Archive for January, 2012

CNY Dinner

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Maybe we’ve been in the US for too long. When we planned this dinner, we were not really thinking about Chinese New Year. Rather, it was an opportunity to invite Shixiong to join the family for a special dinner. With our busy schedule, we had to be intentional about getting together, so we chose this night to share this meal. It coincided with CNY weekend. Perfect! As always, Wensley cooked a great meal with this wonderful spread:

dinner table

Sa Chiak and Sa Chim came with little Trinity. Of course, the boys were delighted to have their favorite uncle play with them before dinner! It turned out to be a special meal with everyone around the dinner table. We even had crepes for dessert. By the end of the evening, we were all really full! Shixiong took the opportunity to give 红包 (red envelope) to the little ones. I have a feeling it will go directly to the bank account recently opened for them by Grandma!

playing with sa chiak

Here’s my fiance with my parents on this special day. We took this picture because my dad was wearing a Beijing Olympics shirt and Shixiong was wearing a London Olympics jacket. So happy to have him join the family!

with mom and dad

Baby Outings

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

In the flurry of wedding planning activities, I have needed a lot of help. Wensley has been gracious to lend her artistic expertise to the cause! As such, we’ve done a few day outings to wedding gown shops to store registries to printing companies to paper stores. She’s been an invaluable help! In tow are the two little ones who have been most cooperative. We’ve done our share of loading and unloading with each stop. I have found that when they start getting restless, a sure way to make them happy is to give them something to eat. Here is Avery, looking relatively happy with his crackers:

avery

Allister can be tricky because he refuses food sometimes, wanting to be held instead, especially when he’s sleepy. But this time around, a couple of crackers kept him quiet and content.

allister

Happy Birthday to Me

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Needless to say, this birthday is a very special one for me. Not only do I get to celebrate it with my family, I get to celebrate it with my significant other — my fiance. It has always been a desire of mine to spend January 21st with one very special someone. God granted me this desire in 2012.

First off, my family took me out to lunch in Pizza Place Co. We had this full set meal. I had soup, salmon, and lots of bread. Afterwards, we had mango cake dessert, my favorite kind! This is me, looking very happy. My mom looks happy for me, too!

birthday cake

In the afternoon, Shixiong and I headed to the restaurant to make a deposit for the wedding reception. This was a significant moment for us because it is one of the big things that needed to get done for the wedding — and we got to do it together on my birthday!

birthday deposit

My dear fiance had planned on taking me to a romantic dinner place overlooking the beach that night. But before the meal, he had hoped to catch the sunset. Fortunately, the spot where he wanted us to sit was free and we spent an hour enjoying the late afternoon sun as it slowly disappeared into the sea. We spent the time talking and praying and enjoying the moment. He even sang me a special song that I will not soon forget …

birthday song

We tried to capture the sunset using my phone camera (again). I must say that it turned out looking romantic to have our silhouette against the backdrop. It was a most memorable time with my husband-to-be. He might not think of himself as much of a romantic, but I think he’s off to a good start!

birthday sunset

Pasta Meal

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

I don’t consider myself a great cook or anything like that, but if there is one meal I am confident of making, it’s pasta. I learned to perfect this dish through years of experimenting. I’ve served this to many of my guests and it has never failed to please. And so, I decided that I would serve this dish to my new family. I must say that it turned out well, though I’m not sure how well it went down an Asian-oriented palate. For good measure, I got some organic vegetables to make green salad. I was going to make homemade salad dressing but opted to buy the bottle instead.

karen's plate

Again, my phone camera was not cooperating with me so I had to grab Karen’s shot of her plate. The colors of the pasta and the greens look really appetizing. I think she actually used her smart phone camera. Why does everyone else’s pictures look a lot better than mine? Time to get a new camera! Or a new phone!

leftovers?

Living Spaces

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Tonight, we decided that it was time to get started on the furniture that we need to get for our new home. One of the things we planned for was a new sofa set. We wandered around Living Spaces for a good hour or so before we found one with a blue balloon hanging over it. We did not know until much later that it signified an MLKJ sale!

We saw this leather sofa set that reclines. Felt really good about it and definitely the right price! One item checked on the list with several to go!

sofa set

New Day

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

We had known that this day would come: Er Ge and Er Sau had to go back. It was a sad day when we took them to the airport. We followed them through security and said goodbye to them until we couldn’t see them anymore. Right before they left, though, we took one picture in front of the banner that read, “Happy Day.” It was a sad day, but we were trying to be happy, especially for Karen. Here’s the family picture:

happy day

When we got back, Karen offered to make a tomato-and-egg meal for us. She dutifully donned an apron and went to work. She was definitely her parents’ daughter, as good a cook as they are! There’s nothing like making a meal to bring normalcy to life!

tomato egg dish

The Water Broke

Friday, January 13th, 2012

One year ago today, Allister came into the world when the water broke unexpectedly. It was a dramatic time for the family since Allister couldn’t wait to come out and was born in the family car! To commemorate that time, we went back to the place where it happened — Capital Seafood.

We thank the Lord for the delightful gift of Allister Wyatt. Here he is with Grandma and Grandpa:

birthday boy

A few months after Allister was born, Trinity came along. Here are the two little cuties in their booster chairs. Look at those chubby cheeks!

trinity and allister

After the restaurant dinner, we headed back to the house to have dessert. Wens decided to have two kinds of cake — one for the kids and one for the adults. The ice cream cake for the kids had a Lightning McQueen toy on top, so fitting for how Allister came into the world, though I doubt he knows the significance until he’s much older. The three older boys oggled at the cake the whole time. The “adult” cake was a fruit cake — yum!

birthday cakes

Notice everyone wearing red. It’s a tradition in the family that we celebrate each birthday with a “happy” color. It also make the pictures we take a lot brighter (though my phone camera always seems to do a poor job of it).

happy birthday, allister!

One of Allister’s highlights of the night, for sure, was his new toy from Sa Chiak and Sa Chim. He could not keep his eyes and his hands off of it. Even long after the guests have left, Allister was still playing with his toy. I’ve never seen him so engaged!

new toy

Ironically, another type of water broke that evening. A pipe burst right outside the house and caused a gush of water to run uncontrollably down the driveway to the street. It took a whole day before it was resolved. Certainly an event to remember as we commemorate Allister’s birthday!

busted pipe

Registry

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

bed bath and beyond

The concept of registering for gifts has always been troublesome for me because it suggests a Santa Claus-like wish list. Someone had to convince me that it is a necessary invention for pragmatic gift-givers who would rather give a gift that the receiver can use and truly appreciate. And so, I went into Bed, Bath & Beyond with this mindset. I thought I was ready to “help” my guests pick out a gift for me. As it turns out, when I entered the store, I was overwhelmed with the variety of items in front of me, most of which I don’t even know if I need. Moreover, since I’m not much of a shopper myself, I worried about quality, quantity, and practicality of what I’m registering for. In any case, my fiance and I registered our name. We spent a good half hour being educated in how to work the “gun” and another few minutes learning the difference between a comforter and a duvet blanket. We had a lunch appointment so we could not stay long. By the time we left the store, I had only clicked on three items. I have a feeling this part of the wedding preparation will not be as easy as I thought it would be.

New Sisters

Monday, January 9th, 2012

I had an invitation to join a group of sisters who met up once a month at different venues for a sharing/get-together. This particular Sunday, it was at Lee’s Sandwich in Irvine. What a blessing to meet this group of amazing women. Moreover, most of them come from a similar background as I do. It was easy to relate to them because we spoke the same language and able to talk about familiar cultural references. What a fun time. I look forward to getting together with them and knowing more about them.

It was a blessing to have instant connection with a group of sisters who welcomed me into their fold as I transition into a new stage in my life. Two sisters from this group invited their mother to lunch. She is the one sitting on the side. I spoke to her before the lunch and she shared some stories about her marriage and husband. She told me how happy she was to have met me. I feel the same about her.

new friends

Family Dinner

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

This night was significant for many reasons. It was the first time that my parents got to see my new future home. It would also be a time that Shixiong’s elders got together with my elders. They made four different kinds of soup (a special treat for any Chinese meal!) and cooked several other dishes, including my mom’s favorite, 炒米粉 (chao mi fen). The family also had great conversation topics ranging from politics to culture to family. Though I was admittedly nervous about the event, everything went well, especially as my fiance was reassuring and encouraging throughout the evening. By the end of the night, we were really full from the heavy meal; it was a long drive back to LA from OC, but it was all worth it!

I did not have my phone camera ready so I’ll just use this picture from our engagement party to remember this dinner party.

san saba get-together