Journey To The West

Journey To the West PosterN and I recently watched Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons.  I love a good kung fu movie and Stephen Chow makes some of the best.

Journey to the West is the story an aspiring Buddhist demon hunter.  In the course of trying to protect a village he gets thrown together with another demon hunter and develops complicated feelings for her.  Hijinks and epic battles ensue!

The movie is visually stunning with great effects and fight choreography.   and it’s very funny.  It also made me want to find out more about the classic Chinese story that it’s a prequel for.

We didn’t let the kids watch it with us.  There are some intense scenes and some of the encounters with the demons rack up a lot of victims.  Maybe 12 and up?  I dunno.

Anyway, check out Journey to the West if you get the chance.  Even if you’re generally not into kungfu movies it’s very entertaining.

Happy Newish Year

Happy belated Lunar New Year! I’ve been making some progress on my new year’s resolutions: exercising (I’ve been going to spin class on Mondays and a weight-lifting class two days a week); learning Spanish (using Duolingo on my phone), and writing in my 5-year diary.

I haven’t made much progress on decluttering my house, though.  I bought Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and put it on my coffee table a few months ago but not much has happen yet.  Weird, right?

I wanted to share this video of the Korean pop group Stellar performing the choreography of their song “Sting” wearing their hanbok for Lunar New Year.  It’s just something they taped at their studio but it’s cute.

N and the kids are off on Monday and I’m really looking forward to having a day off from our weekday routine.  And maybe getting caught up on laundry–dare to dream!

I hope you have a great weekend.

Mimi Turns Five

Last week Mimi turned 5. FIVE!!! Why does five seem so much older than four? Maybe it’s the specter of Kindergarten just around the corner, maybe it’s that the years fill up all the fingers on her hand now. But whatever it is, five seems to shut the door firmly on babyhood and it’s turning out to be a little hard for me.

But so far being five is working out marvelously for Mimi 🙂

Mimi and E clowning around for her 5th birthday
Mimi and E clowning around
Mimi Playing with her new Calico Critters
Mimi playing with birthday presents

We like to stretch birthdays out around here. For a special treat my friend Amy and I took Amy’s daughter E.S. (who is Mimi’s best friend) and Mimi to Build-A-Bear.  We had scored some gift cards at a discount around Christmas and saved them to celebrate the girls’ winter birthdays together.  They had a blast, but wow.  If she plays her cards right maybe Mimi can get another one…instead of a car after she turns 16.

Mimi and her bestie E. at Build-A-Bear
Mimi and her bestie E.S. at Build-A-Bear

Later that evening I made Mimi’s requested dinner of Korean food (bulgogi with lettuce to wrap it in and kimchi) and baked a vegan chocolate cake and she opened gifts from N., E., me, and my parents.

And then on Sunday we went up to N.’s parents’ house for dinner and ice cream brownie sundaes and a few more gifts including the sweetest sweater from N.’s mom.

Ice cream sundaes at Grandma and Grandpa's
Ice cream sundaes at Grandma and Grandpa’s

Recently Mimi has attended a few birthday parties for cousins and friends so she was very keen on having a friend birthday party this year–with a piñata. Since our house is decidedly not piñata-friendly I reserved the gym at our church and we’re going to do it up this Friday 🙂

So for the rest of the week I’ll be alternating between running all over getting ready for the party and tearfully sniffling into my sleeve that my baby is growing up too fast.

Mimi at 3 months
Mimi at 3 months *sniff*

Mimi’s Wishlist

As I was doing her hair this morning I ask Mimi for some ideas of what she would like for Christmas. 

She said she wanted “a robot unicorn” which she said she saw on an episode of Sofia the First.  (I checked and I don’t think this is an actual thing.)

“…a spotted unicorn”  (???)

“…and my own phone”  (I literally laughed out loud at this and earned myself a look.)

I encouraged her to give Santa lots of ideas because he only picks a few things that he thinks will be best and so she added “flower spray” to the list.  I asked her what that was and she said she wants spray that smells like flowers so she’ll smell nice. 

I told her that she already smells nice and she frowned and said, “No, I smell like sketti”  (spaghetti)

Ha-ha!  She’s the best.

E’s 8th Birthday Party


20151107_0012_zpsau21qxcp-1 E turned eight at the beginning of the month.  We had a friend party for him at the Discovery Space Center which lets you go on a simulated space mission: piloting and navigating your space ship, encountering aliens, communicating with mission control, etc…  It’s basically like being on the bridge on Star Trek.  The kids really loved it.

Our house is on the smaller side and I wasn’t thrilled about having a pack of 8-year-old boys bouncing around it so the cost seemed very reasonable, especially since I used a $50-off coupon I received on their mailing list.

E’s dairy/egg/nut-free cake from City Cakes

20151107_0034_zpscsihhc6i-1The following day we went up to N’s parents’ house and had dinner and another cake and opened presents from family.  We really like birthdays around here 🙂


Halloween 2015: The Agony and the Ecstasy

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After a crazy Friday (getting the kids ready for each of their class parties, going to E’s school to run the snack station and having half of the other moms helping with the party not show up until the party was halfway through (!), watching E’s school costume parade then rushing home to pick up Mimi so my friend who was watching her after preschool could attend HER kids’ costume parade, and then taking taking the kids around N’s office Halloween party) I was beat.  It didn’t really seem right that there was STILL MORE HALLOWEEN stuff to do on Saturday.

But we got the kids in their costumes again (E was General Grievous from Star Wars and Mimi was Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony) and trick-or-treated with some of our neighborhood friends.

Mimi was thrilled that she and her friend from down the street were twins.
E with neighbor friends.


E as General Grievous
Mimi as a sassy Rainbow Dash

I hope you had a happy Halloween.  Ours was fun but I’m glad its over.  Good thing there’s nothing going on for the next few months, right?  😉


Cayonlands National Park

20151017_0075_zpsltjjuvkq-1Here in Utah we get an extra long weekend off of school in October so teachers can attend training. It’s called UEA or fall break. Half of Utah takes the opportunity to go to Disneyland and the other half heads down to southern Utah which is what we did.

We rented a cabin in Moab and spent a few days exploring Canyonlands National Park.  The scenery was amazing and it wasn’t too crowded.  At times it felt like we had the place to ourselves.

Hiking to the top of Whale Rock
E using his binoculars at Mesa Arch.  They came with a Junior Ranger backpack we checked out from the visitor center (for free!)
Taking a break on the Aztec Butte hike.
The kids in front of an ancient Aztec grain pantry
E was enamored by the texture of this shrub and requested a photo 🙂
E climbing around and making me nervous.

It was a great trip.  I think Canyonlands might be underrated as a national park.  We only visited the Island In The Sky district (there are 4 different ones) but it was gorgeous.  I’d say it’s on par with the Grand Canyon.  Check it out if you get the chance.

This Girl

20150820_0014-2_zpseldtfa3k-1I love having Mimi around.  Part of me wishes I could freeze her at this age.  4-year-olds are such  riots.  I’m trying to soak in all the funny things she says.

On Monday morning, Mimi came out of her room crying and said she had had a bad dream (this has been happening often lately).  I asked her what happened in her dream and she wailed that “Daddy got too old!” And then she sniffed and added, “And he had a mustache!”


Blackberries at Meemaw’s House


I loved growing up in western Washington.  My parents still live there and since we don’t get to see them very often I tried to take the kids up every summer to visit. This year my siblings also came so we had a family reunion which was really great.

My parents live on a couple of acres which they’ve planted with fruit trees, berries, grapes, and a big  garden. The first morning after we got there the kids ran outside in their pjs to pick some blackberries for breakfast.When they’re older I hope they remember small moments like these.

First Day of School

kids holding signs on the first day of school

E and Mimi started school last week. E came home happy from the first day of second grade and excitedly told us how his teacher, Mr. Mac, told the kids that they don’t have to raise their hand to go get a drink of water OR to go to the bathroom.  The heady privileges of being a second-grader!  🙂

Sweet Mimi is attending the same wonderful preschool that she went to last year but now she is going 3 days a week instead of 2.  This year we are carpooling with her best friend Eva and listening to their conversations in the car is turning out to be a real highlight for me.  So adorable!

(Last year’s pictures here.)

I’m looking forward to nailing down my schedule and getting into a routine.  We came home from spending a few weeks up in WA with family right before school started so I feel a little bit discombobulated (and behind on laundry, as ever).  But I took a lot of photos while we were out of town and will try to post them soon!