Thursday, March 28, 2013


Yes, I've been missing in action in the blogosophere lately, mostly because:
1) We're on vacation
2) My computer broke
Okay, really because of number 2.  

I have been out of commission for about 5 days, one of which we were at Disneyland, so it wasn't so bad.  Not having my computer for the couple of days made me realize how much I rely on my computer.  It's like my new security blanket, a comforting place where I can keep myself updated by pouring over other peoples' blogs, waste time on the internet, budget, and of course, work, yet I'm glad I had the short respite, it really helps me realize I can be living in the moment instead of trying to document it or see what other people are doing.  Seems trite but it's an eye-opening thing in our generation of instant everything via our numerous devices.  

So it's almost 4 AM and everyone is sleeping but I just watched the latest episode of The Mindy Project (love that show!) and am now unable to fall asleep.  Most parents, when asked what they miss most about being single versus a parent, claim sleep really is less with children (you can't really sleep in when the kids are young and wake up when they want and need you).  I've actually never quite felt that way since I always have more sleep now than when I was working (especially during busy season).  I know I can always take a short nap during the day and I am getting on average 7-8 hours a night, which is fabulous compared to 4-5 hours a night.  Well... that is.. until this pregnancy.  

Insomnia has been a constant in this pregnancy.  My hips also are expanding and hurting me more than the previous pregnancy and it hurts to lay flat on my back.  And, Arizona is hot.  We have a fan in our room, but had moved it away from Jordan's air mattress so he wouldn't be tempted to put his fingers in or be scared of it (it makes a loud noise), but that coupled with my already rising body temperature has made it near impossible to sleep.  I finally got up and moved it back towards me, since Jordan has made his way to our bed around 1 AM anyway.  Right now, I am on Jordan's mini-air mattress, enjoying the cool air coming fromt he fan and my body is tired, my eyes are hurting, but somehow, I cannot fall asleep. 

I have been thinking about work a lot lately and if I can manage it with two kids.  I know I'll have family around to help out but with two kids, then three, maybe four in the next four years... will it be possible?  I'm unsure.  I know only time will tell but it's a bit stressful to think we'd be without the extra income which has been sooo helpful so far.  I did obtain another job on the side while we were in LA last week, organizing and reconciling my mom's finances for her (something I've offered to do for free in the past but hey, if you want to pay me.. I won't argue), but still... 

Real life is expensive.  I suppose that's why they say growing up isn't always fun.  It is though.  It is really fun to plan how you will spend time together as a family, budgeted or not.  It is really fun to watch you kid learn and grow and explore with things that don't cost money (like nature!).  It is really fun to watch your child's face light up when you buy them a toy that they absolutely adore, treasure, and love.  It is fun to be on vacation and spend a little more on dining out than we'd normally do.  It is fun to be a grown-up too. 

My second child keeps telling me to go to sleep.  He is kicking me abruptly but aggressively, so I'll take that as my sign to try falling asleep again.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lap Baby at 29 Weeks Alone

We're flying tomorrow morning and it's just Jordan and me.  The only problem is my stomach is quite large, I have to get up frequently to pee, and am supposed to walk around for 5 minutes every hour per my doctor.  So, how will I be able to perform all this with Jordan along for the ride on my lap?

Good question!  To make things worse, there is no direct flight to LA from Spokane so we stop in Oakland, but do not have a plane change... kinda even worse in my opinion because we'll get to move around in the plane only and have to pack our own food instead of grabbing a quick lunch.

I'm also nervous about his pooping schedule (normally in the morning) because lately, they have been a little less solid (blame it on teething again) and at 34", the tiny airplane bathrooms in the front (that have a changing table) are quite the challenge.  In addition, how will I use the restroom with Jordan in tow?  He isn't small enough for me to comfortably take him in the Bjorn nor will the baby cooking inside allow for it... so here's hoping he poops a ton tonight and somehow has an outlier of a morning tomorrow.

I've been preparing incessantly.  We've stocked up on some snacks, including the baby food that comes in pouches (because it's a throwback that excites him for some reason), animal crackers in a box (dude, a dollar for a tiny box... are you kidding me?!) magic markers that only stain the paper it comes with which have a bunch of cars and airplanes, a new car toy that is also a bath toy for wai-puo's house, downloading a Little Einsteins episode on the iPad, a new stackable snack tin that he is way excited about and can fit next to nothing (portion control for babies?) but will do for variety - we've got dried coconut, craisins, and cheese rockets, and last but not least, honey comb which are the bomb diggity cereal by the way.  They are so delicious!  In fact, I'm eating some right now.

So any advice anyone has is greatly appreciated... and prayers our way also.  We are going to be a in a plane for about 5 hours, we don't change planes, so we land and just kick it in the same plane for a while as we wait for people to board.  I also really hope the flights aren't sold out so Jordan can have his own seat.  And I hope there are understanding passengers or people with kids who I can ask to watch Jordan while I use the restroom.

Fingers crossed!

Eating in LA Soon!

Jordan and I are coming to LA a few days before our scheduled partial vacay (half will be in Arizona with our friends again!) because of a quarterly work meeting on Thursday.  Andy will join us late Friday night after Step 3 of the Boards.  In preparation, I have been thinking of all the places we want to eat and because I know what I like and don't have much time to experiment... our week will basically consist of (if we can fit it all in!):
  • Thirfty ice cream
  • Pinkberry or Yogurtland fro-yo 
  • Sinbala shaved ice and Taiwanese delights
  • Ding Tai Fong dumplings and chicken soup
  • Saladang satay chicken and pad thai
  • Golden Deli spring rolls wrapped in lettuce
  • Phoenix Inn seaweed and desserts
  • Panera Mediterranean veggie and fiji apple chicken salad
  • In-n-Out burger and shake
  • Cha-cha chicken Caribbean chicken
  • Kogi Truck tacos
  • Full House Seafood dim sum
  • Cathy's Bakery's baked goods
There doesn't feel like enough time since Thursday I'm in Manhattan Beach all day, Sunday is the Sabbath (and we'll be dining in with family and friends), and Monday we're off to Disneyland, but we're making the most of when we are in town, and so excited for all the good LA eats.

I'm grateful that my family lives in the LA suburbs and that we'll get to consistently go back a few times a year, even if it means we'll always be eating at the same places.  What can I say?  We know what we like and we can't wait!

And because family members want to see photos of Jordan...
 at the park with his best buddy Finn.

eating cantaloupe with Finn and having a conversation in jibberish (Finn can speak but he indulges Jordan and says "yeah?" everytime Jordan speaks jibberish to him)
 putting practice with Daddy

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Breakfast Ideas For a Toddler

I love breakfast and if given a choice, that'd be the meal I'd eat out for the day!  So when it comes to eating breakfast with Jordan, I've come up with quite a few options, yet they still seem too few.  He is a bit like his mum in the sense that eating the same thing every morning will not do.  As such, here are some of the breakfast options that have become part of the mix.  This is mostly for Gena and me to remember, so enjoy!  Also, if you have any suggestions for other breakfast options, please leave a comment for me!
  1. waffles/pancakes - usually frozen, something quick that I can pop into the toaster or into the microwave, topped with butter, drizzled with syrup, and when we have it.. whipped cream also
  2. scrambled eggs - I like to scramble eggs with a bit of milk to make them fluffier, and for added nutrients and deliciousness, I often first cook some diced tomatoes or spinach with garlic and olive oil before mixing in the eggs
  3. oatmeal - we like the Quaker's creamy oatmeal as well as the Trader Joe's brands, and when we run out of those, I'll cook some oatmeal in the microwave with water, add some cold milk to cool it down, brown sugar, and craisins.  Jordan is all for both, but he, like anyone, prefers the former.  
  4. egg in a basket - the hubs started this one but it's been a big hit!  He takes a piece of toast (usually wheat because I am the only one who eats toast for breakfast often), butters it on both sides, cuts out a circle in the middle and then cooks the toast in a pan and cracks an egg into the middle.  He salts the egg as it's cooking and then after the egg in the basket is cooked, goes back to cook the middle.  I like it a little medium over easy, if it runs right when a fork hits it, it's great!
  5. cereal - dry or wet, though I like wet cereal for breakfast and dry cereal for snacks, so I've tried to keep that consistent for Jordan so he's not "snacking" for breakfast (though I try to avoid snacks all together given his lack of interest in eating, unless we're out and about and there's no time to sit down for a meal, waiting for him to be really hungry really helps our case)
  6. french toast - this is one of my favorites because it gets rid of old French bread while creating a breakfast for us!  I quickly whip up some french toast batter with milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, then I put the bread into the mixture for 30 seconds on each side, and cook it in a pan that's been buttered (I find butter works better than oil), and we like to top it off with some powdered sugar and loads of butter and syrup
  7. smoothies - smoothies aren't a stand-alone meal, they always accompany one of the other breakfast items.  I like it because in order to make sure Jordan gets enough fruit for the day, it's easy to just make a smoothie for myself and he'll always drink about 1/2 a cup, sometimes more.  Since the only fruit he seems to consistently eat are cantaloupe, the smoothie is a nice way to mix it up.  I only add kale or spinach if I have it.  
  8. egg burrito - this is Jordan's absolute favorite and one of mine as well!  I take a tortilla (from Tortilla Land no doubt), smother some cream cheese on it, and plop a cooked egg (I scramble an egg and then microwave it for 1 minute 30 seconds), and then roll it up like a tiny burrito.  I can leave Jordan with the egg burrito and the television on while I get work or a conference call done and within the hour, he will always have eaten all but one or two bites.  Sometimes I put cheese into it, but cheese is something he loves, so I know he'll eat it later if need be... no need to waste it in the burrito (plus if he discovers it, he will lose interest and ask you for more shredded cheese on his plate instead)
  9. toast - this is not his favorite so it barely works, normally has to be coupled with something else above but I like to try every so often if he will be interested in a piece of toast with nutella and bananas on the side (he won't eat it on top)... but so far, I've only been successful in getting him to eat 1-2 bites before he loses interest and then I go and make something else from above along with a smoothie, ha!  He also won't currently eat pb jelly sandwiches, which is a bit of a bummer given how easy and quick they are

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bubbles at the Carwash

After my glucose test at the OBGYN yesterday, I took the rare opportunity driving the small car and ventured off to the automatic carwash.  Our car used to be white but with all the dirty snow and lack of cleaning for more than half a year, it was looking more grey and was completely overdue for a wash.

As I sat in silence alone in the car watching the bubbles swish back and forth, changing in size, disappearing and then reappearing.... I thought about life and how quickly it flies by us.  With each swoosh of the rubber slamming against my car over and over again, my mind wandered to how quickly  tiny no teeth baby has turned into a full mouth of teeth toddler while mesmerized by the different sizes of water bubbles all flashing before my eyes and then swimming off my windshield like a well rehearsed synchronized swim routine.  The water put me in a daze and my mind drifted into his baby days, the little wrinkly alien with the cone head who then grew into cuddly rolls and then morphed into my curious cute little troublemaker crawler.  At a year, right about when we were moving to Washington, he was still a stumbling no word little man but now, almost two... he is a fully trying his best to communicate but really just babbling (most of the time) two year old.  

I thought about if Andy and I have changed that much over the last two years.  He's gone from a head of flopping hair to a buzzed head, back and forth a few times, I've gone from long hair to longer hair to so short I can't believe I have this hair.  But other than that, we both still somehow look the same (maybe more wrinkles?).  And yet, we've been through so much together already in just a few short years.  We made it through our first year of parenthood, changed jobs, matched for his residency, traveled, graduated, moved, and are now anticipating our growing family in our own house in just 3.5 months.  And the weirdest thing.. people call him Dr. Phillips (not me .. not yet, haha).  

I continued to enjoy the few minutes I had in there lost in my thoughts, away from the world and just enclosed in my car, not really recalling what it was like to run errands by myself from just two years before.  My thoughts turned to motherhood and how it has changed and softened my heart, humbled me, and taught me about my own shortcomings.  I ran through the things I still needed from the market, the lesson I am teaching in Church on Sunday, the house updates, room designs, and numerous projects we have planned, and then my thoughts were interrupted by the water dancing over my windshield again.  I stopped thinking for once and just admired it.  It was so calming.  The smell penetrated through the closed windows and reminded me of when I was a kid, of going to the carwash with my dad and having so much fun inside the car as the bubbles suffocated us and then disappeared with the heroic water who came and rescued us.  And I just enjoyed it.  Took it all in.  The bubbles, the water, the rubber, even the flashing red light that told me it was all done and I had to move forward and exit.

Back to reality, back to a million things to do, a cute little boy who loves me and gives me muted kisses on my lips (because he puckers his big lips which are still small for his size), back to a husband who still makes me blush but also laugh and be better, back to a job that takes up a lot of time but is really flexible, fun, and enables me to go back to LA often, back to loads of laundry, back to piles of dishes, back to a living room scattered with Jordan's toys, back to the amazing but busy life at home.  

In the Bible, Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.  I might not look back, but I do often dwell on how fast time has gone by and can spend hours looking at old photos, reading old journal entries, etc., and really a quick glimpse here and there is great... but my present and my now deserve my undivided attention more and I'd like to remember that as we move forward.  I'd like to keep a good record of it all, but there's a time and a place for sitting down to read it all.  And today just might not be it.  I said good-bye to the carwash and told myself I'd go back soon for that respite of five minutes to clean the van... and some. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I am getting ready for my final licensing exam before I am a licensed physician.  That means time spent in libraries, taking endless practice exams, reading about how I missed diagnoses, prescribed the wrong medicine, and hopefully storing that information so that I will be able to do well on the exam, and be a better physician.

Occasionally the question stem will make me think about my own health or the health of my loved ones.  This has caused me to be a bad hypochondriac in the past, but nevertheless, it still happens.  Most recently, a question eventually led me to review the fact that at 2 years of age, toddlers should be speaking in 2- to 3-word sentences and have a vocabulary larger than 50 words.  After engraining that information in my already full brain, I thought, is our little Jordan in trouble?  Does he need a hearing exam (which was the answer to the question, what's the next step in helping this little boy who didn't speak much?)  So being the worry wart that I am, I came up with this list:
  1. Mommy
  2. Daddy
  3. Mom
  4. Dad
  5. Ogo
  6. Di Di (what we call airplanes)
  7. Ball
  8. Golf
  9. Choo choo (trains)
  10. Beep
  11. One
  12. Two
  13. Three
  14. Four
  15. Five
  16. Doh
  17. Hi
  18. Hello
  19. Bye
  20. I Love You
  21. Fly
  22. Up
  23. BYU
  24. Cougars
  25. Raw
  26. Go
  27. Please
  28. Cheese
  29. Thank you
  30. Amen
  31. Helicopter
  32. Night night
  33. Nai Nai (Chinese for milk)
  34. More
  35. Jump
  36. Ai (Chinese for love)
  37. Yao (Chinese for want)
  38. Wo wo (Chinese for dog)
  39. Blast
  40. Maau mee (Chinese for cat)
  41. Puo Puo (Chinese for Grandma)
  42. Gong-Gong (Chinese for Grandpa)
  43. Uh-Oh
  44. Tootles
  45. Owie
  46. Eyes
  47. Bubbles
  48. Car
  49. Bat
  50. Touchdown
Amazingly, I was able to come up with 50+ words that he has said, and consistently will say.  Full disclosure, I don't think anyone, except me and Daisy, could consistently identify these words; but you definitely hear him say those words in his cute little manner.  Life is funny how we often think we are coming up so short of the bar, but if we stop and hold ourselves a little accountable, we find ourselves progressing and improving much in the way we were hoping; we just weren't giving ourselves credit.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My Little Sleeping Beauty

Last night I slept on the guest bed in Jordan's room.  I know he hasn't been feeling well due to his runny nose, sloppy poop, and growing molars, so I gave in to his whimpering requests of "Mommy?" and pointing to the bed when I went to check on him about an hour after I had finally fallen asleep (at 1 AM... again, daylight savings is killing me, as are all the things floating on my mind).  This morning, I woke up before Jordan and he looked so peaceful on his bed.  I decided to get up and grab the laptop to get some work done before my 9 AM team call, but not without first giving him a kiss on the forehead.

The moment my lips touched his forehead, his eyes snapped open and a small emerged from ear to ear. "Mommy!" he exclaimed.  Break. my. heart.  It was just magical.

Oh well, instead of getting any work done, I enjoyed the moments Jordan and I spent on the guest bed, before going over to wake up Daddy and get his diaper changed.

Also magical, when Jordan gets hurt and cries "owee" and basically just needs a kiss wherever his "owee" is to make the pain go away.

I love my sleeping beauty - awake and asleep.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Daylight Savings Sucks

And not because it's affecting my child - no, Jordan seems just fine with the change and has been sleeping from about 8/8:30 PM - 7:45/8:00 AM so far.  His naps were a little later than usual yesterday - around 2 PM instead of 1 PM, but Spring Forward has been a-okay for him!

Me, on the other hand.. I lie in bed for 2 hours before I fall asleep, thinking of anything and everything.  The thoughts occupying my mind lately have included my court contested hearing tomorrow (for a moving violation in a school zone, yes I'm quite aware the chances are stacked against me), my gestational diabetes test on Thursday that I think I may fail because I am insulin resistant due to my diagnosis of poly-cystic-ovarian-syndrom ("PCOS") and have been feeding it by not exercising regularly and eating a lot of excess sweets, items to update for my quarterly in-person work meeting next week, how I'm going to fly with Jordan in my lap and Ethan growing in my belly (we are going to LA before Andy on our own), ways to repurpose existing furniture and organize our play room/home office, if I'll have enough counter space in our kitchen, all while getting up every 15 minutes to use the restroom.  Thank you small bladder whilst pregnant.

Rant over.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Whenever I take out our fancy camera, Jordan, upon noticing me pointing it at him, will say with much zeal and volume, "Cheese!"
Little boy was in heaven as Daddy gave him a candy airplane from Sunday school with the big kids (Daddy teaches the kids ages 10-11)
Today, as I was pulling the memory card out to upload these silly photos I captured of him on our way home from Church yesterday, he saw the camera, pointed to it (on the counter), and said, "Cheese!" and flashed his cheesy smile, waiting for me to react.  

What a ham. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

My Boys

We finally found an opportunity to use our Mobius Museum Groupon today and the boys loved it.  

Both of them.  
Who do you think had more fun?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Building Bad Habits: One at a Time

I've complained before about how Jordan is not that great of an eater.  Eating seem to be optional to him.  If he's really hungry, he'll eat anything (but determining this exact timing is rare).  Somehow, we always seem to be at Trader Joe's when he's ravenous, so by default, he thinks their food sampling station is the most amazing and will always head there first if he's allowed to walk and push a baby cart.  As soon as he's done with his sample, he'll immediately ask for more.  I have been known to take three or four samples in one visit.  Sometimes, I even take the item being sampled, pretending I am so invested and about to purchase it.  Subsequently, I dump it in the frozen aisle far away from the sampling station.  Yes, I'm that person.

When Andy's home, eating with him at the dining table is a long exhaustive process.  Eventually, he will always eat.

When it's just me and him, I've unfortunately given in to putting on a TV show while he eats.  It's utterly amazing how it makes him eat.  He will sit there and eat ALL of whatever I have made him, but leisurely while he is enjoying his show.  I know this is not great mothering and also developing a horrific habit, but heck.. if it works, I ain't giving it up anytime soon! Plus, now that he knows how to say, "no" (though he doesn't use it often, he's more of a "yes" toddler), the one thing he will say "no" to is, "try this" or "eat this" or "take a bite."  "NO!" he will respond articulately.  Yes, it starts now.

Yesterday, we watched some Mormon messages about an airplane and youth that was 7 minutes long, 3 times.  During this time, he ate a waffle and a tortilla.  Today, he is watching Super Why and not only is he elevating his ABC abilities, but he has eaten almost half of his egg and cheese wannabe mcmuffin sandwich.  The other half is in jelly and butter because I thought something sweet might be good to toss it up but the dark purple jelly scared him and he hasn't done anything but play with them, pretending they are little dancing toys.

I've got my hopes up that baby number 2 will be an active and involved eater because so far, I've given in to donut and churro cravings that I wouldn't let myself do with number 1 and I'm also the trash eater - anything Jordan doesn't eat, I feel guilty about and end up eating it (even if I'm full) - needs must stop that!  I must admit, Jordan is just like me as a kid.  I also didn't care for much food and can remember being scolded at for not finishing my food when I really just didn't want to!!!  But, I did eat fruit and ice cream willingly, and Jordan seems to be okay with some fruits and milkshakes, so really he's just a slight deviation from me as a kid.

Monday, March 4, 2013

We Should Date More

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that Andy and I, against everything advised for a healthy marriage once kids are in the picture, do not go on dates quite enough.

We finally set up a trade with the Smiths (who also have one kid who Jordan loves hanging out with and yes, it only took us 9 months!) last Saturday.  As Andy went to drop off Jordan at their house while I finished dinner and showered (so I could doll up for my big date!), I stopped to count how many dates we had on our own (not double, not group, just us two) and sadly, I could count it on one hand.

This was our fourth date in the almost two years we have been with child.

Our first was dinner for our one year anniversary at Umami Burger but we rushed back as soon as we could since Jordan was still eating about every 3 hours and was not taking the bottle (he was about two months old).

Our second was an Indian buffet for lunch and Avengers in old town Monrovia while my mom watched Jordan at home.  He was taking the super expensive organic premade formula at this point, so the date was more leisurely and less stressful.

Our third date was to watch Skyfall in downtown Spokane while my mom visited and put Jordan to sleep.  To date, we have not trusted anyone to put Jordan to sleep besides his grandparents.  I know, we are huge wimps but ... oh well.

In reality, I don't feel like we're missing out.  It was really fun and refreshing to have a dinner without taking turns to feed Jordan or make sure he was eating something (he's not the world's best eater), to have my door opened for me everytime we got in and out of the car, to venture off to Best Buy holding hands and checking out the free Kinect dance game (okay, we played it - and I beat Andy!), and then using our free rewards check of $30 to buy DVDs (for Andy and Jordan) and some sour strips for me, but it wasn't anymore fun than lounging at home in our PJs catching up on TV shows we love or hanging out once Jordan is asleep.  Or anymore fun than going out as a family to wherever we may go. Maybe I'm just a homebody, maybe I'm just not that exciting of a person, either way, it was great but not something I am craving more of right away.  I'm actually looking forward to more double or group dates with other couples sans kids or seeing our friends in March with our kids along as well.

Or maybe I'm just being naive since being in Utah will give us more chances to date.  Either way, we should date more.  But maybe our dates could be at home in our PJs lounging.  If that counts, we have dated a ton!!!
Our fancy date at home dinner consisted of pork chops with apple slathered in syrup and wine over cheesy zucchini rice in our fanciest dinnerware and battery operated candles.  Soooo delicious and romantic!  I'm glad dinner came out great for our date because we are cutting back on eating out until our vacation the end of March, but you just never know with a new recipe done the first time.   
Also our first time having fro-yo in Spokane.  To be honest, it's not that fun eating fro-yo with Andy since he doesn't enjoy it as much as me.  And, I think I'm still a Pinkberry snob.  The different flavors are just too much and Pinkberry is the OG of all fro-yos to me.  I also think fro-yo is much more enjoyable with my girlfriends or my sister-in-law and nieces who truly appreciate how delicious it is.  With Andy, we may have to just stick to the ice creams and 21 Choices. 

Spring Is Here

I'm just over the moon that Spring is here.  You can feel it in the weather ever so slightly as we've been in the 30's and 40's, see it in the sun that goes up around 7 AM and doesn't go down until around 5 PM, and feel really good about no more snow (at least this California girl is hoping that last part is true).  It's funny that in high school, after going to Michigan with a buddy to visit the University of Michigan, I thought everyone there was crazy for busting out t-shirts and shorts in the 50 degree weather.  Now, after less than a year, I am pulling out skirts and light sweaters for the 35 degree weather as long as the sun is out!  It feels great!  Funny how quickly your body adapts.  

To celebrate Spring, Andy so graciously took some photos of Jordan and me (most are blurry thought - we're still working on it...) before we gave him his haircut a few weeks ago.  
And then this weekend, we made it out to the driving range (aka our backyard) for the first time in 2013!  Jordan was so extremely excited, even with the bitter cold air and sun hiding, he was in golf heaven.  He stayed out there with Daddy the entire time, they must have been out there for 45 minutes, I joined them for about 15 minutes to take some photos before my camera battery ran out and I was summoned home to finish dinner (which I left cooking while I went to our backyard for some photos). 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Kid App Review: ABC! You and Me!!

Since Jordan has become intrigued by the alphabet, we have seized the opportunity to go over at least one letter with him a day.  

One of the highly rated kid apps I downloaded was not very appealing to Jordan a few months ago, but has become one of his favorites lately!  It is none other than Callaway's Endless Alphabet and it is super duper cute, interactive, and surprisingly educational and helpful for a kid app.
It's got animated monster characters and is really well done!  First, you pick your word and the best part is the words are not your typical simple ABC words (apple, bear, cat, etc.) but instead, words that a kid might not understand or even know of!  You pick your word from the menu or can just start with A and go from there...
Then, you see the colorful word and a bunch of monsters run through the word, scattering the letters.  Now, your mission, should you decide to fulfill it, is to place the correct letters back onto the word outlined.  The letters are animated when you drag them, make sounds of the letter, and once you place it on correctly, it says the letter.  Jordan loves imitating some of the sounds and some of the pronunciations (still some letters he's more hesitant about).  If you misplace the letter, you get a "womp womp" sound which is so hilarious when Jordan copies it.  "womp womp!"  
After you've put the letters on correctly, the word will be read outloud.  
 Of course, it's animated so the letters move and do a little dance.  
Then the letter acts out the word - this part is great.  The animated monsters are very exceptional.  Finally, the narrator will explain what the word means and sometimes give an example.  We like "it's okay to lick an ice cream, but you might not want to lick a shoe" for the word "lick."  

It was free when I downloaded it, so hopefully it's still free now so everyone can go and download it!  We love it and it's definitely helped (along with Super Why) build Jordan's letter vocabulary.  If he sees letters anywhere now, he will point out the ones he knows - even on his own t-shirts.  It's really cute and you'd be surprised how often 'E' and 'O' come up, his first two letters which he is very vocal about.  

Learning's great with your kid and having the apps and extra help from educational tv shows doesn't hurt.  Sometimes my generation isn't so bad.  Hehe. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

It's Da First of Da Month!

wake up wake up wake up .. it's the first of the month...
get up get up get up so cash your checks and get up...

Some people track pay day closely.  They jump up for joy when the bank accounts flood with income.

Not me.

I don't even know when Andy's pay day is.  And I only know when mine is because I'm partially responsible for calling in payroll but I forget since we call it in two days before the actual pay day.

But what does excite me?

The first of the month.


Because that's when our grocery budget gets reset and I can shop for fruits, veggies, meat, frozen food, Trader Joe's snacks, and desserts without a care in the world.

Scratch that.  Andy just advised me to be super careful for this month since we'll be spending so much on vacation.

Speaking of which... March is an exciting month for vacations!  Our trip to LA and Arizona are both this month.. and that means a lil over a week (sort of.. includes a work meeting in MB again) long vacation with family and friends and babies!  While in LA, we don't have much planned except to go to Disneyland, eat a lot of stuff we don't have here in Spokane, and hopefully get wai-puo to buy Jordan and me some birthday gifts.  I'm also planning to attend a Bokwa class my hs friend is teaching while 29-30 weeks pregnant, but it should be fun and I'm excited to see what it's all about as she's been raving about it on Facebook for almost a year.  Meanwhile, our trip to Arizona will be our annual reunion with the same group of friends who came precisely a year ago to hang in LA with us.  It was so much fun to live like a tourist, going out to eat almost everyday, to all the places we love or hadn't yet been to in LA with them, and to have our three kiddos meet.  Just one year later, there will be a new baby, three toddlers running around, and two pregnant women.  And to top it off, one of our friends' sister is leaving for her mission that weekend so her missionary farewell is that Sunday as is Easter.  I foresee lots of money dropped at Last Chance, gaining too much pregnant weight, and very little sleep.

To recap on our last month, we spent approximately $375 on groceries.  That is an improvement for us but slightly cheating considering Andy's mom bought us some groceries while she was here.  But in general, I feel good about moving forward and controlling our grocery costs because I consulted with some friends and have pinpointed our weaknesses.  Fruit and drinks.  You see, I love fruit (and it has sort of rubbed off on Andy as in - we demolished a pineapple in one night recently).  Andy loves drinks (he can finish a thing of orange juice in one night and an afternoon - no joke).  He probably sacrifices his love of empty calories drinks more than I do of fruit, but as a result - I have to look more earnestly for sales, scour different store weekly ads, use coupons (not extreme, just basic ones that are available to me) and make trips to Winco (which is quite far!).  I've also learned that fruit at Costco is not always cheapest (even though one would think!).

Overall though.. I feel optimistic and good.  I have also been extremely good about using what we have to cook dinner and don't feel as wasteful as I once did.  The freezer is not overloaded, nor is the canned goods cabinet, but on the downside, our food storage isn't the greatest it's been before.  At least we'll have a huge garage next year to get on top of that!

I've also learned, if you really want something ethnic like Indian and don't have all the ingredients, just buy the premade sauces and mix it with some grilled chicken and frozen naan from Trader Joe's.  It's much easier AND cheaper than trying to make everything from scratch and the plus side - your house won't stink.  I've also tried a bunch of new recipes that are all basic and require ingredients that we mostly have.  That has helped me not whimsically need more stuff that costs more!  I've also been creative in combining recipes or substituting with what we have.  For example, tonight I made a pesto cream pasta with salmon, assorted seafood (clams, scallops, shrimp), broccoli, and tomatoes based on a cream sauce recipe I found and then adding in my own spices and pesto.  It was actually quite yummy! I decided that canned diced tomatoes would have to do since I didn't have the luxury of time or money to go get some grape tomatoes.

I'm also keeping tabs on how much the cuts of meat I use most for cooking cost per pound, because truth be told, I have no idea what is cheap and what is not.  If someone labels something with a "sale" sticker, I'll pick it up thinking, what a steal without realizing I'm probably getting ripped off since I don't know the basis for cheap meat by the pound.  I feel empowered now and it's good knowing I can walk around a grocery store, look at prices, and react with - that's a good deal or that's a rip off!

Either way, the grocery budget success has me in a great mood and I feel positive about March even in lieu of our travel plans.  I also am quite happy looking at these photos of Andy's day off this week.
The boys decided to bust out their stocking stuffer head lamps first thing in the morning. 
 Daddy made us egg in a basket for breakfast and Jordan decided it was necessary to keep his headlamp on throughout breakfast.  We also had smoothies (not pictured) and I have learned to make them the perfect consistency in my Vitamix.  
The weather was beautiful (for Spokane) so we went to the driving range, ran around trying to fly a kite (not enough wind),
 Found some easter eggs golf balls tucked under all the grass that had been smothered by snow now melted...
and practiced our golf swing while looking out into the open range.  Can you tell?  Jordan is quite excited for golf season to begin again.