Saturday, April 25, 2015

Half a Year!?!

Leora is six months! We can hardly believe she's been with us for half a year! She's a doll, in fact we've taken to calling her goo goo doll since she constantly 'goos' her thoughts on everything. She has already figured out that for her voice to be heard in our chaotic household she needs to take a more proactive approach and while there are no clear words there, there is no mistaking her meaning from her tone and very expressive eyebrows! We've even heard her thoughts while she nurses from me, as if to complain about the flavor of the milk for the hour! No underestimating this little gal!
Leora wearing her gift from Sister Young
She started solids two months back and is loving it! Her favorites are definitely pear, pear and more pear! She likes things with flavor, homemade hummus for example and avocado, but only if there is a touch of onion powder and salt. She already craves independence in eating so the rice crackers are becoming a staple if we want a quieter meal as a family.

She always has a warm smile for Isaac and is facinated by Keila's hair. With Eli we already see the love-hate relationship the older two have, echoed when they are paired together. She laugh the biggest belly laughs when they 'jump and dance' together. She especially loves playing peek a boo with him. But Eli is quick to assert his position as the older sibling, dictating when it is her turn to over her face with the blanket. If at times she commanders more attention from me, he will put his face close to her to intimidate and pull what little fuzzy hair to has as if to reminder her who's boss! She's learned the system though and is more than capable of defending herself, she wails her displeasure and gives him a piece of her mind from the safety of our arms. she is one tough cookie!
We all love her smiles which grow wider and wider when she knows she has your undivided attention. Sometimes she'll grab my face with two hands put her open mouth over my cheek, making it look like a kiss. We're not exactly sure what it is, probably it's her firm way of asking for some milk but for now we call it goo goo loves!

Three weeks ago she began to sit up. She's in the 88th percentile for height but only the 27th percentile for weight, her petite frame makes her look entirely too little to being doing this already. With each child time seems to pass more quickly and before I know it she'll be crawling. With all her spunk and personality, we are grateful to have her in our lives. Thanks for being you pumpkin!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Break 2015

For this year we opted on a staycation. The idea of traveling with all four was exhausting let alone planning it. Simplification is the key to my sanity. Besides, there were plenty of things in town we hadn't done in a while and as long as we limited my cooking and everyone helped with cleaning, I could feel like I had time off too!

We started the break with a Sharing Down Syndrome event at Rockin R Ranch. The older two enjoyed the egg hunt, petting zoo and especially panning for gold. Isaac's comment was that it was awfully hard work panning for fake gold, he couldn't imagine doing it for real gold. Getting a real job would be much easier ... Hope that lesson sticks! ☺️
Eli LOVED the bubbles! As his sight isn't the best and his focus was on the translucent balls falling from above I had to keep an eye for him walking into any objects. He also loved the dancing and would do his own bubby moves but the hoe down with Baba was a definite highlight! The afternoon was spent with friends and family in Queen Creek.

On Monday we went out near Cottonwood to the Out of Africa Zoo. We'd heard from some friends that it was well worth it for an close up of animals. It wasn't exactly Isaac's cup of tea but Keila loved it!
I've become use to people recognizing Eli's extra chromosome, but it was a whole new experience for Kent. We met a two families with children with DS, one grown up and other was a beautiful 10 year girl. It was neat to chat about our children and the upcoming National DS Conference here in Phoenix' Gotta love our greater family!

On Tuesday we went to the Children's Museum. We hadn't been there in years and there were a few new rooms added. Eli was pretty overstimulated so Kent took him to the room designed for the littlest ones where he enjoyed he could play in a quieter environment. He especially loved opening and shutting the gate over and over.
Isaac and Keila had a blast in the fort building room while Leora napped on me. If only I could have a room like this for the kiddos, then my couches would be safe at last!
While I went to Utah for Grandpa Wright's funeral, Kent went with the kiddos to the Science Center.
In the meantime Leora and I visited an old friend from my college days. Her kids doted on my pumpkin and we talked. It seems like it was only yesterday when we single, chatting up the late hours. Now conversations are interspersed with instructions to our children, feeding them or helping with homework. Even so, some things don't change and Satomi and I had fun catching up.

The week ended perfectly as we celebrated Easter and listened to the prophet and apostles speak in General Conference. The subject of families and having Christ-centered homes echoed much of what I felt during the week. We are so grateful that Kent was able to take the time off, to make these memories and enjoy each others company. These are the things that last!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Farewell Grandpa Wright

I don't have much in the way of extended family that I know. I tended to adopt them as life brings them to me. The Wright family sponsored my mom over from Hong Kong years before I was born. Fred and Doris looked out for my mom and we naturally became their Chinese grand children. We'd visit almost every year in the summer. I remember a freezer in the garage well stocked with Popsicles and ice cream, especially those drum sticks with chocolate and peanuts. Till this day I feel like I'm having a special treat when I eat one! Grandma had a ceramic chicken filled with candies that all children visited regularly. Even when she passed on grandpa kept it filled and the neighborhood kids would always stop by for a visit. Grandma would always introduce me to foods that my Chinese upbringing would exclude, such as "Chinese Hamburgers" from McDonalds, or olives, which she would carefully stick one on each our fingers till we had no more and together we'd suck each one off in pure delight. Grandpa would take the time to talk to us about the stars. I remember late nights out in his observatory looking at the stars. It was such a treat as he'd lift us up to look through his telescope at the rings of Saturn or the color of Jupiter. As I grew older and took to music he'd often sit and listen to me, encouraging me in my playing and tell me of his love for certain composers.
The last time I saw Grandpa in May of 2014, I was pregnant with Leora and Isaac took the picture for us.
This was in October of 2011, I was pregnant with Eli then. It would be the last time I would see Grandpa in his home, the place of my summer memories.
Leora with the famous chicken, filled for the funeral and the last time the grandkids would have to partake of it's treasures. The chicken is well past it's prime, glued together from an unfortunate drop but a universal memory for most of us.

By the time I went to college it was natural to spend holidays and long weekends with them, especially since my school was only 20mins away. I didn't have a car but grandpa would come and pick me up. He'd use he ham radio to call grandma on the way home and we'd stop for a few groceries and head back to set me up in the 'blue room'. Sometimes I'd cook for them my moms favorite Chinese dishes and some of their kids would join us. Then in the evenings we'd go to the study and watch some British comedy show or listen to some music with grandpa. I loved the quiet of their home and spend much of my time reading. It was grandma who first recommended Pride and Prejudice to me at the age of 13. I would read it every summer along with The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George speare.

Grandpa had an amazing garden, a small piece of Eden. It was only on the trip at his funeral that I learned from his daughter tut grandpa didn't initially like gardening, it was a frugal means of providing for his family. He never stopped though and often sent me home with a huge basket full of tomatoes, zucchini, corn and berries from which he feed me and all my roommates thus saving us from the constant diet of hamburger helper or Mac and cheese! It was also a place of peace, I would often go down to the swing and watch the sunset while the scent of roses filled the air.

October of 2011, we were in time for hazelnuts and peaches from Grandpa's tree. Their house sat up on a huge hill with a beautiful view.

Grandma passed away eight years ago and I had a chance to see her just a few months before. I was pregnant with Isaac at the time and Kent and I were out there for a residency interview. By this time Alzheimer's had taken most of grandmas memories but not her spunk or caring nature. I was tired and took a nap on the bed next to grandma. When I woke she was laying next to me, intently looking at me. "Young lady, do you have a young man to tak care of you and that baby? Is he a good boy? Does he treat you right?"

"Yes Grandma, his name is Kent and you will see him soon". Patting my hand gently she replied, "he better be!" And her anxiety for me finally let up when he arrived and she vetted him.

In the years since her passing I've taken the time to call Grandpa once and a while. He missed Grandma terribly and as I did so I got to know him so much better. He taught me about marriage and love. One example was a story that Grandma used always tell of the time that she bought a table for a sewing machine that also could store it within. From what I understood the cost of the two altogether was more than what she was supposed to spend so she simply place the sewing machine inside the table. When it arrived she had grandpa carry it into the home. Grandpa remarked that the table seemed awfully heavy, grandma would say, "Fred you're just getting old and weak!" Years later after grandma passed away I ask grandpa about this incident. He told me he always knew there was something in that desk, but he didn't want to take the fun away from grandma and that there were some things not worth fighting over. I learned an important lesson from him. I would have been irritated to hear her tell that story to us over and over as if she had pull the wool over his eyes but he loved her enough to let her be right so that they could be happy.

Grandpa's kids and front shot of his home
Kent and I loved hearing of his stories during the war. He'd tell us to stop him if he'd told us the story before, but we never did. He could describe such a difficult time in life with humor and gratitude. I remember one story in particular of his being invited to a home to eat. Everything was rationed and thus waste was frowned upon. Grandpa told of a young boy who sat next to him, carefully wiping every last bit of gravy off his plate iwth his bread. While the boy did not speak English, it was obvious he made a comment of Grandpa's 'uncleaned plate' to his embarassment for which the mother apoligized profusely for. His upbringing and life experiences taught him frugality and joy in simple things like music, food, company and the beauty of the earth.

The funeral was a reunion of sorts for me. It was fun to see faces I missed and hear of all the changes life has brought us. 'Cousin' Lisa and Jenny. We were so young I spent some time at both their homes on some of the first sleepovers I ever had. Lisa's family lived farther away so visits were not so frequent. I remember eating a gingerbread house at Jenny's as well as both of us with our younger brothers, James and Stephen which we were second mothers over.

Selfies with some of my aunts and a picture of Ann Marini, Orion and his wife Sarah.

Grandpa had a proper military send off. There is always something so hauntingly beautiful about Taps being played, such a simple melody that evokes so much.
There was something in his stalwart character that let me know that everything would be alright. I will miss him terribly. I'm so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that he is with Grandma again and in their joyous reunion I take some comfort at my small loss. Until we meet again Grandpa ...