Breakfast Conversation

During breakfast…
Lily: “I’m a good helper, huh?”
Mommy: “Yes you are, baby.”
Lily: “I’m not a baby! I’m Super Girl Helper Princess Lily Hula Dancer Honeycomb Eater!”
Mommy: “Heh. Yes, yes you are.”
Lily: “Mommy, I talk a lot, huh?”
Mommy: “Yes, you do. Are you eating your breakfast?”
Lily: “Uh huh! Mom, I will be mean to ALL THE BAD GUYS!!”
Mommy: “Yeah?”
Lily: “Yeah. Mom, a long long long time ago, I took pictures of trees with Nana.”
Mommy: “I know, baby. That was fun, huh?”
Lily: “Yeah. Mom, what does soggy mean?”
Mommy: “It means your cereal is getting soft.”
Lily: “Oh. Mom, look, my boo boo is all gone!!!”
Mommy: “I’m glad, baby. Are you eating?”
Lily: “Uh huh. Mom, what do you call me when I talk a lot?”
Mommy: “A chatterbox, baby.”
Lily: “Yes. I am a chatterbox. I talk a lot, huh?”

The Vacation Post

During July, 2011, we went on vacation to Southern California for 2.5 weeks. For the first 6 days, we were at Disneyland. Next 7 days, we stayed at Uncle Larry’s vacation home in Palm Springs. Last 4 days of our trip, we stayed in Monterey Park with my side of the extended family. Because over time, we tend to forget the little details of our lives, I wanted to make sure I capture these in writing so that we can look back and reflect on how it all went a little more clearly. Here are the most memorable things of our trip, in no particular order other than in the three different parts of our trip.


  • The Little Mermaid ride in California Adventure Park NINE times. Yes, nine times. It was, needless to say, Lily’s favorite ride.
  • Getting soaked on Grizzly River Run.
  • The colors water show at the end of the night on Jaeden’s birthday.
  • Eating lunch at that Chinese place in California Adventure Park. CHINESE FOOD in theme parks, woohoo!
  • Going on Space Mountain twice in a row with the “adults” after the kids were in bed.
  • Getting soaked on Splash Mountain.
  • Seeing the fireworks from the top of Splash Mountain.
  • Rushing through the park late at night with no kids in tow.
  • Lily’s face when she saw all the princesses in the princess parade.
  • “Who…?! What…?! Where…?! Why…?! Whaatt..??!!” Lily when she didn’t know which question to ask first out of excitement.
  • Going on the merry-go-round three times. Can we spell, N-A-U-S-E-A?
  • Lily covering her eyes during Pirates of the Caribbean and the Muppet Show.
  • Actually waiting in line to see the Michael Jackson show. L-A-M-E. He saved the world through pelvic thrusts.
  • Lily’s face when she saw the “CASTLE.” “Can we go inside, can we go inside?!”
  • Lily’s confusion when there was no “inside” to the castle other than the Sleeping Beauty walk through.
  • Getting my scalp sunburned.
  • Shopping for a bag with Dave that is neutral yet girly at the same time, and has to have a zipper or can close. We ended up getting a black backpack with the Disneyland logo on it. :P
  • Buying identical pink Disney crocs for Lily and Kennedy.
  • Buying the Little Mermaid figurine set for Lily.
  • Seeing the Aladdin Show with Lily and singing right along.
  • The awesome ride that is The Tower of Terror.
  • Pee dances with two toddler girls.
  • Lily waking up every morning declaring, “Okay, I’m done with this bed! I want MY bed at home!”
  • Regularly braiding Lily’s hair everyday to keep it up and out of her face.
  • Lily taking our picture while going on Mickey’s Fun (Ferris) Wheel.
  • Pausing for snack breaks in between rides and in line-ups.
  • Three hotel rooms side by side, with Nana in the middle.
  • Getting blisters while walking in wet shoes after getting soaked on Splash Mountain with Dave, Dan, and Kami.
  • Lily’s face when we went “inside” the castle (aka: Sleeping Beauty walk-through).
  • Seeing an old ex-best-friend after 15 years after a huge fall-out because she happens to be working at Disneyland that same week.
  • Having her avoid speaking or acknowledging us only to mistakenly give Dan and Kami a survey instead because she didn’t know they were part of our group.
  • Going swimming everyday at the hotel swimming pool and hot tub.
  • Lily slipping off the edge and falling into the hot tub, almost drowning. THAT WAS THE SCARIEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE.
  • Saving Lily from drowning by jumping in fully clothed, after the grown woman RIGHT next to her did nothing but nonchalantly stare. I wanted to kick that woman.
  • Lily and Kennedy going in and out in and out in and out of the “big pool” and the “hot pool.”
  • Dave’s laptop FRIED and he lost his hard drive, along with everything in it.
  • Kids eat free at IHOP every night after 5pm! Three times at IHOP that week. I’m done for at least 3 years.
  • The introduction of the summer orange milkshake on our last dinner at Disneyland at Denny’s. Wow, that’s yummy.
  • Having walkie talkies throughout the park.
  • First time getting nauseous on the Teacup ride. I think it is the beginning of old age or something?
  • “Can we fast pass this?”
  • Realizing there’s a malfunction in my favorite bathing suit bottom, and thus successfully mooning everyone while at the pool.
  • Two little girls toddling along without a single complaint for 6 days.
  • “The kids are heightened. HEIGHTENED.”
  • Seeing the fireworks from our hotel balcony across the street from Disneyland.
  • Over 12 hours of Disneyland for the adults minus Nana.
  • Misters are the best thing ever invented.
  • The horrible mistake from that left Sylv and Reilly stranded without a room for the first night, thus sleeping with us instead.
  • Being on the phone with for almost an hour demanding a full refund.
  • Lily’s first try at shooting during the Toy Story Mania ride.
  • Lily being scared in the Haunted Mansion ride.
  • Last day of Disneyland: “Okay, I think we’re disneylanded out.”


  • Swimming every single day.
  • The make-shift bed for Lily on the floor next to our bed; and she thought it was the coolest thing ever.
  • 110 degree dry heat
  • Lily hating the car ride to Palm Springs because she declared, “I don’t like this car seat! I want OURS at home!”
  • Stepping out into the weather at Palm Springs for the first time and Lily exclaiming, “It is a little bit hot here. MOMMYYYYY PICK ME UP!!”
  • Game nights with the adults after the kids were in bed.
  • Blue finger nails and toe nails from Auntie Kami for the girls.
  • Alonetime in the pool with Dave during one of the nights. :)
  • Lily and Kennedy fighting like sisters. :) “MOM SHE’S LOOKING AT ME!!!”
  • Walmart trips. Many Walmart trips.
  • Finally being able to cook our own meals after eating out 3 times a day for 6 days a week.
  • Soak City on the Monday before we left: everyone got sunburned except the kids.
  • Kami and I switching places supervising the girls while they went down the water park slide at Soak City; and effectively switching getting soaked by the giant water reservoir that tipped over every few minutes.
  • The Lazy River at Soak City, and floating along it over and over and over and over again.
  • No vegetarian foods at Soak City, thereby pigging out on… fries.
  • Dave having a “superhero” sunburn mask on after Soak City because he was wearing his sunglasses while everything else on his body got burned lobster red.
  • Editing photos while on vacation. Aww!
  • Finishing the book “The Forgotten Garden” finally, after having started it 6 months ago!
  • Ants in the kitchen. Lots of ‘em.
  • Whipped cream cheese. I will never go back.
  • Kix for breakfast every morning, and Chex Mix for snacks every evening.
  • Being “cold” in the evening in the house (due to air conditioning) while it is over 100 degrees outside.
  • Using Lily’s padded underwear as a cushion for her car seat so it doesn’t hurt her thighs.
  • Lily getting used to floating on her own in the pool with a donut ring on!
  • Hot tub at night. Weird concept for such hot weather but it felt ssoooo nice.
  • Towels and wet bathing suits drying overnight while hung over the rails by the pool.
  • Interesting margarita mixes for all the adults except myself, after the kids have gone to bed.
  • Silence after 9pm, when every adult is doing their own thing in the same room after the kids are asleep.
  • Bought not one, but two brand new laptops after Dave’s fried one. One for me, one for him, as per our tradition.
  • Slow internet at the house.
  • Shopping at Target again. I miss Target!
  • New bathing suit for Lily and me, woohoo!
  • Braiding Lily’s hair every single morning.


  • Having to go ignorantly eat at a “Tofu House” (thinking it was all vegetarian) only to realize too late that it was a Korean restaurant with little vegetarian alternatives. This was right before we checked into our hotel room.
  • Realizing after we checked in that Happy Family ALL-VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT was literally right next door, along with Lee’s Sandwiches, which sells vegetarian Vietnamese sandwiches. What a waste of a meal a Tofu House.
  • Discovering Happy Family restaurant. Yum. Both places.
  • Showing up at Brigitte’s house and seeing so many cousins and aunties and uncles.
  • Finally meeting Brenna!
  • Finally having Brigitte meet Dave and Lily!
  • Lily playing possessively with Brenna’s toys. :P
  • Lily being shy with all the aunties when they acted like mother hens and literally started poking and hugging her and yabbering away in Vietnamese, which she doesn’t understand. Heh.
  • Breakfast every morning at Lee’s Sandwiches. Yuuummmmm.
  • Being just the three of us again after two weeks with extended family felt weird and oddly quiet.
  • Lily meeting my cousins’ kids, her cousins, and playing with them one by one as she met them.
  • Eating AWESOME vegetarian meals every single day for every single meal after the mistake of Tofu House.
  • Bitter melon with fried/scrambled egg.
  • Vegetarian bun rieu. Mmmm. Lily and Dave loved it too!
  • Lily eating the best meals we’ve ever seen her eat. She was constantly hungry and ate so much every meal. She loved everything on her plate all the time.
  • Going to the beautiful Hacienda Buddhist temple, just the three of us.
  • The L.A. museum of natural history! First time for Lily seeing dinosaurs in person!
  • Being refused entry to the main praying hall because I was wearing a spaghetti strap dress.
  • Lily getting a free cookie in the snacking hall because the lady behind the counter declared she was so beautiful.
  • Ineffectively trying to explain religion (particularly Buddhism) to Lily.
  • First 5 minutes into the city of L.A., stopping to get gas and for potty break for Lily: had a homeless man and a homeless woman ask for spare change, telling us “Oh your daughter is so beautiful. Wow.” and looking at her creepily, me witnessing an extremely overweight lady steal a couple of bags of chips and corn nuts. Worse yet, we decided not to do anything about it because we were afraid she might have been armed and dangerous if we told on her and became “witnesses.”
  • Dinners with relatives every night. I’ve missed them.
  • CATHY’S WEDDING!! So fun, and so happy to see Lily getting along with all her little cousins.
  • Dancing Lily with dancing Ethan and dancing Eileen! They can boogie!
  • Itchy Dave right before his sunburned skin started peeling.
  • Ordering prints and products for photography clients while on vacation. Boo! Heh.
  • Beautiful Cathy and her hubby Alan having the coolest first dance ever.
  • Eating dinner after the wedding with some of the aunts and uncles and my DAD!!!
  • Lily finally giving hugs starting the day before we left, at Cathy’s wedding. She gave her Uncle John and Auntie Lally a hug.
  • Right before we said goodbye to everyone, she gave her Ngoai (my dad, her grandpa) some hugs, as well as my Little Aunt some hugs, and then played catch with her Auntie Brigitte, by which the prize was GIVING HUGS AND KISSES!


  • Lily saying, “Are we done with our vacation now? I want to stay longer.”
  • Almost losing Bubby at LAX airport right before our flight. Brief 5 minutes of panic while we freakishly scanned the waiting area for Bubby.
  • Eating Lee’s Sandwiches veggie sandwiches for lunch for the last time. :(
  • Lily and I coloring for most of the plane trip home.
  • Heavy heavy heavy suitcases and a super-husband who carried them all.
  • Arguing with the bus guy as to why Lily wasn’t registered to ride with us. I don’t care whose fault that is, but we’re going home, WITH Lily, on that bus, even if I had to drive it myself.
  • And we did! And I didn’t have to drive it! Ha!
  • Seeing Nana where she picked us up at the border store, and Lily exclaiming excitedly, “NNNAAANNAAAA!!!!!!!!!!”
  • During the car ride home, Lily asked me matter-of-factly, “So which of your aunties are we going to see tomorrow?”
  • Lily’s teary eyes when told that we weren’t going to be seeing them for a while because they don’t live in Canada with us.
  • Lily declaring that this was not good, and that all the aunties and cousins “should move up here with us. That would be nice.” :)
  • Sleeping in our own beds.

Turned 3 and Disneyland

It’s been a while since we’ve updated on Miss Lily’s life. Life with a now-3-year-old is always busy busy busy, and on the go. She is a wonderful adventure in our lives. Everyday we love her more and more. And we are so lucky, so fortunate, to have such a beautiful soul for a daughter. She has grown from being a happy baby to a happy toddler to now a beautiful and kind, though spunky, happy little kid. On July 12 this year, Miss Lily turned 3 years old. She understood the concept completely, and got right into the mode. When she woke up that morning, she ran into our room and said, “AM I THREE TODAY?!” She could hardly sleep the night before because she kept exclaiming to us, “When I wake up tomorrow, I’m going to be THREE years old!”

Miss Lily got a lot of presents for her birthday. She is a fortunate little girl to have so many wonderful and loving people around her, from her extended family to her kid friends and all. One of the more important and meaningful gifts was a silver bracelet we got for her. In my culture, babies and little kids almost always wear some sort of jewelry their mothers gave them. Lily hasn’t had any jewelry since she was born because we didn’t want to force it on her, and because we were always paranoid about choking hazards, having jewelry caught on things, etc. Now that she is 3 and is so much more aware of herself and her surroundings, not to mention her needs and wants (sometimes she gets the two confused of course), we decided it was time that we could invest in some jewelry for her. She absolutely loves it, and hasn’t taken it off since her birthday. I was very excited to get it for her. I spent a lot of months looking for the perfect bracelet, and finally found one the night before her birthday. Phew!

Miss Lily is reading at grade 2 level. She has begun reading her first chapter books, as the “baby” books with one-sentence pages became too easy for her. She kept breezing through them in minutes. Chapter books we found have been more challenging for her, and thus keeps her occupied and learning. She also loves a good challenge and we often find her trying to sound out bigger words on her own, often reading on her own instead of playing with her toys. She is a “super reader,” as she says.

Lily also loves astronomy. Daddy and Lily have been learning about the solar system, and the differences between each planet. I think that pretty soon, she will know more about astronomy than I do. Heh. We have one smart cookie on our hands.

Among those, Miss Lily is also an avid emotion reader. I couldn’t be more proud, being the psychology nerd of the family. She can read facial expressions, subtle social cues, and predict how people are feeling or believing based on their behaviors and the way their faces look. She has such an intuition about people and things that it surprises us a lot, and often her discovery of people’s manners are either ignored by the rest of us or go unnoticed completely. She is such an intuned little person.

She is our little miracle.

Two days after her birthday, we went on our second plane ride with her, down to California as an extended family vacation with some of my in-laws. We just did our first Disneyland full day today, and she was absolutely stoked and very excited!! We’ve been attempting to hide Disneyland from her in hopes of surprising her when we got here. But every so often, we would hint that we would go “somewhere big” and that it would be a great surprise. We’d ask her if she would like to meet her favorite princesses, or see a really cool princess castle, etc. For the past few months, she feigned disinterest or ignorance, so we took that as ignorance.

Boy were we wrong.

Yesterday when we finally got to our hotel, and when we were having lunch, Dave said non-chalantly, “Hmm, I would really love to see a princess castle. It would be really cool if we got to see one.” Her chosen response was, “Daddy, why don’t we just go to the Disneyland castle? There’s a princess castle there.”

We looked at each other with our jaws dropped to the ground. She was coloring and carried on coloring when she said this, as if this was the easiest thing to know and how silly of us not to have thought of this idea already. We asked her how she knew of Disneyland, and she said, “From Mommy and Daddy, silly. From the both of you. You talk about it all the time.”

Hm, so we did. And now our adventure continues. Pictures to come as we go through our 2.5 week holiday in California!

And Disneyland so far:

The plane ride! She was so good!!

Miss Lily was reeaallly tired by the time we got onto the bus from LAX to our hotel.

The four cousins after dinner. So hyped up. “HEIGHTENED!”

The entrance with Daddy and cousin Reilly!

Mommy and Lily!

The Tinkerbell cousin twins.

In line for the Toy Story ride!

Kennedy and Lily on a ride in A Bug’s Life park! Love that face.. haha…

The two cousins. So cute!

Lily the Astronomer

Our Lily is so awesome, she is now learning astronomy. At the age of 2. At this rate, she will be smarter than both of us by the time she’s 5. :P

Today’s conversations with Daddy:

Lily: “What is a planet?”
Daddy: “Saturn is a planet.”
Lily: “But what IS it?”
Daddy: “It’s a planet. Saturn is a planet.”
Lily: “But WHAT is a PLANET?!”
…Daddy: “Oh.”

So Lily learned about astronomy today. :P She now knows the earth rotates around the sun, and the moon rotates around the earth. And that there are other planets like the earth that rotates around the sun.

Lily: “We can’t see Egypt from here.”
Daddy: “Yes, you’re right.”
Lily: “It’s on the other side of the planet.”
Daddy: “Yes, it is!”
Lily: “It’s night time here when it’s day time there.”

And now some pictures.

Lily 2.5 Update

Miss Lily is just a little over 2.5 years old now. She is perhaps the smartest, most awesome little creature who I’ve ever met. It is truly a great pleasure to be in her life, let alone be her mother. I think she has been “here” before. Her eyes are full of wisdom, her thoughts are full of knowledge. She is continuing to read a lot of books, and she is enthused to do it herself.

This morning, we noticed she was reading the dedications page of one of her children’s book. We never read those pages to her, of course, so it couldn’t have been memorization. She sounded it out, word for word, and pointed to each word from left to right, up to down. She mispronounced a few words but she tried to sound them out. We were both so stunned we just stood there silently and watched her go till she was finished. I didn’t have time to get the video camera out! When she was done, she looked up at us and beamed her most proud smile. And then she said, “Daddy and Mommy, you are both so proud of me!”

Darn straight we are!

Miss Lily is all about princesses right now. She loves her fairy tales, and particularly all her Disney movies. She knows them inside and out, and sometimes she dresses up and plays “princess.” There was a brief period a few weeks ago when she demanded to be called “Princess.” Not Princess Lily, not Lily, “Juuuusstt Princess.” Daddy was her “prince” and I was the “queen.” For a little while there, I missed being “Mommy” and no matter how much we talked to her about it, we stayed “Queen” and “Prince.”

I am glad to be Mommy again. It’s the hat I wear with most pride.

Miss Lily just finished her first full dance class. She loved being in dance class, and better yet, she was one of the only two girls out of the whole class who could follow directions so well and listened to what the teacher wanted all the toddlers to do. She was twirling and tip-toeing and dancing and leaping. She is going to be a little dancer, methinks. In the beginning of April, she and I will be starting our first mommy-and-tot yoga class, and she will be in her first dedicated ballet class as well.

Miss Lily has been day time potty trained since that weekend when we trained her with her little bare bum running around the house for two days. Since then, she’s been working on being night time potty trained as well. She has insisted on not wearing her pull ups at night. Sometimes she would go for a whole week waking up dry, by waking herself up at night to go potty and then holding the rest till morning. However, there are those certain times here and there when she sleeps through and has accidents. They are getting fewer and farther in between. For about a week last week, I woke her up at about 1am or 2am so she can go potty. It promptly lasts about 2 minutes because she gets up, she goes, then proclaims drowsily, “There. Now I can go back to bed…” and trots clumsily back to her bed. For the past couple of nights, she’s requested that I don’t wake her up so she can wake herself up. I’ve agreed to do that because she is the sweetest, most self sufficient little angel ever. I told her she should try to wake up to go potty, but if she has accidents, it’s okay and we can just start again the next night.

Miss Lily talks nonstop from the time she wakes up to the time she goes to bed at night. She is affectionate and although she likes her independence and is a free spirit, she also loves her cuddles and she listens very well. I’ve taught her the 1-2-3 count a few months ago, and it only took two tries for her to understand that she does not want me to get to 3. I always tell her what happens at 3 (“If I get to 3, I’m going to come over and carry you myself.” etc.), so she always knows what to expect.

She also gets her feelings hurt very easily when she feels we’re upset with her. She bursts out into tears and says sobbily, “Sowwwyyy…” Sometimes, she’ll even add, “You will always love me even when you’re mad at me. *sniff*” Of course, it’s extremely hard to stay mad when your little girl’s heart is breaking because you’re mad. :P

On with the photos…