Category Archives: celebration

Lizzy: first birthday party

Our baby angel turned 1 today! We had a birthday party with friends on Sunday. Everyone had a lot of fun, especially the birthday day.

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Party started at 11am, just few minutes after she woke up from morning. She was ready for the party. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I ordered a birthday hat for her and I love how cute she looks with it. She was in great mood that day. Smiling to every guests and doing all the fun things grandma props her to do (clapping her hands, waving bye, saying papa, mama and grandpa).

I was such a proud and happy mama.

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She’s such an adorable, easy going, happy baby… she only “complains” when daddy is going… otherwise she’s zero-complaint baby

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although she’s not into toys yet, she spent some time exploring the gifts.

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trying to “play together” with other babies.

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but mostly simply smiling to everyone and enjoying the party

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I enjoyed catching up with friends as well

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particularly with miss Sofia who was excited the whole week for the party because she got to wear her new Elsa dress

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we ordered the cake from Harris Teeters this year. I simply showed them the picture of how I’d like the cake and they made it perfectly.

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can’t believe Sofia is already a big girl, like a real princess

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what a happy day. It amazes us how time flies, a year before I was in labor, not sure who is this girl. And now, I can’t imagine a life without her. Her silly smiles melt my heart, EVERYDAY.

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I had prepared a spread of food for our guests including egg curd tart

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sauteed vermicelli with chicken and vegetables. It doesn’t look nice but it was one of the most popular dish of the day, many friends went for second and third servings

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classic empanadas

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chinese radish cake

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salad with cilantro cashew dressing. It wasn’t as good as I expected but at least it was colorful

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Sofia and I made pink cupcake with natural food color (dry raspberries)

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cheese board

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and the most popular dish that I forgot to take a pic before they were all gone, korean baby ribs.

Although I was exhausted by the end of the day due to a stressful week at work, 8+18 miles run, and all the party preparation, I was happy! Happy to be the mama of two lovely girls in my life. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Celebration: Christmas & Birthday 2016

This year we celebrated Christmas as a family of 6. No guests, no pressure, just enjoy some down time with ourselves.

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We spent most of the day relaxing at home, playing, reading, napping, until it was about dinner time. I dressed up, made me presentable, put the Christmas hat, had Pandora on Christmas station, and immediately felt festival.

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Sofia helped me to set up the table

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Tony and I prepared dinner

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I made a green salad

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homemade smoke salmon with toasts with olive oil. This salmon recipe is from a colleague of mine, very easy to make and turned out fancy and tasty. To make it, combine 1 lb of sugar with 1 lb of salt (assuming salmon fillet is about 2 lbs), let salmon soak in the mixture in 24 hrs in the fridge, and voila, homemade smoked salmon ready to serve.

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for the main dish, I made a porcini risotto. Like the salmon, it was so easy to make and turned out better than I expected. I kept adding it more to my plate ๐Ÿ˜‰

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and for the star of the night I made baked live lobster with garlic green onion butter. So good!

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while we enjoyed our feast, Lizzy was quietly exploring a piece of toast. So funny how she managed to eat 2 bites during the whole dinner.

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then it was time for gifts.

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Sofia was excited to see what Santa brought her

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dolls are like shoes for girls, the more the merrier

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legos would come second

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yes, I know.. it’s for 12 years old… but Tony also likes to play, so why not? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Santa brought a watch rewinder for Tony

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and I got a scarf and a runners recovery set

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We all went to bed happy with full belly and new favorite gifts. ๐Ÿ™‚

On Christmas day which was also my birthday. I started it with a very long run, actually the longest run EVER! 13.6 to celebrate first day for 36 years old. The best part? Tony run 3 miles with me.

I really enjoy Sunday long runs. It’s such a peaceful time to get lost, to reflect, to be sync with my physical body, and to connect with my mind.

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after a long shower and breakfast, we started the Lego Christmas City project.

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2 hrs later, part 1 was done, thanks to Tony. I simply chill out on the side.

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after nap, we started the gingerbread house project.

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Again, Tony was in charge. He’s so much better than me in term ofย manual work and has patience for it. Sofia was happy putting on the chocolates and gummy bears. ๐Ÿ™‚

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it turned out so beautiful.

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I didn’t cook a special dinner for my birthday because I just wanted to do nothing and relax on my birthday. But to celebrate it, Sofia and Tony got me a cake. It was a hard-to-find cake since most of the stores were closed, so it was extra special to have a cake to blow the candle.

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Last year was full of ups and downs but I’m glad that I found two new loves, Lizzy and running. I don’t feel older, but do feel I have more responsibilities to my family and became wiser in how to be a wife. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Travel: first time traveling as family of 4

We went for a first family trip to Boston for 3 days and it was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!! Everything was perfect! I couldn’t have asked for more.

We were invited to spend Thanksgiving at Carmen’s in October and were excited since then. But since it was going to be our first time traveling with both girls, Lizzy being still young, flying with Lizzy, and most challenging return road trip, I had my doubts on whether we would enjoy it as much. However, I was determined to embrace the challenge and go with the flow.

Our flight was early at 6:30am. So I woke both girls around 4:15am after I finished pumping. We took a cab with all our luggage (2 carseats, 1 stroller, 2 suitcases and 3 bags) at 4:45am and arrived airport at 6:20am. Lizzy was very curious about what was going on but didn’t complain at all that we woke her up early.

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I was worried about naps for Lizzy because she has never napped outside her crib or swing. Even when we go out for a walk with her, she’d never nap, not even in the car seat. But by 7:45am, she was ready. Tony hold her until she was almost asleep, and I put her down on the seat besides me. She napped for a good 40 min, woke up just before landing.

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Sofia was super excited too. We’ve been talking about the Boston trip for weeks. She was even willing to stay all night up to not miss the departure. By the time we got to the cab, she was ready to take a cat nap.

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then we arrived the castle. It’s an old house built on 1876, renovated at 1905 and after Carmen bought it.

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we settled in our rooms (one for Sofia called princess room, one for Lizzy with her pack n play and one for me and Tony). Then we spent the day catching up with Carmen and Vincent. It was really nice to be chatting with one of the smartest couple in the world! ๐Ÿ™‚

Vincent was in charge of the turkey (i forgot to take a pic) and Carmen had prepared the sides dishes the day before. By 5pm, we were ready for the feast. We had mash potatoes, sweet potato casserole, glazed carrots, stuffing and the most delicious mushroom cooked in sherry. We also had homemade buns and flan for dessert. Everything was scrumptious!!!

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After dinner, we put Lizzy into bed and got ready for a movie at home theater.

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Then I took a long quiet bath before sleep.ย We all slept very soundly that night.

Next morning, Lizzy woke up around 7:30am and came to our bed.

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she was soon happy.

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after breakfast (homemade waffles), we went to explore the city. We had plan to go first to Harvard then to downtown. But it was raining and cold, so after the tour at harvard, we decided to cut our tour short.

Lizzy followed her usual schedule of napping 2-3 hours so Tony and I got to play pool when Sofia went to nap too.

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it was fun to beat Tony for 2 matches ๐Ÿ˜‰

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that evening, Vincent prepared another great meal for us. Meat in sour broth, marinated for 4 days. He served it with pasta and turnip. As dessert, we had a messy cake. Once again, everything delicious. I went for seconds.

Saturday morning started with a gorgeous breakfast spread. Vincent made fresh baked scones, served with assorted jams and butter.

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we all loved the food and last chats with Carmen and Vincent.

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then Tony went to get the rental car. We departed at 10:45am. After fueling gas, we were ready for our road trip adventure. We stopped 4-5 times for toilet stops and feed Lizzy. She behaved extremely well. Basically she ate and slept. Except once she refused to be sitting in the carseat and cried for 20 min before I had to jump to the backseat, fed her, hold her and played with her. Sofia behaved even better. She didn’t complain about the long ride. She was happily eating chocolate cookies and donuts (sigh… you do whatever you have to do to keep everybody happy). Excited when we stopped and felt asleep for naps. ย Tony was the main driver. I drove few times, the longest one for 1.5 hours. It was actually not too bad when both of us could drive. We both wanted to drive more so the other could rest. That’s love without saying the word.

Although I enjoyed a lot seeing Carmen and Vincent this time, the most enjoyable part of the trip is I feel closer to my family. We took care of each other. Tony was the man of the family, carrying things, setting up everything ready for us, and took care of the girls more than I could ask for. It made me love him even more because his figure as the man of the family consolidated even more with this trip. I know I canย rely on him. I know we will be taken care of. I know how much he loves us, all of us. ๐Ÿ™‚

After this trip, I’m more confident to travel again with the girls. It’s really not that hard as long as one takes it easy, be prepared and not stress about small things. I remember taking all many more stuffs when I traveled with Sofia first time with my mom going to Hawaii when Sofia was 10 months old. We even took bathtub. But this time, we only packed essentials: clothes, diaper, wipes, bibs, baby spoon, packaged food and oatmeal. Feeding was easy, just mixed packet fruit/veggie puree with oatmeal and food was ready. Tony would hold her while I feed her, quick and easy.

can’t wait for our next trip! ๐Ÿ™‚

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