five sentence Friday #42

yesterday sterling & i were doing a homeschool activity in which he dictated & i wrote his story about what we like to do as a family.
first we made a list of things we like to do together.
the first thing out of his mouth was “watch movies!” which was then followed by a few other fun things we like to do together but i kept prompting him thinking he’d agree with my nonchalant probing that “ride bikes” & “read together” should be on the list.
but instead he surprised me with “homeschool!” 

oh my… melt my mama laoshi (teacher mommy) heart!!!


homeschool: it’s official!

because baby sprout is due in august when sterling is supposed to begin homeschooling… & because he’s ready, as his teacher i went ahead & made the executive decision that he officially begin homeschooling in march.

our current schedule includes sterling going to a local pre-k three ½ days a week, which is quite challenging for him after being gone the past 6 months and being bumped up a class so he can stay with his friends.

essentially this meant that what would in normal circumstances take him about two hours, took him three. even so, he was such a trooper!

i am still so proud of him!seriously, when i look at him in this picture i can’t help but visualize him holding a diploma and wearing a graduation cap… & cords, of course!

thinking it’d be a fun way to document the beginning of his “educational career” i let him fill in the blank. and let’s just say, i didn’t see this one coming! looking forward to watching him grow & seeing where & how Dad leads!

i’m thankful i was in the frame of mind to remember to document this milestone. even took a short video, which is sure to serve us large doses of humor in the future!

celebrating sterling 2009-2013

“My son, if you accept my words
    and store up my commands within you,

turning your ear to wisdom
    and applying your heart to understanding—

indeed, if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding,

and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,

then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.”

please continue to join us in praying Proverbs 2:1-5 over sterling’s life.

sterling’s happy 5th birthday!

his special day began with a candle in his waffle… & some serious concern about being safe around fire. love his strong sense of safety!

you’ll notice a birthday theme: fire & water!

in the morning we visited LaoLao & LaoYe’s where a water bladder blob was awaiting us!

a lot of love went into this water mattress like gift. (thanks LaoLao for all your hard work!)unfortunately it rained off & on all morning which meant the water was quite chilly.

even so, the sprouts had a lot of fun retrieving the sea creatures. sterling was especially apt at catching sharks!with the help of a net…
and some assistance from LaoLao & her squeegee…

they caught their quota!& his reward: a shark bite towel!

meanwhile liberty enjoyed sitting on the sidelines playing with NaiNai & enjoying some warmth & cuddle time.

afterwards we enjoyed a special birthday lunch at firehouse subs (which we captured on video) then headed home to give liberty a nap. this allowed sterling time to enjoy several of his new toys…

(he even got a waterproof Bible!) & some Netflix while NaiNai & i went to work in the kitchen. (thanks NaiNai for your patient persistence – with me & the icing!)our sweet 5 year old firefighter!blessing me with a wink! love that he randomly winks at me!our attempt at “firetipped” cupcakes! (store bought icing didn’t exactly work – apparently the ‘consistency’ makes all the difference!)i eventually gave up on the idea & went with the simplicity of white icing with red sprinkles topped with fire themed stickers. F-I-V-E!!!at dinnertime liberty was happy to be rejoining the party!this year we began a new family tradition. instead of making a wish before blowing out the candles, we thanked God for sterling & he prayed for many of our prayers have already been answered…first bites:after dinner we had a mock fire drill which included sterling dressing up in his fireman gear. then the real surprise… a trip to the local fire station!

& a personal tour!

the highlight of the day – literally!& a ride in a fire truck!!!sterling was in total awe!& liberty was totally chill!so many contraptions & tools!talking to each other on the headset:jarod’s excitement was obvious. our visit to the local volunteer run fire station truly was a special gift! (thanks “fireman justin”!)& sure to be the thrill of a lifetime! listening over the headset requires a certain degree of concentration! as you can see, sterling had a lot of cameras pointed on him the entire time! of course, sterling also got to practice “being” a fireman!liberty was eager to join him…definitely the cutest firefighters I know!in spite of the rain & the fact that we had to improvise when things didn’t go according to plan, it was a great & memorable day… & we all enjoyed celebrating sterling’s first birthday on the west side!

sterling’s mug!

he was supposed to be “resting”. on our bed. but every once in a while i’d hear a small sound coming from our room revealing that he was stirring… and definitely not asleep.

what i didn’t expect was this.

obvious disobedience.

and him with a smile, trying to wash away the evidence.

“look mommy, i put blood on me!” let me see… yes, blood red nail polish. (i can’t remember the last time i painted my nails red. oh the unnecessary liability!)

ironically he was very proud of his under the bathroom sink discovery… and his face paint.

i wasn’t nearly as impressed. hence, the 3rd degree… and mug shots.

even so, i have to admit this clown-like face – complete with pursed lips – is pretty cute.

especialy after inspecting the damage and realizing that it was limitied to his face (& not the sheets or furniture)!

besides, the cure was simple enough.

and hopefully unpleasant enough to not warrant another attempt!

either way, gotta love a little boy in face paint (even if he’s not wearing shorts)!

sterling’s very happy 4th birthday


the dawning of his birthday brought with it a happy birthday song and lots of hugs. (please forgive my “unpolished” look.)next up was hugs and kisses for liberty who eagerly joined in the celebration.and this is the beautiful face of our 4 year old.and a busy 22 month old.

after our typical morning routine we skyped family and sterling was able to open several gifts. unfortunately, we were so busy videoing that we failed to capture it with our camera. needless to say, everything was a hit!

sterling’s special birthday outing required an hour trek to the local aquarium. (we don’t do parties, but celebrate special occasions with fun outings.) where we were greeted by a polar bear.a majestic and gigantic creature.after several exciting discoveries, including walruses, seals, and various other tanks we took a stroll through the water tunnels and hovering sharks.afterwards we splurged and got the sprouts one of sterling’s favorite snacks: popcorn. and this… this is definitely one of my favorite moments of them captured in time. so sweet.and yummy.

more spectacular tunnels with yet even more sharks and stingrays.we happened upon an opportunity to have our picture taken with some seals. the sprouts thought it entertaining enough just to watch them from the gate. and again, thankful i was able to capture this moment. the sprouts – some ways the aquarium experience came to an abrupt end, except that it didn’t. after the “souvenir store” which was lacking to put it mildly, we journeyed on to the rainforest exhibit where we found ourselves captivated by the monkeys. after our random tour of the rainforest we enjoyed a picnic lunch outside. as bizarre as it sounds i was most shocked by how grown up liberty suddenly seemed as she sat unassisted at the picnic table and ate her cheese sandwhich. it took me a bit by surprise, maybe because i’d been grieving sterling changing and growing up so fast that i couldn’t help but feel the whiplash of time at that very moment. time truly does fly.

once home sterling opened his gifts from us. first up, the book, “little boy”… bought for no other reason than this picture. super sterling – on the go.he also received a rather large box of lego bits & pieces. thanks in part to his nai nai & ye ye who “invested” in his birthday stash 6 months you can see, liberty was getting pretty excited about all the loot as well. i have a very hard time capturing motion, so i’ve decided that if i ever want a focused picture, sometimes i just need to grovvel and beg ask. legos and a transformer: what else could a boy want?while liberty napped sterling and i made & put the finishing touches on his cake.a simple idea really. yellow cake, chocolate icing, candy rocks, dirt (cookie crumbs), chocolate logs (pocky sticks), mini bulldozer & backhoeloader and magnetic letters.

don’t you love how thrilled he looks to be eating his banana in full view of his birthday cake!?!

in the meantime, jarod and sterling enjoyed building many new lego structures.that is, until liberty woke up and we fulfilled yet another one of sterling’s requests: a hamburger. which seemed totally random since we rarely eat them. however, since it was a request we could easily fulfill we loaded the sprouts on our bikes and took a family ride to the nearest mcdonald’s. where sterling’s wish came true.and so did liberty’s. her one request: ice. yes, another rarity here on the east side.

“ice, please!”love these faces! next up… the longed for “construction cake”!by this point sterling was tired from his long and busy birthday… and eager to get on with the cake eating festivities. still though, he had a great attitude and i’m grateful he looked up long enough for me to capture the you can see, sterling wasn’t exactly given a large piece of cake…even so, it took some work to keep shoveling it in. poor baby was so tired.but thankfully, continually happy.even though he never did finish his birthday cake.

so grateful for another year and the gift of watching our boy grow. blessed. abundantly.

happy blessed 4th birth-year sterling!

capture: this face.

(this post is in honor of sterling – 1 week shy of age 4)

the first time i saw sterling’s picture the first thing i said was, “he’s perfect.” several bumps, bruises and a chipped tooth later, for me, that sentiment is still true.

on that day the first feature i noticed was his lips. his pout. then his hair, his beautiful black hair. his eyes held no story in that image… but today they capture light and radiate life – beautifully.

jarod’s always asking me why i cut off the tops of people’s heads.

i don’t have a profound answer. (other than to confess that he’s too tall to fit nicely into a frame.) but i do have a reason. it’s simple really. what i want to remember, what my heart gravitates toward, is the face.

this face.

the face of my oldest. the face i love staring at… just inches from my own. the face that tells me his thoughts, and his feelings. the face that is smooth to the touch and beautiful to behold.

the face i kiss.

the face i want to remember… even after he’s aged. after he’s traded out his baby teeth, learns the meaning of “stubble”, adds crow’s feet around his eyes and a few grey hairs sprinkle his crown. this is the face i want to remember.

because though he’ll always be my baby, and i’ll always find him perfectly beautiful, i want to remember this face.

though fleeting are the days. and years.and may i remember not too hold on too tightly to that which is not mine.