Archive for the ‘My Life’ Category

A Nightly Tradition

I grew up in a very religious family, and Lo Gung and I are trying to impart that tradition to our children as well. In 2011, my mother asked for just one thing for her birthday, from all 5 of her children. She wanted all of us to read our scriptures, every single day, for the next year. The 365 days were officially up in December, but daily scripture study is a habit are trying not to break.

In our house, I’ve tried to incorporate this tradition from my family with a fabulous tradition from Lo Gung’s family as well – nightly “fruit snacks”! Growing up, Lo Gung’s mother would serve a plate of cut up fruit to her family to eat before bedtime.

Each night, after the kids have changed for bed, we gather back around the dinner table and listen to scriptures on my phone while I peel fruit for the munchkins.

This time of year, Cuties are our nightly treat. By this time, I’ve peeled so many…I decided to get a little more creative.

I call this one Orange Lily. Nice, yes?





Ming Wai noticed this little guy. Mom! It looks like Jack Frost’s tree! 


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My kids are in bed for the night. It always seems like a struggle, but tonight was particularly drawn out. (This is probably directly related to how tired their parents were. Heh.) I finally got them in bed at 9:45, but neither one looked very ready to nod off. Thankfully, I keep a bottle of lavender oil around for just such an occasion. A drop on each of their necks, and they were out within 10 minutes. Amazing stuff….

Tonight, our bedtime story was called Grandma’s Hurrying Child, by Jane Yolen. It’s a beautiful birth story while being completely non-graphic. It prompted all sorts of questions from the kids, though. Ming Wai, especially. I told the two of them about THEIR birth stories. Ming Wai was a WAITING child. A trip to the hospital late at night, sent home the next morning, waiting all day, going BACK to the hospital that night, and she was born the next morning. (By the time she came out, all I wanted was a NAP. Lo Gung was in the same boat. My father was the first one to make it to the hospital, since he worked just down the street. I handed him the baby, gave him some sort of mumbled congratulations, and promptly passed out.)

Siu Jeun was a bit quicker. I woke up in the middle of the night, calmly charted contractions all night, and waited for Lo Gung to get up in the morning. I told him it was just about time to go. We dropped Ming Wai off at a friend’s house after breakfast, and Siu Jeun was born a few hours later. Lo Gung picked Ming Wai up around dinner time. Atta boy.

Of course, birth stories lead to other questions, and Ming Wai seemed FULL of them tonight. How does the baby get out? Do they have to cut you open? Does the doctor reach in and pull her out? Will you still love me? Or will you love her best? Finally, Ming Wai decided that I should love Ming Wai…and love Siu Jeun more than Ming Wai…and Ming Wai more than Siu Jeun…and Penelope Picklebottom (catchy, no?) more than Ming Wai and Siu Jeun. Because that would make sense to her. “Uhh…does that make sense to you, Ming Wai?” I got a solemn nod. “Alright. Then, yes. That’s exactly how it will be.”

There are a LOT of unknowns as I prepare to go from Mama To Two to Mama To Three. (Not the least of which is HOW WILL I STAY SANE WITH MORE CHILDREN THAN HANDS?! I mean, have you MET Siu Jeun?!) The one thing I need the children to be sure of, though, is that there is MORE than enough love to go around. And they will adore their new sister as well.

Except when they don’t, because sometimes they won’t. And that’s normal, too.

(Wish us luck! Just a few days over 7 weeks until D Day.)

(Ming Wai and Siu Jeun playing with trains at the Children’s Museum. They have GOBS of tracks and trains at home, and haven’t touched them in a year. Go figure.) 

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Silver Linings

November is traditionally the month of gratitude. Friends pop up daily in my facebook feed, sharing the little (and not so little) things they are grateful for each day. I didn’t participate this year, but it has made me think. My birthday is coming up next week and as I look back at the past year…it’s been a doozy. There have been great blessings, but there have been some really freaky, weird things, too. As I reflect, I’ve realized there are silver linings to all of the weird, freaky things that have happened.


(Mid-Autumn Festival, 2012)

To start off the year, my husband got a brand new job. During the worst snowstorm of the year. So, even though he was accepted and on payroll, the poor dude spent his first week of work in his den, doing his best to complete his New Hire Training via e-mail with his colleagues.

Silver lining: Daddy was home, and safe from all the storms. Also? His awesome new insurance would come in REALLY handy this year, though we didn’t know it yet.

Later that same month, I found out I was pregnant. Three days later, I miscarried. It was tough, and made tougher by my guilt over never having come to terms with BEING pregnant, before it was suddenly taken away from me. As I made my way through the day of blood work and ultrasounds and well-meaning (but callous sounding) doctors, I received some interesting news. The ultrasound tech checked around to make sure it was a clean sweep, and suddenly announced, “Whoa! Did you know that was there?” She had found a 10 cm. cyst.

Silver lining: The cyst was harmless, and assumed to be of the common garden variety. However, it didn’t hurt. At all. And a cyst that size should have felt approximately equivalent to labor. It never would have been found had it not been for that ultrasound.

More appointments were made, specialists were met, and finally surgery was scheduled. My “dragon egg” came out in April.

Silver lining: My mother in law was able to fly in from Salt Lake and take care of EVERYTHING while I slept for a week. There were no complications, and the cyst (though the weirdest one, medically, my doctor had ever seen) was completely harmless. Remember that through all of this, I haven’t paid a penny yet. Daddy’s new insurance was a huge blessing this year!


(Post-Op. This is what I look like, allllll doped up.)


As I recovered from surgery and moved on with life, I visited the dentist. He found that one of my teeth was hollowing itself out…from the inside out. Which is weird. (He’d only seen three cases, in all his years of practicing.) A consultation was set up with a specialist, who recommended a root canal and a crown. A second opinion said the root canal would fail, leaving not enough tooth behind to attach a crown to. During this time, I found out I was pregnant again, which put all talk of root canals off the table for a few months while I got through my first trimester. I ended up getting the root canal, which went well. 90 minutes later, as the endodontist is removing all his paraphernalia from my teeth, I hear a *snap* and “Oh, shoot!” My tooth had cracked. (Turns out the second opinion was right. Oh well – at least I never had to wonder if a root canal MIGHT have worked!) Back to the dentist, and the offending tooth was simply removed.

Silver lining: The tooth was the very last molar, way in the back, so I am OK to leave it without a falsie. Also, recovery went amazingly well. I never even needed pain meds. 

Finally, this month, I was working late one night to finish some photobooks before a sale ended. As I finally peeled myself off the couch, I noticed that my side was really itchy. I checked in the mirror and found a weird band of blisters on my side. I watched it for a few days, and finally went and saw the doctor. It was shingles! It almost made me laugh – it was too much, on top of everything else. I have felt relatively fit during this pregnancy, compared to my others, but nobody wants shingles when they are 7 months pregnant. I started the medication last week, and am now nearly pain (and blister!) free.

Silver lining: The shingles happened early enough in my pregnancy that there is almost zero risk of my baby having any complications. The outbreak was also very, very small, compared to some other cases. Also, during this pregnancy I have been much more careful about what I’m eating, and have continued to attend Zumba 2 hours a week. I am the healthiest pregnant lady I’ve ever been! 

So. As we go into Thanksgiving, I am feeling…grateful. Like I said – it’s been a really weird, freaky year. But that doesn’t mean it’s been bad. I have two healthy kids, and a VERY active little girl on the way (just 10 weeks!) My husband has a great job, with much more family friendly hours than his previous one. We have a lovely house to live in, and loads of family in the area to help watch the kids when I need a break. It is a very blessed year…but still, one I am happy to close out.

Bring on 31! 30 has been done.

(Easter 2012)

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Halloween, 2012 style

This year, Halloween was a busy day for us. Actually, a busy FEW days. It started the Friday prior, with a carnival at Daddy’s office. The carnival…was sort of a bust, at least for us. We rushed over as soon as school got out, but there were still lines for every attraction at least 15-30 minutes long. It was not a day to gather candy, which kind of disappointed the kids. To cap off my day of miscalculations, I told the kids to leave their coats in the car as I thought the carnival would be inside. (Guess who got to hold our spot in line for the little train ride, outside. In the drizzle. With no coat. Yeah – the bright one who told everybody to leave their coats in the car. Brr.)

Never fear – we capped off that chilly adventure with a trip to our favorite Chinese place in town. The owner knows us by sight, as we end up there 1-2 times a week. The kids wore their costumes, and got extra praise that night. They loved it.


The fun of Halloween, of course, is having costumes that FIT, right at your fingertips. And when Mommy plunks the Halloween buckets in the sink for a quick wash up….well, Ironman isn’t about to let Mommy have all the fun!


Halloween Day started bright and early. Ming Wai doesn’t have any school on Wednesdays, so we had a good chunk of the day to play with. First up? ZUMBA. Mommy got to dress up.


We call this look…Zumba Punk. (The huge belly added a bit of irony to the look.)

After Zumba, it was a rush to get home, get the gunk (and Zumba “glow”) showered off of Mommy, and then we dashed off to Daddy’s office for trick or treating, office to office, and lunch in the awesome cafeteria. (Free drinks for all, and cookies for the kids. Also? The best Sandwich Lady in all the land. No joke.)

I had a few piano lessons to teach in the afternoon, then got the kids gussied up to go to the Trunk or Treat down at church. (Families block off part of the parking lot, decorate their trunks, and hand out candy to the munchkins that come around. Safe, fun, and CANDY. Awesome.)


We had dinner, and then it was time to hit the streets! I did my hair up in gold for the occasion.




(Rapunzel and Ironman, in da ‘hood!)



Mama, and the bump, went as a jack o’lantern.

The kids ran up and down stairs and hills until 8:30 before I finally begged them to go home. And that, as they say, was that. Halloween 2012!

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So. I have a backyard full of chickens. We got three about 6 months ago, and then four more a few months later. We’ll call them the Big Girls and the Small Girls.

The big girls moved into a brand new coop when they were about 2 months old…which is when my husband decided he had to have more baby chicks. Off we went to the farm store, and the nice lady there convinced him we had to have four more….hence, the Big Girls, and the Small Girls.

One night, one of the Small Girls just wasn’t doing well, and died in my hands. It was a kind of emotional night. (I mean, I know – it’s a CHICKEN. She was just such a cute little fluffball. If watching her die didn’t make you tear up, you have no heart.) That was the first girl we lost. (Lo Gung consoled himself by heading BACK to the farm store and not just replacing her, but also coming home with a new friend as well. That put our total flock at 8 chickens. 3 originally, plus 4, minus 1, plus 2. 8 chickens. This is like the most longest, most drawn out story problem ever!)

Two weeks ago, around 7:15 in the morning, I heard a very faint, “cock a doooodle doooooooo” coming from the henhouse. That crow was repeated for three days before we could finally figure out the culprit – the (ironically named) lovely Miss America. She had white feathers, with tawny spots…a luxurious long green tail…beady yellow eyes…….seriously intense sideburns…..and a penchant for fluffing up her neck feathers and chasing the Small Girls around the yard. (Obviously, the crowing should have been my LAST clue, not my first, eh?) I put her (him?) up for sale on Craigslist…and then put an offer up on Facebook to see if any of my friends could offer a feisty Ameraucana rooster a new home.

As it turns out, no. Nobody wants a new rooster in October, especially one that likes to chase smaller chickens. One friend DID, however, offer to eat him.

After I realized my friend (Cam) was serious…and after realizing nobody on Craigslist wanted my turd of a rooster…I said yes. Cam’s family was invited to dinner, the newly named Mr. ‘Merica was put into a box and loaded into their minivan…and that was the end of our cock a doodle doo’er.

We had now lost 2 chickens. (One more of the smaller girls is still a question mark. She is starting to show signs of being of the male variety…but only time will tell.) Fast forward to Wednesday morning. I went out in the morning to let the girls out of their (now shared) coop. The 7 remaining girls streamed out, and I counted as they went past. 1234567. All there. As they careened around the yard, stretching their wings and legs and doing whatever chickens think is natural and necessary at 9 in the morning, one little lady came back to me. She parked herself right by my foot, and let me bend down and pet her while I watched her sisters run around. This little one was a yellow Silkie. She had funny, pokey yellow feathers, all the way down to her feet, and practically useless little wings. She could barely get 4″ off the ground. Like a cross between a penguin and a dandelion. Oh, and someone must have dropped her on her face when she was a chick, because her beak did NOT come in straight. The upper and lower beaks crossed each other at an angle – watching her eat or drink was fairly hilarious. I thought to myself, “Now, YOU are going to be a fun little pet!”

I left for the gym with the kids at 9. My husband left 45 minutes later for work. When I returned later that morning, around 11, I went out to count the chickens. 12345…6. No 7. No little dandelion penguin child. No yellow silkie. I checked under the deck, on top of the fence, inside the coop. 6 chickens followed me around, wondering what I was doing…and why I wasn’t giving them any treats. Something came and snatched my little pet out of the yard. (Could it maybe, POSSIBLY be….is there even a chance it was…the bobcat I saw in my yard last week? *facepalm*) We have a local bobcat who apparently makes his rounds in the morning. The girls are now under house arrest until the afternoons, after my oldest gets home from school, and I am sure I will be around for the rest of the day.

We are not happy about the loss of our ridiculous little pet…but my husband put it perfectly. “We are losing our chickens, one by one, and nobody’s even laid a single egg yet!” (Because, at the end of the day, they’re CHICKENS.)

And so the flock is now 6. Stay tuned for another episode of…Chicken Mamas!!

(The original 3. The Big Girls)

(Mr. ‘Merica. *shudder* THOSE EYES. They always seem to be judging you. Like some grouchy old neighbor watching you raise your children.)

Also? This. The resemblance to Mr. ‘Merica is uncanny, no?

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This is Why You Lose

On Saturday evening, Lo Gung and I were able to leave the kids with my mother in law and head to an exhibition match at the tennis club in town.  The evening pitted four of the coaches against each other, in a doubles match. I quickly picked out the “team” I would root for (based on looks, of course, as I had nothing else to go on) and settled down to watch the game. The two handsomest men on the court were one of the pairs, so I decided I might as well root for them as not! (Sound logic, right?)

The first six points went by with the teams taking turns winning, probably on purpose. They joked, showed off, and almost danced their way through it. Finally, when the score was 6-6, they settled down for the last point and gave me the match I had come to see.

As it turns out, the owner of the tennis club was on the opposing team…and they ended up winning the match. Because, apparently, you don’t bet against the guy that owns the club. Who knew??! It was a fun evening, with great players (and free sushi!).

That evening, when we were home, I commented to Lo Gung that maybe it was fair that the prettiest guys on the court NOT win. I mean, you can’t have it all right? He responded with, “Oh, THAT’s why I always lose!!”

(Photo taken by Simply Sonja Photography)

Dear, dear Lo Gung. I have no idea how to answer that hypothesis. But I have to say…if the two men I spent the evening cheering for were the prettiest boys on the court…you were the most handsome man in the room. Here’s to losing!


PS – He wins most of his matches. Just so you don’t think he’s whining. *grin* But at least, when he does occasionally lose, we know what to blame now!


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At the Park

As the days grow longer, and warmer, I’m finding that we are spending as much time as possible…at the park. There’s something magical about such a huge place. Siu Jeun is free to roam, and climb, and kick, and run, and dance….and he is in his element. I’m just certain that my little boy…is not meant to be an indoor pet.

Don’t be fooled…he’s not actually asleep. But he IS resting. (And how adorable is it that he can use a purloined sweatshirt from his father’s closet as a sleeping bag?! Pretty adorable, y’all.)



We were at the park for about 4 hours, and it was definitely the best 4 hours of the day.

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