Why Isn’t Mommy In Any Pictures? (A Letter To My Husband)


My dearest husband,

Do you notice how I am conspicuously missing from the montage of beautiful photos above? The reason that I am missing is of course that I am always the one behind the camera.

It is no secret that I love pictures. Not to be stereotypical, but maybe it is because I am Asian, maybe it is the artist in me that sees the beauty in all art forms or maybe just maybe it is because I love the feeling that I get when I look at a photograph. It takes me back to a different time and place. It brings me back to a moment that has passed and allows me to relive that memory and emotion.

Whatever the reason, I love photographs. I adore the candid joy and laughter on the faces of my loved ones, the look of wonder and excitement when experiencing something new and the sheer love that is seen in the eyes of you & our daughter when you look at each other. The problem is there are seldom any photos like this with mommy. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of posed photos of our daughter trying to escape from me while I shove the camera in your hands and then force out a smile while saying “Baby, say cheese.”

I realize that I will always have my own memories carefully tucked away in my mind and in my heart, but once I get older and my mind starts betraying me, it would be nice to have a token to help jog my memory. With one look I am holding my new baby again in my arms, teaching her how to ride a bike & seeing her in her wedding gown for the first time. So my darling, the next time you see a precious moment, please free to pick up the camera because us mommy’s want to be in the pictures too. Tell your friends.

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What Puzzles Have Taught My Toddler & Me

IMG_2927I think most mothers can agree that they feel a sense of pride when someone compliments them on their child, whether it is how cute they are, or well behaved, sweet or intelligent. It is nice to hear. I have been told for a long time how smart our daughter is.  I have even had a few friends of ours with children ask for our secrets. I would like to take all the credit for it, but I do think much of it she was just born with. Of course we want to help our little one’s mind along & we do so by reading to her often, answering her never ending list of questions and by doing puzzles.


Kids learn to love puzzles from an early age. What’s not to love? They are bright & colorful with lots of pieces to play with and fun pictures. Puzzles aid in developing their fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and cognitive thinking. One thing that they taught me was I should not underestimate my child’s ability to learn based on her age.

At only two years of age my daughter knows all of her U.S states. She knows them by shape, location & name. She learned all of this from doing a puzzle. When we received the foam puzzle as a gift, I never imagined that she would actually be able to do it, but I would take it apart and rebuild it with her daily, pointing out and naming the states as I went. So sufficed to say we were shocked the day that she corrected her uncle as he was trying to place Idaho in the wrong spot. “No Uncle Pete, Idaho goes next to Washington.” From that day on she did her puzzle on her own without mommy’s help.


Don’t mind the fact that Massachusetts is missing.

From there we continued with the geography lessons. We introduced a new puzzle with all of the countries. The countries were all represented by animals indigenous to their region. “Look mama, the Panda bear lives in China.” Yes it does, baby. Yes it does. We now try to teach her everything regardless of how advanced it might seem.  I will never underestimate my child again.



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The “What’s That?” & “Why?” Phase

3071Every evening at around 8 o’clock, a familiar routine occurs. I give my daughter a bath, we brush our teeth, change into jammies and then read bedtime stories. Depending on the evening we would read between 3-5 books; ‘Steam Train Dream Train usually, ‘Go Dog Go’ & maybe ‘Humphrey’s Bedtime’ to name a few. These days it takes much longer to get through a story than normal. Why you might ask? Why indeed! The “Why?” phase has entered the building & it brought with it it’s friend’s “What’s that?” & “I want that.”

This can be a hard phase, not because it is particularly difficult, but it can sometimes get a tad tiresome. I vowed to myself that I would always answer all of her questions. When I was young I was an inquisitive child & I had a family member tell me that I was being annoying after I asked a series of questions. I was very young, but I still can remember how stung I was by that comment, so I promised myself that I would never ignore or mock my children’s questions when all they are trying to do is learn. Answering the same question 20 different ways can get old quickly though, especially when you are tired or busy. We spent 5 minutes on just the 1st page of ‘Steam Train Dream Train’ tonight. “Mama, why is that rock there?” “What’s that smoke coming out?” “Look! Why’s that rabbit running?” When we flipped to page 2, it turned out we still were not yet done with page 1. “What’s that word say?”

The funny thing about these questions is that most of the time they are to things she already knows. Perhaps she is quizzing me to see if I actually know what it is.

“Mama, what’s that?”
“An ant”
“What’s that?”
“A black ant”
“What’s that?”
“A small black ant”

Maybe she wants me to elaborate on what it is in more detail or maybe she asks to show me that she knows the answer. Maybe she just enjoys talking to me or maybe she is toying with me already at only age 2. She must get that last part from my husband.

I know that this is just the beginning of this stage of toddler life. The whats & whys will just get more frequent. I try to answer her questions very thoroughly, often adult-like in hopes of satisfying every answer, but this often produces more questions. This should make me glad. I guess in the end we should be happy that our children are inquisitive and thirsty for knowledge. At times it may be difficult, but if parents are indeed the best teachers then we need to feed our children all the answers that we have to give and enjoy the days of them coming to us for the answers. So I will try my best to suck it up and tell her that it is an ant for the 56th time. At least I know she will never forget it.


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Pom Pom Pets



I love our family weekends. Every six weekends the stars align & my husband & I have a full weekend off together. Saturday was a gorgeous day. We took Mai on an outing to the zoo. She loved every second and we got to enjoy a rare family day together.

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We had more fun plans scheduled for Sunday. We were going to take Mai to a local fair, but alas the rain came & it was a gloomy day filled with thunderstorms & flash flood warnings. We did not go to the fair that day, but rainy days can be fun days too. It had been a while since we had done any of our crafts because we have been so busy enjoying the summer. I have to admit, I was kind of excited to stay in and have a rainy day craft day with my daughter & my husband was happy to get a much needed nap.

Mai loves playing with craft pom poms. We have a huge bag of multi-colored & multi-sized pom poms. We broke them out & decided to have some fun. My daughter is a fan of insects, especially caterpillars. She likes to line up the balls & make caterpillars with them.



She said “Mama make a caterpillar too.” & that is how it all started.

Pom Pom Pets

What you will need:

Craft pom poms

Pipe cleaners

Googly eyes





Separate your pom poms & select 1 large, 2 medium sized & 3 small pom poms. Add glue to one of them


Join the craft ball to one from the other size group. Continue this step alternating from small to medium until you use all the balls.


Clip a pipe cleaner to make antennas.


Add the antennas & googly eyes. Let dry.


Cut a piece of pipe cleaner and fold into a zig zag pattern. Glue the caterpillar over the top.




Cut three small pieces of pipe cleaner and fold into and arc shape.

Cut three small pieces of pipe cleaner and fold into and arc shape.

Press the arced pipe cleaner into the craft ball & bend the edges of the pipe cleaners.

Press the arced pipe cleaner into the craft ball & bend the edges of the pipe cleaners. Repeat with the other two pipe cleaner pieces.




Glue the head into place & add googly eyes . Let dry.



Lady Bug


Use one large pom pom & several small black ones. Glue the black ones to the red pom pom. Attach a medium sized black for the head.


Form a pipe cleaner into wing shape. Glue the wings on the top of the body & add the googly eyes to the head.





Mai put in a special request for an ant since she loves ants.

This is any easy one. 1 medium craft ball & 2 small. Attach all 3 together. Glue on top of a pipe cleaner using the same zig zag pattern as in the caterpillar.

This is an easy one. 1 medium craft ball & 2 small. Attach all 3 together. Glue on top of a pipe cleaner using the same zig zag pattern as in the caterpillar. Let dry.

Mai pets her ant.

Mai pets her ant.

Grass Hopper


Glue one medium sized ball to a large one. Cut two pipe cleaner pieces for the hind legs & fold into a v shape.

Glue the legs into place & allow to dry.

Glue the legs into place & allow to dry.


Cut 2 more pieces of pipe cleaner & fold into an arc shape.


Glue underneath for front legs & add googly eyes. Let dry.

It was my daughter that cleverly named our insects her pom pom pets. She loved them & even wanted to take them to take a nap with her.

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Disciplining My Toddler?


Age 2… it can be a fun time; watching your little one learn, expanding their vocabulary & watching their personalities come out. These things are wonderful, but then there is a difficult more frustrating aspect to this age. There is a reason they call it the terrible twos. The tantrums would be enough to drive even a patient mama crazy. We have a new addition to the terrible in the terrible twos, back talk.

My daughter’s new favorite past time is disagreeing with mommy. Not only does she disagree, she does it with an all too smart mouth. Recently, she has been tormenting the dog a lot. The other day she was chasing him around the house with her push car. I was in turn chasing after her asking her to leave him alone. She ended up ramming into him causing him to slam into the wall as well. He yelped and I scolded Mai. I told her that what she did was not nice and that she needed to pet Duke and tell him sorry. Her reply “Mama, Dukey don’t talk.”  I am not sure if I should be proud because she is so clever or mad that I was just sassed by her. Regardless, she did eventually give Duke a hug & said sorry.

I am honestly at a loss about how to handle bad behavior. I want to make sure that we are effectively disciplining her, but I don’t know if I am doing the right things. I thought back to my childhood & remembered getting lots of spankings & time in the corner. I have spanked Mai a handful of times. The result was laughter followed by “Mommy funny!” I have tried calmly reasoning with her. That was a fail. I hear myself saying the phrase, “I am going to count to 3.” 1, 2, 2 1/2… I found the only thing that would seem to get through to her was the time-out. Our active child hates having to sit still when there is so much to do. Luckily we never removed the crib alarm from her toddler bed when we converted it over. So we send her to sit on her bed for time outs & she does not move because she does not like the alarm to sound. I have read that you should never use the crib or a bed for punishment because it associates negative things with sleep, but it has worked for us without causing issues during naps or bedtime.

This week during dinner, she had a full blown tantrum. She was throwing things, screaming and thrashing around on the floor. She stopped mid-tantrum and looked at me and said “Mama count!” It took me a moment before I realized what she meant. “I’m going to count to 3.” Then she said “Mama, send Mai to bed.” I was speechless. “Mama, I do it myself.” She stood up, walked into her room closed the door & put herself in timeout.

Mommy wants someone to give her a timeout.

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