Monday, June 27, 2011

Marathon Month

June is always our Marathon month, between Isaac and I having birthdays, Father's day and all the summer activities and vacation, I feel like I'm always behind on my posts. So here it all is in one lump.

We felt bad that Isaac never got a cake to celebrate his birthday. It's something he insist on for all of us (even if we're not that fond of it) and yet in the hussle and bussle of the vacation we didn't get around to it. So Keila and I got up early and baked one. We didn't let on that it was for him, but when I asked his input as to a 2 layer cake or one, he opted for a 3 layer cake! So here it is with homemade icing and all!

These next shots I had to include because I thought it rather ingenious of Isaac to make up his own armor using boxes around the house. (things that happen when you nap - no worries, we found another home for the gummies) He likes to rescue Keila, the damsel-not-so-in-distress and be the 'conquering hero'. Doesn't he look intimidating?!

For Father's day I struggled to find something that would be truly a gift Isaac could make. I hit upon this idea from an Internet site (you can find EVERYTHING online!) Isaac had fun painting it and even wrote the words himself: Baba Rocks! Kent has is proudly displayed at work. ;0)

Kent's tie got decorated during Sacrament meeting ... a perfect touch for Father's day.

After the expenses of the vacation, I wanted something much more low key for my birthday. Isaac insisted on the carrot cake, Kent and I went to dinner at the Melting Pot and finally Kent bought me a book, from the Penguin Classics edition with the Coralie Bickford-Smith covers. They're beautiful, each with it's unique cloth cover to fit the novel. I love anything that's useful while decorative and honestly, what's better than classic literature around the home!

It's strange to think I'm thirty six. You never feel as old as you are, and yet when I look back over my life I'm amazed at all that has occurred. Here's to 36 great years and many more to come!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sprouting Like a Weed

I still call Keila my baby girl, but she's anything but a baby nowadays. That came home to us while we were on vacation and she began speaking words that we'd never heard her say. Things like, "nighty night, ketchup (more like catup), take", etc. It was random and we'd always look at her and say, "Keila, when did you learn to say that?!" and she'd smile, cock her head all nonchalant as if to reply, "That's nothing!"

Isaac a wonder in many ways. He often asks questions that seem to indicate an old soul. He asks alot about the Prophet Joseph Smith and how he died as well as why he was persecuted. When he plays, he talks of the 'bad guys' and how their only bad because they make bad choices. He's still terribly distraught by conflict. We finally finished an entire Disney movie without him screaming with distress. It was Beauty and the Beast and afterwards he said of Gaston, "He's really the Beast, all inside!"

Keila's not the only one that surprises us with her words, the other day at dinner Isaac said he wasn't "so keen" on something. Kent's sure that one's from me. The lastest phrase that had me chuckling was, "Keila don't do that, it drives Mama bonkers and she's not nice when she's bonkers!" How perceptive indeed.

When we got home from the trip, we decided to measure them, even though we'd done it three months earlier. Isaac grew an entire inch and Keila was 2 inches longer. They grow in so many ways too quickly. What a treasure it is when I catch those moments that will fade too quickly into the past. How I love my 'babies!'

Monday, June 20, 2011

Too Long

The last 2 days in Calgary were spent seeing friends whom I had not seen in over 10 years. Back then we were all single, not long out of high school and off for adventures wherever the pathway would take us. It was fun to see where we all ended up. We're all little thinner and thicker here and there (typically in the hairline and waistline - with Dee being the major exception- way to go Dee) We've had job experiences, life experiences, marriage, loss of family/loved ones and the gaining of them too. With all the changes it's nice to know that you can get together again and still smile over the old things and enjoy sharing the new.

Unfortunately Aunt Becky couldn't make it to all of the wedding, but we enjoyed her company along with Uncle Joe as we wandered downtown Calgary.

Can't you just see him saying, "Pop!"

We attended church in the chapel nearest our hotel and dad was delighted to find out it was the first chapel he and mom attended when they moved to Calgary. It has an amazing view of downtown.

Sunday afternoon was spent with a few people from the LRC group. Yes, I was a part of that amazingly brilliant group that hung out at the Learning Resource Center. Their intelligence and tutoring saved me often in my Physics class and their companionship and quirky fun made for a wonderfully memorable high school career.

Kien, we beg pardon for our ineptitude at capturing you and your darling Kira in a more pleasing light.

Proud Papa Jason with his first beautiful daughter...

and the darling second daughter. That cutie has the features of a porcelain doll, especially her lips! Way to go Phuong and Jason. Seriously consider coming down sometime to visit ... you can golf your way to paradise and Phuong and get away from the winter blues.

Isaac ADORED Jaden! What could be better than another 4 year old boy with as high an energy level and fun ideas as Jaden. Thanks for wearing him out for us!

Monday, our last day was with some friends I haven't seen in over 14 years. We've gone on different paths (a little like yin and yang!) but for whatever reason, years of knowing and just the bond of friendship, we were able to chat and laugh together. I seriously had stitches in my side for all the laughing we did about the years past, ourselves and the future.

Fflyr, Dee and Christie. There are so many pictures of us in our elementary and junior high years at sleepovers and parties. I need to find one of those to download and post. We all lived within walking distance from each other.

Fflyr and Dee have been around since I can first remember. We were in kindergarten together. I can't believe I've known you gals for over 30 years. It's great to know we can still get together and laugh.

Although I've been away for so many years, it was wonderful to feel like I could 'come home' through the friendships and love of so many wonderful people like these. Here's to friendship and may our next visit be not too long off!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

James and Samantha

I have a new sister and we're finally evening up the numbers against all the boys I grew up with. James and Samantha Ngai were married at the Cardston Alberta Temple the morning of June 3, 2011. All in attendance made it in time for the sealing ceremony on the beautiful but wet, cold day. Isaac made a darling little flower boy.

Trying to keep the kiddos entertained while we waited was a little trying, but thankfully we had lots of uncles around that Isaac could drag or climb all over. Keila had flirted with one and all using her charming smiles.

The newlyweds! Sam looks like a doll! I say James got lucky ... awfully lucky! ;0)

The three J brothers - Joseph, James and John.

Isaac spent some of his time chasing the flower girl all over the grounds. Check out that killer smile!

Reception pictures for later that evening.

The last time we took a family picture of my siblings and I was 14 years ago, the night before Joe left for his mission. We've never been much of a picture taking family, but I certainly hope it doesn't take another 14 years before we take another one!

The chinese banquet was amazing and Kent and I enjoyed enlargening our waistlines to such delicious food! No pictures I'm afraid, but perhaps we'll be able to grab some from others. It was fun to meet Sam and all her family. They're great people and we hope to see more of them in the future. Here's to the lovely couple, may the Lord bless your union with joy for the eternities!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Isaac's Canadian Birthday

For weeks we'd been prepping Isaac for the fact that his birthday would fall while we were on vacation in Canada. He'd proudly announce to all his preschool teacher and friends that he was having a 'Canada Birthday!' and would love to invite them but they would be too far away. Amid travel and wedding crazies, I was a little afraid he'd feel lost in the fray so we planned to make things as special as we could.

The morning of June 2 was the day we were to head back out to Calgary and help decorate for the reception. I baked muffins the night before for breakfast and we stuck a dum dum in as a pseudo candle. He loved it.

Later that evening we had a special birthday dinner. Unfortunately only Uncle Joe and Grandpa Ngai could make it, but he was thrilled with the attention he received. I can't believe he's four years old! This whole adventure of motherhood has really only been a brief period. At times it seems like forever - as in I couldn't imagine myself without it. I am a fuller, richer person for it and my dear Isaac boy is helping pilot the way. (poor little guinea pig!) How I love this dear boy. He received his own digital camera for the occasion and I'm sure we'll get lots of interesting shots to post in the coming months.

On the walk back to the hotel I couldn't help but snap this shot. Three great men chatting and swinging my children to their utter delight. Too bad I didn't rush up in front to catch it from the other way.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The True North

My blood has thinned in the time I've lived in Utah and the Arizona. I was reminded of this on the day we opted to drive up north further to see the amazing aqua colors of Lake Louise and Morraine Lake. Keep in mind folks, this is June! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!

Lake Louise, half frozen over.

Yes, that is suppose to be a lake behind me, Morraine Lake and more that 4/5 of it frozen and covered in snow.

This is what remains of the snow they had shovelled over the winter. Like my 'Eski-Flo' outfit? It was too cold to even tempt Isaac with a snowman.

Kent was amazed by these 'bridges' they built for the wildlife to cross over the road.

Bow Fall and the subsequent exploring for 'treasure rocks' that we undertook. Kids are so happy with the smallest things!

Wandering the Banff hotel grounds where yet again we saw some deer that Keila desperately wanted to pet.

It was truly wonderful to take the fam on a tour of my Rockies but we all agreed in the end that the next time we come it'll be in the late summer!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Our first major outing was to Johnston Canyon to see the waterfalls. It's a fairly easy hike in that everything is paved, but the overhanging catwalks into the canyon can be a little daunting if you're afraid of heights. Unfortnately Isaac is exactly that, but with some major coaxing, some carrying and the distractions of rocks, sticks and bugs, he managed to do really good. He was obviously very proud when I told him he was little scout trooper in the making. Keila was much too young to go on her own, so I carried her in with the help of a sling. It was a major workout and gave me an appreciateion of what Kent does backpacking with the scouts. If I paused a moment to rest, she was wiggling to get out and see the world. If I kept a steady pace, she'd snuggle in close and chatter in her funny way.

You could get in so close to the lower falls by going into this tunnel and on the otherside a railing kept you from falling into the spray of water. It was a little too much adventure for the kids, but dragged them in for a minute or two to get a good shot of everything.

The raw beauty of the Rockies!

My snuggle bug!

We'd only made it to the lower falls and halfway up to the upper waterfalls, but it gives us an excuse to come back again in a few years when I won't have to carry anyone!

We saw plenty of wildlife there, both on our hikes and just around town as well as our timeshare.

I taught Keila how to 'talk' to these little guys and soon she was chittering at my ear whenever she spotted one. They're pretty daring fellas for being so small.

This deer lived right by our timeshare and we saw her daily.

Isaac wanted to see a bear, this was the safest one I could find.

Elk on the road.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Canada ... Barely Made It Eh!

Kent and I seem to have an annoying habit of making our vacations much more exciting than we ever intend it to be. I’m sure you’re imagining us deciding spontaneously to go skydiving, or something truly exciting like that, but ours is more of the ‘oops’ kind that leaves you pumping adrenaline, angry and groaning, “I can’t believe we just did that!”

Classic example, before we had kids, Kent was flying to various places interviewing for residency. For whatever reason, we arrived just minutes too late to check our bags for the flight to Utah. The next flight would make him late for the interview, so I had him change into his suit, stuff his pockets with the bare necessities of hygiene and he boarded the plane while I went home to sleep for 5 hours and then drive back to catch the following flight. Rest assure I made it with plenty of time to check bags and in the end it was a crazy but well worthwhile trip since it was the last time I saw my Grandma Wright before she passed away. Kent’s not the only silly one, the time I flew to Alaska to visit some friends, I was eating lunch and so caught up in my reading I missed my chance to board my flight. Yeah, not the brightest thing to do.

Anyhow, I’ve become a little more meticulous in getting ready for trips now and I get so that I have the days planned out with maps all printed in advance. When it came down to the trip to Canada we wanted to be sure we had proper documentation for everyone. So months in advanced we checked the TSA website multiple times whether or not we needed passports for the kids. The wording was a little unclear so I called in to the airline we would be traveling with . After being told 3 times that we were clear with birth certificates, we sent in an application for Kent and thought we were done. Of course the night before while checking in online I found I was unable to since it required passport info. Concerned, I called the airline again and spoke with someone that said I’d simply have to checking in at the desk in the morning. I’m sure you can see where this is going, morning dawned and of course we got there and were told we would be unable to board the flight unless got passports expedited for the kids – apparently the closes place was Los Angeles. Thankfully Kent talked to a few more people and found they’d opened an office up in Tucson.

A few hours later we were headed to Tucson to stay the night with some old friends , Darin and Tiffany Law, from our days in Albuquerque. Isaac, unfazed by our stress had a blast with the Law’s children and to our delight, the clingy Keila was soon joining in the fun. I got caught up with Tiffany on life, we made it in time for our appointment to get the passports, and after naps, time at the library and a short movie, I picked up the much needed documents fresh off the press. If it weren’t for the Laws I’m sure I’d have been a mess and would have needed a few days to cool off from the stress. As is, the spirit of their home, their hospitality and fun natures made it feel like a small detour from our intended vacation. In many ways I’m grateful for it and we’ve extracted many promises for more visits with the Laws which we intend to hold them to. (hint, hint, Tiffany!)

Riley was just a little baby rolling around on the floor when we left Albuquerque, it was amazing to see her now. She was so darling with Isaac and kept calling him her best friend. It was terribly sad to see the two part.

Jeryn was and still is Isaac's much wanted big brother. Kent and I are considering borrowing him to keep Isaac busy!

Tiffany and I, she was my sanity line in Albuquerque ... enough said!

The whole dejvu effect 2 days later as we arrived at the airport once again was a little eerie to say the least. The lady who with tremulous voice and shaky hands previously informed us that we would not be able to board the flight was the same one to check us in this time. She was happy to see us make it to the wedding, as were we. We breathed sighs of relief once we made it through security.

The kids were wonderful on the flight. I had packed their backpacks with dollar store presents (two for each of them) which were beautifully wrapped, one for each hour of the flight. We were a little worried about Keila since the day before we were suppose to leave she was diagnosed with an ear infection but the delay helped and she Keila conked out halfway through. Isaac was thrilled with the surprised and he and I played a puzzle together and he colored to his hearts content. We arrived and drove safely and slowly (AZ boy driving in snow for the first time) to our timeshare in Canmore. It was a late night for the kiddos who usually go to bed at 7pm so there was no fussing come 11pm bedtime.

You would have thought the crazy hours would have guaranteed us some sleep in time, but Isaac was DYING to play in the snow. He wanted to make his very own snowman so he was up and at ‘em at 7:30am. Kent was a trooper and dragged himself out of bed to make a snowman while I got breakfast set up. As you can see from the pictures much of the snow had melted but they managed a pint sized guy.

Keila all decked out thanks to Uncle Joe and Aunt Becky's Christmas gift!

I've been telling Isaac about REAL mountains, not the 'scrubby hills' we have in AZ. This folks, is a real mountain, stand in awe!

We drove into the Banff townsite and had all sorts of plans for sightseeing. Isaac was rather fatigued and I kept chiding him for getting up so early just for snow. It turns out he was running a fever and on our drive back he had the distinct look and sounds of one about to throw up. Of course the rental car had a sign neatly posted on my window that a $250 fee might be charged for cleaning the vehicle, so I was praying feverently we’d make it back to the timeshare. We did, with not a second to spare and Isaac even did us the favor of making it all into the toilet for which we congratulated him on a his aim! ;0)

Here's our poor boy looking queasy.

I chose this picture just in case there were any doubts as to where we were. Check out the beautiful red and white flag behind them! O Canada!

Thankfully we were to have dinner with my parents that evening so aside from throwing up in the car (it was all water… whew!) it was a nice meal getting caught up on everything happening to my brothers and sister-in law to be. Isaac proudly handed off his gift to my Mom and they both flattered her with their appetites. Yes, despite being sick, you would never have known it with Isaac chowing down on broccoli as if he’d never eaten it before in his life. Apprently it was only a 24 hr flu, he was queasy that night but just fine in the morning.

I am happy to report that our trip was much ‘duller’ after all this. ;0) More posts to come, eh!