Mother’s Day Weekend

Tulips from my loves.140509 Mother'sDayTea-3 Mother’s Day performance and tea party at his school.140509 Mother'sDayTea-26 He was pretty stoked about giving me the gifts he made at school.140509 Mother'sDayTea-58 New tradition | Friday Family Game Night — all of us at the table, playing games with no technological interruptions.140509 Mother'sDayTea-61 Met some friends at Starbucks on Saturday morning.140510 MeettheMachines-3 Took him to the Meet the Machines event in Rancho Cordova.  He is in love with fire trucks, garbage trucks + monster trucks.140510 MeettheMachines-24 He is really into playing doctor.140510 MeettheMachines-99 On Saturday evening, we went to the Dixon May Fair.  He was pretty thrilled about driving the monster-sized tractors.2014-05-10-17.38 The Dixon May Fair turned out to be a total dud.  No horses.  The most exciting thing there was our shadows.  Ha!2014-05-10-17.44 We waited at the train stop to ride the extremely slow moving train.  Waited.  And waited. We eventually gave up and left.  140510 DixonMayFair-38 Mother’s Day breakfast at Lumberjacks.  My guys love this place.2014-05-11-08.55 He is amusing.2014-05-11-09.32 Made a trip to the store for jam supplies to make mulberry jam.2014-05-11-10.05 Afternoon run – 3 miles of solitude. 2014-05-11-14.53 He is a joy.140511 Mother'sDay-9 Beside him is his pal, Snaky Snake.  Snaky Snake is 3 years old and loves to be petted and enjoys swimming in the water.  He concocted an entire story about this imaginary snake using Jim’s bathrobe tie and had me pet him. 140511 Mother'sDay-31 I am in love with this boy.140511 Mother'sDay-103 And I think he loves me too. Happy Mother’s Day.

Project Life 2014 | Samuel is THREE!

I remember lying in the hospital bed after giving birth (via C-section after 40 hours of labor — yeah, crazy right?) and the nurse asked me, “Would you like to hold your baby?”  Really, all that and she wanted me to hold my baby?!?

I vividly recall my quick snarky response, “How am I supposed to do that?”

She looked at me and said three words. “With. Your. Arms.”

I was in a fog and was numb all over.  My response at that point was slow and methodical — “Oh, yessssss.  I doooooo have arms.  Ok, I’ll hold my baby.”  Honestly, I didn’t know what to do with him at that point.  He’s here.  So now what?

I struggled as a new mother.  I questioned myself and everything that I did to care for him. I worried all the time.  But he thrived. We thrived.  And just like that, he turned three.

At three, Samuel is an inquisitive, detailed-oriented, happy, energetic cowboy who has a passion for horses, garbage trucks and stories.  He is a problem solver and loves piecing together puzzles.
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We celebrated THREE with a hoe-down at our house.  Here’s a look at what went down …
140301 PLFeb-15I sent out personalized invites.  I spent hours making stick horses and painting cardboard boxes to create an old western town.  My sister made the awesome carrot cake.

140301 PLFeb-25Because of rain, we had the party indoors. Seven toddlers. Seven stick horses. Nobody tripped. Nobody fell. Nobody cried. It was joyful. Jim and I enjoyed watching him interact with everybody.

140301 PLFeb-32I left a basket of blank 3×4 cards out for birthday wishes.

140301 PLFeb-33The stick horses and buildings were a hit.  They didn’t care about the color station or games I had planned.

140301 PLFeb-53He was especially happy because his best friend came for the celebration.

We also had a birthday shindig at my mom’s house the following day for the family.
140302 PLCut&Paste-9Great day for all of us.  

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Products used | Project Life Themed Cards, Celebrate & Coral Edition.  Project Life Cut & Paste kit by Amy Tangerine. Studio Calico wood veneer. Word Stickers from Cosmo Cricket.

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me At All.

Hey Samuel,

You’ve grown up to be such a big 2-year old boy!  I’m so proud of you.  I am excited to share one of my favorite books with you.  It’s so special to me because when I was a little boy, I would always remind myself “Life doesn’t frighten me at all,” and seeing you enjoy all the little moments in life makes me know, life don’t frighten Sam either!  Keep having fun Sammie.

Love you,
Uncle Hung

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me At All from Hung on Vimeo.

Project Life 2012 :: Weeks 8 & 11-14

Project Life is awesome.

Even with holes here and there, it is still so dang awesome.

I love using it to document our daily life with Samuel.  Each entry is written to him — so that when he has his own kids (or when he’s old and gray), he can look back and see and read about all the wonderful adventures he had with us.  I include it all — the good, the funny, the ugly (thank goodness there isn’t much of that) and the embarrassing moments.

He was a good helper for a moment — a very short moment — this afternoon.

He was really interested in looking at photos of his Uncle Hung.

Here’s a look at our week 8 (Feb 19-25).

Fun week around here.  I hit my head on a ceramic bird feeder while trying to photograph an active toddler at a birthday party.  Ha! — I had to laugh because the only person who got hurt at a one-year old party was me — the grown, yet clumsy photographer.

Samuel loved riding his roller coaster car — yes, the boy has a roller coaster.

And the best part of work was me shrink wrapping a student — see the evidence above.

Visited my mother for her birthday.  Samuel had the best time with his Uncle.  There were a lot of photos that I wanted to include from our visit with my mom so I inserted a page protector with 2.5×3.5 pockets for smaller photos.

Samuel received a new hand-knit sweater from my sister.  I included 2.5×3.5 photos from the photo shoot to the back side of the page protector.  I love flipping through the book and seeing all of her hand-knits for him over the course of the year.

This was a huge week for me in running.  I ran 12 miles — haven’t ran that much in two years!

I made the decision to print my photos from home this year.  It is a bit more costly but I love having the immediate access to the hardcopy of the photo.

There are days when I want to add more than just one photo for the day.  I have started resizing the photos so I can get 3-6 photos on a 4×6 piece of photo paper.

It is kinda cool to see what my workday is like compared to my evenings with Samuel.

Week 11 :: March 11 – 17, 2012

The week after two major events — organizing a successful Math and Science Night and running my first half marathon after having Samuel.  I spent most of the week in bed.  Exhaustion took over and I was not the best mom that week.

Ran my personal best half marathon.

I love adding bits of his artwork.  This is his first attempt at using a crayon.  Gotta love the firsts.

Week 12 :: March 18 – 24, 3012

This was one of those weeks where I just wanted to get the photos in and the journaling cards done.  I find myself writing a lot of little stories about the little man.  Lots of words and photos here.

Week 12 :: March 25 – 31, 2012 (Spirit Week)

Spirit Week = FUN week for me at school.  I usually have way more fun with it than the kids — but this time, many of my students got into it too.  It was a competition among the “homeroom” classes so the kids got a little competitive.  Above, you can see us decked out in black for “Black Out Day” and sporting our socks for Crazy Socks Day.

Ummm … that’s me in the polk-a-dot dress and yellow shoes as Minnie Mouse.  I found the dress at a local thrift store, spray painted black pumps (also picked up at a thrift store) and borrowed ears from a friend.

And that’s me in the yellow bumble-bee looking outfit — it was “yellow/gold” day for teachers.  I was referred to as Ms. Bumblebee by my students.

At the end of the week, I received the award for “Most Spirited 8th Grade Teacher” and “Best Dressed 8th Grade Teacher.”  Pretty damn proud of my trophies — which are both displayed on my desk.

Week 14 :: April 1 – 7, 2012 (Spring Break)

Spent the first part of our break in San Francisco with my brother and mother.  Samuel loved SF — especially the beach and the busy streets (he loves cars), and his uncle.

I inserted an additional sheet protector (Becky Higgins, Design D) here to include more photos of Samuel’s first trip to San Francisco.  I cut 1/3 of it off because I like my inserts to be smaller than my weekly pages.

During this week, somebody also turned 14 months.  I decided to add another insert to include my favorite photos of him and a bit of journaling about his growth.

We had one of the best Spring Breaks ever.

I have started printing more 3×4 photos for the 4×6 slots to give me more room for journaling (see above).  Plus, it gives me some room for creative mini-layouts.  You’ll see more of this in Week 15 (which I hope to get up on the blog sometime on Sunday).

Thanks again for visiting.


My boy, my boy, my boy. You are one year old today. Oh, how you’ve grown.

You are learning things so quickly.  Crawling.  Cruising.  Bouncing.  Banging on walls, doors, windows, cabinets to explore a variety of sounds.  Playing “Where is Samuel?”  Pulling yourself up and down so easily.  You are so cautious — being careful to let yourself down so you don’t fall too far from the ground.

You are strong, determined, watchful, inquisitive, and oh so happy.

Happy birthday, my boy.

I love you so very much.

Thank you for turning my world upside down.  The view is better from here.

We celebrated Samuel’s first birthday with a rocket-themed party this afternoon.  Pictures to come soon. A month ago, I asked my uber-talented brother to put together a slide show or video for Samuel’s first birthday.  This is what he came up with …

Happy First Birthday, Samuel! from Autumn Nguyen on Vimeo.

We shared it with our guests this afternoon. And we needed a mop to clean up all of the tears afterwards. What a treasure. Thank you, Hung. This is the best gift a mama could ever ask for. You are amazing and I love you so very much. Samuel is super lucky to have an uncle like you.

This Kid

is always on the move.  And he moves fast.

is almost 11 months old.

wants to open every single cabinet in the house.

loves to take things out.  And then put them back in — well, just what he wants to put back in.

is trying to figure out how to open the cabinet underneath the kitchen sink.  He is determined to break through the child safety locks.

loves hanging out at home with us.

refuses to nap.  Wants to play and be part of all the action.

is getting his appetite back.  He’s been sick for a few days.

loves to play his version of peek-a-boo called Where is Samuel?

is seriously teething.  Number 4 is coming in!

shrieks and squeals all the time.

claps at everything.

is a drool and snot machine.

pulls himself up to standing position readily – with no effort at all.

is cruising along the furniture.

stand by himself for two-alligator seconds.

periodically crawls to his daddy’s office looking for him.

is the sweetest thing on the planet.  Speaking of the sweetest thing, my photographer friend, Kira (of Kira Lauren Photography) came over in November for a play date and photo session.  She has a eye for capturing life — unscripted, raw images of people in their element, doing their thang.  She’s good.  She’s really good.  She is a major source of inspiration for me.  Check out the photos of me and Samuel doing our thang here.  Thanks, Kira.

Hello 2012.

On February 7, 2011 we welcomed our son, Samuel, and have been captivated by his huge brown eyes and gorgeous smile ever since.  We celebrated many firsts – first successful diaper change (where we didn’t end up getting sprayed), first bath, first smile, first laugh, first roll, first time eating solids, and first clap.  We clap at everything – who knew that even the littlest things deserve a clap!  Samuel is almost eleven months old and is pulling himself up, cruising along the furniture, and loves to get into Autumn’s scrapbooking stuff. Samuel is an energetic, spunky, cute, adorable, strong, happy, funny little man – we love seeing his personality emerging.  He is also very observant – studies everything with intense curiosity before taking any action.  We think we may have a scientist or mathematician in the making!

We are excited for 2012!  We are excited to celebrate more firsts — first steps, first birthday, first ice cream sundae at Leatherby’s, first taste of whole milk — and have more family adventures.

Hello Project Life 2012.  I am excited to continue documenting our daily lives and celebrate the small (normal, and mundane) moments that will be awesome to look back on years from now.

Project Life 2011 continues to be a work in progress for me — I have three volumes.  Yes, that’s correct.  THREE We R Memory Keepers binder albums worth of photos, notes, and tidbits of our everyday lives.  I have some holes to fill in but am so glad I took a year worth of photos of our little family.

Project Life has been a great place to store bits of papers that would otherwise go into a file folder and drawer.

Project Life has been a great place to store gas receipts (for the entire year — so cool to see it fluctuate over the course of the year), student artwork, and party invites.

Project Life has been a great way to document Samuel’s first year of life.

I am thrilled to be doing Project Life again this year.

Hello 2012 resolutions.

I am keeping the list short this year.  Sticking with five main goals.

  1. Simplify.  Reduce the clutter.  Seriously.
  2. Read more.  (Started Hunger Games last night.)
  3. Move more.  Eat less.  (This includes signing up for Sac Fit, running a marathon and completing a triathlon).
  4. Learn the ins and outs of my camera.  Play with light.
  5. Be the best mom and partner that I can be (and still do the things I love).

5 Things

1) Winter break officially started at 12:45 pm on Friday.  Yay.

2) I am a bit behind in documenting December Daily.  I am having to make a few last minute gifts so there isn’t much time to update December Daily.

3) I am doing my best to get caught up.  Here’s a peek at what I’ve been working on …

I actually took pictures for days 08-11 but they didn’t turn out very well — I was balancing my little guy in one arm and trying to snap photos with my 5+ pound camera in the other.  Look for an update later this week.

4) I asked for more animal hats for Christmas and several of them are here. :)

5) Lots of firsts for Samuel this week —  sitting up and holding his bottle by himself, crawling on his knees and feet (he has somewhat of a Gollum crawl — i really need to get it on tape), pulling himself up to a standing position and cruising along furniture (and toys), eating cauliflower (and loving it), visiting Santa (somewhat traumatic experience) and getting a kick out of watching + helping me wrap presents.

December Daily 2011 :: Day 07

Samuel turned 10 months today — that’s two months away from being a year!!  Oh, my!  Where did the time go?

Because it is my little man’s 10-month birthday (and since it is his first holiday season), I thought it was appropriate to devote a page to him.  Here’s a look at Day 7.

Journaling :: 10 at Ten Months — Samuel, at ten months, you …

1.     Love to climb all over us.  And pull yourself into a standing position.  You love viewing things from this new vantage point.

2.     Rock on your knees more and more every day – getting ready to crawl on all fours.  You army crawl like nobody’s business – especially when you spot something you want.

3.     Clap your hands in excitement.

4.     Fight sleep.  Everyday.  Would rather play than sleep – that’s why naps at school are only about 30 minutes per day.  You are so interested in other things; you can’t lie still while we change your diapers or clothes.

5.     Reach for us all of the time.  You love to be held most of the time.  Occasionally, you wiggle your way down to stand.  And when you want to stand, you won’t bend your legs to sit.

6.     Love your toys.  You especially love to knock down blocks.

7.     Whine and kick your legs when you see a bottle.

8.     Are a scientist in the making.  You like to pick little things up with your thumb and pointer finger, hold it out in front of your face, and examines it fully by moving your little hands around.

9.     Adore your dad.  You like to visit him in his office.  When you see him, your eyes light up, you squeal in excitement and flash the biggest smile ever – a smile that shows off your two adorable little teeth!

10.   Love to snuggle and rest your head on our shoulder.  We must admit – we love it too!

Tucked in this envelope is the story of Sarah’s quilt.  I helped my friend, Jeanne, turn an idea of a photo blanket into a cherished heirloom.  I designed the quilt and  Debbie from the Creative Needle meticulously pieced everything together and quilted it with love.  Debbie, your work is absolutely amazing.

Samuel loves to take the books out of the basket and look through them.  Tonight, he did just that.  He took them out one by one — touching and examining each with eyes of wonder and delight.