Dear Zoey,

This past year was a big one for you!   You have flourished in many ways! What a joy and privilege to watch you grow spiritually, emotionally and physically over the past 12 months.

This has been the year of Legos, Disney princesses, Disney movies (all things Disney!), flourishing friendships, soccer, boba drinking, learning Chinese and Katie Perry dance parties. We got to travel to Hawaii, Sonoma, Portland and numerous trips to your favorite place on earth: Irvine. As always, you approached everything with an exuberance for life. Your spunky, enthusiastic spirit continues to spread joy and fun in whatever you do and wherever you go.


This year your relationship with Skylar has really blossomed. Now that she is 1 years old, the two of you are playing together more and nothing warms my mama heart more than watching you sisters convulsing in giggle fits. She loves you so much. Whenever you are not around, she asks for you and when you are present, she is always by your side, wanting to do whatever you are doing, trying hard to keep up with those chubby thighs of hers. You are her hero and she, your best friend. We moved Skylar into your bedroom at night and I catch you sometimes on the baby monitor climbing into her crib and singing SkyeSkye her favorite Elmo songs.  Though you don’t always enjoy her breaking your lego masterpieces or sharing my attention, I hope that you will truly cherish Skylar and be a great role model for your baby sister.


You started a new school full-time this fall and while the beginning was rough on all of us, you made us proud with your bravery.  For weeks you cried every morning and evening, not wanting to be separated from your family but one morning in the car you bravely wiped away tears and stunned us by declaring “I can do this!  Jesus gives me courage!” and you were right! You did it.  You were right, Jesus gave you courage. Though I was scared to send you out alone into this big scary world,  I, too, am comforted that God is with you and and gives you courage. He loves you more than I ever can.

This past summer at vacation bible school you learned:

Jesus gives you courage.
Jesus gives you hope.
Jesus gives you love.
Jesus gives you strength.
Jesus gives you direction.

Hold on to these truths, baby girl, for these simple truths will sustain you in this increasingly frightening world. Ingrain these truths in your heart and commit them to memory. As you grow older and I fear that I cannot protect you and your sister from all the heartaches that will come your way, I pray that your growing faith in the Lord will sustain you. God will be your strength and your refuge (Psalm 46:1) in those tough times.  Girl, be strong and courageous and do not be afraid for God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).  What a joy it has been to watch you grow in knowledge and love of Jesus this past year.  Not only do you finally enjoy going to Sunday school, your daddy and I are constantly amazed by all the Bible verses you memorize, praise songs you sing and the Bible stories you have learned.  You ask to read the Bible and ask me good questions about God. (“Where is Heaven? Why can’t I see it? Did God create Ahma, too?”) When you pray, you not only ask for yourself but also blessings for your family and best friends. We are proud of you in so many ways but nothing makes mommy’s heart burst with pride more than you growing to know and display God’s love.


Baby girl, I love you so much. Now that you have started school full-time, my time with you is precious.  Our time together is sadly shrinking but that makes me  even more  dedicated to learning all about you, specifically what makes you shriek with laughter and what makes you smile that big Zoey gap-toothed grin. I promise to be your biggest cheerleader and help you pursue those things that bring you joy. I love you so much….to infinity and beyond!! Forever and ever!!

Happy 4th birthday, my Zoey!

Read my letter to Zoey on her first birthday.

Read my letter to Zoey on her second birthday.

Ready my letter to Zoey on her third birthday.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

by ilene on February 14, 2016 · 0 comments

in Uncategorized



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Glowstick Valentines

by ilene on February 9, 2016 · 1 comment

in holidays, valentines day


These are the valentines that Zoey is bringing for her friends at school this year- glowstick valentines!  Easy, cheap, not sugar and fun for the kids!

No joke, it took me about 75 snaps to get one decent photo of Zoey. I used photoshop to add the text:


Materials: printed photos, glowsticks and hole punch. It doesn’t get any easier:


Punch one hole each at the top and bottom of the photo and string a glowstick through. Tada!

Glowsticks are pretty cheap, about $1.50 for a dozen.  I got the 4×6 photos printed at Costco for 17 cents/photo so each valentine ended up being about 30 cents each.  So affordable!  Zoey helped me put the cards together. She can’t wait to pass them out to her friends!

Need another easy fast valentine idea? Check out the bunny valentines we made last year!


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Happy Chinese New Year!

by ilene on February 7, 2016 · 1 comment

in holidays, Skylar's First Year

Happy Chinese New Year!!  We have hung up our red lanterns, handed out red envelopes and now ready to eat some yummy Chinese food.



This holiday is especially special to us because Skylar was born last year on Chinese new year.  Its one of those holidays that go by the lunar calendar so it came a few weeks earlier this year.  We can’t wait to introduce all the traditions to Skye this year!chinesenewyear_skye2


Happy year of the monkey!!  From my two little monkeys:chinesenewyear2016_1


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Read Them and Eat Books

by ilene on February 3, 2016 · 0 comments

in Uncategorized

My amazing mom friend Kendra just launched a Kickstarter campaign for her new line of books, Read Them and Eat Books.  The books are made for children who are picky eaters, just like Zoey!  In fact, we got to test the books out on Zozo  when Kendra was just in the development stages.  Zoey, who is 3 years old, loved them and gave them two thumbs up!  There are two books available, “Sally Strands and Her Wacky Hairstyles” and “The Most Delicious Train Ride”.  The concept behind the books is pretty fun.  Parents read the stories to their kids while the kids act out the storyline with food and eat along.  For example, spaghetti is used to make Sally’s hair and cucumber slices represent the wheels of a choo choo train.  The children are literally playing with their food and unwittingly feeding themselves as the story progresses. Because Zoey is such a difficult child to feed, we have tried all sorts of tricks to get her to eat something/anything and meal times are a nightmare.  These books were a creative, entertaining way for her to eat.

Check out the Read Them and Eat Kickstarter campaign and be one of the first to get your hands on these interactive books. You may see some familiar faces in the intro video, too.  😉


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