Holidays 2014

I’m a little behind on my blogging lately, but better late than never!  Here’s what we did during the holidays 2014! This year for Thanksgiving I decided to take on the challenge of More »

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 »

 

Not Ready Yet

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”– Rocky Balboa

Who wouldn't want to see Leo wearing this going home from the hospital?

Who wouldn’t want to see Leo wearing this going home from the hospital?

For a while now, I started to get confident in our situation with Leo and feel like I’m ready to handle whatever comes our way.  I avoided shopping for clothes and things for Leo because we didn’t know what to expect in terms of life expectancy, but as time progressed, it seemed like we will be able to have a life with him.  So I started to shop for Leo and allowing myself to get excited for his arriving, especially when I picture him wearing the cute little onesies and everything.  We started to make plans for his arrival like picking out the perfect outfit for him to wear for when he leaves the hospital and getting ideas for his baptism/1 month party.  It made me happy to be able to think about those things and plan, and even buying swaddles blankets for him was exciting for me!

Then last Wednesday night, I started to spot a little bit, and a little bit in the morning.  So I called my OBGYN and they asked if I was experiencing and cramping or contractions too, and I said I was.  So they suggested I come in to L&D (Labor and Delivery) to get monitored to make sure I’m not going to preterm labor.  After 2 hours of monitoring, they picked up 3 contractions and the doctor told me there’s a high chance that I can go into preterm labor as soon as a week, or 5 weeks, or just any time now!  She said that babies with chromosome disorders have very little chance of survival if born premature, and she told me to talk to my doctors to discuss the game plan for if I do go into preterm labor.  It was very shocking to hear, especially when she asked me if the situation arises, if I’m “prepared to watch my baby die on the screen”, or in the incubator, or in your arms, as our options if we go into preterm labor.  It was very harsh but I guess they have to be realistic and no sugar coat reality of things, so it was definitely hard to hear but I guess the reality is hard in general.  Sugar coating only misleads the heart, so even though it’s upsetting to hear, it had to be said I suppose.  It broke my heart to hear that there’s a high chance he might not make it now, I felt like we just can’t seem to catch a break from all this craziness.  Do we keep planning for a future with our son?  Or do we just put everything on pause in case the worst case scenario happens?  I was very torn and emotionally spent from everything, I needed time to just take in the news and reorganize my thoughts.  The doctors also suggest I stop going into work and so I’ll be working from home now until birth time.  Until then, I just have to keep Leo inside as long as possible and take it easy and hope the contractions don’t increase.  After a couple days of deep thinking, I decided to just keep having hope and proceed my plans for having a life with my son.  As each day passes with him still in my belly, it’s one day closer to a higher chance of his survival.  The phrase “Time is precious” never meant more to me until now.  We aren’t ready for you to come out yet Leo, you still have a lot of baking to do!

Yesterday I was very nervous going into Leo’s growth ultrasound.  The unknown is always scary, but luckily, after a long ultrasound session, it went well for the most part! He currently measures about 2lbs 14oz – 33% with a heart beat rate of 119bpm.  He is facing head down, so that’s a good sign for having a natural delivery, however if something comes up, a c-section is still a possibility.  They looked at his heart extensively and the Dr. said he’s concerned that one of his heart blood vessels might be dilated still, but it’s really hard to tell in the ultrasound, but if that’s the case, he’ll just need some extra treatment after birth.  Either way, Leo will most likely have a scan after he’s born anyways to take a better look at this heart and look at things that the ultrasound can’t pick up.  His stomach is still on the small side, which the doctor said is expected, but it’s not too much of a big issue yet.  Other than that, there are no new developments, which is a good thing.  Ultrasounds can’t detect every single birth defect, but at least for now, there’s no major issues that can be seen, and of course we won’t know what neurological issues he’ll have until he’s born as well.  So we just have to keep hoping for the minimal amount of issues possible.

Today I am 30 weeks and 1 day, and I had my doctor’s appointment with my OBGYN and Leo’s heart rate measured at 140 bpm (big jump from the day before) and my belly measured at 30.5cm.  Growth wise we are on track, which is a very good sign since they expected my belly to not be as big considering the circumstances, and the fact that I’ve only gained 2 pounds since my start weight.  But as long as baby is growing, that’s all that matters!  I’ll be going into my appointments every two weeks now, and in a month, I’ll have my next growth ultrasound and we will have a meeting with all the doctors, nursing staff, genetic counselor and doctor, and other members of the hospital staff from NICU department, etc. to go over the game plan for Leo’s arrival.  Around that time, I’ll be going in to L&D for fetal monitoring for an hour once a week as well to check up on Leo to make sure everything is okay in terms of amnio fluids, his heart rate, breathing, etc.  I am still getting about 6-8 random contractions a day, but at least it hasn’t increased in frequency.  So until then, I just have to relax and keep Leo inside as long as possible!  Stay in momma’s belly sweet Leo, at least 7 more weeks to go!  I am feeling hopeful, despite our new reality and scare from last week.  Also, during the ultrasound, Leo decides to be camera shy just like his sister, and didn’t want to show his face, so enjoy his lovely backside in the ultrasound images below!

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30 Weeks Gestation

 “The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”
Allan K. Chalmers

Journey to meet Leo continues…

Journey to Meet Our Little Prince

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” – Maya Angelou. “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis.

LilyBigSisterOn the morning of October 18th, I found out we’re having a precious baby and it brought me to tears of joy!  We decided that after two miscarriages, I cannot bare the pain of loss again and so this would be the last time we will try for a little miracle, a little sibling for Lily.  So once I saw that positive test, I instantly cried and was overwhelmed with the hopes and joys of what’s to come! However, I didn’t know we were about to embark a very challenging and emotional journey to meet our precious little addition to our family.   We went in for our first ultrasound when I was supposedly 7 weeks pregnant, and all I wanted to see was a strong heart beat.  When I watched the screen, and saw an empty gestational sac, my heart sank.  It was like deja vu all over again.  I couldn’t fight back the tears, and the voice of the radiologist saying that I’m possibly just earlier than I thought, and that this doesn’t necessarily mean anything, was very faint and distant to my ears, and I just felt like these words are just from a broken record. We waited a long agonizing 2 weeks till our follow up ultrasound. To our amazement and surprise, there on the screen was our precious baby, head, hands, toes and all! He had a strong heart beat rate of My heart exploded from happiness and my tears are now of joy! As we left the hospital, I told Khoa that I bet this one’s a boy because only boys can cause this much trouble already haha.

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9 Weeks 1 Day Gestation

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12 Weeks 5 Days Gestation

After this, of course, we started planning for the future and preparing for our 2nd child’s arrival! I experienced lots of morning sickness, probably a little worse than with Lily because I ended up losing about 8-9 pounds in the first 4 months of this pregnancy, and didn’t start gaining my appetite back until 5 months into the pregnancy. However, every time I got sick, I just felt that I’d gladly puke into the toilet knowing that this is a good thing and that our baby is just getting that much stronger and bigger! The worse I felt physically, the better I felt emotional. Strange how that works huh? Anyways, it was time for our first trimester NT screening. I came into this ultrasound worry free and was super excited to see our baby again! We did the screening and the radiologist at times would make sounds like “hmmm” and then look concerned now and then. I tried not to think too much of it, until she told us that she’s trying to measure the baby’s neck again because it’s very “borderline.” She then left and gave the images to the doctor, and they came back and told us that the baby tested positive for chromosomal issues. My heart sank… What does that mean? Our baby’s neck was measured at 3.6, which is 0.1 over the normal measurement. It means our baby had a 20% chance of a chromosome disorder, but look, there’s still 80% chance that everything will be ok! So immediately after the ultrasound, they sent us next door to see a genetic counselor where she told us all the possible chromosome disorders and birth defects that our baby could possibly have, and then gave us several testing options. It was very overwhelming and hard to hear. However, we decided to do a blood test, which is just a screening test but at least it’s non invasive and safer and is 99% accurate. The silver lining from doing this blood test is that we would find out the gender of our precious baby. We would get the results within 2 weeks, so until then, we just had to focus on that 80%, and the eagerness of finding out whether we’d be having baby brother or baby sister for Lily! All we can do is try our best to stay positive and have hope that our precious baby will be ok.

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18 Weeks Gestation

2 weeks slowly came to pass, and I remember I was at work when I got the call from the genetics counselor. I picked up the phone, and she asked me where I was and if I can talk. I felt a little uneasy after hearing that…and so I stepped outside to talk, I can remember it was a nice sunny day too. She told me the results and said our baby tested positive for trisomy 18 and proceeded to tell me what that means and what to expect.  She told us most babies who do survive till birth, only live for a few hours, maybe a couple days at best, but they’ll have lots of birth defects, especially heart defects, and maybe 1% of babies live up to a year old.  Tears streamed down my face, I felt like all my hopes and dreams for our child has been ripped away from me, my heart shattered into tiny little irreparable pieces… I felt so much pain and sadness, for our baby boy.

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It’s A Boy!

We were giving the option to end the pregnancy, but we were allowed to do the amniocentesis test first, which is a diagnostic test and 100% accurate. Once we get the results from that, we can then make our final decision. Until the results came, so many questions and thoughts came into mind with so many difficult emotions to deal face.  We really wanted a son since it would be nice to have one of each, but another daughter would have been nice as well since Lily can have a little sister.  Regardless of gender, this is our baby, my son, my little miracle.  How can we give up on him just because his future is so uncertain, and would involve deep tragic pain and hardship?  We had to think about what’s best for not just us as a family, but for Lily too.  Do I want Lily to see us go through such hard times, and not fully understand what’s going, and why her baby brother is here but only possibly for a few hours and then never see him again?  Would we want to put ourselves through that heartache of having to bury our newborn?  I understand the reasons why people would choose that option, but I did not want to do anything that I would regret, and I definitely didn’t want to do anything that would lead to the unanswered questions of “what if…”.  Ultimately, we decided that no matter what the amnio test says, we will not give up on our son.   Even if I can hold him, and see him breathe and feel his warmth in my arms, just for a brief moment, the pain would be worth it.  I’ve loved him from the start, and I will love him to the end, and beyond.

I took the amnio test, and before doing so, they did another ultrasound.  From the ultrasound, our baby looked perfect!  There were no markers that showed any sign of chromosome disorders, even his neck size was perfect!  Just look at our son on that screen, moving, sucking his thumb, kicking, stretching, being so active, and normal, made my heart melt and put a huge smile to my face.  No matter what the tests says or what the outcome may be, I see him and he’s already perfect in my eyes.  It’s hard not to have our hopes up after seeing such a great ultrasound screening, but the genetics counselor told us that at this point, a normal ultrasound doesn’t mean much since 60% of these babies don’t show any signs yet.  However, it’s hard not to get carried away.  After all, I’m a hopeful person and focusing on the positive is what I do, so I allowed myself to just be in the moment and at that time, everything was just fine.

Finally another long and anticipated 2 weeks go by and I get the call.  The genetics counselor calls and tells us that our baby has been confirmed with Tetrasomy 18p, rather than Trisomy 18, and also making this a high risk pregnancy.  It is a super rare disorder with not much literature on it, and therefore we can only only wait and see how this will affect our son.  Our genetics counselor told me that because this is so rare, it is up to us to be prepared and educate ourselves the best we can, and that a normal pediatrician would not be familiar with this disorder, and therefore our baby would have to see a geneticists at a big hospital for all his pediatric needs.  The good news is that he will live longer and we can possibly have a good amount of time with him in this lifetime, and have a chance to make wonderful memories with him.  I am so so so grateful for that.  However, since the range of severity of this disorder is so broad, we can only hope for the minimal defects possible, and hope that he won’t have to struggle too much to have a happy and healthy life.  We know his life will be a challenging one, but it is up to us to make sure we do our research and provide him with the best care possible and love him and give him the life he deserves.

Leo22WksGestation

22 Weeks Gestation

So next up is the echocardiogram ultrasound, an extensive ultrasound that takes a closer and detailed look at the baby’s heart.  Due to this emotional rollercoaster we’ve been on, I told myself I’d go into this with no expectations and whatever they find, if anything, we will be able to handle it.  So after a long while with lots of silence and waiting while the radiologist did her thing, they told us that they found a few minor things.  The baby’s stomach is a little small but it’s nothing to be worried about for now.  His left hand was clenched at times, which is a sign of neurological issues, we just won’t know the degree of severity until he’s born.  Also at certain angles, it looked like there was a tiny hole in his heart, and that some of the blood vessels in his heart weren’t the right size, but if that’s the case, then the issues would be minor, nothing major.  I’m glad they didn’t find any major issues, but going from perfect ultrasound to this, it makes the situation more real.  I just hope no more issues develop, of if they do, it stays minor.  Here’s to hoping…and waiting…and wishing for the best.

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Enjoy every sunset and look forward to the next sunrise.

This journey so far has been incredibly emotion and difficult, filled with lots of joy and sadness.  I find myself crying now and then because of our situation, but then I feel guilty and sad that our son feels the pain in my heart and the sadness from my tears.  So after I go through the dips, I tell myself to be happy for him and to try to enjoy this journey and make happy memories, so he can feel how much I do love him, and how happy he already makes me, just by being there, kicking inside me, breathing, and being mine.  So, I chose to celebrate him and celebrate his process and milestones.

Leo_BoyOrGirlWe put together a little gender reveal party for our baby, and for those who couldn’t make it to the reveal, I put together this little video for them.  It’s hard to tell but it’s blue confetti.  Lily really liked to blow the confetti and see it fly everywhere and kept wanting to do it again!  I’m glad it was a fun activity for her and she even participated in the count down too before blowing the confetti!  I don’t know why the lighting is inconsistent but you get the idea!  Thanks Leilani for capturing this for us with your fancy slow-mo camera feature on your phone!

Also, here’s a video from our gender reveal celebration. Blue silly string and confetti poppers!!! Thanks Mieng for letting us use your phone for this slowmo video as well! Sorry it’s so dark…the sun was moving too fast for us!  I feel very lucky and grateful to have such wonderful people in our lives who love and care for us and are there to support us through this crazy journey.

I have my next ultrasound in a couple weeks.  Until then, I’m just going to take it one day at a time, and do things that makes me happy, to make my son happy.  I don’t understand why these things happen in life, and I don’t need to know why.  I just know that it happened, and I have to face it the best I can.  People often tell me how strong and brave I am, for making the decisions we make and for handling it the way we do.  Yet, I sometimes feel the complete opposite, LilyUmbrellaand I think that’s just human.  There’s this nice saying that goes “Strength of character isn’t always about how much you can handle before you break, it’s also about how much you can handle after you’ve broken.”  I do feel like I’ve been broken many times, from my 2 losses, and the multiple heart breaking news for our son, and I feel like my heart’s been broken many times and cannot be put back together as the darkness consumes me.  Lily is my brightest light and she is my strength.  She makes me brave and strong and gives me the will to move forward in life, with a smile on my face, and love in my heart.  Also, thanks to Khoa for being my rock and making sure I’m not going through this alone.  Soon, our son, our precious baby Leo, will be that light for me as well.  He’s already 26.5 weeks of the way there and will be here in no time!  =).  Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.  Without rain, there wouldn’t be rainbows.

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5 Months Baby Bump

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6 Months Baby Bump

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up. – Stephen Hawkings

I believe in unconditional love.
My adventures with my little prince Leo continues…

More Lily Please!

Lily has been developing quite a sassy and entertaining personality.  I can never get enough of my Lily pad, and I seriously can just watch her all day with the biggest smile on my face because she also does and says the darnest things! If you’re bored, or just want to brighten up your day, here are a bunch of videos for you to enjoy! Warning: these videos will force you to smile and melt your heart! =)

Here’s one of Lily laughing so hard that she had to pee haha!

Lily (2.5 years old) uses training chopsticks for the first time! I’m so impressed with her because she picked it up in a matter of minutes!! Before I started recording, she said “I did it!” and was so excited!! I’m so proud of you my lily pad!!!

Lily (2.5 years old) learns her first Christmas song, Jingle Bells! I love her voice and enthusiasm!!! So cute!!

Lily (2 years 8 months old) is enjoying eating her orange slices with mommy and being silly!! She cracks me up!!

Lily (2 years 8 months old) really loves music and singing and likes to play on her guitar! Check out her awesomely cute talent!!! I love her to pieces!!

Lily (2 years 9 months) loves to talk and sometimes it’s gibberish but it’s still pretty cute. Here’s a video of Lily reading a book called Animals Around The World (thanks Sarah for the book!) and she decides to read it her way to us! I can listen to her all day, she’s so hilarious!! I love her to pieces!!

Lily (2 years 9 months) loves to sing and picks up songs really quick now. She sang this song before but it hasn’t been this clear. It’s really cute, but why does she have an accent when she says “master”? Haha! I think it’s from the youtube video from the UK that she watches and they tend to have an accent when they sing…Either way, it’s super cute. Also, when she weighed herself on the scale, she said she’s 24 pounds, and she really is 24 pounds, amazing! High 5 Lily!

Holidays 2014

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I’m a little behind on my blogging lately, but better late than never!  Here’s what we did during the holidays 2014!

This year for Thanksgiving I decided to take on the challenge of cooking my very first turkey!  I brined it the night before with broth and seasoning and gave that bird a salt rub down massage too haha.  It was pretty simple after that, just wash the turkey the next day when I’m ready to cook it and then put some season on it, stuff it with veggies , bay leaf and thyme, and surround the pan with veggies as well.  Then just let the oven do the rest of the work with the occasional basting every hour or so.  The turkey came out delicious and was a big success and I’m very glad I got to share it with some wonderful people!!  I’m definitely thankful for many things in my life, but most of all, I’m thankful to be going through this crazy journey of life with the people I love.

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In December, we took lily to the Queen Mary’s Chill for the first time to see the cool ice sculptures and walk around the Queen Mary as well.  There were 2 million pounds of ice sculptures, even a 10 foot ice slide, and a bunch of fun activities that Lily was unfortunately too young and small for, but we will definitely come back for her to enjoy them.  They had tubing, a carousel, swings, ice skating, and games too! The Ice Kingdom was 9 degrees inside and so they gave us all parkas to wear over our normal clothes, but be sure to bring gloves or else taking pictures in there will turn your hands into popsicles!  It was a very “cool” experience though =P.  We then took her to see some fun Christmas lights at IlluminOcean at Dana Point.  She loved going through the tunnel of lights where they had bubble stations and blew bubbles everywhere.  She also really liked looking at the light sculptures and pointing out all the sea creatures too!  It’s amazing how lights can bring so much joy to a toddle, it’s very nice to see her eyes light up from wonder and happiness =).

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Then all the Christmas festivities began and it was nice to be with all our family during this time of year. You can view more pictures from all our Christmas celebrations from this year HERE!

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For New Years, we took Lily to her second trip to the snow and had a fun little getaway at Lake Arrowhead with some friends!  We all stayed in a cozy little cabin and got to enjoy each other’s cooking and spend quality time with one another.  It was fun to see the kids play with each other and create wonderful new memories.  This is also the first time Lily was old enough to actually play in the snow, instead of just sit there and not know what to do.  She LOVED sledding, thanks Emmy for letting her play with it, and it was so cute to see her pull the sled back up the hill be herself and climb on, hold on tight and ready to sled down with the biggest smile and silliest giggle down the hill.  It melts me heart to see her have so much fun!  You can view more pictures from our trip HERE!

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Lily on Zullily!

Lily on Zullily.com for Infantino’s Stay and Play Fun Flower!  Thanks Chi Hai for the discovery!! You can go to the Girls, Boys, or Toys category in zulilly and find her there!  Here is the direct link!

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Zullily_01

Turning 30!

This is a big year for us with lots of life milestones, but turning 30 is definitely a milestone that stands out for sure.  For my birthday this year, my work threw me a nice party, with a giant cupcake cake!  They totally went all out this year with decorations too!  Then I got to celebrate with my other half, since she come down from Canada so we can celebrate together!!  I then had a nice family day at the Irvine Great Park, then a nice intimate dinner at the Orange County Mining Company, which had an amazing sunset view of the city.  For Khoa’s birthday celebration, I threw him a raving dance party at our clubhouse with a bartender and DJ, with laser lights and tons of glow in the dark accessories.  We also had nice dinners with our families, still waiting on the dinner with Khoa’s parents for his birthday, but that will happen soon.  At the end of the day, parties are fun, but it’s all about being able to celebrate with the people who love you most.  Being surrounded by so many great people, feeling the love and care in the air, really makes you feel like you’re so rich in life.  Who needs presents when you have this lovely bunch of family and friends?  You guys make life so much more fun and better =).  Also, it’s so cute and fun to see Lily getting the hang of blowing out candles now, she can blow out all our candles from now on, we’re definitely gonna need help doing so!  Haha.

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Birthdays are always a good time to sit and reflect on what you’ve done with your life the past year or so and see what you’ve accomplished, or not accomplished haha, and milestone birthdays tend to make people heavily analyze what they’ve done with their lives since their last milestone birthday.  As for me, I feel like so much has happened in my 20’s, but the best part was obviously 2 years ago when my sweet Lily pad was born.  The last year in my 20’s was probably the toughest year of my life, and everything I knew about life and myself got challenged and I honestly didn’t know if I’d ever recover from it.  However, although it was the hardest year of my life, I am very grateful for my experiences and what came from it, because there’s a silver lining to everything, even if it may not seem clear at first.  I’ve found a new love and appreciation for life, and the phrase “cherish each moment” have never meant so much to me than it does now.  Life is about going on adventures with your love ones, battling the bumps on the road together, and getting through and onto the next adventure.  Creating fond new memories is what I aim to do in this next new chapter of my life and I can’t wait to see what life has in store for me.  Life isn’t perfect, but as long as I have my angels, my lily pad, and my love with me, I’m one lucky and happy gal! =)

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You can check out more pictures from my birthday HERE and from Khoa’s birthday HERE.  Also, check out this video of Lily, Emmy and Skye having the time of their lives at Khoa’s dance party bday!  They’re so stinking cute!!

Halloween 2014

This year for Halloween, Lily casted her spell on all of us with her bewitching costume that my aunt gave her!  Lily got to participate in her school’s Halloween parade for the first time, and she did so well!  She is quite a character!  Check out the video below!

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We also took Lily to Mickey Mouse’s Trick or Treat Halloween Party at Disneyland for the first time this year too!  Lily dressed up as a Minion, one of her favorite characters, and totally got spoiled by all the candy Disneyland gave out!  It was literally handfuls of candy at each station!  What was nice was that they didn’t just give out chocolate candies, but they also had healthy alternatives like baby carrot sticks, apple slices and yogurt craisins!  Way ta go Disneyland!  We will definitely come back next year!  You can view more pictures here.  We also took Lily to go trick or treating for the first time at the South Coast Plaza Mall.  I like it a lot since it’s so safe and easy and Lily got the hang of it really quickly, and even said “trick or treat” before they gave her the candy!

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We also took Lily to the pumpkin patch again at the Irvine Regional Park with her friends Emmy and Skye!  She enjoyed riding the fake pony, rolling the pumpkins around, and playing with her friends more than the pumpkin patch itself.  Maybe next year she’ll be big enough to drive the little motor tractors and enjoy doing more activities!  She’ll probably be able to carve her first pumpkin next year!  That’ll be something fun to look forward to!  You can see more pictures and videos here.

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Wave of Light

Last year we lit 1 candle, now this year we light 2.  Not a day goes by when I don’t think about my angels.  They were only here for a little time but they brought a lot of joy and happiness to our lives.  They forever changed my life, our life, and I am a better mother, and better person because of them.  They taught me so much about compassion and love, and I will be forever grateful for them and how they’ve touched my heart so deeply.

So I invite you all today, on October 15th, to light a candle at 7pm, for at least an hour, and participate in the worldwide “Wave of Light” in observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness/Remembrance Day.  So many people worldwide suffer the pain and loss of their lost babies, and too many do it in silence.  The Wave of Light is a way to help spread awareness, to honor our angels, and to support all those grieving, since the grieving never ends, it is a part of who we are now. We will never forget our angels and the love and joy they brought to our lives in the brief time that they were here.  I will light my candles for my angels, and all the other angels smiling down on us.

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“We quickly find there are no words to describe the experience of losing a child. For those who have not lost a child, no explanation will do. For those who have, no explanation is necessary” ~ Mary Lingle

‎”The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, suffering, struggle, loss… and who have found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep, loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen” ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

For My Angels

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For my angels, a poem by an unknown author with a few modifications:

LET GO

To “let go” does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To “let go” is not to cut myself off,
it is the realisation I can’t control another.

To “let go” is to admit powerlessness,
which means that the outcome is not in my hands.

To “let go” is not to care for,
but to care about.

To “let go” is not to fix,
but to be supportive.

To “let go” is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.

To “let go” is not to be in the middle, arranging the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own destinies,

To “let go” is not to be protective,
but to permit another to face reality.

To “let go” is not to deny,
but to accept.

To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take every day as it comes, and to cherish myself in it.

To “let go” is not to criticize and regulate anybody,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To “let go” is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.

To “let go” is to fear less and love more.

It’s been a whole year yesterday since my first angel left us.  Instead of filling my day with sadness, I decided to do something to positive in honor of my angels.  We got some balloons, and two special balloons for my angels, and I wrote the words “I love you” “my Angels” on the them.  I chose yellow for them because they symbolizes pure happiness and are my shining stars.  We went to a nice park and sat/laid there on the grass, watching them move peacefully move with the wind.  After a moment, it was time to let them go.  It was very hard to me, I know they’re just balloons, but they symbolize something much more to me, my angels.  I never got to say goodbye, and I never wanted to say goodbye, so it’s just an “until we meet again” instead.  It took all my strength to let go of the strings, it felt like a part of me flew away with the balloons, but I know they are flying high to a better place.  Although it’s only been a year for my first angel, this was for both of my angels.  As I look up to the skies, I know they are smiling down on me.  I love you my sweet angel, I always will.

I lastly leave with some really beautiful poems, some by unknown authors, and some modified by me.

TWO ANGELS 

Last night two little angels
Came and whispered in my ear.
And this is what they told me
“Don’t worry Mommy, we’re right here.

It feels like a long time
Since we last felt your touch.
And we wanted you to know
We miss you, Daddy, & Lily so very much.

We know that you love us
and think of us every day.
And it makes us very sad
that we had to go away.

But we know that our memory
will never ever die.
And we know that sometimes
when you think of us you cry.

But don’t worry Mommy
There’s so much here to do.
And every day remember
We are watching over you.”

Then my angels kissed me
As tears rolled down my face.
And I knew we’ll all be together again
Another time. Another place.

AN ANGEL’S KISS

We go through life so often
Not stopping to enjoy the day,
And we take each one for granted
As we travel on our way.

We never stop to measure
Anything we just might miss,
But if the wind should blow by softly
You’ll feel an ANGELS KISS.

A kiss that is sent from Heaven
A kiss from up above,
A kiss that is very special
From someone that you love.

For in your pain and sorrow
An ANGELS KISS will help you through,
This kiss is very private
For it is meant for only you.

So when your hearts are heavy
And filled with tears and pain,
And no one can console you
Remember once again…..

About the ones you grieve for
Because you sadly miss
And the gentle breeze you took for granted
Was just……… “AN ANGELS KISS”

By Peggie Bouse

I REMEMBER YOU

The world may never notice
If a rosebud doesn’t bloom
Or even pause to wonder
if the petals fall too soon.

But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be
Touches the World in some small way
For all eternity.

The little ones we longed for
Were swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.

And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do
Every beating of my heart says
“I Remember and I Love You”

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.