~ 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!


First Day of School & Mooncakes!

This was the long awaited DAY! The kids were excited and so am I ~ They are finally starting school! We were blessed that our beloved neighbor Katie dropped off 2 surprise cookie packages for the kids to give to their teachers!

For Mrs. Cameron, from Caleb
For Mrs. Schofield, from Abbie

The morning of 1st day of school:

CAleb rides into the horizon...ur...sprinklers, as he casually leaves for 1st day of 5th grade!

Caleb couldn't wait for me to drive him and sister, so he decided to take off at 7:25am to be one of the first kids to arrive at school!

Abbie and I had a hard time finding parking space, but glad we made it in time!
It's so hot and crowded mommy!

There was a HUGE crowd, and it was already 79 degrees at 7:50am!

Abbie's classmates all had new backpacks! So cute!

The kids love going back to school, and all the excitement of new teachers, friends, backpacks and schedules were shown on their faces! Some mommy friends were a bit anxious, but I know that slowly they & their kids will enjoy a smooth a smooth routine after the hustle and bustle of week 1 of school!

Professional homemade Green bean pons!
We topped off the night with homemade mooncakes (Green bean pon) made by my college friend Daisy's mom & dad! It's SOOO delicious, addictive, and I look forward to eating them every year at Mid-Autumn Festival! Abbie LOVES eating them (and all chinese foods, even chicken feet!), though she's an ABC kid!

SO yummy, mommy! More please!

This year this Chinese holiday falls on 9/11, which is another memorable day in U.S. history. As we gather 'round the table with loved ones for dinner and mooncakes, we also thank those who sacrificied themselves to give us freedom (And Jesus ~ who sacrificed himself to give us eternal life! Yeah!)

Happy Back to school week and Mid-Autumn Festival!


After 15 years ~ We're back at UCSD ~ Where Hubby and I fell in, then out, then back in Love!

It was very exciting to have our church retreat at UCSD! I remember stepping into the same Muir parking lot as a clueless freshmen 19 years ago around this time! It's wonderful for the whole church (well, 250 of them!) sleeping in the same place and eating at the same cafeteria that hubby and I ate back in 1992!

Many things changed in UCSD. For one thing, the not-so-tasty "Top of the Quad" had changed its name (twice), now it's "The Pines" (or Stewart Commons). It's VERY delicious, like restaurant grade...not dorm food when we had to eat simply for survival.

There were many new buildings added to UCSD too, and pieces of art (that looks kind of funny), but helped bring in revenue for the school as they are the "Stuart Collection" (and you can become a member to support them)! We scavenger hunted with a few familes on Saturday afternoon to the 17 different points of interests, and it was fun to reflect on the good ol' days (scary days, academically...in hubby's words). (Secret: We dated 3.5 yrs, broke up for 2 weeks on my graduation week in June 1996, then got back together again!)

The kids enjoyed living in the apartment that likened my apt (I stayed at the dorm at Muir, and apt at Warren college). Abbie expressed interest in going to UCSD, 'while Caleb says he'll go to UCI (where did he get that idea?). The food is excellent, and if the kids come here, they won't come home to eat my cooking!

We had an inspiring time, and the message recharged and challenged me. God was telling me to not fear but just obey, and share what He has done in my life, esp. during my insomnia & postpartum depression days. I surrendered and told him I am willing, if He wants to use me. 2 hours later at the 'The Pines', Eugenia (the coordinator for Elderly Fellowship at our church) pops out of nowhere and asks if I can share about my encounter with the Lord during my postpartum days.

If you ask me, I'd say God works REALLY fast and in mysterious ways! For 1.5 years I've resisted sharing (public speaking, yikes!) to a crowd of people, because it's too disorienting (and no one talks back and forth with you). But I know that I love Jesus more than my 'face', so I'm preparing now and getting ready for next Thursday's sharing. Pray for me guys!

Soph and UCSD pals (Wendy, Julie, Mark) ate at our house a few days before the retreat! Ju's hubby George
 was my Cerritos high school friend! What a small world! We had a precious get together!

This retreat is one of the most powerful retreats I've gone to in a long time. I'm thankful for this opportunity to know my Heavenly Father and brothers and sisters in a new yet familiar setting! May the Lord continue to guide you all!