Saturday, February 21, 2009

Valentine's Day, Celebrated

Chris made the valentine on the back left, Maya the front left, Riley made the clay pot full of Valentines on the right. My favorite hearts said "I am faithful", "Love is a great shield", "Mr. and Mrs. Awesome" and "Thank you for signing me up for hockey". Chris' valentine said "You are the sweetest mom in the world." He made on for Sarah that said "You are the best sister ever". And the one for Matt said "You are my favorite". Chris gave me a coupon for helping me make my bed. He also set the table for our feast.

Some of our favorite red and white foods.

Grandma and Nanna were invited to join us.

Everyone loves spaghetti. Maya even eats salad now. She likes lettuce with balsamic vinegrette!

Friday night after work I was picking the kids up from Grandma's house. As I was putting her jacket on she said "Darn it". I asked "Why?". She said "Uh, home!" meaning she didn't want to go home, she wanted to stay at Grandma's!

Maya is not as pensive as she looks.

Cheesecake with cherries on top for dessert.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Presidents's Day Weekend

We spent the weekend in Anchorage for the President's Day Weekend Hockey Tournament. I went up one day early to take a seminar on time management. I really enjoyed the class, now I have to start applying some of these principles to my daily life before I forget everything. The rest of the weekend was spent running around, doing lots of different things so it was hardly Valentine's Day for the Wises. I'm planning to make up for it with a special dinner tomorrow night. I'm going to serve everyone's favorite red and white foods: beets for Matt, radishes for Riley, strawberries for Chris, red pears for Maya, roasted red peppers for me, spaghetti for everyone, and for dessert: cheesecake with cherries on top.

Maya looks very Vietnamese with this balloon hat.

Riley, Boo and I attended an Aces game on Friday night.
Matt got to eat pho on Saturday. Chris chose pho over Chuck E. Cheese!

Chris was appalled that I ordered fried rice instead of pho.

Maya eating pho.

Chris chose to go bowling while Riley went to the movies with Bradley.

Michael celebrated his birthday with a few of his favorite girls.

Riley listens to directions for a skills competition. He competed in the "fastest skater through an obstacle course." He did not win but he had fun trying. We won one game and lost two. The two teams we lost to played each other in the championship game. Our kids made a valiant effort and have improved so much. The first time we played the Jr. Avalanche, they beat us 14-2. The second time it was 15-3. This time we only lost 6-1! We have one more month to go before the state championship.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Winter Carnival

Last Saturday we bundled up and headed to town at noon for the annual Winter Carnival Parade. It was sunny and warmer than most years, a balmy 26 degrees.
Why would we want to stand around on Pioneer Avenue on a cold winter day in February?

Three words: I want candy. Candy is thrown from the floats. This tot is ready!

Then there's the ice racers. This is how Homer's kids learn to drive on Beluga Lake.

No Brazilians here but you can sense the Carnival atmosphere.

Keep this awesome curling ribbon mermaid hair in mind for next Halloween.

Mark Morath, our cowboy poet who never misses a parade.

Chris helps Maya in the jump house at Paul Banks Elementary school.

Maya smears whipped cream on Principal Abraham's face.

Time to deflate the jump house and return it to Ulmer's Rentals. Maya is not really under there, just her boots. (I know it's awful, I couldn't resist).

Bradley and Riley worked the hockey shootout booth for three hours. Next year we have to have a little talk with them about letting 2 year olds get a goal once in a while.

The boys were wiped out Saturday night. Trevor joins the slumber party.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Of Lunches Boxes and Lizards

Look who's back in town! Yes, Alana's home. She came over for coffee on Tuesday, did a lousy job of trying to convince me to move to Saipan, and of course, Maya got her nails painted.

Today Maya started her Vietnamese lessons. She is going to Bill and Ly's house for a couple hours once a week so Ly can speak Vietnamese with her. I don't know how much she remembers. She repeats things after Ly but I don't don't if she understands everything Ly says like when she first came to Homer.

Yesterday was Maya's first day back at school after being sick last week. She was a little hesitant at first. She clung to me and did not want to join in the game in the gym. Her teacher asked if there was something she was attached to in her backpack that she could hold while I left. I thought about it. She is not attached to dolls or stuffed animals. Although she likes her blanket, she is not attached to it. Then I remembered her Curious George lunch box. She takes it everywhere. She even packs a snack to go to Grandma's. I told the teacher the only thing Maya is attached to is her lunch box. Ms. Baechler had her assistant, Nicole, go get Maya lunch box and bring it to her. She let go of my neck, grabbed onto the lunch box and I was able to walk out without a single tear.

Sadly, our anole lizard died this week of natural causes. He shared a habitat with a tree frog and a fire bellied toad. They coexisted peacefully for several years. He loved to bask under the heat lamp on a log, plotting his escape. His only regret in life: missing that job interview with Geico to go surfing on the Amazon.

Welcome home, Alana!

Why do I bother buying toys? This is Maya's latest obsession, the Vietnamese noodle dunker. You can use it to catch balls.

It also makes a very good hat.

You should always wear goggles when eating breakfast. You never know what's going to fly out of the cereal bowl and hit you in the eye. Just look at my mom!

The boys love making kitty condos out of cardboard boxes.

A magnificant coffin for our anole. He will be buried in the traditional Alaskan way:
His body will be frozen until the ground is soft enough for him to be buried late spring.

I'm ready to go to Ly's house!

Got my Curious George lunch box in my backpack!

This is a beautiful oil pastel portrait of Maya, a gift from Midge at South Peninsula Hospital.
Of course, the photo does not do it enough justice. Thank you again, Midge!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

My first friend in America just found me on Facebook. This may not sound like a big deal to you. But to me, it's incredible! It was February, 1974. I had just been adopted from Vietnam (from the same Province Maya where Maya was born). I was 8 1/2 year old and I weighed 44 pounds. I was smaller than most 5 year olds. I started out in the first grade, since I couldn't speak a word of English. I was scared. Then, the most beautiful girl in first grade made me her friend. Inga Sorenson. She had curly blond hair and blue eyes, she looked just like an angel. She was my angel. The following year I skipped second grade and went to third grade, where I met Kelly. She became my best friend that year. She now lives in Belgium as I blogged about before. Kelly and I have been friends since third grade. But I lost touch with Inga over 30 years ago, until tonight. I can't wait to catch up!

It was also a happy day for Matt and Riley. Can you believe those lucky guys? First their baseball team wins the World Series, then their football team wins the Superbowl. How cool would it be if the Flyers won the Stanley cup? It would be a Pennsylvania sweep! The Triple Crown! Poor Chris is still upset that the Cards didn't win.

I went for long walk with my dog today. It was so beautiful out. Everyone was home watching the Superbowl so it was quiet. The only sound I heard was the crunching of snow beneath my boots. The sun was shining, no wind, not a cloud in the sky, except for the ominous dark blanket of clouds over the volcanoes to the west. We've been on Orange Alert for a week, waiting for Redoubt to blow.

When I got home from my walk, I shoveled the whole deck. We have a huge deck so it took me an hour. There was a foot of snow on the west and east sides of the house, only a few inches on the south side. Still, it took me an hour to shovel the whole deck. As I shoveled I watched this ominous dark cloud moving across the bay towards us at an alarming rate. When it covered the sun it became so dark you'd think we were having an eclipse. I thought maybe the volcano had erupted. But then snow started falling heavily. I came inside and checked the volcano website, no eruption yet. If you would like to see updates of Redoubt, Google the Alaska Volcano Observatory. It's really cool. Oh, and we had a 6.1 earthquake last week, just 40 miles from here. But it was from so deep in the ocean that it doesn't do any damage. Phew!

Waiting for the big game to start. Can you spot the black sheep? Hint: He's wearing a Cardinals World Series Champions shirt.

Maya playing the lap harp. Lilly the Kitty appreciates fine music.

Maya's little pizza (waiting for cheese).
My Mediterranean pizza could have been a Superbowl hit if I'd had black olives!

Fruit bowl still life, by Riley Wise

Fruit bowl in window by Riley Wise

The deck just after I finished shoveling. Right before it started snowing again!