Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer Head Shaving!


No, not mine (although I promise you that at least once in my life I will do it). It's hot and the boys play hard, leaving their long locks sweaty and sticky and gross. So we grabbed the clippers and bye-bye hair!

Summer Staple: Day Camp!


The boys get to go to day camp this summer and this is their first week. Although it's not the same as the first day of "school", I still felt the need to get the obligatory "first-day-of" photo.


At the camp, they get a Chinese lesson every day and they are proudly showing off their ability to write a couple of characters each night. Giving them a head start for Macau, I suppose.


Here they are with their new lunch boxes. Ben has been snuggling and napping with his for several weeks, asking me every day if it's finally time to use it. I got him a backpack for school, too, but I think he might have a seizure from excitement if I give it to him now, so we are waiting! I hope his enthusiasm for school continues once he actually starts it!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Earthquake!

Just before noon the L.A. area was hit with a 5.8 earthquake.

And just to let you know, I promptly checked those bunk beds, and sure enough they are still standing! We are all fine.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You have a "SMART" kid

I was just tossing out the junk mail when I came across a glossy ad with kids on it and the words "You have a SMART kid" emblazoned across the front. I paused a moment and looked closer, because so often in today's society parents are hearing things like "your child is out of control", or "your child is not living up to his potential", rather than "you have a bright and well adjusted child!" Of course, it's a ploy by advertisers who create a problem and then hand deliver a solution so you will buy their product. I paused a moment and thought how refreshing it was to see a childcare center trying to get business by buttering you up with the whole "Smart Kid" thing. But then I looked closer at the photo.


The big flip chart the kids are working on says "How many do we have?"... Please note that by their reckoning, Jeremy has three eyes, along with Beth, Scott, and Sheridan. Beth also has three mouths. We don't actually see the faces of the kids to judge for ourselves. So either this is a school for alien children, or else the kids currently at the school aren't so smart, and the ad is an plea for parents with smart kids to help bring up the "smart" levels.
What do you think?

Monday, July 28, 2008

My bed has two stories!

The happy day has finally arrived! At the ultrasound when Ben was revealed to be a Benjamin instead of a Margaret, my first thought was "one day my two boys will sleep in bunk beds!"

I remember the first time I ever saw bunk beds... it was at my cousin John's house in Carson, CA. I was instantly smitten (especially since I was in the "I-wanna-be-Mary-Lou-Retton" stage and you could do flips off the top bunk when Aunt Jean wasn't looking).

I grew up with a single sibling, a brother, so I never shared a room or had need for a bunk bed. In fact, my very first roommate was my husband, and the last thing we wanted was separate beds! My husband however, did share a room from toddlerhood through high school with his brother, and they had bunk beds. Oh the stories I've heard, both good and bad! How could I not want my boys to experience the joys of a two-storied bed!

They've been asking for bunk beds since Ben stopped sleeping in a crib. We told them two things had to happen: Ben had to turn five, and be 100% potty trained. Ben is now five, and he's not quite 100% (night is an issue) but when my Dad offered to make some bunk beds for the boys, we used it as an incentive to get Ben that last 5% to fully in control of his bladder. They've just been off-the-wall excited, counting down the days until the beds arrived.

I remember my sister-in-law Heather (doesn't she have the coolest name?) telling us how miserable it was to try and change sheets on the bunk beds her sons shared while she was hugely pregnant with our niece. She ended up just covering her boys duvet-style, with no top sheet to complicate things. I am sure we'll be doing that pretty quickly ourselves.

Of course, if you've gone to the cinema recently, you might have seen a trailer for a movie called "Stepbrothers", starring John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell. There is a scene where these two forty-something stepbrothers turn their two twin beds into homemade bunk beds which comically collapse as soon as one climbs on top. I laughed til soda threatened to come out my nose. My kids however, have repeatedly asked me if that can really happen... and my answer to them is a confident NO. At least not with these beds! My Dad made them and they are solid wood, reinforced everywhere, and made to withstand at least 6 G's or two Chase Boys. In fact, come a California earthquake or a Macau monsoon, the house around us may fall into rubble, but those beds will still be standing.

I don't think it is possible to fully express the amount of joy bubbling over in my heart as I hear the boys in there now, trying to fall asleep but far too excited to actually succumb as they lay (and play) in the beds built by their Grandpa. I never expected to become a mother, and certainly never in my wildest imagination would I have thought I'd be a mom to two boys (proof that God has a sense of humor). But here I am, and here they are, and I'm happy beyond my wildest dreams.

Now ask me again three weeks from now after I've been changing sheets while hanging from a ladder a few times, and "happy" might not be the word to describe it... but for now I'm thrilled to say that for two little boys and their mommy, it's a dream come true!

Drumroll, please...

They're here! The bunk beds are finally here!


Nathan up on the top, and Ben on the bottom, along with my Dad, who made the bunk beds totally indestructible. Although if you look closely, it almost appears that my little angels are dreaming up new and never before thought of ways to try!



Thanks Grandpa! We love them!

Drummer Boy


We took the boys to a concert last night, similar to the Broadway show STOMP, where the performers use all manner of everyday objects to beat out rhythm and create amazing songs. Our boys are both learning to play an instrument of their choosing... Nathan the electric guitar and Benjamin the drums. Ben has a child-sized drum kit with special small drumsticks. Last night at the concert he was the recipient of a used pair of full size sticks. He has not stopped beating out a rhythm on everything around him since! If you hold still, he will turn your body into beautiful music!
They formed their own (little) boy band last summer, they call themselves Ernest Martin (their middle names) because The Jonas Brothers was already taken...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Farewell Babyhood


My Dad made the boys the most incredible (and sturdy!) bunk beds which are being delivered on Sunday. With their arrival we had to get rid of a certain toddler bed... which was previously a crib... that both my babies slept in. I had to pile the boys on the little bed to take one last photo. With Benjamin starting Kindergarten in the Fall, our family is closing the chapter on the preschool years.

Here's a pic of the bed as a crib with little Nathan who had just turned two:


And here is when the crib became Benjamin's and Nathan moved into the twin bed:



Ah yes, those were the days! And now they are all gone and we are on to new things like video games, two wheel bikes, bug collections, homework, and all sorts of other exciting adventures!


Check back for bunk bed pics tomorrow!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Building the Ark...

About a year ago I received a 1,000 piece puzzle of a pencil drawing of Noah's Ark with about a million tiny illustrations and details woven into the overall picture. Mike thought it would be a good project to do with the boys. The boys gave it about 15 minutes of their time and then moved on, while Michael continued working on it over a few weeks. Today Mike completed the puzzle! He read the boys some of the little details and then took it all apart and put it back in the box. Way to go Daddy!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sibling Rivalry

I'm tired today. The boys are non-stop fighting. It makes me want to cry. It reminds me of a photo I took about four years ago, which about sums up what today looked like, only with taller boys.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A walk in the park...






The boys and I escaped to a nearby park where we were the sole occupants, save a trio of friendly turtles. The boys played on the two playground areas until sweaty while I stretched out under a tree with a good book. What is it about a day at the park that makes me crave peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? We bid farewell to the turtles and went home to indulge in some PB&J.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Haircut!









I love it when Nat and Ben have long(ish) hair. Ben's starts to curl and Nathan looks like the lead singer in a boy band. Michael doesn't like it so much, since he is the one that does most of the shampooing and conditioning of their hair. I find it convenient for them to have long hair... they both despise haircuts the way that cats despise baths. When we can delay it no longer, we position Mike in front with a box of Mike & Ike's and I stand in back with the scissors and clippers and go at it. For every 30 second period that there is no whining, crying, screaming, or general misery displayed, a candy gets popped into the mouth of the child. There is always crying, and when the tears and snot start to mingle with their fine hair clippings, we have spitting as well. The boys are always so dramatic! However, considering their role models, who can blame them!



Before and After


All is right with the world...


Daddy is home. Nathan is home. Benjamin is home. Mommy is happy! After about four weeks of traveling, Michael is back to giving the boys their nightly bath and story time. The boys never forget to remind me that I don't do it the way Daddy does, to which I always reply, "because I'm not Daddy!"

Monday, July 21, 2008

B is for Boat. And Ben.

We had lunch at the San Pedro Ports O' Call Village, overlooking Los Angeles Harbor and the busiest cargo and passenger port in the nation. We watched an enormous container ship come in from China and we marvelled that in just four months all our worldly goods would be shipping out on a similar vessel to China.

Ring Your Bell

I've lived off and on in the Los Angeles area for several years but have never made it up to the Korean Friendship Bell. Today was the perfect day for it! High on a knoll in San Pedro with Catalina Island in the distance rests the Bell and Pavilion placed there in 1976 as a lasting monument of friendship between Korea and the United States of America. Ben enjoyed running around the actual Bell, as you can see above.
It was such a beautiful day with ocean breezes cooling the air, families spread out watching the cruise ships coming into port, and kids flying kites. Benjamin particularly enjoyed running up and down the grassy hill. He'd pause to say he was out of energy, take a breath, and then race off again.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hole In One!


Michael flew in from New York this morning and I asked Ben what special thing he'd like to do with just Mommy and Daddy.


"Miniature Golf!", he exclaimed.


We went to the local Mulligan's where we were greeted by fourteen school buses. Uh-oh, we thought... it's summer camp day! Fortunately the buses started pulling out right after we arrived and we had the golf course to ourselves. Benjamin was such a pleasant golfer, cheering us on, offering encouragement, and reminding us to take our turns. He got a hole in one about halfway through the course!


Ben thought the day was a treat for him, but it was extra special for us because he was such a joy!

Battle Scars

Nathan has amassed an impressive collection of scars. His latest was cause by his little brother when they were rough housing, as boys tend to do. Ben is a tough little guy, he is small but mighty and can take down an average adult with ease. Nathan tends to fight his battles with words. A few months back we were out and about and I heard Nathan angrily shouting, "I DO NOT FORGIVE YOU!" He ran towards me with his hand over his eye. When I pulled his hand away I discovered the stream of blood running down his arm. So off to the ER we went! No stitches, just the greatest miracle of the modern era... DermaBond! A little substance similar to Superglue and the gap was closed.


Oh what I would have given for that miracle substance during our time in Beijing in 2005! What barely shows in the photo above is the scar he received as a souvenir while on vacation. Even though we were taken to the "best" hospital in the region, I was left wondering what drastic changes would need to be in the health care industry made prior to hosting the world's athletes in 2008! Below are his Frankenstein stitches, which faded nicely after a year of Mederma, SPF 50, and hats to block the sun!

Just so you know, this is...


Friday, July 18, 2008

Bye Bye Ben

When I was growing up the highlight of the year was getting to spend a week all alone with my grandparents. My little brother spent a week alone with my Mom and Dad, and then we'd switch places and I got the week alone with the parents while Marty got a week with the grandparents.

It was such a luxury to have my grandparents all to myself! My cousins all lived much closer and saw them all the time, they were a part of their daily life. But for my brother and I, it was only Christmas and Thanksgiving, every other year. So we lived for this week, the only time I recall getting to know my grandparents.

At the end of the year, we'll be moving to Macau for at least two years, which will make it difficult for our kids to really get to know the grandparents. So we decided to do the same thing I did as a child, and sent our kids one at a time to my Mom and Dad's house that has acres of land to run around on, dogs to play with, and chickens to chase.

Benjamin got to go first, and my Dad was worried that he'd be upset when we drove away. I laughed, knowing that Ben is like that song "if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with"... Sure enough, it came time for Mommy, Daddy, and Nathan to leave and we had to coax Ben out of the house to say goodbye... the dust hadn't even settled on the road before he was off having grand adventures sans big brother.

fun in the sun, with the sons


While visiting Grandma and Grandpa Rose, the four Chases took a day trip down to Pismo Beach for a little shopping at the Bass Outlet. We also packed the swim suits and found a little stretch of sand to let the boys play. It was a wonderful break from the high heat back at the ranch. Ben collected pebbles and rocks to toss into the waves and Nathan yelled into the surf while Daddy stood nearby. Mommy just kept slathering on the sunscreen and taking photos until everyone was tired and hungry enough for the BBQ Grandpa had grilling back at home.

Redneck Swimming Pool



When it's triple digits in the shade and the dogs and kids are melting in the back forty, what do you do? Well, if you are the lucky grandkids of my Mom and Dad, you get to go swimming in the stock pond! Normally reserved for getting water to the cows and horses, it's mighty good fun to cool off in if you happen to be five or seven years old. Just don't forget your water wings in the deep end!

Happy Birthday Disneyland!

Today is the anniversary of the opening day of Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, which opened in 1955. At the time Nathan was born, Michael worked for the Mouse and I had left my Disney job about nine months before (I was looking for a new career and found one... as a mom!). Ten days after Nathan was born, the Disneyland Resort celebrated Christmas for the Cast Members and despite having gone through forty hours of labor followed by a c-section, nothing was going to stop me from attending this fun event where food and merchandise is a fraction of what the public pays. So off we went with our newborn bundled in my arms, me bundled into a wheelchair, to the Magic Kingdom where our sleeping prince met Mickey, Minnie and a host of other Disney characters.


We moved away not long after this, and felt like such slacker parents when our second-born child had to wait until he was already four months old before enjoying his first tour of it's a small world...

Welcome Home


The day we brought Benjamin home from the hospital was the day all the adults let out a sigh of relief... it was a week after his birth, and a few days after the heart surgery that saved his little life. However there was one person in the household less than happy about the new arrival... big brother Nathan. It took four months before they got this close again, and it's been five years since this photo was taken. I can't say for certain if Nathan is any happier today about having a little brother than he was back then, but at least Ben is a lot more fun to play with these days!