Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Our tradition broke this year with Jordan wanting to be Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, so we let the boys go together as Jake (a DIY pirate costume) and a parrot (purchased from Old Navy on sale).

Not everyone knows what Jake looks like (if not hooked on Disney Junior shows) and good for you - so I put a comparative below for reference.  Pretty good for DIY eh?  Too bad it was freezing!  Next year, we need to go with something warmer.

This was the first time Jordan truly understood saying "trick or treat" and then receiving candy, thanking someone for it and even saying "Happy Halloween!"  The Disney shows he's been watching have also helped with his enthusiasm for this holiday.  It makes me cringe a bit to think they can have so many shows about Halloween yet shy away from Christmas.  Oh well, such is the world today eh?  

We'll have to ensure Jordan stays away from the candy until it's gone, there's quite a bit - we didn't go to many houses, but most of the homes we went to with people we knew all provided full sized candy bars!  Eek!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bubba is 6 Months Old!

I often feel guilty that I haven't doted on every milestone of Bubba's with the same depth and attention that I did with Jordan.  Time just absolutely flies with two children and seems to be moving so much faster than when we were in Spokane.  While I'm grateful for the time in Spokane and the leisurely schedule we sometimes had, having family nearby really makes a huge difference in a new city.  

By the time I realized Bubba had turned 6 months, all I could do was snap some photos asap.  Gone are the days of naked baby with month card and in its place are these.  Better than nothing right? 
He was sleeping through the night until I wrote this.  For a few nights in a row, he was waking up 2-3 times but last night, he went back to sleeping through the night.  Thank goodness!  Let's hope tonight is just as good. 

The boys woke up Friday morning so full of energy despite being slightly sick (runny nose, coughing, rashy)
I didn't feel comfortable with Jordan going to school since his nose was disgusting and instead, we met Andy for lunch when his lunch meeting got cancelled.  Sweet!  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Time With Puo Puo and Chinese Breakfast

When I went to LA almost three weeks ago for a work meeting, I also got to spend some quality time with my parents, brother, and just Bubba.  You never know how easy traveling with just one is until you have two.  I imagine that's the same with each additional child!  I had a grand ol' time traveling just with one.  It was all just too easy.  

Before the flight on Friday, I got a chance to finally eat at Yi-Mei, this new Chinese breakfast place less than a mile away from my parents' house that is closed on Wednesdays and was closed last time I was in LA and tried to eat there!  It is amazing.  I can't wait to go back and it has officially been added to my list of regular spots to eat at.  
The screen above is magnificently in Chinese and English so you can not only read the menu but also see great photos of it all!
Mmmm. pineapple cake.  I wanted to take some of these home with me but I was already taking two boxes of mooncakes (something I never really craved until I couldn't have it anymore)
I love those yellow things.  I forget the name in Engrish but it tasting yummy.  
Chicken marinated Chinese style.  Hao!  
Our breakfast - soy milk, peanut milk, salty rice roll, beef flatbread sandwich, chicken, and ground stewed beef with rice and boiled egg.  Delicious!!!
Close-up of the beef flatbread sandwich.
Just me and Bubba in the SINGLE stroller.  Love.  
Just me and my second born, that's all.  No big deal.  

Friday, October 25, 2013

Making New Friends

I'll let you in on a little secret.  I'm awful at making new friends.  It used to be so simple.  Class, work, extracurricular activities, dorm living, team bonding.. it all was so effortlessly easy.  But now.. it feels like so much work.  I can barely make time to take a shower, and now I have to have meaningful conversation and connect with someone more than five times (the average I believe it takes to get past the "getting to know you" exchanges) before I can get anywhere?

In many ways, I suppose I'm rather introverted.  If situations force me get to know a person, I operate a lot better.  But apparently I'm not alone.  This article pinpoints why it becomes so increasingly hard as we grow up and are over 30.  And it's true.. my BFFs are from my days of youth.  We leave missed calls on each other phones unashamed of how many times we show up as a missed call or appear as a creepy stalker because we know each other well.  Those friends that you can just "pick up where you left off" are also the same.

Just a few weeks ago, I had an old college friend come visit us in Salt Lake.  We hadn't seen each other for more than ten years, and even though we were super close in college during my ballroom dance years... we fell apart as soon as I quit the team halfway through my junior year.  Then with her busy practices, my early morning accounting classes and eagerness to network with the Big 4, we just fell apart.  We went through our post college years separately and literally "caught up" on both of our post grad work and educational activities throughout our roaring 20's.

And now instead of trying to make new friends, I'm just hoping that she comes to Salt Lake for her next job post fellowship.  Okay.. not really, but a girl can hope.  After she left, Jordan kept asking where "Twaceee" went.  She came with a huge box of toys for us and another family (from our ballroom days at BYU) with five kids.  Jordan got a fun rocket launcher and Bubba got a baby car (which Jordan decided was his) and a seahorse (something about it being the memory something cuz she's a neuroscience PHD).

Now we just have to hope that she comes to Salt Lake to work at the U, gets married here, and has kids for Jordan and Bubba to play with too.  

Oh, and I forgot to mention earlier.. the best part was when we made a quick stop at the local grocery store nearby our home.  I was wearing my "CMC" sweatshirt cuz it's cold and it's comfy and it's how you'll find me 90% of the time (and what I'm wearing as I type this) and a lady asked, is that Claremont McKenna College?  "Yes," I answered.  "Did you go there?" she asked.  "Yes, we both did!"  Hahahaha.  Of all places... in Salt Lake City, two Asian girls (the minority at Claremont) representing.  I loved it.  I bet that white lady thought Claremont has so much diversity!  Probably the most Asians she'd seen in a long time.  HAHAHAHAAA.  Okay, to be fair Salt Lake is more diverse than Spokane.. but I still am increasingly more aware of my minority status here (despite all Andy's asian side of the family telling me how much better it's gotten since they first got here!). 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

That Time I Gained Weight...

college: That time I gained weight cuz all my meals were buffet and I ate three meals a day plus had cafeteria sponsored snack at 10:30 PM everynight....

the real world: That time I gained weight cuz all my meals were comped from working through lunch and late at night.... mmmm appetizers, entrees, dessert, and some....

while living in Santa Monica: That time I gained weight cuz I discovered mixed drinks and happy hours and lived with a girl who ran five miles a day and ate everything in sight (so naturally I thought I could do the same)...

busy mom: That time I gained weight cuz I eat all my kids' snacks and fast food is so easy with the drive-thru on the way to the park and salads are so expensive there...

Who knew there would be more instances of weight gain at this point of my life?

Who knew.  Not me.  No, not me.

Ahh... and I don't feel like working out lately.  I'm hopin this little vent will get me going again and back into my "need endorphins must work out" habit.  My "daily workout" has slowly morphed into "4 times a week" and continued to disintegrate into "3 times a week" and is now a lousy.... "once or twice a week" if I'm lucky and the kids are sleeping well.  Blame it on the kids.  And the job.  And the house that needs cleaning.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Love Your Job

I know it's important to love your job .... but I don't expect us all to love it all the time.  The trick is to love it more than you hate it.

Well, I sure love my job more than I hate it!  The only time I do not love it as much is when I'm working the night shift consecutively (when the daytime naps don't happen, when I'm cooking a difficult meal, when there's just a lot going on and I'm somehow working from 10 PM - 1 AM after everyone's asleep to get stuff done).   This isn't often.. in fact I can get away with a few nighttime shifts and still get everything done, but sometimes stuff just happens.  The bad kind of stuff.

I'm not sure of any other job that would allow you to bring along your 5 month old son to the team social activity.

Witness.  I did. And he even got into the challenge, sitting in his Bjorn while I did my portion of the cooking challenge relay.  It really wasn't any different than cooking at home, even easier cuz I didn't have Jordna to deal with too.  HA!

Here we are in our white aprons, ready for the action!  The event was just about 10 minutes down the road in Redondo Beach, in an open kitchen with a large dining table set up in front of it for us to mingle around and eat at afterwards.
Team Swedish Meatballs! 
Team Salmon-ill-a
the blind taste challenge: they tried things like strawberries, blueberries, beets, wild rice, ginger, carrots, honey, and capers - first they could smell it, then they tasted it.  My favorite moment was when Jeff and Michelle were blind tasting beets and Michelle was so fearful for anything "different" that she'd be forced to try.  Jeff screamed out "BEETS!" so loud before hardly even tasting them and then tore off his blindfold and ran towards the trash can and spit them out, then boldly declared, "because I HATE beets!!!!"  I was dying with laughter as Michelle barely tasted it and then had the largest grimace on her face I had seen all night and then also ran to the trashcan to spit it out.  I love beets!  I would have gladly eaten them all! 
Bubba made an appearance after the blind tasting portion of the challenge relay...
Team shenanigans...
The boss shaking hands with the newest intern
Bubba enjoying dinner with us too.  
A great event!  I'd highly recommend Simple Gourmet for a team event.  They also had a cupcake challenge and some other options, but we opted for this challenge relay since we're all a bit competitive by nature.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Time To Start Those Thoughtful Christmas Gifts

Shoot.  I know most people love the holidays starting from Halloween until Christmas... well I guess I'm the outlier.  It's so stressful, and I don't even do much.  But this year, I'd like to do some special stuff, start some traditions within our family, especially since Jordan is 2 and a lot more able to participate and communicate than before.

That means that ABC gospel book I started to make last year (got about three letters done) needs to be finished.  Some shopping on Etsy for a cute gospel quiet book (cuz I ain't that crafty nor do I have the time to even think about making it myself) needs to be done... and some serious thought provoking brainstorming needs to be done about what to get everyone.  It's a little much.

But before I can even begin that, I ought to finish the homemade Halloween costumes for my boys before October 31st rolls around.  I only make them because I think the store bought ones are not only ridiculously overpriced, but also kind of ugly.  The stores one meaning the Jake and the Neverland Pirate costumes that are out there because Old Navy sure has some super cute and warm costumes on sale!

I feel good about the two pieces of Halloween deocrations we have up in the house.  It really makes a difference.  And I'd like to make the same short goal of having two pieces of Thanksgiving decor up before the second week of November.  As for Christmas, we have quite a bit collected... but I'd also like to add to the list and try to make our home a festive pine cone smelling kind of place.

Oh holidays.  So fun and also so much work.

*le sigh.

I guess it's time I stopped wasting time on facebook and try to use what little free time I have to make some thoughtful Christmas gifts!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

California Dreaming

There's a familiar serenity that comes with traveling back to LA for me.  Maybe it's the history of flying back "home" when I used to travel a lot for work, maybe it's the warm weather, the green trees (even during Fall) or the rim of smog as we slowly descend that feels so right... or maybe it's just my over dramatic depiction of going home.  Whatever it is, it feels just as much home despite it no longer being my home for two years now.  I'm lucky for the work sponsored quarterly opportunity to go back to the motherland and now that I have live farther from my parents and have a busy life with a family of my own, I'm even more aware of how special it is to go back and take a quick departure from my normal routine.

Since Bubba isn't taking the bottle, I took him with me for my Q3 meeting.  Jordan stayed with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law during the day and had a grand ol' time with Daddy at night.  It was quite special to have that time alone with Bubba especially since not long ago, these trips to LA from Spokane were just Jordan and me.

This was Bubba's second time flying, and he was an absolute angel.  No blowouts on the plane, ate and then slept through the entire thing.
In all my years traveling, I never noticed the redundancy of Los Angeles Los Angeles Los Angeles and it cracked me up so much I had to take a photo.  HAHAHA.  
Apparently, I brought the Utah weather with me because upon arriving.. it rained for a few hours during lunch.  I can't figure out if my taste has evolved with both romantic movies and hoity toity dining... but I haven't appreciated any "chick flicks" as of late and I didn't enjoy Urth Cafe in Pasadena as much as I used to enjoy the other ones on the Westside.  The carrot cake hadn't changed though (besides becoming a lot larger than before!) and it still tasted scrumptious.
$5 for parking?  Good thing my brother and I were with my mom.  Ridiculous. 
This is a traditional Chinese dish - eggs with tomatoes.  We all laughed when we saw it.  HAHAHA.  
Probably the best plate - mine!  Veggie panini.  Yum. 
Omelette of sorts.  With some very well seasoned sausage that my mom said was gross but my brother liked, I didn't try it.  
Got to hang with my cousin who's preggers!  So exciting!!!  We talked baby stuff and I gave her a breastfeeding book that my brother accidentally flipped through and almost lost his appetite.  Almost.  
The super thick three layer carrot cake that made the trip semi-worthwhile.  I think I'll stick to my normal places (Sinbala, Ding Tai Fong, Golden Deli) in the future.  I was trying to branch out and I was also so excited that there was an Urth Cafe so close! 

On our way home, we made a quick trip to BevMo to load up on drinks for my work party the next day (as an operations/finance person, this was part of my job).  We had a good time and left with a case of wine, some six packs of IPAs, a fabulous assortment of cool cane sugar sodas (including sweet corn and key lime!), and some prosciutto and smoked gouda for ourselves.  It was a fun trip to BevMo with my mom and brother and especially fun for my mom who had never been.    

In the afternoon, my dad hung out with Bubba and I took hold of the opportunity and went to get a much needed facial.
I go to a place in Temple City called Babyface, the girl Tiffany is wonderful! 
And that was day one of my three day trip home.  We had dinner without my brother that night because he had plans to dine at a fancy restaurant in LA with his girlfriend.  So I got my Sinbala fix with my parents that night.  

Then... without a house to clean, dishes to do, or kids to put asleep (Bubba goes down pretty much after eating, no stories yet or rebellion like Jordan), I talked to Andy and Jordan and then was in bed by 10 PM.  That's unheard of.  It's not that I need the sleep, but normally.. I can't fall asleep because my mind is racing about things to do and so I get up and do it.  Or watch some On Demand television - but I didn't know how to work my parents TV and I didn't feel like it.  So instead I got a great night of sleep!