Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Oh my goodness, I am so behind with my blogging! I need to catch up so I can blog about Christmas in a few days! Let's get on with it...

We spent Thanksgiving at Jason's family's cabin at Shaver Lake. The weather was just perfect- there were several feet of snow, but for the first two days we were there, the sun was out and shining so we were able to play in it for hours. In fact, we ended up taking off our jackets because it got so warm! We went to a nearby hill and went sledding. Grace couldn't get enough of it, and Jeremy wanted nothing to do with it. He was content sitting in the snow and watching everyone else go down the hill. We have much to be thankful for, and spending time with Jason's family at the cabin affirmed how blessed we feel!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Big Boy Bed

I forgot to post that Jeremy is now in a big boy bed! Most people we know move their kids out of their cribs because 1) their kid tried or has climbed out, 2) they need the crib for a new sibling. Well, neither of those reasons apply, so that's why we've taken our time moving him into a new bed.
We set up his bed the day after Veteran's Day. He was very excited- he kept talking about his friend, Levi's, big boy bed. I set up the rail but he insisted that he didn't need it. He was so insistent that we decided to let him try sleeping without it. He went to bed as usual (which means him jibber jabbering to his stuffed animals for an hour before falling asleep). Unfortunately, he woke up early the next morning (5am is early for us) and came in to wake us up. This pattern continued for quite a few days. We've been trying to get him to just play in his room until we come in to get him. He was right about not needing the rail! This is yet another example of our son doing things his way, in his timing.

I know that some people get emotional with this particular milestone of putting the crib away. Ours is now in the garage... I admit that I did find myself reflecting quite a bit that weekend, and it did hit me- I no longer have a "baby!" (And just to confirm- we don't plan on having any more babies). I am amazed at how fast time has flown by... I was a complete mess watching Toy Story 3 (we highly recommend it)...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Visit to L.A.

At the Olympics last year, we visited several venues called "Livecity" where people could go during the day to watch Olympic events broadcast on huge screens, and to visit different promotional booths. It was really neat to sit and watch events with tons of people all around you. In the evenings, these Livecity venues hosted different music groups from all over. On one particular day, we were watching snowboarding when this guy came out to start the soundcheck for his concert later that night. This is what he looks like:What type of music would you expect from a guy that looks like this? We were shocked when he started reggae-rapping. Jason wanted to stick around to hear him in concert, but we were with other friends who wanted to do other things. As soon as we got home, Jason immediately began researching about this guy. Both of us have come to love his music- his name is Matisyahu (Hebrew for Matthew), and he is a Hasidic Jew from New York who "sings reggae songs about his religious devotion." We found out months ago that he was going to be in L.A. for a concert. Jason bought our tickets on impulse, without even looking into childcare! We have been really looking forward to this concert and went last week!

Jason's mom kindly watched our kids overnight so that we could spend some time alone together. We're so thankful that she is always willing to do that! We drove down to L.A. on Saturday afternoon. We had a few hours to kill, so we looked up "free things to do in L.A." Have you ever been to the La Brea Tar Pits? There's a museum there, but since we didn't want to pay, we decided just to walk around the park. Apparently, these tar pits are the "home to over 3 million fossils from the last Ice Age. It was here that huge mammoths, fierce sabertoothed cats, and giant ground sloths became trapped and entombed in the asphalt that has been seeping out of the ground for the past 40,000 years." No dinosaurs- dinosaurs died millions of years before this happened. Who knows if we'll be back with the kids some day!

For dinner, we wanted to experience something unique to L.A. We definitely found it with a Peruvian restaurant called Mo-Chica. Surprisingly, it is in an indoor market/food court. You wouldn't think that a place like that would be so good- the presentation was excellent, and the food was amazing! Hands down, our favorite was the starter, Ceviche Del Dia. Jason had the Seco De Cordero (lamb shanks in beer stew sauce), and I had the Arroz Con Mariscos (Peruvian paella with seafood). If it weren't for the fact that L.A. has so many eateries, we would go back on our next visit!

After dinner, we headed to the Luckman Fine Arts Complex for the concert. When it started, we saw 3 guys on the stage- the drummer, bassist, and guitar player. They began playing what I would consider death metal. We kept waiting for Matisyahu to come out, but it got to the point (20 minutes later) that I couldn't take the "noise" any longer. I walked out, as did many, many other people. It wasn't until I was in the lobby that I heard other people saying that these guys were starting for Matisyahu and he wouldn't start for another hour. When he finally came on stage (the 3 guys were actually his band), with certainty, it was worth the wait! He was awesome! We enjoyed the show from our seats in the 3rd row! Loved it- I wouldn't hesitate to go watch him again.Sleeping-in the next morning, we awoke to discover that there was no hot water in our hotel. Jason complained about it when we checked out and the hotel gave us complimentary breakfast and free parking (it has been a really long time since we stayed in a place that doesn't automatically give you complimentary breakfast, and that you have to pay to park in their lot). We decided to take advantage of being kid-less and did something we've wanted to do for years. We visited The Getty Museum. We joined an Architecture Tour before going through the museum on our own. It was very interesting and we're glad we were able to do it without kids. They probably wouldn't have allowed us to take in all of the art exhibits! Our favorite and most memorable exhibit was called "Documentary Photos from the Sixties." The images were eye-opening...

Before heading back to the smoggy valley, we decided to seek out some Vietnamese food. We found a place called, Bun Me for Vietnamese sandwiches. It definitely satisfied my craving! (The words "bun me" actually sound like "sandwich" in Vietnamese). A good ending to a wonderful trip to L.A.!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I did it! I completed a half marathon last weekend! I walked 13.1 miles in 3 hours, 31 minutes. I first heard of the Two Cities Marathon/Half Marathon last year, when many of our friends participated in it. In particular, I was inspired by my good friend, Christa. She walked it last year, and I was so proud of her for challenging herself that way and fulfilling her goal. I decided to give myself the same challenge this year. I knew with my schedule that I couldn't commit to training to run the half marathon, but I knew that I had the ability to walk it. My sister was going to be in town and so I asked her to do the walk with me. I have walked every week for a few months to get ready. Unfortunately, by the day of the race, the most I had walked was 10.5 miles. I was counting on adrenaline to carry me through the race.

On Nov. 7, we arrived early in the morning. I was very, very nervous! I started to feel a little more relaxed when we met up with people I knew, like the teachers from my school who were also walking the half marathon.
The atmosphere was full of anticipation and excitement! We started in a huge group and it was pretty crowded for the first 2 miles. We were able to pick up our pace when the crowd began to thin out. Mentally, I really had to push myself after Mile 10 and the last mile seemed to drag on forever. Luckily, Jason brought the kids out to cheer us on and I spotted them during the last mile.Sarah and I were so relieved to finish! Immediately, we received our Finisher's sweatshirts and medallions, and were herded off to enjoy breakfast. With all the excitement, I didn't take the time to stretch out and cool off. Unfortunately, I paid for this because I pulled/strained something in my right leg and limped for the next four days. I still consider this to be such a positive experience that I think I'm going to try to run/walk it next year. Ask me again in a few months!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


The day after Grace's birthday party was Halloween. Grace knew months beforehand that she wanted to be a kitty cat, and since I made Lightning McQueen for Jeremy for his birthday earlier in the month, he got to wear his car for Halloween. My sister had an awesome costume- she made Mr. Potato Head (with interchangeable parts for Mrs. Potato Head). In my 13 years of knowing Jason, this was the first year he decided to get dressed up. In honor of his beloved Giants, he went as Brian Wilson (Fear the Beard!), complete with mohawk.
Our church holds an annual community carnival, so that's where we headed first. We ate dinner and let the kids play some carnival games. Before heading out to go trick-or-treating, Sarah, Jason, and Jeremy entered the costume contests. Sarah won for the adult category, and Jeremy won for the kids' category! YAY!
Right around the corner from our church, we went trick-or-treating with Micah and his parents, our good friends, Jill and Adam. It was really cute watching our kids go from house to house, particularly, Micah, whose excitement was truly contagious!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Grace is 6!

It has become a tradition- our family visits the pumpkin patch on Grace's birthday. Here are a few pictures from our visit:After the pumpkin patch, Grace's request for her birthday dinner was for us to go to "the place where you get rainbow icecream for dessert" (aka the Old Spaghetti Factory). Yum! We were the only family that were seated in the trolley, and Grace and Jeremy were very excited about that.
To celebrate her 6th birthday, Grace has known for months that she wanted a kitty cat themed party. I love putting on parties, so it was fun getting ready for it. This year was extra special because my sister, Sarah (the kids call her Di Dao), came to visit us for a week. It was wonderful to have her help!
As each girl arrived, they received cat ears and their faces were painted with a nose and whiskers. Next, the girls made cat collars out of ribbon & rhinestones. Before eating, we headed outside to play a few games: Pooper Scooper (using cat litter scoops, the girls took turns scooping up "poop," aka tootsie rolls), and the Yarn Game (the girls untangled yarn that had been woven all around our yard). I had Jason go to Papa Murphy's Pizza to see if they could help make some "cat-shaped" pizzas, and we were so thrilled that they did!

For the next game, each girl got a cat food dish with a scoop of ice cream. It was a race to see who could lick their ice cream the fastest! Finally, it was time for cake (I made the cake, but many thanks to Sarah for making the cupcakes).
To end off the evening, we played our final game. The girls passed around a ball of yarn while we had some cat-themed songs playing. Grace opened up her gift from whoever was holding the ball of yarn whenever the music stopped.To thank everyone who came to Grace's party, each girl got a picture frame (we'll be sending each friend a picture of them with Grace), and a bag of cat chow (goldfish crackers). Thank you so much to our family and friends who helped us celebrate Grace's birthday. She loved every moment and said that she felt very special. We can't believe that she's SIX already! (We took many more pictures, all of which can viewed in the photo album on the right).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chef Grace

I love GROUPON! We have been able to get some really cool deals through that website (click on the link if you want more info). One of the deals we bought was a cooking class at Young Chefs Academy. Last year, Grace and I had a weekly baking day and she often helped me make dinner. She definitely loves being in the kitchen! Unfortunately, our schedule this year doesn't really allow her to create in the kitchen, and I know she really misses it.
Our friend, Christa, picked Grace up from school and brought Grace, Charlotte, and Violet to the Academy. I came later on with Jeremy. The girls learned how to make peanut butter from scratch (which they ate with celery) and coleslaw. Here are a few pictures from their special time together.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Jeremy's 3rd Birthday

Jeremy's birthday was October 11 and he turned 3! As opposed to previous birthdays in which he was clueless, this year, he was definitely involved in a lot of the planning of his party. He insisted on having a Cars-themed party, he knew which friends he wanted to invite, and what he wanted for his birthday gifts (anything with wheels).
I love parties, so despite working full-time this year and not having a lot of free time, I still found time to plan and prepare for this special event. Here are some details (a lot of these ideas came from the Internet):We set up a mini racetrack in our backyard. The kids took turns racing each other in Lightning McQueen and The King cardboard box cars (I ran out of time to do The King's spoiler on the back of his car). I got the idea from this website and am so proud of how these turned out!
We also had a pinata, the first one we've ever had! It was a pull-string one, so we didn't have to experience toddlers waving a bat around. Jeremy was the first to go, and the string he picked was actually "the" one. He didn't pull it hard enough for everything to come out, and the kids didn't realize what had happened. So Jason loosely tied the string to the top, and all of the kids got to pull strings until there were only a few left. All of the adults knew what had happened, so we got a pretty good laugh over that.
For dinner, the main menu consisted of food you might get at a racetrack: burgers and hotdogs. In addition, we had Doc's Guac and Chips, Mack-a-roni Salad, Sally's Fruit Salad, Chick's Dipsticks (celery/carrot sticks), Mater's Motor Oil (chocolate milk), Fillmore's Organic Fuel (bottled water), and Antifreeze (bottles of blue colored sugarfree fruit punch).

Here is Jeremy and his birthday cake! This is the best picture I got of him all evening!

I think the cake turned out really well. I can't take credit for it. Realizing how much time I didn't have, I cheated this year- the actual cake was store-bought, and I decorated the top. I made the racetrack in the form of a "3," rocks, and cacti out of marshmallow fondant, and I added the three (new) cars. Jeremy loved it, and that's what matters!

On the actual day of Jeremy's birthday, his daycare threw him a party in which he got another Cars cake. Even his daycare knows about his love of Cars! We asked what he wanted for his special birthday dinner and he said, "Peanut budder" (that's his way of saying peanut butter & jelly sandwiches- he can't get enough of those). Well, after some convincing, he agreed that we could have pizza. It seems that it has become a tradition for us to go to Coldstone for ice cream on our "actual" birthdays. After singing Happy Birthday and letting him blow out his candle, our family of four sat and enjoyed some family time together.
Happy 3rd Birthday to my sweet "big" boy, Jeremy! Thank you to everyone who came to his party, and thank you to everyone who has been a significant part of Jeremy's life! (more pictures in the photo album on the right).

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Getaway Trip to Murphys

This past weekend, Jason and I were able to take a quick overnight trip to Murphys. A lot of people have never heard of this gem in Calaveras County- some nearby towns are Jamestown, Sonora, Angels Camp, etc. We love this town and the area- we've made several trips in the past and were really looking forward to this recent trip. On our way to Tahoe this past June for Jason's family reunion, we noticed a billboard on the side of the freeway advertising that Sheryl Crow was going to play at Ironstone Vineyards (located in Murphys). We shared this with some of Jason's cousins at the reunion and it was decided that we would try to get together for that. On Friday, we drove with Jennifer (Jason's sister) to meet Cheryl and Terri (who live in the Santa Cruz area) at Ironstone Vineyard. Stand-still traffic on Highway 99 threw us for a loop and we ended up getting to the vineyard after the opening act began. Have you heard of G-Love and Special Sauce? I hadn't, but Jason had! Sheryl Crow started her set at about 9:30pm. It was chilly outside, but with our general admission, we were allowed to bring in blankets and lawn chairs, so we were pretty cozy. The concert was fantastic! Sheryl Crow was a wonderful entertainer, and we loved the easygoing atmosphere in the vineyard's amphitheatre- we weren't confined to our seats. People danced, drank wine, etc. We had so much fun! She played for almost 2 hours and her encore included a beautiful acoustic rendition of "I Shall Believe." It gave me goosebumps!

That night, we stayed at Jason's uncle & aunt's home. It was great to visit with them. After a wonderful breakfast on Saturday, we said goodbye to our cousins, and then headed into Murphys for some shopping. There are a few cute little shops on the main street. We enjoyed lunch at Firewood before heading to some places to wine taste (Calaveras County is full of vineyards and wineries). First up was Black Sheep Winery, where Jason and Jennifer got a case of their award-winning 2008 California Chardonnay. Next was Milliaire Winery. The host was so informative and easy to talk to. I am not a drinker- I told her that I wouldn't be able to appreciate anything that I tried. She convinced me to try a Gerwurztraminer- which to my surprise, I really liked! She continued to give me suggestions as to which she thought I would enjoy and steered me clear from ones she thought I wouldn't enjoy. I learned that I like syrahs! I left this tasting room with my very first wine purchase- a bottle of 2009 Gerwurtraminer. Our last stop was at Chatom Vineyard. Here, I enjoyed sips of Semillion and of two kinds of syrahs. It's not like I'm all of a sudden going to become a wine drinker, but hey, I might actually be able to enjoy a few sips here and there... Ahhh, it was such a nice getaway... When's our next one?! (actually, it's Veteran's Day weekend, when Jason and I go to see Matisyahu in concert in L.A.). Soooo looking forward to that concert!