Saturday, April 28, 2012

Off Again... for his one year

We're off to the capital of the nation, where we'll also visit the Capitol (confusing right?) and celebrate Jordan's first birthday with Andy's immediate family!  As cliche as every first time mother says at the one year mark, I cannot believe it's been a year.  Though it definitely does NOT seem like yesterday when we were off to the hospital when I miraculously made it to 7 cm dilated with no pain (thank you genes), from the photos over the course of a year, it doesn't seem like Andy and I have aged much.  That's the beauty of right now.  Though Jordan has transformed from alien wrinkly and puffy baby to cute walking meddling monster, we have stayed our effervescent young selves (though sleep we are definitely lacking despite his 11-12 hour sleeping schedule, the weekends will get you).  I'm hoping we won't start to see significant changes until another ten years.. as for Jordan, he will only continue to transform into a toddler!  *sniff sniff  How has my little barely can hold his head bopping up and down, then rolling over, crawling, standing, and now walking (and quite well!) baby changed and grown so fast?!

Happy early birthday Jordan!  For those of you who actually follow the blog and are wondering, he picked the ten-key and then a dollar bill for his Chinese zhua zhou.  So he will either be an accountant, or as I'd prefer - a banker or just money savvy.  Thata boy!

I forgot to take his 11 month photo, life was just too much fun and I was too lazy.  Here's his 12 month photo, 3 days early.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Sis!

I only have one sister (for now) and it's her big 3-0 today!  Happy Birthday Tammy!  Can you believe you're SO OLD and WISE BEYOND YOUR YEARS?  HAHAHA.  Just kidding, I'm right behind you girl.

In all seriousness, I'm so glad marrying Andy meant the bonus of becoming Tammy's sister (though I'm not her one and only, she is my one and only).  Tammy is the most creative, fun, loving, honest, and great example big sis I could ever have wished for.  She's an awesome listener (I'm a talker guys...) and she easily has become the top of my people to call during the week.  I'm so grateful for her and will be in withdrawal when she leaves for Angola for three years *gulp.  Upon writing this post, I realized I do not have enough photos of Tammy.  Tammy - sorry your eyes are slightly on their way to being closed (I can swap it out later!).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Do You Know?

How much do you spend on gas each month?



Dining out?


Most people know how much they spend on rent (fixed), utilities, cell phones, insurance, loan repayments, tithing, and cable/internet.... but past that, much is not meticulously analyzed.  Unless you're me that is.  Or probably my accountant buddies.  

Gas - $400
Groceries - $400
Entertainment - < $10 (our entertainment is mostly RedBox with exceptions of when people come to visit us or sporting events)
Dining Out - $150
Shopping - $200

And here's the scary part, we're pretty frugal.  Last night, I had an epiphany while I was sitting at the Dodger Game admiring this view.

Los Angeles is an expensive city to live in. As much as local residents boast of all its amazing benefits, the weather, the things to do, and the people to see... it all adds up.  Though I'm deeply saddened by the approaching prospect of moving to Spokane, into the bitter cold where much of my time will be spent in doors, it's not much of a difference from my current lifestyle as as working mom.  Moreover, with my parents living in the suburbs of Los Angeles, every trip back to visit will now include everything fun about LA (which our current budget does not allow nor do my frugal ways).  This means trips to Disneyland, Universal (Harry Potter world will be coming soon!), the westside, hoity toity trips to dine at fancy places read about in magazines and seen on reality television via the cable we will have in Spokane!, lots of shopping at all the major nearby outlets and large outdoor and high-end malls, and a lot of Chinese food crammed into every other meal.  That means LA will be much more fun once we're only coming to visit on vacation versus living here and seeing the tab add up.

I am pretty dang psyched about that.  Having been around the San Gabriel Valley my whole life, gone to college just forty minutes east of LA and having worked in downtown and everywhere from the Valley to the Westside to the South Bay to the Inland Empire, I simply hope I don't forget the freeways and how they all intermingle as we make our way around when we come back to visit in the future.  Oh how fun it will be!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A 90's Type of Gal

As I near the big dirty thirty, I found this through a friend's facebook link and just had to share my favorite 90's items. To commemorate my soon to be 3-0, here are just 30.  The full list, which can be found here, has 241!
  1. Glitter gel- roll on.  And of course, also glitter eyeliner, glitter hair spray, glitter nail polish... just you wait, glitter tattoos just came back, make-up is next (good thing I hoarded all my old Tony and Tina glitter)
  2. Butterfly clipsHigh school staple in my hair. 

  3.  Umm, 90's?  Please, I still go here. 
  4.  Slap braclets - always in.
  5.  Scrunchies - yes yes, the easiest way to put a bun on your head!  I have been looking for these lately!
  6.  Had way too many of these, and mood ones, triple BFFs, and also bracelets and rings. 
  7. My mom would never let me get any of these, I was so jealous of all the white girls who had 'em.  "They'll destroy your feet!" she told me.  And no, I still have never gotten any. 
  8. Gel pens - used these in much of my high school career for scrapbooking and yearbook signing and heck, everything else in between!  I might have been politely asked by a teacher to use blue or black pen. 
  9.  After smelling them for a while, you would get a headache, but it was worth it!
  10. Lisa Frank - seriously, just look at the vibrant colors!  Funny story, in fifth grade I got Lisa Frank Valentine cards, then realized they were TOO lovy dovy and couldn't figure out who to give which cards (in case they thought I liked them!) so I destroyed 'em all and used my dad's copy machine to make Aladdin copyright infringed paper Valentine's.  Apparently, I made quite the impression... years later, classmates would still be commenting on my cheap ghetto cards.
  11. Had about two or three purple ones, one in high school and then one to bring with me to college.  I think they all eventually popped, but they were hip man.   
  12. Yes, I had this phone. 
  13.  My cousins started me on this. 
  14.  and this... I always loved the name Wakefield!
  15.  these were so dumb...
  16.  but these were no better, just felt more mature than Goosebumps
  17. Disney Adventures - the magazine, the Us Weekly for kids.  It was so fun to read! See photo here. 
  18.  Friday nights... going out?  Heck no, let's stay home and watch TGIF!
  19.  I didn't have cable growing up but my cousins did and I loved Doug!  
  20.  Dawson's Creek - the show came out my freshman year and I recorded it on VCR (because I wasn't allowed to watch TV from Mon-Friday) and for some strange reason, I really liked the show! 
  21.  Who doesn't watch Friends?
  22. It was great until they got to college... and I always wondered why his brother got so dumb throughout the show. 
  23.  I get to watch these again because my nieces have it!  So much fun! Love Webby. 
  24. Sailor Moon (the photo won't work, see it here).  Never actually watched the show, just loved everything about it and we carried around little cards of the characters.  
  25. I miss my boom box. but I guess the ipod is lighter. 
  26.  Junior year of high school... watched this with my first boyfriend and my baby brother, who my mom made me bring along wherever I went. I don't think we even held hands during the movie, good idea mom. 
  27.  So fun to find these in your lunch bags, too bad mom didn't think they were good and stopped letting us get 'em after a while. 
  28.  Why these were funny?  I'm not sure, but they still are. 
  29. Doc Martens, except I OWN those - same exact pair.  Andy made fun of me for 'em, said they were bulky.  
  30. Why did everyone wear these?  They are so ugly!  They are like the TOMS of the 90's, evidence that one day, we'll look back and say ugh, Chinaman shoes!...yes, even though they are horrifically comfortable.  I accidentally wore a pair of these to the ESPYs in 2001 because I forgot to bring shoes to change into after we raced out of Claremont towards downtown LA to sit as seat fillers. 


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Confessions of Hoarder

Andy has begun packing.  He's done a pretty good job so far.  Unfortunately, his hoarder wife stands in much of his way.

Here are some things I have said, and some thoughts I have had.

1. But that's from my childhood!  
2. I might use it again!
3. Do you know how much that cost?
4. Who said I don't use that?
5. You never know when it might come in handy...
6. It doesn't take up that much space!
7. I can always alter it.
8. What if my kids want it later?
9. You're throwing that away?!
10. I'm going to tell my mom you threw that away!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's True...

At 11 months, a week shy of one year old, my son's pee stream just hit me in the face.  It's true, everyone told me it would happen, that the pee stream would turn from a half broken water fountain into a geyser.  When precisely, they did not tell me.  Yes, they were indeed right.  Here's me fulfilling my responsibility as a fellow parent with a warning to all those who have yet to experience the joy of pee in their face.  Above the eye to be precise.  Boy, am I glad my mouth was not agape.

Did I do that?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Remember Show and Tell?

I love show and tell.  I would always think very carefully about what to bring.  What could I show off to the rest of the class?  What would I see and like and then ask my parents for?

The good news is... life hasn't changed much.  Show and tell still exists only it has magnified with the use of social media.  So much so that we find ourselves comparing and feeling as if we've fallen short on a regular basis.  April Perry, one of the co-founders of Power of Moms, an organization I absolutely adore and attended a retreat with back in December, wrote an article about this precise phenomenon, and it has since gone viral.  There are over 800 comments, 600,000 hits on the website, and over 1 million views thus far!  So what's everyone talking about?

Feeling inferior.  Yup, it's pretty common.  We humans like to compare and contrast.  Keeping up with the Jones.  Or the Kardashians for that matter.  We see snippets of a perfect life, blog posts about vacations or other fun places, photos of people jumping in the air, no worries, no financial struggles, no arguments, no difficult children... only happiness, goofiness, smiles, laughter, amazing dinners, outings, or extremely creative projects that blow your mind away without any real sense of how much money or time it all takes.  I know the last part very well as I try to be creative due to my propensity to be cheap, only to always realize the money spent is actually well worth it for how long crafting actually takes (if you don't actually enjoy it that much).

I was further reminded of not comparing or "compare snare" as the Power of Moms likes to call it, with a Conference talk entitled The Laborers in the Vineyard by one of my favorite apostles, Elder Holland.  In his talk, he says,

I wish to speak of the Savior’s parable in which a householder “went out early in the morning to hire labourers.” After employing the first group at 6:00 in the morning, he returned at 9:00 a.m., at 12:00 noon, and at 3:00 in the afternoon, hiring more workers as the urgency of the harvest increased. The scripture says he came back a final time, “about the eleventh hour” (approximately 5:00 p.m.), and hired a concluding number. Then just an hour later, all the workers gathered to receive their day’s wage. Surprisingly, all received the same wage in spite of the different hours of labor. Immediately, those hired first were angry, saying, “These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.”1 When reading this parable, perhaps you, as well as those workers, have felt there was an injustice being done here. Let me speak briefly to that concern.

First of all it is important to note that no one has been treated unfairly here. The first workers agreed to the full wage of the day, and they received it. Furthermore, they were, I can only imagine, very grateful to get the work. In the time of the Savior, an average man and his family could not do much more than live on what they made that day. If you didn’t work or farm or fish or sell, you likely didn’t eat. With more prospective workers than jobs, these first men chosen were the most fortunate in the entire labor pool that morning.
He says a lot of other great stuff - if you want to read his talk, it's here but here's my favorite part a little further along:

As the householder in the parable tells them (and I paraphrase only slightly): “My friends, I am not being unfair to you. You agreed on the wage for the day, a good wage. You were very happy to get the work, and I am very happy with the way you served. You are paid in full. Take your pay and enjoy the blessing. As for the others, surely I am free to do what I like with my own money.” Then this piercing question to anyone then or now who needs to hear it: “Why should you be jealous because I choose to be kind?
Brothers and sisters, there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those.

Conference is always fun because you feel like the talks are especially targeted for you.  I felt that way with this talk, wondering how he knew I was comparing myself or even feeling envious of other people's good fortunes, wondering when my own blessings would arrive despite already having blessings of my own (don't we all do that? well, maybe just me).

So we really should stop comparing.  Stop thinking what we see or what we hear being the whole story.  Start realizing that everyone has good and bad days.  That perfect body is sometimes photoshopped, perfect skin is sometimes airbrushed, photos are sometimes cropped without all the mess behind the image.  As someone who has definitely felt inferior from time to time, hoping to do more and coming short often, I highly recommend listening to this podcast!  It touches on this concept of grown ups always sort of showing and telling through facebook, Pinterest, Instagram - you name it!  But then it talks about how we can be uplifting and take the good from these sources instead of belittling ourselves and unrealistically desiring more.  Power of Moms Podcast

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why Polygamy Doesn't Bother Me

We just finished a really fun vacation (stay-cation for us but friends visiting from all over) and it's a sad moment to dive back into reality.  Since last Wednesday, we've been enjoying the company of our friends from Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Santa Clara, California; and Gilbert, Arizona, respectively.  With only three bedrooms, 1267 square feet, two bathrooms, four families and three babies under the age of one, we had two air mattresses in use, two pack 'n' plays and a crib for the babies, new hauntingly close and intimate levels of bathroom habit insight, fun laughter, crazy inside jokes, some memories relived and many more lasting memories created.  And as for what we did... we ate, we laughed, we ate some more, and we walked like we were in Hong Kong.

It's been lonely in our small apartment without everyone around.  Even with the remnants of some leftover baby toy and clothes from our friends, it's not the same.  I miss everyone crammed into our little apartment, all hanging out in the Bluths' living room turned bedroom for the night.  I miss the bathroom always being occupied and getting ready with three other girls like we were in college.  I miss doing my nails with the other girls while the babies slept and the men waited on us.  I miss listening to everyone's couple stories and teaming up with your own gender in discussions about life and futures.  I miss the bathroom always being occupied and knowing a little too much about each person's bowel movements.  I miss the babies eating at the same time, each one using one of Jordan's three types of high chairs.  I miss going out and eating like Kings and Queens.  I miss how tired we got and how anxious we were the next day to continue venturing about LA (on our list of places visited: Olive 41, Disneyland, Super King, Fresh n Easy, Galco's Soda Pop Stop, Nordstrom Rack, Babies R Us, Costco, Oinkster, Fat Sal's, Milk, Sin Ba La, Ding Tai Fong, Cha-Cha Chicken, Venice Canals,

And so I got to thinking about polygamy.  I've never had an issue with polygamy like some people who investigate the Mormon Church.  I inquired about it during my investigation, but basically... the Asian people were doing this frequently in more recent times (think 1920's and probably twenty years thereafter), with a much harsher and abusive tone (watch Joy Luck Club, you'll know what I mean).  There was always a da ta ta or big wife, followed by er ta ta or second wife, and third wife, and so on and so forth.  The big wife always had all the power, and I'm sure a lot of the wives were forced into their positions by not having the means to survive otherwise.

Those who practiced polygamy within the Mormon Church back in the late 1800's did it for very different reasons, through inspiration by God to grow the Church, and not everyone was encouraged to do so!  There's a common misconception that basically every Mormon person practiced polygamy, like we all lived on some big farm or something.  In reality, it was a loving communal family who grew together, wives helping out one another, and many relationships were never even consummated.  True, there are many break off Mormon religions who have abused the concept and these are portrayed on crime shows often with young helpless girls forced into a marriage with some old dude... but that is not my impression or understanding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' history with polygamy.  In fact, I once read an article from the 1970's in LIFE magazine, a first person recap of a girl who was looking back at her family's polygamist origins within the Mormon Church, commenting on how the early polygamy within the Church encouraged women's rights (did you know many Mormon women fought for that?!) and gave a lot of women the opportunity to go out and acquire and education or obtain a job in their desired field.  How is that so?  Well, with polygamy, they had other wives to help them out.  They weren't the only mothers are home.  You don't say! Way to go homegirls.

Anyway... polygamy in this sense was not a forced concept.  There were no young girls forced to marry old men.  Forced to give up their futures to become a wife.  Forced to wear long braids with Little House on the Praire type dresses.  Wrong religion.

It doesn't bother me.  It shouldn't bother you either.  And after a fun filled weekend with all those families... maybe we should have a new communal type family arrangement and all live in a huge house together, helping one another, always there to hang out.  Haha.  Just a thought.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Inverse Relationship

When you take the CPA, the test prep trainers tell you "There is an inverse relationship between you passing the test and having fun.  The less fun you have during this time, the more likely you are to pass the test."  Boy, they weren't kidding.  I tried to kid myself.  In denial, I played during the day, tried to cram everyday after work and take breaks during my study sessions.  Once that failed, I'd study all day, tell my friends I couldn't go out, and instead find myself watching Laguna Beach marathons on MTV (yes, I'm that old, season 1 to be even more honest).

The quicker I learned of the inverse relationship and acknowledged it.. the faster I passed the dang test.

Now, I find myself in a similar predicament with an inverse relationship between how much fun we're having and the time I spend blogging.

While I enjoy blogging and find it horrifically therapeutic and time consuming in a good way, the more we find ourselves busy doing, the less I find myself sitting down to blog.  And because I tend to blog about things I'm thinking rather than things we're doing, I find there is less time to think about life when I'm busy living it.  Oh well.  I guess if there's an inverse relationship between the amount of time I spend blogging and the amount of fun things I'm doing... you can consider my time as loads of fun.



Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter: The Holiday i Never Knew About

I've only been Mormon for a few years and each year... Easter continues to fascinate me.

The first year, I noticed nobody wore big fancy and brightly colored Easter hats or outfits to Church (still single then, this changes with kids).  Instead, there was a lot of beautiful music to celebrate Christ's resurrection and that He is risen, He suffered for us, and amazing testimonies of His love for us.

My second Easter was also Conference weekend, so much of my weekend was spent watching Conference, along with some Easter goody baskets I excitedly put together for Andy's cousins who were visiting us that weekend and one of my cousins.  I think we also watched The Three Ninjas that weekend.  Talk about throwback.

My third Easter was spent without any Easter baskets or eggs except for the growing egg inside my belly.  We went to Church but maybe since I was without child, I didn't notice any of the cute Easter outfits any of the kids wore.  I was too self absorbed in my own world, thinking of the cake I would make for a potluck dinner with close friends we were hosting that evening.  Our water was shut off right before friends were about to come over for dinner but our own Easter miracle was that our friends just got a free table that fit all of us for dinner at their place instead.

My fourth Easter was a whirlwind of mini-chocolate eggs, plastic eggs, Easter baskets, and a picture perfect Easter dinner complete with a rainbowed colored tablespread, matching dinnerware, a delicious assortment of cookies (shaped like bunnies and eggs!), cake (lopsided again but still delicious), Cobb salad (my favorite!), ham (marinated in something sugary but my was it delicious), and potatoes and lots of family as we spent it with Andy's sister's family.  I'm still on a sugar high and Andy and I are giddy over the assortment of candy we got from Jordan's baskets (he's too young for candy right?)  Jordan is quite pleased with the music that comes from banging two eggs together and all the baby snacks he got in his baskets but not aware of why we've dressed him in bright orange Gingham to match his cousins.

I never knew much about Easter.  To the rest of the world who do not know Jesus, it's a day of dyed eggs, Cadbury eggs, cute spring dresses, argyle sweaters in pastel colors, and don't forget the hats, champagne brunch, and sales.  Since I've gained a testimony of Jesus, it's become a special day of remembrance, more than a normal Sunday despite renewing promises and commitments made each Sunday.  And now that I have kids and have been exposed to family traditions, it's become a hybrid of uplifting reminders of the Atonement, of my Savior and His great sacrifice for me, as well as the overload of sugar, pastels, flowers, polka dots, argyle, and gingham.  The key is to balance the two, but it's going to be so much fun to be near family who also celebrate Easter in two years.  The best part is, I get a year to perfect my now traditional carrot cake, and a year to accumulate some ideas for baskets and activities for my kids.

I stole these photos from Tammy's post about Easter.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Retail Therapy for the Whole Family

We recently forgot we got a chunk of money from disability when I was on maternity leave.  You know when you find money in your pants while washing them?  Way better.

Today, Andy asked me....

"So with the extra money we just realized we had... and the sale of our car.... does this mean we might have some extra spending money?"

"Why, what do you want with it?" I asked, already knowing he was in need of some more golf stuff.

"Well, there's this golf bag..."

I'm not sure what he said after but once I tuned back in, I suggested...

"What about we make it our anniversary presents?"

"Okay... but when can I get it?  Do I have to wait?" he asked.

"Why?  Do you need it NOW?" I inquired.

"Well, this bag's on sale, so..." his voice trailed off.

"Okay, sure, get it soon and then I dunno, maybe it can be a graduation present?" I was on my way out the door, so I really didn't have much to direct him with and figured he was a big boy.  He knew what to do.  The conversation was just based on our agreement to discuss any big purchases together before proceeding.

Two hours later, I came home after some retail therapy with Jordan and called Andy to come help me in the garage.  Apparently, the few days before Easter are the time to get Easter outfits.  I spent $20 at Children's Place (got Jordan a pink shirt, no the Gingham one I wanted was all gone, for $8, and three little boy ties for $3 each!), $11 at Target for baby snacks, and $20 at Nordstrom for Jordan's first shoes ever.

"I spent so much money today!" I exclaimed.

"What?  How much?" Andy asked.  "On yourself?"

I didn't respond entirely to all his questions.  "No, mostly Jordan (I had some of the Kix I got him on the car ride home)" I responded.

"Oh, that's good." he said.

We got upstairs and into the house.

Upon entering the apartment, I saw sitting in the living room ... a brand new bright blue golf bag!

Guess Andy was doing his own retail therapy while Jordan and I were out and about.  Turns out I'm the only one who didn't get anything new.  Who would have thought?!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

How Quickly Can I Learn Morse Code?

Andy wants to download this new amazing app on gmail called Gmail Tap which uses two buttons to morse code e-mail.  Take that Suri.  If only I could learn morse code in a day.  My favorite part is when he talks about tapping it in the morning and at night.  And the ultimate multitasking ability - sending two emails at once!  I can't wait to get to that level of tapping ability.