23 November 2012

Shutterfly likes us.  Most years we order cards, calendars, photo books, and the like.  This year they're offering a deal if we publish our cards on our blog -- gladly, here goes!
5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

24 May 2012

2012 Spring Recital: Do-Re-Mi

I know, I know, it's been waaaay too long since we've updated the blogs.  I always have to say that.  What can I say this time?  Life happens.  Facebook happens.  Google+ happens.  In contrast, blogs seem sorta like talking to a mirror.  I'll try to get better about publishing from my phone, since that's where most of the photo action happens these days anyway.  Promises, promises.

Anyway, I do hope this one will have been worth the wait:  it's the full video of T3's first piano recital!

She played "Do-Re-Mi", a song she took a shine to while we were surfing random flashmobs on YouTube before bedtime.  There's a fun one from a train station in Antwerp, and both kids really liked it.  Then I showed them the original clip from The Sound of Music, then bought the track and added it to our regular iPod playlist for the car.  Eventually she and I tried to figure it out ad hoc on the piano, which didn't go so well, then we asked her piano teacher if she had the sheet music.  By sheer providence, she did!

At first we all worried it would be too tough for her to learn before recital, but she was determined.  She's only been taking lessons consistently since mid-January, and she'd never played out of straight middle C before.  The accidentals and crossovers made it a fairly ambitious piece to learn in a matter of weeks.

But the Mama-san worked hard with her, and she buckled down.  By two weeks out from the recital she had it memorized and was playing it consistently well -- actually far more confidently than you'll hear here.  For some reason it got really rocky the last week, and the practice sessions just before the recital were particularly rough.  I was worried.  But she slowed it way down  -- arguably the last thing we expected -- and played it clean.  Phew!  And that curtsy -- enough to make a Daddy melt.

I don't think I took a breath for the entire piece.  This 2:45 took at least two years off my life.  And it's only the beginning.  Without further ado....

21 March 2012


Trinh has been writing little books for us lately, but especially for her little brother.  The latest included some sweet lines that I wanted to capture for posterity.  The pages didn't scan very well, but it's really the text I wanted to save.  Here goes...

Page 1:  it says "I Love You" in fancy curly letters.  She's been playing with those lately, too.

Page 2:  this is one of my favorites.  It says -- and note that I've fixed her misspellings here...
Watch the wind blow my hair
It will carry away a melody.

Page 3:  this page didn't scan at all, not sure why, but it says "I'll dance and twirl and spin like a cloud for you" with pictures of her spinning and heart-shaped clouds.  Awwww.

Page 4:  also a no-scan, but it's her standing on top of a globe with Tai in a dream bubble.  It says, "I love you more than anyone on the whole world."  Awwww.

Page 5:  this one did scan.  It says, "I'll dance for you like a tree's branches swaying in the wind."

Page 6:  this one says, "I love you like Romeo and Juliet."  We haven't told her the whole story yet. 

And the last page says, "You've my love bug."

VERY CUTE.  LOVE me this little girl.
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06 December 2011

You Are Part of Me

Been awhile again, my bad.  But I've got a musical piece for you today, an original composed by T3 herself.  Here are the lyrics, verbatim as scrawled in red crayon on a piece of scratch paper with a few scattered musical notes and red hearts:
You are part of me
I em part of you
Love is all it tacks to be with you
I love you
You love me
Were a happy family
You part of my hart
I em part of you

Her dedication?  Her brother, naturally.

26 August 2011

Swan Lake

Trinh has been into ballet for awhile now -- without having taking a single lesson, mind you. I think one of the origins of this trend was watching the Barbie rendition of Swan Lake. I have to admit, it was actually pretty well-told, and I enjoyed it. Yes, this is the Daddy writing. I do hereby freely and publicly admit that I have been rather surprisedly forced to admit that the Barbie movies are actually pretty good. The music is solid, the morals are fine; the animation isn't all that thrilling, but the package really isn't bad.

Anyway, she knows Swan Lake exclusively from the Barbie thing, plus me telling her a little bit about Tchaikovsky. I used to play a couple sections from The Pathetique when I was walking the floors to put her to sleep as a baby, and she says she remembers it. Last night we were watching some diving videos on YouTube on the iPod Touch just before bedtime, and T3 requested ballet. I found this: Swan Lake from the Kirov.

We were both enthralled, and the last bit is particularly riveting -- no, amazing. We watched the whole thing twice. We watched that last part three times.

The first time through, Trinh kept mapping her knowledge of Swan Lake from the Barbie movie into this 'real' ballet. She was able to infer the scene from the costumes and the characters present, and she knows all their names. I was impressed.

But this was the best part: about two minutes into it, she said, "Daddy! They even got the music right!"

It's good to know that the Kirov 'got the music right'. I love it.

14 July 2011

Zen Gospel Singing

We spent a couple nights with friends up in Dallas last weekend, and while I was putting the kids to sleep on one of the nights I sang Zen Gospel Singing as one of their 14 lullabies.

The song has always amused me. I learned the Bryan Bowers version, but it's got the same lyrics as the Limeliters'.

Good fun, great harmonies...but a big mistake as a lullaby. Trinh asked, "Daddy, what's a Buddhist? Are we Buddhist?"

"No, dear, not this week."

"Then are the people we're staying with Buddhist?"

"No, dear, I think they're Hindu."

"Then why do they have a Buddha in their house?"

Uff-dah. Excellent questions, of course, but man....that's a tough talk to have with a 6-year old at 10PM...

14 June 2011

BACK-BLOGGING: Kindergarten

Trinhity completed the kindergarten program at The Woods Private School this year. We went and toured some other schools in the neighborhood and decided to keep her at The Woods for first grade. Why? Because we simply love the program. We know we will need to move her... soon... but for now, we think it is the right place for our family. Taison will be joining her at school next year in the preschool program.

Here is her kindergarten school photo.. taken back in the fall. I know, I know... but we just scanned it a few weeks ago. And while I'm at it, we actually just uploaded photos from our camera a few weeks ago too.... hence the photo back log....

How is it that our beautiful daughter always manages to look so... weird in these school photos??

Field trip to the Houston Museum of Science in April...
Easter party....
Best friends
Music class...
Trinh's Kindergarten class (after the Easter Egg hunt)
Trinh's Kindergarten teacher

Field day in May
All the kids got trophies...

The elementary classes had a spring program entitled "When I Grow Up". It was really precious. Trinhity's class were plumbers. They were given plungers on stage as props. It was hilarious because Trinhity's kept sticking to the stage. She's been begging for a plunger to play with.... don't think we are going to indulge her on that wish though.

All the kids went up to introduce themselves and say what they wanted to be when they grow up. In the car, Trinhity said she wanted to be a cheerleader. But onstage, she said she wanted to be a designer. Who says she can't be both??

Of course, Ong Ba came....

During the last week of school, the kids with summer birthdays had a party. Of the 18 students, 10 had summer birthdays! Trinh was thrilled to finally have a birthday crown!!


Mother's Day beach weekend....
We felt a bit guilty about allowing Trinh to skip school on Friday to go to the beach. But only a little bit. We practically had the beach to ourselves.

Daddy brought the kayak. The whole family took a ride... a short, sunset ride around the back bay.

BACK-BLOGGING: Zoo & Hermann Park

In March during Spring Break, we took a midweek trip to Hermann Park with Ong Ba.
Ba Ba wanted to ride the trains....

In April, we all went to the Houston Zoo.

13 June 2011

BACK-BLOGGING: Spring Festival

April. The annual neighborhood Spring Festival. Again, I know it is June but well, the photos have only recently been uploaded. Seriously.
This year, they had to hunt for eggs at different spots. They divide out the egg hunt into age groups to make it fair for the little ones. Notice anything about Taison's basket?? The eggs are all yellow....
There was a rather rambunctious goat in the petting pen... it frightened the kiddos.
Love how they are always together....
We rode the ponies about a dozen times. Seriously. In between rides, while we were waiting, Trinhity was stooped down checking out the ponies'... [ahem]... equipment. She was informing her brother about which ones were boys and which ones were girls so that they could choose the right ponies to ride. Ironically, all of them were boys. Yeah, think on that for a bit...

BACK-BLOGGING: Mayfest at Gymnastics

Finally. We finally convinced her to return to the gymnastics program this year. She was a bit shy and she is a very cautious little gymnast but she really loves the program. She takes gymnastics at Cypress Academy of Gymnastics. They've got a pretty serious program here... like, there are Olympic medalists training at this facility kind of serious. In May, they had Mayfest which was kind of like a "recital" for the little gymnasts. They got to show off all they learned throughout the fall & spring and family members got to join them on the gym floor and watch.
Her absolute favorite thing is the bars.
She also loves the vault.
The little gymnasts getting their trophies...