Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day Cake

The kids and I made Jerry a Father's Day Cake, Chinese style.  It had six eggs, two cups of cream, and only about one cup of sugar in it.  Oh, and lots of fruit.  The kids even cut the fruit, spread the custard filling, etc. Also, I made a second version of the cake with just me decorating it:
We gave this one away of course.  I was so proud of how it looked, how could we eat it all by ourselves?  ;)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hijab Mini Version

We live in a diverse area, so it isn't uncommon to see women in hijabs, the traditional Muslim head covering.  Babies don't wear them--except for my baby.  :)  She was crying about the wind blowing her hair into her face (her hair has gotten so long!) and I'd forgotten to bring a clip or hair tie for her.  Handily enough, I had a scarf to remove from my neck which held her hair back in a most capable manner.  I was impressed how well it stayed in place, even with her romping around the playground.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Donuts and Danny the Dragon

We used to live across the street from this darling amusement park/zoo so of course we got a membership and went countless times.  Now, we live an hour or two away (depending on traffic), so we won't be renewing our membership.  A few weeks ago, we went for what is probably the last time.  I felt nostalgic and decided it was worth braving the crowd to wait in line for the signature "Danny the dragon" ride.  It turned out to be 45 minutes in line.  The kids got a little boisterous, but Jerry played games with them and we all endured relatively well.  I must seem to obsess about it, but can I yet again mention how the crowds in this area put a damper on all there is to do.  Traffic, parking, waiting in line...when I think of our time in the Bay Area, the word "suffocation" is prominent in my mind.  Who knew I'm actually a country girl at heart??
Another line we waited in recently: the Donut Line! For National Donut Day, or whatever it's called, we stopped by Krispy Kreme and the kids loved watching the glazing line. This line was only about 30 minutes long? :)  Sorry; I'll stop complaining now.  We really did have fun and it was all worth it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

What I Love about the Bay Area embodied in one photo

Sometimes (aka most times) I would relocate almost anywhere else in the US if given half a chance.  The SF Bay Area is expensive, crowded, and frustrating on a variety of levels for this Idaho girl.  But I know if we moved almost anywhere else, these are the points I would most likely miss:

  1. Best Climate Ever: We can hold birthday parties in November at a park and not need to have backup plans in case of inclement weather.  Yes, the above photo was taken in mid-November at Lo Lo's 5-year-old party during which all the kids spontaneously splashed in a creek and half of them went shoeless.  Now that it is March, it feels positively summery, but when summer officially arrives, it won't be much hotter.  It is almost always a good day to be outside here in the Bay Area.  I love it.  
  2. Diversity: My son's good friends in the photo above are Thai, Japanese-Mexican, and some other interesting mix...remind me to ask her mother next time we chat.  And this type of ethnic/racial diversity happens naturally in nearly every group setting in the Bay Area.  It feels like a spot of heaven, making me imagine how it must be someday when we come home to Heavenly Father with peace between all people of the earth.  
  3. Friends: we have moved three times in the Bay Area, and in each place, made remarkable friendships.  True, wonderful people reside anywhere.  But it's been a blessing that in the Bay Area there are enough job and school opportunities that we would never have to leave the area if we wanted to avoid uprooting our family entirely.  We could always stay geographically within an hour or two radius.  Does that make sense?  For example, we are still geographically close enough to stay in touch with old friends from the two previous moves.  Anywhere else we have lived, the moves have necessitated us going geographically too far to ever see our old friends again.  At this birthday party pictured above, we had 8 attendees from Lo Lo's former preschool--plus 4 "new" friends from our new neighborhood.  I like the idea of not having to really say "good-bye" when we have to move again.  The Bay Area increases likelihood of that happening.  
So there it is.  My three loves of this area.  I honestly could add a few more, like having awesome beaches just a few minutes drive from our home, or the Chinese culture appreciation opportunities, and hmmm...what else.  I have to keep reminding myself what there is to love here.  Because we're feeling pretty stuck here for the time being...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Christmas Break

We did not travel or have Jerry take vacation time this holiday season. But our holiday was still bright. I collaborated with my siblings and parents to do a "Family History/Genealogy Calendar" which turned out to be one of the most meaningful projects we've ever done as a family. So I felt close to family, even though I was geographically not near most of my family. Jerry and I have kids that are old enough now anyway that we can have Christmas with just the four of us and it feels exciting.
Baby Ro is hilarious these days.  She loves bandaids, for one thing, which is a curiosity to me because Mr. Lo has always abhorred them (as well as hating stickers, finger-painting, and anything else...sticky).  Anyway, Ro burns through about a pack of bandaids per week, so I get casual about just handing her one when she shows me an imaginary injury.  In that photo above, Ro had asked for a bandaid at bedtime, saying her eyes were hurting.  I figured her eyes were just hurting from being tired, but unthinkingly handed her a bandage in her crib to pacify her and then left.  She fell asleep quietly like normal.  When I got her in the morning, I found to my chagrin she had a bandaid on one eye and was crying--not because she wanted it OFF, but wailing that she wanted another bandage to cover her OTHER eye!  I finally gave in and let her do it. Yes, she stuck them both in that exact placement all by herself.  She smiled the sweetest look of contentment afterward.  About an hour later, she asked me to take off the bandages, saying "Take off--see a little bit better."  Of course she screamed horribly when the adhesive pulled at her eyebrows and eyelashes.  But then said simply, "Thank you, Mommy."  Two-year-olds really are funny, funny, funny.
We made gingerbread (graham cracker) houses at a special library program on Christmas Eve.  Jerry wasn't there because he had to work.  :(  Note Baby Ro has a bandage on her forehead.  No, she did not get an injury on her head.  She just stuck that bandaid on for fun.  Other interesting places she has put bandaids: her ear, her hair, and her toes (taping all toes into one bundled package).  Sidenote: I was proud of Mr. Lo during the gingerbread project because he only ate Hershey chocolate, marshmallows, and pretzels--not any M&M's, gum drops, candy canes, jelly beans, etc. because we are doing a strict "NO Red 40/Yellow 5 artificial food dye policy" for him.  He has a clear behavioral reaction to those toxins.  He's remarkably self-sustaining on this dietary change, carefully asking anyone who hands him a snack, if it looks red/yellow/orange/green/purple etc. "Can you check the ingredients please?"  And sometimes when I've told him in a moment of weakness, "Oh, you can have a little food dye something or other," he says, "No thank you."  He has learned to feel the negative effect of the food dyes on his emotional state and tries his best to avoid it.  I'm so proud of his personal integrity to do that.  His preschool teachers tell me he is careful even at school when I'm not there, always asking before eating the snack to check if it has any food dyes.
Another activity we did during Christmas break was visit a local fun spot, Hop N Play.  It's too expensive for "everyday" fun, but since Jerry was working so much and all our friends were out of town or visiting with their own families, I got desperate and had to take the kids somewhere.  Lo Lo loved this oompah loompah inspired playplace.  He is athletic, strong and daring.  He did all sorts of gymnastics and romping around at this outing.  Ro seemed a bit overwhelmed by it at times, but had fun too.  I don't have many pictures because I was trying to keep a close eye on the kids to make sure they were safe.
The last fun activity we did during Christmas break was a visit to our local zoo/science center.  Why yes my kids were doing outdoor water play in December.  Gotta love California.  Ro and Lo could have stayed at this sand/water table for hours, but I dragged them away to look at the otter feeding.  We had a friend join us at this activity and had lots of fun.