Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our Week-Long Family Christmas Celebration: Part II - It's Actually Happening, In Filipino Time

If you've ever known a Filipino family, you've likely heard the term "Filipino Time".  The concept of time is evidently impossible to grasp.  For one, you can never expect that anything will start at the time stated.  Usually, anywhere between two to three hours late is considered having made good time.  This Christmas, in my family's case, "Filipino Time" was not two or three hours late it was three days late.

Yes, while Paul's side of the family did celebrate Christmas Day with us and a good time was had by all, MY side of the family apparently decided that this Tuesday, December 28th, was a good day to show up.

I've known about my family's week-long visit and now they're here. For the most part, my mother is keeping to herself in the office/library where she's staying in and she's enjoying looking through many of the books in there.  She's only had one of her odd remarks.  Things are going pretty good without her -- the rest of us have played some fun Wii games together, the adults pulled out Balderdash and had a scream of a time laughing at everyone's answers, and the sun came out today and the kids had fun in the forest.  Tomorrow, if it's still warm, we're going to take the five minute walk down to Folsom Lake and let the kids throw rocks.

I thought I'd have a lot of fodder needing comic relief here on my blog due to my mother's week-long visit, but so far she's given me nothing.  That's alright, I guess.  I'll take my sanity.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Is it Wintertime? Summer, I mean, Winter in Santa Barbara

Another full weekend of soccer, and this time my son's team is competing in the Youth Soccer Showcase and attending the NCAA Men's Soccer Championships -- in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA. The sun is out, the light brush of fog and clouds burned off by 10 am. 76 degrees. Crazy.

There's no where I'd rather be this weekend than enjoying Winter in Santa Barbara. People actually live here. So lucky!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Preparing for Our Week-Long Family Christmas Celebration, Part I: Mental Preparation

Without being overly disrespectful to the woman who gave me birth, this post is about my beginning preparations for this year's Christmas family celebration hosted by yours truly. These preparations include the fun of decorating our home (jungle-themed this year), deciding where adults and kids will sleep (we will stuff four families into our home), the joy of shopping for gifts, planning over a week's worth of menus, as well as the annual arrival into our home of my mother.

I've only been blogging for a month and a half and I have not had the chance yet to write about the woman in my life whose relationship with me in my first 17 years was of the utmost influence upon the growth of my self-esteem, the shaping of my outlook on life, and in so many ways even still the way I think about things. I don't think of my mother often, other than seldom and random escaping thoughts. She only lives an hour and a half away, which when you factor in California roads and traffic is actually not far, but as you can denote from my detached regard of her -- we are not close.

Every year around Christmas time, I am forced to consider her since my family and home hosts family Christmas and my mother arrives with one of my brothers. She will arrive with her air of negativity and "woe is me" way about her. The cloud that surrounds her will attempt to suffocate us all immediately, but will slowly diffuse after everyone has the chance to politely ask her how she is doing, to which she will answer with a gruff and sorrowful, "Ooooh ... things are o-kaaaayyyyy ... I guess." She'll sit on the couch for the majority of the week -- barely talking to anyone, glaring at my kids and all the cousins, and ordering my brothers to get something for her.

So, as I prepare for hosting Christmas, this post is simply a bit of a vent about my mental preparations for the week-long visit of my mother.

At brunch yesterday morning, my girlfriends said that at least I'll have some funny stories to tell about the comic relief I will be searching for within the nook and cranny of every moment during her holiday visit -- assisted by a well-stocked wine fridge.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy Ten Year Anniversary! (One Solution for Aging)

Today, I happily celebrate my 29th birthday.

When I was about fifteen, I thought twenty-five was so "old".  Thirty-five was just plain ancient.

When I was twenty-five, I didn't appreciate my youth.  I was caught up in my career, going to the bars after work with my friends, shopping, and just living each day being only responsible for myself.

By the time I was 35, I had three children and lived the life of a suburban housewife.  I was convinced (and still am) that life as a 30-something woman was the best time of my life.  I feel like my kids keep me young.  Life is so fresh and wonderful for them.  Doing things with and for them is like getting to live my life over again but through their eyes.  Granted, I don't have the body I did when I was 25, before I had three kids -- but I am firmly aware that I am more beautiful today than I was back then.  I have the confidence in myself as a woman that I didn't have when I was 25. 

Today, December 6th, 2010, I am 39 years old.  But, after turning 30 I decided that a simple solution for aging would be to just celebrate my 29th birthday every year.  So, actually I am celebrating the tenth anniversary of my 29th birthday.  I have a few more wrinkles and a lot more gray hairs -- but for 29, I sure do feel great!

Have a wonderful, wonderful day everyone!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Parting with Boris and Natasha -- Things That Make You Go Huh?

We are currently in the market for new seating in our family room. The sofa/chair set we have now has been in our family for eight or nine years and are finally seeing their last days. It is a nice looking cinnamon-brown leather set that has served us well, through two boys and a wild little girl and all their friends. It proudly shows off its wear with scuff marks over almost every inch, wrinkles and cracks that make the pair look more than twice their age, and one large tear in the middle of one of the sofa cushions that no one owns up to. I'll likely just sound nutty, but I also lovingly call the sofa and chair, Boris and Natasha, so they're almost like members of the family.  (Huh?  I know, right?  So, I put this post in the "Things that make you go Huh?" category.)

However, we love to entertain, and they only allow seating for 4 adults. It would be great to get a sectional sofa that would seat 6 or more adults.

This sofa and chair are inanimate objects that have no feelings and, of course, show no emotion. Neither have they once let us know their feelings about being spilled on, being wrestled and jumped on, and being beaten in every way imaginable.

Tell me, why do I feel a bit of nostalgia for these pieces of furniture that have greeted our just-awakened bodies almost every morning, accepted our tired bottoms after long days, and helped us to entertain all of our friends who stay and visit with us for awhile? Just because we've owned these objects for almost as long as our oldest son is in age, why do I feel like letting them move on is like giving away an important part of our family?

So, then I took a picture of Boris and Natasha to show how beaten up they are.  But, as you'll see in the picture -- they actually look great, other than the tear in the seat cushion.  It's almost as if they are speaking to me, saying, "See, don't let us go!"

The part of me that is still able to reason about this topic tells me that these are just replaceable "things" -- and "things" don't really matter. The sensitive and sappy part of me just likes the simple feelings and memories that flood into my mind. They remind me how much our family has grown and changed in the past eight or nine years and how much of it has played out day-to-day in our family room -- on this sofa and chair.

So, we continue our search for family room furniture replacements. But, I also find myself taking my time. It's silly, but Boris and Natasha are like part of the family and I'm a bit sad to know they'll soon be gone.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

That's the Way, Uh Huh Uh Huh, I Like It -- and Other Great Basketball Plays

I am the total sideline mom.  Although I don't know every aspect of each sport my sons' play, I will cheer their teams on (and I will look good doing it).

This morning, my son's basketball team played their first game of the season and enjoyed a successful season opener.  My DH, Paul, is the assistant coach -- but he'll be getting knee surgery in less than two weeks, so will be limited while he's on crutches.  So, the following letter is one I wrote just after the game to the head coach (our friend, John) who will likely need assistance while Paul is recovering.



Great game this morning! It will definitely be exciting to watch the whole team progress through the season.

This morning, Paul told you that he will be getting knee surgery on the 16th and that will leave you without an asst. coach for an indeterminate amount of time. Therefore, I can offer my expertise in the position while Paul is recovering. After watching the kids this morning, I see that a couple of my simple maneuvers can easily incorporate into the existing play plans. I'm positive that you will see some of my training is already evident in Zach's style of play. You can thank me later.

Anyway, here are a sample of just a few plays out of many that I can contribute:

1) The Booty Move - When being closely defended one-on-one, offensive players can sharply stick their booties out -- both keeping defenders from behind away from the ball and either grossing them out or confusing them completely.

2) The Shake and Shimmy - When defending the ball handler, sing "That's the Way, Uh Huh Uh Huh, I Like It" while shaking and shimmy-ing. Another great way to force the loss of possession.

3) The Goodyear Blimp - An oldie, but goodie. Right before driving to the net, point east and say "Oh look, the Good year Blimp!", then nimbly dribble the ball right up to the key for an easy lay up.

In any case, please let me know if you need help with the team and whatever I can do to help out.

Again it was incredible to see what you've done with the new team in such a short amount of time. It's impressive and I'm really looking forward to watching them play again. Have a great rest of the weekend and see you all soon.