This past year and the holidays were bittersweet for me and my family. In 2018, we spent the holidays in Sacramento for a change, I lost both my grandmothers, and Roxy and Carissa started modeling and acting while I expanded Jax Chronicles and Elk Grove Tribune. Also, we just celebrated Roxy’s 5th Adoption Day! By God’s grace I got through it all. But it wasn’t easy. Due to my Popo’s passing and an unexpected trip to Hong Kong in October, we found ourselves spending the holidays in Sacramento. This is VERY unusual for my family! Usually we spend Christmas in Hong Kong. However, this year we were too broken-hearted to go. It wouldn’t have been the same without Popo. So we chose to stay here.
Kenny’s Dad came for Thanksgiving. Usually we have prime rib or ribeye when having Thanksgiving with my family. This year, because Kenny’s Dad is used to turkey, we had both. I was very proud of Kenny for cooking the turkey by himself. It sure looked hard, I’m not going to lie. I’m not great at cooking huge slabs of meat, unless its in an Instant Pot. As most of my family and friends know, I’m good at cooking soups and Asian foods. My husband is much better at cooking meat. We had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving with lots of food and Roxy and Carissa keeping their Popo, Gung Gung, and Yeye running around with their antics.
As aforementioned, we stayed in Sacramento for Christmas. Opening Christmas presents in front of a Christmas tree is a new concept for my family. You see growing up and most years, when we go to Hong Kong, we don’t open presents in front of a tree. We simply go out to eat a lot and do a lot of shopping. We get plenty of gifts and items, but don’t wrap and open presents.
Since we stayed in Sacramento, we did our best to have a traditional American Christmas. We wanted to make this Christmas special for the girls so we chose to wrap presents and get a Christmas tree this Christmas. Roxy and Carissa loved decorating the tree and we had fun wrapping and watching them open presents. Thank God for Amazon! Roxy requested, inevitably, LOL dolls, and unicorn slime. I can’t say I’m crazy about either but she got plenty for Christmas. Carissa was just happy to open presents. She especially enjoys a baby doll stroller we got her and pushes her doll around the room and feeds it.
We also had fun just hanging out with our good friends and checking out Global Winter Wonderland in Cal Expo. Global Winter Wonderland is this awesome outdoor festival with lighted lanterns, rides, plenty of holiday food, and vendors. It’s actually one of me and Roxy’s favorite things to do around the holidays.
I said goodbye to both my grandmothers this year. My Mama (Dad’s Mom) had already passed away earlier this year. My Popo Lam Kuen Ying’s death hit me hard, especially because it was right before the holidays and we usually spend Christmas in Hong Kong. Popo always used to come over during summer break to watch me and my sister. After Gung Gung’s death in 1989 she continued to come every year until I hit college.
This was the Grandma I could go to when I was upset. She and I have a special bond. I say have because I don’t believe a strong bond of love is broken by death. The love is still there. She still loves me and I still love her.
When I was growing up we used to sit side by side watching The Price Is Right and I Love Lucy. We’d walk out to Shari’s in Greenhaven and she would always have a BLT on white toast or a French Dip. Those are still my two favorite sandwiches. I also remember in Hong Kong how she would go out with her friends for lunch or afternoon tea and I would have tea with them. She still met her friends for tea well into her 90s.
Popo was very feisty and members of the family would often say I was like her. She used to walk around with brand name handbags and shoes and I remember telling myself I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.
Popo passed away October 10, 2018 from complications due to cancer. She was 98, I believe. I kind of knew last Christmas in 2017 that it would likely be the last time I saw her alive. So I prepared myself. But it sucked that I wasn’t able to get back to Hong Kong in time to say goodbye. I’m going to miss her so much. Honestly, I’m still grieving and it hurts. Death isn’t something that gets easier. You just know how to deal with it and you deal with it because you have no choice. I love you Popo. Rest in peace with Gung Gung.
Roxy & Carissa Update
Roxy and Carissa are growing like weeds. Both girls are feisty and outgoing. Roxy is in 2nd grade and about to turn 7. Roxy’s antics keep me on my toes. She came back from school with a slip of paper with a bunch of parents numbers on it. I had told her not to pass out my business cards so she solved this issue by simply getting the numbers of her friends and telling me to text them for play dates. Can we say social butterfly?! Roxy takes three dance classes at Rize All (highly recommend). They are Intro to Hip Hop, Ballet, and a Competitive Hip Hop Dance Team class. She is also very much into LOL dolls and unicorn slime. Enjoy the video of Roxy dancing!
Carissa is 2 years old and about to turn 3. She’s still our happy baby. She’s mostly potty trained with some accidents. She loves eating chicken congee (jook) and noodles. Also, she loves Masha and the Bear, Peppa Pig, and pretend play. Most of all, she just enjoys hanging out with Roxy. She looks forward to going in the stroller each day so we can grab Roxy from school.
Both girls have just started modeling and acting. I was very reluctant at first. But, Roxy really wanted to try modeling and acting, and they both honestly have the personality for it. So we have done a few photo shoots, for a dental office and a clothing line and Carissa and Kenny recently did a commercial. I am actively looking for an agency or an agent to help me manage their acting and modeling.
I was at a campaign event right after the election and a friend asked me if I would let my daughter and hubby be in a commercial for First 5. I hesitated slightly just because I’m very careful with what I let the girls do and what I expose them to. But I trust the person who was asking me and so I agreed. You should have seen Kenny’s reaction!
Me: Hey hun, so uh, I kinda promised Jinky that Carissa and you would be in a commercial.
Kenny: Oh that’s cool, what?! Why do I have to be in it?
LOL, but I married a good guy and he agreed to do it. This guy from Crossings TV came to our house and filmed the commercial for First 5. Actually, I would say Carissa had a ball. I will post a video when they post it on Youtube. But you can enjoy the pics for now.
Roxy’s 5th Gotcha Day
Believe it or not, it has been five years since the day we adopted Roxy! We adopted Roxy on January 13, 2014 in Wuhan, China, and our lives have never been the same. I still remember the day we adopted her. She was dressed in 5 layers of clothing and was scared to death. She didn’t understand what was going on and we spoke very little Mandarin. But we prayed a prayer over her right after we got her and we have fulfilled our promises that we made that day to Roxy and to God.
Roxy has become a beautiful and feisty little girl. We can’t imagine our lives without her dancing all over the house, her antics where she always tries to get something out of us, and her watching over Carissa as a big sister. Roxy is about to turn 7. She’s just so incredibly smart and we are also proud to know that she loves God and has a heart for others. In fact, we just decided for all of our birthdays (Carissa and mine in February and Roxy’s in March) that we will raise money for another family pursuing adoption.
So although 2018 wasn’t an easy year for our family, we lost some loved ones, and I had some health issues, I can’t say that it was all bad. We had a very productive year. The girls are doing well and are happy. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters to me. Roxy and Carissa bring our family so much joy and I’m thankful that despite my health issues, that I can still watch my girls grow up.
We also are very thankful to have our good friends and to have found a good church. We even host a weekly bible study at our house. I think remaining tethered to God is the answer for me. We have surrounded ourselves (mostly) by friends who hear God and who absolutely walk by us no matter what we are going through. My friends know who they are. Thank you for being here.
As 2019 begins, I want send my love and blessings to all of you and your families. To those of you in your adoption journeys, some just beginning, and others just about to adopt your child, know that I am praying for you and lifting you up in spirit.
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Dr. Jacqueline "Jax" Cheung grew up in Sacramento, California. She is a Proud Mom, DrPH, MBA, Foodie, Writer, Blogger, Adoption Advocate, INFJ, & Breast Cancer Survivor. Jax is the owner of the award winning Jax Chronicles Blog & Adoption Ministry. She is also the Editor-In-Chief of the Elk Grove Tribune, and freelances for Sacramento4Kids, and many other publications. She was voted Sacramento Area A-List Best Local Blogger 2014, 2015, 2017 & 2018 and Best of Elk Grove Best Blogger 2016 & 2017. In 2019 & 2022 Jax was recognized for Outstanding Service & Dedication to Elk Grove and also received an Award of Recognition from the California State Senate. Jax lives in Elk Grove, California with her 2 daughters named Roxy and Carissa, 1 dog named Marshmallow, and 2 cats named Mochi and Miso. .To follow her journey please like her Jax Chronicles Facebook page, follow her Instagram @jaxchronicles, follow her Twitter @jaxchronicles, or check out Jax Chronicles Blog & Adoption ministry.