Thursday, October 18, 2012

25 Random things about ME :) are 25 random things about me... maybe you knew some of these and maybe you will learn something new!

1. My favorite place to visit in the whole wide world is Vancouver, Canada.   My mom is a Canadian citizen and I absolutely love Canada!  The best vacation I've ever had was when John & I went to Canada in 2005.
2. I love to go to live "professional" sporting events (Football, Baseball, Basketball)
3. I call my mom every day on my way to work in the mornings and every day on the way home from work.  My parents live across the street and down a couple houses from me and I feel so blessed that they are so close!
4. I used to live in the Azores (Portugal) - on a little island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean - Terceira Island - 1990-1992.  I absolutely loved it there and would love to go back and visit someday.
5. My father-in-law is my hero! He was a Tuskeegee Airman in WWII - and is a retired  Chief Master Sgt. in the Air Force. He is so cool!!!
6. My very best friend Julie and I have known each other since Julie was in diapers. I think of her more as a sister than just my BFF!
7. I love being a grandma.  I have 3 grandchildren - Xavier, Lily, and Naveah.
8. I am adopted
9. I got into a bad car accident and hit a telephone pole head on and had to have back surgery in 1998
10. I am SO happy that my son is a senior this year at St. Joseph High School! I graduated from St. Joes back in 1988.
11. I love my job. I work with people who have developmental disabilities, and I work for a wonderful organization.  I have worked for VTC Enterprises for the past 10 years.
12. I have broken my arm three times - two times was because I got thrown off of a horse
13. I have been trying for like 2 1/2 YEARS to learn how to do the Dougie dance and let's just say that is a big ol FAIL.  Someone please teach me how to Dougie!
14. I love Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains in the fall.
15. I have two step-sons, Jon and Jordan, and  forget that "step" thing - those are my boys!
16. I love burritos. Like I'm addicted to burritos. Really. I have a burrito problem.
17. I went skydiving which is something I NEVER EVER thought I would do. I loved it! I want to go again.
18. I do not like seafood. Like, AT ALL.. no kind, no way, no how.
19. I'm extremely proud of my daughter who is 23, married, a homeowner, goes to school full time, has two children, and is Special Ed Teacher at Cabrillo High School. 5 more classes and she will have her master's degree.  See why I'm so proud?
20. I had to live with four teenagers in the house and I only went totally psycho about three times (Thank God for Ativan!!)
21. I had to serve on Federal Jury Duty in Los Angeles a few years ago on a huge high profile case. I was there for 6 weeks.
22. I used to scuba dive back in the early 1990's.  Sometimes I think I would like to get back into diving but then I think about Jaws and I just forget it.
23. I totally get along with my ex husband and his wife.  They come visit and stay at our house. It's great for the kids, and we all are really good friends.  I wish everyone could be like that with their ex's, it makes life so much easier and happier!
24. I love to write and have started writing a book but really need to stop being lazy and just finish it already!
25. I love to walk on the Avila Beach pier at night or go to Shell Beach and just watch the ocean

Monday, October 8, 2012


People have been asking me how come I haven't been blogging lately. Well, to tell you the truth, life just got a little crazy. I'll try to catch you up in a quick second or two, and then I'll do better about blogging from now on!

EXCHANGE STUDENT UPDATE:   I know you all want to know how that is going.   It's been an adjustment.  I am used to having very social people around me and a kid that stays in his room 24/7 and doesn't talk to me is really hard to get used to. I was taking it personal but I have come to realize it's nothing personal, it's really just a cultural thing and he is perfectly happy in his room with his computer watching Chinese videos.  I wish he would come out more and I'm totally working on it.  My goal is to start small, like somehow getting him to come out of that room for 30 minutes each evening to talk or watch tv. I'll keep you posted how that plan goes....

The silk very feminine looking pajamas had disappeared for a while and I was absolutely thrilled.  However, they have somehow made their return and he has been wearing them for the entire weekend.  And yes, he went outside to play basketball in them, short shorts, v-neck shirt, and all. I want them to burn. No really, I do. I'm so not kidding.

On the positive side of things, he does seem to like my cooking.  He absolutely loves beef but also seems to enjoy everything else I make too. Either that or he is starving by the time dinner rolls around. I swear that boy can eat half of his weight in food. 

So making Young's lunch reminded me that I don't enjoy making lunches, so I found something to save me... Uncrustables.  You know, the little frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without any can throw them in a lunchbag and walaa there is lunch.  I even found reduced sugar ones on wheat bread.  I could kiss whoever invented those little things and I have to eternally thank Laura Badenell for saving my sanity by telling me to go buy some.

Nothing else too exciting to report really. Oh ya, wait.  I made my goal weight at weight watchers a couple months ago.. and this past Friday I went to weigh in and I was 10 lbs under my goal weight! So awesome!  I took about the last 6 weeks off of going to the gym, not for any reason except I was freakin lazy... but I'm feeling the need to go back now.  I really want to lose 5 more pounds.  I don't "need" to and I don't know why I want to, but I just do. So it's back to swimming and zumba very soon. See, if I say "soon" then I don't actually have to commit to going. I have excercise issues you know (like I hate exercise, really really really hate it).

Hope everyone has a great week and I'll be posting again soon!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Drew's senior pictures

So.... my son Drew is a senior in high school.  I'm kind of sad really.  I'm not ready for him to be 18 years old and not ready to think about him finishing high school.

The first stop on the senior year train is senior pictures. And by the way, Drew hates getting his picture taken. Wonderful.

I talked to Glenn Walton from Glenn's Photograpy because I have been admiring his photographs on facebook for quite some time.  He gave me an awesome price and was willing to go to pretty much any location we could think of.  I decided on Los Alamos because there are some cool places there to shoot pictures.  Oh, and Drew could have cared less where we went. Of course.

We met Glenn in Los Alamos and he took some great pictures. I had to threaten Drew just to get him to change his shirt one time.  And no, Drew wouldn't smile and show his teeth in like ANY of the pictures.   Glenn got me the pictures within like 2 days which I thought was SO great!!  Here are the ones that I liked the best.   Well, wait. I liked more than these but I had to narrow it down and of course Drew wasn't much help. So these are the ones that I ended up choosing:


So we have had a few pretty insane weeks and I haven't blogged at all. I suck at writing when I'm overloaded and stressed. So sorry, I'll try to do better. Key word there is "try"....

So lets start with my brilliant plan of all time.  See, it was the 7th of September and my birthday was on the 9th.  I was sitting at my computer and trying to figure out what John and I should do for my birthday.  I was thinking "well, we are totally broke but who cares, let's go do something" (when did being broke ever stop us, right?)  so I priced a quick jaunt to Vegas, a weekend in Monterey, and a weekend in San Diego.   All of those things would take at least a few hundred bucks, and Vegas even more.  So right as I was trying to figure out who lives close to any of those places and would let us crash on their floor or couch for a couple nights, out of nowhere an American Airlines ad pops up on the screen that says "Flight Price Drop: Albuquerque to Santa Barbara for only $107 each way".  My brain went into overdrive and before I had time to think of what I was doing, I was calling my step son Jonathan who lives in Albuquerque and asking him if he wanted to come visit and surprise his dad.  Jon was in.  I honestly couldn't think of anything more than I would want for my birthday than to see my husband surprised with a visit from Jon. I mean it, honestly.  It's been two years since we've seen Jon and John talks about how much he misses Jon on a daily basis.  (Are you keeping up with the Jon & John lingo? Jon = son  and John = hubby).

Anyways, I booked the ticket for the following Saturday.  OMG I kept wondering how I was going to keep this a secret because I totally suck at lying and at keeping exciting secrets.  But.. I did it! I told John that my friend Melissa was coming to visit and we would pick her up in Santa Barbara and then take her to Camarillo to his parents house and have a bbq down there for the day. John bought into it and then all I had to do was not blow it.  Phew.  I called Melissa and left her a message that went something like "um, I kind of involved you in a big ol lie but it's for a really good reason so I need you to just go along with it!". lol.  Melissa was game and thus the plan kept developing.  I almost slipped a few times but I made it thru the week. I even changed Jon's name in my phone so when he called me that morning it said "Melissa calling".  John was clueless. Everyone else in the world around me knew but John had no idea.

We went to the airport in Santa Barbara.  John was wandering off and he made me so nervous because he kept wanting to go all over the airport and here Jon was about to come down the escalator right in front of us! OMG!  Finally John saw his son and he was in shock and it was awesome. I was lucky enough to think ahead and had my phone ready so I captured the entire thing on video. I cried.   If you haven't seen the video yet I posted it on my facebook wall and will try to get it posted on here too.  John was so shocked he turned to me and said "what about your friend Melissa?"  to which I said "um, Melissa isn't coming, it was Jon the whole time". LOL  What a great surprise.

We headed down to Camarillo where we surprised Jordan as well.   Then I made everyone go outside so I could take some family pictures. They were overjoyed by the picture taking....ok not really, but that didn't stop me, I made them do it anyways.  John's parents have the best neighbors EVER and their neighbor Bill had his Model A Ford out and said we could take pictures in we all hopped in and got some great family pics.   It was all kind of a whirlwind and now I wish I would have gotten even more pics.... I thought Nacho was in the car too but he wasn't at one point, and Heather was MIA in the pics. So watch out FAMILY, next time I'm getting even more pics to make sure everyone is in them all :)  

It was AWESOME to have all of our kids and grandkids together for the day. It couldn't have been any better :) 


 Us with our kids and grandkids


 John and I with all of our kiddos

The pic above is our grandkids, Lily, Naveah, and Xavier.  Uncle Jordan gave Xavier the dollar bill he is holding in order to bribe Xavier to sit and take pictures. HAHAHAHA..that was great.

Our kids, Jon, Drew, Stefanie, and Jordan

Friday, September 14, 2012

Latest Happenings

It's been a while since I've caught up on the blogging. What can I say, we've been a little bit busy :)

Last weekend was my birthday 9-9.  I'm a whopping 42 years old now. We went to my favorite restaurant, F. McLintocks for dinner with Stef and Nacho, then hit Shell Beach and Pismo Beach, and then went miniature golfing at Boomers.  Stefanie made me walk into a tattoo parlor in Pismo...why? I have no idea. I HATE needles and I hate pain - so I already know that would get one dot on me and scream like a baby and be all done so why even try, right?  We walked in, we walked right out... when will my daughter learn?

Young Lee has been adjusting to life in the USA.  He continues to spend a LOT of time in his bedroom either doing his homework or watching Chinese videos on his computer.  I still don't really like the whole idea of him being a recluse in his room but I've kinda decided not to fight that battle right now.

Young went to his first high school dance. He was there for about an hour before he called to go home.  When I asked what he thought about the dance he just said "American girls are too much!". 

PAJAMA UPDATE:  So..... Young Lee has stopped wearing his silk pajamas outside to play basketball!  HOORAY!  I know some of you are sad......get over it.... I'm happy!  Although he does change into the pajamas often at like 3pm, they are worn in the house only.   I wish he had blue ones instead of pink ones but whatever....

This week was a little crazy for me. I had a booster board meeting on Monday night, then back to school night on Wednesday, and another meeting at the school yesterday.  What can I say, I LOVE St. Joseph High School :)

This weekend Young Lee and the other Chinese students are off on a trip to San Francisco. I'm so excited for him! And he finally accepted the fact that when I say "it gets cold" that he needs to dress warm.  He even packed a jacket and long pants!  I tried to help him pack but he said he could handle it so I made my motherly suggestions and hopefully he followed them.  I really have no idea if he understands most of what I say. I think he kind of catches every few words and then guesses what I'm saying and just nods his head.

We have a busy weekend planned with a friend coming from Indiana tomorrow morning. We are going to pick her up in Santa Barbara and then head down to Camarillo to BBQ with the family. We are usually so busy on the weekends and whenever we have a free weekend I like to go down to Camarillo and hang with the fam.

Drew is getting his senior pictures taken on Sunday. I can't quite wrap my head around the fact that my baby boy is a senior and I'm a little sad about it really. It seems like I was just getting my own senior pictures taken! Hard to believe it's been so long.

I have off work most of next week to hang out and have a little "stay-cation" with my friend.  I'm sure I will have lots of fun stories and pictures to post so stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day Weekend Happenings

We had a great, mostly lazy, Labor Day weekend!

Friday night was St. Joseph High School's first home football game and the first home football game since I was deemed President of the Booster Board.  So... of course we went!   I knew it would be cold so I was appropriately dressed in like 3 layers of clothes plus my St. Joe's Parka which goes all the way down past my knees.  It's all about being prepared people. I know that everyone thinks California is warm but let me tell you, once the sun goes down it's freakin freezing around here.  So..... as I was saying... I was prepared.  I told Young Lee it was going to be cold and that he needed to put on his jeans and wear a warm jacket.  Of course he wouldn't listen to me (big surprise?).  He wore his shorts and flip flops and a thin jacket. I tried to tell him and John even said something to him but he just walked out to the car.  Me, being the concerned mum, brought along a blanket just in case.

We went to the game and Young Lee insisted on sitting with John & me, although we were in the dreaded "parents section".   The kid is not social at all...... I tried to get him to go sit with all of the other kids but it was a no-go.  So he sat next to John.   He had never seen football before in his 18 years of existence until coming to our house and he has been studying it pretty hard.  He got into the game and was clapping and cheering and standing up at appropriate times and everything.  I think I even saw a smile!   I noticed his skinny little legs turning blue, shivering, and covered with goosebumps so I got the blanket and handed it to him and told him to use it for his legs if he was cold. I swear this kid is never going to follow my advice.  He put the blanket next to him on the bleachers and kept on with the shivering and goosebumps. Whatever.  I provided all the necessary guideance and opportunities for him to get warm, right? So why was I so worried about it? I don't know but John told me to let it go and let him freeze if he wanted to becauase he had the blanket right next to him and knew he could use it if he needed to.  Ok, I gave up and went on my way checking on the volunteers and stopping by the snack bar to do my presidential "how's it going, thanks for coming to volunteer tonight" kind of stuff.  I bought Young Lee a snickers bar so his body can have some more calories to burn off with all of the shivering.   SJ won the game by like 40 points, so it was a great home opener :)

Saturday was a pretty lazy day in the morning.  We just kind of hung out and did pretty much nothing most of the day.  Young Lee ran around in the silk pajamas all day long - this time the second pair of silk pajamas came out, these ones are pink, but at least have pants instead of short shorts.  I didn't mention the pajamas to him, see I am getting better....

John & I went to a wedding and I told Young a list of several things that he could have for dinner.  I'm sure he probably just ate a cup of noodles because that seems to be his "go to" food, but he had about 4 choices of already easy made things to choose from.  Once again, I can't worry about it, the boy is 18 years old (gotta keep telling myself that).

Scott Cox & Casandra Young are our friends who got married. Everything was absolutely beautiful and we had a great time with friends.  There were so many people that I knew there and people I hadn't seen since high school  (got to visit with Doug Cox for a while! Great seeing him and meet his wife and kids!).

Here is a picture of Fran, Me, John, Dolores, & David at the wedding:

 And another pic of us girls with the beautiful bride :)

Sunday was another lazy day.  Young spent pretty much the entire day in his room on his computer.  As usual.   On Sunday evening John decided to go to the Santa Maria Speedway to watch the races.  He took Young Lee with him. I once again told Young Lee to go put on his jeans and tennis shoes and wear really warm clothes because it would be very cold at the races.  He came out again in flip flops and shorts. FINALLY John stepped in and told him that he needed to go change and wear long pants and socks with tennis shoes and a warm shirt and jacket.  He said "ok, ok" and didn't look too happy, but he went and changed into sweat pants, tennis shoes, and his thin jacket.  Once again, on the way out the door I grabbed a hoodie and told John to make Young put it on because he would be absolutely frozen without it.  John took it but just shrugged his shoulders as if to say "I'll tell him but you know he isn't going to wear it".  Again, Whatever, right? He freezes then it's not on me because I tried... once again.

The boys had fun at the races. John said that Young took tons of pictures.

John and Young dived into greasy racetrack food and woofed down some chili cheese fries. I wonder how his stomach was after that experience?

Of course Young Lee did not wear the sweatshirt that I sent for him and yes, he froze again. Duh.  I think maybe he isn't used to following directions given by females? Or maybe he is a little stubborn like most other males in my life?  I'm not sure.  But...... I'm learning really fast that I will give him what I deem is good guidance and support and he can either choose to follow my advice or he will suffer from the natural consequences (i.e. not wearing warm clothing will cause you to freeze).

Despite the cold, the boys had a great time at the races.

Monday was Labor Day and there was absolutely no labor going on at our house. John and I watched movies and Young did what he always does,  hung out in his room with his computer.

This coming Sunday is my birthday and we may venture down to Venice Beach, Hollywood, Universal Studios or Magic Mountain.  Young said that Magic Mountain sounds "boring" to him so we may be going without him.  Who knows? This sitting in the room for hours and hours upon end, obsessed with the World of Warcraft game has got to change. I've gotta get this boy out to be more social!!  It's my life goal right now...poor

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Compromise I got home from work about 4:30pm and guess what?  You got it, the pajamas had returned. Sigh.  (Kristin I know you are smiling). short lived happiness was instantly deflated as I saw Young Lee come out of his room in the pajamas. Sigh again.  HOWEVER, I decided that even though it was still early in the day and he clearly was not going to bed anytime soon, the bright side is that he wasn't outside playing basketball in the front of the house while wearing the pajamas.  So I suppose I can kind of compromise here and as long as he isn't running around Orcutt in the pj's I will just let it go.

What can I say?  I see the pajamas and I instantly secretly daydream of them shredding in the washing machine.  Now of course I would never really wish that would happen but you know what I mean. It's like instant pajama hatred whenever I see them before 8pm or so.

I'm working on it people, I really am.

Young had his first beef and bean burritos tonight.  We eat burritos and tacos a LOT at our house.  What can I say, it's easy, cheap, and everyone likes it.  He made a huge burrito and woofed it down and then I heard a "mum I would like another one" so I got all excited because he actually talked to me without me having to ask him a question first, and I ran in the kitchen to help him heat up the tortilla on the stovetop.  I didn't think that Young's culinary skills were ready for the tortilla warming.  You know how we Californian's do it..we throw the tortilla over the gas flame and hope we don't set the kitchen on fire, while also flipping it with our hands and hoping we don't burn the crap out of our fingers, which we ultimately all have done at one time or other.    Anyways, he inhaled the second burrito and was walking around with a hand on his stomach like "OMG I ate too much".

Besides coming out for burritos and to get some water I haven't seen much of Young tonight.  He has a lot of homework every night and pretty much stays in his room sitting at his desk.  It's either homework or watching Chinese videos or playing a video game on the computer.  Young doesn't really initiate conversations too much but he will answer questions when I ask him things, which is much better than the previous two weeks.  Drew still tells me that Young comes into his room and talks to him all the time. I'm wondering where in the heck I am when all of this conversating is going on.

Young does tell me he likes it here and I love it when he calls me "mum" so things really are going pretty good and it's getting better and easier.

Com'on folks.....join me in hoping for a pajama free day tomorrow :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Catching up....

Haven't blogged for a few days...been a little bit busy!

Saturday August 25th we drove down to Camarillo to visit our son Jordan, his girlfriend Savannah, and their baby girl Naveah, plus bro and sis in law Ed and Heather.  It was a good visit and our lil granddaughter Naveah is SOOOOO cute!!

Young Lee came with us to Camarillo. I'm sure he was totally bored out of his mind. I TRIED, like really tried to get him to buy some more clothes for school and for just hanging out around the house but he wasn't budging.  We stopped at Burlington Coat Factory in Ventura where any teenager could have a field day getting some legit clothing at an awesome price.  Young paced back and forth while John and I shopped around a little bit.  I found some shorts that are similar to the ones Young likes to wear almost every day and pointed them out to him but he was not interested in the least bit.  He said "I don't need clothes".  So I left it at that.  But... his spider man swim trunks and his white shirt with the fish on it are going to get worn out very soon from him wearing them so much.  What can I say, I tried......

We had grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner and he loved them.  Another "first" for him to try.

On Sunday we grilled steaks for dinner. I'm telling you this kid LOVES to eat beef. Like REALLY LOVES to eat beef!  I think he could totally survive on beef, rice, and cheese.

Most of the day on Sunday we were glued to the computer as we tracked Stef & Drew's dad John and his wife Stacy as they completed an IRONMAN in Louisville Kentucky! Totally insane, right??  We tracked them with a GPS tracker online and even got to watch the live camera of the finish line and we saw them both finish.  It was really cool to see their progress all day long and actually be able to see them finish.  Quite an accomplishment and holy moly I can't even begin to imagine swimming 2.5 miles, biking 110 miles, and THEN running 26 miles.  They are definitely insane.  We are really proud of them!

I so totally stole these pictures from their facebooks. I'm sure they won't mind....
And in case you were wondering...or even if you weren't wondering, I'll tell you anyways, the ex husband John and my husband John and me and Stacy are good friends.  They even came and spent Christmas with us this past year, which was great. It's very cool.... We always have a great time when they come visit!

Monday was a good day. WHY you ask??????
Via pajama intervention from two very nice people, Young Lee realized that playing basketball outside in silk pajamas probably isn't the proper thing to do.  So he has been wearing his shorts and tshirt and seems to be just fine.  You just don't know how happy I am about this.. I'm serious. I'm really happy.

And... Young Lee told me that he needs to talk to me more (thanks Tom!) and he has really been trying.  I found out that he wants two PB & J sandwiches, a water, and a bag of chips in his lunch and all of the other goodies I have been putting in there he really doesn't want.  I had to practically pry it out of him but at least I got the info.

It's Tuesday night now and Young is doing homework. He still struggles with his English class and his religion class and history class are also tough for him.  He had a history test today and he said he answered each question so hopefully he did good. 

We had meatball sandwiches and a zucchini tomato bake (thank you Pinterest for the recipe) tonight and again this was something Young had never tried before. I know he liked the meatballs and I'm not sure about the zucchini but he ate some.  It probably ended up in the trash can too but at least he was willing to try it :) 

Drew totally ditched us all for Taco Tuesday and another night at the casino with a friend who is going away to college later this week.  I'm sure he will come home pissed off again, and broke. Duh.

So that's what's up with the Lee's for the past few days.   Stay posted to see what new things we force upon Young Lee in the next few days....

Friday, August 24, 2012

More "firsts" - including seeing whales!

This evening we took Young Lee to the Hartford Pier/Port SLO Harbor in Avila Beach.  To say the traffic was insane was an understatement.  The national coverage of the whales in the harbor has attracted hundreds of people to the beach. Like, literally HUNDREDS of people....  We drove past Avila a little bit and met my BFF Julie at the Hartford Pier where we could actually find parking and a place to eat.

Young Lee seemed amazed at all of the birds.  The pelicans were totally insane, there were what seemed like a thousand of them flying around, dive bombing the water, and flying everywhere!  I took a picture of Young Lee standing by one of the pelicans

Young also saw his first glimpse of a seal.  He has never seen a seal before so this was totally fascinating. The seals were all playing, barking, and swimming around everywhere....he seemed mesmerized by them.  It's so cool watching someone see all of this stuff for the first time!

We ordered some food from this awesome little shack on the pier and all of the sudden Julie spotted a humpback whale.  So AWESOME!   Young Lee had his eyes glued to the ocean and we all ran over to the edge of the pier and waited for it to surface again.  It came up several times and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing it over and over again.  Young Lee also spotted dolphins, something else he had never seen before except on TV.

The sun was setting and it was getting cold so we decided to call it an evening and head on home.  This picture is just of the crazy pelicans.  I love this pier, it's one of my favorite places to go in our area.

John had to have his after dinner sweet snack so he bought Young Lee and himself a snickers bar.  Young insisted on posing for the picture while eating the snickers bar lol.

So glad that my BFF Julie was able to come and meet up with us!

All in all it was a great evening and once again I am reminded how blessed we are to be living in Paradise.  We live where other people come to vacation.  We have so many awesome things to do and to see here!

And.. Young Lee had a wonderful time.  I'm so happy we are able to take him places and show him so many things he has never seen before!


Success and Happiness

Today I came home from work and Young Lee and I had a very good conversation!  He told me about his classes and about how it was difficult to follow the English teacher and take notes but there was another student who takes good notes and he talked to her and can get the notes that he missed (which seems like he missed pretty much everything).

Also, according to Young, in China very few people attend religious services. He does not attend church and knows nothing about God or church or anything.  Like NOTHING.   Obviously this means that his religion class is very difficult for him.  Sounds like all of the other kids here from China are the same way.  I think it's pretty awesome that he is here and will have an opportunity to learn about God!  Pretty cool.

PAJAMA UPDATE:   Young did not wear the pajamas today.  Of course I feel like this is due to me asking a very nice person to assist in pajama intervention.  THANK YOU!

So... Young is talking more, and is dressed properly, and smiling more as well. I think things are definitely getting better and I am looking forward to what is to come :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Baby Steps...

Today Young stayed after school because I think he is joining the robotics club or something like that, at least that's what Drew told me.  Whatever,,,,, he is getting involved in stuff and that's great!
The best part, there are no pajamas being worn to play basketball today!! HOORAY!!! Of course thats probably because I confiscated them and threw them in the washing machine while he was at the robotics club, but hey, whatever works, right?

Oh ya, and earlier Young was on skype with someone in China and he was talking and talking and there is hope! He can talk!  And laugh!!!  Maybe it's just really that he isnt comfortable speaking English so he doesn't say anything to us? Maybe? 

I got Taco Bell tonight for dinner.  What can I say, I've been cooking a lot and doing very well but tonight I just had to make a run for the border.  I got Young Lee 2 tacos and a chicken burrito and he LOVED the tacos AND the burrito. SUCCESS! 

And.... best thing of all today, Young Lee actually spoke to me when he came home from school.  We carried on a few conversations today.  I am HAPPY, can you tell??   Baby Steps...Baby Steps...

I have been promising Drew a trip to the casino for months now and told him as soon as he turned 18 we would go. So John and I took him to the Chumash Casino and Young stayed home and hung out with the neighbor kid Adam.  Young told me that he was practicing his English speaking with Adam. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not but Young seemed very happy about it. When we left for the casino Adam was trying to explain the word "dude" to Young because Adam walked in and said "Hey dude, what's up?" and Young didn't understand.  I didn't hear the explanation of the word but I'm sure it was great.

At the casino I was only down just about $9.00 and happily playing my penny slot machine that I had been playing for the past hour when Drew came up and ruined whatever good slot machine mo-jo I had going on.  Plus, he said "go hard or go home mom" and hit the "MAX BET" on my machine and lost me $5.00 on that one spin.  Then the person next to me got up and he he saw his religion teacher Ms. E playing slots at the machine down one from me.  So he just had to sneak around and take a picture of her and I don't know why I thought it was so funny but I couldn't stop laughing. So I hit the "repeat bet" button because I wasn't paying attention and of course the last bet was a max bet (thanks to Drew) so I lost another $5.00 with that spin.  I ended up cashing out with a whopping $1.03 left in the machine.  Unfortunately I had already lost $20 before that. So that pretty much sucked.  Drew lost money and John lost $20 as well.   Now I totally remember why it's been over a year since we went to the casino!  I work too damn hard for my money to give it away, plus come home covered in a layer of smoke so bad that I have to take a shower before I go to bed and wash the smell out of my hair.   Drew said "I'm never going back there again, that sucked!".   Duh.

When we got home I finished drying the clothes for Young and I did not ruin the pajamas although yes the thought did cross my mind...but I could never do that..... so I returned the pajamas to him in good condition. And, we actually talked quite a bit about school and about lots of different things.
So today was a good day (except for the whole losing money at the casino thing)!  YAY!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lunch mystery somewhat solved...

In my last post I wondered if Young had been eating lunch at school because he had been coming home and eating like he had been starving for days.

I assumed that Young really liked the little bags of cheese-it's that I have been sending in his lunch.  I found them in the trash can in his room today, unopened... lol.  So I think rather than tell me he doesn't like something he just hides it in the trash.  I also found the little container of applesauce in the trash that I sent with him the first day of school.

Tomorrow I have given Drew the mission of finding out if Young actually really likes the sandwiches I've been sending or if he isn't eating those either! And the thing is, I asked Young if he liked the cheese-it's and he said yes!  I also asked him if he liked the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and he said yes to that too!  Great, I've probably been involuntarily and unknowingly starving the kid......

The other night we had chicken alfredo and Young ate it all but then last night Drew asked him if he wanted more of that and he told Drew that he didn't like it.  And do you think Drew volunteered that info to me?  Of course not.... I mentioned the chicken alfredo and that I think that Young liked it and that's when Drew informed me that he didn't.  I swear I need a hidden voice recorder to learn anything that goes on around this household.

Tonight we had Trader Joe's Orange Chicken and TJ's Chicken Fried Rice and TJ's Asian stir fry vegetables.  I didn't see any of that in the trash. Probably because he was so starving by dinnertime that he ate it even if he didn't like it.  Tomorrow I'll make some white rice because I know that he likes that, and I'll make some Teriyaki chicken (Trader Joe's) because who wouldn't like that, right?

Since Young's dad owns a very famous restaurant in China that is 4 stories tall and has over 100 employees, I think I have a lot to compete with cooking wise.  My culinary skills kind of begin and end at Trader Joe's frozen bags of food.  Ok, Ok I cook other stuff too but during the week when it's busy I'm all about Trader Joe's frozen foods. 

At least I feel confident that he can always make Cup O Noodles if he gets desperate. I taught him how to make that the first day and I've seen him make it since then. So he won't actually starve, I promise.

I think that Young figured out that having me do the laundry is much easier than him washing it by hand and drying it outside.  This is progress.  Tonight I did all of his laundry and he seemed very happy about that.

I'm not even going to talk pajamas tonight.  I decided to give it a rest for a little while.  So give me a couple days and I'll be talking pajamas again................

Catching up....and pajamas.....

I haven't posted for a couple days. That's because the past few days have been a little insane!

Young still keeps to himself most of the time. Drew tells me that they talk but I guess it's not when I'm around because I don't hear much talking at all going on.

When I leave for work in the mornings I am sure to give Drew his daily lecture "Make sure Young eats breakfast", "Make sure Young remembers to take his lunch", "Can you check and make sure Young is in proper dress code?" , etc. etc.   Drew continues to answer sarcastically to me and then takes care of things just like he would if I would not have reminded or lectured him about it. 

Let's start with breakfast............. Drew said that Young took two brownies and put them on a plate and was going to microwave them for breakfast.  Drew stopped him and said  something about "hold on, let's try something else". So Drew made waffles.  Just to clarify,  when I say that Drew "made" waffles, he didn't break out the belgian waffle maker or anything, he simply put Eggo's in the toaster.  Anyways, he made the waffles and had to get Young to wait until they were properly buttered and covered with syrup, then he let him loose on them.  Like me Drew says that Young either liked them or he was really hungry because he ate everything on the plate.

I've been packing lunch for Young but I'm not sure if he has been really eating it during lunchtime at school.  I ask him if he likes it but since he doesn't really talk to me very much I haven't gotten much of an answer.  By the way, the lack of communication is a little frustrating and a little awkward but I am confident and very hopeful that will get better.

Dinnertime the kid GRUBS. I mean like really super duper grubs.  Last night Drew had to make dinner for everyone because I was at the Emergency Room with Stefanie (told you yesterday was an insane day) and then I had a meeting.  John came to relieve me at the ER and he stayed with Stef, and  Nacho went to school ,so Drew had to babysit and make sure everyone had dinner.  Anyways, Drew decided to grill some burgers.  He told me that he made a lot and there would be enough for us when we finally got home.  When I finally got home there weren't any burgers left.  Drew told me that Young ate 3 hamburgers and a hot dog! I'm thinking "no way"...but yep, he really did.   So I'm not sure if he isn't eating lunch so he's starving by dinnertime or if he just likes to eat a lot for dinner.

By the way, Stefanie was fine.... she was dizzy. They didn't really find anything and ended up sending her home. She felt better today so that's good.

I thought we had made progress on the whole playing basketball in the pajamas thing.   I was mistaken. Again.  Drew, Nacho, John, and Stefanie all told me that Young went out to play basketball in his silk pajamas again yesterday (at around 4 in the afternoon).  Ok, so I know after my post about pajamas some people thought I should lighten up, but really people, It's so not ok with me that he is wearing silk pajamas with short shorts, that look pretty feminine at that, playing basketball in my driveway in the front of my house in a neighborhood with a lot of foot traffic, at 4 in the afternoon. Sorry if you disagree.  I wouldn't let my kids do it, no way, no how.   Drew said that they got home from school today and Young immediately changed into the pajamas and went outside to play basketball again.  John said he said something about the pajamas yesterday but it didn't do any good.  So I need pajama intervention....... I will keep you posted....

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Feet in the Pacific Ocean

Took Young Lee to Avila Beach today.  He said that the water was too cold for him to get in and he wasn't too interested in a wetsuit. Maybe next time :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Weekend of "firsts"

It's been a weekends of "first's" for Young Lee!  School, Starbucks, Football, and Horses.

That's right....  Friday was the first day of school and as you all know from my last entry I was freaked out and worried the entire day.  Of course the day went well. I asked Young how his day was and he said "Pre calculus is very easy.  Literature (English) and History were difficult to understand what the teacher was saying".  So I assured him that as he speaks more English and is here more that it will become easier.  I also volunteered to help him however I could.  Since I'm good at English and I would be lost just opening a pre calculus book, this may work out well.  If he can handle the math class I know I can assist with the English and History.

When I got home from work on Friday the neighbor kid (as we all lovingly call him), Adam, along with Drew and Young were just returning from Starbucks.  Now Young has made it very clear that he only likes to drink water so imagine my surprise when I saw him sporting a venti frappuchino.  This was his first time to try Starbucks.  I yelled at Drew and Adam for corrupting him and then they explained to me that it is just a chai tea kind of drink and it's ok.   Whatever.  I still yelled at them and I told Young that he didn't have to finish the drink which seemed to make him relieved because it was HUGE.  And  then I bitched at Drew and Adam some more as to why they couldn't have even started him off with a SMALL drink?  Blank stares and shrugging shoulders....

Another "first", we went to the St. Joes/Morro Bay football scrimmage.  Now this wasn't probably the best first football experience since it was only a scrimmage, but it was the first time Young has ever seen the game played except for watching John yell at the Rams while he watches them on TV.  Drew tried to explain who was offense, who was defense, and what each team was trying to do. I think Drew was also having to explain this to Adam who although he graduated from St. Joes and attended football games and grew up in the USA, still needs schooling on football.  Young might actually understand more than Adam. (Sorry Adam, love ya son....)

Saturday morning I was running around like a crazy insane woman since my son had invited like 40 of his closest friends over for a bbq to celebrate his 18th birthday.  So... as usual Stefanie and the kids showed up and I gave Stef and the kids the evil death glare for messing up my newly cleaned house (for like the 10th time) so she took the kids and Young and went to see a friend of hers who has horses.  You guessed it, another "first" for Young.  He has never seen a horse before except on TV.  So anyways, Young was able to pet some horses and he really liked them.   Since my BFF Julie has recently moved to a horse ranch in Atascadero, I can assure Young of many more encounters with horses! Very cool :)

I pulled everything together and we had the BBQ for Drew's 18th birtday.  It was a lot of fun.  Young went outside to eat with the other teenagers but seemed a little uncomfortable since he didn't really know them and he ended up coming in and playing the wii with John for a while and hang with the family. 

I heard a basketball and I noticed Young disappearing out to the driveway to go shoot baskets with Drew and his friends.  He stayed out there for a couple of hours and seemed like he was having a great time.  He also had his very first piece of birthday cake and I assume he really liked it because he ate all of it. 

Drew thought since we are all 18 or older now we should go to the casino at midnight when he officially will be 18.  I really don't think that is an appropriate "first" for Young Lee and not so sure Young's parents would appreciate us taking him I'll take Drew to do that one another day without dragging Young with us.  After all, Young Lee has already been corrupted by Starbucks and junk food, let's not get carried away....

By the way, I was happy when Stefanie turned 18, and it didn't bother me when Jon and Jordan turned 18, but with Drew being the baby and turning 18 I'm just not ready! I feel emotional and I don't like it. Where did my little boy go?

Even though I don't like it at all,   Happy 18th  Birthday DREW!

Imagine being 18 years old and never have seen a horse before except on TV.  As I am learning more and more about Young and his culture, I find myself  appreciating more and more all of what we have here in the USA and all of the opportunities that we have that other people may not have.    When I returned from 2 years of living in the Azores, Portugal in about 1992 I had a new appreciation of the USA and all we have here.  This kind of reminds me of that time...and it's a good thing. This experience is teaching me to be more aware and more thankful for things that I just take advantage of.

Enough deep stuff....   Tomorrow we may go to the beach and see seals and I hear there are whales being spotted every day too. Imagine, if seeing a horse was such an amazing experience, wait till he sees seals and whales!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

First day of school

Today is Young's first day of high school in the USA. I totally feel like I just sent off my child for his first day of kindergarten.

I packed his lunch for school, a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, cheese-its, a small applesauce, a twinkie, and some water.  (He will only drink water, he says everything else is unhealthy).

I think I made Drew want to shoot me this morning. The conversation went something like this:
Me:    "Drew, make sure Young eats breakfast"
Drew:  "Ok mom" (said sarcastically)
Me:   "Drew, make sure he knows exactly where to meet you after school and when"
Drew:  "Ok mom" (said even more sarcastically)
Me:     "Drew, make sure Young takes his lunch. It's right here, I made it for him. Do you want me to make your lunch too?"
Drew:  "Ok mom. And you haven't made my lunch like EVER. I make it myself. I'm fine" (he said this while he was making his lunch)
Me:   "Ok Ok.   I'm leaving for work. Bye".
Drew:   thinking to himself:  Get the HELL out of here you are driving me crazy"

I tell Young goodbye and let him know I'm leaving for work.

I leave, and call Drew on the way out of the driveway..

Drew:  Answers phone "Really mom?"
Me:    Ignoring Drew's smart ass comment...."Drew, make sure Young remembers where his locker is and make sure he takes his black binder with him, it has his schedule and the combination to his locker on it."
Drew:  "OMG! OK MOM!"

So......... that's pretty much how the morning went.

Anxious to hear about how school went today!!

More experiences...

Young Lee had his first taste of Lasagna and he told me that he loved it :)  And no, it wasn't Stouffer's, I actually MADE the Lasagna.   We had Lasagna, broccoli, and rice.  He is used to eating rice for dinner so every night I put some in the rice cooker for him.   Drew took him to Taco Bell and he ate a chicken quesadilla.  More new foods to try out.  I think so far his favorite foods are tri tip and lasagna.

We went to the China 1 Restaurant in Orcutt. Young ordered all in Chinese and had a long conversation with the lady that worked there, which he seemed to enjoy.  He said that the sweet and sour chicken that John was eating is more from North China than where he lives (near Shanghai).   Young ate everything on his plate so he either really liked it or he was extremely hungry.

St. Joes has a pretty strict dress code including the no facial hair rule, so I bought him a razor.  He didn't know how to use it so John went in and taught him how to shave. It was a father/son kind of moment.  So he is all clean shaven and ready for school.
Speaking of school, Young thinks that school being over by 3:00 pm is too early and he asked if he could stay longer every day. I think school is going to be quite a change for him and he will for the first time in his life have some free time.

Before coming to the USA, Young had never seen football.  I explained that we would be going to watch football at the school on Friday night. He asked if Drew was going to the game and I said that I thought he was. He asked me if dad was coming to the game and I said yes and he started smiling, because he thinks it's funny to watch John watch football on TV and yell at the TV. So he is ready for his very first football game.

Progress with the laundry. Young gave me all of his laundry and I washed and dried everything. I washed the silk pajamas on delicate and then hung them in the backyard to dry because I was so afraid of ruining them and I know they are his favorite things to wear.  The good thing is that because the pajamas were in the laundry he was outside playing basketball while wearing shorts and a tshirt :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


So I thought I had made great progress with the whole "wear your pajamas only in the house when you are going to sleep" advice I gave Young yesterday. Apparently I was mistaken.

He got home from his tour of the school, told me "school was boring" and changed into the silk pajamas.  Then he asked me to move the car so he could play basketball.  I headed him off at the gate that goes  out to the driveway and explained once again that he needed to change into his shorts and tshirt and not wear the pajamas out of the house to play basketball.  He kind of ignored me and kept walking. I moved the car and then again explained about the pajamas.  He said "in China it's ok to wear these because they are comfortable".  I attempted to explain that in the United States they are only worn for sleeping and not outside of the house.  He said "I have to change?"  I answered "Yes, you should change.  And people will look at you funny and it is not really ok to be out here in the pajamas".  He kept playing the pajamas.

It only took my mother a few minutes before she called me and said "I just saw Young outside your house playing basketball in his pajamas.  You should go tell him to change into other clothes".  

Um ya, thanks mom.

I got some basketball shorts for him and hopefully he will wear them.  I think the pajamas to him are like us coming home and changing into sweatpants.

For those of you who think I'm being too harsh  I understand it's a cultural difference and in the grand scheme of things it's not as important as a lot of things.  But...I have to say, I wouldn't let my kids outside to play basketball in their pajamas and he is one of my kids now. 

***  Someone sent me this article about how in 2010 city officials in Shanghai started a campaign to get Chinese people to quit wearing pajamas outside of the house.  Young is from a city near Shanghai.
(See, it's not just me) lol

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


We are still adjusting to Young and the differences in our cultures and he is adjusting to us and our customs.  There are a few main things that we need to work on over the next 10 months.

SOCIAL ADJUSTMENTS:   He continues to be very quiet.  I think he would be content in his bedroom watching videos on the computer, all day long, every day.  Last night John got him out of the bedroom to play basketball. John told me that the only awkward thing was that he went out in the driveway to play basketball in his silk pajamas.  John didn't want to embarrass him so he didn't mention the pajamas. I'm have to tell him! So this morning when he went outside to play basketball and Drew came in and asked me if I knew he was playing bball out front while wearing the silk pajamas.  I had to go tell him... so I sucked it up and told him that he should only wear the pajamas while in the house in his room when he is going to bed and he should wear his clothes out of the house and when he plays basketball. I'm not sure if he totally understood me or not but he hasn't had the pajamas on since this morning. That's a good thing.

FOOD:  Ok, so I taught him how to make Cup O Noodles for breakfast since he is used to having noodles in the mornings. Now I know it's high in sodium and I know it's not ideal, but com'on people, I'm trying here. He learned to make it himself and it's easy.  Most importantly he likes it.

Yesterday I thought we would try to make a sandwich in order to make sure he likes sandwiches for lunch when school starts.  I started out showing him how I make the sandwich with ham, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and mustard.  He did great at first, he added the meat, cheese, and lettuce. I turned around to get something out of the refrigerator and when I turned back around he had added in some watermelon slices I had taken out to eat with the sandwich.  So ya...

He seemed to enjoy dinner last night: pork chops, broccoli, and rice. Most meals he takes the food and then goes quickly into his room to eat it.  Some meals we actually all sit together and eat at the table so when we do that I will have to make it clear.  Until then whatever works is good I suppose. As long as he eats and likes the food and gets full then I'm happy :)

Today was hamburgers for lunch. I showed him my hamburger with lettuce, tomato, and pickles. I put some baby carrots and cucumber slices on my plate NEXT to the burger.  He grabbed some lettuce and cucumber slices and put them on the burger.   At least he likes to eat healthy.

LAUNDRY:  Young wants to wash all of his clothes by hand.   The other day I tried to do his laundry in the washer and I thought I had confiscated all of it.  When I came out of the garage (aka laundry room) he had washed clothes and towels in the sink and hung them out in the backyard to dry. Yep...we need to work on that.

All in all I think the adjustments we are making are good and we just need to teach him about American culture.  As school starts I think things will get easier and easier.  He seems to loosen up a little bit around kids his own age.  I just want him to be happy and enjoy this experience.  I don't want to hurt his feelings or say anything wrong so I've let a few things go as he is adjusting to us..but as things present themselves I've got to speak up and teach him (like the pajama/basketball thing).

Wish me luck.... it's going to be 10 months of adjustments but I think we're up for it!


So....... I haven't used the blog really since I started it. I now have a Chinese exchange student and I figure now is as good of a time as any to start writing again and documenting some of this cultural experience.

Yang (we have renamed him Young) arrived last week on Friday, August 20th.  I was so excited to go pick him up and couldn't wait for him to arrive, it was like I was having a new baby. I know, rediculous, but that's kinda how it felt.

So upon seeing me he waves with a "hi mum!" and I think "awesome!".  The "hi mum" was the only thing he said the entire way home.  He rushed to his room to unpack and then presented us with awesome gifts and we presented him with some gifts as well.  It was a bit awkward but the first night was under our belts and I was sure we would talk more the next day when he wasn't so tired.

.... well, day 2 was quiet.  He spent most of the day in his room.  I kept going in and trying to talk to him but the boys (John, Drew, Nacho) told me to leave him alone. Sigh.....We went to the grocery store. I tried to find things he would like to eat. He said nothing looked familiar to him and I'm sure Food Maxx was a bit overwhelming.  We came back home and he took a long nap (major Jet Lag). Ramen noodles for lunch.   We had tri tip, chicken, beans, and rice for dinner and he ate a lot of meat and rice.

Day 3 still quiet and I notice he wears pajamas all the time.   I tried to convince him to purchase some more clothes for school but he said he doesn't need them.  Stef and I took him shopping with not much luck.  I bought him some clothes and shoes and gave them to him as a gift and I'm hoping he wears them.  The boys took him to see the new Bourne movie and to the mall.  I think he had a good time.  We had asada tacos for dinner and he liked them - either that or he was super hungry because he ate 3 of them.

He is very quiet and spends most of the day in his room.  He told me that he goes to a boarding school in China with 6 boys in his room, and school is 6 days per week, 6am to 10pm.  So he is in for a bit of culture shock and lots and lots of free time on his hands.  Hopefully he will adjust and get used to our customs :)

And the journey begins...