Time always flies during the holidays and this week was no exception. The week began with the TV dying on us. It wouldn't affect us too much since we really don't watch much of anything. This couldn't happen at a better time since Black Friday was near. I'm glad the media stopped using the dookie term "Brown Thursday". Gross. Now it's just pre-Black Friday which seemed like it has been going on since the beginning of November. Anyway, with no real agenda (besides buying a new TV), I ended up buying way too much.
It's been 10 years since Lynn and I had our first date. Ten years! The exact date I'm unsure of but it was on Wednesday night, the day before Thanksgiving in 2004. (I guess I could Google the date but I'm lazy.) And the first place we went out to eat was the high class establishment of TGI Fridays.
The name of this race has changed so much I just call it the donut ride. Originally it was called Tour de Donut but then it changed to The Donut Rally. And now it's called The Breakfast Bash Bicycle Rally. Whatever, it's still the same. It's a 28 mile bike ride that involves donuts, where each one consumed shaves 5 minutes off of your time. And it's not any ol' donut... it's Shipley's!
No, we're not ninja turtles, that was last year. But as we were trick-or-treating, a few out of touch adults said, "Oh neat, ninja turtles" or even worse, "What are y'all?" Sigh. If you don't know, the Koopalings are the bad guys from the Super Mario series, where you would have to defeat each one in order to advance to the next level. And of course there's Bowser, the final boss. Can you guess who was who?
Last Saturday night, at midnight, we participated in the Moonlight Bicycle Ramble. Besides being able to bike at night in the city and dressing up in costumes, it was for a good cause. The proceeds go to Bike Houston, who (according to their website) "is dedicated to making Houston a better place for all types of cyclists." If you didn't already know, I love riding my bike. And if they can make it safer, I'm all for it.
Halloween is quickly approaching and so we made our annual visit to the pumpkin patch at St. Andrew's. The church has built such a reputation for their pumpkin patch that they call themselves the pumpkin church. Seriously, pumpkinchurch.com is where you can find them. We've done this every year since Jacob. It's our little family tradition. And being that this is a relatively new blog, I also posted pictures from years past, which definitely makes me say, "Oh snap!"
Last weekend, we were in Austin for the first weekend of ACL. Usually a trip to Austin would only be a quickie but this felt like a mini-vacation. Maybe it was because we went without the kids. Or maybe it was because we stayed from Friday afternoon to Monday morning (a tad bit longer than our usual weekend trips). But it was nice. The weather cleared up and the temperature dropped. The weekend was perfectly setup.
After being delayed a week due to all the rain (which led to rise of all those effin' mosquitoes), the fall sports season finally began. Jacob moves up to the U10 soccer league which is composed of kids his age and older. These kids, obviously, are on another level. Older, bigger and faster. Now there's a goalie. These kids look serious. By halftime, he was already gassed. And at the end of the game, he was exhausted. Andrew, on the other hand, opted not to play soccer this season and chose T-ball. Why? Because he wanted to try something new. I like that he's willing to try new things. It's a shame he didn't want to play both but his skinny little self wouldn't have been able to handle it.
Every once in a while, it's nice to spend one-on-one time with each kid. Full attention. No distractions. Solid quality time. Each kid acts differently when they don't have their brothers around to play with (or to bother them). Looking back, it's been over two years since the last time I've spent time with only one of the boys. It's been long overdue. Just the other day, I got to spend a little time with Andrew. It wasn't anything big, we just spent a couple hours at Barnes and Noble. I worked as he did his homework (and ate a huge cookie). He's a totally different person without his brothers. I feel like he thinks that we always lecture and yell at him. This is partially true since he's constantly fighting with Tyson (or vice versa) and he's always mad that Tyson gets his way. "Of course Tyson can play while you do homework, he doesn't go to school!" So I wanted Lynn to see the true Andrew... the no distraction, lovable, affectionate, wild Andrew, and encouraged them to spend one-on-one time together.
So we finally got around to watching Boyhood, a movie that followed the life of one boy and his family over a span of 12 years. It was neat to see the actors grow up in front of your eyes in 2 hours and 45 minutes. (Yes, it was a long movie.) And then it made me think, will I be sad once all the kids leave home? I don't know. Probably? Who am I kidding, I'm sad now watching Tyson grow up. Being that he is in all likelihood our last child, every milestone is bittersweet. And yesterday, he started preschool.
On Labor Day, most people don't have to go in for work. And that includes my parents. My mom had asked if the kids wanted to stay over and I said no. "Oh, you guys have plans?" she asked. Not really, but I would like to spend some time with my own kids! Ever since I told my mom of my possible plan of moving, she wants to take the kids every chance she gets. And this weekend was no different.
Friday was the last weekday of the kids' summer break so I was looking for something fun for them to do. Looking online for weekend activities/events, I came across the Play Nintendo Tour, which was making a stop at the Houston Galleria. It was an event that showcased multiple games with the opportunity of playing each one. But the main feature (and the main reason why we came) was the Mario Kart tournaments. Being that this is their favorite game, this was a must do.
In the mist of all the summer birthdays, mine was some where in there. Just last weekend, we had dinner with my in-laws to celebrate all the August birthdays. There are seven birthdays this month. Seven! And I share the same birthday with two relatives on my side of the family (Nesbitt and Chi La). Craziness. Babies love to come out in August. It's probably because it's too dang hot during the summer and they need to escape.
My little man turned three this past weekend. Three! Realistically this is probably our last kid so seeing him grow up is saddening. I want him to remain two forever (my favorite age). Being two is awesome because they still have their baby fat (super cute), are able to talk (mixed with some incoherent words), are completely mobile (which might be a bad thing), and are still innocent (sort of). I don't remember Tyson exhibiting the "terrible twos" so hopefully we dodged a bullet with that or maybe he's just waiting until now to show us the new "terrible threes".
I'm not talking about Lana Del Rey's song (I like the remix more than the original), but my own sadness. It happens every year during this time. People get the winter blues but I'm the opposite, the dreadful heat makes me depressed. Don't get me wrong, I would pick a sunny day over a dreary cloudy day, but being out in the sun during the summer is unbearable. The heat is such a deterrent to go outside or anywhere for that matter. And being cooped up indoors makes me crazy.
What do you know about Gulf Shores, Alabama? If you answered nothing, that was my response too. This semi-spontaneous trip started in June, when my boss (once again) required that I take a day off in July. From there, I was like let's take a family trip. But where? We always wanted to try Destin but being that it was so late to book a house, we had to think of an alternative. A nurse at one place that I work at mentioned that she went to Gulf Shores and actually preferred it over Destin. Wow. She said it was just a nice but less crowded, closer and cheaper. That makes sense... who ever thinks of going to Alabama when going to the beach? I was sold. And that's where we were last weekend.
Summer is the time for birthdays. First there's my mom's birthday in June, then my dad's in July, then my birthday in August and then Tyson's birthday a couple days after mine. Whew. And I'm not even counting all the relatives and in-laws who also have summer birthdays because it's a lot. So last weekend, we got together to celebrate my dad's birthday.
While almost everyone was off on July 4th, I actually had to work. Yes, someone out there is playing the world's smallest violin for me. But all was not lost. After work, I went over to Lynn's aunt house to spend time with the in-laws where we swam, ate and watched some World Cup action. Later that night, we went to Miller Outdoor Theatre to catch the Houston Symphony and a fireworks display afterwards. But unfortunately we got there late (due to horrible traffic and parking) and could only find a spot on the other side of the hill, meaning you could barely hear the music. And due to the earlier downpour, the ground was soaking wet. The rain was on and off which pushed the fireworks back until 10:30 pm, i.e. wayyy past the boys' bedtime. But in the end, it all paid off.
Ever since Tyson's awesome arrival, we've been going to Empire Cafe for brunch on Father's Day. The food isn't even that good (we go primarily for the coffee) but we gotta keep the tradition going. Three years in a row and counting. So along with the kids' handmade cards and drawings (which is all that I need), I also got gifts from them this year. And I got... Pokemon cards! Gotta catch 'em all!
I’m moving. I don’t know when but I’m moving away from Texas. All of my life I assumed summer meant hot, miserable weather. I thought that was just the facts of life. But only until recently, I discovered that was not the case. There can actually be nice, cool weather during the summer. It was quite mind blowing. And that magical place is the West Coast. So that’s where I’ll be relocating but which city? The only one left to explore was Portland.
Another kid finishes kindergarten. Oh my, how they're growing up so fast. Andrew had an awesome year (maybe better than Jacob when he went to kindergarten). He got Student of the Month in October and was chosen for the Citizenship Award in his class. I think it's awarded to the most helpful person in the class, a team player. Well that's my assumption since they didn't explain it during the ceremony. And he got straight A's for the year (of course). Being the stereotypical Asian parent, anything less would have been punishable by death. Just kidding... sort of.
The extended weekend began Friday night when we (sans kids) met up friends at Winston's to celebrate my friend Thu's birthday. I honestly can't recall when Lynn and I last went out to "drink" but it's been a long time. I remember the pre-kid days when we used to each drink 64 oz mugs of cheap lite beer. Those days are long gone now. I don't consider myself a beer snob but since the boom of craft beer, there's no way I'm going back to that piss water. As for Lynn, she's not much of a drinker anymore. That's no problem as I gladly drank for two.
This is the only "Day" holiday that I can think of that actually lasts longer than one day. Why? Because we have so many mothers. You have your mom, your mother-in-law, grandma(s) and baby mama (hopefully you only have one).
If you ask any parent what their plans are for the weekend, more times than not, it will involve a kid's party (either attending or hosting one). And the more kids you have, the higher the chance you will be spending your weekend at a kid's party. And if you have a big extended family, forget about it. Last weekend was more of the same (celebrated Collin's birthday at the Kemah Boardwalk) but this time I went without parental help (Lynn) or my eldest, helpful son (Jacob) and brought Andrew and Tyson with me. This had disaster written all over it.
My boss "forced" me to take PTO (paid time off) in April so I gladly obliged by taking off last Monday. I love being off on weekdays, especially when everyone is either at work or school. The city is so calm... well, less chaotic. So this was how I spent my day off... as seen through the eyes of Tyson and myself... with the use of my cell phone and Android's default camera app (picture filter #4).
Let me tell you about the fun stuff first. In the morning, we had an Easter egg scavenger hunt. We kept the clues really simple like "Where do you begin and end your day?" (their room) at which point they had to find the hidden egg, which contained a clue to the next egg. The clues eventually led them to their Easter gift basket which included various books and toys. It's like Christmas in April. For lunch, we went over to Lynn's aunt's house to celebrate with her family... and that is where I experienced the worst feeling ever.
My nephew Daniel turned 5 years old and had himself a magic themed party this past weekend. As for the name Dazzling Daniel, that was the magician's idea. The show was quite entertaining but not for the tricks (some seem pretty simple) but for the magician's over the top energy. How he sustained it for that long seems amazing to me. I guess you gotta love what you do.
It's been documented that my parents are still stuck in the 20th century but they are slowly making some progress. Actually, it's only my dad. My mom isn't as eager to learn or adapt. She still has a candy bar cell phone that plays an obnoxious midi, 8-bit sounding ringtone. My dad on the other hand has been using an old computer I gave them, obsolete by most standards (it has a floppy disk drive), but it's a good start. I don't think my dad will be doing any video editing or Photoshop any time soon.
I've been putting this off for way too long but I finally gave Tyson a haircut last week. Even though I gave him a trim once before, this would be the first time I cut his front/top hair... his last remaining original baby hair. But it was getting absurdly long. His bangs from time to time would get stuck in his nose, glued in by his boogers. The middle of his hair in the back was abnormally longer than the rest, making it seem like he was growing a rattail. His hair now touched his shoulders. It was time.
I don't usually get much time off for Spring Break but after shifting my schedule around (a perk of my job), I stretched it out to almost taking the whole week off. We didn't do anything big... just good ol' quality time with the family. So what did we do first? Go to Target, duh. Okay, what about lunch? Mission Burrito (another family favorite). I know that doesn't sound the least bit exciting but I enjoy those relaxing, low-key days at times. BUT, it was Spring Break after all so we had to do more than eat burritos.
Last night I dragged Lynn along for another book signing/talk. We went to see The Minimalists. I just recently discovered them while reading my many news feeds during a lunch break. (Pulse and Feedly are awesome). Hmmm, minimalism... that sounds like an interesting concept. Recently I've been complaining about how we're running out of storage space and how nice it would be to have a bigger house. But maybe that was the wrong solution. Maybe we just have too much crap. Unnecessary crap.
Last week, we began the potty training process with Tyson. Two and a half years old was the deadline to lose the diapers since that was when Andrew was fully trained. Oh how I don't miss those days. Now he's running around without a diaper, no underwear, with only shorts on. Free ballin'. There were many accidents but as of now, I feel like we're almost there. The pee aspect he has down but pooing, not so much. He's not a big fan of sitting on the toilet, especially on the kid potty seat. "No Thomas," he says referring to the Thomas the Tank Engine potty seat. Not sure why. Maybe he thinks he'll fall in since he's so tiny.
Even though Texas has its roller coaster weather, I do enjoy those 60-70 degrees days during the winter as the rest of the north is getting hammered with sub-zero temps. It's only during the summer that I spend my time on realtor.com and browse the different places I'd like to move to but won't since it's too dang expensive and I'm not getting richer anytime soon. But it's fun to dream.
You might be asking, Bobby who? You know, Paula Deen’s younger son... the one who was in the news lately for being a racist. (The mom, not the son.) Being from the South, is anyone really surprised? I mean, who isn’t racist? I’m sure my mom’s racist and I still like her. But anyway, that’s Paula Deen, who I don’t really care for but I’m a fan of her son. His show, Not My Mama’s Meals, is about making healthier alternatives to his mom's calorie-dense, heart clogging recipes.
My first born son is now eight years old. Has it been that long? He's tall too, up to my nipple now... or chest (for those who cringe at that word). He will definitely be taller than me... it's only a matter of when. So for his birthday, we decided that he would be denied of any big party since Andrew constantly gets screwed for his birthday (like last year how he spent his entire birthday in a car).
Happy new year! It's the year of the horse which means... I don't know. No one in this family is a horse. So... whatever. Sorry to anyone who is a horse or horse lover. I'm very indifferent towards this year's animal. The dragon and tiger are so much cooler.