28 August 2014

Lorico Family Reunion 2014

To celebrate my mom’s 80th year of life, I thought it would be great to get the family together and spend time with her. So last year, I emailed all my siblings to see if they would be interested. My mom, oldest sister and I live in the Vancouver area but the rest live far away. My brothers are in Edmonton and Virginia, and my sister is in Manila. My nieces, Cathleen and Camille, took over the task of planning and organizing the reunion. They did a great job! (Thank you!) Sixteen of the twenty family members were able to partake in the week-long festivities.

The festivities started with a trip to Bellevue, WA from Aug 9 to 12. We ate (a lot), went sight-seeing around Seattle and Bainbridge Island, and shopped a little. We also did a day trip to Leavenworth, WA which as a two hour drive from Bellevue. We all wore our family reunion shirt that day. Having everybody be at the same place at the same time is rare for our family and it was really such a treat to have so many of our family members together, enjoying each other.

The festivities continued in Vancouver for the rest of the week. Lots of eating and hanging out. Ed and I hosted a dinner party at our place one night. Sabrina, my niece, baked some super delicious cheese bread and cupcakes. Another day, my nieces Sabrina, Andie, and Ally went stand up paddling in English Bay. On Friday evening was the “official” birthday dinner, a 10-course banquet at a Chinese restaurant. Yes, more eating!

When I told my mom last year about my idea for a reunion, she did not seem very keen on it. She didn’t want people to fuss over her and for people to go out of their way for her. She worried about the out-of-towners spending money to come to Vancouver and using their vacation time to come here. So typical of my mom. I told her that turning 80 is a big deal and the fact that she is still in very good health is an excellent reason to have a celebration. By the end of the reunion week, as my brother and his family were leaving for Virginia, my mom said to me that she was very happy that the reunion happened. I felt very happy when she said that. She said that seeing her grandchildren have such close relationships with each other made her very, very happy.

People say that one doesn’t really appreciate one’s parent until he/she becomes a parent, too. And that is so true for me. My mom had five kids! I can’t imagine raising and caring for five kids. She was the buffer between us and our dad, who was a difficult man. She provided us with the nurturing care, which I never really appreciated until I was an adult. All I saw when I was young were the things she didn’t do. Now, I realize the many things she did for us kids and how it affected me positively without me even knowing.

My mom’s actual birthday is in October and we will have another birthday dinner for her at my place. My two brothers are flying back for that weekend to celebrate with her again. Here’s to 80 years of life and good health!

Some photos from our reunion week:

5 August 2014

Happy 4th birthday

To celebrate Sophia’s 4th birthday, we invited her close friends from daycare and a few family friends to a picnic lunch at Central Park in Burnaby. Ed gets Father of the Year award for going to the park to stake out the picnic tables at 7 o’clock in the morning! He did this because I asked a lady at the park a couple of days prior what time they came and she said 7am. Just one of the crazy things we do for our kids!

We did not get off to a fine start. Because that day was a stat holiday, the pizza place was closed. I actually phoned Panago the previous day to check whether they would be open or not and the guy I spoke to assured me that Panago closed only for Christmas. He even asked me if I wanted to place my order for pick up the next day. Well, as it turned out, he was completely wrong! I had to spend time searching for other pizza places, which cut into my prep time for the other things for the party. The the party was to start at 11am and I did not have any pizza ordered. I didn’t even know which pizza places would be open that day because if they were, they would open at 11am. I was running late and was panicked about the food. To make things worse, Sophia, feeling my stress, began to get upset and whiny. She said she didn’t want a party anymore and didn’t want to see any of her friends. Aaahhhh…. It was a real case of “too much birthday”.

Once we got to the park, I hugged her and apologized for stressing out. Ed took her to the playground in the hopes that it will improve her mood. Our friends jumped in to help. Monica and I got the picnic tables ready, and put out the snacks. Brian and Josh started phoning different pizza places to find one that was open. Luckily, Brian found one that was nearby and could deliver pizza to the park. Whew, thanks Bri! I left to pick up the rest of the food. Sophia’s mood improved as her friends arrived and they played in the playground and water spray area. By 12:30, we served lunch. Everybody had a good time. Everything worked out in the end. As it usually does.

The next day, I brought a cake to daycare for the afternoon snack.  Sophia wore a birthday crown her teacher had made for her.  Everybody sang "happy birthday", then the cake was served.  Sophia loved the attention from her friends.

I am pretty sure I will be saying “I can’t believe she’s ___ years old already” every year. Time just flies. Sophia is 4 years old. It still shocks me that four years has already gone by.

I do believe we have passed the terrible twos and threes. Now that she is four, Sophia’s mood swings are not as mercurial as a year ago. Not even close. She goes from mad to sad quicker and we resolve our battles more quickly and with less intensity.

What is Sophia like now? She is a sweet and clever girl. I love hearing her say “I love my little mama”. She wants to spend all her time with me. She is outspoken with me and Ed, talkative with people she feels close to, and reserved with people she’s not familiar with. She is pretty easy-going and has many friends in her daycare. She loves books; she loves listening to us read to her, and she enjoys “reading” the stories to us (she’s memorized the story and uses the pictures to figure out what’s going on). She knows how to spell her name. I am sometimes surprised by how logical she can be, and how meticulous she is in her ways. The sandwich must be cut this way, not that way. The raisins must sit on top of the oatmeal, not mixed in. She is a homebody, preferring to stay home and play with us or by herself (play with actual toys; she doesn’t get much iPad time). She never asks to go out and do something. She’s quite happy to just chill out with us at home. I dread the day she prefers to chill out with her friends.

Happy birthday, Sophia. You are truly so precious and we love you very much.