Remembering the Moment

29 06 2008

Recently, a couple of friends of mine began to grow their families one baby at a time. All of them are experiencing the things we last encountered two or three years ago. I’m not sure if it’s the drum beat of daily life, or just that we have all grown to become accustomed to each other, but it’s been a while since I thought of my girls as the little babies they once were. And, a recent video of a friend with his newborn had me living through my own first day experiences with Eliana.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my kids, and how to make sure their lives will be pleasant and rewarding. Having a child, someone who will rely on me for so many things, whose lives I will revolve around for the rest of my own life, was a very difficult concept for me to grasp those few years ago. It’s not that I couldn’t handle the responsibility, actually, I think I took to the role quite well. My wife can attest to that. But, for nearly a year, something in the back of my mind was watching my go through the motions of being a first time Dad. Perhaps it was my own youth, the rapid change from just a married guy to a married guy with a child. Or the fact that someone else’s life was actually depending on me; that was something that had never happened to be prior to my first daughter’s birth.

Indeed, I have thought a little about those days recently, mostly in that the growth of our children make it easier for us adults to measure the passage of time. When I look at, and talk with Eliana these days, I can’t help but marvel at her. Her mannerisms, her wit, her charm, everything that has developed before my very eyes over the last 4 years. Annabelle is growing just as fast. Some days, I think I am literally watching her grow as from one day to the next, she seems to have sprouted longer legs. I know now what it must have been like for my parents to see us grow up so quickly, from diapers to college in the blink of an eye.

Kids, they grow so fast, yet, we also should realize that we grow just as fast, with them. We are not young forever. We need to capture the moments with our kids at every opportunity. Daily life can turn into a daily grind, and as the children learn to assert their individuality, some days will be more difficult than others. Rest assured, that even on those days, I try to remember that those moments are what makes life worth living. Those are the experiences we will all remember as we all travel through this world, with our families as our guides and companions.

I Need to Take More Pictures

28 06 2008

I can’t believe it’s been a whole month since I’ve taken any pictures…of anything! No pictures of the girls, none of me, random stuff…nothing. I only realized this when I opened my photo library and noticed that the month of June was not even there. As in, there were no entries, so it didn’t show up.

As I’ve grown to appreciate the art of photography over the last few years, I’ve tried my best to learn the techniques and try to take better pictures. One some occasions, I’ve succeeded: I’ve got several great pictures of the girls. On another level, I can’t just stop there either. I need to keep practicing, keep improving. I often find it difficult to find good subjects to take pictures of, or find inspiration from. I’m sure my excuse doesn’t fly just because I find no beauty in the desert or the searing summer heat.

Having taken a workshop last year, I realized that it isn’t my surroundings that make for great photography, it’s how I see and interpret them. I just haven’t made effort to see the beauty here. But, on the other hand, I have been here for quite a long time, and at some point, its like staring a a pot of water: it just won’t boil.

Thank You, Horsie

26 06 2008

The other day, I met the kids at the pool after work, as had been the norm lately. It was a nice 105 or so, and the pool felt great. I got in the water more than normal and played with the kids to loosen up after work.

I’m trying to teach Annabelle to relax in the pool. As it is now, she is very scared of going under the water. It’s a perfectly natural response, however, I would like her to at least be able to float on her own. I try holding her up in a swimming position, I try floating her on her back, with her head on my shoulder. Nothing seems to work. So, I just tried to have a little fun with her. So I put her on my back, and started to take her around the big pool. She enjoys this, as she has control over her position in the water to some extent, and she has something solid to hold onto: me.

As we were walking over to meet her mom, she slid off my back a little, and was about to fall into the water. I caught her (as I reminded her, that I would catch her), and put her back where she was on top of me. She then patted me on the head, and said “Thank You, Horsie”. I quickly retorted “I’m not your horsie”. I knew she was playing, as we usually horse around at home. It was one of those times where the baby voice and the situation made it for one of those cute moments to remember.

The Daily Grind

24 06 2008

Since I started working at GoDaddy a few weeks ago, my daily routine has changed a little bit. Before, it was such a pain to stop by the gym because we would always go after I got home from work. I never felt motivated to go just because it I was inconvenient. I had to drive home, eat dinner, get my stuff ready, and get to the gym. Once there I had to take the girls to the child-care center and check them in. This whole process has several variables, most of which I didn’t want to deal with after work.

As a mental picture, making three points out of work, home, and gym, they formed an L, with home being the point. Enter the new daily office location. The new shape of my commute more closely resembles a line (albeit jagged due to the streets), with the gym being in the center. This had made going to the gym a whole lot easier as it’s just on the way home. But, this leads to a couple other dilemmas: dinner time with the family is nearly non-existant at this point, and I don’t usually get home until at least 8pm.

Getting home late is not really that big of a deal, but it does feel like I’m never home anymore. It feels more and more like my time with the kids on a daily basis has shrunk from the 3-4 hours after work to 1-2 hours. Sure, the kids make it to the gym too, and they all eat and get other things taken care of before I get there, but that just means less of the classic “quality time”.

I’m not trying to complain about this new schedule. On the contrary, it’s actually a pretty good deal on my end. I do worry about my wife, and the load she has to carry every day. I also worry about some of the time I miss with the kids. At least right now, I can do no wrong to them, so I guess I’m ok for now.

Another Mini Vacation

23 06 2008

Originally, I had planned to take a short trip to Portland over the weekend of the Seattle to Portland bike ride. It’s a short trip over the course of a weekend covering the 200 miles between Seattle and Portland. I rode this event a few years ago, and I have been eager to visit Portland in the summertime again ever since. However, the cards didn’t play out in my favor this time around (probably something to do with the rest of the family wanting to go too), so I’ll be rescheduling my summer bike trip around the Taylor House Century. This will let me and the family take a short break from the blistering Phoenix area heat for at least a weekend and it will let me get in some miles so I can try to get ready for next year’s El Tour de Tucson. I am sooo out of shape.

Little Stinker

23 06 2008

Annabelle is your typical 2 year old. She’s energetic, active, happy and all in all having a good time. It’s interesting to try to figure out what her personality will be like in the coming years based on what we see now. I would like to think she is going to be the popular girl in her class; her beauty is fairly obvious, when she’s not injuring herself. She is also fairly outgoing, more so than her older sister.

Annabelle is quite a mischievous little girl. Add that with the energy of a two year old, and you have a dangerous mix. Everyday, Annabelle wakes up at or near the crack of dawn. Here in Arizona, that’s about 5:30. Since she sleeps in the room down the hall from us, I can hear the door open, then close as the pitter patter of little footsteps grows louder and louder as she approaches our room. At first, she would yell, and jump and crawl on our bed. She always heads for her mom first, who is sleeping, of course. Sometimes, when she can’t get a reaction from her mom, she’ll come over to my side and see what she can get out of me. However, lately, she now seems to know that we’re not going to do a whole lot to entertain her at that point in the morning, so she will do one of two things: Go down stairs, or stand next the bed and wait.

When the little stinker would go downstairs, I thought she would just start playing with some of her toys. Especially those which she usually doesn’t play with when her sister is awake. But lately, this little stinker has started to be more mischievous by getting into the pantry. She also learned how to move one of the dinning table chairs to the counter, and climb up there to get a snack, or whatever is available.

When she stays up stairs, depending on how tired she is (I think she wakes up even when she’s a little tired), she’ll stand there and stare. Or when she’s being nice she’ll just crawl into bed with her mom.

There is no rest for the weary in this household. We have to be on top of what the kids are doing the whole time they’re awake. Maybe one day, we’ll get a brake, but I’m not going to be holding my breathe for that to happen.

Ni Hao, Gyuna

18 06 2008

Recently, I was browsing for some educational stuff for the girls to watch. I’ve set up the family TV with an Apple TV and such, I put a lot of our existing content, and new content on it for them to watch on demand, without the use of a DVD (I hate when they scratch the DVD’s). Among the usual suspects, Seaseme Street, Dora and Super Why on PBS, I saw a link to a show called “Ni Hao, Kai-lan”. It’s a new show with a Chinese American girl as the main character. It’s a lot different than Dora in that it’s not as formulaic. The kids enjoy watching it (and almost anything else we put on the TV). But what I like about this is the introduction of the Mandarin Chinese language.

Back in college, I studied chinese for two whole semesters. Yes, my wife is Korean, as are my kids, but I find the written chinese language to be elegant, artistic and beautiful. Perhaps that was why I was drawn to it in the first place. In college, I heard about the upcoming chinese boom, and I figured learning the language would be useful; so I was also trying help my future career. It was also great in broadening my horizons and introducing me to a new culture. But, it has been quite a long time since college, and I never practiced enough to gain a decent fluency of the language.

I have long known that now is the best time for the kids to learn all languages as this is the easiest time of their lives to learn that stuff. I want them to learn chinese just so that they can have another tool in their toolbox at their disposal for the rest of their lives. But, I would like to be able to use it too. Well, all this post is trying to say is that I will hence forth be trying to teach the kids my limited knowledge of the chinese language, as time permits, of course.

I’m going to have to find other ways for the kids to learn chinese too. They will learn Korean fairly easily because they have daily exposure to the language. The same goes for English. Chinese (and Spanish, for that matter) will be more difficult since none of us are native speakers. But, to start, at least being exposed to this new show has let me help the girls start learning some simple words in chinese like “Hello” and “Thank You”. Over time, I will try to pursue this avenue of knowledge as well to help them, as well as myself.

We’ll just have to see how this experiment plays out.