Sunday, December 30, 2012


i know christmas is now long and gone, but here are my quick five notes on our christmas, which happened in two parts - in virginia beach with ken's family and then in richmond with mine. 

one. it was sloane's first christmas and she got loved on by relatives so hard. she is one lucky baby.

two. sloane's favorite part seems to be clawing at the wrapping paper. noted.

three.  yayyy my parents are heree...!!!

four. i am in love with all the different kinds of handmade wrapping paper my cousin lois and my sister eunice came up with.

five. we are full of love for our families and our little one. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Presents are wrapped and decorations are up, and just in time, too. I strung up Christmas cards, kind of decorated a Christmas 'mantle' and tied tiny ornaments on our super skinny tinsel tree. And as always, these things will probably stick around for a few weeks after Christmas, just to get that much more out of the season. I like to pretend the Christmas season stretches on till a few weeks into January.

We are in va beach right now with ken's family for xmas part 1 and it is lovely to be able to spend time with a whole lot of them for the holidays and be around for them to love on Sloane. We are going to do xmas part 2 back up in Richmond tomorrow night when my parents fly in, before heading out of town again for a couple of days. It's a busy week, and sleep has not been good for the past couple of days, but I am trying to stay present lest the whole week flies by without me being able to appreciate all the wonderful little moments.

1 day 'till Christmas!


sloane, i just want to jot this down real quick so that you and i can remember this later. 
one time, on a windy and sunny saturday afternoon when your dad had gone out of town, you and i went to carytown to run errands and do some last minute shopping. i grabbed some coffee and proceeded to spend the next 3 hours walking down the street, in and out of stores, and even though it took longer than i expected and the crowds were just as hectic as i expected, you were the best sidekick a mom could ever ask for. you were patient, pleasant and adorable. which are the best qualities a baby sidekick could have. i know it got boring after a while, and you would go from cold to sweaty because i bundled you up so warm that the inside of stores probably felt like a furnace, but you stuck it through, and was pretty much a rockstar in my opinion. you stared wide-eyed at everything you saw, smiled when i sang you christmas songs, took a quick nap when you got tired, and didn't complain, even though i expected you to.  thanks for keeping me company, i love hanging out with you.

walking in carytown with baby =  favorite saturday afternoon activity 

she needs her own sized sunnies

check out those sleigh bells!

merry christmas from RVA

my partner in (errand-running) crime 

2 days 'till Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012


hey, my husband looks surprisingly good in a green cowboy hat and boa feathers. 

3 days 'till Christmas!


This week I'm starting with Sunday, because that's the meal I happened to take a photo of. 

What we had for dinner: 12/16 – 12/21

Chicken roast with garlic and potatoes: I used this recipe, but added carrots, red onion, and mushrooms. I also substituted beef stock for chicken stock ('cause that's what we happened to have) and added some butter before popping it in the oven. This was really good. 

Grilled ham and cheese with spicy cranberry sauce (cranberry sauce + thai sweet chili sauce) and chicken noodle soup (thanks, progresso)

We had Ken's family in town, and we all went out to Mamma Zu's, which was extremely pleasurable. 

Spaghetti with meatballs

Ken's holiday work party at the Boathouse! 

Grilled steak, green beans & saffron rice

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


K.'s cousin, Norman, was in town for a hot second and he took these lovely pictures of Sloane. They are so great because they so capture how smiley and giggly she's been lately.
 I am in love. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


When I first heard the news about the school shooting in Connecticut, the first nanosecond of a knee-jerk reaction I had was to block my ears and my mind from taking it in. I wanted to close the browser, walk away from the world and hide under my covers. It’s a reaction that has developed over time, a way to cope from hearing about tragedy after tragedy. I already know and anticipate that feeling of grief and despair that will wash over my body, how my heart will suddenly weigh a ton, and my vocabulary disappears.

I read two articles that reported the incident, and then I took myself off the internet and tried to focus on work. I couldn’t. This heart, that now knows what it feels like to worry constantly about a child, felt like it was laden with a boulder and sinking into a deep ocean. Empathy, sympathy, heartache for those parents was near debilitating. I think there are incidents that happen in this life that are so horrific that you either can’t and don’t talk about it at all, in order to cope, or you talk the hell out of it, in order to cope.  Sometimes there are no words and you just stay silent. Sometimes, even if there are no words, you try anyways, and then there is a floodgate of ideas, opinions, and feelings. Sometimes the words are awkward and insufficient, but you need to write it down, less they drown forever. Terrible things that happen - genocide, war, shootings, kidnapping, rape, that crazy incident of a nanny stabbing the kids she was taking care of, parents killing their children – can paralyze, but then what? Will writing/praying/talking about it help? Will being horrified/feeling/hurting, even when you want to turn it all off, help? Will having discussions about how to prevent things like this in the future, help? I want to believe, that an answer to all of these questions is, yes.

I think everyone’s reactions, my facebook wall filling up with status updates about this, the president’s speech, my heart, are all meaningful in of themselves. It means that we are all united in agreeing that when there is loss, and pain, and suffering, all of our human hearts feel wretched. It means that we are capable of great sympathy and that the deepest grief can paralyze, but also motivate and move us. It reminds us that we have a strong sense of what is right and wrong in the world, and that we are all vulnerable and subject to the injustice that bullies us into cynicism or paralysis. 

Like any other tragedy, there is a need to have discussions about gun control, need for better mental health care, and ways to prevent future incidents. (A really great article about gun control here.)  But there’s also a time to mourn. I cried, thinking about the hurt and the loss. And I asked, ‘Why, God!’ to an empty sky. And as always, whenever I ask this question, a resounding silence. And then, a flood of surrender, a loosening of my grip, because the answer is that God is God and God knows it all. My faith means that when I say God, I mean God. I don’t mean just my piddlywink version of a God or a genie or a magician, but a God who cannot be contained, who is both bigger than the pain and small enough to offer comfort.  My faith means that I believe God knows all the pain and suffering in the world, has taken it upon himself on the cross, and has called us to take it upon ourselves, too, by healing the brokenhearted and binding up their wounds. This blows my mind, frustrates me, and fills me with hope all at the same time.

I've been hugging my baby extra tight these days, breathing her in more deeply and appreciating even times of an aching heart, because that just means that this heart is doing what it's supposed to. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Home-cooked meals. It’s something to aspire to, something what we know is good for our health and wallets, but it’s also one of those things that can be difficult to keep up, especially when both grown-ups are working and the baby is getting so much more fun to play with after a long day of work. In an effort to share my journey through this process, and as a way to keep a diary for myself to see what meals work and don’t, I am going to try to post what we had for dinner each Monday-Friday. I’m going to focus on the weekdays because we usually try to eat in as much as possible during the weekday and because that’s when time crunch is at its worst. I am going to try to link to the recipes that I used, as much as possible, and include a photo if I was able to take one. It's going to be real life, because sometimes we eat in all week, sometimes we don't. I think the important thing is to keep things simple, plan ahead, and appreciate when your husband offers to pick up Chipotle on his way home. 

What we had for dinner: 12/10 – 12/14

Grilled steak (tenderized and marinated with salt, pepper, olive oil), garlic butter mushrooms, green beans

 Spaghetti in marinara sauce with sausage and mushrooms

 Baked salmon (salt, pepper, lemon, olive oil) with jasmine rice and sauteed peppers 

Pork noodles with spinach


Thursday, December 13, 2012

2013 IS A COMIN'

Are you ready for Christmas? No? Me neither. What about the new year? I know! It's too soon. Or is it? Come to think of it, 2012 was fat and good and bursting at the seams, and I feel good about welcoming 2013 with open arms.  I like the sound of 2013, it sounds like a mature lady. It sounds like the right kind of year to turn 30, and such.

The almost 30-year old me (okay, it's not happening until the middle of next year, but I have a feeling it is going to be a hot topic all the way up until then) would love to have that lovely linen wall calendar hanging near the kitchen. Too bad it's sold out, but check out some of these other lovely calendars gathered together here. Isn't that Globe Trotter calendar beautiful?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


If you were wondering, laundry did not get folded last Thursday, bravado and plans withstanding. It started off good, but then S. decided she wasn’t so much into swinging after all and wanted to cuddle and paw at my face, so we did that instead, which was more than okay with me. Laundry is getting done in tiny increments over several days, and as always, more appears! It's never ending. I've accepted that.

I had several things I wanted to post over the weekend but seeing as that didn’t happen, I’m going to make this a long one with a lot of words and then lots of pictures of a baby. You in?  Here are some lily pads of thoughts:

1.      When Sloane gets all worked up (usually at night after I have put her in the crib), and I go back in the room to check on her, she flaps her arms like WILD, indicating that she wants to be picked up. It is the funniest, cutest, best thing right now. Flap flap flap flap flap. The other day, she only got one arm out of her swaddle, and when I leaned over her, she flapped the one free arm with all of her might.
2.      I don’t want to call it pregnancy/nursery brain, and this didn’t actually happen to me that much during my pregnancy, but whatever it is, these days I find that I can be holding a thought in my brain at one moment, and the next moment, it’s as if most of the words in the sentence fall away into an abyss, and I am left holding the remnants of a phrase. For example, if I am thinking, “She looks like Mandy Moore” at one point, the next moment, even just a few minutes later, it looks like this: “She looks like M_____ M_____.  What is her name? Mindy? No. She sings that song that goes (play tune of song). M something…. Her last name is short. What is it?” It’s eery. Other times I will have a fully formulated thought in my head, but when I try to pull it up, all I can pull up are the feelings that I have associated with that thought, but not the words. For example, at work, I know that we need to discuss a particular incident that needs to be resolved and I can remember how I feel frustrated about it, and how problematic it is, but I can’t remember the name of the incident or the problem that I need to refer to. Doesn’t that sound crazy?! Thankfully this doesn’t have too much, and usually a few moments of calm thinking, and/or grabbing a pen and paper will bring it back up, but I don’t like it.  This means I try to write down anything/everything I need to remember.
3.      I have so many angry thoughts about my student loans, and about student loan lenders. If you are lucky (ha), I may elaborate on this later.  All I will say for now is that it is depressing at best. 
4.      Can I do a tiny little vent unrelated to anything that I have mentioned so far?! It is so irritating, but admittedly  not surprising, that people who claim to like She & Him, know Zooey Deschanel is the ‘she’ but is not aware that other half of the duo is M. Ward, who is amazing and I love him.  
5.      Lastly, I have decided I will keep a food diary of our dinners. This will be mostly in order to keep track of how we are eating, remember recipes that are worth keeping around, and understand which ones work and which ones don’t. I’ll keep it mostly to weekdays, and try to post a list of what we ate Monday-Friday each week.  I will post the first one this weekend! Look out for it. 

Now, pictures!! Let's call these, 'that time....with baby sloane'

that time she couldn't decide between omelets and french toast at brunch.
 her cheeks look like they might have an opinion all of their own. 

that time we realized she was dressed almost exactly like her dad (not planned, i swear), 
and she watched us eat pho. 

that time we went to costco and she made friends with a stuffed lion and monkey

that time she pooped ALL OVER HERSELF up to her shoulders, and was really happy about it. 

that time she kicked her legs around until she got them wedged in between the bars of her crib

that time she wore a tutu. and liked it. 

that time she had went face-to-face with a dog.

that time she sat next to a boy who commented on her vest (thanks great-grandma!)
 and told her that 'she was a very nice baby'

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Yes, it's happening. Today, I will attack the mountain load of unfolded laundry that is becoming a fixture in our house. Today is the first 'free' day I've had in a while and I am saying, 'laundry, you're mine.'  The baby dragon is going to hang out in the swing while I get this done, and I've decided we will listen to Sufjan Steven's new album, 'Silver and Gold', while I fold/she swings. This album is a volume 6-10 type of thing (volume 1-5 was released in 2006) and the entire 3 hour long album is available for streaming on NPR Music. From what I can gather (based on her reaction to all the Christmas songs I've been singing to her lately) Sloane is a fan of the Christmas music, so it will make both of us happy.

Usually I would put a picture of the album cover here, but something about the font and the colors bugs me (I know, werid. but google it! see if you agree) so I will post a picture of Sloane and I from the weekend, instead.

Check out the album here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


there was a party at our house this past weekend. 

our friends Maya & Sang decided to get engaged after 9 years of dating. 9 years! 
so it was worth a celebration. 

the thing that i am proudest of is this wall that i did with gold sparkly wrapping paper.
i hunted and hunted for the exact kind i wanted and found it at Michael's (they had BLACK glitter wrapping paper, too!) the original plan was to do a massive zigzag across a bigger wall, but it failed, so this was the back up plan. there were some hiccups here and there, and don't look too close because there is a lot of tape, but overall i am pleased with how it turned out. it achieved the effect that i wanted, which was big, bold, graphic and sparkly. i wanted it to be used as a backdrop for photos, and i think it worked. it is staying up probably all throughout the holidays, because if you look hard enough, it is an upside down xmas tree. 

and do you see what is happening with the balloon jelly fish? i ordered two clear 36" balloons from Koyal Wholesale, had them filled at Party City, and then Maya jazzed it up fringing streamers and adding a gold circle garland (from Target). we were all in love with the balloons.

see? photo backdrop

 since all parties should have a cake, there was the prettiest cake i've seen in a while. made all the more better that it was homemade. Maya had the idea to put this together and voila! she made it happen. it was easier than i thought it was going to be, and not icing the sides made it a quicker process while giving it a really sweet look. 

congrats to the goofy/fun/happy couple!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


She is 17 weeks old as of last Saturday. I am so grateful for each week I have with her- at the same time that I am baffled how fast time is going (omg 4 months already?!!) it also feels like I have had her in my life for much longer than that.

At 17 weeks, she is super smiley. She smiles widely at people she has never seen before and is willingly (or just obliging) passed around. She loves to laugh and will find new things to laugh hysterically about - a song, a funny sound, a good bounce, kisses on her neck, belly tickles, someone speaking emphatically- it's all hilarious. The sound of her laughing is the best.sound.ever.

At 17 weeks she has rolled over a couple of times, can sit up for short periods of time if she is leaning way forward, and is fond of grabbing her toes and putting them in her mouth. Her favorite position is the standing up position as we hold her hands, and she will stomp her feet in happiness. She is fascinated by her own hands, as well as mine. I will miss these days when she can be fully entertained by staring and grabbing onto my hands.

At 17 weeks she seems to know the sound of her name, stares hard at us eating our food, and will try to grab anything that is put within reach. She has found her thumb and I don't know why but it blows my mind when she sucks on her a real baby. She also rubs her eyes furiously to let us know she is tired.

At 17 weeks she sleeps well, with a few hiccups now and then. If she is worked up, a song will usually soothe her, or a good rock and some conversation with her papa can also do the trick. Waking her up in the morning and picking her up from daycare in the evening may be my favorite times of the day.

At 17 weeks her personality seems to be extremely laid back with a touch of stubbornness, and she is a trooper. She seems to take in everything around her, is very interested in our phones (and anything with a screen) and will swivel her head around to find her papa if she hears his voice. She lets me hug her tight and doesn't seem to mind when I squeeze her fat legs (I call them massages). She will sit on a lap for long periods of time if there is conversation going on and will occasionally stare at the person talking.

At 17 weeks we are constantly amazed that we made such a being and we can't wait to see what the next few weeks will bring.

And a different kind of 17 weeks.. Crazy!