Friday, January 27, 2012

Year of the Dragon

Vietnamese New Year's was on January 23 this year.  It's the Year of the Dragon.  Both Jason and I are dragons- supposedly, dragons are symbols of good fortune.  People born in Dragon years are to be honored and respected.  Dragons are known to be innovative, enterprising, flexible, self-assured, brave, passionate, conceited, tactless, scrutinizing, unanticipated, and quick-tempered.  Hmmm... Which ones describe me and which ones describe Jason?! Hahaha

Since our family has been soooo busy, we ended up ringing in the new year with a pretty low-key celebration.  We knew we wouldn't be able to celebrate on the actual day since it was a school night, so we went out for Vietnamese food over the weekend.  Over the years, we have typically gotten a rice dish for the kids to share, but more recently, Grace has started ordering her own pho (Vietnamse noodle soup). 

Grace has gotten pretty good at using chopsticks!
Jeremy with his yummy rice dish.
Happy New Year- Chuc Mung Nam Moi!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Our Annual Gift Exchange with the Wienses

We started a rather different type of gift-giving tradition with our friends, Aaron and Christa, a few years ago.  Here are this year's "treasures!"

The rules: the whole point is to give something that is unusual- the tackier, the better, has to be less than $10 and it has to be displayed all year!  Who do you think won?!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Welcome to 2012

2012 started three weeks ago and I'm only now blogging... Yikes, I wonder if that's any indication of what this new year will be like- crazy busy! 

Ok, first things first...  I need to back up and recap our 2011 holiday season (this is for my memory's sake).

Jason and I were so disappointed to find out that our districts' Winter Breaks would not match up this year.  We decided to stay close at home this year instead of going out-of-town for vacation like we have in years past.  It turned out to be a good choice- it has been so nice to relax and take it easy!  

Christmas Eve
Summary:  Since I didn't really grow up with Christmas traditions, it was really important to me when Jason and I got married that we created some for our family.  I love our Christmas Eve!  For the past few years, we've had the same delicious meal (that is only prepared on Christmas Eve), we've gone to our church's candlelight service, we've read the Christmas story together (the kids reenact it with our Fisher Price nativity set), we enjoy cookies and sip hot chocolate while opening gifts, and we give the kids only 3 gifts (something they read, something they'd like, and something they need).  It has also been very special to have Jason's mom join us for the past few years.
Special Memory:  Every year, Jason and I have intentionally chosen to only give our kids 3 gifts because we don't want the focus to be on receiving gifts- we don't want to overspend and get hooked into all the commercialism.  How ironic that this year, the one thing I worried about was whether or not our kids would be completely disappointed when they opened up their gifts.  What ended up happening was a lesson I hope I will never forget.  In addition to getting us small gifts with her own money, Grace excitedly gave us one final present to open.  It was small and flat, but she had still wrapped it.  Inside was a sweet, thoughtful letter she had written thanking us for all kinds of things, and she wrote about how much she loved us.  I cried as I read it- she clearly understood what Christmas and gift-giving is all about: LOVE.  What a gift she gave us!  I am so grateful for such a tender-hearted daughter who consistently reminds me of what is important in life.

Christmas Day        
Summary:  The kids were so excited to see what "Santa" had left them in their stockings (when Santa comes to our house, he only fills stockings).  We ate a fantastic breakfast before heading to church, and then we headed up to Jason's mom's home for his family's Christmas.  It was a wonderful day- we ate delicious food, the grownups talked, the kids played, we opened up gifts, and even played ping pong (for the record, Jason and I beat Jen and Dan).  Jason's family was once again, incredibly generous and we left with many blessings.
Special Memory:  It was neat that Christmas was on a Sunday this year and we're glad that we were able to join our church family on this special morning. Jeremy insisted on wearing his superhero cape that Santa left in his stocking (he's been completely fascinated by superheroes in the last few months, learning about them from his friends at daycare).  During the service, the children were invited to go to the front for a special children's feature.  Grace held Jeremy's hand and they went up.  He got a lot of attention for wearing his cape and mask!  Our pastor asked the kids what they got for Christmas, and surprisingly, our usually-bashful Jeremy shared into the microphone about his cape and mask.  It was so funny... and pretty darn cute!

New Year's Eve/Day
Summary: For years, we've spent New Year's Eve with the same group of friends- the Wiens, Lee, and Co families.  The Cos spend every other year in L.A., so this year, it was only our 3 families.  Like last year, we headed up to our family's cabin at Shaver Lake and spent the whole weekend there.   Unlike last year when we practically got snowed in, there was only a few patches of snow here and there.  We found other ways to spend our time- it was fun to hang out, play games, eat, go for a walk, play outside, and watch movies/football... On New Year's Eve, the guys did their usual beer testing (blind taste test this year), and the girls did our usual gabbing.  Fun memories!
Special Memory: The whole weekend was enjoyable- we value spending time with good friends!  I must say though, that we sure missed the snow!  

I wonder what God has in store for our family this year... Hopefully, it'll include many more special memories of valuable time with family and friends!