January 16, 2018

Our Pachita Bonita Koala Bear Turned One!

We cannot believe that our little Pachita Bonita Koala Bear has turned one year old! She came to us in such a small little package, but has proved to be an integrated part of our family. All three of us love her unconditionally.

She loves to laugh and her brother gets her to laugh the most. She is independent. She wants to feed herself. If we put something into her mouth she will take it out, look at it and put it back in on her own. (You can only imagine what that looks like when it is yogurt! haha). I have just started to place food on her tray and let her go to it instead of trying to get her to eat it the way I want her to. The other day Lady Hiva was eating a corndog and handed Koala Bear a bite of it and she refused to eat it. Instead she grabbed the whole corndog and went to town!

She is a morning person--such the opposite of her brother who is a night owl and complains in the morning like a teenager that he has to wake up. She chatters and sings and laughs. Those are fun moments for us. At night it hits her bedtime and she lets us know it is time to be D.O.N.E! I guess, in some ways, it is nice that we get alone time with Lucky Dragon in the evenings and Koala Bear in the morning.

We have learned she loves music. She will dance and clap and have true joy when good music is playing. Now, let's hope that continues to develop and her dance skills improve because at the moment she dances too much like me and that is NOT a pretty sight! haha...but for a little one year old it is endearing.

We spent the evening together (I had to work...LAME). Lucky Dragon chose the decorations and the colors of the cake. We sang Happy Birthday to her several times because she was loving being in the attention of all of us and she clapped along as we sang.

Who knows what the next year brings with this little one, but we are excited to see her grow. She has changed so much even over the last few weeks. She is starting to look like a little toddler and less like our chubby little baby!

January 04, 2018

2017 Year in Review

It is that time of year again! I cannot believe how fast that this year seemed to go by. Looking back it feels it went by fast, but at the same time so much happened in the year. We had some amazing "ups" and some devastating "downs." We cried, we laughed, we stretched ourselves to become better, we fought, we focused on becoming stronger individually and as a family, we made mistakes, we forgave and asked for forgiveness,  we served others and we were served, and we loved--most of all we learned to love more deeply.

This year we have found opportunities to rekindle friendships (social media makes it so much easier to stay in touch with friends and family from around the world) and we made some new friends whom revolutionized our lives. Their willingness to offer their skills, time and talents to helping others was an inspiration and blessing to us. We will forever be thankful for them.

We end this year with gratitude and love. We are better than we were when 2017 began. We realize that 2018 brings a new set of challenges and celebrations and our hope is that we will be able to say we continually improving. We have been blessed.

Here is a month by month review of the year:

January was a fun month for us! We welcomed our little Koala Bear to the world and our family. She came small but full of fight. It has been a blessing to have her in our lives. She adores her brother, he adores her in return.

We focused on the new transition into being a family of 4. Having an infant in the house again changes life. We upgraded to a king sized bed so all four of us could fit comfortably.

March was a month to remember for many reasons. It was a month to begin some deep soul searching. It was also Lucky Dragon's first--of hopefully many--graduations. Koala Bear was given a name and blessing at Church.  We celebrated Lady Hiva's Birthday!

Spring is Lady Hiva's favorite time of year. We all have grown to enjoy it. We attend the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point. It is still not up to the grandeur of Istanbul's display, but it does get better every year.
I started to work down in Riverton instead of downtown Salt Lake City. This opened up our options for places to buy a home. We found a home we wanted to buy--after nearly a year of looking for that "perfect" place. At the time it was an open lot so we started the construction process.
One of our favorite things of the year was helping Rae and Brandon with their wedding. It was so much fun to see how easy going Rae is--she had a vision and we worked to create it. We love their family.

We made weekly trips to see the progress of the house. It was fun to see how much change happened each day. We started the demolition derby circuit. Something Lucky Dragon loves.
Summer activities also started to trickle into our lives. YAY!

We filled our evenings with family walks and made it to the mountains to hike anytime that we could. Lucky Dragon loves to be outside and so do we. We walk around our neighborhood and take time to look at the ants and bugs, to smell the flowers or to talk with people along the street.

July is a fun month for us. There is Independence Day celebrations, 24 July celebrations, Lucky Dragon's birthday and this year we moved into our new house! It was a few weeks later than we expected, but we finally made it in right before Lucky Dragon's birthday. Literally minutes before the party started we had people helping us move in the furniture. Sleep become almost nil for several weeks until we had the house unpacked and sorted out.

We explored our new neighborhood on our daily family walks. Instead of grown trees and flowers we found new homes and leftover construction project treasures. We "ward hopped" looking for a Church congregation that felt like a fit for us and settled on the Polynesian ward. It is smaller in size and feels more like a family. We felt that we could be more useful there. We will miss our neighborhood in West Valley and our ward family there. We made some life-long friends in our year there.
We celebrated my birthday--a fun day that Lady Hiva and Lucky Dragon planned. We also celebrated our 9 year anniversary! So grateful for this event and how we can recognize all the experiences that have brought us to this point.
We sent Papa and Pluba off on their mission to Hungary. We will miss them, but are excited for them. (slightly jealous they will be in Europe for the next two years).

As autumn set in, we continued to settle into our new area. We are loving our neighbors and the experiences that we have. One highlight was going to a Lantern Festival. It was amazing.

We loved the Lantern festival so much we went to another one. (Not as good as the first, but still fun). The children are growing up and Lady Hiva and I love seeing Koala Bear start to have her own little personality. Lucky Dragon is also growing so much. He keeps us on our toes as his mind is so intelligent.
It is my favorite season of the year. I love the colors, the fun activities and the time we get to spend as a family. In fact, we spent plenty of time together at Cornbelly's. Lucky Dragon loves to go and we went as many times as we could.
Of course, we have to mention Halloween. True to tradition, Lady Hiva decks out the house in decor. Lucky Dragon was really into this year as well. We dressed up as Hagrid, a witch, Frankenstein and Harry Potter and a Kakamora! Again, our new neighborhood did not disappoint this year with all of the trick-or-treating.

We celebrated this month of gratitude in the best way we could. We talked about being thankful for all we have and the many people around us. We were surprised by how warm it is throughout this month. Of course Christmas went up 1 NOV! Bring on Christmas!

December was full of fun and surprises. This year we really wanted to focus on the meaning of Christmas and how it is all about the Savior. We had fun finding ways to serve others with the 25 ways in 25 days campaign. Lucky Dragon really gravitated to the serving aspect of it. We baked loaves and loaves of bread to give to neighbors and friends. It was amazing. We had so much fun doing it that if we have not taken bread for a few days Lucky Dragon will ask us when we are taking some again.
Lady Hiva was called as the Relief Society President in our new ward. That was a shock to her, but not to anyone that knows her. She will touch the lives of so many people.

Christmas was fun.  We went to Temple Square a few times to enjoy the lights an focus on the Savior. We had a good time giving to others. This year we did the 3 gift rule with gifts that Lady Hiva learned from one of her friends. Jesus was given three gifts, and it was enough for him so it would be enough for us as well. Lucky Dragon really latched onto that. We also set out to celebrate diversity and one way was to make latkes and a homemade Menorah.

And of course we cannot end the year without an ER visit! Christmas Eve to boot! YIKES!

December 27, 2017

Do You Want To Make A Latke?

In Pre-School during December Lucky Dragon was learning about holiday traditions from around the world. He really latched on the the idea of Hanukkah. He has been talking about Latkes for weeks. It was only made more intense when Disney's Puppy Pals did an episode about Hanukkah and they made Latkes. There is even a song...that we now all know by heart.

So the other night we gave into his pleading and did our research about how to make Latkes. We found a traditional recipe--very simple--and went to work. He had so much fun making them. I even went out and made a homemade version of a Menorah. (Now, I made a traditional Menorah with 7 candles as it describes in the Book of Exodus. However, as we were reading more about Hanukkah I found out that the Hanukkah version has 9 candles and the 7 candle version is only for the temple...therefore I apologize to all of our Jewish friends. No disrespect was intended.) It is not as pretty as a real Menorah--we will have to get one so we can do this again next year the right way.

As we talked about why there are 9 candles Lucky Dragon was excited because on the Puppy Pal episode the neighbor explained that their "ancestors had a miracle and the oil for one day lasted for 8." This little guy keeps us going! He is so smart and misses nothing. 
He wanted to watch the song about Latkes from Puppy Pals as we ate!

So we talked about the miracle behind the candles and how the temple was invaded and only one cruse of oil was untouched. It was to only last a day, but lasted for 8 until new oil could be blessed. It was an amazing chance to talk about miracles and how Heavenly Father loves all of us--even when we have different religions and beliefs.

And you know what? We all really liked the Latkes, we may make them more often. Lucky Dragon asked for them at every meal for the next two days!

December 25, 2017

What's Christmas Eve Without A Liittle Blood--Or A Lot?

What is Christmas Eve without a little blood--or a LOT of blood! We made it home from a family party late. By the time Lucky Dragon had made his cookies for Santa and Carrots for the Reindeer (I tried to tell him Santa wanted carrots too, not cookies...but Lady Hiva ruled that out haha) it was late. I was trying to hurry and set things up so we could go to bed.

He is getting really good with his writing

Add a carrot for a reindeer, eat a carrot...add a carrot, eat a carrot

The first gift I had to set up (the rest were already wrapped) was a white stuffed animal rocking horse for Koala Bear. There was an awkwardly placed thick zip tie along the handle bars. I pulled out my super-sharp-and-new-buck-knife and when it finally broke through the tie the momentum continued and I cut deep into my thumb. I knew it was bad as soon as I did it. I felt like it went all the way to the bone by my knuckle! Blood started to spurt EVERYWHERE! (brings back memories--see the  White Lilies in Autumn chapter on amputating my fingers). Luckily, I have always been calm during intense situations and within a few seconds I was clamping my thumb and running to the sink. Lady Hiva asked if I had cut something off.

I knew it was bad because blood was dripping down my my arms and through my fingers. That could also be because I cannot grip ANYTHING with my right hand! I tried to see how bad it was but as soon as I let off my grip blood started to spurt again. I stood there at the sink holding it until Lady found which ERs were open at midnight on Christmas Eve and then she bandaged it up well enough for me to drive.

Lady Hiva finished putting together all of the presents as I drove. It was an awkward drive in the snow--so yes, we had a white Christmas, but I needed to drive with both hands because I did not want to wreck, but holding with my left hand was not so easy. I watched on Zoom (similar to Facetime) as Lady continued to work and I sat there in the ER waiting for the doctor. The first thing she did was use Clorox wipes to get the blood off of the white horse and the Turkish rug!

The result was 6 stitches. It was a bit lame to tell them I had cut myself while playing Santa! haha. They had a good laugh that I was out in the snow with slippers and a shirt that had Pua stickers (from Moana) all over it (left over from Lucky Dragon decorating me at dinner). They gave me a local anesthetic and he started to stitch. It was NOT working. He said I would not be able to feel it...I felt it all. My toes were curled, I was gripped the bed and my legs would wiggle to stifle the pain as he gave the stitches. The doctor said, "I can tell you can feel all of this!" Yes, yes I can! It was not until the last one that it was actually numb. 6 stitches and several jokes later I was back in the snow storm to join Lady Hiva She had all of it ready by the time I arrived home.

Christmas Morning was fun. Lucky Dragon was so excited. He has been counting down how many "sleeps" there are until Christmas for the last few weeks. It was so cute to see how happy he was that Santa ate his cookies. Thanks to Cars 3 merchandise we had plenty of excited moments with each opening.

He already had most of these cars...Santa just staged the track

Best buy of the day! She loves remotes...this was as hit!


I am ambidextrous, but the last 12 hours have reminded me how many things I do with my left hand...including type. Should make work interesting.

Merry Christmas everyone. If you are like us, we have several things to be thankful for!