Showing posts from 2007


I took the week off from work hoping to get the upstairs organized. I've found that I've run out of time. This week went by quickly...filled with a couple of shopping trips to Baby Style, Pottery Barn Kids, Target and the Paper Source. Also, two trips to Newton-Wellesley Hospital for doctors' appointment. The baby is doing fine and in another month I go in for my scheduled appointment and for an ultrasound. We can find out the sex of the baby at this time but have decided we would rather wait the nine months (more I have decided).

Instead of organizing the upstairs today I opted for making some personalized stationary (I’m just procrastinating). The note cards are from Target and I used Word to print my name and address on it. I plan on writing some thank you notes for all the wonderful gifts we’ve received over the holidays.


Hill Christmas Tree ~ Simply Delightful

While I love the holidays...the energy, excitement, wonderment and joy...I am happy to return to calmer period. Dave and I did not spend as much time in Maine as we had intended (p0or Dave came down with something) we enjoyed the time we had. It's been a busy week which started with a night spent at the "Garden" with the Celtics and then Maine for a few days.

Five Things Amazing Me: The Webkinz CrazeThe Baby CrazeChildren's laughter throughout the houseHow much I enjoy seeing the simple thingsThe noise factor between the Nguyens and HillsWe're starting to receive baby items and I so enjoy seeing things that I have never seen before. One of my favorite gifts this season is theNoonoo comfort blanket (thanks Aunt Shan, Phil, Sara and Jono). I look forward to see little fingers exploring the blanket...the touch, sight and love.

Winter Night

Winter Night ~ First Photo
I received my Christmas gift today and had to try it out. I came home tonight with the intent of helping Dave with the drive way, but was instantly side tracked with the camera. I had to take my first photo with the camera. A new toy that will keep me busy for hours...

Self - Body, Mind & Soul

I'm beginning to feel more like myself again. My energy is slowing coming back and just in the nick of time. My mind was telling me one thing while my body refused every thought. Being as active as I am with my mind, soul and body, I was not sure how much more they could have handled.

While most of us have dreaded the snow we've received in the past week, it was a good thing for me. The snow forced me to stay indoors. With the return of my energy, I was finally able clean the house up and wrap gifts. Some of the furniture took a beating from my spurt of energy. Dave didn't miss a thing when he got home - there are new nicks and dings in our bedroom furniture from my new arrangements. This is even after I tried to hide it with a sharpie (the greatest invention ever for someone like).

Friendships and Connections

Loving connection - cousins Taylor, Maggie, Sabrina, Dylan and Paige ~May 2004

When I was pulling together my blog, "The Other Side", "Reflections" was an idea I had come up with for a theme. I tend to reflect on my life each morning as I make the 15 minute trek to work. This morning I was thinking about the friendships and connections I've made over the years. Websites such asMySpace, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn and even blogging make it easier for us to stay connected with a high school friend or former co-worker.

There are so many ways for us to stay connected with friends whether it's through emails, on the phone or through instant messaging (IM). I enjoy my connections with my nieces and nephews and former co-workers through IM, the almost daily conversations with Van and email exchanges with family. It's so easy just to send a message asking them how they are or the random questions about what they've written on their blog.

Over the weekend I conn…

The Magic of a Thoughtful Gift

My Gift ~ May 2007

I've been thinking about gifts lately...of course, who won't be thinking about them at this time of the year. I find handmade gifts more special to give and receive. The person giving the gift thought deeply about the perfect gift for the receiver and truly poured their heart and soul into it. I made a few handmade Christmas gifts this year for the special young girls in my life (I'll post pictures at a later date).

While I love handmade gifts, there are some commercially bought gifts that I can truly appreciate. It's not so much the gift but the thought that went into the gift. Dave continues to surprise me and his gift for me this year would have been absolutely perfect if I hadn't ruined the surprise. Dave knew there was a special camera I've been wanting and for weeks he had been telling me to go buy it. I, on the other hand, was holding out trying to find the best price. Last week I emailed Dave a link to the camera onAmazon. Yesterday, I …

Twelve Point Four Weeks

Baby at 12.4 weeks

I had my first trimester screening yesterday at Maternal Fetal Medicine at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. The screening tested for the baby’s risks for down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. The screening included the Nuchal translucency screening through an ultrasound and a blood test.

Based on my age and the baby’s nuchal fold the doctor told me everything seemed normal. He gave me two options – go with only the first trimester screening which included the ultrasound and the blood test or go with the first and second trimester screening. I told the doctor I wanted option 2. He said, “You didn’t have to make the decision so quickly, but I think you made the correct choice”. He then finished going over the risks.

The baby’s heart beat was 157 beats per minute. From the ultrasound the nuchal fold was 1.7 out of 3 which I was told was very good.

I had to sit Dave down to show him the baby's features in the ultrasound photos. Dave asked me if I was going to get…

That Man is a Blessing

Around the anniversary of my father’s death the family gathers to celebrate his death. This is a tradition that is deeply rooted in the Vietnamese culture. The tradition is the family would gather at the graveside with offerings of food or incense made to the spirits of the deceased on the anniversary of their death. This weekend marked the 4th anniversary of my father’s death..."That Man Is a Blessing"
Yen Nguyen
a man who is a blessing and a success That Man is a Blessing Who has lived well laughed often and loved much; Who has gained the respect of adults and the love of children;
Who has filled his call and accomplished his task; Who leaves the world better than he found it,
Who never lacked appreciation of earth's beauties and pleasures nor failed to express them;
Who looked for the best in others and gave everyone the best he had.
Anonymous Adapted

On the 1st anniversary of a person’s death the feast is more formal which includes all family and friends (typically, everyone who …


I had my monthly appointment with Dr. DeVries today. I've been coughing so much that I was worried about the "BABY". My fears were put to rest when I got to hear the Baby's heartbeat.

I heard my own heart beat, the Baby's kicking and a minute later it happened. I was able to hear the most amazing sound...all I could do was smile. At that moment I could have cried it was such a powerful feeling.

It's all beginning to sink in and feel real. In a week, I will be past my first trimester. The first nine weeks I couldn't think about anything other than getting through the day. Morning sickness and fatigue was so bad I couldn't fathom how any woman would want to go through having a baby. Today's appointment makes it all worth it.

First Minor Freak Out

Last Monday (11.19.2007) I got the first sign of a cold. I had heard that most medication was harmful for the baby to be. I started on a lot of citrus fruit, fluids and goggling with salt. A week later it had not gotten any better, but was worse. I was waking up often and had a slight fever. I called my primary doctor and got an appointment today.

What I thought was a cold had turned into bronchitis. This was not a big deal, I could handle this until the doctor prescribed Azithromycin, a medication she termed “Category B”. She couldn't prescribe any “Category A” medication because I am allergic to penicillin. I asked if it was safe for the baby and was told that it was but not enough study had been done to confirm it. I suggested she write the prescription and I would take Tylenol for the next few days and if it didn't get any better I would go pick up the prescription.

On my way home from the doctor’s appointment, I called Dave to get his opinion, but I couldn't get a hold …

Many Thanks

Thanksgiving was extra special this year. Dave and I told our families that we are expecting our first child in June 2008. Both Mom Nguyen and Hill were excited, as expected. Van and Tuan picked me up on their way up to Maine on Wednesday and I told Mom Nguyen that night. Dave and I told Mom Hill on Thanksgiving Day.
To announce our surprise, I bought cupcakes and decorated them with baby embellishments. I told them there was special message on the cupcakes. It took both Moms some time to figure it out. Mom Nguyen didn't get it and Van had to help her with it.
We had a lot to give thanks for this year. Thanks for our family. Thanks for our happiness. Thanks for our baby to be!

Better Together

It was nice to spend some time with Dave this morning just catching up (about his trip to Virginia and Costa Rica). We had breakfast together and looked through his photos...Jack Johnson's "Better Together" was playing in the background and I thought how true it.

There's no combination of words
I could put on the back of a postcard,
No song that I could sing
But I can try for your heart,
Our dreams, and they are made out of real things,
Like a shoebox of photographs,
With sepia tone loving,
Love is the answer
At least for most of the questions in my heart,
Like why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy,
And sometimes life can be deceiving,
I'll tell you one thing, its always better when we're together

We laughed at Dave's photo. We talked about how lucky we are. The experiences we've had speak volume...we'll have the memories forever. Dave was telling of his tales through Mahogany Park on the canopy tour and the…

Happy Birthday Dad Hill *

Today is Dad Hill's birthday...I smile when I think about him. Dad Hill has many endearing traits. To me he embodies the true quiet strong man. He doesn’t judge you and he’s supportive in his own way (Dave is a lot like him in this way).
The one moment that stands out in my mind since I’ve know Dad Hill is right after college when Dave was packing his things, for his move to Connecticut, for his first job. I remember Dad Hill standing at the bottom of the stairs looking up towards Dave’s bedroom. He was so proud, but I could tell that he didn’t want to let go. There was love in his eyes and I will never forget that moment.

Mom and Dad Hill have always been support of Dave and me. They don’t tell us what we are doing wrong but allow us to live our lives. I had been feeling down all week prior to Hoang’s birthday. The night before Hoang’s birthday, I came home to a bouquet of flowers from Mom and Dad Hill. They incorporated a little of me and of Hoang in it. It was nice to know that t…

No More Leaves!

I just dropped Dave (5:00A) off at the airport for his Costa Rica vacation. On the way home I had to stop atStarbucks for a gingerbread latte. You know the holidays are around the corner when Starbucks brings back their holiday drinks (besides going into the retail stores and all the holiday decorations just slaps you in the face). The gingerbread latte is like drinking a cookie, it just "melts in your mouth."

Before Dave's trip to Costa Rica, he and I raked the yard (mostly Dave). John, our neighbor from across the street, came over to give us some advice. John told us he didn't know what he would do if he had as many leaves as we had. His advice to us was, "get a chain saw." Only John would say such a thing. He only has one tree in his yard and earlier this fall he had it cut back. While we were raking, Dave had to stop to inspect a mark on the VW. We joke that he may have a compulsive disorder.
Last year we raked more than 50 bags of leaves. This week we r…


Hoang's birthday is in three days...she would be 27 years old. The other day someone asked me how I was doing and I started to tear up. I thought I was all teared out when it came to the mention of Hoang's death, but as her birthday approaches I am think of her more often. When I got into my car afterwards, "Angels" by Sarah McLachlan was playing on the radio and the tears started again. This song says it all. Hoang was our "Angel" and now she is among them, she was the best of us all. She wanted the best for us all. I know Everything reminds me of her...."Bubbly", stripes, wallets, MySpace, "Hug O'War"...the list goes on.

Hug O' War
by Shel Silverstein

I will not play at tug o' war.
I'd rather play at hug o' war,
Where everyone hugsInstead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.


I will all probably gain ten pounds by the end of the year...Halloween followed by Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year. There is candy everywhere in the office today(left over from last night). Jeff, my boss, brought in his stash of M&M's and Snickers. M&M's with peanuts are my I put a few extra in my desk draw. Why wouldn't I gain weight, there's no restraint or will power to resist the treats.

I had the cutest tricker treater last night. This +/-3 year old little boy dressed as a dragon came to my door for his treats. He was shy and didn't say much. I gave him his goody bag with his father standing by. The little boy decided at that moment he needed to take a break. He sat right down in the middle of steps. He father asked him, "are you tired buddy?" It was so cute. He didn't say anything but as other children were coming up the walk way his father got him to get up.

It was a nice evening. I ran out of treats at 7:45 pm whic…

Flying Tiger

I was up in Maine yesterday visiting Ba Noi. I was put in charge of driving my nieces and nephews to a couple of Halloween party. Our first stop was Midred L. Day School in Arundel where Dylan and Sabrina attend the elementary school now. They were excited to see their new best friends. The PTA was hosting a magician. We stayed for about 30 minutes and then headed to the Sea Road School in Kennebunk.

At the Sea Road School, the Parks and Rec's was hosting a small fair for the younger children. The children were so cute in their costumes. Sabrina was a witch, Maggie was the Scream, Dylan was Robin and Molly was dressed as a tiger.
Once Molly was in her costume was role playing. She was roaring at everyone she...cracking everyone up.
The first stop was the bottle game. Each child had three rings to throw at the bottles lined up. If you got the ring around the bottle than you were given treats. Molly tried to cheat every chance she got. She would go under the bars and get as close to t…

The Wall Street Boys

Dave and I had our second meeting with the financial advisers from Northwestern Mutual Financial last night. Dave refers to Michael and Scott, the advisers, as the "Wall Street Boys." They are very polished in their pressed suits. Having lived in the burbs for 6 years, going into Boston and arriving at the posh One Beacon Street makes you feel "small" and "innocent". I get a daily quote and it's a coincident that I would get this quote on the same day as our meeting.

"Most people want security in this world, not liberty." H.L. Mencken
I would like to think that I would chose liberty over security but now that I have liberty I'm not so sure I would chose it over security. Dave and I are very content in our lives and are starting to think about our future. After meeting with the advisers last night we have a lot to think for the future, life insurance and what we will need when we retire. They did an analysis for us. By …


I woke up this morning thinking about Brandi. Brandi was my little sister from Big Brother, Big Sisters. Brandi was a shy 9 year old girl when I first met her and as our relationship progressed she began to open up and she even started making friends.

I thought about Brandi this morning because at this time last year, we were carving pumpkins and roasting pumpkins seeds and in a month and half we would be putting up a Christmas tree. It was nice to have a young person in our home. Brandi brought youth in our lives...our weekends weren't so structured and our home was filled with unusual noise. Our home was filled with the noise of a little person.

On our first get together, I asked Brandi what she loved to do and what she wanted to do with our time. She told me she loved to do crafts, go swimming, wanted to go to a Red Sox or Patriots game, go to a concert and go horse back riding. I said, "wow, that is a nice list." For a shy young girl she wanted a lot. We didn't alw…


There's nothing like your hometown business. I have to give "kudos" to Morris Insurance, Mom Nguyen, a.ka. Ba Noi's home owner's insurance company. Last week I went to pay her premium and found that it had increase by more than 30%. I called Morris Insurance on Columbus Day and left a message. The next day I received a call from Paula telling me that they would take a look into the account and would get back to me the next day.

Paula called me the next day and had found Ba Noi a new company with a drop in her premium (even lower than her previous agency) and she was getting more coverage. It nice to know that I can call the smaller company and get wonderful customer service. There's no pushing a thousand buttons before you can talk to a live person or there's no rehearsed message.

It's quite annoying waiting on the phone line for 10 minutes before you can talk to customer service of those big companies. When you ask a question there's no quick respo…

Guest Room

The guest room is finally done (excluding the door knobs). Dave finished the painting the trim and the closet yesterday. I made him put up the gear for the curtain rod and move in the furniture before he went to the gym and Lowe's today. The room looks great except we had to move the office into the room making it feel tight. We plan on painting the office next. It's a never sending process. Once we're done with the upstairs room there's the down stairs that needs touching up. I think Dave needs a break...

Looking Happy

Image's been a busy work week. I received this email from a friend just in time. I hope you enjoy it.

All personnel will be expected to look happy at work. Rubber bands and paper clips will be provided at no cost.
How to look Happy at work * Workload getting to you? * Feeling stressed? * Too many Priority 1 assignments?
Here is the new low cost way to cope with multiple Priority 1 assignments!
Take 2 paper clips and rubber bands. Fig 1
Assemble them as shown on the picture. Fig. 2 Apply as shown in fig 3.
Enjoy your day.This new office equipment will help you to reach the end of the day with a smile on your face.
**Unfortunately, I unable to give credit to the originator of this email. I'm sure it's been out there for years and it's just now getting to me. Perhaps you will run into the guy in the mug shot some day.

Law of the "In-Laws"

Van and Tuan stayed with us for a couple of days this week. They visited a friend while they were here. I can’t imagine having the life style that they have…going out until after 1:30 AM in the morning. It was Boston one night and Foxwoods the next. Van describes us to her friend as the “married old couple.” Perhaps this is true or just the fact that we have to get up at 6:00 AM the morning for work.

This reaffirms the question Dave is always asking me about Van (his sister-in-law)…“what is your sister going to do with her life?” I don’t have an answer for that and my only response to the question is, “stop it.” Is it the law of the in-laws? The brother-in-law will always question the spouse’s sister. What is she doing? What is she up to now? Why does she do what she does? How does she make do living the lavish lifestyle she has?Is she broke yet? Van is constantly adding fuel to the fire when it comes to Dave. Last night she told Dave her next car would be an Acura MDX. I had to roll m…


I received a call from Van yesterday. She was a little emotional (she may not be happy I am writing about it :)). Her call brought to mind the question I often ask can we as SISTERS be so different in many ways and yet have that connection?

I've always been the supportive one who had to take care of my younger sisters. Van, being the middle child, has always been the emotional one. In one moment the sun is shinning and her world was wonderful and in an instant it's raining and everyone around her will hear it. The good thing is that she never holds a grudge (by gones). Hoang, the youngest, was the quiet and loving one...she didn't judge you. Van and Hoang were on opposite ends of the extremes and I tended to be in the middle.

Is our order of birth what makes us act the way we do (nature) or is it our environment (nurture)? It could be a combination of both but the nature aspect seems too gray to me. I tend to think its nurture that defines our roles as sisters. …

Aliza's Baby

We went to Aliza's 4th birthday party was a small gathering which was nice. Aliza gave us a tour bedroom and showed us her new "big girl" bed. She's so tiny for her age she's still adjusting to getting on the bed. She uses her sheets to pull herself up.

Shortly after we were given the grand tour, Kevin, a three month old baby arrived at the party. Once Aliza heard the word "baby" she ran out the door to greet him. She wouldn't have cared who was there at her party as long as she got to hold the baby. She kept saying, "isn't he cute."
After the party Dave asked me, "what is up with little girls and baby? I didn't realized they loved them that much."

TV Sitcoms...Our Moments

There are some great TV sitcom moments we can relate to in our lives. Some of these moments help you laugh because if they were not there you would only get mad or frustrated with your situation. Seinfeld and Friends have some great episodes that Dave and I laugh about all the time because we can relate to them. We have the running joke from a Seinfeld episode with the one liner..."no food for you." Those who know Dave will laugh because they know how he hates to share his food. If I ask for a bit he says, "no food for you".

About 5 years ago when Dave and I were moving into our apartment on Nicholas Road, we moved all the furniture ourselves. The funniest moment (not so funny at first) was when we were trying to get our new sofa up the stairs to the apartment (it was too big to fit in the elevator). Dave was leading the way and had it all planned out in his head...much like Ross did in the Friends Pivot episode. He was leading the way and telling me when to turn an…


Van and Tuan are having her engagement party in November and I have the privilege to create their invitation (they had no choice). It's one of my favorite things to do...create cards and invitation. My source for inspiration and material is The Paper Sources. They were my source for card stock when Dave and I were getting married. I'll get over there this weekend to get supplies and ideas.

I came up with some ideas tonight but will see what I come up with this weekend. The location and time is to be determined so the information is for mock purposes only. Being a true romantic, I love planning weddings.

Everything's Turning Up Rosy

After 2 1/2 years Dave and I are finally adding color to the inside of our house. It started with our bedroom (a green). This weekend it was a rosy productive weekend. The weekend started with a run to Lowe's to pick up the paint (Friday night). I thought I had a color already picked out but once I got there I changed my mind and had to choose another color. So the room went from a coral color to a deep pink color (Valspar Rosy Sandstone, 2001-7C). It all worked out well, I think it's the perfect color for the upstairs room. I'm not sure how Dave truly feels about the color, whether he likes the color or just being the perfect husband and telling me what I want to hear...."it's nice color."

Of course, it didn't stop with just the paint color, but I had to buy new bedroom furniture and a rug for living room. Dave's words, "Thuy coerced me into buying a new bedroom set"...which is far from the truth. When I woke up Saturday morning and asked if…

Congratulations Van & Tuan

It's official - Van & Tuan are now engaged! He's the perfect person for my sister. They balance each other out.

This reminds of a conversation Van and I had. Van knew that Tuan was the one for her and we were taking about when they would get engaged. I said to her, "make sure you don't get married when I'm pregnant so I can be in your wedding or after I have my child so he or she can be in the wedding."

Congratulations Van & Tuan. Here's to a beautiful life together.

We End In Joy

Dave's Uncle Gaut passed away last Friday and we'll be headed to Augusta for the funeral tomorrow. Gaut's death made me think about a card I received shortly after Hoang's death. The front cover had the line...We end in joy.

There were many emotions that I was experiencing at the time that I don't think it could be explained simply, but yet those four words had a huge impact on me that night. I had thought only of my grief and those words made me think about something other than the sadness. It made me think...Hoang was in a better place and Gaut is now in a better place.

Theodore Roethke

We passed the ice of pain
And came to a dark ravine,
And there we sang with the sea:
The wide, the bleak abyss
Shifted with our slow kiss.
Space struggled with time;
The gong of midnight struck
The naked absolute.
Sound, silence sang as one.
All flowed: without, within;
Body met body, we
Created what's to be.
What else to say?
We end in joy.


Fall, my favorite time of the year…to get the true feeling you need to be in New England.

Some of my Fall favorites:
The crisp morning airSnuggling under the heavy blanket and feeling the cold air on your faceLazy Sundays - lounging on the couch with hot coffee while Dave is reading the paperFall colors – the reds, oranges and yellowsComfort food – chili that been cooking for 4 hours, a brined roast that is slowly cooking, baking cookiesThe smell of cinnamon and vanillaPulling out the sweatersThe passionate fans of Patriots NationShopping - the texture and colors of fall clothing, not having to fight for a parking spot, not having to squeeze by another person down a narrow aisle or waiting in a long checkout line on a Sunday afternoon because everyone is at home watching “the game”