Thursday, November 20, 2008

Off to Vegas we go

Tonight we got the very sad news that Chris' uncle passed away tonight.  We are heading out tomorrow with the whole family to Las Vegas.  In the Korean culture, they do not call adults by their first name because they consider it disrespectful.  Instead, they "number" their aunts and uncles.  This uncle, #1 Uncle, is the relative that sponsored Chris and his parents when they came from Korea.  They lived at his Uncle's for their first year in Las Vegas, and it is #1 Uncle (Also fondly known as jek jek halapoji/ bird grandpa because of all of the great birds he kept in his backyard) that taught Chris that you should only go swimming when the thermostat reads 100 degrees.  (Which he still holds to, annoyingly enough)  It is #1 Uncle that sold Chris' family the cadillac that Chris was driving when we met.  It is #1 Uncle that would shower the girls with treats whenever we would stop for a visit.  I can't remember if it was with Chloe or Hannah (I am thinking it was Hannah), but we went to visit when she was especially shy and wouldn't leave my side for the whole trip.  It took a few minutes for her to feel comfortable around Jek Jek Halapoji and she grabbed his hand and pulled him outside to see his chickens.  On second thought, that must have been Chloe because I am not sure if Hannah was ever shy.  

He was a good man that Chris looked up to as a Grandfather figure that he never really had and we look forward to celebrating his life and supporting his wonderful wife during this hard time.  Off to Vegas we go....time to pack up the kids now.

Consider it an early Christmas present (or something like that)

Man, taking pictures of your own kids is just down right hard.  I really should start taking Chris along to help.  I said that last year, too, but a year later that thought had completely escaped my frazzled little brain.  Having a face that isn't behind the camera is so helpful with kids. Dang.  Next year! I can't show you guys more than one family picture because, quite frankly, wouldn't that ruin the Christmas card if you knew what it was going to look like ahead of time? 

Let me just say that I am so lucky to have any pictures with Elise.  It wasn't a matter of trying to get her to look at the camera or smile (I have embraced the natural, less "posey" style out of pure necessity, but now I prefer a picture of my kids showing their personalities a little bit), but it was simply trying to get her to actually be in the picture instead of 100 feet away from where we wanted to picture to be.  Or trying to get her to sit up instead of laying on the ground, face down.  Or to stop playing in the dirt and getting it all over her face in the middle of the picture.  You know, minor things like that.  Yes, she is two.  Today proved it big time. :)

The story behind this picture?  Elise saw Autumn posing on this lovely tree (Can I just say that Forest Grove is overflowing with great picture locations?) and she decided to pose just like Autumn had been.  After getting a few great pictures of Elise (acting like a puppy next to the tree), I told the girls to pose around her in an attempt to get a group shot.  This is when Elise got very cranky because this was now "her tree".  We decided the girls would sneak up around the tree and peak in to avoid upsetting Queen Elise.  Turned into a rather cute shot, considering what we were up against.  Compliments of Elise and all of her twoness. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fairy Frenzy

While my mom was here this weekend, she taught the kids all about the art of fairy making.
Let me start by telling you that Autumn has been obsessed with fairies for the last two years and I keep trying to sway her towards the more traditional fairy and away from the lovely disney fairies.  Something a little more earthy in nature, maybe?  Yep, these fairies are exactly what I had in mind, but in my little picture of Autumn playing with these "earthy" fairies, I never imagined this great little craft that the girls could whip out on their own.  It is perfect.  Autumn will disappear into the other room, quietly creating her own little world of fairies, complete with their acorn hats and their tiny fairy tree that Grandma provided.  Thanks, mom. 

Chris update:  A day full of therapy again today.  Now that he can walk in the backyard, he has been going out there to help his dad put together the trampoline. (In a managerial sort of way)  Before, he really couldn't go back there because of the sticky clay and unlevel nature of it.  The best thing is that he has been better emotionally lately.  I think the prospect of going back to work and getting back into the swing of things is great for him.  He also has been getting his blood pressure around 120/80 on a pretty consistent basis.   Good job, honey!  He is able to lift 5 lb weights on the right hand. (just a few weeks ago, it was 1 lb)  I think we need to go driving again, since we still haven't gone since last week.  Maybe tomorrow.  Or the next day.  Or the day after that. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's great to be Hannah

Wouldn't we all love to have Hannah's self confidence?  Today Hannah said to my dad "Every family would be lucky to have a kid like me!" and yesterday she told Chris how cute she is.  Well, Hannah, I agree with you on both counts! 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wow. You Nike folk rock!

Today was the big landscaping day, with Chris' incredibly kind friends and co-workers.  To give you an idea of the scope of this thing, there were 100 volunteers scheduled to come out today and tomorrow in 4 different shifts.  There was food brought in and two port-a-potties.  Now, to give you an idea of just how organized and amazing it was....they were done in 4 hours.  There were 3 shifts of people that they had to call off.  

To everyone who helped and to those who just wanted to help: THANK YOU!  Chris kept looking outside and saying "We have a backyard!"  (And the typical Chris silliness, telling me how tired he was from putting in the backyard. "I've been working hard on the backyard all day, you know!")  Back when Chris first had his stroke, I remember feeling like I was just being carried by all of the support that everyone was giving us.  Feeling a little numb in the beginning, all of you helped us carry on and survive.  Your prayers and thoughtfulness helped us continue to function.  Today, it was this indescribable feeling to have all of our friends work so hard (in the sun, thanks to a major miracle!) to help us with this mud hole of a backyard of ours.  (Which is now an extension to our home instead)  Thank you.  I am a little tongue tied and just don't know what to say beyond that.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  If anyone wants to see more pictures from Corey, the man who orchestrated the whole thing, he has a ton on his blog.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Preparing me for teenage drivers....

We did a little driver's ed again today, which I think is horrible since I have said since the beginning of parenthood that Chris would be the one teaching our kids to drive.  Cruel world.  After Family Home Evening (or our lame attempt at it), we lured the girls into the car with promises of McDonald's ice cream.  As soon as they were all content with their "cream cones" (as Elise calls them, ever so affectionately), we went to a newly developed and relatively empty neighborhood.  The girls all were pretty giggly about Daddy relearning how to drive, but I sided with Lilly, who started screaming at the top of her lungs as soon as Chris got in the driver's seat.  Amen, sister!  

Tonight, there was a lot less hugging the right side of the road, much to my relief.  Chris was even able to drive with both hands on the wheel without scaring me into my own little stroke.  He learned how to take curves (a must up here in Forest Grove) without jerking and freaking out the wife.  The one time he really scared me tonight, the girls were laughing hysterically and told me that he "did it on purpose".  From the look on his face, I am pretty sure that was not the case, but we won't tell the girls that.  Overall, he did a ton better today than a week ago.  Just like teenagers, I just think he needs practice.  We need to start tracking my blood pressure after these little lessons.  Before we know it, he will be driving to work again.  (And yes, in case you are wondering, driving is doctor approved.)  

Chris has been lifting weights, increasing his weights by 500%! (He started at 1 lb and is now at 5 lbs!)  It has been discouraging for him to feel his arm turn my arms, but today we were able to feel some muscle in there when he flexed.  All of this work is paying off!  I am so proud of his determination and perseverance.  He is one great man, even if he won't let me take his picture.  

Non-Chris side note:  We went to the Forest Grove Library Book Sale today and scored big time.  We got some great classics that are old, but in great condition.  Not only will they be fun to read, but they are going to look so cute on my bookshelf.  I love old books!  When I see them at Powell's, they are in the $30 range.  I was more than thrilled to shell out $.50 a pop.  Cheap thrills, quite literally.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Calling all T-shirts

I was exploring Soulemama the other day and read about her call for baby hats made from t-shirts.  I have been going through our clothes donations and have been picking out t-shirts that I think will make some mighty comfy baby hats, but I was thinking that there might be some folks out there that have possible baby hats (that are still in the form of t-shirts) that they might want to share with us!  If any of you have t-shirts that are dying to become hats or that just may need a vacation (to Haiti), please let us help them fulfill their wildest dreams.   My little women and me are anxious to start on this fun project and would love to adopt any of your homeless t-shirts!  Thank you!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Baking Marathon for the Nike Folk

Seeing as next week is the big landscaping day(s)  with all of Chris' amazing coworkers from Nike, I thought I should get baking.  So far, we have 3 batches of no bake cookies, 3 batches of snickerdoodles and Chloe and I just finished mixing the chocolate chip/ oatmeal cookies and the scotchies. (2 batches each)  Chris has even been single handedly monitoring batches and making sure that your cookies will not be too toasty or too doughy.  Yes, you may be wet and filthy dirty, covered in clay next week, but you will be enjoying some mighty tasty homemade goods from the Kangs.  Ok.  It doesn't even begin to pay you back for the great feat you are about to perform, but I will keep trying.  Let me know if there are any other favorites that you would like to see next weekend! (I already have rice krispy treats, raspberry shortbread and sugar cookies and ranger cookies on the queue. Any more requests?)  We are so grateful to you all for your help and support!  Thank you!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dear Lilly


Oh how I love you. You are the sweetest, happy go lucky baby that our family has every had.  Just one question.   Do you ever plan on sleeping again?  I am not trying to threaten you, but we've never had to let your big sisters cry themselves to sleep until they were at least 10 months old.   This is the way it is supposed to work.  You nurse to sleep, I lay you down and sleep.  Not for 10 minutes.  Not for 15.  Normally, you should sleep for about 2 hours.  I would even be happy with 1.  Do you realize that you didn't sleep for more than 5 minutes all day long yesterday?  

I do realize that this is partly my fault.  First we lived in the townhome, with no bed for you.  Then we moved into our house and couldn't find the hardware to the crib.  I didn't mind because we just cuddled you all night long.  Then daddy had his stroke and I really enjoyed having you in the bed so I wasn't all alone.  Plus, you are so nice to cuddle.  Daddy is home, we have a playpen until I locate those elusive crib parts and I think it just might be time.  It is this recent all night long buffet and constant waking up that has me sleep deprived and writing this letter to you, begging you to....sleep.  Please?  Can we sleep today?  Just a little longer than 5 minutes?  I don't know how you are so happy on such a small amount of sleep, but I really do think that you will enjoy getting more sleep.  Really.  Trust me.  Please?  Maybe you could start by choosing one.  You could sleep during the day a little or sleep through the night?  Consider it a compromise of sorts. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Low energy day

Whenever Chris is having a rough day, he calls it a "low energy day".  This pretty much means that  it is going to be a tough day in some aspect.  Sometimes it means more of an emotional type of energy and sometimes it is just  plain old energy that he is lacking.  The other day he was stumbling through out the morning as part of this "low energy day".  Well, today was my low energy day.  It was more of an emotional day.  Day is a little inaccurate, as it was really more of an evening thing.   But it was definitely low energy.  I am very glad to have kids in bed and have some winding down time. (Is blogging while nursing Lilly considered winding down?  Sure!)  A "Blah" day would be the best way to describe it.  Or maybe a 3 Diet Vanilla Pepsi day.  (Although one of those was spilled all over Elise when she tried to sneak it, which lead to lots of tears because she spilled on her favorite Rocket push toy.  "Rockie wet!" )  Enough about me.  Chris has learned to tie his own tie.  I think this is out of pure desperation.  Rachel and I both didn't prove to have much in the way of mad tie tying skillz and as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.  That is your homework, blog readers out there. Try to tie your tie one handed.  (With your wrong hand, none the less!)  Report back, okay?

We ran across this great book this week (Thank you, Soulemama),  The Apple Pie that Papa Baked.  The illustrations pull you in, the well written style  has all of the kiddies hanging onto every word, memorizing the book in a few readings.  All of that AND the fact that it is fall and this book embodies one of our family's favorite parts of fall, apple picking.  Run and get it from the library. (Or your bookstore, since I do have the library's copy)  Did I say that I love this book?  It is up there with Apples to Oregon, my other apple book of choice.

Elise's new game with the girls should be titled "I am the boss of you big sisters!"  She likes to tuck in Rachel,  pretend like she is the mommy (sitting in her rocking chair, singing, with her feet in the massage chair, which I never actually have time to use) and say "Go to bed now!"  when Rachel dares to get up.  It is pretty stinking cute.  It is even more fun when Rachel sneaks out of "bed".  I quietly say "Elise, where is Rachel?" and she quickly gets up from her comfy chair, looks for Rachel and herds her back to bed with a "Come on.  Go to bed now!"  It is hilarious.  I think I need to set up a nanny cam of sorts to catch mommy Elise in action.  Can you imagine how boring life would be without kids?  Thanks for the entertainment, Lisey. 

Dusting off the camera

Long, long ago, in a land far away....I used to take pictures.  Today I got to play with "Miss Kylene" and her family.  Thought I would put a few up here for a preview. 

This little Piggy: Part 2

Yeah!  Chris had increased movement of his toes tonight.  He can scrunch them up now.  An interesting note: When Chris is trying to do something with his right side, you can look at his left side and see by what that side is doing how hard he is trying and what he is trying to do.  When he scrunched up his toes, his left toes and fingers were working SO hard.  (It is actually pretty fun to see what he wants to do by looking over at his left side. )  What we've learned is that some movement is better than none because that movement only gets easier as time goes by.  Who knows?  A week from now, it might be a whole lot easier to scrunch up those piggies.  Also, he ate his corn with his right hand tonight and the hand to mouth movement wasn't nearly as strained as it has been in the past.  

So, you all know about Nike's incredible plan to landscape our backyard on the 15th, right?  Well, about a week ago, we got a message from a friend of ours offering to put in the sprinkler system before the Nike gang came over.  I think he used the word easy in his message, but after a very long day with a bunch of friends from our old ward, I would hardly call it easy.  I think it belongs on an episode of  "Dirty Jobs", personally.  Here is a picture of these great friends, working in the rain.  Thanks, guys!