Sunday, 23 April 2017

Rockin' It

Another birthday gift from Grandma and Grandpa to the kids was a trip to Austin Bouldering Project, a rock climbing gym. The kids often try the rock climbing wall when we are at events and it's free, and last month after doing it at the baseball event, they all were very enthusiastic about trying it at a rock climbing gym. In fact, they could hardly wait to try, so we went today. Johan got an early gift from Grandma and Grandpa, so it worked out well. 

They LOVED it! Technically, this was a bouldering gym where all of the walls are relatively low to the ground with a thick pad, and no harness is necessary. I think that made it all the more fun and less scary. They started on the kiddie wall, but quickly got bored with that and begged us to take them to the adult section. I suppose because they have so little weight to pull around, they just scrambled up some of those walls.

 They climbed for about 2.5 hours before their blistered hands and wobbly arms gave out. They wanted to continue, but at that point they couldn't get much more than a few feet off the ground. I think I know what to get them for every birthday and Christmas from now on.

Saturday, 22 April 2017


Yesterday was Irene and Oscar's 9th birthday! We kept it pretty low key this year, but I think they had a great time. It kicked off at school where I'm told Irene was "humiliated" by a sombrero and some birthday singing in gym class. (It's just her "good fortune" that her mom is a frequent substitute at the school who happened to mention their upcoming birthday to the gym coach the day before!) I brought them their requested lunch, Capri salad and croissants, and ate with them. They got some more singing by their classmates as they handed out their birthday treats of doughnuts. After school they both wanted to attend swim practice so that they could be given the "birthday spash," where their teammates spread out along the lane lines and splash the birthday boy or girl as they swim though. 

In the evening we had their chosen birthday meal, fried chicken, and opened presents. Oscar was tickled pink with his model airplane from Grandma and Grandpa!
 and Irene was blown away that somehow Grandma and Grandpa knew exactly what she wanted...
...Harry Potter bookmarks!
 Oscar also seems to like the history book from us. It was one of his birthday requests.

 For cake, they decided to split their cakes up again this year. On their birthday was Oscar's cheesecake with strawberries.

 Today, Saturday, they had a small birthday party. We actually offered a sleepover this year, but they both decided they're not ready for that yet. That's just fine with me! Instead they each invited 2 friends over, but unfortunately one of Oscar's couldn't make it at the last minute. It was ok though, since Irene's 2 friends, Caden and Andrew, were actually two of Oscar's good friends last year, and his friend, Nathan, is his best friend this year. The plan was a pool party, but even though it was 90 degrees yesterday, it was about 60 today. I had some party games planned, just in case, but we never even made it to them.
 Instead, we headed down to the basketball court for a little B-ball.
Back home for cake. Today was Irene's chosen cake: chocolate caramel corn cake with whipped cream frosting. I have no idea where she got that into her head, but she's been talking about it for over a month now. It actually came out pretty good! 

 Turns out 1/2 of our guests don't like whipped cream, so we left some cream-less corners on the cake.
 Since the kids left, our kids have been busy building models, Legos, and playing with drones (all presents from their friends and a timely package from their Aunt in Korea.) It's been a happy birthday all around!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Easter 2017

Happy Easter! Although I find that the Easter spirit is not as abundant as when I was growing up, we kept busy and I think the kids had a good time. Saturday morning we got up early and joined a 5K race taking place just down the road at the local lake. The kids were all pretty tired from their swimming the night before, but we made it across the finish line! We even got to take some pictures with the Easter bunny and pick up some eggs. Oscar won a month of Camp Gladiator - a boot camp-style fitness camp. He's pretty fit already, so I was happy to take that off his hands. I start tomorrow...if I dare. 

 Saturday evening we got busy tye dying eggs. This was the first year that we did both boiled and blown-out eggs. The kids were fascinated by the empty eggs. The tye dye effect came out better than expected as well!

 Sunday after church (and a quick photo shoot at Lake Pflugerville), Young-Hoon fired up the BBQ for the first time this year while the kids went wild with an egg hunt. 41 eggs in the house, then 40 eggs in the yard. We had a nice, relaxing Easter afternoon, and now it's time to get busy working on next weekend's excitement: Irene & Oscar's birthday. Oh, and I'd also like to point out Irene's dress. We've been working on it since last summer. Irene picked out the fabric and style, I cut out the pieces and she did the stitching. Our interest has come and gone, but we finally finished it up about a month ago! I'm guessing this will be the most wear it will get considering she's not into dresses anymore. (This probably had a lot to do with our interest level!)

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Long Course Begins

The kids had thier first long course swim of the season. In swimming, the year is divided in half: fall is short course (swam in a 25 yard pool) and long course (swam in a 50 meter pool). The bulk of their meets are short course, simply because there are very few long pools around. This weekend a handful of their teammates from Pflugerville made it to a meet in south Austin. They were all nervous because that pool looks looooooong, but they did great - as usual!
Irene swam the 100 free in 1:34.99 earning her a B time! She did the 50 free in a time of 40:63 earning her another B time and less than 1 second off the BB time. Not bad for her last meet as an 8-year-old!

Oscar swam the 50 breaststroke and took off about 21 seconds from his short course time! (they have an algorithm to convert short course times to long course times, apparently). His time was 1:10.79. He also swam the 50 free with a time of 48.18, beating his old time by a second. To be fair, it was almost his bed time when he swam it, and he was pooped. I don't think his time reflected his improvements made during practices.

Johan also swam the 50 breaststroke and enjoyed every second of it, as you can see from the photos. This is not a one-time thing. In practices also, he swims this stroke with a smile so big I wonder how he doesn't drown. Apparently, according to his coach, his kick is amazing - like a little frog - and he is very proud of that. Now he just has to work on the rest of his form and focus, and he'll be awesome! Anyway, he finished with a time of 1:15.92, but was DQed at the wall for a 1 hand finish. Bummer. He did fantastic at the 50 free though, cutting off 7 seconds for a time of 56:92.

I have no videos today since I was taking photos with my camera, testing out a new lens. We took videos with a cell phone, but they didn't come out very well. Also, please note that in the top photo above, Johan is not crying. Rather, his cap was smooshing his face and he needed an adjustment.

Thursday, 13 April 2017


This evening the 3rd graders at the kids' school, including Irene and Oscar, put on a square dance. They'd been learning it in gym class for a while, and today was show time. It was a lot of fun watching them! In the first 2 videos below, Irene is in the back group wearing an orange T-shirt. She looked pretty miserable the whole time, but I think she was just concentrating. Oscar is in the back left group wearing a blue T-shirt. He had a pretty big smile on his face the whole time.

At the end they grabbed their parents to join them!
And even Johan got a try. 

Friday, 7 April 2017

Irene's New Look

 About 2 months ago Irene started complaining that she couldn't see the microwave clock...from all the way across the room. I dismissed it because no one could see the microwave clock from across the room. Then she started complaining that she was having trouble seeing the board at school. She had her first eye appointment on Tuesday and after the usual "which is better, A or B" questions, the dr. dropped the adjusted lenses over her eyes. The look of shock and joy on Irene's face as he looked at the letters on the wall left no doubt: She needs glasses.
 On Wednesday we went shopping for glasses, and she's been bouncing-off-the-walls excited ever since. Today she got her very first pair of glasses. I think think she looks pretty good in them! So far she loves them, but I'm wondering how long it will be before she's asking for contact lenses.


Sunday, 26 March 2017

2017 Kayak Take 1

 It's been so beautiful lately that we decided it was time to break out the ol' kayak. The plan was to get up and out early and drive to the same state park we went to last weekend for some kayaking and fishing. Upon waking up, however, our plan changed. Our ambition was low, and 1 of our fishing poles still had a snapped line from last Lake Pflugerville it was!
 It was WINDY out today, so we only bothered to inflate the double kayak. Young-Hoon and I each took each of the kids out for a trip before the wind got totally out of control and the waves started to fill the boat. Still we got another hour or so of beach fun before heading home.

 We probably won't try kayaking at Lake Pflugerville again, though. There were just too many people on the small beach, and there is really no place to go in the kayak. We like to explore a bit, but this lake is almost round and we've run around it on the trail so many times; there is nothing new to see.