Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hey! That's MY Country Mama!

From the moment Erin was placed in my arms, she wanted nothing to do with anything Chinese - the people, the language, the culture.  You can imagine how concerned David & I were.  Having been born in a land of beauty with an extremely old culture, we want her to be proud of her heritage.

When Erin was finally granted American citizenship, she told us that she was no longer Chinese but only American.  Seriously? Have you looked in a mirror?  We explained that she will always be American, but she will also always be Chinese.

When she was in 2nd grade, I put my foot down & decided she needed to get with it & realize that she was a daughter of China thereby making China show herself in a good light.  I sent in the usual treats for Chinese New Year - lucky money envelopes, chocolate coins & clementines, & let her hand them out.  In 3rd grade, she decided she wanted to do the same thing but this time she wanted me to come in & talk about China.  She wore her Chinese dress, handed out treats & sat with her classmates while I gave a lesson.  This past year in 3rd grade 2nd time around, she asked to wear her Chinese dress all day long at school.  We insisted that she not wear the dress since it is silk.  During this Chinese New Year school celebration, she answered a few simple questions & even helped me with the presentation. 

Lately, she has decided that maybe being from China isn't such a bad thing.  It's taken quite a few talks, but we believe she is finally seeing that being Chinese is as awesome as being Jewish and as awesome as being American.

This morning our family watched our DVRd program of the 2012 London Olympics Opening ceremonies.  Can you say "WOW!!"?  London truly rose to the occasion.  I laughed.  I cried.  We talked about the things she was seeing.  David explained some parts while I explained others.  I told her that it has been a lifelong dream of mine to visit the United Kingdom.  In fact, her name Erin is Irish while her middle name Chelsie is English.  (Boy, I hope I got that right!)

Then the different countries entered.  I pointed out Argentina, where Miss Vivian is from having lived there a good portion of her life.  That brought a comment of surprise.  I pointed out Brazil, where Miss Minouche & Mr. Delfim are from.  She saw the flag of Canada & yelled out "Kerri is there!"  And we watched.  Then the Chinese delegates marched out on the field.  And it happened.  "Mama! That's MY country!"  And her smile?  Huge!  She asked if the Olympians were from where she is from.  She was so proud to see the people of China marching in with pride & joy on their faces.  She even shushed us!

Thanks to the 2012 Olympics, Erin may finally decide that China is a place of beauty.  I sure hope so.

Friday, July 13, 2012

So You Call Yourself a Friend

Really?  Do you understand what being a friend means?  No?

Well, in my opinion a friend:
  • Is there to listen without judging
  • Cries right alongside you when things go wrong
  • Cries right alongside you when things go right
  • Laughs with you as opposed to at you
  • Understands when you can't afford to go out & do things so sometimes just hanging is okay
  • Sometimes a friend takes you out just so you can have some time away from the family because it's really needed
  • Comes running when you call & sometimes before you call

I know my true friends.  They have made their stance clear to me.  Crystal clear.  Now I also know that some people think that an acquaintance is as good as a friend, but that just isn't the case.  I would do anything for my friends. And they know it.  My friends would do anything for me.  And I know it.  My friends are as loyal to me as I am to them. 

I have been spreading myself a little thin lately trying to be that loyal friend that everyone can count on.  I'm going to stop running myself around doing everything for everyone.  I'm going to take my life back & be with the people I want to be with. 

My mother used to tell me that not everyone is a friend.  I thought she was nuts.  Darn! Moms are always right.  Now I have to teach Erin this most basic of lessons.  Hopefully she won't get hurt the way I have.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Celebrating With a Crash

Yesterday my father, Erin's zaydie, turned 72.  I told my cousins that I'd need to call him to wish him a happy birthday.  What with work & all, the day got away from us.  Before I knew it, it was 4:00 & time to leave for the day.  Normally I hang a few minutes, clean up & chit chat, but I had plans to go out with some friends to see a movie.

So there I am sitting in the left turn lane waiting to make a turn so I could get on the S expressway.  In front of me was this huge truck.  As I'm sitting there, I am watching this putz start to back up so I laid on my horn.  Anyone who has heard a T0y0ta horn knows it is the most annoying horn.  Ever.  Nope.  It didn't stop him.  I got pushed back, & then he stopped.  I had the hood of my car all crunched up.  Then he started to back up again.  With my laying on my horn so hard I don't know why it wasn't heard round the 50 states!

When he stopped & got out of the truck from he!!, I got out & quite vocally asked him what he thought he was doing backing up & didn't he hear my horn.  BUT NO!!! He starts talking to me in Spanish claiming he doesn't speak English.  I got back in my car because I was ticked off & needed to stay away.  First thing I called 9!! to report the accident.  Then I called Cheryle at the office, & she sent Stacy to me.

Not too much after Stacy showed up, the service aide pulled up.  He came over to take the report from my point of view & then explained that I should call my insurance company & Triple A.  When he came to me, he told me that the other driver claimed I rammed him from behind.  Mind you, my car was the one with ALL the damage & on the diagonal.  (Had I hit him, my car would have not been pointed the direction it was in.  Just MHO of course.)

In the midst of this the driver from Triple A shows up & is the sweetest guy ever!! I hope they call me with a survey because Thurman will get top marks.  Rather than have to speak with my insurance company, Stacy handled the call & then Thurman spoke with the rep to find a repair place that would be convenient for me.

I went over to the service aide assisting me & asked if he knew if the aide behind him was Fa!th.  He wasn't sure so I walked over.  When she looked up & saw me, she got out of her truck with a white face.  Gotta love friends like her.  She didn't need to stay with me but did until I was almost done.

Thurman drove me & my poor T0y0ta to the repair shop which is around the corner from my house.  The people there seem to be great.  In fact, they are so nice the owner drove me home.

My neighbor L had picked Erin up from camp & kept her at her house for dinner so I could settle in.  When Erin came home, she brought her friends Matthew & Sophie with her.  They all wanted to make sure I was alright. 

When I finally got in touch with my dad, I told him that I'd found a great way to celebrate his birthday.  With a crash, bang, boom!  He asked me to celebrate  his day in a calmer way.  I'll try that next year.  Promise.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

What I've Discovered

I am sick & tired of feeling the way I do.  I have had a weight problem for most of my life. 

When we were paperchasing for Erin, I started WW.  I was very successful & lost about 30 lbs.  While that isn't near what I needed to lose, I felt healthy & was also learning how to become a mommy to a 10 month old.  I looked at life & decided what my priorities were.  Mommyhood needed to come first.  It took me a long time to put the weight back on - almost as long as Erin has been with us.  Not bad considering that most people put back lost weight within a year or so.

I've finally decided that I need to take the bull by the horns.  What changed?  Well, let's see:

  • My health is starting to suffer.  I'm having a hard time walking without my asthma kicking in &/or my back going out. 
  • Erin is in need of a better nutrition role model.
  • I hate the way my arms feel with all the extra flab.  Gosh! I despise that word but that is exactly what I have.  :-)
  • It's been years since I have been able to wear a button down shirt.  I stopped even trying to find them.  How pathetic is that!?
  • Bras.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a bra in my size!? Nope.  Didn't think so.  (I know.  TMI.)
I now have some major inspiration on my side.
  • I want Erin to see a healthier way to eat.
  • I want Erin to see a healthier me.
  • My friend Sandra.  She has lost a lot of weight, changed her attitude about life.  In fact, Sandra now runs marathons! I am so proud of her.
  •  Unfortunately, I also need to be able to take care of David.  Although he is trying to keep a positive attitude, we both know his health is not great.  I need to be able to help him & can't do that if I feel this way.
It's been a week & a half since I started WW.  My first weigh in I found that I'd lost 4 pounds.  Not bad! Then I admitted to myself that I know the first few weeks are about losing water.  I've made some changes - no more than 1 can of coke a day & drinking plenty of water.  I noticed this past week that most days I'm not even indulging in my coc@ co!a addiction.  Not bad! I'm still drinking coffee with regular creamer but limiting how much I use. 

I weigh myself every morning.  David says I'm going to let myself down.  I believe quite the opposite.  Weighing myself each morning lets me know if the previous day's food was good for me or not.  For example, we eat a lot of Chinese food.  I have to watch which foods or I can gain up to 2 pounds.  Sushi on the other is something I can enjoy with no problem.  I had wings for lunch on Friday.  Not worth it! Grilled turkey sausage links?  Very yummy.  Great treat. 

This morning I ate apple slices.  Most fruit & most veggies are freebies.  I ate the equivalent of 5 apples.  Mindless eating.  Lesson learned?  When I buy prepackaged fruit &/or veggies, I need to portion them out so I eat only 1 portion at a time.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Independence Day!!

Tonight we'll be celebrating Independence Day which has come to be known as July 4th.  I sometimes think that we Americans have forgotten what this day really means.  I remember all of the lessons that my teachers taught.  Nothing really stood out at that time.  Now as an adult (Ha!) & a parent I get it.  My friend Lisa's son Joe joined the US Air Force.  My friend Angel's son Blake joined the Marine Corps.  These 2 young men are just 2 of many.  But they have decided to dedicate their life to serving & protecting.  It's because of people like these young men that we can continue to celebrate our independence as Americans. 

When I was growing up I remember my family having or attending backyard BBQs with friends &/or family.  The dads BBQd because "back in the day" women didn't do things like handle the grilling.  The moms prepared all of the foods that were going to be served throughout the day.  Night fell & the fireworks came out.  The young children had sparklers & thought they were awesome.  The teens were the ones who lit the fireworks - cherry bombs, rockets, you name it.  There was fun in the pool, tons of food & desserts to eat & just a general good ole time.

These days fireworks displays are set off in every city.  Because of the danger that we now know can be involved with fireworks, parents are more careful with what they allow their children to handle but the dads remember setting them off as teens & feel compelled to continue doing so. 

We live in a community that used to keep to itself except for a few isolated friendships here & there.  Ever since Hurricane Wilma it seems that more & more of our neighbors are friendly.  Or maybe it's just that now we have children &/or grandchildren.  Tonight David will set off some fireworks like he does every year.  I can't imagine our neighbors Joni & Dom G won't have their grandchildren here for the festivities.  Erin's friends Matthew, Sophie, Emma, Josh & Ethan will probably all be outside having fun.  I'll sit back with the parents & enjoy a wine cooler or 2.

Last year I baked some cupcakes for the kids.  This year I have a new treat in mind.  I may be an older teen (insert another "Ha!" here.) but I'm really looking forward to it.  Now I have to go charge my camera batteries.  It wouldn't be The 4th without me taking tons of pics!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Catching Up With Erin

Since I haven't blogged too much this year, I want to talk about some things that have gone on with Erin.  It was a big year for her & well, since this blog is for her - down the line, I really should let her know what happened this year.

  • Right before school started, Erin quit karate.  She got her red belt & decided she was done.  David & I are very upset about this because she really is a natural.  Sifu H tried so hard to get Erin to come back.  Her hero Brittany tried to get her to come back.  One of the other teens that she admires, Bobby, also tried.  Nope.  Not happening.  I get it.  The required uniform is very hot - especially when you need to wear a shirt under it because it's too big.  She was also going 4-5 days a week which I offered to make no more than 3 days.  Still not happening.
  • Her pediatrician is still very concerned about Erin's size.  Yes, Erin is healthy.  In fact, Erin hasn't really gotten sick for the last 2 years.  (Yay!)  At just about 10 years old, she isn't even 55 lbs.  Good things come in small packages.  And she is the bestest.  :-)
  • Last summer we had Erin's vision tested.  All is good there.  No signs of dyslexia.
  • Last summer I took the bull by the horns & brought Erin to her audiologist to get a confirmation on my suspected diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorder (a/k/a APD).  Dr. Randall had been our go-to audiologist since Erin was 2 years old because her ears have some scarring inside.  I love it when I find out I'm right.  This is one of those times that I wish I weren't right.  Erin does have APD on the output organization level.
  • This year in school I pushed to have an IEP put in place so Erin could get the necessary help.  I had to wait & have conferences & get pushy.  I went so far as to go to the principal Mrs. A & inform her that Erin would not be taking the FCAT without an IEP in place.  The IEP was put into place 1 month before the FCAT.
  • This year Erin decided that being Chinese is a good thing.  She can be an American girl but still be proud of her Chinese heritage.  In fact, she had a few projects to do in school, & she found ways to bring her heritage into them.  (A story on animals?  She chose horses because she was born in the year of the horse.  A report on endangered animals?  She wrote about the FL blue butterfly because she loves butterflies & they are from where she now lives.  Her other endangered animal was the Chinese Great Panda because they are from her birth country.)
  • FCATs in FL were much harder this year than previously.  Erin passed both the math & reading FCATs.  She did great! We are so darn proud of her.
  • For the first time ever, Erin made the A/B honor roll for the 3rd quarter.  She worked so hard, & we had no clue about it until she called me from school to tell me.
  • Last year there was no money for camp so Erin stayed home with David & me.  That really didn't work for any of us.  For the most part, the only happy ones in the house were the animals.  This year David & I pushed ourselves to get Erin back into camp.  It is very expensive but she is having a blast.  Very worth it to do this for her.  The smile on her face tells me that we did the right thing.
There are more things that have gone on this past year but these seem to be the highlights for now.