Thursday, February 23, 2012


Mr. Lo says things that just make me smile every day. His talking has taken on a whole new level of fluency over the past couple months.

"I be so scared!" tone of voice: delighted (when we read the book, There's A Nightmare in my Closet."
"I leave this water for you, Uncle David!" tone of voice: ridiculously proud as he handed a glass of ice water to Uncle David. Lo had filled the glass a half hour prior, anticipating David's return home.
"Run away Mommy!" Tone of voice: alarmed. Spoken when he walked into the room and saw my mom cutting my hair.
"I like your new haircut, Mommy." Tone of voice: charming gentleman. Spoken the day after the prior comment.
"One minute, Lyla--I go have a diaper change." Tone of voice: friendly explanation. Spoken to an 18-month-old toddler friend at playgroup. When he returned from the diaper change, he announced graciously to the group, "I change my diaper." Let the playtime resume. :)
"No Daddy, I don't want that piece--you go ahead and eat it." Jerry and I marveled at how colloquial it is to say " go ahead." Tone of voice: polite. Spoken when Jerry was about to hand Lo a piece of apple that had the peel still attached.
"This one has your name on it!" Tone of voice: excited-happy. Spoken while feeding a spoonful of cereal to Grandpa.

Sometime I'll have to document the way he says words--mispronounciations and such. Because here I've only recorded grammar and phrasing and such. Seriously though, how can anybody say 2 years old is terrible?? Having a walking, talking knee-high comedian in our home is WAY more fun than a newborn. =)

Monday, February 20, 2012


Last night we had my uncle and aunt stop over to chat, 2 nights ago we attended my cousin's wedding reception, and a few days before that, I stopped by Grandma & Grandpa Swain's home for a spontaneous visit. The past week is no anomaly--Jerry and I have been LOVING the frequent, casual family connections we get while living in this area. A couple weeks ago, my favorite cousin Lance and his wife Kirsten invited us to their home for dinner. They have the most darling brood of children. Lo Lo was all smiles running around with these kids. And Lance is the best chef ever...more to come on what we ate. ;)
We had to make a visit out in their yard as soon as we arrived, because baby LAMBS had been born just a couple hours prior.
The lambs are a "hairy" rather than "wooly" variety, so they were covered with a soft downy fuzz that glowed in the sunset.
Their little tails waggled as they nursed. And there weren't just lambs, but this little backyard farm has poultry as well...
Lo was proud to get to carry around some freshly gathered eggs.
And this turkey kept strutting and gobbling the whole time we were out there.
Okay, so now I can confess what we ate for dinner: LAMB! It was a little tricky getting my mind to forget about the darling newborn lammies we'd just seen frolicking in the yard, but that mutton tasted awesome. =)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chinese New Year

We had a fantastic Valentine's Day, full of sweetness, love and celebration--but there are not any photos to share so I'll just move along and report on our Chinese New Year Celebrations. By the way, as a brief addendum to that last post, I just wanted to note that we are attempting to shield Mr. Lo from hearing any negatives about his heritage simply because he is so young. When he is older we can discuss the complexities of human rights and obligations. =)Anyway, back to Chinese New Year--Year of the Dragon! Boise State University Chinese Club put together a huge dinner/show and invited the whole community. Which meant there were more non-Chinese than Chinese present, but oh well. (we had been hoping Lo could interact with some Chinese kids there but couldn't find a table to sit at with any of those sort).
Traditionally, kids will wear a new item of clothing for the new year. We were feeling cheap and didn't buy any new clothes but here is Lo's newest shirt he got a couple months ago in Canada. It isn't the right nationality for this event, but the color red is lucky so it seemed fine to us!
Another tradition of the New Year is red pockets--little red envelopes filled with money. The kids collect them from relatives, friends, strangers even. And they put them under their pillows, though I'm not clear on why they do that part. Lo was excited to put his under his pillow, and in the morning I asked him, "What is under your pillow?" as a reminder; he enthusiastically leaped to uncover his red pocket. By the way, he is actually asleep in that photo above. We thought it was so cute he fell asleep with his bum in the air. And since this photo was taken, we've done a little more organizing in the bedroom so it isn't currently that ghastly on the desk area by the way.

Here he is receiving the red pocket from Jerry. Lo had just gotten out of the bath and Jerry had just come home from school. Lo was more excited than it shows in the photo. We got cute video of him saying "Gong Xi Fa Cai" and "Money! I buy toys!" but it takes too long to upload the videos so just take my word for it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

China Pride

Wandering through the shopping mall during the holiday season a month or so ago, a man at a kiosk hollered out to me, "come check out our scarves and hats--I promise none of them are made in CHINA!" His tone and facial expression held palpable disgust as he referenced China. I laughed back at him, "you picked the wrong line to get my attention--my husband is Chinese." And then I kept walking, pondering. If my child were old enough to understand what that salesperson said, I would not have laughed. Actually, perhaps Lo IS old enough to be affected (kids this age are sponges, with particular deftness in reading emotions), in which case I feel a bit more bothered that I did not inform that man of my intentions to raise my child with a bi cultural personality and ask him to please be more sensitive and stop sabotaging my efforts.

I love to see Lo's growing awareness and excitement over his mixed heritage. Multiple times he has declared, "I see Chinese people," when we pass random Asian strangers. And he always notices Chinese characters, saying things like "I give you this Chinese book," as he hands me one from our bookshelf. He has also noticed that Jerry is the one who can read those types of books best, sometimes showing me a Chinese book and then saying, "Daddy come home, read this Chinese book with me." I wish I could read Chinese better--even my pin yin skills are waning since I've been out of school.

Some of the titles I grabbed at the library lately are purely for my own enjoyment (older reading level than Lo can handle). The Ch'I-Lin Purse, retold by Linda Fang, held such charming ancient stories. I felt my heart warming toward the culture of my husband as I heard these old fables and fairy tales from China. These are stories that most Chinese people have grown up hearing countless times--tales of the collective conscious akin to our "Cinderellas," "Rapunzels," and "Three Little Pigs," etc. Yet none of them were familiar to me, an erudite yet Western-educated gal.

One of the adult nonfiction books I got was written by an outsider. One of the reviews claimed the work to be "a balanced view of China, with all its warts and accomplishments." But the more I read that book, the more depressed I felt. It really seemed to take a negative, unloving stance toward a country that now claims at least some of my loyalty. Yes, China has had a troubling past of corrupt leaders, squandered resources, and current ills--but what country holds purity of past or present?

At a community event for refugees last month, I saw some Iraqi youth query why their nation's flag was not represented among those on display. When told that it simply had not been among the collection, they immediately got to work creating their own huge flag to hang--colored with crayons and cut from the paper table-cloth they found on their dinner table. At the time, I felt genuinely surprised they would feel proud of their country. After all, they are here in America seeking a better life than what Iraq could offer them. But they knew of the beauties of their country; they had witnessed a truth firsthand: Each culture has its share of vices and virtues. I for one prefer to emphasize to myself and my family the GOOD that exists in our heritage.
Enough already with the desire some have to sling mud on our founding fathers. I am proud to be an American, land of the free, home of the brave. But I also feel proud to tell my child "You are American and Chinese." I am happy to teach him the culture that produced such tales as The Ch'I-Lin Purse and so forth. Gung Hey Fat Choy!

By the way, The Ch'I-Lin Purse is a story of how kindness begets kindness...a good karma tale. A wealthy girl about to be married notices another bride who has no riches. The wealthy bride shares with the poor bride some of her dowry, a purse with a treasure inside. Eventually, tragedy befalls the wealthy young bride. She ends up seeking help from strangers--who turn out to be the married couple who received the treasure purse years earlier. The tale ends by saying, "If you have a chance to do something good, do it. Happiness will come back to you." Love it! Let's all go out and do some good in the world.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Christmas and New Year

About a month late, figured I would post a few pics from our holiday celebration. Again, keep in mind the dominant theme of 2011 Christmas and New Year's Eve was the fact that we were moving, but we still had wonderful friends around who made sure we took time for some fun. At the BEST New Year's Eve party ever, we got to release lanterns just like the ones on Rapunzel. They were mesmerizing. And huge. About as tall as an adult person, swirling colors in the sky until the flame ate up the tissue paper. No photos, but see clip art above. =)
Had Christmas Day dinner with a family from my mission. I LOVE these people. Truly they are eternal friends of mine. This is Mr. Lo having just opened almost the entirety of gifts he got to unwrap this Christmas (yes, he really only had a couple gifts, since we saved most of the toys etc. to dole out little at a time during our cross-country drive in January). Note Lo's face looks bored and dull. Really he was just suffering from excruciating herpes simplex lesions in his throat and mouth, only I thought it was thrush at the time. Oops. Have I mentioned he has a tiny mouth and rarely opens wide, so really can't blame myself for guessing wrong on the illness. The doctor forced his mouth open, and then we could see the blistering more clearly...Anyway, I digress.
Our Christmas tree this year was awesome, but didn't get any proper photos taken. Our neighbor let us borrow this tree. Lo undecorated the bottom half quite a few times.

And here is Mr. Lo in the only photo of him with his Christmas jammies.  Happened to be 2 weeks before Christmas when my brother Justin was visiting.  Note the moving boxes in the background. Ugh. Did I mention this is the second time we moved right at Christmas? 2 years ago, right after Lo was born the company transferred us mid-December. I hope to never move at this time of year again.

I should report that we had a yummy ham dinner Christmas Eve with the same family who hosted our Thanksgiving meal. But we don't have photos from Christmas Eve. It was sort of a less-fun evening only because of Lo's cranky/fussy mood (remember I still hadn't figured out he had the Herpes and in fact on this day we all thought his bad mood and drooling/mouth pain was just due to teething 2 year molars).

We had a great time celebrating Chinese New Year since the move and illness plague had all come to an end. But I'll post more on that holiday once we upload a few photos from it.