Do You know that You Are Super Special?

So TOO, you and I may feel insignificant, trotting along in our  mundane daily routines. We may think that nobody sees and nobody cares about what we go through, but everything that happens to us is in fact preparing us to do more for our Heavenly Father ~ In His time! In the past months, I overlooked any signs of seed growth in my pretty flowers, but the truth is that it is patiently and slowly growing just as our Maker designed it to do! So we too, will sprout and bless others with our daily seeds of love and encouragements! 

Withered sunflower stem & leaves

Yesterday it finally cooled down a tiny bit..... And I went to the front yard to find my last 3 sunflowers kissing the lawn. As it turned out, the heat wave caused them to wither away. So I pulled them from the ground and looked at their faces. I've always known sunflower seeds come from sunflowers, but I didn't know where the seeds were.

I picked through the sunflowers' faces and lo and behold, there were tows of black 'things' in there! I was amazed to find perfectly beautiful rows of seeds, bottoms up, facing me! 

Beautifully aligned seeds inside sunflower's face!

Abbie helped me pick out the seeds one by one so we could store them and plant them next Spring. I was amazed that one tiny seed, which the plant came from, produced a beautiful sunflower, leaves, several golden-yellow petals, and 70-80 more beautifully aligned seeds! Truly, when one seed falls to the ground and dies, it truly begins to live and produces unexpectedly and abundantly more than it (or we) can imagine!

So TOO, you and I may feel insignificant, trotting along in our  mundane daily routines. We may think that nobody sees and nobody cares about what we go through, but everything that happens to us is in fact preparing us to do more for our Heavenly Father ~ In His time! In the past months, I overlooked any signs of seed growth in my pretty flowers, but the truth is that it is patiently and slowly growing just as our Maker designed it to do! So we too, will sprout and bless others with our daily seeds of love and encouragements! 

You are special, and don't forget it! Behold these seeds, and know how much your unique talents mean to me, your loved ones, and God! 


Record Breaking Heat Wave of the century ~ (^_^)

This past week was an extraordinary week.... the heat soared and seared our bodies....It was as if we lived in Death Valley! The thermometer broke (in L.A. weather tracking facility) once it hit 113F, deciding that he has done his work and was calling it quits! So we all hid in our homes, taking out loans if necessary....to keep our A/C on!

Abbie and I were so amazed that our poor birdies, Amazon Jubee and Senegal Kobee, were panting with beaks wide open when temp was 105F! We've had them since babies (10.5 years!) and never seen them open-beaked like this before! We quickly sprayed them down with water bottle and gave them extra water! Abbie's AYSO soccer practice was cancelled and Ladera's Mercantile West plaza became a ghost town (usually it was packed with customers relaxing and enjoying lunch in the patio area of Cinnamon Productions). The power grid in L.A. was so overloaded that electricity was out in many cities for a couple of days. People of all ages were admitted to the ER for heat-related illnesses.

This made me realize how fragile we are as human (and animal) beings! We can be all powerful in many areas, but if the temperature fluctuates 20 degrees in either extreme, we are incapacitated. It is humbing to know that we live and thrive in the merciful hands of God, and if we start strutting with pride at our accomplishments, a few degrees change is sufficient to keep our hot heads in check! (^_^)

Thankfully, the heat wave only lasts a few days. If it continues, we will all cease our daily activities! This made me thankful for the mild/boring temperatures we usually have (and take for granted)! Stay cool everyone, and hang in there!

(Three days later on this hubby's birthday)....I noticed a big proliferation of ripened cherry and tiny tim tomatoes growing in my back yard! It turned out that the massive heat helped ripen the otherwise slow-as-snail ripening of tomatoes! So I guess there's always a silver lining (and something to be thankful for) in every crisis!

Thank you Lord! VERY VERY sweet! Even Abbie ate it (and normally she would spit it out and I'd have to clean up the icky mess.....)!


The Plague of the Swarming Bees.........~(^_^)~

Bee on sunflower (one of a couple dozens!)

This morning hubby was getting ready to go to church w/Caleb (the boys go earlier), and he screamed after stepping out the front door. I thought he injured himself, and it turns out that he's screaming a swarm of bees out there and to CUT ALL THE SUNFLOWERS...   PRONTO!

My beatiful sunflower bed ~ B.C. (Before Cutting)!

Strangely, after planting sunflowers since April, I've never seen more than 2-3 bees at a given time. But today, perhaps it was a passing swarm or changing season/weather, they all came and buzzed all over our front porch!

Cut sunflowers = Bouquet!!

Just in time, I thought, since I've been wanting to give a bouquet to Abbie's soccer coach....so I cut and cut and soon the front yard's bloom became a huge sunflower bouquet! It was quite a sight to behold! And Abbie proudly took picture next to it after we cut it down!

Abbie & Sunflowers, before her team picture in th morning

Abbie and teammates took team picture at Founder's park, and afterwards we went to church.

~ Lining up for Blue Angels' Team Picture ~

She began chinese school (alphabet class ~ Buh ~ Puh ~ Muh)! I hoped she would sit through the class, and went off to shaved ice with my buddy while she did her 2 hour class! Good job! The homework part is the hardest for parents, since chinese doesn't come easy to our little ones. They speak mostly English at school, so this is foreign language to them.

I secretly recorded Caleb 'while he read his 2-pages of chinese reading after dinner. This HAD to be done if he wanted to play Wii, and he reluctantly agreed. Good luck to the rest of our American/Chinese school year! (^_^)


Abbie the Soccer Girl ~ Go Blue Angels! ~(^_^)~

Today is the first time Abbie plays in a soccer team....with teammates, soccer, goal and opponents! We were very excited!

This morning, we woke up with excitement and decided that we are going to have a good day! As it turned out, Abbie threw a big tantrum and had to be timed-out many times (not wanting to eat breakfast), but finally she calmed out, and surprisingly she was full of energy during the game!

They could steal the ball and change directions ~ amazing!

She ran like a bullet and made the first 2 goals of the season! We were so proud of her!

Other parents asked if Abbie played before, but I told them that she just loves "kicking"....everything and anyone around her. They reassured me that this 'talent' is paying off, and could mean the beginning of a shining soccer career!  

I'm tying my shoes! No cameras please!
She loved playing and running, and it was funny to see some of them score in the other team's goal. It was confusing to everyone, I must say, since they switch goals at halftime. Not easy for little ones (or moms)!

The girls look professionally serious!
The girls loved cheering on their teammates and enjoyed their super yummy snacks too! Thanks everyone for your love and support!

Abbie fell asleep after (a big tantrum after) the game! I guess she never ran so much/hard before! Here's the slideshow for a milestone day for her (^_^)


Wahahahaha! Kids are BACK IN SCHOOL! ~(^_^)~ Part 1 and 2 !

I can't believe that THIS is the day!! Like awaiting for "Wedding day", all us ladies (moms) have been anticipating this event since.... June! (^_^) The kids are finally back in school! No more "I'm Bored!" "When does school start?" "Where are we going today? I don't wanna go!" "Hey, that's MINE! Give me that back!!" "I wanna play Wii.....(next kid)...No, I wanna play!" ~(^_*)~

I am so excited! This morning Abbie and I got up early, though we are in the "late owl" kindergarten class, so we could send off daddy and big brother!The kids were so excited this morning and ALL SMILES! I surprised them with special "Welcome back to school" cookies! They were so thrilled!

I still have my kindergarten picture (below) and Abbie smiled just like me today!

This was Soph, in 1980 at kindergarten graduation! Glad I kept the souvenir plate!

We also prepared cookies for the kids' teachers, Mrs. Mannix and Mrs. McLaren (who also taught Caleb 4 years ago when he was in kindergraten)! We hope they like it and will be surprised by the special "Thank you teacher" treat! My good friend/neighbor Katie made it, and we custom ordered it from her. She's also a teacher at CUSD district!

Welcome back to school kids! Though I joke about sending you guys off, I really do love you and miss you. Time flies and I will enjoy your cute smiles and even squabbles, 'cuz soon, I will be sending you off to college! I'm off to get some kleenex....sniff sniff just thinking about this....

LOVE YOU! Happy School Year everyone! We're off to school to meet Abbie's kindergarten teacher now! (~9am)

[Part 2 ]  (~5 hours later)...

Kids wait to go into classroom!
Well, here we are back home! Just one hour of "kindergartener and me" class today! Abbie enjoys seeing her name on the wall, folders, name tags, and even valet pick-up (car window) sign!

Parents join kids for 1st day!

Name tag (for kindergarteners only)! (^_^)

Abbie presented a treat bag to, and takes a picture with... Mrs. McLaren, her hew teacher!

She drew a picture titled "My first day of school" and played in the playground!

Of course, with Murphy's law, something HAD to go wrong, and it did. After that hour, Abbie and I went to the mall for lunch, thinking Caleb gets off at 1:05pm (his minimum day pick-up time on Wednesdays)....Well, at 12:50pm I see a voicemail symbol on my phone and it's the school ~ saying I should pick him up at 12:05pm! Definately not a good sign....Good luck going to school to drop-off/pick-up 2 kids at 2 different times, mama Soph!

Abbie in her new class with new friend Ella!

When he got home, I asked if the teacher was happy when he gave her the suprise cookie treat. And of course, he replied, "What treat?" Though he witnessed me put the surprise in his front backpack....he forgot....so the cookie treat came home....looking like this (*_*).

But that's ok, I put a note for dear teacher that we brought it but forgot to give it to her, and good thing I took a picture (above) of what the treat would have looked like (^_^). Well, Happy Back-to- School everyone!
3 hours later....(~ 5pm)

Abbie is so exhausted she fell asleep!


Wohoo! Yosemite was a Blast! (^_^)

Glacier Point, Yosemite

We enjoyed our first (and only) vacation this summer!
Because hubby was busy with work and VBS this year (and I started fishkeeping hobby), we have postponed our family trip until late August!

Hiking somewhere in Yosemite trails...

It was a very memorable trip, as we camped with 4 other families from young parents' fellowship at our church. There are actually 10 families total, but they abandoned us to live in Curry Village, a place that is cozy and actually has bathrooms in the rooms! We first went to Fresno and visited the Underground Garden, in which a guy dug a huge garden resort for 40 years (boy, he is either too bored or very determined)!

Everyone tries to figure out if this tree is really that special....

He also grafted 5 fruits (or 7?) onto one tree, which was kind of cool. And made several rooms in the tunnel with no machinery!

The next day we went to Yosemite and saw the breathtaking Glacier point. This is a very high and beautiful spot in Yosemite, which overlooks (1 mile below) our campground!

We stayed at housekeeping camp which is like a little boot camp with 3 tent-like walls and 1 canvas-material floppy door.

Very dusty here, just like biblical days! We kept washing our feet!

Squirrels ran in and out of our tent and hid under our beds too! Our tents were located right beside the beautiful (and freezing cold) river!

Abbie standing in cold river with baby ducks

The kids had a wonderful camp experience and even saw a deer (well, not us but our neighbor's kids) and bear footprints the next day too!

We enjoyed the super gourmet korean rib, stirfried veggies, and soup prepared by chef Peter and friends (all dads)! Moms sat nearby chatting, helping out a bit (except me, oops!), and watching the kids.
We all prayed  before enjoying our delicious dinner!
IT was a great camping experience but we had to change 2-3 outfits a day 'cuz of the excessive dust everywhere (and always on our feet)!
Abbie grew closer to daddy because he took her river-crossing!

The kids loved making S'mores using the campfire, and we ate yummy asian sweet pork jerky from Uncle Tommy (who bought it at Costco)! New item!

Rafting in the river by our campground
We also visited Bridal veil waterfall and everyone enjoyed climbing the rocks to reach the top of the waterfall!

We really enjoyed our first time camping with so many friends....I felt like this was college days again (the last time hubby and I camped)! Seeing nature helped remind me that God created the majestic nature, the trees, animals and waterfalls...and there is nothing He cannot do!

I also came to appreciate the things I take for granted....like going to the restroom in my bedroom, dust-free home (verses every 5 minute dust storm), being able to leave food out on the table instead of obsessive-compulsively putting everything in bear box every 7 minutes! One squirrel ran away with our fruit & nut bar after raiding our bear box! Another one tried to get into our trash bag!

The biggest challenge in this camp experience (according to hubby and me)....was definately the midnight (and 3am) walks to the restroom 5-20 minutes away! In the daytime, it is 5 minutes. At 1am (to 5am), it is 20 minutes! Because at night, the sky is pitch dark and you cannot see your own fingers!

So even with flashlights, we were like victims of the movie "Blair Witch Project" and hubby held my hands and we walked forever.... Our marriage was in jeopardy because of his navigation error, 2 nights in a row! But he said it was his most memorable moment of this trip, holding my hand and being lost in a forest ~(^_*)~ on my birthday too!

Thank you, everyone, for the teamwork and for the fantastic trip! Next year, let's go to Yellowstone!