Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The baby shower (the last milestone before D-day!)

The spread (creme brulee french toast - can such a perfectly indulgent thing exist??)

Me looking rather shaky holding my friend's 12-week old son (apparently it's not like riding a bike).

One of the last few pics as a threesome! Ah K, you look so at peace while I tremble within.

The ladies who made it all possible. I can't tell you how desperately grateful I am to personally know more than 1 other mom the second time around.

Professional pictures - better late than never??

We finally got around to having a professional photographer take some family pictures of us because 1) he offered the service for free (neighbor who needs to build his portfolio) but 2) he was more interested in snapping shots of my big belly than getting heirloom quality family shots.

These are the only pictures where he doesn't make me flash my belly. Anyway, I realized afterwards how badly we need quality professional pictures of our growing family so I will have to remember to add this to the to do list once baby #2 arrives (right after #42: brush my teeth and #43: return to the land of the living).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Baltimore marathon - done!

Whew, after months of getting up at 6am to run, Jimmy finished a quarter of a marathon (as part of 4-man relay) this past weekend in Baltimore to benefit the lukemia and lymphoma society!! K could not have been happier - she thinks she's at disneyworld with all the mouse ears floating around.
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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ack, what happened to summer 2008?

Ever since I got pregnant with #2, my desire to blog or do anything remotely productive instantly evaporated. But 6 months without having made a single entry - I'm mortified by how lazy I've been...

...And how lazy I'm going to be by just posting pictures to sum up these past 6 months. Though I think these pictures do incomparably more than words to show how much K has grown over this summer.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The ultimate thing that inspires

The last post was an expression of just one tiny moment I experience during any given day. A more accurate picture of what lies within my universe of inspirations must, by definition, include my daughter, K. All that she says and creates, a flash of a genuine smile and the grip of her hand around my finger, it is the kind of inspiration that drives one to reach beyond one's grasp - to be a kinder, more hopeful, more patient...are we not all inspired to be better people as a result of our children? And what better reason to be inspired?

The things that inspire

Inspiration is one of those things that, unless it pertains to your craft (as an artist), you are not actively seeking. It is also one of those things that when I entered full-time motherhood, I desperately craved in my everyday life, most of the time unwittingly. It is wildly different for everyone, I am sure, but the daily routines of being a stay-at-home mom has the potential to numb your senses and your spirit. Breakfast, clean-up, play-time, clean-up, reading-time, snack, lunch, outdoor activity, fighting naps, a brief interlude of peace where i debate housework vs. sitting down in front of the computer, wake-up, entertain, perpare dinner, more clean-up, etc. How does one counteract the effects of predictable, daily routine? Of course there is sheer joy and awe in just being in the presence of your growing child. But when you are making the second breakast of the day because she refuses to eat anything that hints of nutritional value that morning, it is a muted joy indeed.

So imagine how great was my glee when I stumbled upon Maira Kalman last night. Never heard of Maira Kalman? Same here. But how happy to have discovered her late, than never. Words fail and can only get in the way of describing this lady. You will have to read her for yourself:

Now I cannot get enough of her and am trying to dig up all her writings, interviews, etc. She not only inspires me, but those that inspire her inspire me! As her sources of inspiration, she lists J. Austen, Nabakov, and Sebald. Austen is my supreme source of inspiration for all things witty and strong + feminine. Nabakov - such poetry, such humor, always appropriate with a cup of tea! Sebald I have yet to discover but one of his books is now in my amazon cart.

I know there are entire blogs dedicated to those things that inspire and understandably so. What is our daily existence if it is not filled with a certain amount of whimsy, otherworldniess, sense of awe, impulsiveness driven by intuition, hungry learning, and lots and lots of wild uncontainable laughter?

One more link - her interview:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Daddy and daughter time

What do fathers do with their daughter when the mother takes the entire day to plan/attend a baby shower? It's terrifying to contemplate but I imagine it normally involves consecutive hours of Nick Jr. (if the kid is lucky and the dad actually locates a child-related network), round the clock snacking on whatever is sitting in the pantry closet, too much juice, juice-stained clothes and of course, no nap.

I'm not sure what really happened when I had to leave to prepare for my friend's baby shower a couple weekends ago, but J provided evidence that it was not all chips and TV for the day...

Home-made sailboats! Wow, if I can't reach the heights of martha, at least J's got a shot.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How to raise the perfect child: move to the city

Pastor T. Keller of Redeemer church (oh how I miss his weekly shards of brilliance on how to live the Christian life) gives his thoughts on why raising a child in the city has greater advantages than raising a child in the burbs. I nearly started packing my bags. You can find the free sermon here:
Click on "it takes a city to raise a child".

His opinion on the matter holds a great deal of weight for me since he uprooted his children from the burbs to NYC and has witnessed what difference this has made in the quality of life for his children. Keller sketches the profile of the type of adult your child would likely become (all thing being equal) and honestly, that's the kind of person I myself would want to be, or befriend, or just admire from afar. Anyway, I really enjoyed listening to the city vs. burbs argument via Keller because he emphasized how living in the city can actually aid in the child's respecting a parent's Christian beliefs and adopting it themselves. Now if he could give explicit instructions on how to juggle a 20 lb. stroller and fidgety toddler down a subway stairwell and how to manage more than 1 child in a 600 sq. feet of living space, we'd be all set.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Why I never bothered to paint my walls

This is Blik's new addition to their wee gallary collection. Look at those colors! And dragonflys - how can you go wrong with those happy critters on your child's walls.
I have the "sea creatures" in K's bathroom and the "sheep" in the bedroom, next to the bed. K and I both equally adore them and luckily, she hasn't shown any desire to tear them off and reposition them every day (although since they are a party of Blik's re-stick collection, no tears will be shed by me if she does).
The quality of decals really do vary. I recently bought decals from Ikea and they refused to stay on the walls, even after repeated applications of double-sided tape!! One of the happiest design developments of late is the tremendous explosion in the variety of decals out there and the widespread use of them. I would love to work with wall paper, but decals are offering me instant gratification without the commitment issues.

Friday, February 1, 2008

K's first year album

One of the many good intentions that falls to the wayside as a first time mommy is the the formal documentation of your infant's first year, which is conventionally done via a scrapbook. You purchase the scrapbook, breeze through a few scrapbook magazines and even get around to printing out the 10,000 pictures of your infant (99,959 of which are not in focus because your husband's hands seems to be mysteriously perpetually trembling when taking photos of your child at the most memorable moments). But then the scrapbook gets pushed to a lonely corner of the room or is sent to the bottom of a growing pile of unread catalogs. Either way, it collects dust and is increasingly resented as every glimpse of it reminds you that you are woefully inadequate as a mommy since you can't even put together a mere scrapbook for your first born. And so the distress mounts. Until....

Enter My Publisher. I am indebted to a good friend, CH, for her having passed on this web-based photo publisher. There may be other options out there, but thanks to My Publisher, I finally put together a book that accounts of K's first year - in great quality pictures. It is the modern scrapbook, and truly suitable for those who share my lack of talent and patience in cutting, glueing and sticking.

Admittedly it still took me 10 months to finish the book online since I seem to act upon nothing unless there is a sense of urgency or impending doom. But since K's 2nd birthday is coming up, I thought it would be too shameful to dwaddle any longer. But we all know sometimes procrastination pays off big time because is currently offering a dicsount at My Pulisher!

You can find K's album here if you want to know what took me so long:

(I hope this link above works but if not, let me know and I'll forward you another link)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Random pic comparisons: the holidays

New Years Day 2007
New Years Day 2008

Christmas 2006
Christmas 2007

Yet another transition: the end of the era of co-sleeping

Most hippie/treehugger/attachment parenting parents will rattle off two dozen reasons to justify what is warily viewed by the american society at large as co-sleeping. But one reason that didn't occur to me until earlier this week is this: It's CHEAP.

Yes, cheap as in easy on the bank account. Now that J and I have decided to transition K to her own bed (we actually decided this many moons ago but have finally overcome inertia to do it), I realize that this is an expenisve undertaking. I do worry how we will manage to eat in the next few months. Just a brief list of the buying frenzy below.

1. The mattress - the most important, the most headache. Apparently buying an organic mattress requires either a doctor's prescription or a swiss bank account. We have neither but we managed to find one that didn't require a 20-year payment plan. Considering that most organic mattresses can easily run $1000+, this was an unbelievable find:

2. Bedding - fun to shop for, but my credit card was wincing. The selection for modern children's bedding has really exploded as of late, with exclusive baby bedding designers like Dwell studio and Serena and Lily unveiling a collection of utterly desirable prints at corresponding steep prices. I tried quite valiantly to justify buying this:

or this:

and gasp, my heart stopped at experiencing this:

In the end, I hoped K would be better served by my preserving her college funds and buying this:

I love the print (K is obsessed with the eiffel tower lately) and it's eco-friendly - how can I ask for more?

3. The bed. Ah, this is where I let go of the reigns of financial discipline and let my heart lead me down the path of desire and debt. This bed had me at hello:

But then my heart was divided when my eyes happened upon this:

And how close would I come to buying something that cost more than the annual energy supply for a small nation:

I haven't decided on the bed yet as this is a big investment and J is starting to look nervous. Ideally I would love to go bohemian chic and hit my local flea market to find a bed frame that i can refurbish and then upholster a headboard. But who am I kidding - at that rate K won't have a bed until 2015.
Another long night of online shopping lies ahead.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Update on the weaning

As just punishment for my having been shamelessly sentimental about the weaning process, my boobs have decided to make my waking hours utterly miserable. That's right - classic weaning complications, complete with engorgement, plugged ducts and I think even masititis (a few days ago I had fever, chills, nausea and a desire to just lay down and never move a muscle again). At the moment, I've resorted to stuffing my bra with cabbage leaves to shut down the milk factory.

K, however, is doing well and has never looked back. Ah, c'est la vie!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

As in all things, this too is bittersweet

It's been 5 (5!!) days since K has nursed at the ol'e boob. I daresay, she is weaned.
And where, pray tell, is my exuberance at this feat?
I thought all I wanted to be was free of nursing, especially after K's demands to nurse (and they did turn to very insistent demands) grew more infrequent and inconvenient. And if J and I were going to plan for baby #2, then the nursing would have to end as well. Which is why last Wednesday, while K and I were having grilled cheese and tomato soup at Nordstrom Cafe, I laid out the facts to her.

Me: Do you want to have a baby brother/sister with whom to play and terrorize?
K: Yes

Me: Mommy can only have baby if K stops nursing
K: (Gazing off into the distance)

Me: So we'll stop nursing from now on, Ok?
K: (Still gazing)

Me: (Starting to sweat profusely and getting nervous) Should we go to the toy store?
K: Yes

And believe it or not, K didn't demand to be nursed the entire day. And later that night, she came over to me, gave the o'le boobs a pat for good measure, giggled, and then cried on and off for about an hour until she fell asleep. I lay asleep crying far longer because the image of your first born looking at you with unhappy but trusting eyes does funny things to your emotions at 1am.
It's almost over. After 4 nights of no one in this household getting to sleep before midnight, K finally dozed off at 11pm. Which is how I came to race downstairs to record these thoughts and feelings before they pass. So much has been felt by mothers the world over with regard to this singular and miraculous bond between mother and child, exhilirating in its purity and strength. Any more I can say will surely sound trite.
Nursing K has been such a blessing. I can't count the numbers of prayers made on behalf of wanting K to latch, wanted more milk supply for K, wanting my boobs to just stop being sore for 2 seconds. And at the end of the road, K and I are so much more tightly wound together for it. (why did I add in this last bit?? you'd think i was writing an essay for college admissions. cheeeesy.)