Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Happy Veterans Day

Yesterday was an important day in our house, and across the nation. Even before my husband enlisted, I've known that veterans were people to be respected and honored (without them, I don't think my mom would've even considered coming to the US). But, this Veterans Day someone got me thinking. One of my friends told the story of how her father suffered physical injuries and PTSD after his experiences with war, and asked, with so many of our men and women experiencing maladies that range from PTSD to loss of limbs and everything in between, "why do we say 'happy' Veterans Day?"

Here's my answer to you my friend:

Everyday we respect our veterans. Some of us personally take care of them. In our house, we stand with our veteran, support our veteran. We thank the ones me we meet for their service. Every day. But, on Veterans Day, we celebrate our veteran. We celebrate him, and his brothers and sisters in arms. We take that extra step out of our daily bubble to let them know how much we appreciate them, with parades and ceremonies and programs in the schools. That celebration, that appreciation, that creates a good feeling. A happy feeling. That is why, in our house, November 11th is always a HAPPY Veterans Day.

Thank you to all the veterans that might read this.

And good luck to those men and women thinking about enlisting.

Much love,

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

To Help or Not to Help--What are the Consequences?

What's happened to common sense? Seriously?

So recently, near Boston, a female high school student went to a party, where they were serving alcohol, when her friend called for a ride home. The cops showed up, kids that drank were ticketed, and then there were some (the girl in question) that didn't drink, but were warned they were going to get tickets for drinking just because they were there.

Find the article at CNN.com.

Here is where I have issues with all this:

  • The cops on the scene made a statement that the girl was sober, and had not been drinking. Why did she have to get a ticket?
  • Since she was ticketed, her school's Zero Tolerance policy kicked in and she was demoted as the Captain of the volleyball team and suspended 4-5 games. I don't believe Zero Tolerance policies work. There are too many situations that fall into the grey zone--like this case.
  • She went to that party not to imbibe, and not to encourage others to be delinquent, but to help out a friend in a potentially dangerous situation. Now that this girl has been punished, what kind of message are we sending to other kids? Don't help out your friend, because you might get in trouble just for being there? That's horrible.
Kids will make stupid decisions, but this girl is obviously not one of them. If my girls were ever in the same situation, I would hope that they'd go help their friend. I don't want them to have to think twice about doing what their parents would think is right.

I hope the underage drinking charges are/were dropped. I hope that her school administrators change their policy and reverse her punishment. I hope that the adults dealing with our children will use their common sense instead of leaving things up to some black-and-white policy that ends up doing more harm than good.

That's my two cents.

Much Love,

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Things That Make Me Smile

With so much conflict and negativity in the world, here are (in no particular order) some things that make me happy. I hope they make your day brighter, too. :)

1.) Baby ANYTHING.
Infants, puppies, kittens, bunnies. I love them all. I even squee over mini cupcakes and baby corn. I may have a problem, but I'm okay with that.

It's a fuzzy bunny hiding his face.
How can you not love this?!

2.) New books at the library.
I love seeing a new book from a favorite author on the shelves at the library. Crisp, new pages and the knowledge that I may be the first of hundreds to experience a novel.
Pure. Awesome.

That is happiness waiting to happen, right there.

3.) Flowers.
I like pretty things, like Flowers. They're colorful, some smell great, and they
attract other pretty things like birds and butterflies.
If only I weren't allergic.

How would you like to come home to this?
I know I would!

4.) Men with tool belts. (More specifically, my man.)
There is just something about a man that can fix and build things that gets to me.
The Hubbs doesn't just make the home--he can, literally, make the house.

(Unfortunately, The Hubbs wouldn't pose for a pic. Dang.)

5.) Footie-pajamas.
Kids in footie-jammies are frickin' adorable. And, they remind me of the days I spent "skating" around my basement--
sometimes knocking myself silly on the concrete.

Pink. Cupcake. Footie-pajamas.
Seriously?! Is there an adult version?

6.) Old People in Love.
They give me hope for the future, and remind me that if I want that with The Hubbs, we need to constantly work at our relationship. A sweet elderly couple makes me picture The Hubbs and me years from now, drinking sweet tea in our rocking chairs, and that makes me smile.

Ready? "Awwww!"
They are so sweet!

7.) Things that sparkle.
I've been known to wander off in stores after exclaiming, "Ooh! Shiny!"
It's not only jewelry, it's anything sparkly. I'm just as likely to be entranced by a bathroom faucet as I am a 2karat diamond.
What can I say? I'm easily sidetracked.

$2million earrings.
Not just bling--Ka-bling!

8.) Journals and Pens.
I'm a writer, 'nuff said.

9.) Kid Art.
Kids say, do, and make the darnedest things. Some is beautiful. Some is indiscernible.
And some, look horribly "inappropriate."
Those are the best.

Medium's early work. A dress and necklace for Mommy.

10.) Clean Sheets Day.
Aside from Thirsty Thursday (Hey! That's today!), and maybe Wine Wednesday,
Clean Sheets Day is my favorite day of the week. Crisp sheets, the scent of my
detergent and fabric softener--it's comfort and luxury. I love crawling
into bed on Sunday nights.

A baby and clean sheets! Double win!

These are a few of my favorite things. What are some things that make you smile?
I wanna know!

And for more things that make me smile, check out my Pinterest board, aptly titled
Little Things To Make Me Smile.

Much Love,

One more for the road:
Large with an armful of puppies. Squee!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance

12 years ago, thousands of people lost their lives in a horrible attack on our nation. It was one of those tragedies so awful that I will forever remember where I was the morning it all happened. Despite the shock that was felt, Americans all over did what they do best. Banded together and reached out to those in need.

To honor the fallen, and show respect for the loss the nation felt, September 11th has been dedicated a day of service and remembrance. Basically, we all should go out there and do good today. I'm already a huge fan and advocate of volunteering, so this is a day that speaks to me.

There are things that we can do everyday, not just today, to help out others. And those of us that can--should. If you need help finding ways to volunteer your time, I came up with a short list of links to get y'all started:

There are so many other places and opportunities out there just waiting for you to share your time (and expertise in some cases) with them. Your local Chamber of Commerce would be another great place to look. And if you or your spouse are currently in the military, check with your  (or your spouse's) Family Readiness (or Welfare) Team (heck, you could volunteer with them!).

Get out there and do some good people!

Much Love,

Always Remember. Never Forget.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

World Suicide Prevention Day

Quite a few years ago, someone I knew committed suicide. It wasn't somebody that I knew very well, but this stuck with me nonetheless. Why? I was one of the last people to talk with this young man before he took his own life.

Within hours of our conversation, he hanged himself.

To this day, I wonder if I could've done more for him. I wonder what was in his mind and his heart as we were talking. Was he reaching out to me, and I missed it? Was there something I could've said that would've made him change his mind?

He was a quiet kid. Not really much of a talker-a little awkward sometimes. I was always nice to him--I hope he realized I never thought or spoke ill of him. He laughed, he smiled, he had people he hung out with.

So what in his life made him take his fate into his own hands?

I don't know. I'll never know. The memory of our last encounter haunts me, and always will. 

I learned a very important lesson from him, though. Because of him, I try to be a little more friendly to the people I meet. I put myself out there more when I pass people each day.

Because you never really know what someone may be dealing with behind closed doors. Your smile, your interest, your genuine concern could more than brighten their day. You could help bring them back into the light.

But also, if you think someone you know and love may be considering hurting themselves, don't try to help them on your own (unless you're licensed to). Please make sure they know you care, but help them seek out professional help.

Here are just a few resources:

Much Love and Big Hugs,

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Women's Friendship Month

I love September. Back to school. Changing leaves. Football season. And also, Women's Friendship Month. Not that I don't love my ladies all the time, but September is just a great reason for me to show them the love. This one's short and sweet, y'all:

I have this uncanny ability to find friendship in the strangest places. I'm not sure why--it just happens. The crazy thing is, I'm a pretty quiet person. Not really one to speak up in a crowd. And yet, it still happens.

I met Patty at KFC when I went to visit my boyfriend at work one day. The boyfriend only lasted halfway through Senior year, but Patty and I have been going strong for 15 years now.

Mary Louise and I connected over the internet. I didn't know in the beginning if we would ever meet. It never mattered. But the fates allowed our husbands to be stationed at the same base. Her family is now as dear to me as my own. (We're still praying for you, Doug!)

But my favorite "I made a friend out of nowhere" story is, how I met Tiffanie. She sat next to me at a forum about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." She was new to Camp Lejeune, but jumped into her husband's Family Readiness Team ready to make a cannonball-sized splash. I appreciate her passion and strong will. She's got the guts I wish I had.

Three chance meetings, but also three of my closest girlfriends.

Happy Women's Friendship Month y'all!

Go to Girlfriendology.com for all things girlfriends!

Much Love,

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Back to School

Back to school season is here, and for the first time all our girls will be going. It's a major deal around here, it means there are no more babies in the house. It's amazing how much the kids grew over the summer! Something else happened this summer, the girls reached the age when they've really started fighting.

Since the arguing started, I've been counting down to the start of school (so, since about the second week in June). Of course, I adore my children, but I'm finally understanding how my mother felt when she threatened to ship my brothers and me to our grandmother in Laos. (So not cool, even if I do feel her pain.)

Who are these mothers getting teary-eyed every fall? If I could, I'd have a party. I am the parent in the Staples commercial happily riding a shopping cart through the aisles, singing about the most wonderful time of the year. (It doesn't hurt that I have a "thing" for office supplies--who am I kidding? It's an addiction.)

I've been a stay-at-home mom for ten years. That's a decade of little ones drooling, pooping, spilling, crying, and crawling all over me all day, every day. Should I be judged for wanting a little peace and quiet? Should I be looked down upon for being excited about about having some alone time? (And maybe a little quality time with The Hubbs?)

I say judge me all you want. Everyone's situation is different. It doesn't mean I love my kids any less if I'm not sniffling at the bus stop. Besides, I'm going to be too busy enjoying my clean house and peeing alone to care.

Much Love,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Want to Be Beautiful

I found an article on CNN that really resonated with me. I'm talking my heart started racing, and tears came to my eyes. It had nothing to do with genocide, endangered animals, or the destruction of natural resources. It wasn't even a military surprise homecoming. So then what was this emotion about?

Plastic surgery. (Find the article here.)

Yes, that's right. I almost started weeping over elective cosmetic reconstruction. More specifically, the article was about Asian people (women and men) undergoing surgery to look more Western. As an adult, I understand that people come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. I know that each one of us is beautiful in our own way. As a child, not so much.

Me-circa 3yrs old. Long before I knew how uncool,
then cool, looking Asian was.

I wanted to so badly to fit in with the other kids in school. I hated being different. I was a different color. My hair was different. My eyes. My nose. My face is flat. And I have a horribly dark mustache. No one in our tiny town looked like me. Add in the fact that math was a breeze, and I loved books. I was a magnet for bullies. The boys were not nice. (More about that here.)

I would see people on tv, in movies and magazines, and wish on every first star that I would wake up the next morning looking like them. Alas, it never happened.

When I hit fourth grade, I needed glasses. My nose has no bridge. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find glasses that fit a wide/round head with no bridge? It's ridiculous. Getting my glasses fitted usually takes about an hour. In addition to wanting to look similar, now I wanted a nose job just to make my glasses fit. I asked my mom for as much twice when I was younger. The first time she blew me off, the second time she told me we couldn't afford it. It's pretty hard to pay for rhinoplasty when you're forced to wear welfare glasses.

It was a teen tragedy back in the day, but I'm a lot better with my Asian-ness now. My husband is the biggest reason. My Asian features are some of what he loves most about me. My heart soars every time he boasts how happy he is that the girls have my bridge-less nose. Not gonna lie, my children are gorgeous. I make sure to tell them every chance I get. I don't want them wishing they were different from how they were born. It's a rough way to grow up.

So to the ignorant commenters on CNN's article, although the doctor used some superficial reasons that Asians want to look White, it was a little bit deeper for some of us.

I Love Y'all Just the Way You Are,

Thursday, June 20, 2013

10 Ways the Hubbs and I Are Alike

So yesterday, I told y'all about the differences that keep my marriage interesting. (That would be here.) Today here are some of the commonalities that keep the marriage strong. Some are deep and some are silly, but they are all what make the Hubbs and me "us."

10 Things the Hubbs and I Have in Common:

1.) We love music (especially country), me to a different level than the Hubbs, but it helps keep the car rides civil.

2.) We both agree on gender roles in our relationship. Basically, we should've been born in the 40s. He brings home the bacon (sometimes literally--he's done work as a butcher) and I cook it. It's not for everyone, even some of our closest friends, but it works for us.

3.) We are both children at heart. My husband likes to play with toys, and I like to be silly and pretend. Luckily, we have three kids who the Hubbs uses as an excuse to push all the "try me!" buttons in the toy department.

4.) Food. We both love to eat. I love that I can make whatever I want for dinner, and he won't think twice about it. Which probably works out well, since I'm Asian and sometimes there can be some pretty suspicious things on the table.

5.) We have a low tolerance for idiots. There seems to be a severe shortage of common sense in the world today, and unfortunately we have to interact with a lot of idiots in BFIowa. Which leads me to the next thing we have in common:

6.) We are both sarcastic asses. I can't tell you how many conversations at our house start with, "Oh. My. God!" or "You will not believe what the h*ll happened today!" Which makes you wonder about:

7.) The Hubbs won't admit it, but he can be a real softie. Lord help us when a kid shows up on our doorstep with a fundraising catalog. We won't turn anyone away if we can help. (Case in point: Just yesterday the Hubbs offered a ride to a guy that just got out of jail. Unfortunately, we were going the opposite direction, but he still offered.)

8.) We love animals. It's probably a good thing that we want to move to the country, because I would live in a zoo if I could. (The movie "We Bought a Zoo"? OMG, I want to live that movie!)

9.) Bonfires. We love everything about bonfires. The smell, the warmth, the food (especially s'mores!), the drinking, and the bonding. 

10.) Probably the oddest thing we have in common? Hardware stores. We love looking around hardware stores. He loves power tools & I love interior design. We once spent over 3hrs in a Menards, and we didn't see all that we wanted to, lol.

Opposites do attract, but you've got to have some things in common to keep the relationship working. What do you and your love have in sync? Link it up!

Oh, and check out the bestie's list here. She also did a post yesterday.

Much Love,

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

10 Ways the Hubbs and I are Different

June is pretty much the Month of the Hubbs. Between his birthday, Father's Day, our anniversary, and the anniversary of his graduation from Boot Camp, the focus is on him a lot. (Which he cannot stand!) How perfect that The Pioneer Woman did a blog post about the differences between her husband and her. I'm already thinking about my man, what's a little more blogging about him going to hurt? (Besides your eyes, for which I apologize. )
You can find Ree's original post here.

Differences Between the Hubbs and Me:

1.) He loves working with his hands & doing "manly" labor.
Give me a book and a couch, and I might not move all day.

2.) If he had his way, inside our house would be ALL WHITE.
Simply put, I like colors. (He is not allowed to pick out paint, he is sent to the lumber yard with paint sample in hand and specific instructions, lol.)

3.) The Hubbs loves video games. I have been a Call of Duty: Black Ops widow on more than one weekend.
While I love Bejeweled & other Facebook games, I'm bored within twenty minutes. (Please refer back to #1.)

4.) The man likes bananas, yogurt, oatmeal, and Jell-O.
I have texture issues. All of the above feel nasty. Yuck!

5.) The reverse of #4: I love, love, LOVE spicy foods.
The Hubby is a big wuss when it comes to the spice. My mother will make special dishes just for him when we eat at her place. (Such a wonderful mother-in-law!)

6.) I think my husband can count his friends on one hand, and only a few know how he feels about them.
I cherish my family and friends. I have no problem letting them know it, either. (He makes fun of me for telling people that I love them--well, I do!)

7.) I enjoy cooking, especially for others.
My husband is not allowed in my kitchen.

8.) I love information and learning.
If the Hubbs wants to know something, he'll ask me. He knows that if I don't know it, I'll look it up.

9.) The Hubbs can't stand anything small. I think it has to do with his Alpha-manliness.
Give me something mini, junior, or a baby anything and I will squeal like a schoolgirl.

10.) In a word: Memory. (I'll let you guess which of us has issues remembering things.)

Those are only a few of the differences between us. They make life interesting, and some of our differences are complimentary. Like when we go out to dinner, he doesn't like tomatoes and I can't stand mushrooms, so we switch. If we had everything in common, we'd probably get bored. That's not to say we don't have some things we agree on, but that's for a later post.

This was such a fun thing to think about. So what about you and your significant one? What differences do y'all have? Link it up!

Much love,

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bringing Memories to Life

Today is our anniversary. The Hubbs and I have been married for seven years. We just finished brunch, and funny enough, he asked me if I have the ability to make memories come alive. The short answer is yes, I can.

Little does he know how often I relive the moment that we met. I can smell the smoke in the air of the bar, the cold chill and sweet smell of smoke machines. I can feel my heart pounding in my chest, and not knowing if it’s from the bass in the music, or from the rush of adrenaline as I tried to work up the nerve to walk over and say hi. I knew the second that I laid eyes on him, that he would be significant in my life. I can’t say I knew we’d be where we are today, but I remember thinking

“He is going to mean a lot to me.” And he does. He has given me my world.

I remember the look in his eyes the first time he told me that he loves me, and asked me to move in with him. It’s the same depth I saw when he was down on bended knee asking me to marry him. When he proposed, my breath caught in my chest. I had tears threatening at the corners of my eyes. Today, I feel the same shortness, the same tears threatening. I’m smiling.

The day we were married, everything was a frenzy. My family arrived early, my mother brought food (as always). My best friend was a witness. I remember how honored I was that she would take the time on her birthday, her own special day, to be a part of my happiest day. I was so emotional, so harried, that I know I didn’t even convey half of my gratitude for her.

When Medium was born, the Hubbs tried to stay with me as much as possible. I was so scared when he couldn’t stand to be in the room for my epidural. I was so disappointed in myself for not being able to withstand the pain. It broke what was left of my resolve that he left me with the anesthesiologist and nurses. It meant the world to me when, after he came back into the room, he told me how proud of me he was.

He is my strength, my rock. He’s the one that keeps me grounded. I’m a kite constantly reaching for the heavens, always dreaming, sometimes going off half-cocked. The Hubbs is the one that keeps a steady grip on my string, making sure that I don’t fly too high. Making sure that I will always find my way back down to him, and make my way back home.

I see our daughters in his chair with him, snuggled under pink and purple blankets. Everyone snoring, in what look to be the most uncomfortable positions possible.

I smell cupcakes, cookies, and cakes fresh out of our oven. With little hands reaching for icing and sprinkles decorating treats just so for Daddy. “For me?” he asks. “Yes Daddy!” they cry excitedly. “Oh thank you. They look yummy!” he answers.

The girls are running across our yard, hair catching the sun, to ride on the mower with him. “Daddy! Daddy! I wanna ride!”

We are all on a blanket, shaded under a tall tree in the backyard, enjoying a picnic of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese curls, Kool-Aid and popsicles. The girls make sure everyone has napkins, even Daddy (although he protests that he has pants for napkins), they giggle at his silliness. After lunch, there is a large tickle fight until the girls run off to play on their play set. The Hubbs and I watch them, in their youthful enthusiasm, grins on our faces. I find myself wondering if they’ll feel the same butterflies, pounding heart, and breathlessness I did when I first met their father.

So yes, Papi, I can make memories come alive. Happy Anniversary my Love.

Photo courtesy of Mary Decrescenzio Photography.

Monday, April 29, 2013

30DPC Day 28

Day 28: A picture of something you're afraid of

Of all the things to be afraid of, I hate ladders. I will stand on the observation deck of a skyscraper. I'll climb up a mountain. But, you ask me to get 4-10 feet off the ground? Oh, hell no! My poor husband, I'm usually the most readily available pair of helping hands, but if he's got to do anything on a roof--he's screwed.

Being a DIYer, and having a carpenter husband, these nasty things
are a necessary evil.

If you ever hear a story about a lady that died from a sprained ankle when she fell off a ladder,
that would be me. Until then,
Happy Snapping!

30DPC Day 27

Day 27: A picture of yourself and a family member

Since I'm usually the one behind the camera, about the only person I have pictures with is the Hubbs.

I love him, anyway.

This amazing photo courtesy of Mary Decrescenzio Photography.

Happy Snapping!

30DPC Day 26

Day 26: A picture of something that means a lot to you.

My life pretty much revolves around these little ladies....

Medium, Large, & Small--princesses one and all.

Happy Snapping!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

30DPC Day 25

Day 25: A picture of your day

It's finally nice enough that I can send my kids outside to play without being bundled within an inch of their lives. So what do they do? Bury each other in the rock in the driveway. Some people's kids, sheesh!

My loves, covered in dirt and springtime.

Hope you're enjoying your springtime, too!
Happy Snapping!

30 DPC Day 24

Day 24: A picture of something you wish you could change

I adore my South Carolina family. I wish that we lived closer to each other, so we could visit all the time. But, alas, such is not so. They love the South, the Hubbs loves Iowa, and I'm stuck in the middle.

We love the besties!

Happy Snapping!

30DPC Day 23

Day 23: A picture of your favorite book

I don't have a favorite book. I couldn't possibly choose a favorite book. I have favorite authors (Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nicholas Sparks, Susan Mallery to name a few), but to narrow it down to just one book? Impossible. Instead, here is the book that was picked for my book club's May read:

Interested? Buy it here.

From the snippets I've read, and what I've heard from other readers, it should be pretty good.
I can't wait to start!
Happy Snapping!

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