Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas is in the Air!

Earlier this month, we met up with our friends, the Macks and the Cos to walk Christmas Tree Lane.  There have been years when we're driven through the lane in our car, but it is always much more memorable to be able to walk it with friends.  I'm not sure why the kids wanted a picture in front of the Abominable Snowman when there were sooo many other Christmas-y things along the lane, but when I look back upon this picture in years to come, it'll trigger for me the night of Crazy Gracie (she unleashed her wild side that night!).  When we got home later that night, we poured on the praise and rewards for Jeremy (cookie and hot chocolate) and sent Grace to bed with nothing.  Talk about a role reversal for those two!    

On Dec. 11, our church held our annual Children's Christmas Program.  Both kids were as cute as can be. 
Grace (back to her regular, sweet self), recited part of a Christmas poem and sang some songs with her Sunday School class.
Jeremy did great with his Sunday School class on stage.  We thought he'd be a deer in the headlights, but he surprised us by singing along and proudly ringing his bells. 

For reasons we haven't been able to understand, mine and Jason's school districts have different winter breaks this year.  I certainly enjoyed getting off school last week and having a few days to myself this week.  This change in schedule also allowed for me to finish up Christmas shopping, cleaning house, fitting in doctors' appointments, etc.  I even got to volunteer in Grace's classroom for her Winter Party.  I was so glad to be able to come and help out.  The kids got "sugared up" and then were sent off to vacation!

It's such a busy time of year- now that our whole family is on Christmas break, we look forward to spending some quality time together!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

5th Grade Trip to Sacramento

I don't often blog about my work, but part of the reason why my life has been so hectic as of late is due to my work!  My grade level partner, Michelle, and I took our classes to visit Sacramento during the first part of December.  We went on Amtrak through their incredible program, Kids N Trains.  A lot of work went into planning the trip, but once the day came, everything pretty much went off without a hitch.  It was a very long day- I left my house at 5:00am and got back at 8:30pm. 

This school year has been without a doubt, one of the hardest I've had in my teaching career.  I have had my faith and confidence shaken, many trials, meltdowns, and sleepless nights.  It has been hard to hold onto the positive moments... Maybe that's why I had to blog about this particular day- it will certainly be a highlight of our year. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thanksgiving at the Family Cabin

I better hurry up and catch up with my blogging before Christmas!  The last few weeks have been quite the whirlwind!  First up was Thanksgiving.  We are lucky that we both got an entire week off during Thanksgiving.  We headed up to the Isaac family's cabin at Shaver Lake.  Last year was wonderful because there was so much snow on the ground.  We all have fond memories of playing in the snow and seeing the beautiful snow-covered trees.  This year, not so much!  Jason ended up driving to find areas for the kids to go sledding.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to join in the fun this year because I wasn't feeling well.  That did mean that I got to rest, relax, and stay cozy at the cabin.  Here are a few pictures from our time at Shaver!

Thanksgiving with family... Doesn't get any better than that!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jeremy's Soccer Season

We have had such a fun time watching Jeremy play soccer this year.  He understood the point of the game, continually went after the ball, learned how to change the direction of the ball, became very good at dribbling, and near the end of his season, he even learned to "share" the ball by passing it to other kids.  He scored many goals and despite being very tired in each game, he endured, and was tenacious. 
Part of what made the season so fun was being with his friends, Jackson, Luke, and Jacob.  At the start, we were ok with the season being only 6 weeks, but honestly, we wouldn't have minded if the season had been a little longer.  Fresno's next league sport is basketball and we have opted not to sign him up for that.  We definitely can't wait for spring and the start of t-ball again!
 Jeremy's adoring fans!

Happy Halloween!

 This year, Grace asked to be an artist (I'm serious- it was her idea), Jeremy asked to be an astronaut, and Jason, well, he decided last minute to add some things to the shirt he was already wearing.
The only thing I wanted at the church carnival was cotton candy, and thanks to Cheryl, I was one of the first ones to get it!
  The kids had fun playing some of the carnival games- a carnival favorite was Angry Birds!
 We went trick-or-treating with Charlotte and Levi to some houses around the church's neighborhood.
 Happy Halloween!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Grace's Artist Birthday Party

October is definitely a party month for the Isaacs!  As soon as Jeremy's birthday party was done with, I switched gears to work on Grace's party.  This year, she definitely had her own ideas on what she wanted, so that made it a little easier for me.  Grace asked to have a party centered around painting, so we had an artist party.  As soon as her friends arrived, they used fabric markers to decorate their own personalized aprons.
We invited our artist friend, Ashley, to come and teach the girls a painting lesson.  It was wonderful!  She did an amazing job teaching the kids different painting techniques as they painted on canvas. 
I had to post this picture- Jeremy didn't get to paint with the girls, but he was completely fascinated and stood completely focused on Ashley as she taught her lesson.
 The girls showing off their artwork and aprons
Grace's masterpiece!
Grace was very specific- she wanted a rainbow cake that looked like an artist's palette... I'm so glad she loved her cake!  I can't believe it has been 7 years that she has been in our lives.  I am so grateful for my sweet, beautiful, intelligent, sensitive, caring, and thoughtful girl!  Happy Birthday, Gracie! 

Pumpkin Patch

It's an Isaac family tradition- we go to the pumpkin patch every year on Grace's birthday!  Here are a few pictures from our visit. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Jeremy's 4th Birthday was a Blast!

With every birthday that our kids have had, I have tried to make each one special and memorable.  Now that they're older, they definitely have an idea of what they want!  Jeremy told me a few months ago that he wanted to have a "space" birthday party.  I searched online for all kinds of ideas- thank goodness for the internet!  We feel incredibly blessed to have many friends who have boys all around Jeremy's age. 
As soon as the boys arrived, they had "Launch Preparation" in which they decorated paper rockets with stickers.  Afterwards, they had to "Gear Up" by getting ready with jetpacks that Jason and I made for each boy.  We headed towards the empty lot next to our home to the "Rocket Launch."  I am lucky that Jason is so handy- he found directions online on how to build a rocket launcher using an air compressor.  We had the boys take turns launching their rockets.  Unfortunately, since some of the rockets had been made with Scotch tape as opposed to packaging tape, some of them exploded in the air due to the air pressure- some boys were on the verge of tears!  Oops!  It was very cool and exciting to see some of the rockets launched into the air.  Boys young and old enjoyed themselves!
After the rocket launch, the boys played a game called Alien Attack using nerf guns.  While waiting for our "Pizza Planets" to arrive, the boys got a chance to play while we sat and chatted with friends.  
Here is Jeremy with his rocket cake.   He absolutely loved it- in fact, he had gotten up first that morning, and had tried to sneak some of it.  When I saw it a while later, parts of the frosting and outline were missing and I had to do some rocket repairs! 

We are so thankful to have this amazing little-big boy in our lives!  Our Bear is a goofy jokester with a great sense of humor, is passionate, intelligent, caring and endearing.  We love him so incredibly much- happy 4th birthday to our Jere-Bear! 

Silverbacks' Soccer

This fall, we decided to sign Jeremy up for the City of Fresno's 3-4 yr. old soccer league.  Since we know several boys who are around the same age as him, we invited them to sign up as well.   We requested for our boys to be put on the same team, so some of his teammates are his friends, Jackson, Jacob, and Luke.  Coach Frank was Jeremy's t-ball coach, and we were thrilled to find out he would also be coaching Jeremy's soccer team.  Jeremy has scored several goals and has been playing so well!  It has been a lot of fun cheering on the Silverbacks!

Fresno Fair

It's not a secret- Jason has expressed on many occasions that he is not a fan of fairs.  It was somewhat surprising that he agreed to chaperone for Grace's field trip to the Fresno Fair a few weeks ago.  I guess it was ok for him since the kids didn't get to go on any rides and it wasn't as crowded as it can be later in the day.  Her class ended up having so many parent chaperones that Jason ended up with only Grace and one other classmate, and they walked around with Grace's friend and her dad.  The girls got to explore the farm animal and rainforest exhibits, and even did some gold panning.  Fun times at the Big Fresno Fair!       

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Weekend Getaway

I was just talking to my hairstylist yesterday about the latest weekend getaway that Jason and I took.  She commented, "I don't know anyone who gets away as much as you guys do!"  To that, I must admit that she's probably right!  Jason and I sure haven't let having kids stop us from seeing and doing things we want to do.  We are truly, truly lucky that every time we go, Jason's mom has been very willing to be with our kids.  I am so grateful for the alone time that Jason and I get to spend together.  We continue to have so much fun, and he really is the best travel companion for me!
So, our latest weekend getaway took place the weekend after Labor Day. We went with Jennifer and Dan to the Bay Area for the weekend.  On Friday afternoon, we left and headed to Berkeley to see Ray LaMontagne in concert.  We had an AMAZING dinner in Berkeley at a restaurant called, "Angeline's Lousiana Kitchen."  There was a short wait, but it was totally worth it.  The food was so good, I hope we'll get to go back some time.  After dinner, we headed to the Greek Theater for the concert.  Jennifer and Jason love Ray LaMontagne, but I will confess that I'm not a huge fan of his, and seeing him live didn't make me a fan.  I actually started getting sleepy after a while!  He has a great voice and his music is easy going and really mellow, but for me, it starts to sound the same after a while.  I jokingly told Jason that the next concert we go to is going to be my pick (which is unlikely to happen- I'm definitely a "top 40" fan and I can't see Jason at any of those types of concerts!).  After the concert, we drove in San Francisco. 

In the morning, we walked towards the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building.  This was a highlight of our trip and I absolutely recommend the experience! 
We've visited the Ferry Building before, but not during the Farmer's Market.  The sights, sounds, smells... Fantastic!  (I took a ton of pictures, but haven't been able to locate them on my computer- gasp!)

We walked from the Ferry Building to AT&T Park where we went on a guided tour of the ballpark.  We had actually gotten tickets to see an afternoon game, but it got moved to an evening game.  We still decided to visit the ballpark just for the tour.  I am not a baseball fan, and yet I really enjoyed the tour- it was really interesting!  Jason was on Cloud 9!  Here are Dan and Jason in the visiting team's dugout (the Dodgers were in town that weekend). 
Since we were full from sampling foods at the Farmer's Market, we had a late lunch.  We took the bus from AT&T Park to North Beach.  One of our all-time favorite restaurants is there and we had to visit while we were in town.  It's called "Sotto Mare" and I've blogged about it before.  If you enjoy seafood, we can't recommend this place enough.  Here we are with our oysters!
North Beach isn't that far from where we were staying, so we decided to walk back through Chinatown.  It's usually crowded, but more so when we were there.  We soon discovered that it was due to the Moon Festival- there was barely any room to walk, though the atmosphere was very festive.  By the time we made it back, we only had a few minutes to get ready to head out again for the Giants game.  They didn't win, but it was still a lot of fun to be with all those Giants fans!
The next morning, we had breakfast at another wonderful restaurant called, "Honey Honey Cafe & Crepery" before spending some time shopping around Union Square.  There was one thing that I had really wanted to do before heading home.  Off we went in search of a food truck!  We found Kung Fu Tacos using an app on Jason's iPod.  They were near Haight-Ashbury, so after we located them,  we found a nearby park to sit and enjoy our meal.  Yet another wonderful meal!  
Gosh, this post has been mostly about food- we sure love to eat, especially when we're on vacation!  This was our first trip with Jennifer and Dan- we had such a good time, we're looking forward to the next one!  Hmmm... where should we go next?!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad!

It is an annual family tradition- we celebrate Jason's dad's birthday together by releasing balloons and having dinner together at Yoshino's.  If you'd like to read about the significance of this day, please click here:  Dad's Birthday .  We had a wonderful time together... It has been 4 years... Some days, it feels like it was long ago, and other days, it feels like it just happened.  We still miss Dad so much... Happy Birthday, Dad!