Christmas – Part II

We love Christmas. (With a last name like Snow, it’s somewhat inevitable). This is what I want to remember from 2015.

The Ugly Christmas Sweater Competition

Impulse buy on the Eve of Christmas Eve: Ugly Christmas Sweater kits.

How I justified this purchase: It’ll make a fun family project, and who doesn’t need at least one ugly Christmas sweater? We’ll make it this year and wear it every Christmas Eve. A new tradition!

The logistics: Alex and I made the green sweater .J and Steve made my red sweater.

The result:


Steve won the competition by a large margin. 

The reality:

  • These sweaters will not stand the test of time: everything is glued on
  • J thinks my sweater is beautiful


No one got much sleep on Christmas Eve.


Alex and Steve camped out by the Christmas tree.


J camped out in her room.


Camping has been running theme in J’s play stories. She was delighted to get a “real” camping set.

J’s gift to me:

J’s grandparents helped the kids buy Christmas presents this year. Their presents tend to run on the practical side. For example, with their help, J gave Steve a glue gun, and Alex gave me a flashlight (it was pink).

According to Grandma, J was very specific about what she wanted to give me. This doll is her gift to me.


I have told J a few times that I had only one Barbie doll when I was growing up. (This comment usually comes out when I’m trying to organize her small nation of dolls). This was obviously not acceptable to J.

Along with the doll, I got plenty of tips — Mommy, you should brush her hair. And make her feel welcome. And keep her in your room forever. You have to take care of her. As usual,  J’s instincts are correct: I don’t really know what I’m doing with Barbie-like dolls.

Even more amusing was J’s original idea: a bird. She knows I can’t stand birds, and thought that some immersion therapy would cure me of my phobia. (I wrote more about my problem with birds here.)

A Show of Support

All of the teachers from Alex’s school wore Julianna’s pink CMTA bracelet and took a picture.


Alex received the Game of Life for Christmas this year. (I loved this when I was a kid — I think that there’s something satisfying about spinning that colorful wheel.) I explained to A&J that this game was about life events: working, getting married, having babies.

  • J: Babies? I want babies! (Before the B word, J was not interested.)

And so we played. Here are the highlights:

  • J was the only one who decided to go to college. Her career choice was fashion designer vs. secret agent. You can guess which one she picked.
  • J was happy to get married. She asks to see her husband (little blue peg) and nods her approval.
  • J was delighted when she finally gets her car full of babies: They’re so cute. I love them! Wait, do they come with a stroller?


After the game, Alex wants to play again. J refuses, saying she just wants to play with her babies.

And a documentary

And lastly, I’ll add share this: “Julianna’s Christmas” aired on South Korean TV (KBS1) on Christmas Day 2015.

When our CNN story came out, we got an overwhelming amount of attention and media requests. We declined almost everything.

KBS (Korean Broadcasting System) was one of the media organizations that contacted us. They had translated and read my entire blog, and they wanted to do documentary about our family. The theme was to be “love”, and it would air on Christmas day. To do this, they would need to come into our home and film us for ten days.

It seemed like a crazy idea, but the opportunity to share our family’s story with my native country was compelling. You can see it here:

Julianna’s Christmas

(We haven’t seen it yet, but Homie and my relatives in South Korea think that it’s very well done.)

A few days ago, we learned that the actress who narrated this special, Lee Bo-Young, would be donating her salary for her work on this project. We have asked that these funds go towards the CMT research in the US and in South Korea. We are moved and humbled by her generosity.

To Ms. Kim (the one who convinced us to do this), Mr. Kang (producer), Mr. Lee (cameraman), Mr. Han (translator) and all the people at KBS who worked on this special – thank you for your beautiful and respectful portrayal of Julianna. And Ms. Lee – your kind gesture ensures that this documentary truly is about love. Thank you so much.

8 thoughts on “Christmas – Part II

  1. Always a joy to receive your updates and see new photos of your family. I truly enjoy Julianna’s
    journey and she is indeed, Truly Living!
    Thank you for sharing the Ugly Sweater Competition, Alex & Julianna camping out for Christmas.
    I’am sure you will always keep and cherish the Barbie doll you received from her this Christmas.
    So happy to hear that “Julianna’s Christmas” aired on South Korean TV on Christmas Day. What
    an honor for her and your entire family and so happy you accepted their request.
    I would also like to commend you, Steve and Alex on the phenomenal way you have given Julianna
    the choice for Truly Living and enjoying life to the fullest.
    All the very best as always!
    God Bless each of you,
    Saturday, December 26, 2015


  2. Just watched the documentary, it was very beautiful. Julianna is the true princess with an amazing spirit and kind heart. Michelle and Steve you guys are amazing parents, the grandparents and family were amazing to. Alex you are a true Ninja and great brother. Jessica loved Julianna’s art, and stories. Sending lots of love and prayers from Pedro, Sujin and Jessica.


  3. Absolutely amazing !!! The doc was not only inspiring but also brought tears to my eyes.. Michelle and Steve , you both are amazing parents and your love for Julianna and Alex is unbelivably amazing to watch. Your family is truly a blessing to, I loved watching J painting her uncles nails lol and seeing them all at halloween time. I pray for all of you and your family everyday!! Stay strong and please let J know that she has my family as well as everyone in the world inspired by her strength and her love for everybody. MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!!


  4. Dear Michelle,

    I love the pic of you & Steve in the Ugly Christmas sweaters, & the looks you give each other! Super sweet – I think it’s very precious when parents take a couple-moment (no matter how small, even Ugly-Christmas-Sweater-pic kind of small) to themselves to spend with each other, in the midst of caring for the kids xx

    Loving also the Frozen tent(! ok I don’t get the Frozen deal myself but well yeah I imagine it’s the joy of every 4 to 8 year old girl, ever .. hahaha), & J’s advice & choice of gift 😌😋 Also nice to know J likes babies – chuckled at the stroller comment! I wish babies came with strollers by default too, maybe then parenthood would seem a leeetle bit less daunting. But for now, single & contented hahahah so we’ll see! Lol.

    Watched the documentary (Korean narration, without subtitles & all) – a good narrative is one where you get the essence of the plot despite not understanding the language, & I think the episode achieved just that 🙂 It is simultaneously heart-warming & heart-wrenching to watch the daily lives of your little family in action .. & I wish I could do more, but I’m just a young adult layperson half the world away 😦

    Hugs Michelle, after watching the documentary – I find myself in awe of your quiet love & stoicism(? that’s how I see it but not sure if it was meant that way) .. I have no other words, but that if I could give all of you a hug each, I really would! My little care package feels so trivial now, but I do hope the poem was of some encouragement/holiday cheer to J!

    I’ve shared this documentary on my Facebook, that my friends may get to know of Julianna & her beautiful family too (She talks so much! – never realised it till I watched it in the documentary ..

    “no! that’s embarrassing ..” – her responses to the faces she didn’t wanna make, made me smile haha)

    Meantime, I’ll be encouraging my friends from cell group to be praying with me, for your family too ❤



  5. Merry Christmas! I just watched the documentary, very well done. Julianna is loved by so many including me. She is amazing and a true inspiration. Thank you for making us a part of your lives.


  6. Indeed very good documentary, finely done. I don’t understand a word in Korean but I liked it a lot and it shows how good parents you are and wonderful brother Alex the great American Ninja.

    J is a magnificent child, she is so smart and witty, not to mention how pretty and her good taste on everything 🙂

    Have a wonderful 2016 full of blessings.



    • Hi Michelle,
      Wow, so many amazing things are happening in Julianna’s situation. The documentary to the Nation of Korea was exceptional! Even though it was in Korean, I was able to understand the entire documentary. I think it was somehow translated through the universal language of LOVE; for those of us who can’t understand Korean. It was really very, very difficult to see the scenes with Steve and his Father (near tears and in tears- (they were both just keeping the possible reality of the situation real); I found myself in tears along with them. The documentary was very profound, in that it comes at a time to bring all your blog posts to life. Prior to the documentary we could only theoretically imagine what your family was going through on a daily basis. After viewing the documentary, it really hit home;what you go through on a daily basis. It was so good to see Julianna actually moving and talking and seeing her interact with other family members; and to get to actually see portions of her Thanksgiving festivities. A very well done and very well thought out documentary.

      I think it’s safe to say that so many amazing things are happening in your situation (the documentary and Julianna’s book) that these things are not happening by coincidence. I commend You and Steve on all the right decision choices you are making on behalf of “our most precious “Julianna.

      Lorna Redd


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