Friday, February 26, 2016

New Heights

"On Belay?"

"Belay on!"


Dawna and Lawrence have recently embarked on a new adventure: they have joined the recreational rock climbing team at The Peak (City Beach recently changed ownership). 

As you can imagine, daddy is super excited and proud of both of them. On the first night on the team, Jon left work early to come watch... unfortunately, his bus driver was... creative, and somehow took a detour past Stanford Campus from Mountain View in order to get to Newark (trust me, that doesn't make sense...) and poor Jon ended up spending 2 1/2 hours on the bus and missed all the climbing. 

Fortunately, I was there with them and took a couple pictures to send him: 
 Lawrence has really stepped up to the challenge and completes top rope routes and boulder problems every week.
Dawna is always sore and tired after practice and proudly sports calloused and torn up hands! She recently became belay certified also. 

I love that their coaches teach the kids the importance of being responsible for their own safety and the safety of their friends. Of course they have a great time, but all the kids know when to be serious and safe.  All the kids on the team are confident and empowered 
The climbing fun has overflowed into other aspects of our daily life, like building with Legos. Here, Kai Lan is belaying her friend up the treacherous Duplo route. It's at least a 5.11. :) Though I'm not sure that dental floss is rated for their weight ;)


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Thursday, February 18, 2016

They get it from MY side!

Naturally, the person you marry will have many wonderful traits that you hope will be passed on to your children. In our family, I love to see many good things in my children that I can attribute to their daddy.  Dawna's intelligence, Lawrence's good looks, and Naomi's grit and determination, to name a few.

But tonight... Tonight I celebrate one great trait that I take all the credit for giving to my kids: my way with words (although those of you reading my blog are like, Wat??)

Tonight, all of my awesome academic kids were also award-winning articulate and artistic young authors!
 In the kindergarten age group, Xochitl took home first place for her story, "In a Pickle," in which one small jar journeys through fear and uncertainty, but finally finds her place and purpose.
 In the second grade category, Lawrence scored second place for his story, "Xavior Explores the Moon," in which one young earthling teaches moon aliens about what it means to be friends.
 And in the fourth grade category, Dawna raced passed the competition with her story, "The 5k," which tells of a grueling distance race run by a young girl (if that story sounds familiar, you may be having a Deja-Vu moment from this post from last Thanksgiving).
 Yeah, it was make-your-mama-proud time tonight! Not only because of the winning (which is always nice) but also because of the great effort all my kids put into their books. They were careful and meticulous, paying great attention to detail in the wording and in the illustrations. Many extra weekend and vacation hours were put into these books. I highly recommend them; particularly if you can get a live reading from the author :)

You can find autographed copies of all these books at the Lincoln Elementary School library, or at the Newark Branch of the Alameda County Library (cool, right?? Now three of my kids have made it into the library before me... perfect!!).

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Oh what do you do on a Four-Day Weekend?!?!

The better question is: What DON'T you do on a four-day weekend! NUSD gave the teachers a work day Friday, and Monday was president's day, so we had a fun stay-cation style weekend, including...

Friday at the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose!
Xochitl walked the most laps of any kindergarten student in this year's Walk-a-Thon, so she won herself a pass to the museum (the rest of us had to pay...big time... not my favorite kind of place in that the parents have to pay the $13 entry fee to watch your kids play all day, but it is a nice place anyway...and PS, my kids would not TOUCH the "organic" ketchup at the food shed. Please bring on the emulsifiers)

I digress... we spent a fun-filled five hours there exploring every inch of the place! Overall, the favorite places were the water play area and the giant bubble place. Other enjoyable moments included face painting (the kids paint their own faces while looking in a mirror) the play food pizza restaurant, complete with menus featuring pizza with broccoli (Congratulations, San Franciso, you ruined pizza!), and an early childhood development intern from Stanford doing research on language acquisition! Poor daddy had to go to work, but we got to play!

Which brings us to...Friday night sleepover! Nana and Papa offered to take the kids for a sleepover! Sweet! We dropped off the kids in Fremont and then went to set up for our massive stake event, then went out for a massive steak at Texas Roadhouse! We were going to go out to a movie, but ended up renting Bridge of Spies and watched at home (Great film, by the way...).

After a great sleep-in with no kids around in the morning, we spent Saturday getting ready for the stake 50th anniversary kickoff party. (I know it's not a great picture up there, but that's a 3ft. 5-0 outlined with Christmas lights, filled in with cupcakes. So cool!) Jon and I are on the planning committee and were in charge of some entertainment for the dance... I mean... party with dancing. We created a pretty awesome crossword of stake presidents and wards of the Fremont stake, a giant word search hiding the names of 100 bishops over the last 50 years, and also brought along our giant Jenga game we made last Thanksgiving.
All things considered, it was a great party. Around 200 in attendance, plenty of yummy goods and live music. I provided a "historical anecdote" and a song from each decade throughout the night. There were not very many young couples there (as I expected). I tried (and failed) to get a babysitter for the night. But at the very end, Becca and Isaac showed up. I don't know why, but I was SO happy to see them--my stressed spirits just lifted when Becca let me pull her around and show her all the stuff we made for the party.  Anyway, they made it in time for a couple dances and a great game of Jenga! 
 My awesome ninja kids stayed out of sight for the entire evening, watching movies in my mom's seminary room. Dawna had her Chrome book and texted me from time to time asking for snacks and desserts... it was fun.  They got to come out at the end to help "clean up," aka, build with the giant Jenga blocks.

For all my stubborn antagonism about the "50th Anniversary" of the stake, I have really come to appreciate the saints that settled this area and worked so hard for the early Fremont Stake. In preparing for the activity, I read (several times) the book: Let This be Zion.
I learned how much the saints had to sacrifice and work to build their own buildings with their own hands and their own resources. They were tough. 

 My family is well represented in the book, since my parents moved to Fremont over 30 years ago. One of the earliest memories of church service is my dad being in the stake presidency. I got to know President "Grandpa Turkey" Taylor and Bro. Stewart very well over the decade my dad served with them. Pres. Taylor later sealed Jon and I in the Oakland Temple and and Bro./Dr. Stewart is still the only dentist office I've ever gone to. We were and are greatly blessed by my dad's service; and I was blessed to have the assignment to learn about my family's place in the history book of our stake.
 Monday, Jon and Lynn headed out to New Melones to go climbing and the kids and I cleaned up the house and then went to the brand new NewPark AMC theater to see King Fu Panda 3! Whew. Good times on the weekend... Time to face up to school.

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