Kindergarten Done

My baby finished Kindergarten this week.

It was a thrill to see her experience a sliver of the world on her own.

And make friendships that have taught her so much and blessed our family as well.

My baby grew up.  She lost 4 bottom teeth.  I told her she must try her best not to lose her top ones because when she does, I will cry.

I’m not ready for her whole mouth to be filled with the too-big-teeth yet.

For the most part, it was a very good school year.  Even the after-school tears were good ones because they helped her learn more about the world, more about Jesus.

Seeing her at school made me realize how different my childhood experiences were from hers.  Funny story:  she noticed that some of the asian girls brought roasted seaweed to school as a snack.  She asked if she could take some to school too.  Unfortunately, she came home crying after that because her caucasian friends made fun of her and looked at her funny for bringing seaweed in her lunch box.  I couldn’t stop laughing as I consoled her because I had flashbacks to the days when I was the ONLY asian girl at my school.  I kept hearing, “Suey-Kung-Fuey” in my ear while I wiped away her tears.

I’m so thankful that she felt she could tell us everything about her life outside the walls of our home.  Even though it wouldn’t have been my preference to already answer her questions about what a “crush” is, or that her friend had a boyfriend named Justin Beaver, we praised her for telling us everything she was thinking about and experiencing.  It kept her close, even though we had to let her go a little.

Steven Curtis Chapman’s song “Cinderella” was on the radio yesterday and yes…I cried.

I couldn’t take it anymore, so I switched the station and then I heard J.Lo’s “On the Floor”.  My tears went away.  It’s not really appropriate to cry to that song.

She will be turning 6 in a few weeks.  I’m savoring the fact that she still demands hugs and kisses and cuddles, that she calls me “Mama”, that I have to ask her to stop sweating, that she’s a Daddy’s girl, that she adores her brothers, and that she has a sensitive spirit.   I love that when she’s bored, she’ll write cards to her teacher and fill the envelope with random trinkets from our house.  I love that she’s at an age where she’s making real memories that she’ll keep in her heart as an adult.

Apparently, she’s officially a first-grader now.  But she will always be my first baby.

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Music Man

So yeah.  Marcus’ obsession with music is NOT just a phase.  This passion of his is in his DNA, passed down from all 4 grandparents and his own mom & dad.  It occupies the majority of his day and he says he even dreams about it.  Ha!

As his parents, it thrills us to see him loving something this much, and being so good at it, too.  We have these lofty visions of him having a career in the music industry, participating in the worship team at church, or being a sound engineer.  Who knows how the Lord will use this in his life?  For now, it’s a great therapy for him and gives him a sense of success that he doesn’t readily find with other things.  I love hearing about other kids with JS love music too.  Watching a video of one friend play the trombone at his school recital and seeing another guy rock out on the electric guitar with his friends in their band, make me so excited for all the experiences Marcus will have in the future as well.

Typical boys his age may read books about Star Wars or their favorite action hero, but not our son.  He geeks out on books like these:

The nerdier the better.

He don’t discriminate against the 80s photos either.

For some reason, he also likes to know how each instrument is spelled.  The boy is thorough, I tell you.  Next time you see him, ask him how to spell “music”.  It’s the equivalent of asking him what his name is.

He makes music everyday.  Sometimes just for fun.

Other times, it’s serious practice.

After ordering us to play “Twinkle Twinkle” 1.5 million times, he’s learned to finally play it himself.  Thank the Lord!  I’m so sick of playing that song!  Big props to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for writing a tune that has occupied my son for countless hours.  Mastering this song has made him realize that he can play other ones too.  After showing him a few times, he’s also added “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and Beethoven’s “Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee” to his repertoire.  “Jingle Bells”, however, he learned on his own…just started playing it one day.  He’s a freak like that.

His newest favorite exercise is quizzing him on what musical family each instrument belongs to. We’ve got the woodwinds (and a side of snot).

The brass instruments

The percussion instruments

And the strings

Sometimes he puts them in single file.  Just to admire.

Group picture

When he’s not playing them in real life, he’s playing them virtually.

Or watching others play them.

We’ve already started training Little Brother to follow in his footsteps.

But we’re not sure if he’s serious about it.

Some of you already know, but Marcus and Derek came out with a single a few weeks ago.  Here is their debut video, produced by Lady AnteMiriam of Babysitting Records, recorded at Wet Diaper Studios.  Enjoy.

Big D: Wonder Boy

When Derek was born at 8 pounds 10 ounces with man-hands and man-feet, I should have known that he would be something of a phenomenon.  Today, at 6 months old and 20 pounds, he’s proven to be our wonder boy.  Almost everything about him is different than I’ve experienced with the other two.

First of all, he’s by far the earliest teether of the 3.  He started around 3 months old and now he is going on his 7th chomper.  I will be feeding him a T-bone steak tomorrow.

When he’s especially hungry and wants to nurse, he opens his mouth as wide as possible, shows me his fangs, does a crazy little head shake as if to go in for the kill, and latches on with his teeth before sucking.  The sound effects that come from his mouth make it seem like he is eating me alive.  During the nursing session, he lets out a few cleansing man-farts.  When he’s done, I put him over my shoulder and he releases a beer-belly belch followed by a wet burp which leads to a stream of spit-up that runs down my back.  When I stand up, I look down and see that I’ve just sat in a puddle of breastmilk.  My pants are all wet.

Clothes are a bit of an issue.  He grows at a rate faster than my ability to find suitable clothes for him.  For a while, his onesies were off-the-shoulder with only 1 out of 3 buttons closed on his crotch.  I finally pulled out the 6-12 month size, so he’s a bit more comfortable now.  No more off-the-shoulder or boatneck onesies, but they are V-neck from time to time.  And sometimes, they show off a bit of baby cleavage.

He doesn’t crawl on his belly yet, but he’s managed to get around for a few months now…on his back.  Think inchworm, but upside down.  He gets into a bridge pose balancing on just his head and feet like this:

Then he straightens out and bends again.  That’s how he travels from one end of the rug to the other.  Here’s a frontal view:

Bird’s eye view:

Sometimes he’ll do a one arm stabilizer:

Since he was born, he’s made us wrestle him for everything.  From diaper changes to changing his clothes, he makes us pry his extremities open.  Sometimes he is so strong and I’m so tired that I just want to forfeit and let him win the arm wrestling competitions.  What makes diaper changes even more challenging is that he feels that he must squeeze his nether regions whenever his diaper is open.  He squeezes so hard that it looks like he’s trying to make lemonade.  Needless to say, this gets a bit messy when I’m changing a poopy diaper.  Add to this his love of doing back bends.  I get sweaty at each diaper change.

Since he outgrew his infant carseat at birth, getting him in the car has been sort of an issue.  Due to his girth, it is quite uncomfortable for him.  Therefore, he likes to stay sitting upright.  I have to push him down with all my might or do a tug-of-war with the seatbelt adjustment strap to make him recline like he’s supposed to.  Even then, I sometimes give up and he’ll just ride across town sitting up.

Who does he inherit these traits from?  He seems to resemble someone else quite notorious:

O Derek, I love to wrestle you and shovel food in your mouth really fast.  I love having to pull my hair out of your grip of death.  I love how you almost bite our fingers off.  I love how you sweat like your sister and your father.   I love that now I know what it’s  like to bathe a seal. I love how you giggle when I put you in your bed.  I love how you give us your generous smiles.  I love burying my face in your rolls.  I love that you are so happy and that you love being in our family.  I love that God created you in my womb and sent you to us even when I couldn’t dare to even ask the Lord for another child.  I love that I’m so undeserving of you.  I love you.

What The Kids Have Been Up To Lately

Taking pictures with Daddy’s favorite condiments

Asking “table for 5, please”

(even though we don’t really need a seat for the 5th yet)

Displaying artwork

Enjoying the morning after a quick sleepover

(take 1)

(that’s better)

Training for the LA Philharmonic

Painting Rapunzel

Sitting at the park

Swinging at the park

And liking it a lot

Visiting old friends

Enjoying dinnertime a little too much

Admiring flowers and fountains

Easter hunting

Easter posing

Easter dyeing

Easter remembering

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

It’s my dad’s birthday tomorrow.  Many of you know that both Mike’s dad and my dad are pastors and that they are both extremely musical.  My dad (and mom) majored in music and then he became a music teacher before he came to the States where he continued his musical talents and conducted many choirs at different churches.  To this day, he still uses his musical training at church and also to reach out to the community through music classes.

I thought I’d try to give my dad an appropriately musical birthday greeting from the kids to show that his musical talents have been passed down to his grandkids.  Little did I know that it would also be a chance to show him that his rascally qualities have also been bestowed on his grandson.

Happy birthday, Dad.  We love you and miss you!  Enjoy!  (And please excuse my son.)

My Little Bieber

For some reason, I really want to see the Justin Bieber movie.  Not that I’ve ever really listened to his songs or stalked him like I did with NKOTB.  So I’m not sure why I want to see it so bad.

Maybe it’s because my son is starting to look like his Asian counterpart.

Maybe because all Marcus ever wants is more instruments to add to his collection.

But Bieber’s got nothing on Marcus.  I bet JB never did #1 and #2 while jamming on the keys.