An Asian American's Thoughts on #CancelColbert and Suey Park's Hashtag War

I knew something was up when my Twitter and Facebook news feed blew up a couple days ago regarding a tweet from @colbertreport. The account sent out this tweet:

As an Asian American, I had thoughts on the subject and so did many of my Asian American friends and my "liked" Facebook pages. Some siding for or against Suey Park's #CancelColbert hashtag. I have respect for Suey Park in that she she's willing to say things that others aren't. It's like they always say "It's the squeaky door that gets greased." and Suey's squeaky tweets have done much to raise awareness on issues that would otherwise not be on the forefront of anyone's mind.

With that said, in the scheme of picking choosing your battles, in many ways I thought this was a dumb battle. For one, the tweet was taken out of context, Steven Colbert was taking a jab at Dan Synder's staunch stance on his franchise's name, The Washington Redskins.  Steven Colbert's personality mockingly says that he will create an organization called "The Ching Chong Ding Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever." He was making a mockery of Dan Synder's racist franchise name, by making his own racist name. Also, to call for the cancellation of the entire show is a bit extreme. Is it worth it to cancel the show and jeopardize people's jobs and livelihood for a joke, that didn't intend to be racist to begin with? So with the context of it all...  yea let's pick and choose our battles.

Then I read all the articles on the subject saying to "calm down" and I watched Steven Colbert's sketch on the whole thing for a second time, in light of the articles and comments.  I came across countless comments saying things like, "Asians can't play the race card, they need to get back to the back of the line!" and "Asians can't drive, or take a joke." and lastly, "Asians, go for a walk, take a drive, actually never mind the last one." .... and the list goes on. I'm not saying that the show should be cancelled and I don't think we need to draw hard and fast lines in the sand to have an opinion. If anything, I felt little about the actual tweet and the actual bit that Colbert did, but I felt much about how the battle played out.

For one, many of these articles saying to "calm down" and "learn to take a joke" were not written by Asian Americans. Most of them have no personal link to a phrase like "ching chong ding dong," they are people that have never had to be subjected to being called a "chink" or had the stereo type of a squinty-eyed-obtuse-ignorant Asian caricature that Colbert portrays in the bit, imposed upon them. Then there was Deadspin's article titled, Gooks Don't Get Redskins Joke. Great. Was that suppose to be a "satirical" play on the whole situation? For the sake of controversy and shock value must we use a war-time derogatory term used to dehumanize Asians? Yea, let's remember how these names started before we hastily throw them into the webosphere and allow them to come up on a cursory Google search. Also, in the bit Colbert does, he plays his Ching Chong Ding Dong character and says that he's a Chinaman. "Chinaman" was a term used commonly in the 19th century for all people who came to America of Chinese decent. They had no Western names so they were given the blanket John or Jake Chinaman, as a pseudonym. Mary Paik Lee the famed Korean American writer, wrote about how kids taunted her in 1906 by singing this ditty :

Ching Chong, Chinaman,
Sitting on a wall.
Along came a white man,
And chopped his tail off. (1)

Colbert playing his Ching Chong Ding Dong Character.

Colbert playing his Ching Chong Ding Dong Character.

The term was used commonly at the time, but the derogatory way people felt about the Chinese made plain in the ugly caricatures they painted of them in on paper, (i.e press, songs, literature, plays) and eventually on TV, has made the term "Chinaman" a time capsule for those sentiments... very much like other racial slurs of our day.

Watching the actual clip of Stephen Colbert's Ching Chong Ding Dong character made me think, why did he pick Asian's to jab at Synder? Is it because he knows doing it to another minority group would cause more of a stir? Let's say the joke had "The (pick ethnic slur of another prominent minority group in the U.S.) foundation of (ethnic slur) or Whatever." I think, even thought it wasn't intending to offend whichever minority, those slurs, names, stereotypes mean something. It stirs up the sea floor of all the dregs, for people that were actually subjected to those names.

That is why I think Suey had to go extreme. Does she actually want to the show to be canceled? Or did she have to go that far to have people think there needs to be some reaction and some stir in the Asian American community for throwing around those words, without thought or regard for the history behind them, and the history of those who suffered under them. We need to be mindful that people have been affected by those words, as individuals and as a race. Reading the many articles out there, many are making it into a "liberals vs conservatives" thing. Where conservatives are saying liberals are getting their "just desserts" in the #cancelcolbert hashtag. But that is not the issue here, the issue is how those words and stereotypes affect the Asian American community. I think the battle was more revealing than anything else, in showing how much our work is cut out for us, as Asian Americans, in painting the picture on what the world looks like for us, in having people understand who we are, and what we've been through. Let this be a cautionary tale, for what it's worth, that behind every racial stereotype or slur, there lies a deeper meaning to those it offends. That those words carry weight in it of itself, regardless of the intention behind which they are thrown. That throwing them around, will cause people to throw back, and the Asian American community is no exception.

(1) Paik Lee, Mary (1990). Sucheng Chan, ed. Quiet Odyssey: A Pioneer Korean Woman in America. Seattle: University of Washington Press. pp. 16–17.

10 Confessions of a Desensitized Mother

I was thinking about it  and I realize with the first child you do everything by the book. Joey, till he was almost two, was practically confined to the 200 SF of space that was our living room. We had a huge baby fence that protected (caged) him from all the non baby friendly things. Dopple and Dreft was always just an arms reach away, lest bacteria touch our precious son's hand. Now that we have Kaitlyn we've certainly loosened up the reigns, but her insatiable desire to get into everything and destroy our house, has made me become very desensitized...numb, as a matter of fact. When I see my daughter drawing on the table with a crayon, if it was Joey at that age, like a bolt of lightening I would grab the utensil of destruction. If I saw him drawing on the wall I would want to pull out my hair. Now? I look over... it's just crayon, I can wipe it off later, it aint that bad... it's not say permanent marker all over the floor, which is something she has actually done. When I see my daughter grab my face lotion from my dresser, it aint that bad.. could be my wallet and every one of my credit cards spread across the far corners of my home, (which has happened on several occasions). I could be searching under the sofa for my Costco club card, so face lotion?? Wutever..over time you just get desensitized to it all.

So here are some of my confessions as to how I reacted to some of the things she did this past week:

1) When I saw her draw on the wall I thought "It must be Mural Wednesday!" unless it's Thursday.. in that case it's Mural Thursday.

2) I let her walk around with something on her head that I normally use to hold their bath supplies...

https://www.facebook.com/joy.g.kwon/photos_synced?view_image=10153912416195463eek

Peek a Boo!

2) When she drew on the new desk furniture, I thought "Thank goodness it's not marker".

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3) When she opens the diaper bag, I'm just glad it's not my purse...

4) When she gathered our recyclables and put them on the coffee table I thought "At least it wasn't the trash."

5) When she gathered more stuff from around the house to add to her collection, I took a quick look and was glad there were no credit cards in that little blue basket.

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6) The oven is a mirror, who needs toys? (FYI it wasn't on)

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7) When she used my work notebook to draw. I was glad it wasn't the floor.

8) When she threw her mac and cheese on the floor, I was glad I skimped out on the cheese.

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9) I let her watch Frozen's Let It Go (from youtube) over and over again to keep her from destroying the house.

10) We brought them to McDonald's, past their bedtime, to have some ice cream and get this girl out of the house. Food is the only distraction for this girl.


Interview With Artist Wesley Woo of 11th Avenue Records

One thing I like to do on Daechoong Mama, is interview and highlight other Asian Americans out there doing something worth reading about. Wesley Woo is an award winning Chinese American singer and song writer from San Fransisco. His first record album is scheduled to be released on April 4th. His record label reached out to me asking if I would be willing to do an interview. At first I wasn't sure, but they sent me a few links to his music and I really enjoyed listening to it. There was a depth and a sincerity to his songs that had me hooked. His music is a mix between blues, motown and with a touch of country and pop. Some songs had a delightful element of surprise, where I would think it would sound a certain way through the whole song, only to transform, and it's a journey I greatly enjoyed and appreciated the whole way through. It's hard to speak generally of his music because each track was unique and each one offered a different experience.

Here are links to some of his sites:

https://www.facebook.com/WesleyWooMusic

http://www.wesleywoomusic.com/

Have a listen here:

https://soundcloud.com/11thaverecords/sets/do-re-mi/s-qYYCp

I got a chance to interview him. I greatly enjoyed speaking to him. He was really down to earth and easy to talk to. I also felt like I could relate a lot as a blogger when he spoke about music and song writing. I walked away feeling like I learned something. Which is always good =)

Here is a transcript of the interview:

Tell us about your upbringing and how your parents played a role. Did they foster your love of music?

Not quite, I did go to a magnet music school called Marin School of the Arts, I sort of got in there on a fluke and my parents were supportive at least through high school. After high school it wasn't up to them anymore.

Me: How did they feel about you pursuing it full time?

They were mostly indifferent (laughs).

Me: Oh!

I live  on my own and they don't pay for my bills (chuckles), as long as that's the case then they're okay.

Me: They weren't like "You have to be a doctor or lawyer etc."

They did encourage me to explore some of those things. They wanted me to go to business school when I was at UC Berkeley. I started out there as an architecture major and I don't know, it just didn't really fit for me. It wasn't something that I could imagine myself doing for long periods of time. Everything just sort of fell into being a music major at UC Berkeley. Nothing else really seemed to make sense for me. It kinda happened by accident. I wasn't planning it. 

Me: Tell us about the journey in pursuing music from college till now. How did the events fall into place?

When I graduated from college I had been playing jazz and classical guitar a lot. We started a couple projects, mostly jazz guitar stuff. It was called Jazz and Stuff.

It happened, then it didn't. Then I started playing in a cover band and that project started to fall apart and our vocalist took off after awhile. I couldn't really sing covers because I just wasn't a good enough vocalist. So I ended up writing my own songs because that was the only way I was able to sing, was to sing my own songs (laughs).

I probably starting writing songs maybe 4-5 years ago. After that I don't know, I play a lot of gigs. A lot of bad gigs.

Me: Tell us about your worst one.

There were a lot of worst ones. (We both laugh) The worst one was this one in Oakland were literally zero people came.

Me: Aww

We went on at midnight. It was really rough. (Laughing) I remember thinking "What the heck are we doing?? I have a college degree! Why am I here? The interesting thing is., even though I hit rock bottom, it still didn't make sense to do anything but music. I have a need to do this. Even at the lowest point, I was encouraging myself, that I need to do this.

Me: Right, and I think that's when you know you are doing what you are suppose to.

I pretty much ask myself that question basically everyday. I need to do this for my own survival as a person.

Me: So that moment was how many years ago?

That was 2011. I played a lot of really crappy gigs. I found out which ones are good and useful and productive for me as a musician. 

Me: Where did you find these gigs?

At first I trolled Craigslist for awhile, but I saw that wasn't working. You connect with a certain kind of musician on Craigslist  and it wasn't the kind of musician I was looking for. Especially in San Francisco there's a lot of garage rock bands on Craigslist. Which is not really my thing. After awhile I realized I need to connect with more of a song writing community and went out of my way to look for it., like open mics and other musicians that had a similar performance style as me. Then I started to get better gigs. That's actually how I met the people that started 11th Avenue Records. We actually co founded that record label together with a couple friends of mine. Now we have this thing that no one really knows what to do with, but we are sort of feeling it out. Its one of those things where you start all over again and say "Let's do it wrong enough times till we figure how to do it correctly." (Laughs)

Me: Right, sometimes that's the best way to learn. So that's how you ended up with 11th Avenue records?

Yea, and I'm really excited for the record label. We haven't done anything yet, my record is actually is the first record to be release for 11th Avenue Records.

Me: Tell us about your creative process in writing a song.

Yea, its never just one thing. My goal as a song writer is to write the most honest song as possible, whatever that sounds like, it's going to sound like that. I think I did a good a pretty good job on this record. What this record ended up being is, me writing the most honest songs I could possibly write, and doing that on a huge volume. I think I wrote maybe 40-50 songs worth of material for this record and I ended up picking 9 songs that made sense for a record. Once you've written those 40-50 songs you have to pick which ones can go in the record. For example you need 3 songs under 3 and 1/2 minutes for radio edits, we need a couple ballads and a song on piano etc. The record is not a complete representation of who I am as a song writer, it's just a representation of what I want to show people, the 9-10 best songs I am most proud to show people.

Me: So the song on the website Stay, can you tell us about that song in particular?

It probably took about two solid years to write that song. It took a very long time for it to get out. I came up with this guitar idea. It was really cool and interesting, which is the guitar riff in the beginning. I had tried to write a song for it, for at least a year and nothing came out. I just thought this riff is not useful, it's rhythmically unstable. But for whatever reason, every I sat down to write a song that riff kept coming back. I think back then, every time I picked up that riff, I was not quite ready as a song writer to write that song yet. I would try and write half a verse, maybe a hook to a chorus. There are one or two songs on that record that are based on that song because I had tried to write Stay. I had given up on it. Then one day I had taken some days off work and I had no plans to go anywhere and made no plans to travel so I sat down and said "Where am I gonna go? I have no commitments I can't just sit here." So I got in the car and I started driving and I got 20 miles outside of Sacramento and I realized that, there's really no where I want to go. The only place I really want to be is back at home with my girlfriend at that time. So I stopped and pulled over at a Subway, and I sat down and basically wrote the first verse to the song. It was a really interesting inspiration for that song because I had tried so long to write that song and it never came and all at once everything came out.

Me: It's kinda like the song chose you. (laugh)

The interesting thing was that I thought the song was done and I brought it to an open mic and it fell flat on it's face. No one cared about the song and then I sat down after that and I was like what else can I do? And then that's when I wrote the intro, originally the first 8 seconds of that song was a guitar intro, so that's when I wrote the intro. Then everything started falling into place after that.

Me: So people started connecting with the song more after that?

Yea. That is probably one of the most genuinely inspired songs I've ever written. The scary part about that is, I have no idea how that happened. I can't replicate it.

That's what's so fun about song writing. No matter how good you get at it, there's still no guarantee that you will continue to be good at it. (Laughs) You are only as good as the last song you wrote because after that who knows?

Me: So true. I'm relating to you as a blogger (laughing).

I actually won 2 song writing awards for that song. I won the West Coast Songwriters competition and I won an Oaktown Musical Competition. Yea I'm very grateful that song manifested itself when it did.

Me: Tell us about some of your highest moments thus far.

The CD release for one. I was telling my friend this is my most significant accomplishment thus far ever because when you think about "What are my biggest achievements in life? I graduated from college.. and that's it (laughs).

Me: Well that's the case for many people.

Besides college, the biggest achievement, I've had so far, is this record. The fact that now that I have to share it with people is kinda terrifying. This is the most honest thing I've ever done and now I have to share it to see if you like it (laughing). Its scary.

Me: I'm not int he music industry obviously, what is the process in having your record released?

That whole process is new to me. I spent the last two years recording this record, which is a long time to be recording a record. Up against 1 month before finishing the record, we booked the venue for the CD release show for April 4th, at the Lost Church. We had to book it 5 months in advance. It's the only way to get that venue. It's probably not the smartest thing to book your CD release show, before you actually finish the record (laughs). Everyone knows in San Fransisco that the venue you have to get for your CD release show is the Lost Church. It's the most beautiful venue.  It's very small and intimate, maybe seats 60 and 10 for standing room, for where I am as a musician that is a lot of seats to fill. So we finished the record and booked the show and now we are promoting it like crazy to get the show packed.

Listen to the rest of the interview on the sound cloud link below:

Techy Kids: My Son and Angry Birds....

The other day my son was playing the game Angry Birds (i'm sure you've heard of it) on our Roku. He loves to hand me the remote to "teach" me to play. Now I'm no stranger to Angry Birds. I used to play (before I had two kids) the original game on my IPhone and played till I got 3 stars on almost every level. He was playing Star Wars Angry Bird and he handed me the remote telling me to play. My husband found my son's enthusiasm amusing so he started to record it on his phone.The board looked easy enough. So I proceeded to fling the bird at the giant pig but to no avail. Meanwhile he's trying to tell me how to do it and I don't listen to him at all. I tell him to try and to my shock, in one attempt he kills the pig with 1 bird.

Watch the video below:

Some Thoughts

Kids and electronics now a days huh? My son, when he was 1 and 1/2 years old, started playing with our iPad. By the time he was 2, he knew how to peruse through apps, open and close them effortlessly, he knew whether he was on the web vs an app etc. I remember watching him in amazement. His fluent ability to control a Playstation, Roku, aniPad, an iPhone, seems inherent. You'd think he was on the iPhone in the womb! I know its not just him, but almost all kids I see now a days are the same way.

It's as if our generation's endeavor to make technology intuitive, has given "birth" to another generation, where technology has become instinct. As more late-Gen Xers/ and Millenials start having kids, we as parents are trying to find a middle ground, or a set way as to how to deal with it. For us, electronics was limited and technology had to be learned. We got our first desktop computer in 1995. We had to learn how to use it and discover how it worked. Now a days that is not the case. Never before has electronics/ technology been so ubiquitous in our daily lives, never before has it been so accessible, and easy to use. When my husband and I are out with our kids, many times the only thing that will get my son to stand still for more than a second is the IPhone. We look at each other and wonder "how did parents do it before iPhones and iPads, and Androids etc?"

I've read countless websites on "how much is too much?"  My son's visceral love for all things TV definitely needs to be curbed and supervised, my daughter, on the other hand could care less about the TV for now (sometimes I wish she liked it more to distract her from destroying our house). Sometimes I feel as if my son is recompense for what I put my mother through. To say my brother and I loved TV would be the understatement of the 80s. We LIVED for TV. My brother didn't speak Korean much but one thing he did know how to say was,

"TV 보고 싶어!" (I want to watch TV!)

My mom would get so sick of it, and cut the cable for years at a time but... lets just say absence only made the heart grow fonder...

I can't say I feel good about how addicted he is and how much he watches. First and foremost I think the question I need to ask is "Am I having him watch this for him or for me?" Often times TV and games is a much needed respite for me to get things done and get a break from him wanting 110% of my attention at all times. In those cases, I want him to be entertained enough to keep him out of my way. Then there are times when I make a point to show him something he can learn from, something that allows me to engage with him. I need to be intentional to do more of the latter. That's one of the reasons I agreed to join the Netflix Stream Team. They send me educational theme based recommendations for kids. We watch the show with our kids, engage in dialogue about it and see how the experience was like for them. So all in all I need to try to curb is daily electronics, but when he does watch it try to participate in it.

Since we are trying to figure out our techy kids together, any thoughts or suggestions? What is your experience?

Why Is It Always My Kid?

Ever ask yourself "Why is it always my kid??" Whenever I go somewhere with our son, I find myself asking this question a lot. Ever go somewhere and you feel like everyone else's child is a perfect angel, sitting down eating their food like a civilized human being, while your child is acting like some sort of feral creature? Ever go  to the mall and see other kids holding their parent's hand, and enjoying an afternoon window shopping, while your child runs loose like the Tasmanian Devil? Well yes to all of the above for me. There are so many times and instances when this is the case. I love and adore my son but I sometimes wish he came with a dial, so  I can lower his inner energy, just a bit... or a lot... or shut it off.

Here are some examples:

Breaking Mad

Someone invited us and another family to a private performance of a Tongan choir at a church. The choir wanted the audience to sit in the front and they sang us heavenly melodies. Their voices seemed to echo through the room and maybe the whole island. While singing, they adorned us to with leis, and you could feel the aloha in the place... All other families and their children were sitting like angels, basking in the amazing talent and music emanating from the place.

My son on the other hand would not sit still for a second. He immediately started running around. He thought it was the perfect opportunity to one-up the choir by dancing, doing butt rolls, yelling "I wanna play angry bird!!" I swear, he was all but twerking. Sweat was pouring down my face trying to hold on to him. Finally he broke free from my grasp and ran out the sanctuary. So I grab Kaitlyn and we hang out in the fellowship hall, where they had refreshments laid out. Well, my son runs out of that room too and I grab may daughter again and chase after him. I finally bring him back to the fellowship hall, but see that he had shut the door behind him and it was LOCKED!! I got so mad. I just imagined the choir wanting their refreshments afterwards only to see that the door was locked. So I grab my daughter and hold my son's hand and run around the perimeter to see if there was anyway in through the back, but I see nothing but a 6 foot fence around the whole area. I imagine myself climbing the fence and breaking in from the inside, only to have a cop drive by, seeing me climb the fence, with my two kids watching. Just another crime family, nothing to see here. Yea, I'll just get charged for breaking and entering, parental negligence etc.  As I was thinking this, my son runs to the other direction. Alas! there was a way in from the other side. The patio door was slightly open and very heavy. I squeeze myself and my kids in and open the door from inside. At that moment the choir is done and they start walking in to get the refreshments having no idea of the potential crimes that might have taken place.... By this point I'm drenched in sweat and My son happy as ever, tries to swipe the cookies off the table. I think "WHY IS IT ALWAYS MY KID!!!"

Don't get me wrong I love my son but sometimes I feel like he's one maraschino cherry short of a triple-decker sundae, with every flavor except vanilla.

A Pain In My Ash

So for Lent, I had been ruminating on possible ways to communicate to my son what the season means. Different blogs had activities, illustrations and ways to get young kids to understand  Lent and how to prepare for Easter. I had a couple conversations with my son on the topic and I thought he would get a better idea during our Ash Wednesday service.

WRONG.

While every other child is sitting quietly during the service, my son immediately tries to run to the front and grab the mic. He's running around yelling, grabbing hymnals, and again I'm holding my daughter and trying to keep him in control. When it was time to receive the ashes I really wanted him to have the experience. Well we get to the front and he yells at the pastor (my husband) I don't want AASSSSSSSSHH!!!!!!!!!! (lets hope the neighborhood didn't think he was saying what it sounded like)

uuugh. Why is it always my kid??

I was so embarrassed. We left early and I'm gonna hold off on the whole Lent education till next year.

-----

The Joey Show

Whenever I drop him off at school, while the other kids sit down to take their seats to eat their morning snack, my son has to ham it up with a few dance moves, re-enactment of a scene from his favorite movie, and sing a song, while running around the room. His whole class starts hooting and hollering cheering him on. This boy lives to be in the limelight. He thinks the world is his stage. By this time, he unravels the whole class and the teacher starts putting on her A game to get everyone to quiet down.

And many many more instances.

Don't get me wrong I love my son but sometimes I feel like he's one maraschino cherry short of a triple-decker sundae, with every flavor except vanilla.

Last night I was trying to get him to sleep. He didn't nap at preschool all day and was bouncing off the walls ever since he got home. Finally he started to get sleepy. I lie next to him wondering how I'm going to get through the next  five years. My thoughts are interrupted by him taking my hand, and whispering sleepily,

"Mommy, I want to give you a heart. You are the queen, I am the prince."

He falls asleep holding my hand.

.....

I look at him and think,

"Yea I'll take you just as you are, craziness and all. Even though it may mean I have to climb a fence or two, or sweat bullets, and chase you around everywhere, any less of that wouldn't be you."

 

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Mother Of All Fears

Ever been so scared you feel your heart nearly beat out of your chest and the hair on your back stand up? So scared,  you suddenly experience flashes of the worst possible outcomes and your stomach feels as if it's about to hit the floor? I noticed once you become a parent, fear goes hand in hand with everything else that comes in the rearing children package. I remember in my pre-children days I always thought of myself to be a pretty carefree person. When I was in college I would walk home late at night, through New Brunswick, and my friends would say "aren't you scared??" I would shrug and say "Why should I be scared when I can scream if i need to?" (Looking back, I realize I was quite foolish and pray my daughter doesn't do the same thing) Now as a parent I'm the complete opposite. I've suddenly become one of those parent worry-ers, that always fears the worst. As a parent nothing sends your fear barometer through the roof like the fear that something can happen to your kids. Well we had an experience like that the other night.

It was about 1am in the morning and Joe went to the bathroom. He noticed the dogs were barking in the area. You see, everyone by where we live, has a dog. It's for security and every house has a "Beware of Dog" sign on it. No fancy ATD security systems here, get a dog and the job is done. Supposedly it's a very effective way to ward off bad guys according to some statistics. Dogs are just way too loud, so it isn't worth the risk for them. We've thought of getting a dog but I've heard so many stories of young boys torturing dogs and not knowing how to treat it humanely. I picture my son doing that exact thing and I want to spare the poor dog of such a fate. Also, a dog at this point is another mouth to feed. In Hawaii food is expensive enough as it is and feeding our daughter, who has a monstrous appetite, healthy nutritious food, is challenge enough. Anywho, what was I saying? O yea, we have no dog.

So the dogs were going crazy and my husband thought he heard rusting sounds outside, like someone was leaning up against our house. He went down the hall, to the laundry room, and turned on the car port light and at that moment he thought he heard someone curse from outside and run away. He immediately called 9-1-1. My husband brought the kids into our room while he stood guard in the hallway. The cops came eventually and brought flashlights and searched the perimeters. By this point the dogs in the neighborhood were barking their heads off. I was pretty much sound asleep while this whole thing was going down, until I heard the dogs. I woke up, and Joe told me what happened. Let me tell you, I was SCARED! I've heard stories from people in Hawaii whose houses got broken into, and most of them say that before the burglars actually did the deed, they watched the house. The culprits would watch to see when the residents would leave for work and wait till they knew the house would be empty. So my family and I had been in NJ for 3 weeks before this incident took place. I couldn't help but think, were people watching our house and noticed that no one was home the past few weeks and picked today to break in, only to see that we have come back from vacation??

It was a scary night, the dogs barking like crazy, the cops flashing their lights into our windows, like a scene from ET, here I was holding my son, hoping that no matter what, my kids would be safe. The cops didn't find anything and left. The next day Joe got in touch with some people and we put some security measures in place. We are all happy safe and sound but that incident was really scary especially because we have kids. Looking back I totally see why my parents, and every other parent I ever knew, were always worried for their kids. I notice this parenting journey is discovering the other side of the curtain. Before kids you saw the world one way, from one perspective, with kids you see the world differently. In seeing the world through that lens I maybe see a potential dog in our future...

On another note, its been kinda cold in Hawaii. Well "cold" for Hawaii that is. We've been going to the beach to play in the sand and not be in the water. We went to this beach by the shrimp trucks after we got back from NJ and I practically kissed the sand...

 

Family

We are finally back in Hawaii after an arduous but somewhat tolerable trip on the plane, we are home. We've been resting. My daughter's skin that was constantly red, flaky and dry has magically turned back to one color, smooth, and healthy looking. My kids are no longer fighting me when I dress them, no more layers. It's back to shorts, crocs, and easy peezy wear. It's back to sun and being in temperature that feels just perfect for the human body. With all that said, to be honest I was pretty sad to come back. Don't get me wrong. I was dying for some sun and warmth but as we were getting ready to head back to Hawaii I realized I felt like it was too soon.

In previous trips back home we would spend so much quality time with close friends and family. Joe and I would be able to kick back and relax some nights while our parents would watch the kids. We would go to the City, have fun, meet with friends, reminisce, catch up, laugh, and eat. We would head back to Hawaii, renewed, refreshed, and ready to take on the world with two kids in tow. We didn't quite get our fill of such things because our circumstances were different this trip. However we did have a great trip and it was satisfying in a different way and it made it really hard to come back.

 It made me realize, now that our kids a bit older, and more aware of everything around them, vacation is no longer for us. Its about our kids. Its about our kids seeing their aunts/uncles/cousins and grandparents.  It's about our kids knowing that we traveled so far and went through so much to be around these people because they are very special. Its about re-experiencing things through the eyes of our children. Things like seeing my son's eye widen at the sight of snow after getting off the plane, and asking "Is that snow??" I realized that his most recent and only reference to snow is when he watched the movie Frozen. He would point to the snow and ask  "Frozen? Did Elsa make it? Where's the snowman? Can I touch it?? Is it an ice boulder (referencing the snow monster in the movie)?" He enjoyed playing in the snow with his grandmother, who supplied a full snow outfit. Watching him play and interact with his cousins and playing the part of older cousin, filled my heart with so much pride. Seeing my daughter shower her cousins with love and hugs made the trip unforgettable.

We lucked out on this trip. We got to be there for our nephew's first birthday (my husband's sister's son) and got to be there for our other nephew's 100 day (my brother's son). Despite the snow, the fatigue, and all the things that made this trip weary, to be able to be there for those special moments, that come only once in a baby's life made it all worth it. Through this trip, our kids know of their cousins, their aunts, uncles, and grandparents not as mere holiday picture cards, or fuzzy facetime images, but as real people that love and care for them, as people that they have hugged, kissed, laughed, and played with, people who showered them with gifts, as kin that prove that being parted my a continent and an ocean, is no match for the bond of love and family. Here are some pictures of our trip!

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all cousins nj trip 2_14,jpg
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My son the photo bomber...

My son the photo bomber...

Yun's with their kids!

Yun's with their kids!

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Dancing

Dancing

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Yun ladies!

Yun ladies!

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My brother in law the in-house photographer and my son the resident photo bomber.

My brother in law the in-house photographer and my son the resident photo bomber.

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My little man with his blackberry and suit.

My little man with his blackberry and suit.

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Yun Family Picure!

Yun Family Picure!

Kwon cousins! Watching and dancing to Frozen's Let it Go.

Kwon cousins! Watching and dancing to Frozen's Let it Go.

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Me and Zoie!

Me and Zoie!

Luke didn't care for the banana.

Luke didn't care for the banana.

Zoie didn't mind the first 3 hugs...

Zoie didn't mind the first 3 hugs...