Day 30 — wrapping up the month

Finally I am at the end of my month-long daily posts. I don’t know if I gain anything huge, but these daily posts kept me sane. This blog is an escape for me from the grind of my life chasing after two kids. I have been blogging for years, since 2001 to be exact, and even though I don’t find these posts interesting at the moment writing it, I am always grateful that with modern technology I am able to look back at small moments as keepsakes. 

Now that I have my children I feel more compelled to jot down these mundane thoughts. Who knows, one of them will grow up to be a prolific writer gaining fame from his mother’s daily blogging. He will put together a memoir, with high resolution images to go along with the text, showcasing how their childhood impact the success they gain in their future. I am being quite optimistic about this. Nevertheless, whether or not they will use this blog to gain success, I am sure they will read this blog with delightful eyes that their mama was consistent in keeping their childhood alive through words. That what they remember will be reinforced by what I keep here. 

I also looked back to last June’s series and realized that life has gotten me busier this year compare to last. The boys are growing, active, and demanding of my time, which is a good thing because I am needed. I also remembered that it’s been two years since I quit my job to be a full-time mom. Reading the blog posts again, with all the things I do and time I spend with the boys, it reaffirms me that other people can do my job at work but no one can do my job at home. It’s a lose-some situation that I had to quit working, missing years of climbing the corporate ladder and salary jumps. But it is also a gain-a-lot situation that cannot be bought with money, because how can you buy the first-hand experience and time you witness and watch your children grow up? 

Living with one-income does not give us the freedom to do frivolous things like other parents. We don’t travel to far-away destinations that deliver an escape from daily life, but we make up for that by doing things that we all enjoy, even when we have tech-free hours and just play with the kids at home. I still dream about the far-away places though, but that can wait, because right now my priority is to raise these boys to be kind, curious, and culturally aware. Then when they get older we can show them the wonders of the world. 

To wrap up this post, I want to showcase a photo of PP who had the courage to volunteer at the free Kid Show at the park today. I call him the Frumpy-Crumpy-Party-Pooper because he hardly warms up to enjoying these events, let alone take part in an activity. But somehow today I sat next to him and encouraged him, soon enough he volunteered for the last part of the show. 

Moment like this, I couldn’t dream of having as a working mom, because I would not have the time of the day to take him to a park at noon on a working day to watch a show. I am one who used to have the double-edged guilt between work and being a mom. 

Just in case you cannot see from this poorly captured by an iPhone photo, he is fifth from the right, holding the stick with the spinning plate at the tip. 

  

Thank you for following along with my month of June. I have gained so many followers this past month more than I had the other months. I am not sure if my posts are relatable to your life, but one thing for sure that I write not because of page views or for gaining popularity. This is a personal blog I share with the public, and I write with sincerity. 

Day 29 — Mom scared us

This post was in my draft box last night but I was too tired to finish.

Mom wants to sell the house, but she wants to stay there over the summer. My brother who lives in the north side of town insisted that she would move in with him, but she does not want to stay there full time and split her time between two places for now. On her days off she would come back to the house in Minneapolis; she likes the freedom, and perhaps she is also too attached to the house. I don’t blame her, we have that house for 20 years now, all the memories, most of the major events of our lives — they are all there!

But leaving her at the house by herself is making all of us uneasy because, god forbids, if something happens we cannot get there in time to help. That side of Minneapolis is relatively safe now, but back then it was a crime-infested neighborhood.

Just like today, we all tried to call her but the phone was off. By 7 p.m., one of my older brothers asked me to drive to the house since I live the closest to her. Tendril and I took the 10-minute drive, and time that took me there I was really scared for what might happen if we reach our destination.

Tendril and I got there, we did a quick inspection on the outside, then I let us in with my copy of her house’s key. It was dark on the first floor, she closed all the blinds and curtains. It was very eerie, and my heart was palpitating. We walked slowly up the stairs to find Mom in her room dozing off while watching some old Vietnamese music variety shows, not knowing that we approached her room.

Fortunately, she was fine but her phone was broken and she could not make any calls either. I quickly did a quick group text telling the siblings that mom was fine. Every one responded with “trời ơi!” (Oh my god!)

*phew*

I gave her a hug and stayed there to chat with her for awhile until I had to go home and prepare the kids for bedtime.

Day 28 — Hmong Village in St. Paul

I am two-day late in posting and this is a make-up post for Sunday, July 28, 2015.

I first heard about Hmong Village when working at the university, where one of my colleagues is of Hmong-descent and told me about the place in St. Paul. It only took me two years to finally get myself together for a trip, actually it was a cultural excursion, because my jaw dropped as I walked into this huge massive warehouse that became a little contained world in itself.

The market is an bustling ethnic enclave that caters to the needs and want for Hmong community. There is a section for fresh produce and asian greens, clothing stores that display traditional, fusion, and modern Hmong garbs for both men and women. There were even music and video stores that sales CDs and DVDs of Hmong music and movies.

Then when we moved on to the food court, my mouth started to salivate. I wanted the papaya salad, and I got one all to myself. The salad reminded me of the first time O took me to the Lowell Festival, in Lowell, MA. But I digressed, the Hmong Village was a surprised visit, even though we planned to go there, I was so impressed at what I saw.

Then I told O, how come the Vietnamese community never have anything like this, or even to a lesser degree, there is no central place to really make it like “home” in MN?

(Making this a quick post because I have to take the boys out to a kids’ concert at the park right now!)

Pardon the bad photos. I don’t know how to take photos of indoor-lowlight places where people were walking fast and not wanting to be in the pictures.


Day 27 — the chickens and the eggs

We were invited over to a friend’s house for dinner today. It’s been such a long time since O and I had an opportunity to meet other grown-up people who aren’t family members. The couple has two kids who are much older than our boys. It’s the fourth time they hung out together and like good old friends they got along very well every time.

The couple also raise four different kinds of chickens for daily supply of fresh eggs, and my kids were just mesmerized. They wanted to stay until tomorrow morning so that they can come to the coop to pick fresh eggs. I think we will look into it next year to have a coop in our backyard. It seems like a great idea, and economical too, given the constant price increase of organic eggs at any supermarkets.


Day 26 — rain, rain, come again!

Every child must have a memory of a summer rain shower, because it would complete the whole walking-down-the-memory-lane conversation when he meets his love and recalls how wonderful life was at age five, when his father allowed him to run free in the backyard under the afternoon rain shower.

His first love would respond in wonderment, saying “oh, my parents did not let me do that!” and wishes that she had the same experience. Then he will hold her hand as they are looking at the rain, and will agree that their children would have that must-have experience in their future.

Ok, I am way far ahead of myself. :D I don’t think my children will do that. It’s just the hopeless romantic in me that unleashed these kind of romantic imagery.

Growing up in a tropical region of South Vietnam gave me a lot of these childhood memories. Life was economically tough back then but I think many of my happiest memories come from the long months of monsoon seasons. When heavy rain rushed down from the sky, together with the kids in our neighborhood, my siblings and I would rush out to the streets, and play all kind of games there were to play.

We found houses with big rain gutters and stood underneath to have rain water gushed down on our heads. Or we traced along the neighborhood’s rain trenches made out of cement and bricks to catch tadpoles or frogs or even fresh water fish that came down from the mountain’s creeks. Sometimes we ran to the beach, and had it both way — salty ocean water below and sweet rain water came from above. We shivered with purple lips and wrinkled fingers after an hour or two, then retreated to our homes for hot bowls of chè (Vietnamese sweet bean dessert).

Mom used to have a refreshment/dessert stall, and the rain would dampen her daily sale revenue, but for us kids it was a rejoice because we could eat the unsold-able amount of left-over chè.

Life was indeed sweet with such moments that I treasure so dearly!

P.S. Peanut might look back and wonder why he isn’t in the photos. Well, that’s because he took a long nap after two hours spent at the wading pool. He missed out on the experience, but there is always a next rain shower waiting for him.