Back to School Night

Last night I was asleep by 8 pm, after twelve hours at work. Grateful Grammy could help watch little ones while Joe went to class. Grateful Pilar was comfortable having Paul at her house swimming, without parental support.

I am slowly taking advantage of ideas I see on pinterest (it’s easy to be overwhelemd). So I made a treat for each student.DSC01126I have thirty kids and thirteen families showed up. Not even half, but I am always happy to see who does show up and hear their insights into their children. I have more girls this year. A couple who have been retained and one who skipped first grade, this means I have the ages of 6 through 8 (going on 9) in one room. Besides age, I have the range of skills in reading, writing, and math. Let’s just say, my work is cut out for me this school year.

It feels strange to already fully be back and my little boys haven’t even started. Next week! And this year two will be in uniforms with backpacks.  Meanwhile Joe is really getting to the “good stuff” at school. He is taking four classes and they are all focused on special education. I can tell he already loves it.


So Big, So Fast

I have looked up to find myself parenting three kids. Not one needs a diaper, so I emptied and donated the bag. I know that I should feel relief. But with each growth spurt I am left in shock. The fine art of flexibility I have yet to master because I am a creature of habit and routine.Joey1978 RulezThey will never again be needing bottles or bibs or any of those “baby” items. Instead my baby is suddenly talking a mile a minute and we all like to giggle at her invention in speech. “Yestertime” is yesterday. “Dinner egg” is gatorade. All her l sounds like y. She says “yeg” for leg and “bayon” for balloon which sometimes gets confusing. She can’t say all her blends so “spoon” is poon. We have squeezed her into the same shirts I put on Paul and Henry. Although they were so chubby they could have never worn it past one years old.

Joey1978 RulezHere she is making an “Ollie bridge” and calling out for anyone and everyone to go beneath her bridge.

Joey1978 RulezShe is stubborn (like her momma) and silly (like her papa). She has been feeling the effects of our back to school routine. Sometime around 2 am I can expect her, her “yum yum” (blanket), and two baby dolls to end up in my  bed. I love it. I cherish it. I know she won’t always be crawling in with us. So for now, this final reminder of a baby snuggled in the crook of my arm is too sweet to pass up.

An Even Dozen

I found this card to give him for our anniversary today.Joey1978 RulezI still can’t really believe that we went from a couple to a family in what feels like a short time:
Joey1978 RulezWe were lucky enough to be given this cake by my mom:
Joey1978 Rulezand to spend lunch at our favorite vegan sushi places- Shojin.
Joey1978 RulezThey opened a second location with a prix fixe brunch menu.
Joey1978 RulezAnd yes, their crunchy pirate roll has corn flakes on top.
Joey1978 RulezWe had the place to ourselves for talking and laughing and even singing.Joey1978 RulezThis is the way we bond best: food and conversation.Joey1978 Rulez Also, this location in Culver City is around the corner from a delicious cupcake place
Joey1978 Rulez which was perfect for saying thank you to Mimi (she watched our three rascals who were pink faced and sweaty bragging about their homemade popsicles). They hardly noticed we were gone.


Joey1978 Rulez

Did I mention that I am incredibly thankful that these two little boys have one another? On the best of days, they are inseperable friends, spurring each other on with a healthy dose of competiition. Here, they are racing from side to side in the pool. It isn’t often we step in to remind them of their two year difference. In fact, I savor these days, where they can share clothes and shoes because they are wearing the same size.

Tonight after sending them off to bed, I heard whispering and discovered Henry had climbed into Paul’s bed. Earlier, when I came home from work, I glanced in their room to see both of them wearing their new backpacks and playing diver. They were swimming around the mermaid (Olivine) in the center of the rug.

Mini Golf

is what Joe decided he wanted to do for his birthday.Joey1978 RulezAfter breakfast, before the sun was too hot, we headed out.
Joey1978 RulezAn excellent opportunity for turn taking and practicing patience.
Joey1978 Rulez We laughed as Henry hit it too soft, and the ball would roll back down (again and again)
Joey1978 Rulezand we laughed when papa hit it so hard it would fly off the mini course. He even lost one ball in the water.
Joey1978 RulezOllie would swing over and over and miss. It’s a hand-eye coordination technique she hasn’t mastered.

Joey1978 RulezPaul was our guy who hit it just right. He even had a hole in one! Joey1978 RulezWe came home for naps and an early dinner, followed by ice cream and cake.Joey1978 Rulez
The perfect combination for this heat and our Papa- we hope you had a happy birthday. As for presents, we did practical: a watch band, new pillow, and new shoes.
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Make a wish!!

Farewell Summer

Floating in a pool this afternoon I found my mind wandering to the parts of summer I will miss most:
Joey1978 Rulez The go anywhere, fly by the seat of our pants, feeling.

The swimming and beach days that include hours in the sunshine.

The length of a day feeling stretched out as we start early and end late.

The time spent with family and friends.

The ease at which my children go to sleep because they are tired after so much fun.

The natural ebb and flow of a vacation, camping, and then back to a pajama day.

Laundry, grocery shopping, and cleaning being low on the priority list.

Outdoors and play being high on the priority list.

Staying up late to watch episodes of The Daily Show with Joe, laughing until our sides hurt.

The list could go on and on, but you get it, there is plenty to be thankful for in a season that represents abundant blooming and harvesting. Life feels easy. And I will miss that as life picks up  and the pace quickens in our lives.

Small Gathering

Aunt Kathy did not want a big party for turning sixty-five.Joey1978 RulezBut she did want family, pizza, and swim time, so we are definitely the people to invite.Joey1978 RulezWe stopped by the nursery to find the perfect plant. We decide on a plumeria (my Ba’chan’s favorite).Joey1978 RulezOlivine liked the statues more than the plants.
Joey1978 RulezThe weather was warm enough that the kids spent a ton of time in the water.
Joey1978 RulezThey even played in the hot tubJoey1978 Rulezbut I guess that feels like an oversized bath that has the “more the merrier” feel to it.Joey1978 RulezAs summer winds down, so does birthday season. Joe’s is tomorrow. Fast approaching is fall and the excitement is mounting over a new baby girl arriving within a month.
Joey1978 RulezAnd then Miss Fiona will be a big sister.Joey1978 RulezSuper relaxing Saturday. Happy Birthday Aunt Kathy.



Dental Care

Everyone wants to go to a dentist they trust. An open mouth is a vulnerable space to be in. So imagine my disappointment to discover Paul had (not only) his first cavity, but an infection. We scrambled on Friday afternoon to find an open, local office. He was given antibiotics and sensory overload with the video games and continuous kid films being played. He loved it. My eyebrows furrowed at the counter in the corner selling candy. When I pointed it out to Joe, he smiled and emphasized the “sugar free” sign. What? It’s the dentist. This is not about toys and candy. Is it? I should have seen warning signs in their mission statement that highlighted the adjective Fun.DSC01112So today Steven (yes, Sun’s little brother) removed the tooth. I hate when Sun is right. (I am the one with the maiden name: Reidt) I ignored his pleas to visit his brother and now in a bind, I realized I should changed a long time ago. We still go to an Orange County dentist that was mostly due to feeling comfortable rather than the best care. Steven is knowledgable, local, safe, and good at explaining what he is doing.
DSC01118Even though we had our teeth cleaned in June, I am skeptical now. I made all of us appointments in the next month. Not all at the same time, because this guy only works three days a week. But I want us to avoid as many infections as possible and receive reliable education about our teeth. Better late than never, is what I am focusing on today, to avoid the insecurities of “should have” and “if only.” No one wants to see their child in pain or poor hygiene.

If you are in Long Beach and need a good dentist, let me know, because this place is the real deal.


It takes special people to let bury you up to your neck in sand. Just watching makes me nervous.DSC01115But on Sunday, we spent time with people who are very special. DSC01117People we trust.

I wish every church service was given on the sand, with the Bay as the backdrop. Travis pointed out that besides the view it is also free and I have to say “amen.”


*I spent two days this summer helping my friend Pilar go through her mother’s three bedroom condo. We (a small group of us) made quick progress through the two bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen. It was the office, with the papers and files and boxes. I started thinking, we all did, aloud about the stuff the we keep. Oh it brought a deep ache to my heart. I hate the idea of leaving behind a mound for my children to go through. Just look at all the e-waste we found:DSC01037*Plus the lingering doctor appointments and my imagination going wild. This mystery disease in my liver brings up all my feelings of frustration and fear from when Joe’s mom was diagnosed with brain cancer. Where did it come from? Why isn’t there a cure? It is all so scary. (I am currently awaiting blood tests) But this means there is no time like the present. What am I waiting for?

*Then there was the candid conversation months ago with my friend Melissa on my doorstep about the ideal closet containing only a set of clothes. The basics but able to coordinate that fit well and we like. Clothes that we like, wear often, and are versatile. My closet needs a motto that resembles my children’s toys: less is more. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed because there are so many choices. I want to enjoy and use each piece.

So I did a huge purge. To help my brain I tallied up each article by category: skirts, dresses, pants, shirts, etc. The goal was whatever the number was, I had to cut the number in half or less. Who needs 32 dresses? (I now own 17) or 24 skirts (yay for an even dozen) and 18 pairs of pants for my two legs (I own 9). These numbers come from the same lady who has stood in front of the closet unable to put an outfit together and insisting I have nothing to wear.
I found items that I could no longer figure out why I was holding on to, besides being sentimental. Like one of my favorite pair of pants that I haven’t worn in ten years:Joey1978 RulezI turned the counting into a game and even made Joe play at the end. “Guess the number? “(He was so close, it was scary) He actually has half the closet now, plus we have empty space:DSC01110I am even using the new hangers Pilar gave me. By the end I had tried it all on, demanding I decide if I loved the item or not, and in the process filled up 6 trashbags (4 to donate and 2 to toss).
Joey1978 RulezMeanwhile Joe had gone through our craft dresser and reorganized drawers. I was equally embarassed by the strange items I had been saving. This pencil is from my middle school. Why?Joey1978 RulezAt least we can laugh. By the end, it is seriously one big burden lifted. I did it! I am ready for more.DSC01045I feel happier than this smile shows. It is on the inside. After three babies and many different phases I just wanted to start clean. And hey, maybe I can go through my closet now every six months.