Spring Break Fun

Every year, we pack up the whole family in our Swagger Wagon and make the trek down to LA and San Diego to visit family and friends for about 9-10 days. By the end, the kids are super homesick and we’re exhausted, but it’s always a good time. Here are some of the highlights from this year:

1) I used to stress out about when we would get to see Hapa Papa’s family but I don’t anymore. If they have time to see us, great. If not, well, we made an effort to drive to LA – they can make an effort to see us. And they do! It’s great. Once I stopped stressing out about it and started setting up meetings with my own friends and then just letting his family know our availability, things were much better. I was far less grouchy.

2) The house we rented this year was FANTASTIC!! 2 bedrooms (KEY when you have an infant), 1 bath (with tub), full kitchen with dish washer, a living room, dining area, washer/dryer, spacious front yard, and plenty of free and easy parking. WONDERFUL.

3) As usual, we met up with a few friends (quality vs quantity) and the best times were had when we were at either their house or ours. Meetings in restaurants tended towards chaos and the utter inability to hold an actual conversation.

4) Seriously, I cannot stress enough how awesome the place we rented was. I didn’t realize how stressful our last place was until we stayed in a stress-free environment this year. Totally worth the uptick in cost.

5) As always, San Diego is my favorite part. It’s the portion where I can actually call a vacation. (Everyone with small children knows that traveling with said small children is NEVER called a vacation. In fact – it is several times more work!!) We stay a few days with my dear elementary school friend, CB, and her family. She plans out all our meals, activities, and all I have to do is show up. It is MARVELOUS.

6) Of course, I also got to see some other friends in San Diego. Our yearly visits are a treasure.

7) What I found most awesome this year was my complete lack of doing anything. We saw friends and family. That’s it. No outings. No zoo trips. No sight seeing. Nada. Just seeing and enjoying people. My favorite. We’ll make a separate trip this year for Disneyland where we will see no one and immerse ourselves with four days with the brainwashing money-making machine known as the House of Mouse.

8) The trip back up from San Diego took almost twelve hours. That’s right. TWELVE. Between the three children (two of which are potty trained), we had five poop stops, (three of which were within the first two hours), two food stops, and one general rest stop. Because they’d been cooped up for so long, we stayed a bit longer at the rest stops to give the kids adequate “airing out” time.

I swear it was easier when the kids were still in diapers but we finally made it home. The kids were all asleep and transferred beautifully to bed.

9) My house was a disaster (which always makes me cranky) but I did some minor cleaning and I feel much better.

10) I picked up some parenting tricks (well, I will be attempting to apply said parenting tricks) and imparted a few of my own. This ALSO makes me very happy.

How was your Spring Break?

Life is Good

In case you couldn’t tell, I am an extrovert and for the most part, I enjoy and thrive in social situations. Don’t get me wrong. I do need time to recharge and read and be away from people – but in general, I love being around friends and talking to people. I prefer smaller gatherings because they are more conducive to deep and real conversations versus just repeating the same small talk over and over again. However, larger parties can also be fun because there are so many people to talk to (unless I don’t know anyone – that can be a little less fun) and often, that is my only chance to see large groups of my friends together all at the same time. So, bonus points for efficiency.

Anyhow, one of the more difficult aspects of being a SAHM for me is how lonely and isolating it can be. If I don’t make a conscious effort to set up play dates or activities, often the only social interaction I have is from texting my friends or Facebook. (Yes, I really am on Facebook almost every waking minute. Yes, I really do read, like, or comment on almost every thing. Yes, I am aware of how that is kinda sad and desperate. Thanks for noticing.) Otherwise, the only adults I speak with in person on a daily basis are Hapa Papa and my mother. Nothing wrong with them (I do love them very much). I just need more.

Because Hapa Papa is awesome and loves me and wants me to be happy, he consents to me throwing a big party every few months because otherwise, I’ll go crazy. Every year, we throw a big New Year’s Eve party for fellow parents and celebrate the countdown at 6pm because hey, we have kids and we’re tired and we’ll never make it to midnight. Of course, there are the kids’ birthday parties which are fun and an excuse for me to invite my friends over. Occasionally, I throw a July 4th party although this year, I think I’ll pass because we’ll be leaving for Taiwan right after. But by far, my favorite event is our annual Easter Egg Hunt.

When Cookie Monster was fifteen months old, I took him to one of the best events I had ever gone to – our East Bay Asian American Parents’ (EBAAP) Easter Egg Hunt. I recall training Cookie Monster at home. We practiced picking up eggs and putting them in his Easter basket and that served us well for the actual event. I saw some old friends and their kids, Cookie Monster had a great time, we got some awesome photos and videos, and I was amazed at how well-run and fun the event was.

The next year, I realized that our annual LA/SD trip would force us to miss the EBAAP event and I was incredibly disappointed. I didn’t want Cookie Monster to miss out on an egg hunt so a few friends and I got together on one of our Mandarin Mommies play dates and threw a small egg hunt in our backyard. It was adorable. Last year, since several of us had more kids and once again, our trip would force us to miss the EBAAP event, I thought, “Why don’t I just put on my own egg hunt?” So, I did.

I blatantly copied all my favorite parts of the EBAAP Egg Hunt and then invited a few families for a BBQ/potluck at a local park and asked everyone to bring twenty eggs per participating kid. I provided another 400-500 eggs just in case people forgot or didn’t have time to bring any. Nothing is worse than going to an egg hunt and getting only a handful of eggs. (Trust me, I know because I took Cookie Monster and Gamera on three or four egg hunts last year and many of them ran out of eggs almost instantly or they had a limit and that was LAME.)

Anyhow, we had so many eggs that the kids got tired of picking them up and just left them on the lawn. We had about sixty people attend and it was a big hit. I decided then and there to have an egg hunt every year until my last kid was too old to enjoy them.

Fast forward to this year. Between inviting Cookie Monster’s preschool class and our Mommy and Me class, in addition to our usual gaggle of friends and some of their friends, we had close to 100 people attend. (After all, you can’t just invite a few people from class. You either invite none or all! Otherwise, that’s just mean.) I can definitively say it was a smashing success!

Even though we had close to 1,000 eggs, this time, the kids descended like a throng of locusts and all the eggs were scooped up within a few minutes. I think it’s because the kids were older and much more efficient. There was plenty of food and drink, pop-up tents and easy-ups, bubble machines, bubbles, T-ball, scooters, bikes, and two playgrounds. I couldn’t believe it was 90% people I knew!

My only regret was that we were so busy having a good time, we neglected to take any pictures of the kids picking eggs! Hapa Papa managed to take a few pics of the scene, but mostly, we dropped the ball and spent all our time running after babies, shoveling food in our mouths, and talking to new and old friends. Fantastic!

Gamera was so tired, she barely finished dinner and fell asleep on the couch by 7:30pm. (That may not be that impressive to those of you with obedient children, but considering she didn’t go to bed until past 10pm the night before, we were thrilled.) I had to take a nap in order to make it through the rest of the afternoon and Hapa Papa passed out around 9pm. Cookie Monster somehow was still standing and only fell asleep at 9:30pm. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET THIS KID TIRED?

Already, I can’t wait for next year.