Sunday, December 28, 2014

Polar Express

During Thanksgiving, 2014, we took a family adventure. We went to Williams, Az The North Pole. We drove to Williams, Az, then boarded the Polar Express train to the North Pole. There, Santa hopped on our train and hitched a ride back to Williams. This town of Williams could very well be the town that served as the inspiration to the movie Cars. Set along historic Route 66, it was 'bypassed' when Interstate 40 was built. The town has bounced back nicely, remaking itself as the 'Gateway to the Grand Canyon'. It certainly has retained it's nostalgic feel, albeit with modern, tourist-trap food prices. Another memorable highlight for Da Boys was Bearizona. It is an animal habitat which you can drive your vehicle through. It affords a close up view of lots of animal species that you rarely get this close to. The last destination of our trip was the Grand Canyon. While too young to hike the canyon, Da Boys did manage a short, scenic walk along the South Rim.

Waiting to board the Polar Express train
Reindeer Bell. Do you believe?
Traffic Jam in Bearizona
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon
Sydney and Elvis

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dodger Stadium

Uncle Andy invited Casey to a baseball game at Dodger Stadium. But not just any baseball game. After the pros finished their 9 innings, the kids got to run the bases and play catch on the actual field. What a cool experience for the kids!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Broadway Musical Bound!!!

Casey just participated in his first school play. He was a turkey in his kindergarten production. About a month ago, when he informed us he was going to be in his school play, we had a family vacation scheduled to conflict. He was SO BUMMED he was going to miss his play. But then, he apparently began to slack off in rehearsals, because after making a family decision to postpone our trip to accommodate his play, he informed us that he could no longer participate, because he didn't learn the songs. By this time, he still had a week to prepare, so hopefully he crammed and learned the songs. Showtime arrived, and slowly all the actors took their place on stage. They proceeded to sing, dance and act a number of songs. My favorite is captured in the video below. It was my favorite because of how much feeling and emotion Casey put into it. He definitely rocked it!!!

See ya on Broadway kid. Here is where it all started!

Casey's Kindergarten Play from p wang on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Who Knew?

Last week, Casey had been complaining about pain in his butt. And I mean a literal, physical pain in the butt; not a figurative 'Sydney is being a pain in my butt'... We automatically thought 'diaper rash'. Sure, its been awhile since we've had an episode of diaper rash, but sure enough, there are a few random red spots on his little cheeks. So, we applied the butt cream and called it a day. During the night, he woke up screaming and crying.. about his pain in the butt. So we responded by applying gobs and gobs of the butt cream.

A couple days later, Casey was still really complaining, so we scheduled a doctor appointment to get him checked out. The doctor started by checking his ears, nose and throat. Maybe that's just standard operating procedure, but part of me was thinking that doc needed an anatomy refresher course; the symptoms were on the other end!!! Finally, she had Casey drop his pants and she checked the danger zone... and promptly diagnosed him with... strep throat. Or more accurately, strep butt. Apparently, the two conditions are one and the same... or at least closely related. According to doc, the symptoms are very similar. I recall the times I've had a sore throat, and swallowing was the most painful thing in the world. Well, butt strep is the same. When one tries to poop, its very similar to swallowing with a severe sore throat.

Who knew???

Friday, November 7, 2014

No License, No Problem

A classic car has been passed down in Da Wang family for a few years. Initially, Nai-Nai bought this Pink Cadillac brand new from the dealer for Chantal and Elena. Recently, Da Cousins decided to pass it to Da Boys. It came home and Da Boys were anxious to drive it. But the battery was dead, and needed a charge. With all the electric cars these days, that phrase doesn't sound so odd. But this pure electric vehicle was ahead of its time! Once it was charged, Da Boys took turns driving it, and riding shotgun. As can be seen in the videos, Casey needs a little practice judging turning radius and reverse steering. Meanwhile, Sydney... Let's just say he seems to have inherited the Wang family gene that causes stop and go/lurching driving...

Does it look like Casey is very scared of Sydney's driving? I've been told many passengers have this same expression when Casey's dad is driving too..

Sydney Caddy from p wang on Vimeo.

casey caddy from p wang on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


On Sept 4, 2014, Casey had his first day of kindergarten. It was at Hickory Elementary, which is within walking/ bike riding distance out the back gate of our complex. On this day, we all walked him to school. I've heard horror stories about the first day of school. Alas, none of that played out here. Casey was just fine. We dropped him off in time for the 9AM start. We escorted him into the classroom; it was utter chaos in there. Casey got separated from us, found some toys and forgot all about us. So, we left. Talk about anti-climatic. When he got home, we asked him how school was. He said it sucked. MAYBE not his exact words, but pretty close. Actually, it wouldn't surprise me if that's exactly what he said. When asked why, he said, 'No recess'. Yup, some genius decided to introduce 5 year olds to a school year with short days... with no recess. Obviously, who ever thought this was a good idea as never had kids, and have never been an actual classroom teacher. I don't know who had it worse. Casey, or his poor teacher. Imagine a classroom full of 5 yr olds, who are cooped up all morning. That would be, ummm.. patience trying... Fortunately, the short days with no recess were only scheduled for 2 days... After that, they went to full days, (9am-2pm).. with recess.

Unfortunately, Casey didn't get recess on that third day either.. Because... Mid morning, mommy got a call from the school nurse. Casey fell in class, whacked his head and needed a trip to the ER. I can imagine how unsettling it is to get a call from the school. I mean, it's never good news. When is the last time a school called a parent during the middle of the day to say, "Just wanted to tell you Little Jonny is great!"... No way. It's either the kid is in trouble, or hurt.. or some other emergency.. like I said, never good. But as far as emergency's go, this one wasn't bad. Some glue, (no stitches required) and some time to heal is all it took. No permanent injury!

As an aside, Daddy learned something new while writing this post. It's kindergarten, not kindergarden... I always assumed it was garden... like a place where you plant the seeds of learning... where you nurture little ones at the beginning of the life cycle... Apparently not... It's a garten.. whatever that is....

This photo reminds me of those jail intake processing photos. Sorry, had to say it.

This kid doesn't look too traumatized on his inaugural walk to school!

Casey and Daddy on the way to school. Casey actually ran back into the house and said, "I want my cowboy hat"... and wore it for about 100 yards, until he handed it to Daddy.

Da Boys ran into their buddy Sammy on the walk to school.

Daddy and Casey on the first day of school; with Sydney photobombing! (Casey's unsure look wasn't about going to school, it was about posing for yet another photo)

Boys Stuff

Mommy is on a girl's Vegas weekend Sat-Mon trip. That means Da Boys are home alone with Daddy. Which means we do 'Boys Stuff'. On Saturday, Daddy made chocolate chip pancakes for Casey: he ate 3, and 'round waffles' with chocolate chips on top for Sydney: he ate 2. We went swimming in the pool, where we played "Hulkie"... Which is Casey's name for the Incredible Hulk game in which Daddy plays "Hulkie" and chases Da Boys around the pool and throws them about like rag dolls. At Sydney's request, we played 'Marco Polo'. Afternoon activities included a bike ride to the toy store, where Da Boys picked out "Rocky and Rubble" figurines from the TV show Paw Patrol. After a stop home to trade Sydney's bike for the trailer-bike, we rode to Soupplantation for dinner. All that bike riding must have worked up appetites, cause Da Boys killed it at Soupplantation. Casey had a plate of veggies and 3! bowls of Mac and Cheese... and ice cream... and Jello. Sydney had a bowl of Mac and Cheese, 2 plates of veggies ( he asked for 2nd's!!).. and ice cream.. and Jello.

On Sunday, we went for a hike along Del Cerro trail. We overlooked the Pacific Ocean, saw people riding horses, and were very careful not to fall down the cliffs. We also took another couple of bike rides; the furthest destination was Daddy's office (4 miles roundtrip). Da Boys did really well, obeying all traffic laws, and really playing attention to intersections and traffic. So proud of these little riders! Dinner is gonna be spaghetti with meatballs. Lots of exercise and large Italian dinner... Da Boys (and Daddy) should sleep good tonight!

Monday, October 13, 2014

One-on-One with Sydney

Big brother had a party with some of his classmates, so Sydney and Daddy got some one-on-one time. Since he seldom gets to choose where he goes, and what he does, I let Sydney be in charge. Amongst the activity choices I gave him, he choose a bike ride to the ice cream factory. Mind you, he has never ridden his bike (without training wheels) outside the confines of the gated community. But I figured, "What's the worst thing that can happen?" Yeah, there was THIS (CLICK HERE FOR SCARY STORY. But, I'm thinking Daddy is smarter than that now.

So we set off on the long trip ( one mile each way). I took him on a slight detour to traverse some big speed bumps. Apparently, he liked 'em cause right after we went over them, he said, "That was fun, Daddy!" We made it to the "Ice Cream Factory" where he got 'green ice cream with chocolate chips... and gummy bears'...

On the way home, he wanted to hit Wilson Park. So, we rode through the park, played in the tree house, checked out the water fountain before heading home. We found the speed bumps again on the way home. After taking a water break at home, we headed back out on our bikes to explore the complex. At his request, we also listened to children's music in the garage, swept out the garage and played t-ball. His version of t-ball is to find the most creative ways to contact the ball with the bat. Of course, we did the traditional baseball swing, but in addition we made like a golf club, and a pool cue to strike the ball!

He rode all the way to the "Ice Cream Factory"
Favorite Ice Cream: "Green Ice Cream with chocolate chips... and gummy bears"

Friday, September 19, 2014

Kindergarten (Mommy's version)

My big boy started Kindergarten on September 4th. It's bittersweet for me. I am proud of the wonderful boy he has grown into but I am sad he is not my little baby that I could hold with one arm anymore.  Time passes so quickly!  On to new adventures and my hope is that Casey will enjoy Kindergarten.  It started out a little rough.

The first 2 days of Kindergarten are shorter days then on Monday, the 8th he started his full day.  Here is a brief re-cap of Casey's feelings after each day.

First Day:
Mom: How was your day?
Casey: Good
M: What made you happy today?
C: Lunch
M: Hmm, did anything make you sad today:
C: Yes, the teacher read 2 stories instead of just one.
M: You didn't like having to sit still for 2 stories?
C: No!
M: Anything else make you sad?
C: No recess.
M: What? You didn't get any recess? (I was shocked, I didn't expect the teacher to keep them in the whole time.)
C: No!
M: Sorry bud maybe tomorrow.

Second Day:
M: How was your day?
C: Okay
M: Anything make you happy today?
C: No
M: Anything make you sad?
C: Yes we had to do art and we had no recess again.
M: Hmm, well on Monday you will have a full day so I'm sure you'll get recess on Monday.

Third Day: (first full day)
Mom's thoughts: Oh I hope they get recess today but it was raining during the night and morning so we'll have to see.

We arrived at school early so he could play a little before class began.  His teacher came out to round up the kids because they were going to have "rainy day schedule" which meant no recess.  Oh NO!  Well, hopefully tomorrow will be better.  I explained to Casey that they would have some play time in class but not outside. He was sad but accepted it.  So Sydney and I left Casey at school and walked over to the YMCA for Sydney's tumbling class.  We were sitting at a table Sydney having a snack and mommy filling out school papers while we waited for Sydney's class to start. Casey's class starts at 9am.  Shortly after 9:30am I get a call from the school nurse. Uh oh!  Casey had fallen, hit a table and split his ear lobe.

Off go mommy and Sydney walking as fast as Sydney's tired little legs could go home to get the car. Casey doesn't look too bad when we get there, a few specs of blood on his shirt and 2 small bandages holding his ear together.  Off we go to the ER, his pediatrician's recommendation.  ER is not too bad, they got us in pretty quick and the nurses and doctors were all nice and great with Casey.  Casey was really scared, he didn't want stitches so he kept crying a bit repeating "I don't want stitches."  Luckily, doctor just used glue.  The most painful part was when the nurse had to clean the wound by squirting water in it.  At the end, Casey and Sydney both got Popsicle's! Before getting to the ER Casey said he wanted to go back to school.  After he was ready to go home.  So home we went.

Fourth day: (second full day and no rain)
M: How was your day?
C: Good
M: Anything make you happy today?
M: Yay! You got recess!  What did you play?
C: I played basketball!
M: Did you make any new friends?
C: No
M: Anything make you sad today?
C: Art

Fast forward 11 days.  Casey's ear has healed well and the glue is almost gone.  After about a day or two the bump and bruise behind his ear stopped bothering him.  He has also made friends and is always smiling when I pick him up at the end of his day.  He had his first week of homework which has gone well, not too much fuss. Plus, for the past 2 or 3 days he digs into the art supplies at home and draws and colors pictures.  He is also proud to show me what he has done at school each day.  My baby is growing up!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Letter S

Casey is now in kindergarden. Each week, they learn a new letter. This week, it's the letter S. He learns how to write it and what words begin with S. At home, the letter S comes up. He's asked what he is sitting on... "Sofa". He is asked what he is wearing.. "Socks... Shirt". Then he pulls up his shirt, exposing his underwear, points and says, "Sac". Oh Sh!t, apparently he knows his anatomy.. and the letter S.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Father/ Son Olympics

Casey and I participated in the Father/Son Olympics held by the YMCA. The minimum age requirement was 5 years old. We decided not to go the route of the Chinese gymnastics federation and enter Sydney under a false age. Sydney attended, and assisted, but was not a fully participating member. Casey and Daddy represented the ummmm 'country' of San Diego. Our first task was to construct our flag. Casey was the chief flag designer, and he included an ocean, a gorilla, a tiger ( in honor of the SD Zoo and Wild Animal Park), and portraits of Nai-Nai and Ye-Ye ( residents of the 'country' of San Diego) on the flag.

There were 8 events.

The Paper Airplane Design and Toss: Daddy was the head airplane designer. I tried to incorporate as much of my graduate level fluid dynamics engineering education in my airplane design and construction... And I failed miserably. We took turns flying the plane, and the longest recorded flight was a whopping 5 feet! I'm pretty sure we set a new Olympic record for futility.

The Potato Sack Race: We each had to hop in separate Potato sacks; then Daddy had to drive Casey the wheelbarrow; and the last leg was a three-legged hop, with one of each of our legs tied together. The race went relatively smoothly with the exception of Daddy landing rather hard on his tailbone when trying to 'exit' the potato sack.

Photo is a little blurry, but I LOVE Casey's expression. Warms my heart!

Rock Wall Climb. Each father and son climbed the rock wall separately and recorded the cumlative time. Casey went first, and after he made it to the top of the wall, Daddy had to man up and climb to the top too. Fortunately, I didn't injure myself and, eventually, I made it to the top.

The Memory Challenge: There were playing cards turned upside down, with one heart card in each row. The task was to find, and remember the path of hearts. Sydney helped his older bro and Daddy, and together we completed the event. It was apparent that all the matching games we play around the house helped both boys. They were pretty good at remembering the location of cards.

Casey's concentration face!

Ping Pong Ball Toss: Think beer pong, minus the beer. Casey and Daddy each contributed one made 'basket' in this event.

Block Building: Essentially Jenga. The goal was to stack the building blocks as high as you could without the block falling. Again, I attempted to use my Engineering skills. I designed, and Casey and Sydney built the tower. Apparently, I should have been a civil engineer, because my building design skills were better than my airplane design skills.

Team effort!

Ring Toss: The goal was to toss hula hoops around traffic cones. With one round of practice, both Casey and I went a perfect 3-3; and as a team, we scored the max of 6 pts.

Action Shot!

Bean Bag Toss: Throwing bean bags thru holes in a target board. Getting strategic, I noticed all the holes were the same diameter, but were assigned different point values. So, we aimed for the holes with the highest point value, and both Casey and Daddy scored well. Sydney got in on the fun, and moved closer to the target. That handicap aside, he managed to throw 3 bean bags through the holes as well.

After the events were completed, lunch was served followed by closing ceremonies. It was a fun event, and cool to see the development of Da Boys.

The scores that are circled denote the highest score in the event!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

A day to remember

This one is more for me than anyone else. No cool pictures, no funny stories. Just documenting Sunday, Aug. 10th 2014. Casey and I went to El Retiro park, where there is an 8 foot basketball rim. I taught my little man how to play around-the-world, h-o-r-s-e and p-i-g. He wanted to play chicken and cow! He then suggested we play one-on-one. He was the dinosaurs and I was the sharks. It was a hot day, and I played shirtless. Casey said, " I want to take my shirt off too". There he was, a mini version of Daddy, playin ball. Then, I taught him the concept of 'shirts and skins', so when he gets older and plays pickup basketball he'll know he'll either be on the shirts team, or the skins team.

I've played a lot of basketball in my life; and this day, the first day of playing bball games with Casey ranks at the top of my list. It was a day to remember!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Small Gesture, Big Heart

Sydney wanted to play Candyland with me. He had the board all set up and the game pieces all picked out. He told me that he is green (his absolute FAVORITE color) and he picked red for me. He said green was going to go first, and red was going to go second. Just to see what his response would be, I told him that I wanted to be green. Without hesitation, he said, "OK Daddy, you are green, and you can go first". I was so touched... However, in reality, I didnt really care what color I was. So, I then decided, " I want to be yellow today". He gladly reclaimed green, but he did let me go first!

I just thought it was a sweet, thoughtful act by my little man!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Taking it WAY back

On November 3, 1996, an 18 yr old kid made his NBA basketball debut. At the time, he was the youngest player ever to play in the NBA. Although he first wore #8, later in his career, he wore #24 for the Los Angeles Lakers. But back to that first game on 11-3-1996. He missed his only shot, committed a turnover and committed a foul; he went scoreless. Fast forward to 2014. That kid, Kobe Bryant, still plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. He has scored 31,700 points in his career to date, good enough for fourth all-time. Did I mention he has won 5 championships, league MVP, 15 time all-star, blah, blah, blah...?

Last week, another #24 made his basketball debut for the Lakers. (YMCA Jr. Lakers, that is). At 3 yrs, 5 months, Sydney Bing Xian Wang played his first basketball game. Like that Kobe Bryant guy, he went scoreless in the game. It appears these two players have a few other things in common. Both appear to be emotional players. Sydney managed to cry and play at the same time. He was running up and down the court.. all while crying. Both appear to be dedicated. Although he was crying, Sydney stuck to it. Many players would have just ran to the sidelines, to Mom and/or Dad. But not Sydney; he stuck it out. His expressive nature did make for some good photos though...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Something is Missing

Another blog post and video dedicated to Sydney bike riding. But look closely... Notice something missing?? NO TRAINING WHEELS!!! That's right. Sydney has ditched his training wheels, gained his sense of balance and is now off and riding. Going straight, he does great. Turning and operating the coaster brake are going to need a little practice. In other words, he's ready to be a velodrome rider right now! Be sure to check out Da Boys "Oh Yeah celebration"... Personally, I think this dance is going to be bigger than "Gangnam Style"...

Ready to ride

MVI 8731 from p wang on Vimeo.

" OH YEAH! Celebration

MVI 8740 from p wang on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Road Trip 2014

We took a family roadtrip to the valley of the sun... AKA Phoenix, Arizona. Yup, Arizona, in July. Yup, we knew what the temperatures were like in Arizona, in July, before we left Southern California. Yup, we took the trip willingly. Because, we had two destinations; both had pools. We launched on Saturday morning, and made it to the Cali/ Az border before stopping for lunch. We let Da Boys loose in a McDonalds Play Place (What a brilliant marketing idea) to burn off some energy. Mommy and Daddy passed on the McDonalds food (HA, we outsmarted the marketers) and got takeout from the BBQ place next door and brought it over to eat while watching Da Boys. We then stopped for some pix commorating Da Boys first inter-state trip.

We arrived at our first destination (The Roberts family hotel and resort) in about 6.25 hours. Here Da Boys enjoyed the pool, complete with water toys (re: water guns!!!), inflatable basketball hoop and various floatation devices.

The hosts threw a party in our honor, and even shaped the menu to my liking; Carne Asada and Pollo Asado tacos. And for dessert, they served Smores over an open fire pit. Yup, open fire pit, with real flames, in July, in Arizona... Yup, the smores were my request, and nope, I didn't think that one through... Fire in the Arizona summer, not very smart decision by me.

On Sunday, we went to destination #2... Arizona Grande Resort and Spa. The main attraction here was the "Oasis" water park. It had a lazy river, a wave pool, a kiddy pool with splash pad.. and giant water slides.

Da Boys initially enjoyed all the aforementioned features, except for the water slide. There was a minimum height requirement of 48"... And Casey is currently about 47.95" tall. But, above and beyond that, he was scared of the water slide, and didn't want to try it. Apparently, he forgot about the summer of 2012, when he last bombed down a water slide...Rewind back to the summer of 2012.

So, we did what all responsible, loving parents do... We bribed him... to try it once. And that once is all it took. After that initial ride, Casey wanted to ride that darn slide... Over and over again. And so, being loving parents, we rode that slide with him... over and over again... for the next day and a half!!!

Arizona Grande Waterslide from p wang on Vimeo.