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Monday, February 29, 2016

The Big Five-OH!

My lovely husband just passed a big milestone last week--he turned half a century old! His AARP card came in the mail to prove it!

The girls and I helped him to celebrate at home on the big day.


Alas, I had packed away all the birthday candles/decoration in preparation for listing our condo (we are moving--that's a story for another post though) so all I was left with was this one wide, mostly burned-down candle rolling around in the kitchen junk drawer.

Sad candlesticks aside, I had planned a surprise for later in the week. Saturday was the big day and I had planned a whole afternoon of grown-up activities (beginning with the new Van Gogh exhibit) culminating with dinner at one of our favorite neighborhood spots (Big Jones) with some friends. The afternoon activities did not happen as we had a bevy of people coming by to view our condo and we had to clean up after Julie got the girls out of the house but I did manage to pull off the surprise dinner. Conan & Annie and Christiana & Grant surprised Len by joining us for a wonderful evening.

Dessert came with a more appropriately sized candle for the birthday boy.

The evening became an even bigger celebration when we got the news that our condo had multiple offers. We accepted an offer and were able to call off the open house for the following day. More on where we are headed to next in another post.

Happy Birthday my love!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Doodling around

I heard Lucy playing her piano the other day. Turns out she wasn't playing from her lesson book--just doodling around with sounds and harmonies.

Lucy piano doodling from Lisa on Vimeo.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Wrapping up CNY 2016

Chinese New Year feels a bit like Christmas in our house--it goes on for a long time with lots of food, celebrations, friends, and gifts.

As I posted earlier, we had a big CNY feast in Chinatown with the girls' school. It was a great time and the girls loved the food, giving a short performance and being out late with their friends. Here's Lucy with some teachers and administrators.
All the classes giving a performance together.
The Argyle Chinese New Year parade by our home was on a frigid Saturday this year. We walked over as soon as we started hearing the firecrackers going off at various businesses which meant the Lion Dancers were performing.








I took a few short videos of the start of the parade and then the end with the lion dancers.

Argyle parade part 1 from Lisa on Vimeo.


Argyle parade part 2 from Lisa on Vimeo.


Argyle parade part 3 from Lisa on Vimeo.


While the parade continued on down Argyle, I snapped a few photos. I love this mural on the side of the building.

This restaurant will be opening soon--hot pots are so very, very good!

This lion head has been through a lot.
Cold girl.
Lion dancers and drummers from the Chinese Youth center.
Fan dancers, also from the youth center. They were so cold--it was easily in the teens with wind chills below zero and they were performing in short sleeved silk shirts.

Mesmerized by the dancers.
This weekend we wrapped up the festivities over at Angel's house with a huge Taiwanese-themed feast. Angel owns Little Linguists Academy where the girls took a couple of summer camps sessions. We have become good friends and the girls adore her.




Kate managed to get both of the duck butts for herself. When we went to SunWah BBQ to order the duck to bring, Kate clarified with the person taking the order, "Wǒ kěyǐ yǒu yā pìgu ma?" or "Can I have the duck butt?". They laughed, spoke back to her in Chinese, she answered them again and then they included two for her!
Lucy enjoyed the food (she even tried the pig snout slivers and pig tongue in a bao--both of which she liked) but her favorite was discovering this in the basement!  She was in heaven for a whole 3 minutes until it just got too loud for everyone and she had to give up the drumsticks. I have to admit, she wasn't half bad on them though.
And that's a wrap on the Year of the Monkey for us!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Chinese New Year Extravaganza

All of the Chinese classrooms (grades PK1-6) gathered in a Chinatown restaurant Thursday night to celebrate the Year of the Monkey. We had about 150 students/family members take over the place and before we sat down to a lavish feast, the students sang a few songs for everyone.

Chinese New Year dinner w school from Lisa on Vimeo.
My phone was low on space and shut off after one song so Len got out his phone to tape the rest. Sadly, as lovely and talented as my husband is, commandeering a camera is not high on the list of "things he does well"....thus it's a bit blurry. Bless his heart.

Chinese New Year Performance from Lisa on Vimeo.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Love Letter, Month 73

Dear Kate,

You are 73 months old.
We have had a lot of school activities this month. First up was parent/child night and this time it was my turn to have you show me around. You headed straight to the math works where you completed a full set of multiplication tables and then moved on to division. Next up was writing, which has gotten a lot neater of late.
You wrote your first speech this month:
"My name is Kate I am glad to be here  I hope that you like to be here to  Thak you  Oh and I play chess or xing qi. Hope you enjoy! Bye Bye. See you next time."

You are also still into list-making. I found this one inside your lunch bag one afternoon. I find it ironic that the first thing on your list was to take a nap. Oh, if only!
"List of stuf to do. Take a nap. Be with Bella my cat or take nap with Bella. Play pop up game. and play Go Fish. Be with mom dad and Nana. Go home. Eat snak. Play flut. Watch tv. Learn Chinese ches."
That's an impressive to-do list I must say, and encompasses quite a few of your recent obsessions (napping not being one of them sadly) including the following:

Julie gave you and Lucy what you lovingly refer to as the P. O. Popup game. You will play it endlessly if you can rope someone into playing with you.
Chess is another of your passions. You were thrilled when Uncles RyRy and Paul gifted you with an authentic Chinese chess set (aka Xing Qi as referenced in your speech above). Unfortunately, it is not set up like English chess so we were at a loss for how to play. Apparently it is quite difficult but after messaging a few of our Chinese friends, Ms. Xiang said that she knew how to play and has agreed to teach you.

Your uncles also surprised you and Lucy with red envelopes filled with lots of foreign money from their travels.
And although I wouldn't call your flute an obsession, it still holds your interest. You had another flute recital this month at the New Music School. You performed "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Ode to Joy". You were again the youngest player but held your own amongst the big kids.
Having Uncles RyRy and Paul here this month has made you extremely happy.
You were especially thrilled when they came to have lunch with you at school and stay for story-time.

Chinese New Year has been the other focus of our school activities. Lucy had a dress that I had bought in China but we needed one for you as well so we headed to Chinatown so you could pick out a dress to celebrate in. I think you picked out a great color! The only drawback was that you couldn't stand how it felt on your body/neck so a long-sleeved shirt and pants were required to get you to actually wear it.
We had a rather late night last night when all the Chinese classrooms in your school got together in Chinatown for supper. Over 150 people joined in to celebrate the Year of the Monkey and watch all the students perform New Year songs.
You also had a school field trip to Lifeline Theatre to see the play "Sparky" about a pet sloth. You managed to get a cold a few days before the trip but you soldiered on, hunkering down under the blanket to watch the show. Having Chengze as your partner helped ease your pain.
Speaking of Chengze...

You told me that you were in love with someone but you said it was a secret and that you and the person you were in love with were keeping it secret. Two seconds later, you slipped up and said, "Chengze and I....OH DARN!"
Looks like you are following in my slippery footsteps--I have so much trouble keeping surprises a secret too! Once the cat was out of the bag though, you told me that he whispered to you, "Wŏ ài nĭ" so you both agreed to be in love and get married once you are grown up. Then you just giggled, blushed and changed the subject.

Not only did Uncle Ry Ry and Uncle Paul gift you and Lucy with Red Envelopes filled with foreign money, they also brought two extras so that you could share with a friend. Guess who was the lucky recipient of your envelope?
When I asked why you chose to use his English name you said, "Because I'm the only one who knows it. He told me what it was." I said, "Won't that give away your secret admirer status since he knows you are the only one who knows his English name?" You were nonplussed, instead detailing how you were going to secret it into his lunchbox in the morning so he could find it at lunchtime.

Dangerous Liaisons, Kindergarten version.

And if Chinese New Year and school trips and visits from uncles and flute recitals weren't enough, we also have Valentine's day coming up. That has involved lots of card writing and heart shaped notes and candy. It also meant a very wonderful surprise present from Meme..mermaid blankets for you and Lucy. Each blanket took her 2 weeks to knit!
My one big hope for all of these letters is that someday in the future, when you might be having a bad day or are feeling unloved and down, you can pull out these letters and find solace in their words.

You. Are. Loved.

Very much so and by more people than you can imagine. You are a special girl who has brought joy and laughter and light into not just mine and daddy's lives, but into your grandparent's, aunt's, uncle's, cousin's, and friend's lives. The world is a happier place because of you.

Love,
Mama

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