Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Miracle of Faith

It was five months ago from today when we experienced the most terrifying experience of our lives; a frightening event that we hope no parent has to go through. At a pool party we held in celebration of Alena's 8th birthday, Elsie was found at the bottom of the pool, still and unconscious, but was soon revived via CPR thanks to the acts of several people who were in the right place at the right time.

She stayed at the SickKids hospital in Toronto for 48 hours for monitoring, where she quickly returned to her normal self - singing, smiling, and being silly. The next day, we went for a walk along the shores of Lake Ontario, and she showed no fear of the water as she waded through its shallow waters.

We remained cautiously optimistic as she continued to show no fear of the water or any adverse effects to the incident, neither physical nor emotional. If anything, it gave her and her siblings a broader perspective of life in general, as similar events would creep into playtime as common, everyday occurrences.

Soon after the incident, we found ourselves moving from Canada to the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Elsie was as excited as the rest of us that our new housing complex had a swimming pool. We have since frequented both the pool and various beaches around the islands at least a couple times a week. Though her words never described it, we could tell that there was a little trepidation around the water, but still no signs of fear or resistance. We have become even more vigilant around pools and about pool safety, as we believe everyone should be.

For a while, Elsie neither improved nor digressed in her swimming abilities. Even after we had hired a swimming teacher to come to our pool on a weekly basis to teach Alena, Reasor, & Elsie, she resisted learning and would instead cut her lesson short to go to the hot tub. With us, she didn't show interest in doing things like putting her face underwater or jumping into the pool. We didn't push her but instead allowed her to progress at her own pace. It is also important to note that this behavior was very normal for Elsie - even before this summer - and did not cause us any concern.

It wasn't until about a month ago when she started to make significant progress. She started to put her face under the water and get into the water without a floatie; next she started to jump off one step into the water, then two steps, then off the side of the pool while holding a hand, then all by herself. This progress seemed to fuel her desire to improve more and more, talking about what she was going to show her teacher at the next lesson. He taught her to do the breaststroke, which she slowly learned to do spanning an increasingly longer distance. Now she can jump into the pool and swim almost to the other side of the pool, about 15 feet away.

Elsie's progress is very encouraging to us, and is many steps in the right direction. It is important to realize that, while anyone in a similar situation will be different, sometimes we just have to face our fears and do our best to overcome them. Living in Hawaii has given us the chance to help Elsie overcome any fear that might have existed after her accident, and to use that as a springboard for progress. While there is still a lot to go, she is a shining example of one full of faith and determination - an example to all of us.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Alden, in videos

A couple months is a long time for a baby - they grow up so fast! Alden has always been a happy and easy-going baby - a saving grace for us as we juggle the needs of four young children. He loves any attention he can get and rewards that person (even the unassuming stranger) with twinkly eyes and a big smile. He loves to giggle and he gives big hearty belly laughs.

We love how often we can go to the beach here in Hawaii. All of the kids love the water and sand. Here is an example of how Alden just goes with the flow:

Alden has recently started to scoot/crawl. While it was nice to be able to set him down and not worry about him getting into everything, now he can make his way over to that toy or book he's been eyeing across the room.

Finally, with his new-found mobility, he isn't always content just to sit in his bouncer, even though he's taken a liking to the attached toys.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

4 weeks old

Alden's already 4 weeks old, and everyone's itching for some more pictures. So here they are!

Alden means "old friend"

This blanket was a gift from Kevin's co-workers

Both sets of grandparents, his great-grandmother, and Auntie Coco were able to attend his baby blessing

Mommy with her 4 littles

Lounging around on a Sunday morning

The two "A's"

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Like being a kid again

As a kid, I was a little deprived. Sure, I had a roof over my head, all the food I wanted to eat, a loving family, and an environment in which my piano career could thrive. But when it came to anything other than piano, school & church, I was deprived. No sports or extracurricular activities, especially those that would jeopardize my piano fingers. (I know, I know, I have nothing to complain about. I'm just trying to set the stage for this post...)

So when I left home to go to university, I decided that I would pursue my longtime ambition to learn sports. I've always had a decent sense of balance and physical ability; I just wanted to develop that desire for physical fitness. So I joined intramural teams, played soccer in the snow, and took physical education classes. Taking university classes (at BYU in Provo) to learn the basics about various sports turned out to be the best way for me to learn because I was with other people my age who were at the same level. Since leaving home, I have participated in lessons/teams/clubs for soccer, tennis, hockey, flag football, ping-pong, and golf, just to name a few.

After moving back to Winnipeg, we decided to put Alena & Reasor into skating lessons so that they could learn how to stay on their feet on ice. I had taken some basic skating lessons when I was a kid, then improved on those abilities in my hockey class at BYU. I'd always wanted to take a hockey class, but outside of BYU, I couldn't find a class for adults who wanted to learn how to play. Either you were an adult and wanted to play in a league or you were a beginner - but a kid. I learned through a friend that Winnipeg has a hockey class for adults, which looked to be reasonably priced and would work in my schedule. I was disappointed to find out, though, that the class required full hockey equipment - and that's not an insignificant investment for someone who just wants to learn the basics. Then, when I looked again at the leisure guide that listed the skating lessons for kids, I noticed that the power skating lessons are open to adults as well as children. So I signed up.

Yesterday was my first lesson of the "Pre-Junior Power Skating" class, which happened to be at the same arena where I took skating lessons many years ago. I approached the check-in desk and told the person that I was checking in for myself. "Kevin?" the lady asked. It turned out that I was the only adult signed up in any of the classes (not just in my class of 10), so she knew right away who I was. The next oldest kid in my class was...12. A little apprehensively, I laced on my skates and went onto the ice when class was about to start. I found my class and we were instructed to do some warm ups across the width of the rink. The ages of the others in the class ranged from 9-12, and I could sense the eyes on me, wondering things like, "What's that guy doing here?" and "How old is he?" Sure, I look young for my age, but in the eyes of a 12 year-old, I'm still a grown-up. I didn't talk to any of the others, because there's this thing in society today that looks down on adults (especially men) talking to children. And I knew that all of the parents were watching, so I didn't want to look like some sort of creep. Luckily I was able to do pretty much all of the skills requested by the instructor, so at least I didn't embarrass myself in front of my peers (and their parents).

Near the end of the class, we combined with a couple other classes to play a game called British Bulldog. That's the game where you line up on one side of the rink (or half rink, in our case) and try to get to the other side without being tagged by one of the bulldogs. That's when I really felt like I was back in elementary school, since we played games like that all the time. I was definitely the oldest one there (I'm pretty sure I was older than all of the instructors too), and though I am a decent skater, I got tripped up a couple times when I tried to chase one of the instructors. Don't get me wrong, being around elementary-aged kids is fun, even I'm old enough to be a dad to most of them (I know, saying that makes me sound really old). I still love playing games like that, because I feel like a kid again. And you know what's the best part in all of this? For the first time in my life, I'm the tallest kid at school.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hairball Juggling

Some things are just worth posting about. Fulfilling a request for a follow-up to a post from 5 years ago, enjoy some crazy hair tricks:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A list

In case you're in the mood to wish you had something you can't have right now, read this list of food items I really wish lived closer to me.  Misery loves company, eh?

1. Gaufre de Liege
2. Dunford chocolate donut with chocolate frosting.  From the bakery or the 7-11 please.
3. Bruster's buckeye ice cream
4. Blue Bell Banana pudding ice cream
5. Malasadas
6. Chocolate Haupia pie
7. Gulab Jamun from the street in Suva
8. Sis. Singh's Pumpkin curry
9. That incredible hamburger I ate outside of Aukland
10.  Canned peaches at the King's house
11.  Matthew's cafeteria
12.  Kitchen sink salad from Community BBQ
13.  Egg tart from the bakery by the Star Ferry in Hong Kong
14.  Noodles and leek pie at Chef Liu's

And now, if you live in Brussels, Salt Lake, Atlanta, Oahu, Suva, Aukland, or Hong Kong, please go eat some of this stuff for me.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

quote board

Reasor says, "Scientists are still trying to figure out what Tyrannosaurus Rex used his teeeeeeny tiny arms for.  But I know what he used them for.  To get up off the ground.  He was a very heavy dinosaur.  If he fell down he needed help to get up."

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Things I did before noon:

Drove Kevin to work
Went to target
Shoveled the rest of the driveway
Cleared out the dishwasher
Loaded the dishwasher
Cleaned the stove
Polished the outside of the fridge
Cleaned crayon off of the wall
Vacuumed the main floor
Mopped the main floor

By 6:00 Kevin will be home from work to see:

That I didn't find what I needed at Target
It continued to snow on the driveway
The dishwasher is 3/4 full of dirty dishes
The stove got dirty from today's cooking
There is cheese and salty mud puddles on the mopped areas.
There are scraps of paper spread over the vacuumed areas.

But as of this moment the fridge and the wall are still clean, and the dust has yet to accumulate.  Wish me luck, everybody.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

He reads!

Although he doesn't know the names of all of the letters, he does know the sounds - and that's what's important for learning how to read. It's a long video, but it's really cute.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lucky Money

Happy Chinese New Year! The kids always look forward to the traditional giving of lucky money in red envelopes. Mah Mah & Yeh Yeh (Kevin's parents) also sent some money, so they had two envelopes each. Gung Hei Faat Choih!