nhà có con gái

Hôm qua loay hoay muốn viết mà không có thời gian, đã để cái tựa là “linh tinh” mà cứ chạy quần quần nên linh tinh thì mãi linh tinh.

Buổi sáng hôm qua lúc đưa con đến trường trong đầu có sẳn một điều để viết, là tối trước thằng PP chọn đồ để sáng mặc, nó chọn cái áo sơ mi tay dài và quần jean xanh. Hỏi sao con chọn vậy thì nó nói đi dã ngoại (field trip) để xem vở kịch Những Cuộc Phiêu Lưu của Ngài Cóc (The Adventures of Mr. Toad) thì mình phải ăn mặc chỉnh tề, vì cha dạy là ấn tượng đầu tiên (first impression) rất quan trọng. Hỏi ổng vậy con muốn để lại ấn tượng cho ai, thì ổng trả lời, là đi vào nhà hát thì mình phải kính trọng những nghệ sĩ nên phải mặc vậy. Sáng đưa ổng đi học mà thấy ổng ăn mặc chỉnh tề nhìn như một người đàn ông, cảm thấy mình phải gần con thêm nữa, vì nó lớn nhanh quá rồi.

Mà đó, mai mốt ai lấy con tui là sướng nha, vì hai thằng con trai tui, tui dạy từ đây để mai mốt làm chồng cho người ta đó chị em ơi!

À, hôm qua chạy lòng vòng là lo đi chợ mua đồ về nấu ăn đón gia đình thằng em Út qua chơi. Mình mê là mê đứa cháu gái Teapot của mình đó. Có em bé dễ thương này tới chơi, chạy lòng vòng, rất nhí nhảnh, đại gia cứ thì thầm, làm thêm đứa nữa nha em. Ổng nói riết làm mình cũng rất động lòng, vì mình cũng thèm con gái lắm rồi.

Nói ra thì thèm thôi chứ thiệt ra là trứng già hết mẹ nó rồi, không ra hoa nở nụ gì được hết. Đành bó tay!

Chiều qua nấu một nồi canh chua cá Sturgeon (coi trên gú gồ thì gọi là Cá Tầm Long). Đi chợ muốn mua cua Dungeon về cho em ăn mà tiệm Á Châu gần nhà người ta bán hết rồi chưa có hàng mới. Thôi thì nấu canh chua, rồi kho một nồi gà kho nước dừa với trứng cho tụi nhỏ ăn.

Loay hoay vậy mà hết một ngày.

Sáng nay dắt em Teapot ra vườn sau chơi, em bước ra thấy cây chanh có trái nên xin hái. Cây chanh còn được hai trái chín mà em hái được mừng hớn hở. Trời ơi, tui mê con gái lắm nè!

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Shared wealth

I did a fun and age-appropriate presentation about Vietnamese New Year for the second grade today. The kids were enthusiastic about learning something new and engaging in the conversation we had about celebrating and showing appreciation for different cultures. This group of kids is already diverse and as I taught them something about Vietnamese culture, they taught me that kids are open-minded to learning the many ways that we are the same and yet different, and it’s perfectly okay to be different.

To make the presentation more exciting, I brought in bánh tét and other Tết goodies to showcase the food that we have for New Year. Some kids tried, some didn’t, some liked the taste, other didn’t. But I told that it was ok not to like the food, as long as they were willing to try. Not all food are the same and match the taste for everyone, but what didn’t taste good for one group of people could be a delicacy for other groups. And it’s okay!

The most exciting part of the presentation was to teach them how to say a Chúc Mừng Năm Mới (Happy New Year) and Lì Xì (red envelope with lucky money). I put a brand new dollar bill in each envelope and they were actually surprised upon seeing it when they opened the envelope.

And of all the stories I shared with them, they were fascinated by the Kitchen’s God and his journey to report our family affairs back to the Emperor of Heaven. When I asked if they were to have a Kitchen’s God in their home, what would he report back about their household affairs. Many hands were raised and they shared all kind of things about their family, mostly about having a new sibling or trips/vacations to fun places. Kids like folk tales like this and that’s how you can capture their attention so easily!

At the end of the presentation they had to do an art project of making a dragon head. And while they stay in their seat, I went around and let each tried on the áo dài that I bought for PP last year but he didn’t get a chance to wear it yet. I took photos of each kid to share with the parents. So far they all loved it!

Here is my kid in the traditional Vietnamese tunic.

Tự mình vui

Sáng ra đọc tam đọc tứ đọc nhầm một câu viết mà mình thấy buồn, cứ suy nghĩ miên mang, cảm thấy mình mẫn cảm quá. Rồi vài giờ sau tình cờ đọc/xem một đoạn video của một bé trai người ghi lại, mình thấy em bé trai mới 12 tuổi mà thật hoạt ngôn với những lời nói lời khuyên trong cuộc sống thật thông thái, đánh ngay vào cái cây kim mình đang tự cầm để chích vào lòng mình.

Thế là mình vì lời em ấy nói mà tự giải thoát, lấy tay cầm cuốn kim kéo ra, thả lỏng tâm tư cả buổi sáng, mở nhạc lên bay bổng theo lời hát. Lái xe đưa đại gia đi đến chổ mướn xe rồi trên đường về mình nhìn thấy hoa đào màu hường hường nở rộ đầy hai bên đường, mình cảm thấy yêu đời quá đổi, tại sao phải buồn phải hận phải suy tâm diễn tưởng. Vậy thôi!

Em trai 12 tuổi nói rằng, khi mình đem lời nói không hay của một ai đó vào người và cảm thấy phiền muộn hay tức ghét có nghĩa là mình đưa cho người ta cái joystick để người ta điều khiển tinh thần và tâm tư của mình. Em nói, tại sao phải làm vậy? Tại sao phải cho người ta cái quyền làm mình buồn bực phiền phức? Mình phải tự điều khiển joystick của mình chứ?

Mình già đầu tóc hai màu mà vẫn chưa tỉnh ngộ bằng một bé trai 12 tuổi. Mà tuổi nào cũng cần học hỏi để hoàn thiện cuộc sống hơn, phải không?

post-vacation detox

We took the 8:15 a.m. flight from Orange County back to SF Bay this morning. That way, when we get home, it’s still time to grab some breakfast, and we could plan our day in preparation for normal routine tomorrow.

The first few things I did when we got home was to make myself a full jar of orange-infused water to cleanse the over-indulgence on food consumption that I took upon myself during a few days of vacation.

We also made a trip to the Asian grocery in town to grab a chicken a two packages of fresh phở noodles so I can make chicken phở for dinner tonight. The weather has turned back to low 60s today, and all I could think of was a hot bowl of hearty phở. So, phở it is!—-

Photos from yesterday, our last day of Tết/Birthday vacation. I was going to write when we got back to the hotel, but too tired to finish the post.

Early in the morning we got up and had breakfast at one of our favorite eateries in Long Beach, a crepe cafe. Then we decided that we need to walk off the calories and the sun was beautiful, so why not go to the beach.

And so we did.

We found a parking on Main street of Seal Beach and took a leisure stroll to the pier. It was such a lovely day to see the ocean and waves. Having born and grown up in a coastal town, I am always drawn to the sea. This pier/beach is nothing near the ones I have been to in Hawaii, but for now, California coast is still lovely.

Then I met up with three of my long-time friends from my long-time support group of about 10 mamas with young children. It was a quick meeting since I had already made arrangement for dinner with my brother, but the hugs and embraces were deep and genuine.

We asked our kids to line up and one by one receiving lì lì (red envelope with good-fortune money!) One of the oldest kids among our children is now a junior in high school, and I remember not too long ago when our group first connected with each other, this kid was four-year old.

After a fun meeting, we then drove across town to meet with my brother and his significant other for dinner. My children love their uncle, and it’s a blessing! They even love their future aunt. It’s another blessing that Mr. O is like an elder brother to my brother. They get along quite well and enjoy each other company.

And that wrapped up our five-day four-night vacation to celebrate Tết and Mr. O’s 48th birthday. My kids have already asked about our next trip back to Southern California in March when they have their spring break.

P.S. Oh the irony! I was right in Little Saigon but didn’t get one single meal of Vietnamese food except for the quick bite of bánh mì that we had on our first afternoon there.

A full day

Today, Mr. O turns 48!

I met him when he was 33, and I, 26. That’s 15 years being together. At the beginning of our relationship, there were many people who thought we couldn’t last a year or two. Those skeptics, so far we have proven them wrong. We have had our shares of ups and downs, but more than anything, we are each other’s best friend.

Mr. O’s first time wearing, áo dài, the traditional Vietnamese outfit. He told me not to post the photo but I couldn’t help.

We spent the day in a very simple way — sleeping in, meeting one of our long-time friend, eating great Italian food, driving down the coast of California and enjoying the beautiful sunset. Except for meeting with our friend and sleeping in in the morning, the rest were just unplanned, including Mr. O’s urgent trip to an eye clinic to treat is swollen eye this morning.

I found a note that Peanut left for Mr. O this morning. The “Ps” are still backward.

Sunset in Laguna Beach. What a beautiful place! If Mr. O and I were to have money, and we need loads of it, we probably want to retire here in Laguna Beach. For now, unfortunately, we are a one-income family and can’t afford even a rental at this place.

I told Mr. O that whenever we come down to Orange County to visit my brother, we would have to make a mandatory trip down to Laguna Beach to see the sunset like this.

On the way back from a full fledge Italian dinner, we still have room for dessert. The kids love the macarons made by a French pastry chef.

P.S. Last night we spent just about an hour at the Tết Festival. We arrived pretty late so we didn’t truly experience much of it. I told Mr. O that we would come back again today but apparently the sunset at the beach took priority. Perhaps next year we will come down again to spend more time here.

The female MC in red is my future sister-in-law! Teaching the boys to pray during a Buddhist’s blessing ceremony for Tết. Peanut was not having the patience for many kowtows.