26 August 2007

Did you know...?

The last two weeks have been pretty stop and go for us. We'd have a few days of craziness, only to be followed by so much down time we're ready to pull our hair out, and then it starts all over. But this week, we've really enjoyed this necessary down time. We had less play dates, less errands to run, so the kids and I spent more time at home than we have in a long time. It was fun. But, of course, we don't take a lot of pictures when we are just doing the everyday things, so here are some pictures of our latest outings.

My kids entertain themselves at the sky train by plopping down in front of the huge plasma screens. I'm happy with it because it means I don't have to stress too much about them getting too close to the "yellow line" which results immediately in a very loud whistle blow from the smiling guard at the end of the platform. It's safe this way, so I'm happy to let them watch away, no matter how many "bad mom" looks I may get.

We visited a science museum not far from home this week and had a great time. There was a very small aquarium, a display on robots and they had a great area for young kids with a tree house, pirate ship, crafts, huge legos, and lots of things to climb on.

This is the kids in the mini market. They loved filling the baskets up and putting them back after they paid their money. I loved watching them play together in here. They even let me be the cashier once!

Janie was hilarious how she was ringing up each item from the basket, punching the numbers on this fancy calculator so carefully! Nothing is more fun than playing store for this girl.

A great little climbing frame for Jane. She loves to climb and slide, but mostly she loves to dangle. She will swing and dangle from everything she can. Jack's like this now, but I didn't remember him being like this when he was so young, so it's pretty fun.

Last Saturday, we decided to hit story time at the library again. The reader was fantastic, the kids loved it and it's always nice to visit with new people. Plus, this was a special one because the reader (who's actually an author of some great Thailand kid's books) did face painting afterward, so Jack got a pretty impressive spider on his hand. Very cool. We took the plunge and paid the money to get the library membership, so it was exciting to actually take books home with us! We are feeling pretty spoiled this week! This is Jane coloring after the stories. This girls loves to color! She also loves to eat the colors, take off all the paper and get the wax under all her fingernails. As long as she's happy, right?

After story time, we went to the church for a stake talent show. It was fun to see the different talents that were shared, although we didn't understand everything because we were some of the few non-Thais there. We saw some Thai traditional dancing, ballroom dancing, a pretty impressive lip-sync, incredible violin and piano playing, and my favorite... magic. I discovered that magic is very similar to music and dance, in that it is an international language. Everyone, no matter the culture or language, can still enjoy and understand the fun of magic. I thought it was great.

This is Emily Quan, a new friend in the ward. Her family just moved into the city from Washington DC. She was reading this book to Jack while we waited for it to begin. The Quans spoke in church today and as much as I already admired them, I think I love them even more now. Their girls are amazing, and Alice and Steve are so sweet and loving. What a blessing they will be to our little ward.

Faa came to visit this week! Earlier in the day, I had told Jack about how I used to make blanket forts with my sisters when I was little. Of course, we had to build one and Jack was in heaven. It was still up when Faa came that night, so they spent the good part of 2 hours reading and playing inside this fort in the playroom while Jeff and I had our Thai lessons. She is SUCH a good sport!

Jack loves to wear his hair spiky or in a mo hawk. This started after we saw a Thai "cool kid" on the train one day that had his hair all spiky. Jack just stared and stared at him. For some reason, he especially likes to do it right before bed when he's only in his underpants (which is all he'll ever sleep in). But wow, what a great smile, eh?

Jack wanted claws one day so he could climb, so this is what he came up with. He strapped these monkeys on his hands with rubber bands and off he went!

We met our friends at the park one afternoon and played for hours! Janie was still relatively clean at this point, and not even sweaty yet! She loves the swings, and she especially loves this butterfly shirt. She's very particular about her clothing, which I think is hilarious. It was a happy day when I pulled out this shirt I bought several months ago. She loves everything about butterflies, and can almost say the word correctly!

One of the favorite times of day in our home is story time with Daddy. He is so creative with the stories that he tells. Janie is just now starting to get in on the act. Most of the time, Jack will recommend a topic (superheros, lizards, tigers, etc.) and occasionally give a scenario. Jeff will get started, but sometimes doesn't have to say much because Jack gets so into the story, he practically tells it himself. Jack is a fantastic storyteller and has the most amazing imagination.

This play area we visit regularly is one of the kids' favorites. Janie has a special friend there who always comes right over to play. She helps Jane get her socks on, chases her around on the toys, and is almost constantly by her side whenever we are there. It's fun to have someone to look forward to seeing each time, and we definitely do. Janie gives her a HUGE hug when we have to say goodbye.

Yesterday was a very exciting day because it was Scarlett's birthday party! We were lucky to celebrate with her family on her actual day, but this was her "proper" party, as Heather called it. I didn't even tell Jack it was coming up until the day before when we watched Scarlett while Heather went grocery shopping, because I knew he'd be too excited. The Preens live in a home not too far from us, so it was great to have a driveway and backyard to play in! They had a bouncy castle, played "pass the parcel", had lots of "sweeties", a treasure hunt, and a pinata to finish it all off. For being one of my most grounded friends, Heather really produced a HUGE affair, but in a very fun way. Heather and Jim made the whole thing into a family affair. The parents stayed the whole time, in many cases both parents, and we got to visit, eat and meet a lot of new people.

Jim led the older of the 17 children on a picture treasure hunt, which Jack was completely into. This little team below ran from one clue to the next, loving every minute of it. They were all completely soaked with sweat afterwards, but surprisingly, not at all worn out yet. This is Dylan, Jack, Scarlett, Sasha, and a darling dark haired girl, I'm not sure what her name was, unfortunately.

The pinata is always a fun part of any party, but it was at this point that I thought, "why do we do this?". There was laughing and screaming, and even louder crying, as the candy fell and the kids were overwhelmed with emotions. They were all SO tired from the 2 hours of partying, and I'm sure some of the sugar high was wearing off so kids were getting a little grouchy. There's just very few ways a pinata can ever be done fairly, but in the end, and with a couple extra bags of candy brought out, everyone was happily reaching their sugar high again. Check out Jack in this one. He will sacrifice his body for almost any "sweetie".

If you haven't noticed, my Jack is quite the character. He has so much spunk, some days I don't really know how to manage it. He has always loved to read and hear almost any story. He loves the silliest stories about when Jeff or I was young. He loves to hear about his Grandparents, cousins, childhood pets, or anything about having special powers. He will sit and read with us for hours on end if we can. He and Jeff finished the "Mouse and the Motorcycle" series last night. We highly recommend all three of these books, and many others by Beverly Cleary.

I found a great new motivational tool for Jack this week. His favorite reward is to sit at the computer and look up random things. Sometimes he doesn't even know what he wants to learn about, just something. Our most recent topics are giraffes, sharks, bats, volcanoes, bears, lightening, and spiders. Did you know that Giraffes can drink 12 gallons of water at a time? Did you know that a shark has to keep swimming or it will sink because it lacks the swim bladder that keep other fish afloat? I didn't either. Jack and I have enjoyed learning about a lot of things, and I'm amazed at what he remembers! I love that this boy loves to learn. I feel like I need to study up so I have something new and interesting to share the next time he asks. This boy keeps me hopping, and as challenging as it is some days, I really can't get enough of him!


Ryan Taylor said...

You guys are SO cool, every week I read your adventures and am so jealous!
Missing you:
The Taylors
Ryan, Amber
Parker, Eden, Acasia

Bethany said...

I love reading about your adventures and I love seeing pictures of your adorable kids. We are adding a little girl to the family very soon and your pictures make me look forward to it more and more!