Friday, April 27, 2007

mom's day off

Today, I did something I bet most moms fantasize about but never (or rarely) do: I took an entire day off. No kids, no housework, no chores. I actually planned it a couple weeks ago. I arranged for child care and dropped the kids off about 9:30 in the morning. Then I went to the local bookstore, bought a big latte, and immersed myself in a novel (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan). I spent a good part of the day there. The rest of the day I played on the computer, talked on the phone, and bought groceries (without kids yammering in the cart and pulling things off the shelves). All in all, a very satisfactory day!

As good as this felt, I feel a little guilty. It felt so decadent to spend the whole day on ME, doing what I like. But still, I had a great time! I think the fact that I'm working and earning money helps me justify the cost. And when I picked up the kids at 5 p.m., they were happy. We took them to McDonald's for dinner and then got their portraits taken at Sears, and they were happy, well behaved, fun to be with, and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

So - you moms out there - how often have you done this? What did you do on your day off?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

the great car dealer rip-off

I can't believe I lost a $350+ keychain!

Ironically, I misplaced my keychain the day of Sam's adoption in Utah's great hall of justice, the Salt Lake County Courthouse. At the time I thought, oh well - I'd rather gain a kid and lose my keys than the other way round.

But that was when I had no idea how much car dealers charge to replace keys and those little "keyless entry" remote controls. We could get copies of one car key at Lowe's for a couple bucks, but the Toyota key has a "chip" to prevent such convenience. This way, the dealer can charge $45 for the replacement key, $138.75 for the remote, and of course an additional $45 for the "labor" of programming the remote. The Chevy dealer - isn't this amazing - charges the exact same fee for the programming, but the Chevy remote is "only" $45.

This all reaffirms my view of car dealers. It's kind of like dealing with surgeons - I don't want to at all if I can avoid it, and in the end it's just painful. I'm still trying to decide how much it's worth to me to be able to lock/unlock my car remotely. Before kids, I wouldn't have cared at all. Now, I really like it.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

thirty-something isn't THAT old!!!

So, on a whim I went to see a "B" movie at the dollar theater - "Music and Lyrics" starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. It was cute, pretty predictable but nothing spectacular. What got me, though, was the portrayal of women in their late thirties as "menopausal."

A little background: in the movie, Drew Barrymore's older sister is revealed to be 38 (same age as yours truly). Hugh Grant performs at her high school class reunion, which happens to be the class of 1987 (my class). Hugh Grant is an 80's pop music "has-been" - he was a big star in the 80's but has since been relegated to playing at, well, high school reunions. At the reunion, when he performs, the women in the crowd go crazy. Later, Hugh Grant jokes about his following among the "menopausal" crowd. Maybe it's just supposed to be hyperbole, but really, is that society's understanding - that we 30-somethings are already having hot flashes?

For the teens and twenty-something crowd who most likely make up the majority of this movie's target audience, I'm sure "38" does sound hopelessly old. But I protest: I still like to think there's a difference between late thirties and early fifties (the average age of onset of menopause). When you're 18, though, I think it all looks the same. Old.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Happy Adoption Day

Yesterday was the big day - we went to court to finalize Sam's adoption. He is now officially, legally, and forever our son! As Bryan says, "Now he's stuck with us." And we with him. As Alex frequently proclaims, "I'm HAPPY!"

We went out to lunch with Buzzmeovaby and Tammy, Calvin and Michelle to celebrate. For a table with 5 adults and 5 kids ages 3 and under, it was remarkably calm and pleasant--I know it sounds unbelievable, but it was. The key was having crackers to dispense to kids waiting for the food to arrive. Crackers = happiness for all. Must remember to have lots of crackers every time we go out to eat. Sam is able to tolerate sitting in a high chair much longer now, as long as he has something to eat, which gives me hope that we will be able to enjoy restaurants again more often in the future.

The court proceedings went smoothly, though the setting was very different than last time (with Alex). Instead of being in the big fancy wood-paneled courtroom, we were ushered to the judge's "chambers" (an office with a window, desk and several chairs). The judge was very impressed with Sam's tux and said if he'd known, he would have put on something more formal. :-) While our attorney presented the documents and stated the case to the judge, there was a fair amount of background action going on, all of which should be captured on videotape. Sam got restless and started exploring, at one point venturing behind the judge's desk. Aimee, my friend's daughter, tripped and bumped her knee and cried and had to be carried out. Alex pulled her skirt all the way up to display her bare tummy and diaper for the judge and attorney. I'm sure there was more, but I was trying to pay attention to the attorney and answer questions. In the end the official pronouncement was made and we got our picture taken with the judge. The only down side to such a great day was that somewhere I put down my keys and we were never able to find them again. Blast. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Welcome to the family Sam! As I say to him every night at bedtime, "Sam, I'm so happy you're my little boy."

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Sam!

We love you Samuel Gil Sang-Ah!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

My baby's turning ONE

Sam's birthday is tomorrow. We're celebrating tonight, and I'm looking forward to all the hoopla - dressing him in his hanbok, doing the Toljabee (see if you don't know what this is), singing the happy birthday song, lighting his one candle and watching Alex "help" him blow it out, and giving him his presents. For some reason I'm feeling really happy about this milestone. He has made it to ONE! Even though I know his sweet little "tiny baby" days are over, I am looking forward to all the FUN stuff we'll be doing together. I think having Alex as the "prequel" helped. :-)

Of course, the one-to-two age range is difficult as well. Dangerous combination of mobility and utter cluelessness. Sam is already more mobile than I'm comfortable with. Today, for example, I caught him with his hands in the toilet again, and this was shortly after he learned he CAN tip over the kitchen trash can and sample the contents. I got him in bed for a nap and went to fold laundry, only to discover the little "present" he had left me - a puddle of baby puke on the carpet next to my bed. (And yet for some reason I still LOVE, love LOVE the little punker! You mommies and daddies out there understand.)

Had a dream last night that he emptied a bowl of hot wax over his head. Don't ask me how there came to be a bowl of hot wax, but I just had that terrible sinking feeling as (in the dream) I was picturing him in the burn unit. I do worry more about Mr. Go-getter Sam hurting himself than I do with Alex. Trying to dance the fine line between being extra-vigilant and being the dreaded and scorned "over-protective" mother. It still irks me when Bryan pooh-poohs my "mommy safety rules," such as no balloons in the house (choking hazard) or no whole grapes for kids under 3. Even seemingly innocent things can turn deadly: on Easter, I was enjoying a quiet moment with my Time magazine when I heard Sam whimpering. Looked up and saw he had gotten his plastic Easter bucket handle around his neck and was stuck. He can find a way to make anything dangerous, that boy.

Anyway...back to Sam's birthday. This blog entry would not be complete without a mention of Sam's first mother, his Korean mother. Even though we've never met, I've been thinking about her a lot as his birthday approaches. How is she doing? How must she feel as this date approaches and she remembers it all - being pregnant and alone, going into labor, giving birth to this healthy boy with the fuzzy black hair sticking straight up from his head - all of it knowing this was her son - and yet she could not be his mother. :-( Did she hold him? Rock him? Sing to him? As happy as I am to have the privilege of being Sam's mom, I can't help feeling sad for her. Wherever she is, I wish her peace in her heart.

The adoption agency in Korea keeps a file for each child. If Sam's first mother ever wants to, she can come back (secretly, probably) and see his pictures and letters we send. Every time I send an update, I hope she will eventually see it. Even if it's painful, I so want her to know what a great little man he is and how much we love him.

Friday, April 13, 2007

just rambling...

Well, I haven't posted in a while since I didn't feel like I had anything new to say. But here's what's been going on the past few weeks.

- I finished reading The Great Influenza - a good, if long, book about the influenza pandemic of 1918. Scary. I didn't know it primarily killed people ages 20-35. We are so not prepared for the next time it happens. I passed up an "emergency food kit" at Costco, a big bucket of preserved food for $99 that's supposed to last 6 weeks. Some day I'm going to get just a little more paranoid and start buying that stuff. For now, we are still hoping to rely on the mercy of our good Mormon neighbors in the event of catastrophe. :-) Today, in fact, the same good Mormon neighbors invited us to an "emergency preparedness" event at the local ward.

- Bryan's grandma, Great Nana, hasn't been doing so well. She's been combative and non-cooperative at the nursing home. :-(. She even threw her Bible at one of the aides and called her a "hussy." This is about 6 weeks after starting Zoloft...sigh. It's sad.

- Am currently reading "The Courage To Be" by Paul Tillich. Apparently this book was all the rage when it came out, but by the time I was in college had dropped off the required reading lists. I like it but it's pretty heavy stuff. I feel like I'm back in college again. I wish for a group to discuss it with, but I doubt I'll find one anytime soon. Maybe online.

- Listening to "When We Were Orphans" in the car - a detective story taking place in London and Shangai. The reader is one of the best I've ever heard - he ranks up there with Willem Dafoe reading Steven King's The Langoliers. He does voices and accents really, really well. It makes me glad I'm listening to it rather than reading it. Fun.

- Alex said something cute the other day. Her pants had no pockets and she said, "Oh, I'll go get my overballs. They have pockets." Overballs. As my friend Nancy said, "If she were a boy, that would be true!"