Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring-time fun in the backyard and neighborhood

March 20th marked the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and we've been enjoying unusually warm weather in most of the northern part of the U.S.  The past week in particular has been awesome, a glorious early spring that has seen some really nice high temperatures in the low 80s Fahrenheit (nearly 28 degrees C).  These are temperatures we usually don't see in our area until perhaps sometime in April, and it is not unusual to get snow in March.  In the summertime, however, it can get hotter here than it does in the Philippines (but with less humidity).   Although we really encourage our daughter to do well in school, have a love for reading and creative writing, do homework, practice math and piano etc., we think it is also really important for a kid (and us adults!!) to just be a kid and have fun and unstructured play time while getting some good, healthy fresh air, exercise, and sunshine outdoors.  

This last week, since the temperatures were so nice, after school our daughter got out and rode around in our back yard on her trusty Peg Perego jeep.  We picked it up for a song on Craigslist a couple of years ago, and it has proven to be one of her very favorite toys for outdoor use.  It runs on a motorcycle battery and is very powerful, and we have a back yard away from any cars so it's very safe.  As you can see in the photos below, she likes to take our dog as a passenger and ride around.  Her neighborhood friends like to ride it too, but now that they're 8, having a driver and a passenger brings the weight limit about up to the maximum in terms of draining the battery pretty quickly.  So probably it's best to stick with a 10-pound dog as passenger for now!   Additionally, there's one photo of her and our dog on her swing set.

Hitting the ground running on the Peg Perego Jeep

Posing on the jeep

Man's best friend on the swing set

This past Friday (March 23), we started off the weekend after I got home from work with our typical dinner together as a family, followed by a little outdoor outing until sundown.  We enjoyed a nice walk around the neighborhood and a chance for our daughter to put in a little more riding practice on her new Kickboard Maxi Kick scooter.   It's a pretty cool looking scooter, which has three wheels and a lean-and-steer design like a surfboard, so it seems like she's having a really fun time learning how to maneuver the scooter and work on some simple little hops over bumps and cracks in the sidewalk.   She had a scooter before this, but it was more simple in design and didn't have the 3-wheel design and lean-and-steer capability of the Maxi Kick.   There is a nice little cul-de-sac just down the street that provides a smoothly paved circular surface for her to ride, with virtually no car traffic (and we can hear and see any cars coming, which would be moving slow)... a good, safe place to ride. 

We let her go through her paces for awhile, and before it started getting dark I mentioned to my wife "this would be fun to take some photos", so she ran back to our house quickly to get her camera.  The photos below are some random shots, all by my wife, of our daughter in action having fun on her scooter, as well as a few photos of some of the beautiful blossoming trees we saw.   As you can see from our daughter's legs (bruises, mud), our daughter is a fairly rough-and-tumble kid (climbing trees and wrestling as well as any of the boys her age) and is pretty tough when it comes to getting bumps and bruises etc.  We had a nice evening, and we could catch a glimpse of the planets Venus and Jupiter in the western sky high above the setting sun at the time we made the short walk back home. 

Scooter girl - my wife added a slight sepia tone effect to this photo

Piloting the Kickboard Maxi Kick around the cul-de-sac... bruised shins!

Weeping cherry tree in full blossom 
Weeping cherry tree blossoms (don't know species of trees behind)

Checking out the beautiful tree blossoms

For those who are reading my blog who live outside the U.S., where we live, we have a true 4 seasons: spring, summer, autumn (fall), and winter, and right now the plant life is just starting to sprout and blossom again after being dormant all winter.   The  warmth and blossoming of flowers and trees this spring is probably running ahead of schedule by about 2 or 3 weeks compared to usual springtimes in the past.  So what you will see in the photos above are trees mainly bare of leaves, but which are starting to grow their leaves and flowers anew.   When summer comes, everything will be fully green again, although usually here where we live the most quantity of flowers and the most beautiful flowers on the trees can be seen in April and May.  Also, in the most all parts of the U.S. we observe daylight saving time ( starting March 12, which allows us to have extra daylight in the evenings... it's really nice at the height of the summer, when the daylight hours are very long and it typically gets dark at about 9:30 PM, allowing you to more thoroughly enjoy the day outside and really feel like you can accomplish something during the day.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Our 18-year wedding anniversary and some family pictures

My lovely wife and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary yesterday.  Well, we didn't actually celebrate it yesterday, since yesterday was a Monday and a busy work and school day for our family... not the best for scheduling an evening out.   So my wife and our 8-year-old daughter and I instead celebrated our wedding anniversary as a family on the weekend immediately preceding.   On Saturday, we all went to a special performance geared for kids, and on Sunday, we had a really nice Sunday-only brunch buffet at a very nice and historic restaurant, complete with some really awesome Bananas Foster for dessert. 

Reflecting back on the past 18 years, we're truly grateful for all of the blessings we've had, especially our daughter.  Although we've had our share of hardship and struggle along with all of the wonderful times, love truly overcomes all.  Those 18 years have gone by very quickly, and it's hard to believe that at the half-way point of our 18 years, on March 5, 2003, my wife was less than 4 months pregnant with our daughter.  

We didn't take any photos for our anniversary (too busy enjoying the Bananas Foster I guess), but I've posted a relatively recent photo below of the three of us together during our trip to the Philippines in July/August 2011.    This was an early birthday party for our daughter at her Lolo and Lola's house.   Also, I've included a recent picture of our smiling little bundle of joy, now a third-grader.



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