Monthly Archives: April 2012

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Together

As soon as I found out this week’s theme for the WordPress photo challenge was “together”, I knew my boys would be my subject of choice.

They were born 19 months apart, which means my eldest has no memories of ever being an only child. It also means they’re close enough in age to share a lot. I have a six-year difference with my sister and it clearly affected our bonding. We always played with different toys, went to different schools, had different friends… So when I embarked on the exciting journey of motherhood, I knew I wanted to have my children close in age and to give them a chance to bond.

Fast forward a few years later. They’re now age four and age five, at least for a few more months when my eldest will turn six. They play, make up their own adventures, role play, dress up and play hide-and-seek together. They tell each other jokes and play pranks. They read the same books and watch the same movies together. They tell each other about their day at school – a lot more than what they directly share with me! They help each other, give each other advice and offer praise. Sometimes they might even share food (with a little push encouragement). And the best of all, they give each other hugs, and sometimes even kisses, without prompting, showing how much they care. Ah, that brotherly love… Of course, there are plenty of time when they argue, and fight over toys. But hey, isn’t that what brothers are for, too?

The funniest thing about their relationship is, they don’t realize how close they are to each other. Whenever I ask who their best friend is, they’ll name someone in their class. If I mention their brother, they’ll say, he’s my brother, not my best friend! I feel so blessed being able to witness their relationship blosson every day in its own special ways.

Were you close to your siblings in your childhood? How did these relationships evolve as all of you turn into adults?

Brothers looking for Easter eggs together

Brothers looking for Easter eggs together

I took this photo at the regional park where we go hiking, by the entrance. They got up there on their own… It’s pretty high from where I stand but there’s a slope behind the rock.

Brothers sitting on top of a rock together

This has to be one of my very FAVORITE pictures of the two of them playing in the backyard. Doesn’t it make you want to be a kid all over again?

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Together

WWW Wednesdays – April 25, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

– What I’m currently reading
The Warlock by Michael ScottMichael Scott’s The Warlock (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel). Will Sophie and Josh help save the world? Argh, I can’t wait to find out…
– What I recently finished reading
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath. This book is full of very interesting information but most of it comes from research studies you can find in other books. I’m not sure how much research the authors did themselves. I found this book a little long, as it includes a lot of facts. There’s not much about implementation in general, rather a lot of individual examples showing how to implement change. To implement change, you need find the right trigger (the hardest part), then pave the way. I personally think this book is more useful for businesses trying to change their employee behaviors, and less for individuals.
– What I think I’ll read next
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. I can’t wait!!!
My kids’ bookshelf

Listen to my trumpet by Mo WillemsWhat they’re currently reading
Mo Willems, one of our favorite children’s author, has two new books out so far this year and they’re both very funny. In Listen To My Trumpet, Piggie tries to impress Gerald with her trumpet blowing, but he feels he needs to give her an honest answer when she asks about her performance. In Happy Pig Day!, Piggie celebrates her favorite day of the year, but Gerald is sad, thinking he can’t join the fun since he’s an elephant. A great lesson about differences and inclusion.
We’re also re-reading Mo Willems’ Should I Share My Ice Cream? This is one of the funniest Gerald & Piggie books and I love reading it out loud to my kids. Gerald needs to decide if he should share his ice cream with Piggie or keep it all to himself. But you know what happens if you wait too long to eat your ice cream… A wonderful and very funny lesson on sharing and guilt.

What they recently finished reading
I recently discovered a wonderful series of books for early readers (Level 2) about two cat siblings called Harry & Emily by Karen Gray Ruelle. They are perfect for my kindergartner reader, as we take turns reading (I read the left pages, he read the right ones). There are many books in the series, but our favorites so far are:
April Fool! Harry, Emily and their parents all play tricks on each other for April Fools’ Day. But Emily keeps the best tricks for her brother until the end of the day. My kids love the surprising ending!
Dear Tooth Fairy. When her tooth becomes loose, Emily starts writing to the Tooth Fairy every day. She wants to make sure the tooth fairy knows what she likes so she can bring her a great present when her tooth falls out.
Mother’s Day Mess. You can guess what this book is about from its title. And it’s very funny.
Now I just need to order more books in this series!

– What I think they’ll read next
I’ve ordered more books on dinosaurs and some on good manners, so I’ll probably highlight the good ones next week.

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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Beautiful life, beautiful world, beautiful time

As I was going through my car’s glove box this morning to remove the many paper napkins that have piled up over the past few months, I realized I have a few music CDs in there. And I’ve been so busy with life, I can’t remember the last time I listened to any of them. I found a few Sting CDs in the pile, James Blunt, Keane, and a CD with various songs, including one I had completely forgotten about.

It’s called Beautiful Life by the band Fisher. Part of the song has been used for several TV commercials over the past seven years. This song, Beautiful Life, is just… beautiful. If you every need a pick-me-up, this song will do it, every time. I myself can’t listen to it without humming, singing, and smiling from ear to ear, thinking about my two kids. Because this song is all about showing your kids how beautiful life is, how beautiful the world around us is, how to seize the day, look around and notice the small things. And Kathy Fisher, the band’s singer, has one of the most beautiful, purest voices I’ve ever heard. She’s one of those singers who sing with her heart, not her gut.

I’ll let you enjoy this song, so you can tell me what you think. It’s just too beautiful not to share. Then scroll down and hear what other Fisher songs I really like.

Several years ago, Fisher wrote a 30-second song for the San Diego Zoo called Only One You. It’s pure bliss, and it gives me the chills every time I watch this commercial

Feel free to read more about the band Fisher and listen to more of their music on the Fisher website. And I dare you to listen to the song “I Will Love You” while thinking about someone who’s not with you anymore without crying. It’s one of those very sad songs that somehow makes you feel better, if you know what I mean.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Sun

Since I live in San Diego, CA, I get to see a lot of sun. More sun than many people in other parts of the world. And even more sun than the people who live by the beach in San Diego and experience the thick marine layer that won’t lift off many days of the year.

Even though it can get pretty hot in the summer (90 degrees and up in the middle of the day is common, 35 degrees and up for those of you outside of the U.S.) and we go through a lot of sunscreen, hats and sunglasses, I can’t complain. It doesn’t as hot as the rest of the Southwest (boiling Arizona, anyone?) and I never experience “lack-of-sunlight” caused depression, i.e. seasonal affective disorder, in the winter.

The weather is the main reason I moved to San Diego 14 years ago and I don’t regret my choice. It’s also a great place to raise little kids, with so many attractions to visit and a wide variety of landscapes. Am I making you want to move here yet? Wait, gas is at least $4.25 a gallon now, always one of the highest prices in the country. How does that sound?

There’s something about the San Diego sunlight that makes for great photos. Maybe it’s the latitude we’re at and the way the sun rays hit us, but our sky is often a gorgeous blue. However, if you want to take great pictures of landscapes, you need to do it early in the morning or from the right angle, or in the winter, when the sun rays aren’t so bright. Otherwise, you get something like this:

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Sun

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Sun

That day I was trying to take a photo of the different types of steam clouds caused by several airplanes in the sky, but no matter how low or high I aimed the camera, I kept getting the sun rays in the lens. The sun was just in the wrong place for me. 

Last year when we went on vacation to Iddylwild, a lovely tiny town in the mountains of Southern California, we got to enjoy several walks in the woods. It was refreshing to see so many large trees, mostly fragrant pine trees, especially since 95% of the trees in the mountains of San Diego County burned down in the wildfires of 2003, and then again in 2008. I took a lot of pictures during our trip, but I like this one especially, showing the imposing height of this pine tree as it hides the sun behind.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Sun behind a pine tree in Idyllwild

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Sun behind a pine tree in Idyllwild

Look at this wonderful tree. Nature stands tall in front of me, and I can only bow in admiration.