Right here, right now, being able to sit down and type up some of my thoughts, is what I am extremely grateful for today. For the past couple weeks, my mind was taken over by constant anxiety about the new job I was starting and I couldn't get myself to do anything that takes more time and focus (things like blogging ;) Spring break turned out to be pretty eventful and busy, too, with traveling and fun family outings here and there. Yesterday marked the end of my first week at the new school, and I have nothing but praise to report. Things went a lot better than I could've ever imagined for week 1, and I'm really enjoying teaching a completely different student population.
Over spring break, we flew down to San Francisco for Gary's cousin's wedding in Napa (where Zoey got to be the flower girl!) It was a beautiful wedding and a super fun trip, as we got to travel with the Chungs and mom and seeing all the family from L.A. I'll write a separate post to share more about our trip and all the pictures later next week :) Other than flying, we spent the rest of the break relaxing and spending time with the kids. Z and N were able to nap more regularly since I was home to guard their door and watch them fall asleep. We went to Cloud City (our neighborhood coffee shop) a couple times for breakfast, read lots and lots of books together, visited the zoo one afternoon after preschool, did a staycation in downtown Seattle one weeknight, and took the ferry to Bainbridge Island for a day trip.
Lots of happenings also mean lots of pictures to share :) I'm putting up the ones from the zoo and downtown Seattle first.
It was a really beautiful, warm day at the zoo and it wasn't crowded which was a huge plus. We don't come to the zoo often as to me it just isn't the easiest place to go with all 3 littles on my own, and I never know how to explain why these animals are captured and put in a zoo. Anyway, it worked out well that day, and the two older ones both got their #2 business done while we were there ;)
Our staycation last week was a total spontaneous move. On Wednesday I went and bid for a room in downtown Seattle for Thursday night, because I was feeling like doing something special before school started, and last-minute hotel stays just seemed like a perfect choice. And turned out it was! The kids LOVED it and wanted to stay one more night :)
We took it easy and did our usual destinations in downtown - pike place, the public library, delicious coffee shops, and just lots of strolling and walking around town.
The Seattle ferry and Bainbridge Island were some of the top touristy things I did when I first moved to Seattle. It was part of my aunt's "Grace Lin Tour" and I still remember walking around town and browsing through cute local shops with her - fond memories :) :) I've been wanting to take the kids there sometime, and after thinking about it for months, we finally got to go last weekend (yay!!) It was a beautiful Saturday. We got on the ferry from downtown Seattle and enjoyed the pretty view of the Great Wheel and all the other things by the water.
It was lunch time by the time we got off the ferry, and most of the restaurants we wanted to try were already full. Thanks to Yelp (I seriously use it for everything), we drove to Rolling Bay for lunch at Rolling Bay Cafe. It is the tiniest cafe I've ever been in but when we walked out through the side door, we saw these picnic tables and benches in cheerful colors and we were so surprised and happy! This whole area is a big nursery apparently, with a couple small shops all around, selling gardening stuff, kids toys, clothes, aannnnd baby chicks! Naynay did not want to leave the baby chicks when it was time to say goodbye.
We went back to downtown Bainbridge after lunch, and had crepe for dessert! Mmmm, I can eat some again right about now.
We tried to walk off some of that whipped cream and nutella the rest of the afternoon but then we found a cute bookstore for the kids :) We played and read there for a bit before we headed home.
Happy (almost) Friday! I hope all of you have had a great week so far. I finished my last day of teaching at Central today, and next quarter I'll be teaching an evening class at a different college closer to our home. I felt a little emotional driving to work today, thinking that I won't be making this drive to Capitol Hill as often anymore. There's something about working in the city that I just love, though I'm also extremely thankful (and a little nervous) for this new opportunity. There will be a new set of challenges and unknowns, but I'm trying hard to ease myself into spring break mode and not think about all that stress too much yet.
One thing I'm really looking forward to during break is to read with Z and N without having to worry about time. When our days get busy, we often rush through books and stories (most of the time, mama is too tired) but then I feel like we miss out on so many great learning opportunities that way, whether it be phonics, spelling, social skills, emotional management, etc etc. I've also been wanting to write more about books from Z and N's regular favorites. These are my favorites, too. I love children's literature, and that is not because it's the only thing I read nowadays ;) Anyway, these books will be great from the toddler years through preschool ages. If you know people who might be interested for book recommendations for the little ones in their lives, feel free to share it :)
1. A Day With The Animal Doctor, by Sharon Rentta. We were gifted a Mandarin copy of this book a few years ago, and it's become one of our favorites. I was thrilled to find the English version and other books in the same series at Barnes and Noble! Z and N were really happy, too and they love the other ones just as much. These are: A Day With The Animal Mechanics, Animal Builders and Animal Firefighters. The details in the drawings are incredible, and the content is very educational (I got to learn about how a house is built, too :)
2. Knuffle Bunny, by Mo Willems. Mo Willems is by far my most favorite author for children's literature. His humor is great and so relatable. Knuffle Bunny and Knuffle Bunny, Too are Zoey's favorite. It involves a favorite stuffed animal, school friends, communicating with parents and the difficulty and frustration that come with it. The storyline is simple, and it's definitely something a preschooler like Zoey can relate too.
3. My Visit To The Aquarium, by Aliki. Well, this is quite self-explanatory. Nathan loves aquariums and ocean animals and so if your little ones are the same, they would love this book too :) You also get to learn names of different fish, which is helpful.
4. A Sick Day For Amos McGee, by Phillip Stead. This is a really sweet story that Naynay likes. Amos, the zoo keeper, visits his animal friends daily and spends time playing chess, reading a book, running a race with each of them. Seeing Amos is what the animals look forward to everyday, too. One day, Amos didn't show up. The animals waited and waited and finally they got on the bus to Amos' house and learned that he was sick. So the animals stayed to take care of Amos and keep him company. A sick day instantly becomes a not-so-bad day when you are around people who you love and love you :)
5. How Did That Get In My Lunchbox, by Chris Butterworth. I found this at Whole Foods Market and am glad I brought it home with me. It has different questions on each page, asking and explaining what our food looked like before they get to us, such as carrots, apple juice, and cheese. Most are simple concepts, but presenting them in a kid's book with cute illustrations grabs attention and interest from Z and N right away (especially Zoey.) I learned some stuff, too!
Alrighty, again, thank you for reading! Have a wonderful weekend, and hope you get to spend it with those you love :)
Two weeks ago, when I took Zoey out on a tea time date, Naynay was really sad that he wasn't part of the plan. He whimpered and begged to come along (that afternoon Gary took Nay and Izzy to a park instead to do some hiking and play with sand, which Naynay really loved actually :)
It really has been quite awhile since I went out alone with Nathan, though. We used to do it all the time when Zoey was in school and Izzy was still in my belly, and it saddened me a little realizing I haven't done it at all with him since Izzy was born (whereas I've taken his sister out quite a few times.) So this past week I've been thinking about different ideas for our mom-son date, and thanks to my loving and supportive husband, we got away for a few hours this Saturday morning. Naynay and I went on a bus ride together to downtown Seattle, and spent 3 hours wandering around town - I'm lucky I've got a great walker with me!
We stopped by Cupcake Royale before we ate lunch (our excuse was it was too windy, haha. seriously though, we almost got blown away walking from westlake to pike place!) and then we came to The Bear and The Bee and shared a pulled pork sandwich. The whole morning everyone was commenting on how awesome his Husky hat was and just how cute he was overall. (I don't disagree ;)
Naynay's been talking about the aquarium and how we haven't gone in a long, long time (but really we just went 3 weeks ago). So we walked through Pike Place Market, checked out some seafood (ocean animals are his favorite), showed him the famous gum wall (he was like, can i eat some?!), and looked at sharks and seals at the aquarium.
After the aquarium, Gary and the girls came to pick us up and took us home. I love this man and how supportive and loving and considerate he is. Because of him, these precious dates with our littles are made possible. Also, have I mentioned how easy and stress-free it is to go out with just one kid? Such a nice break :) As for Naynay, he was so different when it was just the two of us together. So gentle, so sweet, and so easygoing. I think it was a date long overdue for him, too :)