Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's Never Too Late!

My daily newsletters kindly informed me that I might get carpal tunnel syndrome - temporarily of course, but due to the hormone infusion in my body from the baby. Of course, I thought I was so lucky not to have any such symptoms. My daily newsletters also kindly informed me of swollen feet, another temporary symptom that I was lucky to not have encountered.

Alas, it's never too late. Just like it's never too late to repent, just like it's never too late to pick up a new hobby, just like it's never too late to eat something foreign to you, just like it's never too late to change... it's also never too late for those pregnancy hormones to kick in!

At lunch yesterday, I could barely hold my fork with my right hand. In fact, it was sore just holding it - as if I had worked out my hand (is that possible?!), then it was just sore, and then, it was tingly when I woke up. Having a hypochondriac for a husband medical student, I can attest to the fact that tingly in the hands is not a good thing.

At work lately, my poor feet have been struggling to fit into my work shoes. When I started with the Firm, the strict dress code was no open toed shoes, however, with time, the code has relaxed a bit and luckily, this means a little bit of breathing room for my feet - or as much as a peep toed shoe can offer. However, my toes have not simply swollen, the entire foot has and thus even this tiny hole provides no comfort for my feet to breathe. Add to that the 100+ steps of Angel's Flight I walk up and down everyday to get to my office equals a very unhappy, huffing and puffing, pregnant me.

But I'm outside of my body. As painful as it is becoming, I am striving to make it to the due date because I selfishly want all of my paid time off from the state of California and the Firm. My body is a temple that is baking a baby and the change in my body is a constant reminder that it's indeed never too late - never too late to do good, never too late to change for the better, never too late to start feeling way prego. Yikes!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Baby Photos

My brother's taking me to lunch but he's not here yet and I'm too hungry and pregnant to focus on work, so I've begun my lunch break already.

Do you think the baby will look like me....?

or Andy?
I hope our baby looks like Andy cuz he was so cute! I'd rather have our daughter look like me...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Life's Tough as a Party Girl But Someone's Gotta Do It!

Two parties in just one weekend and though I was only hostess to one, I am only halfway through my thank you cards since the first party was for me, but relaxing after a well done team effort to clean up after the second party with the husband. Life's tough as a party girl but someone's gotta do it! I'll gladly be that someone.

Party number one was a baby shower thrown for me by two girls I met through Church. Now, when Andy and I first started going to the new "married" people Church that we were reassigned to (in our Church, when single from 18 - 31, you are assigned to a "Singles Ward" and ward is just another word to designate between the different demographic or language split ups for when we meet at Church), never would I have imagined nine months later, I would actually have friends to throw me a baby shower! Nor would I have imagined having more than 5 people show up because let's face it, it's hard to make friends! Add to that the fact that everyone seems to already know each other and I'm not a dental school wife (huge contingency of dental students at our married people Church) and I can come across as shy/mean/witchy/ snobby when you first meet me (been told by many at work)...

Miraculously, with a little bit of prayer, and a lot of blog stalking (on my part), I not only began to feel comfortable in our new ward, I also began to realize why our Church is set up with structure the way it is and that part of the problem was me and my lack of action to meet and make friends. You see.. one can only enjoy blog stalking for so long- one needs friends in real life too. One can continue going to Church alone (Andy had a lot of calls), feel the Spirit, understand dedicated attendance at church meetings are important, sprint out of Church immediately when it ends so many times before one feels lonely and in need of company. A lot of ex-Mormons poke fun about our Church's monthly home and visiting teaching program* and how we may all grief over getting it done the last weekend of the month. They make it sound like it's useless but we do it because we follow blindly. Too bad they can't realize the beauty of the organization that has been restored for us that helps us when we're in need.

I guess I never had to worry about making friends at Church because from day one of showing up at Church, I had been the "investigator" and then the "recent convert" whereas in the new ward, I was no longer the new investigator that everyone went out of their way to meet. I was no longer the recent convert that everyone was trying to fellowship. I was just another somebody.. Who felt like a nobody. And don't think anybody cared. Except Him. Heavenly Father had my back.

Not only did I have a baby shower - I had one of those cute ones that I admire from afar online with matching everything, themed something, delicious yummies and uber cute games and prizes.

"It's a Boy!" banner that will be re-used and hang over the baby's crib. Love Martha Stewart poms!

I'm just bananas over the theme!

Love the color combo - not your typical baby blue!

Pancakes, Croissants, Fruit, Spinach Salad, Cupcakes - miam!

in case you missed the theme!

the best part about the deco? will be worn by our boy later! that lil monkey!

Group Shot

a palette of baby food!

being served on a silver platter!

stinky poop on a diaper

but it's really just chocolate

Loveeeee the banana gummies

These girls planned the whole shin dig!

Andy is going to build a shelf to put these blocks on in the study/baby's room.
Stop monkeying around and check out dem cupcakes!

Second party was our first ever real adult party. Meaning, there were kids there too (a bit of a paradox). All together, we had 13 adults, 6 kids and 1 baby. Just another typical Sunday potluck with friends who also live atop the hills in our little tucked away corner of Los Angeles, except it's not so typical and the only thing typical about it was our constant mentioning of how we should do it for the last 6 months. Finally, I took charge, sent out an evite and Andy and I opened our home for a Texas style BBQ potluck (only two families showed up according to theme and Andy wouldn't put on my authentic Texas cowboy hat so we failed). We had pulled buffalo chicken sandwiches, corn on the cob, cheesy biscuits, guacamole and chips, lemon bread, cookies, strawberries, lemonade and punch (forgot to take photos.. bummer) but the best part was having 5 kids run around playing hide n seek, loving their corn on the cob, and daring each other to get in the dryer (I monitored them and saw one of the girls scold the others with, "Come on guys, this is not something to play around with!" as she closed the dryer and ended their dialogue of who would go in first). After everyone left, we spent a good forty-five minutes cleaning up, but it was great and totally worth it! I'd do it again in a heartbeat because opening our home up to others every now is oodles of fun and it helps train us for when we'll get to open our home for the family to come for Christmas!

Life's a ball when you're just partying it up. I had a great weekend and should consider going into the party planning business. I'm not as good as the ladies who threw my baby shower, but I'm sure I'll have lots of practice over the years with kid birthday parties, a bridal shower for my BFF coming up! and hopefully, some baby showers for my own friends once they are prego! Excited for the opportunity and looking forward to it!

*The home teaching is when two priesthood (males) visit a family and the visiting teaching is just for the sisters of the Church to visit each other in pairs as well. Visiting teaching and home teaching is how I met most of the people I know well at Church today.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The "Chinese" Ways

When my mom found out I was pregnant, she immediately began updating me on the things I must do to maintain a safe pregnancy. Among those, were Chinese "ways" meant to be strictly adhered to since my Chinese body was weaker than that of any white woman.

Here is some of what I hear.

No watermelon - too cold.
No coconut juice - not good for you.
No pineapple - cuz the Cantonese friend told her so.
No scissors - you will cut into your baby's life or something like that.
No hammering in the house - you will hammer something bad into your baby's life.
No furniture rearrangements - not good for the baby's peace.
Eat lots of fruit so baby's skin will be white and healthy!

This only encompasses the pregnancy. Once you give birth, you are...

Not to wash your hair for a month (gross!).
To eat fresh chicken soup to replenish the lost nutrients (sounds okay).
Shave the baby's head at 100 days (to help it grow more).

None of the recommendations provided above have really impeded my lifestyle. Watermelon is out of season (won't lie, ate some during the first trimester); coconut juice continues to be a staple in my fridge as of late; pineapple is a Cantonese rule and I'm Mandarin; I don't get the scissors thing - isn't a knife just as bad?; I haven't had to hammer anything (but Andy has!) and what momma don't see with the furniture, don't hurt momma! And the fruit just means my dear mother delivers fruit to me once a week - usually an assortment of oranges, strawberries, berries and apples. I can't complain about the latter.

When it comes to the suggestions for post prenatal time, I'm a bit more hesitant. I have spoken in depth with my hair stylist who is Taiwanese and very traditional, who claims the purpose behind not washing your hair is to avoid getting a whiff of the cold while showering. Easy solution - have rugs on the cold tiles and dry your hair completely before coming out of the bathroom. The baby's head shaving is the biggest point of contention because while I believe my beautiful, full head of hair is a result of my own head being shaved at 100 days, nobody else seems to buy it - especially my husband and his side of the family. Since we're having a boy, it doesn't really matter, but once we have a girl, what will we do?! Or will the Lord only bless us with boys in order to avoid the decision? Guess only time will tell.

In the meantime, the only thing that matters is knowing the Lord will guide us and doing those small things that matter even when I am big, uncomfortable, hormonal, migraine-ish... when my heart is burning, I'm constantly peeing, wanting to waddle and oh, by the way - I'm also oddly itchy, swollen, full of dandruff on my head and slowly beginning to have slight back aches. It's difficult to remember that I must continue praying for help from the Lord for more guidance, more faith, more patience, more optimism, and more humility. But if I do these things, the minor traditions being instilled - sometimes imposed - upon me will not phase me, I will not lose my temper when talking to my mother about why these archaic customs are silly, and I will have my head on straight when approaching the "Chinese" ways with her. It's not an easy conversation - she believes with all her heart that it's true - just like I believe with all my heart and mind that the things I know are true of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. So all I can do is be patient... be positive... and pray that the Spirit will guide me through these conversations, that I may remain calm, composed, and not insult my mother and her "Chinese" ways.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why HellooooOoooOo Dandruff!

Let it be known that pregnancy causes weird things to happen. One of them is dry skin. I'm sure it's hormone related as mostly everything is. So these days, my scalp is rather dry, and guess what?! It's time to say, "Why, hellooooooOooOo dandruff!"

It hasn't gotten really bad - but when my hair is on day two (assuming day one = washed, day two = unwashed), it gets oily and somehow... dry! Is that even possible, aren't they mutually exclusive? Isn't oil supposed to be moisture related? Well.... short answer - NO! My oily mcoil + flaky mcflakster = grossy mcgross! The difficult part is, the itchier it gets, the more I want to scratch and it's like Christmas in Utah on my head.

My dermatologist doc friend has recommended Head n Shoulders, but since he has a HUGE bottle he can give us for free, we have not yet dived into our budget to make this worthy purchase nor have we stopped by his apt (10 minutes away only.. I know, we're lazy) to pick up the much needed bottle.

This got me thinking about how we are told not to judge a book by its cover because I've always had issues with the phrase. Though I agree with the theory, I still will probably avoid a book that is stinky and falling apart and will probably give me a virus, a book that is lewd on the cover and implies something bad on the inside, or a book that is so dull, even the title screams CURE FOR INSOMNIA. All of these seem like legit approaches to the said statement, but there's always the - what if inside the dirty book is something clean, what if inside the disgusting book is something uplifting, what if inside the dull book is something interesting?! Well, I'll take my chances and wait for a book review.

Wait, but should we not avoid making conclusions based on just the outer appearance? Agreed. Or should we be cautious about what to expect on the inside from what we see on the outside, and in essence, be a bit biased? Semi-agreed.

I think applied to real life, we have to be careful about the perceptions that come with just the premise of what's on the outside, but we also should realize there are other factors that may be contributing to whatever we do see on the outside so our outside conclusion may not always be accurate or even fair. Limiting the conclusion to just a sense of sight may be limited to see beyond what is on the outside, which is why it's nice to also have the Spirit to help guide you.

We cannot be naive to the point that we do not protect ourselves from what our eyes are able to see but having the Spirit makes it that much easier. If I see a homeless man on my way walking to work who is demonstrating signs of schizophrenia, I will be cautious as I walk by him and hope that the Spirit will direct me either way. I know we are taught that ultimate judgment is only made by God, that we should not judge ourselves, but that does not mean we should not be aware of the things presented to us based on what we do see? Is it one in the same?

At work... I can conclude that the outfit, hairdo or shoes of someone are not work appropriate and give constructive feedback because we have a dress code and as someone semi-part of HR (though unofficially), it is part of my job to give meaningful and real feedback. However, I cannot conclude that the person's work ethic sucks because their shoes are scuffed. I cannot conclude the attitude is carelessness because there is a cut in the skirt that is seemingly too high and not fit for the professional work place.

So... I'm not sure what it all means and I know it's an endless debate but I do know I'm grateful for the Spirit to help me so that my eyes aren't the only ones doing all the work. I have my other senses too - but the Spirit is the best one.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Best Wife Ever!!!!

This is a rather long entry. I apologize in advance if you were looking for a quick, funread. But I really wanted to share because I think it really does help to show how things sometimes happen for a reason, one we may not be aware of until later.

Yesterday was game two for BYU and winning it meant they would proceed to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1981. Too bad the game was set to start at 4:45 PM and would probably go until at least 7 PM because we also had a wedding reception that was to begin at 6 PM. However, in the Mormon world, wedding receptions are unlike those outside of the Mormon world and though they may begin "on time," the food is usually buffet style, the seats are unassigned and rarely is there a set program so showing up "on time" is not always necessary. So like any good wife (and after being encouraged by a friend who commented I would let my spouse watch game 2 instead of the wedding, it's THAT important) I decided I would not mind going alone because I knew there was going to be a photobooth AND cake (and I love wedding cake more than any other type of cake!). However, Andy said we could just show up a bit later - and I agreed.

Boy, am I glad I agreed because we watched history in the making! BYU wiped the floor dry with Gonzaga, and though they were the unfavored team, they blew everyone away with 32 points ahead of Gonzaga, giving them a place in the Sweet Sixteen next Thursday (same day as a birth class so I may also be going alone to that...). Andy was a wreck. I've never seen anyone more nervous. He couldn't sit still, he was on the floor, up and pacing about, on the couch, off the couch, up and running around high-fiving others watching the game with us, on his knees on the floor, then all over again. We proudly wore our "You Can't Handle the Jimmer" t-shirts made by my sister-in-law (which we will not wash until BYU is out of the tourney and yes, it's already stained because we had smoothies during the game) and enjoyed every moment of the game. Andy excited and don't hate the slippers, they are comfortable and manly.

When the game finished, we quickly left for the wedding and it turns out, our timing was impeccable! No buffet lines and right in time to sit and eat when the program (they did have one with speeches, dancing and cake cutting) began and we were able to see the beautiful bride and happy couple glowing with happiness. The gym was transformed into a breathtaking tent with a chandelier in the middle, white lights draped against the tenting, purple mood lighting that looked like floating color swirls, tea lights (battery operated and Church handbook approved), gorgeous red and purple flowers arrangements both tall and short, a royal red tablecloth on every table and brown Chiavari chairs... so I spent a long time taking it all in as we ate. We also didn't have to wait long to grab dessert which was an assortment of Porto's including cheesecake, red velvet, chocolate cake, fruit tart, and a scrumptious soft and airy angel cake with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and whipped cream (I think I had 3 slices of this one) and yes, of course we tried all of them - who could resist otherwise?! We saw many of our friends from the old singles ward as well as the new family ward and pretty soon, I learned many of the men there had the game taped and were planning to watch it when they got home - so they of course demanded that we not share the outcome. In this moment, Andy realized - my wife is the best ever and told me so, because he not only got to watch the game, but still got to come to the wedding reception and enjoy the meal, dessert, people and photobooth.

Well, sometimes we speak too soon and in Andy's case, he did.

We returned home after the wedding so I could finish preparing for a short talk I was asked to give this morning at Church. I had been asked to speak (on Wednesday) about my conversion and the blessings that came from it, but the challenge was to keep it to 5 minutes. I had put something together, changed it, gotten some advice on how to improve it, changed it, and prayed for the Spirit to help guide me but continued changing it. Ugh! The problem with a conversion story in five minutes is that you have to figure out what part is important enough to share.

My conversion story is so long, has so many moving pieces, and really the desire to learn more and begin asking questions and checking out didn't just happen over night. On top of that, the turmoil and confusion I felt from having a good life but wanting more is really hard to put explicitly into words. How do I describe exactly how it felt? It's not as if everyday I was confused and wondered if there was more to life than what I had, but it was a general theme. On the other hand, it's not as if I was entirely all smiles all the time, I was like so many single mid 20's woman - fine but not fine. And because I was not alone, it did not seem a big deal. All of my friends were equally confused about life, the path, the purpose, the timelines we had set for ourselves and what society seemed to imply to us. Independence, professional success, personal relationships, marriage, kids, but also not forgetting balancing those other things that were important - looking good, having fun, going out, giving back, etc. Yet, at the end of the day - we all agreed that our most important relationship was with ourselves and we would even quote Carrie from the infamous Sex and the City, "But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous." She sort of had it right - because Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are those people, but sure, my husband may also qualify - but that doesn't mean I don't still encounter the need to change and improve constantly.

I struggled. I hesitated. I got nervous. I got frustrated. I wondered why I kept getting asked to speak. What could I add that was useful? What could I say that would invite the Spirit? I felt unworthy. I felt unprepared. And for about thirty minutes, as my sweet husband sat ready to time me as I practiced what I had ready, I could not, for the life of me, start my talk. I tried soooo hard, but it was as if stage fright had taken over me, and I was paralyzed with fear. I asked Andy if I could skip Church if I was sick. I asked Andy if he could just take my place and do my talk instead. I started coming up with irrational ways of how I could get out of the situation I was in. I started thinking of the crock pot dish I was going to make for lunch with friends the next day and wondering how I would have time to do it all! I cracked. Under pressure. I choked. Under immense pressure.

And my poor husband, who had just said I was the best wife ever about 4 hours earlier, was lost as to how he could help me. I prayed silently for help, and still nothing. And then, I had an epiphany for how I should begin my talk and 40 minutes later, after drafting it and practicing it, realized, it was still too long. Frustration. I had to cut stuff out and I had to figure out what was important enough to say. Disappointment. At this point, my poor husband, exhausted and confused about how to help, had fallen asleep on the couch with his hand still on the timer so I woke him up and told him to go to sleep. This was not something he could help me with and I appreciated his efforts. I was up against something greater than me but I was determined to get it done. We prayed together and I continued working on the talk for the next hour.

That next hour was amazing. After all the dismay and discouragement was evicted from our home, and the Spirit arrived to guide me. I practiced the talk about three times with an online timer (I didn't know how to use Andy's timer even though he taught me), and then decided it was time to go to sleep. I would wake up in 6 hours to prepare the food for the crock pot lunch recipe, and though Andy had offered, it was a new recipe and I wanted to try making it, all on my own (type A coming out?). I knew if I was humble, I would ask Andy for help, but he was probably more tired from his full day of furniture building and baby room assembly, so I put his happiness ahead of mine, and didn't feel any desire to do otherwise (sometimes we just have to do that for our other half, right?).

The Church meeting this morning was awesome. The Spirit was so strong, testifying to everyone of the truthfulness of everything said. There was a theme of Temples, so many testimonies, and my favorite was from someone in the Temple Presidency who spoke about a rich Italian man visiting from Italy who had his driver pull up to the Temple. He walked in, asking if he could go in and pray but since he didn't have a Temple recommend, they had to refuse him. He then asked what we did inside the Temple and was told about the ordinances such as baptisms and sealings that we did for the dead. He then asked if this meant his family who had passed away could hear of Jesus Christ and be not be in purgatory. When told yes, that was precisely it, he started crying. They took him to the Mission Office, gave him some pamphlets in Italian, and I sure hope he has started investigating the Church back in Italy. If God existed, why would he not give all his children the opportunity to return to Him? I know my non believing friends will say that's just your Church making something up to seal the gap, but the fact of the matter is - your Church has a gap and mine doesn't, but I also did go and pray about it, and received an answer that baptisms for the dead are truly to give the dead who have not heard, a chance.

Lunch was also great! I made a spicy buffalo chicken sandwich with my crock pot (Sunday lunches and dinners should ALWAYS be crock pot friendly) and it was A+!

Sometimes things do happen for a reason. We are given challenges that we can overcome but in the moment, it never feels that way! Every opportunity we have is unique to us, and angels are truly sent from Heaven to help us during our time of need. I know watching the BYU game was not that big of a deal to many, but I know how important it was for Andy and I'm glad I was supportive during his time of need because later on that night, I was the one in need of support. I will always strive to be the best wife ever, because in those moments when I am the worst wife ever, it will offset and mitigate my awfulness. I hope I will always remember that.

I truly believe the adversary knows us too well and will try to destroy us by attacking our weaknesses. I could not comprehend my struggles on Saturday night, I only know it felt easier to give in and give up but boy, am I glad I didn't! Take that adversary! It was tough - having a breakdown is always tough - even a childish one, but we all go through it. We're not alone and we can overcome with just a sprinkle of optimism, a spoonful of faith, and a cup full of prayer. I hope last night doesn't repeat itself for a while, I'm not sure if I'll have the energy to defeat my own insecurities again.

I know we all say it - but I have to say it too. I have the best husband ever!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Return of the Fruit Flies!

For a while, our fruit fly problem was history (past issue). Somehow, the cedar balls around the fruit bowls seemed to have helped. The self made fruit fly trap was out of a bottle that was too big (I used an apple cider bottle), so I'm not sure if it truly worked but I saw less of the flies, so that counted for something.

Then lately... they seemed to be back and more than before! I couldn't figure it out. My fruit was either in the fridge or protected by a cedar ball. Where were they procreating? And then... yesterday, I discovered it!

We have a can that we keep by the stove to store all the used and excess oil from cooking. And recently, I used a piece of paper towel to wipe up some of it, and then just tossed it into the can. This basically created a breeding ground of fruit flies!

Andy threw it away and as he did, he commented that there were quite a bit of fruit flies in there. You see, as part of my research on fruit flies, I noted that they like moisture - so if you have sponges, ring 'em dry at night, if you have dishes in the sink, clear 'em out before you go to sleep.

Ick - let's hope they're really gone now!

It reminds me of Satan. We know he's out there, we know he will tempt us and mislead us, but even knowing all that, knowing how to keep ourselves safe and free of his influence, and doing the right things to shield ourselves, does not fully protect us! We may inadvertently find that we are in a situation once it's too late, where he has the power - where he multiplies and breeds easily. We just have to be on the lookout, even if we think we know how to defeat him! And then, upon discovering our own weaknesses, we not only throw him out, but we hold on to the strong principles and faith that we have - I busted out my cedar wood balls immediately and placed 'em around the source of fruit flies, where the can used to be. Beware fruit flies, we are onto you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Just in Case... Right?!

I know stretchmarks are pretty much genetic. I know I can welcome them any day now! I know they are a reminder of the baby. I know I will love 'em once they're here.

But on the off chance they don't show up, I'm entirely okay with that as well. On the off chance they choose to show up later than sooner, I'm pretty on board with that as well.

They don't hurt right? They just come along with the baby's growth and are not triggered by what you eat or what you do... right?!

I hope they at least have a pattern that's funny to look at. I hope they tell a story.

I probably have too many products. I probably won't be able to use it all during this pregnancy.

(Mustela is missing since I used it all and it's a lot pricier than Palmer's cuz it smells so great!)

My body is a Temple, and I know it may not be able to withstand stretch marks and even if it doesn't, it's still a Temple... BUT... the effort doesn't hurt. And it's quite amusing actually.

Our good friend is a Dermatologist (and tall, and eligible, and athletic, and smart, and single if any are looking!) and he confirmed the fact that it is genetic and there's nothing you can really do about it... BUT, he also said... if he were a girl, he'd be trying them creams as well. Guess Dr. knows best!

The Lil Things That Make My Day - #1

Work has still been extremely taxing on me (would be a pun if I actually did tax auditing), but I can't lie, having the flexibility to go home, make (50% of the time) and have dinner with Andy, scripture study, and then return to work remotely has been a huge blessing. And what really makes my day, is coming home to this.

a) our lights
b) the bed made
c) my Hello Kitty collection (missing a duck but not sure where he went)
d) the photo of Andy above

Well... it is... the bed! I do like the photo of Andy, but I get the real thing in person, so...

It's always interesting to talk amongst friends and find out who likes to make their bed and who doesn't. There is no correlation between those who do or don't to being a go getter or a sloth. It really just varies! I know a TON of people who refuse to make their beds in the morning, husband included. But I get a big kick out of it and rarely do I not make it because it just makes me feel like it's time to start the day, and when I come home and head straight for the bedroom to change out of my work clothes and into my lounge clothes, I like seeing it this way versus with the sheets all strewn. I know it makes no difference as you have to unmake it to get into it for sleep, but I still like it! It brings a huge smile to my face and it just looks so much prettier and inviting than an unmade bed.

I will say, I'm not a huge pillow person - except for the guest room. Who cares - the guests are barely there - so of course a TON of pillows only make sense! Growing up, I always had 5-6 pillows to adorn my bed and I loved it, but my brother was on the fence about the pillows my mom put into his room. I personally LIKE it! The only downside is they sit on the floor at night - so instead, our pillows have moved to the couch (along with all the clothes that reside on it quite often because who really washes their jeans or lounge pants everyday?!).

Is it weird that I make my bed in the morning? Is it odd that I like pillows on the bed to make it look more festive (albeit it does get in the way when it's time to sleep!)?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side

My hair is disgustingly flat and straight. When I blowdry it, I use a big flat brush or a big round brush and I try to volume-unize it with hair spray and the back and forth of hot and cold air. So it only makes sense that when I have a special event (or if my hair has not been washed for 2 days and I need to mask the oiliness and have decided baby powder just won't do for the day - yes, it does work but don't put too much like I did once!), I can't wait to curl it! It's a proven fact that those with straight hair want curly hair and those with curly hair want straight hair. The grass is always greener on the other side!

Know anyone who wears glasses even though they have perfect eyesight? Not sunglasses, but glasses. Self-made four-eyed geek with frames and lens that don't have a prescription (or once at a concert I saw a girl with frames, no lenses... that was strange to say the least...). It actually somehow became cool for this generation to start wearing not only fake glasses but big thick ugly boxy square retro my-dad-wore-those-frames-in-the-80's-and-we-still-make-fun-of-him glasses. And of course, most people who have bad eyesight (if you're Asian, sorry, your eyes probably suck) can't wait to get contacts. Again, the grass is always greener on the other side!

When I was in school, the constant exams and everyday classes, lectures and group projects made me long for the time when I'd be in the real world, working and making money, enjoying my weekends away from studying. And then once I was in the working class, I longed for the simple days of nonchalant classes and studying, when the only real worry I had was, will I get a job after I graduate? which is now replaced by what kind of 401k contributions do I make? how do I select a good health insurance ? are my bills due? do they really tax that much? and I have to do my taxes! Yup, the grass is always greener on the other side!

Naturally, as the weeks are counting down to the commencement of my maternity leave (5 more weeks!) coupled with the oh-so-busy work days I have been enduring for the past week, I often think - I cannot wait until I'm on maternity leave and have time to shop, work out, watch movies, read, cook, spend time with friends and family, accomplish some crafting I have put aside for a while, organize more of the house, and relax! But... will the grass be greener on the other side again? Will I long for the daily interactions at work, the joy of meeting challenging deadlines, the engaging discussions about any and everything, even the difficult conversations that I facilitate as part of my job description?

Everyone says I will. Everyone says I'll be back in a jiffy. Everyone says just you wait! Everyone says they always thought they wanted to be a stay at home mom until they did it. Everyone says you just can't stay away from working! Everyone says just get a nanny! Everyone says - better yet, get a cleaning lady!

But none of these everyones understands that I have a deeper motivation for wanting to do these things. That based on my belief of the family structure it will ultimately benefit my family and that it is part of the role I have as a mother and wife. None of these everyones has the same support structure that I hope I will have. None of these everyones sees and hears of the testimonies of motherhood (and hardship too, but ultimately pure and everlasting joy from both the young and older moms and grandmas) from the other mothers in my Church. I am so grateful that I have a choice and I pick motherhood.

I know it's going to be hard - just like everyone said the real world would be hard and I still wanted it - and yes, occasionally reminisce about my school days, but still value the working values I have now! I know the grass is greener on the other side but I also know it is a blessing in my life to choose motherhood and the gospel has reinforced that inkling in me that always thought it, but might have been afraid to express it (especially considering the opinions of the everyones blaring in my ear).

Did you know our Church is not run by paid clergymen? Did you know everyone volunteers and has a "calling" and in essence, helps to run the Church? Did you know Jesus is at the head of our Church? Did you know our Church organization is set up the way it is through modern day revelation given to the church leaders? Did you know when we move we don't have to shop for churches, just map the closest one? And it's this precise modern day revelation that has led the Church to where it is today... that even among a world of everyones who want a baby as an accessory, a nanny to take care of their child's upbringing, a chef to take care of feeding the kids, and the notion that being a mom and a career woman is possible without sacrificing anything on either end (personally disagree), that I know motherhood is first and foremost where I belong and what will give my family and me the greatest joy and something I choose with all my heart and soul and body!

The grass is always greener on the other side.

But this motherhood grass will be where I reside, no matter how yellow it is (from pee) or how brown it may turn (from poop).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Meant to Be?

Do you ever write a long blog entry, then lose it and wonder - maybe I wasn't supposed to post it? Maybe it was meant to be? It was a long post too! But maybe it's not the right time for it yet....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

When Work Gets You Down...

Three big to do's on my plate.
Two back to back 11 hour days.
One massive budget worksheet that doesn't want to reconcile.

One large meeting in 8.5 hours to prep for.
Two spreadsheets to double check before submission which was EOB Tuesday - oops.
Three migraines the size of Timbuktooo (sp?).

Three kisses from my husband tonight.
Two reminders that we needed to do our companionship study.
One whining pregnant woman frustrated that work was not even CLOSE to being done at 10:30 PM.

One supportive husband.
Two working people (my son counts right?)
Three breaths to calm down.

I know to be of good cheer - no matter what situation I'm put in. I know attitude beats out everything and I know my light at the end of the tunnel is dim, but gets brighter with each step I take and that Heavenly Father is helping me recharge the batteries on my solar flashlight.

Three more days until the weekend.
Two more days of deadlines.
One more big project that may seep into my weekend.

One thing at a time.
Too much to think about!
Three BYU games this week?....?!

Stay positive. Be of good cheer.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Making a Cake in the Oven

In Chinese, we have a saying, "Did you make a cake?" which actually means did you just make a cake (take a dump) in your kitchen (in the bathroom). When my brother and I were growing up and our cousins lived with us for a few years, I recall us using that phrase a lot, especially if someone would disappear for a while or come out of the bathroom with a look of pure relief and satisfaction and one whiff of the now open door would convey something poopy had happened (we had not yet discovered the magic of matches). Hehe. Get it? The poop you accumulate is supposed to be like a big chocolate cake - imagine that!

What's funny about that is when I learned the concept of a diaper cake, it made perfect sense in the Chinese sense.... cuz diapers are for poop so a diaper cake is for your poop and - yeah, don't make me go on.

I'm not sure why this amuses me so, but it's like the diaper game that many play at baby showers where you melt different chocolates, caramel, or nuts, even some marshmallows and put it in different diapers for the guests to smell and guess what it really is. Gross right? But all too funny and a great photo op - until you have to deal with the real thing.

Poop fascinates me in the sense that I want to know what each type of poop means - am I eating something bad, am I eating too many greens (when I get green poop, and I googled it - it's not because I drink purple Gatorade folks, it's because I just eat a lot of greens!), have I not been eating a well balanced diet, am I dehydrated? In fact, Oprah once did an entire segment on poop and at work a few weeks later, one of my senior managers was enthralled and updated us on this which he had learned from his wife.

Just recently, I read that you should know what kind of poops to be on the look out for as it applies to your baby. The different smells, textures and consistency of each poop can say a lot about your baby's diet and diarrhea in a baby is something you definitely want to avoid! They say breast fed babies have better smelling poop, the formula babies have funky tan poops that are quite stinky, but what I'm even more scared of, is that somehow my baby boy might be a hyper toddler who goes after his own poop and smears it all over the walls or eats it! Hey, it happens - I've heard true life stories of this and I'm not laughing yet - because it may very well be me.

Oh diapers - they will soon become such a staple part of my life. Today, I had to email my sister-in-law to ask her about the different diaper sizes I should stock up on because at long last, the Costco coupons this month are featuring not only the Kirkland diapers, but the baby wipes too! (Cha-ching, double bonus for us!!) In order to smooth our costs over the course of our baby's pooping lifetime, we have already begun to purchase some baby wipes (not at the coupon price though... what a bummer, I had to take a risk though and start stocking up) and I am anticipating our next trip to Costco for these discounted goods! Only problem is, I couldn't recall her advice - which size to purchase, how much to get, etc. I did recall that she advised against the Huggies brand but since I have about half a package leftover from a diaper cake I made for a co-worker (oodles of fun, so easy and festive!), I couldn't avoid having some leftover inventory of Huggies diapers. But to complicate things more, another co-worker told me she did a cost analysis that proved the Up brand from Target was actually cheaper per diaper compared to the Costco discounts (though I'd have to go back and ask her if this was at the coupon applied price or the original retail Costco price). So much to think about.

Next on my list of baby stuff to do - the baby creams, baby shampoo, baby wash, baby powder, baby lotion, baby detergent, baby safety kit, baby medications, baby house-proofing kit, baby bottles, baby pacifiers, baby bibs, baby spoons, baby food, I'm pretty pooped just thinking about it but also, oddly, very excited for all the things I can create a checklist for and cross off my list.

For today... diapers.... check! For now, I leave you with my first ever diaper cake! Next time, I will go with cuter ribbon and color combos (maybe some polka dots?!), and maybe some felt 3-D tag alongs for the ribbon instead of the mini baby items that I had to glue gun an extended paper clip for (you have to improvise when you get to the office and your cake is not finalized!). And, I wasn't a fan of the stuffed bunny but at 7 AM, not a lot of stores are open for your last minute diaper toppings, so CVS's selection was not that great.

It's diaperlicious. Diaperrific. Diaperendous!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Upside of Being Prego

It's easy to complain about the nausea, the loss of appetite, regaining of appetite, fluctuation of appetite, weird cravings, constant cravings, migraines, bloating, swelling, fatigue, muscle cramps, ligament stretching, heartburn, off limit food lists, and loss of ordinary wardrobe malfunction... but today, as I was talking to my BFF about the downside of the only just beginning third trimester, she said, "sounds like fun.... can't wait," tainted with sarcasm. I then immediately began to shower her with the upside of being pregnant, but upon doing so - realized how negative it is to only talk about the horror of being prego and not the joys of it.

There is an upside to being pregnant! The most obvious upside won't happen until after I see the baby and fall absolutely in love with him, but there are other current joys. There are pink parking spaces (of which I have not used yet) at malls, nice strangers all around abounding with suggestions and advice as well as congratulations, and everybody at work and in general are nice, understanding and always asking you how you are doing. To top it off, there is something unbelievable about the baby kicking which not only reminds you that there is something you are growing inside of you (not bowel movement related) but that the miracle of life is crazy insane and you are a part of it! And there's so much more to be joyful about too!

Joy comes with complaining about the extra pink glazed and sprinkled doughnut you ate that are empty carbs and not good for the baby but that you know will just get tacked onto the rest of the weight gain known as the baby. Joy comes with wearing your stretchy pants and a t-shirt every weekend and not really caring since nothing else fits and this looks the best on you! Joy comes with the glow in your skin and the fast growing hair and nails. Joy comes with patiently knowing the growing bump is actually going to be crying, pooping, crawling, walking, and talking to you soon - and it will be way too soon! Joy comes with the charity your husband is showing more than ever and more than before because your bump is getting in the way of you walking properly (just say it with me ... w-a-d-d-l-e) and carrying heavy Costco boxes filled with purchased goods. Joy comes with knowing you can already play with the baby by pulling up a flashlight to your still stomach in the dark and feeling him suddenly kick. Joy comes with the excitement of growing your family. Joy comes with the abounding gratitude you feel when you realize your baby's wardrobe is growing on its own only with the help of family thus far.

Joy comes with the baby, despite the freak out, oh my goodness, I can't do this, how did everyone else do it, I will mess up, moments that are more constant. Those moments may be around more - but they are endearing and build character. So joy to the upside of being prego. Joy!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ever Just Feel You Can't Do It All?

Work has gotten so busy lately with staff quitting, new wins to be staffed (made harder since we have a staff shortage) and lots of difficult conversations had by yours truly which basically means I am the deliver of bad news. On top of that, we are in the middle of our budgeting process for the year, my client service work is still not finalized, I have a backlog of reports I have to run to send to my managers upon their request, training deadlines I have to determine and communicate as well as deploy staff for, larger staffing issues to deal with for my high profile clients, and all of this must be fulfilled before I leave for maternity leave which begins after April 15th.

Personal tasks include obtaining certification from my doctor for my lactation consultant program enrollment information, sending it in, getting everything ready for taxes, doing the taxes, canceling memberships and premiums, monitoring our bank account, changing my name on all my other savings accounts, car loans, school loans, ensuring all our automatic payments are accurate, figuring out what we eat next week, going grocery shopping, working out consistently throughout the week so I can surpass our family's body, mind and soul challenge, figuring out what baby furniture we want and if two different brands with the same color title will be the same, gearing up for our birth classes, reading through all the prego manuals and books I have been given, doing the laundry, and cleaning the house. I also have to figure out our budget with the baby, which includes research and theorizing situations (insurance with my work, with Andy's school, etc.)Andy helps a lot (he takes care of the toilet if it's plugged, cooks if I'm running late, researches the baby furniture, builds furniture, helps with the laundry if he's home and studying, and is always positive!) but a lot of his responsibilities lie in studying and doing well, so if he comes home early, he is studying or gearing up for his residency applications.

To say I feel a bit overwhelmed is an understatement. If I thought wedding planning was insane, boy was I in for it. And if I think this is anything compared to once the baby shows up, I am double in for it! And more than one kid? How do people do it?!

Life gets busy! Tasks keep on piling up. Being a grown up just kinda happens before you know it! If there's one thing I'm grateful for, it's the consistency of small things that keep me grounded from the list of crap - I mean responsibilities- I have to deal with. Scripture study has never been so joyful for me as it has been lately. It is the one time during my day that I can sit down, relax and just focus on getting closer to spiritual things that matter and work on my eternal progression. Things are put into perspective and I am always grateful for everything - even the overwhelming ones! I'll admit - sometimes, I'm still signed on through my email and sametime (like an aim conversation but for work) - forgetting so, I may get a ping and have to depart from my study to address a work issue right away, but the determination to study seems to take over and the work issues are always quickly addressed. Study has been the one time throughout my day I can just step away from it all.

Sometimes blogging about this stuff feels a bit like just moaning and groaning about it - but somehow it is therapeutic and when I reflect on it, I think - that's honestly nothing compared to what other people do, so I can deal. I can deal. And even if I can't, at least my little moment away from reality to scripture study is something I can look forward to.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Funny... I Guess I'm Pregnant!

I haven't been able to sleep well lately, in fact, my entire night's worth of sleep is just one dream after another. From what I understand of dreaming, it only happens in the rapid eye movement (REM) stage which should usually begin after 4 hours of deep sleep but somehow it feels like I'm getting much less sleep. I feel like I'm watching a movie all night long, weird ones, that don't make any sense, and then I wake up and ask Andy, am I still dreaming? I am hopeful, every night, that my pattern of dreaming will cease to be, but thus far, I have been unsuccessful.

When I went to the doctor's a few weeks ago for my gestational diabetes test (which I passed - thank goodness - despite the significant amount of girl scout cookies and chocolate I have been eating everyday because it's free at work at the executive assistant's desk in front of my office!), she asked me how everything was. I told her "Just great!" then paused, and followed up with, "Well actually, is there any reason why I would be dreaming a lot? I mean... a LOT LOT!" (guess I could have chosen smarter vernacular like an adjective to describe lot - maybe extremely so, an extraordinary lot, but LOT LOT felt more emphatic). She told me this was normal with being pregnant - the baby may be moving a lot while I sleep, the hormones (it's somehow ALWAYS the stinking hormones!) and that just means I'm not getting a lot of good sleep. "Oh," I replied. Dejected, I just smiled and responded with, "Guess it's still more sleep than when the baby comes, right?" to which she just chuckled and nodded and in my mind, all I could think was, Doh! ... and how delicious an iced pink doughnut with rainbow sprinkles would be right then and there.

It feels funny to be noticeably pregnant now. Before, I was just a little larger - probably carrying a bit more weight in my stomach - whereas these days, my protruding naval and basketball of a baby boy is the reason for random strangers congratulating me, asking me if it's a boy or girl, and telling me it's the BEST thing that could EVERRRR happen to me, even if it's really hard. Everyone who's ever been a parent tells me with so much joy and twinkle in their eye about how that love you feel is so great, you won't know what hit you. I can't wait for that feeling - I already feel so much love for the lil one inside my stomach - although I cannot lie, for the first 3-4 months, I often asked Andy - do you love our son yet, because I don't! I don't love this thing in my stomach causing me nausea, fatigue, and making me hate ice cream (which I usually ADORE). I remember how everyone describes the love Heavenly Father has for us as being even GREATER than the love a parent has for their child. I have no idea what that feels like but I am so eager to find out.

It's also funny to go to the gym as a pregnant and showing lady. I suppose if I think hard about it, in all my years as a gym goer, I have only seen one pregnant lady and every time I saw her, I would look at her workout and think, wow. Apparently, I have become that lady. I didn't think it was a big deal, I still don't - but when I show up at the gym, I'm in a sweatshirt and upon removing my sweatshirt, eyes undoubtedly turn to my son. He's pretty popular these days - although they're probably thinking his mom is nutso! I don't mind it so much - the doctor said I could continue working out if I had done so before and I don't do anything insane - I just elliptical for about 30 minutes each visit!

The funniest - and coincidentally saddest part about being pregnant these days - is the colder California weather that is making it harder for me to sport my pregnant dresses to work. I do have two pairs of pregnant tights but they're not very comfortable as they seem to fall easily and require a lot of adjusting throughout the day. But like my co-worker who hadn't seen me in months said yesterday upon seeing me, it's real! It's all happening - I'm not the lil kid walking around with a circular pillow pretending to be pregnant anymore - I actually am! And no matter that funny pregnant thing happens to me - good or bad.... I should try to be of better cheer.

I do try to be of good cheer, maintain a positive attitude and look to the silver lining of things when I catch myself. At least the awful ligament pulling growing pains that kept me up hours upon each night (and Andy for maybe five or ten every time I woke him up telling him something weird was going on and that maybe we needed to go to the hospital!) are now gone. At least the few muscle cramps I got are gone (I think I've got a trick, instead of stretching your legs with a pointed foot, if you flex it - the calve is stretched and less likely to cramp), and at least my swelling is not yet in the face (or so I think...). Too bad the migraines have returned every morning, but at least they seem to improve by noon everyday.

Cheerio! Here's to being pregnant! Look at how big I am getting!!