My First Summer Vacation in Decades

summer vacationYou guys, you guys! In three weeks, I will be dragging my three ungrateful children to Taiwan for six weeks of mandatory Chinese life immersion! Hapa Papa will not be joining us for awhile so it should be “interesting” to say the least. (However, my mom did somehow bribe my eldest cousin to help me out with things so it shouldn’t be too bad.)

Actually, I don’t think my kids are ungrateful. They’re actually pretty excited because they have a lot of good and fun memories of all the awesome indoor play spaces in Taiwan. I think they also remember some of the foods they like – and since they’re better about eating new things than they have EVER been, I have high hopes that Cookie Monster will not spend 90% of the time eating white rice.

Plus, I’ve been really trying to sell Cookie Monster on the cool camps I’ve signed him up for. Four weeks of local camps with local Taiwanese kids learning magic tricks, going on field trips, and creating stuff with fancy Tinkertoys, etc. should do more for his Chinese than four weeks of being stuck in a school geared to overseas Taiwanese kids learning Chinese characters and studying Chinese culture. (If that’s not guaranteed to make a kid hate Chinese, I really don’t know what is. It makes me hate Chinese.)

I think Gamera is most excited about buses. Glow Worm, of course, has no idea what’s in store for him. Poor chap. He’s going to have a rude awakening when he’s being shoved into school from 8am – 4pm every day. At least he’ll be in the same class as his big sister.

Anyhow, if you know anything at all about me, you’ll know that I NEVER call the trips we go on as a family, “vacation.”

That’s because calling it a vacation implies a fun and relaxing time. And trips with my troop of assholes is the opposite of fun and relaxing. (And yet, still, I still plan them. Clearly, I’m a masochist.)

However.

This year, this glorious summer, will be different.

For the first time, in decades, I will have an actual summer vacation.

All three children will be in school/camp from 8am-5pm every single week day for four weeks. FOUR. GLORIOUS. WEEKS.

This must be how SAHMs feel when ALL their kids go to school during the fall. (Maybe they’re onto something, after all.)

This will also, likely be the LAST time I will have an actual summer vacation for at least 2-3 years (when Baby4 will finally be old enough to attend local Taiwanese preschools during the summer).

I plan to make the most of it.

So, because I’m a planner and also slightly afraid that I will waste this rare opportunity for solitude, I present to you, my illustrious plans for my summer vacation. (WHOOOOOO!)

1) Eat.

I’m not kidding. I plan on eating as much as humanly possible.

One of my friends, Dongua (冬瓜 – I know, I know! Not proper pinyin, but that’s what he goes by!), posts so many reviews and pics of places he eats in Taipei that basically, I’m just going to eat my way through his pic folder. I’m calling it the Dongua Taiwanese Food Challenge. The gauntlet has been thrown and I volunteer as tribute.

Incidentally, Dongua has been mentioned on a Taiwanese blogger site as well as another blog if you want to check them out.

The best part is, several of my friends will also be in Taiwan at the same time (although we will not be living together). But that means I have eating buddies! WHOOO!

2) Shop.

Truthfully, though it may seem that I have already purchased every Chinese book and game known to man, it is not so! And I plan to rectify that! Guavarama will be ordering a few boxes of books for me and they will be delivered to my residence so I don’t even have to do any work!

Mostly, I will shop for popular music and old Chinese kungfu movies (like Once Upon a Time in China) and perhaps some educational DVDs for the kids.

I don’t tend to buy clothes even in the states where I have a snowball’s chance in hell fitting into the clothing. So, I won’t be buying clothes in Taiwan where people are tiny and have no breasts or hips. (Or at least, that seems to be what the clothing stores are telling me.)

I used to be able to buy shoes, but after I had kids, my shoe size went up so now, no shoes in my size in Taiwan.

Don’t worry. I’ll spend a crapton of money just fine. (Please don’t tell Hapa Papa. *waves*)

3) Write.

When I first planned the trip it was before I got pregnant. I had it in my head that I would be putting my ebook together from my previous posts and series during this time and do a lot of writing and submitting to online publishers.

I might still do that.

But mostly, I will be writing for this blog. Either posts for the summer or posts for after the baby arrives.

Truthfully, I don’t really know. Maybe I will write fiction. Who knows??

I just know I will have large blocks of empty space for me to write. I have fantasies of bringing my laptop to a local Taiwanese boba shop and acting like I’m a fancy schmancy writer in a public space. Too bad it will all just be in my head.

4) Plan for Fall 2016 curriculum for the kids.

I’ll be homeschooling Gamera in TK this fall along with Cookie Monster starting Grade 1. Oh, and did I mention I’ll be popping out Baby4 in mid-October?

Yeah. That.

So, I need to plan for things I want the kids to learn and how to do that (by signing up for as many classes as possible, obviously). And then researching children’s science and educational videos in Chinese (aka: stealing YouTube playlists from Guavarama). And then figuring out how to stream them on our Apple TV/Chromecast/Amazon Fire. I think we have them all. I just don’t know how to use ANY of them.

5) Read.

Thanks to the beautiful thing known as technology, I can read a lot of books on my Kindle app without bringing a ton of books with me. And, if I’m feeling the need for REAL books, I can hang out in Eslite for HOURS and read their English books in comfy couches.

SO EXCITING.

6) Nap.

What’s the point of large, unscheduled blocks of time if I can’t nap? Ooooh. Maybe I can even nap while getting a massage!! That’s killing two birds with one stone! WHOOOOOO!

That’s it. For me, personally, anyway. We’ll go to fun places and visit family for the kids, too. But for the hours that I’m free each day, I’m gonna do at least one of these six things. (You’ll note there is a purposeful lack of anything museum-like or culture-related. That’s because I’m a Philistine and don’t care at all.)

Anyhow, I look forward to chronicling all my adventures (after all, I’m suppose to write!!) and tempting you all with pics of yummy food.

See you Wednesday!

Have I Ruined My Life?

A few weeks ago,  Dr. T commented that she felt that lately, I was more and more high strung than I had been in a really long time. Since I started seeing her back in November 2014, in fact.

I briefly acknowledged her point, but just chocked it to having a lot of shit to do and being stressed out about that. But it’s been at least a month since she’s mentioned it and I finally admitted this week that it’s true. I’m totally more high strung. I mean, I’m already a hair-trigger type of ragey person, but even MORE SO.

Terrifying, really.

I’m back to yelling at the kids. Especially at bed time. Mostly only at bed time. (How’s that for a bedtime routine?)

I’m working on it, but it’s slow going. I even hired a Mindfulness Coach to help with anger. (How hippy woo woo is this? WHO AM I?)

But I’m a bit worried because I’ll be in Taiwan this summer, mostly alone with all three kids for 4-6 weeks with some help, but not necessarily a lot of help. And then mid-late October, Baby4 will be making their appearance. So likely, that will cause me even more stress. (Plus, hormones are a bitch.)

And yes, I’ve had to plan a lot of things lately, (of which I will not bore you with the details of, but may list out because I like lists and feel the inexplicable need to up my post word count), and a lot of these things have to remain unresolved because such is life. And if you know anything about me at all, it’s that I NEED RESOLUTION. Even if it’s a shitty result, I MUST HAVE IT.

Anyhow, I have to be honest.

This will sound awful because I truly do love Baby4 and am happy we’re going to have another child in mid-October. We tried for about a year and half before we finally got pregnant again, and I was semi-resigned to having three children instead of my dreamed for four. (Not that three kids is a bad thing. And I know some folks have tried for years and not gotten or stayed pregnant or can’t get pregnant for health reasons so I realize that my frustration with not getting immediately pregnant with the fourth child is a lot of whining and asshole behavior. But, you know what I mean.)

But, this pregnancy has been really hard on me. Not because it’s been a difficult pregnancy. I have pretty easy pregnancies in general. But it really has kicked my ass. I’m constantly exhausted. I was initially feeling shitty all the time and having lots of contractions and diarrhea which then turned into constant constipation. (TMI? TOO BAD.)

I could barely function. I stopped homeschooling. I stopped doing anything that wasn’t laying down. I’m surprised the children are still alive and none the worse for wear. I stopped writing.

And I felt resentment.

Lots of resentment.

After all, this was supposed to be my year, right? My year of kicking ass and taking names! Risking! Submitting my work for publications! Writing! Putting my name out there! Taking myself seriously as a writer and pursuing those avenues. Living the dream (or at least shooting for it).

And then, BAM! I got pregnant. And everything stopped. I got wiped out.

Sure, there were some things I got rolling before I got pregnant and those panned out so that made me happy and it was very exciting. But after that? NADA.

And I was initially in huge denial over the fact that my life was changing (yet again – and shit, I ASKED FOR IT!) and when I finally surrendered to it, I fell off the face of the earth. I thought by the time my second trimester hit, I would have more energy, but I’m STILL tired (granted, less so than before).

Also, I got used to lying around on the couch and watching marathon sessions of DVR’d White Collar and Leverage episodes. (Man, I love a good con!)

And then, when I tried to get back into writing, my brain broke. Like, because I hadn’t tried to put two semi-coherent thoughts together in several months, everything I wrote sounded trite and stupid and I think Gamera can come up with better arguments. So then, I gave up and decided, shoot. I will just ENJOY watching TV all day while my children run around naked and beat the shit out of each other in my house. (I really, really wish I were exaggerating for comedic effect, but alas, No.)

But now, now I am finally realizing I am terrified I have ruined my life. I go through this in a much milder form each pregnancy – mostly because I’m a control freak and worry about how to do things and life with one, then two, then three, and now FOUR babies. It took me awhile just to get comfortable with three! And we just potty trained Glow Worm so we have no kids in diapers and WHAT AM I DOING?!

WHAT HAVE WE DONE?!

I know it will work out.

I know because after every baby and a few months of craziness, we find a new rhythm and way of being. And I know that even if we didn’t have another baby, things would still change and we’d find new rhythms out of different insanity making moments.

I know all these things. Somehow, I just have to convince my subconscious that we are not all going down in flames come mid-late October.

Wish me luck! And lots of help from family and friends!

Now That I’ve Lost My Mind

So, I have been MIA these past two weeks because I am utterly exhausted. I have been going to bed with the kids and waking up with the kids. And since I usually write when they are sleeping, I haven’t been writing.

During the day, I am also tired. And though I used to go out on weekends to write (especially in the evenings), I haven’t been going out because I am sleeping.

The reason for all this exhaustion? Turns out I am forming another human being in my uterus and am 8 weeks pregnant.

We have lost our damn minds.

I am reluctant to post about this pregnancy so early, but then I figured if I did lose the baby, I would definitely talk about it so there really is no reason not to talk about it. Especially since I have not been shy about telling my friends in real life.

I am not cut out for a life of secrecy, people. For real.

Truthfully, I have been somewhat in denial. Not of being pregnant. Moreso denial of my body’s changing needs while being pregnant.

I have been feeling utterly betrayed by my body.

How can I possibly be this tired? I have only been awake two hours.

I need to nap constantly.

I am always feeling slightly nauseous or slightly hungry. I couldn’t really figure it out. I have finally settled on slightly hungry.

I already don’t fit into my pants. Nor do I fit in the after pregnancy pants (you know, the ones that are several bigger sizes but aren’t maternity pants anymore). I have to wear maternity pants because even though I’m only 2 months in, since it’s my 4th pregnancy, I’m thicker already.

I can’t wear the bras I used to be able to wear while 9 months pregnant because I can’t breathe in them. If I use the bra extenders, my breasts fall out from under the bras. I’m back to nursing bras even though I finally weaned Glow Worm.

I am incredibly irritable. Like, hair trigger kaboom. I mean, not that general idiocy by humans on the internet (and Earth) have ever been my favorite (or rare), but lately, my threshold for tolerating asshattery is at a minimum. One needs only to scroll through my Facebook feed to see the evidence.

I already have carpal tunnel syndrome.

My stomach feels okay at the beginning of the day, but by the end, I can barely breathe because I feel as if my skin is not big enough to hold my stomach. It hurts.

I have been having cramps and contractions a lot earlier but no sharp pains so that’s good. (This happened with my third pregnancy, too.)

I already have round ligament pain. WTF.

All I want to do in my spare time is sleep, watch TV, or read.

It took me at least a month to finally come to terms with the new state of being and just accepting the fact that yes, I am worn out simply by the act of being awake.

And as much as I hate not meeting a schedule for writing, I hate screaming at the kids because I am cranky even more.

Hence the MIA.

So this is fair warning that posting on the blog may be erratic until I can string more than a sentence or two together -or stay awake later than my 2.5 year old.

In the meantime, even though I mentioned it on Facebook and The Twitter, I totally forgot to put it on the blog.

LTYM SF 2016 Cast; image courtesy of Tarja Parssinen of The Flying Chalupa

I GOT CAST IN LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER SF 2016!

So if you are missing my ramblings, might I direct you to the LTYM rabbithole on YouTube? Bring a tissue (or 5,000) and prepare to watch some amazing women (and a few men) share their stories.

Our cast had our first rehearsal today and I pretty much alternated between sobbing my brains out and laughing my ass off.

I have to tell myself I deserve to be there and am not just the token Asian. Of course, Hapa Papa, ever the helpful one, suggested that I was token when I expressed my insecurities. Bastard.

Oh, and this is not meant to be a fishing expedition for compliments. Merely me in awe of the other women who are in the show with me. I’m really excited.

Alright, it’s already way past my bedtime so unless I want to be screaming at the current babies, I’m going to sleep.

See you Wednesday.