Apr 30, 2010

He's Writing! I think this is good....

Hunter is now writing phonetically. He tries to sound out words and write them, and everywhere we go, he's constantly trying to figure out words and signs and what they say. He has finally caught on to reading. While proud, this has made for some interesting moments in the last couple of weeks.

While Tone was in Tibet, we got a book called, "Lily's Purple Plastic Purse" from the school book order. While I bought it for Ainsley, Hunter also enjoys it. It's about a little girl who brings a purple plastic purse to school and is very distracting. So her teacher takes it until the end of the day. Lily loves her teacher, but decides that he isn't so great after all. She writes him a mean note and sticks it in his bag.

But then her teacher is as nice as ever, and she feels really bad about her note, and apologizes and writes him a nice note. It's a super cute book, and my little description just isn't giving it justice. Anyhow, Hunter was apparently captivated by the new ideas in this book. He had had a hard day playing with friends, and I had sent him to his room. When I went to bed that night, I found a note tacked under my light switch in my bedroom. It said:

"Bad Mommy. You are 2 years old."

With a picture of me (very fat belly so it was not mistaken for anyone else), and I had a mad, frowny face on. This must have been the worst insult he could think of - calling me the same age as Ainsley. Though I found the note humorously funny, I also knew just where he got the idea from. I marched into his room, and demanded to know why he wrote it. What followed was a good conversation of why I discipline and that it's out of love, not because I don't like him. Anyhow, right after that, he apologized and felt very sorry and drew me his very best robot picture. Because if you're a little boy, robot pictures are the best, you know. I did not take a picture of the note, because we made a big show of throwing it in the garbage.

He also has been copying words and drawing monster trucks and tacking them to bulletin board in his room. One of them I found particularly funny. Let me explain. We have a couple of friends that we like to play games with, and they bought me a game called "Fact or Crap" because they thought the title was so funny. Well, we played it with friends and left it on the coffee table the next day. Hunter had no idea what it said, but he copied it anyways. He named a monster truck that apparently. Then he tacked it up right smack dab in the middle. Oops!

But my little guy has a soft heart. He found one of his old birthday cards that had the words "super amazing" on it. Remembering that calling me 2 years old wasn't not so nice, he wrote me this paper yesterday. It says:

"For a super-amazing 100 year old Mom."

That's me with the black face. He was very proud and gave it to me with a big hug and the sweetest smile. I didn't tell him calling someone old wasn't so nice either. If you're five, counting to the biggest number you can is a great thing! Oh, but I think this one made me laugh even more. I gave him the biggest hug back.

Apr 21, 2010

A Taste of Tibet

This really isn't my blog entry to post. But this is my taste of Tibet, lived vicariously through my husband, who just returned from 12 days in Tibet and China. He was visiting one of his best friends, Josh, who has been living in Chengdu, China for the last year. Chengdu is on the border of Tibet, so they decided to also visit Lhasa. Tone and I take trips every year to someplace unique in the world to experience new cultures and places. This year, we had planned on China and Tibet, but things turned out differently for me, and so this year I was only able to "travel" there through the pictures and stories brought back.

If you take the train from Chengdu to Lhasa, it's a 42 hour ride. Tone and Josh spend the whole time in a smelly, stinky, loud sleeper car with views like this out the window. Steep desert mountains, broken occasionally by the appearance of a small village made of mud and concrete houses. The ground was still pretty frozen, but apparently the tracks are an engineering feat, with water pipes frozen underneath, so in the Spring thaw, the heavy tracks won't sink into the mud. At it's highest point going over the pass before dropping down into Lhasa, it's around 15,000 feet up!Upon arriving, they visited Patola palace where the Dali Llama used to live. He has now been forced to live outside Tibet and now it's just a museum and place of worship. At several thousand feet up, they suggest you don't even try to climb the many stairs until you are acclimated to the altitude. Tone and Josh, of course, did.When I visit different cultures, what fascinates me the most is the people. The clash between culture and government, ancient and modern, church and state, and the intermixing of the two. Here is a man with a prayer wheel, making his circuit around the palace, with guards marching in the foreground.The palace is a sacred place with people coming from miles around and prostrating themselves before it.
Here is a little Tibetan boy. Isn't he just adorable? The day after Tone and Josh arrived in Tibet, there was a massive earthquake close to the border with many casualties. People crowded the temple and palace to make their circuits, praying for the victims they had known.

The day after visiting the palace and temple, they traveled far up the mountain to see a high water lake. Tibetan culture was seen on the way with colorful prayer flags put out in certain places.
Nomad tents could also be seen on the way up. At the summit, they were at 5190 meters, or just under 18,000 feet. I would have passed out I think!
The lake was still partially frozen in places, and there are pictures of Josh walking out on it.

And no trip to Tibet would be complete without a little yak riding! This picture of the two of them on the yaks has to be one of the funniest I have ever seen.
Lunch could be bought at the lake for the whopping cost of 50 cents. Tibetans drink yak butter tea. Tone says it tastes just like that. Strong tea with melted, fatty butter in it. Sounds nasty to me, but when in Rome......
Being the smart boys that they are, they skipped the train ride on the way back and took an airplane back to Chengdu. Back in Chengdu, they visited a panda breeding reserve. One of the largest of it's kind in the world. Tone took tons of pictures here and they all looked so adorable.

And don't forget about the Red Panda, another type of endangered panda that lives in China.
All in all, the boys seemed to have an enjoyable time. I'm going to be honest, my idea of a vacation involves more warm sandy beaches, but being able to see and experience cultures like this is just so amazing! Once again, Tone was able to fly first class for free to China and back, and enjoy more of the wonderful people in the world. We are so fortunate that Tone has the job he has and allows us the opportunity to do this.
In my experience in seeing the many places I have, it always takes me off guard, how fortunate I truly am in my relatively large house with a yard, two cars, clean water, and excellent education available. Then I look around and I see many differences between the way I live and the ways others around me live in the world. Basic differences, such as cleanliness, personal space, faux paus, clothing, politeness, education, the way I speak or look at a person, all vary so very much. My first instinct is to think, "how rude and ignorant!" But then I'm humbled because I understand that they often see me the same way and think, "how rude and ignorant!" All around the world, people are different, not wrong. It's in the traveling that an understanding emerges, that though I may be fortunate, I am not better or more right. That culture is beautiful in the many forms it takes, and though I may not ever understand it, I can always appreciate it.

Apr 13, 2010

Baby update and an odd photo

Here is a quick baby girl update. I had another ultrasound today, and she is still doing wonderful. Being that my placenta is in the front, they aren't able to ever get a good photo of her face on the 4D ultrasound. I guess we'll meet her when we meet her. The tumor (teratoma) is still unchanged and not growing and she is showing no signs of any stress. They did for the first time give me a photo of the tumor which I thought was interesting. If you are so inclined, I thought I would share it with you....
It is growing just below her tailbone. Though this seems odd, it is the most common type of tumor in fetuses. It's not that big. It was this size when they first saw it at 19 weeks when she was a quite a bit smaller. So at that point, it did seem pretty big. But as she grows, and it does not, it is not as serious in proportion.

Other things we could see was that she was winking her eyes, sucking, had her fist on her cheek, was head down, and had a lot of hair! Yes, after two bald babies, this one has enough that you could actually see it floating and coming off her head in strands like someone actually was combing it. Interesting. I blame it on the steroids I had to take last month. While they didn't give me a beard, maybe they gave her hair???? Ainsley will be so jealous!

Apr 12, 2010

Perfecting the ponytail

Being that my sisters and I all have thick curly hair (actually this is an understatement, we have THICK, CURLY hair), and my son does too, I never thought there would be issues with my daughter and uh, no hair. Ainsley spent her whole first year of life totally bald, and when it did start to come in, she got a decided mullet. That's right. All seriousness in the front and party in the back. The back is actually getting quite long and it's curly (but fine like Daddy). The sides are still short and stick straight. In the morning her hair is like Einstein and frizzed out in the back and hanging limp in the front. So I spend my days figuring out the best way to hide this. Pig tails work well, but she has decided she doesn't love them. So I have moved on to the pony tail. However, I still have to sweep all that short, stick-straight stuff to the side with one of my barrettes. They stay all day with the non-slip grip I use. She's pretty cute this way or at least presentable.

Ainsley is feeling out that ponytail, and showing the serious front. I did have to trim her bangs recently. They finally got long enough to fall in her eyes.
And just to prove those genes are there, here is a picture of Hunter at 18 months. This kid has some thick, coarse hair that grows like crazy. I'm always trimming that kid's hair!
Hmmm, I wonder how baby girl #2 will turn out?

Apr 9, 2010

Around the world...not me.

So husband is on our annual trip to somewhere cool in the world. I am holding down the fort at home this year due to fact that I am 7 plus months pregnant. He is visiting a missionary friend in Chengdu, China which is close to the border of Tibet. Tomorrow they will be embarking on a 44 hour train ride which will take them to Llasa, Tibet. That's right, I said Tibet. Here is a brief photo of the scenery they will see on the way. The track goes up to 15,000 feet and apparently they supply oxygen masks to help with acclimating the breathing on the way up. Awesome, no? And once there, they will be visiting sights such as this magnificent palace. Tibet is supposed to be a place of breathtaking scenery.
This is my daily scenery. Beautiful children, but the same runny noses and PB and J as always for 12 days until he gets home and shares his photographs with me. Oh well, there is always next year. He did call me on Skype last night. It was morning in Chengdu and he had arrived the night before. I will say that a big perk for us with his job is that he rode United Airlines business class from San Francisco to Bejing, with the personal 20 inch flat screen, ipod port, and lay down bed...for....are you ready for this shocker....free. Yes, free.
I got to enjoy....well, this lovely scenery at home:
Today the kids are running around in costumes and capes. Hunter is in his dragon and cape costume and Ainsley is in his superman and cape costume. She has not allowed me to take it off all day. So we did errands with her still in it. Yes, my children would be the odd ones in the store, thank you. I would have taken a picture, but being the good wifey I am, I allowed Tone to take the good DSLR camera for all that Tibetan scenery.
And last but not least, I forgot Hunter's photo day at school. So this is the photo I received in my school photo packet. Uh, his hair is a mess, he's in an old t-shirt, but at least he's smiling right? I'm gunna say he doesn't quite match that background. Yep, this is my daily scenery and it's probably the most true-to-life photo than any of the other ones that I have dressed him up for.
Ahoy! So I'm on a count down. Twelve days holding down the fort with the kiddos. Personally, they think they are in heaven because I am not cooking. The grocery dinners I bought consist of corn dogs, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, pancake and eggs, corn and green beans. Casseroles and other mixed dishes are my kids specific brand of torture and they get a 2 week break while Daddy's gone. Yay for us!

Apr 5, 2010

Easter and Spring Shoes

Here is my newest set for baby girls. I love this fabric, and it's one of those things where pictures don't do the shoes justice. Whenever Ainsley wore these shoes when she was younger, I got a million compliments. For some reason, I never got around to actually making a set out of them and putting them in my etsy shop.These are my new Zoe shoe. The outer is creme crepe, and the flowers velcro on and off so you can switch the posies for different outfits. A friend asked me to make these for her, and I happened to like them enough to add them to my shop, though I tweaked them slightly for another customer for this end result below.
These shoes might just possibly be my most favorite shoes ever simply because of the color combo. I love grey and pink, and I found just the right grey fabric for the outer. It's men's tailored shirting which adds slight detail and a tailored look to the shoe. Amy Butler fabric in grey and pink lines the sole.
I just thought I would share some pictures of the Easter activities I did with my kids this last week. With all the shoe orders I am cranking out right now, new shoe designs, and Easter, I have been so very busy! Hunter was on Spring Break and it has been delightful having him home all day. Here he is on Easter so delighted! When the kids went to bed Saturday night, they filled their baskets with the things that are wrong with this world. They came up with many many things for me to put on the eggs. The things Jesus came to fix. I read the story of Easter from their Bible story book but stopped at the part when they put Him in the tomb. This is what they woke up to. The cross took those things away. God has forgiven us through the cross. He is risen! He is risen indeed! It was the great surprise for the disciples on Easter morning and hopefully for my children. Actually, they loved it, and it was the perfect object lesson to teach them the true meaning of Easter. I then read the rest of the Easter story to them. PS. We'll do the traditional hunt and eggs later in the day. This is what I want them to see on Easter morning. I no longer do messy plastic grass....I find it for weeks! And sorry for yellow pictures. It's hard to get good ones at 10:00 at night.
Easter morning I made resurrection rolls for breakfast. They were really tasty and easy. And look! The marshmellow that was put inside melts when you cook it, leaving a hollow spot.And last but not least, here is another fuzzy picture of me (because it was taken by Hunter) at 29.5 weeks along after church. I feel like a hippo, but have been told I don't look like one. I beg to differ.

The latest ultrasound on baby girl was wonderful. She is still doing great, and the doctor told me that she will probably let me go until 38 weeks because she is doing so well. So she won't be a preemie and will go to term. I am so relieved! So she should only be in the NICU until she recovers from her surgery and then she can come home. Yay!

Apr 1, 2010

Easter Activities

So I have been mulling over how to make Easter really reflect the true meaning. As it is now, the kids are totally looking forward to the hunt and the prizes they get in their eggs. But I want to make sure that they get the real meaning. Here is my plan for Easter Sunday and this week.

Today (Thursday passover night), we read a children's book on the Easter story while I cooked dinner. The story included passover, and so I had grape juice in the fridge. While I did not do communion with my children as I think they should be older first, I did show them the juice and explain that in "big church" we drink this kind of juice and eat a little bread to remember Jesus and what He did for us. I explained the significance to him in terms he could understand.

I'm not quite sure what to do for tomorrow except read the Easter story again and explain "Good Friday" to Hunter. Ainsley listens to all of it, but the amount she actually understands is questionable.

On Saturday night, we are putting out empty Easter baskets on the table. I am going to have the kids write on black eggs with gel markers "sins" that separate us from God. There will be nothing else in the baskets when they go to bed. In the morning, when they wake up, the black eggs will be gone and a chocolate cross will be there in their places. I decided to buy chocolate crosses instead of bunnies this Easter for this reason. This way the basket has some significance too. I'm not doing the Easter bunny. I will explain how Jesus's death on the cross took our bad things away forever because now we are forgiven and this is the morning that He rose again!

For breakfast we are making resurrection rolls. Inside the rolls you hide a marshmellow, but when they cook, the marshmellow disappears and leaves a hollow spot.

I am again teaching at church, so I will be using the resurrection eggs for Hunter's class.

Of course in the afternoon we will be doing the egg hunt. Nothing really spiritual about that. I do cut out little bunnies though and if you find an egg with a bunny in it, you get a little prize (we're talking cheap dollar store type items). I did this last year, and Hunter LOVED it! It definitely made the hunt more fun.

Anyhow, if you have more ideas, let me know! I am always looking for ways to make the holidays fun, but put the emphasis on the right "thing".