fabulous five

Bee turned 5.  She was so happy.  She woke up and said to me "mommy, look at how tall I am ?  look at my big feet ?  I'm so big right ?".  She asked me to call Karsen and Ethni to tell them she's now 5.  They were at school so I told her she can tell them the next time she sees them.

I can't believe she's going kindergarten this year.  I remember her as a baby with very very little hair.  Oh how I miss her already.  This pass year Bee reached many milestones.  She went to pre-school and did so well the first day, not so much the day after, but we survived first week.  Then she attended Sunday's School all on her own !  She made friends at school as well as church and slowly coming out of her shell.  She's "brave now" she said.

I'm so proud of who she is as a person.  She is kind, a good friend, a great sister, and a lovely daughter to us.  Thought of her makes me smile and grinning from ear to ear.  She's a funny gal with a sensitive heart.  She loves playing Sorry and Trouble and matching cards along with other silly games we made up.  She likes to pray along with me and always add to the prayer "please make us healthy and strong".  Bee has a lot of energy so we're constantly finding ourselves trying to keep up with her and trying challenge her.

Bee loves to swim and can swim about 6 feet in distance.  She has no fear of water and a bit of a water bug !  She's very proud of her short distance swimming and tend to show off in front of other little kids.  A little pride is good for her.

We also took Bee on her first cruise ship and that's all she wants to do now.  "Can we go on a boat yet?" she asked monthly, if not weekly.  I asked her why she likes cruise boat so much and she said "lots of food and we're together".  I think she meant she likes that we're trapped on this vessel together for 10 days !  It's all good.  I too want to be together with her always.

a little Hello Kitty birthday party

Months and weeks before her birthday, Bee talks about what kind of party she wants.  Then one night, she declared she wanted a Hello Kitty birthday.  It really threw me off as she's been into Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom, My Little Pony and Paw Patrol.  Lovebug seconded the Hello Kitty theme as she think it's Hello Kadie !!!  At 2, she has very little opinion :) she's just happy to have a party !

We're having a joint party for the girls.  I think this is the last time we can have it together because Bee is very specific that she will share this year but would like her own next year.  I sent out a 'save the date' in advance and C decided to have just an all-kids party !  I think our parents and siblings are happy to be excluded !!!  Bee is very excited for her friends to see her turning 5 !

Time passed so fast, I can't believe Bee is heading into kindergarten this year.  She's grown into such a sweet and thoughtful kid.  Always ready to help, always ready to cheer me on and always there to tell me how much she loves me.  She's easy to please, hyper at times, and cautious of things.  Bee has an inquiring mind hence she likes to question everything.  From her constant "why" questions, Bee acquired a lot of info. on a lot of things.  Recently her new thing is trying to be more "brave", as in trying new food and trying to say "hi" to people.  She still haven't worked up the courage to do the calendar at pre-school yet.

Bee is quiet in public unlike her rambunctious sister.  When out at playground or at friend's house, Bee is always there to remind Love to stay close or not to wander too far or run out of sight.  Bee is such a caring sister.  Seeing her grow has been a really joy for me.  

As for Love, she's been talking a lot more.  She loves to sing to Frozen's Let It Go, although it's hard to understand what she's singing but the tune is there :-)  She's learning her ABC and Blah Blah Black Sheep !  Love also learn about time-out this year :-(  She discovered her voice and her volume is always on LOUD.  She's funny and silly and not afraid to tell us how she feels all the time ! I love seeing more and more of her personality.

During the week of the party, at one of my lunch break, I rushed out to Michael to see what they have and since paper are on sale, I bought a few.  That night Bee and I started working on the birthday flags.  I remember I have a stack of white tissue papers so I thought, white pom pom balls are what we will have hanging from ceiling ! that should complete the room decor.  Super cheap and easy.   Next are the food and dessert menu which I got Bee to assist.  She recently ate spring rolls so she suggested I make spring rolls for friends.  We, mainly me, vetoed the final food plan (all vietnamese dishes).  We have about 4 days to get all the food and decor together.  1 1/2 day to prep, cook and bake.

The night before the party, hubby and I put up all the decorations and lay out all the dishes.  Next morning, Bee woke up to a fully decorated room, minus the food, and she said "my birthday party ! so pretty !" and hugged me (hubby sleeping).  I like that she liked what she saw.  Although,  if I just have a few balloons blown up she's happy with it too.  I find kids are happy with anything we do for them.  The decor is more me !  I just have a lot of ideas and the night before they all just blow up in epic proportion so the end result is usually nothing like what I had in mind.

I must say though, my cheapness in wanting to use my stash of white tissue paper and white table cloth made the dessert table kinda "weddingish".  I managed to find some old pink pom pom balls to break up the white.  But all these decor cost me less than $5 !  Can't beat that !

Our girls had so much fun with their friends and that's all parents can hope for.  They enjoyed themselves, they laughed, they cried over toys, they played, they hugged.  They love having friends over.  And of course easy access to candies always make everything better.

Here are some pictures !  If you're planning a Hello Kitty party I hope these will give you some ideas.


How to make tissue paper pom pom balls
Easy homemade cupcake frosting

These were a HIT !!!  kids and adults love them.  How to ?  Follow recipe on Rice Krispies' box,
packed into a rectangular baking pan, when cooled, cut into square, stick in a cleaned/dried popsicle
stick, and then drizzle the front with melted white chocolate and pink sugar.  These went fast !

I had some left over papers from the flags so I made pinwheels with them !  

Bee's friends from the Texas came !  It was such perfect timing as they were in town for some other business and can come to the party.  It was a nice surprise for all of us.  Bee was a very happy girl.  The kids stayed up pass 1 AM playing and laughing !  No one wants it to end but us parents were all very very tired !

Bee and Lovebug were up at 7 am next morning then went back to sleep, C lost his voice and I was sleep-deprived !  But by noon we regained some strength for some more post party fun :-)

The after picture of the dessert table, when all the toys moved in!


1. Lacking conscious awareness; unmindful:

I discovered long ago that I'm oblivious to snide remarks, cruel intentions or disdainful/condescending comments.  They all just flew by, above my head :)  without touching me !  People would say means words to me and I wouldn't know it, and instead, I'm sure, I increase their dislike for me by returning with a smile or keep on talking as if we're friends.  I just genuinely like people and I don't care so much about what they think about me.  I like them because I just do.  People can go on hating me and I would have no clue.  Friends would say to me "I can't believe she said/did that !" and I would be like "what ?  what's wrong with what she said ?".  Should people feel the need to be rude or mean, I'm sure they must have reasons for it.  I'm pretty sure we misunderstood each other some how and we will come around to talk about it.  If not, it's ok too.  It does no damage to me.  As my mom would say, "water off the duck" !  I might be living in denial here but it has contributed to a very free life, non stressful life, for me.  I live how I want to live, above all criticisms !  

I must point out though, that while I like people and like getting to know people, it doesn't mean I that I condone everything.  I like people to play nice to each other too.  If I have to roll up my sleeves and jump in to defend what's right and true, I would. 

flashback: party in 1993

Sick at home so I dug out my treasure box of old mementos and diary entries of my high school years.  An embarrassing memory came to mind and thought I share.

Summer 1993

It's been a good couple of weeks.  I felt like Collin and I bonded a lot over the summer.  My heart flutters whenever he's in sight.  But now there's also this annoying habit of mirroring his feeling.  If he's happy I am too, if he frustrated or sad, I followed.  I hate it actually.  I am my own person but why am I affected by him ?  It seems though, we got like a "thing" going, as in we like each other, no, no words were exchanged but I think when someone gives you so much attentions it means they like you right ?  I really don't know :-/   Maybe it's just a summer crush, it'll be over before I know it.

I'm going to be in grade 8 this year.  I'm super duper excited I couldn't sleep, I can't keep all these anticipations inside much longer.  School start already !  I know I am a bit hyper, ok, really hyper.  I skip when I walk and I laugh like A LOT, over anything and everything.  I need to control myself.  I often forget to.  I don't have a good laugh, this I know.  I possess an annoying one in fact, the kind of laugh where it begins with a hearty laugh then ends with a whizzle because I am gasping for air.  People would laugh at my laugh and say it's cute but I feel other wise.  I really don't like "cute".  

Night followed by morning and next thing I know, summer ended along my obsession with Spin Doctors' "Two Princes" and school started.  High school was mind boggling, terrifying and exciting all at the same time.  JH was a huge school with so many Asians !  I was like one of 5 in my elementary school.   I tried to make friends but many already have their groupies from before.  Lucky for me, 2 girls, B and C asked me to hang out with them and we became fast friends.  

One beautiful autumn day, the weather was cool, the sun was high, a perfect day, when a popular girl in school, CC, invited me to her birthday party.  Wow, this is going to be AMAZing !!!  while my 2 friends weren't too thrill with that news at all (they weren't invited).  They made fun of the "cool" kids, teased the heck out of me, but then was nice enough to offer to help me with the birthday gift.  I was so happy and relieved as I have no idea what to buy !  this is my first high school birthday party.  It's kinda big deal.  

Day of the party, the girls and I went to San Francisco Gifts and I let them put together a little gift bag for CC while I pick out a card.   I don't know what they picked but saw a set earrings and a bunch of little colorful stuff.  I didn't pay attention and asked the sales girl to put all into a gift bag for me, I'm sure they're good.

That evening, I wore my cherry blossoms print ruffle shirt with white pants, pulled my hair up high into a pony tail and walked over to CC's house.  So many people were there already and I was greeted by a cute boy who looks like Vanilla Ice !  

I only recognized 1 or 2 familiar faces amongst the crowd so I kept myself busy by flopping right in front of the TV ! What was I thinking ? going to a party where I barely know the girl and her friends :-/  My boldness surprise me some time.  The boy who greeted me at the door came over to keep me company and checked up on me every so often after.  I was very thankful for him.  

Just when I was about get up and take my leave, it was open-presents time.  We all gathered to one side of the room while the birthday girl CC took centre stage surrounded by her parents.  There were many presents, there're music cassettes, cash gifts, amongst other stuff.  Then there's my little cute bag !  I can't wait to see what's in it and her reaction.

CC pulled out a Lets Party earrings, smiles, then she pulled out something else, candies ?  I can't remember.  Then last in the bag, out came packets of CONDOMS, many of them, colorful flavoured ones (someone said out loud).  The room went silent and it also feels like everyone stopped breathing.  CC doesn't look impress and I'm sure her parents aren't either.  I sat there not understanding what is going on.  But I got a feeling something isn't good because the person in front of me cringed and whispered "who bought that?".  I was about to opened my mouth but then decided against it.  I'm just going to shut up.
The party carried on after that unfortunate event, allowing me to quickly say my thanks and goodbyes and on my way out.  I don't get why condom balloons are so offensive ?  They're just balloons...I mean, maybe we're too old for it but there's no need for the over reactions right ?  I don't understand.  I don't get high school at all.

Growing up in Vietnam, condom were sold as balloons and only rich kids can afford them.  I begged my mom to buy for me and she bought it for me only once.  Wet sticky balloons that can blow up so big without popping, unlike the Vietnam made ones, too much air into the balloon and it will POP !  The elders would watch us blow them up and comment on how everything is better in the west, even balloons.  They say, just look at the quality, so thin but so durable.  Too bad it didn't come in colours.
It took many MANY months until I found out what those western "balloon" is (from Degrassi High) and was horrified upon the discovery, thinking back to the party.  My girlfriends weren't very nice :(  that's a mean prank/joke.  One of my first and sadly, not last, embarrassing moment of my high school year.


After thoughts:  I came to Canada when I was about to turn 10.  The time between 10 and 13, I was playing catch up with my would-be childhood: playing with Barbie dolls, Trolls, begging my mom to buy me a Cabbage Patch doll (she never give in) and enjoying my new found freedom to wear running shoes.  Girls were discouraged (not allowed) to wear runners in Vietnam then, as they are for the boys.  How things changed so much since then.  If Google existed then it would help me out a lot !  it would save me from so many disasters.

precious moments : miss Bee

Bee has an inquiring mind and has very good analytical skills.  Sometime I forget she's a big 4 1/2 year old kid !  I find myself most days still talk "simple language" to her :-/  It's hard to change it up as I do have a toddler too.  Bee and I talk often, on our walk home from preschool, when we're getting ready for bed, during dinner, after dinner, while we play games, in the car, at the mall, while she's on the loo, at the playground, on the train, pretty much every where !  Here are some exchanges between Bee and I:

Bee:  Why there are holes in the ground mama ?
Me:  It's to stop the water from forming on the ground !
Bee (paused and examining the "hole"):  I think it's to stop flooding !  so there's no water on the street !

Bee:  There're so many cars on the street (she pointed out as we were inside a restaurant overlooking a busy street)
Me:  They look like a long winding train right ?
Bee:  No it's not !  I think this is called Traffic !  When there're too many cars on the street it's called Traffic you know ?

Bee:  I can speak chinese mama ! "sheh xay xi xao" !
Me:  That's not chinese !
Bee:  Yes it is, you sounds like that when you talk to grandma.
Me:  We speak VIETNAMESE, not chinese honey !

Bee:  I like lying mommy !
Me:  Why ?  lying isn't nice honey.  What if mommy lie and tell you we're going somewhere but we're not ?  that doesn't make you feel good right ?
Bee:  No I don't like that.  But but I lied to you a long time ago. When daddy asked who let me down the stairs and I told him you did, but you DIDN'T.  I like joking like that.  But I like the sound of the word "lying"

We spend the whole evening discussing this topic with her !!!  She settled with "joking" as "lying hurts people".  Joking is intended to make someone laugh.  But both are not the "truth"....It's hard to explain as she can't fathom the full meaning, but we did anyways, We hope she understood it, even just a bit !

While driving to grocery store, Bee asked "how many money until we can go on vacation ?"
Hubby:  We need to save up X dollars !  
Bee (frustrated): "THEN WHY ARE WE GOING SHOPPING ? We're giving our money away!!!!"

Bee really likes to pray for dinner.  She would take time to pray for "Jesus keep everyone healthy, and strong".  Yesterday, she over heard us talking about the fire at Port of Vancouver, so during dinner, she spent so much time praying for the fire fighters, the fire, the smoke, the water to stop the fire !!!  we were so hungry but her prayer was thoughtful so we sat through it until the very end.  

Nowadays, while I make dinner, Bee would ask to help me by setting up the table.  She would bring out the mat, chopsticks, forks, spoons, and I would give her bowls to set on each mat.  She's so helpful !  I like the additional help a lot.  I can't wait to cook together with her.

life experiences: honesty

Not all decisions are good decisions and not all decisions are bad either.  Only the outcome can help us see if the route we took paid off in the end or if it left us high and dry.  Few decisions are obvious, jaywalking across a busy street = bad idea, speeding to make a green light, etc.  Yet even we know it's a bad idea, we do it all the time.  I do it all the time.  Why do we think we're the excluded one ?  That we're invincible ?  only to look back in horror and thought, what did I just do ?  how stupid.

Unless we're in the other's person shoes, going through their circumstances, experiencing what they're experiencing their whole lives, only then we can fully understand the "whys".  While it's easy for me to say "well that's selfish", I can look back at my life and list out all the decisions I made that are purely driven to benefit me.  Aren't we then the same ?  We must not judge others but instead offer to listen and when asked, offer up thoughtful words.  Perhaps asking questions to help our friends sort out their thoughts and feelings.  We can never fully understand why people do the things they do, but we must not stop trying.  During the "trying" phrase will understand ourselves more and it a way help us see things a bit clearly.  We know our friends best.  When something is out of the norm for them, probe, ask questions, listen to what they're really saying, listen for their intent.  While we respect their decisions, don't be afraid to ask them questions about it, and always keep the communication channel open.  Be honest with our friends.

When one of my girlfriend has a really bad thoughts, I went ballistic because I know this is her emotional taking center stage here, she's a very sound person, this is so off grid.  She went into hiding as she doesn't want to talk to anyone.  I called her work place and told whoever that picked up her phone to tell her to call me right away.  It felt like I have minutes to talk some sense into her.  If she didn't call me back that morning, plan B was to charge into her workplace.  I was shaking and crying at work because she's about to make a very bad decision.

Long story short, I'm glad I went the distance for it.  I would regret it so much if I didn't.  Sometime supporting a friend doesn't mean we sit back and say go ahead.  I don't want friend that doesn't question my decision, especially when it goes against what I believe all along.  I want friend that care enough to tell me the brutal truth, to call me out, to make me think twice, like saying "No, this isn't you, remember you said this and this and you want this and this".  And I want to be that friend to my friend.  What's friendship with out honesty right ?  Anyways, my friend choose not to go forward with her plan which allows me to exhale and sleep that day !  It was the most stressful and frustrating day ever but it has a good ending so all it all, I thank God it ended well.  And my friend is now happy and that's most important.