Nov 24, 2008

Coming Soon: The Busy Holiday Season

So, I will start by saying that this last Thursday was the midnight showing of Twilight. My circle of friends near and far had been anticipating this movie for what seemed like an eternity. Luckily, my grandmother agreed to stay over so that Mike and I could join our group of 20+ Twilight Saga fanatics at the opening showing. People started lining up at 1pm for the midnight group. There were three sold out rooms in our theater and another theater with similar numbers down the street. Our wonderful friend Mina got there at 4ish and alerted the movie people that she was holding our spot. We got there at about 7pm and were happy to be about 11th in line.

Some may think that waiting in line for 5+ hours is crazy or would be boring to say the least. It was anything but. It was great to hang with the group and with the hordes of people all with a common interest. There were kids and teenagers. There were husbands and wives. There were soccer moms with whole soccer teams. People wearing preprinted shirts. People with posters and news clippings, magazines and official guides. The LA Times showed up to sell newspaper inserts at 50 cents a piece. There were heated debates about the characters. Those that hated Jacob and those who preferred Edward but couldn't help but defend Jacob from attack. Debates about casting and whether the movie could live up to the electricity pulsing from the characters in the books. It was a wild and fun time.
The whole movie watching experience was amplified by the shear number of fans piled in the room. From the raise of the curtain to the end of the movie, loud roaring cheers and enthusiastic clapping ruled the theater. The crowd even went crazy with the cameo of Stephenie Meyer herself.

The movie itself was good. For an addict like me it was sensational. I would like to see it again and again....if I had someone to watch the boys and also unlimited amounts of time and money. I do plan on reading and rereading the books until it comes out on DVD. And then it will be time to wait in line for the second installment. I don't know if people who hadn't read the books would see it quite the same, but Michael liked it and wouldn't like me spreading this all over town....but has said that he plans to read the books over his Xmas vacation. He may just be fanning a flame there though because he knows how amorous I return when I have spent a couple of hours in Forks immersed in the intensity of Edward and Bella. But, hey, the movie opened to something like 70.5 million dollars this weekend. So, I can't be that crazy.......especially when certain people that I know have already seen it three times!!!
Busy days are ahead. The holiday season will be here and gone before we know it. So, I have to admit that I put up my Christmas tree yesterday and rapped presents. I isn't even after Thanksgiving yet! And, I usually abhor decorating. I always refused to put up a tree and got away with it last Christmas because we went to my mom's for the holidays and so I wasn't depriving the boys technically. Well, this year Xmas is at my house. And, after going back and forth about it.....I got the dang thing. It is a fake one and a little crooked from being shoved in a tiny box....but it will do. It is one of those three piece things that have the lights on it already. That at least took the lazy portion away from my argument. We were shopping yesterday....not my favorite thing to do during the holidays with the crowds, but better now than a couple weeks from now. So, we got the tree and the boys picked out a Cars tree skirt and some Cars ornaments to add to the box of ornaments I had gotten as a gift once and never used before this. Once home I assembled my tree and the boys were in awe of it. They loved it....the lights, the Cars ornaments, even the shiny assortment of Santas, Penguins, Snowmen etc. that were added to leave no branch unadorned. Not touching the tree takes some reminding, but the boys sat for hours oohing and aaahing and pointing things out. I suppose that is why it had to be done.

The gingerbread man book is still a favorite. When my grandmother came over to babysit, she made gingerbread men for the boys with raisin eyes, cherry mouth and papaya buttons. The boys were overjoyed. Seb kept placing the gingerbread man on its picture likeness in the book. Then he would bite it and we would say,"Ouch!" and he would laugh. He also shared the gingerbread man with the cow, horse and little old lady in the book. Ben on the other hand tore off his arm and leg right away to eat and then made him run around the table before finally biting off his head. One gingerbread man apiece was worth at least an hour of fun. Then later that night my grandma asked Seb where the gingerbread man was......referring to the book before bed. Seb smiled, opened his mouth wide and pointed down his throat. Then he rubbed his belly and said,"Good."

As I have feared before, Ben is really attached to me. I have always known that Ben would be one of the kids on the first day of kinder that would be howling and I would be the mother crying right along with him. We have started attending a new church with a great childcare system. They have five rooms --each for a designated year age with two teachers per room and a supervisor that patrols all of the rooms. The kids play and have a little lesson and then have cookie time. If your child gets too upset, they have electronic screens that flash your kid's number so that you know to come and rescue them. Of course, when dropping them off, I already had tears in my eyes. Seb steps in the room with a big smile and runs off to start playing without a glance back. Benny on the other hand pulls at my heart strings. He goes in and finds a toy and before I can leave, comes to me to grab my hand and show me the rest of what he has found. I get my hand back after a couple of minutes and slowly make my way to the door. But the stupid security takes a million years to figure out how to open it. By the time I am on the other side, Ben is watching with wide eyes and a quivering lip. I blow him a kiss, tell him goodbye and tell him to have fun. I will see him in a little bit. The roar of death and ocean of tears erupt. I can't bring myself to go into the church. I hide with my back against the wall in the hall, almost crying myself. Michael wants me to leave, he will be fine in a couple of minutes. But, I want to stay and listen. I want to hear him stop crying so that I know he is alright. Of course, Ben senses me there. He climbs up on the gate and cranes his neck around to see me hiding in the hallway. He has an extra loud burst of tears to try and draw me back in. I blow him a kiss and assure him I will be back soon. I have to leave now.

Our number is never called, so I am calmer. Of course upon picking up the boys, they are happily playing. Ben doesn't see me right away and runs around the room as busy as can be. He has a toy spoon in his smiling mouth making quick laps around tables and chairs and Michael and I look at each other and know that that is our typical little Ben. Then Benny sees me....stops in his tracks.....the spoon drops and he runs to the door. He reaches his arms up and says,"Carry, Carry." He is ready to go home. Seb on the other hand, smiles and waves and says hi to us. He then makes his rounds and says bye to everyone in the room. All the way to the car, he walks hand in hand with his Daddy waving at every passer by. When in the car we ask the boys, "Did you have fun?" Seb answers with an elated,"Yeah, yeah!" Ben gives a nonchalant nod.
Not only is leaving the boys hard on me because I am one of those overprotective, hovering, following their every move moms, but because I have this guilt when I leave them. I wonder if it is just Ben's sensitive personality that has him upset or is it a real fear that I won't come back. That I am abandoning him. I think this is what makes it harder for me to be unemotional about it. It is hard for me to go.

One last thing. I have been teaching the boys how to say,"I love you." Seb is pretty good at it and now if I say- I -with a pause, the- love you- come out right after. With Ben, he is not the talker with this emotional stuff, so he has his own rock star moves. With Seb and I saying I love, Ben does an over exaggerated point for the you and adds the biggest sweetest smile so that you know what he means. Of course, if the subject is daddy, it is always, "I love Dada!" instead of the You. I don't know why. It is just how they do it. I love those little dudes.
We have so much planned over the next couple of weeks with trips and visits and parties that I don't know when I will get a chance to blog again. If I don't.....Happy Holidays to you all out there. If I do....well, then I guess I will just have to say it again.

Nov 12, 2008

Family and Friends: A Great Weekend

So, with my run of luck lately, I didn't hold much hope for the weekend. We had plenty to do, but I was only guardedly optimistic. We had the CHS LA area picnic to attend and a whole group of family coming in from Friday through Tuesday just for a nice visit. Of course, a couple days before this very busy weekend got underway, the four of us got colds and I didn't know if we would make it to the picnic that we were so anxiously awaiting. But, alas, not wanting to be stuck with a potluck sized portion of hummus, we made our way to Culver City and were glad we did. The fresh air and warmer temperatures were good for both our bad moods and sickly condition.
The boys had a grand time playing on the swings and play structures and running in the endless green fields. It was great to meet Kristina, the CHS social worker who had been so wonderful during our process-- who put up with our thinly veiled exuses for emails which were attempts to see when a referral may be coming and who was the one that actually called when we were notified/surprised with our twin angels. In between chasing our energetic duo, we got to hang out with some of the coolest people known to man. I can never get enough of Lauren and Marley and now I can stalk JCMarie as well. So exciting to be a part of such a cool crowd. We were able to meet and put faces to people from the forum that we knew only as cryptic usernames and not as actual people. It was a really great time, even if a chocolate chip cookie and too much juice ended up as poop on my pants (not my poop...I said on, not in....- a gift poop from Seb, okay). We were sad to leave, but with all the excitement of several hours at the park and multiple people to visit with, Ben was overwhelmed and exhausted. He needed the long ride home to nap and recharge his batteries. When the tantrum tidal wave hits, it is time to run for cover.
So, it was back home to visit with my Aunt Evelyn, in town from AZ for a business trip. Also visiting were my parents from the Bay Area and my Nonny from down the hill. As I have said before, I love when my mommy is visiting because not only are the boys spoiled....I am completely spoiled as well. It is like Christmas come early with having help with the boys and help with the chores and help with the cooking......not to mention a big prime rib dinner that only mom can make. We also had fun playing American Idol on the PS3. Michael always wins, but it is fun to try to sing these songs only for Simon to tell you that you are hopelessly terrible. Although, I do feel bad when some of the less talented family members get the boot even from Paula. Now, that is really sad.

The latest and greatest with the boys are as follows. Sebastian has really been into role playing as a baby. He comes over and says,"Baby, Baby." He climbs into my arms and I rock him back and forth. He then will close his eyes and fake snore with a huge smile. Then he tells me to do the "Gucci Gucci Goooo". I tickle his chin with those silly words and he laughs and laughs. Ben has taken to making me exercise my arms. He comes over and fashions my hands into a makeshift butt seat. He sits and wants me to lift up and down. The trick is in the balance and being able to do it more than a couple times without my arms falling off. The real problem occurs when Seb gets jealous and wants to do the same thing. I definitely can't lift one butt per hand, but Seb is so solid, I can barely get a couple of lifts with two hands when he has successfully pushed his brother off my lap. It is good excercise though as the old lady arm fat accumulating under my arms can use a little minimization.
The boys are also fascinated with putting their toys to bed.....all day long. Whether the giraffe from the animal train or the wonder pets or tow mater, they bring said toy over to the bed, tuck it soundly in and give it a kiss on the head or snout. They then wave bye bye and throw kisses. Sometimes they lie next to the toy and stroke it while it lays under the covers. After leaving it for a few minutes they return to check that it hasn't moved. Then it is thrown overboard and a different toy is put to bed in its stead. Also, Cars has made a return in the DVD player. For a while I had been given a break. I couldn't remember the last time I had to watch it. The boys have too many videos and had actually gotten to a point where I wasn't watching the same one everyday. Although, in picking the video, I would have to go through almost every one before one or the other twin said yes instead of no. Then getting them to agree....a whole separate issue. For awhile I could get the "Ein--eins" in there which was victory because they would usually let me pick which of the eight or so Einsteins to watch instead of repeating over and over the same story. But, now Cars is the favorite again. And they oooohhhh and ahhhhh and scream crash and run in place and get excited like it is all new again. Plus, Ben asks for Cars by name. No going through a collection only for them to pick the last one I offer. Cars it is....again.

So, I leave you with a picture from the picnic courtesy of JCMarie. I had forgotten my camera in our hurry out of the house, so I am glad to have a memory or two of such a fun day, even if I looked half crazed. Lauren looks to really be enjoying herself though.....but that probably has more to do with the cookie than something I am saying. And of course, Marley is as cute as ever. Can't wait to meet up with everyone at the end of the month again. Good times.

Nov 3, 2008

Tomorrow...Here begins the end of the World

Maybe....well who knows really.

-------Skip this paragraph if you are tired of political opinion pieces-----------

But it is an end to the principles that this country was built to protect. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and as voting laws are changed to keep those who want to stay in freedoms like the second amendment are stripped so the common man can't reclaim his rights under a tyrant...... as freedom of speech is done away with if it is a dissenting opinion have to wonder where it all leads. A forced redistribution of wealth and a government who controls what used to be free trade....... With a nonexistant free press.....the Republic is dead. Will it all really be squashed so easily? There are already grumblings warning that this path will lead to a revolution....a civil war. I wish that some balance would occur to prevent such. Without balance, no matter what party or individual is in is catastrophic for our way of life. So, politicians....suprise me. Be the men/women you promise to be. Don't make fools out of those people who trusted what you said and voted for you. At the very least, it will create the same situation we are in now.......but, with victory for the other side and no hope of bipartisanship.

On the lighter side of the political situation, the funniest conversation occured at a family dinner party. Of course, as is the trend for this hot election season, politics was the topic of choice. We agree on the presidential bid and were also debating initiatives. So, just as the conversation is winding down, my mom looks at the twins and asks....."Who are you voting for?" Knowing my boys, they don't talk much and their words are very much in a different sphere of interest. I expected to hear Tow Mater, McQueen, Dora, Wa Pets or Cow Cow. So, it was to the table's surprise when Sebastian smiles and says with a loud and confident boast,"CAIN! CAIN!" Everyone looks up in surprise and claps and smiles and Sebastian looks over at his brother with pride. Well, Ben looks at my mom with a thoughtful glance. He taps his finger to his chin. And proclaims," Obamama!" That brought on another roar of laughter. It is surprising how all of this political conferencing even made it into the minds of my toddlers. And how could Ben pick "Obamama". Ha, ha........Then I remembered.......the last two weeks we had visited with my wonderful (wonderfully liberal) friend Lauren and Ben had taken a liking to her. I thought that he was just after his buddy Marley's chicken while he sat on her, I am pretty sure that by some kind of liberal osmosis......Ben was body snatched, ha ha. No more sitting on Lauren's lap is just too dangerous. Okay....I am kidding.....but, thought it an amusing story anyway.

Okay, enough of the politics. On to the fun stuff. Daddy was a hit at work in his nerd costume and the boys had fun as Tigger and Pooh on Halloween. I dressed them up in the morning to play in their costumes for the day. We were leaving that night to make the drive up to the Bay Area after Michael got off from work. His cousin's son was getting christened in SF early Sat. morning and so we had to leave before the boys got to go trick or treating. Chocolate is still a no no with their lactose intolerance and so it is just as well anyway. I think at their age the fun of dressing up and playing all day was more exciting than going door to door. Plus, the grandparents made sure there was no shortage of marshmellow and gummy candies, not to mention videos and toys awaiting their arrival.
In the afternoon, Mike, Lauren and Marley stopped by which is the greatest Halloween gift that I could ask for. The boys and Marley played in the backyard and ate lunch together. Marley held his own with my two men who were obviously fiending after his chicken again. I tried to convince the family yet again to move next door and we joked about knocking down the fence and all the fun and parties we would enjoy. I will cross my fingers for this version of reality because there are few people, if any, I would rather have as my next door neighbors. So, we had a great visit and a noneventful drive up north that night. It was Mike and my 10 year dating anniversary as we missed our usual ritual of gory movies and pizza......but, I suppose I will get over it.

We had a good time seeing all of Michael's relatives at the baptism and then going to a beyond tastey Chinese restaurant for the reception. I think it was a 16 course meal and I gave up at about the 7th round. Sebastian held his own and probably made it through more courses than I did. Ben was all about the rice and soy sauce and of course had some noodles. They were doing fine at such a long dinner, but of course my husband is the ultimate poop. First he convinced his cousin that the hot mustard was honey mustard. Poor guy. Then he convinced the same cousin that the red pepper sauce was sweet. Then he took a whole crab shell and made it chase and pretend attack Ben at the table scaring him to death. So, the boys were well behaved, but Daddy left a bit to be desired. Well, I suppose Ben did start using the chopsticks as drumsticks....but that was after his daddy showed him how. And Seb was using the tip of chopsticks to stick into different entree sauces for taste tests. You can't take us anywhere, hehe! All joking aside, the boys were received very well by the family. In the past, we have had some problems with Filipino culture as it relates to our family situation. Most every person came over to say hello and reacquaint themselves with the twins. Every passerby stopped with an encouraging,"Guapo, Guapo."
We also got a chance to visit with my parents later that evening. It was nice to spend time with both sides of our family. Hence, the picture of the crazy woman with the boys is my mom who people say that I look a lot like. That picture is so a me thing to do. I love my mom.

The favorite song is still "Old McDonald" in which they love to make the animal sounds. This has been great for them as they will now answer with the sound if I ask them....."What does the duck say"....."Quack, quack" and they have expanded to horses and sheep and well, they are convinced that the farmer has a snake, which is their favorite. And, for halloween of course, the farmer had a "gos ---boo" and a "weesh ----hehehe". But, who cares, if I had a farm......I would probably have a ghost and witch too. Actually, my last condo was full to the brim with ghosts. Not by choice of course. The boys already loved taking baths and to make that addiction even stronger, I bought them some bubble bath. Why would I do such a thing to myself? I am dragging them out after an hour and Ben still chases me around wanting to inspect each of his "ra-sin" fingers. The boys also love their Imagination Movers CD. Sometimes they want it on so that we can dance and jump. Other times they are tired of my singing voice at night. I will sit down as I usually do and they will put the "no hand" up and say, "no, no, no". This means that they want to listen to their music and want me to kiss them and say goodnight to leave them to whisper their secrets and listen to music as a brotherly duo. Luckily this rarely happens as I love the time we spend together before bed.....or maybe I like a captive audience when I sing nursery rhymes and reminisce about my teaching days, hehe.