Tuesday, June 30, 2015


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."
"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


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


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


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. 

Friday, June 19, 2015


Friday, seriously? Could you have taken any longer ? Maybe it's the imminent due date, which is not THAT imminent, but still it feels like I have a ticking bomb happening inside this body and the ticks are loud. I can't sit still and I feel antsy all the time, especially when having to sit at work for 8-9 hours a day. I still have several weeks left; help me, God.

I am eager to meet this baby and my mind is already there, but this body and the baby aren't quite ready so I'm trying to tell my mind to simmer down. Workouts are a great distraction and so are weekends, when I can keep myself busy and/or do the things I know I may not be able to do a lot of when the baby gets here.  This past weekend, Ken's family - his mom, sister, and cousin, came to visit and it was wonderful to have them. They watched Sloane on Saturday morning, so hat Ken and I could work out together, then we all went to the splash pad at Twin Hickory Park, had Schezuan for lunch, and home for an afternoon nap.  In the evening, we ventured out to Carytown for a stroll. 

We came across this adorable children's book store called BBGB books, which I had never seen before, and I loved it instantly. They had curated a fantastic selection of children's books and we hung out there for a little while perusing and reading. Sloane loved it too, evidenced by her cry of "one more book!" after each one.

I am so grateful for family members that are close by and can visit us. Sloane gets so much joy out of these visits and it means a lot to me that Sloane gets to spend time with both of our families. 

I am likewise grateful for Ken, and our little family, I love this unit of ours. I'm looking forward to yelling HAPPY FATHER'S DAY with Sloane at the top of our lungs this weekend to let him know how much we appreciate him. 

Also, Friday I am grateful for you, thanks for finally getting here. Happy weekend! 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


After weeks of busy weekends, I finally made it to the South of the James farmers market a couple of weekends ago....and took my favorite pal of late.

Before we left, I took that first picture of her up there and then she wanted to take a picture of me too, so that is her handiwork in this second photo here. I don't think she meant to cut off my head but I kind of love how this photo captures the belly.   And speaking of photos, sometimes I'll catch her using her "phone" (an old broken iPod that we let her carry around) to take pictures of her animals that she lines up. "Okay, ready?" she'll ask her stuffed animals, and after clicking some imaginary buttons (I guess to find the camera app), she'll turn the phone horizontal to fit them all in and click.

It was great fun to peruse the market together. This little girl really feels more like a companion these days and less like a baby I have to take care of, especially because of all the conversations we are able to have. We walked hand in hand, investigating the vegetables, checking out all the dogs and people watching. We got some snacks from a bakery stand (Dalkohm!) and found a place to sit while we ate and talked. I love these moments that I am able to have with her and savor them like the feasts that they are. 

Later that morning, got to meet up with some friends - some that came down from up north and some that are local - including new babies we hadn't met before. Sloane was in heaven with all the babies and friends that she got to hang out with that day.

The girls hanging out in Sloane's room later that afternoon.

Between the four families, there were six babes (seven if we count the one in my belly!).  The awe and wonder that I feel as I behold a growing family... will never get old.

Monday, June 15, 2015


Hey we made it to 9 months! 

 Apparently, I get some sort of allergies all of a sudden when I'm pregnant, because a few weeks ago I had a week full of being incredibly congested, having a sore throat, coughing and sneezing constantly and not being able to get sleep. This was in conjunction with a truly wacky work schedule and at this point, I felt entirely like I wanted to be done with being pregnant. The due date seemed far away, and I was uncomfortable and tired. Eventually, the fog cleared, and the clarity helped me remember that I do want this baby to stay in there as long as she needs to. I reminded myself how precious this time is - for sleep, for time with Sloane, for time with Ken and to just enjoy how far we've come before starting all over again with a newborn....and that's exactly what I'm doing these days, enjoying the state of right now. 

Physically - besides the occasional back aches, fatigue and annoyance of having to go to the bathroom 5-6 times a night - I'm feeling really good.  I'm trying to keep up with stretching, sleeping well and massaging almond oil all over my body, which is soothing and makes my skin feel great. Surprisingly, what still makes me feel really good is working out. Even just a little bit of work at the gym really makes me feel refreshed and invigorated afterwards. I'm keeping it light and going twice a week, but I think it really helps with my overall mood and sense of well being. 

This past weekend, we had this great workout at our crossfit box (that I posted about on IG) where everyone else that came that day had to do the workout with a slam ball duck taped to their stomach, mimicking a little of what it may feel like to do the workouts while pregnant. The sense of camaraderie was wonderful and it was really fun to do this workout with Ken!

Friday, June 12, 2015


Happy Friday !

I'm off to work a mother of a long day today, so I'm extra glad there is a weekend to meet me at the other end. Ken's family is coming to visit this weekend and I'm really looking forward to relaxing with them. 

Before I get to tackling this Friday down to the ground, I want to share about one of my favorite online stores these days, Humble Hilo. I posted about them on Instagram the other day but wanted to flesh it out here because I love their products so much, especially their bags! They have a philanthropic mission of making handmade and unique Guatemalan textiles available to you, and a portion of every item you purchase goes to support projects in child nutrition, education for women, or microfinance loans for women so that they can start their own small businesses.  

 I have one of their medium sized ones (pictured above) which my sister-in-law gifted me for Mother's Day and it's one of my favorite bags to date. It's handwoven, has leather details, and is really sturdy. Along with bags, they also sell some apparel, shoes and a few rugs - which are all beautiful.  Unfortunately, several of the things pictured below are out of stock because their inventory depends on what gets made and shipped in from Guatemala, but they will periodically restock and it's worth checking out what they do have up. I've been eyeballing the traditional baby dress in Aqua, which I'm hoping they get back in stock!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I've found that one of the best ways to eat healthy during the week is to have a lot of vegetables on hand. And one of the best ways to make sure that we have time to eat those vegetables is to do a lot of roasting. It's probably my favorite way to eat a vegetable (maybe except for the grilled kind) and I end up doing a lot of roasting on Sunday nights.

A few weeks ago, I roasted up a pan of sweet potatoes and red and yellow beets and had them on hand to make one of my favorite type of meals: a big ole quinoa bowl. I also had roasted asparagus and leftover Chicken Milanese (made with almond meal and ground pecans instead of bread crumbs) and topped some red quinoa with chicken, asparagus, sweet potato, beets, sautéed kale (try cooking them with chili powder and lime,..soo good) and some hummus! It was delicious, nutritious and filling. 

And look, another bowl! When we don't fully meal prep or we need a quick lunch dinner, an easy meal that we've done a couple of times is this shrimp, green beans and pasta with pesto (inspired by chalkwhitearrow). It takes all of about 15-20 minutes to prep. Broil uncooked shrimp in the oven with butter, salt and pepper for about 5-6 minutes, and then cook the pasta while you broil some green beans with olive oil and salt and pepper in the oven for about 7 minutes. Mix the pasta up with some pesto and top with shrimp and green beans.

It's been a while since I pre-made breakfasts - we usually have meats and vegetables for lunches and dinners and do something easy for breakfast like eggs and bacon, yogurt and granola with fruit, or oatmeal - but I've had to go into work early the last couple of weeks so I tried these breakfast burritos that I assembled and then froze for the whole week. I used the Pioneer Woman's recipe for these and tried them with sausage last week and bacon this week. FYI, the handmade tortillas from Trader Joe's is the way to go.

While I'm posting pictures of photos,  I'll throw these in here:

There is something so therapeutic about the process of making a pie, especially if you have several hours of leisure time in which to do it and you're doing it with a friend who is also a pie-lover. We were duly rewarded by a cherry pie, which we ate hot out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and a maple bourbon brown butter peach pie, which I've been eating straight out of the pan for breakfast and dinners.