The holiday season is always a super busy time in our house, but this year it has been even more so.  For Thanksgiving last week, we actually had both sides of our family in town, which was really wonderful, but a little chaotic!  My brother and his family, as well as my parents flew in from the mainland.  And, my husband has 3 older sisters – his oldest lives just down the street, but the other 2 live in the Bay Area.  They also flew in for the holiday.  My kids had such a blast with all their cousins.  Even Arya, who is only 2, was running around with everyone.  I thought it would be great to get family pics done since everyone was in one place.  But, since my brother was leaving Friday morning and Jeff’s side wasn’t getting in until late Wed night, that meant 2 separate photo shoots.  My husband was less than thrilled with this prospect, since he really doesn’t like posing for pictures, though he is always super glad that we did them after the fact.

So, on Wednesday, my good friend Daphne Hargrove, an amazingly talented photographer came over to shoot my side of the family.  I’ll start with our “after picture”.  Pretty much everything that could go wrong, did.  We just took the pics in our backyard and of course it rained.  Then my oldest son got stung by a bee on his foot.  Then, my middle son fell over backwards after standing on the chair we were using for the pics.  We bribed everyone with candy/chocolate which pretty much showed up in each picture.  I posted this on FB and everyone wanted me to use this as our Christmas card, so we did!

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But, despite all of that, we did get some cute ones of the kids.

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Arya with her cousin, Kiran. She looks like she’s barely tolerating his sweet kiss.

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And then a group shot of Jeff’s side of the family.  I’m so short and everyone in his family is so nice and tall, so I had to wear really tall heels so that I wouldn’t look a foot shorter than everyone else.
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And then a fun one with Jeff’s side of the family.  I saw this idea on pinterest so I cut these signs last year and everyone wrote their names on it.

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I know it’s been a while since I posted on the blog – the holidays were wonderful, hectic and crazy.  I did my usually DIY projects around the house to decorate and bring in the Christmas cheer.

I made these stockings last year, they took forever because though I’m a patient sewer when I am sewing eye muscles, I am a bit a impatient when sewing fabric!

 

I tried to take a little more time off this year to spend with the kids when they were home on break.

Taj at his Christmas show

Nikhil singing Christmas carols around his elementary school

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We worked on little projects together, such as making “Reindeer Chow” together to give my middle’s son’s preschool classmates.  Got the idea from this blog.

Making 20 of something is always more time consuming  than I expect it to be.   I thought making it in bulk would be easier, but the packaging took up time.  And, yes I know – are these 3 year olds really reading these labels?  Probably not.  Am I doing this for myself? Possibly.  But, I’m sure any Moms out there understand – there is this pressure to keep raising the bar with these kind of things and not in a good way.  But, I will say, the reindeer chow was darn tasty and even though I was trying to be low carb, I convinced myself this somehow fulfilled that criteria!

My older son is in kindergarten and the room moms asked for locally made presents for his two teachers.  I am ADDICTED to the Magnolia Mom blog and they had this great tutorial on making gingerbread cookie Christmas ornaments.  I actually found this modeling clay at Ben Franklin that was non-toxic so my son could help roll out the dough and cut out the shapes.

And the finished product.

We spent so much wonderful time with my in-laws family.  My husband has 3 older sisters – one of them lives just six houses down from us, but the other 2 live in California.  They traveled to Hawaii for their annual vacation.  That means 9 adults and 10 children!  We found this great high school senior who is an awesome photographer.  We’ve been hiring him lately to take our family photos.  Check out his website here.  I saw the idea for the signs on pinterest and though I was for about half a second contemplating buying wood, sanding, staining and then painting with chalkboard paint to make the signs as in the original idea, better sense actually prevailed for once and I went with simple posterboard and a chalkboard pen.

The entire Wong side of the family

 

We did a lot of things that I’ve just never had the time to do here in Hawaii, even though I’ve lived here for over 6 years!  When we first moved to Hawaii, we were so overwhelmed with getting on insurance plans, learning how to manage a practice, build our patient base that we never had much of a chance for me to truly explore Hawaii.  My husband grew up here and his family has been here for generations, but I am an East Coast girl and hadn’t even been to Hawaii before we got engaged here!  So, it was wonderful to take the time to do these things with our family.

Hking Diamond Head with the kids

Koko Head Stairs with my in-laws on New Year's Day (my first time!)

I think that was the most important lesson from this past holiday season – even though I’m busy with work, I really think it’s about creating intentional time and moments with your kids.  Quality, not just quantity, right?

And, then last week, we went to Maui for the annual Hawaiian Eye Meeting.  The meeting conferences were from 6:30-1pm, so it left plenty of time to hit the pool and hang out with the kids.  So, we decided to take the children with us.  Here are we are the beautiful resort – look closely because this was the last 5 minutes that all kids were healthy.

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Yup, that’s right – the flu that’s been going around Oahu hit all of the children.  The first 3 days of the conference, our oldest son had it, then the baby for the next 2 days and then the middle child for the last 2 days.  They weren’t even sick at the same time.  And, if you can imagine – 5 of us crammed into one hotel room, cleaning up vomit off the beds, floor, etc.  Not exactly the vacation we were planning.  So, after this meeting we immediately decided to cancel our plan to attend another meeting in San Diego in April.  Just too hard.  I’m sure parents out there can relate – you come home from a vacation, needing a vacation from your vacation!  And, that was with just a 30 minute plane right.  As Arya gets older (she’s now 16 months old), it just gets tougher to travel!  But, when we moved out here, my husband knew we would need to do a lot of traveling to the mainland, since all of my family is there.  Before we were married, Jeff and I used to try to take one international trip a year.  We scrimped and saved as residents and fellows – lots of ramen, walking instead of paying the $1.50 to take the bus somewhere, you know all those things to save money .  My hope is that we will resume international traveling in the way of medical mission trips and I’d love to take the kids.  I think it’s so important for the children to see how life is in the developing world.  However, the thought of being outnumbered on a plane trip lasting over 15 hours with 3 kids scares my husband to death.  I think it’s just about adjusting expectations – you realize it won’t be pretty and it’s not the same as traveling without kids, but you’ll live through the plane ride and the end result will be to create memories that are amazing.  But, that was a bit of a tangent.

I’ll be back to a more regular posting schedule with an ophtho post about strabismus surgery next week.

 

Last week, Jeff and I took our first vacation in 2 years.  Usually, we use our “vacation days” to attend conferences.  Since we’re both ophthalmologists, we partially delude ourselves with the thought that going to Maui or San Diego for a conference is like a vacation.  And, of course, we bring the kids (and usually my parents to help watch them), so we figure it’s family time.  But, getting up at 6 in the morning to attend 8-10 hours of a conference every day does not make a vacation.  So, last week, we went back to Raleigh, North Carolina to visit my parents.  My brother came down with his family from Boston and we were able to spend some time with the whole family.  Quality, uninterrupted family time.  Time spent not constantly in touch with the office or logged into the computer or on my phone.  Of course, we still checked into the office daily and handled emergent patient matters, but having a little separation was therapeutic.

It’s nice for my children to have a chance to play with their cousins from the mainland who they don’t see very often.  They had a blast!  We wanted a shot of my parents with all of their grandkids.  Getting 5 kids, 5 years old and under to smile and look at the camera at the same time is no easy feat!  But, it’s still a darling shot anyway.

And, it was wonderful for my children to experience Indian culture and food and get dressed up in Indian clothes.  The Indian community is quite small here in Hawaii and though my children are Chindian, there’s much more opportunity for them to be familiar with their Chinese side.  I love that that so quickly take to participating in Indian cultural events with my parents when we are back on the mainland. (Though Taj really did not like me wearing a bindi, for some reason it scared him!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The week was a good lesson for me – yes, the office can survive without me.  I do not need to micromanage everything.  The six hour time difference made that impossible even if it had been an intention. And, it forced me to pause and enjoy the end of summer before the business of the Fall months rush upon us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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