Family

The Memorial Day Club

Okay, writing this post is going to give me something to do while my daughter screams bloody murder from her crib where I have ostensibly put her down to sleep HOW DARE I DO SUCH A THING.

This morning in the bathtub I got Molly to put her face in the water. Just barely, but after weeeeeeks of shrieking if water was anywhere near her eyes or nose, this was a huge HUGE step. First, I bribed her with one of those Usborne dress up doll sticker books. There are about ninety different versions at Barnes & Noble and Molly Cheung is on a quest to own every single one of them. So with that hanging over her head, and through a mix of teeny tiny steps and putting my OWN face in the bath water (UGH) I got her to submerge her nose and a chunk of cheek for about three seconds. Without screeching. WIN! 

Off we went to B&N then, leaving Phillip and Emma at home. Molly picked out her next sticker book (this time the dress up girls are going to Parties!) immediately while Jack hemmed and hawed. He ALSO got a sticker book if Molly stuck her face in the water. Bribery for everyone! So Usborne makes "boy" sticker books too. In the "girl" category we have Weddings and Bridesmaids and Pop Stars and Fairies and Ballerinas and on and on. In the "boy" section we have PIRATES! and EXPLORERS! and WARRIORS! and my personal favorite: Second World War. 

So yes, it is indeed a book full of pages of cartoon dudes in their underclothes in various WWII scenes and pages of sticker clothes to dress them in. I am not entirely sure what I think about it. On one hand, I think it's super cool. Each scene is sort of a different part of the war (the Blitz, Russia, prisoners of war) and there's a little blurb about what you're looking at and explanations of what the clothes and accessories are. It IS educational. It's just WEIRDLY educational, yes? Especially when your daughter is oohing over the fairy wing and crown stickers. (There ARE "girl" educational sticker books - Fashion Around The World, Historical Fashion, oh and also SPORTS girls.) But yeah... I am not at all opposed to boy things and girl things, I am totally fine with Molly wanting the Ballerina book instead of the Explorers book, whatever. It's more the... WAR AS A STICKER BOOK that I'm not quite sure I appreciate. 

ANYWAY. 

I tried very very very VERRRRRY hard to get Jack to pick the WWII sticker book because, let's face it, I want to look at it. Despite my mixed feelings. IT IS NEATO. And he had picked that one over the Explorers one (which IS educational AND cool AND without mixed feelings) and this was a pleasant surprise for me - until I saw the SUPERMAN sticker book and knew he would much prefer that. And any time I see something my kids would like I have to show them, even if I don't want to get it for them. IT'S A COMPULSION. 

But this is how my kids figured out it was Memorial Day. "But it's Memorial Day, Jack!" I pleaded. "We should get the WAR sticker book!" (THAT JUST SOUNDS CRAZY.) 

He said, "We can get that one NEXT time, Mommy." 

Fine, whatever. We bought our sticker books plus an HGTV magazine and went home to do absolutely nothing for the rest of the day because it was POURING and I also decided to wash every single sheet in the house. (And I did.) 

IN THE MEANTIME! My kids were very very busy in the playroom downstairs. I found this a lovely change of pace as I folded clothes in front of Love It or List It and placated my shrieky baby while reading Entertainment Weekly. But after dinner Phillip and I were invited to Memorial Day Club. 

Memorial Day CLUB. And it turns out that Memorial Day Club is basically being invited to the playroom so Jack can pretend he is the teacher (or, as he subtly put it, "the boss") and play school. We did a bunch of worksheets - and we actually HAVE worksheets because my sister is a 4th grade teacher and gives us all the leftover sheets she would have recycled. This is our drawing paper at home. But I was supposed to do the worksheet side and I was supposed to write a rule for figuring out fractions that are equal (omg I'm not even DESCRIBING it correctly) (obvs I couldn't come up with the rule). And then we played Sight Word Bingo. And then we played some horrible game where everyone kept winning except me. And then we got sort of bored which royally peeved the boss who reminded us he was, indeed, The Boss, which only got him fits of giggles from his mother. More peevishness ensued. 

Anyway, this is how the Cheung family honored those who are no longer with us. That and changing all the sheets. 

We had a really nice time with family this weekend, I got some time with friends, and tonight I got to hang out at the playroom table with my kids, remembering that I used to hang out around that same playroom table when I was their size, with my four brothers and sisters. Which made me try to picture what it'd be like with TWO MORE CHILDREN in that room and... well, I couldn't really do it. And then I could? But then I couldn't? And that is all for another post? That we shall have to password protect from Phillip? HA HA HA HA HA


The more the better

Oh you guys, my baby, my BAAAABEEEEE, she is best most cutest thing in the WORLD. I can say that because the other two are decidedly NOT babies and this is a baby type of Squee. I just LOVE HER. She gives kisses now, INTENTIONALLY, and it's the sweetest and tonight she used her hands to direct my face towards her and then I DIED. I DIED OF SWEETNESS. Phillip and I are just smitten. I know it sounds barfy and eye rolly and obnoxiously mommyblogger, but it's the truth. We are in LOVE. 

I look at her sometimes and think: what if you weren't here? WHAT IF YOU WEREN'T HERE? It's weird, because life had simplified quite a bit by the time we decided to have Third Baby. No more diapers, sleeping through the night, several hours of the week spent at preschool. We could have just gone on and not looked back. I've always been terrified that I will never feel DONE having kids, that I will always feel like someone's missing. But there was definitely a point post-Jackenmolly where I thought: two is fine! I am good with two. I have my boy, I have my girl, we fit in our car, four chairs at a table, etc. Emma definitely upsets the symmetry in our family, her presence requires more car, more space, more energy. But oh wow, I can't believe there was ever a time when we didn't have her. 

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This weekend I met a woman who asked me a million questions about my kids and when I asked if she had any (she was maybe in her late forties, early fifties) she said, "Oh, the Lord had a different path for us." But then she went on to tell me about some of her "honorary" kids, young people she mentored throughout her life, and how they still come to her house and stay and call her up and write letters, even though some of them now have Big Important Jobs or live in different countries. I just had this feeling of rich fullness talking with her. I wanted more kids, more people, more family. 

Calm down, Phillip Cheung! I am not starting Fourth Baby negotiations. Honestly, I'd be quite happy to never be pregnant or give birth again. But I would joyfully grow this family, if that is the path the Lord has in mind for us. I would adopt, I THINK I would foster, I'd let college student cousins live downstairs, I think I would even host foreign exchange students. I actually think this is something that Phillip and I are good at, sort of gathering people in. Ish. I don't know. I guess it's more that both of us want to provide a place for people, and feed them, listen to them, entertain them. Something like that. It's the whole idea behind the bakery. It's why we bought this giant house. I hope there are always people to upset the symmetry and make me figure out how we're all going to fit in the car. 

 


This post was NOT sponsored by Cupcake Prosecco but it SHOULD have been

I had a fabulous Thanksgiving, Internet. It was delicious, delightful, and rawther drinky. A long time ago I was into this book called Things You Need To Be Told by the Etiquette Grrls - oh dear, I seem to have fallen into an Amazon reviewer wormhole. People think this book is pretentious! People think gin and tonics are boring! People are not fans of Random Capitalization! (QUELLE HORREUR!) Well, here's my contribution to the reviews: LIGHTEN UP! 

So ANYWAY, I was super into this hilariously pretentious etiquette book and one of the things the authors recommend as a good time is A Very Boozy Thanksgiving, wherein you invite all your orphaned friends for a giant (and very boozy) dinner. I have always wanted to do this, but it's sort of unseemly to do in front of your grandmother, right?

BUT! This Thanksgiving? I opened the wine before dinner at my in-laws'. As the only real wine drinker at the gathering you feel a little silly opening the wine at, say, 2pm, but C'MON IT'S THANKSGIVING. You guys, I have the best in-laws. I stood on a chair to get the bottle down from the fancy rack and they're all, "Yes! Open it!" And it's THANKSGIVING, but they don't want you to help, they don't even really seem to care if you keep an eye on your own children, you're just supposed to sit down and relax and maybe read the Black Friday ads. The most I've ever done at my in-laws' is set the table, and that's not for lack of TRYING to help, lest you think I am a lazypants. No, I'm offering to help cook, to wash dishes, to wipe up, wipe down, clear, what have you, and they just act like I'm really super duper hilarious. Wash dishes? HO HO! Go sit down and put your feet up! FIL will do the dishes! He LIKES doing the dishes!

Yeah. Good times. I also like holidays at my in-laws' because Phillip has a pair of college age cousins I find charming and hysterical and one of my very favorite Thanksgiving Quotes was when the college senior said, "So Phillip, you're like, what? 28?" HAAAAAAA!!! HA! HA! HA!

(That means they think I'm 27!)

Oh wait! I forgot to tell you about Thanksgiving EVE aka Phillip's Last Day of Work! It was splendid. My sisters and one of my BILs came over after the kids went to bed and we put away two trays of nachos, half a pan of easy toffee bars, some red wine, and a bottle of Cupcake Prosecco. YOU GUYS. I have never been a big fan of white and/or sparkling wine. I mean, if there's nothing else, I'll drink it. But it's not my favorite, and when there are toasts I usually take a few sips of champagne and move on to the good stuff. HOWEVER. Cupcake Prosecco was quite possibly the most delicious thing I tasted all week and OH MY perhaps I should fork over a few extra dollars when I go to buy something champagne-like! I wanted to get something nice to celebrate and it was lovely. 

So! Thanksgiving? Good. The next day was a huge terrible boring-as-heck rainstorm and I took the kids to see Brave, which was also terrible and boring-as-heck. I did not mind at all when Molly got scared and demanded to leave in the middle. Then, as we do, we last-minute-invited friends for dinner and GUESS WHAT. THEY BROUGHT CUPCAKE PROSECCO. BEST FRIENDS EVER. 

Side note: not many of my super good real life friends are the drinky sorts, so the fact that @lizritz absolutely never blinks an eye when I refill her wine glass makes her, like, triply precious. 

Saturday? Saturday was wine with my two sisters at the Sound of Music singalong movie, which all of you should experience at least once in your lives. It was a riot. Also, I STILL DO NOT HAVE A DRIVER'S LICENSE! GROWN UP FAIL! I never ever tried to buy alcohol before age 21 (I SWEAR), but in the last week I purchased alcohol three times without an ID - once at the grocery store, where I gave a nervous giggle and they passed me through anyway (I AM THIRTY-THREE AND LOOK IT), once at the Sound of Music where I got my sister to buy my glass of wine, and once AFTER the singalong, when we went to happy hour and I only ordered a drink because the waitress didn't card anyone ELSE. Except then she carded EVERYONE. (I got my drink anyway. And left a large tip. GAH.) (My inner rule follower: DYYYYYYING.) (The waitress says I could totally use my sister's ID by the way. Which is funny, since I'm FOUR YEARS OLDER.)

Sunday? What was Sunday? There was probably more wine. 

It was just a very CELEBRATORY handful of days, Internet. VERY fun. VERY cheery. VERY "Look At Me Deleting All My Work Email Off My Phone Forever And Ever!" I know this post is obnoxiously WINE WINE PROSECCO MORE WINE! but really, I just felt like we were celebrating every day. The entire goal for the weekend was: Have as excellent a time as possible. GOAL ACCOMPLISHED.

Phillip started his new job on Monday, but since he's doing an online training the first week, an online training that starts on East Coast time, he's doing it from home. Not even going to the office. Weird! But that just meant today he was done at 3:30, like REALLY done, no phone calls, no emergency texts, no conference calls at weird times. And we've just been hanging out all day and tomorrow is more of the same. It's crazy. I know he'll have to go to the office NEXT week, but today I made Cherry Cabernet Brownies with a red wine ganache JUST BECAUSE IT SEEMED LIKE THE RIGHT THING TO DO. 


Beggars would ride

You know what is not that awesome? Standing around on the empty, bleak, gunmetal gray Washington State coast, in the almost-rain, clutching your thin and useless hood around your chins, and watching your nutjob children gleefully racing the waves with their nutjob cousins, all while listening to your just-married sister extol the virtues of the Disney resort in Hawaii. AKA where Jesus goes on vacation. WAH, I WISH. And then perhaps, if you are me, you come home from your family beach weekend and start looking up prices for beaches that actually live up to the name.

But FINE - my preference for white sand, blue sky, and 80+ degree temps aside, Family Beach Weekend was a good time. The kids CLEARLY don't care what color the sand/water/sky are, they are throwing themselves into it no matter what. Sand? YES, MORE SHOVELS! Water? WE WILL GET WET! Sky? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT! THAT'S JUST OCEAN MIST!

I walked out to that stupid beach more times than I really wanted to, simply because the best thing about having kids is watching them be kids. You just have to see those skinny chicken legs galloping through icy surf, listen to the high pitched shrieks of frozen joy, grudgingly participate in the building of a the too-cold-for-water but not-too-cold-for-digging dilapidated sand castle. (And, if you are P Cheung and New BIL, a channel out to the ocean to fill up the moat - excellent engineering, men!) 

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And did I tell you that Phillip goes on a business trip tomorrow? I conveniently forgot this fact myself. Right now I am Thinking Positive: it'll be a good week to get everyone back on my very favorite thing, A Schedule. Would you believe I'm actually sort of excited to put our house back together, get things cleaned up, remember where I put the mop and all that? 

I even had an incredible moment of foresight a few weeks ago and signed the kids up for two separate weeks of Vacation Bible School. The first week fortuitously starts tomorrow YAAAAYYY!!! It's at my friend's church so at least Jack and Molly will know those kids, it goes from ten to one Monday through Thursday, and if nothing else it'll be a few hours each day when all of us are having our own kinds of fun. My friend thinks we should drop our kids off, go find a coffee shop, and blow the rest of the time shopping. I'm not entirely sure if Emma will nap before or after VBS drop off, but I don't see why that should interfere with the coffee/shopping time. That's what Ergo carriers are for, right? 

It's a relief AND a disappointment to know all the big stuff of our summer is over. Until our couples retreat with friends over Labor Day, we are looking at a nice long stretch of Nothing. Usually a nice long stretch of Nothing is exactly the sort of thing to send me into a blubbering angsty-blog-post-writing panic, but it honestly sounds pretty good right now. The only way it could be better is if I had white sand/blue sky/warm water in my backyard.

Yeah yeah yeah if wishes were horses WHATEVER.


Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe

So, as you are WELL AWARE, my sister got married last weekend. THIS weekend my side of the family is headed to the beach (well, what we Washingtonians call a beach) for a little family vacation. Because of those two things I made absolutely no plans - NONE, I SWEAR - for my birthday, which is today. I mean, ordinarily there are parades and visits from the president and honorary degrees and all that, but this year I told Phillip, "Low key! Nothing big! Maybe just a catered luncheon!" REALLY. 

I did make myself a cake, though. The chocolate cake and frosting on the back of the Hershey's cocoa box. (RECOMMEND.) Jack and Molly helped by cutting out the parchment circles for the cake pan and licking the spoons. I did take a long leisurely bath during which I read an entire issue of Entertainment Weekly without any interruptions. I did let out a squeal when my husband handed me a card with tickets to Wicked inside (perhaps he's heard me singing along to the Wicked Pandora station lately?) (There's a strange exhilaration! In such total detestation!) (It's so pure so STROOOOOONG!)

Otherwise... my parents and brother and SIL and nephews were going to come up and visit for a while. The FPC would drop by with Rosie. La la la. But then my parents took the kids home a bit after lunch and my brother and sister just... stayed. I think they all had better things to do, but everyone just sort of... didn't get up. And we talked about a million different things and soon we were discussing what to order from the Thai restaurant down the street and opening the wine and I kept thinking: this is why I wanted a bunch of kids. Because maybe sharing a room is a bummer and your brother still beats you up well into your teenage years and no one owns up to their turn to do the dishes, but when you're a grown up, brothers and sisters are pretty awesome. 

My growing up experiences seem pretty different from my siblings'. You can tell just from our high school-centric conversation this afternoon (my two brothers, two sisters, and one SIL all knew each other in high school and half the people they talk about are total strangers to me.) It's me, then two brothers who shared a lot of the same friends and then two sisters, all of us just one year apart. It's no secret that my sole objective from age thirteen or fourteen was to Leave Home And Go To College. Like the FPC more or less said tonight, "You didn't pay attention to us at all!" Maybe things would have been different if my sisters had been born "next" to me instead of my brothers, but she was right. They were the "little girls" and my brothers were, you know, brothers, and surely there was more to life than this miserable box known as high school. 

I always LIKED my brothers and sisters, but I don't feel like we were friends, really, until we were all out of school and living on our own, doing our own thing. There's definitely a way where I feel like I was waiting (whether or not I realized it) for them (especially my sisters) to "catch up" with me. Even though I'm really only a handful of years older! It made a difference. 

And now it's so great. SO GREAT. I just love hanging out with them. I know the FPC, at least, is reading this and rolling her eyes because Declaring Your Love For Family Members On Your Dorky Website is not really something you DO in this family but WHATEVS, FPC. You are stuck with me. 

(I don't know. Maybe they were driving home tonight all, "Okay, so how do we manage spending an entire weekend with THAT?" But I'm just going to pretend they think I'm awesome.)

But we were even talking about a joint trip to Disneyland with our kids, and what it would be like if my brother and SIL moved to Seattle. Isn't that awesome? Not everyone WANTS to go on a trip with their brother's family, you know? But I totally would. I feel so lucky. 

I have a lot of cake in this house, if you're interested. Leftover Thai food? Any takers? 

Tomorrow I have to do laundry and pack and buy a whole bunch of salmon at Costco because Phillip and I are in charge of one of the beach weekend dinners and the only thing we are reliably good at is salmon. (MMM.) We also have an Unbloggable Thing happening tomorrow for which I'd like to obnoxiously request some good mojo. And I have another Revamping The Crazy Pills appointment which... well, I guess tonight I'm not feeling super positive about that. I'm feeling sort of "will this ever end" ish. Blargh. But I have a giant basket full of chocolate bars (they accompanied the Wicked tickets) and Phillip doesn't have to go to work in the morning and HELLOOOOOO I am 33 today! I am pro-birthday. Pro-getting older, even if my stupid brother makes stupid jokes about it. 33 just LOOKS good for some reason. It's a good year, right? I NEED A GOOD YEAR. 


Long boringish recap. No pictures. SORRY.

You know what? I think I could start running again. (Someone ask me in a week or two if I actually started running again. Seriously.) 

Maybe I am only thinking about this because I was within spitting distance of pre-Emma weight and then I decided to eat an entire wedding plus an entire bag of Crappy Day Chocolate Cookies. But really. I think I could. 

ANYWAY. Wedding recap! Sort of! But no pictures. I am tired of posting pictures. (It's my website and I'll be lazy if I want to!) Yesterday I decided to stare down Facebook - I unfriended God knows how many people and restricted about half the people left. IT IS NOT PERSONAL. Well, I guess it is, sort of, it's just that maybe I would USE FB if it were more like my blog/Twitter community and less, you know, people I never talk to anymore. So I did not unfriend YOU, I promise, but I did get a couple friend requests from people I'm not sure I know. What I'm thinking is that you are a reader/lurker, but I either don't recognize your name from comments or you comment with a blog name or something, so if those friend requests are from YOU, could you just tell me you're a blog person? Is this horribly snotty of me? I'm just being REALLY PICKY and I HAVE had total strangers friend me before SO. That's all. 

Wait. All right. So pictures: all the good ones are on FB. If I get anything exceptionally awesome from the other wedding photo takers I will be sure to post them here. Especially if they are of 1) programs/seating chart/invitation/other Maggie-produced wedding item or 2) me looking photogenic because one day I hope to market myself as a lifestyle blog (HAAAAAA.)

As for the wedding itself... nothing went wrong! I mean, this will be a very boring recap! 

Okay SURELY something went wrong. I will think. UMMMM. People disrespected the seating chart? Certain people COMPLAINED to my SIL who was manning the Seating Chart Area that they couldn't find their tables? And she explained that the seating cards were in alphabetical order, this was not a graphic representation of the table area. Which apparently they did not/could not understand and so they just sat where they felt like it? Displacing other people? Who didn't really care and the wedding sort of shrugged it off and continued on? 

All day long I was losing my camera and my keys and sometimes my phone. I hated that. I was a huge embarrassing flake all day long. The only thing I was successful at managing was my sister's hair. People I ROCKED the Hair Management. I packed this glorious bag of Wedding Emergency Essentials: your hairspray, your safety pins, your lip gloss, your sewing kit, your anti-diarrheal medication. (Seriously - what if you were having Issues? Wouldn't you be glad I packed that little bottle?!) We had to fix the hair immediately after the hair appointment (honestly, I have never ever had a hair appointment where I did not go home and tweak/totally redo). And we fixed it up halfway through the reception. I was ON TOP OF THE LONG LOOSE CURLS. I was NOT on top of remembering where I put a $$$ camera that did not bleong to me. 

The ceremony was just! beautiful! All those colors really did work together and so many people commented on the multicolored-ness of everything. And it was so sweet and touching too - I wonder if I think it seems MORE touching than other weddings I've been in/attended because my sister is not a teary and sentimental kind of girl. So there was something SO LOVELY about watching her walk down the aisle with my dad and say her vows. Let's just say I was glad I grabbed a Kleenex from Phillip right before the processional began. 

The reception was in an old timey theater that now hosts weddings as well as rock shows and pageants. We put blown up copies of the invitation in the box office along with my sister's engagement pictures (which are gorgeous, I hate her.) The seating chart was stationed in the entry way along with a "guest book" - postcards that said "I remember B when..." and "Love is..." and "R & B should name their kids..." etc. Those were laid out with colored Sharpies and collected in a tall glass vase.

Inside the theater it was dark and felt like a party. There were appetizers and drinks while the bride and groom finished up pictures. The tables were white with tall vases of pink and orange gerber daisies, tea lights, and little white favor boxes with tissue paper flowers on top in all the different wedding colors. My sister bought the Hershey kisses with the cute little wedding sticker on the bottom - those were in the boxes. (Everyone ate the candy and left the boxes. Lame.) White chair covers with gauzy white sashes.

And it was pretty laid back. Nothing formal. People just hung out until the bride and groom showed up. They were announced, then there was just more hanging out until the buffet opened. That was probably my favorite part, just going around to all the different people I haven't seen in a year (or longer) and catching up. As you know I am Afraid Of Chatting, but something about big family occasions and really LIKING everyone and knowing that they really DO want to know about me and that new baby I have now and everything's all FESTIVE and HAPPY... it brings out the talky. SO FUN. 

Eventually there were toasts (which were perfect. PERFECT. The Maid of Honor and the Best Man were SO GREAT, you guys), then they cut the cake, then their first dance to "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" which is a Frankie Valli song from 1960 something, but REALLY is a Lauryn Hill song / the song Heath Ledger sang on the bleachers in '10 Things I Hate About You'. WE LOVE THIS SONG. 

(OH. That is a thing that went wrong! SO. Apparently the venue (also in charge of the music) lost the playlist? Which was only a handful of songs? And called my future BIL during picture taking to ask what the dance songs were? OMG I KNOW. But no one could remember the name of the first dance song which is why my sister and I were singing it at the top of our lungs in the church vestibule while Future BIL was on the phone. AWESOME.)

Apparently they did NOT want to dance in front of EVERYONE and were only doing it GRUDGINGLY and the bridal party had strict instructions to storm the stage mere seconds after their first dance began. But honestly, they were SO sweet and cute that we couldn't bring ourselves to do it. 

Of course, there was pah-lenty of dancing later on. I discovered that my normally quiet, reserved, on the sidelines, introverted BIL (husband of FPC) is QUITE the dancer once he's had a drink or two. Honestly, he was the only one with any business dancing to any of those songs. I knew he had it in him, but the "teaching everyone all the dances" part DID surprise me. 

EJ had a rough time skipping that afternoon nap, but there were so many nice ladies willing to hold her and/or push her around in a stroller until she fell asleep. Which meant I could 1) drink more and 2) dance more. YAY.

I realized, after it was over, that I felt like a GUEST. Which was so nice! I loved the FPC's wedding and was MUCH more involved in it, but I needed therapy after it was over. Something about how the FPC and I were the only ones in the city where the wedding was held made it MUCH more complicated than Other Sister's wedding, you know? (For ME anyway, and this is MY BLOG, I AM THE ONLY ONE WHO COUNTS.) Plus it was at my church and I was figuring out so much of the logistics. This one was in my parents' and sister's town and the reception venue handled nearly everything, and no one needed me to do anything. Of course, you know how I abhor not being needed, but it really WAS nice not having to manage anything the day of the wedding. 

My sister changed into the MOST ADORABLE green dress and then she and BIL escaped. They went to Hawaii. They are in Hawaii right now. I am not jealous at all. 

The rest of us packed up gifts and and guest book cards and flowers and table numbers and gave up looking for lost cameras (PHILLIP HAD IT THE ENTIRE TIME OMG) and then hunkered down at my parents' dining table to debrief. For hours. WAS EXTREME FUN.

I did my own wedding almost entirely by myself. (My parents lived in Italy at the time, my in-laws were helpful but planning our Chinese wedding banquet in Vancouver, my sisters were 19 and 20 so somewhat oblivious to wedding stuff, and my best friends from college had all - ALL! - moved far away. My close friends were only starting to be my close friends then.) But over the years I've helped with friends' weddings and I did a lot for my sisters' weddings. I feel like a know a thing or two now and IF ONLY I KNEW THESE THINGS WHEN I GOT MARRIED!!! (Future post: How I Will Do Things When I Get Married Again.)

I am STILL tired. I slept fine enough last night and even passed out on the couch for a bit this afternoon, but I still have that tired eyes/headachey feeling. So of course I spent hours painting the doors that go on the credenza/buffet thing I bought and painted in JANUARY. Someone needs a new project? 

This was a pretty pathetic recap, it seems. Light on the drama, heavy on the sniffles. But that's the way we want things to go, right? Right. Well done, family of mine. I can't wait for our family beach weekend (THIS WEEKEND) (TO WHICH SISTER AND NEW BIL ARE COMING, I KNOW, THEY ARE CUTTING THEIR HONEYMOON SHORT, THEY ARE CRAZY) (SERIOUSLY) so we can talk about it all over again!!!


Rise and shine!

EJ woke up at 4:30, all wide awake and giggles. I went in to give her a bottle - and yes I know she does not need that bottle and we are probably Perpetuating Bad Habits Etc. Etc. but that bottle is what gives me a fighting chance of more sleep SO - but now I am up. Up up up! EJ went right back to bed, I laid awake thinking: the house is so quiet, everyone's asleep, WHY AM I NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE??? 

Besides, it's light out and someone is snoring - how come HE didn't do the 4:30 bottle? HE has NO problems going back to sleep! - and coffee sounded good. The decaffeinated kind, don't worry. Am I the only nerd you know who makes decaf coffee at 5:30? 

The thing is, I'm a morning person. I've never been able to stay up late, even in high school and college, but I'm awesome at getting up early and getting stuff done. When I was still working I would get there an hour or two before everyone else (and leave an hour or two before everyone else) and it was seriously the BEST THING. 

I often think my world would be a different place if I could get up before the kids. I don't necessarily mean that they sleep in (although that IS the ideal) but even if I could get up at five and have an hour or two of quiet and thought-gathering and me-time before I start getting the breakfast orders. Doesn't that sound NICE? 

Other people get up early to exercise. I've never liked exercising in the morning. I don't know why, since it seems like the best way to do it. Get it out of the way, take a shower, start your day. It actually just makes me tired all day. I like to exercise (WHEN I exercise, which I haven't done since May, A POST FOR ANOTHER DAY) in the middle of the afternoon, right when my mental health starts to flag. Sometimes I'm sweaty and gross for the rest of the day, but it's a good pick me up at 2pm.

How in the world did I veer into exercise? Yuck! Today is the Day Before My Sister's Wedding and I'm really sorry if you're tired of hearing about it, but there is really nothing else going on in my life currently and also I LOVE WEDDINGS. I especially love weddings where I get a front row seat. People started flying into town and descending on my parents' house yesterday and I love THAT too. I love how my parents just put out a ton of food and people are in and out, snacking and talking and hanging out all day. I'm sure it's exhausting for THEM, but it's fun for ME. When I'm with my family I'm an extrovert and it's fun to walk in those shoes for a while, you know? I LIKE PEOPLE! HOW NOVEL!

Anyway, it's a seriously bad idea to be working on only four hours of sleep, but it's either be awake and do nothing in bed, or be awake and write a blog post/read a book/iron my dress/collect myself/revamp the poor attitude/drink decaf coffee/ENJOY THE QUIET. 

(Does anyone else sort of hate the car radio now? I love it when it's just me in the car, but when Phillip drives our family there are four different songs going at once - Jack's, Molly's, Emma's, and the radio's - and I CANNOT DEAL.)

So today I have scheduled myself a pedicure (!) with a gift certificate given to me at CHRISTMAS (!) and also a brow wax because, well, IT'S BEEN A WHILE. Then I will rush home, collect either the big kids or the baby, depending on Phillip's frustration level, and rush down to the reception venue where I must add three names to the seating chart. Because three more people decided to come to the wedding yesterday. YESTERDAY. Oh you guys, the guest list drama. It's not my drama to share, but just let me say that I am sorry for YOU that my sister does not have a blog. IT WOULD BE SO ENTERTAINING RIGHT NOW.

Phillip will show up later with the other car and then there's a big dinner at my sister's house tonight - the "rehearsal" dinner, even though the rehearsal was last night - and we're staying overnight in (Molly and Jack are SO EXCITED) a HOTEL. Phillip and I are not so excited, what with the nightly 4:00 wakeup. But we'll see how it goes. And then Saturday is The Day and Molly and I are scheduled to the max. Which is my favorite kind of scheduled. We are both a teeny weeny bit excited. You should have seen that girl at the rehearsal. There has never been a better behaved and more poised flower girl. She is taking this VERY SERIOUSLY. I love it. 

You: ready to move on to the next storyline. FINE! But not before I post a zillion terrible iPhone photos. Stay tuned! 

(P.S. I love you, Internet. I really do. Thanks for hanging out with me and my gloom this week.) 


This is about baby sleep. I'm sorry. But at the end there is a picture of a three-year-old in her flower girl dress.

For no clear reason I decided, at 2:30 am, that this was going to be the night I sleep train Emma. HA HA HA. More like she trained me to never do that again. 

Usually we stumble into the kitchen, make a bottle, stumble into her room, feed her, rock her, and pray she goes to sleep. We know she doesn't need the bottle, but it's the fastest way to get her back to sleep, which is pretty much all we've cared about. Except now she'll be awake for another hour even WITH a bottle. So. My goal last night was to 1) not feed her and 2) not pick her up. 

I was already awake and thinking about it. READY for the eh eh eh whimpering to begin. I was ON IT. I went back and forth to her room I don't know how many times, patting, shushing, kissing her forehead, saying "night night Emma!", even sitting in the chair in her room just so she'd know she wasn't alone. 

Phillip slept through most of this, but somewhere in Hour Two he woke up and we had a perfectly reasonable discussion about "sleep training" and I was bound! and determined! that we would not feed her! 

And people she didn't even WANT to eat. If I gained one productive thing from last night it's that I'm pretty sure she doesn't want/need to eat, but she has a CRAZY hard time putting herself back to sleep. That much was obvious. Other nights I've thought she's just happily awake and ready to play, but last night she was TIIIIRED. (Why don't tired babies go back to sleep? Seriously! IS IT THAT HARD?) 

Anyway, none of my tactics were working. And she was getting more upset. I tried holding her, even though I said I wouldn't do it. I even let her cry for a bit even though I am 100% sure she is a tension escalator and crying has NEVER come CLOSE to working in the falling asleep department. So yeah, I got up again, I made a bottle, she made a face like, "THANK GOD", sucked down three ounces and fell instantly asleep. 

It was just me up for another half hour wondering what the heck else to do. 

She was super fidgety and squirmy last night, which made me think she'd have an easier time of it if she wasn't swaddled. But 1) she STILL hasn't rolled over 2) she gets mad if I ever try to put her in bed unswaddled 3) she instantly takes her pacifier out and plays with it if her arms aren't pinned down 4) THIS SEEMS LIKE MADNESS. (There was no Unswaddled Boot Camp this weekend, obvs. Like you thought we'd pull that off anyway.)

I think I am finally ready to admit that EJ is a Bad Sleeper. I've been SO against "labeling" her for some reason... I think because she HAS slept through the night. She often falls asleep on her own (unlike Jack who I rocked to sleep until the day before his sister was born.) She'll take super long naps. It's great! But actually it's mostly not great. I can't remember the last night where Phillip and I weren't trudging back and forth to her room between the hours of two and five. WE ARE SO TIRED. 

IN OTHER NEWS (yes! let's talk about something else!) my sister, the one getting married, asked Molly to be her flower girl. Molly was uncertain about this until I found some wedding videos on YouTube and showed her what flower girls do and then she was IN. The dress, the flowers, the pretty hair, Molly is all over that. This morning she asked me if she could carry her princess wand down the aisle. (No.)

This is the [super cheap, TJ Maxx] dress I bought for her to wear to the wedding and we've all decided that it will work great as a flower girl dress:

Mollydress

In case you can't tell, this is a BALLET pose. FYI.

And after a consultation with our favorite lifestyle and fashion blogger, Princess Nebraska, I scored these shoes on Amazon: 

Mollyshoe
Aunt Third Grade Teacher has approved, her being a Shoe Girl just like her goddaughter. 

I think we're going to have the florist make some sort of flower wreath for her hair and my mom will make a basket and then I am going to die of cute. That is, if I don't die of sleep deprivation first. 


Wherein I make the arrival of Baby FPC all about me (and you are unsurprised)

OMG THIS DAY. 

I didn't sleep at all. My sister was in the hospital! Having a stressful labor! OMG! It turns out I am one of those people who MUST KNOW EVERYTHING and EXACTLY WHEN IT HAPPENS and HOW COME THEY WERE NOT TEXTING ME EVERY TEN MINUTES???? Dude, you guys, some people do not tweet through labor! I KNOW!

When I finally fell asleep after feeding Emma at 5:30 this morning, I OVERSLEPT. This was SO not okay because! I had extra responsibilities! Jack, who does not normally go to school on Thursdays, was going on a field trip today. And my step-niece was staying overnight while the FPC and my BIL were at the hospital. I had to get her to school by 8, Jack to school by 8:15 and I woke up at 7:33. AND I wasted an entire two minutes feeling sorry for myself for not sleeping LONGER. Because everyone else was sleeping too! OMG!

People, we were in the car and zooming to school by 7:49. How much ass do I kick? Sure, no one ate breakfast and a very sleepy Jack had a huge booger in his nose and I dressed him in fleece pants even though it was going to be something like 70 degrees BUT WHATEVER WE MADE IT TO SCHOOL ON TIME. 

(I was a bit of a wreck.)

Two seconds after we get home I realize I've missed a call from my BIL. So obvs I call back ASAP and he goes "The baby's here!" and I go "WAHOO!" Also, maybe I cried a little bit. Shut up. 

I immediately started making scones. Weird, BUT. Each time the FPC has visited me in the hospital after a baby she brought, what else, baked goods. Fabulous delicious best-things-I've-ever-tasted baked goods. I was NOT going to show up at that hospital room without a sufficient load of carbs. At the same time I was feeding Emma, getting Molly dressed, getting myself dressed, half unpacking, and putting Emma down for a nap. Head=spinning.

This doesn't feel as crazy to me, now that I'm writing it, but this morning I felt like I was on drugs. OH WAIT I AM ON DRUGS. But the opposite kind of drugs, where you're super ramped up and extra alert and ON A MISSION! 

You should have seen me careening through Target, baby in the front of the cart, 3-year-old in the back, throwing in snacks and nursing bras and the tiniest pajamas I could find (Baby FPC is five tiny pounds) and also a present for my niece because GET THIS today is her birthday too! OMG THIS DAY!!!

Then Molly and Emma and I made it to the hospital and SNIFF! I am an aunt! Actually, I've been an aunt longer than I've been a parent, but this is my SISTER'S baby and she lives TEN MINUTES AWAY and Baby FPC and Emma have a pre-arranged best friendship and SNIFF! 

I am not allowed to post pictures so DON'T ASK. Well, I might have to sneak one someday because the difference in size between Petite Baby FPC and Moose Baby EJ is hilarious. No one tell my sister. 

AAAAANYWAY, the rest of the day was a bit calmer. My parents took breathers at my house between hospital visits, and that was fun for Jack and Molly. I also had a giant "Here are all the things I learned from my giant Hitler book" conversation with my dad, because I enjoy pretending he is my personal history professor. I guess he kind of IS. And then my mom and I went back to visit the FPC again. Then Phillip came home with flowers and doughnuts to bring the FPC later tonight because that's the kind of great and thoughtful BIL he is. And now I have to REALLY unpack and do some laundry and clean up my disaster of a kitchen and oh yeah, go grocery shopping because there is NOTHING to eat in this house.

But I am thinking it would be nice to go back to Fake Venice and take a long nap. 


A change of scenery. For example: OUR CAR

Now the big kids are sick. The big kids were JUST sick! Now EJ is going to catch their cooties all over again. BOO! I have already called preschool to let them know Jack and his river of snot will not be attending tomorrow. I have to give up a preschool morning AND I have to figure out how to entertain a moody four-year-old with a full-fledged Man Cold. 

Perhaps this is why I have vacation on the brain. 

Not that we are GOING ANYWHERE. Oh no. Ever since the Cheung Family Vacation imploded in all directions (no one wants to hear that story, trust me) and ever since I did some forensic accounting on the budget situation and instituted austerity measures, vacation is not an option. 

And not that we have TIME to go anywhere. I just updated my calendar today and HOLY GEE. Have I mentioned one sister is having a baby and one sister is getting married? Just the My-Side-Of-The-Family Events have blocked out my weekends until the end of July. And then there's the My-Side-Of-The-Family beach weekend (HEE! "BEACH WEEKEND"!) happening on the weekend directly following the wedding that I thought FOR SURE would get postponed or canceled but NO, it is ON. And! My sister and her future husband will be there! Either they are KA-RAZY or Future BIL really likes my family. We'll go with Option B. It's flattering.

So I've told you I have a brother and sister-in-law and three painfully adorable, impeccably dressed nephews in Colorado, right? They show up every once in a while just to make my kids look like urchins. At first my brother and SIL didn't have enough vacation time for both weekends, but because they really wanted the boys to go to The Big Red House (which is what the grandkids call the "beach" weekend), somehow my mom and dad decided they would keep the two older boys after the wedding, take them to The Big Red House, and DRIVE THEM BACK TO COLORADO. I KNOW, RIGHT? 

(Side note: my parents drive to Colorado about twice a year. For people who spent at least half their lives living overseas and flying home to the US every summer, they are incredibly airplane- and airport-averse.)

My mom tells me all of this over the phone and my only thought is that my SIL totally lucked out in the in-law department. Then I get an email from my mom saying, essentially, "We've decided you should come with us!" 

OH HA HA HA

Giant road trip? With my PARENTS? And my NEPHEWS? AND ALL OF MY KIDS? It's true that we have the big van, Phillip MIGHT be able to get time off, we keep meaning to figure out how to visit my brother and SIL, and I can think of at least five other people I'd want to visit in the Greater Colorado-Ish Area, but there's no way this is a good idea, right? 

Oh, and now? My brother and SIL CAN stay for both the wedding and the beach weekend and my parents are STILL going to drive the older boys home. KA-RAZY! 

Would I let my kids go on a multi-day road trip without me? With their beloved grandparents? UHHHH... I mean, my first instinct is to say HELL YES but I would also have to work very hard at wrapping my brain around the idea. I get nervous when my parents drive them from my house to theirs! LET ALONE SEVERAL STATES AWAY. 

But that's not the issue. The issue is: do WE want to do this WITH them? I'm not sure. And everything's totally moot if Phillip can't get the time off. (He has this nagging little project at work that keeps getting pushed back, so all his business trips keep getting pushed back, and if his project goes live in July I'll just die of exhaustion right now.) But if he COULD... I could definitely see the potential for awesome. For one thing, my parents are, like, the most into-doing-stuff-with-kids people you've ever met. My mom is keeping a JOURNAL while they drive (they are driving there! Right now!) of things they might want to do with the boys on the summer drive. They have an excellent (if you are four) or maddening (if you are 32) driving system, wherein they stop for coffees and treats about every two hours. My mom LOVES getting up early with energetic preschoolers! My dad LOVES stomping around Historical Sites and pointing out dinosaur fossils and giving impromptu geology lessons! IT SOUNDS HALFWAY FUN!

But then I think about $4 gas and getting three kids to sleep in one hotel room. I think about packing and all the snacks and diapers and GEAR. And where to stay when we GET there. (Surely SIL does not want in-laws, plus us, plus three more kids in her house, even if there was room, which I do not think there IS.) 

But vacation? Even this sort of work-intensive vacation? Sounds awfully nice right now. A change of scenery. Perhaps some sunshine. Seeing family (even if we'll have just seen them the previous weekend!) Something DIFFERENT. I don't know. Sounds kinda nice.