December 26, 2011

December 18, 2011

A Star(bucks) Shone Bright!

side note: This is "AnthonyandSharon's" 300th post! 5 whole years of blogging!

So the other day Anthony and Mr. Sivad were at Starbucks in our neighborhood (it has a can be jealous, it's ok) and got invited to a Christmas party that night. I thought it was gonna be lame, but the manager said there would be orphans so that along with hopes of maybe getting some sort of free drink or prize was motivation enough to keep my kids up way past their bedtime to attend.

Turned out there were no orphans, but there were free prizes! Enjoy the pics and PLEASE watch the video...especially if you know Mr. Sivad...
When party-ers arrived, we all got put in various coffee groups. Immanuelle and I were in the "Extra Bold: French Roast" group...
...familiar Starbucks faces greeted us. This girl (tries to) flirts with Anthony and Mr. Sivad everytime they go to Starbucks. Or rather, she giggles and giggles and goes on and on about how well they speak her language. True story. First time we went through the drive-thru she was working it. Anthony and Mr. Sivad were in another car in front of myself and Mrs. Sivad and our kids... we laughed and watched as she smiled and giggled and giggled and asked them questions in their 2nd language. They can't help it really. Might as well be nice, answer her questions, and hope for a free drink or a discount. Or an invite to the annual Christmas party...
Santa was there. He liked to talk real loud into the microphone to his helper "reindeer"...
....his helper zombie reindeer that is. I was good with them though because they passed out free drinks...
...and there was a choir! We were surprised by their presence, but enjoyed them singing CHRISTmas songs...not just Holiday songs.
Then our various coffee groups had contests. One of which was decorating a reindeer of our own. Isaiah was volunteered to be the "Medium: Muan Jai"'s reindeer. Mostly because every adult there wasn't thrilled with the idea of becoming a zombie reindeer.
So cute and so far past bedtime.
Then came the run-off game and "Round 2: Funny Face Reindeer"... between "Bold: Christmas Blend," "Extra Bold: French Roast," and "Bold: Anniversary Blend." ANOTHER volunteer from each group had to get made up and Mr. Sivad, whether by being slipped something into his free frappachino or because of a strong competitive edge  got his face (and neck) painted. Or maybe it's just that he's willing to push the limits on what can be considered a "reindeer" for some free coffee products?? Is it?

See Mr. Sivad on the catwalk working the crowd. The lengths people will go to for free coffee!

Regardless, his determination and willingness paid off big time. Christmas Blend won! Anthony also won Best Dressed Male.  Look at them. Full of Christmas Spirit (or is it pride?)
And what would a party be without a picture with the token white lady and her baby in a sling?

December 10, 2011

Loft Wall

We have an area at the top of the stairs that we call the "loft." We'll be using it for an office space and for the kids to have a play area outside of their bedrooms. We have a rule in our house that toys aren't allowed downstairs, so space upstairs to play is a necessity.  I wanted to do a big batik-ish mural in Immanuelle's room, but ended up changing the "theme" of her room to, well, not-batik. (I am VERY close to posting pics of that...stay tuned!) So I wanted to paint something a little over the top. Why? I dunno. Why not?
It's taken 6 months to get to painting this wall, so though you may not be interested in seeing the progress, the fact that I've had to live with only the thoughts in my head for this space for 6 months, means that you're getting to see the whole progression. Kind of a "circle of life" kinda post. 

When we moved in. Bright orange wall. Glad my friend Danielle wasn't there when I decided to paint it another color. Her and orange are like "this" (fingers crossed tightly together)

June: Wall primed, IKEA furniture being put together.
December (see the tree?) FINALLY getting to my idea. I'm sure others may have thought of something less paramecium looking, but this was the shape I thought would look fun on the wall. Office spaces always seem very sterile and "square" and lines-ish to me, so I thought some curve in the room would help it look a bit more balanced. I used the paisleys from the boys linens in their room for reference. Isaac woke up from his nap (having no clue I had grabbed one of their shams while they were sleeping) and said, "Hey Mama! You painted that? That looks like our blanket in our room." I guess I shouldn't be surprised since he's slept on it for like a year, but I'm impressed nonetheless!
And color. Sure, the color orange was very colorful too...but my friend Kellie painted her wall turquoise and I wanted one too. I thought maybe a lighter color like hers, but a deep deep turquoise-y ocean blue just seemed right for the space. Trust me. Like I said, I spent months walking by this wall thinking about what could go on it. :)
Then the details. Yes, that's a pencil. Later that day my hubby sprang for a paintbrush set for me at a whopping RM3.90 (about $1.30!) Also, it was really difficult to make that breaker box look authentic, but I think I pulled it off.
It's way more easy to paint with tile floors. Carpet is overrated and hampers creativity. It's also no friend to potty training. ;)
Ta dah! You like? We plan to get a glass-top desk and some fun curtains and what not. When that time comes, I'll post a full-fledged "loft" post.

December 06, 2011

Christmas Decor

Decorating this house for Christmas was fun. Particularly the snowflakes! I think next year I'll think of something fun to do with lights in the atrium, but paper (we already had) and fishing line was cheaper than buying more lights.

Snowflakes in the atrium!
Stormtrooper snowflake. And they say every snowflake is unique. Psha. 
Other than the 80-something degree-ness of the room, doesn't this pic look homey? I think it does. This was the last day of
the thankful tree.
Our camera has focusing issues, but I like this angle. 3 trees!
Isaac took this! And Isaiah ripped the broom off the snowman's stick (twice) and pulled off the star from one snowman. Kids. Good times.
Yay! 3 Stockings! God is good!

December 03, 2011

Still Thankful...

...even though it's been over a week since we stuffed our faces with food and filled our hearts with being around friends. 
It's a tradition around here for us to head to the Highlands for Thanksgiving. (2006, 2007, 2008 Go there and see my hair long and us without kids) The Highlands is cool, not cold, just like Florida is around the Holidays. So we feel a bit more like we're at home in Florida when we go... except for the winding mountain road (that Isaiah puked on...twice... once going up, once coming down), the dense tropical rainforest, the waterfalls, the aboriginal jungle people, the tea plantations, the Indian food, and the strawberries- er rather, the strawberries growing in November as opposed to the Florida ones that grow in Spring-Summer- yeah, other than that, it's JUST like Florida. :)

All the "kids" in the back sleeping. See Immanuelle's seat in the back right? If you're ever in Asia and as a foreigner you don't feel like you're getting stared at enough when you stop for gas/feed the baby, just open up the back hatch and put your infant into their seat over the back seat, along with the luggage and close the door. That should do it.
Kaylee was passed out in the car because she stayed up ALL NIGHT LONG (as in didn't go to sleep) helping our cupcake neighbor bake/decorate 2 cakes for the SULTAN! How stinkin' cool is THAT?!? The first cake was for his nephew, a prince, turning 1 year old. Kaylee made a ton of those red balls going around the bottom and Elmo's nose. The other cake was for the Sultan himself. That should be the first thing on any resume she fills out now, "Made birthday cake for Sultan."
Half-way up the mountain is this huge waterfall where we always stop so we don't puke in the car can take pictures.

"Auntie" at our favorite Indian restaurant who usually does things like give our kids huge chocolate bars without asking. It's our first stop every year. She totally held Immanuelle the entire meal. Ellie Bird LOVED it and fell asleep.
This is the food we get at Auntie's Restaurant (Restoran Kumar is the name) Tandoori Chicken with garlic naan, banana leaf, with strawberry lassi's, and strawberry roti. Mmmmm! Get's me in the Thanksgiving Spirit just thinking about it!
Isaac took this photo! So thankful for the people we're eating with. They are a HUGE blessing in our lives.
INSERT BREAK: After Restoran Kumar, we were too lazy to look for couldn't find the camera until the morning we left. So there aren't any pics of Thanksgiving day...but see our other posts about it and just insert older and more Rivers children into those photos and that's what it was like :)
Drive down the mountain. I say, if your kid is gonna puke up his cinnamon roll and milk, you might as well take a picture of it.
Ahhh... flat(er) straight(er) roads. This was taken in the state we live in. Just in case you wanted to see a little of the countryside. Goodness it's gorgeous here.
...and one last one which should transition us into Christmastime pics quite smoothly. Click on the pic to make it bigger. This sign TOTALLY makes us feel like we're back in Florida driving down I-4 through Orlando past the Orlando Premium Outlet Mall. Not that we're huge shoppers or anything, but its amazing (and probably pathetic:) how much this sign makes it feel like home. So thankful!!

November 15, 2011

Grandma is Here!

All the Grandparents have now met Immanuelle and the boys are probably even more confused about how far "Florida" is away... seeing as how grandparents show up quite often around here! It's way awesome to get to see them and we think they understand our life better because they've seen, tasted, smelled, touched, and heard the place we call home.  Their visits work double-time though in helping them connect with our world here and us (especially the kids!) to remain close and shorten the distance between "home here" and "home there."

3 Generations of Rivers girls at the nail salon. Just as it should be!
Eating Italian (for her birthday!)
Eating Japanese (sushi)
Eating Malaysian (Free! At a wedding!)
Eating Chinese (??? Not rice or dim sum, oh no, we had fresh-baked coconut buns!)
Hindu temple...
These girls were like bridesmaids at a wedding. Except we can't figure out their outfits, which are like nothing we've ever seen before here. We think the bride may have chosen these just to make her wedding stand out in some way. Or she's a big fan of "Aladdin."
Days like today and pictures like this make me want a dozen more kids! (then I get over it;)
Their eyes are why this one made it to this post. My handsome guys!
Baby girl not a huge fan of the water (though she was crying before, so I think it was actually how bright the sun was...and how hot!)
Love love love this one!

November 05, 2011

Thankful Tree

We made a Thankful Tree today!

Everyday (that we can remember to) in November we'll each write on a "leaf" something we're thankful for. I got the idea from this blog. I decided to do "leaves" because it makes sense for a thankful TREE. However, it's fall, so we're working backwards and putting leaves ON our tree...that and we live pretty much on the equator so "fall" is a foreign concept anyway! 

Here's us looking for sticks under the very lush green trees. :)

Isaiah stayed on his bike most of the time. I think he found one stick and one flower.
Me smelling a stick. I could smell cat pee near there and didn't want to bring a smelly stick into my house. It was pee-free, fyi. I have NO clue why my husband took a picture of me smelling it. But thought it was funny.
We colored paper with fall-ish colors and then cut leaves out of the decorated paper.

Writing on the leaves what we're thankful for. If Isaiah had really been thinking he would have said he was thankful for "markers"...why??....
...because when the markers got taken away from him it was obvious he really liked them.
We will be hot-gluing our thankful thoughts onto the tree. Living in the tropics where electricity is REALLY expensive means that most rooms are cooled by fans only. We need to make sure those leaves don't go anywhere!
Thank you Jesus for all you've given us! Your blessings in our lives are so undeserved and yet you pile them on. Thank you!!