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Showing posts from January, 2009

Mothers of Sons...

...work from son up to son down.

Both sons are down.

I am tired.

A Boy and His New Toy

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Today we bring you the biggest of our boys, with his new toy, a Blackberry Storm. For several months Michael has agonized over whether to jump on either the iPhone or Blackberry bandwagon. He's had a Palm PDA for the last 14 years, and it truly is his brain. He uses it, and uses it hard. In his case it is a tool rather than a toy, and one he really can't live without. However, it was time for a new device thanks to a string of problems with his Palm Treo, including a huge reduction in tech support. In the end he chose the Blackberry because it was a better fit for the way he uses his info. He's pretty happy, as you can plainly see, with his brand new toy. We all went out to dinner (the first time in weeks! I'm doing great on the resolution to eat at home more often!) and we had awful service, so-so food, and we were all disappointed that it took an hour and a half to get in and out. The kids only picked at their "kid's menu" food and both declared they li…

A Boy and His Guitar

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Transforming Paper

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Nathan spends hours creating elaborate paper creations. He started out making flat robots and Transformers, but recently figured out how to make them three dimensional. My printer is always empty of paper (evidently his personal supply), our house is strewn with little paper clippings, and we go through a roll of tape every couple of days. But I have to say there are few things in life as fascinating as watching him try to figure out how to make something work all on his own.
This robot that transforms into a car has axles and wheels that spin. The ink on his hands is a permanent fixture these days. As soon as I get it all scrubbed off, he dives into a new project with little regard for keeping the ink on the paper. I'm totally okay with that. I did hide the Sharpies, though!

Gung Hay Fat Choy

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Today marks the beginning of the fifteen day period known as the Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year. I sent the kids to school in their final remnants of tees purchased in China and Hong Kong. For dinner I'm making Korean beef from a recipe so delicious and simple that I never want to eat take-out Chinese food again!
Nathan and Ben look forward to this day because they receive Lai See ("lucky" money in red envelopes) from their classmates. 2009 is the year of the Ox. I don't really believe in the Chinese zodiac (or astrology at all for that matter), but we did get some beautiful hand blocked gold prints of each of our animal signs when we were living in Hong Kong. I had them framed and we always hang them on our wall right inside the door of whatever home we live in (right next to my Rose clan Scottish tartan and coat of arms).
Michael is a Boar (he likes to say he is a bore), which despite what our Western culture may say about pigs, may be the most honorable and ge…

Happy Lunar New Year!

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Hot Date

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Michael and I try to go out on regular date nights to enjoy the close proximity of Grandma and Grandpa who generally arrive just as we're putting the kids to bed. Since one of our 2009 resolutions is to see at least one live show a month (more is better), we were thrilled to see that the Center Theater Group is offering $20 tickets to all their shows this season. Considering that is about the same cost as a movie ticket, popcorn, and a soda, its a great deal!
Last night Mike and I intended to go to bed early after this long week of graveyard shifts, early mornings, and major corporate tax preparation. But the luxury of a full evening with my husband was too great to waste simply sleeping. So we called Grandma and then called the Mark Taper Forum and got some awesome last minute tickets to see Pippin, which is co-produced with Deaf West Theatre. The entire production is presented creatively with both deaf and hearing cast members with sign language throughout. We saw their producti…

Super Star!

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Benjamin was Star of the Week this week. It means he gets special privileges and a display on the wall with photos and such about him. He went first because his teacher called last Thursday and said since I already knew the drill from having done it with Nathan two years ago, it would be easy. It's a project the whole family is supposed to work on. Well, of course Ben was out sick on Friday, and Monday was a holiday, and it wasn't until very late on Monday night that I remembered the big family project. Oops! So I sat up and printed the appropriate photos and then first thing Tuesday morning Ben got to do the parts that only he could do, like drawing a paper doll of himself. I very strongly dislike waiting until the last minute to do these type of projects and I'm working extremely hard to teach the boys how to budget their time to get things like this done. I wasn't always like this, I remember pulling all-nighters in high school and college to put together a paper or…

Completely Accurate

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In our house the job of nail clipping falls squarely on Mike's shoulders, primarily because the scene above is an accurate depiction of what happens when the clippers come out. Glad to know that at least the fictitious For Better or For Worse family knows our pain!

Old Friends

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Through the wonder of the Internet I've recently been able to reconnect with old friends I haven't seen in 15 years. I've lost all touch with friends from my early childhood; my oldest friend is someone I've only known since my freshman year of high school, twenty years ago. Michael, on the other hand, has friends that go back to the cradle. With all our moves, I wonder at what point my children will latch on to a friendship that will last well into adulthood. Nathan's oldest friend is the daughter of a dear friend of mine from five moves ago. Our kids met each other right before their first birthdays. Recently the kids sent a few emails back and forth to each other (with the help of their moms), and Nathan gave an oral report on his "first friend", and spoke about her. They haven't seen each other face to face in four years, so I have no idea what he remembers. Later this year we'll be traveling up to Northern California to visit and let our …

#44

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Mom, is this one of those times you make us take a picture because it will be important to us one day?

Yes, now smile! I actually got quite teary when the helicopter arose from the lawn carrying the now former President Bush. We were in the hospital going through the experience of having our first child just days after the 2000 election. I was in the hospital a full week (complications) and when we were finally released to go home, it was still a toss up over who would be Commander in Chief! It's hard to believe it's been eight years, but I've got the tall, lanky boy to prove it.

One final, personal, thought: Psalm 71:5 O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.

Inaugural Eve

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I remember the 1980 election where Reagan was elected for his first term. I remember the voting booths that had been set up in the neighborhood elementary school and my little brother and I accompanying my Mom into the booth formed out of heavy fabric. I would have been just shy of my 6th birthday. The election of 1984 is far more defined in my memory as it was a year filled with headlines; the Olympics in Los Angeles (the Soviet boycott of it, the world's love affair with Mary Lou Retton), AIDS entered mainstream consciousness (and the serious conversation about it my parents had with my brother and I which defined us as the last generation to know a world without the disease), and of course the eponymous title of George Orwell's novel (which introduced me to the sad fact that some books were on a "banned list"). It was also the year I hit one of those favorite childhood milestones: my first double digit birthday.
We've had the privilege of living in and visiting…

Simply Splendid Saturday

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We pay a pretty high rent so we can live in a place where we can wear shorts and sandals and spend the day at the beach in January with 80 degree weather, while the rest of the country is taking a beating from a brutal ice storm. Southern California rocks!
Nathan didn't get to complete his Saturday to do list because we all jumped into the car for a drive around the Palos Verdes Peninsula to enjoy the sand, surf, and sunshine. It brought back memories of a day fifteen years ago when I had asked Michael to accompany me on a little jaunt to purchase a refrigerator for my tiny apartment. He was the lighting designer on a show I was stage managing, and despite turning down his advances time and time again, he proved to be quite persistent! The day did not end with me having a new fridge, but you gotta hand it to Mike, he knew how to impress this girl by taking me on a drive around the Peninsula, up high on the sea cliffs with a view of Catalina and down to the shore with a direct view…

To Do List

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Nathan decided to jot down his preferred Saturday activities, and then began working his way through the list. Such organization! He must get it from his Daddy...

1. Watch T.V.
2. Toy Marathon
3. Make own boobie traps
4. Test boobie traps
5. ?
6. Lunch
7. See what's on 70, 39, 47, 5, 10
8. Make stuff out of paper (finish Bumble Bee)
9. Work on clubhouse
10. Play outside
11. Watch movies
12. ?
13. Dinner

Suite Life

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Our friend Scott is appearing in a new episode of Disney Channel's Suite Life on Deck tonight at 8:00 p.m. The boys love The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, which is a show about two twin boys who live in a hotel suite with their mom, the lounge singer. They make everyone at the hotel crazy, and love the candy counter girl Maddie, played by High School Musical's Ashley Tisdale. The Suite Life on Deck is a spin off where the boys are now living on a cruise ship. Tonight's episode is the one time this season Ashley Tisdale will make an appearance, and true to the typical story line, a young prince falls in love with her. Scott plays the prince's herald. Our boys are excited and think we are so cool. Never mind the many other connections we have in the entertainment world, right now it's all about the Disney Channel!

Call me Betty

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Nathan earned the privilege of inviting a friend over to play after school today. Of course, the play date coincided with Michael sleeping all day after working a graveyard shift last night and preparing to do it again tonight. How does one keep three boys occupied and semi-quiet for an hour after school?

Sometimes I amaze even myself. First, we picked lemons off our lemon tree. Then I cut them up and let the boys take turns juicing the lemons with a wooden juicer, running the juice through a strainer to catch the pulp, counting seeds as we went. We added water, ice, and sugar and viola! Lemonade! I served up plates of Mike's homemade cookies and let them dig in. I pulled out all the colored paper and let them create, and then they ran around in the back yard (oops, right under sleeping Dad's window) to let out some steam.
Here's the part that will really knock your socks off... While entertaining Nathan's friend and whipping up the lemonade, I also managed to cook a …

O Christmas Tree

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Down come all the Christmas Trees. Discarded, abandoned, used up. Left behind at the curb for the recycle truck to mulch up. But wait Mommy! Our youngest one cries, This one is still good! It still has some Christmas left in it!

Music Pocket

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Ben has been asking for an iPod. He is five. But he calls it a "music pocket". All toddlers love to dance to music. With no inhibition, they hear a beat and they start wobbling around, bobbing their heads. It's one of the sweetest things you'll ever see. But most of them grow out of it. Benjamin really hasn't. He will dance to jingles on ads, the ice cream truck, or the theme songs to T.V. shows. In the car where dancing is far more restricted due to the seat belt, he'll tap out complicated rhythms on the door, the window, the back of the driver's seat, for as many minutes or hours that we're driving. He's like our own Billy Elliot.
Ben received enough gift cards for Christmas that we could get him the iPod Shuffle, which would be small enough to fit in his tiny jean pockets. Everywhere we go, he sees young people (not quite as young as Ben) listening to their MP3 players and the intense longing on his face and his feeling that he's missing ou…

Helper or Enabler?

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Ben noticed Mommy's cokes were getting low so he took it upon himself to restock.

Daddy caught him on film. Or I guess SD card would be more accurate in this digital age...

Double the Fun

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This weekend Michael rebuilt some shelves in our pantry to maximize the space, all in an effort to support me in my efforts to eat at home more often. The idea is if you can see what you have to work with and are organized enough, inspiration will flow and meals will be far easier to create. That's the theory anyway, I'll let you know how it goes in practice! To accomplish this, we had to pull everything out of the pantry and the service porch, resulting in a huge mess in the kitchen, which overflowed into the dining room. Our workday coincided with stunningly gorgeous 80 degree weather, which meant our boys were outdoors from the moment we got out of bed. And ours weren't the only boys playing outside, they were joined by our next door neighbor's nearly four year old grandson and another five year old boy who lives four houses away. All four boys traipsed up and down the block on scooters, bikes, and trikes, in and out of all of houses. They destroyed our living room…

Fish Funeral

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Well, it happened. Benjamin's fish went to the big fish bowl in the sky. He was a Beta fish that we've had for 18 months that defined our children as "pet owners" when they were asked if they had a pet.


Nathan had been praying every night for a pet. Amazingly, both Michael and I won a Beta fish at a banquet. Maybe not the pet he'd been praying for! I was upset because they'd used the fish as the table centerpieces and I felt it was horrible to use a live animal as decor. After all, we wouldn't put a puppy in a cage on a table and call it a theme, right? When we came home with the two fish, our boys were thrilled. Nathan named his Scruffy, and Benjamin called his Tuna. In a sad twist, Nathan's died just two weeks later. We held a small burial in the back yard and Nathan cried for a solid 24 hours. Benjamin renamed his fish Scruffy-Tuna in honor of the departed Beta and declared he would share with his brother. Scruffy-Tuna has lived a pampered life on …

Home Cooking

I am not a great cook. Well, let me rephrase that. I don't like cooking. Of all the things I like to do with my time, cooking is at the very, very far bottom of a very long list. I find no thrill, no excitement, in preparing a meal. I dread it, I loathe it, and I generally do anything and everything I can to get out of it. I do love to eat, and I especially love good food. And I especially love good food when it's prepared by someone else, like a chef at a nice restaurant.

The surprise is if you eat something I've prepared, you are likely to say that it tastes delicious and that you really enjoyed it, and ask for the recipe. I can be a great cook when I put my mind to it. But the effort involved is overwhelming in the worst possible way. Especially when a meal that has taken so long to prepare is consumed in mere minutes by my hungry boys, husband included.

In these rough economic times, eating out has become a luxury. One of my New Year's Resolutions is to …

Happy Birthday Auntie Heidi!

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Today is the birthday of Michael's youngest sibling, his sister Heidi. She lives in Virginia with her hubby Clay and two of our nieces. Between Michael and I, there are over a dozen birthdays that fall in the months of December and January in our two families. Which is why when we were planning our wedding we chose June for our big day. As far as you could get from the rest of the reasons to celebrate! Of course, WE were the ones who later blew it and ended up having a son born at the end of June! Oh well. Despite what they say, you really can't plan these things!Happy Birthday Heidi!

Work it

After another round of phone calls and emails, I'm happy to report that the money from Nathan's savings account is back in the now re-opened account.

When told that we had prevailed in our quest for justice (the fair return of his cash), Nathan jumped in the air and shouted YES! Then he said, and I quote- Now I love the Government! You just have to know how to work it!

Indeed.

Young Anarchist

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When Nathan was born, he got a lot of cash. We did what good parents do and opened a savings account at the credit union for Michael's employer at the time (a certain theme park that has a mouse for a mascot). We added to the account occasionally when Nathan received a check made out to him, but mainly it just sat there, growing a pretty good sized chunk of interest in the nearly eight years we've had the account.
In yesterday's mail I received a statement from the credit union that included a $2 "Withdrawal Escheat Fee 2008" and a happy little message that says, "This is the final statement you will receive for this account". Odd, I thought. So I rang up the credit union and was told the account was in escheat to the state of California. Asking for an explanation, I was told that when an account sits untouched for a specified period of time, financial institutions consider them unclaimed and are obligated to hand over the cash (or stocks/bonds/safe dep…

Happy Birthday Grandma!

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Today is Michael's Mom's birthday! We all went out to Marmalade Cafe in Rolling Hills Estates to celebrate. Normally it's a special place that Michael and I go without the kids. I love the decor and all the little alcoves where you can have a nice, private conversation. They brought Grandma a sundae after dinner. It was nearly all whipped cream with a tiny scoop of ice cream right in the middle! Grandma's very favorite color is purple, so I wore my stripey purple tights in her honor!
Happy Birthday Grandma! We love you!

Beautiful Bonnet

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Nathan is a boy of many, many talents. But please, dear Lord, do not let him grow up to be a clown...

Campout

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It's cold and drizzling and the boys aren't feeling so great. So we pitched a couple of tents in front of the telly and watched all the new Christmas DVDs we just opened a week ago, like a Charlie Brown Christmas and Elf. Great adventure in the big indoors.

Sleepy

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Now that the two week Christmas Break is drawing to a close, both my kids are sick. Totally typical, huh? Ben got in some dreidel action and then crashed on the couch. This is only shocking if you know that Ben was the baby that you couldn't rock to sleep or drive to sleep- he would only fall asleep in his bed. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times he's fallen asleep in a place other than his bed...

Happy New Year!

The Chase Family Resolutions for 2009
Heather:
1. See at least one live show each month. More is better.
2. Eat at home more often.
3. Get rid of at least one black plastic trash bag or one giant box of accumulated and unwanted “stuff” every single week.
4. Design and create new creative opportunities for the boys/family/myself each month (writing, painting, sewing, etc.).
5. Make significant progress towards eliminating our financial obligations.

Michael:
1. Learn to fly
2. Learn to teleport
3. Learn to stop time

Nathan:
1. Eat more pizza.
2. Get better at math.
3. Get better at playing the electric guitar.

Benjamin:
1. I know everything already.

Notice how we chose things that are actually attainable in an effort to be successful!

Happy New Year!

Fly Away With Me

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Far in the distance a plane heads toward LAX as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean.This year we thought we would be leaving Los Angeles, California, the United States. We didn't. And for the time being, we aren't.

In college, when my insomnia was particularly disturbing, I would drive my little red pickup to the departures level and park at the curb near the international terminal. In the peaceful hours of the night I would daydream about being on the huge planes headed for far off destinations. Rarely has anything been so soothing to my wandering soul. Nowadays if you so much as tap your brakes the airport police descend and tell you to keep moving, which means no time for daydreaming at the airport!With the disappointment of our aborted move to Macau still so fresh and raw, it is proving far more difficult to stay in one place than it's ever been to move around. I'm trying to take comfort that for all the planes that are leaving LAX, there are just as many arriving …