Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

Jeremy (6) and Grace (9)
 Every gingerbread kit we buy every year ends up being too much for the kids- too much time to build, too much time to eat! We decided to do something smaller this year.  This train was perfect and the kids needed minimal help putting it together.  (What a goofy kid Jeremy is!)

At our church's Christmas Eve Candlelight service
 Annual Christmas book from Di Dao
 Christmas morning stockings

   Stockings at Grandma's house
 Grandma blesses us with so much!

I had to document Grandma's Clam Chowder- absolutely delicious and I look forward to it every year!

 The family
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter Performances

Jeremy has never been much of a performer, so I definitely needed to document these 2 occasions!  He is a part of our school's after school program, and they held a "Winter Showcase" this past week.  His age group performed, "Hoe Down Throw Down" and he actually knew all the moves!  Too cute!  (We recorded a video of it, but it'll take too long to download here).
Jeremy's second winter performance was at our church.  There was a different format for the children's performances this year- rather than the children's program taking up an entire Sunday service, each week leading up to Christmas, different age groups took turns presenting.  This was Jeremy's last year in the 3yr.-Kindergarten age group!  Every year, that age group sings the same songs- Grace sang the same songs each year she was in it.  We're ready to see something different next year! 
  (Jason forgot to take a picture of the whole group- there were definitely more kids than just these boys!)

Grace's age group performed several weeks earlier (I'm actually the one who put the presentation together, but on the day of the kids presented, I was sick at home with strep!)  Jason didn't get any pictures of her group's performance.

Her second performance of the season was her very first orchestra concert.  Jason and I were impressed that there were about 50 kids in the beginning orchestra, and about 35 of them were violinists.  They did great- it's rather impressive that Grace's orchestra teacher was able to direct so many students!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

I love Thanksgiving!  Jason's mom makes the BEST Thanksgiving meal and we haven't let her make any changes over the years!
 I am thankful for so many things and the top of the list would be my family!
 On Thanksgiving Day, we went to our church's first Turkey Trot.  Aaron organized it and all participants brought items for our church's food pantry.  Jeremy and I walked/jogged 2 miles, and Grace and Jason ran the 5K. 

With Jason's family's Thanksgiving held earlier in the week,  we still wanted to make the actual day "special."  I decided to try making my very first pie crust from scratch, and Jason decided to make homemade noodles for turkey noodle soup. 
They were both labors of love- I have utmost respect for people who can so easily make pies!  I had such a hard time.  Luckily, it tasted alright!  Jason also learned some things about making noodles for next year.

I'm glad we got to spend a good few days together as a family because Friday rolled around and I got sick- with strep!!!!  Last year, I missed 8 school days for sickness, much of it due to strep.  Actually, I got strep at the same time this year as I did last year!  I was able to convince the doctor not to give me amoxicillin, since 2 rounds of that made no effect on me last year.  We went straight to the "Z-pack" and I was back at work by Wednesday.  Jason also got strep for the 2nd time this year and missed a day of work.  It was definitely an interesting week for our household- the first time we've both been sick since we've had kids.  If anything, it made me feel even more grateful to have a partner to go through life's ups and downs with.  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New Glasses

Students at my school get health screenings every year, and we received a letter from our nurse informing us that Jeremy didn't pass the vision screening.  We've had our suspicions for some time, but every time we've "tested" him, Jeremy seems to be able to read whatever we put in front of him, at any distance.
We made an appointment to go see Uncle/Dr. Aaron to get an official diagnosis. The assistant had him cover up his left eye and read out some large letters on the wall using only his right eye.  "I can't see them," he says.  "What?  Stop messing around, Jeremy.  Just read the letters," I say.  The assistant had him switch eyes and he read the same line perfectly, and continued to read every line down to some very small print.  She had him switch back, and sure enough, he couldn't see the letters.  I was floored!
After talking to Aaron, it turns out that Jeremy has major astigmatism in one eye, so much so, that the other eye has been doing most of the vision for both eyes.  Aaron said that his two glass lenses would be significantly different to meet the needs of each eye- one would be thicker and the other would be thinner.  I was sad when Aaron said Jeremy would need glasses.  In a sense, it was life-changing news because from now on, he'll have to always wear them.  Hopefully, contact lenses will be an option for him when he is older.  I was also worried about how kids would respond to him- kids can be really mean!  He asked me, "Will you still think I'm handsome when I get glasses?"  I melted- the answer is, of course, without a doubt! 
When we took Jeremy to get his glasses, the very first pair he picked was orange and blue- our school colors!  I insisted that he try on more frames, about 12 in all.  In the end, he still chose the very first pair he had tried on.  I am so glad that both the lenses were made to look the same!   
 Here is my very sweet and handsome cutie wearing his new glasses!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pearl Jam

Jason's favorite music group is Pearl Jam.  He has told me for years that when they went on their next tour, we'd be going to see them.  Well, they announced their tour dates in July and Jason excitedly bought four tickets.  He typed the event into his phone and has been counting down the days.  Since the event was following Thanksgiving, he had a hard time figuring out what to do with the other two tickets.  This past Thursday, he tried to sell his tickets on StubHub, only to find out that the concert wasn't the Saturday following Thanksgiving, it was the Saturday before!  We were thrown into a frenzy, trying to find childcare, Jason giving up his Fresno State football game ticket, we had to find a hotel, I was supposed to be teaching the BLAST kids during church on Sunday, and Saturday also happened to be the funeral of a very special friend, Hanh, who passed away last week from stomach cancer... It was a stressful few days!  In the end, I don't even know how it all worked out!  On a random thought, Jason suggested that I ask my cousin, Quyen, if he would be interested to come with us.  Quyen lives in L.A. and I haven't seen him in almost a year!  I texted him and he responded right away that he was available and thrilled to get to go.  Jason's mom watched our kids, we found a hotel, I was able to get someone to help me teach BLAST, and I was able to say goodbye to Hanh... Jason drove to L.A. in 3 hours (there were no traffic jams, a shock for the L.A. area!).  We were there in plenty of time since Pearl Jam didn't start until almost an hour after the time listed on the tickets.  They were worth the wait- they played for 3 hours!  I was incredibly impressed!  They played 33 songs, had amazing transitions, and great balance between their heavier/lighter sounds...  Eddie Vedder interacted with the audience (one of my biggest concert pet peeves is when musicians just sing and don't acknowledge the crowd).  In the end, we didn't get to our hotel until 1am.  We got to sleep-in and headed out for a nice breakfast before going back home.  I had a great time, and Jason had an awesome time!  I love that we get to do things like that together!
We stopped off at the Tulare outlets and got back in town just in time to head to our church's Thanksgiving dinner.
(The kids made pumpkin crafts at the Thanksgiving dinner.  Silly boys, Levi and Jeremy found a different use for their pumpkins!)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hurricanes Flag Football

Grace is involved in so many things, we often feel bad for Jeremy.  He ends up being the tag-along.  The opportunity came up for him to play non-competitive flag football.  The league was only 5 weeks long, so we decided to let him try it.  Jason ended up being one of the coaches, so it was fun to watch the two of them on the field.  Let's just say there was a lot of chaos on the field, since it was the first time these boys have ever played.  For our first exposure to this sport, Jeremy really enjoyed it, and our family had fun cheering him on.

 Our kids are so lucky to always have the support of Grandma! :)

Go "Diego," Go!

Jason has been slowly getting back into a regular running routine.  A few weeks ago, he came home from his Saturday run and said he'd just run 10 miles.  I told him, "It's crazy to me that you'd run that far and not sign up for the Two Cities half marathon!"  Well, a few days later, one of his training friends called him up and said that his cousin had hurt himself.  Jason could take over "Diego's" bib if he was interested.  How many people can decide on a Wednesday to run in a half marathon on Sunday?  Well, Jason did!  The kids and I went out to cheer him on near the finish line.  He beat last year's time by running 1:45, and even placed 7th overall in Diego's 20-24 year old division.  To say that I'm proud of him is a huge understatement!
"Annie RN" and "Diego" (Randy also didn't plan to run the half marathon, but took over a coworker's bib on Thursday!  He has been one of Jason's biggest supporters!)

May the Horse be with You!

I'm not going to lie- I'm proud of that caption:  May the horse be with you!!!  Get it?  For Halloween this year, Jeremy went as Obi Wan Kenobi (Star Wars Jedi) and Grace wanted to be a horse...
Jeremy has known for quite some time that he wanted to dress up as something from Star Wars.  I was going to "make" his costume, but Jason convinced me that it'd be much easier, take less time, (and was  cheaper) to just buy the costume from Target.  Ok, that convinced me.  That left Grace's costume... Let me be clear- Grace wanted to be a HORSE for Halloween.  She pointed out to me that every Halloween costume she's ever had went along with whatever them her birthday party was.  So, since she went horse back riding, she wanted to be a horse.  I wasn't sure I could pull off making a horse costume, so I borrowed a cow girl outfit from a friend as a backup.  Grace ended up wearing both on Halloween.  We went to our church's carnival (Grace's costume won 1st place in the costume contest) and then trick-or-treated with the Wiens family in the neighborhood near our church. 

Happy 9th Birthday, Grace!

Is it possible?!  Grace is 9?!  I can't believe it!  For her 9th birthday, Grace knew exactly what she wanted to do to celebrate.  She has been wanting to ride a horse for the longest time!  A friend of mine gave me a Groupon for a horseback riding lesson for two, and I called ML Performance Horses to ask if it'd be possible to bring along another two kids.  They were very accommodating.  Grace invited her school friend, Bella, and her closest friends, Charlotte and Violet.  They learned some horse riding basics and then went on a trail ride.  It was fun watching them have such a great time (thanks to Christa, for some of the horseback riding pictures!).

 Grace and her horse, Boo
 After horseback riding, we took the girls for frozen yogurt. 

The day didn't end there.  Since her first birthday, we've visited the pumpkin patch every year on her actual birthday.  Despite an already busy afternoon, Grace still didn't want to break with tradition, so we headed to the pumpkin patch next.
Our family tradition has been that when it's your birthday, you get to choose what you want for dinner.  I don't even know how many years it has been, but we headed once again to the Old Spaghetti Factory.  Her favorite is still the Spaghetti with White Clam Sauce and she licks the plate clean every time!  It was such a full day, and even that describes Grace- always busy!
Grace fills our lives with so much- she is sweet, loving, thoughtful, intelligent... She continues to amaze us with her drive and determination, her willingness to try new things, and her adventurous spark.  We love her immensely and are so thankful to have such a wonderful daughter.