Monday, February 28, 2011

A Little Pat on the Back

Isaac has his first parent teacher conference today and it was good experience for both of us. There is something about another adult interacting with your child on a regular basis that helps to give perspective and hope to me as a parent. Mrs McMurry could see how bright he is while still seeing his tactics at avoiding things he's afraid to fail at. But she also helped me to see the growth and change that has happened in the last few months that I so often forget to measure. Of all the comments I get from her and the other aides, one is always consistent: He has a wonderful heart! He is so sweet! This warms my soul to know that my son is a considerate friend to all.

While his report lists many of his achievements these last few months (letter and number recognition, sequencing, sorting, etc) my favorite paragraph is this:

"Isaac is a sweet young boy! I have enjoyed having him in my class this year. I love that smile of his! It has been so rewarding to watch him experience something new and to see the excitement on his face. He is a very bright young boy! Thank you for sharing him with me!" So this here's to the other teachers and adults in our life that help to teach my son, that take time to acknowledge my work and love while giving encouragement to continue on.

I love that he initiates play with Keila now and she adores him for it.

I love this shot, it was at the Children's Museum here and right when the scarves are shot out, they are giggling their heads off and rushing to catch them. It was miracle no one bumped heads!

And last but certainly not least, this post is for my angel heart Isaac boy! Thanks for being you and a part of my life I could never do without!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year

This is truly one of my favorite holidays of the year where I can indulge for days on nostalgic childhood foods and cook to my heart's content. It was topped off with a day at the cultural center where we bought outfits for Keila and Isaac. So here is my little 'dragon' and 'peach'!

Never mind me in my grungies... isn't that little girl a doll!

Keila is officially 18 months! She is darling when she calls Isaac (Isthick), and uses words like stop (top! while holding out her hand in the classic style of Supremes), thank you (na nu) and says yes like a little old Russian woman (Yah!yah,yah..) She's begun to use utensils when eating which hasn't slowed her down one bit! It's funny to me how dainty and clean she tries to be and her major frustrations when her food just doesn't seem to cooperate and go neatly into her mouth. She is also very particular about her shoes. Her favorite pair is a cheap white Mary Jane I bought at Walmart that she literally bounces for joy when we go to put them on. The other day she tripped in the parking lot and when she got up, she began screaming. I thought it was because she scrapped herself, but no it was the fact her precious shoes were scuffed! She kept pointing and screaming her disgust until I buffed them clean again.

Always the helpful big brother!

Isaac just spent the last weeks writing out his Valentines for his friends. It's a rather major achievement given he had to write 17 names and sign his name each time. While the letters are difficult to see, I'm impressed with his persistence at the task and just within the few days he has improved greatly! He has had a minor obsession with martial arts and was mesmerized by the performances he saw at the New Year celebration. He has shown very little interested in any sports until now, so Kent and I are looking into some lessons for him

The two of them LOVE their outfits. Isaac pretends to do Kung Fu and calls it his dragon clothes. Keila loves the feel of silk and when I can get her to keep her pigtails in, she is the quintessential of a cute Chinese girl. Happy New Year and may this next year bring continual growth and prosperity!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Recap on Coronado Island and San Diego

We've had so much going on lately that I haven't had the time to finish posting about our trip to San Diego. Kent was out there for a conference and since we were to pay for the hotel anyhow, we opted for a week long vacation. We stayed on the glorious island of Coronado which I LOVE! It had the wonderful feel of a quaint old town, well kept and with beautiful upper class homes each unique in it's design. The atmosphere was friendly and laid back from both residents and visitors alike. It was definitely a place I would return to again and again.

The view from our room at night. The string of lights is the bridge that crosses over to San Diego. I must admit the first few times across I was rather disconcerted with the fact there was only thick concrete between me and several feet of air and water. After crossing it several times I learned to enjoy the view a little more.

While Kent's first few days were spent at the conference, the kids and i puttered around the beaches, parks and shopping areas. They played so hard in the mornings that both needed a nap in the afternoon where I lounged cross-stitching or reading to my heart's content.

In the afternoons and early evenings Kent and I took the kids to just about every farmer's market we could find. It's amazing what you can find at these places where there is a demand for it. Glorious fruits, ripe from the trees, all kinds of citrus (the satsuma oranges that Keila must have eaten 5 a day) to rarer fruits, like longan, cherimoya and guava. After sampling we bought some of almost everything. The cherimoya was something I'd never seen before. When ripe, it had a rich fragrance, the fruit inside was a creamy beige with black seeds throughout about the size of an almond. The fruit was custard like in richness, sweet and exotic. Apparently Mark Twain said it was the "most delicious fruit known to man". I'd have to agree, I have never had anything like it. I'd tasted guava before in all the fake flavored drink from Mexican restaurants and had never really been fond of it. Kent convinced me to buy one and we both regretted not getting more of it. It was wonderful.

There were a ton of stands of homemade crafts and goods, jellies and pasties. We had intending on keeping the trip cheaper by cooking our meals in our timeshare but we must have spent a ton on pastries and our waistlines showed it. One evening we bought a Bosnian potato, onion pie, some baklava and some middle eastern rice dish along with something called a dosa. Apparently the dosas (plural?) are a staple of South India, they resemble a tortilla, but thinner, more like a crepe and are made from rice and lentils. It has a wonderful nutty flavor and this couple had 'Americanized' it by filling it with all sorts of things, sweets ones like mango-ginger chutneys, fruit and chocolate peanut spread to savory ones filled with cheeses, avocados and curried veggies. It was a huge hit with all those that have gluten allergies. While it was a little pricey, it was worth the experience and I've already downloaded a few recipes to try out at home.

The final two days were spent at Legoland. Up until this point, Isaac has been too cautious a child to try out rides of any sort and I know Disneyland would be a total waste on him. Legoland seemed like the place to break him in and included plenty of fun for Keila.

These were signs all around the park that were rather amusing. :0)

This was one of the few rides Keila could go on and she LOVED it! We went on it over 7 times the first day and 4 more the next. While it only went round and round, it did whip you pretty good around the corner and I loved that Kent captured this right at that moment. You can see Keila practically saying, "Whoa!"

While Keila rode her little plane, Isaac played in an enclosure that shot Nerf balls around. He could have stayed in there all day!

Isaac rescuing Kent from a shark.

We went on a little boat tour that showed us some of the best of their Lego creations. I got so use to seeing animals and buildings made of the famous blocks, that I mistook a very still crane to be also made of Lego. Our boat moved near it and it suddenly cocked it's eye at me startling me a little. I had to laugh, until the lady behind me gasped, I guess I wasn't the only one!

Keila loved all the Lego people and animals, insisting on getting up close to give them a kiss.

Isaac was a little dubious of this slide, but with some firm guidance from Kent, he came down and ended up enjoying the ride. In the end, he went on everything that he possibly could, even the rollercoaster. The picture that they took was hilarious, it was the one ride he didn't like and you could tell because his little body was pressed in close to Kent's and his horrified expression as he looked on to the terrible fate he and Baba were about to experience made you feel bad that he went on it. He couldn't understand why Kent and I went back to it the next day and firmly shook his head when we invited him to come along, saying, "No way!"

Isaac had the opportunity to drive his very own electric car. He was award his very own license. I cringe to think of the day this will be reality!

Mr. Policeman Isaac forcefully commanding Keila to STOP in the name of the law!

Digging for dinosaur bones. Keila ended up burying herself, as if the arch of sand wasn't a clear enough indication to you!

Our tickets also included the aquarium next door. The kids were rather worn out by then, but as usual, I enjoyed petting all my favorite sea animals. I love the bubbles they made for the kids to get into and feel like they were surround by the sea.

It was a wonderful trip and one we hope to repeat again soon.

One Check Off the Bucket List!

It's done! I'm ALIVE!!!! I swam 375m in 10 minutes, biked 9.44 miles in 30 mins (with incline set at 4) but only 2.3 mile run in 20 minutes. I petered out near the end. It was rather anticlimactic with no one to run against or a physical finish line to cross, but it still felt good to accomplish it. I meeting with a bunch of girls on Tues to plan out one for the ward and now that I have a better idea of how it all works, I'm less intimidate by it and more excited to try again.

My cheering section for the swim!

While I biked and ran on the treadmill, the kiddos and Kent went to the temple that was just 2 minutes away for some fun wandering time.

My little future missionary!

I LOVE pictures where they are holding hands sweetly and walking together. How I love my little ones!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

This is IT!

So in all my prep for the triathlon, I neglected to actually sign up for it on line. I assumed since so many of my girlfriends had signed up last minute, that i would be able too. At the insistence of a few friends I check it out online and discovered much to my dismay that Sherox did not renew their contract with Red Rock and there will be no women's triathlon in May. I had been training for this specific one because it was less intimidating since it would be with other women and most of all, because it was to be held in open water - hence I would prove to myself and others I was finally over my fear of swimming. I spent the next few hours grinding my teeth and searching for competitions on a Saturday for the rest of the year. Apparently Sundays are the preferred day and I had the choice of this weekend in Mesa (and entirely indoor competition) or waiting until September for one in Anthem. Everything else would require travelling 2+ hours or giving up a beloved day of rest. So I bit the bullet and I'll be competing this Saturday at 9:20 am at the Mesa YMCA.

It's all indoors and I don't do well on treadmills or stationary bikes. There's something about working your butt off but not really getting anywhere that drives me bonkers. But the experience of it will be good. Everything is timed, 10mins for the swim, 30mins for the bike and 20 mins for the running. Between the adrenaline rush and transitions I'll get a idea of how I might do in a 'real' tri as well as the areas I might want to work on more. There's talk of doing a tri for our ward - major benefits would be it could be on a Saturday and be free! - perhaps at the end of April. We shall see how well I survive this one. Wish me luck!