Thursday, 16 February 2017


Back in November, I started a spotlight on each kid series, but got sidetracked with our trip to Korea, etc. It's time to add the final post in the series: Johan!

I'll just come right out and say it, Johan is my most...challenging child. At the age of 6, I still can't predict what will come out of his mouth or what he's going to do at any given time. Will he break into a sprint in the parking lot? Will he suddenly swing his arms and legs wildly while walking down a narrow hallway full of people? Who knows? But, on the other hand, some of the things that come out of his mouth are priceless. I suppose all that unpredictability make life exciting, right? And he is definitely our most snuggly kid. In fact, I received this note just the other day:

"Mom, 100,000,000 snuggle time. Order online and choose how many you want."

He's doing awesome in school. They don't get grades yet, but he's breezed through 1st grade reading and math already. According to his teacher, he is a model student. He is also doing great in swimming, improving all the time. He enjoys Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, playing with Legos, and making comics. In all, he's a great kid, and I can't imagine how boring life would be without him!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Art Gala

 This evening Irene got to participate in her first Art Gala. She was chosen as one of just 3 students from her elementary school to participate in the 1st Annual Elementary Art Gala here in Pflugerville. According to the note sent home from her art teacher, "She was chosen because her art skills are exceptional and her character is outstanding." For some perspective, there are over 950 students in her elementary school. Needless to say, we were all pretty excited! But I have to admit, although insisting otherwise, she looked increadibly nervous all afternoon. Turns out she didn't really have to do anything but stand beside her art piece - a rain stick.
Incidentally, I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not, but over last summer Irene decided that she'd rather go by her Korean name, Eun-Young, while at school. I told her I wasn't sure if it'd stick, but apparently it's going well! I'd also like to point out, this isn't the first time Irene has been recognized for her art ability!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017


 The day has arrived! Irene and Oscar got their braces off! For reference's sake, the got them on in September 2015 - 16 months ago. And before that they had the expander on for 6 months. So it's been quite a while since they have had the freedom to eat whatever they want. (Although, to be fair, We really haven't followed the rules too closely.) Still the first thing they did when they got out of the office was have a piece of gum. They tell me it was wonderful.

 They are still not completely free, however. They must wear a retainer at least 12 hours/day. Luckily, the are encouraged NOT to wear it at school to decrease the risk of losing it. So basically while sleeping and when they are around the house. It's a new thing to get used to, but still better than braces!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Olympic Dreams

 What a day! Every year there is an Arena Pro Series for swimmers that tours America. It's for some of the fastest swimmers in America, including current and future olympians, and it stops in Austin. Last year I took Irene to watch one day, and it was very exciting. This year, was even more exciting! Olympian and WR holder Cullen Jones put on a swim clinic at the pool where the kids practice. First he gave a short Q & A and then he gave the kids some lessons in the water. It was pretty cold out, but they all had a lot of fun. At the end, they even got to race him!

In the afternoon, we were all scheduled to volunteer at the swim meet downtown. Young-Hoon and I volunteered to work at the Meet & Greet, having no idea that the swimmer who would be signing autographs was Cullen Jones. It worked out well, because in a lull in signing, Oscar asked him what his favorite dry-land training is, and the result was a planking competition. I think the kids surprised him a little bit with how long they could last! 

The kids were signed up to carry baskets for the top swimmers. This included a number of Olympians such as Josh Prenot, Anton Ipsen, Amanda Weir, and more! Basically, they just had to carry out an empty basket, the swimmer would put their clothes in it, then the kids would carry them back. They all said it was super-fun and are already asking me to make sure I get them in next year. 

 Johan even found himself on the big screen right behind Jacob Pebley.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Pokemon Killed Santa

I think it's finally happened: Santa just may have met his doom here in the Cameron-Jin household. As I was driving the kids to swim practice this afternoon, I overheard the following:

Johan: What the...!!!?! Does Santa steal all the presents?!
Johan: Well, does he just buy them at the store?
Oscar: No, he makes them. Or his elves do.
Johan: Well, does he live in China?! Because my Pokemon card holder says "Made in China," so...

*Long pause*

A discussion about whether or not Santa is real began between the boys. I stayed out of it, and so did Irene, though probably for different reasons. In the end they seemed to decide firmly that he is not real, and after we arrived at the pool about 5 minutes later, Oscar asked me point blank.  I'll admit it, I was tempted, but I stuck to my policy of non-committal answers and just said, "That's something you're going to have to decide for yourself." A little less confidently, he declared Santa a phony. So, that's where we ended up. I think Santa's days are numbered, and I'm not sure how much longer I can help him out.


We had a special treat this weekend - my brother and niece came to visit from Japan. They had been visiting with the rest of the family over Christmas, but since we were in Korea, they were nice enough to stop by for a few days on their way back to Japan. Mona is just 4 months older than Johan, and all the kids get along great. Although it was probably the coldest few days of the year here (it reached about 18F Saturday morning), we had enough to keep busy.       
On Sunday it warmed up just enough (45F) that we could visit a heated pool and the kids (and Kevin) could take a swim since that is one of the things that Mona most wanted to do and my kids never pass on going swimming. After swimming we stopped for some BBQ and waddled home. 

 Since it will be Mona's 7th birthday on Tuesday, we had a little birthday celebration here. I whipped up a chocolate cake and she decorated it by herself. We all had  really good time, and wish they could have stayed longer!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Unexpected Adventure

Our trip wasn't over! On the way home, our flight from Incheon to San Francisco got delayed after arrival. We sat on the ground for about 30 - 40 minutes. By the time we got off and through the (incredibly loooong immigration process) and got our bags, our connecting flight was taking off and the next flight was not until 4pm the next day - 27 hours later! I'd be lying if I said I was too upset when he handed me the hotel voucher and 3 meal vouchers per person. 

A quick regrouping at the hotel, and we were on the phone with Young-Hoon's brother, who happens to live just 30 minutes by car south of San Francisco. They came to pick us up and took us back to their home where we had an enjoyable New Year's Eve dinner. Unfortunately, our travels caught up to us, and we were back at the hotel and in bed sleeping by 10:30pm. No New Year's bells and whistles for us! 
But our San Francisco fun was not over yet! I pryed everyone up around 6:30 the next morning to catch a shuttle to the airport, to catch a train downtown, so we could ride the famous San Francisco cable cars down to Fisherman's Warf. Because it was New Year's Day, the National Park there was closed. As was the maritime museum. But we still enjoyed the cable car ride, the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and a WWII battle ship and submarine before heading back to the airport and an uneventful trip home where presents from Santa were waiting! It was a fantastic end to a fantastic trip.