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Exploring Around Home (WooHoo – 100 Posts!!)

Today I did something a little different and decided to take Matthew out & have fun somewhere we hadn’t been yet – the Children’s Museum down in Denver. Before my crazy Googling last night, I thought that the Children’s Museum was aimed more at older kids, but oh no – there is PLENTY to do at Matthew’s age.

I don’t get too many opportunities to spend time doing fun things with Matthew, just the two of us. Not that I don’t LOVE our family time together, but it would be a lie if I said I wasn’t a little envious of all the time that Zach gets to spend with Matthew. So, understandably, I was really thrilled at my plan for the day – so much so that I packed up our backpack last night so we could leave as early as possible (the museum opens at 10am and I wanted to be there right away to beat as much of the crowd as possible). That plan was basically futile though – we got there at 10:09am and although it wasn’t completely packed, there were a lot of other people with the same thing in mind, and by 11am it really was packed. It was fun anyway though and Matthew had a blast checking out the fire trucks and really enjoyed the fact that I just let him run around without tailing 2″ behind him like normal.

Once he’d played with everything age-appropriate that he could, we went for a walk on the trail by the museum. I tried to put him in the carrier (50% because I wanted the extra cuddle time, but 50% because I needed to test a new prototype lol), but within 5-7 minutes he was screaming at me to let him down & run. So I did just that, and we played tag on a huge hill full of dead grass and bird poop (seriously, how many times a day do geese poop?).

Then we ended our little adventure with a walk over to the playground. But once Matthew got it in  his mind that throwing dirt at the other children was the best thing to do, we had to leave since there was some creepy older kid standing on top of the slide pretending to cast an evil spell on Matthew and I was scared for all of our safety 😉

The best part? Its only 12:30! We still have way more than enough time to go for a bike ride! The news on the radio this morning said snow, but I think they were looking at the wrong zip code on weather.com since it is beautiful outside.

(Matthew was too scared to go in the tunnel so he just crouched like this for a good 5 minutes lol)

Christmas Part III: Nona’s Play

Christmas seems to come with a crazy number of parties and events. When all is said and done I believe we’ll be at “Christmas Part VI” if not more. Just because we go all out each year doesn’t mean that each day isn’t as special as the next though. Zach’s amazing family is so large that the holiday celebrations typically span over 2-3 days alone, then we have time with my mom and brother and of course those I work with and have learned to consider family due to the insane amount of time we spend together (willingly, I might add). Lastly is Christmas Day – reserved for our own growing family to build new traditions that will one day be appreciated by Matthew when he’s old enough to care about more than all the cool ribbons in my wrapping supply boxes.

Our third Christmas celebration was with my mom and brother – a bit earlier this year than normal but only to accommodate a much needed trip to Singapore to visit my dad for the holidays. She’s arrived safe & sound today I might add. Matthew got a little tent that has become the new favorite in the house – who knows how much time he spends in there. In fact, he’s quietly organizing his collection of pipe cleaners inside his tent as I write this now. Decoration I assume.

The evening started out with a lot of delicious food and my first taste of apple cider (yes, odd I know but it’s true). We then exchanged gifts and spent some time joking and laughing before leaving to go watch mom in her (second) debut as Mistletoe Mary. I tried very hard to get some good photos but between a difficult camera and a horrible photographer behind the camera, I didn’t really get anything too great. However, for your viewing pleasure:

MISTLETOE MARY!

Again, my apologies for the poor photo quality here – but I think you get the idea lol.

Overall it was a really wonderful night. Matthew got to spend some time in a daycare for the very first time, and we drove home crammed in my little car enjoying a late dinner from Chipotle.

Some more photos for your viewing pleasure:

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Matthew’s First Sled

Last Christmas Uncle Sam gave Matthew a sled, but unfortunately the combination of a) Matthew being quite young, b) my complete distaste for the cold and c) the lack of infant snow gear led us to NEVER using the sled. But, this year is different now that Matthew is old enough to appreciate the new experiences and I’m willing to take on the cold weather in small doses. This afternoon we took the sled out in the backyard for a test drive – this was Matthew’s first time on a sled AND his first time really experiencing snow:

Matthew Loves Lady Gaga

I just can’t resist. I know so many of you have already seen this on Facebook but every time I watch it I just crack up. His little side step dance moves towards the end there are just too much.

Chilly Day

Yes, I live in Colorado. Yes, I should *technically* be accustomed to the cold weather and snow. However, I find myself miserable at the mere hint of what’s to come.

To try to combat the inevitable lethargy that usually comes between November – March, I told myself to get out from  under the warm blankets and venture outside. So, we bundled up and headed out to the park today. The sky was blue and there was no rain or snow, so it SHOULD have been fine. But no, that was not the case – the bitter cold wind made it impossible to enjoy the outdoors today. However, Matthew seems to be oblivious to the cold and instead was so consumed with the excitement of the park that we literally had to pry him away when we were both frozen to the core. Pulling a wagon with numb fingers is no easy task I might add.

Taking photos with icy fingers is challenging, but we got a few 🙂

 

Now to make something hot for dinner to thaw out 🙂
At least the sun is out though, and the sky is blue… it could be SOOOO much worse.

Thankful Part I

Lately it seems I’ve gotten caught up in too much negativity, feeling “without” or lacking and a little down. While it may be cliché to list off what I’m thankful for during this time of year… who cares? I am blessed to have so many amazing people and opportunities in my life, and I want to share that with others to remind everyone how much you all mean to me and that no matter how crappy things seem from day-to-day, you always have those around you to lean on.

This morning I got not one, not two, but SEVEN little kisses (mostly unsolicited) from some little boy who means the world to me.

Clearly this little man of mine is cute enough to melt anyone’s heart.

Monkey –

♥ I love the way you make me smile even when you’re chucking rocks at my face
♥I love waking up to your silly noises in the morning that *almost* sound like a real language
♥I love watching you grow, even though it happens too quickly
♥I love the realization that you actually are a mini human being, not just a silly squishy cute thing that has too many bodily functions
♥I love the excitement on your face when I say “popcorn”
♥I love how you remind me of my own temper while you scream at me for no reason at all, so that we can calmly sit together and have that silent understanding
♥I love your toe lint, and how it seems to gather at an extraordinary rate
♥I love how you chase after our poor dogs, attacking them and then making everything alright again with your little kisses
♥I love when you raise your eyebrows at me, as if what I’m saying is pure insanity and certainly not to be taken seriously
♥I love watching you blow kisses out the front window when I leave for work
♥I love the way you adore your father more than anything on earth, until you don’t get your way and run back to me
♥I love how opinionated you are – my determined little man

But most of all I love that you are MY little man, and you make our little family one of the happiest in the world.

Day 8: A Sad Goodbye

Unfortunately the end of our trip came too quickly – despite all of the fun we had while in Singapore, it inevitably had to come to an end. We spent the last day of our trip being lazy, walking around the malls and watching Matthew feed the fish at a koi pond.

We are home now, after a long flight from Singapore to Tokyo, then to Houston and finally home to Denver. It felt good to be home at first, but after less than 24 hours I’m already thinking about another trip. What can I say, being home is so boring 🙂

 

Day 6: Buddah Tooth Relic Temple & CHILI CRAB!

Day 6 was a bit of a “down day” – we went back to China Town and walked around and did a little shopping. I bought a really pretty tea set from a little shop we found on a side street – the man also had a ton of teas, all in containers I couldn’t read (lol) but he helped me chose one to go along with my tea set and I took home a really nice Jasmine tea that I can’t wait to try out. Zach found some handcrafted bamboo chopsticks that are really nice – we might just have to try our hand at some of the amazing food we had during our trip so we have a reason to use the chopsticks.

While wandering around we came across the Buddah Tooth Relic Temple, a Buddhist temple right in the middle of China Town. Part of this temple is now a Buddhist museum, but the first floor is still an active Buddhist temple. In fact, we had a chance to witness the Chanting of the “Sutra of Golden Light” while we were there. In the front there were a number of Buddhist monks, lined up leading the chanting. There wasn’t a single plain wall in the entire Temple, everything was beautifully adorned and at the front of the temple were the most amazing (and MASSIVE) statues. I do regret that I am not familiar enough with the Buddhist beliefs to even identify these statues, although they are clearly very meaningful. Below are some of the photos from inside the temple. The photos of the golden statues are included below as well, although it is hard to see how incredibly large they were – hopefully you can see some of the people below to put everything into perspective.

In a Buddhist temple you are not supposed to have your legs or shoulders uncovered – Zach (who was wearing shorts) had to wear a sarong to cover his legs, and I (wearing shorts and a tank top) had to wear a shawl as well before we were able to enter the Temple. We wrapped Matthew up in a shawl as well, but its hard to tell in this photo since the little wiggle worm can’t sit still for 2 seconds lol.

We wrapped up the day with the absolute best meal I think I have EVER had. We went to a restaurant called Jumbo which was right on the shore, and had Chili Crab – the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten. So amazing that I’m at a complete lack of words on how to describe it. We also had pepper crab, salted egg prawns, mini squids, little breads (dad called them “Man Toes” but no amount of Googling can confirm this for me lol) and finished the meal with some fruit – so delicious. Zach has taken photos of many of our meals, but until now I haven’t really felt compelled to WRITE about any of them. That’s not to say the food wasn’t amazing – I don’t think we had a single thing that I disliked while in Singapore. Everything was absolutely delicious and really makes the food here in the US seem, well, almost inedible… but the Chili Crab – THAT is worth a trip out to Singapore all on its own.

Day 5: Deepavali & Little India

Deepavali (Dee-pav-ali) is the Hindu festival of lights which marks Lord Krishna’s victory over Narakasura – a triumph of good over evil. To celebrate, homes and temples are decorated with lights and oil lamps to attract Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. This celebration just so happened to be during our trip to Singapore (October 26th) and we had the opportunity to visit Little India to witness the celebration. There were lights and flowers all over Little India – it really was great to see and the photos really don’t do it justice, but here are a few from our day:

In Little India we stopped at the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, which was built in 1881 by Bengali laborers and is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali, who epitomizes the struggle of good over evil. The (long) name of the temple means “Kali the Courageous”. This temple was amazing – having the opportunity to not only see something so beautiful and meaningful, but also witness those praying at different alters was an amazing experience. I felt a little strange as an “observer” of their religion while they were praying and making offerings but the temple was open to the public as long as you respect those inside and abide by the rules (i.e. taking off your shoes before entering). Here are a couple of the photos from the Temple – although we took many many more:

More photos coming soon – we took so many on our trip (almost 1000…) that I’m weeding through everything we have and uploading to Flickr. Its taking a while though, but I will share the links once available.

Day 4 – Sentosa & Holland Village

Today we did the tourist thing and went to Sentosa, a small island off the coast of Singapore that is mildly ridiculous in my opinion, but we had fun anyway. Sentosa is like the Singapore version of Universal Studios meets Disneyland meets the beach. In fact, there IS a Universal Studios on Sentosa. Not necessarily my cup of tea – I prefer the more cultural destinations – but Matthew enjoyed the aquarium and watching the dolphin show, and afterwards we enjoyed having the beach almost entirely to ourselves.

For dinner we went to Holland Village and had Pho (delicious) and walked around a little bit enjoying the craziness.