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Showing posts from May, 2011

Avast, me hearties!

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 We carved out a couple hours to attend the first birthday party for my cousin, Austin. I met him minutes after he was born. My Aunt Jean (his Grandma, my Mom's sister-in-law) lost her husband earlier that year and all other family members were in school or working on the day of the scheduled c-section. My Aunt found that she was going to have to wait in the waiting room by herself, in the same hospital where my Uncle passed. When my Mom told me this, I ran across town to sit with her. No one should have to be alone in a hospital waiting room, even if you're waiting for a new baby! I've known about the party for months and as the date got closer and closer, I began to stress out about taking the time away from all the things I've got to do. But it was a Pirate party, and I've got two boys, so we went.


 Compared to my husband's side of the family, my family is minuscule. My Mom had one brother, Jim, who married Jean, and had three boys, my cousins Jeff, Ja…

I just can't.

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I have a sudden respect for people with ADD/ADHD and people who suffer from panic attacks. There is so much to be done and I have lists written everywhere and before I can cross anything off, I'm adding half a dozen new things. I'll pick something up, see something else, go toward it, then remember something else I need to do and go off and start another task. I just can't keep a single thought in my head. And when the larger picture of what I'm trying to accomplish in the next 43 days becomes clear, I suddenly find my chest going tight and I feel like I can't breathe and the sound of my heart pounding is so loud in my ears that I'm certain everyone in the room can hear it.
I mention here on Boy Wonder how awesome my husband is all the time. And sometimes when I write it all down and shower him in praises, I think to myself, "what exactly do I do around here, if he's so great?" So I asked him to tell me what he'd say my biggest and best contri…

72 Days Without Michael: Day 34

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Michael is the Breakfast King around here. I've previously mentioned how my kids have to fend for themselves in the morning unless Michael is here to make French toast, eggs and bacon, or fluffy pancakes for them. I simply don't eat breakfast unless he makes it. Since he's been gone, the boys have eaten cereal, instant oatmeal, or frozen waffles each morning. They've mentioned a few times how much they miss Daddy's pancakes, but they've never asked me to make them.

On Saturday, I slept in for only the second time since Michael left. It was heavenly! When I finally came downstairs, the boys were curled up on the couch looking snugly, so I crawled in between them and chatted for a bit. It was almost noon, and although they'd already had oatmeal (Ben) and cereal (Nathan), they were both craving pancakes.

I did what any good mother would do in the absence of her expert pancake maker: took them out for brunch!

We went to Hof's Hut, a local beach-side burger pla…

Let it go

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The great purge of 2011 is rolling along, somewhat painfully. Tonight I took five huge plastic bins filled with a lifetime of accumulated Christmas decor and ornaments, and whittled it all down to one medium sized box, which we'll ship to Macau. Everything else is in the Garage Sale / Craig's List / Give Away pile. It's good to see that pile growing, but it's also very hard.
The boys were bouncing a ball around in the driveway while I worked my way through box after box in the garage. I kept picking things up, holding them in my hands and repeating, "Let it go, let it go, let it go" until I was convinced that I could really let "it" go. At one point, the ball the boys were playing with went over the fence into the 15 acre park that our home sits next to. Ben said, "Uh-oh," and Nathan said, "Let it go, let it go, let it go," which made me double over in laughter. Kids listen to everything you say, even if they aren't necessaril…

Encounters

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Take a look at Encounters: Audiovisual Mapping of the Ruins of St. Paul’s which is part of the Macao Arts Festival going on now. You can catch this amazing video projection on the Ruins of St. Paul nightly at 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. until May 22nd!

Just Ducky

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Things are moving along both at record-breaking speed and excruciatingly slow. I have a giant laminated calendar in the stairwell for the months of May and June, and the boys take turns making big X marks at the end of each day, getting us that much closer to Michael's return. And while I'm happy to see 27 big X marks up there, I'm also reminded that time is marching on and there is still so much to do.

We had a garage sale on Saturday at my in law's house. This was the first garage sale I've ever done without Michael, and my amazing Mom offered to come down and help. I'm so grateful. Mainly because I'm terrible with bargaining. If you're hugely pregnant and I'm selling baby clothes and you ask me how much they are, I'm likely to just gather them up and hand them to you, adding in some crib sheets and maybe even a car seat. Horrible! There are always two ways you can go with a garage sale: make money or get rid of stuff. My goal this time around…

House Hunters International

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Michael has begun the process of looking for our new home in Macau. Last week he looked at three places, and as I type this he's actually with a real estate agent looking at three more. Nathan's wish list: a high floor and a Very Big swimming pool. Benjamin's wish list: a swimming pool with the depth markers painted on the side so he doesn't go into the deep end unless he wants to. Are they easy to please or what? My wish list: four bedrooms and a great view.

You may recall that we were actually going to move to Macau about three years ago, for a totally different project. We were 30 days away from relocating when the world financial crisis happened and the project Michael was working on was shelved, as was his job. We had signed a provisional lease on a flat in Macau that I was absolutely in love with for two reasons:

 Do you see those beautiful green nightstands? Let's look a little closer:
Yeah. If you remember, I LOVE the color green. LOVE it so much, I have to w…

Mommy and Me

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I'm the oldest child in my family, and I'm a girl. In Michael's family, the oldest sibling is a girl. All my cousins who had more than one child had a girl first. So I grew up simply knowing that I would have a girl first. While pregnant the first time, strangers on the street would stop me and say, "You're having a girl! I know it!" All my friends were confident it was a girl based on how I was carrying. Even my OB/GYN was convinced it was a girl, basing it on the fact that I had severe morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum) that caused a 20+ pound weight loss and frequent hospital visits for the persistent dehydration (which evidently happens slightly more often in pregnancies with a girl baby). The day of the ultrasound, I looked at Michael and said, "But what if it's a boy?" He assured me it was a girl.

But guess what? Everyone was wrong. There was a Nathan Ernest instead of a Margaret Rose.

I famously cried for two weeks after the ultraso…

Mother's Day, 2011 Edition

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Happy Mother's Day to all the Mums out there, as well as the people who take time to nurture others and stand in as Mums in a pinch!

Michael always goes out of his way to make me feel absolutely cherished and important and instructs the boys to do the same. Since he's not here, I couldn't bear the thought of staying here and working through the weekend like it was just any other day. So I packed up the boys and we hit the road to my Mom and Dad's house Friday after school. They live roughly four hours away, in the middle of nowhere. I'll write more about that another time.
I got to sleep in on Saturday for the very first time since Michael left. I'm such a fan of sleep, and of sleeping in. So this was quite possibly the best part of the weekend (okay, not the best, but it's up there!).

I begged and pleaded for my Dad to make "Birthday Tacos" for me Saturday night (a tradition that goes back to when I was just a little girl) even though it wasn't …

Who could it be knocking at my door?

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For the last several weeks, I've heard a gentle knocking on our front door. It's been loud enough for me to hear throughout our two-story house, and prompted me to stop whatever I'm doing to go see who is at the door. And every single time there was no one there. My reaction varies... I alternate between freaking out, getting annoyed, and wondering if I need my ears (or eyes) checked.

On Monday morning, Benjamin heard it too. The boys are not allowed to answer the door unless they see it is Mom, Dad, or one of the Grandparents (sorry for those of you who have come to our house and waved at the boys through the window, wondering why they just wave back instead of letting you in). So Ben came and got me to say someone was at the door. As I was walking to the door, I heard the knock clear and loud and I flung open the door to find... nothing.

On Tuesday morning I was sitting on the living room floor sorting through the never-ending stuff when the knock started up again. I was…

The Morning View

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Right now my two favorite things in life are Skype, which allows Michael and I to talk face-to-face throughout the day, and Dropbox, where Michael leaves photos of what he's seeing right on my computer for me to pull up and marvel at. These little things trick me into thinking that he's simply working out of an office in Burbank, and not a continent away.

Here was my view this morning:



A stack of towels by the door, awaiting use at our daily dive into the pool to cool off from the warm weather we're having here in Los Angeles. I'm not going to show the mess behind me. No one wants to see stacks of opened boxes, in the process of being sorted (not even me, ugh).

And here was Michael's (postcard-worthy) view this morning:


The northern-most tip of the island of Taipa, connected to the Macau peninsula by bridge, with the spire of the Macau Tower in the distance. This is the view from his bedroom! The green hills on the upper left side of the photo are China. The urban area…

Having the Talk with your kids

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We are a Star Wars family.


Michael was a major fan, and he forced me into it (although he'll say I went willingly). I have two favorite Star Wars memories.

The first: being a kid and walking into the movie theater at the beginning of Return of the Jedi seeing Han Solo frozen in carbonite (and then getting "thawed"). I stopped in the aisle and my little brother slammed into my back. But I was frozen by the image, just like Han Solo was frozen by the carbonite.

The second: when Episode III came out, we lived in Hong Kong. In theaters there you purchase an assigned seat, much like seeing a live show. We'd purchased tickets weeks in advance. When the day of the movie came, I had a terrible cold and was taking some very powerful cold medicine. But we had tickets for really good seats and we'd waited forever so there was no way I was staying home. The movie theater was packed, and the audience was absolutely silent the entire film. When the scene comes where they fi…

72 Days Without Michael: Day 11

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So yesterday we arrived at the eleven day mark. And I hit a major speed bump (brick wall is more like it), brought on by discouragement and plain old tiredness. My attitude went from "I can do this!" to "I don't WANT to do this!" overnight.

Michael had a day off and he took himself to the local movie theater to see Thor, a film that doesn't even come out in the US for another week. And one of only a handful of movies that I really, really wanted to see with him (he's a movie buff, and a comic book buff, but I love a good story about Norse gods! How could this not be the perfect film for us both?). Of course, his relaxing day off happened to coincide with the day that my kids went from being total angels working hard on my team, to wild misbehaving lunatics who got on my very last nerve. I actually yelled at them, which made all of us feel horrible. It's not like this isn't hard enough without me raising my voice! And instead of being happy that …