Whoa, Baby! 2016 Year in Review


2016, when God did “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20)

I know it’s already February, but it was a big year. Let’s recap!

My top 3 nursing stories:

3. When Little Buds Bloom– on earning recognition

2. A Beautifully Painful Mess-on hope & consolation

1. Flinging Gloves– on defeat

Top 3 characteristics I learned about God:

3. God is faithful– (Haggai 2:4) In Haggai, the people failed to see God’s power in the midst of their circumstances. I too, am guilty of complaining about my frustrations, instead of surrendering them to God. I need to trust in His faithfulness.

2. God is our Comforter– (John 14:1-14) Knowing His death was approaching, Jesus comforted His disciples. During my 1st trimester, I suffered nightmares that I would have a stillborn. In clinic, I cared for expecting mothers, relaying the sad news that their pregnancies ended in miscarriages.

Hence, I was terrified for the outcome of my own pregnancy. But God’s Word delivered comfort and hope.

1.  God is sovereign – (Philippians 3:8-9) This past year I wrestled mountains of uncertainty. Will my baby & I survive labor & delivery? Will my baby be healthy? Can I still praise God if things do not go as expected? 

With each passing month, God answered. Indeed, He is sovereign.

Random 3 photos of treasured memories:

img_62733. Proudly beamed backstage, as my dance troupe shined at their high school. (Watch video here!) Our troupe worked hard this year: we gained 3 new students, learned 2 new dances, reviewed 3 old dances, and performed at various events.

Unfortunately, by the fall, when I started my maternity leave, many of my students disappeared. I’m hoping they will return as I resume teaching.

img_26992. Humbled by this vast, massive fig tree in Santa Monica, CA during the weekend of my sister’s graduation. It was planted in 1879! Can you imagine all the change this tree has witnessed?

IMG_53551. Armed with colorful umbrellas and rain boots, we splashed and frolicked around Portland, OR. Isn’t it interesting, how it’s not the sunny days that leave lasting memories, but the rainy ones? (More on Portland here.)

Top 2 personal stories: (I really did not blog enough this year!)

2. I Miss Sweet Potatoes– the lesson that took a lifetime to learn

1. The Reason Behind My (Blogging) Absence– what changed our lives forever

Top 3 films/dramas/shows (not new films, just ones I watched this year):

3. Happiest Baby on the Block– Dr. Harvey Karp’s 5S’s: 5 ways to calm a crying newborn. A must-watch video (the book is insightful as well) for any first time parent.

2. Answer me 1988– a coming-of-age Kdrama from 2015, about 5 childhood friends and their families growing up in the same neighborhood. Hilarious, tear jerking, and heartwarming. Watching this, I really missed my family. And sweet potatoes.

1. Cuisine & Confessions– celebrated my birthday at the circus! Not just any circus though. It was, “storytelling through food,” as they painted powerful stories with acrobatics (and food). If the show rolls through your city, I highly recommend it!

3 books I read:

3. Pride and Prejudice – why did I wait so long to read this?! I don’t know, but once I started, I couldn’t stop! I smiled to myself reading all the fun banter.

2. The Kiterunner– Vivid, riveting, and suspenseful. It opened my eyes to the history and people of Afghanistan.

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.” – K. Hosseini

1. You and Me Forever: Marriage in the Light of Eternity– not your typical book on marriage, it challenged me to think beyond marriage here on earth.

3 new things I did in 2016:

img_51573. Hosted a bubble tea day for our church youth– I had panda eyes the next morning from steeping tea late into the night, but it was fun!  Delicious too. (My friend boiled the boba and blended the smoothies, so I can’t take all the credit though!)

2. Started learning Cantonese – Last year I began mandarin, but now I’ve switched to Cantonese so that I can encourage our baby to be trilingual =). I’ve been listening to CantoneseClass101 podcasts in my car. Thus far my fav phrases are 黐线 (you’re crazy) and 是但啦 (whatever). =)

1. Became a mother – Where do I begin? How about that baby sock I found in my headband drawer? Or the sleep deprivation…it’s no joke! Motherhood is more than everything I expected: exhausting but endearing, difficult but delightful, rough but rewarding. As I learn to care for this brand new human being, I’m a deer-in-headlights, my forehead practically labeled “first time mom”…. but I’m trudging through it. =)

3 random awesome memories:

3. Halmoni tearin’ up the dance floor –

During my sister-in-law’s wedding, her Halmoni (grandma) waved her hands in the air, shook ’em like she just don’t care, and trotted to the beat, her gray hair swinging behind her giddy smile. Watching her dance with joy was so infectious, it pulled everyone else onto the dance floor too.

When I’m old and gray, I hope to dance and encourage others just like her.

2. The nerdiest announcement-

“Praise God for how our church is growing. Sometimes He adds members spiritually, when new friends join us, like Andrew…” We had asked our pastor to help us share our big news.

Everyone smiled at Andrew, as he nodded his head.

“And sometimes God adds members biologically through meiosis…”


*blank stares* *raised eyebrows of confusion*

“…because Ming Sophia is having a baby!” he shouted.



“AHHHH!!” Hands covered mouths, jaws dropped open, one of my students fell to the floor, and everyone cheered, clapped, then hugged us all at once. It was the most hilarious response ever, I regret not recording it!

1. The sweetest sound-

After a grueling 26 hour labor, the doctor immediately plopped my baby onto my chest. But something was wrong.

She was silent. Her body limp.

“Why isn’t she crying?!” I panicked. Horrible thoughts filled my mind. Did I carry this child for 9 months and she won’t make it? Is this God’s will for us? Could I accept that, if our child whom we had all these hopes and dreams for, does not survive?

“Let’s pray,” my husband insisted. Hands together, he led us in prayer as we desperately pleaded for God’s will for us, no matter the outcome.

God answered, and a few minutes later, she cried her first cry.

We wept tears of thankfulness and joy.

3 things I hope to do in 2017:

IMG_0950(1).JPG3. Start & Finish a Scrapbook. I’ve got a phone full of photos, blank scrapbooks, tons of stickers, stamps, and paper. Let’s hope I can transform at least one of those albums into a book full of memories by the end of the year.

2. Spend less time on social media. If I hope to raise a child that is not addicted to screens, I have to model that behavior first. But it’s so difficult! The compulsion to check social media is really strong, especially to stay up to date with far away friends.

Anyone recommend any particular apps to limit their time on social media?

1. Write more. I say that every year. What blogger/writer doesn’t? =P

If you’ve read this far, you’re awesome. (Check out my 2015, 2014 and 2013 year in reviews!)

Thanks for coming along for the ride, and let’s embrace 2017 with courage and conviction. =)


12 thoughts on “Whoa, Baby! 2016 Year in Review

  1. With social media, I just…turn it off. If there are things that I want to acheive and I love them enough to achieve them or be with them, then I think it’s not an excuse to have social media as a distraction. Self-control can be learnt, and it is also a matter of putting our thoughts elsewhere. Have a happy 2017 🙂

    • you have great determination and resolve, Mabel! that’s awesome, can you lend me some of that? =) you’re totally right- if you have a goal, then there is no excuse to achieve them if you want it enough. i definitely admit to needing more self control, i need to strive for that. =)

      you too, happy 2017!

  2. Big congrats on a happy and healthy baby delivery. I would think your little one being silent was an indication of being quite comfortable in entering the world. From what I’ve seen on TV documentaries, babies crying on delivery should be considered a requirement as those who engage in water births have their kids born with no crying as well. I’ll take a comfortable entry into the world over being held upside down and getting a whack on the bottom for sure…haha! =)

    Here’s to a joyous new chapter in your life! 🙂 Cheers!


    • hahhaa… being held upside down and getting whacked on the bottom… now that’s a good way to put it! =) thanks for the laugh! =) and thank you so much for your constant encouragement and support! =D likewise, may God bless you as we are well into the 2nd month of a new year =)

  3. Oh my gosh!!! You had a baby? Congratulations Soapie. I’m sure you and your husband are just thrilled getting to know your new little one.
    Thanks for the 2016 recap, and here’s to a 2017 full of joy and victories.
    🙂 ❤

  4. Loved reading your highlights! Absolutely beautiful. And yeah, I totally hear you on social media too! (It’s hard when we live so far away from family and friends.) I just uninstall all social media apps from my phone. So I don’t get to check it unless I’m sitting in front of the computer. That helps *some*. =) Cheers to an eventful year for you! Congrats Sophia!

  5. I’m trying to reduce my time on social media, too! And wow, looks like you’ve had a full year! Congratulations on becoming a mom!! I haven’t walked down that road yet, but I have a lot of friends who have. It’s not easy, but so worth it!! And I totally understand trying to write more! I’m trying to do the same myself… Happy New Year!!

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