Week in The Life 2012 :: Sunday, 4/29

I woke up this morning with the urge to grab my camera and shoot me in bed — not really wanting to get up for work.  Then it hit me — the week of hyper documenting + photographing is over.  Over.  Then I make my way to the living room and spot Samuel on the recliner.  He gives me a grin and goes about eating his breakfast + pointing to a bike in a book + repeating “biiiiiiiiii” (bike).  I felt myself reaching for the camera but then stopped myself to enjoy this moment.

I could not help but feel a bit naked today.  My 5-lb camera has been attached to my side for the last 7 days but today, it sits on our kitchen island, taking a breather.  It got a good workout last week.

Total number of photos this weekend: 306 (Saturday) + 307 (Sunday).  I have way too many photos to go through. Why so many photos? First, I used a remote for self-timer photos, so it’s pretty easy to shoot multiples. I occasionally erase the images that I don’t like right away, but I often wait to do it on the computer. I can’t always tell if an image is out of focus or not on the camera screen. Second, I had the camera on continuous shooting mode for most of the weekend to shoot images of a fast moving toddler.  Third, I can not seem to get the focus right with the flash, so I often shoot multiple images with the flash. I prefer not to use the flash, but evening shots with a toddler becomes frustrating without it. I really need to buckle down this summer and learn how to use the flash.

I shoot with a Canon 7D.  For all of the images this week, I used a 24-70 mm lens and a Canon Speedlite 580EX II external flash (mainly for indoor, evening photos).  I have a tripod, but I did not use it at all this week.  I find it cumbersome for a project such as this.  My self-portraits were mostly taken with a remote with the camera sitting on the floor, books, boxes, counters, benches, etc.

Here’s a look at Sunday, 4/29.Hello Sunday.

Early morning snack with ba ngoai.  She loves him so.

Looking for ba ngoai.

Riding around the house + eating cheerios.

Breakfast at Denny’s.

Pink + teal = new favorites.

Buying local — Stockton Farmer’s Market.



She loves to cook.

Recording my mother’s recipe for me.

Mid-morning snack.


Lunch (com ga) at ba ngoai’s.

He sleeps with his eyes slightly open — like me.

Excited to be going home.  He loves visiting his ba ngoai but he loves his home more.

Visiting grandma #2.  Hello grandma.  It’s me Samuel.

Riding in the back with him.

Home sweet home.

He’s an awesome helper.

He likes to sit in my lap to read.

His favorite reading corner.  Since the light is good, I decided to shoot the stuff in his room.

His closet.


His collection of hand-knit goodness.  Such a lucky little person.

Family bike ride.  (I shot this while riding — I do not recommend it.)

I still make + freeze his food.  It is the best way for me to get him to eat veggies.

Falling asleep at dinner.  Exhausted but trying really hard to keep his lids open.

Enjoying another favorite book before bedtime.


Week in The Life 2012 :: Saturday, 4/28

I love weekends.

I love lazy mornings filled with lots of coffee and sunshine.

This weekend was far from slow and relaxing, but it was good.

Sleeping in.  For him, sleeping in means 7ish.

Up earlier than I really wanted to be.  Looking for running gear in the dark.

Waiting.  Running with my friend Haley this a.m.

Running buddies.  Miss Haley ran her fastest 5K with me this weekend.  You go, girl.

Came home to find them on the porch reading And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, another favorite.

Receiving a package from the mailman.

Delivering the package to his daddy.

What’s left of his breakfast.  (I wasn’t around for breakfast this morning.)

Wondering — how I can arrange my space to make it work more efficiently for me.  The answer might be in simplifying.

Morning snack.  Devouring sweet mango.  Can’t get it in his mouth fast enough.

Needing a nap — but refusing too.

Packing for an overnight trip to my mom’s.

Preparing lunch for the road with one hand.  I love that he still wants to be held.

On the way to ba ngoai’s.

Hello ba ngoai.

Getting reacquainted.

Showing ba ngoai how to open his snack container.

Enjoying each other.  She cooks outside — in the garage — and he enjoys watching her.

She makes awesome desserts.

Off to dinner.

Taking a break from dinner to do a little shopping at Trader Joe’s.

Saying goodbye.

Hanging out with ba ngoai + Auntie Mimi.

Jim + I get a few hours to ourselves.  We went to see an amazing theatrical dance recital.

Wrapping up the evening.

Week in The Life 2012 :: Friday, 4/27

This week flew by so quickly.

Total number of photos today: 145 + a few iPhone photos (mainly to send to my mom).

I lost internet connection on Friday so I was not able to post these Friday night.

Getting ready for the day.

Lunch and snacks for three.

Out the door.  He likes to walk to the car.

Saying goodbye.

Stuffing my face.

Grading a few papers while students watch a video on the Earth.

Laughing + devouring donuts + having a good time with these kids.

Enjoying the sunshine at Spring Fling — our annual event to reward students for good behavior during testing.

Signing him out early.

Found him asleep with his lovey.

Such a happy mama.

Stranger anxiety translates to this.

First taste of sweet watermelon.

No more watermelon.

Outta here.

He loves to look at himself in the mirror.

A visit with the pediatrician.

Enjoying the warm weather + bubbles.

Yay for bikes and balls.

Getting ready for bed.  The Napping House is a new favorite.

Checking in on him before I head to bed.



Week in The Life 2012 :: Thursday, 4/26

Hello Tough Thursday.  I am so glad we made it through the day.

I have been beating myself up all day.  And I’m pretty exhausted.

I was in slow-mo mode today.  I got up a bit earlier than usual — but because I’m not good at judging time, we didn’t leave any earlier than usual.  The mad rush out the door this morning to make it to the donut shop and school on time left me feeling uneasy.

Then some unpleasant actions and words that were exchanged in the car.  And then at school.  And then I find out that my sisters got into the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco.  (Earlier this month, I told my sisters to sign up for the race — thought it would be a nice thing to do together.  Somehow, between telling them and now, I dropped the ball and forgot to register.  They found out this morning that they have been accepted (the whole registration thing is part of a huge lottery process so getting in is a really big deal) and me — well I didn’t even sign up!)

Today was one of those days where I just went through the motions — not really putting my heart into anything (except for playing with Samuel).  I did what I needed to do at school — which was to give the CST and follow simple instructions.  I keep my cool but my heart ached.  Definitely an uneasy feeling that made me tired and nonproductive.

This project + my camera helped me move through the day.  The whole process of setting up self-timer shots gave me focus and kept me calm.  Several laughed at my attempts but I just shrugged it off and moved on.  Surprisingly, my students are fascinated by this process and a couple are thinking about documenting their life next week.

Here’s a look at life on this tough Thursday …

Morning.  I am not quite ready to greet Thursday yet.

Stretching + eating breakfast.

Getting ready.  Liking my new do.  A little change makes a big difference.

Studying his new ride.

Helping with breakfast.  Exploring the coldness of the freezer.

Hello coffee.

Goodbyes are hard.  (This photo is blurry but I love it.  It shows how Samuel has been feeling lately when we say goodbye.)

Carrying too much in this morning.

Testing today.  Complete and utter silence throughout the campus.

Fighting an eye infection.

Getting ready for Friday.

Waiting to turn in tests.

Needing a change of scenery.  Waiting in the conference room.  Thinking and writing about the day.


Asking for more snacks.

Excitement … Ooooooooh, a big truck!

Waiting for dinner.  Keeping him entertained.

Dinner – hot bowl of pho.

Shopping (and playing) at Target.


Exploring outside.  We go outside at least once a day.

Beauty in my backyard.

Reading.  His second reading corner in the house — one in the bedroom and one out in our living room.

Time for milk.

A little play before bedtime.

Watching.  Fans are rad.

Bath time.

Stories with dad.  Jamberry is a new favorite.


Laughing and giggling before bedtime.  So refreshing to hear the chuckles, laughs and giggles radiate throughout the house.

An unexpected visitor above the stove.

Wrapping up the day.


Week in The Life 2012 :: Wednesday, 4/25

Hello Wednesday.

Wednesdays used to be tough for me.  It’s the middle of the week and my students are about done with the school week.  Their energy is low which is absolutely draining for me.  Now that we are on the A/B schedule (I see my students every other day), things seem much better.  I must admit — it is nice to have a break from the same group of kids.

Today, I focused on documenting the course of my workday.

Selecting shoes for the day.  Chance of thunderstorms today but I’m going for my Dansko sandals.

Freshening up.

Preparing lunch.

Changing the little one.

Reading in the car.  Hungry Caterpiller is a favorite.

Saying goodbye for the day has been somewhat difficult.

Unloading the car.

Breathing deeply.  Thinking about the day — where I am going to unload this stuff, the lesson, etc.

Learning in the rain.

Mid-morning snack.

Breaking down a lab.



Spying on him at school.

Singing itsy-bitsy spider.  He’s getting good at it.  We sing it at least 10x a day.

Showing me his head.  He can point to his head, ears, tongue and knee.  Working on toes and eyes.

Going home.

Checking out his new ride.

Special delivery — just in time for Dress-up day at school.

Getting ready to ride.


Reading.  Hanging out with his friend Bronson.

Getting bangs.


Seeing.  The rain is upon us.

Reading.  Pointing to things he can identify.  Baby Beluga is a bedtime favorite.

Evidence that a little person lives here.


Rearranging.  Needing a new, refreshing workspace.

I am noticing that a lot of my photos are getting a bit repetitive — a definite indicator that we don’t deviate much from our daily workweek routine.

Our mornings are rushed as we try to make it out the door by 6:40 a.m. to make it to our campus by7:30 a.m.  Some days we make it out on time, other days it is a mad rush.  Looking forward to the weekend for easy, laid-back mornings.

Thanks for visiting.  Hoping that you’re having a great day.  Have fun documenting.


Week in The Life 2012 :: Tuesday, 4/24

I love this project.  I love capturing moments of our everyday life that would otherwise be forgotten.  This project reminds me to slow down, breath deeper, and enjoy life as it unfolds throughout the course of the day.

On Tuesday, I snapped 248 photos on my DSLR and 20 or so my iPhone.  I started the day by reminding myself to decrease the number I shoot for the day.  I suppose 248 is less than what I shot on Monday but it is still over the top — I want to plan more deliberate shots (and not take so many shots of the same event).  More often than not, my first shots are the best.  (But you know, when you have a little man who is so dang cute, you can’t help snapping photos of him!)

Here is a look at some of my favorite photos from Tuesday:

Preparing breakfast.

Out the door.

Wondering why he’s the only kid dressed for Western Day at school.  Umm … that’s because he has me for a mama.


Don’t cross the blue line — unless you’re invited in.  Everybody needs their personal space.

Lunch with a colleague.

Grading.  The calm after the storm.

Running.  Playing.  Being a toddler.

Hanging with the gang.  This photo reminds me of the Mickey Mouse Club.

Snacking on the ride home.

Eating his first peanut butter and jelly sandwich.






Eating and learning.

Playing some more.


Bathing.  Playing with water.

Playing “Where is Samuel?”

Snacking after the little one goes to bed.

Organizing.  A few fun packages arrived in the last couple of days and I have to move some things around to make everything fit.

Good day today.  Looking forward to Wednesday.

Week in The Life 2012 :: Monday, 4/23

Ordinary, good day around here.  Samuel is at school and we are both at work.

The words + photos for Monday, April 23:

4:00 am :: Jim is up with Samuel.  Both rest on the recliner as Samuel is congested and having difficulty sleeping.

5:45 am :: alarm goes off.

5:54 am :: rise and shine.  Good morning Monday.  Hello Week in the Life.

6:00 am :: select clothes for Jim (blue chi pants and plaid shirt).  Selected clothes for Samuel the night before.  Breakfast (me – bread, pate and coffee; Samuel – animal crackers and milk, will have breakfast of oatmeal and applesauce at 7:30 at school; Jim – oatmeal and tea).

6:05 am :: Jim wakes Samuel up.  Totally a sleepy head at this point.  Great stretch on the changing table during a diaper change.  Signs for itsy bitsy spider during the diaper change.

6:15 am :: Samuel and I eat breakfast while watching a bit of the news.  We don’t usually pay that much attention to the news — there is often a lot of giggles, sharing of my bread roll and singing of the itsy bitsy spider.

6:18 am :: Samuel continues to enjoy his milk and crackers while sitting on the recliner.

6:18 am :: I am in the kitchen enjoying my cup of coffee.  Hello Hawaiian Hazelnut coffee.  Oh, how I love you in the morning, afternoon and occasionally in the evening.

6:30 am :: Jim brushes Samuel’s teeth while I brush mine in the second bathroom.  He’s a pretty good sport — the only time he fights the brushing is when he’s teething.  I don’t blame him.

6:45 am :: out the door.

6:48 am :: on the road.

6:56 am :: listening to NPR.  Jim drives, I check email and Facebook updates (I am only allowing myself to be on Facebook 5 times a day because it, like Pinterest, is one of the biggest time suckers on the planet.  I mainly stalk my peeps and read updates from my favorite scrapbooking folks), and Samuel reads the Hungry Caterpillar.

6:59 am :: Samuel signs for Itsy Bitsy Spider (twice).  While I sing with hand signals, he signs “down came the rain and wash the spider out.”  He’s getting to be pretty good at it.

7:02 am :: Shoes comes off the feet.

7:13 am :: arrive at Merryhill.  Jim signs in and makes our weekly payment while Samuel immediately notices the balloons in the front office and along the hallway.  Merryhill is celebrating the Week of the Young Child and is having activities for the kids throughout the week.

7:20 am :: Samuel and Jim say their goodbyes for the day.  Pajama day at Samuel’s school (Spirit week this week) so Samuel is wearing his tuxedo pajamas.

7:21 am :: leave Merryhill for work.

7:33 am :: arrive at EHMS.  Restroom.  Say “hi” to the school secretary and make my way to my classroom.

7:45 am :: in my classroom (MK-12).  Really needs to be cleaned and organized.

8:00 am :: start of first period.  Hello Honors students.

8:45 am :: take roll while students are completing a physics lab.  Can’t wait for this 16-station lab to be over with.  I am so ready to clean it up.

9:30 am :: end of first period.  Goodbye my best class of the day.

9:40 am :: read Ali’s post on WITL.  Love her reminders and encouraging words.

9:50 am :: visit with Debbie.  Email Silhouette regarding the delivery of my Cameo.

10:05 am :: Starbucks run.  Venti nonfat mocha today — cause it’s free!

10:08 am :: text from Debbie — “Where the heck are you?  Your box is here.”

10:30 am :: return to campus.  Ecstatic over the arrival of the Cameo (so are my friends).  I can’t wait to play.

10:45 am :: chat with my soon-to-be-mama friend about documenting her baby’s first year.

11:13 am :: start of fourth period.  They are in need of some motivation, inspiration, and life stories.  I told them my life story — so that they can see that I am human — I make mistakes, I get into trouble, I come from a poor family — but I don’t let those obstacles keep me down.

12:47 pm :: lunch (roast and rice).  Honors students are all over the place working on their lab.

1:21 pm :: start of 6th period.  Assign notes on friction and gravity along with a poster on the Earth (in celebration of Earth Day).

2:50 pm :: end of the school day.  Several students stop by for make-up work.

3:15 pm :: share photos of Samuel with Joanne on my iPhone.

4:00 pm :: leave our campus for Merryhill.

4:10 pm :: spot Samuel (from outside the fence) hanging out in his favorite corner.  He loves to be in the shade surrounded by ride-on toys.  This boy loves cars, bikes, trikes — essentially anything with wheels.

4:13 pm :: he loves to ride this thing.  As of last week, he was able to push himself backwards in it.

4:15 pm :: reminder that Tuesday is Western Day.

4:16 pm :: leave Merryhill campus.  Jim buckles Samuel in while Samuel plays with his balloon.

4:40 pm :: each time we visit the grocery story, Jim always takes Samuel to visit the balloons.

5:00 pm :: home from grocery shopping.  I make rice and wash the green beans while Jim put away the groceries.  Samuel runs around the house like a wild child.

5:05 pm :: Jim steps out to lock the car and Samuel freaks out.  I open the front door and he stands there, happy to see his daddy.

5:25 pm :: a quiet moment in our house.  Samuel is reading while Jim and I work on preparing dinner.  I rearranged his room a couple of weeks ago to give him a reading corner.  He loves having the board books within reach and enjoys “reading” books in his rocking chair.

5:45 pm :: he likes to drag his blankets throughout the house, find a restful spot and rest upon his blanket.  Sometimes, he will rest in the middle of the kitchen!

6:10 pm :: dinner (green beans, tofu and ground beef with rice — one of our favorites around here).  That face is a “mmmmm” good food face.  Ha!

6:30 pm :: I am out in the back yard picking oranges that have fallen today while Samuel explores. Love that he occasionally comes by and hugs my leg.

6:50 pm :: he and I go on a little adventure in the neighborhood.  We found this horse on a stick in the garage this afternoon and he enjoyed marching around with it.

7:08 pm :: back in the house to get ready for bed.

7:18 pm :: he signs for milk and walks over to the fridge to wait for it.

7:25 pm :: talk with my mom briefly.  Read Jamberry and The Napping House while he drinks his bottle.  We are down to just one bottle a day (and he’s only 14.5 months).

7:45 pm :: Jim takes over.  Lots of giggles and launching of a foam rocket before bedtime.

7:46 pm :: laundry.  Pick up around the house.

7:55 pm :: diaper change.  Pajamas on.  Brush teeth.  And bedtime stories with daddy.

8:15 pm :: Samuel asleep on Jim.

8:20 pm :: Watch Celebrity Apprentice while sweeping, vacuuming and mopping.

8:50 pm :: shower.  More laundry.

9:20 pm :: snack for me (mango and a piece of crumb cake).

9:35 pm :: Upload photos.  Fold laundry.  Watch Celebrity Apprentice.

10:00 pm :: Going through the day’s photos.  315 uploaded.  Down to 192 after first run-through.

10:50 pm :: email from Barnes and Noble in Stockton.  I won their teacher appreciation gift package.  Yay!

11:00 pm :: Listen to the news.  Exporting photos to post online.

11:43 pm :: Jim reminds me that it is close to midnight.

12:20 am :: still writing blog post.

Thoughts for the rest of the week  —

  1. I am using a combination of Ali’s Daily Sheets and Evernote (an iPhone app) to record notes for the day.  I will probably not post the details of my day for the rest of the week — takes too much time.
  2. I am incorporating a combination of photos from my DSLR and iPhone. So excited about learning how to take self-portraits with my iPhone.  Will definitely cut down on the number of photos for the rest of the week.  I don’t have time to go through 300+ photos each day.
  3. I am reminding myself to find my own rhythm and not stress out if I miss a photo op. Sometimes, it isn’t possible to take a photo with a wiggly 14-month old in your arms.
  4. Things I want to make sure I document:
  • Samuel’s spirit wear for the week
  • Self portraits (with and without the little man)
  • Routines: morning, afternoon and evening
  • The state/condition of our home
  • What’s blooming in the back yard

Week in the Life :: 2011 :: Saturday, 7/30

Today, I feel sad, joyful, and blessed.

Today marks the one year anniversary of my dad’s passing.

Today, I honor my dad and his quest for freedom for his people.  He was a quiet man with a big heart.  He was never wealthy for he spent whatever he had helping those in need.  About five years ago, he left my mother (and our family) to seek spiritual enlightenment.  In the last couple of years, I believe his loneliness brought him back to Sacramento.

Today, I miss my dad.

Today, I am thankful for my health and family.

Today, I want to squeeze everyone I love a bit tighter.  And enjoy being together.

Today, I am thankful for the ability to nurse my baby.

Today, I am thankful for wheat pancakes.  They don’t look appetizing but I like ’em.

Today, I am thankful for a quiet morning.

We gathered at the Stockton Buddhist temple to pay respect through prayer.

Today, I am thankful to have had such a loving, kind, strong, and passionate man in my life.  He was the first love of my life and the greatest role model any kid could ever ask for.  I miss you, dad.

Our family wore the white head pieces for the last time today.

Buddhist monk cutting my mom’s white head band.  It marks the end of our year in mourning.

Food offering on the alter.  We always offer food to those who have left this life, say prayers through a series of chants and then gather for a vegetarian meal afterward.

Today, I am thankful for Samuel’s aunties.

Today, I am thankful for my brother.

Today, I am thankful for moments like these.  (Samuel eating banana for the first time.  Absolutely loved it, I think.  Or maybe he loved the mesh bag that it came in.  Who knows.  It was just delightful to watch him.)

Today, I am thankful for my family.

Today, I am thankful for him. I think I said that already but I am so blessed to have him.  I don’t remember grinning from ear to ear so much in my life.

Today, I am thankful for her.

Today, I am thankful for sweets.

Today, I am thankful for afternoon naps.

Today, I am thankful for his doorway jumper.

Today, I am thankful for all the time I get to spend with this boy.  Summer is quickly coming to an end so I want to make sure we make the most of the time we have left.

Week in the Life :: 2011 :: Friday, 7/29


Rise and shine.  Samuel wakes up a happy boy.

Walking around the neighborhood.  Today, I am thankful for Jim’s smooth recovery from hip replacement surgery.

Out exploring a new shopping area.  At the Fabric Garden — they have a little room called “The Nursery” with a ton of beautiful fabric for kid quilts.  Today, I feel inspired.

Happy little traveler.

These Lego blocks are 75% smaller than regular Lego blocks.  Definitely too small for Samuel to play with.

Removing Samuel’s mobile made me a little weepy — another sign that he’s growing up.

Got my car back from the body shop.  She’s back to normal again.


He makes taking vitamins look so beautiful.

Number of photos : 209 (down from 375).

I am having a great time capturing our daily adventures with this little boy.

Week in the Life :: 2011 :: Wednesday, 7/27

Here are a few favorite photos from Wednesday.

Burping after the morning feed.  He’s not such a good burper these days.  Takes forever sometimes.

Making breakfast.  He loves to watch … and get his hands dirty.

Our friends Erin and Bailey at Mommy & Me.

We always read a book when we make a visit to the bookstore.  We love Dr. Suess.  We need to add this one to our collection.

Daddy shoes.  Samuel shoes.  Mama shoes.

Number of photos today : 176 (down from 390).   Absolutely rediculous.  I need to go through them again and delete more photos.  My harddrive is out of memory!

I’m not writing as much as I’d like to … too exhausted by 9 pm!