O Christmas Tree

November 29th, 2020
tree is up!

Yesterday, it was the outside of the house. Today, we worked on the inside decorations. We finally took the tree out after much badgering from Ian. I also got brand new ornaments which the kids didn’t mind helping put up. We got busy for quite a while, so J got tired and started working on her Paint by Stickers Christmas edition. The afternoon was a warm one in the mid-70s so we decided to go for a walk outdoors. While we were driving, I thought of Fashion Island with the tall Christmas tree. I remember taking Ian there all the time when he was a baby, and I don’t think J remembers all that much. It was nice to walk around and people watch. Most were wearing masks, though some were not.

koi pond

Of course, what is a Fashion Island trip without a visit to the koi pond? Ian asked if we could go back. I think they were fascinated with the live fish that they can see moving and swimming about. Today, we were commenting how tall the kids are becoming, especially J. Her baby fat is fast disappearing. Instead, she has these long legs and long body. Ian is building up his muscles and getting taller as well. Though they fight, they are very good kids who generally love each other. I cannot be more proud. And here is our obligatory family picture under the tree.

selfie

It was already late afternoon when we got home. The house was lit with the Christmas tree lights. I also put some lights up around the TV and the piano area. The kids took a moment to appreciate the tree. Before they fell asleep in the living room, they asked to leave the Christmas tree light on so they could stare at it as they slept.

dressed up tree

It’s beginning to look a lot like …

November 27th, 2020
day after Thanksgiving

As per our family tradition, we started decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. We started with the outside of the house. It was already late in the afternoon when we started, so by the time we finished, it was already late so we turned on the lights when darkness fell. This year, I actually got a Nativity scene for our front yard. We are waiting to put that up sometime in the next few days. We are going all out this year! After our decorating activity, we went for a walk to check out our neighborhood’s lights. The kids were so excited. While we were walking, it made my heart melt to see the kids love on each other.

hand in hand

Thanksgiving 2020

November 26th, 2020
butterball

We roasted our own turkey again this year. It is becoming a tradition for us to do our own instead of ordering. For $13, we got this 13-pound turkey. We got the brine, the bag, and the sauces, all for less than $25. That’s our thanksgiving meal. We added corn and green beans, and that’s about how much we could eat for one night. After dinner, we watched Charlie Brown Thanksgiving in the living room. It’s becoming another family tradition for us, too, watching these Charlie Brown specials. It’s a very windy night outside. This is what pandemic Thanksgiving looks like this year. Not so festive but a nice, quiet one at home. The turkey itself was a hit. I think it was the brine and the bag. That’s the trick!

family picture

Thanksgiving Eve

November 25th, 2020

We went to Riverside today to drop off some guavas for my parents. After some drama that happened before, during ,and after our visit, I decided to let go and simply enjoy the day. Even though we had homeschool this morning, the kids were energetic and excited. We had a couple of visitors. Megan dropped off some gifts and we got to give her some children’s items, like we usually do. Jed also came by with his mom to drop off some food and a card. During these Covid times, people are more careful and we don’t plan on getting together with anyone. We even keep a distance when talking to each other, with a mask even.

We are planning a Thanksgiving feast tomorrow, complete with Turkey. I’m already marinating it in the fridge. Tonight, we had baked potatoes. This is what Ian’s plate looked like. It’s a precursor for tomorrow’s feast.

the works

End of Night

November 24th, 2020

After about two months of analyzing this book to its detail, we finally finished it today. These days, I’ve just been meeting goal after goal of finishing lessons I’ve started months before and relishing in it. For Ian, we finished his Math, his Social Studies, his A to Z mystery books, among others. For J, she’s finished more than her share of workbooks. And now, my girls have finished Night. All just in time for the holiday break. Feels really good. There’s so much to unpack that I was able to really break it down with them, and they are very good students. I had forgotten what it feels to find satisfaction in my teaching. Like Wiesel, I am a writer and a teacher. Someday, I will find my groove again.

Solo Ride

November 23rd, 2020

Today is the first time that J started riding her bike herself. We were so proud of her. She’s proud of herself, too. I think it’s from the many times she has been riding the red trike and has gotten used to pedaling. She’s now graduated from the baby bike and independent. Besides some of the uphill slopes, she did all the pedaling herself. It was a nice feeling to see both kids riding their bikes. We talked about getting ourselves bikes and the four of us can start taking biking trips together. Another milestone for our family.

Another Rally

November 22nd, 2020
Tustin

I don’t know how many more of these we can attend. Granted yesterday was our first one, it seems like there are a lot of people energized to show their support to the president. Today, we walked to the corner of Jamboree and met up with Alvin. It was a beautiful day for a walk and it wasn’t that far, either. We fasted and prayed today for the country and for justice to be done. Some people have said it’s a losing battle. My common sense tells me that this is not going anywhere, either. Even when we stood there with the people at the rally, a few cars were mocking and making fun of us. Tonight, we also got news that the president’s primary attorney is no longer part of his team. It is not looking good. Either way, we know that our hope and our faith is not on men, but on God. He is still on the throne and we look to Him.

Hallmark

November 21st, 2020
binge watch

These days, if I allow myself, I could spend hours in front of the TV binge-watching on predictable storylines of ridiculously good-looking people falling in love in cute and romantic ways. Today, I think I watched three episodes. I think it was a way to keep myself off of the internet. It was also a kind of stress-relief. It feels good to just be transported to another world, one that is cozy, warm, well-decorated, and well, perfect. It makes me feel good to immerse myself in that world, at least, for a couple of hours. Alas, when the movie ends, I’m right back in this world. It’s not that I’m complaining. After all, I have two of the most adorable kids in the world!

Today, we ventured to Huntington Beach to watch the rally. It was quite an experience to be part of it even for just a few passing minutes. It was a nice walk, too.

Detox

November 20th, 2020

It has been a wild ride. I’ve been online so much that I’m plugged when I’m lying down, walking, when I’m working, when I’m shopping, when I’m driving, when I’m about to sleep. I am getting close to a point where I need to unplug. My mind is fast becoming a mush. Everything is getting blurred. Perhaps it’s true what they say, that technology makes robots out of all of us. A few weeks ago, my eyes actually physically hurt. Even then, I persisted in watching my videos, reading my feeds, and checking my email. This has been such a big part of my life that I don’t know how to get it out of my system. But I know and I can feel that I am reaching that point. I’m not sure what it will look like exactly but I will get there, by God’s grace.

First Place

November 19th, 2020
so proud of this boy

We set out to pick up Ian’s first place certificate for his Chinese class last year. They actually sent out the email a while back but didn’t get to it until today. Even though it is a small class of about 10, it still makes me proud to think that Ian earned the 1st place spot. Again, it’s early evidence of the favor of God and the favor of man, something that I prayed for him since he was a baby. I remember the first day of Chinese class … he was always anxious getting to class. There was even a time when he was full-on crying. It was so difficult for me to let go. I remember the tears, the prayers, the worries, the dramas. We were overjoyed when he found friends, when he discovered Chinese songs that he memorized, when he started liking Chinese. It is such a blessing to see how far he has come! We were just talking about how gifted he is and how we don’t have to worry about him. At the same time, we recognize that the most important is not success or academics but the spiritual quality of his life. May God give us wisdom to raise him and his sister.