Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Memories

This is our 4th Christmas with Lil Dude and our 3rd with Aubriana and I can no longer call them my "babies" without people looking around for infants on the floor,  as they are too big and well spoken for others to perceive them that way.

But in my eyes, I still see the awe and wonder that each day brings, they are still in a big phase of self discovery and new worldly experiences. 

We have a Christmas tree that has a remote control to turn the lights on and off, they are still convinced, that if we count to 3 and clap, that is what turns the lights on, our own family magic.  Aubriana tried this technique with a neighbor's tree, and I had to inform her our magic only worked on our tree.

  I will miss these days of belief in all things magical and possible when viewed through the innocence of youth. They are so eager to leave Santa a virtual buffet of carbs to tempt his palate, and Aubriana wanted to leave a present for Santa, so we decided to color him pictures. 

2010 has been a rocky year for us, there have been heath issues to deal with, job loss, financial strain and on a larger scale, an unstable economy and changes in the world environment that make one long for easier times. 

It is so easy to get caught up in the trials and stresses of our everyday life, it is  necessary to take a moment or a day, or a season, to sort out the important stuff from the trivial and uncontrollable and just re-foucus on what we can manage on our own, and what we must leave in the hands of faith or fate.

I hope my children read this one day and realize that of all the gifts I strived to give them the greatest one of all is the ability to give and in turn receive graciously the love and admiration for and from others.  If you are loving and loveable this journey called life is so much easier to traverse through.

 To my sweet "babies" who taught me how to love anew, may all your dreams come true.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

I am still stunned that Halloween has come and gone, and now it is Thanksgiving.  This used to be one of my top 5 holidays, a day to get dressed up and visit relatives for a wonderful feast with the table dressed in it's very best china and linen.

Then it became a day to be shared with football, the family was still there, and plenty of food, but the sport brought with it a less formal feel to the day, less time allotted to reflect and acknowledge our blessings and the bountiful life we lead on a daily basis simply by living in the right generation, in a wonderful country.

Now it seems to have evolved again, it is a marker to put up your Christmas decor.  What was once the pre-launch day to "Black Friday" has now become the first shopping day of the holiday season.  People are actually working on Thanksgiving Day and foregoing home, family and tradition to man cash registers of the ever demanding retail market.

Christmas music is being blasted around the clock on radio stations and in shopping malls (some since November 1), when you forget your traditions and abandon family to shop for the best deal, where is the meaning behind a holiday at all.

If we are immersed in Christmas from late October onwards, doesn't Christmas day itself become the signal of the end and therefore the loss of something instead of the point of the season itself.?

In these trying times where many of us find ourselves lighter in the wallet and heavier in the bills, wouldn't it be nice to take a moment of reflection and count our many blessings still?

I am thankful for:

A home to envelop my family in
food to fill our bellies and hunger being a stranger to our door
health enough to enable us to enjoy one another and find laughter in our daily deeds
two children who force feed my heart with more love than a person has a right to enjoy
friends who nurture me and share their lives and love with me and know my flaws; and like me anyway
freedom to live where I like, practice any religion I choose, and be a individual with rights and value.

I hope you practice the tradition to acknowledge your blessings and give yourself a moment to give thanks for all you have.  There is time enough for all the rest and that is something else to be thankful for.

With a Thankful Heart.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Trick or Treat 2010 ~ a little of both.

What a differance a year makes, last Halloween, the kids were in awe that when you knocked on a door, people answered, the dress up and candy were background information.  Their joy came from people greeting them with a smile and wishing them a good time on their journey.  This year, we recognized characters from movies and books whom we could emmulate and that Halloween was a time to be out with other children in similar dress and candy, delicious elixir of wonder, was to be had at all houses illuminated with lights and pumpkins glowing on porches.

We kicked off the weekend with a Halloween Party at school. It's plain to see, this knight adores
his princess.

This is no damsel in distress, this Beauty can take care of herself.

Definitely my knight in shining armor.

The next generation - looking good.

It all looks so good.....

Got to love a kid who will leave his "helmet" on all day at school.

All for one, one for all!
Long Live Cupcakes!

Costume Change #2 ~ Yes, we were Dorothy and the Scarecrow last year, but Mom needed
to re-live the cuteness one more time (I have a feeling  I won't be choosing the costumes next year)

Somebody give me a spoon so I can eat them up.

Toto, I don't think we're in Changsha anymore.

Free breakfast at the local diner for all kids in costume.  Is it wrong to say
this pirate is smoking hot and too sexy for his daggar?

My babies are in the final transition before becoming full fledged "kids". Bittersweet to see how independently they could maneuver from home to home, while I waited behind, no longer required to be at the door with them.   My only usefulness this night to warn them to stay off of the lawns and shout for them to say thank you at every stop.  Soon, they won't need me even to guide them through the neighborhood.  While their joy was obvious, and their enthusiasm contagious, the trick is that this 3rd Halloween together leaves but a few more remaining where we will travel as a family group, and with each passing Halloween  my role will be smaller until I am but a shadow in the night.  Now that is a Scary thought !

Hoping your holiday was Bootiful too.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rub-a-dub-dub Two Tikes in a Tub

What is it about containers without contents that makes children want to instantly become the aforementioned contents?

 We are getting ready for our annual C.R.A.P day sale (Clean, Remove And Purge), so I purchased bins to sort and put various items in. One bin made it onto the floor for appoximately 3 1/2 minutes before it was noticed, re-located to a destination, not of my choosing and two tikes removed their clothing  quicker than a stripper about to go to lunch and the empty bin was full.

 My camera is so slow all the great shots are either one second prior to or after to the shutter's actual winking action, so you'l have to use your imagination on these poor submissions.

The weather is finally showing signs of fall (in Texas that means we go from 100 degree days to the 80's, which if fine by me. 

Here's hoping all your "bins" are filled with love and joy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

To Garden or not to Garden? That is our question.

I wonder if young girls realize what they can look forward to as middle aged women?  I used to observe my mother and think to myself,  "I'll never have that problem.  I'll never dress that way.  I'll never go out of the house without make-up."

Never say "never"

Then the decades pass and you step on the proverbial rake and it hits you upside the head - you are now a middle aged "Mom" and everything you thought would never come to pass has arrived with a lot of luggage and it seems intent on staying, for a long time.

Do you see youth or a senior citizen?

The first thing to go which wasn't that big a problem for me were cute shoes, my dogs were starting to bark, correction, whimper, if I put on anything with a heel any higher than a pack of gum (Juicy Fruit 15 sticks).  So pair by pair I brought athletic shoes into my closet and escorted the heels and pretty shoes up to their high rise apartment in the closet. (Are you humming the theme song to the Jefferson's yet?)

Then, without heels and pretty shoes, dresses and slacks just didn't look right, so they were segregated to the back wall of the closet to allow for the arrival of t-shirts and elastic waist pants.  Who wants to be constricted by buttons and zippers and snaps; OH MY! (Did you just flash to the scene in Wizard of Oz, I know you did).

Then I had no idea that as you age, like it or not, Gardening becomes a part of your daily routine.  I for one have never had an appreciation for the hobby, as dirt and worms and what not have never appealed to my sense of cleanliness.  The first time I realized I was a true Gardener, was when it became apparent I was tending to my own personal Zen Garden.

Zen gardens are minimalist creations in which raked sand and a few well-placed stones are the primary features, so one day as I applied my eye shadow I realized that the tender skin of my upper eye lid was obediently following the direction of the sponge applicator and staying where ever the pressure was last  applied.  Fascinating,  curiosity forced me to try it on the other eye, and like the sands of Zen, my lids would ebb and flow like obedient puppies wanting to please their master.  I thought the dark shadows beneath my eyes and the small cyst like bumps which erupted there in stealth silence one day in the last year of my 3rd decade served well as the random stones one observes in their Zen Garden.

My current make-up kit.

But the Asian version of  tending a garden is not my only concern, I have found that regular trimming or shall we say weed whacking is now  a necessary part of the daily routine as well.  I can truly relate to the beloved childhood fable of my youth when one of the trio of Porcine announce "Not by the hair on my chinny, chin, chin!"  I never realized the profound impact those words would have on my own journey through life, like the groundhog seeing it's shadow, I can not leave the home if there is any hint of old lady stubble.

Speaking of hair, why is the hair on my head so weak and sparse, like a patch of  lawn decaying in shade?  It is also interesting that the hairs on one's face are so prolific and superior in strength to the poor strands struggling to survive on the scalp .

Let's not forget the use of chemicals when one is a gardener, weather you favor man made or natural sources the control of  weeds and non-native invaders must be dealt with. To these unwelcome aliens who arrive in the form of dark spots, red dots, broken blood vessels, wrinkles et al.  I must ponder why does the face take it the hardest, it gets through life relatively easy compared to other parts of the anatomy. 

I can understand why feet get ugly, you are pounding them daily into concrete and shoving them into all manner of footwear.  They are forced to sweat it out in socks and shoes, while the rest of the body is allowed freedom of movement and air circulation.  They rarely get any of the attention the face warrants, such as lotions and creams and massages, and injecting of plumpers and fillers.

Yet it is the face, which we use to judge a person by,  if they had a hard or easy life, if they are graceful or bitter.   So we all tend the garden of our face, we will trim (tweeze),  water regularly (moisturize), scalp for winter (chemical peel) and transplant (shift eyelids into proper position) and try to show the world, with pride our special garden, when this gets too much to bare, there is always astro-turf (plastic surgery).

My children look at my face, study the various flaws and concernedly alert me  I have "boo-boos".

Getting the once over from younger eyes.

This post is just a random observation brought to you by a resistant gardener who is literally transforming into her mother ~ the whole circle of life thing is a real pain in the grass.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I don't need you....

planned ob·so·les·cence [ plànd obsə léss'ns ] noun

ensuring that something becomes obsolete: a policy of designing and making products that quickly become outdated or wear out, so that they must be replaced

Is this what G*d had in mind when he created parents?  That within a certain amount of time, you raise your kids right out of  their need to require you a a necessity in their life?

I am hearing it more and more in their choice of language every day, "I don't need you Mommy" ~ "I can do it myself" ~  "no, No, NO/NO/NO" ~ "Stop singing" (I'm no Barbra Streisand, but please).

It is just in their nature to pull away, and everyday there is a new addition to the list that they no longer choose or need for me to do. 

I realize they have many years ahead and there will be different needs, less physical, more emotional and psychological  and they will be less obvious than those of small children ~ still it underscores what everyone who has already raised children knows, these times are so temporary and fluid that you simply can't take them for granted. 

I have noticed that with their growing grasp of the English language they are using other phrases that help soften the blow of their ever-changing evolution towards independance. My son now will cry out "I want my mommy" ; a soothing  salve to a mother's soul.

That is perhaps the greatest compliment he could give me, it is a wonderful thing to be "needed" but it is glorious to know someone seeks you out and desires you especially.

Cheap Trick said it best:

I need you to need me,
I want you to want me,
I love you to love me...... 

and so it goes ~

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hi and By July

I could have sworn I just saw July fly by here a second ago.  Did you see it?  I vaguely remember the 4th of July, a reunion of our China Travel Mates, Lil Dude's birthday, followed by my birthday, followed by Aubriana and Gary's birthdays together. 

There were pool outings, and water slide days and many cakes and candles and presents and suddenly the calendar says it is August.  The official winding down month of summer, where the thermometer tests it's limits on how high it can reach.  I shockingly noted in June, the half way mark between last Christmas and this next Christmas.

Time seems to be in a hurry to create tomorrow before I can register today, and so it goes.  My "babies" are now 3 and we took their annual photos; gone are the days of placing them on a prop and them staying until the photo is done.  These older models, have a mind of their own and the two individuals are rarely on the same track at one time.

Fleeting, that is what childhood is, and never more clear is it to me than when the new photos take their proper place next to their predecessor's.  When did his hairline fill in?  Wasn't her face rounder last year?How did they get so big so soon?  I just want to hit pause for a moment,  and take it in, but time will not pause for anyone, and that is why we capture them on film, to pause at least that moment in time to keep it as best we can, because time is in a hurry to create tomorrow and today is already yesterday.

Goodbye July,


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lost In Time

The time we spend in childhood seems to drag on forever, we wish it away, even as we are squeezing every moment of joy from it.  "I want to be 5 and go to school, I want to be 10 and out of the single digits, I want to be a teenager" and on and on.

The time we spend in adulthood, zooms past us as if we are allotted only half as much as we once had, and this block of time is more delicate and not as easily spent in the essence of sheer joy, but more divided by various responsibilities and the management of this time allotment; never is this more true than when children enter your life.

My time is no longer my own, but merely a tool used to enhance their short visit through this wonderland called childhood, I am at peace with this,  I had many years to use my time as I saw fit and honestly, I didn't do that much with it when I had it all to myself;.but now that it is no longer truly mine to spend as I see fit, I am so grateful for the moments I do get to control and capture and spend once again in sheer joy.

Moments I want to remember:

Aubriana putting on a favorite dress, jumping on the bed in circles and announcing "I'm so happy!"

Lil Dude coming to my bed at 4:00 in the morning;  awake from some wrong turn in dream land, going from a sleepy baby to telling me the plots of at least 10 different movies and tv shows rapid fire. Than spontaneously breaking into his ABC song in the sweetest little boy voice I've ever heard. 

Seeing their faces at Disneyland.  I always said "I would never take children who were not potty trained or under 5 on an airplane or to an amusement park" ~ I was WRONG!  They are still talking about it almost a month later!

Aubriana, the first time she held my face in her hands and lookeddeep into my eyes, using the most genuine voice anyone has ever spoken to me in, whisper succintly,  "I Love You". As if she had just realized it for the first time herself.

Breaking every rule in the book on how to get your toddler to bed, by laying in bed with Lil Dude and as I am running my fingers on his back and he turns over and makes me stop so he can run his fingers along my face and tell me he doesn't ever want to leave me.

Spending an afternoon in a splash pool, pretending to be mermaids and squirting one another with squirt guns and teaching them to hold their breath under water.

Lil Dude and Aubriana beng chased by Daddy all over the mall play area and Mommy being the safe spot where you can get a tic tac and a drink of water.  Lil Dude whose hair is a mass of sweaty curls announces "my team is hot"  and "my team needs a break".

Playing air hockey and not keeping score.

Getting the ball to roll all the way to the end and even hit some pins.

Kissing your grandma and making her so happy.

My memory isn't what it used to be, and I'm not very good at snapping every moment with a camera.  I hope these random posts of words will trigger memories for me and my litte darlings to remind us all how much joy we tried to squeeze out of our time together.

Thank you for the time of my life.