Disappointment & Hope at Christmastime

The family and I ventured out of sunny and warm California this week to come to the midwest. When our¬†plane touched down, C looked out the window and exclaimed, “There’s no snow!!”

Oops. ūüôĀ

The trip we had been planning for months so we could¬†visit our relatives and play with snow was not turning out the way we had expected. Both E and C were (and still are) very disappointed in the sunny and warm (according to the natives here) 40 degree F weather and lack of white, fluffy stuff. Even I’m disappointed, especially since I found a great¬†deal on snow pants (thank you Target!) and managed to squeeze four pairs of them (along with gifts and all of our other clothing)¬†into the¬†luggages.

Although our bubbles have been bursted by this non-white Christmas, I know our disappointment is minor compared to the unexpected circumstances of the very first Christmas. Can you imagine being pregnant and having to travel miles and miles only to reach your destination and discover there was no place for you to stay? And what about having to give birth to your first child and having nowhere to place him but in a feeding trough for animals?

Talk about disappointments.

You’ve gotta hand it to Mary and Joseph for persevering through the obstacles and setbacks they faced. I can only imagine how surprised and frustrated and exhausted they must have felt¬†as newlyweds and soon-to-be new parents. But through it all, something kept them going. I think that something was hope.

Hope that¬†what the angel Gabriel told them would come true. Hope that the baby in Mary’s womb was the long-awaited Savior of the world.

Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix/freedigitalphotos.net

It was that hope that inspired Mary to sing this song (from Luke 1:47-55):

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. 

From now on all generations will call me blessed¬†for the Mighty One has done great things for me‚ÄĒholy is his name.

His mercy extends to those who fear him from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 

He has helped his servant Israel,¬†remembering to be merciful¬†to Abraham and his descendants forever,¬†just as he promised our ancestors.‚ÄĚ

Yes, in this world we will face many disappointments of all shapes and sizes and throughout each season of life, even at Christmastime. But we also, like Mary, have so many reasons to persevere and to hope.

Hope that each new morning¬†brings with it new opportunities. Hope that¬†we can¬†make each day more meaningful than the last. Hope in¬†the love of family and friends to sustain us.¬†Most of all, hope in God’s promise¬†to give¬†everlasting hope to each one of us through Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection.

That certainly makes up for a snowless day any day. ūüôā

So here’s wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas! Take a listen to this beautifully sung song, “Mary, Did You Know?” by Pentatonix.

What are you hopeful about on this Christmas day?

Movie Quotes & Marriage

Have you ever considered how much movie lines stick in your head long after you’ve watched a¬†film? Let me throw out a few to get your gears turning.

“I love you. You complete me.”

‚ÄúDon‚Äôt forget I‚Äôm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.‚Ä̬†

‚ÄúAs you wish.‚ÄĚ

“I’m not a smart man … but I know what love is.”

And my favorite (sarcasm intended) …

“I’ll never let go, Jack, I’ll never let go.”¬†(Says Rose right before she promptly lets go of Jack’s hand and watches him sink into the cold, dark abyss of the sea.) ūüėČ

Sigh, so many romantic movies with so many romantic quotes. Don’t you feel the warm fuzzies just thinking about them?

Well, this past weekend I had one movie quote¬†running through my mind¬†as we were having lunch at Five Guys Burgers & Fries (our default pick because we forgot Chick-fil-A was closed on Sunday – sniff!). The munchkins and I were sitting at a¬†table while hubby ordered our meal. When he brought the food back to our table, he set down two large brown paper bags. After he had emptied the first bag with all¬†four of our burgers, I asked him, “What’s in the second bag?”

He stuck his hand in the second bag and replied, “Oh wow, this is a lot,” and proceeded to pull out a 20 ounce paper cup full of fries. Then with a sheepish smile, he said, “There’s another one in the bag. I didn’t know they were so big.”

Aiya. Dear hubby had ordered two large size fries,¬†and I knew for a fact (call it¬†woman’s intuition) that we were not going to be able to finish the first 20 ounce cup, let alone touch the second one.

Did I mention that each order of fries cost over $5.00? And that a ton of potatoes (straight from Idaho as a white board¬†on the restaurant’s wall proclaimed) had sacrificed their tuber-rific lives to fill up those 40 ounces?

A lot of thoughts were running through my frugal mind at that point. Thoughts which would be better left unspoken, especially considering¬†the regretful look on hubby’s face when he realized he had ordered way too much.

But another thought, actually a line from a movie, also ran through my mind as I stared at our bounty of spuds. It was this:

Image courtesy of pinterest

Image courtesy of pinterest

 

Yup, that’s Thumper there from the movie¬†Bambi.¬†And he sure has some good¬†relationship¬†advice. It’s true. If I didn’t have anything good to say to hubby about the fries, then it was better that I say nothing at all.

Zip. Nada. Zilch.

So¬†I kept my mouth occupied with bites of my burger and decided to¬†let it go¬†(thank you, Elsa). Moreover, I chose to be thankful. Thankful that hubby is way more generous than I am and would rather err on the side of having too much than not enough. And especially thankful that after 13 years of marriage, I’m finally learning how to put love into action, even if it’s being silent.

Here’s an appropriate song for this post, Alison Krauss’¬†When You Say Nothing At All.

What’s your favorite movie quote?

What to Do When Your Creative Juices Run Dry

It’s been wet, wet, wet here on the west coast! I’m talking about non-stop rain the whole¬†day yesterday, from morning till noon till night. School closures all around the Bay Area, which is something I have never witnessed (or ever had the pleasure of partaking in when I was a kid!). Lots of big puddles that the munchkins had a blast jumping and sloshing around in yesterday when we ventured out for lunch. And about 2-5 inches of total rainfall, depending on where you live. It was not exactly the #stormageddon or #stormpocalypse that the weather channels¬†had been predicting, but there was a whole lotta water pouring down from the skies.

Yes, we Californians have a sense of humor.

Yes, we Californians have a sense of humor.

Now, wouldn’t it be great if our creative juices could flow just¬†as freely and heavily¬†as¬†rain? That ideas – and not just ideas, but brilliant ideas – would pop into our heads as soon as we picked up a paintbrush, placed our fingers on an instrument, sat down in front of a keyboard, took a look into the refrigerator or peered into a microscope? Wouldn’t it be great¬†if¬†those brilliant ideas would then turn into a beautiful¬†painting, a moving song, a breathtaking story, a scrumptious meal or a cool¬†scientific discovery?

It wouldn’t be great, it would be awesome.

Like water, creative juices have a tendency to ebb and flow. Sometimes creativity comes like a downpour, other times like a trickle. Every once in a while, however, our creative juices¬†just run dry. I’m talking about cracked, sun-scorched, no-liquid-in-sight kind of dry. Something like this picture here:

Image courtesy of numanzaa/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of numanzaa/freedigitalphotos.net

When I saw this image, the first thing that popped into my head was, Was that tree photoshopped in? How could any living thing grow out of and survive in such dry earth?

Thanks to the power of Google, I found out the impossible can be possible. According to this article¬†from USA Today, plants that live¬†in the Sahara (the world’s largest hot desert) do so thanks to their extensive root systems. Their roots have the ability to¬†suck water up from deep under the ground, to¬†as far as¬†150 feet below the dry surface. Talk about ingenuity! (God thinks of everything. :D)

This got me thinking that plants in the Sahara know a thing or two about thriving. Since¬†water won’t come to them, they find a way to get to the water.

So how does this apply to us as people? Well, when our creative juices run dry, instead of waiting for inspiration to strike us, we need to go out and search for it.

The best sources of inspiration that I’ve found are¬†other people. People who are creative in the areas that you excel in and enjoy, as well as people who are creatively different from you. Because when it all comes down to it, creativity comes from a need¬†to explore and invent. If you look around, you’ll find countless people in your life who have that same need. Allow their work and enthusiasm to tug at your heart, tickle your creative bone and move¬†you to tears or laughter, so you want to start dreaming¬†again.

Although it’s been raining in California, I’ve been experiencing a creative drought (aka. writer’s block). This dry spell had me feeling¬†constipated¬†(artistically speaking!) and shriveled up like a prune for days. But thanks to a good conversation with a creative friend and some episodes of The Voice, I got inspired again to write. And I’m happy to announce I’m working on my second novella and am finally making good progress on it. God willing, I’ll be publishing it during the spring of¬†2015.

Here’s one song that tugged at my¬†creative heartstrings recently. I love the different take that Damien (one of The¬†Voice contestants) puts on¬†Paula Cole’s song, “I Don’t Want to Wait”. (Any fellow Dawson’s Creek fans out there? :P)

Who inspires you in your creative quests? Do share, so we can be inspired together!

Out of the Mouths of Babes: #$@&!

I learned two important parenting lessons this week. The first was this: Always expect the unexpected. Especially around 3:07pm when you are picking up your kid from school.

Case in point …

The other day I had just kissed E’s¬†soft cheek as he sat down in the car when he announced, “I learned a new bad word at school.”

I immediately thought,¬†Oo-kay.¬†Well, it can’t be that bad.¬†

After all, the bad word the munchkins discovered last year was stupid (yes, we are a sheltered family), and the bad word they heard last week was dummy (which I found out wasn’t so bad because¬†they were actually referring to¬†a wooden puppet).

So I really wasn’t feeling one bit worried when I asked, “What is it?”

“#$@&!” E answered in his oh-so-sweet-and-innocent 8 year old voice.

Image courtesy of stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net

O.M.G. As soon as I heard the word, my eyebrows shot up and a whole chorus of bells, whistles and alarms went off in my body. This was NOT the word I had been expecting. Far, far, FAR from it. Like a billion, KAZILLION miles away from it.

Since this word does¬†not¬†bear repeating, I will give you a hint as to what came out of my dear son’s mouth. It sounds like duck (which was exactly what I wanted to do at that point – duck and cover!) and rhymes with luck (which I had certainly run out of in that moment).

AIYA.

As I relayed the whole conversation to¬†hubby later that night, I demanded (in a whisper so as not to let the kids hear us), “Why do I¬†always get stuck with these crazy¬†questions?!”

Hubby replied with a hint of a smile, “Because God knows you’re better at answering them than me.”

Grrr. Um, thanks?

The good thing though about having experience dealing with¬†deep theology questions, sweat-inducing birds-and-the-bees questions and now, wild profanity-laced questions is that I’ve become quite good at putting on a poker face. And keeping an even tone of voice. You’d almost think¬†I was talking about the weather instead of a four-letter swear word with my second grader.

Sigh.

So how did my conversation with E turn out? Something like this (from what my traumatized brain can remember):

Me: Which friend said that? Does your friend know what it means?

E: N said it when we were eating lunch. P heard it before. K didn’t know it. They spelled the word out. Someone wanted to tell the teacher but he didn’t. The teacher almost heard it cause she was standing really close. Do you say it to someone? N said, “I am not a #$@&!.” (Thank you dear son for saying the word AGAIN.)

Me: Oh, I don’t think he knows what it means. But yeah, it’s something you say to someone when you are upset, but we don’t ever want to say it. It’s okay to know about the word, but both kids and adults should not¬†say it.

C (who was listening to our conversation the whole time!): But then why did someone make up the word if it’s bad?

Good question, my dear baby of the family (whom¬†at age 5 has heard the #$@&! word TWICE now). I actually didn’t have an answer for that. Cause in all honesty, words are words, but it’s their meanings which lead¬†people to smile or faint. And thank God my munchkins know more words of the former kind than the latter.

Phew. AIYA. (As you can imagine, I’m still recovering from this incident.)

As I mentioned earlier, I learned two parenting lessons this week. So, what was the¬†second lesson? It’s this: Relationship over comfort. As much as I dislike having¬†to address these “interesting” topics with my munchkins, I value¬†every cringeworthy moment. Why? Because I’m¬†glad¬†I’m available to listen to¬†their questions, even if¬†I don’t have all of the answers. But,¬†most of all, I am thankful¬†they¬†feel comfortable and safe enough to have these crazy conversations with¬†their mama.

Sigh. Let’s just hope my poker face holds up during¬†their teenage years. ūüėČ

What better song to go with this post than Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”? LOL. Here’s a nice instrumental (piano) version of it.

What crazy conversations do you remember having with your parents or have you had with your kids?

#Rest

A dear friend of mine just sent me a message reminding me¬†to take time for myself during this busy season. My first reaction was, “Time for me, what’s that?!” ūüėõ But then I took a deep breath and basked in the idea of it. Just thinking about being still and resting and even sleeping (this is my favorite definition of taking time for myself, LOL) gave me a sense of peace.

I wonder if there’s anyone else out there who’s searching for peace, too? (Yup, I see those hands waving in agreement!)

Hubby¬†commented the other day, “I can’t believe the year’s almost over!”

I sighed and replied, “The end of the year always rushes by so quickly.”

And boy does it ever. Starting from when school starts in September, there’s Back to School Nights to attend, homework folders to keep track of, laundry to do, field trips to chaperone, Halloween costumes to buy, more laundry to do, birthdays to celebrate, Thanksgiving meals to cook and eat, Christmas performances to watch, Christmas shopping to do, Christmas plans to make and even more laundry to do. (Anyone else feel like they’re constantly washing and folding clothes?)

Image courtesy of MR LIGHTMAN/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of MR LIGHTMAN/freedigitalphotos.net

Just thinking about this long to-do list has made my shoulders tight and my face grim. Which is why I totally need and appreciate my friend’s reminder to SLOOOW DOWN.

So, I’m going to make an effort to not make an effort. ūüėČ Or at least I’ll try to loosen up the timelines I give myself and spread out the tasks I need to do. And when I do make an effort, it will be to sit down and enjoy the precious moments¬†I have with family and friends.

‘Cause the laundry basket will still be there waiting for me tomorrow.

The song for today’s post is actually a collection of 51 instrumental hymns (over an hour of peaceful, calming music!).

What will you do to find time to rest during this busy holiday season? 

My Adventure to Becoming More Kid-Friendly

Have you heard of the term “kid-friendly”? Well, if you were to do a Google search for it, you would be able to pull up endless sites about kid-friendly restaurants, kid-friendly recipes and kid-friendly activities. There are even kid-friendly jokes (I’m guessing these¬†probably¬†involve chickens crossing¬†roads). In my life, I’ve even met people whom you would call kid-friendly. These are adults with big, friendly (haha) smiles and usually a few pieces of candy in their pockets. They don’t mind getting down on their hands and knees to play and do things that make kids laugh, like impersonations of Elmo (which my bro-in-law, a kid-friendly guy, has scarily perfected). You could say these kid-friendly adults are kids at heart. I personally think these people are amazing and great fun to have around, especially if you have kids needing to be entertained. Which is why¬†I think it would be great if all parents were kid-friendly … except they’re not, especially some square ones I know. ūüėõ

I’ve always been a baby-friendly person, usually the first or second in line waiting to hold a friend’s newborn. But liking babies unfortunately does not equate to liking kids. Kids, in case you haven’t noticed, are very different from babies. Kids can walk, run, climb, etc., and the scariest thing of all is this: kids can talk. Which makes kids just as complicated as adults, only smaller in size. And because¬†I don’t like talking much and I dislike complications, I’m not the most¬†kid-friendly person around.

But, as usual, God likes to place us in circumstances that help us grow. (Groan, sigh, roar. Haha.)

My lil sis posted this great (and uncomfortable) reminder on her Facebook this week. ;)

My lil sis posted this great (and uncomfortable) reminder on her Facebook this week. ūüėČ

Back in the day (before I became a mom), I had been working towards¬†getting my license as a Marriage and Family Therapist. In order to get said license, I needed to complete 3000 hours of internships, which included 500 hours of counseling with … (cue drumroll) … kids.¬†When I saw that one requirement, I just about fainted. I didn’t know how in the world I would be able to work with kids, let alone spend 500 hours, with them. I hoped I could put off those hours until later, but¬†sure enough,¬†the only internship available¬†at the¬†time was at¬†an elementary school working with children from kindergarten to sixth grade. (Cue the fainting.)

I remember clearly that on my first day there I just sat in my parked car and PRAYED.¬†I write that in all caps because that’s the kind of prayer it was. A God-this-is-crazy-please-help-me!!! kind of prayer. I felt sooo out of my element going into a place with hundreds of little people running around. I had no clue how I was going to engage them in conversation or if they would even want to talk to me.

But to my surprise and relief, they did (especially the girls!). Each time I went to a student’s classroom and picked them up for a counseling session, I was greeted with a smile.¬†Each 30 minute session flew by as the kids shared (with some prompting) from their hearts about their families and their¬†worries¬†and wishes. Even now I can still see some of their faces in my mind and remember the heartfelt conversations we shared, especially¬†this one:

K (a kindergarten girl whose mom was no longer in her life): “I wish you were my mom.”

Me (totally caught off guard, but very touched): “You really enjoy our times together, huh?”

K (nodding): “Yeah.”

I came away from that one counseling session a lot less afraid of kids and a lot more appreciative of how genuine, accepting and adult-friendly they really are.

The gift K gave me at the end of my internship. :)

A gift K gave me at the end of my internship. ūüôā

As I’ve come to understand these pint size creatures better (especially after having two of my own), I see that their ability to talk is a wonderful thing. It’s their words which give us adults access into their worlds and into their hearts. As K confirmed, all I needed to do was give her¬†a safe place¬†to share and a listening ear, and she was ready to come home with me. I probably also looked like good mom material¬†in her eyes, considering I was about 8 months pregnant with E when she said this.

In all seriousness though, I can say without shuddering or cringing now that the 9 months I spent at that elementary school were some of the best moments of my life. And I’m a much better, kid-friendlier person because of it. (Yay – gulp – for challenges!)

Side note: I’ve had kids on the brain (and in my posts) lately because they are the reason I created¬†my plush toys, the¬†Moodkins. I believe all children deserve to be heard and have their feelings validated¬†by the grown-ups in their lives, and the Moodkins¬†were created for that very purpose. Please check them out at http://www.moodkins.com¬†if you haven’t had the chance yet!

I’ve always liked the lyrics of this Whitney Houston song, “The Greatest Love of All”. The first stanza is particularly¬†kid-friendly. ūüôā

Are you a kid-friendly person? Why or why not?

It’s Moodkin Monday!

I can’t believe the day has come …!

This business venture of mine started out almost a year ago as just a random idea in my head, thanks to my two munchkins who helped put it there. It’s been a CRAZY adventure figuring out¬†the ropes of making a plush toy, setting up a website and learning¬†the ins and outs of starting a small business, but it has been worth it!!

Moodkins were created in part by kids (my very own E and C) and designed for the purpose of helping all kids. Please visit the website and help spread the word! (Go here: http://www.moodkins.com/)

Thanks everyone!!

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Share Your Mood!

The One Thing All Kids Want

Image courtesy of flickr

Image courtesy of flickr

Hubby and I have probably visited every¬†venue there is for kiddie birthday parties. And let me tell you something –¬†things have changed since we were¬†young’uns. In the olden days, birthdays were usually celebrated at home¬†or¬†at a certain mouse’s abode¬†(think “where a kid can be a kid”) because those were the only locations¬†available.¬†Nowadays,¬†kids have a bazillion more places to choose from, depending on whether they want to run around¬†on indoor inflatable jumpy houses, bounce on wall-to-wall trampolines or climb up walls.

Our munchkins have been fortunate enough to attend many¬†parties at all of the above mentioned (and more) venues, which means hubby and I have joined in on the fun, too. When I say joined, I mean we literally have climbed, slid, jumped, ran and crawled along with E and C, as well as dozens of other little people. Although¬†I would much rather¬†sit on the sidelines and enjoy¬†the excitement from afar, (our kids won’t participate unless we do, too), I must confess I do enjoy¬†getting in on¬†the action. I get to relive my childhood, loosen up¬†my creaky joints and bond with E and C in the process.¬†Another upside is that¬†since hubby and I are¬†typically¬†the only adults working up a sweat at these parties, we’ve had many opportunities to interact with¬†other kids. These interactions¬†have included the times when…

A¬†curly-haired preschooler insisted on climbing¬†onto hubby’s lap so she could go¬†down the inflatable slide with him.

A brown-haired girl in a pink top waved to me repeatedly to watch her do flips on the trampoline.

A¬†boy about E’s height who had been watching hubby and the kids play tag asked if he could play, too.

These random encounters with these random kids used to throw me off. The first few times they happened, I was tempted to ask the kids,¬†“Where are your parents? Don’t you know you’re not supposed to talk to random strangers?!” Now though I just make¬†eye contact and smile politely (while hubby is a lot more friendly and lets random kids sit on his lap and/or chase him).

Why have I stopped being surprised when random kids approach us?¬†I think it’s because I finally understand what they’re after, and what they’re after is perfectly normal, acceptable and to be expected.

What is the one thing all kids want?

Our attention.

Simply put, they want to be seen. To be heard. To be noticed. Kids want to be talked to. To be helped. To be interacted with.

Kids want to know they matter.

And in this crazy money-making, gadget-consuming, faster-than-the-speed-of-light culture¬†in which we live today, it’s more important than ever that kids get the attention they need (ideally from the significant¬†adults in their lives, not necessarily from random strangers like me).¬†ūüėõ

So, I’m thankful for a hubby who isn’t afraid to pull a muscle (true story!) in order to play with our kids. I’m also grateful he encourages¬†me to participate as well. Because instead of plopping down on the sidelines and updating my status about what my kids are doing at the moment (or catching up on what everyone else’s kids are doing), I’m actually experiencing it all¬†with them. I’m realizing how much my kids value my presence and my attention. I’m reminded of how the things¬†I say and do will leave a lasting impression on them. And I’m more inclined to kick off my shoes and crawl, jump, climb, slide and run around with my munchkins so they will¬†know they matter. Because that’s something my kids (and all kids) need to know.

All I need to know is that being the sweatiest parent¬†in the room might also¬†make me the coolest parent ever – at least in my kids’ eyes. What could be more worthwhile than that? ūüėČ

The song for today’s post is Lenka’s “The Show”. The childlike quality of the song and some of¬†the lyrics remind me of what it’s like to be a kid.

Who were some significant adults from your childhood who made positive lasting impressions on your life?

P.S. Speaking of paying attention to the kids in our lives (whether personally or professionally), I¬†am hopeful that the business venture I am starting on Monday, November 17 will help us do just that. Stay tuned for the reveal of my plush toys called the¬†Moodkins!¬†You’ll also have the opportunity to win a free set of them next week!

Conversations with a 5 year old About Marriage

The other morning C turned to me and announced, “I think I’m going to marry T.”

My immediate¬†reaction was, “Why do you want to marry T?”

“Because he’s silly. And he has a round head.”

Ahh… I see. In previous conversations with my 5 year old munchkin, she had stated that she wants to marry someone like her Baba. Someone with the important characteristics of:

#1 –¬†A silly nature

#2 – A round head¬†(If you haven’t noticed by now, C has an affinity for circular¬†things, heads included.)

She then proceeded to ask, “Who else do you think I can marry?”

With raised eyebrows, I replied, “But you know you can only marry one person.”

“I know!” she answered matter-of-factly.

Obviously, she’s still thinking about the matter. ūüôā

As¬†C ponders about her future hubby, I thought I’d come up with three points for her (and E) to consider about marriage (some 15-20 years from now of course). These are things I wish I had known when I was 5. ūüėČ

1. Understand¬†yourself.¬†Know what your personality is like, particularly the traits that could drive your future spouse bananas. This includes being passive-aggressive when upset (ahem, maybe me) or messy/forgetful much of the time (ahem, definitely not¬†me). ūüėõ Be willing to accept input from family and friends who know you well and have your best interests at heart, and focus on growing and changing to be the most loving version of yourself. Be happy and whole as an individual, try new things, have fun, and live the life God has given you¬†to the fullest.

2. Understand¬†relationships.¬†Don’t¬†base your ideas and expectations of a relationship off of Hollywood movies or romance books, even the one your mama wrote (insert shameless plug for my book here). ūüėČ Know that people are complicated and messy on their own, and mixing two people’s complications and messiness together only equals¬†more complications and messiness. Strengthen¬†your communication¬†skills in the areas of listening, resolving conflict and negotiation because these skills will help you thrive in all kinds of relationships.

3. Understand your significant other.¬†When you do spot someone (on the playground, in a¬†classroom, at the cafe, across a crowded room, etc.),¬†who sparks your interest, get to know the person better. Preferably in different situations and over the course of a looong time. Baba recommends observing the person’s competitive spirit, so please¬†invite that person over for a game of mahjong¬†Mario Kart sometime. Lastly, but most importantly, ask for¬†God’s, your family’s and friends’ input about the person and listen with both your ears and your heart.

Then … when you think you’re ready for a relationship (with all of its beautiful and adventurous¬†ups and downs) and have found a person whom you adore and adores you back, break the news to Baba and me gently (sniff, sniff!), so we can accept the fact that our little munchkins won’t¬†stay little¬†forever.

In the meantime, I’ll be keeping an eye on Mr. T. ūüôā

C and T at school. (Don't worry, I was kidding about keeping an eye on him. This picture was actually taken by his mom.)

Here’s C and T at school. (Don’t worry, I was kidding about keeping an eye on him!¬†This picture was actually taken by his mom.)

Take a listen to this fun song about love, “Accidentally in Love” by Counting Crows (subtitled in Spanish for some reason).

What great love/marriage advice have you received? What relationship advice would you give to your friends, siblings or kids?

Practicing What I Teach

“It’s okay to be frustrated. You’re learning something new. I can help you. Let’s try again.”

I repeated these words as I held and rocked C in my lap. Just moments before she had been working on her homework packet and I had been cleaning out the guinea pigs’ cage. Her little, high-pitched voice had called out to me as I was scooping up pellet-sized poop into a bag to ask, “Is this right?”

I craned my neck from my seat on the floor to see the paper she held up. She had circled: rectangle, circle, triangle, rectangle; circle, triangle, rectangle; circle, triangle.¬†“No, try again. Make sure each set of the¬†pattern starts with the same shape.”

She sighed her signature sigh, which to be accurate is more like a half groan/half roar. With an eraser in her dimpled hand, she began undoing her work. Half a minute later, she asked again, “Is this right?”

The process repeated again. “No, try again,” I replied.

Groan/roar. Erase. Groan/roar. Erase.

It was after probably the fourth cycle that I saw C plop herself down on the tile floor and burst into tears.

Oh dear.

Fortunately I had finished refilling the guinea pig cage with clean bedding by then. I closed the metal door, rushed to the sink to wash my poopy hands and then hurried over to stop the waterworks.

As I sat there comforting a very distraught kindergartener, I couldn’t help but smile. Yes, the situation was a dire one – the homework paper had been written on and erased so many times that it was now covered in gray eraser bits – but thankfully it was an easy one to fix. After letting C belt out her tears (her wails could almost be categorized as melodic), I turned her around in my lap and resumed my pep talk.

“It’s okay to be frustrated. You’re learning something new. I can help you.¬†Let’s try again.”

I spoke those words to C that day, but I could very well have been speaking them to myself. Because it was only a few days ago that I felt like plopping down on the floor and wailing my own version of a cantata.

I had been sitting in the dark by the light of my laptop (in the wee hours of the morning) and attempting to set up a website. I had been calculating and recalculating the money I have spent on my new business venture and wondering when/if I will be able to recoup the costs. I had been frustrated and stressed out by the tasks I still need to complete and the timelines I want to meet.

In short, I was having a (recovering) perfectionist moment. A total “I have to have things done the way I want, but things are not working out right now, so can I crawl into a hole and hide?!” moment.

Hmm. These “moments” are much cuter¬†when a five year old has them. (Side note: C is not a perfectionist; she was just being a five year old.)

Thankfully, hubby was¬†my voice of reason. The next day when I poured out my frustrations to him, he basically said the same thing I would later tell C: “This is your first time doing this, just learn as you go. Don’t worry about the money. Just enjoy the process.”

I wanted to respond, “Enjoy the process, my foot!”, but instead I sighed my signature sigh, which¬†meant gritting my teeth and half growling/half roaring. (Hm, I think I see a trend¬†here, LOL). I picked myself up, dusted off my bum (figuratively speaking) and made the decision to throw my timelines, expectations and all the “shoulds” I had given myself out the window.

So here I am a few days later still reminding myself to breathe deeply, massaging the stress knots out of my neck and shoulders and saying a lot of prayers.

Most of all, I’m trying to focus¬†on being, creating, enjoying, and NOT stressing because …

Real-Values

 

The song, “Under Pressure” could have been my theme song this week. ūüėõ Here it is sung by Queen and David Bowie (I’m dating myself again with this song choice, haha).

How do you deal with the pressure of perfection?

P.S. C finished that homework problem correctly on her next try and with a triumphant smile on her face. ūüôā