a blessed new soul

My niece Teapot came to this world last night, weighing at 6 lbs 8 oz and 19 inches in length. She is my Mom’s 9th grandchild and the 4th 5th granddaughter. And as for me, I am her godmother; her parents have already asked me to take that role. She will call me “Má Năm” — as in mother, and Năm is my rank among our siblings. I am already in love with Teapot. Can someone please call 911 for me, because I really have a high baby fever that cannot go away anytime soon. :)

We took the boys to visit Teapot in the maternity ward today; they were so enamored by having a new “little sister.” In Vietnamese culture, we consider our cousins as siblings, and it’s normal for us to call each other as brother or sister. Hence, the boys have a brand new sister.

PP could not stop himself getting closer to Teapot, and giving her kisses. And Peanut, on the other hand, was a bit indifferent, a bit jealous of the attention that newborn baby girl was getting. I think it’s just a normal process for him to go through and will get over it.

Just a few photos of us :D

a day at the museum

We took the boys to The Bakken Museum on one of those nice mid-March “spring feel” days when the temperature was in the 60s. The museum is located right off the west shore of Lake Calhoun. I know this area very well because my high school is a few blocks away from the lake. It’s a place that filled with great memories of my late teens and early 20s.

Lake Calhoun, from the south shore looking north at downtown skyline. The water was still frozen, looking rather ugly, so I skipped it all and embraced the vast blue sky on that day.

As for the museum, the admission is free every second Saturday of the month, and donation is greatly appreciated. The museum is small, and housed in an English Tudor mansion with beautiful architecture style.

Here is a brief description of the museum.

A one-of-a-kind museum exploring the mysteries of our electrical world. Inspiring a passion for science and its potential for social good by helping people explore the history and nature of electricity and magnetism.

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the toddler, almost three

This toddler, still clings onto my arms, asking to be held.

Ẳm con, Mẹ, ẳm! he begged in Vietnamese.

He picks up a wide range of vocabulary in the last three months or so, and his verbal expressions have become more succinct. His most frequently used phrases are I don’t know, that’s funny and thank you. If he is sad, he would let me know, and if otherwise, he’d come and look at me in the eyes, I am happy, Mẹ and give me a wide smile.

He wants to follow PP to school, and would get ready with a bag, his drawing pad, and a box of crayons. The days that PP has classes, he wanted to stay as well. It’s a struggle to get him back to the car every time.

I love an endearing conversation that we usually have using Vietnamese, and it’s usually brief, but touches all corners of my heart.

Me: Khalam, con thương ai? (Khalam, who do you love?)
Him: Con thương Mẹ. (I love Mommy!)
Me: Con thương Mẹ con để đâu? (Where do you put my love?)
Him: Chim. (Bird.)

For the non-Vietnamese, the answer is “Tim” which is “heart” but since his lip sounds for the “T” consonant has yet emerged, he uses the “Ch”. Well, there is a pun in this answer, as “chim” is also a colloquial second-tier term that indicates a person’s groin region.

the 25th year

Spring has finally arrived. I feel rejuvenated, even though the weather has fallen back to a chilly temperature range.

At our Sunday gathering tomorrow, my siblings and I will again reminisce about our early days arriving to Minnesota 25 years ago, fresh off the planes and into the whirlwind of new lives in America.

A quarter of a century in America, we are becoming Americans, slice by slice, with a Vietnamese core.

O left very early yesterday for his flight to Boston and eventually a three-hour drive to Vermont to visit his American Mom, the woman who is responsible for O’s cultural learning and success. They met just a few short years after O settled in America. She provides emotional support and guidance, more than what his mom has given him in his entire life. In O’s heart, she is the true mom that he has been fortunate to have.

Her days are numbered, and this might be their last meeting. O told me that she has physically become frail and weak, but her mind is still sharp and clear. She has been staying in a living community for elders where we visited her two years ago during our last trip to Boston. It’s a serene place of the beautiful Vermont, but not too far from Dartmouth College where her daughter lives. That woman has great children, who all have taken breaks from their work to be with her during this crucial time.

Death frightens me, even though I know it’s an inevitable outcome that is expected for all of us. Still, knowing that a loved one will soon depart from this place is unsettling.

Anyway, O is now back in Boston, and hanging out with my friends in the North End. He flies back to us tomorrow.

nature walk in the woods

There is an underdeveloped park/walking trail right in our neighborhood and a block from our home. I hesitate taking the boys there just because to get there we have to cross a very busy street with no pedestrian crosswalk. The only safer way was to drive three blocks to the other side of the trail. Today, I did that; I drove three blocks to take a nature walk with the boys.

We took advantage of the warm hour when the temperature reached 50F around 3 p.m., after I picked up PP from preschool. I told the boys that we could do bird watching, and treasure-hunting of nature’s finest. Their agreed to my suggestion, and off we went.

It was cloudy and a bit chilly, but we received a few rays of sunlight along the trail. I also brought along some string cheese and two small bags of dried cranberries for snacks.

An hour of walk did wonder to their bedtime. Actually Peanut was dozing off while eating his dinner.

The sun was still high, casting strong shadows. It’s very monotone all around because the weather is not warm enough to herald green buds to appear just yet. I am hoping in a month or so, the scenery will be very different, and more colorful.

Seriously, outside of this park is a very busy street with thousands of cars passing by each day, and four blocks north is a major highway. Who would have thought such serenity exists in the middle of the bustling metropolitan area? One more reason to love America!

I love textures, and appreciate what nature gives us. I wish I have a macro lens to get more details of these textures. :D

That’s it. We will come back again for another walk. The temperature will be in the 60s tomorrow. It would be an ideal weather for the boys to run and burn their energy.