Monday, November 30, 2009

g and her best friend


the princess and the witch
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A Belated Birthday Post


Happy birthday to my littlest girl.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A new game?

it went something like this:

g: (big sister, turns to little sister): Let's play a game.
s: Sure
g: This is the game. The one who is bigger gets to play with the toy.

hmmm. Not much of a game.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Cinco Calabesitas

Originally uploaded by tychuaco
Here's a video of Spanish Halloween song.

We have made the decision of signing g up for a Spanish immersion program through the local public school. Half her school day is taught in Spanish while the rest is in English. I had a bit of hesitation since she speaks Mandarin to her nanny, a bit of Cantonese to her gmom. I thought that it might be too much language.

Again, little g surprised me with what she can truly learn. I am so proud of her.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Happy Birthday, s!

Originally uploaded by tychuaco
Time has flown, little wonder. I can't believe it's been 3 years.

My indefatigable love, happy birthday to you.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Can you say "trouble"?

s was misbehaving. I think it had to do with throwing clothing around or changing out of her tutu. Either way it was an escalating non-so-good situation.

The nanny told her that her mommy would not want her to be doing that.

Her response?

"My mommy's not here."

Can you say "trouble"?

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Family goes to Hershey

As in years past, we packed the chillun' into the family vehicle and headed out. This time we settled on Hershey Park. This time I had left the planning to G. (Work has been out of control that I barely had time to absorb our itinerary.)


First stop - Chocolate World. Having been to Hershey Park previously, we decided against doing another amusement park. The kids are too small for most rides and the adults will be tending to the kids who won't be able to ride. We went to the chocolate tour. It is much like the "It's a small world" ride in Disney. The kids enjoyed it. Their favorite part - free chocolate samples.

We went to the Hershey Trolley Tour next. The reviews on the tour had said that it was a little hokey. Well, the reviewers spoke the truth. It was a lighthearted jaunt through the life of Milton Hershey and the town that he built. If you are not into lighthearted jaunts with a generous dash of "moonlight bay" sing-a-longs, I would recommend that you pass. A bit longer than the kids could tolerate as well.

Serendipity! We discovered that a music festival/fair was happening in Harrisburg. A short drive from Hershey, it was also where our hotel was. It was a small scale affair but houses in Harrisburg was a treat. The kids watched a puppet show (with a rather disturbing song about marrying one's cousin - appalachia joke?), went on a few rides while enjoying a beautiful view of the Susquehanna River.


Another lovely discovery is the Children's Garden at Hershey Park. It is part of a bigger garden but the kids could have stayed in the Chidren's Garden. It had a small butterfly garden, funky fountains, whimsical sculptures and a variety of "please touch" plants. There was even a little outdoor theatre.


There was also a nice safari/zoo park close by. Lake Tobias has a small safari. There were only a few wow animals. They had some bears, a tiger, lions. It is a nice size for preschoolers and toddlers but bigger kids might find it too simple. I do love the petting zoo at this place though. It can be best described as a farm experience. You enter a corral of goats and llamas. They roam freely around you and you are free to feed and pet them. Cool.


However one of my favorite part was the almost traffic-free drive home. That was the last bit of happy to complete a great trip.
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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Greetings from the Sweetest Place on Earth!


The family went to Hershey park over the weekend. It turned out to be a wonderful weekend albeit slightly chilly.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy Fathers Day 2009

a post from G:

g made a card and a gift for me a few days before Father's Day last week at school. I saw the card and wrapped gift in the living room for days but I made a promise to her that I would wait until Sunday to open it. Every morning from Thursday til Sunday she would ask me if it was Father's day yet. When Sunday finally arrived, she was so happy. Her first words that morning from her top bunk were "Happy's father's Day." She presented me with a fancy card she drew herself and also my present wrapped in construction paper with a picture of her on it. Inside the wrapping was a laminated picture of her made into a keychain.

Not to be outdone, the day after while I was cooking lunch for the kids in the morning, Sydney found a H&M clothing tag in the living room and convinced the nanny to loop an orange ribbon though it. She then taped an orange jewel to the front and presented it to me and said "For you daddy, happy father day" and then ran away. Now I have two keychains but not enough keys to put them on.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


The moral of the lesson is to never underestimate your kids.

We have purchased g a Dora memory game ages ago. There are about 72 cards on a deck so I "assumed" (you know what they say about assuming) that g would not be able to handle remembering the full desk. I usually play the game using only about 12 cards.

This weekend she played with dad who laid out the entire set. I told him that it might be too much but he persisted.

g won 24 to 11. (one card is lost so the last pair could not be made)

Needless to say G needs to do more BrainAge.

Monday, May 04, 2009

g art series


Another one of g's art work. She twisted all of this herself. The obvious part is a flower. The orange part are the leaves. The black part at the bottom is the dirt. The black part on top (by the petals of the flower) is supposed to be a butterfly.
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Split Rock Waterpark!

Love this place! Ok, it is not the cheapest place to go but it was really fun. It was a kid-friendly space that is fun for adults as well. A big plus is the cleanliness. Maybe it is still a fairly brand new facility but it was worth the trip.

g especially loved the large water slides. I was so surprised that g wasn't freaked. I thought the size of it would scare her but she loved it and kept going up for more. One particular one was almost 3 stories up. It's great though that the place really had families in mind.

From Split Rock Resort

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

g art series #3


We went to Earth Day last weekend and g got her face painted for the first time. She picked a rainbow with a unicorn design that went down the side of her cheek. It was done really well. She loved it so much and was so inspired with it that she decided to do this drawing.
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Monday, April 20, 2009

g art work series 2

I am continually amazed at the progress in g's artwork. It's too bad that I won't be able to upload every single one of them or figure out how to take a picture of them.

With the introduction of invisible tape, all her art have taken on 3D quality.

This one is of a cat bed. There is a cat sleeping underneath a bunny blanket. Everything is taped down so I can't photograph it individually. It also features a ladder, a chimney and an attached food bowl.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Earth Day 2009

The first day warm day in the looong time.

We took the girls to the local Earth Day celebration.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

My g, the artist


AS requested, I am posting some of little g's art work. She is getting really good at it. Her work has become more and more elaborate. She does such volume of work that it has become a little difficult to save all of them as much as I'd like to.

My favorite to date (though I can no longer find it) is a flying ladybug complete with wings. The ladybug is also a vehicle. She cut out an image to represent each and everyone of us as riders and driver of the ladybug car which came with a steering wheel as well.
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Tuesday, April 07, 2009



My bro and family on their first rafting trip.
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Now onto the 3

g has moved to the table of 3s. s can't be bothered beyond the first half of the table of 2s.

The Bunk Bed Project - Done!




We are officially a bunk bed family. The kids have been successfully integrated into their bunks.

In the words of little s, "me love it."
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

let the training begin.

Gmom has started the multiplication table memorization. g has absorbed most of the the table of 2. Now to infinite and beyond.

For those who don't understand what she is saying, she is doing her table of 2s in cantonese. She thinks she is singing a song.

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Ringling Brothers - Baby's First Circus program

Too bad it is too late for my babies.

Ringling Brothers offer a free ticket voucher when you sign your baby (has to less than 12 months old) for the Baby's First Circus Program. You will receive a voucher that you can claim anytime at the ticket booth.

10% off coupon for Barnes & Noble

It's only for one item. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jollibee, baby!

it's official.

Jollibee has made it to the Northeast. Even more impressive, it merited its own feature article on the New York Times.

Now with reports from my very reliable Filipino sources that the lines stretches out the door, I think I will wait until the excitement dies down before I can pull up and order a chicken joy.

Monday, March 09, 2009

City Treehouse



We tried out an open house at City Treehouse this weekend. Lovely place though kind of small. It was an altogether lovely Saturday spent in bustling New York City. Gawd, I miss the city.
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silly face


I can't guess what she's thinking.
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Friday, March 06, 2009

Love this video

This is a great video. I don't understand how this won 2nd prize in the AARP u@50 contest. The first prize is not all that. Oh well...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Skiing at Mount Snow

This is a week behind schedule but here it goes.

Skiing at Mount Snow was great for the kids. We had decided (thanks to K's decision) to not enroll g in ski school. I had a lot of trepidation about this but thought that in the interest of saving money, I will just go along with it. At worst, the kids and I can go to a sleigh ride or shopping.

Things worked out, it seems. Fortuitously after we had rented the equipment and G did a run just to get his ski legs, the kids and I hung out by the ski school. While there, I saw the steps that there teaching the kids. So I started having g mimic everything that the kids on the other side of the fence were doing.

First, show the kids how to put on their skis. One ski first. Then walk around and get comfortable. Second, put on the other ski. Shuffle around and get comfortable. Next it was the pizza wedge. We did quite a few of those. I didn't notice what came next because by then G had returned and g was ready to move on from all that shuffling. She wanted to pick up some speed.

My first suggestion was for G to carry g up a few paces on the side of bunny slope and have her come down. They did that a few times before G was about the pass out from the effort of trying to walk her up with all her gear and his gear.

Next we moved onto the tow line. As G was lining up with g, I noticed another parent coming down the slope with his kid using the ski poles as a sort of harness. I told G to do the same. So with poles under each arm, G and g skied down. g giggled all the way down. She loved it.

We found out later on that all the "magic carpets" (a flat escalator to the top of a small slope) in the facility are open for anyone to use. We thought that it was exclusively for ski school students. Thanks again to K for the info.

The next day we got a little bold. We decided to strap some ski equipment on little s to see who she would fare. We followed the same basic steps of instruction. This time we went directly to the magic carpet. shuffling on skis took a lot out of little s since the equipment was probably almost half her body weight. After much prodding, she finally went down the slope. Once she did it, that was it. The little snow bunny was telling me, "no hold, no hold!!" She wanted to do it herself. By the end of the day, she was getting on and off the magic carpet by herself.

g and s had the time of their lives. I think the family C will be skiing again very soon.

Monday, February 16, 2009





Just pics for now. I'll follow up with the stories later.
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

she Crazy!

The more I hear about the Octo-mom, the more I am coming to the conclusion that "she crazy". I know that my judgment is based on new media stories that can be purposely inflamed to keep me watching. I won't comment on the possible plastic surgery rumor.

The burning questions in my mind are:
How did she afford in-vitro? These treatments are not cheap.
Why would anyone seek fertility treatments when one can barely support a brood of six?
(if I were a taxpayer in California) How can I "not" support this woman's lifestyle?

Octo-mom (or her overt hyper-birthing behavior) drives me insane. I love children as evidenced by the two that I have. However I find it unconscionable to have kids that you cannot support in every way. It is a sad start to their lives. I watch those little babies (and they are truly little) and pray. For what else can I do?

What I won't do is DONATE to their crazy mother.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Here we go.

This is how it started. I thought it would be really great for g to learn how to ski, so I recruited her best bud, a (and his parents, of course) to go skiing. The hope was that with her friend in tow, she would more likely get on the slope without whining. a's mom decided that it was best that she breaks a into skiing herself rather than signing him up for ski school. Upon hearing this, G decided that he will do the same ( eyes were rolling when he im'ed me.) Let's just say that G is not the most patient of teachers. He almost expects the kids to learn anything from their colors to square roots with a minimum of explanation. He never seems to understand why they don't "get" concepts within minutes. I predicted that the whole "learning-to-ski" experience would last about 35 minutes. The first 20 minutes would be getting the gear on. The next 10 minutes will be getting on the slope. G's explanation of the concept of skiing about 1 minutes. g falling on her first attempt would be take about 30 seconds. The rest of the time will be whining and crying until G and g would just give up and call it a day.

So I thought it best to give G a trial run at being a teacher. We took the kids ice skating. The first few minutes was slightly foreboding as the skates were hurting G's foot. I rented g a larger size so she seemed fine. The first round looked painful as G supported g's full weight under her arms. She looked like wheelbarrow. The second round was better as G and g started holding hands instead. Despite falls, g took it and kept on going.

The two of them passed the test. Now on to the slopes. Hopefully it will last longer than 35 minutes.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

What defines a cheap vacation?

cheap vacation for single people requires space enough for a sleeping bag or a smallish blanket, the dollar menu or dominos hot wings and a warm shower.

cheap vacation for families with kids - oxymoron. Seriously.

Now that everything has to be multiplied by 4, everything we do and everywhere we go is exponentially more expensive. We have planned a nice simple little ski trip. We got a good deal on a house and are sharing expenses with other people. However even with that, I am staring at almost $1000. Yikes!

Makes me wonder how the Duggars do it?

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Motherlode - Do I want a "Marian Robinson"?

JW had sent me a link for an article on the Motherlode (NYT magazine blog on Parenting). I was distracted from reading the linked article when this other item caught my eye. I belong comfortably in the "if-my-mother-is-willing-to-be-my-"Marian Robinson",-I-will-gladly-have-her" camp. (Incidentally the f parental unit is arriving, yahoooo!!!!)

I think that the whole angst around the "Marian Robinson" effect has more to do with this culture (meaning US). In the Old country, grandparents expect to spend some time caring for their grandkids. The family unit is closer and in most cases, stronger. People don't tend to move too far away though that is beginning to change. (I see a lot of my friends lighting up the globe now.) I have seen that in the US, there is a bit of a struggle between "living life to the fullest" and "tending to the young." This generation of grandparents are globe-trotting and social clubbing bunch. They have way too much to do to devote whole weekends or summers to the little ones.

On the one hand, I at times am saddened that the kids only see Gmom once a week when it's convenient. However I can see it from her point of view as well. She is young and have spent most of her life, saving and worrying about her kids. Her kids are now grown. This is her time. I get this. This is more likely the model of my own senior years.

But what about the family? I am used to a wide web of family, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc (though my own family is not that big). More and more, I have had to redefine family as my own nuclear unit. Which though wonderful can be at times lacking in the noise and affection that comes with a larger network of loved ones.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The big "S" conversation

I saw this online today and found it hilarious. It's a short documentary about adults recounting how they were told about sex and where babies come from. The result is Kinda Sutra.

Personally I don't think I ever recalled being told about it.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

New site for Toddler learning

I have been roaming the net for site that will help teach kids. Fun sites with games and I have found a couple.

(I am in the midst of updating the blog look and feel, so stay tuned. All of these links will be kept in one place soon.)

For the little kids (around 2-4 years old) - the World of Victor

Cute site with simple fun activities exploring animals, puzzles and music.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Culinary Classes @ICE

In a burst of inspiration, I decided to sign up for a Chinese cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). A short background - though I have been cooking for years now, I felt that I am a hit-or-miss kind of a cook. There have been moments of culinary brilliance and then there have been moments when most of what I've made end up in the trash. Trashy moments usually happen when I decide to veer off the recipe or the tried-and-true method.

So I thought to sign up for Chinese cooking to get myself some good basic skills. I knew about ICE from a friend who works there and another friend who have taken classes there. Both have raving reviews. So I tried it.

I loved it. It was great. Under the tutelage of Chef Lillian Chou (former food editor at Gourmet Magazine), I learned to fold a dumpling (I know that I must be the only Chinese woman who doesn't know how to fold one properly), stir fry and steam. A small chunk of the class was about seasoning a wok. Though I have read about this before, I have never done it. Seasoning not only embeds flavor into the wok but makes the cooking surface pretty non-stick. I haven't tried this out yet, but stay tuned.

The recipes were good. We were taught to make a basic chicken stock, rice balls (meatballs with rice around it), velvet scallops with snap peas, soy sauce chicken, wontons, potstickers, steamed sea bass and more. The ingredients are top notch. The scallops were huge as were the shrimp and sea bass. The chef did a great job showing us the basics from washing rice, checking freshness of fish, etc. These are the few things I actually know but it would be a great class for beginners.

I loved that the recipes were of things that I would actually make. There is another Chinese cooking class in the roster that was more for Chinese take out. How many ways can I say "bleh" to that?

A new discovery for me was water chestnuts. I thought I hated water chestnuts. It always seemed to taste bland and metallic. Whenever I see it in a dish, I would do my best to steer clear of it. She brought in fresh water chestnuts which we peeled and ate raw. It was actually good, sort of stronger tasting pear. Wow. So wow that I snuck one out to give to the kids. They loved it and wanted more.

After the flurry of cooking, everyone assembles for the meal that we prepared with bottles of wine. What a way to spend a weekend.

Postscript - It has been 2 weeks since the class and I think my kids are enjoying the results. I have been making my own stock, working on the perfect slurry, using different combinations. Cooking is a work in progress but I am enjoying it more now than I did before. I am now on the hunt for the next class. Maybe Korean or Indian. Anyone interested?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day!

Where am I? at work. I wish I could be in Washington DC today despite the freezing temperatures. The excitement is palpable. I wish I were there.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

My girl in an affectionate mood




The girls were just roughhousing tonight. I thought that it was so sweet that they are often (though not always) naturally affecionate towards each other.
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