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. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Our Flower Girl Got Married!

Jason and I got married 14 years ago... A few weeks ago, our flower girl got married!  Michelle is Jason's cousin's daughter, and we were so happy we got to celebrate her wedding at Fortino Winery in Gilroy on Oct. 19.  It was a wonderful day and the wedding itself was beautiful.  Here are some pictures (a lot of them were taken by Jason's cousin, Brad).

 Here's Jason's cousin, Cheryl, and her kids: Andrey, Stephanie, Michelle, her new husband, Chago, and Cheryl

The next generation of Penners (missing Noah, who got the stomach flu the day of the wedding)

Grace danced like a maniac and was on the dance floor non-stop.  It was the first time we saw her really go all out!  That girl loves to dance- who would've thought, lol?!

That night, our kids wanted to spend time with their cousins, so they stayed over at Brad and Terri's home.  Jason and I stayed behind to help clean up and then we headed to stay at Aunt Gwen and Uncle Gary's rental home in Aptos.  The next day, the family headed to the beach, just steps away from the rental home.  It took much of the morning before the fog cleared up, but that didn't stop us.  We all sat on the beach and hung out together.  It was such a wonderful day of catching up and relaxing.  The kids weren't phased in the least about the cold ocean water- they body surfed, swam, and played in the sand.  We saw tons of dolphins swimming through the area!

We are blessed that Jason's family is very intentional about staying in touch.  Can't wait until the family gets together again, hopefully this next summer!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Happy 6th Birthday, Jedi Jeremy!

There's something about Jeremy turning 6 that makes me feel emotional- the number 6 just feels so much more "big boy" to me.  Sigh... My BABY just turned 6!

It feels like we celebrated all weekend.  First up was his birthday dinner and by special request, we headed to the Old Spaghetti Factory.  Jen and Dan were able to join us, too.  The waiters sang, "Happy Birthday" to him and he beamed with all the attention on him.  It makes me think of years prior when our shy Jeremy would hide behind me whenever any attention was on him...  
 Ever since last year, Jeremy knew he wanted a Star Wars themed party this year.  Realizing my own time limitations, I relented and decided to have his party at Skywalk, a trampoline area.  He got to invite his closest friends and a few friends from school.  It is a huge blessing that his closest friends are boys who have been in his life for as long as he can remember!  The boys had a blast jumping and running around.  I was still able to incorporate some Star Wars party ideas (love Pinterest!).  

I don't feel like I have enough words to express how much I love our kids.  Jeremy fills my heart- he is endearing, goofy, inquisitive, funny, silly, caring, and intelligent... I love to hear him read, love to hear his curious and innocent questions, love to hear his laughter, love to snuggle with him... I am so proud to be his Mama! More importantly, even though he's 6 now, he is still a Mama's boy, hahaha!