Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tah Dah!


Phew, I finally finished all of my stockings! It took me awhile since all I have been wanting to do in my free time is sleep. I made one even for Baby X so next year, I will already be ready.

We've asked Santa to come early so we can get to Utah on Christmas. I'm kinda nervous about the weather and hope we will have a smooth ride. We are excited to see all of Ben's family-he's got a big one!

I really miss my family and wish that we were closer to them. I think we may try to save up next year and make our way to Michigan! We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!


CJ-Is taking piano lessons from her Dad. Since going to Auburn to visit her cousins, we've noticed CJ's interest in music. Ben's giving her lessons to see how interested she is and then maybe we have her take piano lessons.

MIA-Loves writing letters "all day morning". The other day she was writing in a little book and she says, "I have to write in my Diarehha (diary)".

XANDER-Is the only true Korean in our household. Ben bought a giant container of Kim Chee and him and Xander are the only ones who will eat it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thompson Street


There's a tradition here in Alameda at Christmas time. On Thompson street every house is decorated with Christmas things and lights. Tons of people come from all over to stroll down the street, admiring each house and the lights as they go. In the center of the street there is an island where Santa hangs out. The kids can visit with Santa and get their picture with him.

This is how important this tradition is to Alameda. It is so important that when someone buys a house on the street, it is in their contract that at Christmas time they will decorate their house and Alameda Power subsidizes the people who live on Thompson street during the Christmas holiday.


We've made it a family tradition since we've moved here. I love making family traditions!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Musings of a Pregnant Lady

It’s 8:30p.m. I’m due for my nightly puking fest. Am I excited? Oh, completely. This is what makes it real for me. I think I will author a book titled, “What Not to Eat before you Puke.” Take for example the other night. I threw up three times in a row. How do you ask, do I complete such a feat? Well, the answer is easy. . .taco soup. There is nothing like throwing up chunks and chunks and then choking on the chunks coming up. I love it when my eye balls feel like they are going to pop out of their sockets and tears stream from my eyes. I can barely talk after because my throat is raw. I’m a champion. So taco soup is a no. Bland and smooth textured foods are almost pleasant. I just threw up some yogurt, and it left a sweet taste in my mouth.

It’s not all about throwing up, thankfully. I’m almost 12 weeks pregnant and I feel like I look 20 weeks pregnant. I got all of my maternity clothes out already. I haven’t put any on yet, though I may as well. I’ve been dressing in my workout pants and stretchy pants for weeks. I keep asking Ben, “Look at how big I am so far.” Ben tells me, I don’t look any different, except that my chest is really big. Of course, he would notice that.

I sleep all the time. I take a nap when Xander sleeps and I let Mia watch a “Quiet Time Movie”. Xander’s nap time is usually my most productive time of the day, but since I sleep through it, I don’t get much done.

I crave MEAT! I’m a carnivorous pregnant lady. I wonder how women who are vegetarians make it through their pregnancy. I bet they cheat. I feel like a beast craving only red meat. I wish my body would crave fruits and vegetables, but the only things that satisfy this insatiable hunger are meat and carbohydrates. FAT CITY here I come!

It is a fact that there are women who are so adorably cute when they are pregnant. They have these cute little bellies and wear the cutest clothes. I am not one of them. I am the exact opposite. I blow up everywhere. My face gets layers as does the rest of my body. I bet these women work out for hours everyday. I wish I had the motivation to workout,let alone, get dressed and showered for the day.

Even with all of this said, I am happy to be pregnant. This is probably our last and I want to cherish every moment. I asked Ben the other day, “Don’t I like being pregnant?” I remember loving the fact that there was “life” inside me and being in labor wasn’t all that bad either. Ben replies to my question with, “No Val, you hate it.” Oh. Good thing for short term memory.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Traditions


When Ben and I were dating, we talked about what Christmas traditions we would like to do with our family. I remember making a list of things. Then we got married and by the time we celebrated our first Christmas together married, the list was long gone.

Over the years we have done a few things that have become tradition. One of them is making ornaments. Every year, I get all these random craft items out and using our creativity, we create ornaments. We put our names on them and the year and it is fun to see our past creations.


I think Ben makes the cutest ornaments every year. He is so creative and this year made a tiny snowman. CJ is also so creative and used buttons this year to make a present ornament. I think my reindeer was the least creative. I had to make something quick because I was on Xander patrol.


If I were giving out awards for the ornaments, Mia would get the, "Biggest Ornament" one. She made a giant head with legs and shoes. Notice the nose ring. Xander was hilarious and just glued whatever he could find. I love the popsicle stick glued on top. At one point, he had climbed on the table pouring the glue out in a pile of glitter. I have a love/hate relationship with glitter. I love how pretty it can make things and I hate the mess it leaves behind. For days, we will be finding glitter everywhere!

What are some of your family Christmas traditions?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving with the Shaws


Ben's aunt and uncle invited us to their house for Thanksgiving. They live in Auburn which is not too far from Sacramento. I absolutely love their family and all of their kids. I love all of Ben's extended family. I don't think I have met anyone that I didn't want to hug after spending time with them. Grant is obsessed with trains and has built a track around his property. The kids loved getting a ride in the train.


Grant has also built this little playhouse for all of his grandkids. All of my kids loved playing in the house and pretending. I told Ben that we have got to get our own house someday. I loved watching my kids run around the giant yard. They were like animals who were in captivity, released for the very first time.


I think CJ had the best time. There are two cousins that are the same age as her and they just happen to be girls. CJ had so much fun playing with them. I had fun with all of Ben's cousins. I hung out with the girls and ventured out in the wee hours on "Black Friday". We survived the crowds!


We were also there to see Patricia receive her Christmas gift early. All of her kids pitched in and bought her a baby grand piano. It was beautiful to watch. I hope we get to visit again soon. There is just something about having family around on the holidays. Family makes everything better!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Best Part of Thanksgiving. . .

The best part of Thanksgiving is that I get to decorate for Christmas the day after. If it were socially accepted, I would probably decorate for Christmas the day after Halloween. The stores bust out their Christmas merchandise, why can't I do the same?

This is a stocking that I made. It was one of the projects at our Super Saturday, but since I was in charge of another project, I didn't get to receive instruction that day. My friend who taught the class, gave me the instructions and I went home to teach myself. My friend had made modifications to the part of the heel and so I followed those, thinking she probably figured something out along the way.

It turns out that she wrote little notes on how to make a smaller heel when using a smaller loom to make the stocking. So my heel looks really funny, but I was proud anyways. This is my practice one. I am going to make some for the entire family and I am so excited. Here is a picture of my friend's so you can see how cute they can be. You can get the instructions here.


Ben's Aunt Patricia and Uncle Grant have invited us to come for Thanksgiving. We are so excited to see all of their family and their new additions this year. Last time we visited, CJ actually had kids her age to play with! We are especially excited to see Ben's grandparents who are coming from Utah. They are the kindest and most thoughtful people I have ever met.

We have so much to be thankful for and feel very blessed this year. We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you may be!

P.S. If you are putting Christmas decorations up after Thanksgiving, I bid you a happy decorating day!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Things I've learned. . .

1. It's okay to blog even if you don't have a picture.
2. Staying overnight with your girlfriends in Monterey without any kids, is very refreshing.
3. Ben loves me and will never tell me that I'm getting fat, even if I know I am.
4. It's okay to think that my kids are the cutest in the world because I know it's true.
5. Getting a sleigh bed is very cool.
6. "Terrible Twos" could send me to my grave early if the two year old weren't so cute!
7. It's healthy to think about what's good for me.
8. I could take down Ben in a proper wrestling ring. Deep down, he knows it too.
9. Zits are not just for teenagers, although they should be.
10. Ben is excited about his Vidal Sassoon class on Friday and I shouldn't be worried he's really into hair these days.
11. Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.
12. CJ is growing fast and there's nothing I can do about it.
13. Making friends takes effort.
14. Mia is a mini me in so many ways.
15. Xander is a candyholic and may need counseling.

The end.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

"I survived Super Saturday. . ."


I'd like to make myself a t-shirt with the words, "I survived Super Saturday." For those of you who have ever been involved in planning one of those, you would probably give me a hug, upon seeing my t-shirt and maybe a huge chocolate bar. For those of you who have no idea what "Super Saturday" is would comment, "When was Super Saturday and is it a holiday?"

I have been Enrichment Leader(organize activities for the women at my church) many times, but never have I organized a "Super Saturday" before! We offered 7 projects with one project having 4 different sewing projects included. We also had one class about digital scrapbooking where the presenter taught the ladies how to do it step by step using a laptop and projector. I mention the words, "laptop" and "projector", just for the men. I wanted to show off that women can work those expensive metal things too!
It was a lot of work, but everyone who came loved it. I didn't feel stress at all because I had great people who helped me out. Actually, I probably felt some stress because I can feel a cold sore coming on, but really, I didn't even notice.

The minute I came home from the long day, I immediately plopped on my bed and talked Ben's ear off (he's got another one, you know). Then, I had this fabulous idea of taking a bath! Normally, our bathtubs are big enough to fit midgits or my kids. Since moving, we have a luxury tub, big enough for a grown human like me! It was heaven. Ahhhhh!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween X 5

That's how many times I feel like we celebrated Halloween this year! We finally have packed away the costumes after last nights "Trick or Treating" at Pixar. If Halloween night didn't produce enough candy, the day after Halloween Pixar makes sure they get enough! Since the day after Halloween was Sat. this year, Pixar had the activity on Monday.

Oh, but let's rewind and we will tell you how it all began. . .

It was a dark, cold, scary night, oooo, ahhhhh. . . actually it was a week before Halloween on a Saturday. We had just rushed home from Pixar (We watched HighSchool Musical 3-"Like OMG, it was the coolest!") and plopped costumes on everyone and hurried to the church building for the ward party. Games and sweets galore!
A few days later. . .Mia had a parade at her preschool where the kids dressed up and trick or treated from the parents. She was a very beautiful princess (she wore a total of 3 different dresses this year). Here is a picture of her class:
That same day, CJ had her school carnival where I was in charge of a game booth. It was crazy because it rained and so everything was thrown into the cafeteria. I really didn't get any good pictures this year of CJ and Xander. We always seemed to be rushing around getting costumes on that I never got a good shot of them.
At CJ's school, they had a costume contest and Mia popped up on the stage with the kindergarteners. CJ should have won the "My makeup is all melting and my wig is falling" award.
On Halloween, I took the kids to the trick or treating on Webster Street where the kids could trick or treat at the local business and they had a little carnival that was all free. I love this, because if at night, the kids or I get tired of walking around, we can be done and they still have candy. CJ got to go trick or treating with some friends her age, for the first time. It was the best arrangement ever!
Ben and I have a giant stash of candy we stole from the kids. Shhhhh! Don't tell. I'm sure it will be gone soon, because I shared the hiding place with Ben and he is just like a kid. He can't stop eating it. I, on the other hand, have so much control, that if the candy were solely in my possession, we could be handing it out next year for Halloween. That may sound gross, but I am just illustrating the power that I possess is very, very, strong.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Help me, Help Ben, Help "Pajama Gladiator"

The student film that Ben produced at BYU is up for a Viewers Choice Award from Nicktoons. Vote all day today as many times as you want. Voting many times in a row will definitely get you promoted to be "Ben's best friend, Level 1". I personally have voted 567,987 times and hold the title, "Ben's best friend forever, Level infinity".

Click here


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Getting the Perfect Family Picture

With Christmas (yeah, yeah, I know what you are thinking. . .Halloween isn't even here yet) just around the corner, I thought we should get a head start and get a family picture. It's been almost a year since the last one we took and Xander didn't even have hair.

I have to admit, I am tripod challenged. There are too many levers and notches to play with. I really am too impatient to take the time to learn. I would just rather hold the camera to take the picture, which of course is hard when you are supposed to be in it.

The other challenge is the kids. Our kids, especially Xander found it much more entertaining to find sticks to have sword fights with or a rock to climb. And then, what do you do when you are so funny and your husband can't stop laughing (see example below)?


This next one is my favorite of all the faces, but it was so overexposed and I didn't use the right setting. It's a bummer because we didn't get many in this pose and I really like the background.


This next one also has a great background of colors. I had just taken Xander's stick sword out of his hands and promised I would give it back. He is eyeing his stick and making sure I keep my promise.


It was so tough to get everyone dressed and out to take pictures. I don't know if I am completely satisfied with any of the pictures we took today. Do I try again? Or do I say, "Good enough"?

Monday, October 20, 2008

What can you get for a dollar?

Since moving to California, we've been disappointed in the stores and selection. Walmart used to be one of my favorite stores, I even named it Valmart. The Walmarts near us are ghetto and never have what you need in stock. The selection is poor and we have found Target is preferred by most, which was the other way around for us when we lived in Utah. We could say the same for the Dollar Tree near us.

Ben and I stumbled upon an awesome Dollar Store in Berkeley. It is a 99 cent store and has tons of things including produce and frozen food. We found Halloween costumes for .99. We bought a Lil Bo Peep, Fairy, and Princess costumes for the girls to add to their dress up collection. Mia's favorite is the Fairy. We were able to find several other treasures of good quality-it was the best time I've had shopping since I've moved here.

I know I have already posted this, but I just have to mention that I have figured out why the Bay area lacks in the stores and restaurants that I am normally used to. I can't find an Olive Garden or Red Lobster near me because in the Bay area the people try to support the local businesses. Same goes for the stores. People go to specialty stores. If you want shoes, you go to your neighbors shoe store on Park St. BTW, I changed the word "buck" to "dollar" because it just looked like a bad word.

What have you gotten for a dollar?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Zebra Stripes? You've got to be kidding me!

You know how it's okay to tease and make fun of people only if it somehow applies to you. For example, I can make fun of Asians all I want but if Ben makes fun of them, he looks like he is racist. Well, I am going to take the opportunity today to make fun of teachers.

It's not even Halloween and I spot what I think would be a perfect costume. I had just walked CJ to school when I noticed a teacher walking across the playground dressed from top to bottom in what only can be compared to as zebra stripes. The picture above, sums up the outfit if you just minus the head and behind. It made me think about when I was teaching, I vowed with another colleague of mine that we would NEVER, and I repeat, NEVER wear anything that could be classified as "Teacher Clothes".

What types of clothes can be classified as "Teacher Clothes"? Let's look at a few examples.

The "Teacher" sweater

You've all seen them before. They are the gaudi sweaters filled with letters, numbers, apples, or seasonal things (ghosts, pumpkins, Christmas trees, hearts etc.) What makes them worthy of the "Teacher" title is that you will never see a "Teacher Sweater" with one small apple or one small pumpkin. No, the sweater is filled with 50 million things. The more the merrier.

The traditional "Teacher" skirt

The "Teacher" skirts go down to, at least, their ankles and have the ugliest prints imaginable. Prints that, if you are not careful could hypnotize you, just with the smallest glance.

The "Teacher" shirt and pant set

Sometimes they match, sometimes they don't. If they do match, wearing a vest that doesn't, is always an option.

I may poke fun at what teachers wear, but when it comes down to it, I really like them. I have to admit, I wasn't the best dressed teacher around. Presently, I'm not the best dressed stay at home mom either. . .some days, I don't even shower.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Blue Angels and Tagged

This week was San Francisco Fleet Week to celebrate the men and women of the armed forces. They have several events throughout the week such as the Parade of Ships, Ship tours and a musical festival at Pier 39. The the Blue Angels were the main attraction. We decided last minute to go and see them in San Francisco as they did their show over the bay. As Ben researched some more, he discovered that Treasure Island may be a better place to go to beat the traffic and parking.

We had never been to Treasure Island before and so it was an adventure. We had no problem finding parking for free and a spot to watch. The kids lasted for 3 hours, thanks to our ample supply of treats.

I remember as a kid watching the Blue Angels in Traverse City, Michigan and here I was today making memories with my kids. Someday, they may reminisce about the time they saw the Blue Angels over the San Francisco Bay with their family. Hopefully, it will bring back a flood of good feelings as it did for me today.
The view of the Blue Angels wasn't too bad. We even had several planes race over our heads as they turned to go back towards Pier 39.
Activity: Watching the Blue Angels
Price: Free (excluding the gas it took to get there)

Overall we give this experience 8 stars.


So Hannah tagged us and we are to post our fourth picture in our fourth picture file and here it is:

You can see what my picture looked like originally from the last post and how fun photoshop can be.

I'm not good at tagging other people, so I tag whoever wants to do this! Tag, your it!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


You may have heard of Halloween window clings. Now introducing. . .Hallow-Bling! This is a quick easy way to show your Halloween spirit and doesn't take up alot of space. For example, you could be one of those people who moved from another state and had to sell most of your Halloween decorations. Do not despair, Hallow-bling is here.

You may be experiencing feelings of depression because the number of your decorations, you can count on one hand. You may even have a cool victorian house that COULD be a great "haunted house". You may be thinking, "My 3 ghost figurines just don't cut it." Hallow-bling is the spirit of Halloween you can take with you. Sure, other people may have a giant skeleton that talks or a hanging cauldron of fire, but what they don't have are cool plastic skeleton or bat rings.

Hallow-bling may not be for everyone. There is a high risk of excitement that comes with these rings. Side effects may include: nausea, dizziness, irritability, diarrhea, stroke, memory loss, and death. Consult your doctor if you find people running away in fear for more than 24 hours.

Hallow-bling is available at a store near you!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

One Proud Mama!

XANDER walks into my room this morning with this creation he made himself. As he walked in the room he declared, "Happy, too, too!" Since Ben's birthday, anytime Xander sees matches or anything that looks like cake, he yells, "Happy, too, too!"

So back to the story. . .the girls and I sing "Happy Birthday" in celebration of his creation and he blows out his candles, as you can see from the picture. (As a side note, yesterday at a birthday party for one of our friend's kids, we are all singing to the birthday boy, and when it is time for the blowing out of the candles, Xander blows it out for the boy!) I love Xander and I love his creativity. He sure makes me ONE PROUD MAMA!


participated in the primary program today. She gave a talk on temples and talked about how she was sealed to her family. She got many compliments on her talk and how they can't believe she is only 9 years old! After her talk, her and a few girls did sign language to "I Love to See the Temple." Watching CJ and seeing how great she did on her talk and with the sign language, made me ONE PROUD MAMA! In this picture, CJ is demonstrating her favorite sign, which means "promise."


is very shy. CJ would tell me after their primary practices for the program that Mia wouldn't say her line. Her line was originally "I know my mom and dad love me because they let me play outside." Today she informed a member of the primary presidency that she wanted to change her line to, "I know my mom and dad love me because my dad let me wear his big shirt to bed." (Last night, Mia wore Ben's giant XL shirt to bed) When Mia got up to give her part, she had her hands formed in a fist by her mouth. She got up to the mic and told the person who was helping with lines that she had changed her line again. She preceded to say her line, but because of her hands by her mouth, we couldn't understand a word of it. I was ONE PROUD MAMA as I watched her do something that very hard for her, yet she had the courage to try.

I am so grateful for each ONE of my children. I enjoy every second, every minute, and every day, I get to watch them learn and grow. I am so PROUD of them and each of their accomplishments. They make my life full and complete and I can't imagine my life without them. I am a better person and a better MAMA because of them!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hormones, Smormones, Why do we need them?

(Warning Men! This blog is filled with estrogen!)

Some days I hate being a woman and today is one of them. Today I'm depressed. I want to cry, scream, and be mad at the same time. I don't want to pretend that I am happy, because I am not. I don't want to talk to anyone because I feel like I will either explode with emotion or freak out and want to yell.

I'm sure it has to do with hormones, I mean, isn't that always the excuse we women use to make ourselves feel like it is okay to act the way we do. Hey, it works, men believe us and stay away and women everywhere, sympthasize. But what if it's not the hormones, and I'm really crazy?

Well if I'm going crazy, then I'm taking people with me! Okay, that was a little uncalled for, I'm really not that bad. . .

(10 minutes later. . .)

Phew, I'm back. I just downed a gallon of Moose tracks, double chocolate, double delight icecream, topped with a pound of exploding hot fudge and carmel and a giant fluffy cloud of whipped topping surrounded by crushed pecans nestled safely in the corners, and last, but not least,a perfect, sweet, red cherry standing triumphantly on top!

I'm feeling better already.

P.S. If none of this makes sense, that's the point, it doesn't have to because I'm PMS-ing.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Advice from a 9 year old

Mia started preschool this week. On her very first day, big sister CJ helped Mia get dressed and put her belt on. I overheard CJ say to Mia, "Mia, if the boys tell you you're not pretty, they're wrong. . .you are pretty." How precious!

Mia was so excited to go to preschool, that she wore her backpack while we walked CJ to school. When we arrived at her school, she realized she didn't recognize anyone and the smile faded. She began to be shy and worried. I couldn't get her to smile for a picture. Her face says it all!

I left her, wondering if she was going to freak out! Mia sometimes has a hard time with change. When I came back, she had a smile on her face and had a good time.
CJ came home from school and her and Mia played school for hours. CJ even did Mia's hair in several braids.

I'm kinda sad I'm not doing preschool this time around, but it's been good in many ways. Mia has other teachers besides myself and lots of kids to socialize with. I get so excited when my kids to start school, oddly, not because I get a little break (which is great, too), but because I want them to have fun learning and a great school experience. Fun, fun, fun!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ben's New Blog

Ben's been wanting to make his own blog lately where he can be as random as he wants.

So here it is:

Friday, September 12, 2008

4th School, 4th Grade!

CJ and Ben are similar in many ways, to the way they learn, their attention span, to their interests and now, how many elementary schools they have gone to.

CJ is in fourth grade and is at her fourth school. Let me tell you how amazing this girl is. I hung around the first day of school worried enough for the both of us,hoping that she would make new friends easily. CJ had no worries and as I watched her leave with her new class and new teacher, I could see that I shouldn't be worried either.

She has her first male teacher and I am thrilled. My favorite elementary teacher just happened to be a man. There aren't enough men in Education! I am impressed with him already. CJ had a problems with a girl being mean to her and she told her teacher. His reply was, "You are a nice and smart girl. Don't let her bother you." Something to that effect. Anyways, he just seems really nice and I couldn't be happier. CJ came home the first day telling me about all of her new friends.

CJ is blossoming into a beautiful girl. She has really gotten into doing her hair, wearing accessories, and paying attention to what clothes she wears. I had just bought CJ clothes and a week later she says, "Mom when are you going to buy me MORE clothes?" I told her, "When I buy myself some", which I knew was safe to say because. . . it'll be at least a year before her wish comes true!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Announcing. . .

Wii just had twins!

Announcing. . .
Wii Twins
Born on August 29, 2008
at 11:35p.m.
0 pounds, 2ounces
4.5 inches

They are so cute and tiny that I had to blog about them. I found these at Walgreens. They are candy dispensers that look exactly like the Wii remote. They are perfect for Xander who always wants to play and as long as we make his experience seem real, he's a believer!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sew. . .what do you think?

My mother is an awesome seamstress. When we were younger she would make us clothes. I remember her making these matching skirts for the girls. When I grew out of mine I thought, "Yahoo, goodbye skirt!" -only to be given my older sisters skirt and the life of those skirts doubled.

I don't think I appreciated what my mom did for me as much when I was younger. Now that I look back, I wished I would have asked her to teach me how to sew and make things. My sewing skills aren't the best, they are rather sloppy because I really am impatient and don't take the time to do it right.

Here are a few of my sloppy creations. They look okay from afar, just don't look close up!



Before. . .

After. . .

Alameda hasn't had a Super Saturday in years and I thought it would be fun to do one (yeah, "fun" isn't quite the perfect word to use for the person planning it!) and I put together a blog for the sisters. It is not completely up and running, but you can check it out at: