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 a.maze.ing. 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 Modcloth.com. 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!