Monday, December 19, 2011

Nature Center

We have a free Nature Center just 15 mins. drive from our home. For some reason we never went there until just a few weeks ago, and since then we've returned once more because it was so fun! The Nature Center has a temporary exhibit that includes an indoor play gym--invaluable in this Ohio winter weather.
And a Winter Wonderland backdrop that Lo wouldn't stand still at for a pose no matter how hard I tried. He just kept running around exploring the whole time we were there.
A life-sized game board leads kids through one section of the exhibits. They can roll a dice and move along to various activites on a sort of obstacle course. At this microphone the kids were supposed to chirp "bird calls," so Lo said something like "chirp chirp."
They had lots of tunnels to crawl through as well.
We didn't get photos of much of the outdoor part of the nature center, but it has a lot of animals. A fox that was a cinnamony-chocolate color, so beautiful, a hawk that flew up and grabbed the top of its cage with huge talons, and a teeny tiny owl, to name a few. The animals are all rescue/rehab cases that will soon be released back into the wild.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cookies Run Away

We've had some holiday cheer lately. Here we are at the company Christmas party, always worth attending. This year Lo loved the bounce house and inflatable obstacle course the most. But he also really enjoyed Santa! I think it helped that we dressed him as a "mini Santa," and Lo recognized they were matching. He says that word a lot, "matching." I made the mistake of explaining that Santa comes when people are asleep and leaves toys and candy, so now having no comprehension of time, Lo wakes up most mornings asking if Santa came already.

The video clip is from a special event at the library. They read a gingerbread man story to the kids and then everybody hunted around the library for runaway cookies. Lo Lo really got into it! He thought it was fascinating that the cookies were "yay my-ing" (Lei Mai..."hiding") and thoroughly enjoyed decorating his own cookie at the end. Listen for him saying "Cookies run away" on this clip. So cute. We love our Lo.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Taking the challenge

The First Presidency message for this month is on Gratitude. Perfect since we all have a lot to be grateful for considering Christmas and commemorating the birth of the Savior. At the end of the article is a challenge to write down 100 things for which I am grateful. I did this exercise before in my journal, but it was years ago and I think took weeks for me to accomplish, just jotting down grateful thoughts as they came to me.

I will take on this challenge again. I know it will increase my happiness and help me see how I can use the blessings I have been given to better serve others.

Part I: Ten Physical Abilities for which I am grateful
1. Being allergy-free. I thought of this one last night when I caught a whiff of dust in the air and remembered my husband is severely allergic to dust. Poor guy gets painfully swollen sinuses and congestion while I don't get bothered at all. I need to be more consistent to wash the bedsheets weekly in hot water to help alleviate his allergies. Also recently I found out a few little boys I know are deathly allergic to nuts. How I would miss eating nuts! So I'm just extra thankful to have no allergies that I can think of.
2. Bearing children. It was an exhilarating, sacred experience to feel life growing in me when pregnant with Lo. It was also wonderful to feel the sensations of the birthing time--discomfort included, I'm not kidding! I felt absolutely alive and empowered by the whole deal. And I know not every woman gets that blessing in this life, so I am grateful it came to me.
3. Sight. I have a few close family members with visual impairment, so I have seen first-hand their challenges. I have independence, joys, and ease in life because of my vision. And to think I sometimes complain about having to wear glasses/contacts. In this moment I am just grateful to have access to such tools to enhance my sight when there are some who never get to wear a pair of glasses though they may need it all their lives!
4. Hearing. Yesterday I heard church bells chiming carols. It lifted my heart.
5. Hands. I have fun learning ASL with Lo. And how many other things my hands can do! Picking up my child, stirring dinner on the stove, all the every-day tasks that I often take for granted.
6. Walking. I walk a lot of places, including grocery shopping on a regular basis since Jerry and I share a car. This past week we vacationed in Toronto and got to walk all around that exciting city. Jerry kept wanting to ride the street cars, but I preferred walking.
7. Eating. Yes, this is an ability. I have always enjoyed food. One little boy in our nursery class consumes his calories through a stomach tube, and I have noticed his parents call it "feeding time," rather than "eating time." I am grateful to be among those who can eat.
8. Smiling. Sometimes Jerry and I joke about our smiles. "What if I really smiled like this," Jerry would ask, pulling a goofy face. "Would you still have married me?" We laugh, but really there ARE people who either cannot smile or who choose not to smile or some people who just don't like their smiles. But I am grateful to be able to smile and be truly happy about that toothy part of my face.
9. Talking. I lost my voice over the past week due to some type of cold/respiratory illness. There were some moments that I desperately wanted to speak, even just to comment on Lo's antics, let alone communicate basic needs or wishes. But I could only whisper or make hand motions. Now that my voice is returning (albeit scratchy still) I am conscious of the glory of speaking out loud. It is so helpful in connecting with other people.
10. Sleep. I have suffered from chronic insomnia, so the nights when I sleep without problem are something to cherish. Last night I slept 6 hours straight before I had to wake up to go to the bathroom, and it is amazing how refreshed I felt after that kind of stretch. =) Granted, I could not get myself to fall back asleep again after getting up for that bathroom run, but we'll focus on the positive here. I am pretty talented at being able to nap during the day with Lo when I ever need it.

So there we go! 10 things I am grateful for. I'll do this project in installments over the next month or so.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


A few days ago our church broadcast a Christmas Devotional. Normally Jerry and I would have watched it online that evening, but since we had been visiting friends that day and got home right at Lo's bedtime we decided to just view the archived devotional later.

Still not having watched the devotional, yesterday I went shopping for Christmas gifts and felt an undeniable pressure and anxiety surrounding me. Then, after returning home, I finally got around to reading the online summary of the Christmas devotional. An instant peace filled my heart and pushed away the holiday stress. If there is anybody else needing to refresh their spirits and remember the true joys of the season, check it out.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Optical Illusion

Since I am a little animal crazy, we ended up getting a couple more fish last month or two even though we are moving soon. Better find new homes for them in the next few weeks...

This betta is the most gorgeous blue color, no? We named him Lan Yu ("Blue Fish" in Chinese). When I snapped this photo, he appeared to be leaping out of the water dolphin-style. But really he is submerged. A mirror halfway under the water makes the illusion happen. Cool!