Friday, May 27, 2016

A new techie sleuth

"Guess what I found?" declares the princess. "Dad's iPad! It was hidden away with the hopes no one would find it. But I did!"

"And now I'm chatting with his buddies. They think I'm him!"

"I love this game!" 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A dose of cuteness

Aren't these photos of the Bambina cute?  They make me smile.

Painting Expression

"I'm expressing my view of the world through paint," states the Bambino.

"...daddy, mommy, sister, tracks and trains...."

"and a slice of pizza."

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Disguised vegies

"Yes, I know mom disguises my vegetables in different foods, but it was SOOOO HOT I didn't even mind if I ate popsicles made out from carrots and oranges," reports the Bambino.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

We look like twins

"Look! Me and mom have the same outfit. We look like TWINS!" reports the Princess.

"What do you mean, we aren't twins? Take it back!"

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

I loved this book, "When I Found You" by Catherine Ryan Hyde. The book's two minute elevator speech immediately grabbed me.

When Nathan McCann discovers a newborn baby boy half buried in the woods, he assumes he's found a tiny dead body. But then the baby moves and in one remarkable moment, Nathan's life is changed forever.
The baby is sent to grow up with his grandmother, but Nathan can't forget him and is compelled to pay her a visit. He asks for one simple promise - that one day she will introduce the boy to Nathan and tell him, 'This is the man who found you in the woods.'
Years pass and Nathan assumes that the old lady has not kept her promise, until one day an angry, troubled boy arrives on his doorstep with a suitcase . . .

WOW! Now THAT is some elevator speech!

I found myself woven into the story immediately, and this lasted until the very end. In fact, I was a bit sad to come to the conclusion because it was so satisfying.

I enjoyed the steadiness of the main character, Nathan. He approached life with logic, honesty, integrity, and truth. His decisions were unemotional and made sense to me, I became aware of how much I preferred these types of people over the ones I seem to spend much of my day with - you know. those we see on the news. The characters in this story made me more consciously aware of how being immersed with a character who is thoughtful, stable, and steady can rub off on you and you also want to become a better person. I started to pay more attention to how I came to conclusions and made my choices.

Here was a fictional character helping me to see a different way of looking at something and making a decision. For example, when Nathan was supposed to make a choice between two people, his response gave me pause. I was enamored with his logical explanations of how his mind worked and how this guided his life.

I then started to compare the characteristics of the protagonist with other characters I see in my everyday life, like Donald Trump, a political candidate. He is chaotic, illogical, self obsessed, not very honest, and without much integrity. So I compared how I FELT when I spent an evening with the Donald (via the news) against spending time with the protagonist, Nathan, in this book. I became an emotional wreck with the Donald but found I was filled with hope and possibility when I spent the evening reading the book. I realized my choices of spending time with the Donald and all that drama was impacting how I felt.

Just like grapes pick up the flavor of the environment they grow in and impact the flavor of the wine, so, too, do people's behavior change based on their environment, too. If you continue in an environment of chaos, lies, and distrust, who you are and how you lead your life are impacted. So I stopped seeing the Donald. I turned off the news.

If you are looking for a book that is a pleasure to read, can tear you up a bit here and there, and fill your heart with hope, give this book a try. 

Tongue Diagnosis of a 10 month old

"Gramz, hurry up. I'm getting kind of tired of being your guinea pig while you learn Chinese Medicine tongue diagnosis" says the Bambina.

"OK, what did you learn from my ten month old tongue?" she inquires.

"All systems look to be working as designed," I tell her.

Oh, wait, I say to myself. That was my technical support voice speaking. Wrong job. Here is my Chinese Medicine voice,

"Ms Bambina, your tongue looks normal." I tell her. "Keep up the good work with your balanced nutrition, exercise, and learning to manage your emotional responses. See you next month."

A mother photo

I thought this was a sweet mothers day photo of the two kiddo's with their mumz.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Demonstration of early eating etiquette

Ya know how you can tell a lot about a person by how they dine? I can't help but compare the two kidlets (at about the same age) and observe how they approached their solid food dining experiences.

One of these kids seems to be rather refined and dainty, shall we say.

And the other, well, is a boy.

It makes me chuckle.

These boots are made for walkin'

This year....

Last year....

Monday, May 2, 2016

So many different communication methods to choose from

Our little toddler grand kid is now attending preschool at an English-Japanese bilingual immersion preschool, where his photo showed up on the recent newsletter.

He is learning the art of communication in a myriad of ways. For example,
  • at preschool they speak Japanese
  • at home his mother sings to him and reads him stories
  • at dinner time his father speaks English and sometimes Japanese to him
  • during the day, his nannies speak Spanish 
  • in the evening, his Kansas grandparents use Facetime
  • on the weekend, his Gramz uses Qigong mental imagery
  • throughout the day, his baby sister speaks alien
  • at the playground, the "toddlers of the hood" use their own jargon and sign language
  • and then there are the trains that seem to speak to his heart with a language all their own 
It is a wonder he can understand any of us at all.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Mood interpretations of a toddler

Happy face - "I get to play trains!"

Sad face - "I have to go eat dinner."

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck

This book, the "Oregon Trail" by Rinker Buck, is delightfully fun and informative. It is a modern day adventure story set in an old covered wagon pulled by mules.

The style is similar to author Bill Bryson's work - kind of quirky with odd experiences you laugh at, but mixed with personal tidbits you find interesting and captivating.

Before reading this book, I didn't know the Oregon Trail was preserved as a National historic trail. I assumed it was now just freeways with a historical marker here and there to inform us what used to be.  But the Oregon Trail has only two stretches of suburban spawn around Scottsbluff, Nebraska and Boise, Idaho. The rest of the 2,100 miles is still accessible along remote farm and ranch roads. This, to me, is rather amazing. This would be a new and different way to see America.

More than 400,000 pioneers made this trek to come West. But somehow, having the experience redone in modern times with a gifted writer made the travel adventure come to life.

The author is someone we can all probably relate to in some way. He is middle aged, divorced, a drinker of wine, likes his shirts pressed and ironed, kind of a neat freak, and has career burnout. His brother, who relentlessly wears him down to accompany him on this trip, seems to be his polar opposite - messy, loud, a mechanic, opinionated, broke, with health problems. You can't help but wonder if one of them will be killed, or maimed on this trip.

Sharing travel experiences is often a snoozer for the reader, but this author does it well. It is a fun read, especially if you like American history, adventure stories, have family who crossed the plains, or even have a weird sibling you can't escape from, you will probably enjoy this book.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


"Yes, I can keep a secret" says the Bambina.

"Psst. I have a SECRET! It's my first one!"

Saturday, April 23, 2016

computers r us

Isn't this amazing?  much of the family is each busy on their computer...

Who knew that the old $4,000 family computer in 1984, would spawn and create something like this?

Friday, April 22, 2016

I love mommy!

"Yep, I got what I wanted!" remarks the Bambina. "It's just me and mommy all the way!"

"Uh, what are you doing? Don't you dare ruin this for me."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

New Pool

With the water shortage, swimming pools are getting a bit smaller in California.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Singing on the way to grandma's house

This is what I believe it's like coming to grandma's house - everyone singing songs all along the way

but this is what it is really like...Christmas songs, even though it is Spring. What can I say. It cracks me up. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Really? This is fun?

Well, at least one person is having fun!


HBO has a new movie out about the confirmation of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. I was one of those who was glued to the radio in 1991 to listen to the hearings and now with this new movie, I became re-engaged and once again, re-enraged.

But what I liked the most, was how the movie showed the positive outcomes of this tragedy. This hearing sparked a dialog about sexual harassment and initiated placing new boundaries of protection around those who are harassed. It also spurred more women to run for elected office.

How did Clarence Thomas fare after this public "high tech lynching by uppity blacks" (as he called it). Well, he was confirmed to the Supreme Court where he can not be fired. He also never speaks during the presentations to the Supreme Court, and for me, he seems to be saying he doesn't have to participate if he doesn't want to, and so doesn't. It is like he is a little kid refusing to talk because he believes he is punishing us. He isn't. He is showing us who he really us - still bitter.

And how has Anita Thomas done after this? She continued to teach, wrote some books; in other words, she survived.

So, Ms Hill, I thank you for your courage of speaking up. I am one who believed you back then, and I still do. Your voice made a difference to me.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Like Father Like Son

One of these is the dad and the other is the son. Which is which?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bambina's 9 month old photo shoot

"OK, it's time for your 9 month old photo shoot.
Take a deep breath...

and hold it....

and now let it out...."

 "She did it!  I knew she could!"