Saturday, June 27, 2015

Just Call Me Poke'mom

If you asked my kids today if I was a cool mom they would say no.  Because I've been on a bedroom cleaning quest today.  So not fun.
But if you asked my kids last weekend, they would definitely say I WAS the cool mom.  At least Vu would.
Vu has been wanting to go to a video game tournament for a long time.  He kept telling me about these gatherings all over the US where gamers get together and compete.  I kid you not.  There are even internet sites that advertise and track.  But Vu has never been able to find one in our state. 
Soooo, when he found one a couple hours from our home he was ecstatic!  Problem # 1: It was the very next day.  Two hours away.  Problem #2: I was convinced this was probably not even a real tournament.  It was probably some pervert trying to trick kids into their lair.  Problem #3: It was two hours away.  The next day.  Problem #4: I looked up the address and the tournament was on the grounds of a university, but I was convinced it was a frat house.  Some crazy group of college guys getting stoned.  Playing video games.  Problem #5: It was the next day.  Two hours away. 
But Vu doesn't ask for a lot.  He is a kid that is pretty content with life.  And he REALLY wanted to go to the tournament.  For Super Smash Bros. Melee--his favorite game!
So, he asked, very, very sweetly.  And we went.  Yes, the next day.  Two hours away.  Vu and Mei Mei went, along with Vu's friend.
When we arrived my son and his friend jumped out of the car with video game controllers in their hands.  I was like, "Um, no, you cannot go in there looking like total nerds carrying around a video game controller!"  Please, let me save you from certain embarrassment!  "Besides, it's not like you are going to play!  Random people don't show up at a tournament and play video games!"  Right?
They both tried to convince me that people DO walk around video game tournaments carrying video game controllers.  Yeah.  Right. 
Try though I might I could not convince them to save themselves by leaving the controllers in the car. 
They insisted. 
So, we walked into the legitimate college lecture hall (no frat house or weed in sight!) to see about 150 mostly college-age-males (and a few females) carrying around video game controllers. 
Live and learn. 
My son (and his friend) rightfully gave me the "I told you so!" look! 
Much deserved. 
There were 50 TVs all hooked up to a video system games.  There was a legitimate tournament going on with big screens, but anyone could hook into the other systems to play a round for fun.  And it was free!
It was so much fun to see how welcoming the older guys were with my kids.  I think they were impressed that Vu is a decent player (and I'm not exactly proud of that fact!). 
I was the only mom there and I admit I felt VERY out of place. 
Probably because I didn't have a game controller to tote around.  But also maybe because I was wearing high heeled sandals, bright orange capris, and a cute purse.
Note to self: Next tournament wear a Super Smash Bros t-shirt, jeans, Converse shoes, and a backpack. 
And yes, carry a controller.
Oh, and have a nickname.  Did you know that gamers all have nicknames?  Neither did I.  So while I was standing around, watching gamers for hours, I came up with mine.
Poke'MOM.  Pretty cool, huh?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Celebrations and Being Green (Or Is That Cheap?)

We ended the school year with multiple graduations, birthdays, and celebrations!
One of the joys of having so many kids is that there's always something and someone to celebrate!  But it can take some creativity to make all that celebrating less-painful on the wallet.  I call it Being Green (recycling, reusing, repurposing), which just happens to be very in style these days.
My kids call it Being Cheap
But they are generally good sports and are often entertained with my sense of humor. 
Remember these balloons from the grad party?
They quickly and easily became birthday balloons for Lan Lan.
She laughed and had a fun party that included lots of smiles, lots of friends, and her homemade photo booth.
And then a trip to the skating rink where they were having disco night.  We had an abundance of guests arrive and had to keep calling for back-up drivers to get all the kids to the rink.  But it all worked out!  18 girls and 1 boy!  A fun night!
And then those balloons turned back to 8th grade graduation balloons for Lan Lan. 
She refused to get her picture with them. 
Although she did love going to Starbucks for a celebration.  It was cold in the store and windy outside so we celebrated in the car.  Next  year she is going to take a couple classes at the high school and also continue to homeschool. 
And then one of those balloons became a congrats balloon for Vu. 
Although I think I could have just used photos of random balloons, from random strangers, and put it on my blog and years from now Vu would have thought those balloons were purchased just for him.  His very own balloons!
Vu did have a great end-of-elementary-school celebration which included a luau, trip to the local amusement park, and "clap-out".  Fun!
A few days later the balloons were becoming a bit deflated.  So I bought one additional balloon and paired it up with a couple of those original balloons.
Ba-bam!  Just in time for Patrick's birthday party!  You can see he is thrilled with my creativity!
And for those who know his birthday is in March--yes we are late with the party.  More points for Mother of the Year!  In my defense he didn't know what he wanted to do for his party, hence the delay.  A trip to the local video game arcade with a bunch of boys was a hit!  (This is where my bi-polar spending habits come into play--save on balloons only to spend at the arcade!) 
It was Patrick's party, but Vu was the one who hit the jackpot!!!  Yep!  Teaching my kids to become slot-machine addicts at a young age!
Our next birthday is in 2 weeks.
Not sure my balloons will hold out that long?  So I took the picture now. 
Yep.  I'm a genius.  And you can see by the look on Paul's face that he's thinking the exact same thing!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Red Thread And Attachment

Several months ago I came upon this book at our public library:
It's based on an ancient Chinese proverb that I've loved since I heard it years ago,
"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet
regardless of  time, place, or circumstance. 
The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break."
After reading the book it made me think about how red thread is such a simple, yet powerful, symbol of connection.  Since that time I've started using a strand of red thread to become an attachment tool, especially for one child who is still learning to trust. 
When I have to be gone to an all-day training, and especially when I'm gone overnight, I leave a little red thread reminder.  It's reminder to my child that we are connected, even when I am gone; I am thinking of them and sending my love.
I sometimes tiptoe into my child's bedroom in the early morning and tie red embroidery floss from the bedpost to the closet handle.  When my child wakes up and stumbles out of bed they are caught in the reminder of my love.  Other times I leave a red thread somewhere in their room and the child enjoys a treasure hunt.  It's become a very special tradition. 
Red Thread = Love 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Senior Pics and Poetry

Back in the day I had a lot more brain cells.  And a lot more creativity.  When James graduated I decided it would be really cool to write him a poem commemorating the occasion.  I labored over it in the same way I labored with him--exceedingly long, yet filled with expectant joy. 
And so, of course, when Joe graduated, I had to keep the tradition and write him a poem.  After all, he was a middle child most of his life, so the least I could do was tap out a poem.  It was one of my favorites.
But now I'm at graduating-child-number-5. 
I am fading peoples. 
And please do NOT remind me that I have 5 more to go.  Because that means I have 5 more poems to go. 
I might just see if I can talk the rest of my children into dropping out. 
I'm not quite sure why I started that poem tradition.  I am not a poet.  I do not write poetry.  Nor did I ever yearn to be poetic or even speak in prose.  One can only suppose. 
You might note that I did not write a college graduation poem for Lizzy.  Nope.  Not enough mojo. 
But alas, in following tradition, I dug deep to create loving words for my sweet Kimmie Lou!   
God's Grace
Buttery Dew
And Sun Drenched Soul,
Indigo Dreams
And Moonbeams,
Whispering, Snuggling, Giggling, Fluttering,
Swirling, Whirling, Twirling,
Soaring Wings
And Beating Heart,
And now for something much more amazing  . . .  drumroll please!  Senior pics taken by a sweet friend who has played an amazing role in Kim's life.  LOVE!  Thank you April!  Photo credits April Yarger Photography
Love you Kim!  Congratulations!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Congrats Kim!

Oh-me-oh-my!  Crazy finish to the end of the school year.  Many HAPPY celebrations including cheering the latest grad!  YOU DID IT KIM!!!!
First came prom:
Then Senior Project Night with Kim's focus program in Child Development/Early Childhood Education

Then a big graduation party for Kimmie and Lizzie:
See that cake?  Yes, that one above.  It is not Lizzie's school colors.  It is not Kim's school colors.  It is not homemade.  It is not from a specialty bakery. 
I had big plans of making these cute graduation cupcakes magazine-worthy.  Then, I decided to go easy and pre-order a cake, combining both their school colors.  And then, the day before the graduation party, I decided a generic cake from Costco would be awesome!  That's how I roll these days!  It's called sanity.
Oh, and those balloons?  You will be seeing them again VERY soon! 
Finally the big day--GRADUATION!
School has not been easy for Kim--especially considering that in the last three years she had her final cleft surgery, unexpected neurosurgery, a major concussion where she missed weeks of school, and again this year, concussion-like symptoms where she missed so much school.  But SHE DID IT!!!