Christmas in Colorado

We have been Colorado residents for 5 months, and within that time, we have travelled all over the place (not complaining-- Colorado is a great hub for traveling, and we love to travel!) But we decided to slow down and enjoy a quiet Christmas in our new home this year with our small family of four. Our community is amazing with throwing together events, so the kids got to enjoy a pancake breakfast withSanta Claus: 

Riley helped me bake some pistachio cream cheese cookies, which are an Oberly family tradition that we are trying to pass along:

We left some out for Santa and used him as leverage to get the kids to sleep. They woke up the next morning and unwrapped presents in 5 minutes that took me 3 days to wrap. On that note, I'd like to publicly thank all of our family and friends who so generously spoiled these guys this Christmas. They were off of school for the week and we had enough books and toys to entertain them the entire time (and then some!) It touches my heart to know that they are so loved and I am so completely thankful. 

Hope your Christmas was just as toasty and full of joy as ours was!


Connor's 2nd Birthday

I don't know how it is possible that Connor is now 2 years old!
This year we celebrated his birthday a little early. Grandma Jinx came into town and we just threw a little party to celebrate our little big guy.

Of course, football themed

blowing out his candles
On the day of his actual birthday, the Pacers were in town to play the Nuggets, so Eric took Connor to his very first basketball game. And I kid you not, he continues to [baby] talk about that frequently!

Forced them to take a photo before heading to the game

There is so much to be said about my Connor. He is still as athletic as ever. He now has opinions about his clothing (will only wear Colts or Pacers shirts). He is as stubborn as he is sweet. He loves his family. He has great manners (always saying "please", "thank you" and "excuse me"). He loves to copy his big sister. He loves to pester his big sister. He can still eat more than all of us. He is obsessed with swords. He has a smile and a laugh that turns me into complete goo. He is silly. He is loving. He is a such a special kid and I am so thankful for him and the way he has grown our family and my heart personally.

Here are Connor's 2 year wellness numbers:

Height: 35.5 in @ 78%tile
Weight 26.25 lbs @ 50%tile
HeadL 49.9cm @ 89%tile


Riley's Christmas Recital

Riley recently moved up into the preschool class at her school. She is among the youngest in her class, and as always, I worried about her transition as she is my introverted child. I have no idea why it worried me to wonder if she would sing in front of a crowd with her class though. This girl has loved to sing from very early on in her life. It was awesome for me to see her so happy and genuinely enjoying something that she loves to do. And Grandma Jinx was in town to support Riley too, which was a big bonus!

The impressive set list

This photo cracks me up because its clear she is embarassed

Got congratulatory flowers from Dad

Riley so happy Grandma is there to support her
It truly was an impressive show for kids so young. Here is a clip of my favorite song from the recital:


Thanksgiving 2014

We decided to spend Thanksgiving in Indiana this year. We packed the kiddies up and flew on on Thanksgiving day and made it just in time to eat a delicious meal at Mike and Erin's house and got to spend a lot of quality time with family.

the kiddie table at Thanksgiving

It was nice to go back to Indiana to visit so soon after our recent move. We got to catch up with family and friends, the kids got to visit their old daycare and I even got to Zumba with my girls.

playing dress-up with Katelyn

Reunited with buddy Sophia

It is clear that we have so much to be thankful for!


Thai's 21st Birthday

This year, my not-so-baby cousin turned 21. The cousins made a pact a long time ago that when the time should come that the youngest of us would turn 21, we would all celebrate in Las Vegas. We somehow managed to make a cute idea turn into an awesome reality.

with my travel buddy!
Riley flew with me to California. She stayed there and spent time with family and celebrated Aidan and Brooke's birthdays while I continued onto Vegas with Bao and the cousins. We were stuck in Friday Vegas traffic, but when we finally got there, that didn't stop us from having a fun-filled night. We shuttled over to the Delano where we enjoyed some drinks and dancing with an amazing view of the strip.

table service at MIX lounge

The next day, we got started with lunch at Bucchanal, the best buffet in Vegas. This was followed by some gambling in downtown Las Vegas. The rest of our party arrived, and we got fancied up for a night kicked off with some BoyzIIMen, followed by some more drinks and dancing.

BoyzIIMen concert

Not a Ngo family party without shots
I don't know how to put into words how much fun was had that weekend. I completely enjoyed all the cousins that were able to make it to Thai's celebration. I am still having the post-fun giddiness as I sit here and think about the fun that we had.

I'd like to say thank you to my parents and my sister and BIL for taking such great care of Riley. That was the longest she had been by herself, and its clear she enjoyed herself. Also shoutout to party planning extraordinaire, Bao, for organizing an awesome family trip. Who turns 21 next?!?!


Riley's Golden Birthday

Riley turned 3 on the 3rd of this month and we celebrated her birthday big time. Riley got to spend her golden birthday in the beautiful golden state of California.We spent the first two days of our visit at Disneyland and Disney's California adventure, where Riley was in store for two amazing surprises.

 The first was that Grandma Oberly flew into California to join in the festivities:

And the second was a complete princess makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique:

And as if that weren't plenty, she even got a mini-party with her cousins at Build-a-Bear:
It was exceptionally hot while we were there, but we plowed through and were able to do so much within the Disney experience.

The next day was a birthday party for Riley at her YY and Nana's house. There was an outpour of family and friends who came to love on our birthday girl to celebrate her upcoming third year of life.

Love my parents' backyard

Being sung "happy birthday" to

one half of family and friends who attended

It was such a great turn out and Riley was beaming the entire time. We are so truly blessed to have so many loving people close in our lives. 

At 3 years of age, Riley continues to amaze us. She can hold a conversation with the best of them. She has a sense of humor you wouldn't expect from someone her age. She is starting to really step into her role as a big sister, even if that involves a lot of tattling. She loves to sing and dance, still loves to read books, watch Disney movies. She is starting to really come out of her shell in her school environment, making friends everywhere she goes. She is just a funny and loving little girl. She has touched my heart in a way that it amazes me that my heart has not exploded. I wish there were a way for me to explain to her, in a way that she could understand that she has just filled every fiber of my being with so much love and joy, that I live to make her happy that she got me as a mother. Because I am just so humbled and grateful that God chose for us to be together.


Colorado Catchup

Boy am I WAY overdue for a post! It has been a little over a month and a half since our move, and I am happy to say that we are starting to settle in very nicely. We love our new house, we have awesome and friendly neighbors whose children like to play with ours, the weather has been beautiful and we are starting to try to plug into the community. The kids are adapting well to their new school, even though they do still frequently ask about their old teachers and friends. Here are a couple of videos of them showing off things they learned at their new childcare:

Riley singing the months song:

Connor naming some shapes:

Within the time since our move, Connor and I took a quick trip to celebrate Bao and Tony's engagement as well as the expected arrival of Lam baby #3! We are so excited about our growing family!

Baby sister and new BIL

Ngo sisters with a Cameron on the way

And just this last weekend, my parents came into town to check out our new house and explore our surrounding area. We took them down to the Garden of the Gods, tried to hike up Castle Rock, explored the Asian market scene of Denver and really just spent time with them, creating memories for Riley and Connor. The kids have become so attached to their YY and Nana.
hiking with YY and Nana

And now the whirlwind of travels and visits has subsided (for now) and in the quiet of it all, it is incredibly emotional. I miss my family, my friends from everywhere and am back to trying to establish a new life here. It has been exciting but also slightly daunting, but I always keep in mind the strong network of people I have in my life and I know that it only great things will come out of this move.


Farewell, Greenfield!

The last few weeks have been insane. We have sold our house in Greenfield, packed up our stuff, and are now starting to settle into our new home in Colorado.

We've actually been living in Colorado for a week now, and I have been putting off writing this post because we have been so busy and I really wanted to take the time to think out how to express all the feelings that I have when I think about leaving Greenfield.

Never in my life did I imagine I would spend any time living in Indiana. And yet here I am, missing it incredibly. The last two years have been a whirlwind. Connor was born and both him and Riley were greatly influenced by family and friends who we were blessed enough to be around during this time in their lives.

I first want to talk about their Grandma Jinx. We would not have survived these past two years without her love and support. I don't even know how to explain how much she helped us while trying to juggle around two kids under two. The relationship that Riley and Connor have with their Grandma is so special and on a personal note, she is the BEST MIL and friend I couldve asked for. We miss her dearly.

Secondly, I want to mention how much I miss their daycare-- Shining Stars Childcare Academy. The teachers there are truly a class of their own. I love how much they genuinely love Riley and Connor. I love how they know each of their personalities, and love every bit of them. We miss them tremendously as well.

And for me personally, it has also been incredibly difficult to say goodbye to my Park Chapel friends and my Zumba friends. These were two major outlets for me during a time in our lives when things were changing rapidly. These friends have greatly impacted my time in Indiana in such a positive way, and I am sad that we are far in distance but I know that we will always be friends and I am thankful for strong relationships like these.

And as we start this new journey in our lives, I am thankful that we have family and friends in Greenfield who helped prepare us for this next chapter, and who will continue to be a part of our lives for now and always.


Connor @ 18 Months

Connor had his 18 month wellness last week, and here are where big boy's numbers stand:
Height: 34' @ 90%tile
Weight: 25lbs @ 34%tile
Head: 19' @ 66%tile
Connor is a big time chatter box!He knows a lot of words now, but a lot of the time he is spitting out baby gibberish, really trying to tell us a story. No surprise that when it comes to food, he tells us exactly what he wants ("snack!", "eat!", "more!"). I am very proud to share that he has "thank you" and "please" as part of his good habits now too.

At this age, he is a lot more dependent on mommy than Riley was when she was his age. He is also a lot more stubborn! When he doesn't get his way, he will turn himself to a rug on the floor-- any floor that we happen to be at. But he is very affectionate, will run over and give hugs and kisses to me and Eric. He's a stinker, that one, but we love him!


Galway 2014

Every year, we try to get out to Eric's grandpa's lakeside cabin in upstate New York. This year, we were also coincidently invited to a wedding that was also in New York, and instead of driving back and forth, we decided to just stay the entire time out there and make a vacation out of it.

Riley and Connor were asked by their daycare teacher to be the flower girl and ring bearer for her wedding. She is one of the kids' (and ours) favorite people so there was no way we could say no. It was a beautiful wedding and we were honored to celebrate with the happy couple

After the wedding, we continued our drive to Galway, where the kids got to ride the kayak, go fishing, visit a zoo, and eat way more pie and ice cream than they should.

We had so much time out there that we were even able to drive some more and visit Vermont, where the kids got to visit a farm that was very hands-on, which they just loved.

But the main purpose of this trip was to celebrate the life of Eric's grandpa-- Walter Nial. He was one of my favorite people I've ver been blessed enough to know. A lot of family and friends came out to share wonderful stories of him. We cooked out, had laughs, and it was exactly how he would have wanted his family to remember his life.
Uncle Ward spreading some of Grandpa's ashes into his favorite lake
It was a little of two weeks of a trip and although it was tiresome to say the least, we made some incredible memories with the kids; Connor and Riley totally bonded, which warms my heart to see. It was very fun to watch them play together and enjoy each other, and it excites me for what the future holds for our little family.


Book Worms

Part of the kids bedtime routine that hasn't changed since they were really itty bitty is reading books. Both Riley and Connor have grown extremely excited about books, which, as someone who didn't do a lot of reading growing up, makes me very happy for them. I would be so proud if we are laying a solid foundation for them to genuinely enjoy reading.

Riley has recently graduated from board books. This little sponge is not all that interested in actually reading yet, but man can she memorize a book, especially when its her favorite story:

And here is little man Connor, reading a very suspenseful story for you:


No Peanuts for My Peanut

We have recently discovered that Connor is severely allergic to peanuts. Thank God we found out in the best possible way-- we were actually testing Riley for a peanut allergy, because any time the girl eats anything peanut butter flavored, she would tell me that her mouth is "hot". So trying to take precautions for both kids, we had them tested and that was when we were surprised with the news of Connor's peanut allergy (with a mild allergy to dairy and cats as well).

So we met with a pediatric allergist this morning where buddy boy had the skin test, which confirmed his allergic reaction to peanuts.

Connor had to stay still for 15 minutes to
get his test results
For whatever reason, allergies and their reactions just freak me out. We are working on educating ourselves about how to react in case an allergic reaction should happen and are trying to be very conscious about letting all of Connor's caretakers know of his allergy. The allergist did say that Connor has a 20% chance of outgrowing this, so I ask for your prayers that we will be able to deal with this and for our little guy's health and safety (and a little prayer for my sanity, please).


Mother's Day 2014

Boy did my family shower me with a lot of attention this past weekend to celebrate mother's day.

Some cards and crafts that the daycare had R&C make

Beautiful weather allowed us to attend an event in the city

The kids getting to love on Grandma
this Mother's Day
And then there is this awesome surprise performance from my little musical star:

I don't know how I got so lucky to have these two beautiful children to call my own, but I thank God every day for them. So thankful to be blessed with being their mom. And also, so very blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful moms, including my very own!


My Son, the Baller

If it is possible for 16-month-olds to pick their passion, Connor has made his very clear. This boy loves basketball. And what is equally as amazing as how much he loves it is how awesome he is at it. Can you believe the skill that is coming from this tiny body:


Spring is here!

This Easter weekend was a really fun one, the weather was beautiful and the kids were so happy to enjoy it. Riley really understood the concept of Easter egg hunting this year, so the lucky girl was able to do three of them.
Finding eggs at Grandma's workplace

And of course, I love a good reason to dress these guys up.
Connor, 15 mos

Riley, 2.5 yrs old
After the intense polar vortex of a winter, we are all beyond grateful for the beautiful days of Spring. And now with both kids running around, I am over-the-moon about how much time we are going to get to spend outdoors this year. 


Poor Conn-Ear

Connor man has had these wicked ear infections that seem to want to just hang out and overstay their welcome. After finishing three different rounds of antibiotics, our pediatrician decided it was time to open up the discussion about inserting tubes, and he set us up with an ENT. 
Waiting for his ear exam
(although it looks like a belly exam)
Dr. Myers came in and examined Connor's ears, and to our dismay, the infection is still present. He sent Connor to get his hearing tested, which is one of the sweetest things Connor and I ever experienced together. Connor sat on my lap and we were in what appeared to be a sound booth. To our front, right and left were black speakers with toys in them. The technician would play several different sound clips at different volumes, and if Connor heard them and responded, she would trigger for the toys to dance or clap and Connor just laughed the entire time. Luckily, aside from being fun, his hearing is not negatively affected. We asked Dr. Myer if we could delay the surgery for now, in attempt to get past the cold season, with hopes that he may never need the surgery. Dr. Myer was very warm in receiving our plan, prescribed Connor another round of antibiotics and scheduled to see us again to check Connor's ears and to further discuss if necessary.

I am aware that tube insertion for toddlers isn't uncommon. But to be honest, this decision is consuming me. I feel extremely anxious and worried that whatever decision we make for our little guy might not be the right one. I ask that you pray for our Connor's ears to be healed and for our clarity to know with confidence how we are supposed to proceed.


Good Aim, Connor

Connor is almost 15 months old and I feel like this past month has been a big one for him developmentally. He is starting to pick up a lot of words, he has mastered walking/running and he is starting to really improve with his dexterity. 

We already know the boy loves to eat, so its no surprise that he has figured out how to use utensils to feed himself. I love how proud of himself he is each time he can make contact with the food using his fork:

This past Saturday, we took the kids to watch their cousin Parker's basketball game. They have both attended their cousins other sports events before, but this was their first time at a basketball game and it was truly amazing how engaged and focused Connor was. This squirmy kid sat still the entire time. And as soon as we got home, this was all he wanted to do:

He is such a fun and happy kid. Its been so awesome watching him grow and slowly discovering his likes and interests.


Loving Baby Brother

I wish many things for my children, but among the top of that list is for them to have a strong and loving relationship with each other. I thank God everyday that I have sisters that are my best friends. I am thankful to have sisters who I can count on, no matter what. And I really, really want my children to feel that too.

So it just thrills me that one of Connor's first words is "Riley". Here is a little clip of him just calling for his big sister:

Now to work on Riley loving her brother just as much...


R is for Riley

I know she's my kid and I have to say things like this, but really, Riley is a smarty pants. She is a total sponge and is picking up on so much and so quickly. Her daycare teacher told me that Riley is getting special lessons on letters and numbers because they think she is so advanced.

Here is a little video of her "reading" before bedtime:

So proud of my girl!


Eat & Thank You

It is starting to become clear that our Connor man is on a time table of his own. He excels in things that are of interest to him. He won't care for certain things/skills until he realizes that they can work to his advantage. For example, he has had the muscle/knowledge to walk for a long time. He quickly took 4-5 steps but truly had no interest in walking since he crawled so much faster. It wasn't until recently that he realized he can get places faster by walking than crawling.

With that in mind, its no surprise that one of the signs he's perfected is "eat". Let me tell you, this kid can put away some serious food. He already eats more than his big sis. And when he gets hungry, he lets us know. Before learning the sign, he would whine, so we are especially thankful he picked this one up. 

So here's a short clip of him showing off this sign. There's a bonus "thank you" in there that is pretty adorable too.


Year of the Horse

Chuc mung nam moi, ba con oi! This is our second tet in Greenfield, and although this city has a lot to offer us, the Vietnamese population is not-so-high and so on this day, more than ever, I miss being in California. But even with Vietnamese resources being low, I try hard to give the kids some of the cultural experience-- even if its something simple, like dressing them up against their own will.

Here's a little tet greeting from Riley:

Wishing everyone lots of luck, prosperity and happiness this year of the horse!


Poop Happens

I vowed to never be one of those moms that posted about bowels. I am breaking the rule once (and possibly one more time in the future) to document a huge developmental milestone for the kids-- potty training.

Shortly after Riley turned 2, we knew it was time to ditch the diapers. She was showing all signs-- she told us when she had to go, she hated being in her dirty diapers, she'd asked to be changed right away. I, however, dreaded the idea of losing the comfort of diapers. I can tell you with confidence that I am a diaper-changing pro. I can change both kids and get us out the door in record breaking time. So, to me, potty training meant a change in our routine and that was a huge turn off. I made all sorts of excuses as to why we couldn't commit to potty training-- we had lots of traveling to do, we were finally sleeping through the night, etc. So I took a very non-aggressive approach and started Riley with pull-ups. She did great-- she willingly sat on her training potty chair and she told us when she had to go. The pull-ups lasted for a couple of months and finally, we ran out of pull-ups and I decided to let go of my crutch and let Riley be the big girl that she is. And I am so proud of how well she is doing with it.

whatever works, ok? 

On a side-note, we bought some m&ms to reward Riley with, as recommended by several sources. Turns out the m&ms are really for me, to cheer myself up after having to clean up her accidents. The method totally works, I highly recommend it. 

School is Cool!

Connor man has now joined his sister at daycare full time. It was extremely bittersweet for me; oddly enough, it was a different feeling than dropping Riley off. I was the crazy, call-3-times mom with both, but 1-year-old Connor is so much different than Riley when she was 1. He is such a giant baby. Or maybe I've just gotten softer with my little mama's boy.

We have the huge advantage of being familiar with the 1-year-olds' teacher. She was great with Riley and has babysat the kids after school hours occasionally, so she sends me pictures of Connor during school hours.

Big boy working on his art project

Naptime is still a struggle
(don't let this pic fool you)

He LOVES ride-on toys
Dropping him off at school is totally dramatic. He cries, grabs on to me, yells. I know it is something that will change as time goes on, but at the same time its nice to feel so loved by my baby boy.

I really can't say enough about our daycare. They treat us like family, they have impacted Riley so much and I know they will do the same for Connor. I am so very thankful we found a daycare facility that we love and trust so deeply.


So long, 2013!

I usually write a New Year post, and I didn't intend to write this tonight but I got caught up browsing pictures from last year and it compelled me to stop and think "wow, what a great year!" Last year, having 2 kids under the age of 2 should've been a completely sleepless blur. Don't get me wrong, we are exhausted, the year was full of adjustments for me as an individual, for our whole family, but God has definitely been keeping a close watch on us and has blessed us so graciously. As a young family of four, I am simply amazed by all we were able to do. In his first year of life, Connor has already visited 6 different states (not including some of the states we drove by to get to these states). We have gone hiking… yes, hiking with babies! The kids got to spend time with their great grandpa and their ba co. I look back at this year and all the wonderful memories we made completely overshadow those tiresome, new-parent moments. How blessed are we?

I'm starting actually realize that every year will be filled with different challenges and more adjustments, as the kids continue to grow and change (very rapidly, I might add). And my hopes for 2014 and every year hereafter is to truly cherish moments-- the ones that we will never get back.

I like to make New Year's resolutions. I have to admit that mine usually are all the same-- some form of work on self, work on relationships, work on faith. With that in mind, I think this year I just want to focus particularly on two things-- being kind and being grateful. I'm hoping those two things will inevitably cover the usual bases as well.

We are only 6 days into the new year, and I am just bursting with excitement thinking about what this year holds for us. Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2014!


Healthy and Walking One-Year-Old

With all our travels over the holidays, we had to get Connor in for his 12-month wellness a little late, but either way, big guy's numbers are looking good. Here they are:

Weight: 22 lbs 10 oz @ 42%tile
Head: 18.75 in @ 88%tile
Height: 31.25 in @88%tile

There is something I find so interesting about how different our kids are. When Riley was learning to walk, she was very cautious but determined and was able to walk by herself by 10 mos. Connor has shown evidence of the strength in his legs to walk for a long time, but he has shown absolutely no interest in it (and why would you, when you are so stinking cute that everyone just wants to hold you?) But this morning, our guy got a little adventurous and took a little step towards me. And by the end of the day, this was happening:

So amazing. I am such a proud mom, but at the same time there is something so bittersweet about your baby walking. I am still excited at the thought of Riley and Connor running around together.