Monday, February 28, 2011

Somebody Always Loves Me

My niece, Violet, who is about 18 months, is not a huge fan of me. If she notices me in her vicinity and that her father or mother or someone more recognizable like her grandparents are not around, she will immediately start to cry. On rare occasions, she has warmed up to me, but it seems forgettable and the next time I see her, we are back where we began. If we are in an elevator, and she is being held but facing me, she will turn her head to avoid me.

When she came up to visit this weekend, she was walking in the hallway towards our living room as I was running to the bedroom through the hallway when our Japanese blue curtain which separates the living room from the hallway, combined with her tiny height, camouflaged her with the dark hallway, and we collided. Or, I should clarify with, she collided with my massive leg, fell backwards at quite a distance away, dropped her bottle and immediately started wailing (wail > cry, she was SCREAMING in agony) for help. Of course, before I could seek help from anyone else more loved by her, I picked her up, and hoping she could not connect the fact that her collision was followed by me picking her up, quickly handed her off to her dad. Yet another fail in the attempt to win over the niece.

That night, we were destined to spend more time together as Andy and I babysat our two nieces. As we were driving in the car, I said to Andy, "Violet hates me," to which Sophie, my older niece who is almost 4, piped in, "It's okay Daisy, Violet doesn't like you but I love you." It warmed my heart to hear her say that to me, and just like that, I knew... somebody always loves me! Her name is Sophie and she absolutely, positively loves me!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Random Ramblings

I have become more dedicated to personal journaling and thus, my blog has suffered a bit.
So some random ramblings from my weekend...

Observation: A lot of people home or visit teach on the last Sunday of the month and while it's nice to get visited a lot.. we should spread the love more....
Recommendation: Don't wait until the last weekend for home or visiting teaching and if no family is around, try to open your home to friends for Sunday dinner!
Random: We really should pick the photos we want to print for framing in our house of our wedding day before the baby is here and mac'n'cheese from scratch is disappointing compared to easy mac.

Observation: Building a fort out of blankets with your nieces is fun until it becomes dangerous as one niece plans to jump down from above and the other is below, running through the tunnel of blankets that has been created.
Recommendation: Consider safety when formulating budget friendly ways to spend time with nieces.
Random: I hope my kid is as cute to me as my nieces are.

Observation: If you let a 3 year old decide what to eat first for dinner at a buffet, she will most likely lean towards the muffin, brownie and cookie before getting to the peas and corns.
Recommendation: Don't give the 3 year old the option ahead of time.
Random: How will I know if my kid is eating enough?

Observation: The freeways are a parking lot if it's raining and it's Friday night.
Recommendation: Go to the Temple to knock off some time and sit out the traffic.
Random: I really want a Temple gown - and I am leaning towards a mumu with a tie in the back, seems much more practical and comfortable!

Observation: Tortillas are a far more superior starter food than tortilla chips and go with salsa AND butter.
Recommendation: Go to El Torito Grill for dinner.
Random: I think I ate 8 tortillas plus my dinner.

Conclusion: Always observe life and make a recommendation for improvement. Random thoughts are okay as well.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's Just Cheaper to Do-It-Yo-Self!

In my single days, I boasted an Equinox membership, name brand shades, monthly facials, more than one pair of designer jeans (you just have to have the different jean washes, cuts and beading on the butt) and overpriced work out clothes known as Lululemon. So one might conclude that I liked nice things. At the same time, I was maxing out my IRA contribution, paying off my credit card balances in full, contributing plenty to my 401k and had many meals and activities paid for (that's the nice thing about dating), and therefore, I was quite careful with what I did have.

These days, one might conclude I'm a bit more frugal and careful with my spending habits than I was when I was sans Andy. I budget closely, monitor and update our activity, and I no longer have a shopping budget for new clothes or shoes of $75/month. It's just one of those things you have to do when it's not all about yourself, and I've enjoyed the challenge of it all - especially because in return, I have a devoted husband and priesthood holder who always pushes me to be better and keeps me company and a little one who will be joining us soon! And, I'm not going to lie - it's pretty fun to be coined the sugar momma of the household. I bring home the bacon! Luckily for both of us, the effort to stay on track with budgeting is shared and lately, we have begun a new way to save money... and that is ... to do it YOSELF!

For me, cooking counts - especially since my cooking experiences pre-marriage consisted of making sandwiches, putting together salads, and baking out of the box. I have become so excited trying something new each week and the more recipes I get under my belt, the better I am at thinking of what to make based on what we have in the house. I have spent a lot of time googling "how to" items and watched various YouTube videos showing me how to chop an onion, a tomato, and even herbs. Just this past week, my new food items made were a pig cake, cinnamon toast, sausage rigatoni, and an egg white, spinach and tomato mcmuffin AND on top of all of that, I learned you have to peel this one part off of green beans not purchased in a big (like the ones I used to get from Trader Joe's).

In other news, I received a sewing machine for Christmas which I had been wanting for a long time - but now that I have it - *gulp, the learning must begin! I've taken one sewing class that lasted about 2 hours and beyond that, made one cherry patterned top with my college buddy from Hawaii (I swear almost ALL Hawaiians are crafty), so I really am quite inexperienced. There's so much to learn... how to sew, what type of fabrics, stitches, cuts, etc. ... it all seems impossible, but ultimately, it will have a pay off!

Andy also picked up his own DIY fun. His new hobby is woodwork! We were lucky enough to earn some extra cash from selling items we had won on show and some tickets I had received from a persistent customer service complaint to Toyota (it pays to be persistent if they are stupid), and with that money, Andy made his grand purchase of the basic tools from Amazon which to our delight, were delivered to our door! He picked up some tips from the more experienced men in our family (his dad, brother-in-law and brother-in-law's dad) during our recent trip up North and then learned a bit more from some youtube safety and beginner instructional videos online. Here are his first two projects ever ever.. ta-da! (and to think he did it all from our balcony)...
So as we learn to DO-IT-YOSELF more, we are growing and able to do more for ourselves and others (just think of the Christmas gifts to come... packaged food all cooked, sewn goodies or bookshelves!).

It is so much fun to learn new things and we are so blessed to have the opportunity to do-it-yoself!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We Should Have Started Our Water Storage

A lot of my co-workers often ask what sets us Mormons apart. I'm always eager yet hesitant to explain, especially since I myself am still learning and many 8 year old Mormon kids who grew up in the Church often know more than me. But I find myself almost always going back to the fact that we have a modern day prophet, apostles, and modern day revelation.

This of course leads us onto the course of talking about the Word of Wisdom, which is why we Mormons don't drink alcohol, coffee or tea, but is also why we don't smoke, use tobacco and are encouraged to eat healthy and exercise. Of course, many don't often hear about the latter, it's the former they want to know about because why would anyone not drink alcohol, coffee or tea? And without me responding, someone will no doubt, always, as a matter of fact, (duh!) claim it's the caffeine, and without me inputting, someone else will no doubt, question why "so and so Mormon" they know drinks Diet Coke?!

Time after time, I explain that it's not the caffeine - not that we know of, it may be - but that's the thing with revelation and our faith - we aren't always aware of why, but we know enough of the blessings we've had or even seen, and the testimony we have of these things that are indeed true!... to follow. I use the example of smoking and tobacco, that when Joseph Smith received the revelation in 1833, society had not yet figured out how bad it was. The "truth" campaigns of today were non existent. In fact, the surgeon general had not even added his warning of the dangers from smoking. But we know today, and luckily for us, we had that revelation in 1833!

The fact of the matter is, I have no idea why tea should be avoided, but it's pretty apparent why alcohol and coffee can be destructive. It's always an interesting conversation and though I've had it many times with different co-workers, I never grow tired of explaining and offering the my own testimony and experiences of how the change to follow the Word of Wisdom has helped me!

So I guess you could argue... knowing we should follow the prophet... we are at fault for not having made more constructive efforts to get our water storage started! This morning, I woke up to NO WATER! Our Brita was unfortunately not full, we had just enough water for two toilet flushes and the Brita water for brushing our teeth. Andy would like to shower, I'm not bummed about that one (I always feel clean... hehe), but what if the water is still off when we get home from work?!

We should have started our water storage. We knew, we were advised, we just kept putting it off. Now, we are motivated, but it's sad that something had to happen to get us motivated. In other news, we do have some food storage (a bunch of cans and some other stuff in tin storage looking containers), but we're not hungry right now, just in need of water.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Day of Love

Today is Valentine's Day! A highly commercialized, dreadful and girly holiday for all. When I was single, I would often receive care packages from my BFF and these packages would always be fancier when she was in a relationship and I wasn't. Even with my BFF's packages and sweet cards reminding me that Mr. Right was out there and this was a day to express love even between friends, there was always a streak of self pity within me every single Valentine's Day.

So much so that in 2008, I bought myself an i-pod with the card inscription of, "Happy Valentine's Daisy. Don't forget, I am your most important relationship! Love, Me." I kept this card for some time... and it wasn't until I had indeed developed an even more important relationship with my Heavenly Father that I was able to discard the reminder of my own pity party for one disguised as declaration of my independence and self worth.

So often, many of us (myself included) are confused about what love really is because of what the media makes it out to be...the butterflies in your stomach that never disappear, the ongoing drama, the OOMF, the *sighs and the heart beating, adrenaline rushing, heel popping oh my goodness feelings! But very scarcely do we get insight into the couple who have their ups and downs and work through it, who express their love everyday, not only on momentous anniversaries and holidays. Very scarcely, are the true love of simple acts of everyday affection, patience, forgiveness, communication and support ever portrayed. I am grateful that I feel closer to what I believe love really is now, that though I always had snippets of it through my own unaffectionate family who never gave hugs but always loved one another through their actions, I now have an even better example through my husband.

Tonight, I came home to a projected image on our television of us and a sweet poem underneath it. I then turned around to surprise Andy with my gift - a bag of shortbread cookies coated with pink icing and speckled with red m&ms in the bag from Panera, a leftover from my lunch on the Firm. He smiled with gratitude, and I wondered if there was any disappointment, but if there was, there was no indication of such. He gave me a sweet hug to express his appreciation and I thought, I cannot wait until he gets his real present! I had no intention of getting him anything for Valentine's, in fact, I had reiterated this a ton of times with "we are NOT getting each other Valentine's gifts!" over and over. But then last week, a friend had sent me a link for a "You Got Jimmered" shirt and I could not resist. What better excuse than Valentine's to make a spontaneous purchase you know your husband will absolutely love?! So buy I did! When I gave him his real present 10 minutes later, he was elated with joy! Success was mine!

Then, for Family Home evening ("FHE"), Andy read me a short snippet of one of President Hinckley's talks recalling the story of a couple and how they were a couple nobody expected based on material judgments (he was poor, she was affluent, he was good looking, she was mediocre) who worked through challenging years to support themselves, raise their children, have a happy family, endure and ultimately, enjoyed their love for one another throughout time. I then jokingly said to him, "but Andy, love is getting chocolates, love is getting a bouquet of beautiful flowers! Love is also getting a big fluffy stuffed animal. And don't forget, love is jewelry from Jared's or Kay's.... love is spending a lot of money on me!" And then I just waited for his response. "If that is what love is, then I guess I don't love you at all!" he exclaimed. Shucks....

But indeed, I have the greatest love of all. And, on top of that, I have Andy too.

Love is a smile, a laugh, a hug. Love is joy, trust, laughter, loyalty, happiness, understanding, patience, humility, faith, hope, help and action. Love is the greatest commandment and even if it's one fake holiday made to generate some revenue, Valentine's Day does remind us of that.

Happy Valentine's Day - a day of LOVEEEEEE

Friday, February 11, 2011

Freak Out Moments Galore

There are certain rituals I do before we go out of town - mostly clean the house, make sure laundry is done and the dirty stuff is minimal, that the dishes are clean and loaded into the cupboards, and that the house is devoid of too many scattered messes. This mitigates the likelihood of me freaking out when we get home and thereby going on a crazy quest to clean up when I'm fatigued and still have a suitcase to unpack. Oh freak out moment, how fun you are.

Lately, I've been having a lot of freak out moments. Most of them have to do with the lil one kicking in my belly that will make a debut in May. I got this wonderful the bump magazine from a co-worker and it's jam packed with information on baby proofing, nurseries, strollers, diaper bags, baby showers, emergency info, delivery room info, kicking chart graph, baby gender predictor, survival guide, poop guide, delivery Q&A, breastfeeding, baby friendly outings, bump photo ops, etc. As you can only imagine, this exhaustive list not only exhausts me, but freaks me out!

I always knew that being a mom would be a HUGE change, but I never really knew how much more there was to learn! Having grown up reading teeny bop magazines like YM, Teen and Seventeen, then moving on to more grown-up ones (some quite trashy now that I look back) like Allure, In Style, Glamour and Cosmopolitan, and then moving onto my work out craze of Shape and Fitness and now into my cooking mode of Better Homes and Gardens and Martha Stewart's Food magazine, I always feel like yes, there is a learning curve, but hey, it is steady and doable because the magazines help you learn. Then, before you know it, you have a very basic understanding of everything the magazines report on, it almost becomes repetitive and you feel pretty good about the info presented, looking only at the new and upcoming stuff. With baby stuff, it doesn't feel that way. The magazines I've gotten so far (though only 3 or 4) all have different info, or so it FEELS and my eyes grow agape with awe and shock when I read most of the stuff. I didn't know that! *gasp Really?! Uh-oh.

Fear. Instilled. In. Me.

Fear. Overwhelms. Me.

Fear. Shock. Silence. Fear.

I'm fearful! I'm so scared! Scared I'll drop the baby, scared I'll suffocate him, scared I won't know if he's got a hernia or if he's just hungry when he's crying, scared I won't know how to hold him, scared I'll give him a diaper rash because I'm not using the diaper, the wipes or the cream correctly, scared I'll give him a bath with the wrong soap, scared I'll wash his clothes with the wrong detergent, scared his head will bump into something on my behalf, scared he'll swallow something on my watch, scared I won't know how much food he should be eating, scared I won't know how to be a mom!!! And those are only my freak out moments post baby delivery.... don't even get me started on the delivery chaos that runs through my mind as I read more birth (horror) stories!

Andy, on the other hand, seems calm and composed. His answers to my freak out moments galore are always that we'll figure it out, or don't be scared. Easy for him to say, hard for me to digest.

I know that faith and fear don't co-exist, but lately, it's been hard for me to process that. I thought about why that is, and realized, maybe that's what I should study about today, and that it's okay to pray about it, asking for more help to face my fears. I know I can't do this alone, that's why I have newsletters, magazines, family and friends... but I also have a Saviour and a loving Heavenly Father and I seem to have forgotten them as it relates to these specific freak out moments. I always pray for help with other things, like patience, more faith, and the strength to choose the right, the love to serve others, etc. but yet here I am, freaking out and forgetting that I have the best access to help and to know I'm not alone. I need to remember that.

I know not to be scared (but I still am!) and I know my Saviour will help me (but I must make the effort too). I know this will not be easy (but a bunch of other moms have done it before me including Eve with no medicine, no epidural, no delivery room gadgets) and I know Heavenly Father is looking out for me. I know we are not given any challenge we cannot overcome and I know there will be unimaginable happiness once Baby J is here, no matter how scared I am now.

I know. I just have to remind myself that I do.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

One Size Fits All

A lot of people like prego pants, but it is safe to say, I am not one of those people. Though the belly band which sits atop the jeans is aimed to allow comfortable expansion (something I thought I would gladly welcome and revisit post pregnancy for buffet outings), my flat Asian butt cannot hold up my jeans, my pregnant tops are not long enough, and without a belt, the entire equation of prego pants is utter disaster.

I initially thought the problem was the fact that the pants only came in three sizes - S, M and L. I then was given the opportunity to try on designer pregnant pants (all over $200 buckaroos) which definitely fit better, but were way too long (which doesn't make sense, because don't prego feet swell and not fit into heels?!). There was just no way around it.

Even though I know my prego pants don't fit well, they are the only non Lululemon pants (stretchy - yay!) that I can can still wear these days so sadly, I still wear 'em when I need to look decent and don't feel like wearing another prego dress (my Monday through Friday uniform and Sunday best).

Tonight, as I was sporting my prego pants, I dwelled on the fact that if only one size fit all! That somehow... if my pants were like those in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, my jeans would just fit perfectly - no matter how little or big my Asian butt got or how big Baby J gets! But then, as I thought more about it, I realized - one size fits all is a myth. One size never fits all! It simply means it is so big, anyone can wear it, which usually means, somewhere, if it fits someone perfectly, it may also be too small for someone else but that generally, it will just be too big!

There really isn't anything that is one size fits all - even if it's got spandex, elastic or lots of room to stretch and shrink. One size fits all... big fat liar more like it!

But you know what is one size fits all - no matter what shape or size?

The Atonement.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is one size fits all - no matter how educated, how nice, how rich, how skinny, how faithful, how great, how INSERT you are.... it fits all of us. Nobody has sinned so much that the Atonement doesn't work and likewise, nobody is so perfect that it is unnecessary and in that aspect, the Atonement truly is one size fits all.

One size does fit all.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Snail Mail: It Brings a Smile to Your Face

I used to watch I Love Lucy episodes on my pop's 8x8 black and white TV. It felt cool to just lounge and use the small old TV for the one thing on TV that was actually black and white. I never thought there'd be a day when color TVs seem old school...until last night. We left my cousin's 50 inch HD flat screen television in the last 10 minutes of the Superbowl game to join my parents at my aunt and uncle's for a belated Chinese New Year dinner and saw the last 3 minutes on a non-HD old school box. We leaned forward, focusing our eyes, trying to figure out where the ball was landing. How did anyone used to watch games on non-HD televisions smaller than 30 inches? Yet it wasn't that long ago when even the normal premium channels lacked HD and the only thing old school was my pop's 8x8 black and white box!

Communication these days is eerily similar. I'm one of the few left in a population spanning over 2-3 years who knew and used pager code. This was pre-cell phones and pre-texting and of course, I was lucky (spoiled) enough to get a teal pager from my parents! My parents would page me when they wanted to know where I was, but that still meant finding a phone to call them back on. More importantly, our friends could page one another with messages deciphered only by those who could read the code (numbers were letters). These days, everyone has a cell phone - not just for safety purposes of having a form of communication when driving if an accident occurs or to call you parents for a ride... but just for fun. It seems to me that 12 year olds have cell phones though I guess I had a pager when I was 13. To add to the mess of technology communication, everyone has internet - if not on their phone, then definitely at home - facebook updates, gchat status messages, twitter, e-mail, text messages, phone calls... eek! I get scared just thinking of all the things I'll have to do to keep my kids from being overexposed to the technology and abusing it! We'll have to have our computer in the living room and if they get cell phones, it'll be the ones with 4 options (call mom, dad, 911, or home), and so on and so forth.

But my point wasn't how bad technology can be today.. it was actually pondering whatever happened to snail mail? Since I didn't become a member of the Church until I was 27, I haven't exactly had the most experience with missionary snail mail, which is also coincidentally now available via e-mail. So besides the letters Grace and I would send each other from Berkeley to Claremont throughout college, which were usually accompanied by a study survival kit or Valentine's Day wishes, snail mail is quite foreign to me.

So it's interesting that I've picked up snail mail as a thing of my present these days. I've been using snail mail more often, though it takes longer to prepare (I actually type around 110 WPM), I think it brings a bigger smile to one's face upon receiving it. There's something old school about getting snail mail in your mailbox, but something exciting about it too. I encourage everyone to write a snail mail today - just for fun... to anyone you want! I guarantee it will bring a smile to one face - yours... or maybe two.. and mine!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Kill Fruit Flies With My Hands

Andy and I have a huge problem. Lately, it seems fruit flies have multiplied and replenished within the confines of our sweet home. GRrrrrRRrrr! Everywhere I look, there is a pesky little fruit fly, roaming around, jeering at me to catch it if I can see it. Problem is, they are so tiny and fleeting, that within a blink of an eye, I've lost them! I'll taunt them, saying you're going to die little one, but before I can do anything about it - they're gone! These days, more or less, I am telling them... oh, you are so lucky I can't catch you.. but I'm still going to try! I usually fail.

At first I thought it was because my half used bananas were being left out uncovered (I usually slice off the rotting part before using the other half for smoothies), so I began putting them in plastic ziploc bags. Take that you fruit fly! Fail. They came back.

Next, I thought maybe too many oranges are left out on the dining room table, so I put them all into the fridge in my fruit drawer (bottom right). They still lingered around. Repeat fail.

Finally, I decided, I need some help so I googled it. I learned that fruit flies breed in moist environments so any dishes left in the sink, wet sponges, old sponges, fruit peel or open lemons (uh-oh, I left some open to help the kitchen smell lemony fresh) or even eggs from grocery bags from the food brought home from the grocery that might not be that fresh. It was recommended that you keep all surfaces clean - wait, I think I already do that.. do I need to do even more?! Yikes! Stripes!

So the next thing I did was google, "home remedies for fruit flies." And now, I am on a mission to see which will work of the many options suggested by my friends on the worldwide web (see technology is actually good if you use it for the right things.. I also have learned how to chop an onion and sharpen a knife from Gordon Ramsey via youtube - thank you Gordon!)

1) Put some basil in between fruits and on the counter - apparently fruit flies do not like basil! You can even sprinkle some of the basil leaves on your fruit.

2) Bottle trap contraption - Fill a bottle with an inch of lemonade, juice, wine (they love alcohol or anything fermented!), or piece of fruit. Remove the lid and put a plastic wrap over the covered, but poke small holes with a toothpick... they can get in - but getting out is like finding a needle in a haystack! Take that you dumb fruit fly!

3) Put some cedar wood snips or balls in your kitchen, or in between your fruit... apparently, they also don't like that! Genius - I have some from my closet (because there was a funky smell and after putting some laundry sheets into the closet, the smell was still around and I thought .. maybe cedar wood would help?... hasn't thus far).

So I will try the above and report back. And until then, I will kill any fruit fly I see with my bare hands!! I KILL FRUIT FLIES WITH MY HANDS! And... Andy thought this might help... we'll see which works.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Let's Play House!

What little girl doesn't love playing house? Indeed it was one of my all-time favorite games and though I was without a play kitchen or any of the super neat commercialized kitchen gadgets of my time, I would improvise with what I had - many times, only my imagination. So it only makes sense that I would love living - not playing - in my house these days!

For many reasons, I actually do really enjoy the time I spend on Saturday mornings cleaning, cooking, planning, budgeting, doing laundry, running errands, working out, and organizing. My accountant, very anal and semi Type A personality comes out most when I am enjoying my post-its of tasks for the day, and I can go about my day without any interruptions - no husband (he has been on call until at least 3:30 every Saturday for the last 5 weeks), no child, absolutely nobody. I think of ways I can improve my multi-tasking, can I pop the laundry in, wash the dishes, fold the laundry and watch an episode of Community all within the next 25 minutes? What can I rearrange in order to maximize my efficiency and effectiveness? Like a mini-consultant, I analyze each week's mishaps and consider all approaches at improving my next run of Saturday morning tasks. It's challenging, but also rewarding when I am able to do better than the prior week. And regardless of the dull monotony of it all, I am surprisingly fascinated each week (though it hasn't been that long).

It reminds me of my job in more ways than I'd like to admit. We do the same thing.. we face the same challenges (no matter what the PCAOB or SEC may come out with), and with each new team, we find ways to bond and make it through the audit. And no matter how hard it seems, we always get through it,look back, reflect and feel really good about the progress we made. We laugh at the pile of wholesale junk food (intertwined with some wannabe healthy snacks to make us feel a bit better), the kill file of papers, the whiteboard of tasks crossed out and the remnants of every team member getting sick while on the job (it's really gross actually). But in the end, we feel good about it because we made it as a team and soon after, we get a pat on the back and a team celebration (often at an overpriced restaurant I would never go to without Uncle P footing the bill).

Such are so many things in life that will continue to be that way. Challenging... yes. Repetitive... maybe. Rewarding... definitely.

I know playing house won't always be fun. I know having Baby P around will make it difficult for me to go about my normal routine. I know sleep will not be an option anymore. I know playing house everyday might not be as fun as once a week.

But I also know that just like audit and just like playing house.... living home will be tough, frustrating, unbelievable, and insane! .. but always bearable, doable, and rewarding.

I just have to remember that when I'm dying for sleep, when I'm sick of poopy diapers, when the baby is crying and I have no clue what to do, when multitasking is not an option, when separating my laundry by whites and colors is a thing of the past, when getting ready for Church means more than 15 minutes, when life is more than just Andy and me.

But just like audit... the work always gets done. But in audit, we are all dispensable... even playing house.. anyone can do it. But with my baby.. I am the only one who will be his mother ...and that is so exciting! Isn't it?!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gong Xi Fa Tsai: Hong Bao Na Lai!

Wishing you prosperity, now gimme my red envelope!

As kids, this was our go to phrase every Chinese New Year because the holiday meant red envelope$ (bonus that it rhymes). Now that it's my first year not eligible for a red envelope on New Year's (marriage disqualifies you... and I'm sure at some point old age might as well...), I've been missing the unofficial traditions I grew up with. Red and gold fu (luck) hung upside down all over our houses to remind us of the new lunar year, lu buo gao (turnip cake) for breakfast, shark fin soup, a plethora of homemade Chinese delicacies, eight treasure sticky rice, and my favorite, fried nian gao (sticky glutinous rice breaded and fried and a homonym for yearly height or every year higher and higher).

To celebrate our first Chinese New Year's as a married couple, we had our own version of Chinese New Year with frozen delicacies - dumplings and onion pancake with homemade dipping sauce (soy sauce, sesame oil, chopped garlic, and ground fresh chili paste - I use the Sambal Oelek brand). Of course, it wasn't the same (though traditionally in China, New Year's is always celebrated with dumplings) but Andy sensed my disappointment (plus I pouted and told him my mom had lu buo gao for breakfast and we didn't!) and he offered the blessing of the food. It took me about five seconds to realize he was saying the prayer in Mandarin which brought a smile to my face and behold, a new tradition among our family was established!

Looking forward to next year, I am already resolving (though not a Lunar year celebration tradition) to make my lil rabbit's first Chinese New Year super special. Planning and preparing will aid me in accomplishing this goal (along with three authentic Chinese recipe books from my brother for Christmas) as well the nearby Chinatown, Little Tapei and Arcasia. I can already picture it - he'll be in a mini mian ao with a little cap and a fake braid.

Xing Nian Kuai Le! Happy New Year! And here's to the year of the rabbit which is what our lil one will be! Do we think he really will be peaceful, sympathetic, calm, private, classy and trendy? ... Only time will tell!

Here's to new traditions for our family with the new lunar year!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Prego Brain: Fact or Fiction?

According to my nurse, pregnancy hormones would affect my brain's ability to function properly and I would begin to forget simple things. I was advised to keep my keys in the same place, a practice already instituted in our home. In an effort to heed her warning, I began to take notes more often than not. Anytime a thought came into my head about tasks to complete, I would jot it down.

With time, the habit slowly deteriorated and I found myself blaming my prego brain time and time again. Most of the times, however, they were not in seriousness....

And then on Sunday, Andy asked me to remind him to bring his blood pressure kit to our friend's who had generously invited us over for Sunday dinner. Our friend wanted to check his blood pressure so Andy was going to help him out by bringing his handy dandy doctor kit. But try as I might, remember I could not. Fail as I would, I did too... because without a note, no reminder, nothing, my prego brain succeeded in dominating my ability to remember!

And yet, I just knew there was something to remember. I scoured my brain for a clue, retraced the day's events, hoping some inkling of remembrance would grace my thoughts. I even asked Andy what I was supposed to remind him, what I was supposed to recall, what I was supposed to do....No such luck.

I would only remember late Sunday night, that we forgot to bring the blood pressure kit, but not that it was the item I forgot to remind him of from earlier. Somehow, my brain's capacity was not able to connect the two.

And then just last night, I would all of a sudden remember I had an appointment with the DMV that completely slipped my mind. At this point, my frustration turned to anger. How could I forget such a thing? Didn't I write it down? I quickly looked at my blackberry calendar, hoping I had indeed written it down but just ignored it... no such luck again. I couldn't believe it. I was forgetting everything! What would I forget next? My next doctor's appointment? My baby at the grocery store?

I sat there.. fuming with utter disappointment at my own dumb prego brain. And then I pouted some more while Andy reminded me it was time for FHE. I knew that one.. I wasn't getting that bad yet.. but I was still unhappy. I thought to myself, I hope we sing a short opening hymn because I am feeling terse in my every action and thought process right this moment!

He skipped over to the organ while I dragged my feet over there, reluctant to sing a hymn and have FHE, still unhappy about my dumb prego brain. He started to play Love At Home and as I sang, I was reminded of how a hymn is simply another way for us to converse with our Heavenly Father through song. I was instantaneously uplifted and in my broken sing song voice, accompanied Andy happily with the song.

Later, I thought... time to repent. It was so humbling to think that even the littlest things can bring out the worst in us. So what if I forgot one thing.... when I accessed the DMV website, the next available appointment was for the upcoming Monday... not too much time would lapse before I could get a new ID (finally... after having a new name since August and not making 5 scheduled DMV appointments in the past). And yet the only way I was able to figure that out was through our FHE because even as Andy tried to console me earlier, I just pouted some more.

I'm glad we have FHE every week, even when I am doubtful of our lessons because FHE with two people seems silly. And, I'm glad we are practicing to be better and instilling a routine that will only become harder when it's more than just us two. Lastly, I'm glad FHE cheered me up last night and that my husband is always a pocket full of sunshine even when I am a big drop of rainy prego brain!