About 24 hours ago, our family was blissfully en route to Flagstaff, AZ, not knowing what lies ahead (or above) of us! We drove to ghost town (aka Barstow), had a quick lunch, and headed onto Highway 41 to Flagstaff. Around 5pm, unbeknownst to us, we were confronted with a digital sign declaring "road closure" due to fatal accident. The little store/gas station off the exit was packed with 50+ big rig trucks and a sea of cars and it was impossible to find a parking space. We didn't know what to do next.
After wandering around, we saw a runned-down-looking Inn ahead of us but decided we should stay there anyway, since Hwy 40 will close until midnight or later. When we arrived, a big sign hung at the door informing us that there was "No Vacancy". It dawned on me how exhausted and frusrated Mary and Joseph must have felt, not having a place to shower/sleep and not knowing whether they'll have the baby right there on the city streets!
An elderly, wise man named "Ricky" who worked nearby became the stranded travelers' counselor, giving everyone advice on options they could take. We were told to try an alternate route south to Prescott then back up to Flagstaff, if weather permits. Since there was no room in the inn (nor a manger), we decided to take our chances and for 2.5 hours, we traveled the dark, perilous roads, with snowflakes beating against us on all sides, above paths covered in slippery ice.
Today Caleb's class had a blast!! They had pizza, craft, book exchange and cookie decorating party! I was honored to be able to join all the parents in helping (ok, I didn't actually help...I just stood around looking busy) and seeing our kids so well-behaved in public!
It was so fun to watch each child and see how they've grown in the past years. Some kids were in Caleb's 1st and 2nd grade classes, and I still remember having to do the cookie decorating FOR them! Now they are 8 years old and all of them do things independently, even helping one another out!
I am so proud of them, and for the parents (Clap! Clap!)! Good job, everyone! Keep up the good work! And thank you, Mr. Trager, for the lifelong lessons you are teaching our little ones! Oftentimes, these are not things from textbooks but from a life full of enriching experiences! Mr. Trager was surprised when we presented him with a basket full of "Night Out" goodies! One mom suggested we ALL go with him to Beachfire Grill together!
I was surprised when I heard the theme song of "Jeopardy" in the background almost at the end of the day. I learned that this is a count-down time when the kids have to be seated and attentive before the song ends!
In the slideshow, you will see a variety of interesting events taking place in the classroom. I noticed a little "note" on Mr. Trager's desk from a "director of retired reindeer in Russia", which explains where your kids got the beautiful "Polar Express" jingle bells from!
Also, it was great to get a picture of the "parent-elves" who made today's party possible!
It was very interesting to see the process! Our government officials should mimic see how orderly these kids proceeded this election (ok, lotto) process!The kids also did a victory dance at the end of the day to celebrate!
We had a blast at Mizuki's 4th birthday party on Saturday! It was really exciting to go to "Bears, Buddies &Toys" party place in Laguna Niguel for the first time!
We were greeted with Ariel and Cinderella and a dozen "Mini-Princesses" all dressed up! Abbie also changed into her Cinderella outfit and it was so fun to see the little girls (and a few little pirates) pick their animals to be stuffed!
Abbie and I drove home in my Odyssey while hubby and boy went home in the CRV (or so I thought). When we arrived at the stoplight on Oso Parkway near our home (at 10:45pm) on this rainy, cold night ~ I noticed hubby's CRV next me! Excitedly I rolled down the window to wave to him, and he grimaced and hollered, "Caleb's in your car..... right?" Then....chills ran down my spine and I realized that....we both thought one of us had him! Hubby zipped back to church while Abbie and I sped home.
Miss Marcie is a gentle, sweet, and patient ballet teacher whom I admire greatly. Abbie enjoys and looks forward to every class! So I dedicate this post to her!
Looking in from outside the one-sided glass is very different from experiencing the action and festive music from the inside! I had a blast sitting and filming the action! The girls are practicing their little "Nutcracker" dance too!
Stay tuned! And hope you enjoyed what Soph sent you on the 9th Day of Christmas (December 9th) ~ Six Ballerinas Dancing!
Abbie had fun in the rain and refused to come inside the house. And our birds thought they were back in the wet rainforest....
And finally.....Caleb came back from his carpool all drenched!
What do we do in this crazy, messy, depressing weather? As you can see, Caleb (and Abbie) filled up on hot cocoa and chicken noodle soup. They also took hot baths (but that's censored, no pix~)!
Finally, they played "Hi Ho Cherry Oh!" board game! Now I know why Seattle people can easily get depressed.... There's nothing to do but eat, sleep, wake up and repeat (and change into dry clothes in between)! Driving anywhere is inconvenient, and No sun = no exercise = no happy hormones, and you just feel like curling up and doing nothing all day. So hats off to my fellow Seattle folks ~ You are my hero!!
This morning we woke up even later than before, at 9:30am! I walked downstairs and our house smells like a forest (not forest fire, but forest)! "Dougee" smelled so good and the fragrance from his pine needles permeated our family room!
I felt like I was in Big Bear! We will eat with our MBA friends, whom we haven't seen for years, and later we will decorate our Dougee tree! I'm excited because it's been 26 years since my last tree.....I can't wait! See you later!
We had a wonderful day today! We met several UCI MBA buddies whom we haven't seen since graduation...9 years ago! The guys had a blast playing basketball and chatting together, while the kids played in the playground nearby!
I was so happy that I could meet our old buddy Tony's new wife, Jennifer! She recently married Tony and moved here to the U.S. after living in Taiwan for 30 years....so it is a big adjustment for her. We had a great time chatting!
We had yummy dim sum in Irvine, and the guys updated one another on what happened in the past 9 years!
That night, hubby and I invited Tony and Jennifer over for steak dinner! We surprised Jen with a birthday candle (they brought the cake for dessert) and birthday song! She is such a young one!
The kids decorated our new Christmas tree, "Dougee", and they were very excited ~ as this is their first live tree in their lives! I realized I had forgotten to put the christmas lights on the tree first! %$#^#$@ Oh great, we get to do it all over again tomorrow (or next month?)!
What a big blessing this Thanksgiving to get together with all the good ol' pals God gave us!
We had a delicious Thanksgiving meal at hubby's brother Joseph & sister-in-law Jenny's house last night! It was chinese-american food ~ chinese dishes + turkey! It was topped with my favorite fresh-baked no-sugar-added apple pie & Sparkling apple cider from Pavillions (brought by me, haha).
Yesterday hubby was rummaging through the Black Friday ads and meticulously charted his course from Walmart to Office Depot to Costco. He was planning to go from 5am, determined to brave the crowds to get a laptop computer for his sweetheart (That's me!). Brother Joseph suggested that he bring a tent, as he can skip sleep altogether!
As it turned out, when we woke up this morning, it was already 9am! I guess it didn't turn out as he planned! When I went downstairs at 9:45am, hubby was already in a trance......eyes fixated on the computer screen and mumbling something about a sale on Toshiba's website for a $399 laptop that ends at 10am (15 minutes left)!
I knew he was doing serious business so I left him alone, and prodded Abbie to eat her breakfast quickly (oh, and I quickly wished Caleb 'Happy Birthday'! But by now he'd celebrated his bday 3 times with 3 cakes and was already numb about his "Big 8").
"Abbie-girl ~ You and I will have a mission today!" I told her. This will be OUR FIRST time going to a Black Friday sale! I was so excited! We will go to Toys R Us and buy big brother a bike for his birthday! It is a 20" Apex Street bike for boys, almost 50% off!
So we went, and made our way through the dense crowd, and Voila! We bought big brother a bike, and will pick it up in 2 days (since we had decided hubby will get pampered this year and let the Toys R Experts assemble the bike). The line was not bad, the store people were very experienced, and we enjoyed witnessing the 'feeding frenzy', as I called it, though they weren't sharks but shoppers.
Then we went to Home Depot to get 4 boxes of $0.99 multi-color mini lights! We figured the boys are home in cyberspace, so we girls will take it upon ourselves and deck our halls! As we walked around, I was ecstatic to see that their Christmas trees had already arrived in a tent outside! I've been yearning for a Christmas tree since my first, and only, tree since FOURTH GRADE!
We had to select the best tree and they kindly opened one of the trees for us to see. It was love at first sight as they opened up a beautiful young 6 feet Douglas Fir Christmas tree we named 'Dougee'. We snatched him up for $19.95, the best price we've seen in a few years!
A couple of nice young men tied up our new family member to my Odyssey and we brought him home to surprise our boys! Let's see daddy's reaction when he opens the front door! Will he be mad or happy?
Hubby also cyber-shopped with Abbie, and the two have secretly bought a gift for Abbie without letting mommy know what it is. It's their father-daughter bonding time, so I decided not to pry and just wait until 'it' arrives to fill you in on it (hope it's not alive!). I seriously believe hubby's sucked into the buying frenzy too, though just yesterday he was on his soapbox critiqinging that people don't really need these discretionary items, but are hooked on the adrenaline rush to get the best deal!
So we did our final excursion to hubby's favorite store ~ Costco ~ and bought some 'necessities', too! It is indeed a fun weekend, and it's only half over! So we'll see what surprises await us tomorrow and Sunday!