Traditions


We’re currently in LA but through the power of time travel, magic, and blog scheduling, I’m writing this in the past for the future! Every year, I make this trek and though it totally stresses me out, it always ends up being worth it. (At least the SD portion, my FAVORITE – which is yet to come!) This time, I am hoping it will be better than last year’s since I have scheduled more face time with friends than DH’s family. Is that awful? Not that we’re not going to see his family. I am just not going to go out of my way, bending over backwards to see them. Which makes me MUCH HAPPIER. And far less stressed out.

But I AM pleased that I made an effort to get in touch with more of DH’s friends. He’s the worst at keeping in touch with his college friends. The only reason he sees them at all is because I try to make sure he sees them when we’re in LA. I think it’s sad not to nurture friendships that have the benefit of time and nostalgia. Sure, they may be in totally different places now, but it’s still good to be around people who “knew us when.” so to speak.

Anyhow, this is a pretty blathery post because I still need to finish packing and finish a ton of laundry (well, all that’s really left are DD’s diapers) and me making sure my picky eater DS won’t starve and will at least have a ton of snacks. That’s the beauty of packing for a road trip in a mini-van. There is a TON of space. 🙂 That’s the only thing that isn’t stressing me out. Heehee.

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So, I totally forgot to tell you all about our awesome and super successful Easter Egg Hunt!! We had approximately 50 people (including kids) show up and about 600 eggs. We had so many eggs that the kids got bored and tired of picking them up and decided to sit down and open them instead. LOL. We had a ton of food and great weather and it was just so much fun. I think I am definitely going to throw one yearly.

Seriously, I was super proud of myself. I think it may have been the best event I’ve ever hosted. 🙂 A great, lovely time was had by all. DS was ecstatic that so many of his friends were there and they went crazy for the bubble machine (yes, I have one) and the play ground and of course, the eggs. DD was bored of the egg hunt (she was like, “Didn’t we already do this?”) and ate crackers instead. She has her priorities straight. The kids played T-ball, we barely had to watch our children because there were so many parents and kids – plus they were all MY friends!!

*sigh* If only every thing I did would go off that well. heehee!

Off to stuff Easter eggs with some friends. I bought 3 gross of them for our egg hunt this Sunday (that’s 3 x 144). I think we have more than enough even if people forget to bring 20 eggs per kids. I am super excited about the hunt, too. If it goes well, perhaps I will make it a tradition! I love coming up with things for the kids and making new traditions. I want to create a childhood that they remember fondly (without going overboard and crazy control freakish). Of course they will look back on their childhood fondly (barring things I can’t control) but I think things like this (trips to LA/SD, egg hunts, parties), those moments may stick out. 🙂

SO FUN! Plus, it’s an excuse to hang out with all my friends. 😀 (That’s the real reason. heehee.)

2012 ended with a bit of a scare – but ultimately, everything ended up ok and with a great party.

When we flew back from the DC trip, DD slept the whole flight back. DS was pretty good, but you know that kid who screams bloody murder because he refuses to get back in the fucking seat during landing and screams, “No thank you! Let me go!” the last 30 min of the flight? Yeah. That was our kid. It was so awesome. Even more awesome? DH almost losing his temper and being a jerk to DS. Not helpful.

The flight attendant had to intervene, too. It was mortifying. The attendant was like, “Kid you have to sit down.” DS pretty much didn’t stop screaming his brains out until we landed and taxied and I broke the rules and let him out of his seat belt before they turned off the light. At least he used his words.

Over the DC trip, DD had a fever and was throwing up and very lethargic. I wasn’t really worried, but by the time we got back Saturday, she was not getting better. She threw up Saturday evening, then again at midnight, and then at 5:30am Sunday, she woke up vomiting rust colored water. Since she didn’t eat anything brown (or at least, not in MY opinion), I freaked out and thought it might be blood. The doctor on call recommended we take her in to the ER and I chose to go to Children’s Hospital Oakland. Better safe than sorry, I say.

So, from 6:30am – 3:30pm, I was at the hospital with DD. 95% of the time, I had to stand and hold DD because she refused to let me sit down. Thank God for the Ergo! The doctors gave her chest and stomach X-rays as well as got a urine and blood culture to see what was going on. They wanted to rule out any obstructions as well as run a battery of tests because she can’t talk and tell us what hurts.

They hooked her up to an IV and it wasn’t until a lot of the fluid went into her that I realized how dehydrated she had been. Her face was not as sallow and actually plumpish again! Turns out she had a Urinary Tract Infection – and a pretty high one, too. (After, I looked up all the symptoms for UTI’s in children and she had almost every single one!) Since they’re worried the infection might spread to her kidneys, we have to be extra careful.

Thank God she barfed rust-colored barf (although they never figured out why) because otherwise, it could’ve been really bad. My poor girl!!

Unfortunately, giving DD medicine is like dosing a cat. Impossible. She has figured out how to cry without opening her mouth because when she did open her mouth, I would shove medicine down her throat. She would spit and throw up the medicine and really, girl needs antibiotics!! So, we had to use Feverall (a suppository Tylenol) for her fever and we just have to pin her down to dose her. I finally got a good method of propping her mouth open with a finger while she clamps down (OUCH!) and pinning her arms down. She just shakes her head and weeps and cries the whole time. It takes almost half an hour to give her 3mls of antibiotics.

This is how smart she is: when I lay her down on the bed and she thinks she’s going to get medicine, she cries with her mouth mostly closed and in a horizontal line. If I tell her she isn’t going to have any medicine, she opens up her mouth to cry. (I try never to lie to my kids so I can’t use that trick to give her medicine. Besides, it would only work once and then destroy trust.)

On Sunday night, DH got a call around 11:30pm saying his mother was in the hospital because she wouldn’t stop bleeding, was having trouble breathing, and they thought she had a blood clot or a vicodin overdose. (DH’s mom just had a Lifestyle Lift and I think it’s complications from that, too.) We were really worried – DH was going to fly down but his mom didn’t want him to. In the morning, DH’s brother told us that she’ll be ok. She has an pulmonary embolism/blood clot (lung) and pneumonia. The doctors said both are easily treatable and that they will admit her for a few days.

Whoever thought we’d be happy for an embolism and pneumonia!
All this, and I still stubbornly refused to call off our New Year’s Eve party. I’m glad we didn’t. It was so fun and we had a blast. The kids had a great time, too. (Well, I suppose only DS did, but I held DD the whole time and she conked out pretty well, too.)
All in all, a harrowing start to the beginning of the end of the year, but it all ended up happily.
So, Happy New Year! I hope 2013 is full of blessings and joy. 😀

Welp, the actual plane trip went much better than I could have hoped. They were both on mostly excellent behavior until the very end of the first 12.5 hour flight. After only 4.5 hours of sleep on the plane though, who can blame them? Thanks to my mom’s awesome friend who is a travel agent, she got us bulkhead seats and I was even able to put DD in a bassinet for a few hours. We had like 3 feet of leg room. Seriously awesome.

Thankfully, at the airport in Taipei, they had a nice sized indoor playground. They also had one huge train to look at but I didn’t know about it until later. DS and DD had a great time. On the 45 minute flight to Kaohsiung, they both passed out from sheer exhaustion the last 15 minutes or so. Of course, that was enough to wire them for the next 7 hours.

We went first to my First Aunt’s (my mom’s oldest sister) house with my cousins and waited there for another cousin to arrive. Then we went to my grandparents’ house. Craziness. The outside of the house had two big tents full of funeral flowers and wreaths. Inside the first floor of the house was an altar and my grandmother’s picture up next to Buddha. We had to bow and worship (my brother and I didn’t use incense so we were just showing respect) to my grandmother’s image. Then we went upstairs to see my grandfather.

They didn’t allow the babies in the house. The family because it was custom and wanted to protect my babies from death and evil spirits. My mom because the family worships ancestors and Buddha which are false idols. So they hire nuns and monks to continually read from Buddhist scriptures to hopefully help send my grandmother on to heaven and protect her from evil spirits. Terribly confusing and I had to have my mother explain everything to me.

My brother and I have never seen so many relatives from my mom’s house. My grandmother was eldest of five and my grandfather was eldest of six. It was a briefly disconcerting moment when I met a woman who looked just like my grandmother and they told me it was her younger sister. Paid our brief respects to my grandfather who had to be told who we were. He thanked us for coming. He was sweet but had a cold. (Apparently, he caught a cold, gave it to my grandmother, it worsened into pneumonia, and she passed away peacefully in her sleep at the hospital. It was unexpected.) He was unshaven and in his pajamas. My mom told me that was a way to symbolize grief in their custom.

My grandparents were a love match. They had fallen in love on first sight (very different for those times!) My grandmother was very outgoing and talkative and was working because she had to care for her siblings. My grandfather was more on the quiet side but he also worked to care for his siblings and family. Together, they built our family’s steel factory and have given money to take care of all their siblings, their siblings’ children, and their siblings’ grandchildren. For some of their siblings, they feel as if my grandparents didn’t give them enough. I find that astounding.

They collapsed around 330pm and I let them sleep a long time against my better judgment. I tried to wake DS up, but he was pretty much unconscious and I changed him and let him sleep. DD woke up so I fed her, my mom gave her a bath, and then I nursed her back to sleep.

My mom went to her room to sleep because they have to be up at 530 for the funeral service, then a 4 hour round trip bus ride to my grandmother’s hometown temple in the mountains for a super long service. The kids and I aren’t going because they don’t allow or advise bringing children. I am not complaining!

I did get to nap for about 2 hours then I woke up because I thought we were going to dinner. My mom and I debated for awhile and then she went out to get food. Of course, I didn’t get a chance to sleep until 11pm and then DS woke up all bright-eyed and bushytailed at 1am local time. That’s because it was 8am in California! Then he woke up DD.

I fed him, gave him a bath, and he played with trains. Twice he woke up DD right when she was about to fall asleep. Finally, I broke down and had him watch Thomas the train videos on YouTube. I am currently trying to get him back to bed because he is yawning and still short a good 6 hours of sleep. Wish me luck!

Today, I went temporarily insane and brought DD and DS to the County Fair by myself. It was 97 degrees and I think the kiddos had a great time. They were, of course, hot and exhausted, but they also saw a bunch of livestock, trains, fire engines, rides (although, DS only rode two – he doesn’t like rides), and played with a bunch of musical instruments. I pushed over 90 lbs of stroller, babies, and stuff for about 3 hours. I am also exhausted.

It was mostly worth it, though. I am big on creating new traditions for our little family – and the county fair is definitely one of them. Others, of note, are:

1) Yearly trip to LA and SD
2) Cherry picking
3) County Fair (obviously)
4) Christmas Tree (which seems stupid, but our family hadn’t had a Christmas tree since 1995 – we fixed that in 2010)
5) Trips to visit family (Hawaii, DC, Taiwan, and of course, LA)

That’s all the ones I can think of right now, but I plan on creating more. It’s a lovely thing, traditions. It helps us look back to touchstones in our childhood and figure out the rhythms of life. I look back (mostly) fondly on the childhood traditions we had. I hope my kids do the same.

Oh! Just thought of some that we have yet to start, but I would like to in the future.

1) Joint vacations with family friends to a bunch of national parks
2) Playing cards and mah jong
3) Game nights (and we’re talking super geeky games)

Ok. That’s it for now. I need to shove food in my face and watch SYTYCD.