Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Being in the zone

This morning, Christmas Eve morning, we decided to open gifts. Pick any number of reasons you prefer: we're headed out of town an hour from now - Isabella's been relentlessly asking about opening Christmas presents since yesterday, whatever.

These are presents from Grandma & Grandpa (Nunley) and Auntie Becky.

Sleepy parents in pajamas with two antsy children. Merry Christmas to you all. From here on out, Isabella was in the zone, very interested in ripping wrapping paper and enjoying Christmas presents, whether hers or someone else's. Although I have to give her snaps for being able to repeat whose gifts are whose.


The tea and cake set are from Auntie Becky.

A lovely doll, Reagan, from Grandma and Grandpa.

Victoria seems to enjoy opening presents too. Following in her sister's lead?

Christmas newsletter 2008

Dearest family and friends,

May you have a blessed Christmas and New Year filled with peace, joy, and love.

We remember a few big changes that occurred towards the middle of this year, and everything else seems like a big blur. In May, Isabella, at 20 months, decided to walk. She was trying to make her mommy look good, since her mom did not start walking until the age of two. Then, on May 16, 2008, our second child – Victoria Lily Chang-Nunley, was born, at 2:48 PM, at 7 pounds and 13 ounces, 20.5 inches long. Barely two months later, in July, we packed up and moved from the land of South Texas to Colorado, where Troy started his new job as Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Denver Seminary.

Isabella is currently 2 years and 3 months old and loves animals and other children. When we took her to the zoo before Victoria was born, Isabella called all the different animals she fancied “dogs.” Now she identifies dogs, cats (felines), bears, giraffes, ducks, birds, monkeys, and fish and mimics the sounds they make. She is still very partial to dogs, however. Henry is her lovey and her baby; she puts him in the high chair and feeds him, burps him, changes his diaper, pushes him in push toys, talks to him, and mothers him. Friends and family members are also very dear to Isabella. She recites family members and various friends by name. She remembers which little friend goes with which parent and she asks to play with them, even though we no longer live close to any of them. Recently, Isabella has been talking about going to see family at Christmas: A-ma (Lily’s mom), A-gong (Lily’s dad), Auntie Tenny, Uncle Tim, and her cousin Juliet (and Isabella has yet to meet Zephan – Tenny and Tim’s son – who was born on December 5).

After Victoria was born, Isabella took to her sister faster than we anticipated. Oftentimes I have to make sure Isabella does not love on her sister so much that she crushes her sister. Isabella still goes for the mouth to mouth kisses with Victoria and oftentimes gets greeted with slobber and a tongue instead. Victoria is smitten with Isabella and oftentimes laughs and giggles when she is with Isabella. Victoria is now 7 months old and is very vocal, rolls to get from place to place, and finds other babies amusing. Though she is very attached to her mommy at the moment, she has a contagious smile and laugh.

At the end of each day, Troy and I collapse out of exhaustion but the girls are like fire-crackers and are still ready to keep going. We are blessed with a good job, wonderful friends and family, a good church, and two wonderfully adorable children. Blessings to you all!


Lily & Troy

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Three princesses from Narnia and the musings of a wandering mind


I wonder what life was like for Plain Jane. After doing eight loads of laundry (plus one more to go), cooking, washing three piles of dishes, tidying up, and taking care of the girls' various needs, I'm not sure which way is left or right. Where do my babies sleep again? In the refrigerator, on the floor, on the dryer, um, maybe in beds?

Pause. . . had to throw Troy a burp cloth, because Victoria just spit up. He's being wonderful - knowing that I am at the end of my tether, he's letting me blog about nothing in particular for a bit. By the way, Victoria isn't spitting up much after meals anymore. Wha hoo for more mature digestive systems.

Where was I? Well to add character to my day, I've hit that unmentionable, undiscussable time of the month. You know, one that is unique to women. TMI, I know. As a nursing mom (and a mom pumping breastmilk for another baby), I'm not regular, yet, but my roller coaster ride of emotions with rock bottom hits and my moments of peel-me-off-of-the-floor exhaustion make sense now. Isabella has learned to say, in Chinese, "Christmas tree in the living room." And, when the huge package from Grandma & Grandpa (Nunley) and Auntie Becky arrived, I started removing the gifts and placing them on the piano - out of her reach. Here is where her comprehension, to me, is jaw-droppingly impressive. Isabella asked to open those presents. Yes (I've learned the power of not denying a child's wish instantly without using "no"), but tomorrow morning; today's not Christmas. She was sorely disappointed, "NOoooooooooo!"

At first, I wasn't very understanding; fine, if she's going to throw a tantrum until she gets what she wants, then I refuse to give her what she wants altogether. Why reward terrible behavior? Sigh. I remember the days where anticipation was so overwhelming I had trouble falling asleep the night before we were to open Christmas presents and then when morning came, even though I was still tired, the excitement jerked me into continuously excitable state - open presents, open presents; I'm waiting to open presents. My attitude changed into a much more sympathetic one. Poor dear, she has to wait to rip open the wrapping paper (yes, she's still into shredding things; in fact, she still likes to tear packing tape off boxes or tear paper whenever she has the opportunity) and even see what is inside. She is still at the phase where she spends more attention and interest with the wrapping and packaging. I'll definitely miss that phase when it passes.

Did not I warn you about the musings of a WANDERING (not to mention loopy and exhausted) mind?

I can't remember much else of what I've been dying to share, except this. . . I am trying an experiment, of which you are all invited to be a part. Inspired and partially following the lead of one of my best friends, Manda, in her Feeling experimental posting, I am going to change the settings such that you can leave a comment more easily, without having to sign up for a Google account. Okay, I'm totally stealing ideas from Manda. This is the chance for you to come clean (a New Year's resolution, perhaps?) and delurk or destalk. You can leave thoughts, comments, questions, confessions. Not sure how long this window will open, so take a chance, take a shot.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Delicate slices of udon soup

I made this last night. I don't know what it is about udon, but I love it! Love it, love it, love it. Finally found some that are made in Japan, not China (I trying to buy as few food products made in China as possible - why? Without any food regulations in China, all kinds of crazy things can be found in them, some known and most unknown. Read up on it!). So, I decided to make some udon soup. Look good? Come on over friends and enjoy exquisite food and wonderful company. Oh, you don't live in the Denver area? Well, fly on in and we'll hook you up!


If you want a recipe, go to my recipe blog: quick, yummy, and ohmygoodness, healthy recipes; or click on the following link: Delicate Slices of Udon Soup.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What happens at the zoo when temps are below freezing

What happens at the Denver Zoo when temperatures are below freezing, hovering between 20 and 29 degrees Fahrenheit? We can find parking spaces on the top level, close to the entrance. We don't have to look over towering heads just to see some of the popular attractions. We get to see who gets cold the fastest; turns out that's me.

Snow leopards snuggling together for warmth. This is the calmest we've seen these cats to be.

The bob cat below was searching for something, I know not what:


Isabella still likes the ducks, a lot, although she was not chasing them as fervently as she sometimes does. Had some brief conversations with them, though.


A little quality time with the giraffes? Maybe not, but we got up close and personal. She seems to be pretty friendly.

Look! Here's Isabella feeding her. It was a nice thought anyways. There is a zoo in Colorado Springs that allows zoo visitors to feed and pet the giraffes. Will have to go there in the spring.

Found some pine cones for Isabella. She had identified them as leaves. I started to affirm her by saying "kind of" and before I knew it, I had told her "a kind of leaves" in Chinese. Isabella went around saying that she was holding "a kind of leaves," even though I had also told her those were pine cones. Oh, well.

Still holding on to the pine cones as we went to look at the Pachyderms.

Ode to Troy and his fascination with some of the most dangerous creatures in the world. He found the hippopotamus far more interesting than the elephants, even though the hippos. were staying under water for the most part and even though the elephants were eating and were getting their nails filed.

Isabella loves the great outdoors, but you've heard me say that before. Sticks, stones, dirt, puddles of water, snow - it's all game for her.

Proof that Victoria goes to the zoo with us, too. Not great proof considering there are no animals pictured with her at all. Hmm, how about if we settle for a cute face instead?

Troy was hoping to see the bears before leaving, but Isabella had other ideas - playing with her stick, experimenting with the snow.

The end.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Where is the love in this family?

Here it is. Here it is! We're so fortunate that our girls love each other and their love for each other is reciprocated. . . for now. I asked Isabella if she wanted to hold her sister. Response? "Please, ma ma." Isabella was upset when I lifted Victoria away, even though Victoria was slipping and sliding.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Some precious father - daughter time

Troy was giving me a little bit of quiet, to enjoy a semi-long hot shower. Victoria was taking a nap, and Isabella was sitting at the piano with her daddy. Usually she's interested in plucking on the piano. Instead, she found Victoria's shoes more interesting, and Troy put Victoria's headband on Isabella.


Isabella wanted me to pick her up, but I asked whether she'd mind if Daddy picked her up and got her ready for bed, so I could take care of Victoria.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Did you know that rhinoceros can be approached, ever carefully?

Our usual little trip to the Denver Zoo was sweet and relaxing, as usual. Was a bit cold, bu that allowed us to enjoy the zoo mostly to ourselves.

Isabella has decided the snow isn't so scary and bad after all. It is part of the great outdoors she enjoys so much (note to self: the snow pants I bought recently for her will come in handy).


As a departure from focusing on what Isabella enjoys, let us pay an ode to Troy on his fascinations. Loves komodo dragons. Monte, this is for you, too. You asked how big these guys are at the Denver Zoo. Hopefully this will give you a better idea of the size of one of the guys (or perhaps gals). A teaser for when you guys come visit in the spring.

Isabella would be just as happy being able to play with sticks in the dirt and grass. Can't blame her. I have fond memories of doing the same.

Further ode to Troy's enjoyment and fascinations. Finds rhinoceros curious creatures, very dangerous, but curious.

Don't know what the rhinoceros is eating and don't really want to find out.

Troy wanted me to snap a picture of these zoo keepers withe rhinoceros up close. He was under the impression that rhinoceros were some of the most dangerous creatures and that no one could really approach these animals without serious or deadly injury.

Felt a bit weird about taking these pictures, and the guys saw what I was doing and explained that stroking and petting the rhinoceros' back was something he really enjoyed. So much so that he stopped eating when being petted!

The guys were addressing a tail wound.

These girls were standing outside, smelling food inside, and pounded the door wanting some of it!

Last but not least, I snapped a picture of Victoria strapped to me in the Ergo. Took her quite awhile to fall asleep and listened to her scream and protest, but look at this angel face now!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Getting Victoria started on light reading

It's never too early to expose Victoria to Philosophy, right? Just getting her feet wet.