Family · Uncategorized

Today

This morning..was just what I needed. It’s been a rather trying month and I feel like things have been coming at us nonstop. This fort building, noodle eating, cookie baking morning was exactly what I (or maybe what all of us) needed.

It’s a bit tricky with a baby in the mix..who bursts into fits of giggles every time he manages to wreck their “fort”.

And lunchtime. This mama decided to throw all the veggies in the noodle stir fry last night in attempts to help her kids eat healthier. But instead, 3 out of the 5 kids just opted to not eat. 😒🤦🏻‍♀️ Next plan: blend all veggies and stick them in the sauce. But until then, they settled for msg filled yummy Thai street food noodle soup. 🍜

Took about 2 mins for me to figure out that soup noodles = very messy soupy mess = extremely happy toddlers.

And to top it all off..making the hubby’s favorite cookies. Any guesses to what that is? It involves cinnamon. And sugar. Lots of sugar 😳😆

And to top of all off..this girl grabbed the broom and dustpan and started “cleaning”.

We sure don’t have perfect mornings every day, not even close…but I’ll take them when they come. 💛

Happy Wednesday everyone! ☺️

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Soccer Sunshine ☀️

“Play like a Girl.”

That’s the shirt Summer chose to wear today for her first day of soccer. That, and little pink shorts, and higher-than-normal socks that just had to cover her knees so she could protect them.

Soccer is her favorite sport. She has never played soccer before, but it apparently is her favorite. She’s been talking about playing for awhile, and when an after school soccer clinic opened up for little ones, she jumped at the chance to join.

Summer has always been..like her name. She’s a ray of sunshine, excited about every little thing (and I mean…every little thing) and her smile can light up a room. Heck, it could light up the world. She has the kindest, sweet spirit and wears her feelings and heart of gold on her sleeve. She’s not perfect of course, but I believe that angels exist and that she’s one of them.

So back to soccer.

There are only two girls in this class of boys, one of them her older brother, and the only other girl was two grades older than her. And of course, like always, she was the smallest on the team, in age and in size.

But that didn’t stop her from playing her heart out. That didn’t stop her from playing like a girl.

She dribbled, she shot, she ran..all with a bright smile on her face. She did get a bit distracted at one point and was over by the windows gazing out and balancing on her ball, but her big brother made sure that she got back on track real fast. 😆

She got so dirty and sweaty (hello, Bangkok heat) and had so. much. fun! She even took care of the rest of the team and held up the net when they were cleaning up so they could all drop the balls in.

I was proud of this little one today. Because she smiles, no matter what task is before her. Because she loves life and people and people, in turn, love her. Because she is my sunshine.

Never stop, my darling. Keep playing like a girl. 💕

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Test day

So my 7 year old, Mooki, came home the other day pretty upset because he had failed his Thai listening test.

Now..we are not Thai (I know enough basic Thai to get around..but nothing fancy) and neither did I know about the test. So when the email came through from his Thai teacher saying that he had failed and needed to be retested two days later, he was pretty upset.

We studied, as much as we could, and asked our awesome Thai helper, who is like family, to help us sound some words out. We studied a bunch that night and the next, and also when he woke up this morning.

Now Mooki is in 2nd grade so by this time, he’s had tests and quizzes but because this test was in Thai (and probably because he’s never failed anything before) he was having a bit of a meltdown, which is pretty rare for him.

Our conversation went a bit like this.

Mooki: “I wish I could just write everything down on a piece of paper and bring it in when I take the test so I can look at the answers.”

Me: “But you can’t..that would be cheating.”

Mooki: “What?? Why??”

Me: “Because the whole point of studying is so you remember everything you went over and can reproduce it on a test.”

Mooki: “But I’m going to FAILLLLL….”

*cue tears. Lots and lots of tears.

Poor kid was so worried about it that he woke up this morning so worried that our helper worked with him again before we left for school.

I briefly mentioned that he was worried about his test to his home room teacher when I dropped him off because you could read the worry all over his face. I had little moments of “man I wish I could be there for him more” throughout today but I knew there wasn’t anything I could really do. We always tell our kids that we would be proud of them no matter what grades they got, so long as they’ve tried their best and I knew he had.

At the very end of the school day, right before the kids walked in from school, I got an email saying that he did exceptionally well and not only passed his Thai retest, but got a high score! His teacher had also emailed me and has said that she had taken him aside and prayed with him before his class and she was so sweet with him throughout the day. (Thank God for teachers that invest and care! ❤️)

I’m so thankful that Mooki got to see his hard work come to fruit, and that it was such a little thing, but it meant a lot to him. Hopefully he will learn to treat all of life this way – to always work hard and to try his best…even when he’s not in a country where he speaks the native language.

I know being American Chinese will have its own struggles and joys, as I and I know many others have gone through quite the journey to be proud of who we are and to find our identity. I know my littles will have to do the same, and I’ll try by darnest to be there for them every step of the way, but I’m trusting God to place people in their lives to be there when I can’t, to love on them when I’m not there, and to support them and be their community when family is a bit too far away. 💕

Family

Arianna Mystery

If there’s ever been a girl that unapologetically marches to the best of her own drum, it’s our middle child, Mystery.

Today is her 4th birthday, and we were trying to figure out how to properly celebrate her without overwhelming her. Ever since she was little (well, little-er) she’s had a tiny, tiny circle of trust and hates any kind of attention drawn to her.

She actually burst into tears when our family sang happy birthday to her last year. To give you an idea of the extend of which she hates being singled out, even when it’s in the best of ways.

So I used to want to fit in wherever I went. I never wanted to draw unnecessary attention to myself or my family. That was fine when we had one kid. And even ok when we had two. Three was a little harder, but still manageable, but 4…and now 5?! Forget it. The fact that we have 5 kids, and my husband is white as can be, from Boston and 6 feet tall, and all my kids are mixed..the way people stare at us when we come through..you would think that the circus was in town. And it sure feels that way sometimes!

Thai people adore kids, and that’s one of the things I love about Thailand. They’re so kind to them and often go out of their way to make sure they’re taken care of. (Eg: tonight at dinner, when a waitress literally stood next to my two year old and wiped his face while he was slurping down his noodles) People are always drawn to kids here, especially ones that look more westernized, and my kids get their fair share of attention, but there’s something about Mystery that people are drawn to more than the rest.

But then she lives up to her name and completely ignores any kind of attention thrown her way and keeps walking without a care in the world. 🤦🏻‍♀️ (still working on our manners)

Anyway, we decided to go out with a friend this morning that she loves, and she got to pick out a dress (pretty much the only thing she will wear these days) and got a little cupcake and went to play on the playground. *Side note: Bangkok is probably the most kid friendly city in the world and they have these awesome malls with multiple free indoor playgrounds and also #Starbucks, so mommies are happy and so are the kiddos.* ☕️

Then we came home and rested for a bit and she got to choose whatever she wanted for dinner, and of course my little mixed baby wanted noodles. 🍜 So off we went and had some ice cream to finish off the night.

The people at the ice cream store even sang happy birthday to her, and there were no tears, so she’s done some major growing this past year! 🙌🏼

Hooray for 4!

Family

Lunchtime

So on a typical Saturday, my pretty awesome hubby lets me sleep in while he gets up early with the kiddos. It doesn’t hurt that there was a Patriots game going on this morning so I’m not sure if it was too much of a sacrifice. 😉

But come noon time, he laid down with Brady, our 2 year old, and was fast asleep within minutes. And as I put the baby down for his nap, I hear the puttering of 3 little pairs of feet..and the sure sound of…”Mama…I’m hungrrrryyyyyy.”

Now I don’t know about your kids, but when mine say those words..it’s always in a whiny – lets make it seem like I’m absolutely starving and have never been fed – kind of voice, coupled with their best big puppy dog brown eyes that are hoping for a snack.

Sandwiches just didn’t seem very appetizing to any of us today, so we put on our shoes, baseball caps (my little halfies burn so easily in the Thailand heat + sun!) and decided to walk down the street to see what was there.

We live in a “suburb”, if you will, in Bangkok, not in the heart of the city, and we have a little place under a parking garage where street vendors cook the most amazing food and serve smoothies, and bubble tea, and more…all for just a mere couple of (US) dollars!

Here’s some pictures from today. The kids decided on a big bowl of noodles with bbq pork, and I had one of my favorites, stir fried basil pork with rice. And we all shared some strawberry banana and lime smoothies.

With the amount of giggling that was happening (noodles are pretty exciting I guess) no food was being eaten. So being the perfect mama I am, one who is not above bribery, I told that they could have some ice cream if they finished their lunches quickly. And lo and behold! Noodles were slurped up and smoothies down in a matter of minutes. And sugar rush..here we come! The nice couple at our favorite smoothie stall, gave them some ice cream with some special treats on top.

All this food for under $10!

Lunchtime. Done. ☺️✔️

Family · Uncategorized

The Journey Begins

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Lewis Stevenson

Growing up, I always thought and hoped that I would get married to the man of my dreams, settle down in the suburbs somewhere with a big grassy front yard, in a neighborhood filled with friends, have a kid or two, and live happily ever after.

But life has a way of surprising you. I did get married to the man of my dreams, but we didn’t settle down in a nice little house in the suburbs, surrounded by childhood friends. Instead, we moved way across the world, where we knew no one, and had not one, not two, but FIVE kids.

Now, to back up a bit, my parents are from Hong Kong, but I, along with my brother were both born in America. My husband, G, is from America, born and bred in Boston. My family moved back  to Hong Kong when I was 7 years old, and because my Chinese was nowhere near good enough to get into a local school, I was enrolled in an American school. So by day, I was surrounded by fellow ABC’s and other Americans, and by night/ weekends, I would be with my parents and occasionally my many other Chinese relatives.

One thing that Chinese people like to do is to get together and eat. And when they eat, they talk. And because my brother and I went to an international school, we often were called things like, “bananas” – yellow on the outside and white on the inside. Or criticized because our Chinese wasn’t good enough, or we didn’t know all the proper way of navigating the Chinese culture and etiquette. Now, I love my family and all our 50+ (sometimes crazy) relatives, and most of them said these things, not out of spite, but to casually comment and make conversation, but fast forward 20 years later and these things still are fresh in my memory. I don’t recall my feelings ever really being hurt, or feeling inferior, but just, different. And when I graduated high school and went off to college in America, all the feelings came rushing back when I felt like the token Asian in the white American crowd, but too westernized to hang out with the Asian crowd.

Now fast forward to today. Today I am 30. Today I am neither in America, or Hong Kong, the two places where our families are. Today I am in Bangkok, Thailand, where I’ve made my own family. Our not so little family of 7. We don’t have a big grassy yard, or live in the suburbs, or have just one or two kids. We live in a townhouse, next to an amazing school that my husband teaches at and try to figure out, by the grace of God, how to navigate life with our 5 kids, ages 7, 5, 4, 2, and 11 months.

Some days are so crazy and I just want to hide under the the covers, away from little hands that always reach for you and little people who seem to have a bottomless pit for a stomach when it comes to snacks. But the other times, the moments when I just stop and look around, and can’t help but be oh so thankful, for this crazy, multi-cultured family of 7, and this amazing community here that we’ve found here in the heart of Thailand, somewhere we’d never thought we’d end up. As I said…life really does have a way of surprising you…sometimes in the very best of ways.

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