Of Course

Of course, now that I’m finally out with a friend to work, my internet on the laptop blitzes. It always blitzes at this particular place I’m at, but it’s so close to my house, it’s really hard to resist. Everything on the internet works except access to my blog. Talk about the OPPOSITE of what I want to happen.

I fixed it once. But then promptly forgot it because WHY WOULD I EVER NEED THIS INFORMATION AGAIN?

Oh, Life. You betch.

And of course, now that I finally have resigned myself to the reality of lame interwebs, I open up Word and HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO WRITE.

Keep in mind that during the regular day, I have so many thoughts rushing through my perforated brain that I want to chase down and think about more but if I do, I know I will forget it all when it comes down to write. (Not that I haven’t forgotten it all even without chasing those thoughts down, so I guess it doesn’t really matter which option I choose.)

Sigh.

I swear, I used to be a smart, capable, and competent person. With interesting thoughts and ideas. And nice hair and pretty (or at least, less boring) clothes.

In fact, I used to be an extrovert. And night owl.

Alright, I still am both these things. But even with every child I have, I become more and more introverted. By the end of the day, I just want to crawl and hide and read or watch TV or NOT TALK TO SMALL CHILDREN and then stay up all night doing the things I want to do.

Ok, I lied again. I have no problem leaving my house and chatting with my friends all night. I do some version of this with my late night group texting.

But this night owl business – it’s hard on a body.

And since I have a 5 month old who I apparently forgot to teach how to self-soothe because his hands are always stuck in mittens due to his constant scratching of his eczema face and because he is huge and strong he always breaks his swaddle to scratch and I have to perpetually nurse him so that he calms down enough to go back to sleep and OMG you know those babies who suck on a pacifier and are totally awesome sleeping while they have a pacifier in their mouths but as soon as the pacifier falls out they wake up?

MY NIPPLE IS THAT PACIFIER.

That last paragraph is just one huge run-on sentence that I swear had a point somewhere in the beginning but I forgot and am now too lazy to go back and edit.

Also? I often talk in run-on sentences so just be happy you’re getting the real me.

Oh, right.

This being a pacifier for my baby prevents me from unbroken sleep so when I stay up late, it always bites me in the ass and the next day, I’m exhausted and awake but I have FOUR children to keep alive (however minimally) and though Cookie Monster and Gamera are pretty self-sufficient (and therefore, can also take care of Glow Worm), I don’t really want to make it habit of consistently checking out and leaving the child-rearing heavy lifting to my seven year old.

Ooooh. TWO run-on sentence paragraphs in one post! Maybe this can be my new thing.

The benefit of all this rambling, however, has been that I now remembered all the posts I was supposed to be writing in the first place. So, your loss; my gain!

Let that be a lesson to you aspiring writers – just start writing whatever random thing pops into your head and eventually, you will think of what you wanted to write about and voila! You’re already writing so you can start writing that.

Other things that help include: going to the bathroom; cleaning something; folding laundry; taking a shower; going on a walk; doing something mindless.

In fact, that helps for any type of mental block. Do something that doesn’t require a lot of brain power (except reading/watching TV) and allows your mind to wander. Eventually, your mind will wander back to what you wanted to write about in the first place. In fact, your mind has been working in the background this entire time.

Look! I have now repaid you for your reading my blatherings with this gem of a mind hack.

YOU’RE WELCOME.

I’m going to leave now and go write posts about my undying love for the Instant Pot that you will consume and read and find brilliant on a later date.

Thank you and have a wonderful day. (Or barring that high bar, have a reasonably unsucky day.)

蓮花 Book Review

Title: 蓮花 (lian2 hua)/Lotus Flower 

ISBN: 9789861614700

Authors: 信誼基金出版社

Publisher: 信誼

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Picture Book, Non-Fiction, Science

Summary: This book discusses the lotus flower’s life cycle and uses. 

Sample Pages: These were suggested by Cookie Monster (7yo) because they were his favorite pages of the book. He liked the seed pods (he thinks they’re cool) and the lotus roots (again, thinks the shapes are cool).





Rating: 3/5 stars

5 Minute Review: Other than an occasional difficult vocabulary word, this text was clear and easy to read and understand. 

The pictures are vibrant and the text informative. Cookie Monster found it reasonably interesting and read through the book very quickly. 

Despite me having to look up plant specific terms and a few phrases, the terms were easy to explain and understand. 

I didn’t realize Chinese folks ate so much of the lotus plant – that it was more than just pretty. In fact, there can be 2-3 harvests! (Flowers, seeds, and roots.)

Below is a video of Cookie Monster reading an excerpt from 蓮花 (lian2 hua)/Lotus Flower. 

Suck It Up, March


How is March mostly over?

WTH, 2017? How is a quarter of the year over? I do not understand.

Anyhow, here is my monthly check in to see how I’m doing with my yearly goals, aka: My Year of Sucking it Up.

1) Take family and personal health seriously.

What does that look like? I want to:

a) Cook at least 5 meals a week. 

You guys. I am rocking this shit.

I have stopped tracking what days I cook and how often because I pretty much cook every day, twice a day. It’s now easier to track which days I eat out (which is at most, once a week).

I am SO PLEASED.

Plus, I know I mentioned it last month, but my kids are actually eating vegetables and food without much complaint. In fact, Cookie Monster has turned into a little food critic. He’ll beg to check out the food, smell it, taste it, and then say, “Oh, this tastes pretty good.” or “It’s not bad.”

It’s hilarious.

My kids clearly watch too many judged cooking shows.

Also also? Since January, we have only been to McDonald’s once and Burger King once. 

We used to go to one of these places (mostly McDonald’s) at LEAST once a week. And now, down to maybe once a month. Yay!

b) Be active once a week.

So, I let the two Groupons I bought expire. I just couldn’t muster up the energy to go and I was worried that I would injure myself. I am one stupid move from re-injuring my shoulder and since Hapa Papa is working so much, I can’t afford to get hurt.

Thus, we said goodbye to our monies. It doesn’t matter if I can still use the funds at the businesses at a later date. It’s not gonna happen.

However, now that the sun is back out again, we have been meeting up with friends to go to the park almost every weekday. We’ve also gone back out to hike paved trails. And since I have to lug around my hefty Sasquatch in the Ergo the whole time, I figure that’s enough for physical activity.

I’m doing pretty well in this, considering.

c) Wash face and brush teeth twice daily.

Yeah. It’s best not to mention this anymore. But for the interest of consistency, I’m including it. But yeah. No good.

d) Take vitamins and supplements.

I’m still remembering to take these most days. I consider it a win.

e) Go to sleep when the kids sleep 4x a week.

Nope. I’ve sucked major donkey balls at this.

The problem isn’t so much that I’m not sleeping when the kids are sleeping. The problem is that I wake up after sleeping for three hours and then can’t fall back asleep.

This is the same problem I had in Taiwan last summer. It’s like self-induced jet lag.

I’m a consummate idiot.

f) No texting while driving.

I did better this month. Not as cold turkey as January – but not as horrible as February. So,  um, maybe lukewarm turkey.

2) Take my responsibilities as a grown up seriously.

I owned it this month. But mostly because I realized I had to hand in my tax documents to my CPA by March 18 in order to file on time so it took me 4-5 hours to gather all of it. I also finally changed our life insurance beneficiaries. (Turns out only Cookie Monster was a contingent beneficiary. FAIL.)

Also, finally opened a 529 account for Sasquatch as well as another living trust account for me to hide money from myself. I even finally rolled over Hapa Papa’s SIMPLE IRA from his previous company to an IRA Rollover. Now, to transfer it to our Schwab accounts. (I hate you, Fidelity, for making this entire process so cumbersome.)

I also submitted my health insurance claims and FSA claims for Hapa Papa’s old insurance.

I even submitted claims for our NEW insurance. (Because the out of pocket expenses before receiving the new insurance cards were high and painful.)

People, it was painful but it was done.

BOW BEFORE MY ADULTING.

3) Write.

I have barely written this month. Any of the posts that posted this month were written last month. (Well, I suppose except this post.)

I’m tired. I keep saying this, but it bears repeating.

I’m really tired.

So, I’ve shoved writing to the back burner for now because LIFE.

Alright. That’s it for this month. How did you do for March? Are you even still tracking with your goals? If not, there’s no time like the present to start up again.

彩色點點 Book Review


Title: 彩色點點 (cai3 se4 dian3 dian3)/Mix It Up!

ISBN: 9789577625298

Author/Illustrator: Hervé Tullet

Publisher: 上誼

Level: Chinese Picture Book, Fiction

Summary: T. Gives instructions to the reader (eg: trace the line, find the dot, press the dot, etc) and goes on an “adventure” with the reader in tow. Very interactive.

Sample Pages:



Rating: 5/5 stars

5 Minute Review: All my children love Tullet’s books and this one is no exception. Cookie Monster (7) and Gamera (5) can read most of the characters (there is no zhuyin) and so can I. I still have to look up the occasional character, but mostly, I can guess them from context.

Again, it is Glow Worm (3.5) who LOVES this book (much like he loves the other two in the series).

The illustrations are fun and interactive and teach a lot about color mixing. I don’t know if Glow Worm understands half of it, but he loves screaming out the colors and my other two kids love the “mixing” and “magic” of the series.

Highly recommend.

Brain Rattles


Folks, I know that the reason I’m tired is because I have a four month old as well as make poor sleeping choices. Them’s the breaks, right?

However, a sleepy, tired brain does not make for coherent pieces that document and logicize bilingual education or any of the things that I want to talk about but require a lot of brain power.

So then, here is another one of my mental flotsam posts wherein I ramble and subject you, Dear Reader, to the odd, amusing, and terribly banal things rattling around in my noggin.

1) I really, really, really, really, really hate Hapa Papa’s new job. I mean, I am grateful he has a well-paying job. I am grateful he has friends who want to recommend him to awesome positions. I am grateful he gets to try new things.

But I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY HATE HIS NEW JOB.

He is gone a LOT and I am TIRED and the kids miss him and oddly enough, I miss him, too.

That is all.

2) Sasquatch is delicious.

His fatty meat sleeves are a delight to squish. I love him grabbing onto my fingers, my hair, my shirt, my face (via my mouth, naturally), and whatever else.

Plus, his crooked grin whenever he sees me melts my cold, dark heart.

3) Sasquatch’s skin has decided to declare war. All my kids have had some form of eczema on their face around this age – and none as insanely horrible as poor Glow Worm.

But seriously, his poor face. His entire left cheek was an open, weeping sore. Makes me so sad.

This time around, I did not wait and try a ton of natural remedies. I gave him about max a week on essential oils and then said FUCK THIS and took him to the doctor.

It was getting better until it got worse.

So I took him back and got him oral antibiotics. It seemed to be helping. Until it got worse again.

Then, we went back AGAIN and got a stronger steroid, and I used a different cream as well as bought new eczema gloves and softer/lighter muslin swaddling blankets so he didn’t scratch his face off.

It is only recently that his face is no longer an open, weeping wound. He finally has whole skin without breaks and cracks.

We also went to an allergist and found out he’s allergic to milk so I am not consuming dairy. This makes me sad, too. But better me without dairy than Sasquatch with horrible eczema.

Intellectually, I know that Sasquatch’s eczema is not a judgment on me as a parent. But truthfully, every time I saw his poor little face, I felt like an abject failure.

My job as his mother is to keep him safe and healthy and yet his face was bloody and raw and sad.

Only now that his face has healed mostly (still red, but I’ll take that!) that I feel as if a burden has been lifted and I’m not frantically buying desperate things off Amazon and Googling eczema remedies at 2am.

4) At least I got back into reading again. That makes me happy.

5) Dr. T and my friends keep suggesting I get a mother’s helper, but honestly, I have no idea what I would do with one. I don’t have any problems with letting laundry sit unfolded, or not cleaning the bathroom all the time, and cooking now that I have the Instant Pot is not a problem.

After MANY sessions of debating this with Dr. T and my friends, I realized that I just miss Hapa Papa.

Oh, and I like to complain.

6) I never thought I would actually crave silence.

It turns out that I am getting more introverted as I have more children. And that’s because even though I am very extroverty, a lot of my extrovertiness is required throughout the day, and quite frankly, even extroverts need silence.

Silence is difficult to come by in my house.

7) Now that I cook all the time, it’s weird when I do go out to eat. The food actually tastes weird to me. I don’t let that stop me from eating it though.

8) Every now and then, it hits me anew: Sasquatch is my last baby.

This fills me with such sadness because truly, I love babies. I LOVE BABIES. They are fat, squishy, and simple. Dare I say, easy?

So, I’m glad I remember every now and then that he is the last one because it allows me to actively be present and sniff and slobber all over his smiley, happy face.

Ok. Now I’ve made myself sad again.

9) I’m tired. I’m really really really tired.

I’m glad that occasionally, I can tell my older three to iPad or whatever and then go upstairs to nap with the baby.

10) I have now reached the LOSING ALL MY HAIR part of post-pregnancy. It is demoralizing. Pregnancy and child-rearing is not for the faint of heart.

Ok. I think that is the most my brain can handle today for stringing together sentences. Hopefully, this will trick my brain into writing more.

海豚 Book Review

Title: 海豚 (hai3 tun2)/Dolphins

ISBN: 9779861615189

Author/Photographer: 作者/信誼基金出版社丶黑潮海洋文教基金會

Publisher: 信誼

Level: Non-Fiction, Science, Chinese Picture Book, Beginning Reader, Zhuyin

Summary: This book tells us all about dolphins. Where do they live? What kinds of dolphins are there? What do they eat? How do they communicate? Lots of pictures.

Sample Pages:


Rating: 5/5 stars

5 Minute Review: Cookie Monster (7) enjoyed this book a lot. He loved all the facts and the mostly simple language. I was very pleased with the simple language because sometimes the science vocabulary is over my head let alone Cookie Monster’s.

He loved all the pictures, the multitude of science facts, and all the new things he learned about dolphins. All of which he promptly regurgitated as he told Gamera (5) all about the book and what he learned.

He even exclaimed at the end that he really liked the book because it was easy to read as well as interesting. It helped that I supplemented with videos of a live dolphin birth as well as with videos of dolphins playing.

Highly recommend.

Below is a video of Cookie Monster reading an excerpt of the book. Also, a video I found of a live dolphin birth. Cookie Monster made me replay a few times. Then he made Gamera and Glow Worm watch. In the name of science.

早起的一天 Book Review


Title: 早起的一天 (zao3 qi3 de5 yi tian)/The Day We Woke Up Early

ISBN: 9789867942012

Author/Illustrator: 賴馬

Publisher: 和英文化

Level: Chinese Picture Book, Beginning Reader, Fiction, Zhuyin, comes with CD

Summary: A young pig gets up early in the morning to help his grandmother buy and prepare things for his grandfather’s birthday. They go to the market, ride a taxi, and visit various family members at their work.

Sample Pages:

Rating: 5/5 stars

5 Minute Review: As always, Lai Ma’s books are visually interesting and fun. All my children enjoy studying the illustrations which reward repeat study.

Because this book comes with a CD, I will fully admit that my children have listened to the CD in the car at least several hundred times since Summer 2014 before they ever “read” the book.

However, the language is simple, there isn’t a lot of text, and the story is fun enough. Gamera (5) and Cookie Monster (7) both can read it easily enough and the characters they don’t recognize, they can just try the zhuyin.

This is one of Ma’s easier to read picture books and even I can read with relatively little assistance from zhuyin.

Here is a video of Gamera reading an excerpt.