20 December 2009

Awkward Questions

Yesterday in the bathroom at Starbucks: Trinhity's sitting on the toilet and says, "Mama, listen. I have a question. But don't freak out, I'm NOT going to do it. It's just a question. I'm just asking. It's just a joke, OK? I'm just asking."

"Yes, dear," replied Mama, "go ahead and ask your question."

"Mama, what does pee taste like?"

04 December 2009


It's Friday December 4, 2009. The weather report said that it would snow today. Yeah, right. Mama told Trinh that it might snow. Trinh asked excitedly, "Is God really going to make it SNOW??!?!"
Why yes, yes He is!!


Know who this is??
It's Stitch. Trinhity LOVES Stitch. We kinda find him annoying, but oh well. She picked up this doll at a recent yard-saling venture (and yes, we washed it before she played with it!!). She loves to go garage-saling which shouldn't surprise anyone who knows us. She is very particular about what she wants and systematically rummages through the junk to find her treasures. We never know what will pique her interest. When she finds it though, we know. Her face lights up, and she hugs the item to her chest. She then runs to find the person running the sale and boldly asks: "Is this on sale? How much is it on sale?" She then happily squeals to her parental unit: "It's for sale! It's for sale! It's 50 cents!!"
If only all happiness could be bought with 50 cents....

Taking the Umbrellas Out for a Walk

These were taken in late November on a somewhat drizzling day.

Uncle Joel & Uncle Steve

Uncle Joel & Uncle Steve came to visit in early November!! They are Taison's Godfathers and we were truly honored that they would come all the way from Ottowa to come visit us. We didn't take many photos during their visit, but this one is a gem:
We love you Joel & Steve!!

Thanksgiving Dinner

We were invited to share Thanksgiving dinner with Trinh's & Tai's godmother, Trang. She served arguably one of the best turkey dinner's we've ever had!! We had deep-fried turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, spinach salad, tomato soup, sourdough stuffing, cranberry compote, and cornbread. Everything was delectable! Everything was single-handedly made from scratch by Trang!!
Being Vietnamese, our Thanksgiving dinners were usually from a box courtesy of Stove Top and Hungry Jack. Perhaps most Americans do not realize that the sacred turkey is not considered delicious fowl to Asians. Asians think turkey meat stink. Literally. They do not like it. But everything seems to taste better deep fried. And the second generation of young Asian-Americans are learning to cook tradition American-style as well as mastering the magic mysteries of wok-cooking passed down to them by their mothers.

Of course we had some Vietnamese dishes served as well. Trang's aunt made lobster stir-fried in garlic & chives.
And her mom made stuffed chicken wings (the bones are removed and stuffed with spiced ground pork) served with fried sticky-rice.
Thank you Trang, for including us in such a fabulous feast!!

Thanksgiving Festivities

For Trinhity's Thanksgiving party at school, we made these little turkey treats:
Trinh of course, had to taste the frosting we used to "glue" the marshmallow & candy corns onto the brownie bite. They were a little messy to make....
...and even messier to eat!
Trinhity's class dressed as pilgrims for their Feast Day party. Our little pilgrim, of course, ate seaweed and rice instead of the shared fare of chicken nuggets with the natives.

07 November 2009

The Big Slip

A friend sent me this entertaining video clip last week, and I watched it with Trinhity tonight. Instantly after watching it she said, "No way! That didn't really happen....Daddy, is that real?"

I really don't know. If it's real, it's a killer stunt. If it's a fake, bravo. That isn't what got me thinking, though. What got me pondering was her spontaneous reaction to watching it.

She's four. At first I was pleased to apparently be rearing another skeptic instead of an easily-duped simpleton, but then I got to wondering how she'd arrived at the question. Despite my disreputable relationship with mathematics, my first reaction was to wonder if it would even be possible to calculate the physics accurately enough given the unavoidably variable conditions.

Trinhity only learned to count in the last two years. She can do it in three languages, but her addition falls apart much past 2+2. Sometimes she forgets the number 8. She grasps the concept of subtraction mostly because her little brother regularly steals her stuff.

She wasn't focused on the calculations; she must have found something unreasonable about the execution. Surely her basis must be observation of her own physical environment: people simply don't slide down hills then fly great distances through the air and splashdown in wading pools.

She's logical, but she isn't yet consciously analytical. We watched YouTube videos of gymnasts doing spectacularly aerobatic floor routines the other night; she never questioned whether those were real. She can't be working this out in any systematic way. So how does she know?

It's got me pondering anew the process by which we humans acquire our innate understanding of the physical world, including gravity. That we can discern the natural from the impressive or fantastic but also doubt our eyes leads me to believe that such 'calculations' must be far faster, operate more deeply in our primal subconscious, and produce far more accurate results than I'd previously considered.

The objectives of our physical sensitivies and mathematical models are clearly different: survival vs. pin-point accuracy, respectively. But it's still tempting to wonder which is more correct.

Since the math really isn't an option either for me or Trinhity at her present age, I'm going with evolution. Any takers?

31 October 2009


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26 October 2009

Pumpkin Patching

We went to the TGR Exotics pumpkin patch again for the third year in a row. This year they added hay rides and camel rides in addition to the pumpkins, crafts, and assortment of friendly critters. Trinh got to pet a baby kangaroo and play with some ponies and pot bellied pigs.
It was down right impossible to get photos of the kids together in the pumpkin patch. Though we did manage to capture a picture (albeit blurry) of them both protesting at having to have their picture taken!!
We went with her bestest friend Olivia. These two girls met at school and they play so sweetly together.
Trinhity painted a total of 5 pumpkins. All of them were COVERED in glitter!
Trinhity had her first camel ride. She was pretty nervous and was glad Daddy was there.
We also went to the nighttime pumpkin patch this year as well. A super special thanks to BaBa for taking care of Tai so that we could go to this event. She got to meet all of the animals again at the ranch. This year, they had a new albino baby joey! Below is Trinhity petting an anteater.
This is a striped hyena. Yes, they keep her in the backyard. Fortunately, she is a vegetarian!
This is one of many sloths who live at the ranch. Did you know sloths need to eat upside down in order to digest their food?
Dinner was catered by The Goode Company BBQ and afterwards, we roasted marshmallows and had s'mores. Mama got to come along this year and discovered the wonders of chocolate marshmallows. They made the experience such a kid-friendly one. The table was decked-out with fabulous Halloween decor and there were toys, candy, popcorn and just general good-fun for all.

22 October 2009

Pretty Browns

Motion Sickness

We discovered the difficult way that Trinh has motion sickness. Mama gets a bit queasy when confined in a car for too long. Trinh has always been this way too. She tends to fall asleep when we get into a car for a long trip (long is 30 minutes). She has been fine on her previous airplane trips. But this time, she complained about her tummy feeling funny on the descents.

So as we were making our descent into Houston, Trinh lost her breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mama caught it all on a shirt, a hoodie, two pillows, and in three barf bags. It was terrible. It was extremely terrible. Between sobs, moans, and spews, Trinh was screaming that she hated airplanes and that she never wanted to go on a plane again!! Needless to say, we will not be getting on a plane for a while... quite a while.

Apple Orchard

Di Van & Uncle Trevor took us to an apple orchard. It was gorgeous and we had a fabulous time eating apples and trying to decide which ones to take home. Trinh wanted to take ALL of the apples home. Unfortunately, our bag of apples had a couple of accidents on the way to the car so they got a bit bruised... ok, a lot bruised. But they were still delicious!


We took a quick trip to Manchester, NH to visit Di Van (Aunt Clara) & Uncle Trevor. This is the first time we've visited them since they moved there 5 years ago. Trinh LOVED the fall leaves. Every morning she would peek out the window and say, "Is it still fall?? OH YEA!!! I LOVE fall!!"

Making a leaf angel:
Throwing leaves on Ông
She got this idea from Di Van!!

14 October 2009

Boat Belts

I bought a kayak yesterday and brought it home last night. Trinhity climbed into it this morning and happily plopped down in the seat, then looked up at me with a confused look.
"Daddy," she said, "where's the seat belt?"

06 October 2009

Grandma's Garden Critters

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Two Giraffes

One girl giraffe. One boy giraffe. The girl giraffe has the flower in her hair. They are falling in love. They are eating leaves from a tree.

She created this all on her own without any help or supervision. We think she saw a picture on one of the LEGO boxes of the "giraffe" and then just improvised the rest. Pretty cool.