Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dancing debut

A couple months ago when I picked up Lucas from school there was a sign-up sheet for a once-a-week dance class, specifically with the end-goal of a performance at the annual multicultural feast and fundraiser for the school.

I thought, what the heck, I'll sign him up and see how he does.

I peeked in on dance class one day, Lucas was lightly kicking the ground with his shoe, while his partner, Ella, danced joyfully on her own.

I received periodic reports through Ella's mom, that according to Ella, "Lucas doesn't do the dance right."

When I asked Lucas about dance class, he mostly denied that he was in a dance class. A few times when I asked him to show me what he was learning, he would skip around the room wildly flinging his arms about.

I learned from Ella's mom more about the dance, Ella actually practiced it at home. In fact, it didn't include any skipping or arm-flinging. And there were specific moves: heel, heel, toe, toe, and three little jumps to the side; there was also a move where the partners link arms and swing each other around. Yeah...I didn't see any of these moves from Lucas.

A few days before the performance, I asked Lucas if he would show me his dance moves. Again, he skipped wildly around the room. Then he said, "But Yovanka (his dance teacher) told me today that that's not how the dance goes." I asked him if he knows how it goes and he replied, "Not really." I told him I thought I knew a little bit of the dance and I showed him the heel, heel, toe, toe move that Ella's mom showed me. But he ran off to play with his cars so I didn't push it.

Kevin and I eagerly looked forward to Lucas' big dance debut, wondering what would happen when Lucas got on stage with his dance team in front of 100 or so parents.

There were two dance groups. Lucas was in the 2nd group. (Turn up your speakers!)

Everyone was clapping and laughing throughout both performances. After Lucas came down from the stage, he had a big smile on his face. So whatever he was thinking about, he must have been pleased with himself. Unless he was just relieved to be away from the whole dancing escapade. Kevin and I were there to congratulate him on a job well done. He seemed pleased as he ate his 4th cookie of the day.

As I look back on the videos, I wonder what he was thinking when he was up there.
- How does this dance go again? (probably not)
- What am I doing here? (maybe)
- Is Daddy eating my cookie? (most likely)

Luckily he has other talents to fall back on.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Pre pre-med

Lucas has been dabbling in medicine recently. More specifically, he has several hypotheses that he has been talking about:

- If you have a black scab, it will give you special powers, like being able to fly without wings.
- If you get dirt on your boogers and eat them, you will throw up.
- If you don't get dirt on your boogers and eat them, nothing will happen to you.
- If you find a dried booger on your cheek, it means you will be lucky. (Isn't finding a dried booger on your cheek lucky enough??)
Lucsa has identified a new gender: the boy-girl. There's a boy in his class at school who has long hair. Lucas calls him (I hope not to his face) a boy-girl.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sometimes it sucks to be a parent...

and yesterday was one of those days. From the moment he woke up, Lucas seemed intent on pissing off me and Kevin. I'm sure he wasn't, he probably just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

Here are some highlights:
- He was being BRATTY! Even when we were playing cars, he was saying things like, "No, your car can't come up on the couch because only I have the special powers," or, "I don't have to say ready set go, because only I can win the race." I pretended my car was making cupcakes and gave him one, he said it didn't taste good. When I pretended my car was going to eat them, he threw a fit saying he wanted more of the pretend cupcakes. So I told him I wasn't going to play with him if he acted like that, which of course, didn't go over very well with him.
- His whininess hit a new high. It was maddening, like constant nails down a chalkboard, all day long.
- He kept changing his mind ("I want cheese toast now," then 2 minutes later as I started to make it, "Wait, I changed my mind, I don't want any till after we read a book"; or, "I want to ride my bike", "I don't want to ride my bike." You get the picture. This went on and on and on...and on.
- He didn't want to go outside. For me, just going outside makes me feel better. Kevin finally forced him out of the house to go rock climbing at Indian Rock. Evidently, they had such a good time, he didn't want to leave to come home. And actually, he was in a slightly better mood when he got home.
- He crapped in his clothes. He says it was an accident, but I'm sure he was rebelling against all the time-outs he was given throughout the day. He was crying and I went over and he had a bonafide poop in his underpants and another one on the way. Luckily, he hadn't sat down in it and we got to the toilet in time so I could just roll the one it into the toilet and then he sat down to finish it up.

The evening went a little better. We went out for a sushi dinner then hit the book store, both were without any incidents.

It's hard to understand the mind of a 3-year old boy. But like adults, sometimes you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed. A few times he said, "I feel grumpy today," which I guess is a step in the right direction. Hopefully, today will be a better day for us all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Breaking news at the McKay house!!!

During dinner tonight Lucas let me and Kevin in on some very exciting news. Lucas announced that he's having a baby! Yes, you heard it right. Lucas is having a baby boy and he's going to name it Sea Dragon.

Me: Is the baby in your belly right now?
Lucas: Yes it is.
Me: Oh, I was wondering why your belly was so big latetly.
Lucas: Yep, I have a baby in there.
Me: So, when is your baby going to come out? We need to know so we can get ready for it.
Lucas: Actually, my baby is coming on my birthday. July 16th!
Me: Fantastic! We can celebrate your birthday and your baby's birthday. Wait, we need to figure out where he will sleep.
Lucas: He will sleep with me in my room.
Me: That sounds like a good plan.

Then Lucas hit me with part two of his big news.

Lucas: And, there's going to be another one too.
Me: Really, two babies! How exciting! Is the other one a boy or a girl?
Lucas: A girl.
Me: Wow! A girl, cool! Did you pick out a name for her yet?
Lucas: Blood Nose. (I had just been telling him in the car not to pick his nose because he could get some bad germs, or even a bloody nose. Coincidence?)
Me: Interesting name. Did you come up with that name by yourself?
Lucas: Yes.

Apparently Lucas hasn't gone in for an ultrasound yet, but we'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Watch this movie!!!

Unlike most people, I can read the same book over and over, as long as it's a good book. I have probably read the Lord of the Rings trilogy about 15 times (ten times over summer between 3rd and 4th grade) and Of Human Bondage at least 5 times. Same goes for movies: Breakfast at Tiffany's, Godfathers 1 and 2, Heathers, Goodfellas, Deer Hunter - all of these I have seen somewhere in the double-digits. Every time I read one of these books or see one of these movies for the nth time, I always see something new that I never noticed before.

But there's one movie that stands above the rest. Last night I was so excited to get this movie at the video store that when the cashier said, "$3.00," I thought to myself, "What a bargain!" Then when he said I had 5 days to return it, I started to think of how many times I could possibly watch it before Sunday morning.
Have you seen "On the Waterfront"? If not, go rent it. It's so worth the money. I can't count how many times I've seen this movie. It has everything: an amazing story of betrayal, romance, redemption and inspiration; incredible actors, including Marlon Brando, my personal favorite; and comedy, yes, there are some points where I laughed out loud. I didn't realize till after watching it last night just how funny some of the lines are.

Some interesting facts about this movie:
  • AFI ranks this movie in the top 10 (sadly, just #8) in its list of greatest movies of all time, and 36th most inspiring movies of all time.
  • The above scene between Rod Steiger and Marlon Brando is the most studied scene of all time.
  • Despite winning a Best Actor Oscar for his role, Marlon Brando never thought he did a good job in this film.
Even though the above scene between Brando and Steiger is the most famous, I think that not enough credit has been paid to Brando for his scene at the end where he gives a short speech on the docks to the union boss, Johnny Friendly. Brando was an amazing actor! I have rewatched that scene again and again.

Watch it, you'll be glad you did. And if you don't like it, I want to know.

Who is the grown-up here?

Even through being sick and bored of his parents being sick, and through the occasional temper tantrum and general whininess, Lucas expressed his mature side on several occasions.

- A few days ago I ran to the store to pick up some things even though I was pretty sick and not feeling good. When Lucas heard me open the front door he said to Kevin, "I'm going to go give Mommy a hug because she needs one."

- Kevin will read any book to Lucas, except these two little SpongeBob books that I have from my days at LeapFrog. Lucas knows that Kevin won't read those books to him. So one day when Kevin said he would read a book to Lucas, Lucas brought over a non-SpongeBob book and said, "I think this one is okay for you, right?"

- This morning as I was driving Lucas to school, he asked me, "Can we listen to jazz sometimes? I never get to listen to jazz at home." After asking some questions, I found out that his teacher plays jazz CDs when rest time is over.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Can I get a price check on this?

I usually don't look at prices when I go grocery shopping. So yesterday when I went to pick up a few items at my favorite nearby grocery store, I didn't look at the prices. Imagine my surprise when I was told the total for my few grocery items (bay leaves, 2 single serving bottles of juice, almond butter, and a 4-pack of juice boxes) was more than $30.

The culprit? Kevin's $18.15 jar of almond butter! I had to come home and break the news to Kevin that he would have to suffer with plain old peanut butter.

Monday, March 12, 2007

My next volunteer project

I have a habit of volunteering for things and sometimes regretting it later. Kevin has said to me many times, "Next time you think about volunteering for something, let me know and I will talk you out of it."

Well, I volunteered for something again. No, it's not to watch someone else's kid for an afternoon, or to feed my friend's cat while she's out of town. This is a big one, but I won't regret it, though my feet probably will.

I just signed up to do the Breast Cancer 3-day walk for the Susan G. Komen foundation in San Diego in November this year. I have been looking for something like this to do before I hit the big 4-0, which will still not be for a few years. The AIDS ride is out of the question since I don't like the idea of riding so close to cars on the road. A triathlon is out since I don't like swimming, and I've already run one marathon, which was plenty for me.

So, I'm going to walk for three straight days and cover 60 miles. We get to stop and eat and even sleep in little tents or something. And yes, because I'm not accustomed to walking 20 miles in a day, I will need to train for this. I don't know much yet, like I said, I just signed up.

I'm on a team, appropriately named, the Boob Brigade. It's a small team, so far just me, Amy from my book group, her friend, and my friend Jennifer, who said she will sign up. If you're interested, sign up with our team.

Here is the link to my personal web page. It's a place for people like you to donate money to help fight breast cancer. I have to raise $2200, but my stretch goal is $5,000. That's okay if you don't feel like donating now, I'll hit you up for it later, to be sure.

Still haven't clicked on the link to donate? Here are some things to think about:
- According to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, approximately 200,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year
- Nearly 40,000 women will die from the disease.
- 85% of the net proceeds from the Breast Cancer 3-Day benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest and most progressive grassroots network fighting to end breast cancer.
- The causes of breast cancer are not fully understood, but the older a woman is, the more likely she is to get breast cancer.
- Men can get breast cancer too, though this is much more rare. However in 2006, it's estimated that men accounted for 1,720 cases in the US.

I know raising the money is the hardest part. But I'm going to think of some fun things to do to help me reach my goals. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Thanks! Don't be surprised if you hear from me soon. Maybe I'll ask you to go for a walk to help me in my training. Maybe I'll ask you for a donation.

Breaking ALL the rules

Sometimes life calls for drastic measures, like breaking one of your house rules, maybe even more than just one. The past few days required lots of rule-breaking, just so we could get through the days.

On Wednesday, I got a call from Lucas' school. He had a fever and was feeling lethargic. I picked him up and brought him home. He had a high fever, napped (which he hasn't done in ages), barely ate anything, and was content to sit on the couch with me and read books after his nap. This is very atypical behavior for our normally active fireball.

Broken rule #1 - Lots of juice. We normally don't keep juice in the house. In fact, I think Lucas only thinks he can get juice at birthday parties and other times when we are out of the house. But because of his high fever and lack of appetite, we filled the fridge with all types of juices to keep him happy and hydrated.

Broken rule #2 - Because he wasn't super hungry, we went out for "lunch" to Sketch on Thursday for ice cream. Meal of champions!

Broken rule #3 - Lucas started to finally sleep well on his own with the arrival of the Ice Bat, but since I get so anxious when he has a high fever, I slept with him so I could monitor his temperature throughout the night. (I know, I know, but I'm super paranoid about fevers.)

On Friday morning, he was feeling quite a bit better - the meds had kicked in and his fever was down. So we ventured out to Tilden Park's Little Farm for some gentle and quiet outdoor time feeding the animals. However, once we drove down the hill to the farm, I started not feeling so good. But since Lucas was feeling better, I stuck it out and we had a nice time.

By the time we got home, I felt like I couldn't really do anything except lie down. I tried to read to Lucas for a while, but after a few books, I couldn't even do that anymore. Lucas was a trooper and played with cars and trains in our room for a couple hours while I lounged around.

Broken rule #4 - Because Kevin wasn't due home for a while and I felt really bad about just lying around all afternoon, I found some video snippets of Cars and Curious George on YouTube and Lucas was pretty content to watch some of that stuff while I napped on and off.

On Saturday morning, my fever was hovering around 103. I pretty much slept until around noon. Kevin said that Lucas was lurking around me throughout the morning, so a few times he had to usher him out of the room. I felt pretty crappy in general all day.

Sunday I felt a bit better, and Lucas was feeling a lot better, but Kevin was feeling sick. Though my fever was down, my throat was trashed. Between Kevin and I, we tried to keep Lucas entertained.

Broken rule #5 - More videos! I went to the video store and picked up a few DVDs for Lucas. And now, as I type, he's gleefully watching the Curious George movie.

Lucas is home today with me and Kevin, to make sure he's all better before sending him back to school. But he will probably go back tomorrow. We'll have to wean him off of all the indulgences of the past few days. I wonder how long it will take for him to get used to life as it used to be again - no videos, no mom sleeping in his room, no juice, no ice cream for lunch - no fun!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Kindness of strangers

Believe it or not, Maggie has a favorite movie, "Streetcar Named Desire", with Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. Although Maggie seems more like the Stanley Kowalski, very butch and masculine, Maggie's favorite character is Blanche. "Here comes my favorite line," she'll say, and then in her best attempt at a feminine Blanche DuBois voice she'll say, "Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."

Well this past weekend, Maggie put her favorite line to the test.

We left Maggie in my sister's yard in Montclair when we went to Twain Harte. She always has a great time there playing with my sister's dog. However, after we were about an hour into our road trip, I received a message from my sister that Maggie had escaped from her yard. I checked our home messages (Maggie's tag has our home number) and there were messages about Maggie from two people:

Person #1) I saw your dog on the corner of Balboa and Asilomar. She's just running around the street without a leash, she's probably going to get hit by a car around here. Good luck finding her. (Thank you asshole, I hope one day you lose something valuable and I can leave you a similar helpful message.)

Person #2) I found your dog. She was taking a dump in my front yard. When she was done I brought her inside and fed her and gave her some cookies. She must be so tired having come to Montclair from Albany. Oh, and don't worry, the dog food is organic. Please call me at...

I called #2 and the nice woman was about to take Maggie to the dog park with her own two dogs. But I called my sister and she picked her up and took her to my mom's house, where we all thought she would be secure in the yard. We thought wrong.

On Saturday night, around 7:30, I got a message from my sister that my mom had been in San Jose all day and came home to find that Maggie was missing. My sister was on her way out to Moraga to help my mom in the search. I checked my messages.

There was a message from 10am (my mom said she left around 10) from a woman that she was jogging past a cafe (only a couple blocks from my mom's house) and saw Maggie there. Maggie kind of followed her on her run so the woman took her into her home, fed her and that she was still there playing with her dog in the backyard.

I was almost tempted to leave her there since it sounded like she was at least safe in a yard with another dog. But I called her back, thanked her, and then gave my mom her phone number and address so she could pick her up. I gave my mom strict instructions to keep Maggie in the garage and to let her out to do her business only with my mom, and on a leash.

What a weekend for Maggie. Luckily she did not get hurt and is now safely back in our yard. We were lucky that Maggie's charm and winning personality attracted the right people to her before she fell into trouble. My mom thinks that she is so attached to us that she escaped to try and find us. Or maybe she did it so she could have her own posting on this blog?

Maggie is probably the sweetest dog out there. Although she's' almost eight years old, she still has a puppy-like attitude and will drop everything to play ball. She has gracefully accepted her demotion from top dog in the house to the bottom of the totem pole without harboring any resentment toward Lucas. Maggie has never snapped at him or even let out as much as a growl. She is uber-friendly to all our guests and everyone she meets. Maggie never jumps on the furniture, never chews on things inside, and knows never to come upstairs. She is a dream dog actually.

Maybe we can take Maggie on our next vacation. But in the mean time, I will need to find a nice movie for her about an agoraphobic.

Snow weekend!

About 15 minutes into our 3 hour drive to Twain Harte for the weekend, Lucas asked, "Mommy, are we there yet?" No, not quite. He asked several more times during the first hour until I think he finally realized that it was going to be a long drive.

We stopped for fast food at In-N-Out (Kevin) and Baja Fresh (me and Lucas). When we finally got to the cabin that we had rented, we were pleasantly surprised to see a lot of snow! Luckily, it had snowed earlier in the week. Lucas and Kevin had fun tossing some snowballs at each other when we arrived.

The next morning, the Hendricksons arrived. Lucas and his buddy, Owen, immediately changed into their snow clothes and we all headed outside. There was plenty of snow to keep two boys (and their dads) entertained.

The cabin was stocked with several different kinds of sleds. The boys thoroughly tested each one to determine which was the best (fastest).

And then there were the snowball fights, probably the most emotional activity. Tons of laughter, but also crying and tantrums if someone accidentally hit someone in the face or if snow made its way down the back of someone's shirt.

Lucas has been talking about building a snowman since Christmas time. Frosty the Snowman continues to rank in Lucas' top 5 songs to sing when in the car or doing art projects. Craig did most of the hardwork with this activity. Lucas and Owen (and Kevin for that matter) didn't have the patience to work on it the whole time. But here was the final result.

Lori and I headed into the lovely downtown Twain Harte for some grocery shopping (how typical!). We stocked up for the rest of the weekend with ice cream, pasta, chicken, veggies, etc. Oh, and we, being the only two Asian people in the whole place, made an obligatory purchase of some sushi rolls at the sushi counter (again, typical).

After a hearty lunch of sushi and sandwiches we enjoyed the highly anticipated ice cream party - complete with chocolate sauce and sprinkles. As you can see, we didn't need to run the ice cream bowls through the dishwasher.

That night, after more snow play, we all settled in to watch the movie "Cars". If you don't know, Lucas has been obsessed with Lightning McQueen since last summer when he got his Lightning McQueen t-shirt for his birthday. He wears it at least 3 times a week. And of course, being part of the Disney marketing machine, Cars has seeped into our house without Lucas ever having watched the movie, via a Cars art caddy, toothbrush, and pull-ups. So imagine Lucas' face when he saw Lightning McQueen and the other Cars characters live, on the big plasma flat screen TV!

Lucas sat there with his mouth open for the first few minutes. Given his sensitive nature and bad flashbacks from certain things he's seen on TV, I said to him, "If something is scary for you, let me know." He replied with a very loud, "Nothing is too scary for me!" But after a few minutes, he turned to me and said, "Mama" and came over and sat in my lap.

The next morning, more excessive eating: those Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and buttermilk biscuits that come out of the tube (just like mom used to make - no really, my mom used to make those all the time, until of course, we were old enough to make them ourselves), bacon, sausages, eggs. After some more sledding and snowball fights, we cleaned and packed up and headed home.

According to Lucas, his favorite things about the trip were, "Sledding, building a snowman, having snowball fights and the ice cream party." That pretty much sums it up.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Coming to a mall near you...

One of my former co-workers at Kodak Gallery sent this to me today. See anyone you recognize?

Lucas and I, courtesy of the Kodak Gallery Scan Van, will be driving around in test markets, initially, in Florida and Southern California.

It's actually a great concept, I could really use a Scan Van at this point. Basically, you bring your shoeboxes of old photos and drop them off at the Scan Van so they can be digitized. I have tons of boxes of old photos that I need to do something with.

It's kind of cheesy, I can't really believe Lucas and I will be seen driving through the city streets like this. I guess we really earned our $10!

Scan Van, please make a pit stop at our house!

What he sees in the wee morning hours

Last night, excuse me, early early this morning, Lucas woke up and said, "Mommy come to my room. There are witches on the ceiling." I had to see it for myself so I followed the little night elf to his room.

"Where are they?" I asked him.

"I don't see them any more. I just see the flying raccoon."