Life · Parenting

The Gift of Health

My son was sick for an entire month.

 He had a stubborn fever that would not go away. At the beginning, he had a bit of a cough and runny nose, but after that, he didn’t show any other symptom except for the fever.

 After the second course of antibiotics, the fever came back and his pediatrician said we should do a blood test just to make sure, so we can rule out the “big and bad” diseases.

 After the torture of taking blood from a child and tears from both of us, we went to the Doc’s office to double check everything. Throat, ears are ok .. chest ok .. bodily functions ok .. no rashes .. no inflamed nodes.

“So, Doc, why this fever without any symptoms?”

“Well, the symptoms can be inside and we can’t see them. That’s why we did a blood test so it can tell us if there is anything going on that we can’t see.”

“What are these ‘big and bad’ diseases we want to rule out?”

I regretted asking the question the moment he started to answer. After hearing a couple of big names thrown around, I felt like the room was spinning.

The Doc seeing me like that said: You know his chances of getting these things are just like any other healthy kid walking around so don’t worry.

Nope, didn’t really help. I still felt like I wanted to throw up. I think he felt sorry for me and told me to wait here for a sec he will run down to the lab and grab the first numbers, they will give us a better picture.

After what seemed like an eternity, he came back and said: I have good news. His blood count is in the normal range, white blood cells good, no sign of inflammation or bacterial infection. He’s fine, looks like it’s just a stubborn virus. The rest of the results will take at least 3 – 4 hours to come out. You can go home now and I will let you know the rest of the results later. But till now, all the results I can see are great!

I felt like a huge rock was lifted from my chest and I could finally breathe. At that second, I thought about the moms who were in my place and didn’t get the results they wanted to hear. Those moms who couldn’t breathe a sigh of relief and I prayed for them. I still pray for them every day.

I hugged my son so tight and left the hospital.

 Sometimes we forget the important things in life. We worry about grades and homework, money and bills, work and so on and we forget the one most important blessing God gave us: good health.

So thank you God for giving me three healthy babies. Thank you for giving me the strength to raise them. Thank you God for giving me the chance of watching them grow. And thank you God, a million thank you, for making it just a virus and nothing else. You have blessed me with so much already, and I am forever grateful for you love, kindness, and generosity.

I’ll just end this with a prayer to all mom’s out there. Hope whatever is worrying you is just the never ending laundry baskets and bills, and nothing else.

God bless.

Book Reviews · Reading

Book Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (#97)

Book: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

#97 on the Telegraph’s 100 novels everyone should read.

Grade: C

What is the story about?

The story is a comedy science fiction. It follows the adventures of Arthur Dent, who is the last surviving human after the destruction of planet earth. The book is the first of a series of five novels.

 Verdict:

I am a bit worried to review this book because of its huge following. But, as always, I will be honest and say truly what I think.

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 Honestly, I am torn. On one hand, the book is very funny in some parts. It makes fun of the political and economic systems, religion, power, money, and so much more in a light and funny manner. Adams also has very clever and witty quotes throughout the book that are pure genius. It’s also important to remember this book was published in 1979, and how this book predicted many of our everyday tech is uncanny. Like the Hitchhiker’s guide itself is a digital book and the computer is touch screen.

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 But… ** SPOILER ALERT **

The storyline is plain ridiculous. A man from England was saved from the Earth’s destruction by a friend of his, who turned out to be an alien. They hitchhiked a ride in a spaceship. Then they were kicked out of it and one second before they die in space, they were picked up by another spaceship, which was stolen by the intergalactic president, who has two heads and three arms btw. The outlaw president wanted to go to a planet which legend says has a lot of money. The planet used to make custom planets for the rich and they are the ones who made Earth. They were commissioned by mice to do it, who btw are running the show on Earth. All this so a clever computer can answer the ultimate question of the universe: What is the point of life?

 So what is the point of life according to the computer? 42.

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 As I said, I am torn. I think I might have to agree with the people who say the Hitchhiker’s Guide is a one liner book. It is full of gems here and there but the middle is not so good.

 On the back cover, the Washington Post Book World calls it “inspired lunacy”. I think it’s more of lunacy with some inspiration scattered through. Sorry Hitchhiker’s Guide fans, this is my honest opinion 🙂

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Next book: 1001 nights. I am actually not really looking forward to it as I am not a fan of short stories, and the book being 960 pages (and it’s only volume I), but I will give it a try. If I like it, I will read the next two volumes. If I don’t, will go to book # 95.

 Happy reading all.

Adulting · Life

Letter to my Mother in Law

Dearest Mother in Law,

 I fell in love with your son more than 10 years ago. Two years later, we got married and I thought I gained another family. How wrong was I!

Where should I start? First, I want you to know that you can’t get to me or bring me down with your cunning malicious words. It didn’t get me down when you called me fat and stupid (yes I can hear you screaming on the other end of the phone). It didn’t get to me when you declared to everyone that I failed at parenting, and my daughter can’t take no for an answer (she was 14 months by the way). It didn’t really bother me when you said I should check my son as you’re sure he has a problem with his brain and development (he too was only 15 months old). And it didn’t really bring me down when you said my baby girl was ugly (just like her mother I’m sure your thinking).

You know why? Do you know why, no matter how hard you try, it doesn’t get me down? Because I have my tribe who make me strong. If you try to push me down once, they will pick me up 10 times.

 My mom (you should really take some pointers from my mom, who is full of grace and elegance and does it so effortlessly) is an angel sent from heavens above. When we were young, our pediatrician recommended that she should go see a psychologist because no one should love their kids this much. And my dad, respect and kindness personified in a man. If I ever have a bad day, just calling him and hearing his voice and laugh makes me forget everything, even if I don’t tell him what is bothering me. And if I do, he reminds me ever so gently how trivial what I am worried about is, and how blessed and loved I am.

My two beautiful and intelligent sisters are always there to hear my crazy rants. And no matter how crazy I sound, or what I say, they never judge or try to “fix” things but are always there to listen, and say what they know will make me feel better. This is my family and no matter what you say, it can’t touch me because they are my shield in life.

 But my heart breaks for the man I love, your son. All he wants and is looking for is acceptance, appreciation, and some love from his first love in life: his mother. I look at my son now and can’t imagine telling him the things that you find easy, and sometimes funny, to say to your son. I pray one day you can see how amazing he is, how hard he tries, how he loves his own kids, and how much he loves you. I pray, with all my heart that if you can’t find it in your heart to be proud of him, just at least to accept him the way he is. And if you can’t see it, I pray that my husband can somehow find a way to be at peace with that, for the sake of his family.

And you know what? I am not the demon or monster you make me out to be (my mom raised me better than that). I am a fun, loving, optimistic person in life who always likes to see the glass half full and enjoys what God blessed me with.

So I won’t hold my husband from coming to visit you like you think (I don’t control my husband or tell him what to do like you think, I treat him like the man that he is). And I won’t keep my kids from visiting either (as long as you don’t spew your negativity on them). And I definitely won’t belittle or talk badly about you in front of my kids. Respect is the foundation for everything in my family and I will never  be disrespectful or teach them to be, even when I am constantly disrespected myself. I am better than that.

Though I thank you for one thing, for never saying these things in front of the kids. To them, you’re the funny grandma, and I hope you will always stay this way. And even though you will never admit it, I know and can see how happy you are of my two older kids (my baby still didn’t make the cut unfortunately), and I know deep down inside, you know how good a job I am doing, towards your son and my kids.

 So I’m writing this to make it official. What happened a couple of days ago was the final straw. God knows I loved you and tried so hard to gain your approval and acceptance. But now I can see, if your own son can’t get it, how can I?

You will always be my children’s grandmother, always welcome at their birthdays and special occasions. You will always be my husband’s mother, always welcome in our home. But you will never be my family, you haven’t earned the right or privilege to be on the same level as my parents.

 I wish you all the best, and hope you can enjoy the things God blessed you with.

 

Respectfully,

Your son’s wife

Crafts · School

How to Preserve your Kids’ School Memories

Now that the school year is about to end (how fast was that!), I always prepare to save and preserve my kids’ school work, pictures, and reports. I might be going a bit overboard, but I have no school memories (maybe a random report card and 2 class photos), and I still lecture my mom about it. Even my yearbooks have been scribbled on. One has stamps on all the kids faces, either a smiley face or a sad face. My picture, at least, got 2 smiley face stamps on it. So I’m happy to be doing this for my kids (I also love pictures and crafts). Hopefully, they will thank me for it one day.

So this is what I do:

1)      Scrapbook:

I use a scrapbook to put in all their pictures (1st day of school, class photo, last day of school .. ), some of their work, and any certificates or notes they got from their teachers. I put the pictures in chronological order from the beginning of the year till the end ( I take lots of pictures, especially at drop off and pick up), making sure to note any significant event they had along with the date.

I use K&Company scrapbook album size 12×12 and so far I love it! The pages are safe in a top loading page protector. It also has screws to unbind the album and add as many more pages as you want. Here are examples of some of my kids’ pages last year.

 

2)      Art work:

I also love to keep my kids artwork. I use ALEX my portfolio. It conveniently has dividers in it which I sue to divide the art work by class years.

 

3)      Picture wall:

I put up my kids class photos on the wall, side by side for each child to see the changes over the years. I also put my son’s picture under my DD’s according to the same class (our school has a two-year kindergarten program).

(And if you’ll ask where am I going to put DD’s grade 3 pic, we will be moving homes after this summer hopefully and have plenty of room till their senior year).

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4)      Report cards:

Each child has their own file to hold their report cards. This is just a normal folder with page protectors in side. This usually stays in my room and I don’t let the kids flip through it.

 

5)      Rest of things:

The rest of the things that I would like to save like books and other papers, I put in a gift box, the largest size I can get. Don’t really know if this method will work the more books they have. Hopefully I can use these gift boxes for a couple of more years.

 

And that’s it! Those are all my kids school memories preserved for me and my kids, easily accessible to them now, and protected for many years to come.

 

Happy end of school year everyone!

Book Reviews · Reading

Book Review: The Home and the World (#98)

Book: The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore

#98 on the Telegraph’s 100 novels everyone should read.

Grade: C

What the story is about?

The book is set in 1908 in one of India’s Maharaja’s estate. There are three main characters: Nikhil (the righteous Maharaja), Bimala (his wife), and Sandip (an outspoken political leader, and Nikhil’s old friend). The book is written in first person as each chapter flips between narrating the perspective and thoughts of each of the three main characters. It is a political tragedy, which sets the political ground and foreshadows the outcome of the partition in 1947.

Verdict?

Honestly, this was a very hard read for me and took me a while to finish, even though it is just 200 pages.

1)      Philosophical writing:

I am honored to read a book written by the man who wrote the Indian national anthem, but I think his writing is above my IQ level. My mommy brain strained to get all the lessons and information given, that I had to reread some passages and sometimes even full pages. I am sure I didn’t get the full meaning of his philosophy, and missed many lessons on the way.

Plus I didn’t really understand the struggle that this book depicts. Bimala was infatuated with Sandip, the strong talking freedom fighter and struggled to balance this feeling with the feelings towards her husband. Apparently, this symbolizes the struggle between the love of Western culture and the revolution against it, hence the name of the book: the home and the world. But I didn’t really understand which character was the ‘home’ and which was the ‘world’. Was Sandip the ‘home’ because he revolted against Western culture and Nikhil the ‘world’ because he embraced it? Or was Sandip the ‘world’ because he emulated Western standards and always read Western books, while Nikhil was ‘home’ because he was the righteous Maharaja who stuck to his roots and his old Indian furniture and refused to change them just to impress foreigners? As I said, I think all this is above my level of reading.

2)      Frustration:

  • Marriage: I remember when I was 15, the movie “Unfaithful” came out. And I remember crying my eyes out. Poor Richard Gere! How could his wife do such a thing?! And I still feel this way. Marriage to me is a sacred thing. And yes of course sometimes it doesn’t work out, but that doesn’t mean you should cheat or lie. End it, then move on. This is one reason I was so frustrated while reading this book. Bimala went from worshiping her husband, saying that her true place was at his feet, to being infatuated by Sandip and actually losing respect for her husband because he was level headed and not so rash. No human can possibly offer me, or tell me anything that will diminish my infatuation, love, and respect for my husband, and if I can, I will bend down and take the “dust off his feet.”
  • Why?!? It was such a frustrating two weeks for me. We all got sick, one at a time. Why isn’t the fever going down even after giving the meds? Why is my son sick again after only three days of being ok from his first virus attack? Why does their school field trip that they’ve been waiting for have to be the day they have a fever and feel miserable? Then after their bedtime, I start reading my book and the ‘why’s’ start again. Why Bimala why? Why are you letting this guy break the strongest most sacred bond you have? Why Nikhil are you letting him do it, and allowing him to stay in your house? Why Sandip will you do this to your friend and your country just for selfish personal gains? Why?

 

Now that all the kids are better (its just me left with a fever), hopefully all the frustration is over.. Next book: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Don’t know why but the name reminds me of the Solomon family from 3rd rock from the sun. We’ll see how it goes.

Travel

Homage to Australia

What can I say of my love for the country down under? I just had to write a post dedicated to the land that hosts the most dangerous animals in the world, but still holds a dear place in my heart.

My husband got accepted to Bond University, Gold Coast when we were engaged. We were both ecstatic to start our wedded life abroad. And honestly, it was the best decision we ever made. We were half way around the world, just the two of us, away from family and in laws, which brought us closer together. My husband (Tupac fan) used to always say “Me against the world”, which later he changed to “Us against the world”. ❤

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One day, when I was five months pregnant with my eldest, my husband was on a guys night out and I stayed at home lying down on couch watching ‘Criminal Minds’ (how I wish I can lie down on couch and watch TV now without passing out). I then heard a THUMP on our window. Glanced at clock, 12:05 am. Maybe it’s nothing, a bird that got lost.

Another THUMP! Nope, this is definitely something. Called my husband, phone off. Perfect!

THUMP, BUMP! What do I do? What do I do? I can hear sounds of something moving outside and watching Criminal Minds did not help! The only thing I could think of doing was going to the kitchen and grabbing the biggest knife I could find, and stand readily in front of door. Ready for what? No idea, just ready.

Knock on door, and I immediately knew it was my husband from his knock. I opened the door, the look on his face was priceless.

Me: What are you doing?!?! You almost gave me a heart attack!!

DH: Sorry I forgot my key and my phone battery died. What are YOU doing??

Me: I don’t know, I was scared and grabbing a knife seemed like the most logical thing to do.

DH: Wow! Never knew I married a gangster.

 

Eight months pregnant and getting huge. My husband was out working on a project with his class mates. I was on the computer doing, I cant really remember what. Our desk was set in the corner of our living room and I was happily typing away when my phone rang, mom calling. I swear God sent my mom to me at that exact moment because if she didn’t call, the huge black hairy thing with long legs would’ve crawled up my legs and my heart would’ve stopped.

 So the desk was in the corner, wall to my left side and back. Desk in front of me, huge black hairy spider to the right. I could crawl under the table or jump over the spider. Crawl or jump? Crawl or jump? So me and my big belly decided to jump over it. I made it and ran to the garage, called my husband crying hysterically.

My husband, of course, thought I was overreacting. It seemed like ages till my husband came, the entire time I was in the garage looking over my shoulder because of course, it is out to get me! Where is it? Can it smell fear? Oh God where is my husband?!

He finally arrived, laughing at the crazy pregnant lady standing in the middle of the garage wrapped around in a towel. He picked up a broom, went in for a couple of minutes, came out and told me I must be dreaming. There is no spider. Maybe it was hiding in a corner …

NO! This spider can’t hide in a corner! It’s huge! Bigger than your hand! If you don’t get it, I’m staying at a hotel tonight!

He went back in again, a couple of minutes later, he came out and I knew he saw it. He won’t admit it but I could see in his eyes he was scared.

DH: “You’re right. It’s huge! I never saw a spider like that!”

Me: “Be careful. It might be poisonous.”

So my DH picked up a cricket bat, yes a cricket bat because we are the most logical people in the world, and went on an epic battle to kill the spider. He came out, triumphantly with the remnants of the shriveled spider in a tissue.

DH: “I need to show you something.”

Me: “I don’t want to see it again.”

DH: “No not that. Come upstairs to our room.”

And there, smack in the middle of the wall was a huge hole, apparently the remains of a battle field.”

Fast forward to the day we moved.

Property manager (PM): What in the world is that??

We told him the story with all the gross details explaining how huge and mean the spider looked. He looked at us like we were crazy people.

PM: “So you took a cricket bat and busted my wall to kill a spider??”

Yes, yes, that’s exactly what we did.

PM: “Why didn’t you just pick it up and place it in the garden? It’s just a huntsman spider, it’s not harmful.”

Us: “Pick it up?! Are you crazy?!?! It was big! And black! And hairy!!” (Please google huntsman spider so you know we not entirely crazy).

PM: “OK then, why didn’t you call me?”

Us: “Oh.. yeah.. why didn’t we?” That would’ve been the most logical thing to do… obviously.

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Things you must know about Australia:

1) Australians are the nicest people in the world:

I was shocked and surprised the first time I went in a shop. The lady working there greeted me in such a way, that I actually turned around thinking she must’ve seen her friend behind me or something. Is this hi for me? And it didn’t stop there. The wonderful lady at the post office who has a grandchild same age as DD’s, the lovely hard working family who owns the lakeside restaurant, and most importantly, our amazing neighbors. We have lost touch over the years so if anyone recognizes or knows them, please let them know we always remember them, talk about them, and they are always in our prayers.

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Janelle, Simone, Connor, and Finn in DD’s 1st Birthday
2) Australia is very kid friendly:

Worried that your child will throw a fit in the middle of Target? Or a temper tantrum at the Steak House? It doesn’t really matter because most probably, the guys next to you are dealing with their own temper tantrum fit throwing kid.

I can’t imagine the amount of deathly stares, and how many “Oh mon Dieu” I will get if my baby was the crying baby in “Le Entrecote”, Geneva! In Australia, the waitress offered to walk around with my baby while I finished my food.

3) Follow the rules people!

That goes for everything but mainly: border control, speed, and swimming between the flags. Bringing food into the country? Declare it. Have electronics? State that. In doubt? Just declare everything just in case.

And please, swim between the flags and listen to the lifeguards. Its an ocean out there and it’s better to be safe than sorry. As for me, I only dipped my feet (ok maybe just toes) in the water. Beautiful as it may be, hearing about five shark attacks as soon as I landed coupled with watching ‘Bondi Beach’ made me very very scared. But for everyone else who is not a chicken like me, enjoy the waters, just be safe.

 

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From our second trip to Australia, 2015

Places I recommend in Gold Coast, Australia:

1) Surfers Paradise

It doesn’t get much better than this really. Amazing views, wonderful people, and delicious food (I recommend Hurricane’s Grill). They also have two days a week I think where people set up stalls on the walkway next to the sea. There is this one friendly and very talented lady who sews tablecloths and table runners and other accessories. Got my mom a gift from there and she loves it. Simply divine.

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2) Robina Town Center

Oh my true love! One of the biggest malls I’ve been to. It’s amazing! I would recommend you have breakfast in Shingle Inn (their eggs and chicken caesar sandwich is to die for), lunch in Vida (love their pasta and butterscotch cupcake .. Mmmm), and dinner in Squires Loft or the Groove Train. Shopping? You simply can’t miss David Johns. Oh how I miss this place!

3) Parks

The Gold Coast hosts a number of amusement parks and water parks: Warner Brothers, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild, White Water World, and Dreamworld. If you are pressed for time and would like to go to one park only, I would recommend Dreamworld. It is bigger, has more attractions for all ages (the Wiggles world for kids) and even has a zoo in it.

4) Nature

Australia hosts a number of rainforests. I personally only went to Mt. Tamborine and got a glimpse of the waterfall. But honestly, Australia is a nature’s lovers paradise, everywhere you go is beautiful.

 That’s it! Taa Australia. We love you! Until next time!

Book Reviews by N · Reading

Kids Book Review by Kids: “Franklin goes to School”

Book review by my beautiful 7 year old daughter. Unedited by me 🙂

Title: Franklin goes to School

Author: Paulette Bourgeois
Rating: 5 out of 5
What is this story about?

It’s about a boy called Franklin. One day before his first day of school, he was so excited. The next morning, he woke up early from bed and woke up his parents. He said: Come on let’s go to school it’s my first day. And then he ate some pancakes with ladybugs on them for breakfast. And he said his tummy feels like jumping butterflies. He was very worried about his first day of school. When he reached to school, Ms. Owl said good morning to the class. They had lots and lots of games. Franklin was soo happy. When they went home, Franklin sat in the back of the bus and he felt a bump, bump, bump. When his parents came, he didn’t even realize because he was so busy talking. And he loved school. The end.

Do you like the story? Why?

Yes, because I love my first day of school. I am a bit nervous for grade 3 but I love it.

Would you recommend this book to other kids?

Yes, for kids younger than 10.