Sunday, April 29, 2007


We have finally settled back into normal life after all our birthday festivities and house guests. March and April were fun months for us..

  • Our friend, Assiya, came to visit from Kazakhstan.
  • Kai turned 3 on March 19th.
  • MeMaw and PawPaw came to visit for Kai and Sierra's birthday party.
  • We had Easter festivities.
  • Sierra turned 3 on April 20th.

All our activities were well photo-documented so we'll let them tell the story.


Kai's 1st school picture.


Sierra's 1st school picture.


Mom made ice cream cone cupcakes for Kai's class birthday party. His birthday is the only time of year he's allowed to stand in his chair (while everyone sings happy birthday). Kai is good about following the rules, so he was very up-tight about standing on his chair.


Sierra also wanted ice cream cone cupcakes for her school birthday party. Mom learned a few lessons from Kai's iteration so Sierra's turned out a little better (although the room of 2-3 year olds couldn't tell the difference). Unlike Kai, Sierra loved standing up in her chair while everyone sang to her.



Assiya, our friend and interpreter from Kazakhstan, came to visit the US. We were fortunate to be on her agenda. For the first few days of her visit, we also got to meet her friend, Almas from Uralsk. He's in the States working on his Masters. Unfortunately, he was only able to spend a few days before returning to school. We had a great time with both of them and were sad to see them go.


Almas, Assiya, Carla, Jim, Kai and Sierra at Magic Kingdom


Kai and Sierra with Aladdin.. to add to our library of character pictures.


Even though we have 500 stuffed animals at home (exaggeration), Sierra thought she needed one more.. we decided to leave it for another patron.

Assiya loved Sierra's wink. Sierra had no problem "performing" for her over and over again. Here's a double wink.


Kai liked "hanging with the boys."

Mickey Mouse never gets old. It was fun to have Assiya and Almas there since they'd never "met him in person."


Our friends Katie, Chad, and Avery came for a few visits while Assiya was here. She was amazed at how big all the kids have gotten.


The Kazakh beauties.


Playing in the jungle at Animal Kingdom.

We spent our last day with Assiya at Animal Kingdom.


Buzzz..... The Bug's Life show. It was so much fun to experience all the Disney shows and rides with someone that hadn't seen any of it before. In this show, for instance, Assiya got startled and jumped out of her seat... which we found funny.

Before taking her to the airport, Assiya made us a great traditional, Kazakh meal (Beshbarmak). We had this dish in Kazakhstan with horse meat. Of course, horse isn't available here, so she made it with chicken and beef (which Assiya said was common in Kaz as well). Mom wrote down the recipe but hasn't been brave enough to try it yet.



Memaw and PawPaw came for a visit the week before Kai and Sierra's birthday party. They were a huge help in finalizing last minute party errands while Mom and Dad were working. They took us all to DinoWorld the first weekend they were here. A few days after that, PawPaw came down with some "crud" and was pretty miserable for the remainder of the trip. Despite that, we still had a nice visit and got in some good pool time.


"Roar like a dinosaur."


"I'm scary."


"I'm not as scary."


"Watch out, there are dinosaurs behind you."


MeMaw and Daddy helping Kai and Sierra dig for Dinosaur Fossils.


Sierra in the sand pit... she actually kept her pony tails in all day.


Mommy and Kai cooling off.


"Giddy--up PawPaw"


"Take the picture... how long do we need to stay down here, PawPaw?"

"I'm cool as a cucumber in the water."


"Faster, faster Memaw"


"Hey, Pawpaw, you don't need all this stuff to swim. Let me help you take it off."


"Aren't we cute? "





Our little fish are at it again this summer. Before Memaw and Pawpaw got in town, Kai and Sierra were a little slow to get back into their swimming. They loved playing in the pool but didn't want to practice their swimming techniques from last summer. In fact, Sierra would pitch a fit when we'd make her practice. Then one day, she decided she liked it again (mostly due to MeMaw and PawPaw having her in the pool for several consecutive days in a row).


Night time swimming (warm in the water, but freezing when you get out). Mom opted to stay out and take pictures (and be "towel girl" for all the swimmers).

Sierra swimming to MeMaw.


We went to Family Night at Gators where they have a clown and face painting. Kai chose Spiderman and as you can see, was pleased with the results.



The last Tuesday of every month, there is a drawing at Family Night for a bicycle. We put the kids name in the box and guess who won? We were stunned when Sierra's name was called for the red boy's bike the size of a 6 or 7 year old. She was excited that she won and walked right up to claim her prize.


Here she is "riding" it to our car in the parking lot.


Kai didn't quite understand why he didn't get a bike also, but was happy that Sierra was sharing hers. We decided to "donate it" to cousin Hunter who will be ready for this size in about 6 months.


Sierra's last night with her passies. We finally gave them up during MeMaw and PawPaw's visit (probably a year overdue). It was surprisingly no issue (maybe because they've only been allowed to have them at bed time). We told them a few days before that they were turning three, so it was time to give their passies to another baby. Sierra kept hers one more night and then sucked on them one last time the next night, made a face, and gave them to Mom, saying, "for da babies." Kai took one more night and some prompting, "Kai, it's time for them to go to the babies." He gave it up with no fuss and has never asked for it back.



We let Kai and Sierra choose their birthday party theme this year. Sierra chose Dora and Kai chose Dinosaurs, so we did a combo "D" party. They each got their own cake (Mom took Friday off work to make them), and we had other fun "theme" food for the kids/adults to eat (Dinosaur chicken nuggets, Dora chicken nuggets [courtesy of Chik-fil-A], Dinosaur bones [pretzel sticks], Dora Fiesta Chips [chips and salsa], Dora Fiesta Fruit Skewers [fruit kabobs], and Dinosaur eggs [grapes]). Uncle Jeffrey/Aunt Kit lent us their Bounce House, we had a Dora Pinata and a fun Dora Adventure to find the party favors. The weather was great and the kids had a ball.


Our party invitation.


Sierra's Dora Cake (took forever to ice... had about 11 different colors and the picture from the pan was the exact opposite of the cake shape, which makes it hard to reference when icing.. given all that, it turned out pretty good).


Kai's Dinosaur Cake (Although it looks complicated, it was not hard to make. However, Mom had equipment malfunctions during icing. The icing bag busted and the dinosaur neck decided to fall forward.. luckily, MeMaw thought fast and brought over a bamboo skewer to shove from front to back and we were back in business).


Kai and Sam coming down the slide.


Kai and Sierra in the Bounce House.


Sierra whacking the pinata.


Kai taking a turn to bring the Dora down. It was finally John L. that set the candy/toys free.


"Alright.. let's cut this bad boy."


"Alright already, enough with the singing, let me just get the sugar.."

Kai's turn.. we made it through the candle blowing with no spit.


Yummy. Avery, Sierra and Kai eating their cake and ice cream.


John, Kendall, Kai, Sierra, Avery, Alivia and Sam ... cake and ice cream time.

The infamous wink.


Kai's glare (every time we ask Sierra to wink, Kai will make his "mean" face. He also makes it if you ask him to make his "mean face.")


"I love Dora."



A birthday kiss from Dick.


Just swinging with Alivia .

Daddy led the Dora Adventure. Everyone had a map to follow. They had to go (1) over the Fun Fort (the jungle gym), (2) cross Dinosaur Mountain (the Dinosaur at the park) and (3) go through the Bushy Forest (the Florida scrub brush). Jim made sure everyone was looking out for Swiper to make sure he didn't get our treats.


Sierra studying her map for the next destination.



"I found it.. and Swiper didn't get me."


"I found mine too and it has my name on."



Easter egg hunts, the Easter Bunny, school party/parade.. the gifts/candy kept coming! We moved from our birthday party one weekend, to Easter the next. The day after our party, our neighborhood had a community Easter Egg Hunt. The Friday before Easter, school had a party and parade. On Saturday, we dyed eggs and Sunday morning we woke to find the Easter Bunny had come to our house. We spent the morning before church, mining through our Easter baskets. In the afternoon, we had a nice Easter dinner with Kathy/Bill/Kerrigan and then one last Easter Egg Hunt.


There were about 500 eggs out for Kai and Sierra's age group. I think Sierra got about 3.


Kai collected about 4 eggs. He may have gotten more if he hadn't gotten some sticky burs on his hand and insisted they be removed before he'd continue.


Sierra checking out her stash with MeMaw (she was happy with her 3 eggs).


Kai and Sierra with the scary looking Easter Bunny.


Kai was an orange flower in his school Easter parade


Sierra was a pink flower.


This is Kai and Sierra's class with Miss Pam, Miss Erin, and Miss Lymari. After their class picture, they went on their class parade through the school so all the other classes could see them.


Sierra with a less scary looking Easter Bunny at school.



Kai tickling the Easter Bunny in the back of the head (the poor bunny was being tackled by about 30 preschoolers).


Sierra and one of her teachers, Miss Erin.


Kai and Sierra with Miss Pam.


Kai with Miss Erin.


After Daddy, Kai and Sierra dyed our Easter eggs, Sierra put the plate out for the Easter Bunny. We left him 4 baby carrots.


The next morning, the Easter Bunny had eaten all but a few bites.

Kai spotted the empty carrot plate as he was checking out his Easter stash.

"Thanks Aunt Sue... Do you think we look alike?"


"Aunt Sue... I love all my candy and these glasses are pretty cool too.. thanks."



Church time.
(In Kai and Sierra's world, it's either "School time," "Church time," or "No more school/No school today" or "No church today."


"What are you looking at?"


Our Easter Egg Hunt (with no competition from other kids). She racked up.


Kai enjoyed only having Sierra to "beat" (one of his favorite lines is "I beat Yayaw <-- that's still how he pronounces Sierra).



Here are a few miscellaneous photos from the last few months.


Thanks Amanda - I liked getting a package in the mail with my name on it.


Me too.


Sierra has perfected the cross-eyes. It's one of her most popular funny faces. Also, the lovely pink slipper socks she has on her hands, she fondly refers to as her "Monkey paws." She insists on putting them on every night when she goes to bed. If we forget, she goes nuts.


Daddy took Kai and Sierra to play golf (slow course, mid week).



Kai practicing his putting.



We still had cousin Amanda's Flat Stanley, so we took him to Sea World one last time before sending him back to Virginia. Here the Polar Bear is holding him.


Kai, Sierra and Flat Stanley with Shamu.


Kai is finally tall enough to ride the Shamu roller coaster. Sierra wasn't happy to be left out but she's still 2 inches too short.


Sierra's new pretty bathing suit from Karen and Dan. She was having fun splashing around before it got busy.


Kai waiting for the big bucket of water to drop.


"Ahhhh, Kai's getting us with the water gun"



Although Sierra loves swimming, she isn't fond of water being "spritzed" at her. You would think she was running through a mine field.


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