Saturday, April 30, 2016

Taking Time To Smell The Tulips

Spring is always a busy time of year and this year is the same.  It's been especially so with my job-share partner being out due to a medical issue.  You can always tell when I'm writing a bunch of homestudies because that means I don't create any blog posts--the writing portion of my brain is fried by the end of the day!

I'm happy to report that even though life has been busy, it's good.  We are excitedly awaiting Kim's new baby boy, and Will and Cupcake are also due with a baby boy in September!  Lots of excitement over the color of blue and baseball onesies!  And of course Hubby took the chance to buy some tiny black and orange Beaver gear!

We are finally coming to the end of our birthday season.  For my mom's birthday we went to the tulip festival.  It was SO incredibly beautiful and even worth the overwhelming traffic!

 Happy Spring!  I'm hoping to end ours taking more time to smell the tulips!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Finding His Niche

Sometimes it takes awhile for a child to find their niche.  I expect all my kids to participate in some type of extracurricular activity.  It doesn't have to be throughout the year, but I want them to have something outside of school and home for at least one season of the year.  It can be a sport, activity, leadership, drama, music, club etc..  It's good for them in so many ways.  All of my kids have found at least one extracurricular they are passionate about--some have many. 
All except Vu. 
Vu tried many activities.  Coming into a sports-minded family he tried soccer, baseball, karate, hip-hop, and basketball.  He had a great attitude, but he wasn't crazy about any of them. 
He tried drama and drumming.  He liked them both, but felt nervous about performances and worried endlessly about forgetting his lines or missing the beat. 
I worried about Vu.  School is challenging for him and finding an activity he enjoyed proved equally difficult.  He has a same-age brother who seems to excel in several areas, and I worried Vu would compare himself in a negative way. 
My mom kept saying we needed to sign Vu up for choir.  Vu's dyslexia tutor kept saying we needed to sign Vu up for choir.  I kept thinking the same.  Indeed, Vu LOVES to sing and he has an incredible memory for lyrics.  He has a sweet voice and was known in his orphanage for his beautiful tone. 
So, in January, Vu auditioned for a community choir.  He was nervous, but he got in!  Last week he had two wonderful performances, one at a fancy-schmancy professional concert hall. 
And yesterday, he was moved up into the high school choir.  He's a tiny guy, so he looks out of place physically, but even he knows that his voice fits in perfectly.  He LOVES choir! 
As I watched him perform with pride and joy I almost cried.  Vu has finally found his niche!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Why I'm At Freshman Orientation. Again.

Patrick's had some rough days.  He hurt his knee in PE.  Bad.  But Dr. Myself was pretty sure it was just bruised and sprained.  Patrick had to pay the wait-and-see-penance before going to the doctor.  It was a doctor we hadn't seen before and she was a little surprised we hadn't come in right away.  I explained Patrick's #9 of 10 and that I consider myself Board Certified.  She didn't find my humor funny.  She probably thinks I'm Certified all right!  After repeat visits and x-rays she declared his knee bruised and sprained. 

I'm pretty smart.  Although I was surprised at his need for a brace and crutches.  Oops.

But I'm not always a bad mom. 

I went to Freshman Orientation with Patrick this week, which puts me up to attending eight times with eight different kids.  All at the same high school.

Interesting CrazyForKids Fact:  We will have at least one child at our local high school for a total of twenty-six years. Twenty-six years SOLID.  Our high school teachers never get a break from the CrazyForKids family!  I tell them it's called job security.  Some probably equate it to shock therapy.   

Anyhoo, when I chatted with the principal she laughed that I could have just stayed home and given Patrick the orientation.  She's right.  I could have.  But even though it's my eighth round, it's Patrick's first.  He's excited to attend.  And I don't want to cheat my younger kids out of the first-time, positive experiences their older sibling enjoyed. 

So I will sit through orientation again.  And again.  Because sometimes I'm a really good mom. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

I Don't Want To Wish Away Today

Yesterday I was sitting on yet another set of gym bleachers, for yet another basketball tournament.   This year we only have three players, but in some strange mathematical formula it feels just as busy as last year. 
I love basketball and I love what team sports teaches our children, but as I started chatting with the mom sitting next to me we both agreed we're ready for the season to be done!  In the very next breath my friend lamented the fact that her older son would soon be playing his last high school basketball game, as well as graduating.  She's sad to see his high school years ending.  We both laughed as we realized that our conversation had just polarized!   We smiled at each other and agreed that even though we get tired, it's important to cherish each day, each season, each age.  Because this season really does end.  I should know that better than most.
I don't want to wish away my children's years.  I don't want to wish away whatever season we are in.
Today I'm thinking a lot about relishing each and every day. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Papa Cookie And The Shopping Trip

Being a grandparent is SO much FUN!  All those stories of how grandparents can spoil their grandkids?  TRUE THAT!
Our little Sweetpea is just a joy.  I wish she lived closer so we could spend more time together, but we take advantage of the time we have.
Cookie and Sweetpea's visit for the wedding gave Papa Cookie his chance to play grandpa. 
Now, if you don't know, Sweetpea is the one who gave Papa Cookie his name.  She knows HE is the baker in the family! 
For a while Sweetpea was quite shy around her Papa Cookie, so it was fun to see that melt away this visit. 
Hubby's been wanting to take Sweetpea to Build-A-Bear since last summer when they got all the way to the mall only to find it closed!  But this year?  Shabam!
First, a little backstory.  Most of our kids have had the pleasure of making their own stuffed animal, usually as a birthday gift.  BUT it stopped at the stuffed animal.  If they wanted accessories they paid with their own money.
It appears the same rules do not apply for grandchildren. 
Papa Cookie looked at all the animals with Sweetpea and she was stuck on the most expensive one.  Of course!  We soon found out that her particular choice was from one of her favorite shows--Paw Patrol.
It took a bit of convincing to show Sweetpea how to make her own animal, but Papa Cookie was ready! 
It took NO convincing for Papa Cookie to buy all the accessories to copy the display model.  And because Chase is a dog this included TWO pairs of shoes and TWO pairs of skates, along with the outfit, hat, collar, leash, and barking sound. It was in the box before we knew it!
Now if you think Build-A-Bear added up to Bankrupt-Your-Wallet you are correct! 
But some things in life are priceless! 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy New Year: Easy Fried Rice, Stir Fry, and Potstickers

It's the Year of the Monkey!  In honor of Chinese and Vietnamese New Year I'll share some of my kids' favorites! 
Fried rice is a favorite for any meal of the day--including breakfast!  It's super easy and a great way to use day-old rice. 
Easy Fried Rice
Scramble 2-3 eggs.  I like to fry in a little sesame oil.  Remove to plate.
Add more oil and heat frozen peas and carrots.  I also add minced garlic.
Add day-old (or fresh) cooked sticky rice.  I like the big 25-pound bags of Homai rice sold at Costco.  A rice cooker is a must have--and I am not a kitchen gadget person.  When cooking rice you must first "rinse" the rice in a big bowl of water and rub off the milky-white coating.  You keep replacing the water until it is clear, then cook according to your rice cooker directions.  Using day-old rice is  easy, peasy and a great way to use leftover rice. 
Keep frying the rice/peas/carrots until the rice starts to get crispy.  You determine your level of crisp.  You also make it crispier if you add more oil (not too much!).  Keep frying the rice, stirring and turning as needed.  At the end, add the scrambled eggs back in, along with soy sauce.  Eat.  Enjoy!
Easy Stir-Fry
Another super easy dinner.  Fry any veggies you want in a little oil--I like sesame, peanut, or canola.  I sometimes use half sesame/half canola as the sesame can overwhelm.  Cook veggies on medium-high heat.  Add garlic and grated ginger.  Add a little water if needed.  At the end, add leftover chicken and soy sauce or oyster-flavored sauce (not my fav but my kids love it!).  I also like to add chopped up spinach or lettuce leaves near the end of the cooking. 

Incredibly Easy Potstickers

Buy a bag of potstickers.  Use while still frozen.  Place number desired in boiling water.  Once they start to float remove to pan with a little bit of warmed oil and fry on one side until crispy (don't try to keep turning because they are delicate after they have been boiled).  The Ling Ling brand comes with yummy sauce inside.  Easy!  Delicious!  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Wedding

Oh my goodness!  I think I'm coming up for air!  The wedding was beautiful, full of love and so many wonderful people.  Our son Will was so missed, but Cookie and Sweetpea made it (Sweetpea was the flower girl).  It was crazy busy pulling it all together, but we are left with a lifetime of happy memories and Kim and Kam are so in love!
The photos below are some of the first from our dear friend and amazing photographer, April Yarger.  Another sweet and very talented friend assisted--Riann.  Thank you both for the awesome work!!! 
More to follow!  Truly, a beautiful beginning.