Needless to say, like many families there was a blur of wrapping paper on Christmas morning. Not only did the kids get awesome stuff from Santa (who not surprisingly, gives our kids one thing they wanted on their Christmas list plus a bunch little things like candy and books in their stocking)…

Santa found a REALLY good deal on a drum set for A

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What a coincidence that Santa get M the very video game he was saving up for!

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And Santa gave L the castle she’s been wanting for the last two years! L asked me to open the box and wasn’t heard from again for the next several hours!

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…two days later R took the kids out to spend their Christmas money from their grandparents. OMG! I guess you’re never too young to enjoy Christmas money and gift cards!

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Christmas toys mean they will be able to part with gently used books and toys so others less fortunate can enjoy them. Mommy will be doing the same with her gently used books and clothes-that-I-have-to-part-with-already!

With the influx of new toys and clothes, will you be donating stuff you no longer use also?

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More of Less Please

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Christmas came and went faster than this Starbucks peppermint mocha. With my husband R not being able to travel home until December 20, I probably subconsciously didn’t allow myself to fully enjoy the season until he could enjoy it with us. Add to the fact I held off on putting up Christmas decorations until you’re “supposed” to. The day after Thanksgiving, that is.

I’ve always put up Christmas decorations early, out of guilt that the kids were having another Christmas without their beloved Daddy, of sadness that I had to put up and take things down all by myself again, out of wanting to feel something other than the lonliness that comes with the territory of being a military spouse. I’m pretty sure one year I put up the Christmas tree the day after Halloween. Wouldn’t you do that for your kids?

Wouldn’t you do that for yourself?

This year I waited.

This year Christmas went too fast.

Will I hold off next year? Will we actually finish the Advent chain next year? Will the kids not get the flu during winter break?

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Only time will tell.

Also in case you didn’t notice, we totally sucked big time when it came to our Advent chain! The purpose of our Advent chain was to give the kids something to think about other than themselves. With the dog getting sick, with caring for one another when one of their siblings got the flu (yes, they all got it one right after the other!), with volunteering at church, and with making cards and treats for our family, friends, and neighbors I would say mission accomplished!

This year the kids got less and didn’t mind or didn’t notice. Not that I didn’t want the kids to get anything, but I wanted them to really appreciate the people, the thought behind the gifts. I wanted them to feel like they had to acquire stuff. They helped me make cookies and treats and packed them into boxes to be mailed. They hand delivered treats to our neighbors. I think they’re getting it.

Last night we played The Big Bang Theory board game.
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Tonight as I enjoy this coffee all by myself (compliments from my sister-in-law and her family, not to mention the gift card from my husband’s grandparents!), R and the kids are playing some sort of role-playing game which he forbade me from disclosing on this blog. If I happened to TAKE A PICTURE OF THEM PLAYING, it wouldn’t count, right?

Last week he made dinner and I made some more of these treats. 20121230-162712.jpg20121230-162727.jpg20121230-162733.jpg

The dogs are fine. Buddy, the bigger dog, had a check-up last night and now we are waiting on blood test results. He is a riot, especially at the vet, since he believes himself to be the size of the chihuahua. He SITS NEXT TO ME at the vet and tries to hug me when I am sitting or standing.

Yes, all sixty six pounds of him!

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Had the dog or the kids not gotten sick, I probably would have felt guilty about not doing more, not giving more, not spending more. It sounds silly for me to say it out loud (or in this case, see it with my own eyes) but these would have been the expectations I would have imposed on myself.

This year I see everyone content with less, everyone happy to just spend time with each other, everyone just chillin’ and grateful for friends and family.

I see homemade presents and time spent with each other deemed more important than anything anyone could ever buy. If we don’t have each other, we don’t have anything at all.

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Finally Home

Last night we got a special delivery. My husband is finally home.

R couldn’t come home earlier. Two weeks earlier he had surgery to reroute some veins in his pelvis. The surgery was only supposed to be a couple of hours but it turned into an all-day event. Doctors did not anticipate all of the scarring and removed it when they could. He ended up having a tummy tuck!

So naturally I said, “I thought I was going to be the first one to get the tummy tuck in this marriage!”

Sadly I will not be posting a pic of his incision site.

R took one look in the fridge and said, “We need groceries!”

I will be the first to admit that frozen salmon and ground turkey can get old. Still in pain from his surgery, we went to get groceries and he made a delicious dinner.

Short ribs, using a marinade that includes soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, and Sprite.

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We bought a giant pumpkin pie for five dollars, the same price had he made it himself. Sometimes we’re “homemade” snobs but man, this was delicious with ube macapuno ice cream. Macapuno means coconut and ube is a sweet yam. Looks weird and disgusting but trust me, we have found a new Christmas tradition!

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That’s what I feel Christmas is lacking, authentic traditions that don’t involve the stress of spending money. Perhaps all of the events in the past month were necessary for me to be reminded that even in my most exhausted, sad, sleepless state, I don’t need to do anything to be present.

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I just need to BE.

Everything else will fall into place.

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The Fat Ass Function

I failed this winter.

NaNoWriMo. Running regularly. Eating healthier.

Eh. Whaddareyagonnado?

I considered not working today because I thought I needed some time to myself, without work or without kids. I wanted to wallow in the fact that my husband wasn’t home yet.

Then I remembered that I had bills to pay, namely the dog’s doctor bills.

When I accepted a sub job in special education, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve never worked with special ed, save for a student with ADHD many years ago.

I had a great time. Small class size. Students were actually ahead of their weekly schedule so the classes became study hall.

I’m glad I took the job today and met more students who are slowly changing my opinion of teenagers (in a good way). It has opened up the possibility of subbing in special education in the future.

I’m glad I sucked it up.

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The Figure 8 Flexibility

We went ice skating yesterday. Nine bucks a person?! What?!

Needless to say I made sure we skated a long time.

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A wanted to take a picture next to the TARDIS.

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This video is pretty boring but watch what L does at the beginning and end when I ask her to pose for a picture. Stay warm, my friends.