Bits of February

Can I possibly squeeze in more hiking posts before February is over?? Yes, yes I can! We've been to the Griffith Observatory many times before. But we haven't been lately because it's just too much of a pain to find parking up on the little hilltop parking lot. The road gets crowded and we start to get road rage...yes, "we". Even I get road rage from the passenger seat! Ha, I'm sure it's not too hard to picture that. But, we then discovered that we can park at the base of Griffith Park and hike a mile up to the observatory! Woohoo! It's a very nice, wide, paved trail and the incline is very slow. Even myself and the kids didn't let out too many complaints...and most of the complaining were from the kids! When we got to the top, we simply walked right into the observatory and avoided all the crazy parking traffic.

Happy belated Chinese New Year! This is the year of the dog. Sadly, we've had to postpone our annual Chinese New Year's Eve banquet with my folks because they are all sick with the flu! We've all had the flu last month which lasted an entire 4 weeks! So we my not get to eat our big Chinese dinner until March. Plus, the kids may have to wait until March to get their red envelopes.

We are also following along with the evolution of the shooting tragedy in Florida and hope that real change in gun control will happen. But I'm sensing that change will come, either now or in the next election cycle, change for the better, change from crazy to calm, from circus atmosphere to sensible atmosphere. I have high hopes from the Millennials. Did I talk about my admiration for the Millennials?? I truly admire these young, quirky adults! They are not materialistic, they are not judgmental, and they have pretty innovative ideas. Best of all, many of them are foodies and have created some amazing eating experiences, at least in LA. I feel that the Millennials will change the world of politics and they are no longer hindered by some of the shadow of America's past, like racism and sexism. Yes, I find them a little quirky, but in a good way. My Gen-X friends told me that their teenage kids don't even want to drive! They have no desire to get their driver's license nor cars. They walk everywhere and take public transportation. Malls everywhere in LA are converting their shops into fancy restaurants because Millennials would rather spend their money on a good meal than on a pair of jeans! I wonder what Buzz and Ahgoo's generation are going to be like!

So without further text, enjoy my pics from our hike up to the Griffith Observatory. See if you can spot the deer in the first picture. We actually saw a deer on our hike!!

Posted on February 22, 2018

Growing Pains

At just two months shy of turning 6, I felt like she's turning 16. Before you think, wow, she must be a very mature 5 year old...let me correct you. Although this behavior has been on and off for the past year, the past few weeks has been especially horrible. She's been throwing tantrums practically EVERY evening. It starts from the second we pick her up from the after school care. The constant whining will escalate into a full blown hurricane of a tantrum by the middle of dinner no matter how much we try to avoid it. We tried punishment, we tried placating, we tried redirecting, we tried being nice, being mean, playing music, everything! Poor Buzz even tries to give her hugs, bring her toys, tickling her, everything! It's definitely taken a toll on everyone. She screams so loud that we were worried the neighbors would call the police thinking we were beating her. Poor Buzz just ends up curling up in his chair and covering his ears with his hands. We were at our wits' end.

This went on for weeks, until last Tuesday night. Mr. BAW was out that evening and I hit the lowest point in my head when she threw another monster tantrum, hitting me and throwing herself down on the floor. When she finally tired herself out and I managed to get her dressed and ready for bed, she passed out on the bed within seconds. As I sat by her bed, I started to feel the guilt that I suppose most working mothers harbor in the dark corners of their minds. The guilt never goes away. Why do I leave my kids with strangers most of the day? I can't quit, I can't even cut back hours at work because we can't financially afford to do so. Why do I choose to be in this situation where my selfishness of wanting to live in a high cost-of-living city is more important than raising my kids? I'm ruining my kids' lives by being a selfish mother! These dark thoughts just overwhelmed my mind that evening. I am sure all working mothers struggle with these thoughts at some point or another. I have a friend who lives near us, her son is in Buzz's class. She's a single working mother. Her son is usually the first kid to arrive at the before school program and one of the last to be picked up at the end of the day. One evening, we went to pick up the kids a little later than normal due to a meeting. As I got out of our car, I saw a dark shadow (this was in the middle of winter when it gets pitch dark even at 5:50pm) sprinting across the grass into the class room. When we got in, I joked to my friend about her bionic woman running skills. She gave me a tired smile and said how guilty she always feels about picking up her son so late in the day. GUILT, evil you are!

At the end of the evening, I did make a decision. I decided that I do need to spend more quality time with Ahgoo. Before she was born, I used to spend the time before bed with Buzz teaching him math. He benefited tremendously from our time together, not just learning math, but just being with me. But with Ahgoo, we've forgotten that she's two years younger than Buzz. Each week, she's enrolled in just as many activities as Buzz, doing Taekwon Do, swimming, soccer, and Chinese school. Each night, she's exhausted, in addition to having to do homework! We forget that Buzz did not have this many activities when he was 5. So I told Mr. BAW that Ahgoo will take a year-long break from Taekwon Do and soccer and we will postpone enrolling her in art classes. She will only focus on swimming and Chinese school. I want to focus on spending quality evenings with her. I would be able to have some one-on-one quality time with her when Buzz is at an evening activity.

So the next night was a complete contrast to the torment we've been experiencing. I spend real quality time with my little girl and she was an angel! We read a cute story together during dinner, we chatted about her day during bath time, she even did tons of Chinese homework. Plus, she lost her second tooth (it was hanging by only one tiny corner) after her bath. I could see how happy she was having me all to herself, even just for a few hours! I think all of us (including Buzz and Mr. BAW) needed this evening. It was like medicine for our souls. I think in our attempts at trying to give our kids things (material or experiences), we lose sight of what they need most, just being with us. We will re-evaluate her activities after a year. We definitely want her to take Taekwon Do again, but when she's a little older. Mr. BAW told her instructors last night that she'd be taking a break from it for a while, the instructors all understood and told him that this is common with young kids. For now, I'm just so much happier with more quality time with my baby! I'm sure I will cherish these moments when I'm old and will not even remember the horrible month of tantrums. That's why I'm sharing this with you so I don't forget the rough times.

To continue with the hiking trend, I want to share with you pictures of our hike at Abalone Cove last month. It was a lovely winter day, warmer than I expected, in the mid 70's. We live only about seven miles away but have actually never taken the hike before. So it was nice to finally see it.

Lastly, I want to share this link with was posted by a pediatric palliative care doctor. But be warned, DO NOT READ THIS AT WORK and make sure you have a whole box of tissue handy. But so worth reading...

Posted on February 9, 2018

LA Winters

Folks, it's already February and we're starting to get a little more sunlight each day!! January was a good month for the kids. Last fall, Buzz won first place in the PTA Reflections contest at his school for the category of TK - 2nd grade in Literature for a poem he wrote. The theme this year is "Within Reach" and his poem is about the "Invention Convention" where "the future is within reach." By winning first place at his school, they automatically entered him into the school district competition. On January 24, we were invited to the district awards ceremony where he again won first place!! We were so proud of him! Although he did not go on to win at the regionals, we could not have ever expected him to win at the district level competing against ten other elementary schools! So he got a dinner of his choice that evening and ice cream treat later that week. Ahgoo's been doing so well in Kindergarten as well, her reflections project won third place at the school for Visual Arts. She's also won several spirit awards for Responsibility and Kindness. I can't believe that the school year is almost over, and I'm starting to look into summer school options! Yikes, time flies in certain ways.

In other ways...time seem to stand still. No matter how hard one tries, no matter the home improvement project, the General Contractor you hire, no matter the size of the project, at one point or another, there will be a time when the project stalls. There will be a time when hardly anyone shows up at your house...when things just sit...whether you are waiting for additional tiles, cabinets to be manufactured, cement to cure, or whatever. Yes, we are in that period where we would come home and even the dust remained the same. I told our GC that my only wish at this point is that we would have the house completed in time for Thanksgiving. That is my only wish now...I thought I was way pessimistic to give them one year...but at this point, I just want it to be done BEFORE NOVEMBER!

So that's our 2018 thus far. Now, I'd like to share a little tip with you. What's the best thing to do in LA during winter? Hiking! Many places in LA are simply too hot to visit in the summer time. But winter, it's the best. The temperatures are in the mid to high 70's and the skies are clear and blue. We've been hiking almost every weekend when we can.

We've been visiting local mountains and I want to share some pictures with you. What's more LA than the Hollywood sign and finding the original bat caves!?! Mr. BAW was far more excited about the bat caves than the kids were, but they were excited too. These are the famous Bronson Caves where they filmed the Batman series in the 60's. In fact, the day we were there, there were people doing a fashion shoot. The kids thought that the models were "scary looking." Ha! Anyway, enjoy the pictures!

Posted on February 6, 2018



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