Archive for » April, 2012 «

Last weekend was no fun! We spent the entire weekend furniture and carpet shopping. Both of which are on our not-favorite list of things to do. But we had lived with the same sofa and carpet for 14 years, and they are both desperate for retirement.

On Saturday, we dragged ourselves through various furniture stores. We walked upstairs, downstairs, paraded by numerous designer showrooms, and nothing caught our fancy. No sofas even had the appeal to slow down our pace. No salesperson bothered us with offers of help, because they all knew better than to waste time with customers that lacked an obvious buying signal.

Late that afternoon, we ended up at a furniture store that makes custom design sofas. The owner was a very nice man, and he spent over an hour with us, helping educate us to learn that he can make a couch to our exact liking. The size, shape, firmness, and the fabric. After going through 3 large binders of their fabric samples, we left his store feeling good about having the perfect new couch.

On Sunday, we went carpet shopping. This was even less fun than furniture shopping. The large showroom at the carpet store was headache-inducing. We had a hard time picking out a color. We were much too focused on getting the right color, as our salesperson busied himself with attempt to sell us on the quality and brand of his carpets. Finally he let us take 3 color samples to fuss over at home, and we scheduled for one of his guys to come over and take measurements.

We contemplated a great deal more at home, finalizing on the exact design and size of our sofa, and putting the 3 carpet samples under different lighting and sunlight to compare our feelings for them.

I am happy to report that we have reached a decision. And then it hit me…

We want our new sofa to look just like our old sofa, and we want our new carpet to look just like our old carpet!!!

Our old but beautiful blue sofa

Looking for the closest match to our old carpet

We must be the world’s most boring couple.

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We devoted a day of the kids’ spring break to baking cookies.

Cookie dough

They love baking cookies; especially sugar cookies.

When my firstborn was just a toddler, I had the brilliant foresight to purchase a huge box of 100 cookie cutters. We had put them to good use over the years, and they provided our cookie dough with an endless supply of fun shapes.

fun shaped cookies

As soon as the cookies were properly cooled, the kids spent the rest of the afternoon decorating their cookies with these edible coloring supplies.

cookie decorating supplies

Edible art

A lucky few even got special cookies with their names on it.

Nai Nai and Mark's cookies

After a day of hard work, they had two trays of cookies to show.

Beautifully decorated Cookies

Aren’t they all beautiful?!

Actually, not all the cookies turned out beautiful. The kids were deeply embarrassed by the ugly cookies. Those were immediately devoured, so no one had to suffer through them. I got to peek at a few, and they were hideous!

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“Psst. Fred is not looking well,” Hubby whispered into my ear.

I quickly walked over to where Fred was. Fred was beyond “not looking well.” Fred was dead.

I tapped at the side of the fish tank closest to where Fred lay afloat. Fred remained motionless.

I peeked up at hubby, who was hovering over me and the fish tank with a grave look on his face.

I whispered back at him, “The kids need to know. We can’t just pretend this didn’t happen.” He nodded.

We turned to look at the kids.

This was Sunday night, we had just returned from a late dinner, and were trying to rush the kids to bed. The kids were not cooperative, and they were trying to keep the imminent bedtime at bay by laying on the family room floor, rolling and chatting about their day.

“Hey, kids. I am afraid that we have bad news.” me.

They looked up and saw us both surrounding Fred’s fish tank, and jumped up and came over to examine their Fred.

“Oh NO! Is he dead?” 8-year-old.

“Yes, Fred is dead. He went to fish heaven.” I stated flatly.

“Maybe he is playing dead…”11-year-old said faintly. “You said Morgan’s fish plays dead sometimes.”

“Yes, but our Fred never played dead with us. Fred is dead.” me.

Their attempt at denial was nipped in the bud. They understood the finality of death, and a gush of tears washed over their cheeks.

Fred was their very first pet. A small goldfish with a charming personality that was assigned to him by our own imagination. We will all miss fussing over him, watching him swim forward, and sometimes backwards in his clean and nicely decorated tank.


“We are very sorry that Fred has died. It is getting late. You have school tomorrow. You two go to bed right now, and tomorrow after school, we will bury Fred in our backyard, and we will have a funeral service for him.” me.

The next day, when I brought the children home from school, Hubby was already at the house waiting for us. Yes, he took off from work for a couple of hours to pay his final respects to Fred.

We decided to bury Fred under our jujube tree. My father had planted this young tree in our backyard a few years ago, and every summer it produced this tart-tasting small fruit that was surprisingly tasty.

I put on my much-neglected garden gloves and set out to pull weeds from under the tree to make a clearing. I told the rest of them to gather tools for digging a small hole in the dirt. Everybody wanted to participate in Fred’s final preparation.

The weed-pulling took no time at all. A nice patch of dirt underneath the tree marked Fred’s final resting place.

Then Hubby and the two kids appeared in our backyard with rusty tools. Two big shovels and one big rake.

They looked either out of practice with burying something small in our backyard, or about to bury something much more sinister than a fish.

Big rusty tools

“I was thinking of using that hand-shovel I bought for the kids’ science project…” me.

They stared back at me. I gave up.

“Go ahead and dig right here.” I pointed at the patch of dirt I had just cleared.

Three shovels in, and a hole way bigger than necessary was created.

Huge hole in the dirt

We placed Fred in a small raisin box (emptied of raisins, of course). The raisin box made a good coffin for Fred, because both of my children loved raisins, and it is bio-degradable.

Raisin box coffin for Fred

We placed the box carefully into the hole, and pushed the dirt back on top.

My 11-year-old made a tombstone out of white cardboard for Fred and had it wrapped in a Ziplock bag to protect the tombstone from the looming rain in the forecast. The kids carefully placed the tombstone on Fred’s patch of dirt and dressed the grave with tiny flowers.

Fred's tomb

Finally, we said a prayer for Fred, thanked him for being our pet, and told him to rest in peace.

But Fred’s story did not just end there. A few days later, my kids received hand-made sympathy cards from their young cousins, who had learned of the awful news.

My 11-year-old particularly loved my 5-year-old niece’s note:

“I love your fish, I love your fish, so bad, I am so sorry.”

Sympathy cards from cousins

Such sweet and loving children…

Previous related post: Meet Fred…

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Last week was uneventful. Boring. Nothing blog-worthy.

A weekly blog is sort of on my weekly to-do list, but luckily for me, I have always known that a self-made to-do list can also be torn to pieces, and simply be allowed to perish in a trash bin. It is good to be my own boss, or so I thought.

“Mom! What happened to your blog last week?” 11-year-old.

“I didn’t write one. Nothing interesting happened last week.” me.

“Well, hurry up and write one! I need to make my $5 dollars.” 11-year-old demanded.

Note to self: don’t hire your own children to work for you. Especially the bossy one.

Now, I need to generate a blog to satisfy my money-hungry kid…

I racked my brain for 10 or 15 minutes and found a worthy blog material, and I meant “found”.

My 11-year-old’s 6th grade class had all sorts of interesting projects this school year, and their current one is a two-week daily journal from the perspective of an individual from an ancient civilization.

The students chose an ancient civilization, such as ancient Egypt, Greece, China, Rome, etc., and write journals as a member of that civilization in the ancient times.

My 6th grader chose Greece. While the instructions clearly specified that you are supposed to be a person from the ancient times, my child argued successfully to do this project as the Goddess of Wisdom, Athena.

So you wonder, just what does a Greek goddess put in her daily journal….

Below is my 6th grader’s first journal entry as the goddess Athena:

Athena in Greek

Saturday, April 4

The sound of a calling horn pierced through the sunny morning and brought me out of my slumber. Seized with panic, I immediately bolted to my large, ornate bedroom window and leaned over the olive-green windowsill. “What’s wrong? What’s going on? What happened?” I shrieked at a nearby wood nymph. I knew her well; her name was Doila, and she lived in one of my sacred olive trees.

“I don’t know,” she said, quickly and excitedly. Her head popped out of a hollow in the tree, and her long, greenish hair flopped out and rested on the ground. “But I’ll find out.”

I watched, frozen with fear, an she chattered to the other nymphs, who had also been woken by the horn. What had happened? Was Dionysus so drunk that he had disappeared (again)? Had Artemis been hurt in a hunt of some sort? Did Apollo crash the sun chariot? Has Ares once again killed thousands of mortals by starting an unnecessary war? If he did, shouldn’t he have learned his lesson last time? Calling horns almost never meant anything good. I knew I had to report to my almighty father’s Great Hall soon.

Doila broke my train of thought by telling me, “Echalia said that Zeus is holding a meeting to decide a patron god for a city in Greece. It’s big and destined to be very important! And only someone as brilliant as you can patron a city like that!”

All my dread washed away, replaced by excitement. A patron god for a whole city? That was amazing! I wanted to be a patron god!

As I flew out the door of my Olympian palace, Doila sensed my eagerness to be a patron god and halted me. “…Athena? You aren’t looking very…patron god-ish…” She trailed off.

I examined myself. I was wearing a thin and revealing nightgown, which made me nearly toga-less. That may be okay for Aphrodite, but not for me. My hair was tangled, and I was barefoot. I haven’t fully washed off the olive oil that had been poured on my face when I won the trivia about Greece’s cities last night, and I was still very dirty from when some naughty satyrs threw mudballs at me. (Of course, I turned them into pretty little water dryads and let them be chased by their own kin, but that didn’t make me any cleaner.) Basically, I was filthy and unrecognizable, my father may not be very pleased to see me like this.

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