Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Did Santa Buy My Toys from Toys R Us?

When I grew up, in my family we follow Dutch tradition on Christmas. Instead of calling him Santa Claus, we called him Sinterklass; and instead of waiting for the gifts on Dec 25th, it's Dec 5th. And instead of bribing Santa with cookies under the Christmas tree, we bribe his reindeers instead with grass on our shoes that we place outside our home!

But now with my son grew up in US and Canada, I was facing a dilemma at which customs to follow. So I compromise it! For the past 3 years, I taught my son to put grass on his shoes AND put cookies on a plate under the Christmas tree.

On the first year, my son was only 3 years old and he can’t even write. So for his letter to Santa, I asked him to draw. Since that year he wanted to have a train set. I asked Kai Kai to draw a train but he couldn’t, so he just drew the train track. I guess that’s good enough for now. Then he cut some grass for his shoes and place so many cookies on the plate for Santa that it took his mom, his grandpa, his grandma, and his dad to finish the cookies so that it looks like Santa eat them up!

What funny about that year (2003) was that my husband drew very tiny foot prints on the fire place and told him that those foot prints belong to Santa! My son truly believe that and he think Santa is so amazing because he can turn himself small to pass through the chimney but then he can change to his original size when he is already in the room.

On 2004 Christmas, I made my son wrote a letter to Santa. It took several tries but he manages to write a very nice letter to Santa. That year, he wanted a Rescue Hero toys. It was a disaster because when he started playing with the toy he decides he did not like it after all! The problem was false advertising. On the box the Rescue Hero toys looks nicer and more complete than what is inside the box. It turned out that wasn’t true. In order for the toy to look as nice as the picture on the box, we need to buy so many more toys! So that year we ended up returning the expensive Rescue Hero Toy ( I think it cost more that $ 100 ) with cheaper toy but my son definitely loves it.

Then for this year, my son wants a Monster truck toy that he can customize it himself by changing the tires from Monster tires to smaller tires. So first I took him to Toys R Us to pick what kind of toy he wants. Then he wrote his letter to Santa based on that toy.

5 days before Christmas, my son use an empty tissue box to make a home-made car for a gift for Santa! I thought that was so sweet of him to give Santa a surprise under the tree! My cousin Eliza said she never heard a child who wants to make a home-made gift for Santa before, usually they just waiting to get gifts from Santa only.

The night before Christmas, Kai Kai first get a plate for Santa’s cookies. I learn from my past experience that he tend to give too many cookies to Santa. So I told him to only put 2 cookies on the plate. I said “ Kai Kai put just 2 cookies on that plate, we don’t want to super size Santa right?”…(we just watch the documentary “Super size Me” on TV )…But KK said, “ But Santa is already FAT! “…. I answer him back “Precisely!”.; so at the end Kai Kai really only give Santa 2 cookies on the plate.

Then he went outside to the garden to cut some grass with his little scissor. He put them carefully inside his cleanest shoes. He wanted to put some more but Richard told him not to. He thinks it’s enough. But then Kai Kai said “ But Dad, Santa has 2 reindeers so I need to get more grass! “…my husband made a mistake of correcting him…he said “ Santa has 8 reindeers, not 2! “…Big mistake….!!!! You can imagine what happen after that right????

So when my son finally sleeps, I went downstairs to throw the grass back to the front yard first. I did it in the dark because I am not sure if my son already sleeps or not. I told you this for a reason that you will find out why later on. Then when I want to put the cookies back to the cookie box, I thought… wait a minute…I can’t do that…Why? Because the cookies was wrapped individually in a plastic wrap and in order to make it more believable that Santa truly eat them, I have to eat the cookies and left the wrapper on the plate! I am SO glad that he only gives Santa 2 cookies…. Because I don’t like the cookies!!! Plus I am already super size myself!!!

Since I feel bad to throw away the home-made car that he made for Santa… I decide to just leave it there. The car is so nice!

To cover it up, I told Richard to write a thank you letter from Santa to Kai Kai ….

That night, for unknown reason, Richard was sick…sick…sick…and I have to take care of him all night. So that morning, when Kai Kai called us down stairs to see what Santa brought for him, Richard chose to stay on the bed and I was the only one who came down with Kai Kai to take his picture and video tape him as well. Usually we split the tasks.

First thing I heard was my son complaining that the reindeers made a mess with the grass ! I guess I made those mess when I have to do it in the dark last night! I told him that he can’t expect reindeers to eat as neat as human, right?

Then he asked why Santa did not put a bow on the gift? My son has this kind of thinking that when you give someone a nice gift, you should wrap it nicely and put a bow on top of the box! I still remember how many stores I have to go to in order to find a bow big enough for his first Santa gift!!! I thought he outgrow this thinking… I guess not….

And he was disappointed because Santa did not take his gift! Lucky, when I read him the letter from Santa that my husband wrote, he can accept it. I explain to him that Santa is very thankful for his beautiful gift but Santa think it’s better if he keep the gift so he can play with it better than Santa….phew…..

So it’s finally time to unwrap the gift. My son loves to tear his gifts as fast as possible. While I video taping him… I saw a white piece of paper float down to the floor from the gift …. It was the receipt!!!!! Oh my goodness. In my haste to wrap the gift I didn’t notice that the receipt was stuck on the toy’s box! My son saw it and he said “Oh look mama… Santa bought my gift from Toys R Us! Did he owned Toys R Us?”…Oh man… I hate to think that Santa has gone commercialize…Instead of the elves making the toys in North Pole… Santa has gone shopping to Toys R Us!!!

Why…Oh….Why…..even with all my careful preparations… there is not a year go by with a glitch???

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I have been thinking a lot lately ( since I am stuck on bed rest I have plenty of time to think! ).... on how blessed I am by God.

It's almost Christmas now and what a better time to say my thanks to God around this time...

So let me start ...

Thank you God for giving me such a wonderful loving husband....
I just realize how comforting his snore is to me....It reminds me that I am not alone. I am loved by him and he makes me feel safe. I told him this recently. It's always good to show your spouse that you love and appreciate them.

Thank you God for giving me my son ...
The more he grows the more I realize that despite all the things that I have done to raise him to be a good kid, the more I realize that it's all because of You, God! All You!

Thank you God for my daughter, Gabriella ...
Every kick, every punch that she did remind me on how healthy she is. That alone is already a miracle on itself. But deep down, I know she is going to grow up into a wonderful, Godly child.

Thank you God for my health...
Even lying on my bed, I know that everything will be fine and You are busy doing what is good for me. Like usual.

Thank you God for my parents...
There are no better parents than the ones I have right now. They are just perfect in everyway and I admire them so much. They are the one who taught me how to love unconditionally. Just like You, Lord.

Thank you God for my salvation...so I can enjoy my life right now and even after life.

Thank you God for EVERYTHING.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Dear Santa ...

Busy..busy..day for us today. From morning till night time we have lots of things to do today. In the morning Richard has to drop off Kai Kai first to his Chinese school then go to pick up his clothes from the dry cleaner then off we go to have romantic breakfast while Kai Kai still at his class. I really loves to have a moment for ourselves where we sort of "dating" again. We tried a new restaurant today. Boy, they are so cheap! For only $ 9.50 we have 2 noodle soups, my husband's order is more Chinese style while mine is more western style. Then we can still have more order to go with it, I chose waffles and my husband chose 2 eggs ( sunny side-up ) and ham, plus bread. Then we can also order 2 drinks beside the regular hot tea. I ordered hot lemon tea. For some reason since I am pregnant my love to coffee has been replaced with lemon tea. My husband chose a Hong Kong style milk tea. Overall this place is a great place to go. The food is tasty, the choices are a lot, the portion is huge, the service is fast, and the price is unbelivably cheap! I couldn't even finish my order ! Then we went to Toys R us to buy KK's christmas gift but we couldn't find the exact one that he wants so we did not buy it that time.

From there Richard dropped me off at home and he went to pick up Kai Kai from school and go straight to Mount Cypress for another ski lesson. So while I napped at home, Kai Kai had a wonderfull time in the mountain learning how to ski. This time he knows how to turn and how to stop! After skiing, he was so hungry that he finished all the french fries that Richard bought for him there. Then he fell asleep all the way down the mountain.

They pick me up again to go to the mall for dinner and other thing. First we took KK to a hair salon because last week he got the "urge" to cut his own hair! Then after he had his haircut, I sent him to have his photo taken with Santa.

After that, I took him to Toys R us to choose the toy that he wants from Santa. He chose a monster truck that he can customize it himself.

At home, he start writing his letter to Santa, it says...

Dear Santa,
My name is Kai Kai and I am a good boy.
Would you send me a Ford 350 toy?
Thank you Santa

Kai Kai Wu

Thursday, December 15, 2005

School Christmas Party

After missing my son's first ski lesson I am definitely not going to miss this year school Christmas party! My son has been practicing singing at home with some Christmas songs in many different languages/cultures such as French, Spanish, Chinese, India and English. In the past 2 years he has never showed any interest in learning how to sing but this year he show that he is starting to be interested in learning how to sing. So I took a chance of going to his school ( I was suppose to be on bed rest ! )... and guess what he did this year? Exactly the same with his previous 2 years....clowning around and not singing....

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Spanked by God?

As you know, it’s been couple weeks now that I have to stay on bed rest due to too many complications with my pregnancy ( incompetent cervix + placenta previa + placenta procreta ). Because of that I can’t go to church on Sunday. And since I am not going to church…my husband doesn’t feel like going either because he feels weird if we are not going as a family like we always do.

Last week he told me that his 2 ex co-workers are coming from Taiwan to Whistler to ski for only 5 days and they invite him to join them there for a day of skiing. For some reason I had this really bad premonition about this invitation. At first I tried to ignore it, but I can’t. Then I tried to tell my husband about it but he thinks I am over reacting. We ended up arguing about it. No matter how hard I tried to ignore this bad premonition, I failed. So I brought it up again to him the night before but this time I tried to joke about, to make light of what I feel even though inside I felt like shouting at him, forbidding him from going. Jokingly I said “ You better go to Whistler as early morning as possible so you can come home early too… “( I am talking about how bad the road condition is )…Then I add “ I still want to have a husband you know….” (sorry I couldn’t help adding this…)

Beside bad premonition, I also had a bad dream too and I think my husband really doesn’t want to add more stress in my current condition so he did what I asked him to do which is leave as early as possible. He left at 7 AM last Saturday to Whistler.

Just for your information. My husband loves sport and he knows how to roller blade, ski, and snowboarding. He has done all this couple times before easily. In fact, it takes him only one lesson to know how to ski. Learning new sports comes naturally to him. Just like my son who inherit his genes learn to ride his bicycle in 1.5 hr ( I think I post this story in my blog too ).Even my son knows how to ski too now. But something happens ….read on….

Before he left, we prayed together like usual and in my prayer I prayed for his safety when he is on highways to Whistler. I can only think that what ever may caused him harm, most likely will comes from highways because I believe in his ability to ski/snowboard. I am slightly wrong on this…..

The rest of the story comes from my husband ….

He told me that he had no problem what so ever with going to Whistler. It only takes him 1.5 hr to reach Whistler. The weather is fine. The traffic is fine.

Just when he arrived in Whistler and he wears his snowboard boots, he had this really bad feeling that today nothing is going to be right. But off course he ignores it… just like I did.

The first clue came soon enough. When he tried to stand up for the first time with his snowboard on, he fell hard. He tried again, and he fell again. He couldn’t believe it, as if he is a beginner who tries this for the first time. Again… he ignores this clue. After couple tries, he finally able to stand up. Then he called me, I still remember how he sounds on the phone, he sounds shaken up a little bit. He told me that he arrived in Whistler safe and sound but for some reason he said, he couldn’t even stand up on his snowboard. I did not say much to him about it since I have no clue at all about snowboarding ( I am the total opposite from him in sport ). As long as he told me that his trip to Whistler is fine, I think that he will be fine. He also mentions that he felt he needs to come home even earlier than what he already planned.

We talked for few minutes only then he hung up. For some reason again, he felt strongly that he needs to change his cell phone’s speed dial from my name “Yohana” to “Home”. Then he felt strongly to move the small digital camera that he brought with him into his backpack instead of his jacket’s pocket. It’s safer in the backpack. Right after he change the speed dial on his cell phone, his friends showed up and he got distracted. He put his cell phone into his pocket, he felt that he needed to zip up the zipper on his pocket but he did not do it since his friends showed up. Right after that everything going to hell!

I am still confuse too about what happened, but I think he fell down really hard all the way down the hill right in front of his friends who had to chase him and rescue him. I can’t imagine how hard he fell or how far, but he showed me the result of the fall he took. His watch is broken; heck… even the tiny sticker at the back of his watch is stripped off. Then his water bottle disappeared into the cliff His very strong Gortex gloves are rips around the fingers area. His Gortex jacket too. Even his socks too! He banged his head too really hard!

After recovering from his fall, he found out that he lost his water bottle, his cell phone, and both the digital camera and his watch are broken beside the socks, gloves, and jacket.

Yet he still insists on snowboarding since he is already there and this is the only chance for him to meet and snowboarding with his friends.

More clue on what’s to come…

He took the wrong ski lift. He intended to ski on the easier level but he ended up on top of the mountain where even the cloud is below him! And there is no turning back. He knew it if he insist on snowboarding down the mountain, he will die. He took off his snowboard; carry it all the way down the mountain. He told me that the mountain is so steep that even by walking he has to walk zig zag. It took him more than 3 hrs to walk down the mountain!!

Then the first thing he did was calling me from a pay phone to tell me that that his cell phone is missing.

In the meantime while my husband has to face such an ordeal. I am at home with my son. 2 things happen.

One, the first thing that my son told me when he woke up was he wanted to go to church. He knew that today is Sunday and that means Church day. He knew that he hasn’t been to church for few weeks now and he really really wanted to go there today. I told him that I am sorry but I can’t possibly drive him to church since I am on doctor’s order to stay on bed rest. Then he said “Why don’t we use that Children Taxi’s service where the drivers are all mom who drives slowly to drop me off to church and then they can pick me up again? “…Well… few weeks ago when my doctor told me that I need to be on bed rest, I was toying with the idea of using the children taxi service to drive and pick up my son from school but for some reason they never call me back or even reply my fax and at the end, my husband has to drive him to school and pick him up again. So my son actually never rides in that Children Taxi, but that doesn’t deter him from going to church. Going to church is that important to him! I am so proud of him!

Second, one hour before my husband called for the second time. I felt that I need to talk to him to make sure he is ok because I still feel this bad premonition. I rang twice before a girl pick up the phone… It took me a while to understand what she said because I think she has Australian accents or something but I finally understand that she found my husband phone and she is going to leave it with the lost and found department at the guest’s services building at the bottom of the ski lifts. I thanked her for her kindness.

So when my husband called, because I am worried that the lost and found office might be close very soon, I told him to go there right away. I didn’t give him the chance to tell me how his day was.

The lost and found office turns out to be closed exactly 5 minutes before my husband showed up there.

He told me later that he really wanted to go home right after he called but all of a sudden there was these thick fogs hanging around Whistler, so he decided to wait until the fog get better. That was around 5.30 PM. He eventually left Whistler around 7.

He told me all the way home he almost had many… many… car accidents…

He arrived home after 10. It took more than 3 hrs for him to come home. Twice the time it took him to go to Whistler because of the road condition.

I was very surprise when I saw him. He looks so bad. His hair all mess up, his eyes red. And he looks so tired. Then he told me his story, show me his watch, camera, gloves, jacket, and socks….man….we both should have listen to our heart! Sometimes we just plain stupid… ignoring God’s warning that comes in plenty! We had no excuses for our actions. My husband told me also that right after his first fall, he never stop praying to God and he never stop thinking of us….I think that is why he still can come home to his family….

He told me that actually he felt guilty today for choosing to go to ski instead of church. In his heart he knows that he should have gone to church. He put God in second by choosing to go to Whistler. My son was listening to his father’s story too and to make sure not only both of us that learn a lesson here, I told my son like this “See… this is why we need to pray and read bible every day! We need God’s protection in our live all the time!”… Then my son said this loudly “I know! I told you I want to go to church today didn’t I?”…. Out from the mouth of a babe come the truth…..

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Money Matter

Money… money... money... we all needs it. We can't live without Yet ... how many of us truly know about it? If we don't really know about it, why is that? Is it because how our parents educate us on how to manage it or lack of it?

So far, I am comfortable enough to teach my son about God; about manner; about being fair; about morals. But one thing that I am not comfortable is money. Learn on how to teach my son on what money really is and how to use it wisely.

I admit that I wasn't really good about money either... that's part of why I don't feel comfortable enough to lecturing my son about it.

It makes me feel like a hypocrite!

I’ve seen this story:

First, when the parents always tell the kids that they don’t have money (lying). Tell them on how extremely poor they are. When the kids grow up… they will have an unreasonable longing to buy and buy stuff and never let them go no matter how broken/old they become. Or they might become extremely stingy; too scared to let go of their cash. Either way, it’s bad for the children to have this kind of way of managing their money.

They become the slave of money. When the bible says we shouldn’t.

So.. how to teach children to be friend with money without falling into that trap of becoming money’s slaves? Where is the balance?

Second, I’ve heard that Jewish family taught their kids about money by showing them exactly how much money that the family has in their bank account. Then they will discuss about it. If there are people who know the best on how to manage their financial, I bet it’s Jewish. Aren’t they the one who create banking system??? I wonder if their way is right. We know after all that the fear of the unknown is always crippling us. So maybe by taking it out in the open can help us not to fear money so much? Fear of loosing money can really make people did a lot of stupid thing, like burying your money in the ground or under your pillow…. Or just leave your money in the bank and do nothing about it….

How can we teach our children to be able to see that money as a tool? Money is not a magical thing that can buy happiness through shopping spree, or a monster that can bring so much pains into their life.

What are the first steps we have to teach our children about money?

How early should we start teaching them and how honest or open should we tell them about our Financial Statement?

I still do not know the answer to all those questions above.

Right now, I think I am going to focus on teaching my son how to see the connection between money and works. I am starting to teach my son that he has to earn it. Money doesn’t grow on trees that sort of thing.

On his fifth birthday, my aunt gave him a piggy bank. A great idea and I am still thankful for her for giving him this gift.

I have seen that children can learn fast about money can buy things that normally their parents won’t buy for them. Without proper guidance, they can steal. Some parents think that when kids took a penny here and there to buy candy is funny. I don’t. In my opinion stealing is stealing.

So since beginning I told my son that he can’t just take coins from the table and put them into his piggy bank without asking us first, because that’s call stealing. He is welcome to ask us for the money off course. He does this a lot and every time I always asked him “What can you do for me to earn this money? “ Then we start bargaining on the terms. What ever money that he put into his piggy bank, he earns it. It’s completely his money. Some time I do give him rewards in the form of money. But I always tell him that this is a privilege and I don’t want him to think that he always deserve it.

I am scared of raising my children to be parasites to their family or to the society.

Money can be evil in this thing. Many families are being destroyed because of money matters.

I don’t like people who think just because their family/friends help them by giving/loan them money and they think they deserve it just because they are family or good friend. I don’t want my children to be like that. To be ungrateful and always thinking that they deserve it when they don’t even earn it. People like these will bring a lot of pains to the people who know them.

One time, my husband gave my son $ 10 bill. It’s a lot of money for 5 years old. I am fine with that because I think we need to be comfortable holding money. Not to fear them. How many of us say “I never hold this much of cash before! “Or “I don’t know what to do with all my money! “ I think the more comfortable we are with holding large amount of cash, the more we will know what to do with them.

That $ 10 bill that my husband gave to my son is a gift to buy a toy. So I took my son to Toy R Us. Then I tell him that he has 3 choices on what to do with the money. First he can spend it all. Second, he can spend part of it and keep the rest in his piggy bank. Third, he can keep it all in his piggy bank. He chose the second choice. He bought a four dollars toy and keeps the change in his piggy bank. I think he choose wisely.