Friday, December 30, 2011

A Re-Focus

I've been thinking long and hard about my blogging goals and abilities, and I think that my posts were more interesting while I was pregnant. If anything, it's a topic that is not talked about candidly enough. I've decided to devote this blog primarily to pregnancy and health, since I've been craving cute babies and I need to track my path to weight loss. I'll be keeping more personal things to Facebook, so if you are really interested in how Emma is doing, feel free to friend me. I may be starting a new blog (per some friend's suggestions) about the strange things that my husband says. Updates on that later. I may also start an anonymous blog of fiction and poetry. I won't be telling you the name of that one, or it wouldn't be anonymous.

When I first started this blog, it was because I was pregnant and scared and had no idea what I was doing. I knew there were other women out there in similar and even scarier situations, and I wanted to be a pioneer. I'm refocusing on that goal. Start expecting a Monday morning post, and pick on me when if I don't follow through. Feel free to ask me questions. If you don't want to post a public question, feel free to email me.

I'm an open book.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It's been so great to have my family around me today. My parents are here from Michigan. We opened presents together this morning and then went to church. Emma got lots of presents including a table and chair set, a doodler, a pooh bear ridy-thingy and a Little People Farm set. She's currently konked out, as is everyone else except me, because I've been playing with Emma's toys, blah blah blah. Look at what Santa brought ME!

Santa is a sexy, sexy man.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

And so this is Christmas...

Merry (almost) Christmas everyone!

As you can see, we have our tree up and lit and lovely, and the stockings are hung by the chimney with care. We had a Christmas party last Sunday and had our friends decorate globe ornaments for our tree. I now can say fancy things like, "Every ornament on our tree is unique and custom-made by a local Chicago artist."

Since last week when I found out Meng had purchased my Christmas gift, we've been playing the what-is-it game. Today when he got the box out to wrap it, I discovered that my Christmas gift and my Birthday present are in identical brown boxes (My birthday is early next month). Below you can see his meticulous work.

Today's guessing-game went something like this:

"Is my Christmas present and my Birthday present used for the same purpose?"

"No, I really wouldn't recommend using them for the exact same purpose. I don't think that would work very well."

"Well are they used for a similar purpose?"

".....yyyyyeesss. Yes. If you broaden the category wide enough, yes, they are used for a somewhat similar purpose."

"That's not an answer. That could be said about anything! That could be said about a window-shade and a porcupine!"


"So is that what you got me? A window shade and a porcupine?"

"Absolutely. I got you a very small porcupine. Which is dead by now."

"You killed a porcupine just for me? Did you use your bear hands?"

"No, I used gloves."

"What about the window-shade. Did you kill that with your bear hands?"

"No, I made it with my bear hands. What else was I going to do with the rest of the porcupine?"

Yes, people, this is our normal, every day conversation. I'll be interested to see what it actually is. In the meantime, I'll keep frantically knitting the scarf I would like to give to my mother-in-law while keeping Emma from pulling down my custom-designed ornaments.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Emma Goes to School (please take this more than one way)

This last Thursday turned out to be the day: the day that Emma went to class with me. I could go on and on about the different ways that my professor is an amazing mentor and person, but I think you'll get the picture when I say that we had a very normal class with Emma as participating member. Of course, her main contributions were, "Hi!" and, "Puppy?" Still, it's a small class, only five of us students, and the professor found ways of tying her into the discussion.

I don't think I could have gotten away with it more than once.

Luckily, I found a daycare on Wednesday. It's a licensed home daycare about 10 minutes away from school. I think that I called 15 different daycares that day, and visited a few. This was the only one I felt confident about from the start. The moment I walked into this woman's home, I felt 100% comfortable. What's more, she's very relaxed and has part-time rate that we can easily afford.

(Bailey, our dog, has discovered himself in the mirror and is now growling at his own reflection.)

Meng and I have been squirreling away money here and there for the day that Emma needed something that we couldn't pay for. To be quite honest, I had forgotten about it until last week. So that's how we're going to pay for childcare until I finish school.

Since I only found the daycare on Wednesday, (I skipped class that day) I didn't feel comfortable sending Emma to the daycare on her own on Thursday. Yesterday Emma and I spent an hour at the daycare before we went to class. Selena, our caregiver, let us hang out so that Emma could get used to the environment. Everyone was happy.

Since Thursday went so well, and since I had class bright and early this morning, I took Emma to daycare about 45 minutes before my class started. I hung out for a half hour. When Emma was comfortably settled into an Emma-sized chair with a giant green crayon and a piece of bright yellow construction paper, I snuck out the front door. It was a lot more difficult than I anticipated. (My spell-check is telling me that "snuck" isn't a word. Any thoughts?)

I picked her up a few hours later, and received a good report. Emma colored for a while, and then had popcorn while they watched part of UP. She was playing with a friend in the infant area (nick-named "baby jail" by the toddlers because of the plastic wall) when I arrived.

(Bailey has given up on his reflection and is now curled up in a nest of clean clothes I piled on a blanket last night. Apparently, I put it there with him in mind.)

I really like this place. I feel really fortunate, especially with all of the energy I've spent fretting over it the last two or three weeks. Emma is a little uncomfortable when we first get there, but it will be good for her to learn some independence, which this place will definitely give. The average child to adult ratio is 3 to 1, which means that Emma cannot be picked up and held all the time. This will hopefully solve some of the problems we've been having lately, which I will have to detail in another post.

And now, to get that dog off my laundry!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The "Simple" Search for Sitters

I am stuck. Almost literally. Since we got back from China, I've been scrambling week to week to get babysitters lined up for when I'm in class. Usually I end up calling on a friend who I know can back me up in a pinch, but after two weeks it's time to no longer be in a pinch.

The problem: We have no income.
If I had $1,000 a month to drop on childcare, my life would be so much easier. Of course a lot of things would be easier if I had that kind of money. Someone told me about the Illinois Child Care Assistance Program, which sounds so providential, but I can't seem to apply unless I have a caregiver lined up, and in any case need the assistance, like, now, so that doesn't really help. I'd like to go out on a limb and just hire someone and apply. I wouldn't mind paying for a few weeks, but what happens when evil bureaucracy slows down my application or even denies it?

I've tried finding someone among my friends to help out, but 95% of my unemployed friends are students at North Park, which is 20 minutes to a 1 1/2 hours from our apartment, depending on traffic. All of Meng's friends are full-time med students or young professionals, so that rules out most of his contacts and that leaves us with...

Taking her to class. That's not something I've had to do yet, but it's getting more and more likely that it's going to happen. On Wednesday. Unless I can find someone to babysit. So if you know someone who can come to my house (in Pilsen) and babysit, please please please send them my way.

Having emptied my brain of this issue, I am going to attempt to finish my homework.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Food and Sanity: Aunt Cindy's Hashbrown Casserole

My Aunt Cindy was an amazing woman, who left us for a better world this last March. I don't know what got me thinking of her, I was probably doing something in the kitchen because Cindy was an amazing cook. Suddenly I wanted her hashbrown casserole. It's the kind of dish she would make for family gatherings or potlucks, the kind that weighs about 4 pounds when you put it in the oven and makes you gain 10 pounds after eating one serving. It's delicious. Whatever the function, there are never leftovers. Of course, since it's a HUMONGOUS dish, I couldn't just make it for Meng, his parents and myself.

Naturally, the solution was to have a bunch of friends over for a potluck! I baked a ham (my first non-smoked) and made the hashbrown casserole. Meng made baked sweet potatoes (that man is sexy). Our friends brought (3 cheese)Macaroni, roasted veggies, creamed couliflower (getting that recipe ASAP), veggie and fruit trays, and cake! It was a wonderful night, the kind that makes you want to hug the world.

So here is my virtual hug: Aunt Cindy's Hashbrown Casserole. Do know that if it does not clog every single artery you have, it will cut to the chase and stop your heart. You can cut down on some calories if you use Heathy Choice soup and substitute half the sour cream with greek yogurt. As always, make it with love.

Aunt Cindy's Hashbrown Casserole:

Preheat oven to 350

In a mixing bowl, combine:

2 lb frozen hashbrowns (found in the breakfast section)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom (or chicken or celery) soup
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1 cup chopped onion
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb sour cream

Place in a 3 quart baking dish. Top with:

4 oz shredded cheese of your choice
1 cup crushed Cheese-its

Cover with tin-foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 15 to make the top nice and crispy.

Hope you enjoy it!


Update! 12/01/2011

I passed this recipe along to my good friend, Karolyn, who made it for her family Thanksgiving dinner. She (is a goddess of awesome genius) added crumbled bacon to the mix. Why did I never think of that? She said that it was a huge hit.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Parenthood is...

...that moment when you realize that your kid doesn't have a brown fish bath-toy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ancestors and "Swimmy Things"

Here is yet another update from our Traveling Blogger -

Some updates. Yesterday we took Emma to get her hair cut at the same
salon. She won everyone over and was doing really well until the
hairdresser got out the hairdryer. She was already tired at that
point, so I ended up sitting in the chair, holding Emma in my lap,
singing songs to keep her calm and holding her head straight. As soon
as we put her in the stroller and gave her a bottle she fell asleep.
She looks quite sharp now.

After that we did a little shopping for me. I don't know if I
mentioned it, but Meng implied that it would be cold so I packed
primarily sweaters. It's been over 70 since I've been here, so I've
been wearing a variation of the same two outfits. But yesterday we
picked up two new tops for me. I also bought a purse.

The big event of the day was the trek up to visit Meng's grandfather's
(YeYe) grave. Actually, "graveyard" is an inaccurate word. It was more
like a grave-staircase. Its a concrete structure built on the side of
a hill. With each tier comes a set of steps going up the side of the
hill. YeYe was at the second to last tier so I got my exercise. We all
had red ribbons tied to our belt loops (even Emma had a red ribbon
tied to her diaper) to ward off the negative energy of the graveyard.
We forgot to bring an offering, but my father-in-law said a few words
and Meng introduced me as his wife and Emma said "HI!" We cleaned up
the site, and a few others that belonged to other passed family
members and made the trek home. Oh, and when I mean trek, I mean trek.
The graves have recently been moved, because the city wants to develop
the former site and no one will live near a gravesite here. If they
were to build around it, no one would buy the property after it was
developed. So the site was quite off the road, and the path up there
has not been properly built yet. So we had to walk up a dirt drive to
a vague path through broken rocks, until we finally reached the site.
Apparently, on holidays, the path is littered with people selling food
and flowers to use as offerings.

Today Meng and I got up early and met his uncle to go to "Polar
World." Think Seaworld on a small scale. They had balooga whales and
penguins and Emma thoroughly enjoyed herself. My favorite was the
sealion and seal show. This uncle is the same uncle whose opulent
apartment we are occupying. He and his wife need grandkids.
Desperately need grandkids. And they are willing to do pretty much
anything for Emma at the moment. Emma wasn't sure about Uncle for the
first couple of days but he has gradually bought her affection by
bringing her a new present every day. Yesterday it was candy, today he
took her into the gift shop. They meticulously went through the
stuffed animal selection, until Emma found the large, stuffed
balooga... so now we have a stuffed balooga which we've named Bologna.
(Am I spelling balooga right? It's not showing up in the
auto-correct.) We need to leave soon before Uncle buys her a herd of

After "Polar World," we went next door to "Ocean World," which is
basically a big aquarium. We visited the sharks and several different
kinds of interesting fish and so many different kinds of jelly-fish!
And they had one of those glass tunnels that goes underneath a tank
with a moving sidewalk. So we saw turtles and shellfish and all kinds
of swimmy things.

We stopped for a break in a little food court where we got lamb kabobs
and squid kabobs (rather, THEY got the squid) and fish-meatballs.

THEN we went to "Coral World," which was small, but since we had the
ticket we took the tour. It was a 10 minute trip.

We met Meng's dad and grandma for "barbeque" afterward. We started with two cold dishes of a salad-ey nature. The cucumber, onion peanut dish was nice, and I liked the dressing on the salad greens, but I wasn't a huge fan of the preserved egg. Then there were string-mushrooms, chicken wings, lamb, tofu-wrapped-spinach, toast, and more lamb, each on it's own little skewer. When we were about half-way done, they brought more lamb, and a huge trey of clams.

This trip has really made me think about what I eat and made me try
new things, and at the end of the meal when we were trying to get
everything eaten, I was happily appointed the eater of the clams. I'm
pleased to announce that clams are also for dinner, which I am not at
all hungry for.

Well, dinner is almost ready and I should go. We've comandered a high
chair for Emma. All is well, really really well, except that I have a
sore throat. Don't know why yet.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Visiting China...and Being the Minority

I am sitting on Meng's grandma's bed next to the kitchen table.
Teeny-tiny apartment but she likes it that way because it's just her.
There's a small kitchen with a minuscule fridge, stove and large sink.
A frosted glass panel separates the kitchen from the couch, which
seats 3 comfortably. Across from the couch is a breakfast table,
behind it a wardrobe and next to it a wall-mounted HDTV. Queen size
bed, (orange) nightstand, and several plants on the windowsill plant
stands throughout. We're on the 14th floor. There's no screen on the
window (no mosquitos up here!) so you can put your face out in the
(slightly smoggy) night air. It's nice.

Emma is sleeping next to me. She's had a rough couple of days. She did
really well on the plane over. She slept a little, ate a little, and
when she got restless we did laps around the the aisles. There were
plenty of people up and walking around, and probably 4 other
Chinese/American couples with small children, but they were all Asian
moms/American dads. Nice people none the less. Emma made lots of
friends her own size and bigger, and several people came to say
farewell when we got off the plane. She was on a first-name basis with
the flight attendants, one of which actually snuck her a banana during
our flight. We made our transfer in Beijing where Emma charmed her way
to the boarding gate. On Chinese flights they have clever little
infant seat belts. It's basically the same as a larger seatbelt, only
no seat. There's just a small loop attached that slips over an adult
seatbelt, so the infant sits on your lap. Emma wasn't the biggest fan,
but once she got a bottle she fell asleep and stayed that way until we
had reached the house. At one point in the baggage area, an entire
Chinese tourist group stopped and tried to gently wake her up.

This is how it is everywhere we go now. Everyone stops to say hello to
her. People are more relaxed about strangers talking to children, and
I haven't felt uncomfortable about it yet. They say that her eyes are
beautiful, etc. She drinks in the attention. A couple people even took
her picture today. I don't know how I feel about that, but there
really isn't a way to stop it, and it was just a couple of girls with
pink cell phones. Hardly predators. Still, it might be lucrative to
learn how to say in Chinese, "No pictures, please!" People stop and
stare at us, which is awkward. Some are simply unashamed to stop and
stare at us when we walk by. I'm learning subtle differences between
the kinds of staring. When people stop to stare at Emma, they talk to
her and say how cute she is, and well, generally pay more attention to
her. When people stare at me they look a little confused, often do a
double take at Meng, and usually have their mouth open. A car actually
stopped to look at me today. That was weird. I don't mind so much when
women stare. I just smile back, but I haven't really figured out what
to do when men stare. Sometimes I ignore them, sometimes I stare them
down, and sometimes staring them down doesn't work. I think the whole
baby thing throws them off, especially yesterday when I was running
around in 2 1/2 inch heels. Oh well.

Meng's family is great. His grandma really likes me, and I think I
earned some major brownie points by twice today making sure she had
someone to cross the street with. We just finished an amazingly (huge)
dinner of (the most ginormous) dumplings stuffed with chicken and some
kind of unidentifiable but inoffensive vegetable. There were also
small crabs, fresh (as in, swimming around hours ago) shrimp, fresh
(also that fresh) small white fish, clam and cucumber salad
(different, but good! I've re-discovered clams as something yummy),
stir-fried celery, carrots and boiled peanuts, and finally a raw
shellfish dish that I politely tried and determined that while I was
perfectly capable of eating it, I would much rather eat other things
at the table.

We took a long walk today through one of the largest parks in China.
We visited several statues, including an open book that is half the
size of a football field (we walked on it!), and a statue that
apparently caused a lot of stir when it was put up because
traditionally you are only supposed to put it in front of the
Emperor's palace... Arrogant much, Dalian? The oceanside was there,

More to come...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Greetings from China!

Our Blogger is in China...and here is the latest update (posted dutifully by her loving mother upon request).

The house we are staying in is beautiful. Opulent, actually. TV in
every room, matching furniture throughout the house, and a same-size
replica of the famous Napoleon portrait in the staircase. Even the
telephones (which are everywhere) are ornate. I'll take pictures. We
also have a balcony, from which we can see the ocean (21st floor).

Went to the fishmarket today, and the biggest Wal-Mart ever. Bought
some milk (in funny little bags), some baby shampoo, and what I'm
hoping turns out to be hairspray. They didn't have American hairspray
brands even though they had other stuff in brands like Herbal Essences
and Pantene. Then I accidentally got a perm.

I meant to get a haircut. The salons here are very very nice and very
inexpensive. Meng said I could get my haircut for about 15 USD, and I
was feeling shaggy so I said sure. It was a full salon experience,
with hairwash, scalp massage, etc. In the US it would have been a $50
haircut. The confusion came because of a translation issue, and the
fact that Meng knows nothing about hair treatments. The stylist
suggested that we "tong" my hair. Meng didn't really know what that
meant, but the impression was that it would make my hair have more
volume, so he said sure. It looked to me like they were simply going
to curl it. Then they got out the funny-smelling liquids and I figured
it out. So I have some nice volume now. It's not too curly. I'll try
and take a picture of that, too, eventually.

More to come from the "Internationally Traveling Blogger"!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

BTdubs, we're going to China!

Meng is already there, actually. I leave on Thursday morning with my father-in-law and Emma. This is a super-short update to assure you that I am still on the face of the planet, just quite busy. Got my ticket, passport and visa in a matter of two weeks. Off we go!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why my room is messy today

At the moment, my (adorable and powerful voiced) daughter is crying at what she thinks is the top of her lungs. She sounds quite pitiful, really, but her cries would be much more effective if she didn't stop every moment or so to make sure I'm looking. See, it's bedtime.

Emma has developed a very convincing fake cry. If that were the only cry of hers you'd heard, you would think that there was something wrong besides the fact that she would like to stay up some more. But I've heard the real thing. This is no "I am in so much pain and I don't know how it happened," nor is it "I had a really bad dream and I'm scared." It's not even "I called and called and nobody could hear me!" It's just a tantrum.

These temper tantrums started the very same week she turned 1 year old. (Emma has forgotten that she was throwing a tantrum, and is experimenting with vowels and soft consonants in a low voice. It's sounds like this: "Woooooooooooooooowwwwwoooooowwwwooooo.... Muuuuuuuuuuuuummmmummmmuuuuuuuuummmm.... Wuuuuummmmnnnnuuuuunnnn....") So far we are pretty effective in diffusing them with distraction or ignoring her during the day, but at bed time we are having a difficult time weathering out the storm. This is because we are still sharing a room with her, and we would like to sleep once in a while.

So we are moving our bed out to the family room, and Emma gets the bedroom all to herself. And that is why, if you were to walk into our apartment tonight, you would think that hurricane Irene had visited.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Skinny Bitch and the Teenyboppers

You've probably seen them before. At the movie theater, in the mall, or in your high school graduating class. No matter what year you were born or what country you are from, they exist in your world. Perhaps they make you angry. Perhaps you are indifferent.

Perhaps you are one of them.

I hope not.

I saw her two weeks ago at the Goodrich Jackson 10, a skinny, petite blonde with an entourage of slightly less skinny brunettes and a few fresh-faced lackeys; she's got the eye-roll down. I try not to be judgmental, but the moment I saw her standing in line, talking just a bit loudly and chewing gum, my Skinny Bitch radar signaled. My suspicions were confirmed not long after, while a tall, blue-eyed Polo and Bermudas bought her some popcorn.

"I can't stand it when girls do that." She not-so-discreetly pointed at a girl in a pink t-shirt across the room. "They, like, want to do the girly-girl look but they, just, don't know how." The three other girls agreed that it "just looked stupid," but I caught the face of one glancing to the side with a look that made me wonder if she owned a pink t-shirt just like it.

Pink T-shirt held hands with her boyfriend as she walked into Theater 5. She had natural tousled curls, had applied minimal eyeshadow, and wore jeans and flip-flops with the offending hot-pink (possibly with a logo on breast cancer) unfitted tee.

Skinny Bitch got her popcorn and I watched her walk away, skinny jeans, sheer blouse, hair feathers and all, and I couldn't help but be angry at this girl--this child of a person--for her mean-spirited comments toward a normally dressed peer. There were so many things I wanted to say, such as, "Um, that's my sister," or "Excuse me, but your face is decomposing."

Instead I just let her walk away and a week later it is still bothering me.

Not everyone has the time, the money, or the give-a-damn to put on a perfectly executed outfit every day. Pink t-shirt seemed like a perfectly nice girl. I guess Skinny Bitches and Teenyboppers aren't secure enough to see that.

Battle of the Ants

For the last three weeks I have been battling invaders, trying to prevent them from taking over my bathroom. I think it all started when the pesky creatures discovered Bailey's food dish. I fooled them for a few days by putting his dish inside his kennel during the day, but they just moved on to bigger and better things, like the trash can.

Since Meng and I occupy the downstairs, and the kitchen is upstairs, not all food items get thrown away in the kitchen. We empty the trash pretty regularly, but apparently not regularly enough. The day after I moved Bailey's food, I discovered them on an apple core in the trash can. Naturally, I took out the trash, washed the can and moved it. An hour later, I came back to the bathroom to find about a hundred of them on the wall, trying to figure out where the trash can had gone.

I decided to use this opportunity to study them. I watched them in their little line and traced it back to a hole in the corner between the bathtub and the tile. I grabbed some silicone sealant and plugged the hole.

The next day, I watched them seethe from between the tile and the baseboard, covering my (rather expensive) sugar scrub that I bought from Lush in preparation for the wedding. I grabbed the silicone sealant and completely lined the bathroom floor with it.

Another day came around. This time they were coming from behind the vanity. I used up the very last bit of the sealant, being sure to encase a few ants in the glue as a warning to others that may pass. My victory had finally come!

Or so I thought. About three days later, they were in Bailey's food dish again. Now they are flowing indiscriminately from underneath the carpet. I can't seal it because the contractor (I have nothing good to say about said contractor) did not put thresholds down.

I thought I had fooled them two days ago, when I spilled some alcohol-based hand sanitizer. I noticed they were avoiding the spot, so I used more to mop the floor around Bailey's food dish. It lasted about 12 hours, and they were at it again.

So now Bailey's dog food moves, my sugar scrub is protein-infused, and I am at my wit's end. I hope to pick up some ant traps today (the kind with poison that the ants take back to their nest). I'll just move Bailey into the laundry room for a few days and make sure Emma doesn't get into the bathroom.

I'm also considering picking up some grits, which I hear the ants will eat dry and then explode.

Before, I was fighting a battle against spiders, who were insisting on living in our corners. Now I see why they love our bathroom so much.

Monday, August 22, 2011

We did it!

Note to self: next time we get married, lets get dressed at the ceremony site.

Everything was going swimmingly yesterday morning. I left for my bridesmaid's house at noon, got there at 1, dressed and we were all (6 of us) on the way to the ceremony site by 2. It wasn't till we hit 90/94 that disaster struck.

We had taken the interstate because yesterday was the Air and Water show based out of North Ave Beach, and Lake Shore was going to be busy. We didn't plan for the accident on 94. We stuck it out for a bout 20 minutes, thinking it might clear up, but when we realized we were still only going 5 mph, we got off at the nearest exit. We took Fullerton, which was also packed, but the GPS was directing us to Lasalle, which was not supposed to have any traffic. Of course what I wasn't thinking, was that Lasalle leads right to North Ave, and North Ave Beach.

I think the most frustrating thing was when we got to the Lake Shore Drive entrance, and it was blocked off, making us go North instead of South. Soon after that, I couldn't take sitting anymore and started to walk South. When we passed the Lasalle Lake Shore Drive entrance, it was no longer blocked.

We got a taxi (actually, one of the guests got a taxi and came to get us, all five of us) and got to the garden and from then on, nothing else mattered. It was as if none of it had happened. Besides the judge reminding me that it was all over and I could smile, I don't remember much. I'm pretty sure I said "I do," and that Meng did too, and afterward I hugged everyone and we took pictures. It wasn't until we got to the restaurant that everything set in.

So that's the update. Here are some pictures that my mom took. I'll write more later.

The Ceremony Site

My two lovely bridesmaids, and Emma.

One sleepy baby!

The Cake: Top layer, Vanilla with Strawberry and Champagne filling; Bottom Layer, Red Velvet with Cream Cheese filling.

Soon after, we ate it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

As Promised

This is the adorable video I mentioned in my last post. As you can see, Emma is quite delighted with the phenomenon of water.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Emma Bean!

Yes, today was Emma's birthday, and I am sure she had a good one. I left her in Michigan this afternoon in the capable hands of my mother. I left while she was sleeping, which made me feel guilty for some reason, but I'll get over it.

She did have quite a pre-birthday birthday party. The first was spent with my in-laws. We ordered a cake from the same company that is doing our wedding cake. It was a vanilla cake with mango filling, and everyone enjoyed it.

Apparently in Chinese culture there is a special 1 year old birthday tradition. After the meal, my in-laws gathered some items: a pen, a book, an abacus, some packaged food, a toy and a hundred dollar bill. They then placed Emma on the table to see which item she would grab first. Tradition says that what she chooses will tell us something about her future.

And now we know!

Her second birthday party was the next day at my grandparents house in Parma, MI. The cake was more simple, and honestly? A little tastier than the gourmet one we got before. Something about good, old fashioned chocolate/vanilla marble sings to my soul.

Unfortunately, as in the Bearnstain Bear's book Too Much Birthday, Emma did not survive all of the birthday cake with grace. Yesterday she had terrible diarrhea and diaper rash. With the help of this tip, (BRAT) Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast, and with the help of lots of Pedialyte, Emma is back to her happy little self again.

Today, as a birthday present, my mom bought her the ultimate summer baby gift: A kiddy pool. I'm trying to load the video but the internet is giving me issues. I shall do so as soon as I can figure out how.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Something I really aught to mention...

We bought a dog last month. It was an impulse-buy. See, we went to Kentucky to visit my mom while she was working down there. Jackson, KY is small, and a big night on the town is choosing between one of the five sit-down restaurants, going to Wal-Mart next door, and then going to the pet-shop on the way out of town. (It has to be an early night, though, because the pet-shop closes at 8.)

So we had our big night on the town. We went to Alberto's, which is a kind of Mexican/All American/Whatever the chef feels like making that day/restaurant. The bread pudding was Got a loofa and some cleaning supplies at Wal-Mart, and headed to the pet-store. Now, I'd been saying that I wanted a cat for some time, but Meng isn't really a cat person. Still, if we saw a cute kitten, I thought I might be able to convince my (heart of marshmallow for cute things) fiancee that he should get me one.

Well, we walked into the pet store, and there were no kittens, but there was this single Maltese puppy in a cage full of rowdy Yorkies. Maybe it was how obviously uncomfortable he was with those other dogs that made us melt for him. He was so soft and cuddly...

We waited almost 24 hours before buying him. We named him Bailey, because it was the only thing we could think of that would indicate color without sounding sissy, like "Snowflake," or "Fluffy."

So now on top of an almost-toddler, we are house breaking a new puppy.

I thought to tell you all this because at this moment he is sitting on my chest (I can barely see over his fluff), licking my shirt. It's rather hard to ignore.

MY wedding, NOT yours

Like many blog posts of the past, this post is motivated by frustration.

I'm getting really tired of people telling me what I "should" do at my wedding.

Those of you who are regular followers are probably thinking, "Oh, dear. Mother-in-law problems again."

No, not really.

I'm not picking on everyone here. The vast majority of my friends and family have been very understanding through all of this impromptu planning. But whenever I talk about my wedding plans, I often find myself defending them. And there is this small percentage of people in my life who...

...Are offended that they didn't get invited. I think it's really interesting that they are offended because, frankly, only one set of my grandparents got invited. In fact, I only invited one of my cousins. Moreover, there are only 18 guests that are just guests. The photographer and officiant certainly cannot be uninvited. My parents should probably be there, as well as my fiancee's parents. And our four grandparents really can't be uninvited, either. And my cousin and her fiancee? Yeah, they should be there. I can't very well dictate what friends my fiancee invites.

I suppose I could uninvite my dear friend and former roommate. The one that went to the clinic with me when I found out I was pregnant, and gave me so much emotional support, and lead the way to my actually getting excited about having a child. The friend that helped me realize that just being myself can be awesome. Yes, I will uninvite that friend and invite you instead, because we took an art class together once. (gr!)

...Insist that I'll regret not having bought a traditional wedding dress. You know, I was flipping through wedding photos yesterday and I had this momentary lapse where I thought I might actually want a traditional wedding dress.

And then I remembered that it's August, and it's hot, and the dress would probably be strapless, and I'd have to wear a strapless bra, and let me tell you, my strapless bra has those rubber skin-gripper seams and even just a few hours of wear leaves my skin red and raw, and then I would be sweating because the dress would be thick, and sweat tends to collect in uncomfortable places, like under my breasts and between my thighs, so I would be uncomfortable and sweaty and in pain with lovely red gouges across my torso for the wedding night. Yeah, that sounds great.

...Promise to get me drunk and bring lots of phallic items at my bachelorette party. Okay. Here are the facts as I see them. The bachelorette party is the night before the wedding. I have been drunk before and know exactly what will happen: I will want to cuddle with the closest person on the couch and will probably fall asleep before 11. I don't know what the promised inebriation's purpose is, perhaps an emergence of Samantha's "wild side," but that is not what would happen. Cuddle. Sleep. Hangover. And believe it or not, I do not want to be hung over on the morning of my wedding. Funny thing.

Now here's the thing with all of the penis-shaped items. Most people know that I have a child, and in order for that child to have gotten here, I should already be familiar with the male anatomy. The concept of sex is not new to me. So leave the suckers, the balloons and the crown of genitalia in your car please. This party is occurring because I want to have fun with my friends and decorate cupcakes. If you're attending in order to celebrate my ability to have sex, you are a year and a half too late.

So that's my rant and a half on wedding things. Like I said, it's not everyone, but it's enough to warrant a blog post.

You should know that at this very moment, my (apparently dreaming) fiancee is scolding someone in Mandarin.

I woke him up and asked what he was dreaming. Some pesky kids had opened our window and were messing with him. He said it was a "get off my lawn" dream.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Don't touch my sandwich!

Meng recently bought me a road bike. We try to go biking at night when we can, only 6 or 7 miles. I get munchies on these little trips. A peanut butter sandwich makes sense as a snack: protein, sugar, carb.

My mother-in-law disagrees with my decision to take a peanut butter sandwich. Today it wouldn't bother me that much, only I just started my period.

My sandwich.

Our Wedding

Date: August 21st. And by that, I do mean in two and a half weeks. It is a Sunday. August 21st is a very special date for Meng and I. Two years ago, August 21st was a Friday, and we met for the first time at Red Eye Cafe, moved on to Glunz Haus for dinner and moved on to the Cornservatory to see my friends do an improv show. He drove me to my 12 a.m. shift and sat with me in the lobby of Anderson Dorm until 7 a.m. One year ago, August 21st was a Saturday, and Emma was just five days old. We were completely exhausted. My mom took the new baby for a few hours so I could sleep. Meng came into the room, gently kissed me on the forehead and whispered, "Samantha Mead, will you marry me?" August 21st is a special date for us.

Location: Somewhere in the Downtown park district. We didn't want to spend the $400 just to apply to use a location for a half hour, so Meng and his two attendants are going to arrive early and figure out exactly where the ceremony will be held. I am personally hoping for the South Garden next to the Art Institute. The first of Meng and my day-dates was spent there. We took the Brown Line from my apartment, and then just got out and walked. We sat under the foliage of low trees and talked about our lives, about our relationship, and about randomnessity.

My Dress: I have always, even when I was younger, had a very difficult time with the concept of the wedding dress. It just seemed to me that a heavy, thick white dress that cost upwards of $1000, that would only be worn once, was a terrible waste. And in summer heat, because I have always wanted to get married in the summer, I thought the entire affair would be very uncomfortable. I bought my dress at Macy's for about $110. It is 100% cotton. It's got a peasant-style top, rushing in the waist and a very (very) flowy, tea length skirt. After the wedding, I may dye it another color.

My Accessories: I do not plan to wear a veil or tiara or any other such nonsense. My something old will be a pair of earrings that my dad gave me for Valentines Day when I was 18. I know that four years is not that old, but compared to the rest of my nice jewelry it's the eldest. My something new will be my shoes, which are white leather ballet shoes. My something borrowed is a lovely butterfly broach that my Grandmother is loaning me. After much consideration as to how to wear it, I decided to use it to pin up the skirt on one side, just a few inches. My something blue is yet to be determined. I also plan to wear a small pearl bracelet that used to belong to my Aunt Cindy, who passed away not long ago.

Everyone else's attire: Meng and his two attendants have suits from previous weddings. I bought them pink ties and pocket silks. My two attendants chose a vintage inspired dress from It was important to me that they buy a dress that they would wear again. The colors are white, pink and brown. Emma's dress is also white, pink and brown.

The guest list: There are a total of 20 people attending this wedding, including Mengyao and myself. We each have invited our parents, a set of grandparents and two friends. We then invited the friends' significant other's, an officiant and spouse, and our photographer. Two of Meng's family members were invited, making the final count 20.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A post for Monday

It is indeed Monday, and I don't have much coherent to say. So here are some thoughts strung together in no particular order.

We are in Michigan visiting my parents. Meng has gone out for pizza. Our daughter is lying on the floor at my feet with her arms by her head and I wish I could do a tape-outline.

I am feeling very successful in my culinary skills right now. I think it has something to do with being in my parents house where the utensils I'm used to are. I made pumpkin bread yesterday and the day before, which is something I can't do at my in-law's place because they don't have bread pans. It turned out perfect both times.

On Friday I made fried chicken for the first time, and it turned out perfect. I got the recipe from a friend's blog, Adventures in Marriage, Food and Ministry. I did burn the first piece, but I gradually figured out how to manipulate the oil heat so only the first got burnt. Like Todd in the before mentioned blog, my (fried chicken lover) fiancee did not mind eating a bit of burnt-ness. I paired it with steamed sweet corn, green beans and Pillsbury crescent rolls. Despite the one overdone piece, I am quite proud of myself.

I need to find a nanny or daycare. According to my calculations, I will spend about $230 a week if I hire a nanny. However, according to my research, daycare could cost upwards of $200 a week. If this is the case, I'd rather spend the extra $30 to make sure my daughter gets one-on-one care.

Emma soundlessly woke up and crawled away while I typed that last paragraph, and I don't actually know where she is. So I'm going to go find her. If anyone has good information about nannies or daycare, please share!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

If I'd listened more carefully, I might have heard the sky falling.

Before I launch into this post, there are relevant announcements to be made. First and foremost, my (charming and innovative) fiancee and I will be tying the proverbial knot next month. The where's, how-to's and what-convinced-the-in-laws' I shall save for another post.

Secondly, I am going to commit right now to at least one post per week. You have every right to expect a new update if you check my blog on a Monday morning. If said post is not there, feel free to criticize, patronize, or simply whap me with a newspaper.

Thirdly, I am going to start gearing my posts more toward cultural differences and interactions, as they seem to be the topic that motivates me at the moment, as well as the topic people are more interested in hearing.

Now that I've established these updates, on which I shall elaborate in future posts, lets talk about how the sky fell yesterday.

Yesterday, Emma and I visited our dear friends Karolyn and Anna, and we made wedding invitations. (I am planning on writing a how-to for the next post, step-by-by-step, with pictures!) I had searched and searched for a invitation kit at several craft stores and finally decided it would be much more satisfying to simply make them. I am so glad we did.

Each invitation is beautiful and unique. I bought a pad of scrap-book paper, sheets of vellum cut to size and printed, sheer ivory ribbon and 3-D paper flowers. Anna contributed some lace ribbon. We set up an assembly line, and had them done in no-time. The invitations were a bit big, so we had to be careful putting them in the envelope, but with a bit of maneuvering, each fit perfectly. The names were written by hand (Karolyn has lovely, naturally swirl-prone handwriting). We finished it off with a rose stamped in red sealing wax.

I was so excited to give the first of the invitations to my in-laws. I handed it to Emma, who tottered over to my mother-in-law and put it in her lap. Exclamations of "oh, so beautiful!" were abundant. She actually thought the invitation had been store-bought. Then it began.... "Make sure to invite Mengyao's uncle."

See, here's the problem. We don't have money. Meng and I had agreed that we would have four family members and two friends each. Later, we added our friend's significant others to the list. With officiant (and spouse) and the photographer, that made our count 18. If we add one person, then we have to add three, and then three more, and then five, and then it's out of control. We had been clear about the limit of people, or so we thought. My (stubborn and often immovable) fiancee shook his head and said, "No."

"PLEASE!" was my mother-in-law's reply, and she stomped her foot and began shouting things in Chinese. I later found out she was threatening not to come to the wedding and to convince Meng's grandparents not to go either. Had I known that the simple giving of an invitation would create such an explosion, I don't know if I would have even made them.

I also found out later that, while the invitation itself was given high praise, the envelope has received harsh criticism for hand-written addresses (a touch I intended because I wanted it to be more personal), and for not being big enough. The funny thing is, I think the size issue is due to the fact that the ribbon and flower bulge. This will be a problem, no matter the envelope. Besides, it has a real wax seal!

I don't know what it is about an invitation that turns a "simple ceremony" into a "wedding ceremony," but apparently it does. Perhaps it makes things official. For about a month, all the wedding plans went smoothly, and now people are upset again.

After some calm talking to my father-in-law, we reasoned that it is possible to add two people to the guest list, turning 18 into 20. We will most likely do so. Unfortunately, although the decision has been almost made, both my fiancee and my mother-in-law are stubborn people. She keeps bringing up the importance of inviting family, and because she is harping on it, he is threatening to elope. I'm just confused.

I believe all of this wedding strife has to do with the Chinese necessity to "keep face." It's important to make a big show of a wedding, apparently. It shows that you are ready for life, and are able to throw a big, expensive bash. Well, we are preparing to throw a big, expensive bash for 20 people. Expect an update on actual wedding plans soon.

"When I started planning our wedding, my one goal was that it be the most stress-free wedding anyone has ever had. It's all I want. Please?"
There may be muscle relaxers in the wedding-favors.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Steps and Peaches

Emma is up to five steps at a time. Of course, that is when she wants to walk. Most of the time when you stand her up she just looks at you as if to say, "I don't know what you want from me," and then she sinks down and crawls.

In the last week she has made it all the way up the staircase twice without the slightest stumble. One of those times, once reaching the upper floor, she went straight to the box of fruit on the floor. There, she selected a peach. See the video below.

It doesn't show in the video, but she ate everything but the pit, which Meng took out when she was half way through.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Order! Order!

One of these days, I hope that we can find a way to translate baby talk into English. I am fairly certain that Emma has a perfectly good reason for pulling every possible object off the bed, out of drawers, from the shelves and onto the floor. I'm convinced of this because she's very sincerely telling me something. If only I knew what it was and why it was so important.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Emma Fights Domestic Abuse

It's good to know that if I'm ever attacked, Emma can at least sound the alarm. We found this out today when I bit off a little more than I could chew. It happens often, actually. See, Meng is very (very) ticklish. And I like to tickle him, because I'm not nearly as ticklish as he is. The problem (the thing I always forget before starting these things) is that Meng is stronger than me. In fact, he can somehow hold both of my hands with just one of his so he can use the other one to tickle me in my one true vulnerable spot.

But I guess all Emma sees is a man holding down a screaming, pleading woman. At first she just watched. Then I slid off the couch, and Emma started to cry. Ever since then, Emma gets upset whenever Daddy tickles Mommy. It's nice because she doesn't cry when I tickle Meng, and he just doesn't have the heart to make her cry.

Needless to say, this is a development I shall be taking advantage of in the near future.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Big Day for Emma Bean

Emma has been a busy critter since we've been here. At the moment she is standing in her crib, talking to her reflection in the window, showing it her new toy, a maraca, which I will talk about later. There are all sorts of new drawers and cupboards to explore, new outlets to try and eat, and new chairs to knock over... on herself.

I heard a noise and when I looked, it was like a crime scene. There was Emma, sprawled out on all fours, on top of her a toppled chair. It knocked the wind right out of her, and if she hadn't started crying instantly, I would have been panicking. She was obviously fine, with a few scrapes on her face and a bruise that went away in a few hours. I think she just scared herself more than anything. After a good 10 minutes of crying, she was fine.

In other news, she took a step! It was a teeny-tiny step, but a step non the less. Actually, I should say steps. This started about three days ago but we weren't sure if it was just a fluke or not. Then this morning, quite deliberately, she tried to walk toward me. She got about two steps in before she tripped over her own toes, but the intent was there. My (ever knowledgeable, med-student) husband predicts she will be seriously walking by 11 months.

(Emma dropped her maraca out of the crib. In an attempt to get it back, she also dropped her blanket. She is satisfied that this method will not work, and has returned to talking to her reflection)

Incidentally, she really is talking to her reflection. Yesterday she picked up "Hi!" Today it has gotten some serious usage and she is enthusiastically greeting every inanimate object she encounters. As for people, she is usually too busy showing off how cute she is to say it right away, but if they stick around for a minute or two she might decide to say it. She is also saying "Baba," which is Chinese for "daddy." Not bad for 9 1/2 months!

About that toy. Somehow in all the packing, we forgot to pack sufficient toys. Emma went for almost three days with nothing but a chewy butterfly, a book and two stuffed animals. So we went shopping. We picked up Eric Carle's Mister Seahorse and A House for Hermit Crab, and then at a tourist-trap store we found this maraca. We had a plethora of colors and styles to choose from, so we went with the cheapest, unpainted, plastic version in blue. Apparently it's the best toy we've ever gotten her. She plays with it constantly and you know what? For a noise-making toy it's pretty unoffensive. I really don't think we're going to get sick of it. As a $2.99 purchase it was totally worth it.

So that's my little list of updates for today. Feel free to comment on what you want to hear more about. I know I've been a little slack but there's just so much going on, sometimes it's difficult to pin down exactly what I should talk about. Toodles for now!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Altitude Sickness

As I mentioned in the previous post, we are in Colorado. Mountain Village, Colorado, to be exact. It's over the mountain from Telluride. We take the gondola to get there. Nifty, huh?

I want to be clear that the purpose of this portion of the post is to cause envy in the reader. Having established this, I shall continue with a description of our lodgings. We are staying in the "smallest" of the Mountain Lodge's suites. I put "smallest" in quotes because it has a foyer, living room and full kitchen. There are two closets in the foyer, one of which I imagine is designed for ski gear, but Emma's stroller fits into it nicely even when unfolded. There is also a full mirror which Emma has discovered is always there for her full enjoyment.

The kitchen has a stainless steel refrigerator, and came supplied with all the cutlery, pots and pans, dishes and silverware Suzy Homemaker could ask for. The only thing that is really missing is an oven, which I definitely miss every time I have the urge to make sauerkraut, but I am on a diet after all so who needs all that salt. There is a breakfast table between the kitchen and the living room.

The living room has a leather couch and armchair that sit across the room from the large screen TV which is mounted over the fireplace. There are also french doors that open out to our balcony with a view of the snow-peaked mountains. The fireplace is what separates the bedroom from the rest of the suite. It has a king size bed, another TV, and a grid from the fireplace in case we get cold. There are large windows with a view of, you guessed it, snow-peaked mountains.

The bathroom is another story in itself. I've never seen a bathtub so deep. It is contoured so that you have arm rests and a headrest if you let the water come up to your shoulders, and on the left there is a little button you push to make the jets come on.

Other details include the tile in the bathroom, kitchen and foyer, which are of stone. All the curtains are this amazing blackout curtain that really does succeed in "blacking out" the light if we want to go to bed early, which we have been doing. And did I mention the view?

So those are the things that are supposed to stir sinful envy within you. Now here is the thing that is going to bring you to reality: altitude sickness.

I am so tired. The problem is that my muscles are used to getting more oxygen than they are right now, so I'm very sore. That is why I'm updating my blog this late. Emma hasn't been too effected by the difference in atmosphere. She did get over her bout of sickness (thank you, Jesus) and she's eating normal food again.

The only problem Emma is having is with her bed. Apparently it's uncomfortable because for the past two nights she has woken up sobbing, and it's not like her to be afraid of unfamiliar places. So she's sleeping in our bed. She's taking up about half of it, actually. Meng and I are on either side of the bed and she is smack dab in the middle, lying sideways, stretched out as far as she can be. I've tried moving her. She just ends up back the way she was. We are going to have to find a different arrangement because I'm constantly worried I'm going to roll over on her, and quite frankly, she is stunting any sexual activity that could be possible in this altitude.

But enough about her. I'm here to moan and complain. My muscles hurt. And my head hurts. I can hardly walk 300 yards without worrying that my heart is going to jump out of my mouth. Also my nose is bleeding. It started with just trace amounts and it's gradually becoming more and more. I'm tired often. And I can't eat big meals! Who knew you needed oxygen to digest big meals?

With the way my heart is pumping all the time, and the little that I'm eating, I had better lose 10 pounds while I'm here.

So besides all that, we're having a blast. Frequent trips to the hot tub have been in order, along with gentle shuttle rides and drinking lots and lots of water. Tomorrow we plan to stay in and read, and the day after hopefully hit a hiking trail. Goodnight, world. Here's to heavy sleep due to oxygen deprivation!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Journal Entry. #1

I am currently taking a writing class. For it, I'm supposed to journal every day. This is my life blog, and the class is Writing Non-Fiction, so a lot of me is going to come out of it. I thought I'd post a bit when I think it's interesting. Incidentally, we're in Colorado for vacation and it's amazing, but we're all suffering from altitude sickness. We hope to be over it tomorrow or the next day. I'll try and post a few pictures soon.


Tonight I sat in the mountain lodge’s hot tub and watched snow-peaked mountains transform from silhouettes in the twilight to glistening phantoms in the dark. My husband and daughter had left not long before, leaving me completely alone. There were no other guests in the pool. There was no lifeguard either. I looked through open doors to the lodge bar. Even the bartender had disappeared. My fanciful mind thought of James Bond and I glanced about the pool to be sure there were no sharks. Again I settled into my view, listening to the sounds of the mountain. I could hear no one.

The music from the bar abruptly stopped, and the thought occurred to me. Was this the hour of ghosts? The pool lights came on with a loud click and hum. The underwater glow made my skin an eerie, translucent green. Was I a ghost?

Water cascaded out of my swimsuit as I jumped out of the hot tub and I was pleased to note that I did not see my own body left behind, and that I left wet footprints as I walked. But ghosts could sometimes move things. I searched for someone—anyone—as I dried off my body. I needed someone to see me, to say good evening or hello, to recognize my existence without horror.

The walk to my building was lonely. An owl hooted in the distance as I approached the door, as if questioning my occupancy. I waited an eternity, or was it only three minutes, for my husband to let me in. Had he forgotten me? What if he couldn’t see me? What if he knew I was dead and in sorrow had shut himself in the room?

But then he appeared. A smile and warm kiss greeted me, and his gentle arm guided me back to our room where our beautiful baby girl was sleeping. If I am dead, then we are all ghosts. And if we are to haunt any place, what more blissful a place than this? The mountains and pure sky shall solace our parting.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Rant.

I'm really tired of this "trick your kids to eat their vegetables" policy that's been developing among parents. This is how you get them to eat their vegetables: Cook the vegetables. Serve the vegetables. Now everyone, eat the vegetables. You could even *gasp* make more than one kind of vegetable at dinner and let them choose which one they want to eat.

The "this product has vegetables but your kids will never know" market is just angrifying. When a baby is going from milk to strained foods, they don't usually like anything the first time they try it. Same when they go to solid foods. Always try again, model good behavior, and for heaven's sake, stop letting them make demands at every meal! Of course they're always going to want chicken nuggets. If they wanted to play with a butcher knife, would you let them? Of course not!

We often do things that our children don't like because we know what's best. Keep them informed. Tell them their body needs important building blocks that only vegetables have. Use Lego's as an analogy, if you want to. But stop Stop STOP believing that you can't control what your child eats.

I might be an extremist, but I am the kind of person who would not hesitate to serve refused vegetables for the next meal. Quite frankly, I'm the mom, and you will eat what I put on the table.

Please know that I understand that there are some things that a person just will not like. I don't like mushrooms. But I'll eat them if I have to. Because. It's. What's. Being. Served. The food industry is supporting poor behavior in children. DOWN WITH ANARCHY!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sick Baby and the Diaper Rash of the Century

Emma is ill. We're not sure if she ate something that didn't agree with her, or if it's just a stomach flue, but it has caused quite violent diarrhea. Luckily, we already had an unopened bottle of Pedialite, and she's stayed quite hydrated. She is currently taking a nap on the floor.

The constant diaper changing caused a cherry-red diaper rash. It happens, I guess, due to all the moisture. So we're putting A+D on it. For my college friend readers, A+D is the same stuff you put on a new tattoo to keep it from drying out. It's helping a lot. The cherry-red has died down to a lovely rock-star pink. Also she no longer wails inconsolably for 10 minutes after each diaper change.

That interfered of course with all sorts of life-necessities, such as laundry, homework and cleaning.

To labor!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wagons, Vitamins, and Lamb Meatballs?

I must confess something. I'm not doing well with this whole diet thing...

Okay, here's what happened. Yesterday I went to Caribou Coffee soon after posting. As you all know, the 7-grain oatmeal is my favorite thing they have. It wasn't till I was half-way through it I realized what I'd done... Gluten Guilt!

And then there was today. It started off in class, when I arrived to my lab to discover that it was fermented food day! So we made yogurt, and tried a verity of things including olives, pickles, and fermented tofu... yes, there's gluten in tofu. Of course the tofu was very strong-tasting so I immediately ate a cracker... gluten there too.

I also fell off the wagon with the chocolate, but I had reasonable cause and nobody can fault me! I talked to a friend of mine this morning. Instead of hearing the usual chipper "Hell-o!" I get from this dear girl, I got a sniffly "Hi." Apparently her dog died last night. It was unexpected, and she loved the dog very much. I really didn't have a choice. As soon as I was done with class, I went to the convenience store and bought two pints of chocolaty ice cream. (At this point some may say that I could have just gotten her one pint, but it just doesn't work that way. It's not healthy to drown your sorrows in ice cream by yourself.)

So that's where I am today. I didn't have a chance to exercise because all my exercise clothes are in the bottom of the laundry hamper...

So that vitamin incident. I've been taking Women's One a Day Active Metabolism for a while now. A month ago, I was having a terrible time sleeping. Meng likes the mattress extra firm and I was convinced that our bed was at fault for my tossing and turning. I tried sleeping on the couch a few nights. The first night I had been studying and barely even brushed my teeth before crashing into the soft cushions. I didn't stir all night. The second and third nights I tossed and turned again. Next we talked about disorders. I was considering having a sleep study done. Then one day I made a discovery...

Actually, Emma made a discovery first. When you shake a pill bottle, it makes the coolest noise! We negotiated for a while over who the bottle belonged to, until we compromised with a trade (crinkly book for pill bottle). As I casually returned the bottle to the bathroom, I noticed a teeny notice on the label:
"This product contains about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee."

So That explains a lot. I had been taking it at night right before I went to bed. That one night that I slept so well on the couch, I had forgotten to take it. Moral of the story is: always read the label.

Anyway, I'm off to try and make Lamb Meatballs. I'll let you know how they turn out. Ground lamb is surprisingly inexpensive!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Battle Continues

Well, it's been how long since my last post? And I've actually gained 5 pounds. This weight loss thing sucks. So here's what I'm changing this week, because if I tell everyone, I actually have to follow through:

I'm on a gluten free diet. That's right. No more wheat. No bread, pasta, brownies, cake, cereal. I'm down to rice and corn
as grains. So far it's pretty difficult. It doesn't help that we've been traveling, but I shouldn't let that be an excuse.

My little red dress is hanging on the bedroom wall. I needed motivation. This is a picture of me wearing the dress in high school. I thought I was fat back then, but I can't even get this dress over my incidentals now. I can wear this dress again. I know I can do it. So it's hanging on the wall next to my bed. It's the first thing I see in the morning, the last thing I see at night.

I'm exercising daily. Last night Meng and I walked the mile and then some to Target and back. Then we came home and we stretched. I'm making it a point to go to the gym every day that I'm up at school. I'm looking into classes at the local YMCA. And I'm taking Women's One A Day Active Metabolism, which I recently discovered has caffeine in it. (That story later!)

No more *gulp* chocolate or soda. This is going to be the really difficult one, and I'm going to be as honest as I can be with you all. I don't know if I can do it. I love both so much. But it's necessary, and there's a dress staring at me.

Now it's getting rather late in the day, and while I've fed the baby and basically gotten her around, I have not yet actually showered. So I'll be back tomorrow to tell you about that little caffeinated vitamin incident.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Rolling Over

You know you have a mobile baby when you set your computer on the bed, walk to the dresser, and then instinctively turn to make sure it hasn't followed you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Food and Sanity: Understanding your body

When I was pregnant, my cravings weren't odd in and of themselves. It was the time of day I'd want them. Corn for breakfast, lima beans as a midnight snack, a bagel for lunch, and chips and salsa just about anytime, I wanted normal things, I just wanted them at abnormal times. Finally I found this chart that changed how I eat.

If you crave this...What you really need is...And here are healthy foods that have it:
ChocolateMagnesiumRaw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits
SweetsChromiumBroccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, calves liver, chicken
CarbonFresh fruits
PhosphorusChicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, grains
SulfurCranberries, horseradish, cruciferous vegetables, kale, cabbage
TryptophanCheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach
Bread, toastNitrogenHigh protein foods: fish, meat, nuts, beans
Oily snacks, fatty foodsCalciumMustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
Coffee or teaPhosphorousChicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes
SulfurEgg yolks, red peppers, muscle protein, garlic, onion, cruciferous vegetables
NaCl (salt)Sea salt, apple cider vinegar (on salad)
IronMeat, fish and poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries
Alcohol, recreational drugsProteinMeat, poultry, seafood, dairy, nuts
AveninGranola, oatmeal
CalciumMustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
GlutamineSupplement glutamine powder for withdrawal, raw cabbage juice
PotassiumSun-dried black olives, potato peel broth, seaweed, bitter greens
Chewing iceIronMeat, fish, poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries
Burned foodCarbonFresh fruits
Soda and other carbonated drinksCalciumMustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
Salty foodsChlorideRaw goat milk, fish, unrefined sea salt
Acid foodsMagnesiumRaw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits
Preference for liquids rather than solidsWaterFlavor water with lemon or lime. You need 8 to 10 glasses per day.
Preference for solids rather than liquidsWaterYou have been so dehydrated for so long that you have lost your thirst. Flavor water with lemon or lime. You need 8 to 10 glasses per day.
Cool drinksManganeseWalnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries
Pre-menstrual cravingsZincRed meats (especially organ meats), seafood, leafy vegetables, root vegetables
General overeatingSiliconNuts, seeds; avoid refined starches
TryptophanCheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach
TyrosineVitamin C supplements or orange, green, red fruits and vegetables
Lack of appetiteVitamin B1Nuts, seeds, beans, liver and other organ meats
Vitamin B3Tuna, halibut, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, seeds and legumes
ManganeseWalnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries
ChlorideRaw goat milk, unrefined sea salt
TobaccoSiliconNuts, seeds; avoid refined starches
TyrosineVitamin C supplements or orange, green and red fruits and vegetables
Obviously some of these cravings don't apply to me at all, but I thought about it today as I was desperately craving a buttermilk biscuit. I mean, just because I'm not pregnant anymore doesn't mean my body can't tell me what I need, right? I thought I'd share it with you. I'm off to see about some high protein foods such as fish, nuts, meat or beans!