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Car by Champ

Made from recycled board & laughing cow packaging designed by Champorado for his physics project. After receiving grades for their projects, the boys enjoyed racing their cars to the point of destruction. And they had fun doing it. rubberbandcar

Acrylic: Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom by Mich
Acrylic painting on canvas

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Acrylic Painting: Waves

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Waves (20×30 Acrylic) by Che

“Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.

You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.”

Psalm 89:8-9

Moonlight Beach

It was one of those days we get to spend time with new friends. We love to meet people and look forward to lasting relationship with people who loves the Lord. We had BBQ, bonfire, friends, cake for Laurence, ukulele playing by Michelle & a chance to see for the first time, Chinese lanterns afloat the night sky at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. I was so thrilled to see those lanterns especially it was so dark in the beach. I love Tangled the movie because of the lantern scene. It was so pretty watching in 3D (that makes Tangled one of my most favorite movies of all time) & it’s so pretty in real life!

We are thankful to our friends who secured a place and fire pit early in the day so we could hang out in the evening. They even brought this bag toss game for couples (with Mr. & Mrs. on them to be played by two teams). So cute!

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Mich spent much time digging the sand while Ad was busy taking photos. moonlightA

We’ve never heard about Moonlight beach until this meet up. We were surprised that there’s such a beach in San Diego! It’s quite small compared to the more popular beaches but it’s more family friendly.
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When I was a kid, I don’t like sunsets. It signals the beginning of night and you don’t get much to do when it’s dark but to sleep. I am talking about sunsets in our province. That was the kind of sunset I have in memory. Sunsets in the province are way too different! They make me feel melancholic and I don’t like it. But now, I love sunsets! It brings the dark sky with twinkling stars. And it’s another time to enjoy. I love it when my boys love stargazing. It makes night time enjoyable and interesting.

Amazing, amazing sunset! How can you not love that specific day when you have everything needed for a perfect beach night? This is one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen in the US so far. I’ve always been chasing sunsets in America whenever there’s a chance but this was so special. It feels like you’re closer to the water and sun. The sky was filled with bright red, orange and yellow. It was a happy sunset! Everybody paused for a while and took photos (a lot!) of the lovely sunset.moonlight2

After the sun had set, it’s time for bonfire! It was cold so our bonfire was a refuge. We had a blast! I can’t believe that almost all the groups with bonfire had birthday celebrations each or at least something to celebrate. Hoping for more of this kind of activity with my family and some more friends. :)moonlight1_edited-1

Let’s Recycle

I’ve always been drawn to save-the-earth activities even in its tiniest form. What is the least thing that I can do to help preserve the earth for the next generation? Call me an OC but I can’t throw a clean plastic bag into the garbage bin. I would still keep it and wait for a chance to bring all my reusable plastic bags to a recycling bin in any grocery store. Any form of plastic packaging that still can be used once more in any way, I would keep. At least there’s one last way of using it before sending to landfill. A regular plastic bag takes up to a thousand years to degrade, fyi.

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When we were still in Utah, I had the habit of collecting all paper-made products and drive them to the nearest recycling bin (which can be found in an elementary school which happened to be my kids school) once a week to dispose them. It gives me satisfaction that something out of those recyclables can be used again. I’m glad that in California, almost everywhere you look around there’s a recycling bin. I get to throw my recyclables everyday. Even shredded paper & tissue holder can be put in the recycling!

Plastic bottles, glass jars & soda cans? If I can not reuse them at home, I try to segregate them in a separate bag so that people who are collecting them for a living would have an easier way (at least with our share). I could collect them and make money (I know it’s just small) out of it but I will leave that to those people who are in need of source. Reminded of Ruth’s life in the Old Testament where she gleaned grains from the field of Boaz to help her mother-in-law with their food, we could be a source too for other afflicted people. A small way can mean a lot to others in need.

Back in the days when Adrian and other boy scouts did a “leave no trace” cleaning in one of Kaysville’s highest peak, they picked up garbage left by people who went there. They had collected plastic bottles, candy wrappers, bullets & many more. Actually, I was one of the pickers too. I joined them and it was fun. It’s like doing two things at the same time, hiking and picking up garbage. It’s nice to let the kids be aware how important it is to dispose of garbage properly. I think we were able to fill two big black bags of litter for just about two hours of walking. And it made a difference for that mountain. Any little amount of effort that we can contribute to help preserve the earth, if we put it all together, will definitely be significant. Just like the starfish story, we can make a difference!

The Starfish Story

An old man was walking on the beach one morning after a storm.
In the distance, he could see someone moving like a dancer.
As he came closer, he saw that it was a young woman picking up
a starfish and gently throwing them into the ocean.
“Young lady why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
“The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if
I do not throw them in they will die,” she said.
“But young lady, do you not realize that there are many miles
of beach and thousands of starfish? You can not possibly make a difference.”
The young woman listened politely, then bent down, picked up
another starfish and threw it into the sea.
“It made a difference for that one.”

A parable told and retold. The original author is unknown.

Tree

Trees are my favorite. My husband knows about my favorite tree. I had the chance to show him my first ever favorite tree. We were young then (in our 20’s) and not even in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship when we went on vacation in my grandparent’s house in the province. The view from my grand’s big kitchen window was lovely to look at. There was this lone tree in the middle of the vast field that I find so beautiful. The sight makes my chores easier to do. It’s just sad that I had no actual photo of it but saved a virtual copy of it in my mind instead. Only my husband knows how it looks like and why i love it. So whenever we see a similar tree, he would point it to me and say “that’s your tree.” Yes, I have several trees around the world. Trees “I own” that they didn’t even know I own them. Haha!

Now, for my second favorite (in the picture), this tree was my favorite view from our bedroom in Utah. We had so much memories with this tree. We have designated this tree in front of our apartment as the waiting spot in case of emergencies. If something happens inside the house like fire or anything that need us to go out of the house, we will meet at the tree. Just like what the family in “Puppy Place” have talked about meeting at an apple tree outside their house when their kitchen was burning.

This tree was a witness to many of our family activities such as homeschooling, playtime, picnic, playing music, painting and many more. Mich used to practice violin under this tree. It had become a subject of her painting too. Fallen leaves were a source of happy times as my kids play with them.

It’s so refreshing to see trees after the rain. They radiate vivid colors once the rain finished watering them. They look so fresh and happy. It’s so fascinating to see trees when in springtime they show different shades of greens and sprouts. It’s so lovely to look at trees during autumn with leaves of different colors. Though during winter, it might be depressing to look at seemingly lifeless trees, but when they’re covered with snow, they’re still lovely.

Trees are givers of life to those who are in gloom. Just by looking at them in any season, you’ll see life and hope. Trees are not only beautiful. One can learn so many things from them. Even from a tree that do not have fruits but can give a shade to a weary person is a fruit in itself. Even a tree in its loneliness can provide a picturesque scenery that can inspire and motivate the viewer. A stump can give a seat to a person who can’t make another step due to his long journey. And even a dead tree floating on a body of water can be a lifesaver. In parallel, we can be a giver to those around us. No matter how we think insignificant our small deed is to another person, we can be like the tree that can inspire. Just being kind to another person could save a life who is in the verge of death. One might be undergoing some difficulties in life but overcoming adversaries and becoming victorious could paint a beautiful scenery that others can appreciate as they look at life…

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom
Blessed is the one who gains understanding,
She is a tree of life to those who hold her close
Those who hold on to her will be blessed – Prov. 3:13 and v 18 NIrV
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This is Michelle’s painting of the tree above during spring time.

Lake Tahoe Camping

As expected, we were hurrying to reach the campground before sunset. We passed by KFC to get some chicken for dinner. Thankfully, we got a bucket meal so it was less work for me to cook dinner when it’s already dark. Fast food is good food for campers. Haha! No bad chicken for dinner when everyone is hungry. :)

We reached William Kent campground with still some sun and was able to check out the area, meet some neighbor campers and set up our tent nicely. The campground was small and surrounded by residential areas. Though lacking in most essential amenities that we are looking for in a campsite, but we find it relaxing and more enjoyable than the other campsites we’ve been to. There’s no shower (it’s okay because we are checking in a hotel the following day), no light in the toilet (it’s okay, we have flashlights), not even flush (oh-em-gee) but it’s not smelly unlike other vault toilets (but it’s well maintained) probably the reason why there’s no light so you won’t see everything. It was quite a walk down to get to the toilet area. The good thing here is the proximity to the lake. It’s so close, just across the road.

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Here, the kids were playing while bringing stuff for our set up. I made sure that the food that we have are secured in that cabinet. We’ve heard that bears are common here, so better be wise not to invite them to our camp site.

tahoe8 After breakfast, which is as usual, “the trio” (spam, eggs and rice), we went to the lake. Lake Tahoe is very beautiful! So calm, and inviting! I’ve never seen such clear lake water as this one. But it’s so cold! I don’t know if this lake gets warm.
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Why so blue? So clear? I don’t know. I was too preoccupied by the beauty of the lake that I don’t want to read any more information. tahoe2 tahoe3

The area surrounding the lake is a very nice place to run or walk. I should have brought my running shoes then. :) I remember, we’ve seen a brace of ducks here that are so cute to look at!tahoe4

Family picture is a must! We had too many shots for a family picture by the lake but only a few were good enough because we were shooting against the light and just using a self timer plus the never-ending laughter. Anyway, that’s the best part, laughing all the time.
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We took a little time to check out the home of 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley.

tahoe10_edited-1 It’s been half a century since the 60’s Winter Olympics but Squaw Valley is still gorgeous up to this day. I love to hang out there!tahoe9

Playtime is part of the game at The Village, Squaw Valley. Trampoline anyone? Kuya feels he is too old for this.
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I am Poochie

Hi! My name is Poochie. I am a Bichon Frise, which is part of the Poodle family, so I don’t shed. I REPEAT: I DO NOT SHED! I am a male dog. Just saying. I am 5 years old, but I got adopted when I was 4 years old. This is the blog about my life (that my mom knows about). Before I was adopted, I stayed at the Chula Vista Adoption Center. Then one day, me and all the other dogs there got put into another place, which is my mom’s church. Her church holds dog adoptions a few times a year. The time I got adopted was really special, because it was the month of Mom’s birthday, and I got to celebrate it! 😀 Anyways, when I was at the church, someone put a blue and black sweater on me, plus a vest thing that says: ADPT ME. I didn’t know exactly what was going on though, but when I saw her, I wanted her to be my friend! Like how I always want to be everyone’s friend! She kept petting me, and stroking me, and was talking to this older man, which appeared to be her dad. I don’t remember the exact thing, but here is what I remember, Mom: “Blah blah blah something I really like the dog…” Mom’s Dad: “Something words words blah words?” Mom: “YES!!” Anyways, Mom seemed really happy, but at the time, she wasn’t my Mom. Now she is. After I heard her excitement, she had to go, for now. I was sad to see her go, but she came back and took me home! The other pictures will show times of fun that we had together.

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This picture reminds me of how boring it was to wait for Mom to come back from this place called “school.”

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This was the time Mom was getting ready for her birthday, and I was entertainment for her friends! Sort of.

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I love to play with my mom, but she sometimes takes it a little overboard. Okay, a LOT overboard. Mom, I am a boy! I don’t need sparkly, pink, toy hats!

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Sometimes, when Mom is at “school” I work out with my Grandma. :)

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I have only gone camping once before, but I want to do it again! Even if it’s annoying to have to wake up Mom. Come on! Wake up!

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Mom, Uncle, and I make a pretty good orchestra. Don’t you think?

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I’m getting tired of blogging. How does my grandma do it? Can’t I just nap?

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Fine. I will continue. Anyways, Uncle likes to take pictures of all sorts of things. Like this one:

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Finally! Mom gave me some “boy style” clothes! So, how do I look?

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Hey, Mom? Am I done with this blog? Am I? Please say yes! Please say yes!

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Sorry, everybody, but I’m done blogging for now. See you next time! Now, I need to find a place… to… nap… *snore*

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St. Regis Monarch Beach

St. Regis is love ! This premier resort in Laguna Beach, Dana Point has so many to offer for the entire family. Named after the Monarch butterfly, St. Regis Monarch has championship golf course, private beach, kids activities, spa, butler service, and more. st regis orange

Refined. Luxurious. Private. This resort is also popular for weddings and honeymoon. st regis orange9

This massive fountain is magical at night, romantic for a night walk.st regis orange2

Chocolates with butterfly wrapping, teas and cookies with gold dust were some of the welcome treats that we enjoyed!st regis orange3

It was summer when we stayed there. St. Regis boasts of more fun activities for kids than any luxury hotels. They held this “Butterfly Release” every Saturday that summer. It was to commemorate the breeding ground of monarch butterflies which is within the resort’s property. It started with a little procession from lobby to the ocean terrace. Then the butler read the story about the legend of monarch butterflies. Then butterflies were released. Some kids are afraid like this little boy. Some kids want to catch all. st regis orange4Another butler walked around giving butterflies in envelope to kids. He told Michelle to make a wish and then release the butterfly. Welcoming the adults to the venue, there were unlimited champagne offered by the servers. Cheers! st regis orange5

At night, kids and parents alike are treated to some storytelling and unlimited s’mores. Awesome night for guests!st regis orange6

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Pools are big, warm and has music underneath the water. Really cool! Mich didn’t want to go home.st regis orange8

To go to the private beach area, you have to schedule a golf cart service. It’s quite a drive going to the beach and one can’t just go there by foot. It’s so nice that even toys and sand buckets are provided for each child guest. St. Regis, one of the best! Till next time. :)st regis orange10

Sequoia National Park: Land of the Giants

Sequoia National Park is home to giant trees including the world’s largest, General Sherman tree. This park lies side by side with Kings Canyon National Park in Southern Sierra Nevada in California. This place is magical. It’s not ordinary to see humongous living things like what you can see here. You’ll be in awe. You’ll try to comprehend. And you won’t forget. seq2

We were already amazed at how big the Sentinel is, but it is just an average-sized tree here. Oh, well, biggie size in America is a usual thing. :)seq1

The visitor center shows how big the trees are in comparison with famous monuments and things. The giant trees here are compared to the size of the Statue of Liberty, Titanic, the great blue whale, and regular trees. People are mere dots.

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Some of the causes of death of giant trees are due to severe winter and falling down. It would be scary to witness a falling sequoia. I imagine it would be like how a cartoon show would portray that scene, flat like a card board. Seriously, don’t even imagine it.  seq6seq4

We received more than we sought. It’s not enough to read only what’s in this place or in any national parks. It’s better to experience it and enjoy being with nature. There’s more to it than just watching documentaries or reading blogs like this. We can better appreciate nature and it’s wonders by taking a break from our busy life.

Our world is big. We may be mere tiny objects compared to these natural marvels but we can help protect and preserve them.    seq7

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This is Adrian’s Lego Mindstorm robot, panoramabot which he programmed to take panorama pictures using my cellphone. That’s why we were a bit late from our schedule. Picture below shows us passing through “the tunnel log”. This tree fell down due to natural causes and was carved to let smaller cars pass through.   seq9

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We were practically running to make up for the time lost since wandering the giant forest. We had to beat the time for us to see the biggest tree before it gets dark. We highly recommend anyone going here to bring a bug spray or mosquito repellant. And expect mosquitoes and bugs to be bigger than the usual. Remember, you’re in the land of the giants.  seq13

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What can you see in Congress Trail? Not politicians but trees of course. This is a 2 mile paved trail that goes through the heart of the sequoia forest. You can see the famous House and Senate Groups, and the President, Chief Sequoyah, General Lee and McKinley Trees. Unfortunately, we don’t have much time to visit them because it’s getting dark. It was past 6PM when we were in the General Sherman area. One upside here, we get to take several photos with the General Sherman because there’s not much people left. Adrian’s panoramabot was very helpful.seq14

According to NPS (National Park Service), the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park is the largest (by volume) tree in the world. Massive. Gigantic. Enormous. Colossal. Monster. Humongous. Approximately, this tree together with other giants in Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon live between 1,800 to 2,700 years. They’ve witnessed the unfolding of civilizations and they overcame drought & other calamities. What else? They’ve seen how the earth changes.

We salute you, General Sherman tree! You’re awesome! We hope that many more generations will see you. But even more, we salute your Maker, our Maker. :)seq11

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