Hiking at Walnut Canyon & Snow Day on Christmas Eve at Flagstaff

From Christmas at Sedona 2010

Thankfully we have pictures of our beautiful Walnut Canyon and river hikes!

Montezuma's Well

We saw Montezuma's well as well!

On Christmas eve, we drove up to Flagstaff because hubby called and found out there was 1-inch of snow.....so we went and played with snow by the side of the road! The kids even got pretty snow gloves (esp. Abbie's pretty purple one....$20!) Everyone had fun, esp. when they attacked me (the photographer) viciously by plummetting snow at me!

We also tried to make a snowman but it didn't work out too well....not enough snow! They made snow angels on the ground too!


8 day Sedona Christmas Escape (^_^)

Montezuma's Castle in Sedona, AZ

This year's Christmas we have decided to go to Sedona, AZ. People asked, "Do you have relatives there?" or, "Are you guys going skiing in AZ?" But our answers are, "No.....we just got a good time-share deal from the coworker friend!" It was just $288 (including tax) for 8 days! So though we're not sure what we'll do there....besides eating lots of snacks, homemade soups/noodles/ spaghetti/curry rice, and maybe hiking alittle....we packed our belongings and headed out for our 8 hour drive. It rained when we left on 12/18, and it rained and flooded on our way back on 12/25, and from what I saw on the weather channel, it was Noah's Ark in Southern Cal the whole week we were gone!

The kids watched LOTS of SpongeBob! I watched my chinese soaps w/laptop right below

Unfortunately, we disovered we lost one scandisk containing days 1-4 of our trip, so our "Toozigoot" native ruins pictures and Sedona mountain/river pictures went missing. But thankfully we still had hubby and boy's hiking pictures, our Montezuma Castle Nat'l Monument pictures, and Red River rock hiking pictures too!

Daddy and Abbie by the river

The kids fought most of the way to and back, and in the hotel as well. That was also why I hid myself in the bathroom hot tub, enjoying rare luxuries of hot baths alone. When I stepped out of the tub, my head felt heavy and I decided to get some water. I went to the kitchen and 'while pouring water, slumped over on the granite countertop. Hubby rushed over and brought me to the bedroom where I felt oxygen go inside my head agan as soon as I laid down. I guess it was anemia + elevation + dehydration! So remember to drink lots of water and eat carbo before diong baths!

Hubby with big mouth hollering at mommy lying down (by Abbie)
Hubby stood by the bedroom door and barked continuously at me "Drink more water! Eat pineapple cake! How are you doing? Get up, drink water!". In my confused state, I was conversing with myself about hubby's behavior...."I know I'm dizzy, but I'm NOT DEAF!".  Later he explained to me that this (barking) was the proper way to speak to victims of unknown state of consciousness, and he learned this in CPR class. So I suppose I should forgive him for breaking my eardrums because he was just following protocol. (Above) Abbie drew a picture of him screaming commands at me while I laid in bed, and her looking on nearby. What an adventure! Good thing the rest of the trip went relatively smooth (except for the kids fighting every 6-8 minutes)!

One of 3 pictures of me in the entire trip (^_^). And not sure why all pix are in panoramic view!!


~Happy Birthday Jesus~ Presentation by our Sweet Little ones!

Merry Christmas my sweeties! (^_^) It is so touching to see how innocent and earnest the little ones are as they sing beautiful praises to our Lord Jesus! Yes, His birth is the reason for the season!

In the first video, you can see the kids came into the chapel (after Uncle Time's introduction) 'while they sang the Chipmunk Christmas song....so cute!

What is even more heartwarming are the angelic smiles of love, anticipation, nervousness, and joy in their parents faces! As I beheld the parents surrounding me, I realized that God also smiles joyfully at us as we worship Him from deep within our hearts and souls!

Each little child you see in these videos.... is flourishing today not haphazardly, but because someone is pouring out days, months, and years of unconditional love, endless labor, unspoken sacrifices, sleepless nights, and daily pains, tears, fears and cares! The moment we became parents, we experienced for the first time what it feels like to wear our hearts....on the OUTside!

Only with God's love and strength are we able to persevere and train our kids up the way he should go, since we are so limited and weak ourselves! (^_^)

(^_^) God bless you, mommies and daddies, as you devote your time, energy, sleep and your ALL to your children! Happy Birthday Jesus, and Merry Christmas everyone!

Here is the photo Album of the singing presentation. (^_^) Enjoy the pictures!


Kids' Christmas Presentation (^_^)

This year, auntie Erinn led the kids (1st - 6th graders) in the Christmas program! Today they had an early Christmas presentation we had fun watching the short skits and also hearing the kids sing! Everyone sang super well!

The first song

Kids getting antsy...

Third song...

By the last song, Abbie apparently had enough of singing (she is 5 yrs old, so shouldn't be in this singing group...but auntie Erinn made a kind exception since she practiced w/big brother Caleb weekly at children's worship)....  ~(^_*)~

Abbie turns back at audience ~ apparently running out of batteries...

She started to do some hilarious things....like looking SUPER annoyed, crossing her arms, tucking her clothes in, and poking Rebecca during the super long presentation. We were there since 9:10am so she was pooped out. It was so fun to watch them!

Super funny last song...

Good job everyone! Merry early Christmas! Happy birthday Jesus!


Go Gladiators! Hubbies are in Pseudo-Wipe-Out!!! (^_^)

We're waiting for you, to join us ain Gladiator Run 2011!

Today is a super special day!Hubby and 8 friends (4 coworkers, 4 church buddies) have been training for this special "Wipe Out" event for several months! Even our dentist buddy Tommy had taken this day off, in order to slush around in the mud!

Uncle Edison is truly on "Survivor" mode!

It was super cold and overcast this morning, and even drizzled too! The "Incredible 9's" made their way through the 12 obstacle 5K course, in mud, waters, walls and fire, so that we can bring to you this daredevil adventure, LIVE, from Irvine, CA!  

Hubby's hiking (or wine-meat) friends ~ Coworkers at Alcon!

Edison, tommy, hubby Mark, James and Victor! Smiling proudly before race...haha....wait boys, you will suffer!

It was worth the long weeks of waiting, the waking up on a freezing cold morning, the paparrazi-like pursuit to capture our hubbies in action ~ and finally being able to witness our hubbies transform into mud monsters before our eyes!

Mud Men Crew 2010! Victor is still struggling 'while the boys take their celebratory picture.

Mr. Victor makes it to the finish line!

Below are the events in chronological order...so without further ado, I shall let you witness the exciting events for yourselves! (^_^)

We had lots of fun watching the videos of our men falling and sliding, flying through fire, and swimming across muddy trenches ! Thanks Victor and Carol for your hospitality! (^_^) What a memorable day!

Our life on this earth likens this obstacle course.... 
Sometimes it is smooth and easy, but many times it is filled with unexpected obstacles, muddy situations, and fiery trials. It is a blessing to have friends who love us at all times, and wonderful brothers (by birth or through Christ) who walk/run/stand with us during challenging times! Proverbs 17:17 ~ soph's paraphrase (^_^).

The Lord bless you richly, my fellow siblings and teammates, as we run this life's unpredictable & exciting course together! One day we will be arrive at the finish line, and even if we become muddy and slimy, Jesus will be there with outstreched hands, ready to hug us and bring us to the Heavenly home He custom made for us!


Recession Decorating at Christmas Time! (^_^)

Hubby won this Santa Bear for me when we were dating....18 years ago!

Today I woke up with major back pain. Why? Because yesterday we (Abbie and I) decorated the front yard with Christmas lights and decor! It took me (a very non-engineering-minded gal) more than 2 hours to wrap all the lights around the front porches, garage frame and tree.... 

Abbie proudly stands with Mr. Bear & Pals

Mr. Elephant from Big Lots

This year I decided to save $$ and not buy another head-rotating reindeer, after donating my 7 year old Rudolph the Rusty Reindeer.....We will just have Mr. Elephant from Big Lots out on the lawn.

It may seem like a small task to deck one's yard with lights, but for me, it's a hefty task because non-left-brained-me couldn't figure out which way to connect the bizillion light sources so that they will actually ALL light up! I almost gave up half way!
Santa Bear was with us ever since Caleb was born!

Half of this blanket-light is broken, but I hid it in the back of the fence!

First time I hung lights over our garage, and lazy me used Scotch tape!
I consider it a big accomplishment 'cuz we saved $$ on mechanical lifts!

Hubby said I should wrap the lights around the WHOLE tree! Isn't this
supposed to be the guys' job? I'm glad I survived wrapping lights on just the tree trunk!

I couldn't get the lights to work 'cuz I didn't have enough plugs (^_^)! Had to use my fish tank connector...sorry fishies!
 After an afternoon's hard work, we can sit back and enjoy the fruit of our labors....for 23 days....then we get the joy of taking them ALL down again!! It's tough work, but somehow the millions of it still do it faithfully year after year! All for the love of our little ones (and big ones too!), and spreading a little festive holiday ambience!
Happy Almost Christmas everyone!


Paparazzing over my little playground patrol boy (^_^)

Caleb the Campus Negotiator

I never thought I'd do this....but Today I became a paparazzi mom! In chinese they call it "Dog chase Team" (狗隊)! Yesterday during our site council meeting, I heard my boy say to Mr. McGann (our school principal), that he will be a PAL today!!

So, I became my son's nightmare today. I followed (he claimed I chased) him around during recess, camera in hand, while he dutifully made his rounds as a PAL!No wonder they call people like me "狗隊"!

He didn't look too pleased when he saw me sneak up on him...

Recently I learned of a very interesting project done at our kids' school! They call it the PAL program, though I can't remember what it stands for. I heard from my 4th grader that they pick 8 kids from each class and they dress like safety patrol guys, walking around campus with clipboards in hands! It's a great program, wish they had it when I was little! And it trains the kids to help their peers too!

Caleb's Buddy Andrei helps a student

When they see kids fight or argue, the negotiator team of 2 goes out and settles disputes! One asks important mediating questions while the other acts as a recorder! It's amazing how organized and orderly the kids work together, and conflicts are usually resolved peacefully!

Caleb supervises students as they play dodgeball

I think we could keep peace and order if we had one of these PALS in our neighborhood, or in our homes! The questions are great, and even likens to questions asked by marriage counselors country-wide!

He kept running away whenever I approached and snapped shots of him. And after school, I asked him if any crisis arose that morning. He said his biggest conflict that day was trying to escape from a probing mommy (^_^)!

Hey! Stop following me, mom!!

But things are easier 'read' than done. When Caleb and sister were fighting one day, I patiently asked them these exact same questions....but....they continued fighting and didn't even respond! So I guess it's a lesson for us all....to apply communication skills gracefully to ourselves and our beloved when disagreements do come up! And inevitably they will, but that's okay, as it's part of life with our loved ones.....(^_^).

This Year's Thanksgiving is the most Memorable one of the Decade! Mom's Noah's Ark Adventure

Two weeks ago, I sent this email to my good friends to pray for mom (^_^)....

Hi Dears!!

Today mom called me to say her house is FLOODED! Turns out that her 50 yr. old house's plumming was broken and the water kept buiding up inside her walls and flooring...So now she's living in a Noah's Ark (in Rowland Heights)! Her animals need places to go ... and we are all helping her with house insurance companies, contractors, hotel and kennel arrangements, etc....Please pray for us to have wisdom and energy to help!

A week later....

Thanks SO much for everyone for praying for my mom! She's doing well, moved to temporary hotel in Brea, and over the weekend they removed the asbestos from her home. Hopefully in the next few days, they can start repairing her home (walls/floorings due to water damage)! Definately a memorable Thanksgiving for us all!

Visit Grandma at her Hotel in Brea

Abbie and I had fun visitng her on Thanksgiving day and ate at a yummy chinese restaurant with her & sis at Rowland Hts.
Michael the Pomeranian love to hug Abbie! Chihuahua is shy...

Grandma buys cheesecake for Abie at Shuen-Fat bakery

The house continues to be repaired today, and this Thanksgiving, I learned that the Season of Thanksgiving and Christmas is not only about gathering and traditions, but even more, it is about Loving & Helping in times of need. We may not be gathered in a beautiful restaurant with turkey, stuffing, and gifts, but we are thankful to God for the very basics we have in life. Food, shelter, health, and loved ones seem to be so commonplace, yet when one of them cease to exist, our lives are turned upside down.

So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the air I breathe, the energy I have, and Lovoed ones whom I can love. May everyone have a blessed Thanksgiving!


Disneyland....Here we come!

We decided to redeem our "Give a Day, Get a Day" vouchers today for Caleb's 9th birthday (early) celebration! It is a very good promotion they offered this year for us volunteering for different organizations!  

Disney's Haunted House
 We have not visited Disneyland for 1+ year now, and this is the first day of the kids' Thanksgiving week off. Boy, this is definately the 'CROWDEST" place on earth today! Nonetheless, it does give us a holiday ambience so we braved the cold weather and crowd, and went on (only) 4 rides in 6 hours....

The kids loved eating popcorns the most, followed by Buzz  Lightyear's Astro Blaster ride!

The most relaxing (and shortest line) ride was "Winnie the Pooh" ride, which daddy enjoyed (screaming in)!

Pooh ride

It was very cold, but good thing we brought our hot water canteens and made delicious hot cocoa to raise our body temperatures. This has been the coldest winter in Orange County in a long time!

Mmm....yummy hot cocoa!

Cold and bundled kids

5 days later....On 11/27, Caleb turned 9 at 8:17am! What a big smile!

Caleb plays himself a Birthday Song!

Abbie & her new friend, Buzz. She said she will not buy any more toys until she turns 7 years old....if only I buy her Buzz Lightyear. Wait, isn't it brother's birthday??


Is it Thanksgiving Already? Wow....

I cannot believe how fast this year has gone! It seemed like last week that we went to Yosemite for my birthday in August, and now we're almost through with this year!

Today was the first time Abbie and I went to school at 8am! It's Thanksgiving feast day so instead of her usual 9:45am start time, she starts at 8am, just like big brother! She was up bright and early at 7am, awaken by big bro, and dressed/ate like a champ!

They sat on their 'lines' and celebrated November birthday kids, and big bro ran up to the front when his name was called. Time Flies! He's going to be NINE years old next week!

Caleb was one of the kids who donated a book to our Chaparral library in honor of his birthday, so he took a picture w/Mr. McGann and other kids as they held their 'celebration book' proudly!

Kids did flag salute and Abbie was so cute singing it! I never seen her sing it before!

Later at 11:15am, the kindergarteners had their Thanksgiving Feast and it was so wonderful to see them seated and enjoying the blessings God bestowed on them this year! Have a great year, my sweetie pies!

The Lord will keep watching over all of us in the exciting new year to come! This past week was rough, as grandma Kathy's house had water damage & discovery of abestos. But God will help us all through the challenges life brings, because He said, "My Grace is Sufficient for You"! ~(^_^)~

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!