Happy 2nd Birthday Lily!

Happy 2nd birthday to my sweet little Lily pad!!  Lily is about 23 pounds (8 percentile) and stretches about 34 inches tall (average percentile).  At her 2 year check-up, she got a More »

Happy 23 Months Lily!

Happy 23 months my precious Lily pad!!  Right now she weighs in about 22.4 pounds, and stretches about 33 inches tall!  Lily loves to talk now and starts to mimic our words More »

Happy 22 Months Lily!

Happy 22 months my sweet Lily pad!!!  She is currently around 22 pounds (FINALLY) and stretches around 32 inches tall!  She is such a vocal baby and had such a spunky personality. More »

Happy 21 Months Lily!

Happy 21 months Lily (over a week ago…)!!  Lily weighs at about 21.3 pounds and stretches about 32 inches long.  She’s lost some weight because she was sick for a couple week, More »

Happy 20 Months Lily!

Wow now in the 2-0 digits!  Happy 20 months my sweet little Lily pad!   Right now she stretches at about 32 inches and weighs about 21 pounds!  She understands more and More »

Disney Baby!

I woke up this morning and saw one of the mom’s from Lily’s modeling agency share the Disney Baby facebook cover photo, and tagged me asking if that was Lily in the More »

Happy 19 Months Lily!

Happy 19 months to my sweet little Lily pad!  Right now Lily weighs at about 21.25 pounds and stretches about 31.5 inches tall!  I realized I forgot to post her 18 months, More »

Happy 17 Months Lily!

Happy 17 Months old Lily!  She currently weighs about 20.5 pounds (finally broke the 20 pound mark and can officially sit front facing in the car seat now!!!), and stretches about 30.5 More »

Happy Sweet 16 Months Lily!

Happy Sweet 16 Months to our precious Lily pad!!  She’s still small, hasn’t grown too much since last month, weighing in at 19.6 pounds and is stretches about 30.5 inches tall.  She More »

 

Back to School 2014

Lily (2 years and almost 3 months old) just started the new school year at LePort last week, and she was showing me all the things she learned and can do at school during parent visitations, the day before the new school year started.  I’m so impressed by all the things she knows how to do and all the things she understands as well.  I’m so in awe watching her work and showing me all her skills!  I’m so proud of you Lily, mommy loves you so much!!!!

Lily also Lily played on the iPad for the first time and loves it!!! The game is called Forest Flyer! Thanks Mieng for the recommendation!! I love seeing her crack up!!

Lily also loves to draw and can’t stop talking. I think her favorite shape is the octagon, but does anyone speak Lily because I barely know what else she is saying! Haha, her voice is so cute though!

Happy Father’s Day Khoa!

Happy Father’s Day to Khoa!!  Here’s how his day was from his words:

Oh my did I have the best father’s day weekend ever. Friday night Jackie suggested we let my mom watch Lily so we can have a nice peaceful dinner out. I said sure, I’ll give her a quick call. She politely declined and said she would call. Turns out, she never called her because my mom was in on some secret and already knew she’d be watching Lily! Sneaky sneaky. We had our dinner and when we got home, I was getting ready to relax when the doorbell rang. It was An… strange because usually I know when he’s going to pay us a visit. He had this look on his face like… I don’t know what I’m supposed to say here… lol. Then Jackie hands me a piece of paper and says “Surprise!” Turns out a while back, she bought me tickets to this show, Hollywood Babble-On. I’ve listened to over 100 episodes of that popcast so I was super excited to finally be able to see it in person. It features Kevin Smith, writer/director of Jay and Silent Bob, Clerks, Mallrats, etc…, and Ralph Garmin, part of the Kevin and Bean show at KROQ. The show was even better in person, and I thank Jackie for sitting through it because I know it’s not her cup of tea. Also thanks to Steve Le for also sitting through it since it’s not really his thing either. An… enjoyed it so no thanks needed there! Hah jk, thanks An for being there. It was a small venue so afterwards, Ralph was just hanging out (thanks An for pointing that out) and I actually got a picture with him. As Jennifer and Alvina pointed out, I was so happy and star-struck lol. As if the night wasn’t great enough, Steve “proposed” for me to be his Best Man!

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Saturday started out with Father’s Day for my and Jackie’s dad and then a 1 year old Birthday Party. Afterwards, Jackie just told me to drive and gave me step by step directions as we went. Finally we pulled up to a Men’s Warehouse! Apparently they are having a BOGO free sale! She’s so sweet; she knows I have been wearing the same two suits for over 5 years and getting a new one is way past due. I chose two, in my opinion, really nice suits that will fit many occasions. I’m really excited to put them on and flaunt their awesomeness around town.

Come Sunday morning, Jackie had another surprise for me! Again she gave me step by step directions on where to go and we finally ended up at the Discovery Science Center where they just started their Mythbusters exhibit! My baby knows me and my nerdy side so well. They had a stage show that was pretty cool; they shot a paintball gun at a target and asked if we all thought it was possible for a person to dodge it or not. The whole premise was to explain the Scientific Method and how there are so many variables that you have to have very deliberate and controllable tests. The variables they decided to experiment with is a person’s reaction time and the distance (simulated by delay) of the gun. Long story short, they had someone up there with a riot shield and they eventually dodged the paintball given a 1 sec delay. The rest of the exhibits were pretty cool; some notable ones were a “blind driving test” where you just have a wheel and pedals in front of you and someone else is looking at a screen trying to give you directions. I was really bad at that. Another one where you can see if you can pull a tablecloth off a table without pulling all of the glassware with it (in this case it was plasticware). There were many others; I would highly recommend anyone to check it out.

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After the Discovery Science Center, we went to eat for my Grandpa’s father’s day celebration. After that, my mom took Lily and Jackie said we can do whatever I felt like. A movie seemed like the perfect way to close out this weekend. We went to the theatre expecting to watch Godzilla but it was sold out. We went to our 2nd choice which was a million days to die in the west. It was really funny, but I don’t think the movie (as a whole) was as good as Ted, which was Seth Macfarlane’s last movie. It was pretty cool that Ralph Garmin had a few lines in the movie though since we just met him in person on Friday! There was definitely some memorable lines that I see Jackie and me repeating to each other from time to time.

Finally for dinner, we decided to go to the Anaheim Packing House. It is a new, hip place 10 minutes walking distance from our house. We went on Saturday night too and saw that there was a Shabu Shabu place so we decided to come back on Sunday to try it. It was pretty darn good, but the only thing is they don’t have traditional Ponzu or Goma because they consider themselves a “hot pot” restaurant. After eating there and seeing their offerings, I really would consider them a Shabu place rather than a Hot Pot place. Either way, it was good eats. After that we got some really good popsicles that were dipped in our choice of chocolate and toppings. We tried to go there on Saturday but the line was out the door. We had much better luck on Sunday night. I’m really excited that the Anaheim Packing District opened up but am a bit scared at how close it is to our house. There are so many good food choices there that I may go broke and fat pretty quickly.

The night ended with Game of Thrones, as we both were pretty excited to watch the Finale. Jackie had one last surprise for me; an official Game of Thrones beer. It turns out I actually had some at the b-day party on Saturday but it was still a really nice surprise! You’re the best honey! I know she went through a lot of trouble finding it and hiding it from me so I appreciate that very much!

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Thanks again for the awesome Father’s Day honey! You really went all out and I really appreciate it! I love you my sun and stars, forever and a half.

One last shout out to the reason I am a father to begin with. Lily, you are one of the biggest and best things that has ever happened to me. I am so honored to call you my daughter and to be called your “dada”. You force me to be a better version of myself and I love you for that. I am constantly filled with happiness every time you smile or run to give me a hug. I love it when you  surprise me by doing something amazing that I didn’t know you could. I am really excited knowing that you will always be growing and learning new things and making me the proudest father alive. Today is Father’s day, but to me, every day is Lily day. Oh and how can I forget, thank you for making this for me at school :)

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Thank you to my wonderful family: Jackie and Lily. You light up my life!

 

Happy 2nd Birthday Lily!

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Happy 2nd birthday to my sweet little Lily pad!!  Lily is about 23 pounds (8 percentile) and stretches about 34 inches tall (average percentile).  At her 2 year check-up, she got a finger prick to test her hemoglobin and lead and the doctors said her levels are really good, and she got 1 shot in the thigh and she cried at first but then stopped and was a happy camper shortly after!  She even said thank you to the nurses and waved bye and when asked how old she was, she’ll put up 1 finger and say “TWO!!” haha!  Her pediatrician said she is developing really nicely and acts like a 3 year old instead of 2 year due to her openness to everyone and how cooperative she was.  She listened really well and is talking so much, and picks up on language super fast!  She’s starting to go through a mimic phase and will copy her friend’s actions and she loves to hold her friend’s hands!  She’s getting smarter each day and is growing so fast!  Where did the time go baby girl?  She also started potty training 2 weeks ago and is making really great progress!!  She’s at the point where she’s really good at telling us she needs to go and we take her and she actually goes!  Her favorite phrase right now is “I go poopoo choilet!”  I love the way she says toilet haha.  “Choilet!” She talks so much now and her vocabulary is exploding!  Just last week she knew the word “octagon!”  We are so proud of her and all her accomplishments in her first 2 years of life!

On Friday, June 6, Lily had a little birthday celebration at her school.  We had a special circle time with all her classmates where her teacher, Mr. Monica, showed her classmates 3 photos of her (1 of her at 1 months old, 1 years old, and now 2 years old).  They had a special music box that plays the Happy Birthday song when you wind it, but Lily didn’t want to wind it so we just sang to her without that.  Then we all went to sit down at the table where the kids got to eat sugar free cookies and apple slices!  The sugar free cookies were actually pretty good, who would have thought?  Haha.  I also made origami lilies from various designed scrapbook paper, and used floral tape to tape down little party favor bubble wands inside the flower.  I tied a gold ribbon and tag to the top of the bubble wand, and the tag says “Roses are red, violets are blue, blow some bubbles, Lily is 2!”  All the adults seemed to really like it, they weren’t going to pass them out to the kids until they leave for the day, but I’m hoping they liked the bubbles, who wouldn’t?  Lily also got to enjoy some refreshing watermelon before it was time to go home from school!  She had a great day celebrating at school!!

On Sunday, it was Lily’s actual birthday, and that’s when all our family and friends gathered to celebrate our little angel turning 2 years old!  I made all the desserts with the help of my lovely assistant Sarah!  Desserts included milk and white chocolate mousse, tiramisu, panna cotta, chocolate kiss nutter butter acorns, macarons (green tea, raspberry, and fruity pebbles), and I made this balsamic mozzarella cheese tomato appetizers too.  My aunt made chocolate dipped strawberries and had the creative idea of sticking them on the top of pineapples!  My super talented and crafty dad made all the wooden dessert stands too!  I also made Lily’s display cake as well!  We ordered the usual lot of Vietnamese food (nem nuong, fried noodles, egg rolls, banh beo), and my family made some clear noodles, soy, fried rice, pasta salad and cut up fruits too.  Lily had a super great time this year because she’s older and she had a blast running around the grass with the balloon sticks and playing with all the other kids!  I love watching her play and laugh her little tooshie off.  Her happiness is my happiness!


My friend Mieng also did a really nice photoshoot of Lily for me for photos to be displayed at her birthday party!  I was also able to use them to print out thank you magnets to send to everyone as well!  The photos came out better than I could imagine and I’m so grateful to have these beautiful photos that I can share and hold onto forever.  So special thanks to Mieng for all your talents!  We are lucky to have you! =) You can view more pictures from her birthday party from my simple camera and photos that Mieng took HERE!

Look at all the presents!  She was so excited to open them but there was so much that she just wanted to play and got tired of opening them, so I had to step in and help her open them all haha.  She’s really spoiled with so much love by everyone!  She deserves all of it and so much more!

Lastly, Khoa selected a bunch of video clips from Lily’s past year and Jennifer put them all together in this lovely video!  Thank you Khoa for combing through the hundreds of video clips and thank you Jennifer for creating this video that we will be able to share with Lily when she’s older!  It’s so wonderful to be able to watch our sweet baby girl grow from being a 1 year old baby to a 2 year old toddler! Get ready to smile, laugh, and fall in love with Lily all over again in the video below!  She is the greatest joy of my life! Lily I wish you the most wonderful 2nd birthday!  I love watching you grow everyday, and you made me the happiest mommy in the whole world!  You brighten my days, my life,  my soul.  Baby I love you so much with all of my heart, forever and beyond!

Lily Turns Two from J.N. on Vimeo.

Happy 23 Months Lily!

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Happy 23 months my precious Lily pad!!  Right now she weighs in about 22.4 pounds, and stretches about 33 inches tall!  Lily loves to talk now and starts to mimic our words we say!  She is picking up so many things so quickly and is getting so smart so fast!  She is talking so much more these days and picking up new wordings really fast!  Right now she can count to ten, but she likes to say the next number in the sequence.  For example, I’ll start with saying 1, then she’ll say 2, I’ll say 3, then she’ll say 4, etc!  It’s so cute and I’m so impressed with her!  She likes to hold things for us and say “I hold it!”, “that’s funny” or she’ll plug her ears and say “It’s loud” when she hears loud music or something haha.  She is super good at spotting parks miles away and saying “SLIDE!!” and “PLAY!”  She’ll also point things out like boats, trucks, trains, dogs, bunnies, stroller and say what they are too!  It’s amazing how fast she picks things up!  Also, we would ask her what does a cow say, and she’ll say “moooooo” and we’ll ask her what does a bird say and she’ll say “kaaa!” like the seagulls she saw in Seattle.  Then we asked her what a dog says and she goes “dooooog!”  hahaha!  So cute!  We’ll work on that haha.  She will also point to my jacket and say “mommy jacket” or point at Khoa’s and say “daddy jacket!”, or point to our shoes or feet and say “mommy shoes” etc!  She also likes to bring our shoes to us to tell us that that she wants to go out to play!  She also knows who to say “this is heavy” and she’ll say “oh!” a lot too!  She surprises us with new vocabulary everyday!  She’s a non-stop talking and is so smart!  I can listen to her voice all day long, she never stops amazing me!

We also went on vacation to Vancouver and Seattle from May 1-6!  Lily was such a great traveler!  She loved seeing all the new sites and playing at all the parks!  She especially liked Maplewood Farms where she got to pet a bunch of animals like baby goats, cows, and guinea pigs!  She made herself at home at the hotels as well and loved playing hide and seek behind the curtains and jumping on the bed haha.  We took her to various parks and let her play and run around, and she loved seeing all the new things she hasn’t seen before!  You can see all our photos HERE!

This past weekend we also celebrated my 2nd Mother’s day!  It was really busy but overall very nice!  Lily came home on Friday from school with a special sweet gift she made for me!  She made me a really nice card, and a frame with her cute little foot prints on it that made a shape of a butterfly!!  Her teacher said she worked really hard on it, and I know she put so much love into it!  I’m going to make sure I hang it up in a nice spot so I can see it everyday! =)  later that night we had dinner for Khoa’s mom for her special mother’s day celebration.  On Saturday, we had lunch and dinner for our families, and here are a couple pictures of 4 generations from Khoa’s mom’s side, and 3 generations on my side!  We had a nice lunch with Khoa’s mom side and a nice dinner with my family later that evening!  We appreciate and love our moms for all that they’ve done for us all our lives.  We would not be here without them and we love you so much!  Thank you for all your hard work, caring for us, and showing us what love is.  Happy mother’s day mommies and Bà Ngoại!

On Sunday, my sweet little Lily pad came into our room with this huge heart shaped balloon that says “Mom is the Best!” and sings “Simply the Best” when you tap on it!  It was so cute seeing her walk in all excited with the balloon.  She lights up my life and makes me so incredibly happy!  Khoa then surprised me with a brunch buffet at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach.  Everything was decorated Hawaiian/Polynesian style and at the end of brunch they had a Polynesian show with Polynesian dancers and a fire dance too! I was very pleasantly surprised!  Good job baby cakes!!  Afterwards, we had a nice relaxing stroll along the Bolsa Chica State Beach!  Not many people were there so it was really nice not having to deal with the crowd.  After Lily got to play in the sand for a bit, and picking up all the tiny trash items in the sand (gross haha), we dropped her off at her grandparent’s house and we saw the movie The Neighbors!  It was really funny and better than I expected too!  We then went to church and got my special mother’s day blessing.  We then had dinner at Gyu Kaku where I ate an entire s’more even though I said I’d only have 1 bite…whoopsie! =P  We then picked Lily up, put our sweet angel to bed, then watched Game of Thrones!  Thank you Khoa for a wonderful day, I love you!  Also, big love and thanks to my special baby, my sweetheart, my love of my life.  When you came to be, you became my everything!  I would not have this wonderful gift of motherhood without you, my Lily pad.  I love you with all my heart my love, and I feel your love everyday, and it warms my soul, you complete me!  Also to my angels, I love you, and thank you for watching over me. <3


 

Happy Mother’s day to all you wonderfully fabulous mothers out there!

Easter 2014

Happy Easter!  This year we did something new and took her to an Easter Egg Hunt at Pantera Park in Diamond Bar with Mieng and Sandy and Emmy!  Lily was too shy to go to the 4 years old and under kid section for the egg hunt so we had to take her to the parent assisted section, and Khoa took her in while I stood outside to try to take pictures.  I said “tried” to take pictures because once the announcer said “GO!”, everyone just swarmed into the center of the field and grabbed all the eggs within seconds!!  I was so shocked I didn’t get any pictures! haha.  Then Khoa was lost in the crowd for a bit and so there was no point in taking any pictures.  They did get 2 eggs though, they had a candy in each egg haha.  I think Lily felt very overwhelmed by how many people were there, so she wanted to be held the entire time.  I think next year will be better if we don’t go to the parent assisted one.  However, due to my lack of photo abilities, Mieng did get this nice photo of me and Lily!!  Thanks!! =)

After the egg hunt, which lasted like 2 minutes haha, we decided to go to the park nearby to let the kids roam around and burn off some energy before lunch!  Lily looooves the park and made a few friends at the park too.  She saw some kids and just sat down in the sand box and started playing with their toys haha.  What a social butterfly!  After a good hour or so at the park, we went to eat lunch at one of Khoa’s favorite Shabu places called Paper Pot!  Lily was so tired by then that she took a nap in her stroller while we ate!  We then did a quick milk tea run and then headed over to Goat Hill Junction Railroad in Costa Mesa for a free 15 minute train ride!  Lily was still snoozing like the sleeping machine she is, and so the Saetia’s went on the train ride first, and then finally Lily decided to join the party haha.  The train ride was pretty cool, it was this cute little train that you would straddle, and it takes you around this big park with random little ponds and bridges.  It was really nice and relaxing!  After the train ride, the kids had a blast running around and playing with the rocks on the floor haha.  Thanks Sandy for inviting us to come, it was such a cool and fun experience!!  It’s always nice to create new memories with such wonderful people! =)

 

 

On Easter Sunday, we went to church just the three of us and then went to have a nice lunch at Ajisen (ramen) at Diamond Jamboree!  I got Lily this Lychee Raspberry Yogurt Juice, and boy she sure loved it!!  She wouldn’t put the juice down!!  It was a very large cup too and drank more than half of it!  Haha.  We went home and stay home for the rest of the day and enjoyed a nice and relaxing Sunday at home, watching the The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and then a bunch of TV since Lily took a majorly long nap that allowed us to do so haha.  Easter is a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and therefore the celebration of renewed life.  It’s like a clean start after all the sacrifices he made for us.  So this year’s Easter, is a celebration for life, not just for Jesus Christ and mankind, but for our family as well.  We’ve had two losses this past year, and after this Easter Holiday, I am trying my best to start anew, and celebrate the life we do have now.  The loss we suffered won’t be forgotten, but they’ll be forever in my heart.  As I look to the future, I must embrace and enjoy the present.  I’m so grateful for all that I have, and even though I don’t know how I got to where I am now, I cannot be more happy and am super humbled to have the wonderful life I have.  We only have 1 life to live, and so we must cherish all the moments and live it truly to the fullest.  I’m lucky to have so much love in my life, love from my family, friends, Khoa, and most of all, my Lily pad.  I will continue to give love and be loved, and make sure that Lily has the best loving life possible.  I love you so much my love!!  Happy Easter everyone!

Happy 22 Months Lily!

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Happy 22 months my sweet Lily pad!!!  She is currently around 22 pounds (FINALLY) and stretches around 32 inches tall!  She is such a vocal baby and had such a spunky personality.  She is a very happy baby and she loves music and is starting to sing a long a little more to a lot of songs.  She currently loves the Disney movie Frozen and would point to the TV and say “let it go!” haha.  She is learning to say a lot more words too.  She will point to her shoes and say “shooos.”  We also taught her how to saw “I love you”, I just love her voice!  You can see her progress here:

Lily also likes to point at baby pictures or babies she sees when we go out and say “baby!!”  It’s so strange to see that because she’s still MY baby! haha.  Her favorite activities are to color and draw, and when she’s done or sees her art work that’s she’s done in the past, she likes to point to it and say “I did it!!”  She also likes to dance and play with bubbles, ride her trike to the park, and play on the slides!  She’s fearless on the slide and likes to go on the big kid’s slide now too.  She is turning into a little fashionista and loves jewelry, sunglasses and hats as well haha.  If she sees a hair bow, she’ll take it and say “bow” and try to put it in her hair!  So cute!  We love her so much!!  Happy 22 months our sweet precious Lily pad!!

Lily also had Children’s Night at LePort and she got to see what she’s learned at school.  We got to follow her around her classroom as she showed us her doing some “work” (activities).  She really loves to paint, and do puzzles!  I’m so impressed with how much she knows.  She knows where everything in the classroom is, and she’s got the routine down really well.  She’ll take the activity to the table and set it up and start working, then when she’s done, she’ll clean up her work and put it back on the shelf she got it from!  She also really likes to put on the apron when she paints and she can put it on herself too.  It’s so cute!  She never ceases to amaze me!! Here is a video of her completing the butterfly peg puzzle!  We are so proud of you Lily!!

3 Months

It’s been 3 months… I found this quote that I feel is very real and true…

I never got to hear you cry, I never got to feel you kick, I never got to hold you close or see you smile, but you will forever be missed.  When you love something from the moment it exists in your heart, and it’s taken from you in the blink of an eye, it hurts.  Then when it happens again, it hurts even more…

A lot of people I know don’t deal with these situations, thank goodness for that, and from the outside, sometimes you just don’t know what to say.  This article is really helpful on what NOT to say, HERE.  This article I found is also super helpful on how to help someone who is going through this loss and pain, HERE.  Everyone means well but sometimes at a vulnerable state like this, words needs to be express with caution and I think sometimes less is more.  A simple hug for me is more than enough.  I am lucky to have so many people around me who love and care about me, and I’m blessed to have such a supportive and loving group of family and friends.  It was really rough at first, initially I thought I would never recover enough to live again, but motivations like my precious Lily pad woke me up inside and insisted I try to be myself again.  It took a while longer than it did the first time around.  I was in a deep black hole for a long time, and it took a lot of patience and encouragement from my loved ones to help me see the light again.  Khoa was a major part of that.  He stayed strong for the both of us, even though I know he was hurting inside as well.  He remained my rock, and I am forever grateful and lucky to have him.  As time went on, I’m glad to say that I am ok and happy again.  I’ll never forget, and I will always bring my angels with me as I continue my journey and adventures in life.  Anyways, I love you my angels, thank you for watching over me and your family, we will meet one day, but until then, I will make you proud and live and smile for you.

Vietnamese Cooking!

One of my favorite Vietnamese dishes is Bánh Bột Chiên, a common street snack in certain parts of Vietnam, that consisted of this rice cake that’s fried with green onions and eggs.  I wanted to make it for Khoa since it’s Lent season and he doesn’t eat seafood and we can’t eat meat on Fridays.  I wanted to buy the premade rice cake and just cut it up and fry it, but they didn’t have it at the asian market I was at, so I had to make it from scratch!  The recipe says to steam it but I didn’t have one that was big enough, so I made my own contraption with a large shallow pot, a wire rack and lots of foil and stuck it in the oven at 200 degrees F haha! It worked so I’m happy with that!  It came out super yummy, and I’m feeling more in touched with my Vietnamese roots!  I found the recipe here on Helen’s Recipes (Vietnamese Food) Youtube channel.  Her Youtube Channel is amazing for authentic Vietnamese food recipes!  She has a website for all her recipes too here.  Click here for the recipe!  The only thing I changed was instead of using Black Soy Sauce, I used Thick Soy Sauce (not sure what the difference is but my Mom told me to use Thick Soy Sauce so I did, mother know’s best!).  I also used red vinegar instead of white/black vinegar for the dipping sauce.  Khoa loved it, and Lily does too!!

We were eating out on beautiful Saturday morning, and we let Lily eat some noodles for the first time!  She LOVED it and had so much fun playing and eating all the noodles.  So, I was feeling adventurous, and I decided to attempt to make Phở Bò for the first time, and from scratch!  I always wanted to be one of those moms who make amazing homemade phở from scratch, but I always thought it was way out of my skill zone.  However, I have to remind myself now and then that I must try otherwise I’ll never know what I’m capable of!  So once again, I used the recipe from Helen’s Recipes found here.  I don’t eat phở since I don’t like the noodles, but I do like the broth and beef.  I figured I can make this anyways for Khoa and Lily to enjoy since I love making them happy in anyway I can!  TIPS (that I found useful when searching for all the ingredients): Cardamon (an indian spice plant) is also labelled as amomum in the asian supermarket.  I spent so much time in the spice aisle looking for cardamon, it was driving me crazy that I couldn’t find it!  So when you search for cardamon and can’t find it, try looking for amomum!  Also, you need a large empty tea bag to put the small spices in, but you can also use the little mesh tea balls as well!  Those are more secure and your spices won’t risk falling out.  Lastly, if you don’t have easy access to a grill like Helen does in her video, my alternative was to lay my ingredients on a cookie sheet or tray, and put it on the top rack in my oven and broil it will it’s a little charred!  My house smelled amazing really quickly after I did that! =P  Traditional phở bò is cooked overnight to bring out the rich flavors from the beef bones (or chicken bones, whichever flavor you’re making), but I was a little worried about leaving the stove on overnight.  (After I’ve seen the broth simmer for hours…I can now see why it’s not TOO big of a deal).  So instead, I let it simmer for as long as I could before Khoa got hungry =P (about 4 hours total instead of the basic 2 hours if you don’t do it overnight).  It was finally time for Khoa to taste test, and to my surprise, Khoa loved it and said it was REALLY REALLY good and flavorful!  I’m so happy, I feel like I’ve achieved something grand!!  Lily had difficulty eating the noodles for this one since it was so slippery but she LOVED the broth!!  She liked to drink it up straight from the bowl!  The most important part of phở is the broth too, and it was very clear and flavorful, big success!!  YAY!

Happy 21 Months Lily!

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Happy 21 months Lily (over a week ago…)!!  Lily weighs at about 21.3 pounds and stretches about 32 inches long.  She’s lost some weight because she was sick for a couple week, poor baby had early stage pneumonia =(.  She had a cough for a few weeks and then she got a fever at school one day, so Khoa took her to her pediatrician.  She start wheezing when she breathed and that’s when the doctor said she had early stage pneumonia since her left lung wasn’t so clear.  She had to be on antibiotics and breathe through the nebulizer 3 times a day for about a week before her lungs cleared up!  Afterwards, her appetite slowly came back!  Lily likes to say “thank you”, “all done”, “mommy”, “daddy”, and can sign “different” very well now.  she also likes to say phrases like “what is this?”, “what is that?” and point to her drawings and saying “I did this!” a lot too!!  She can also point to us and say “this is dada, this is mama” then point to herself and say “this is Lily (yiyi)”.  It’s amazing to hear her speak so much!  She likes to point up in the sky when she sees an airplane or helicopter, and she also likes to take selfies in my phone and totally ham it up with facial expressions!  She sometimes wake up from her naps babbling and cracking up with herself haha!!  She’s such a happy spirited baby, she lights up our lives!  She’s getting smarter and smarter each day!

Lily also loves to sing!!  Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is one of my go-to songs when I lullaby Lily at night, and usually she just rests peacefully in my arms while I sing it to her, and then place her in her crib. I haven’t noticed until recently that she can sing along to the song now, and I assume her school taught her some dancing motions to go along with this song, along with Ring Around the Rosie!  I was able to capture it and she’s so cute when she tries to sing along, her favorite part must be the “up above” line haha!  She also babbles a lot with some audible words here and there.  She’s starting to get really good at repeating words now too and can hum to tunes to several songs!  I can listen to her and watch her all day!!

One of her favorite things to do is to play outside.  She loves the slide and slides down it like a pro!  She waits for her daddy to count to three and then she slides down!  She’s so full of energy and is non stop, I love seeing how happy and active she is!  She also insisted on wearing her sunglasses outside!  She’s a smart cookie for wanting to protect her eyes!  She actually kept them on the entire time!!  She also got to walk Luna for the first time!!  She did great and insisted on walking Luna from the park all the way home!  She did so well!  She’s so cute walking her furry best friend, but man, she’s growing up fast!  Check out these videos of her playing at the park and walking Luna!

 

Today is also St. Patrick’s Day!  Lily is all dressed in green, and found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and is sharing all her treasures!  Dressing her up is fun, but she also loves to wear hats and look pretty too!  If you tell her she looks so pretty, her face will light up!!  She loves playing with jewelry and beaded necklaces and she can put them on herself with ease now too.  She’s so girly haha.

Bee Mine!

It’s the time of year again where everyone gets to shower each other with love!  This year, Lily got to celebrate Valentine’s day for the first time at her school at LePort!  Her teacher told me to bring 12 Valentine’s Day cards and write Lily’s name on all of them and they will distribute it to their kids.  So I headed over to the awesome fancy 99 cent store, and found these super cute animal vday cards!  It came with a bunch of stickers too, so I stuck 2 stickers on each card!  I was very proud of myself because the cards were cute and it had stickers on it, what a nice bonus that is!  So I pick Lily up from school on Thursday, and right next to her backpack is her decorated box of valentines with all her valentines in them.  Then there’s a fancy cupcake box from Samuel.  I was like WHOA, a cupcake for a valentine?!  How sweet and ingenius is that?!  I was blown away haha, and then when I got home and we looked inside her box of goodies, there were little packages of erasers, pencils, etc.  I was like what??  Why are they going above and beyond!  There was even a scratch and sniff valentine that said “you’re grape!” and it smells like amazing grapes!  And here I am feeling so nifty with myself because I thought adding 2 stickers on each card was making it that much more special =(.  Well, in the end, they are only 1 years old, and she’s not going to remember this anyways, and it’s all in good fun.  I was just so shocked by the parents’ creativity, I feel like I need to step up my game next year…we’ll see if I remember haha!  But anyways, isn’t this so cute what her school did?  I love it!!  Most of all, Lily really enjoyed it!  They got a special Valentine’s Day snack where some parents brought in raspberries, cheese, yogurts, etc!  She likes seeing all the colorful cards and decorating her box, so cute!

Khoa and I have been parents for a little over 20 months now, but we still try to make sure we spend quality time together as husband and wife!  Normally we’d make a nice dinner then go out to the movies!  However, it’s much harder to go to the movies these days, but we’re still very fortunate to have amazing parents who’ll watch Lily now and then!  So Khoa told me to take a half day off work so that we can spend some quality time together, and he planned out the whole day!  We started our nice date by going to the movies at the Arclight in Paseo Colorado mall in Pasadena and watched the funny Lego Movie!!  It was so cool and funny with lots of wit and charm, and it had a nice story/message at the end too!  It was very enjoyable and we splurged on expensive popcorn haha!  We then walked around the mall and got Lily a cute fork and spoon travel set thingy, I couldn’t help myself haha.  Then we had dinner at this cute restaurant called Cafe Santorini!  The environment was very romantic and lovely.  Then we went back to the mall and Khoa reserved us a spot in the Wine and Canvas class where it was “Date Night” and we each get to paint half a painting that fits together to make one big painting!  The painting is called “Love Birds”, how appropriate is that?!  It was so much fun and we HIGHLY recommend it to everyone!  Khoa’s side came our a lot better than we both expected haha, I’m so proud of him!  We now hang this painting in our dining room!  So happy to showcase art that we made together!

At work, Khoa sent me another forever platinum rose to go with the one he sent me a few years ago!  What a nice surprise!!  However, my favorite part is his hand made card he made in powerpoint and paint haha! Who does that right?  Well HE does!  And he’s darn proud of it!  He even put the Valentine’s Day date and our wedding anniversary date in the barcode!  Oh the little details and thought that went through his mind.  He also made sure to include a picture of Luna in the card too!!  I love him so much, today and everyday for the rest of my life and beyond!

Lastly, I made Lily a new tutu tote bag!  She loves purses and will wear anything that has a handle as a purse.  So I decided to make the bag myself since I couldn’t find a mini tote bag that was a good size.  I saw a princess tutu tote bag on etsy, but they used a bunch of tulle and make the skirt part really poofy, it looked really cute, but I didn’t want the tutu to be too much.  So I used organza and just did 2 layers so that it’s just a simple accent to the bag.  I used one of my existing tote bags as a reference and sewed a mini bag from that!  So no pattern was used for this, but I did make my own pattern now!  So I made one for Charlotte and Emmy too but in different colors so they all can have their own cute little bags!!  I showed it to Lily and she went “ooOOooo” and loved it!  She likes to put her pots and pans, crayons, and minion toys in it!  haha!  That’s my cutie pie!!

Happy 20 Months Lily!

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Wow now in the 2-0 digits!  Happy 20 months my sweet little Lily pad!   Right now she stretches at about 32 inches and weighs about 21 pounds!  She understands more and more each day and I feel like we can ALMOST reason with her at times!  She’s still sleeps super well at night, so that makes us super happy and lucky as well.  Thank goodness we can count on that!  She’s so full of personality and fun, I love cuddling with her and tickling her and make her laugh!  She really likes to play and she pats the floor to make you sit down and play with her.  She likes to color and draw with markers, play with her musical teapot, play with her kitchen and plastic fruits and veggies, she loves going on her trike rides and playing at the park, particularly the slides!  She also loves music and dancing, flipping through books, trying on and taking off beaded necklaces, brushing her and your hair, and playing with chapstick, and even tries to put it on you!  She babbles a ton and picks up new words here and there too!  She can say “eat” and “up” super clearly now, and she’s very good at saying “help”, “poop”, “eww”, “hooray” and starting to say “thank you”.  She’ll try to say other words, not so clearly but it’s the effort that counts!  She’s very good at expressing certain emotions too, and will say “ooOOooo” when she sees something new or something she likes and thinks it’s cool!  She’ll make funny faces for fun and crack herself up!!

She recently did a photoshoot with MGA Entertainment this past wednesday (1st photoshoot since October of last year!) and she did great!  In the waiting area they had tons of toys for her to play with and she quickly made herself at home.  They gave her an outfit to wear and then we headed over to hair and make up!  Before we went, I asked Lily if she wants to go and play with some new toys and she nodded and said “yes!”.  So the stylist put out her hand and Lily took and walked happily with her to the set!  They put some lotion on her face, a little bit of powder and Lily tried to push the brush away.  The makeup artist then said Lily looked so pretty so Lily put out her face for her to put blush on!  She asked if she wanted lipstick (lipgloss) and Lily nodded and said “YES!” and of course licked her lips after to taste haha!  She so cute!  They gave her a cute purple matching headband to wear too.  The product was this realistic functioning (but plastic) shopping cart.  It was really cute, I might have to buy her one when it comes out in the fall!  Lily did really well and loved playing with the cart and fake fruits and veggies in the cart, and she loved the wrangler too!  Lily was laughing and playing and had a great time!  I’m so proud of you Lily pad, can’t wait to see the pictures later this year!  Below is a picture of her playing with toys in the waiting room and then after hair and make up!  What a pretty doll she is!  Also, someone found Lily’s Disney Baby Minnie Mouse bedding set advertisement in a full page spread in the American Baby Magazine in the February 2014 issue!  I was able to buy a couple copies from Ebay and Amazon!!  It’s so amazing to see see in a magazine!!  You see polka dots on her face because the pages are thin and it shows the ad on the back of the page…haha.  Either way, she still looks super cute!!

I also had Lily’s parent teacher conference at LePort this past Thursday and I was super happy to hear what Ms. Monica had to say about Lily.  Lily didn’t get a progress report since she hasn’t been in the toddler class for long, but she gave me an update on how Lily is doing.  Ms. Monica said that Lily is such a sweet girl and that she has a contagious laugh!  She said Lily has a very good sense of order and memorizes things really well, and would reorganize the puzzles and put them where they’re suppose to be on the shelf!  She likes to clean, pushing around the vacuum and she apparently loves to sweep the floor haha.  She’s really good during snack time and setting up her seat at the table, and putting things away when she’s done eating.  They have a snack station to get their place mats, plates, and utensils.  She eats all her food every time, and she drinks all her milk too!  What a good girl!  Ms. Monica said she loves doing art and gets really excited when they do crafts, and she loves it when they have music time which they do twice a week.  Sometimes during nap time, she’ll sit on her cot and just sing to herself and then go to sleep, haha!  Her teacher said that doesn’t bother her since Lily’s not disrupting her classmates and Lily stays on her cot, so that’s totally fine!  She’s so silly! haha. Lily picked up on the routine pretty quickly, and they ring the bell whenever they change activities, and so when she hears the bells, she’s very good at stopping what she’s doing and go to the carpet for circle time, or lining up to go play outside!  I wish I can observe all this one day because it sounds so amazing what she’s doing!  She also really likes to water the plants!  They teach her to touch the soil and see if it’s dry or wet, and if it’s wet, then they would move on to find a plant to water, and if it’s dry, then they would water it!  Ms. Monica said that Lily’s language skills is developing really well and she’s saying more words!  She’s learning to spell her name and is learing to pronounce her name better too!  She’s also really good at asking for help whenever she needs it, like if she’s on her tricycle and someone crashes into her and they get stuck, she’ll yell out for help!  Her teacher said not many kids will vocalize that much, so that’s really great!  She also said that Lily might be ready to be potty training in a month or so, wow that’s so quick!  So we’ll be getting ready for that soon too.  Overall Ms. Monica said that Lily loves to do everything, and that she’s learning things really quickly!  She finally figured out how to use the lock and key puzzle the other day too!  Ms. Monica said that when new parents come to tour the campus, they’ll see Lily and say she’s so cute and that her face is just like a little doll!  She said that she loves having Lily in the class and is so happy to have her here!  Hearing all these wonderful things about Lily just makes me soooo happy!  I’m so grateful for all the hard work the teachers do to teach Lily, and I’m so glad that we’re keeping up and doing well with raising her at home as well!  We are so lucky and Lily makes my smile brighter and my heart fuller each day!! I love you my sweet Lily pad!!

Year of the Horse 2014

Goodbye year of the Snake and Hello year of the Horse!  Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!!  We started the festivities by going to the hội chợ tết at Phước Lộc Thọ (Asian Garden Mall) with my parents!  Lily loved seeing all the pretty decorations and she really liked the little lion puppet, so we just had to get it for her!!  I noticed she’s really good at “window shopping” and she’ll walk to the displays and just look, and not touch anything!  She’s so good!  She had so much fun that she went way past her nap time and then totally knocked out on my dad’s shoulder!  How sweet!

We then had a series of family events and she got to wear her new áo dài that I got her at Phước Lộc Thọ and she looked so darn cute in it!  She really liked wearing it too because when we try to take her out of it, she whines and doesn’t want to take it off!  She’s so smart these days! 

Lily also got to make this cute little lantern at school!  She contributed by coloring in the little white circles on the lantern.  When I came to pick her up, she kept showing it to me and held it really carefully by the handle!  So cute!! It was fun to see all the family to celebrate, and eat lots of delicious food.  Lily also got tons of lucky lì xì as well and this time she didn’t put them in her mouth!  This new year of the Horse is off to a great start, and I wish for lots of love and happiness this year!!