Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Officially Six!

It really can't be six years since Isaac came into out lives! Time has flown and this not-so-little boy continues to amaze me!

He officially starts kindergarten this next fall but he already reads and loves doing math. He build anything out of junk (they're treasures to him!) and ought to submit his own Lego creations to market. He has learned how to do microwave meals and is a willing helper around the house.

These thing, as great as they are, are only the things he does, not what he is that make me admire him. His love of learning is infectious. Often times he enthusastically starts a new conversation with, "Mama, did you know ...." And almost always ends it with, "that's SO aswesome!" This of course begins another line of, " Mama imagine if ..." As he talks your ear off about with his new found knowledge. The best part about all to is not that he is just learning facts, the things of lasting interest always involve people. He keeps his heart tender and always seeks to know why people do what they do. If a driver cuts me off and I comment on how stupid their actions are, he will ask me why they did that. It always gets me thinking that things aren't just what they seem on the outside. He remembers the things we talk about with regards to choices and attitude. Simply put, he is pure, open and generous of heart.

Legos are always a welcomed gift. We had fun with making a scavenger hunt of sorts before he could get to his presents. This set got opened right away and we had fun together building it. I know those sets say the best age but Isaac has no problems doing them on his own. He's a little engineer at heart!

His obsession with Angry Birds has yet to abate. Thankfully Marni Cochran in our ward had some free time to help me with making them. Behold the wonders of a skilled hand at fondant!

I'm so grateful to have him in my life. He is a wonderful son, a loving brother and I can't wait to see what he'll be like as he grows into a man - just not too soon! Happy birthday Isaac boy!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Preschool Happenings Missed

Now that I'm a little more back to my old self I'm attempting to catch up on old posts. It's tempting to use that magical button google has made to post this (and the many others that will follow) back into its appropriate slot in the timeline so asto appear more on top of than I really am. But this is a journal of sorts for our family and the craziness of life is all a part of it ought to be recorded too - at least proof to Kent and I that we did survive it!

The first few shots date back to March at Moms night. The two older ones had fun sharing in milk and cookies, making crafts and painting my toe nails. Apparently it is stylish to have as many colors as possible according to my son. (And he wondes why I wouldn't let them touch my fingernails!). Keila's was as meticulous as a three year old can be in painting her own.

The next few shots are from May at the annual ice cream social. They had great food there this year so we had a small picnic. Poor Elias kept trying to get some potato chips but with no success!
Who can resist such a sad face!
Clearly Keila had to make up for the chip incident and give back some love!
Ahhhhh, the ice cream! A nice break from the carnival style games.
Keila's favorite part! Isaac has never been too keen on any animals so he gave his ticket to Elias. Elias was a little unsure at first but he grew to enjoy it.
The night was a break from our usual diet. To be honest I was cringing after the hot dogs, chips, popcorn and candy at the after effects I was sure to see the following day. But then kids are kids and what is more fun than a shot of them sinking their teeth into airy sweetness.

We bought a few raffle tickets this year for the kids to place in the buckets of their most desired item. It was a good lesson on probability and Isaac greedily place one ticket in each of the toys he wanted. Keila was smarter and place all five tickets for the princess basket. Keila has her very first Barbie now and a princess one at that.

Keila's really grown this last year at preschool. She's been a big helper with the younger one, including taking Rowen under her wings as Rowen moved up into the playroom. I love this shot of them reading together. She has the desire to be the big sister.
She's also learned to make friends and compromise - a little! Here they all are playing dress up. It's nice to see her find her own place in the world. Such a big girl!

A shot of Isaac feeding Elias at the market day of preschool - such a good big brother!

Isaac is so ready for kindergarden this next year. Of all the enrichment classes we did for him, science was his favorite. The final day was the egg drop experiment and his egg survived. He was so very proud.

His entire class moves on to other schools and he was extremely sad to see them go. These class shirts they made is his favorite set of pjs now.

One of his preschool teachers told me that my influence was greatest now since his world was almost exclusively in my control. Hereafter those hours spent at school will be told to me through his eyes. It makes me a little sad and yet proud too. I hope i've prepared him well and that he'll continue to see the world in all its wonder and with his continued enthusiasm. Love this kid!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Settled! ... For the Next Fifteen Years

We've been crazy for multiple reasons but this being the biggest - we bought a large home and moved! It was something we debated on and off the last two years. We love our first little home, it was and still is perfect in location- near a great elementary school, awesome neighbors and friends- and it terms of size, good for my small children. I could hear and almost always see them in the house and backyard and know what was or wasn't going on at any given time. My only beef with the house was the lack of storage space ( but we remedy that with Knet custom built shelving in every room imaginable) and the kitchen size. There was also the nagging thought that it might be too small once the kids were teenagers. When I mention that it has the same square footage as the largest apartment on Midwestern Campus most of our friends agreed that moving was a certainty in our future. But there was such a part of me that didn't want to leave the area, particularly our congregation or ward. These people had become family over the last 9 years since we moved in and I couldn't magine life without them.

So we figured we'd make it a matter of prayer and gave extremely strict parameters to out friend and realtor, Amy Lenard. The area we were interested in had a North south distance of about a mile and East west distance of less than half a mile, the home had to have 3 plus bedrooms and no pool. Honestly we didn't think much would turn up but God has a,way of answering prayers and one evening this home popped up in my MLS email.

We went to see the home immediately the next day. Techincally they weren't going to show it until the open house on Saturday but they let us in anyhow. The original owner had the home for 15 years and then moved out to be closer to their grand kids. They rented it out and got the worse kind of renters you can get - the disgruntled, vengeful kind who then destroyed the flooring, counters and many blinds. By the time we saw it they had replaced almost everything except the blinds and it looked brand new. We knew there would be many bids and worried that ours wouldn't be accepted, but somehow through our first meeting we must have given them a good impression and they accepted ours despite it not being the highest. Had we waited until the open house I doubt they would have remembered us so well.
The staircase is beautiful! I've always wanted a spiral one, but this one will do just fine!

It's located right behind the high school softball field which I'm told by many parents will save us much grief during the junior and senior high years since our kids will be able to just walk to the school and avoid the nightmare of traffic always at its corner. It has a huge backyard complete with full grown lemon, grapefruit and orange trees. My favorite is the kitchen, literally 3 times the counter and cupboard space I had previously. I'm so glad I won't have to go to my bedroom to get can goods anymore! It's a 3 bedroom with a loft area that we've seen converted into a bedroom. For now, Elias and Isaac will share a room while the loft becomes the play area. It's been wonderful to have only one area of the house to pick up after! Then perhaps n the future we might give the boys their own room.
Notice how Isaac and Keila are already fighting over the rooms! ;0) This is the play area/ crafting room.
Kids bathroom.
Our master tub, have yet to really enjoy the space of it and must find time to remediate that!

I'm so grateful to have found this home! It's felt right all along and we look forward to many years in it as our children grow!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I return to AZ refreshed by the rich company of Abby Zhao and family, refreshed by the humid lush green of Maryland and by the stimulus of once latent neurons in my roaming of national monuments and museums.

The first two days were spent resting and relishing in good home cooked meals. We visited the grounds of the Washington DC temple, a beautifully serene place and enjoyed a free concert there by famed violinist Jenny Oaks Baker. She was accompanied by the Mormon orchestra and played arrangements by Kurt Bestor based entirely on Disney music themes. I particularly enjoyed " A Whole New World" done in tango style as well as the performance from her children of "It's A Small World". The latter was clevely written to move through the diffent periods of classical music with themes from Mozart, Debussy, rachmanninoff and Gershwin ,to name just a few, peeking through.

We took a walk around a lake nearby Sunday evening where my eyes took in that living green I so missed from Houston. We even saw a deer that night.

Da, Abby's husband was kind enough to take off work so we could wander carefree for the next two days. It reminded me of my college days! We spent a great deal of time seeing the holocaust museum and pondering the power of choice. Afterwards we went to the Lincoln and washington monuments as well as the Vietnam and WW II memorials.

One cannot forget Monday nights feast of fresh shrimp and blue crab. I'm afraid my waistline won't forget either!

Day two was spent at the Smithsonians art gallery and Natural History Museum. For all you art people, see if you can name the artist of these next few famous paintings. Answers found at the bottom of the post!
I sent silly texts home complete with pictures for the kids, a running commentary of our sights.
Loved the butterfly garden!

They sent back their own adventures, going into Kent's work briefly, eating dim sum, etc. in the time I was gone Elias somehow managed to learn to push himself from the floor to a sitting position and Kent captured videos of it for me.

Unfortunately that evening Abby's middle child fell from th monkey bars and was rushed to the ER. With their Aunt and Uncle, I kept the other two occupied with dinner and Krispy Kremes. There is something mezmerising in watching balls of dough rise and drop into a vat of oil to be put through a surgery waterfall of icing!

X-rays of two broken bones and anesthetic to set them and cast to hold, SS finally came home early the next morning. Watching over CC andFF made me realize how much I missed my own kids. They are all rather close in age and similar in personality. Kent reported tha the older two were doing well but that Elias was clearly blue and having a hard time. Singing their primary songs to them while Skyping just doesn't have the same warmth in the finale of the day. As I sit on the plane writing, I can't help but think how wonderful it will be to get home and snuggle them once again.

My final day I spent at the Ford Theater and Peterson House where Lincoln died. It was perfect since I was halfway through reading Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly.
It reignite in me the desire to know more about the American history and its leaders. It is undeniable the hand of God n creating this nation.
The bed in which he died.
The ford theater where he was shot.
A letter he wrote to the parents of a fallen solider.

I had a half hour before needing to take the subway back and sneaked a peek int the Freer museum of Asian art - a hidden treasure! Half of the collection was art, sculptures, ceramics and jade carvings from china spanning many different dynasties. I had so little time to appreciate it all and could only glance at a few exhibits until I got to the highlight of the Peacock Room.

Apparently a wealthy gentle man created an entire room in his house to hold his collection of vases and ceramics from china. Everything from the shutters on the windows to the walls were painted with gold pictures of phoenixs, peacocks and chrysanthemums in an Chinese style. He then built shelving to house all of his treasures - an entire room of art! Thankfully it was never dismantled into parts but each succeeding owner added to it collection and it was moved and reassembled from place to place till it has reached it's final destination at Freer. I was rather sad at missing half the collection (the west side being artifacts from Japan) and plan to go back sometime to really relish the history of my people.
I got in on a lovely birthday dinner for Da and a mango mousse cake and bade a fond farewell to Abby and her kids. If only airfare weren't so expensive we could see so much more of each other!
This lovely lady is Abby's mother in law. She makes scarfs in her free time and graciously gave me one. I had to buy one more from her since I liked it so much!
Abby you're the best! It's wonderful to know that distance and time never really separate true friends!

I'm so grateful for this break, for the friends who I never tire of seeing and of my family and their loving support and understanding. Glad to be back!

Paintings in order: da Vinci, Raphael, Vermeer, Rembrandt.