Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2013: A Year in Review

Hello all! I hope the past year's events have been good to you or at least you've been able to use the power of prospective to see the positive in the challenges. As some may have noticed I've been MIA on this blog for the past year despite my intentions of, oh what was the quote, "hopefully more posts in 2013". Hahaha! It's good to have intentions I guess, even if they are a bit ambitious. So let's catch up, shall we?

This past year has brought many big changes for our family, and of course, lots of adjustment to all this new change. For the most part it's all been good, but as with any change there is bound to be some hard work and even struggle while everyone finds their new groove.

The biggest change for our family this year has been the expansion of our family. In my last post, almost a year ago (yikes!), I was ready to pop, and well a few days after that was written I went into labor and our sweet Asa was born at home with his elated brother, Papi, and fabulous birth team there to welcome him into this world. It was truly an amazing, wonderful and perfect day. One of my happiest moments of 2013 (besides meeting our beautiful Asa) was seeing the joy and excitement on Ori's face when I announced that he had a brother. His expression was priceless and one that will forever be etched in my memory bringing me joy every time I think about it. So incredibly sweet, as has it been to watch their relationship grow over the past year. But even with all the joy there has been struggle as we all work to find our new normal and get through the intensity of the first year of baby's life.

Welcoming Asa

Another very happy moment in 2013 was watching my oldest daughter marry her love in June. Watching her make a family of her choosing that so obviously has love and respect as a foundation makes this mama very happy for her daughter and incredibly proud. (Wiping away happy tears:~)

In other 2013 news, Ori graduated preschool and started Kindergarten. This has been one of the harder transitions for us this year. Not that it hasn't gone well, Ori is doing great in school and has made lots of good friends. And as far as schools go we really like the community and teachers and are generally happy with it. But also as schools go, there is a mourning of the loss of freedom, imagination, play and self driven learning that happens when kids have the opportunity to be curious and explore THEIR interests as opposed to those of the standards and the class. Honestly, kindergarten has been exhausting for all of us. Six hours a day, five days a week following someone else's schedule is too much for a five year old. Unfortunately we don't have the choice for a half day K schedule in our school district. So we are doing our best to get through it and focus on the positives, and are keeping an open mind for alternatives should we decide something else would suit our needs better. It's a learning experience for all of us.

First day of Kindergarten

Although the school thing has been hard, nothing has been harder this year than being far away from family in their time of need. Both our families are a plane ride away and there have been family members on both sides that have suffered from debilitating health issues. Talk about stressful. There is really nothing harder than feeling helpless when a loved one is suffering.  But we do what we can and have made every effort to be there for them as much as financially possible. That said, I'm wishing for health and peace for them in the new year. Let's hope it works!

Well this pretty much sums up our year. Lots of change, lots of adjusting to new things, lots of growth, lots of learning, and lots and lots of love. I wouldn't do anything differently but am hoping for a more relaxed 2014:~)

Peace All!


Monday, February 18, 2013

Preparing for Birth

We are almost there! For the last month or so I've been manically nesting, cleaning, gathering birth supplies, and organizing absolutely everything, both physically and emotionally. It's awesome how Mother Nature takes over and prepares a space for a new little being to come into the world!

This weekend we got the birth tub. Yay! Papi and Ori handled the physical labor of setting it up while I read off the instructions on how to do so. Go Team!

After the tub was set up, Ori decided that the only thing I was missing to make my birth experience complete was a bath toy. So he made me one out of legos. So sweet. He's going to be such a good big brother. He even made the baby a rattle out of paper cups that he filled with bottle caps and taped together and decorated, along with a welcome sign today. He's very excited to meet his new little sibling:~)

Now that the important stuff is done...we wait. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Official (And Very Late) Announcement

I know it's been quite awhile since I posted here, months actually. I think about posting all the time. I've even written numerous entries in my head. But alas, my creative energies are focused elsewhere these days. Ten beanie points to anyone who can guess where that energy is going:~) Yep! I've taken up stick figure art! Hahaha! Ok, just joshin', that's Ori's art. He drew that about a year ago right after asking us if we would "grow him a baby". And, you guessed it, we obliged and are currently growing him a baby. (We try to give him everything he wants. Hahaha!) In all seriousness, I wish it was that easy, but as reality would have it, it was quite a long and bumpy journey to get to this point. But here we thankfully are, 32 weeks prego, excited, and very happy. Yay!
Here's to welcoming more love (and hopefully more posts;~) into our lives in 2013!

Happy New Year All!
From one very happy big brother and his Mommy and Papi

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Look Mom, No Training Wheels!

He did it!!! After about 15 minutes fumbling with trying to ride his new "big boy" bike with training wheels, Ori said, "I'm ready to take these things off." A running push from Mommy and he was off. Yep, that easy! After about an hour he was getting himself started and riding like a pro. Amazing! I definitely credit the balance bike for his ease in making this transition. Oh that, and some motivation from seeing his buddy Kai riding his bike without training wheels. Go Kai! The best part of the whole experience was watching Ori's face light up and hear him say, "I'm so happy of myself"-his exact words. Check him out.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ori Soars into 4

Ok, I know I'm really late posting this, but better late then never. At least it's still July, right? Between having our fabulous niece out to visit, and traveling ourselves to see family, it's been a rather busy, albeit fun, month. 
So here it is, Ori's 4th birthday post. Check out the happiness on that face. He was over-the-moon to have a dairy-free chocolate cake on his birthday. He will tell you that his favorite part about birthdays is the cake, yet he always has to scrape off the buttery frosting and only have a small piece so the dairy in the cake doesn't upset his tummy. But today was his day to indulge, so I whipped him up his very own non-dairy chocolate cake. Delish! 
But this cake wasn't his only one, oh no, in the long held tradition of kids who have holiday birthdays, he had yet another cake (dairy-free also of course;~) for his birthday party the weekend following his actual birthday so he could share the joy of turning four with all his friends. This year, for the first time, he asked for a party and specified that he wanted a kite party. So that's what the little dude got. And despite the cold, foggy, San Francisco summer weather (and oddly timed sprinklers), it actually turned out to be a perfect breezy kite flying kinda day. Thanks Mother Nature! 

The party was held at Aptos Playground here in the city. It has plenty of  open space and is high up so you really get a good kite-flying breeze. Plus, it has two large picnic tables, bathrooms, and play structures. I ordered kite kits which the kiddos got to decorate using fabric pens and glitter glue. The kites were on the small side but were sturdy, easy to put together and actually flew. They were also probably easier for the little ones to handle, so the size did have it's benefits. In all, it was a really fun day for all, there is really nothing quite like the the happiness flying a kite brings. So simple, yet so satisfying:~) I'm glad my little man had a great 4th birthday!

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake and Frosting
This recipe is adapted from Ori's Papaw's famous Screwball Cake recipe. Thanks Papaw!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine and mix together:
1 1/2 Cup Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Salt
1/4 Cup Cocoa

Make 3 holes in above mixture and add:
1 T Vanilla
1/3 Cup Canola Oil
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar

Pour 1 Cup Cold Water over all

Mix well and pour into a 9" square or round baking pan.

Bake for 30-45 minutes.

Makes one 9"x9" cake. For a double layer cake as shown above double the recipe.

Chocolate Frosting

In a medium bowl sift together:
3 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Cup Cocoa Powder

Blend in:
3/4 Cup dairy-free margarine or non-hydrogenated shortening
1/3 Cup and 1 T Soy Milk
2 t Vanilla 

Melt in a double boiler or microwave:
2 ozs. Dark Chocolate

Beat into frosting until smooth and spreadable.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Great Outdoors

As a child, going on vacation meant we would all pile in the RV my parents had borrowed from my grandparents and head off for several weeks each summer to camp at a state or national park.  For a family of seven this, I imagine, was the most economical (and probably the only) way we could go on a family vacation. But regardless of the reasons why we vacationed like this (you know, as apposed to taking all five of their children on long flights to places like Disney World), most importantly, we always loved it and had a great time. Some of my fondest childhood memories are from those trips all cramped inside the RV, only to be set free into the great outdoors to play in rivers and creeks, and hike to waterfalls, and climb enormous rocks and trees. It gave my siblings and I a sense of freedom and independence that we couldn't find within the confines of our carefully planned suburban community made up of asphalt, concrete, manicured yards and stucco houses. To this day the smell of pine trees and campfire in the crisp morning air gives me a sense of peace like no other. So, as you can imagine, I was more than excited to share this experience with my own kiddo. 
So last week, along with four other families, Ori and I took our first camping trip to Samuel P. Taylor State Park, a sweet little redwood shaded campground with a creek running through, and only about an hour drive North from San Francisco. We loaded up the Prius with a tent, sleeping bags and thermarest mats, cooking gear and enough food to last way longer than the two nights we were planning to be there, swim suits, extra clothes, a bike and a scooter, a net, bucket, shovel and a magnifying glass to check out all the interesting little critters, and we were off. In the next three days Ori spent every waking moment in pure bliss running around with all his buddies, climbing tree stumps, playing hide and seek in the redwood forest, splashing in the creek, catching fry (baby fishies), riding bikes, and roasting marshmallows on a stick. He was on top of the world to say the least. In fact he had such an amazing time he begged and pleaded and cried when we had to leave:~( And all I could say is, "I know little man, I'm sad to leave too, but we will do it again soon." 
Here's the photo recap of our trip:

Climbing with his buddies.

Reaching new heights!

Ridin' n scootin'.

Racing leaves down stream, and kicking back at the end of a fun filled day enjoying his first s'more:~)