Friday, September 28, 2012

A Little Peculiar...

Jordan has begun to establish some favorite things.  Among them....
  • his little chair
  • Sesame Street
  • a stuffed doggie with a shirt and cape (if you take the shirt and cape off, he gets upset and demands for you to put it back on communicated through grunts and pointing)
  • his golf clubs
  • glasses - especially fond of sunglasses, any type, as well as the lens-less frames we have
Yesterday, Jordan disappeared for a few minutes.  He came back with doggie, a golf club, and a pair of sunglasses.  He sat down on his little chair to watch Sesame Street with all three.  What a little peculiar boy I have.  At some point, he grew tired of the chair and moved to the carpet much closer to the tv.  And then, at some other later point, he decided to put the sunglasses on him with his coveted items next to him.

So funny.   

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Facebook Fast

Recently, I've taken a break from Facebook.  I have still gone on in the last two weeks, but the duration of my stays have been limited to checking messages, notifications, and then signing off which is always less than 5 minutes.

To say I had a little problem with Facebook stalking is a gross understatement.

Deleting the account is not an option as my personal account is linked to my business account, which is used to post articles we share or other worthy news.  It's also pretty amazing the people you can find who you are linked to.

My problem with Facbeook is having joined in 2004, I have quite a bit of people whom I've only met once, interacted with a few times, or just know from school, work, camp, etc.  I have invested the time to clean up the friend groups, but it can really be a huge time suck, especially once you start to see photos, children, or just how much someone has changed!  Clicking on photos, scrolling through walls, wasting time like a sick addiction.

Apparently, I'm not alone.  I found numerous articles about F.A.D. (facebook addiction) but merely scrolled through them.  This one sums it up best, that women are the easiest victims due to our natural social tendencies.
The article lists these six considerations that one must answer with very rarely, rarely, sometimes, often, or very often.

  • You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or plan to use Facebook. 
  • You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more. 
  • You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems. 
  • You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.
  • You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.
  • You use Facebook so much that it has a negative impact on your job/studies.
Okay, so maybe I am exaggerating my own problem as only 4 and 6 are more likely.  Whatever the case, better to nip it in the butt now than later!  

Plus, this isn't the first time I've tried to give up Facebook, this is simply the first time I really feel like I'm making progress.  Part of it is my time away from Facebook is spent on more important things like spending time with Jordan, ensuring my work is error free and that I'm one step ahead, and homemaking (this one's the hardest!).

I love my Facebook fast.  It also helps that my closest friends are social media rejects.  Therefore, knowing what's happening in their life involves picking up the phone and having an actual conversation.

I hope I don't get hungry for some Facebook soon because this is nice.  I feel free... empowered... invigorated... in control!  I guess that's what breaking free of an addiction can do to you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It Started With CDs

I make a sacrifice of sanity twice a week during my weekly phone calls - one with the bossman and one with the team.  The bossman calls are a little more involved cuz it's just me on the phone.  Here's what went down today. 

First, he wanted to play with the CDs tucked away under the television.  Sure.. if it'll keep you occupied for an hour (here's hoping), why not?!  
He must have remembered being a baby and going through them.  It lasted an entire 15 minutes, at most.  And then he was bored after removing the We Are Scientists cover and spinning the pink CD around a few times while in the case.  

Next, he discovered the empty laundry basket (washed and folded and put away two loads and even ironed today while Jordan was napping) and since there was nothing in it to remove, he decided to take it for a spin around the house.  He pushed it along around the loop through our hallway, the living room, the kitchen, and back to the hallway.  It got stuck when he hit this big bag of towels and pool clothes that has been sitting in our hallway since we last decided to go to a splash pad and subsequently changed our minds.  

He decided he wanted to sit with mom at the table during her call.  So I  pulled out one of the chairs, he climbed up and I gave him a pineapple cake to distract him.  

I forgot how crumbly they get.  
 He saw a banana in the fruit basket, and went for it.
 I helped him peel it after noticing two holes in the bottom of the banana peel.
 Happily eating his banana... but wait, oh, there are oranges too?
 So I peeled some oranges... and then made sure his water was easily accessible.
 He decided it was time to be artsy fartsy.  He proceeded to smash the remaining crumbs and oranges onto the table.
 Some of it landed on his chair, and the carpet - of course.

After that, the call ended, and Mommy decided a bath was necessary even though we like to do baths once every 2 (sometimes 3) days in the Phillips household.

Post bath, Jordan saw the funny lense free glasses we got from Uncle Ray when we were in LA.

 He decided to put 'em on.
 And Mommy decided it was too good to pass up a photo opp for.
To think, we have another call to go through tomorrow morning starting at 8 AM!  Wish us luck! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Free Gymnastics Fun

I've discovered the key to a long mid-afternoon nap.  Tire your kid out with something fun and entertaining in the morning!  Preferably something that involves a lot of running, climbing, and activity.
Enter: free gymnastics fun today!  We finally made our way to the local gymnastics studios that has open gym from Monday through Friday from noon to one and is free for kids under 18 months (and first timers and referrals, we plan on going back soon!).  Granted that isn't the best time (it's pretty much Jordan's nap time), to say he had fun is an understatement.

He enjoyed every minute of play time and upon leaving, kept signing "please" and walking toward the gate when he wasn't in my arms.  He found the other gym through the doors on the other side of the lobby and thought he had struck gold as he started walking towards the different mats and gymnastics equipment but sadly, Mommy had to pull him away to go home.  I'd say it went quite well considering he wanted so badly to stay.  I'm glad he only throws a tantrum when he wakes up grouchy and sweaty.  As he said good-bye to the gym, he kindly waved bye to the gym and that was that.  The fatigue probably helped the matter as well.

 Can you tell, he's exhausted but still wants to run around and make his way down the tumbler!

He is still very cautious though and wouldn't go into the foam pit or the bounce house.  He would reach his arms up every time he was going up or down a mat so I could hold his hand as he did so.  We would say "up" and "down" every time and he tried his best to mimic me every time we actually went up and down.  

When we got home, he was so excited from all the fun we just had, he babbled to himself for almost 20 minutes before falling asleep for a little over 3 hours.  Golden ticket! 
Upon waking up, however, he was not pleased.  The head of wet sweaty hair did not help.  You can see he was very displeased.  He wavered back and forth between wanting to sit in my lap, wanting to crawl onto the twisty chair, and standing up to dance when music was played.  The only consistent thing was his bad attitude and whiny self.

But Mommy is super psyched for the fun to be had.  I got an interrupted 3 hours of work and even began dinner (finished cooking one dish) before he woke up.  And, to top it off, I did a quick 15 minute Nike Fit Club cardio routine and finished two loads of laundry.  Andy got off of work at 2 PM and went for a round of golf and got home around 5 PM since the course was quite empty.  A successful and great Monday for all!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Countdown: 11 More Days Till Vacay!

Prior to getting married, I saved a lot of money.  Partly, it was because I was single and it's just easier when you don't live like a rockstar (or know rockstars who will foot the bill for you), but also because I never took expensive vacations.  The longest vacation I ever took was for two weeks to be a camp counselor at the Ronald McDonald Camp for Good Times.  I know, I'm a huge dweeb.  I followed that camping experience (we lived in cabins but there was a lot of dirt everywhere, thank goodness it was too cold so we didn't have to do our actual campout night inn the woods - *sigh of relief, yes I'm also a wimp) with a trip to Vegas for three days where I stayed at the Venetian (who stays anywhere else though, really?!).

Since being married, I have gone on more vacations that I can count.  I love that marriage means combining two family styles, some of which means new traditions for me!  My family doesn't vacation as much as Andy's family, their idea of a vacation is a bus tour outside of California or in Canada or of course, the ever popular, Las Vegas.  The farthest we ever went was Taiwan and Hong Kong, but those seem customary with my Chinese descent.  As a result, I have been to all the big cities in the U.S. (both for family vacations and from business training and trips), but Andy has been to more countries than me.  With the addition of a grandkid, my dad has been convinced to take a future trip to Hawaii with the family, so that is exciting, and they'll definitely be making it out to Salt Lake when we're there next year.  Meanwhile, we are counting down 11 days until our next vacation!

Andy's parents are coming into town next Thursday night and then we will have a week off (technically, my job is never off ... I'll just work while I'm there and try to work a bit more this week to offset the hours reduced next week) to venture off into Portland, Oregon (hello Nike Company store!) and then Vancouver!  The last time I went to Vancouver was with a bus tour (how else do you think we would do it?!) with my family which was one of the best trips we had made in a long time.  We all remember it vividly and I still have one of the blouses I bought from that trip (I think... small chance I may have given it away before we moved.. if so, I'll be really bummed... hoarder!)  But I'm excited to make new memories, and even take some photos with our fancy camera.

Jordan's also excited!  He's been practicing a lot of new words and can now say: mom, dad, yes, yay, no (barely says this one, he prefers to shake his head), all done, golf, moo, woof-woof, i love you (this one is faint but he's trying).  It's so exciting, I can't believe how much they learn right now.  I went over nose and head in Chinese while in the bath with him on Saturday night and he was able to recognize it the next day.  Smart kid (takes after his pops).  Now we'll just have to work on Ogo and Grandma so he's ready in 11 days!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bad Habits Are Hard to Break

I hate that I slouch.  I hate that I can't feel that I'm slouching.  I hate that I may one day have a permanent hump from all my slouching.

I have tried endlessly and without any success, to overcome my disgusting slouching habit, but after years of trying to blend in with my short friends (sorry guys, but it's true), my body has adapted to the hunchback that it is today.  It is a very difficult task for me to not slouch, to stand up straight, and to keep my shoulders back.  And to make matters worse, I don't truly grasp how much I do slouch because photos have angles that don't focus on posture (or I stand up straight for the few seconds the photos are snapped), and without my mom constantly nagging me now, I'm unaware of how bad it is until a reflection catches my eye.  Now, I'm not one to constantly check myself out in the reflection, but there are definitely times when it will catch your attention.  When you feel the presence of a sloucher nearby only to realize it's you.  Or you catch a reflection and think, is that what I really look like or is the glass bent?!  Videos, however, do capture the slouch (and mannerisms and voice which both creep me out), and unfortunately, I have a problem.

It's not that I haven't tried.  It's just that my body comfortably slouches.  And when I consciously stand or sit upright, my back KILLS.  The muscles are just not developed enough.  My body is too weak to stand up straight.  Oh, and I have a slight bit of scoliosis that never got caught during those elementary school screenings.  I think it's too late for a back brace, but boy - do I wish I had one to fix it back then.

My mom used to always say, "Don't you complain you're too flat chested?  So stand up straighter to look bigger!"  Then, she'd always, without hesitation, follow it up with, "Look at Jennifer, she may be short and big busted, but she always stands up straight, all the time.  Hao Tin!" (so stiff).  Maybe that's my problem.  If I had been shorter, I would have tried to be taller and stood up straighter.   Oh the problems I have.

I'd like to overcome my slouch habit.  I guess blogging about it helps me make a commitment to be better and more aware of my shoulders and holding them back.

So here's what I've decided to do... so it may just happen by 2015.  Yes, it will take years to build up those muscles and overcome the slight scoliosis.

1) Stand against a wall while watching TV for 5 minutes a day
2) Set alarms on my phone that say "Don't Slouch!" three times a day - one in the AM, one in the PM, and one at night before I go to sleep.
3) Work back muscles when I do arms or abs.
4) Pray and get some help from above.

I think 1-3 are great, but am pretty sure 4 will make the difference and help me change.  Here's hoping!

Double yuck.
If this photo was taken from the side.. you would clearly see me slouching.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Working on the 10,000 Hour Rule

If you've ever read Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers, you'd recognize the 10,000 hour rule.  If you haven't, I highly recommend it.  In it, he talks about a basic theory claiming the key to success in any field is practice for at least 10,000 hours.

Well, in case you haven't noticed by now, we've been working on the 10,000 hour rule as it pertains to golf for Jordan.
May 2012
 June 2012
 August 2012
 These next four are Jordan's professional 15th month photos that our friend Heather (her hubs is also in the same program as Andy) took for us!
 September 2012

And these are just a few of our golf photos.

Hope Gladwell is right!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dare I Say... Mom Dating?!

Jordan and I went to the park yesterday morning to meet up with another mom and child we had met at swim class a few months ago.  She wasn't there and I later found out her baby had fallen asleep 15 minutes prior to our meeting time, but Jordan and I still had a great time at the park being social with strangers!

Despite being very abnormally paranoid, I really like talking to strangers.  Or maybe I just like talking ... ?  I dunno.

A few observations I made at the park.  First, all the school aged kids are back in school now, so the park was just moms with children ages 2 and under.  I didn't have to worry about Jordan getting trampled by any of the big kids (he loves following them around) and I even let him run amuck (but had my eye on him the entire's amazing how much you can actually see when larger kids aren't obstructing the view).  Second, the splash pad gets turned off after Labor Day, so no more cold enticing but alarming water or me going with Jordan to play with the icy cold water.  He was able to play with the water guns (no water coming out) and run around with another child his age.  They even seemed to be conversing at a certain point and pointing at the different splash pad stuff with peculiar interest.

I met a bunch of other moms who invited me to a workout group that meet in the grassy area by the library-- they go for a stroll together and then do yoga on the grass while the kids run around.  And, to top it off, I even got the number and e-mail of one of the moms!  I'm not sure if there's a wait time before you can call another mom, but I got a text back within an hour of leaving the park!  Like a schoolgirl about to go on her first date, I was giddy with excitement.  I like talking to all moms but I just really "clicked" with this mom.  The chemistry was there and I wanted to hang out with her again.  We made plans via text to go to a gymnastics studio with her youngest (age 2) and my only, and I also got an invite to go to an art studio with her (but I can't go then because it's during my weekly call).  For a brief nanosecond, I thought - am I too eager?... does she feel sorry for me or does she really want to be my friend?  Silly thoughts, but it's like I'm dating again, only moms this time.

What will I wear?  Will I say something stupid (like when I looked at her kid and asked, "what's her name?" and she responded, "his name is..." oops!) yet again?  When should I text her again?  Will our kids get along?  Will Jordan play nice?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Did You Know?!

In my last post, I talked about all the handy dandy traveling info when you're with child... but I forgot to mention what I also learned this last weekend...

The rule about two carry-ons excludes a .... wait for it...


Did you know that?  I didn't!  As long as it's not obnoxiously large or could be mistaken for a third carry on.  That's wonderful news!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

5 Things to Know When Flying With a Child

I've always sort of judged slow travelers, maybe not harsh you are going to heck judgment, but more a scoffing, oh my goodness, can't they create a line just for you?  I guess someone else was thinking the same thought as there are standing "family" and "first time traveler" lines, however, most people don't take the time to read the signs and catapult themselves into the open lines which are just normal lines until a family or a first time traveler enters, and then oddly wonder why this line is taking so long.

Enter Jordan and myself last week.

Now, keep in mind I find myself quite capable when flying alone with Jordan.  I have considered, ahead of time, the details of exactly what I need to do and in what order and on top of that, I have a lingering prideful confidence from all my days of business travel.  I know precisely the order I will go about things.  Upon handing the TSA official our boarding passes, my California (woo woo) license and Jordan's passport (we were using his immunization card up until recently, it works just as well, so does a birth certificate, but somehow I feel more honest using a passport that has his photo because otherwise, you could use an immunization card not for your 3 year old baby and get by... just saying), I am already thinking of the next step.  I am scoping out the lines, knowing they will shuttle me into the "family" line but eyeing the individuals surrounding me, speaking loudly to my baby about the line we are about to enter in hopes of passer byers eavesdropping and realizing they should opt out of my way!

Once we receive our boarding passes and identification, I quickly stuff it back into my wallet and compartment that holds my wallet, and proceed to remove the clear bag that holds all my baby items and liquids.  I watch everyone taking off their shoes, thinking how novice of them, why are they removing it so quickly and submitting their feet to the disgusting probably never cleaned floor?  I then grab two TSA provided x-ray boxes, all while talking to Jordan who is still in the stroller.  I look at his shoes and think - how great it is that kids under 12 don't have to remove 'em!, and then I put the liquids bag in one box, pull out my laptop from my backpack in the other, and continue to move along with Jordan in the stroller, the two boxes, and my backpack still on me and my diaper bag still on one shoulder.  As we inch towards the actual x-ray entry, I toss on my diaper bag (zipped of course), my backpack (also zipped), the box with my laptop, and then quickly take off my shoes to add to the box with my liquids bag, and then unbuckle Jordan, take him out, ask him to stand nicely and not run off (but say it conspicuously loud enough that nearby strangers take notice in case he does decide to make a run for it), and remove the top portion of my stroller, turn it upside down and onto the conveyer belt, and then collapse the bottom of my very steel (as more than 3 TSA officials will always comment on) Urbo stroller base, put it onto the belt, and then scoop up Jordan if he's still around (he has been everytime), and proceed to walk through the normal old school x-ray line, happy that I don't have to go through the intense new x-ray machines.

Once through the other side, it's a quick and painless retrieval of my items, reassembly of the stroller, and then off we go!

However, as much as I think I know - I am always learning more!

This past week, I learned I can bring water in my Nalgene for Jordan (and let's be honest, myself too) instead of emptying it out and bringing an empty bottle to fill on the plane.  This is magnificent news as airport food and drinks are exorbitantly priced and it's quite a while before drinks are served on the plane.  Upon realizing this, I wanted to put together a list for my friends and for myself, of the best things to keep in mind when flying with a child, so here goes... let me know if I should add anything else!
  1. Children under 2 fly FREE, but you must bring a form of identification: ones that work - a passport or a birth certificate (but like I said, an immunization card has worked for us for 15 months) and you must have a children's boarding pass so printing a boarding pass from home is not enough, you must get a lap seat pass from the ticket kiosk or the counter in front of your gate.  I watched a mom furiously yell at the Southwest workers at the gate counter about how she has always flown with a child under 2 without identification (she didn't have a lap seat boarding pass) and since the flight was full, they would not budge) for one of her kids, and after 15 minutes of yelling and demanding them to "look at my child, does she look older than 2?" - it was questionable btw, she acquiesced and bought another ticket) and later on the plane, was advised she had to let her child sit alone up front because she had a seat (they later rearranged seats for her to sit with the daughter and the husband - who had already boarded and saved three seats while she was going through this chaos - to sit with her son). 
  2. Carseats and strollers do NOT count as baggage:  You can check both when you check your baggage but it's recommended to hold onto the stroller as you can use it leading up to the actual flight.  You'll be asked to sign a waiver that says you won't sue if they damage or loose your stuff (it gets damaged all right, just be prepared), but if you hold onto your stroller until the gate, you'll have to ask the counter by your gate to "check in your stroller."  They'll ask you to sign the same waiver you did for the carseat and then tag it with a neon yellow "claim at gate" and a baggage airport with code sticker.  For flights that are very empty and babies who are very tiny (think 6 months and below), you can take a gamble and hold onto the carseat until the gate, and if the flight's still empty while boarding, you can bring in the carseat and put the baby in there on an empty seat you did not pay for.  We did this a few times when Jordan was young and sleeping a lot, but it's a huge hassle to carry in and we stopped doing it when he got larger.  Also, pack n plays DO count as luggage.  
  3. The Baby Liquid Exception Rule: You can normally bring in medically necessary gels and liquids (including contact solution, wish I knew that all those times I purchased tiny bottles), and these do not need to be included in your ziploc (or clear bag in my case), but did you also know you can bring in juice, baby formula, pumped milk, and water (used to mix with powder formula or in my baby's case, his preference over juice)?!  They will perform an additional screening of the items, make sure there aren't dangerous vapors or something along those lines.
  4. Be prepared: Bring snacks, games, new toys, wipes, and napkins.  These will keep your toddler occupied and you sane.  
  5. Use the Flight Attendants: I'd like to say I was smart enough to ask a flight attendant to look after my child while I used the tiny airplane bathroom.  However, it took one trial and error before I realized I would need to ask for help.  It might have been possible if I were a man or had a baby carrier, but I did not and I may or may not have peed on myself a little.
Happy traveling with child!

Remember, always make your child cry while the plane is being boarded - this way only child lovers will sit by you or older folks who miss hearing babies cry (what's that about? ... maybe time will tell).  Try to book flights during naptimes - twice, Jordan fell asleep and was an ultimate angel.  I'm glad babies are cute at this age, it sure helps when they're a nightmare on the plane!