Posted on May 8th, 2009 by Allison (Family/Friends)

Brandon as a babyToday is the 29th birthday of my first born, Brandon Mark Pearce.  I can hardly believe that my darling little boy is a grown man!  How did that happen????

I was thinking about his childhood this week and thought I’d share a few memories.   

His birth was a both a joyous and frightening time… because although he arrived wide eyed and alert, the medical staff whisked him right away because his blood sugar level was near zero.    He was so tiny – looked like a little bird….   barely 5 lbs and nothing close to chubby.    But he was happy!

Brandon at Primary Children’s HospitalMore health issues were discovered – he was jaundiced, had issues with reflux and a heart murmer.  I spent my first mothers day in the hospital with my baby in ICU.   And one of the hardest things I’ve ever done was check out of LDS hospital to go home without him.  

I did get to bring him home a few days later – but soon afterward had to rush him to Primary Children’s Hospital where he underwent heart surgery to repair his PDA valve.    Fortunately it worked, and he’s been healthy ever since. The huge scar that wrapped half way around his tiny body is just a small smile of a scar under his arm today.

Catching a bubbleBrandon has always been very smart and creative.  He walked early, talked early and memorized many songs…. singing them perfectly in tune.  He said lots of cute, funny things that still make me smile today.   

Around age 3, after I’d been in a car accident and my face was bruised and in stitches – I asked him, “Does mommy look ugly?” – and he said, “Yeah, but that’s ok. We’ll just take this head off and buy you a new one at the store.” I’d love to share his Nanny/bathroom story but it might embarrass him. I will if he gives his permission 🙂

DagsFrom about age 3 to 4, Brandon called his reflection “Dags.” We don’t know why – but any time he’d see a picture of himself, or see him self in the mirror, he’s say, “that’s Dags.” He knew that HE was Brandon, but that other kid…. that was Dags.  Even a few years later, when he no longer called his reflection/current pics Dags, he saw a picture of himself at age 3 and said, “that’s Dags.”

When he was about 8 we were eating dinner at the Yummy Tree and, out of the blue, Brandon told me that he thought he might be an alien. He was dead serious. I asked him WHY he thought he was an alien….

Brandon & GroverWell, he felt ‘different’ from other kids…. and he couldn’t remember being born. How did he know I was his mother?!

I assured him that I remembered him being born, and I definitely WAS his mother…. though sometimes we do seem to be from different planets 🙂

Brandon has great motor-dexterity skills – before he could even walk, he’d sit on the floor amidst a pile of colorful bracelets, and one by one, pick them up one at a time and using his thumb and a finger, gracefully flip them over onto his arm.  Once they were all on his arm, he’d dump them off and start over again.

Brandon High SchoolHis keyboarding skills won him several awards in school – and benefitted his piano playing.  After only a year of lessons, he took on the challenge of teaching himself very difficult piano pieces.   A bit of a musical prodigy, I think….   he sings, plays piano, teaches others and is assistant director of the Utah Oratorio Society (as well as their web designer).

Brandon has always been very disciplined and organized – qualities that have certainly contributed to his current success.  Qualities which I don’t share, unfortuantely.   And he’s always wanted to be ‘righteous’ – not break any rules, etc.   Again, qualities which I don’t particularly share.     I never worried about him getting into trouble as a teenager – he was pretty much always home by 9 to follow his routine of 100 situps, pushups and scripture reading.   

Brandon & Ashley in KauaiI recall that at the end of either his junior or senior year of high school, he stopped home with a couple of friends around 9pm and asked if he could stay out late for a party.  I nearly cried for joy.  His friends thought I was nuts, but I literally jumped up and hugged him and said, “YES!!!! YES!!! Stay out as late as you want!!! G0 – have fun! Oh joy, you’re finally a TEENAGER!!!!”     LOL….

I knew Brandon was going to serve his mission in Japan and told him so.  Brandon has a very formal, respectful manner about him.  He actually ENJOYS wearing suits.  All that bowing and social formality in Japan came very naturally to him.   He served well and while he did I kept up a website for him to post some of his letters, pictures, etc.   It’s still up – though very outdated now.

Brandon is goofy!Brandon is also really goofy. He loves puns and silly humor. He has a rubber face and actually practices making strange faces in the mirror.  He thoroughly amuses his daughters, and it’s fun to watch how cute and playful he is with them.  When he and Ashley get together, they go particularly nuts – and are great fun.   And I have no idea where they get it from.

Seven years ago, he married the fabulous Jennifer Greene, and they have two beautiful daughters. 

Brandon has combined his music teaching experience with his web programming skills and created a very successful business called Music Teachers Helper.   He’s created a wonderful life for himself and his family (which you can read about on his blog) – and I couldn’t be more proud. 

Brandon, Jennifer, Emily & Marie

Happy Birthday, Brandon!

Do you have a Brandon memory you’d like to share??

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Posted on Mar 19th, 2009 by Allison (Family/Friends, Style & Fashion)

While in Hawaii, Ashley informed me that she and Brandon were going in together on a birthday gift for me, and we proceeded to look through various shops and fairs for local artisans to locate the perfect item.  I found a couple of things that I quite liked, but they weren’t perfect…  or were way out of budget 🙂  

So I asked if it would be ok if I waited til I got home to find a gift from my favorite local artists store – Musings Artist Inspired.   Local artist Celeste Stuhring has created dichroic glass watches that catch my eye every time I visit.   Here is what I selected: 

 My new watchBeautiful new watch

Isn’t it beautiful!? I haven’t worn a watch for years – not since I started carrying a cell phone – but I’m very excited about wearing this piece of art every day.

Thanks Brandon, Ashley and families!!

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Posted on Mar 14th, 2009 by Allison (Family/Friends, Travel)

Lovely fallsYes, we’re still in Kauai.

Visiting Kauai with Kristin is awesome – she knows all the hidden away little waterfalls, best places to view waves, which beaches offer the best sand or most privacy.

Yesterday she drove us to these beautiful falls.

I’ve taken a lot more photos, but haven’t had time yet to sort through and post them… I will as soon as I can.

Me at the falls

Sufing with TevaToday the girls had surf lessons in Hanalei Bay. They had a cute instructor named Teva.

(Chris, I thought of you when I caught a glimpse of him shirtless…. you would have oggled and drooled 🙂 )

The water was quite rough, but they did great! They even rode their boards all the way to shore a few times.

Kris and I watched from the pier, cameras in hand. Ashley may add some video to her site.

J’Neil on the boardsHawaiian Surfing Adventures supplied the sunny yellow rash guards – which was a good thing, because those boards are rough on the skin. All that climbing on and off, kneeling and standing… both girls’ knees are raw, and they have blisters on the tops of their toes. Teva recommended aloe vera.

But it was all worth it. If the waves look good, they may go back out for a few hours on their own tomorrow or Monday before we return home.

Ashley taking it to shore

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Posted on Mar 12th, 2009 by Allison (Family/Friends, Travel)

Simulation of a whale breachToday’s pictoral essay is about sea maidens and sea monsters. 

I happen to fall into both categories with this shot….  a sea maiden (sea wench?) creating a simulation of a whale breach. 

We actually have seen whales off shore – but no full breaches yet.  Except by me, in the pool.
Snorkle Monster 
J’Neil was attacked by a terrifying snorkle monster at Anini Beach.

And a 6 eyed sea monster tried sneaking up on Ashley in the pool.

The 6 eyed sea monster

Ashley the mermaid has sprouted legsAshley the mermaid rejoices upon discovering she has legs. Heretofore, she had been bound to the watery depths by her fins.  

Isn’t magic wonderful?

Side note: I’d like to be able to believe it was magic that created her toned body, & that I could get some of that magic for myself… but alas, it is not magic, but hard work.  Like pilates at the beach.

Pilates at the beach

I think I’ll go eat another chocolate covered macadamia nut.

Kristin and the waterfallKristin the mermaid is enjoying playing in the falls.

Some lovely water ballet performed by J’Neil and Kristin.

Water Ballet

And finally, J’Neil the mermaid posing on a rock by the sea…

J’Neil the mermaid by the sea

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Posted on Mar 10th, 2009 by Allison (Family/Friends, Photography, Travel)

Japanese headstone

Today I’ll let the images tell the story.

Well, with a little explanation.

I was a pain in the butt today.

Insisted that Kristin drive down dirt roads (many with DO NOT ENTER signs). She was very patient and humored me.

At the end of one such road, we discovered a very cool old cemetary – all the headstones were in Japanese – some from the early 1900’s. Japanese Cemetary

Tall falls!

After another night of mesmerizing rainfall, the waterfalls were just as captivating as the day before.

Every time we looked at the mountain ridge, we’d spot another fall that we hadn’t noticed before.

It’s incredible to think of how many feet these falls plummet, and the volume of water rushing through the several rivers that lead to the ocean.

Many falls

On our drive to Haena Beach park, I again insisted on stopping so that I could photograph this lovely field of blue flowers. Ashley was particularly fond of the horses.

Field of blue

Across from the beach is the Dry Cave. Pretty cool….

Dry Cave

Ashley is a poserBuilding a sandcastle

The day was mostly overcast and rainy – but the sun did come out for awhile, and we took advantage of it.

Kristin & J’Neil
Ashley and J’neil played in the water, posed and we all built a sand castle.

Until it rained us out.

And we’re all jealous of Ashley’s abs….. though she’s the only one who does a half hour of ab-tightening pilates every night before bed…..

Ashley & J’Neil

My final photo demand of the day was a stop at the taro fields on the wayhome…..

Taro Field

More tomorrow………

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Meet Amy HaaseMeet Amy Haase. I like her, and here’s why.

Last night, Kristin & Craig were in town and invited me to join them for dinner at Machiavelli’s in Seattle.  

Can I just go off topic here for a minute and rave again about the food at this little restaurant???    Deciding between the Chicken Milanese and the Tortellini Formaggio with Cream Sauce, Proscuitto and Peas is always a daunting task. (I went with the Chicken Milanese with roasted veggies on the side – Kris opted for the Tortellini and we shared a bit with each other).  Craig enjoyed the Chicken al Forno with a side of Spaghetti (which he rated 9 on a scale of 10).

Simply put, Machiavelli’s is the BEST Italian food I have ever had – surprisingly affordable, and in my top 3 restaurants of all time…  don’t ask what the other 2 are, I haven’t decided, just leaving the spots open.   Personally, I think it would be worth your while to make a trip to Seattle just to eat at this little gem. But you have to invite me to join you, of course.

This was Craig’s first visit – perhaps he can tell you if it lived up to all of the hype……

OK, back to Amy. After dinner, we drove back to Molbak’s (where I had left my car) and Kristin and I ran in for a potty break while Craig ran an errand to a man store (auto parts). As we were waiting for his return, we gandered at the billions of poinsettias, and I convinced Kristin to sit in front of the giant poinsettia tree so I could take her photo. She was reluctant, but agreed.

Amy and KristinWhile sitting on the bench waiting for me to snap a shot, she said “I feel silly.”

And at that moment, a fellow shopper says “I’ll sit with you!

Delighted, we laughed and invited her to do so, and she did.

Amy is a spontaneous, fun and thoughtful person – stepped outside herself to try and help someone else feel more comfortable – just the sort of person we’d love to get to know. We learned she has been living in North Carolina, but is looking to make a return to Seattle (where her family lives.) We hope you do, Amy!

After all this excitement, Kristin discovered she needed another potty break – and I, apparently, needed to amuse myself while waiting for her.

Potty breakSo I stuck my camera over the stall to snap her photo – and found the shot I captured to be absolutely hysterical. Don’t ask me why.  Maybe I was drunk with the joy of my Machiavelli meal and our encounter with Amy, but I showed Kristin the photo, and we both came out of the bathroom with tears running down our cheeks, barely able to breathe from laughter. Craig thought we were nuts. I think he’s probably right.

What fun people have you met in unexpected ways and places?

(21) Comments   
Posted on Nov 25th, 2008 by Allison (Family/Friends)

Kathleen S PearceI’m thrilled to announce the birth of Kathleen’s new blog. 

I think you’ll find it witty, inspiring, informative and wonderfully silly.  Please drop by and welcome her to the blogosphere!

(3) Comments   
Posted on Nov 20th, 2008 by Allison (Family/Friends)

I had one piece of mail in my mailbox today – and it made me happy.

A letter from Kennedy

I can’t wait to give her a big hug and kiss on Saturday!

(9) Comments   
Posted on Nov 11th, 2008 by Allison (Family/Friends, Reminiscing)

Happy Birthday, Ashley Rae!

Happy Birthday, Ashley Rae!

Ashley sucked her thumb26 years ago today, the light of my life was born.   From the very beginning, Ashley had a sunny personality, spreading joy wherever she went – and her quickly earned her nickname “Ashley Rae of Sunshine.”  

She sucked her thumb, which was far more convenient thank a binkie which can get lost in the middle of the night, and stopped on her own.  She slept 7 hours a night even as an infant.  Such an easy child.   She was also bald as a cue ball until almost 2 years old – when her beautiful blonde hair came in thick and full of body.  And no obnoxious waves like her mother has.

Serious girl(Don’t you think she looks like her daughter Kennedy did at this age?)

She did give me grief a few times as a child. Twice, she got hold of a pair of scissors and cut her bangs off right to her scalp. I’m afraid I didn’t react very well.

Another time, when she was around four, she had been playing in her room and I went in to check on her. She was no where to be found. If you’re a parent who has ever throught their child was missing, you’ll understand how panicked I felt. I was frantic – called to her and searched the whole house – no response.

Ashley wants a kissI ran outside and enlisted the help of some neighbors who helped search the streets.

About an hour later, when I was about to call the police, I went into her room again and decided to search the closet again. I had looked before, but hadn’t taken everything out of the closet. I moved a little pile of stuffed animals and found Ashley sound asleep under a little pile of clothes.  

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on Nov 10th, 2008 by Allison (Family/Friends)

Defying SunshineKristin has finally finished designing/creatng her blog!

It is called Defying Sunshine – visit it now and welcome her to the blogosphere!

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