Friday, April 30, 2010

So Not Best Mom Material

Mother's Day is just around the corner and so are those dagnabbit contests!  You know?  The ones that search for Saipan's Coolest Mom or The Best Mom in the Entire Universe, Perhaps Even Beyond OursIt's not that I feel pressure to compete or need that kind recognition to feel appreciated.  On the contrary, I am humbled beyond belief when I consider how privileged I am to raise my children.  The word unworthy comes to mind, I am wholly unworthy of them.  Oh geez, I've failed them in so many ways, so many more times than I care to admit.  I've been a busy mom for as long as I can remember.  I've worked my entire life and didn't stop working when I had the kids.  I've carried babies, gone to school, nursed them while taking exams and kept on working as they reached milestones I worked hard to celebrate with them.  Wayne says I am too hard on myself, but that's only because he sees all the effort I put into making everything extra special.  Inside I am exhausted and hoping I am doing my children justice while trying to salvage the last bit of energy in me.  As I write this, Sommer is giving me kisses on the forehead, cheeks and nose.  She asks me, "Mommy, are you happy?" and my heart aches when I look at her beautiful little face, "I am so happy baby".  She still smells like a baby, innocent and warm.  She thinks I'm great, but she has no idea that I feel like I don't deserve her.
Before you start defending me, I've done really bad things too.  I profess to be strong, but I've failed my children in the past by not being strong enough to let some things go and give them peace.  If I knew then that the very things I was afraid of are things that chained me to our misery...I could have saved them from it all.  I still find it hard to forgive myself for not doing what I knew had to be done.  So weak.
And yet, I am their mom.  It's like never ending Christmas watching them grow, learn, unlearn, fly, fall, soar.  Sometimes I have to step back from it all and take it in slowly.  I am Tony's mom.  At 17 he is incredibly intelligent and learning how to wield his reasoning skills. There are no more sticky peanut butter hugs, but every once in a while he will place a quick peck on my forehead too, or poke me in the rib, a cool display that I have to read carefully before I see little boy at 5 saying, "love you mommy".  I am Hope's mom.  Hope, fierce and formidable, a young woman who still cries when she's frustrated.  She never goes to bed without giving me a hug.  Her hugs are long, tight and feel like sunshine on my soul.  I am Peyton's mom. Peyton who is wiser than her years and has a gaze that pierces right through me.  She has learned to decipher irony/sarcasm and to use it masterfully.  Peyton has everyone's "number" and she has my admiration.  I am Sommer's mom.  Sommer is so many things at 5 years old, articulate, funny, poised, with centrifugal force that makes her the natural center of attention everywhere.  And now Donny, Jay, Nan and Wade's mom.  It's new territory and as I learn how to balance how much they are willing to give and receive I feel like I'm wobbling.  There are days I do everything right and days when I am unfamiliar, even to myself.
So no, I'm nowhere near best mom material, but I will survive another year of contests, making concerted efforts to remind myself that although I am unworthy I am also unmistakably blessed.
I will not be given a plaque next Sunday as I escort someone else's child to a school event, and my children will have to wait to tell me they love me.  Right now, whether I deserve them or not does not matter.  I am their mother and already honored.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cheese and coffee thoughts

 Every once in a while the hubby takes me out for just a couple of hours to unwind.  We don't do the club scene, but we've got a few haunts that are comfortable.  Cheese and wine (ah, you caught me, it's a margarita pitcher) plus my best friend by my side.  What more could I ask for? 
I have a really bad habit of leaving my coffee tumblers at work, but it doesn't make sense to not fill up a perfectly good box.   
Excerpts from my testimony on HB17-45

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If I had a nickel for every time I heard the word "mommy"!

I'd probably be a trazillionaire, but I'd give it all back to be able to read bedtime stories, bake cookies, give haircuts and hug my kids forever. This is what life is all about.
 Sommer wanted bangs! 

Peyton wanted a trim

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What's In Your Basket?

 Here are a few pictures of our family Easter.  
The complete album is on Facebook for friends. 

Sommer and Savannah after the hunt.  I hope they're as close as my sister and I when they grow up.  Pretty little Godsisters inspecting their Easter finds.

Sidewalk chalk is a mom's best friend.  It kept these two busy while the adults were busy in the kitchen.  Sorry about your patio grandpa and grandma.

Woah, I had to stop and do a double take.  Peyton sure is growing fast, she is such a sweet and beautiful little girl from the outside in.

You know times are hard when you have to use tin foil for your silver egg.  You know times are crazy when you reuse it for balutan after.  

When you go hunting this Easter don't forget to look for the treasure right in front of your eyes.

Easter Morning

 It says: Easter Bunny, will you come if I sleep in the living room? Sincerely, Sommer
First thing I heard this morning was Wayne whispering to a sad voice saying, "the Easter Bunny didn't come."  After assuring Sommer that he had surely been here the night before the happy search began. Peyton and Sommer went through the house eager to find baskets full of treats. That was my cue to get up and capture the memories. I know we will be doing this for a long time, even after the kids are all grown.  It's too early to think of it, but my heart leaps at the thought of playing Easter Bunny for grandchildren one day or watching as my own children carry on the tradition. Two out of four kids still wake up to look for hidden treasure.  When we get older we forget that the dawning of the day brings renewed hope.  But? What if we all woke up like Peyton and Sommer every day?  What if we all woke up in anticipation, with the promise of something new and beautiful? 
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  ~Matthew 19:14

Happy Easter to you and yours

A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
John 13:34

Friday, April 2, 2010

One of the players in my biliary system is gone and the team is a bit confused.

Or, maybe it's just me.  I've been adjusting to life without a gallbladder for a few weeks now, learning what foods (and drinks) I can tolerate.  I tried to rationalize the fact that I have lost my appetite, thinking it's all in my head and if I recognize that my body will follow suit.  After a little bit of reading I've found that my body is smarter than me, it's been making adjustments from day one and I've just been tuned in to the wrong frequency.  There's a reason I can't eat certain things and that reason is purely physiological - it's not going to sit well with the rest of the gang.  There's good news though, I have a new found love affair with fresh veggies and water.  Okay, enough about my digestive track.

How To Make Spicy Tuna

 Fresh tuna is best, finely chopped with some green onions.  
This is yellowfin tuna straight from the waters of Saipan. 
 You can use any type of mayonnaise, but Japanese mayo has a creamier consistency and is less tangy.  I've seen this everywhere, it has no labels except for the distinctive red cap.  I found this at Himawari. It's a bit pricier, but worth it if you want your spicy tuna to taste authentic.
 Japanese chili paste.  It isn't pika (hot), but it adds a nice chili flavor.  I've done spicy tuna without it before and it always tasted like something was missing.  This is the something.

We sent our 17 year old son to the grocery store to buy salt and he came back with this, kosher salt.  Surprisingly, we use it for everything now.  It has nice salt flavor which enhances the flavors of everything else (learned that from Alton Brown) and it doesn't have that weird chemical after taste that iodized salt has or the extreme sharp saltiness of rock salt.

 Mix all these ingredients together.  I like to add some black pepper to it for punch, but that's because I'm Chamorro and what food isn't complete without black pepper? 

 Keep your mix in a bowl that you can refrigerate until you make your sushi rolls.  Doesn't it look delicious?  Only problem is, since I've learned how to make this I don't want to eat it much anymore.  I guess that's a culinary risk every cook has to take.

When preparing your rice for sushi, rice wine vinegar is a must.  Make sure you use the short grain rice because it's sticky.  If you're not a rice fan like me, you can use a square of tofu, but that's another recipe.  In restaurants, they'll add a dash (teaspoon or two) of sugar to the rice  and you hardly notice it's there, but we just go without it.  Sugar on my rice is like sugar in my spaghetti, nah.

If you're making this at home, it's safer to roll your sushi rice in the nori (seaweed) and separate it from the spicy tuna mixture.  We just grab a roll and put the spicy tuna on it as we eat.  This way, if there is any leftover you can refrigerate the tuna mix for later and not have to worry about eating rock hard rice rolls or suffering from salmonella poisoning.  You can't microwave left over spicy tuna and you can't leave it out for too long without risking food poisoning.

Hot pepper, or donne'.  This is what makes your spicy tuna spicy.  
Add this to everything. I like to add it to ice cream too.  Just kidding. 

Well, that's the lesson on spicy tuna for you. I know I didn't go through the sushi wrapping process, but it's pretty easy.  Lay seaweed sheet flat, put a nice layer of sticky rice on it, wet the end of the sheet with water or rice wine vinegar so it'll adhere, roll it like a burrito or lumpia and cut it into desired widths.  Spicy tuna!

Oh incidentally, did you know you can find the recipe for fina'denne on For real!

Oh, I almost forgot, spicy tuna is eaten best with parents who show up close to midnight with a laptop full of movies and margarita mix! Permitted topics of discussion: life, children, goals, plans for the next gathering and jokes.  Topics prohibited from conversation for the sanity of everyone else who isn't dad or Boni: HB 17-45.  LOL!