Friday, June 11, 2010

Gotcha Weekend

It's really quite surreal to think that we just celebrated the 2 year anniversary of us becoming a family. We celebrated by having a small get together at our home. My mother-in-law, MK and Kelly, as well as the rest of my family, were all present for the occassion. Everyone had a blast! I even tried to make Kyrgyz lagman from this cool photography and recipes blog upon which I stumbled while looking for recipes.

I had the greatest photos of Dylan with the balloons Bill brought home for him. Dylan was so ecstatic when he saw a dozen baloons, just like in his new favorite move "Up". Uncle Hil helped him get them up really high in the sky. I would share them, except I lost them all due to negligence. I blame it on my speedy fingers on the delete feature on my camera. I was sick to my stomach when I realized what I had just done.

Nevertheless, I managed some other pretty cool photos from the weekend. Here are some of them.

On a side rant, I tried to have a menu that was all home made. I am having fun doing that for get togethers. It's probably a bit more work, but the results do speak for themselves when you find something completely yummy an worth doing again. Of late, my favorite recipes have come from the folks at America's Test Kitchen. I have a couple of their cookbooks and seem to be having a lot of luck with their recipes. They really do know their stuff because I am not a great cook by any means and I am pulling it off (for the most part). 2 of my new faves are the Beef Satay and their Giant Chewy Chocolate Chip recipe.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Just trying not to forget

Dylan reads the letter O. Then, he looks at the pictures and says them
A-kah = Oscar
Akapuss = Octopus. Try correcting him by saying it correctly and he'll look at you and say, "ahkah-puss, mommy".

Then today, he drew a spiral on paper. No joke, I watched him do it. It was pretty darn amazing for a 2 year old.

He also says "no thank you" now. I never taught him that. Thank goodness the teachers are definitely more polite than his parents.

Hmmm what else? He knows A, B, C, K, O, P, Q, S and maybe some others that come and go. He know 1, 2, 5, 13 consistently and the rest are fleeting. He definitely knows colors (even silver, gold and purple). He also knows his shapes (including diamond, oval, heart, and moon). Sadly, no octagon, pentagon, trapezpoid. We've got work to do (kidding).

And he knows how to play the toddler games on the iPhone.

How do 2 year olds do this. I could not have ever imagined that 2 year olds could know all this stuff. I figured the bossiness was normal but all this reading stuff is blowing my mind.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Summer's Come and Gone and Now It Is Time to Move

Wow, it's 2010. Happy New Year! 2009 went by so fast for us and 2010 is starting and going just as fast, or am I just getting older?

It's been a long time since my last post. We have had a wonderful holiday season with lots of family visits. Dylan is growing up fast and is talking, talking and talking. And did I mention Dylan is talking?

Summer was super busy for us because we were deciding what was best for our family. Bill and I love the Bay Area and had never seriously considered moving anywhere else. Bill settled down here after being a rolling stone for many years. Growing up, I have always thought I belonged somewhere else that is not Los Angeles. I have always wanted to move to the Bay Area and got the chance to do so 8 years ago and haven't ever regretted doing so.

That was B.C. (Before Child). After Dylan (A.D.) entered our lives, there was sort of this slow emotional migration to the idea of moving closer to family. For one, he seems to love the time he gets to spend with them. Second, he won't grow up an island, only to see family during special occassions and holidays. We envision a life growing up with cousins some day and we want him to feel as comfortable around the entire family as each and every child yet to come.

Specifically, I am referring to my family in the Los Angeles area. Sure, we have Bill's family in the east coast and in the midwest. And let's not forget Auntie Kay and Uncle Tom right here in the Bay Area. However, everyone sort of has their busy lives around them. And while we love everyone equally, the consideration, if we were to move, was to move closer to my family in Southern California, where we will celebrate each family birthday together, where Aunties and Uncles will come and play on the weekends (and maybe some weeknights too), where Mommy and Daddy may some day be able to schedule a weekend off together sans Dylan.

So, after much soul searching (mostly from me I think as it took me several months to get on board with the idea), and frustration with house hunting and deciding where we really want to build a home, we found a house in Simi Valley, California. It's not fancy or new, nor in a ritzy neighborhood, but it does have room for the three of us, 2 offices, and some guests who don't have to sleep on the sofa or the floor. It also has a small backyard (super important for Dylan) and a large jacuzzi (we didn't care really for this but it was there). There is a local pool and tennis club that we will end up belonging to as part of being in that particular neighborhood (again nothing fancy but probably a good place to meet new friends). My parents are about 20 minutes away so that my mom can have her Fridays with Dylan. And technically, we are not in Los Angeles county, but Ventura, so that makes me feel better.

As with all major decisions, there are pluses and minuses. Obviously, the pluses outnumbered the minuses. Nevertheless, there are a few things that break my heart when I think of this move. We will dearly miss our time with Bill's sister Mary Kay and her husband Tom. They have made living here all the more awesome. While we will come up and see them and they will come down to see us, it's not like calling each other the night before and saying, "what are you doing tomorrow?" Dylan will miss Aunt KK and Uncle, and even Max. Then, there are our friends. We don't see them super often (most of them live about an hour away), but we are in each others peripherals and will often think of each other and plan get-togethers with each other. Especially now that most everyone has kids, it's the idea that we are leaving that community that saddens me. The idea that we have to find new friends is a little daunting as neither Bill nor I love to make new friends. We are picky that way I guess. Plus, how many people are we going to meet in So Cal who love rafting as much as we do? For Dylan, I am sad to take him away from his daycare/preschool. We were fortunate to have found Lil Sunflowers over a year ago when I went back to work. We will be sad to say goodbye to all the caring teachers and Dylan's buddies. He has blossomed there so much and I am nervous of how he will adjust to the new school. Then, there is the SF Bay Area in general. I don't hate Simi Valley. Actually, I think it is nice and the schools are great, and it is the perfect place to raise kids. But, I also can't imagine that I would one day be heard saying I love it there, and that there is no place on the planet like it, etc etc.

So here we are in the eve of the biggest move we have yet to make as a family. We are moving mid February and starting brand new in Southern California. We are excited, we are sad, yet we are happy all at the same time. I hope to post again before the move but if I don't get the chance, next post will likely be from Simi Valley.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kyrgyz Products for A Good Cause

We interrupt our regular program with this late breaking update on how you can both get some shopping done and help a good cause this holiday season.

Follow this link to see the many wonderful Kyrgyz made items for sale on ebay and etsy. Proceeds go to Kyrgyzstan to help the orphans.

Happy shopping!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday!

Family came from Southern California to celebrate Dylan's 2nd birthday. Dylan opened some presents early, like his new red vintage play kitchen and chef's accessories.

We held a smallish birthday celebration at Hap Magee Ranch Park. Family and friends, hot weather, grilling, summer fun and cake.

Candles freaked Dylan out even though we have tried to practice at home for the last couple of weeks.

Enjoying some red velvet cake with Uncle Hil.

Where are all the kids?

After some fun in the water.

Exhausted in Mommy's arms

How does that song go? "I'm too sexy for my diaper, too sexy for Danville, ..."

Then we continued to celebrate with family at home. What a perfect birthday celebration for a 2 year old.

The Shortest Camping Trip in History?

We knew we wanted to try camping with Dylan before the summer was over. However, being the great planners that we are, we decided just a tiny bit late. Fortunately, we we able to secure a small spot at our local campgrounds at Lake Chabot. The spot is about a 25 minute drive from our home. We figured that if it started to turn into a disaster, we could pack up and go home.

Dylan is ready to go camping. Let's go!

Is there any room for another bag?

We were joined by our good friends Brooke, Pete and their daughter Maisey for a Saturday to Sunday camping trip. We got a late start getting there because being we tried to pack our house into our vehicle for this overnight trip. Then we figured we needed more food and stopped at the store to pick up some more.

We finally got to the teeny spot by 4:30 pm, just in time for a short walk to see the vista of Lake Chabot (which is beautiful), and return to our spot to set up our borrowed tent and get ready to grill some burgers for dinner.

Even though this was a whirlwind camping trip, we had a blast just the same hanging out with great folks. Bill and Pete played guitar for everyone. Dylan and Maisey took turns driving the car and ate pistachios. Brooke and I chatted, as usual. We started a fire on the grill and had wonderful burgers, snacks and wine, and the night was almost perfect. Perfect, except for the headlights from cars that are coming down the road next to our spot, and perfect, except that we forgot Dylan's froggie at home and had to find a somewhat suitable substitute, perfect except for the 2 drunks having a very loud conversation by the nearest dumpster, perfect except for the large family camping trip that caused a huge rucus at 2 am, and perfect except for the sound of the trains and the helicopters coming through Oakland all night.

The next morning, we continued our lazy last summer hurrah with the perfect morning weather. We spent the morning munching on the abundance of food we brought, walking around the campgrounds, chasing Dylan who has decided that running up and down the road was the fun, and watching Dylan have fun with ice and juice.All in all, we learned that Lake Chabot was entirely too close to the city to be peacefully quiet at night, but it reaffirms that with good company, the venue isn't as important, Like I said, we had a blast nonetheless and I would consider Dylan's first camping trip a success.