Each year our family enjoys making precious memories. 2016 is no exception. Read our highlights from January to December.
Life Without Pedro’s Mom
On January 2, 2016, after a 9-month battle with Guillain–Barre syndrome and metastatic breast cancer, Pedro’s mom died. Pedro stood by his father and sister at mom’s bedside during her final moments. Two weeks later, we celebrated mom’s life with a memorial service attended by 300 friends and relatives.
One week later, Pedro’s dad and Pedro took a 3 day road trip. It was their first road trip alone in recent memory as father and son. The final day of their trip was Pedro’s mother’s birthday. This would begin a series of “firsts” in 2016 without mom.
Pedro Starts Blogging
Still adjusting to his mother’s death, Pedro started blogging. He wanted to blog to record his thoughts, beliefs, and passions. If he died unexpectedly, he wants his children to one day read his posts to understand their father thought and learn what things that were most important to him.
Pedro, in 2016, had written over 100 posts. His blog now receives over 1000 monthly visitors. His top two articles have been read by over 1000 unique visitors.
Pedro began serving as a volunteer contributor for GotQuestions.org. He answers questions submitted anonymously from people across the globe. Each week, he writes a personal response to at least one questioner. In each response, he includes a clear explanation of the gospel.
Cheung Family Starts Piano Lessons
Timothy started taking piano lessons this past February. His teacher comes to our home every Wednesday to give him a 30-45 minute lesson. At first, he did not have the finger strength to properly play a note with one finger. Through 15-30 minutes of piano practice 5 days a week, Timothy’s fine motor dexterity improved, and he can now play SMP Level 2 songs.
In August, Titus followed suit and started taking piano lessons. And in October, Janice began taking piano lessons too. Our home is now filled with piano music daily in the afternoons.
Saturday Family Hikes
In 2016, we designated Saturdays as Cheung family days. Weather permitting, we enjoy nature walks and hikes every Saturday. We usually decline invitations to Saturday birthday party and other social gatherings. Instead, we spend the day enjoying quality family time and making new memories.
AWANA Car Rally
When Timothy started kindergarten, Pedro took him to AWANA on Tuesday nights at Rolling Hills Community Church. As Timothy’s Sparks group leader, Pedro led a rambunctious group of twelve 5-7 year olds; they play games, memorize Bible verses, and discuss the Bible.
One of AWANA’s biggest recreational highlights is their Car Rally. Timothy didn’t win, but he did decorate and design his first car.
Lydia Turns Three
We celebrated Lydia’s third birthday on March 6. Despite being still in diapers, Lydia insisted her brothers involve her in all their activities. While Lydia is just starting to learn her alphabet, her speaking vocabulary and listening comprehension has significantly increased.
Janice Starts Selling Norwex
In April, Janice started a new venture as a Norwex consultant. Norwex is a company that produce a patented silver impregnated microfiber. Their microfiber products effectively clean household surfaces without any chemicals or soaps. Our primary goal with Norwex was not to generate income. Rather, Janice wanted a new hobby where she can comfortably connect with new contacts and friends.
Kid’s First Bible
The children each received their first Bible with their name engraved on the front cover. The boys have been reading their Bibles regularly. In the past 8 months, Timothy and Titus have read through several longer books including 1 Samuel, Mark, and Revelation.
Timothy’s First Piano Recital
After three months of piano practice, Timothy played in his first piano recital. Our family cheered when Timothy approached the stage, and we exploded in applause when he finished his two songs. If you knew Timothy’s life journey, you would understand our excitement.
We Finally Visit San Diego
We drive to Los Angeles at least 3-4 times a year to visit Janice’s side of the family. This year, we took an extra trip to visit San Diego. Our highlight was reconnecting with several close friends; the kids’ fondest memory was visiting Legoland.
Grace Bible Church Family Camp
Since 2010, we have been worshipping at Grace Bible Church in Pleasant Hill. For the past two years, we have been leading a small group that meets in our Danville home. It’s still hard for us to cultivate deeper relationships with the 400-450 people that attend our church each Sunday. One opportunity to foster connection with our church family is our annual GBC family camp. Since we missed family camp last year, we were thankful to attend this year.
For the first time this summer, the kids took swimming lessons. They started with semi–private lessons at our local high school. By the end of the summer, they each had their own private instructor. Despite the countless lessons, none of our kids can safely swim. But at least they do not fear the water, and we count that as a victory.
Baby Steps with Camping
Our family has always been enamored with camping. But since Janice and the kids are intolerant of insects, we took baby steps by camping outside in our backyard in July. It was the first time our entire family successfully slept inside the tent the entire night. Last year, Lydia and Pedro retreated into the house around midnight.
Timothy Turns Six!
In August, Timothy turned six. Academically, he is keeping up with arithmetic and reading. He still struggles with his gross motor and fine motor skills, but he has come a long way. Socially, he interacts very well with his siblings, but he misses a lot of social cues.
Three Homeschooling Communities
For the 2016-2017 school year, we enrolled Janice and the children in three different homeschooling communities. Most homeschooling families participate in just one. On Mondays at our church, our three children attend a homeschooling day program. On Wednesdays, our boys go to a four hour homeschooling enrichment program. On Thursday mornings, Janice and the kids participate in our Danville Classical Conversations community.
In four months, this rigorous schedule has taken its toll. We are thankful for the opportunity to meet the parents and children of these communities. We are quickly learning what works well for our family, and what characteristics do not fit Janice and the children. Next year, we will reduce our level of participation.
Annual Lake Tahoe Trip
Each of the past 4 years, our family has taken at least one trip to Lake Tahoe. This year, we took three: April, May and September. Our third trip to Lake Tahoe was special because we met up with the Acomb and Yeung family; each family had three children, all under seven. The kids got to play together at the beach during the day, and the adults got to fellowship and hang out after the kids’ went to sleep.
Titus Turns Five!
It’s hard to believe that a little over three years ago, Titus was getting all his nutrition through a feeding time. Now at age five, our son is devouring all foods prepared to his liking. Titus remains the jokester of our family, and he continues to make every family member smile.
7th Wedding Anniversary
We spent a day in San Jose shopping and dining on our seventh anniversary. Our honeymoon period has long past. With Lydia finally out of diapers, we do have more time and energy to enjoy each other without the kids. It remains a struggle for us to prioritize each other above our children.
Pedro Working Weekends
October also marked a brutal stretch in Pedro’s work schedule. He worked 7 out of 11 weekends from October to early December. Fortunately, one of the weekends, Pedro was able to bring his entire family to the Seascape Resort in Aptos. While Pedro was attending and teaching seminars, Janice and the kids got to enjoy the beach on the Pacific Ocean. On Saturday night, Janice and Pedro enjoyed a three course formal dinner with evening entertainment without the kids.
Janice’s 40th Birthday Celebration Month
Pedro’s 40th birthday celebration was a family dinner at his favorite local restaurant. Janice’s 40th birthday was a month long marathon celebration. Janice had 4 group of girlfriends treat Janice to 4 separate dinners. On her actual birthday, we enjoyed dinner with 3 other couples on a quadruple date. Janice’s birthday weekend culminated with several friends visiting from out of town to celebrate a weekend of shopping and dining in San Francisco.
This year, a newer couple in our church joined our Thanksgiving celebration. Originally from Nigeria, the couple taught our family about their culture. They also shared with us their challenges as recent immigrants to our country.
The next day, we drove to San Francisco with Pedro’s father for an overnight trip in the city. We rode on a cable car for the first time, and we toured the entire city on top of an open–air double–decker bus. Pedro’s father also gave us some alone time. We spent the evening enjoying our Starbucks holiday drinks while watching the Union Square Christmas tree lighting. We also tried to do some shopping on Black Friday while the kids played with Grandpa in the hotel suite.
Kayla Bakonis Arrives!
We welcomed a new member to our extended family. In early December, Janice’s sister Susie gave birth to Kayla Bakonis, the 11th cousin of the Cheung kids. We look forward to meeting her when we drive down to Southern California on Christmas week.
Counting Our Blessings This Christmas
Sometimes we don’t thank God because we don’t remember God. So this write this summary to remember God’s goodness.
We thank God for all of you for participating and adding to our joy. God has given us every spiritual blessing, culminating in the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ. We hope that you will join us in recognizing God’s benevolent grace.
Happy new year!