Friday, April 20, 2012

Thailand PT 2 - The Cemetery

The first week in April is the time when Chinese people celebrate the dead.  For those who don't know, Thailand has a huge Chinese population.  And also for those who don't know, my family is Chinese, not Thai.  Anyway, the main reason we picked this time of year to go visit was because my mom wanted to be there to go to the cemetery.  April 1 and 2 are literally the only time people visit the cemeteries, unless of course they are burying someone or keeping the grounds. 

So anyway, at the cemetery, the gravesites are decorated and food is put out for the spirits...real food....and alcohol.  My aunt was actually up all night the night before cooking it all.  After it is all over, the food is taken home and eaten...and of course the alcohol too (It has been known in years passed that the alcohol was gone before people even left the cemetery :) ).  There are also things made out of paper that are burned up and sent to the spirits.  I mean nice things, clothes, washing machine, cars.  We also light incence and place them at the gravesites....this would be like putting flowers on someone's gravesite here. 

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I love doing this stuff!!  I just find different cultures fascinating and I feel so blessed to be able to participate and really see first hand what other cultures do...I guess I shouldn't say "other cultures," since I am part Chinese, so I should say, what one of my cultures does.  But, if I could, I would travel the world and live amongst the people and really get into their lives.

Wow, I got a little side tracked there...anyway, here are some pictures of the day we went.  As you will see, it's a big family thing...My grandpa was there, uncles, aunts, cousins, my mom's cousins...all kinds of people. It's also a Chinese thing, not a Buddhist thing.  My mom wanted me to be clear on that...None of this has anything to do with Buddha, it is just a way to honor our loved ones who have passed.

My Grandpa and Caleb

Putting incense in for my grandma and (biological) grandpa

Carrrying stuff to burn...I think Sammie has a washer

Brothers and Sisters

This was my grandparent's gravesite, but we visited others too...great grandparents, great uncles and aunts

A picture of both of us baby free....that didn't happen often. :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thailand PT 1

Oh my, there is so much I can say about our trip to Thailand that I have not been able to figure out how to start this post.  I think, after like 5 drafts, that I am just going to do event by event. 

First, let's start with before my sister and nephew arrived, as they arrived 2 days after us.  We spent those days just reconnecting with everyone...well, my mom, Mikayla and I reconnected, David and the kids met everyone. :)  We spent some time going from one house to another, which was a little tiring, but well worth it to see everyone.

My uncle took us to a temple near the house on one of our first days. Obviously, everyone knows I am Christian and my beliefs are completely different from Buddhist, but I do think it is important for my kids to see things like this and I believe it is such a good learning experience.  And quite honestly, temples look really cool.  We watched as everyone put incense in and bowed to Buddha.   It was hard for me to explain to Samantha what they were doing, but I did the best I could.  And while most Thais are Buddhist, it was never expected of us to participate in anything at the temple. 

So, that same day, my uncle also took us to a zoo...a really cheap zoo, but a zoo nonetheless.  The kids had a  blast looking at the animals and feeding the deer.  They did get tired and thirsty pretty quick though, so we didn't stay too long.

My wonderful uncle also took us to a park the next day.  It was not the nicest part of town, but with that said, it was  not like what we see here in America.  People in Thailand are so friendly and they are perfectly content with their lives, whether they have money or not.  They work hard and you rarely hear complaining.  I think David said it best when he said it was a humbling experience.

There you have it.  Our first couple days in Thailand.  I left out the time we spent at home, but I will be getting to that soon.

And on a little side note, David and I expected Sammie to have a little trouble getting use to everything, but we were pretty sure Caleb would do fine.  But oh how our kids can surprise us.  Samantha adapted so well to everything and everyone.  I know part of it is because  her cousin, Mikayla, was there with us.  While they bring out the crazy in each other, they can also bring out the good.  Caleb on the other hand, had a harder time with everything.  He was so clingy and just wanted Daddy for the first few days.  He did get better as time went on, but it was so not what we thought was going to happen.  Silly kids!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Guess who's 4??

My Sammie Girl turned 4 years old yesterday.  Wow!  As she tells me all of the time, she's not a baby any more!  She's a big girl now.  As  I look back over the past year, I can not believe how much Samantha has grown and learned. These are just some of the things she can  do now...

Name most colors and shapes
Count to 20, not just by rote, but actually count 20 items
Recognize all of her letters and knows their sounds (For the most part anyway)
Draw people and flowers
Write an A, H, O, Q, F, E
Knows left and right
Balance and hop on one foot
Dress and undress herself
Ride a bike

Oh my, there is so much more that she can do! This past year, she just exploded in learning!

Sammie has also been doing well with her sensory processing.  She is now able to tell us when things bother her, physically, mentally, or emotionally.  For example, instead of screaming and crying, she will say, "The jeans hurt me when I wear them." or "There are too many people, can I go in the other room?" She also lets us know now when she needs the joint compressions to calm her down.  It makes life so much easier for everyone!

Samantha still loves all things princess, and now especially Ariel and Jasmine.  She loves make up and being "stylish."  And has to pick out her own clothes now.  She also still loves being outside, swinging, spinning, climbing and running.

What else can  I say about my Sammie girl.  She is sweet yet sassy, smart and funny.  She is so compassionate and giving. She loves her  little brother more  than anything and has become a Daddy's girl.  Sammie is Mommy's little helper and her cousin, Mikayla, is her "best friend forever."

I can't even remember what life was like with this  sweet girl.  When I imagined what my daughter would be like, I never imagined Sammie.  She is nothing like I expected, but so much more wonderful than I could have ever dreamed of.  She has been one of the greatest blessings in my life and has blessed so many others as well.

Everyday I feel blessed to be Samantha's mommy.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Living with zombies???

So, I am not that into zombie movies, but David is, so I will sit down and watch them with him....until it gets too creepy and then I go to bed.  Anyway, David started watching the new zombie show "The Walking Dead."  I watched an episode with him and I must admit, it was pretty good.  So, David decided to get Netflix to catch up on all of the shows.  I started watching the first episode and about 15 minutes in, I got creeped out and went to bed. 
The next day, David was telling me how good the show was and started telling me what happened.  He was telling me about a scene where a boy and his dad are hiding in their house, as zombies are outside.  The boy looked out the window and saw his mom as a zombie and started crying.  David then explained to me how when the mom became a zombie, the dad didn't have the heart to kill her. 
 At that point, I almost told David, in all seriousness,
"I want you to shoot me if  I become a  zombie."
Yup, for a split second, I thought we lived in a land where zombies walked the earth!! 
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when you spend three straight weeks taking care of sick kids and getting no sleep.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Quote of the Year

This quote comes to you from Caleb!

We were getting ready to leave my mom's house today and I was telling the kids to tell Grandma bye bye.  Of course, I was mainly talking to Sammie, but out of nowhere, without delay, Caleb looks right at my mom and says
"Bye MaaMa."
That's right, my Bubs said his first 2 word sentence!! 
It was so out of the blue and so cute. 
It took us a second to realize what happened, but when we did, we started clapping and praising him and he was so excited!  I don't think he knew what was going on, but he knew he did a good job!  I haven't seen such a big smile on his face in a long time.
Samantha was an early talker, but I was never expecting Caleb to be.  Not because I didn't think he was capable, but because I know kids develop at their own pace and so I never wanted to assume all of my kids would be the same.  Anyway, so far though, it looks and sounds like Caleb is taking after his sister. 
Seriously, not even 18 months yet!
Not to worry, I am not expecting him to start talking in full on sentences now, nor am I expecting him to use two word sentences all of the time.  But I really am excited and so proud of my baby boy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quote of the month

I know I have been horrible at keeping up with Sammie girl's quotes, but this was a good one.  I walked in her room as she was playing with her 2 Ariel dolls and a Prince Eric doll and it went a little something like this.....

Ariel #1: I love him
Ariel #2: No, I love him
(Eric is laying on the floor in between them)
Ariel #1: No, I love him. He's mine!
Ariel #2: No, He's mine!!
Ariel #1 (Pushing #2): No, He's mine!  Stand back!!!!!
And then Ariel #1 and Prince Eric leave together.

Oh my goodness!  I have no clue where she learned this!!  Should I be worried??

Sammie posed them in the chair, then took the picture

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A year in review


Like every year, 2011 had it's ups and downs, but I would say that it was a pretty good year for us. 

There were a few weekends where we got to get away.  We spent a weekend in  January with David's family in Rancho Mirage.  It was to celebrate his great aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary.  It was nice to get to know some of his extended family.  And then in June, we went to visit some of my family in Pahrump, NV.  David was able to meet my uncle and aunt and some cousins.  I was also able to meet some of my cousin's grandkids (My cousins are a bit older, so they were having kids around the same time as my parents).  Our kids had a great time meeting their extended family too!  We took a little family weekend trip to San Diego for my birthday.  We spent one day at Sea World and then spent some time walking around Balboa Park.  It was a good 32nd birthday.

Last year, we also visited a few amusement parks...Disneyland,  California Adventure, Legoland, and of course Sea World.  Caleb loved it all...the people, the rides, the lights, and noise!  Sammie, well, to put it nicely, she could have  lived without going to Disneyland. :)  In fact, just a few weeks ago we were watching Ellen and she was telling a family that they were going to get to go to Disneyland.  Sammie looked at me with the saddest face and said, "Can you not take me there?"  Ha...poor thing! Of course in that Sammie convo, she asked to go to Vegas instead.  :) 

Speaking of my Sammie girl, she changed and learned so much in 2011.   We learned about her sensory processing and how we could help her and  also had to put her under to get her teeth fixed.  I must say, that was much harder on us that on this day, I don't think she realizes that her teeth got fixed.  Sammie learned all of her letters and their sounds last year and also learned to count.  I mean, not just say the numbers, but actually point to objects and count them.  She also learned to draw happy faces and people.  Her love for arts and crafts exploded in 2011.  She literally turned into a full blown little girl right before our eyes. She rode her first roller coaster ride without Mommy or Daddy last year and also started AWANA, which meant I dropped her off somewhere and drove away for the first time.  Both very bittersweet. Sammie also started making friends whereever she went, like at the park.  And she turned into kind of a were following her everywhere and doing what she said.  Sammie started having real conversations with us and with her friends last year and with that came a lot of attitude..."Moooommmm, I told you!" or "It's not fair!" or, one of my favorites, "Calm down Mooommm, just calm down."   Of course a lot of the times those came with an eye roll too...really, isn't 3 a little too young for that?  But there were good things coming out of her mouth too, "You're my best friend!" or "I love you more, I win!" or "Jesus will make me feel better."  She seriously amazes me everyday.

I don't even know where to start wtih Caleb...He changed sooo much in 2011.  He learned to stand (really early, may I add), walk, run, climb, talk.  He says about 15 words now including the normal "mom" "dad" and "ball."  But also some interesting  ones like "cheese" "waffle" and "popsicle."  Of course there's a lot of words that have to do with eating...I  am pretty sure he'd eat all day long if we let him.  Caleb found a love for cars and climbing last year.  "Vrrooom" is one of his favorite things to say and he loves his cozy coupe and car race track he got for much that he doesn't like to share.  He learned to climb on so many things and if he couldn't climb on it, he learned to make anything a step stool to help him. I don't know how many times I found him on Sammie's bed "jumping." or on our coffee table with a huge smile on his face.  Caleb celebrated his first  Valentine's Day, Easter, Fourth of July and birthday last year.  Of course he had no clue what was happening, but did like the fireworks.  He got 6 teeth in 2011, and the rest are slowly coming in.  He has had these 6 teeth since 11 months....that's 5 months and has not gotten any more, but  we do see another one starting to come out.  Caleb went to the OT too last year because he had a hard time eating without choking.   The OT said that his chewing was actually advanced, but his need to move was what was causing the choking.  Like his sister, our boy can not sit still.  He constantly shakes his head or looks around when eating.  It has gotten better though, and Caleb loves  his food!  So far oatmeal has been the only thing he doesn't like.  Caleb also learned about tv last year.  He watches way more than Sammie ever did and really gets into the shows.  He hands me the remote and tells me what he wants to watch, "Lala," "bubu," "Pat pat," "Mou (mouse)," "Wowow."  His favorites are definitely the ones with music because he loves to dance!  And he loves bubbles!  I actually think the love for bubbles started early this year, but close enough. :)  I was looking at Caleb today and just couldn't believe how big he has gotten.  What a wonderful little boy we have!

As for me and David, we celebrated our 5 year anniversary.  We were going to go out of town, but ended up not being able to.  We did spend the entire day together though, kid free.  It's nice to do that every now and then.  We definitely learned to trust God more and for the first time in our marriage got on our knees together and prayed...just really giving it all  to Him.  Finances were a little hard last year because we had some obstacles when it came to our tax return, but when it came down to it, God always provided.  The money always came just when we needed it; whether it was to pay for Sammie's dental work, fix our car, buy the kids something they needed or pay a bill.   I can't speak for David, but as for me, I came out of 2011 with so much more faith in our God.

We did loss a few people in 2011.  My Aunt Joyce and Grandpa Warren and David's Grandpa John all passed away last year.  With every passing, it's always a reminder that life is short and we just never know what's going to happen or when will be the last time we will see someone.  That's why is 2012, I plan on visiting more family and friends and really show people how much I care for them.

So like I said, 2011 was a pretty good year overall.  I am looking forward to 2012 and all the adventure that lies ahead.  I feel it, it's gonna be  a great year!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Christmas was pretty busy for of this year.   We try not to run around too much on Christmas day, but somehow, this year, it felt neverending.  It was good, just never ending.  We started the morning off by opening the presents under our tree.  We were so excited for Samantha  to open her doll house...She's been wanting one forever.  And she loves it!  And as for Caleb, we took advantage of him still not getting the whole Christmas thing.  We did, however, get "him" a remote control car.  David  and Sammie have a blast with it! :)  Caleb got  a Mickey Mouse book with a light switch.  It's great because he loves Mickey, books, and light switches. :)

After opening gifts we headed off to church.   Where else would you want to celebrate Christmas, but worshipping and thanking God for His Son.  Sammie was in a Christmas production.   She  did  amazing singing Jingle Bells with everyone and then she noticed Daddy and just shut down. was cute while it lasted.

Well, after this busy morning, we stopped by my parents house and opened gifts.  It's always a little crazy at that house.  There were 5 screaming girls, a mischievious little boy and a  teenage boy who probably had better places to be. :)   Not to mention all the adults.  I don't even know who opened what, but I am pretty sure everybody ended up with the presents they were supposed to. And at some point, a wrapping paper fight broke up. 

We went to visit David's family to end the day.  How different are our families!  At his parent's house, we all sat down for a nice dinner and then the gifts were all neatly put into piles and then we watched as people opened their gifts.  Maybe it was because Sammie and Caleb were the only two kids.  Either way, they had a great time.  They each got to open  and play with their presents at Papa and Bubbie's house. 

The kids were spoiled, to say the least!  We couldn't fit all of their presents in the  car, so David had to go back and pick up the rest of thier gifts during the week.  Just a list of some of the stuff they got...

Samantha - Princess vanity table, easel, leapster2, cash register, baby doll, books, clothes, and toys galore
Caleb - Mega  Bloks table, Mega bloks, car track,  cozy coupe, wooded train and so many books and clothes

Overall, it was a wonderful Christmas.  Caleb still didn't really get what was going on, but Samantha was so into it all.  And while we let her enjoy all the presents and Santa  Claus, we also taught her the true meaning of Christmas  (as best as a 3 year old could understand).  I am sure with each passing year, our kids will understand more and more what a wonderful gift God gave to us.