Happy birthday to my threenager!


Fei Fei at two days old (L) and almost three (R).

Our daughter’s third birthday is upon us soon, and I love celebrating her arrival into the world and our lives. I’m not much of a party person but we’re having a small gathering in her honor this weekend. She told me she wanted an alien-themed party which surprised me since all she ever sings or wants to watch is Paw Patrol. I returned the Paw Patrol party décor for solar system banners and found glow-in-the dark aliens to top her cake. I hope she feels as special as she is when she wakes up to aliens everywhere on Sunday! She’s our talkative, stubborn, curious, sing-out-loud three-year-old who rules this house with the pout of her lips. Fei Fei makes me laugh the hardest, love the deepest and can frustrate the hell out of me like no other. I can’t believe how fast three years of life has come and gone. My baby is a baby no more. Continue reading


Happy birthday to me!


Happy 3rd Birthday Mai! Pictured behind me is a homemade apricot blossom tree that my mom made for Lunar New Year. She used crepe paper to make yellow buds and taped yellow flowers to tree branches that she found outside. I’m named after the mai flower that blooms in South Vietnam every new year.  I’d also like to note the bangs that I cut myself when I somehow got my hands on scissors.

As a child, my family usually marked birthdays with homemade Duncan Hines yellow cake and chocolate frosting and a round of “Happy Birthday.” My Grandma always mailed each of us a card with birthday money that she signed “Lots of love, Grandma.” Sometimes our grandparents (who were church members that befriended my parents) would invite us over to their house for Little Caesar’s pizza and soda. I don’t remember presents (most likely because we couldn’t afford them), but my mouth still waters thinking about that greasy, hot pepperoni pizza and cake and ice cream.  Continue reading