Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yuli and Keith's Wedding - September 20

Now a few words are posted ...

Taipan and Taisim posing and playing before the ceremony. They were ringbearer and flower girl .... I didn't get pics of that because I was helping them down the aisle.

The ceremony - Yuta officiated and was fabulous. I've mentioned before how beautiful everything was - you can see for yourself how nice the setting was. And the weather was perfect too.

From left to right:
cousin Jim, cousin Danny, Uncle & Auntie from Gainesville, Auntie from CA, and cousin Hiro.

Taipan playing with Yuta's bowtie. Yuta just learned how to tie a bowtie the morning of the ceremony ... I tried to figure it out too, but wasn't any help. Taipan wasn't interested in being in photos :-)

Taisim with Mrs. Yuli Fisher!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New York Trip - Hancock, NY September 19

We ended up getting an early afternoon start on our drive to NY last Thursday. I was mentally prepared for a late start, even though I'm typically anxious to get out the door as early as possible. My mental preparation made it a more relaxed morning and departure :-) Taipan and I woke up first and played some Rock Band, then Yuta and Taisim woke up, and we played more Rock Band. Eventually I got dressed, everyone ate, and we put the final things in the van and headed out around 1pm.

We made one stop on the way, and made it to Hancock around 8:30. In case you don't know anything about Hancock, I pulled this from the Hancock chamber of commerce site:
Known as "The Gateway to the Upper Delaware River," the village of Hancock is located at the edge of the famed Catskill Mountains in the Southern Tier of New York State. The village rests at the confluence of the East and West Branches of the Delaware River--where the Delaware River begins--on the border of New York State and Pennsylvania. Hancock is an Incorporated Village of approximately 1,500 people, surrounded by the Town of Hancock, which includes an additional 1,500 inhabitants, both of which lie within the bounds of Delaware County.
Before going to the hotel we stopped by the Beaver-Del, which is where the wedding was going to be. Yuli and Keith's families were there doing last minute wedding stuff. We spent about 30 minutes there, then headed to the Hancock House. Before we even got there both kids were telling us that they didn't want to go to a hotel and that they wanted to be home. I'm still figuring out the best way to deal with this kind of thing, because they really wanted to see their aunties (and uncle Keith) and be in the wedding, but they don't like to spend extended periods away from home. We got through it, and showed them all the neat things about the hotel (elevators! cable TV! Ama & Akon just two doors down!), but every night they told me they wanted to be at home. And when we got back home, Taipan seemed relieved to be with all of his things again.

So the hotel was nice, and on Friday morning the kids woke up earlier than we usually do - our room faced the street, adn there was a decent amount of traffic, so Taipan woke up and said, "Mom - do you hear the cars and trucks outside? The sun is up!" And so Taipan, Taisim and I got up early and with enough sleep to keep the kids going until the afternoon. We played in the hotel room for a bit, and after Yuta woke up we drove to Fireman's Park, which is open fields and picnic pavilions near the bank of the Delaware River.

We passed a flyfisherman on our way to the banks (looked like he was wrapping up), and then walked along the bank and through rocks into the river for about half an hour. Yuta was pretty good at skipping rocks, whereas the kids and I were aiming for big splashes.

After rock throwing we found a McDonald's with a play area. The kids enjoyed going up and down and up and down, while Yuta and I hung out and watched. We were the only ones in the paly area, so that was nice.

Taipan & Taisim fell asleep on the way to Beaver-Del for the rehearsal. Taipan woke up in time to do some exploring, and noticed the disco ball that had been put up for the reception. He couldn't wait for it to turn on, and we checked in on it frequently. Taisim slept for over two hours and missed the rehearsal, which was ok. After she woke up we took some time to let her play and get a snack before we headed over the lodge for the rehearsal dinner.

The lodge was built by some friends of Yuli and Keith, and was really neat - huge, and beatiful inside and out. The basement was set up as a kind of rec room, with a mini pool table and air hockey game, and also a keyboard, and what I think is a dance or yoga studio - all perfect for us! There was also a TV and weight room, and tons of other stuff. We stayed there until 9 or so, then headed back to the hotel - a long day for sure!

Puddle play Sept 13 2008

This is just a couple of weeks ago ... the day before we lost our power. We'd had a decent amount of rain, and it cleared up on Saturday afternoon and it left a puddle in the street in front of our house. I suggested to Taipan, Taisim and our friends that were over, that we head outside and look for puddles.

They liked to stomp and splash, and were a little tentative at first - careful not to get too wet. They wanted to make footprints with the water, but the sidewalk was too wet, so I went inside to get some construction paper and our camera, and came back out to see them swimming in the puddle.

After we finished with our puddle we walked around the neighborhood to find more puddles to splash in. We all had a lot of fun ... I think this is the most carefree Taipan has been in puddles; usually he's not much into getting his clothes wet, but he didn't mind at all on this day.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Going back a few weeks #2

A few weekends ago we got out the Kid Concoctions and Contraptions book again, and thoguht we'd try the crystal growing. It seemed pretty simple, and we had all of the things we needed. The first thing we did was find some shells and rocks to put in the bottom of a bowl ... I put the rocks we gathered from our backyard on the table, and Taipan noticed that we brought something else in too - a slug. He was tiny. We watched him slime around our table for a few minutes, and then decided that he'd be happier outside.

Next we mixed alum with hot water, and stirred it up for a long long time, waiting for the alum to dissolve (which it never completely did).

Then we poured the alum and water over the rocks and waited for crystals. In a few hours we thought small crystals were forming on the side of the bowl, but nothing other than that ever grew. We left the bowl out for about a week before emptying it.

The great thing about all of these experiments / projects we've tried from that book is that for the kids it's all about enjoying themselves, and the journey. They haven't ever cared whether or not we get the expected outcome. It took me a while to get to the same place :-) They love trying new things and spending time together ... I know they would have thought crystals were cool, but it didn't ruin their day (or their moment, or their memory of the experiment) when we didn't get any crystals.

Going back a few weeks #1

We're back from NY - we actually got back last Sunday, and I took Mon-Thursday off to hand out with the kids and Yuta. Today I'm back at work. And tomorrow Yuta starts at the Apple Store. He's still a little worried about the scheduling, but hopefully he'll feel better after the weekend.

The wedding was beautiful - everything about it seemed just about perfect. Yuli & Keith were dazzling, the ceremony was great, and the reception was amazing. I was impressed with the attention to detail and how well everthing came together. I'll post pics from our trip soon, but first I want to get a few older posts out of my queue.

About a month ago Taipan asked to go to the mall with the "bouncing things" ... I thought he meant the bungee/trampoline jumping kiosk that was set up at a mall in Strongsville a year and a half ago - he didn't jump on it, but his cousins did during a visit, and I figured something triggered that memory and he wanted to give it a try. So we went to that mall, and it wasn't there. I happened to be at a different mall a week or so later and saw it. I was so excited, so I took the kids to go to the bungee/trampoline jumping.

We got to the mall, I showed it to the kids, and neither wanted to do it. I thought maybe Taipan just wanted to watch, so we got a snack nearby and waited to see if anyone would come do it. No one came, and Taipan said, "Ok, where's the bouncing things?" "Um, isn't this it?" Turns out that no, that wasn't what he meant. What he meant was the coin operated vehicles at the mall that move back and forth, and kind of bounch and jiggle their passengers around (which they also did with their cousins at the other mall). So we went to find those ... unfortunately only one was working, but we did that a few times.

On our way out, we walked past the bungee/trampoline thing, and some older kids were just paying to jump, so we sat and watched them, and as soon as Taisim saw what it was all about she wanted to try too. So she jumped, Taipan watched, and then we headed to the play area, where my kids played their official first game of tag with some other kids that were there. We play chasing games a lot, but never tag.

Here are the pics from that mall trip. The one with Taipan upside down was accompanied by him saying, "Hey! The play area's upside down now."

(Elyse & Jason, I thought you'd especially like the ones of Taisim bouncing ... it reminds me of the video I have of you both doing the same thing.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yes Power

Our electricity came back on around 1:30am, and I'm so happy about it!

Last night we went to the laundromat, and it was a great idea. The kids had a blast checking out the washers and dryers, and then marching through the laundromat, and ended the evening playing a board game with Yuta while I folded laundry.

It helped break up our evening and gave us two less hours to spend in a dark house.

Our garage door is broken though, so we're going to try to get someone over here to look at it today or tomorrow before we leave for NY.

Monday, September 15, 2008

No Power

I had planned to do a bunch of posts today with pictures from the past couple of weeks, and some stories from the weekend. Well, I can't get to the pictures because we lost power yesterday because of high winds. Our power is not restored yet, and might not be until later in the week.

We had a great weekend though. I had a hair appointment late Friday afternoon, and then Yuta and I went to a movie on Friday night while the kids were at my in-laws' house. We saw Tropic Thunder, which was funny, but I don't think I enjoyed it as much as I would have a couple of years ago. Robert Downey, Jr., was the highlight of the movie for me.

The jury's still out about my hair. I liked it while I was at the salon, but am not sure any more ... it's a new highlight color, and looks more stripy than I like. And while I typed that sentence I learned something. I thought stripy was spelled "stripey" ... in fact, we have book that mentions a stripy zebra, and for years now I've been sure that the book had a typo, but I never looked it up. But my spell check just caught the mistake when I typed stripey. This is funny, because I also wanted to spell grimy with an "e" this weekend - a small amount more about the game where that happened later in the post.

On Saturday we had some friends over - a family that we all really enjoy, and everyone gets along. I met the mom through a homeschooling mom's night out, and they've got three kids, two boys that are 9 and almost 11 and a 4 year old girl. Even though it might not seem like it by just looking at the kids' ages, from our perspective it's nearly a perfect match. Taipan has a lot in common with both boys, and they all enjoy playing together, and Taisim gets in the mix quite a bit too. It's also the kind of interaction where we feel that an adult isn't always needed in the same room to supervise. So the past two times we've gotten together the adults have played a game or two. On Saturday we played Snatch, a game that I love, but don't get to play too often. It's a word game, and one I enjoy more than Scrabble. If you like Scrabble, you'll love Snatch :-) Anyway, in the game you spell words with letter tiles, and once a word is spelled, it can be added onto with additional letters, as long as the core meaning of the word changes. Someone made Rim, which someone changed to grim. A 'y' was flipped, and I was waiting, waiting, waiting for an 'e' so I could spell grimey ... which isn't a word. But the 'e' came, and I spelled the word, and everyone told me that I didn't need the 'e' after all. I still got grimy, and the 'e' was left in play. I didn't connect it to how stripy is spelled until I typed it in this post. I'm going to pay more attention to words with a long i that end with a y and see if there are any that do have the e in there.

Back to our friends - we usually try to get some Rock Band in too, but we didn't get to that this week.

But, speaking of Rock Band ... we are the proud owners of Rock Band 2. Our power went out before we got a chance to give it a try, but the song list looks great, and I can't wait for Yuta to open them all up for us!! Yuta was also given a Rock Band t-shirt with the game, which is a nice bonus.

I took the kids to the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium yesterday while Yuta was working. We went to go to the pool, and we were all pretty excited about going. We'd been there once, and I forgot how loud it is - there are a lot of water fountains and sprayers in the kids' area, and it is incredibly loud. Next time we go I want it to be when Yuta can go with us. Taipan was done with the pool after about 30 minutes, where Taisim could have stayed in for another hour probably. There's a cool treehouse to climb in and around, with a slide and climbing rope there too, so after the pool we went to the treehouse and played for a little over an hour. They've got a Subway too, so we got pretzels and cookies and a smoothie and some fruit to snack on while we were playing. All in all it was a fun time, and I hope the four of us can go back soon.

I'm trying not to stress out too much about not having power. We're leaving town on Thursday, and I had planned to do a lot of laundry today in order to prepare for the trip. I've already found the closest laundromat, and can go there if needed, but it'll have to be after work, and I'm not sure if the kids will be interested in it.

I'm going to go back to work now ... I'm sitting in Starbucks, and may be here again tomorrow, though I might try working from the laundromat or the office in Independence.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A walk to the park

We've had great evenings the past two nights .... the weather has been beautiful, I've been able to wrap work up fairly early, and the kids and I have walked over to our neighborhood playground.

Last night Taipan was wanting to throw stuff, so I suggested we walk over to a little path nearby that goes through some woods, ends at our park. It was really fun walking with them - this is the most relaxed I'd felt taking them both on a walk like this by ourselves. In the past it tended to end up where one kid was way ahead of the other, and not usually wanting to slow down and wait. Or they'd want to go in different directions. Or they'd both want to be carried. That kind of thing.

Not so last night. I think part of it is my increased ability to go with the flow and be more relaxed in general, and part of it is where the kids are right now. We had a great time exploring our neighborhood. Taisim stopped to visit just about every tree that we passed, and when we got to the path, we all enjoyed throwing rocks into the woods and into a tiny creek.

Here Taisim is jumping off of the mulch around a tree, and Taipan is showing me all of the rocks he is going to throw at once to make a big splash:

We played for a bit on the slides and playground, then made our way over to a small hill nearby. The kids ran, walked, hopped and rolled down the hill, and I've got video of each method for getting down the hill. Here is Taipan at the bottom after rolling, with Taisim following on foot:

We also sat/stood at the top of the hill and chatted for a bit, with the kids covering me with grass. Here are pictures Taipan took to show all of the grass they had put on me:

On our way out, we stopped in the parking lot to watch a father & son playing catch with a football. This is a lamp post near where we were standing, and it quickly became a "drum lamp", with us all making music on it!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Lite Brite & Party time

I came to the blog to post some pictures from our weekend, and realized that the photos are still on the camera, and I couldn't find the cable on Yuta's desk to download them. So those will wait until later in the week.

I did come a cross a few other pictures that were never put up.

Right around the time that we were doing the volcano, we also got Lite Brites. When I was younger I loved loved loved my Lite Brite. I can remember sitting in a semi-dark spot on the bottom bunk and spending lots of time with it. The kids both enjoy them. Taipan very much likes to follow the patterns with the exact colors, and isn't much into free form play on them. Taisim just likes putting the pegs in. We also took a photo of each completed design.

Two weekends ago we were invited to a birthday party. Taipan preferred to stay home, while Taisim and Yuta represented our family. This picture is earlier in the day, getting ready for the grocery store.