Thursday, July 23, 2015

FARMERS MARKET WITH MY GIRLS



Going to the farmer's market is one of my favorite things to do in the summer. The one that we go to gets really crowded so you kind of have to make a resolve, take a big breath and just dive in; understand that there will be a lot of sweating and just commit. This past weekend, with my mom being here, we made it out there (with baby in tow!) and had a great time checking out the goods.  It was extremely hot that day, and I was worried about the baby getting overheated, so it was a quick outing but it felt great to get out and wander about with my mom and daughters for that hour.

My favorite thing to get at the market these days are seasonal fruit and vegetables (peaches! And tomatoes! I couldn't get over the tomatoes), whipped honey from Alfonso, granola from Flower child, and baked goods from Dalkohm. We also like to occasionally treat ourselves to Popsicles from King of Pops or kettle corn from the popcorn guy, because...summer! Sloane also loves going to the market because of aforementioned snacks, but also because it's a dog-lovers world. It seems like all of Richmond's dogs come out to parade around the market, and checking out the different ones (and getting to meet and pet some of them) is Sloane's M.O. 














Monday, July 20, 2015

OUR FIRST WEEK WITH LOGAN



It's been a little over a week (10 days, to be exact) and it's been...pretty blissful, believe it or not.  The bliss mostly comes from being smitten with this new baby, being surrounded by family and having renewed appreciation for Ken and Sloane.  I'm appreciating every drop of newborn smell, savoring the tiny fingers and toes, and noticing how she changes from one day to the next. The first few days back from the hospital consisted of almost no sleep (first night back: 1 total hour of sleep, second night back: 2 total hours of sleep) but once my milk came in, and she started sleeping longer between feedings, we found ourselves in a rhythm that feels doable. I'm sleepy and happy.  

The wild thing is that she reminds me so much of Sloane - from the way she looks to how she nurses and  sleeps - so I feel like I'm getting a chance to do something that I thought was long gone, all over again. 


It's been wonderful to have family here; my sister was here for the weekend and my mom has been here with us since the baby.  Thank goodness for mothers, their wisdom and how just their presence makes life feel easier. 


It's almost as if I didn't realize how big Sloane was until I saw them together. I look back and forth from one to the other and it's still hard to believe - really, that baby becomes that little girl??



It's a good day when we all get to nap.


I resolved to take daily walks around our neighborhood and I find myself looking forward to this time each day. My mom has been walking with me, and sometimes Sloane or Ken, and I love being able to move around and get a little sweaty. The recovery for this one has been much faster than with the first, so I'm already feeling anxious to start working out but I'm reminding myself that I should take it easy....


Sloane is at home with Ken for these weeks (because his work offers great paternity leave) and he's been keeping Sloane busy with an outing every day.  He has been wonderful with her and I know that this time they are spending together is such valuable time for both of them. 


We've been eating more Korean food around here since my mom has been cooking for us. There is also more Korean being spoken around here and I'm hoping Sloane gets influenced even if in small increments. Here is Sloane making kimbap with my mom for lunch one day. 


I'm making sure to also take time to really enjoy Sloane right now. She amazes me constantly with her vocabulary, questions and ideas, and I want to make sure to always let her know how special she is. Her thing this week is choreographing dances that she instructs me through. She has been really into ballerinas recently, and her dedication to these 'ballerina' dances are impressive...and hilarious.


Just as we expected and hoped, Sloane has taken to her role as a big sister extremely well. I'm still watching out for any jealousy issues, but so far, it's all love for baby sister and she seems to understand all the time it takes to care for a newborn.  Sloane asks to hold and take care of the baby every day, talks to her, wants to show her toys, and is eager to help in any way.



After just one week, I already have so many (too many??) photos of these two on my phone. But I mean, come on, look at them! I can't help myself....


The transition into a family of four feels natural - maybe because it felt like we waited so long for her to come ! - but like everyone says, the new addition seems to just give us more reasons to love each other as a family.  I get to see Sloane in a new light as a sister, and to observe Ken again as a new dad, and now as a dad of two girls, which is going to be pretty dang amazing... I can already tell.  


You guys, I'm a mom ...of daughters! I don't think I'll get tired of saying that. I love these girls so much and I'm looking forward to more adventures with the two of them.





Thursday, July 16, 2015

MEETING LOGAN





After a false alarm the Sunday before,  I found myself on a Thursday night, feeling depressed.  My doula was going to be out of town on Saturday so I had officially one more day left to get this baby out if I wanted my doula to be at the birth.  I sighed dramatically to myself all over the house that night, before resolving that even if the baby decided to come 10 days late (like Sloane did), there was nothing that I could do about it but wait and learn my lesson in being patient.

Around 9:10 PM, as I was getting ready for bed, I felt something like a contraction and then it happened again about 20 minutes later. I wasn't sure if it was a contraction because I had been feeling a lot of pressure on my back and on my pelvis throughout the day, and I guessed it might be just more of that. After a few more sporadic ones, I started having what felt like regular contractions around 11PM - every 12 minutes or so.  I tried my best to fall asleep but I felt wired and hungry.  After tossing and turning, and counting contractions and then wondering if it really was a contraction,  I went downstairs and made myself a sweet potato, bacon and green onion hash with a fried egg on top and siracha sauce all over it.  It was 1 AM at this time, and I washed the food down with some watermelon and grapefruit agua fresca and ate two cherries while watching the Nina Simone documentary on Netflix (FYI, it's really good). I climbed back into bed around 2AM and eventually fell asleep.  I woke up around 5:30 AM (every day that week!) but was able to fall back asleep until about 7AM when I woke up and felt contractions happening every 20 minutes or so.  I started to keep closer track of the contractions and found they were happening every 6-7 minutes, but the intensity level was moderate. I made myself, Sloane and Ken's mom the same dish I had eaten the night before, toasted some bagels, and then logged into work.  I was planning on working that day, but I was so distracted by the contractions that I couldn't concentrate and told work that I would take off that day. I also (it gets graphic here....) noticed blood and what I guessed was mucous plug in the toilet when I went to the bathroom, so that seemed like progress.

By 11:00 AM, the contractions were still about 6-7 minutes but had gotten significantly more intense. I had been texting with Taylor (my doula) to give her updates and by 11:30 AM, I made the call to go into the hospital. In between contractions I felt fine and felt like I could wait longer but then I had a few that were so intense and the pressure on my back was so strong it felt like the baby was going to come out of my back that very instant. There was some delay due to one of Ken's friends stopping by (!!) but by noon we were on the road and we got to the hospital around 12:15 PM.

We got settled in our birthing room, I breathed through the contractions (which felt like they were all in my back), I got in the tub, and two hours after we arrived at the hospital, Logan was born.  There was a lot that was different about this labor than with my first - different hospital, daytime as opposed to the middle of the night, different midwife, harder contractions, much shorter pushing time, and sitting on a birthing stool as opposed to sitting on the bed - but there were a lot of similar things too. Both Ken and Taylor were there with me, providing incredible support, and there were points where I truly felt like I wasn't going to be able to do it, but lo and behold, I did do it. As soon as Logan was out and I held her in my arms, waves of love and relief washed over me. And then my next thoughts were immediately went to all the women who have done this before and how incredible they all are for going through this. I felt this overwhelming sense of awe for the process of labor, birth and motherhood. Again, I had the privilege to be a part of that and despite all the pain, I wholly felt that privilege and honor.


A few hours after Logan was born, Sloane came to visit us in the hospital with Ken's mom. I wanted their meeting to be special for both of them, but I especially was concerned that Sloane didn't see this new addition as a threat to her. Before Sloane came in, I put Logan down in her bed (read: plastic box) on the other side of me and greeted Sloane as she entered with hugs and kisses; I had missed her! Sloane climbed into bed with me, asking me questions and I couldn't help notice how big and grown up she seemed. She was eager to meet baby sister so we brought the baby over and it was the sweetest thing seeing Sloane greet her sister for the first time: she touched her nose and hair, wanted to see her hands and feet and gave her little kisses. Sloane instantly took to her big sister role and it was amazing to witness.


Thank goodness for Ken's mom being there while we rushed off to the hospital. She had been with us all week and her presence and help around the house helped with all my antsyness earlier that week. 


My mom was flying in from Korea that day and landed at about the same time that Logan came into the world. She made it to the hospital the next day on Saturday morning to meet her second granddaughter and it was wonderful to have her there knowing that she was going to be there when we returned home. My sister, Eunice, and her husband, Val, also came down with my mom and I loved seeing that tiny hospital room filled with family members greeting the baby for the first time. 





My mom, my sister and my daughters!



Monday, July 13, 2015

LOGAN THEA LU


Logan Thea Lu, arrived on Friday afternoon, July 10, at 2:15 pm... and I am so smitten.

Waiting for her felt like forever, but the labor and delivery was quick and then she was in my arms- both of us shivering and in a haze, clinging to each other. 

I loved her immediately... and I realized in large part it was because she reminds me so much of when Sloane was first born. My love for Sloane then, throughout these past few years, my love for her currently, and then now my love for Logan - it's all interwoven and connected in a way I could never have fully grasped until now. 

I'm in awe ...and incredibly grateful that I get to do it all over again. 


Thursday, July 9, 2015

WHAT I'VE BEEN LISTENING TO



I've been listening to this Ingrid Michaelson song on repeat. I don't know, it just gets to me.

Also listening to:

Nina Revisted....A Tribute to Nina Simone (currently found at NPR's first listen): it makes me want to watch that Nina Simone documentary on Netflix. 

Amos Lee's Mission Bell album: lots of goodies on there (and the whole thing is on Youtube).

Morning Jacket's Waterfall album: seems particularly good for a summertime soundtrack.

Matt Pond PA's State of Gold album: great energy but not in an annoying way.

Hillsong UNITED's Empires album: terribly soothing.



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

WHILE WE WAIT, A ROUND UP




So here we are again, waiting.

I feel a bit like I am walking underwater. My brain and body are so geared up for this huge thing coming up that it's hard to focus on anything else. I truly am enjoying this time and have been relaxing a lot (naps galore!) but I'm tired of being pregnant and the not knowing when it is going to happen is really throwing me for a loop, earlier this time than last time.

During this time of learning how to be supremely patient, I found myself referring back often to past entries of this blog and delighting in the memories that I have been able to store here over the years. I'm going to share a bunch of links here as a round up, because man oh man, the perspective!

Throughout this pregnancy, it's been fun to be able to go back to see what I recorded about the pregnancy with Sloane during the same mile markers, like when I first got pregnant, the letter I wrote to Sloane about Ken, that time of waiting for Sloane in July of 2012 when I hit 40 weeks (that's tomorrow for this one), that time I walked to the museum, and 41 weeks.....and then this video slide show I made when Sloane finally got here!

Also, throughout this pregnancy, as this new baby grew inside me and I started to wonder what this baby would be like, it was wonderful to be able to look back at what Sloane was like at certain times in her life and get excited that I was going to be able to do it all over again: 4 days into her life, 9 days old2 weeks, 5 months, 9 months, then when she turned one and two.

I love July, and once July 1 hit this year, I started looking back at the other Julys in recent years. Like our outings to Texas beach last summer of 2014, summer of 2013 (and Texas beach in 2011 before baby !!), a beach trip that summer of 2013, and our beach trip last year of 2014.  Then a birthday weekend with my mom and sisters summer of 2013 part 1 and part 2 , and a weekend with my family in ellicott city part 1 and part 2.

It's also been great reminders reading through entries like this one I did about a day with Sloane and about how love is patient.

This baby raising thing, it is quite a ride....and despite all sorts of anxieties that inevitably pop up here and there... I'm excited to do it again.  So come on baby #2, make an appearance!




Thursday, July 2, 2015

TO MAKE AND EAT




I said here before how Sloane and I are obsessed with smoothie bowls, and this week we tried a different version with peach, mango, banana, greek yogurt, chia seeds and almond meal - topped with granola, apricot and blueberries - so good!  This green version is what I'm going to try next...


Also, in lieu of a cocktail, I want this grapefruit and watermelon agua fresca, bad. This might be the one thing I try to get done this weekend. And drink it up while finishing a book.


If I'm feeling ambitious, which I'm not, but if I were, I would make giant portions of this Mexicali Chopped Salad for next week and eat it everyday for lunch.




....what I want to eat after this baby is out: Ahi Tuna Poke bowl.  With a giant glass of Cremant wine.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

WHAT SLOANE SAID.....IN JUNE



It was around the end of May that I found myself constantly doing double takes as I interacted with Sloane. She suddenly looked different, and was acting in such a way that seemed so entirely her own. It was as if a new, older version of Sloane had come and replaced the toddler version. Raising a baby is exciting because the changes happen so quickly, almost miraculously, but I'm finding this time is particularly special because you can actually see this bright spirit that is emerging from the baby you raised, who is entirely her own being separate from you, and you can't help but be in awe. It makes my heart soar and ache at the time same. 




June 4
"Good night mommy (gives me a kiss)
Good night Rusty (gives rusty a kiss)
....Mom, may I give you one more kiss?"

June 5 
"When I grow up and up, may I have pink nail polish on my toe nails just like you?"

June 8
"Mom, Jesus loves Rusty."

June 10
In the middle of a conversation, "Mom, wait hold on someone is calling... (picks up her pretend phone) Hello? I'm telling my mom a story, I'll call you back."
"Who was that Sloane"
"Oh that was just Dora "

June 11
"I LOVE mermaids."
"Why?"
"Because.....they always swim" 

June 14
"Mom, when I sing, don't laugh" 
(This is probably due to the fact that Ken and I can't help laughing every time we hear her sing along to a song. It's so cute.)

June 16

Once in a while, I'll catch her quietly staring off into the distance, and every time I have asked her what she's thinking about this past month, her answer: "Kitty cats."

June 18
A phone conversation with Sloane:
M: Hello? 
S: Mom, I bonked my ehgi ("baby" in Korean) finger 
M: Oh no, what happened ? 
S: I just hugging rusty and then I fell and my finger got bonked
M: Did papa kiss it?
S: No....
M: Well, what's papa doing right now? (In the background I hear, "it's a flying watermelon!")
M: Are you eating watermelons?
S: Yes!
M: How was school today?
S: Ummm...it was good but we didn't go outside today. It was too hot.  But we are going to do water balloons now because Elijah and Os are coming to our house
M: Ok, I'm coming home now too! 
S: Ok.. (Then I hear her say to ken) papa? Can you kiss my finger?..... Mom, we are going outside now!
M: See you soon Sloane, bye!
S: Bye!


June 20
I was laying down because my back hurt. She clambered onto the bed and said, "Mom you need a story? And then a song and a cuddle?" I said oh yes please. She proceeded to tell me a story: "one day, there was a lion, and he was walking along when he saw a big bad wolf. Then the lion ATE the big bad wolf!!!! 

June 22
"I don't want to cuddle... because I want to fall asleep by myself."
This was a complete surprise because she always wants to cuddle and begs for a few more minutes of cuddling, but she must have had a couple of nights where she wanted to fall asleep by herself.  She was back to wanting cuddles a few nights later. Last night I heard her calling out for me and when I peeped back in, she said, "Mom, I just need a little more cuddle." 

June 24
"Mom, when i get bigger and bigger and become a grownup, may I wear your shoes? And eat spicy soup?"

June 25
"Sloane, do you feel okay?" She was looking tired and sniffling. 
"No, I don't feel good." 
"Oh no, what's wrong?"
"I don't know...but mom, maybe a popsicle will help me feel better." 

June 28
"When my baby sister comes out, I'm going to teach her how to dance!"




Friday, June 26, 2015

WAITING AND WATCHING




I've been waking up 4-5 times these days in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.  That's real.

I remember how annoyed I used to be about this during my first pregnancy, but this time around, it doesn't seem that big of a deal.  I also can't help acknowledge that it really is conditioning my body for all the night time feedings I'm going to have to get up for when the baby is here. (People used to tell me this during the first pregnancy, and I would think, 'yes, but what about sleep????')

On one of those nightly trips a few days ago, I got back in bed and couldn't fall back asleep. My mind was wide awake and racing with thoughts

So, this is what it's going to be like waking up when it's dark to nurse. 

My thoughts are so loud when there is no one else awake.

I can't wait to meet this baby.

When am I going to pump? Arg I hate pumping. 

We need to budget. 

What are we going to do about schools? 

I need to make more money. 

Where can we cut down?

I need to finish that email. 

I want a career.  I want to eventually be financially capable so that we can give. 

I need to make sure I spend intentional time, even if it's brief, with Sloane every day after the baby comes. 

I should go back to sleep. 

I should get some writing done. 

Should we have acai smoothie bowls for breakfast again? 

I should have quiet time. 

I'm afraid my maternity leave is going to go by too fast. 

Remember how awful it was to recover from the last pregnancy? 

Why are we doing this again? 

It's going to be amazing seeing Sloane with her sister. 

Is Ken going to be ok? 

Why does two weeks feel like an eternity? And why am I in such a hurry? I want to enjoy this time. 



I ended getting out of bed, I couldn't go back to sleep. It was early, but I had gone to slee pretty early the night before and so I started getting ready for the day. I got a lot done that morning; it was quiet, peaceful and I was able to quell some of the anxiety by getting stuff done, writing, and meditating on the present moment. That quiet hour before everyone else wakes and the rush begins is so pregnant with potential - of raw energy, of the privacy to lay down my despair, of the space to reach for humility and seek peace. 

Is the secret to sanity going to sleep early and waking up early?  Maybe.

Speaking of acai smoothie bowls, Sloane and I are a little bit addicted. We have had it for three mornings in a row now.


Day 1


Day 2


Day 3

I mix up the frozen acai pack with frozen banana, frozen blueberry, a little almond milk, plain yogurt and some flax seed and then we have been topping it with granola and the fruit we have on hand. It's filling and delicious.

And speaking of a certain kind of humility and relinquishing, especially when struggling to find peace, my friend sent me this link, which has this video in it.  It totally floors me.

Another friend, who was my doula for my first birth and will be again for this one, came over later that night and we talked through some of my current feelings and expectations for this labor. She is wonderful and by the end of it, a lot of my antsy-ness had dissipated, as if I needed someone to officially tell me I didn't need to be antsy anymore. In due time, things will happen. There IS a perfect timing. 

Today is Friday and I find myself okay with the pace of these days: anticipating whilst being glad for the waiting. 


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

WHAT I'M READING, V. 5






1. Middlemarch by George Eliot

Middlemarch is one of those books that I hoped to get to someday but would probably never had have the time or energy to plow through properly....until the option of audiobooks. Since it's a classic, I can get it for free, and I've been listening to it over the past few weeks, marveling at the scope of the thing.  I'm enjoying it so far, but I feel like the sense of accomplishment at the end might equal my enjoyment of it.

2. The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin

I read this article called "Can Reading Make You Happy?" in the New Yorker a few weeks ago and I loved it immediately because it introduced me to the concept bibliotherapy - the practice of prescribing books as a remedy to ailments. The whole idea spoke to the bookworm and story-lover in me and I wanted to go somewhere right there and then to read. I mean with lines like: "Reading fiction makes me lose all sense of self, but at the same time makes me feel most uniquely myself", how could it not resonate?

The article describes the book, "The Novel Cure" that two bibliotherapists put together with book recommendations for all sorts of occasions. I got my hands on it because my mom (fellow book-lover) ordered it, but to our house (for when she visits in a few weeks), and I tore into it with glee. It reads more like a dictionary or encyclopedia with an alphabetized list of conditions and the book or books that are appropriate for that situation.

An excerpt from the introduction:

"Next time you're feeling in need of a pick-me-up or require assistance with an emotional tangle, reach for a novel...Sometimes it's the story that charms; other times, it's the rhythm of the prose that works on the psyche, stilling or stimulating. Sometimes it's an idea or an attitude suggested by a character in a similar quandary or jam. Either way, novels have the power to transport you to another existence and see the world from a different point of view. When you're engrossed in a novel, unable to tear yourself from the page, you are seeing what a character sees, touching what a character touches, learning what a character learns. You may think you're sitting on a sofa in your living room, but the important parts of you - your thoughts, your senses your spirit - are somewhere else entirely.  "to read a writer is for me not merely to get an idea of what he says, but to go off with him and travel in his company," said Andre Gide. No one comes back from such a journey quiet the same."


3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I've been wanting to read this book and my mom sent me a copy in the mail the other week! (Air mail! and a good book!) I haven't started it yet but I'm saving it like a delicious morsel waiting to be devoured.

4. The Performance Paleo Cookbook: Recipes for Training Harder, Getting Stronger, and Gaining the Competitive Edge by Stephanie Gaudreau

Yes, it's a cookbook, but I've been reading through it, so it counts. I actually got this book for Ken for father's day but I've been pouring over it for recipe ideas. I like it because it divides up the recipes according to pre-workout snacks, post-workout fuel, protein-baked meals to build strength, carb-dense sides to maximize recovery, nutrient-boosting veggie sides, tasty & nutritious treats, and scrumptious sauces and seasonings.  The recipes are clear and simple and I've already tried a few of them with success.






Monday, June 22, 2015

CHERRY PICKING AT SPRING VALLEY ORCHARD



On the way back home from our little road trip a few weeks ago, we got off the highway and drove 30 minutes off the main road through luscious trees and small town roads into the valley to find ourselves a cherry orchard. All of it was dreamy- the hot steamy air, the dense forests, and the incredible views of the valley when we finally arrived. We all sort of gasped a little when we saw the rows and rows of trees filled with red jewels, it seemed too good to be true. We got to work, picking and eating as we went and when we were done we left that place feeling a little bit like we had dreamed it all up.  











Kitty cat watched all the action from a branch...


An 8 month old belly!


The dark red ones are the best ones. Man these cherries were luscious...


Counting how many cherries she collected so far.




Me and my little cherry picker.