Monday, December 20, 2010

little gingerbread men

We had fun decorating gingerbread men yesterday!

Top: M's, J's, Mommy's
Bottom: Daddy's, K's, M's

Friday, December 17, 2010

dancing on the Wii

I bought Dance Kids for the Wii because it looks like something fun that the girls and I could do together. I was right! I let the girls play with it yesterday and they didn't want to stop. Their favorite so far is "The Ants are Marching". They played it over and over. J eventually got tired and did something else, but K just kept on going.  I danced around with them for a while but quit when my knees started hurting. It was a lot of fun!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


We had a busy day yesterday. Drama in the afternoon and then the girls' christmas presentation in the evening.

Because Drama is right at school, parents are not allowed to go in and out as we please. We don't know what goes on in there, though I frequently hear, "Mommy, Drama is so much fun I want to go everyday!" from Big M. So every now and then, the Drama instructors hold observation days.

Here are the younger kids presentation (Kindergarten through 2nd Grade).

It's a story of a coo-coo clock who is different from all the other chiming clocks. Because he's different, he is all alone. But the chiming clocks got together and decided to accept him for who is and yet be a part of the group. Mind you, I didn't know what was going on while this was happening. I couldn't hear a thing because my ears were stuffed up from my cold. Daddy had to explain it to me before bed last night. :)

Big M's (wearing a blue shirt)line is "Be quiet coo-coo clock!" Notice his Star Wars Clone Trooper coo-coo clock.

Here are the all the Drama Kids doing their class song.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas presentation

The girls had their Christmas presentation this evening. They knew their songs and they sang them! Loudly, I might add. They were adorable!

K (on the left side) was having a wardrobe malfunction. Her tights where riding down south. J on the other hand was very much into Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. I do believe we have another budding Drama kid right here.

Both J and K have been singing around the house for the past several weeks. They know their stuff. :)

K on the left (blue), J is on the right (purple)

The girls are one of the tallest in class!

"Santa Claus is Coming to Town"

After the presentation, we had time with Santa. Santa's back there somewhere.

K did not want to be near Santa.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Watch D.O.G.S.

Daddy gave his day to volunteer as a Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) earlier this week. It is a PTA program to ask Dads and Dad figures to volunteer at least one day out of the school year to the school. Daddy and Big M got to wear a "matching" shirt. It's a special day and it becomes sort of a "bragging" event for the kids. They get to show off their Dads.

Daddy was at school from 7-3pm and had a schedule to spend time with the kids from K through 5th grade. He said it was pretty fun until he went to recess, which was a nightmare. According to him, he "felt like a piece of meat surrounded by piranhas". The Kindergarten class sees the Watch D.O.G.S. as a fun toy.

Big M enjoyed the day so much, he wants Daddy to be a Watch DOG at school everyday.

my new toy makes me happy

Daddy gave me a new toy, my very first DSLR camera. I have a Canon Rebel XS. This is an upgrade from a point and shoot so I am still finding my way around it.

A month ago when he was still experimenting on moving his body. He loved to do push ups.

Mr. Handsome

They drive each other, me, and Daddy crazy. (J in green)

Patiently waiting for me to push her on the swing. (J)

Daddy likes this picture because it's "very Filipino". Just go with it.

big sister and baby brother

I just love watching them interact. K continues to be a little mama.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Our first Thanksgiving in Texas was pretty relaxed. Though it was a little bit of a shock since we've been spending Thanksgiving with the in-laws for so many years while in VA. I had a menu of what to cook, though it was quite flexible. I couldn't find something I need so I cooked something else. I still hadn't cooked my first turkey. The kids are still so young, I just cooked what we liked to eat. There will be time enough to establish a Thanksgiving holiday tradition.

Big M woke up vomiting. It was quite sad to see him so miserable, especially since he was looking forward to eating the pumpkin pie and the banana bread the girls and I baked. Thankfully, by the next day, Big M was on the mend. Little M was also sick. The week prior to Thanksgiving, he started with a runny nose and started coughing. Then he started wheezing. Since the girls were still recovering from asthma/cold and were still on the nebulizer, we decided to put Little M on it too. It helped a little bit, but he was still wheezing.

Yesterday, the doctor said Little M has RSV and has fluid behind the ears. He prescribed antibiotics which should start making him feel better in a day or two. One thing that is very striking to me is the way he handles this RSV. The twins being premature, the RSV was pretty tough even though they had the dreaded 6-month monthly course of RSV antibodies. For Little M, the RSV was only slightly worse than garden variety colds.

But even through the sickness, Little M has been surprising us this past 2 weeks. He has been crawling by pushing off with his feet for months, but a few week ago, he started crawling the right way on all fours. In a matter of days, he would crawl that way for a few paces. Than he started pulling up. A few days later, he was pulling up to a standing position. After that he would crawl and go into a sitting position. Pretty amazing.

It was near 80s the 3 days leading up to Thanksgiving. Then on the day of Thanksgiving, the high was 50 with lows around upper 20s. Crazy! One we have our AC on, the next we have the heater.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

it's good to have a blog

Last weekend, Daddy and I spent a couple of nights coming up with "evidence" that our 5-year old shows signs of giftedness. We needed to illustrate his learning style, his personality and why we think he needs to be in the school's gifted program. Daddy went through this blog, and I went through the old blog. When I handed the application in at the school office, there were 4 sheets attached to it.

Our efforts paid off. A few days ago, Big M came home with a letter of a notice that sometime between now and January, he would be pulled out of class 4 times for an hour each session to be tested. For Kindergarten, the test would be read for him and he is allowed to take as much time as he needs to answer the questions. The program director advises us to tell our Big Man that he would be excused from class, not to take a test, but to solve puzzles and problems - not to cause undue stress.

During the first parent-teach conference, the teacher said that not many kindergarteners pass the test, not because it's too hard, but because they are not mature enough to sit still to be tested. She said not to be discouraged should he not be accepted in, and to keep trying. She said it really isn't until the 2nd grade that kids show the need for a gifted program.

Ever since Big M was 2 years old, Daddy and I agreed that he is the kind of child who would need to be challenged in the classroom, otherwise he would get into things that could get him in trouble. Daddy recalls cutting out all the buttons on his shirt as a child and not knowing he did it until he stood up and his shirt was wide open. Idle hands, right? :) We know that Big M is smart. Even if he doesn't get accepted to the program, we will continue to engage and encourage his curiosity and provide opportunities.

On a side note, he loves being in Drama. It is a paid extra curricular activity that is held at school once a week. Big M loved it from the very first day and wished he could go everyday. He loves the friends he makes there. Before the end of the school year, there is a production. I can't wait to see that.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Buddy Bear was a guest at our house this weekend. He spends the weekend with those that are currently the Kindergarten's Star Student of the Week. Big M showed him the Halloween decoration in our front yard on the way to church this morning.

Then as soon as it got dark, we went trick or treating! We left a full bowl of candy in our front yard. We had to fill it up 3x.

When Snow White and Tinker Bell, and the little Monkey got tired we went back home. Big M and Daddy went to a few more houses.

Little Monkey was very good until he became very very tired.

This is a first time Daddy and I dressed up for the Halloween. We all definitely enjoyed ourselves! I looked a little scary though. Instead of buying white make-up, Daddy picked up a make-up base for me. It was waxy and my hair kept sticking to it. But I made do. The girls loved my red lips.

the first of the halloween parties

The girls' school held it's Halloween party earlier this week. It was perfect for the young ones. They played games to win candies. They loved showing off their costumes!

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="497" caption="Snow White (K) with one of her teachers."][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="409" caption="Tinker Belle (J)"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="374" caption="The Knight getting ready to pin the tail on the cat."][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Little M - being very patient and quiet"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="464" caption="Trying to amuse himself."][/caption]

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Little M's 6-month check-up

Little M's 6-month stats:

Head: 17 1/4 in (50th percentile)
Height: 26 1/2 in (50th percentile)
Weight: 19 lbs (75th percentile)

He definitely leveled out from his 4-month check . All his wiggliness has caught up to him, even though he has started eating solids! In mid September, he had his first rice cereal with soy formula. The doctor suspects that his eczema may be exacerbated by milk and advised me to stop drinking milk for a while and observe any change. With this in mind, his first cereal was with soy formula. I didn't really want to dig for my breast pump just to use breastmilk on the cereal. Call me lazy. The cereal with soy formula was a success though it didn't last long. When the soy formula expired, I bought regular milk-based formula. That was not a good idea. Within minutes of eating (he didn't like it anyway), he developed a welt on his mouth. After that, he didn't really like baby cereal anymore, not even with water.

I bought carrots baby food and with the initial what-the-heck-are-you-feeding-me reaction, he actually liked it. A few days of that and then on to peas. So now, he's on to a few other veggies and loved all of them so far. Though now, I'm having a hard time finding one veggie ingredient baby food. We may start mixing fruit in pretty soon.

Oh, Little M started with just a few teaspoons once a day. Now he's up to 2x a day, and now he can eat half a bottle! Good golly. So with all that extra source of calories and still leveling out in his growth chart, no wonder he's back to waking up 3x a night. I thought it was because he was teething, which it may have started out that way, but after a month I thought something was up. This definitely explains it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

star student of the week

On Friday, as Big M approaches the minivan in the carpool lane, I noticed he had one extra backpack with him. I knew exactly what that meant. He was was the star student for the next week. He had a big smile in his face, and so did I.

Stat student is based on excellent behavior at school and so far since it started at the begging of the school year, they have been all girls. Every Friday, I ask Big M who has been chosen the star student. One Friday, he said, "Mommy, you will be so disappointed! Boys can't be star student!" I reassured him that wasn't true but he seemed to think so regardless.

He is actually the first boy to become one for this year and it just makes it doubly exciting! As a star student of the week, he gets to have a poster that he made up on the Kindergarten class hallway for all to see. He has use of a special backpack, bring a favorite toy, show his hobby/collection, tell everyone his favorite things to do and share his favorite book for the week.

On the way home, he just had to call his Daddy the special news. He worked hard for it and he deserves it.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

face painting

I saw a face painting kit at the craft store while buying Halloween crafts, so I tried my hand at it. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at it. Fortunately, I'm good enough to amuse my 3 year olds...not so much my 5 year old, though. I wasn't able to paint what he wanted me to do.

this is actually my best lady bug!

believe it or not, the black bug is supposed to be a spider. But it looks more like a tick.

my best work yet - a Lego logo. This boy is a Lego freak! By the way, I hear some people have already received their Lego holiday catalogs.  Shhh. Don't tell him because we don't have one.

a letter to nana

Everyday, Big M is getting better at sounding out words in order to read and to write. With proper motivation, he eagerly wrote to his Nana. I have no picture of the envelope but it was expertly decorated.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween preparations

A few weeks ago, I put whatever Halloween decorations we have up. None of our neighbors have any decorations, but I thought maybe it was just too early. One day, when the kids were outside playing with the neighborhood kids, I asked the woman across from us what Halloween was like here in the past years. She said it was not a big thing because most of the people in our development are Asian. She even recommended that we  go to a local church if we wanted to trick or treat. We were disappointed a little bit so I started researching where we could take the kids.

Several days later, I decided to ask another neighbor who has been in the neighborhood for more than 10 years. Alas, she said Halloween is a big thing with so many kids around. She said very few decorate their houses, but there are definitely tons of trick or treaters. Hooray! Great news! With so many kids who play outside daily, it's definitely going to be fun.

Daddy and I decided that we should join in too this year. The kids are definitely excited about it.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="467" caption="Sleeping Beauty, Monkey, Gladiator, Tinker Belle, Knight"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Sleeping Beauty, Geisha without make-up, Monkey, Tinker Bell, Knight "][/caption]

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

officer bear

(J is in pink)

Big M had school project of dressing up a bear anyway he wants. The entire kindergarten students were to do it and they were to be displayed in the main hallway of the school Big M wanted a police man. Daddy and Big M worked on it, but while they were on break to think of how to do things, J found the scissors and started cutting the bear up. Big M found it and started shouting at the top of his lungs. Fortunately, the bear wasn't dressed up yet. I had to run to the store and get another poster board. All were saved. Phew! We learned a great lesson that day - never leave important projects laying around!

Monday, October 25, 2010

kindergarten is so much fun!

At the end of the first day of school, Big M told me that kindergarten is so much fun. As a mom whose oldest just stepped into public school, I find myself having fun also. I don't really know whether it would be this fun once the twins start kindergarten, at which point I'd have 3 children in elementary school. But for now, I'm having fun trying to be involved.

I eagerly joined the PTA and have already attended one general meeting. The meeting flew over my head, but that's alright. I figure I have plenty of time to figure things out. I signed up to be an "at home" helper and have already done my first job - Big M brought the work home, which was to cut out left-over laminates from each of the students' art work to be made into a book. I had fun doing it, I admit. I got to be the first of the parents to see what the kids have done. There is an opportunity to volunteer in the class' home center. As much as that sounded to me, and a great opportunity to see how Big M socializes with his classmates, I didn't sign up. A few hours at school with a baby by my side and playing/monitoring several kindergarteners at the same time is much too unpredictable for my liking. Perhaps when Little M goes to preschool.

By the way, I didn't sign Daddy up for the PTA, but he is now part of the PTA for dads. He said he got suckered into it, but I know he doesn't mind. He is a Watch D.O.G.S (Dads of Great Students). Father figures are encouraged to volunteer 1 day out of the year. He has already signed up for a day, and Big M can't wait for it. Daddy gets to wear Watch D.O.G.S. shirt, and Big M has planned to wear his "My Dad is a Watch D.O.G.S" shirt.

Last week was the first parent-teacher conference. I signed up bright and early at 7am. That day, it was cold and dark and by the time I arrived at school, I was the 3rd car in the parking lot. What was I thinking signing up for 7 am, right? The whole event had to be coordinated. Daddy went to work late in order to drive the girls to school and stay with Big M until I got back home. Big M didn't have school that day. I was very pleased to learn that Big M has really been a great student overall. For an active, alert, strong-willed kid, it's pretty amazing. The teacher pointed out what he needs to work on (minor things about confusing some letter sounds) and that was it. I mentioned to her that Daddy and I are planning on recommending Big M to the gifted program to what hear what she had to say. I breached the subject by starting out with, "Ms. Shane, you probably haven't noticed anything special about him because it may not be a sort of thing you see on a day to day school work, but we think he's gifted." To that Ms. Shane interrupted, "Well, that's actually something we do see here. Things like different perspective on art work, etc."

My mind started churning silently of course. What kind of different perspective could a kid have when asked to draw a giraffe, a cat, etc. I mean, come on. In preschool when they get done with the lessons, the kids get to draw whatever they want. And Big M draws pretty cool stuff like this. Is that enough of a different perspective? Of course I didn't say any of this aloud.  But she did say that not a lot of kindergarten pass the test because they are simply not mature enough to sit and take tests. She also said that it doesn't hurt to try since we could try year after year if we wanted to.

Anyway, we plan on recommending him to the gifted program. The application is an in-depth one in which we need to provide evidence of the way he thinks, process information and any other things in order to provide "preponderance of information". I've been scouring my blogs in order to do so. I'm so glad I have blogs, because if I had to rely on memory... well. Daddy and I will do our best to provide plenty of examples of giftedness and should he be chosen to proceed to assessment, we would be happy. If he doesn't pass the assessment, we would be happy to try again the next year. No expectations.  I think the important thing here is that we know Big M is smart and that we would keep looking for opportunities to provide him challenges. Our only wish is that we don't influence him to be too much of a perfectionist. Perfectionism leads to under achievement. No one knows that better that Daddy and I.

Kindergarten is hard, but it also could be so fun for parents. :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

in the beauty parlor

This is what happens when 3 year old twins get into being girly girls. They make up their baby brother.

(J in pink, K in white)

Monday, October 11, 2010

weekend fun


[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="J the Lady Bug"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="K the Kitty Cat"][/caption]

We took the kids to the church festival this weekend. They played games and the girls had their faces painted. They enjoyed telling everyone about their painted faces. It helped people especially with K since no one could quite figure out what she was.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="J, Big M, Little M"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="488" caption="Little M the Fireman"][/caption]

It was 90 degrees and so this little baby got exposed to the searing sun. I tried to keep him in my shadow for some shade but he may get some color because of this weekend. Baby, you came out fair skinned like Daddy but once you get your first golden tan there is no going back I'm afraid....all thanks to Mommy. But like your brother and sisters you'll still be good looking. :)

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="481" caption="Brothers"][/caption]

Then Little M got to sit down with us while we ate lunch at Firehouse Subs. He only played with toys, though I'm sure he would have loved what we were eating.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

'mom vs the weeds' project

When we were looking for a house last spring, we wanted a decent yard that goes with the nice house. Unfortunately, it rarely came with both. When we found our house, it had an ok sized yard, but it had a play structure so we new it would work for us. The play structure had rubber mulch, but it also had weeds. While we were slowly moving, I tried to pull some of them in order to get them play-ready when we were completely moved. I found out it wasn't that easy.

The weeds had extensive web of roots. Pulling what came out easily wasn't going to cut it, and that it was going to be a big job with the temperature above 100. The hot weather meant the kids wasn't going to be out there anyway, so I only weeded when I could, which meant every few weeks.

But now that the cooler whether is here, I have decided to resume weeding. The grass is starting to yellow, which I'm hoping means the weeds wouldn't be growing as fast. So with my weapons of choice, I have decided to weed 30 minutes at a time at least once a week. It doesn't sound very much, but that's all I can manage. The inside of the house isn't all that well managed, so I can only steal time here and there.

So this is my project - "mom vs the weeds". My timeline isn't ambitious. I just want it cleared most of the way by next spring. The playground covers a 3rd of the backyard so I need to keep it usable. I will periodically update of my progress.

Friday, October 8, 2010

why dads should be more involved

A week ago, I logged in to the school's parent portal to check on Big M's school grades, etc. I noticed a chart of his math learning progress. According to the chart, he is at 1st grade math level. Because of this, I decided to step it up a notch when it comes to our daily math problems. Sometimes in the morning, or at night, I give him made-up math problems to think through and solve - like if I were going bringing up clean clothes up the stairs and made it 8 steps, but I dropped a shirt 3 steps behind so I had to go fetch it. How many steps total did I climb by the time I got to the top of the stairs. He works this kinds of problems out in his head, and when applicable, he tries it out himself. In this instance, he climbed up the stairs, backtracked and then went all the way up.

I have no idea whether this is kindergarten math or not, but seeing the graph served as an incentive to keep it up. One night's problem was how many total minutes did he serve in time-out if I gave him 5 minutes, but had to keep starting over whenever he talked after only having completed 1 minute.  He could also think through simple multiplication and division when I asked how much money should I give each of them (him and 2 sisters) if I only had $30.

Yesterday he came home with a note that they are learning "systems" at school, and how a system has many parts that must work together for the system to function. Immediately I gave him an example: our family is a system and when Mommy gets sick and can't clean, and everyone decides not to clean, the house gets all messy. I thought that was a very good example.

Before bed, I mentioned that Big M's class is learning about system and immediately, he provided an example of a car. I looked at him and started to laugh. Here I am giving time-outs and money and house as examples and like a man, he comes up with a car as an example. I told Daddy that he has to work with Big M or all he's ever going to learn is how to run a house. Not necessarily a bad thing, but still.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

school pictures

Princess K

Princess J

The pictures cost an arm and a leg, but how could I not purchase them?

J had 2 ponytails that's why she has  apart in the middle. Had I known they'd put a bow, I would have arranged her hair differently. Also, I should have dressed them differently.

I'll be sending photos to the grandparents...when I get around to it. Soon. Hopefully.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

the hoodie gang

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="K, Big M, J, Little M"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="K, Big M, J, Little M"][/caption]

I love taking pictures of all of these kids together, especially when they are all smiling.

Kids, it is my wish that you all stay close as you are now throughout your lives. It his highly likely that you will disperse throughout the country, and even perhaps outside the country but I want you to stay in touch even if it's just by email. I want you all to be friends, to be able to call on each other in times of need, for support and to cheer each other on. If I give you nothing else of my culture but this, I will be very happy. Family is important.

You don't need to jeopardize your own stability in order to help each other, like many other Filipinos do. Enable each other to do better. Always repay your debt; financially, or emotionally.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Big M, the cowboy

He is now a true Texan and is very familiar with the Texas State Flag. I lived in IL for 5 years when I went to high-school there, lived in VA for 9 years and I can't tell you what their state flag look like. I probably could recognize VA on a multiple choice, though.

Friday, September 24, 2010

the amazing Ergo baby carrier

The Ergo is pretty amazing. I bought the first one out of necessity with Big M, then I bought a second one when the twins were born (one each for Daddy and I) and now I get to use it for Little M. For the most part, Little M is an easy baby and is happy on the floor as long as someone plays with him. But he is cranky lately, so I've had to wear him. The girls thought it might be cool to be the "baby" so here they are. If memory serves, Ergo claims to hold a baby up to 45 lbs.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="351" caption="K - approx 45 lbs."][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="419" caption="J - approx 40 lbs"][/caption]