Memorable Thanksgiving Time with Grandpa Lynn & Grandma Sunny (^_^)

This Thanksgiving we had a very special time visiting our beloved Grandparents....Grandpa Lynn and Grandma Sunny!

Lunch time at the Restaurant was very Special! Happy Grandpa here!

Since we arrived on American Soil in 1982, Grandma and Grandpa welcomed us and took us in like their own grandchildren! I remember the special times we've spent together, visiting their lovely home, getting baptized in our South Bay Covenant church, and the countless holidays we've spent together with them!

Dearest Grandpa Lynn turns 95 next Monday! We love you Grandpa! Happy Birthday!!!

My siblings and I treasured growing up under their godly example, love and guidance. At the time, there were no Sunday school programs in the church we attended, so Grandpa and Grandma decorated their RV into a Sunday school classroom! Grandpa wore his super handsome blue-striped conductor outfit and hat, rang his bell and hollered, "All Aboard!" Then we'd take out our 'tickets' and he would punch in our weekly attendance cards!

Preparing for our Photo Shoot in the Lobby! (^_^)

Grandpa Lynn loves massages! Praying for your back, Grandpa!

Thank you, Grandpa and Grandma, for your unconditional love! It has been 29.5 years since we met, and we are blessed that we grew up and are now together again this Thanksgiving season!

Praying for one another was a very Treasured time in this trip! We received special blessings from dearest Grandpa and Grandma, just like in the Old Testament times!

Kids also received blessings from Grandpa Lynn ~ What a special time!

We thank the Lord for you!! The Lord bless you both richly, and watch over you every moment of every day! We love you!!


The Joys & Jostling of Raising Musically-Inclined Kids

Rainy Recital Day 2011

In our family, piano-practicing has always been a "challenge"  (euphemism). Caleb would call it torture . And declaration of war begins when the words, "Give me a time! What time are you going to practice?" shoot out of my mouth. It seems that every mom struggles with the same exact predicament in the afternoons, after the kids had come home from school, had their snack and watched reruns of Arthur yet another time.

Caleb plays our new piano for the 1st time!

I'm not sure how Caleb pulled it off this time, and the minimal time he puts into piano playing (~8 minutes a day) perplexes me. The piano teacher always says that he 'did good', and I wonder how that could happen? During recital morning, Caleb still played super-off -key, hard-on-the-eardrum, and honestly unbearable melodies which he is to present to the world 5 hours later! Daddy and I both fear that the teacher will soon fire him as her student for decimating her good reputation as one of the best teachers in our area.

Surprisingly, we were able to hear Caleb play the WHOLE song, without mistakes on every other note, from beginning to end, for the 1st time in his recital yesterday! This is probably our last time too, as it would be uncharacteristic for him to reiterate his 'old' songs after the Big R Day has ended. Good thing we have this video to look back on when we are old and gray (if blogspot doesn't fold).

Speaking of music, he also started learning Clarinet in his band class this year! I bought a super good deal neon green clarinet on Amazon.com that turned out to be a total dud. I couldn't even put the clarinet parts together, and when I did (an hour later), I discovered I bruised my right thumb doing so too! Caleb was bummed and feared lagging behind (since we are returning our dud), so he sadly decided to default to choir instead. However, our wonderful band teacher encouraged us by lending us his last 'district clarinet', and Caleb was able to catch up right away and enjoyed playing clarinet!

He plays at home (without my nagging)  'just for fun' and learned songs that were not even taught yet! As he grows up, I pray he will take this talent with him when he ventures into adulthood, and use it for enjoyment as well as an offering to our Lord!

Happy Birthday Caleb ~ Happy Thanksgiving Everyone ~ Welcome Home, Yammy (Piano)! (^_^)

Caleb is DOUBLE-DIGITS "BIG 10" !!!

This is a busy month for us, as we were thrown in for a lot of decision-making with whom, where, when, and how my laprascopy surgery for those nagging ovarian cysts would come about. Thankfully, God made all things work together, as He always had!

So I decided to celebrate Caleb's Big 10 Birthday earlier, since we weren't sure when my surgery would be (perhaps Thanksgiving week, when Caleb's real birthday would be).

So I ordered the very FIRST ice cream cake in our family's history! And Baskin Robbin's Oreo Cookie Ice Cream cake was the best! I did learn, however, to not order cake 2 weeks in advance without checking the forecast first, because it was FREEZING when we ate the cake on party day! Nonetheless, it was great!

The kids loved singing the song, and Caleb cut his own cake for the 1st time! We also invited our special guest, Kobee Bird, to the party! The kids made party hats which looked super cool on Kobes!

~ Kobee not happy about his homemade party hat ~

Caleb got a cool, 'timely' gift (in light of my upcoming Operation, I suppose...)....and I've been wanting to get one of these games since I was a kid!

Good preview of what's to come (for mommy)!

Hubby enjoys games we didn't have as kids! 

It was always on commercials, and families extracted 'parts' from the patient's body. So daddy and kids had a great time!

Bummer! No ovaries here!

We got our new (well, used....like nearly 20 yr old!) Yamaha piano 2 days later! We sold our sweet little piano and bought a very beautiful and well-cared for Yamaha U30 from our friend's dad, a professional tuner and piano seller! So that will hopefully motivate Caleb to hang on for a few more years! His recital is coming up in a few days!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Though our life may not be always smooth, but we know that with God and loved ones, nothing is too difficult to face! I am thankful for each and every one of you!

p.s. Surgery date turned out to be in December and not Thanksgiving week! It will take place 4 days before Christmas so I have lots of time to reflect about loved ones, this past year...and watch TV (^_^)!

Thankful that God provided loved ones with wise counsel too! Instead of having to remove 1 ovary, I was referred by good friends to a laprascopy specialist who could spare my girly parts! Yeay! (^_^)


~ Sophie's Choice ~ This Halloween ~ Stand Up 2 Cysts!

Surprise Package from My New York Monster Pals ~ FrankenGeorge and JuJu d'witch!

This October was a super adventurous and spooky  >:) devil  month for Soph .......and it's not even because it's Halloween! It is because every year around this time, I am haunted by the scare-your-pants-off tradition known to the medical community as the "Well-Woman's Exam"  which includes the not-so-delightful boo boo exam, pap smear, and pelvic ultrasound. Honestly, this is not a practice that makes us ladies 'well', but we do them anyways.... 

Surprise "Boo" treats from a secret neighbor at my doorsteps!

This year, I switched to a new OB/Gyn. Last year my previous Ob/Gyn already hounded me about doing fibroid laproscopy, but there wasn't enough evidence. This year, my new Ob called me 4 days after my visit to let me know that my ovarian cysts are pretty big ( two of them ~5cm) and advised getting a CA125 blood test to rule out ovarian cancer and to consider laprascopy.
Caleb and Abbie got their Orange belts this month! I asked the
 kids/hubby for advice about possible laparascopy,
and both of the brave kids said, "Get the surgery mommy!"
So hence I began my journey to decide what to do with the 'treats' (or tricks?) inside my tummy. It has been only 2 weeks but I've got really good responses, advices and encouragements! Praise the Lord! Below is my letter of thanksgiving and prayer to all my beloved! God's grace and your love are sufficient for me, Thank you all (^_^)!
On Oct 17, 2011, at 5:12 PM, Sophie Tsai godluvu99@yahoo.com wrote on her email to beloved:
:-* kiss Hi Sweeties!
Thank you for being my wise counsel & prayer warriors the past week as I search within (literally and figuratively) to best handle the 4 'tangerines cysts' & 2 fundal fibroids in there.8-> day dreaming I've decided to 'Stand Up 2 Cysts' :(fight) fightand cut them out! That's Soph's "Decision 2011"!
Reason: (1) Hemorrhagenic cysts have the potential to burst/rupture anytime, which will stain my carpets, make a mess, and force bystanders to rush me to the ER8-| rolling eyes.
(2) The cysts may enlarge even more and we don't know whether the goodies inside are benign O:-) angel...or.... not so benign >:) devil. So if I leave them in there, come next October I will be emailing you ALL the SAME question AGAIN! Too scary and not a good Halloween trick! So let's go ahead and do it, and spare my beloved from extra google work & stress.
(3) I have nothing else better to do on Thanksgiving week this year, so I plan to sit/lie around all day and watch TV :(tv) tv. Hopefully I can get the surgery early that week (~I've written up a 'battle plan' to bring to my OB about when/what/where/what method to remove my 6 "treats" inside []==[] exercise~).
Added Bonus: Keeping me home will save hubby $$$! No "Black Friday" shopping for me this year!

Also I've utilized my little "Sophie's Fleece" ;) winking. I asked the Lord last Monday (when I didn't want the laparoscopy performed), that "Lord, if having the surgery is the better way to go, then let 75% of my counsel be to go ahead and do it". Astonishingly, of all the medical & friend community that gave definate yay/nay responses (either professionally or from experience), 95% said, "DO IT! :-)/\:-) high fiveWe're behind you 100%!~^o^~ cheer"

Although this is not the biggest decision in my life, as I've made that years ago (:x lovestruck:x lovestruck To Receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and give my life for Him & His purposes L-) loser), it is indeed one that required a little more time, energy, and introspection '@-@ search methan usual.
I am thankful this Thanksgiving season that I have All of you to go on life's roller coaster with (um...whether you wanted to or not :P tongue). Please take GOOD care of yourselves too and get check-ups regularly! You are special to me and may the Lord continue to bless and use you powerfully in the lives of your loved ones!
Sometimes we may not have all the answers,But That's Okay ~ Because God DOES!” :O) clown(Soph ~ 10/17/11)

Yummy Birthday Lunch for Sister Debbie!


~ Abbie Girl's Surprise 6th Birthday Party ~

This year, because we are lazy and Back to School is always super chaotic, we told our 5.5 year old Abbie that we will not be doing a birthday party for her. It takes time to sink in, so I made sure I started telling her this months in advance. She seemed happy to be hanging out w/us for her big 6 (provided we give her lots of yummy food and little gifts from mommy and daddy).

Of course, things never go as one planned. 2 weeks ago, hubby in his happy moment, decided, "Hey, why don't we have Abbie's friends and parents come over for a surprise party? We're already going to the Awana (kids' fellowhship) training for leaders (that morning & afternoon) with them anyways! So we sent out the Evite and were thrilled almost everyone could come!

So on Saturday afternoon (we celebrated 2 days early), we took her to Sam Woo and Diho bakery to pick up tons of food and cake. She was suspicious when I walked out with a big pink box that usually only contains cake (in Diho tradition). "Why do you have a cake in there, mommy?" asked Abbie. "Umm....." replied mommy. "Ok," I fessed up, "We're celebrating your birthday in 1 hour!"

That evening, she had a blast with her girlfriends and their siblings! They made up 'cheers' which were funny, and had a good time eating the cake! The moms and dads had a great time bonding too!

Thanks everyone for coming down after an exhausting/sleepy day of training! I've never done surprise parties before and it's almost impossible to hide things from your little ones (she already discovered 'Princess and the Frog' plates and cups in the trunk).....but it was fun to try anyways (and a good mental exercise in addition to my daily juggling act)!

That night after the guests left, our usually low key and mellow 9 yr old boy (big brother) had an unexpected meltdown because of the hoopla of sister's party....so hubby and I may secretly plan a small party for him too in November. He's had a few small celebrations in the past few years, but having a Thanksgiving birthdate is tricky because people are on vacation all week! 

He never whined about having a party before (a pretty good kid!) but I think it won't be a bad idea this year, since a few close friends will help him socialize more and he can enjoy his buddies' company on his big 10! Besides, daddy  and I like to eat and chat w/the parents of these precious kids too! So here we go as we continue our family circus/chaos. Next year, we will definately take a year off from parties (hosting them, that is)!


When the Lights went out in Ladera....

Yesterday was the 2nd day of school, and all was well. It was a typical day, and after picking up the kids from school, we headed to Taekwondo class just down our street. In the middle of 'Hiya' flykicks, suddenly the A/C and lights went out. We found out that the whole Pavillions plaza had lost power. Then we found out the whole Ladera, then south OC, down to Mexico and even parts of AZ had lost power/phone connection!

Even antisocial hubby came out to chat, since the house was pitch black!

We spent pretty much the afternoon doing homework and housework, because after the sun goes down, we'll be sitting in darkness! We had cold leftover chinese food with cold rice, then went outside to hang out with neighbors. All the neighbors had gone outside to chat 'cuz it was hot and getting dark, so it was like a big party!

I met neighbors I never knew, as many people moved in and out this past year. We marched down our street and shared our ice cream sandwiches, as they were melting and not likely to last for too long, just like manna!

My buddy Suzanne couldn't get Antibiotics 'cuz CVS was closed!

Hubby took 1.5 hours to get from Oso parkway to our home, and so were the dads on the block. So us moms chatted, some of them breaking out the wine and cookies. The kids played basketball and chatted, and at the end of the night, surrounded the only electronic device still kicking ~ thanks to dear Blake and his iPad.

The kids had the opportunity to learn about what life was like in grandparents' generation, and the simplicity of it having no electricity, TV, computers, cell phones, or other things that consume our days today. We learned the simple joys of chatting with our neighbors, and just 'being'.....as we were on the same boat that day. We have so much and yet we often miss out on the most important ~ time and bonding with loved ones and neighbors! So yesterday, we tasted the goodness of friendship and the kids will remember this day for a long time!

p.s. Thankfully, power was restored after about 8 hours (11+ pm to be exact), and my mooncakes (and food in the fridge) survived!