Friday, September 30, 2011

The Sweetness of the Word of God

How interesting it is that General Conference has become something like a holiday in my mind. I feel excitement as I think about it, akin to anticipating Christmas, summer vacation, birthdays, and such. It seems I see signs on every corner reminding me Conference is coming. I am thinking more and more of how to help that Lo get something out of this great upcoming weekend.

I remember hearing that in Jewish tradition, when a child begins learning from the scriptures they are fed apples and honey, so that an association can begin in the mind about the sweetness of the Word of God.
Enter: General Conference treat bowls. I picked up some M&M's yesterday and also dug out our leftover Nerds (Halloween candy from last year, lol).

Then, I placed a few pictures of important Gospel topics we are trying to help Lo Lo understand. When a speaker mentions one of these topics, we will let that Lo take a piece of candy. He is 1 year old, soon to be 2; we are talking BASIC principles here--Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, and Temples. I figured even delving into "prophets" was a bit abstract, although I plan to print out a Thomas S. Monson coloring sheet for that Lo to use this weekend as well.

I found this awesome idea for the treat bowls from one of my favorite blogs (yes, I am addicted to an adoption heart has always had a soft spot for the whole process of adoption...and this blog author posts a lot of good stuff on raising kids in a multiracial home, so I think that's what keeps me coming back for more...)

My version doesn't look as pretty as Mrs. R's, but here it is. Thankfully Lo Lo is highly motivated by candy, so I think this activity might actually get him to focus on the speakers for a second or two while we point out that they are saying "Jesus," "Joseph Smith," or "temples."

Any other good ideas out there for helping kids get the most out of General Conference?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Back to School

We've always known Jerry would further his education. This past summer, he graduated from his company's leadership development program so it felt like a decision was around the corner. We were not feeling great about staying in our current area for a variety of reasons, including wanting to move closer to family. Originally Jerry got the OK to transfer next spring to one of the plant sites on the West Coast, which would have been a better location for us (though still not ideal). About a month ago, we got word that Jerry could no longer transfer to that particular position--just the unpredictable nature of the manufacturing world. We've gotten used to surprises during the past few years with this company...! So Jerry decided to make a break for it and quit his job. He plans to return to full-time schooling for a bit of a career change--afterall in his own words, he's "not getting any younger," and we have decided it is an important goal for him to be able to get employment that is both gainful and personally fulfilling. Thankfully in the time since we graduated from college a few years back, we have been blessed to be able to pay off our student loans and build enough savings that we feel the freedom to make this move. It honestly feels like a miracle and biggest blessing that we have such opportunities and joy in life. My parents have also been a big help in giving us the courage to have Jerry in school full-time, since they are letting us move in with them for the year that Jerry will take to complete his program. Perfect timing since my little brother enters the MTC in December and his bedroom will be available...=) We are happy to let Lo Lo spend at least some of his toddlerhood surrounded by extended family.

Jerry has been accepted to Boise State University, starting classes in January 2012. After one year he will be able to take the CPA exam and ultimately make his career something in the field of accountancy. Hooray for change! After this move to Boise, we will have moved SIX times since our marriage just FOUR years ago, with more than half of those moves being interstate. Life is crazy but good.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

African Safari

For Labor Day we visited an animal park near our home. Though it is called an "African Safari," most of the animals there seemed more of the North American genre. But we did get to feed a giraffe! It stuck its nose right in our window. I'm only uploading the one video because I'm having issues with photo/video upload lately. We got a new camera; not sure if that's the problem. Anyway, enjoy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I am making a pinata for Lo's birthday (yes, 2 months ahead of time, a tad excited), and I made the mistake yesterday of explaining to him what a pinata is. We watched a few Youtube videos of kids breaking colorful forms, followed by candy spraying everywhere, finishing up with laughter and joy. Lo talked about it nonstop eversince, even having trouble settling down for his nap because he was so looking forward to "break candy everywhere." (which he pronounces "pk nannee 'where."

So that night for our family home evening activity we made a makeshift pinata (handful of candy wrapped in a piece of tissue paper, tied to a string) so he could whack it open. It was pretty funny to watch him swing a stick around. And disturbing. Because now he says "hit, hit!" and loves hitting stuff, pretending it is a world of pinatas out there. This could be bad. Maybe the pull-string pinatas are more appropriate afterall...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Something about the British Commonwealth

My younger brother Justin got his mission call yesterday. He will be servingfor the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Canadian Toronto mission, Spanish-speaking. I couldn't easily find a photo of him alone (what DID I do with all those CD's when we moved?) but he's the tall one in the middle here: My other brother Brandon, the one with red hair, served his mission in Australia. My dad served in London. His dad served in Jamaica. My mom's dad served in Canada. I served in Canada (Winnipeg). I'd say we mostly have some kind of British Commonwealth theme going on. So David, the youngest brother, will have to end up going to India or something. We'll see. :) I'm so pleased by my family's wonderful legacy of spreading Jesus Christ's gospel. I look forward to that Lo having so many good examples to look toward.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Finishing up the trip

I have a random assortment of photos left from our trip last month to Utah/Idaho. I'll just throw them all together and get it over with so I can move on to tell about more recent happenings. We went to the Western Idaho Fair in Boise. Lo rode this mini roller coaster type ride all by himself. Note how all the other riders around him have parental supervision...but we were too cheap to buy a few more tickets to get ourselves on there with him. And he was technically tall enough to go on his own...? See photo below for how sketchy the height measurement was...

Why yes, that is a hand-drawn, scibbled mark at the 32 inch mark to denote that Lo's 34 inches is tall enough.

We went to a butterfly house. Ever since then, Lo can be heard saying on an at least daily basis, "puh-puh" (accompanied by making ASL butterfly sign), followed by tapping his shoulder, followed by the verbalizing the word "Mom" (translation: remember how the butterfly sat on grandma Valerie).

My little brother David (age 16) makes things out of popsicle sticks. This ship he crafted won every prize available at the fair. For scale, to imagine how huge it is, pictured in the background (about one yard away from the boat) is myself, my mom, and bro. Justin.

See the buck in the middle of this frame? He hangs out in my parents' garden all the time. Jerry couldn't get enough of it.

We went to an aquarium in Sandy, Utah. It was a tad mediocre--still new and needing to expand a bit before I'll recommend it.

Crocodile (or alligator...I never remember how to tell them apart).

Also while in Utah, we visited all of Jerry's former host families. Here we are with the beloved Dean and Melody. And their parrot (on Dean's shoulder). Note Lo Lo eating out of an endless bowl of chocolate chips. Ah, good memories.

Lo warmed up to Melody within seconds of meeting her. She has such an angel glow about her, little kids must feel it.

While in Salt Lake City, we had to stop by Jerry's favorite restaurant, Little World. It is a pretty authentic, delicious Hong Kong style eatery.

We hung out with cousins a lot. Here is Lo and his second-cousin Marshal. Riding the airplanes. More amusement park rides all by himself--our little Lo seems so grown up when I think about it!

Traipsing through Liberty Park in SLC. Lo hitched a ride from my little brother Brandon who is starting at BYU this semester. We were so happy to get to spend time with Brandon while we were in Utah!

And here is Lo feeding baby cousin Brit. He LOVED her, stroking her hair, hugging her, etc.

Well, that's it for now on the trip updates. I have a few more photos, but this post feels long enough. We had a really fun time on this vacation, visiting lots of family, friends, etc. and doing a million activities along the way.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Big Trucks

While in Boise recently, we spent some time with my dad up at Bogus Basin. He used to just work there as a cat driver during his off season from doing hay, but now he does full-time maintenance at the ski resort. And still does the hay harvesting as well, but that's another story. :) Have we mentioned how much Lo Lo is crazy about "Big Trucks!" He kept wanting to "Ride Dat!" and cried when we finally made him exit this big rig.

This machine is actually called a Piston Bully, or a snow cat. It grooms the ski trails.

I love my dad's animated face here. He is so good with the wee ones.

Outside the shop, Lo Lo got a chance to visit up close with the diggers and such. What a cool experience for a little boy. Thanks, Grandpa Dean!