Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

We had a lovely Christmas this year. Our church services kept our thoughts focused on our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the true meaning of Christmas. We also had the opportunity to spend a lot of time together as a family. I have quite a few photos in this update of various activities including the results of gingerbread house construction, visiting the Los Angeles, CA Temple and enjoying the Nativity and Christmas light display, and opening Christmas gifts (and playing with them.) Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope each of you has a wonderful Christmas full of love, joy, peace, and thoughts of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cats Under the Christmas Tree

John called me downstairs this morning saying, "You have to see this." Our two cats were sitting under the Christmas tree looking like two kids waiting for Christmas. I never intended to be the weird lady who posts pictures of her cats, but that is what I have become. Here are a couple of shots. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Mom Song

My sister, Beth, posted this on facebook. It is hilarious! I think moms of school-age children will particularly enjoy it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Here's a copy of our Christmas letter this year.

Merry Christmas! It’s been many years since we sent Christmas cards, so we’ll try to pack this letter full of details.

A.J. is seven years old and a little firecracker! He is passionate, lovable, and feisty. A.J. is a second grade student and.excels in his studies. His spirited nature gets him into trouble sometimes, but he flashes a smile, gives you a hug and all is forgiven. Next year, A.J. will be baptized, and he cannot wait!

Michael is 11 years old, but demonstrates maturity beyond his years. His soberness and compassion bring so much to our family. As a natural peacemaker, his presence in our home is a great blessing. Michael is a superb 6th student who loves sports. He has many friends and is always thinking of others. Next year, Michael will turn 12, and he’s looking forward to being ordained a deacon.

David is 15 years old and a sophomore. He is our absentminded professor. He’s highly intelligent and able to discuss difficult math and science concepts, but sometimes forgets to acknowledge others. He is not afraid to try new things. He’s a talented French horn player who taught himself to play the trumpet and saxophone. This year, David is a member of the Academic Decathlon team in addition to his heavy academic load (all honors courses plus 2 AP classes). He attends an early morning church class at 5:50 am on school days. David seems to have endless energy and an excitement for life.

Jacob will be 18 in February. He attends a middle college high school. His school day is split between high school and college classes. When he graduates next June, Jacob will have completed his first year of college. He plans to attend College of the Canyons one more year, then transfer to University of Southern California. Although we are pleased that Jacob is maturing and doing well, it is hard to watch him become more independent and know he will move out someday. A bittersweet time.

Laurie is enjoying her time as a stay at home mom. With the kids in school all day, she’s been pursuing some of her interests. In particular, she’s been working on John’s family’s genealogy. It’s a daunting task, but an enjoyable one. Laurie has also been working on genealogy indexing. She volunteers her time through a website ( and creates searchable indexes from digitized old birth certificates, census records, etc. It is amazing how technology has made this work so quick, and how it allows people to do it anywhere they have a computer and internet connection.

John is working in the film industry as a computer animator. He’s currently working on Night at the Museum 2. Although he loves working in film, he’s considering making the switch to games. Over the past decade, more work has been outsourced, and less companies are hiring staff, opting to hire freelance workers instead. While we’ve been blessed that John has worked steadily, it is getting a bit tiresome finding a new job every few months.

We are so grateful to our Heavenly Father for all the blessings we enjoy. We are especially grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, and his atonement. We hope that each of you have peace and joy in your life, particularly during this festive time of year.

Merry Christmas!
John, Laurie, Jacob, David, Michael, and A.J.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Birthday, a New Nephew, and Snow

John had a birthday! He turned 38 on Tuesday. John is the best husband and father ever, and we are all so grateful for him!

Here are a couple pictures of him blowing out the candles on his cake (which, incidentally, I did not have enough of, so I created "38!" out of 34 candles atop the cake).

Also on Tuesday, my sister, Mandi, and her husband, Junior, had their first child. Their son was born 5 weeks early. He is healthy, although very small (4 lbs 15 oz and 17 1/2 inches). It is very special when a new child joins a family. You can feel his spirit and that he just left our Heavenly Father's presence. What a blessing! Congratulations Mandi and Junior!

Today, the kids' elementary school had a "Snow Day Breakfast." A local company was hired to provide "snow" which was blown onto the blacktop.

After a continental breakfast, the kids were able to touch the snow, throw snowballs, and feel what it's like to really be cold.

Michael and AJ were both hit by snowballs in the head/face. Michael bounced back okay, but, for AJ, the snow had lost it's luster.

Oh well. Getting hit in the head/face with a snowball is part of snow. Despite a little crying, we had a very good time.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, John!

Today is my husband's 38th birthday! I love him so very much and feel blessed to have him in my life.

Christmas Time is Here!

Well, we did it. We killed a tree. John says it is not Christmas until we "kill a tree."

For the past few years, we've enjoyed visiting a Christmas Tree Farm as a family and picking out a live tree. You can't beat the smell of a real pine tree, and it doesn't hurt you quite so much when you take it down (because it's not completely dried out).

Here are some photos.

Friday, December 5, 2008

No Mob Veto

This website features a full page ad which ran in the NY Times today. Thought you might find it interesting.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A friend of mine on Facebook posted a link to this article. I thought it was worth sharing.


WE ALL ARE Rabbi Shifren

We are living in an era of insanity! Witness the latest attempt to remake the nature of our country, founded and established on certain principles that have been the envy of the entire world. The latest assault on our country and its values comes in the form of vicious and criminal violence against the Mormon church in Westwood, California

Interesting how the selective self-righteous indignation on the part of the radical Gay activists is played out here: they bewail the blow to freedom and justice! But I thought we just had elections, where the majority of Californians expressed their views in a free and open manner. Are we not a nation of laws? Dare we relive the McCarthy era, where Americans were harassed and threatened with the loss of their jobs for believing in a certain way? If the Gay radicals should have their way, untold numbers of Americans would live under the threat of the Gay-Lesbian "thought police," where individuals that reject the Gay lifestyle would be sought out and have sanctions brought against them.

It's bad enough for those working in the entertainment industry here in Los Angeles, where a fog of political correctness and a bending over backwards to accommodate, even promote Gay lifestyle is in full gear. Let none dare say that this type of activity is anathema to our country, our morality, and the debauchery of our young people.

Let it be stated unequivocally: The radical Gay attack on the Mormons is the shot over the bow against the United States of America. There was a time when what a man did in his bedroom was sanctified between himself and G-d. Now we are being served an "in-your-face" smorgasbord of smut and licentiousness as being between people who only "want their civil rights."

Hogwash! We are dealing with the equivalent of a moral takeover of the country that has as its bedrock a belief in G-d and His promise for humanity. They don't want civil rights! What they desire is quasi Gay/Lesbian hegemony, where a huge "bookburning," reminiscent of the Nazis, will purge any remnants of the "Christian, White, mainstream America" that has given ALL AMERICANS the most profound scope of freedom, liberty, and justice that Mankind has yet to experience.

People have perhaps wondered: why the Mormons? Answer: they are a small, yet vocal Christian minority. They have been selected by the mobs as vulnerable, a group that might not have such massive support among America's Christians.

We who are friends of the Mormons, their patriotism, their family values, will not falter in our continued support of these dear Americans. Let us recall the Christian minister Niemoller, whose admonition during those dark years of Nazi Germany moved us to our core:

"When they came for the gypsies, I said nothing, because I wasn't a gypsy. When they came for the homosexuals, I said nothing, because I wasn't a homosexual. When they came for the Jews, I said nothing, because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I said nothing, because I wasn't a Catholic......then they came for me, and there was no one left to defend me."

My fellow Americans, in the coming battle for the heart and soul of America and everything we cherish, may this call to arms be the mantra of every concerned patriot:

Rabbi Nachum Shifren
Lecturer and Author, "Kill Your Teacher: An Expose of Corruption and Racism in LA Schools" & "Surfing Rabbi: A Kabbalistic Quest for the Soul"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Greedy Hands, Impetigo, and Field Trips

Lots of things are happening in the Nguyen home, as it is usually a busy time of year for everyone.

On Tuesday, November 25, I went on a field trip with Michael to the Castaic Lake Water Treatment Facility. It was fascinating! I enjoyed it a bit more than
the kids, but Michael and I had a good time together. Here are a few pictures.

On Tuesday night, a couple of blisters (that I thought were cold sores) popped up on AJ's bottom lip. They didn't bother him much, so I bought some over the counter medication to address any discomfort and sent him to school on Wednesday. When I was quizzing the kids on Dolch List words (sight words), I noticed another child had a similar looking blister. On Thanksgiving, the blisters spread. There were a few on his chin and a couple near his nose.

We took AJ to the doctor on Friday. The doctor said it was probably impetigo, so she took two swabs and sent them to the lab (one to test for Herpes, which causes cold sores, and one to test for impetigo). She also sent us home with an anti-biotic. The next morning, he looked much better. On Monday, she called and told us that AJ has impetigo caused by the strep bacteria (the same bacteria that causes strep throat.) I called the school to let them know and they informed the teachers to be on the look out. They also pulled the boy (who had the blister on Wednesday) into the nurse's office to see if it was impetigo.

Thanksgiving was quiet in our home, but good. We had a nice dinner with our favorite dishes. John, Michael, AJ, and I went to see Bolt (Jacob and David were not interested in seeing it). I enjoy Thanksgiving more every year, because it reminds me to take time to reflect on the innumerable blessings my Heavenly Father has given me, but it does make me a bit homesick. I think of all my family and close friends and miss seeing you during the holidays.

On Friday, November 28, it marked the 10 year "anniversary" of Jon's death. It was a bittersweet day, but I am grateful for my testimony of the gospel and my knowledge that I will see him again. I am so grateful for the blessings of the temple and that my parents were sealed for time and eternity, knitting us into an eternal family.

On Saturday, Michael, David, and I played Greedy Hands. I won and scored high enough that I sent a copy of our scorecard to the website to join the 10,000 point club. Everyone in our family, except John and Jacob, really like Greedy Hands, and we really enjoyed playing with everyone when we were in Maryland.