First Day

Monday, December 29, 2008

My first day at work was nice.

I woke up at 6:30, ate my breakfast, worked out a bit (the first time in a long time in a long time), and then got Sofia’s stuff ready for hanging out with Gwa-Ma for the day. The girl is not an early riser (like the rest of the family) and so I had to wake her. 9:15 I got her up and had her breakfast ready. Unfortunately, when I’m in get-ready mode, I’m moving fast, and mostly don’t realize it. She drank her milk and then I fed her oatmeal. She was doing fine... I had the spoon ready and her mouth kept opening. 85% finished, she burps, looks up, opens her mouth and she barfs. Poor girl. I had huge flashbacks of my own mother shoveling food into my own mouth!

Got to work and got more of my office organized. My new computer didn’t arrive yet, so I could focus on getting stuff into place. I still have a long way to go, but right now it works.

Had lunch with my good friend Maria, and caught up in a short hour.

And when I got back from lunch, this was waiting for me:

It is SOOOOOOOO gorgeous. I put it in front of my cinema display of my to-be-passed-on G5-tower, I couldn’t believe that the screen was only a tiny bit smaller. I opened up Final Cut Pro and all the palettes fit in the screen so nicely. This is an amazing machine.

However, one thing is that it’s so heavy! I can’t believe how much my bag weighs. I guess it is a pretty big computer.

Okay, enough about my computer.

When I got to my parents’ house to see Sofia, she looked so good! She has been sick over the last few days, and so she hasn’t really been herself. Still happy, but a lot less energy. Sometimes she’d just sit there. If you know Sofia, you know she never sits still for very long. When I came in the door, she was so hyper. My baby was back. Takes a Grandma’s touch!

I am very happy about my first day. It feels good that I have an awesome tool in my hands, that I still have my friends at work, that I have great care for my baby and that with some discipline, I can balance all these areas in my life and not feel totally beat.

On to tomorrow!

In Between

Sunday, December 28, 2008

We’re now on the other side of Christmas, and now we’re looking forward to New Year’s. For me, this transition is particularly significant. Tomorrow, I become a working mother. I won’t lie and pretend that I don’t have concerns about this new stage in life for me. I don’t have a great tolerance for stress. My work can be quite stressful because of the tight timelines and the creative output that I’ve got to achieve, balancing a lot of communication and tasks. When I wasn’t a mother, work could stay at work, and when I came home, we’d just enjoy our evenings together. But now, my work life and my home life are going to be hugely intertwined since I am going to be working AT HOME for two days a week.

While it is definitely going to be a life-change, and those can be quite stressful, I am looking forward to the change in my routine. It’s a great time to try to implement other things into my life (like, exercising regularly). So, even though life is about to pick up in pace ten-fold, I know that it’s a great opportunity to grow and challenge myself to juggle a lot more responsibility, hopefully, successfully.

For one thing, no more sleeping in. Here goes nothing...

Something New

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

As the new year approaches my thoughts always turn towards New Year's Resolutions. I know many people are super-jaded when it comes to the NYRs, since most of the time they don't get fulfilled. I know a lot of mine don't get fulfilled and I usually make the same ones over and over again.

But this time, I think that I am going to be making the ULTIMATE resolution.

What I like about resolutions is that it makes me reflect what I could be improving about my life, or as myself as a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a co-worker, and now, a mother -- or, even, as a human being in general. And I find, the older I get, the harder it is to change anything about how I go about life, to gain new perspective, incorporate something new into my routine, or even learn something new. Adult life can end up being a big, fat RUT.

I was talking to Gonz and we're deciding to try something new every year. Doesn't have to be earth-shattering, but has to stretch us a little. Gonz is off for three weeks due to some back problems, but he's taken the opportunity to try baking. He baked some biscuits last night, and today he baked three chocolate tea bread loaves. You should see how happy and excited he was.

And I think that it's that way with anything... When we learn something new, it makes us excited about the possibilities we have in life in general. Like I said, it doesn't have to be anything extraordinary. It can be anything.

What I also think is great about doing anything new at "this age" means I have to be intentional about it. And being intentional about something is very important. That means I won't look back at a stretch of time and go, "Where did the time go?" I feel I usually say that when I have drifted through life a bit too much, just doing what I always do...

So, I don't know what it is that I'm deciding to do yet, but I'm thinking about it. We'll see... got any suggestions?

15 days

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I have fifteen days left to my maternity leave. I cannot believe that 50 weeks have gone by and now I'm gearing up to go back to work. The church is being so awesome by letting me come back to my position only part-time: 4 days a week, instead of 5; and also working from home two of those days so I can be with Sofia. (The two days I am in the office, my mother will be watching her).

I am looking forward to it in a lot of ways. For one is being back with my co-workers. I have some of the best co-workers anyone can ask for. They are my very good friends and it will be nice when I can see them on a regular basis again. I like working on projects with them and trying to make things the best they possibly be! I am interested to see if this maternity leave "sabbatical" has gained me some new perspective on how I can work better and also in what ways has it made me rusty! At least I have been working some while I have been on leave, so I hope that I am not TOO bad.

What I am not looking forward to is not being with Sofia ALL the time. That is going to take some getting used to. I know for me, and also for her. I am happy that it'll be my mother, though, who will be replacing me as her caregiver those days. At least I don't have to worry about her–just miss her.

I am also not looking forward to the wreck my brain is going to be. I can imagine me freaking out because I wasn't organized enough about it, I don't have anything planned for my mother and Sofia to eat those days I am in the office. That might be one of my biggest dreads. Well, I guess if that's the worst, it's not going to be that bad.

Overall, I know, like all things, it's going to be a transition, and transitions have the potential to be stressful. It's going to be stressful in one way or another, but I hope it's not emotionally or spiritually. Physically, probably guaranteed since I'm going to have to be way more disciplined about sleeping and waking times (was never my strength). You'll probably laugh at me (those who know me best), but those days that I work from home I hope to wake at around 6 am so that I can get as much work done before Sofia wakes up (~ 3 hours), work while she naps in the morning and afternoon (~2), and then the other 2 hours can happen while she plays on her own, or when Gonzo gets home. That would be the perfect day - so I know that's a nice thing to aim for, even if it never happens.

Well, that's the masterplan. We'll see how it unfolds for real.

Sofia is 1

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

366 yesterdays came Sofia. 16 days earlier than her due date. 8:08 in the morning on Monday, December 10, weighing in at 7 pounds and 7 ounces, and was 51 cm. I didn't know anything about her except that she sure liked to kick a lot.

Today, Sofia turns one. She is now 22 pounds, 80 cm.

Has five teeth. Two in the bottom. Three at the top with a fourth one showing up on the other side.

She is a great crawler. Pulls herself up to standing. Walks using furniture to support herself. Can climb down from couches, etc.

Loves to eat - especially whatever you're eating. Potato. Pear. Clementine. Tortellini. Banana. Raspberries. Blueberries. Yogurt. Oatmeal. Tofu. Salmon. Bread. Ground beef. Dumplings. Black cod in a miso glaze. But... not rice.

Feeds herself well. I have read in some places that this isn't supposed to be "allowed", but I've been letting her feed herself Cheerios for months. Never a problem, aside from a Hansel-and-Gretel-find-me-trail in the mall sometimes. Today I tried giving her an entire slice of pear to feed herself. She stuffed her entire mouth with it and managed to swallow it eventually without gagging. I am not sure that Christine can even do that.

Loves to escape whatever you've used to try to barricade her in. Now add pulling herself over objects (like a coffee table or turned over chair) to her bag of escape tricks.

Loves music, loves to dance.

Had her ears pierced at six months.

Can use sign language (her own made up) to ask for music to be played on the computer, ask to be tickled, throw her hands up to indicate "hooray!", close/open/clap her hands on command, indicate that she would like to wash her hands (usually at the sight of a sink), point to where she wants to go when carried, throw a flying kiss...

She can hug you and kiss you on command. But, also when she wants to.

Loves the computer. With just the keyboard, she's managed to hit special combinations that have imported entire random folders of images into my iPhoto, and today, freeze the computer.

Pretends to answer the phone, but when someone actually talks to her on the other end, it really freaks her out and she wants to see the origin of the sound.

First words were "bear" and "beh-beh". "Bear" was used for any kind of animal. "Beh-beh" these days are for anything she decides she'd like to point at. Other than that, she rambles long sentences of random syllables.

Has a "monster" voice. It's low. It's raspy. She pulls out once in a while. Last week, she added a monster-voice laugh.

She is scared easily. Loud and unexpected noises, especially. Also, a finger puppet that she wasn't expecting at the end of a storybook freaked her right out. Anytime I showed her the book over the course of the next three days, she'd climb up onto someone for refuge.

Although she does wake at least once in the course of the evening, Sofia sleeps 12 hours at this point in her life. This is in addition to usually two crappy naps during the day. 1 hour in the morning, and 1 hour in the afternoon... if she feels like it.

Used a chupete ("binky". "dummy". "pacifier".) for 11 months of her life. The Monday after we got back from Mexico, I threw it away. I have to lie down with her until she falls asleep now, but at least she won't be that girl I see at the mall who is four and is still using one.

Loves to say hi to random strangers. Is somewhat disappointed if she can't get their attention.

Loves to grab noses. Be careful. She isn't gentle. Still working on that one.

Has a mongolian mark that resembles a HUGE bruise on her butt, that she was born with. Still hasn't faded.

She had her hair cut (just her bangs) for the first time on Sunday night. Now she doesn't look like she needs a bath all the time. Stringy long bangs makes a baby look dirty.

Can look at a book on her own for 10 minutes sometimes.

She is very nosy. Has to see what you're up to.

She is very, very happy in the morning.

I've had a year with her and this is what I know so far. The cool thing is that she's also finding out who she is, herself; of what she is capable; what she likes, dislikes and loves. I certainly have had my share of challenges this year (particularly in balancing other things that I am involved in with my family life) but for the most part it has been, above all, fun. Sofia makes me laugh so much, especially lately - with her funny faces, and her attempts at tickling me.

Later today, we have a big family gathering at Abuelos' and we're gonna celebrate the year we've had with her and the years we have to come. I like it when all of the family can come together and it's crazy how both our family's DNA all converges in this little girl. I look at my mother-in-law and think, Sofia shares my DNA and also shares hers. I like the thought that our lives, even physically, is woven into each other.

Sofia has taught me so much in such little time that I don't think I could have learned any other way. Probably above all, is patience. I don't think that I am a very patient person naturally. I am persistent - like, I can sit at a computer to try to tackle a huge project, but that is not the same as being patient. She has taught me to step back and just watch. Many of my friends dubbed me "Mama" even before I actually became a mom, but that's because of my tendency to be overbearing. With Sofia, I have learned to just watch her learn - just hang back and just protect from a little bit of a distance. These two areas are probably the most significant for me.

Gonzalo and I love her and love seeing who she is becoming. We are looking forward to seeing what she is going to be up to in this next year.

Preggers... no, not me.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Two mommy bloggers are pregnant at the same time! The chances!!

Dooce - Utah, USA
Karen Cheng's Snippets of Life - Australia

Good thing that pregnancy isn't contagious!

I LOVED being pregnant. Yeah, yeah, I know that I had a great pregnancy. Lost weight and kept it off by having a baby (gained a bit back on holidays - THANKS MEXICO.) Had only about three weeks of pseudo-morning sickness. Never had the typical aches and pains. Had the baby two weeks early. I know not every woman's experience is that great. But the fact life was growing inside me is such a miracle that I still can't really digest the idea regardless of whether I had a great pregnancy or nauseous for nine months. Needless to say, I can't wait to be pregnant all over again.

Well, at least I get to live through that whole pregnancy thing vicariously through reading those blogs. Maybe I'll learn a few things for my next pregnancy (STOP THE RUMOURS ALREADY, WILL YA?!)

My family in Mexico

Sunday, November 30, 2008

palm and palapas

It's a week later - we came home from our Mexican holiday on Sunday, November 23 at 3:15pm. I have been trying to blog about the trip ever since. It's always busy when you come home from holidays - catching up on the stuff you missed for a whole week while you were off out of the country. However, even with the little spaces of time that I had to try to capture our holiday on this digital paper, I didn't know how to tackle it all. So, I probably will have to do it in chunks... which means, good! I might actually post a little more regularly.

For now, I think that I'll just write about my family, on holidays.

It's insane about how difficult it is to get my family all together in one place. I think that I've written about this before. Our friends, the Lareaus, found this out when they came to visit us this past week. Our family would just drift into and out of their day as we hung out together... everyone just has too much going on. My father has a regular schedule, but my mother works many nights and every weekend. Both my sisters have part-time jobs as well as their art (Margaret works at a studio and Christine freelances for herself). I had to ask them all to block off this November 16 to 23 week, but be flexible about whether we leave Saturday, Sunday or Monday. It turns out that also became difficult. We a few fights about it (mostly me with my hubby), but finally we were able to find a solution around some scheduling conflicts and made the trip happen.

So, being the person that researched, organized and booked the trip I felt the pressure of hoping that I booked someplace that everyone was happy with. Sure, it's true that you can't please everyone, but with my family I really believed that I could. I booked the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya in Akumal, Mexico - five star! It's definitely more luxury than anyone of us has probably experienced personally. After a problem-free flight (aside from some annoying people who were obviously going to Cancun to party-out their brains for a week), and then a swift private transfer to the resort about an hour and half away, we arrived at around 10:00pm. We checked into our rooms, with bellboys taking our suitcases for us, I first had my sisters come into our room as we were settling in. The looks on their faces relieved me instantly. They were so excited. My parents were happy too. PHEW!!

The whole week, we pretty much just lazed around in chairs, working on our tans; in the pool cooling off and swimming up to the swim-up bar; at the beach snorkeling taking underwater photos; eating at the high-quality buffets, or ordering awesome dinners at the à la carte restaurants; it was just a great week relaxing as a family.

After the week was over, my mother said that it was the most relaxed that she has had in a long time. If you know my mother, she has a hard time just sitting still. If she's not at working, she's cleaning her house, and if she's not cleaning her house, she's cleaning mine. It's very bad. My father is not much different. He doesn't understand the purpose of a holiday. (What? Do nothing?) And if you were to send them on a holiday on their own, they wouldn't know what to do with themselves, so we know that if we want my parents to take a vacation, we have to go with them.

We had a lot of fun. It was a good chance to hang out with one another, reconnect and also get some rest. Life has obviously picked up in pace for all of us in the last year. I'm glad that we were able to make some time with one another a priority.

More later!

I echo you

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Excitement grows!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tonight I hung out with my parents while Gonz was at work and we were searching flickr for photos of the area that we're going to be visiting, our resort and some attractions. My parents are already so happy with the resort that I booked. It's kinda crazy that during low season you can book the best resort you can find (5 star) for about $100 more. It ended up being about $50 more than our budgeted price, but we figured to just go ahead and spend $50 and be extremely happy, versus wishing that we did and find our resort lacking.

While we were looking at all the photos my dad just kept saying how happy he was that the resort had this or that, like the lazy river, because it would be fun to enjoy it with Sofia. My mother keeps saying to Sofia that "We're going to have so much fun together - then mommy and daddy can go and enjoy themselves." I keep telling my mother I don't want it to be like that! This is a family vacation! She's not coming along to be the nanny! I know that she will enjoy it anyway, but she's already making me feel badly!

My underwater housing arrived from TigerDirect yesterday and I am so excited! My sisters and I LOVE taking photos underwater but I hate those disposable cameras that cost like $20 and take crappy shots. With this underwater housing I can actually even take video if I want to! I'll let you know how it is. I got the Dicapac (WP110) for my Canon SD1100 for about $60 with taxes and shipping. Yeah, that seems steep, but when you compare it to the official Canon one which is $200...

I'm making my extensive lists of all that we have to pack. I don't really care if I forget something for myself, but it's the stuff that I have to bring for Sofia that I am worried about forgetting. But I have to keep reminding myself that children are resilient and they won't notice if you forget something - just don't forget the diapers and the wipes! They could wear the same thing all week and they wouldn't notice... (don't worry, I wouldn't do THAT).

One week away.
At the beach.
Snorkeling, snorkeling, snorkeling.
No cooking.
No cleaning.
No grocery shopping.
With my family.

This is going to be refreshing.

Where the sun shines...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We'll be there soon! AND... we'll be leaving this:

Ugh. Disgusting.

11 months

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

334 / Monday, November 10
This week, Sofia turned 11 months. She had been showing tons of signs of what her personality was going to be like, but this past month it really has just been shining through all the baby-ness. She is ridiculously fun to play with now, but also ridiculously tiring because she's getting into everything, much more opinionated about her likes, dislikes and wants.

What's going on?

  • Teeth. Sofia has sprouted her third tooth. Yeah, that's all she has got so far. I think that in this department she is behind. Oh well, that's fine with me. She's already chewed into one of her board books (it looks like we own a dog), and she bit my mother tonight.

  • Dancing. Sofia dances EVERY TIME music comes on. You should see her at the mall. You don't realize how much music is playing in every store until you walk Sofia through it. She's got both fists in the air while bopping up and down. She has also added a new move. Yeah, I'd get a headache too.

  • Copying. Just today she starting doing what many toddlers do: mimicking adults. She picked up the phone and started pretending that she was answering it. She's even got the put-the-phone-between-the-ear-and-the-shoulder move down. Gonzo and I really have to start shaping up. Oh gosh, did I use the word TODDLER?

  • Funny Face. Sofia has got a new funny face. Unfortunately, this is all I could capture on (digital) film. She just opens her mouth wide. Probably funnier in real life. And that she's my daughter. Okay, fine. Maybe it's not funny at all.

    335 / Tuesday, November 11

  • Talking up a storm. Sofia is starting to babble in a way that all her inflections sound like adult conversation. Except that none of the syllables make sense. Other than that of "bear".

  • "Pointing." Sofia has learned that if she points in a certain direction that it brings attention to it. So, if her Gwa-Kong is holding her, she may "point" to her "shrine" in the livingroom so she can view all the photos, Gwa-Kong will take her over there to it. The funny thing is that her "pointing" is her arm extended with hand pointing up. Matt has dubbed it, "Opera Hand". Yeah, go ahead and belt that note!

  • Cruising. Walking while using furniture for support is definitely full-force now. Hardly anything is safe now.

  • Her diet. I still feed her commercially prepared baby food, with some guilt. I feel like if I tried harder I could make her my own baby food, but I guess I work too much. But one thing that I hold on to for comfort is that I think that the reason why she pretty much eats anything is because I switch her food every day. If I made her my own baby food, she'd eat the same thing for days. Yeah, sure, I could make a whole array of baby food and freeze it, but I don't have that much room in my fridge, thank-you-very-much. Heehee...excuses. Anyway, she does eat as much fresh stuff that I can get into her: bananas, blueberries, raspberries, and ripe pear are the perfect texture. I started giving her steamed apple today and that was well-received as well. I have started giving her whole cow's milk, mixed into her afternoon dose of formula to get her used it when she turns one (TOO SOON!). When the meal can work for her (i.e., not having a spicy steak for dinner), I will set aside some of that for her to eat. She loves fish, especially. She feeds herself her bottle now, too.

    327 / Monday, November 3

  • Sleeping pattern. Definitely can't complain in this area. She'll sleep from 9:30pm, until 9:30 am, with a waking in there somewhere. Just take her to our bed, she falls back asleep until morning. Naps are usually one hour in the morning, and then two hours in the afternoon. But the afternoon one is getting wonky lately.

  • Separation Anxiety. Last couple of nights have been particularly bad. She usually goes down for nighttime sleep no problem. Give her the chupete and her teddy bear and away she goes. These last couple of nights she has just been literally screaming and sobbing. I left her for a nap this evening (because I couldn't get her to sleep any earlier) for perhaps 45 minutes, screeeeeeaming. I finally figured out it wasn't just a regular I-don't-feel-like-napping... She was heartbroken. She thought I disappeared off the face of the planet. (See separation anxiety here. The funny (but good) thing is that I can leave her at a sitter's, or in the nursery at church, and she's fine. Maybe that's coming to an end...

    It's crazy to think how far she has come. I often will sit and just watch her and think back to all the different things that she has learned and discovered and mastered: she can turn toward where a noise is coming from, she can eat solid foods!, can pick up tiny objects with her thumb and forefinger, she can sit up on her own, heck! she can hold her own head up!! It's crazy how they come into the world not knowing anything but crying and pooping and sometimes not even breastfeeding. It's a wonder how much they develop despite the fact they are pre-loaded with not very much.

    God has been so good to us with giving us Sofia. She is seriously an amazing source of joy in our lives.

  • Akumal

    Saturday, November 08, 2008

    Originally uploaded by snwbrdr5656

    The area that we will be going to, as a family, in the Riviera Maya is called Quintana Roo, and the closest community is called Akumal. It's about an hour and half south of Cancun and is directly across Cozumel - an island just off shore. That area boasts the second largest coral reef in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It's called the Belize Barrier Reef - which starts where we are staying and extends all the way down to Honduras. Crazy - I never knew that it would be so "close" to us.

    I am not an expert snorkeler or anything, but I really, really enjoy it. I have snorkeled in Hanauma Bay, Hawaii, and also in the Philippines. I think it's one of the most amazing experiences that you can have in nature. I imagine diving would probably far surpass this, but I'm afraid to try it. I guess I would feel a little bit easier if I was diving with someone very experienced, but I guess I'd still freak if I was face-to-face with, say, a SHARK.

    Many reviews that I have read of the area said that sea turtles can be spotted easily year round, in addition to sting rays, barracuda (eek!), and many types of colourful fish. What I am also looking forward to is seeing colourful coral which I didn't get much of at Hanauma Bay and in the area (which I have no idea what it's called, or even where it is) in the Philippines. I ordered underwater housing for my digital camera so I'm super excited about being able to bring some decent pictures home.

    Gonna be nice to relax and be with my family for a week. Sometimes it's hard to even get together for a weekly meal. It's insane how life picks up and schedules take you away from each other. But we're all pretty good at carving out some time to make family a priority. Anything important to you is worth the work, yes? Life with family isn't anywhere perfect, everyone has their quirks and preferences, but when we put these aside, it's the most fun to be had.

    Checking in

    Thursday, November 06, 2008

    Dear Daine,

    I am not in jail. I am glad that I am free to roam. Don't worry - no one will be asking you for bail money.


    P.s. Hello internet - I have been working too much. Therefore I have been neglecting you. And if I wasn't working, I have been only using you to search high and low for the most fabulous (and reasonably priced) resort in the Riviera Maya for a whole family vacation. We have finally booked the vacation! Will have lots to report when we get back... which means now I feel the pressure of blogging about it and also posting a ridiculous amount of photographs (which I am also behind on).

    But, right now, I have to return to work, but thought I'd just check in. Gotta churn out a fabulous PowerPoint to help support a pretty darn good message for a church this weekend. I hope to hang out with you soon, oh dear friend Internet.

    Don't take me to jail

    Friday, October 24, 2008

    When I was a kid I used to be afraid of police officers. I used to think about, "How would I know if I broke the law, since I'm not a lawyer?" There are a lot of laws. Then I grew up a little and realized that the law, mostly, is common sense.

    And then I grew up a little more and have found out that common sense isn't... yes... all that common.

    Child Abuse

    Saturday, October 18, 2008

    When Sofia was born, Gonz and I would often just sit and watch her sleep, turn to each other and say, "I have no idea how people can hurt children." Sure, even before we had children we knew that child abuse is a horrible, horrible, unspeakable thing - after we had a child, it only magnified this sentiment a thousand times.

    A headline showed up in my RSS newsfeed stating, "Mom convicted in malnourished girl's death."

    Evidence included grim crime-scene photos from the room where Nixzmary was bound to a chair, starved and forced to urinate in a litter box. She was so

    malnourished when she died that she weighed only 36 pounds, about half the weight of an average girl that age.

    Defense attorney Kathleen Mullin said Santiago tried twice to stop her husband from hitting the girl and didn't know that he continued beating her until she died. She said Santiago was a loving but overworked mother caring for five other children and was afraid of her husband.

    A while back Heather Armstrong, of Dooce, blogged about:

    Her name, her mother had said, was Danielle. She was almost 7 years old.

    She weighed 46 pounds. She was malnourished and anemic. In the pediatric intensive care unit they tried to feed the girl, but she couldn't chew or swallow solid food. So they put her on an IV and let her drink from a bottle.

    Aides bathed her, scrubbed the sores on her face, trimmed her torn fingernails. They had to cut her tangled hair before they could comb out the lice.

    Her caseworker determined that she had never been to school, never seen a doctor. She didn't know how to hold a doll, didn't understand peek-a-boo. "Due to the severe neglect," a doctor would write, "the child will be disabled for the rest of her life."

    And right now, my neighbour is yelling at her son, yet again - probably the seventh straight day in a row. Most of the time it's during the time he's practicing piano.

    Sometimes it's beating a child. Sometimes it's ridiculing a child. But sometimes, as the two stories I cited above, it's doing nothing at all. When your child needs you, you're not there. Basic needs, such as food when they're hungry, clothes when they're cold, a bath when they're dirty, a hug when they're sad. Parenting isn't rocket science, but when the parent isn't healthy (in every sense of the word), no matter how hard they try, they cannot be a good parent.

    Which makes me think, to be a good parent, it's not just taking care of Sofia, but also taking care of myself. It's having that time with God, it's eating a balanced diet, it's going to sleep on time, it's having friends over, it's connecting with my parents (and Gonz's parents) at least weekly... I might feel like I'm far from being a child abuser, but they aren't born over night. The more issues I have the more I risk taking those issues out on my children.

    I have thought of many times to confront my neighbour. To knock on her door (which I did once, and she did not answer) and speak with her about how she is treating her child. Some might say it's none of my business, but I think that when you think about living in a community - whether you like it or not, we do - I have a responsibility. But what I fear is that my actions may embarrass her, which of course, is not my intention. I also feel like what good can I do if I don't have a relationship with this woman. She lives next door - I don't want her avoiding me because I know how she treats her son. But on the other side of the coin, WHO CARES IF SHE IS EMBARRASSED. SHE SHOULD BE. I dunno. I am at a loss.

    I have lots of thoughts about child abuse, but most of all, it just makes me sad about how many children suffer without anyone even knowing about it.

    Taken For Granted

    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    Gonz, Sofia and I went to vote back on Tuesday. We were behind a man who was arguing with the poll workers because he didn't bring any I.D. NONE. Like, don't most people just automatically have their wallets with them? Anyway, the poll workers were doing the best to accommodate him but I was thinking to myself, don't you take this seriously and try to do it right? Obviously not.

    Well, at least he showed up.

    I was shocked to read in the paper today that this past election marked the lowest turnout in history. Only 59.1% of Canadians voted this year. I am super-disappointed. What is it? We don't care? We don't feel like it'll make a difference? We're too busy...?

    I just think of all the other countries who don't have democracy and have citizens literally dying for it, and we can't take the 10 minutes to go out to our polling station and have our say. It doesn't even mean that you have to vote for anyone... To my parents' horror, Gonz and I went spoiled our ballots (with smiley faces, or hearts, or something) one year because we didn't believe in any of the representatives. But that's important. It's important to practice democracy, otherwise we're in effect saying that we don't care about democracy and that's just awful.

    Sure, democracy isn't perfect, but I sure wouldn't want the alternatives. What is great about democracy is what kind of society it says that we are: that we are here to live together, and create a life together. Even with all our disagreements. I think that it's all of our opinions together that help make a country greater, in the sense that we allow all of our thoughts and ideas to be displayed together and challenge each other to think more, and broaden our world views.

    But I guess that's what we care about less and less: our communities - on a small and larger scale. We live unto ourselves. We think less and less how our lives all hang together. We are interested in our own interests.

    We also don't like to be challenged, whether Canadian or not. It's tiring to be challenged and to engaged yourself in current issues that are affecting your country. Hey, I know. Which is going to demand my attention more: how my tax dollar is being used, or the fact that I have to go and get a new carseat for my baby? It takes effort, no doubt, to be involved in your country's wellbeing - whether that just be in the sense where you are actually involved in politics, or just simply voting, but we shouldn't be too lazy to do it. Because it's just too important.

    You can see more facts about the turnout of our elections here: "Election 2008 records lowest voter turnout in history."

    Why I love Facebook

    Wednesday, October 15, 2008

    Yesterday, I happened to see one of my husband's cousin's profile appear in my news feed, so I decided to go check it out. And then I saw that my parents-in-law had Facebook (I was like, WHAT?!). But THEN... I saw that family that I had met in Sweden ALSO had Facebook. Back two years ago, Gonz and I went to visit our friend Tom in Germany and decided, let's just hop over to Sweden to visit Gonz's family that I had never met. We had a great four-ish days and I have missed them ever since.

    This morning, I was on Facebook and found Solange - who I probably warmed up to the best while we were getting to know that side of the family. And she messaged me! We had a nice chat for a while... Now, I feel a little bit caught up with the family, seeing pictures and what not. The kids are so big now!

    Technology. It's so cool.

    my new family

    Ten months

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    303 / Friday, October 10

    The months seem to be speeding by now. Perhaps it's because we threw a wedding in there too. And now that we're looking forward to Christmas (with a one-week get away in between), it's pretty much 2009 tomorrow. But here we are, Sofia is now ten months old (October 10).

    What is she up to now?

  • Crawling. Funny, after I had written that she was crawling last month, she regressed back to her military crawling, or floor swimming. A nurse friend of ours said it was probably because she was sick. Takes a lot more energy to support her weight on her hands and knees although it seems to be way worse having to pull your weight against the friction of carpet. Imagine that. Anyway, she's full on crawling now and, well, getting into everything.

  • Standing. She is fully able to pull herself up to standing using objects. She does "cruise" (that is, walk sideways using objects for stability) once in a while.

  • Speaking. I am pretty sure her first word is "bear". She says "mama", "baba", but they don't mean anything. When I hold up her bear, she says, "bear". When Tia Ana's bunny runs by, she says "bear". When Uncle Chico runs by (my in-laws' dog), she says "bear". Okay, so while it applies to every kind of animal right now, her first word is still "bear".

  • Following commands. This is quite exciting. She learned to close, open and clap her hands the other month. Now, she is able to wave bye-bye. And, I just taught her, back on Saturday, to put her hands on her head when I say, "Oh no!" This one makes me laugh a lot.

  • Frequency of, and Amount at, Mealtimes. When Sofia started to really crawl and stand a lot I noticed that she started looking like she was thinning out. However, I couldn't get her to eat more at mealtimes. At that time I was feeding her breakfast (4 oz. milk, 4 tbsp. of cereal), lunch (4 oz. milk, 4 tbsp. of solids), snack (6 oz. of milk), dinner (4 oz. milk, 4 tbsp of solids), and then a 8 oz. milk before going to bed. I thought that was tons, but actually I hadn't increased her food intake for maybe a couple of months. I decided to drop her before-bedtime bottle, and try to up her mealtimes by adding a fruit dish or something. Now, I've upped her milk at mealtimes to 6 oz. and then 4 tbsp. of bananas and raspberries, for example. And here returns her baby chubbiness.

  • Affection. Sofia wasn't known for being very affectionate. From super-early on, if you tried to kiss Sofia, she'd turn the other way, or even lean way back in order to try to escape your advances. Now, she'll head-butt you. No, she isn't fighting back, that's actually her accepting your kisses. And actually, after not really being with me all day at the wedding back on Friday, when I picked her up from my parents (after her first sleepover at her grandparents'), she wrapped her arms around my neck and then gave me a super-wet kiss on the lips. Yup, my girl missed me!

  • Increased expression. I guess in addition to showing affection, she now shows ridiculous amounts of excitement. Kicking of the legs, clenching of the fists, bouncing up and down, clapping of the hands, and even sometimes shaking. Crazy.

  • Teeth. She has been growing teeth like crazy. She's got two bottom ones now, and she has cut her two top front teeth. They're big ones. Hopefully they aren't buck. :-)

    It's mind blowing to think that she is going to be one year in a couple of months. And once I start working again, I know I'm just going to wonder where my life has disappeared to; which means it's important for me to cherish each day all the more.

  • Married!

    Monday, October 13, 2008

    Bride + Groom and Flowergirls

    All done! My crazy week is finished, Ana and Joseph are off enjoying their honeymoon, and I can go back to regular, old routine. I enjoy breaks in my routine, but I also enjoy getting back into routine - although my routine is usually less than routine. I am of the artsy-type, I guess, after all.

    The wedding was so beautiful. The reception was so fun. The weather was so perfect. I don't think Ana and Joseph could have asked for anything more. Even the speeches weren't boring - I was pretty good for the first few, after that, I started losing it. I wish I had a more absorbent tissue, instead of my polyester table napkin. Nice to see some of the old friends that I know from Ana and Joseph's circle. I got to wear fake eyelashes (which also made me quite emotional). Sofia had a good time too, all day. Everytime I looked over at her, at the reception, she was eating something... for perhaps four hours? Goodness, she IS her mother's daughter. I'm getting off topic...


    Thursday, October 09, 2008

    Seth Godin. He's got some pretty good ideas. In fact, he's got something new to blog about EVERY DAY. Every day? I don't know if I could do that. But perhaps I need to read more and I'd have something.

    This is an excerpt of his latest post:

    1. Delete 120 minutes a day of 'spare time' from your life. This can include TV, reading the newspaper, commuting, wasting time in social networks and meetings. Up to you.

    2. Spend the 120 minutes doing this instead:

    * Exercise for thirty minutes.
    * Read relevant non-fiction (trade magazines, journals, business books, blogs, etc.)
    * Send three thank you notes.
    * Learn new digital techniques (spreadsheet macros, Firefox shortcuts, productivity tools, graphic design, html coding)
    * Volunteer.
    * Blog for five minutes about something you learned.
    * Give a speech once a month about something you don't currently know a lot about.

    3. Spend at least one weekend day doing absolutely nothing but being with people you love.

    4. Only spend money, for one year, on things you absolutely need to get by. Save the rest, relentlessly.

    If you somehow pulled this off, then six months from now, you would be the fittest, best rested, most intelligent, best funded and motivated person in your office or your field. You would know how to do things other people don't, you'd have a wider network and you'd be more focused.

    I think that's a great idea. However, place this into MY reality and that would require a heck of a lot of discipline. I know I could be more disciplined, and so this post, that I take as a challenge, would be something that I'd have to ramp up to, I think. I couldn't just decide it and be able to do it starting, let's say, tomorrow. But it's definitely a great reminder I could be doing some great things with my spare time.

    Wait a minute.
    Spare time? It's 12:29 am, and I've found a moment to blog. I'm not sure that you could call this spare time!

    The week ahead

    Monday, October 06, 2008

    I have an incredibly crazy week ahead of me. Well, at least I think it's gonna be crazy. My sister-in-law is getting married this week, on Friday, and I'm in the bridal party (as well as my hubby), so it's truckin' it to Oshawa four times total by the time the week is out. Maybe that's the part that is feeling crazy to me. I do have a few things that I have whip up for the print-side of the wedding, but it's just text layout - no big stress. I made the list of to-dos and hope to just plow through them in record time. You should have seen me fly today!

    While it IS going to be busy, don't get me wrong, it's gonna be a great week. I love weddings because, I guess, I love marriage. We wait a long time (no matter how long you have to wait, it always feels long) for the right one, and when they come along, it is not to be taken for granted. And marriage is that to me: not taking love for granted. It's deciding to commit to it, to treasure it, to work on it, to celebrate it and make it REAL.

    Sofia update:
    I have finally figured out how to make Sofia sleep although she likes to pull herself up and stand in her crib over and over again: giving her a bath before putting her to bed. I guess it helps settle her down. It's definitely not because it's a routine item - I usually bathe her during the day.

    Sofia is now for-real crawling. You should see her take off! She is definitely enjoying the mobility, although maybe not the increased occurrences of bumps to the head.

    The home is a disaster, and it always is when we're busy. And now it's ten times worse now that I have a baby. Well - tomorrow is another day and I'll try to keep all things under control. I'll TRY.

    Baby Scarf

    Saturday, October 04, 2008

    Here is my new project that I'm making for Sofia. Now that the weather is a lot cooler, it's time for a scarf. Margaret challenged me with making this stitch: purse and chevron lace stitch. I started it at something like 11:00 last night. I kept reading the pattern wrong, and also it calls for a "yarn over" at the end of the repeat, and so for the last repeat I didn't understand that I would still need to add a new stitch at the end. Therefore I was perplexed as to why my pattern kept decreasing. At about 2:30am I finally figured it out. :-|

    But look! What a beautiful pattern!
    Now, hopefully Sofia gets to wear this scarf this wintery season.

    new project

    She says, "No nap!"

    Thursday, October 02, 2008


    Wednesday, October 01, 2008

    I have been offline lately. No, that doesn't mean that I have been on my computer less. I have been on my computer A LOT doing work (Missions Convention is coming up where we'll raise something like $185,000 in three weekends). My sister-in-law is getting married next weekend so we're busy with stuff for that. And also, believe it or not, searching for the best deals on the nicest all-inclusive resort I can find for my whole family to get away for a week. I know, I know, our family isn't the all-inclusive resort type, but now that we have Sofia, it's just the easiest thing that we can do to relax and have a nice time all together. Trying to drag a, then, 11-month old baby around sightseeing and super-shopping isn't a nice thing to do to her.

    But yes, offline to Facebook, my blog (as you may have noticed), Twitter is doing alright since it's just one line, Flickr is being updated sporadically, but I am answering my emails, at least.

    I hope to get back into blogging regular 'cause I really do enjoy it and like connecting with all you people via the comments you leave. So, look out for some posts - I hope to have something to report a little more regularly.

    Socks. Finally done.

    Monday, September 29, 2008

    Okay, so I realize that I rely heavily on momentum to get projects done. At work. At home. Here is a classic example: remember that cable knit sock that I started back in ...March....?! Well, I finally finished the other one yesterday. I lost steam in the middle of making the second one 'cause after I finished making the first one I was so excited that I was done, and then I thought, "Shoot...I have to do this all over again!" But at least I got through it!

    The unfortunate thing: they are a *bit* small. I'm not surprised. :-(

    completed project

    Sign of what's to come?

    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    All I have to do quash this excitement is give her lessons for 10 years. But hilarious, no?


    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    the glowing apple has appeared.

    oh glowing apple

    100% Korean

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    No, my baby is 50% Chilean, 6.25% Filipina, 43.75% Chinese. But the restaurant we decided to go to on Friday is called 100% Korean. It's this little family-owned joint that we enjoy when we want a Korean home-cooked meal. We had beef bone soup and stone pot bibimbop. I wasn't sure if Gonz would enjoy the soup since he tends not to enjoy super hot foods on warm days, but he was all over it. We've been trying harder to save money, but this place is also wonderfully inexpensive.

    The only thing about Korean Restaurants is that they tend to give you way too many appetizers. And I feel obligated to eat as much of them as I can.

    282 / Friday, September 19


    Stunning colour

    It's interesting. Since we've had Sofia, it's like we revert to all the things that we enjoyed when we were children. When I was a kid, my parents would take my sisters and I to the park almost every weekend that was appropriate. Today, we took Sofia to the Scarborough Bluffs and even though we were only there for maybe an hour and a half, it was so relaxing and soul-building. My dad even reflected, "We used to go to the park almost every weekend - but when you get older, all you think about is working - and now with Sofia, we are starting all over again."

    Babies are good for people, I think.

    She understands!

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    Today marks the day that Sofia showed that she understood what we were saying!

    I noticed this morning that Sofia started to clap. For a girl who loves clapping I really thought she'd pick up earlier than now. ANYWAY, that was exciting to me. Watching this girl develop is so fun! Later tonight my parents dropped by to see Sofia and were teaching her a Chinese rhyme that involves her closing and opening her hands, and clapping. My parents were excited because she seemed to be copying what they were doing, but then REALLY got excited when my dad would just say the words and she'd clap.

    We started experimenting to see if it really was the words she understood or was she just in a clapping mood... We started telling her to do other stuff - no response. But then we'd say the phrase to clap and she'd do it.

    It is actually very weird feeling to know that my baby, who started out as a babylump, soon we will be able to communicate! She will be able to actually TELL ME what it is that is bugging her and perhaps we can solve it more swiftly. She will be able to tell me if she's really enjoying my food, or not. Haha! The time is coming when she's going to tell me her ideas about how she think the world works. This is going to be REALLY fun.

    9 months

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    Sofia turned nine months old yesterday. This means I only have three months left of maternity leave. The cool thing is that I think that I'm ready to go back. Mentally, anyway. Emotionally is a different thing. The thought of not spending every moment with Sofia comes with a little bit of dread. At least I am fortunate to have my mother as the other caregiver. If I had to leave her at daycare with a lot of strangers, which I know many mothers have to, I would be a lot worse.

    What is new?

    Food. I hadn't been reading up on my "What to Expect in the First Year" book, following each month's development and where your child's stage should be at lately. (Note: don't worry, I just use it as a guideline. I don't get freaked out if she's not doing something yet. It's just good to be aware, right?) I was surprised to read that, at this point, I should be done with feeding Sofia baby purées. EXCUSE ME? Well... it's not like I haven't been feeding her chunks of banana, or hunks of fish off of my own meal, etc. I just haven't sat down and fed it to her for her own meals. So I made up my mind that now is the time for me to start cooking meals for Sofia. Here is my first ↓ - it was accepted by her okay, except that it is really dry compared to her usual food. The next time I fed it to her, I mixed some purée into it to act as a sauce. It was a lot better. A lot less gagging.


    Teeth. Yup, plural. She's got two. She even lets me brush them (not trying toothpaste yet.)

    Sleeping sans pacifier.
    We have regressed HUGE in this area. I think that she's going through separation anxiety, so every time I leave her in her room by herself she starts crying. I try leaving her there for a while - sometimes up to ten minutes. She won't stop sobbing. I read today that during this time thumb sucking and pacifier use really goes up because it's the only way they can soothe themselves. *sigh* okay... I'll keep letting her use it. For now.

    Games. Sofia continues to play games that revolve around simple patterns. Like, I lean forward and bump her forehead with my forehead, if I lean back and move forward again, she will bump her forehead on my forehead. Here's another example:

    Being funny. She now knows when she is being funny. One weekend, my cousin and her fiancé came to visit and she looks at my cousin and makes this crazy face; chin tucked down resulting in a huge double chin. Well, we just all burst out laughing. For the next two weeks that was her trick. Other family members, friends, strangers... Crazy kid.


    Finally! Just today, Gonz put Sofia down in our livingroom after dinner, and we were just chatting, catching up on each other's day. I hear a rustling of papers and see that Sofia is going through my daytimer. My colourless daytimer - what could possibly be so interesting about it? He said, "I didn't put her there. I put her down all the way over here." Yesterday we thought the same thing - we'd put her down somewhere only a few minutes find her a few feet somewhere else. So we decided to put her down again, and hid in our kitchen to spy on her. And voila...

    It's a bit late now, but we have to work hard to childproof this home. I don't think that is going to be possible...

    Checking in

    Sunday, September 07, 2008

    I swear, people, I will be back soon.

    But here's a quick post:
    Today my side celebrated Gonz's birthday (which is tomorrow) and I gave him my birthday present: FIFA 08 for Wii. He's been itching to get it since we got the Wii, pretty much. After dinner, we all went back to our place, and Matt and Gonz Wii'd it up until 11:47pm, all the while shooing the rest of the women away. You should have seen Gonz nearly kill me when I walked in front of the screen.

    So. Basically when I decided to buy Gonz FIFA for his birthday - I also decided to give him time away from me as a present. Good idea? not sure.

    See you all soon.

    I am on an iWeb roll

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    I decided to re-do Gonzo's brother-in-law's website in iWeb as a surprise. We'll see if he likes it or not.

    His old one:
    His new one:

    3:38 A.M., oh dear

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    Sofia usually wakes me up at around 2 or 3am to get me to tuck her back in again. Sometimes she needs a diaper change. Anyway, this is beside the point. Usually, I get her settled in less than a minute, climb back into bed and out I am. Not tonight. I get back into bed only to be wide awake, with thoughts swirling to the soundtrack of WiiFit Basic Step, for over an hour.

    I am just so excited, it's ridiculous. I just assembled a test site for Gonzo - not that we are necessarily going to use it, using iWeb. I can't believe how easy it is to use. I threw it all together in less than an hour, using one of their templates, of course. Apple has come up with some awesome software that makes it come together so easy. I am thinking why have I not tried to use this earlier?

    Lately, whenever I do something creative too late at night I have a hard time sleeping. This could be because I used to do something creative 40 hours a week. Now it's down to something like 8... Never realized how much it could affect me!

    Anyway, here is what is keeping me up: GRJ.

    Struggling with Sleep

    Friday, August 15, 2008

    I think that my weakest area of self-control is sleeping. AND waking. When I am awake I do not want to sleep. And when I am sleeping I do not want to wake. I was bad before I became a mother. I was bad while I was becoming a mother. I am WORSE now that I am a mother.

    The thing I hate the most about it is that it really impacts my productivity for that day. I can't check as many things off my list as I'd like to. And now that I'm a mother, there are things that I do HAVE to get done (i.e., stuff for work), but if I don't wake early and accomplish it while my baby is sleeping, that means I have to ignore her for significant parts of the day while she is awake. This is where the guilt lies.

    Here's to tomorrow and trying again.


    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    My friends, Apple will be opening a store at Fairview Mall coming Fall 2008.
    OH. MY.


    Along the lines of getting fit, on Twitter today GreenLightJerky twittered about his workout, and said to check it out on Gyminee. Looks pretty cool. It is for
    "Workout and Food Tracking - Gyminee is the premier fitness social network for detailed tracking, online accountability, and motivation. Whether you are trying to lose weight or get fit, it's time to start taking your fitness seriously."

    If it weren't so redundant to do so - since WiiFit has all this built in tracking - I'd sign up. As if my internet-life needs to be any bigger (read: like I need to waste anymore time here on this darn computer).

    p.s. just went back to the website and looked at it more thoroughly... it's actually more awesome than I realized. There are workout programs that users establish, such as "Couch to 5K" a running program. There is an "Office Worker" program for those who... get this... WORK IN OFFICES! :-) One important factor in fitness success is accountability and this website has a social networking aspect to it that may help if you don't have a "gym buddy". Pretty cool idea.

    Wii Fit

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Today, after being diligent to check in many stores, month after month, we finally called Fairview Mall's EB Games just as the sales associate was opening their newest shipment of Wii Fits. Now, Sofia has the perfect companion to her Wii Console. Just look at how excited she is!

    245 / Tuesday, August 12

    But no lid must be okay...

    244 / Monday, August 11, 2008

    8 months

    Sunday, August 10, 2008

    243 / Sunday, August 10

    My baby is eight months today. Can that really be right? I only have four more months until this baby is one. That is nothing! It's ALLLLLLLL true: they grow fast, and you thought life moved fast when you got married? It's worse when you have kids. I haven't a clue where the time has gone.

    What Sofia is up to now:

  • Crawling She is starting to show a little bit of interest in crawling. She only moves in a circle - but at least it's a fast circle.

  • Tooth! Her first tooth has finally made its appearance! The left front tooth. It's about a half millimetre above the gumline.

  • Food This girl will seriously eat most anything. Among the strangest stuff: a hand full of cilantro, some green onions... And she gets VERY jealous if you're eating, and she is not. Just like her momma!

  • Sitting She is pretty much expert at this now. However, still occasionally falling backwards with a heavy thud.

  • Sleeping with pacifier When I started giving Sofia a pacifier to calm her if she was hungry and food was not able to be conveniently (and modestly) dispensed, I was worried about the day that she would become dependent on it to soothe her. And then I got dependent on it when the day came when I realized its miraculous powers to aid her to sleep on her own. I did not have to rock or pat or assist in any way. I kept asking myself will she EVER sleep without it. For the past three days, I have been able to get to sleep on her own at least for a nap or one night time sleep without it. I may be able to get rid of it completely very, very soon!

  • Weaning As I mentioned before, we are down to a feed every couple of days. I almost thought this day would never arrive - but it definitely arrived sooner than I thought. She drinks about 30 fl. oz. of formula a day. Two times four tablespoons of solids. Some cut up fruit at least once a day. Some arrowroot cookies as treats after one meal or sometime in the afternoon. I let her feed herself these to help develop a sense of independence, and to help tune her fine motor skills.

  • Walking Sofia has been bearing weight on her legs well for months now, and when I lead her to try to get her to walk, she doesn't really get the idea of putting one foot in front of another. However, the night that she met five of her boy cousins all at once, you should have seen how fast she ran towards me (assisted of course). Hasn't happened again since.

  • Health I have been soooooo grateful in this area. Sofia has NEVER been sick even once since she was born (you definitely cannot include her fake "cough"). We thank God in our prayers for her health every day. Several times a day.

  • UP! She will raise her hands up to ask you to pick her up.

  • Differentiation between people Gonz and I have been finding this the most interesting development that has happened lately. Sofia acts different with different people. For instance, as soon as she sees my dad she knows that he will pick her up, so up goes those hands - but she never does that with me. She only puts her hands up when I make the motion that I am going to pick her up. It's cool to see her making connections that way.

  • Smarty pant stuff A few times in the past month I'll sit with Sofia until she finishes all four tablespoons of her solids. I know that she isn't eating them only because she is distracted by other people around (or something) not because she isn't hungry. A few times it took me 45 minutes! Anyhow, sometimes she'll be super frustrated and she'll start crying. Well, when she is crying, her mouth is open. I take this opportunity to shovel some more food into her mouth. She smartened up. Now, if is ever that frustrated (not so much now), she cries with her mouth shut. Poor thing. Also, she'll tuck her bottom lip under her top lip so that I can't pry it open with the spoon.I know sometimes I should just give up 'cause she's likely just not hungry - it's hard though. You don't know about the nearly three decades of Chinese food-training: eating everything on your plate until it's gone, and you must pass this down through the generations.

    It's a rewarding time. More and more laughing, more mobility, more things that just amaze me everyday. All that hard work at the start of parenthood is feeling more natural, and there is less mystery to her needs in general. She is getting so big now that I marvel that she came from my body.

    I highly recommend parenthood.

  • Formula is mathematical

    I am now only breastfeeding Sofia every other day or so - basically whenever I am in pain. But now that she is almost weaned, I have a new nightly ritual: boiling water, waiting 20 minutes for it to cool enough to fill five bottles with it, measuring the boiled water into different levels that she will take during the day, measuring out formula powder into each one, then shaking each bottle until all the powder is dissolved, and then refrigerating it, ready for feeding the next day.

    This routine makes me think that I'm going to miss breastfeeding to a certain extent.

    Bottles prepped

    Beijing Boring?

    (Xinhua/Yang Lei)

    (Cameron Spencer/Getty)

    Okay, I've been scouring the internet to see if anyone else felt that the Opening Ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics was boring. I'm not saying that 15,000 performers is anything less than impressive, with all that precision in timing, organization and movement, but performance after performance after performance with the exact same goal - Hey World, look what we can do with 2008 people! - does get a little dull. What about some dramatic dynamics?

    But the fireworks and architecture is nothing less than awesome!

    Fonts are the Clothes Words Wear

    Monday, July 28, 2008

    "But type is about more than just making things look pretty on a page. It's about making it so the meaning of the word comes through."

    Thanks for sending that over, Dave.

    A bag of joy!

    Yesterday, I was napping with Sofia before Gonzo was going to be home and then we'd have to rush off to Oshawa (especially since I couldn't sleep due to overwhelming excitement the night before until 3:30am), and he tapped me on the shoulder waking me with great shock (I get this from my mother). He proceeded to tell me about what he scored that day:

  • The Dark Knight soundtrack
  • The Wall-E soundtrack
  • X-Files Season 1 DVD
  • X-Files Season 2 DVD
  • "Where the Light Is" John Mayer live in Los Angeles

    What happened was his friend Charles from work, on his day off, arrived at work and told Gonzo about how his friend's store was closing down and was selling everything off: $10 for whatever you could fit in their tiny bag. So Gonzo and Charles loaded a couple of clients into the company van and headed out for a little excursion. Gonzo filled his bag to bursting-point and came home with those goodies.

    Yay for deals!
    Boo to stores closing down though...

  • L'Internet

    Sunday, July 27, 2008

    Some internet-y updates:

    Just added my twitter updates to feed to my blog. [See there on the right]. When I joined Twitter a few months ago, I really didn't see a point in it. Now that I've added it to my blog, I suddenly feel a little more excited about it. But really, it's just another internet time-waster. Hooray. Oh, and the fact that Simone added me made me look at taking twitter seriously again. Still, I only have five followers, and six that I am following. Probably will be more exciting when I have updates to actually read.

    I have also updated the blogs I read. I only listed the ones that are updated more regularly, but I do read a whole pile of them. It's quite ridiculous. But, I must admit I love blogs. I guess it's the whole different perspectives on life that I enjoy, and since I type better than I talk, I like reading better than...listening...? (Now that I've typed that, it looks bad. I DO like listening to you, I just don't comprehend always, I guess...? Ugh. I dunno. Now I'm arguing with myself.)

    My High School Reunion

    Friday, July 25, 2008

    It's funny how feelings from your childhood years can carry on quite strongly into your adult life.

    I just went to my 10 year high school reunion. Wow, did it ever arrive quickly. 10 years? Danny Floh Back organized it, but I'm not sure who else helped. Everyone I saw looked pretty much the same. I was so glad that I went. I almost didn't. When I first got the invitation from a classmate I was totally into it. But as the days passed and I got thinking about it, I started dreading it and I wasn't sure why. I eventually figured out that I was hoping not to see the people who made me feel awful in high school at this reunion. I sucked it up and went to the reunion anyway because my friend Beka, who is now goes to the same church as some of my high school friends (crazy small world) told me that some of my friends were going to be there. I was like, Oh yeah... there will be people there that I DO want to see. How sad is it that people who I was hoping to avoid almost dictated my decision!

    One person I talked with told me about how she also had hoped that certain someones weren't going to be there. And it was apparent that the way she was treated when were all younger wasn't too nice. She commented that the arts school that we grew up in together just bred mean people. I guess when you're put out there as a performer, whether it be drama, dance, music or visual arts, you're critiqued, and sometimes it just doesn't stop at your work. I think it just really impacted me that we can be so innocent about how mean we are as children but really leave lasting heaviness in other people. Innocent in the sense that we really don't know what we were doing.

    Anyway, I was so happy that I went. I caught up with Kathy Jankul, who was an incredible dancer, but ruined her ankle and couldn't dance anymore. She is now in fashion and loves it so I'm glad that she found another love. I knew her since Grade 5. I caught up with Caroline Yoon, who friggin' was involved with the designing of the Canadian Olympic team uniforms for Beijing. She is now employed at Joe Fresh designing the Yoga/Athletic line. I caught up with Heather Buchan who is now an editor at the magazine Hello Canada! I got to chat with Nalya Jessamy who is now a doctor, but I know about her life through FB. :-) It was hilarious how many people who I haven't spoken to since high school told me about how they have seen my baby photos and know about what's going on with my life through FB. I guess some people would hate that, but I think it's kinda cool otherwise I would totally not post anything on the internet.

    I picked up Sofia from my parents' house and then came home to sleep, but I just lay there too excited about seeing who I had just seen. It's nice to see who has stayed nice, or are even NICER now. I didn't even have to talk to any mean people.

    Who needs cable?

    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    They totally get each other from Kathy Jimenez on Vimeo.

    Dark Clouds

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    Awesome storm clouds

    Today, at around noon, I was working on the bulletin for work and I noticed that my livingroom was a bit dark. I looked outside and saw the heaviest dark clouds I have ever seen in recent memory. They were also moving kinda fast (I guess because they were so low, it seemed that way). Then a few moments later the rain really started coming down and you couldn't see anything. I was very grateful to be inside.

    Tonight, at around 9:30, Gonzo received a phone call that another family may be very sick. His fever is not coming down due to a very serious infection. He has been prescribed antibiotics. The scary thing about this is that it is a pain that he has been dealing with to various degrees for a couple of years. His doctor said it was nothing. I think that the routine tests they did yielded no results. However, now it looks pretty serious. However, worries are darkest at night. We're praying for a break in the fever and that the antibiotics will do their thing.

    Unlike the rain, we can't avoid the hard parts of life by staying inside. I can't hope to escape trouble or pain. What life serves us, we must deal with. I know it's hard to stare it in the face. But I also know that we are not alone in our struggles, "Trust in him at all times... pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge" (Psalm 62:8).


    Monday, July 21, 2008

    The bug I nearly stepped on

    Sometimes things in life can be so frustrating - but it's then that I have to stop myself and think about all the wonderful things in life that are not. Otherwise, my mind can whirl so much that I get a huge knot in my stomach.

    Anyway ... Sofia and I hung out with my dad today. My dad is head-over-heels in love with Sofia. So, I got him to feed Sofia her dinner tonight: 3 oz of formula followed by delicious pureed beef with vegetable mixed with rice cereal. He did good (but it's not like my baby is hard to feed these days - I feel like I could feed her anything!) Later, when my mom came home from work, we went back over to their place to have dinner and my dad played with her all night. He tells me, "Sometimes I think that I want to retire and just take care of Sofia all day." This is coming from the man who said he'd never retire and he already hardly takes a holiday as it is.

    Sofia is so spoiled to have her four grandparents so close to her. For most of my life I only had one grandparent around (my father's mother), and the ocean separated us. Sofia's furthest grandparents live a half hour away. It's a richness that I never got to enjoy and I'm so happy that she has it. I used to think that one day I'll live far, far away from my parents and be adventurous like them; picking up and leaving the country they were born in. Now that I have started growing my family, I want to be as close to them as long as I can.

    What every parent waits for:

    Friday, July 18, 2008

    The moment your baby can laugh.

    Sofia Laughing from Kathy Jimenez on Vimeo.

    Kaye + Brian

    Sunday, July 13, 2008

    Today, Brian and Kaye got married! They dated for like 10 years until they got engaged in January. It was a long time coming... but the right time is different for everyone and for them, now was the right time.

    It was a wonderful wedding. It was out at a winery that overlooked a lake (sorry, don't know which one, but one of the Finger Lakes in New York State). The wedding was supposed to take place outside but seriously, the rain that came down was insane. It rained and rained and rained and rained. So, they had the ceremony where the reception was and we just sat at our tables. Still worked out awesome.

    It was probably the smallest wedding I have been to of any of my cousins - which was REFRESHING. :-) You've gotta understand, my family is so big that I am meeting new members all the time. Tonight I sat across my father's cousin's daughter and I didn't even know it. My uncle (my dad's brother) comes over and starts talking to her, "Were you born here or in the Philippines... oh, then you don't know me... Your mother and I are cousins." I am like, WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? I turn to her and say, "Oh, so I guess we're related too!" Then for the rest of the night we were introducing each other to family members we didn't know. Just so you can imagine what the scale is like: her mother has 7 sisters and 2 brothers. My father had 5 brothers and 3 sisters. But don't ask me how many children my great grandparents had, 'cause I haven't a clue. Gonzo says tonight, "Your family is officially too big." The thing is he already had said that - the last time was when we went to a wedding we were invited to and we didn't know whether we were related to the bride or the groom...

    So, back to the wedding. It was lovely. Both Kaye and Brian have some really great friends which really showed when they were giving teary-eyed tributes and toasts. My slideshow came off well... Brian's mother went walking around asking, "Where's Kathy? Are you Kathy?" and then finally found me to tell me how much she enjoyed it and requested a copy. Well, that just makes me smile. AND the twitch in my eye and cheek are gone.

    I love weddings. I am looking forward to getting know Kaye's husband better and seeing their new life unfold.

    7 months

    Saturday, July 12, 2008

    200 / Saturday, June 28

    I'm a little late with the monthly update, but here goes. My baby is now seven months old. I have been a mother a whole seven months! I have recently started to work a little more at my "official" work, and some other side stuff has come my way (don't worry Canadian government - it's unpaid!) - wedding invitations, wedding slideshows, VBS promo, etc. I feel very guilty working while Sofia plays by herself on the floor. Makes me work even faster than I thought possible.

    So, what is up with Sofia now?

  • Sofia actually prefers solids rather than milk now. Sometimes it's frustrating to try to breastfeed her 'cause she'll actually push me away and try to sit up. Which results in the next one...

  • I am weaning Sofia. I figured it was time. I didn't want her to get dehydrated - especially over these summer months. And if I can monitor her fluid intake through seeing how much she drinks from the bottle so be it.

  • Sofia can sit on her own now. She's getting better at it all the time. I think sometimes it's motivated by the unfortunate bumps to the head when she falls over.

  • She bounces like crazy when she is held standing. Everyone tells me I should get a Jolly Jumper, but if I did, she'd just hit her head on the door posts... since that would be the only place I could actually hang one in our place.

  • She's very vocal now. Even though she was before, sometimes she'd still be kinda quiet over the whole day. Not anymore.

  • She started eating her foot today. Don't ask me why but I've been looking forward to it since she was born.

  • Often she can put the pacifier in her mouth by herself if it has dropped out of her mouth.

  • She's eating other textures other than puree - lumpy mashed banana and slices of plum that she takes chunks out of by herself (don't worry people - I am very careful)

  • Hey Dave - we dunked Sofia in the water, at our pool, back on Monday. The first time she went down she came back up unaffected. The second time - a bit of coughing and displays of displeasure.

  • Sofia's poo is now more "adult-like". Sorry for the "too-much-information", but this is exciting to me because now there is a lot less risk for the Sofia Favourite "Poo Up the Back"

  • Sofia sleeps until 7 or 8am now. Which means for some reason Mom goes to bed later. Why can't I just go to bed the same time and reap the benefits? I am still tired!

  • Sofia has fallen off high places. Up until now, we've been pretty good, but now she's getting so mobile. (However, this doesn't mean that she crawls yet. Just a heck of a lot of rolling around.) The first one was off our bed early in the morning. I bring her into our bed after our earliest morning feeding, and she usually wakes up before I do. She'll kick me int he face sometimes and talk to herself to pass the time until I wake, but this time she woke me with crying. I woke up and was like, "WHERE DID SHE GO?" I jumped up and crawled to the opposite side of the bed and sure enough she was there on the ground crying. I scooped her up and checked to see if she had broken anything. She was just scared. Fortunately, Gonz had used our body pillow and had left it beside the bed. She hit that first before the ground so she was fine. The second time she fell off a high place was our couch. Today. Gonzo doesn't know yet. You are privileged my dear internet reader.

    I am sure there are few more things I could report here, but she's just growing up so fast I can't keep track of it all. And also, I should go to sleep. It's 1:30!

  • Slideshow(s) done!

    Thursday, July 10, 2008

    Today, I finished my cousin Kaye's slideshow for her wedding. Her wedding is this Sunday. I am even a couple of days early. :-)

    I am super happy with the way her slideshow turned out. I will show you all soon. I finished off the DVDs with labels and DVD jackets. Makes for a nice gift.

    This was the first video I've had to do while being a mother. I tell you, it is not easy. You need long stretches of time, uninterrupted, to do a video well because there are so many details. Therefore, I had to do it when my baby went to sleep at night and then I'd do as much as I could until I was too tired to continue. Probably pushed it for the last three nights... I've got a twitch in my eyelid and cheek. I figure it's just a taste of my life to come. A working mother. It's hard. But at least my baby will be more than a year old when I go back. That will be different.

    Another long night...

    Wednesday, July 09, 2008

    My cousin and her fiancé asked me to prepare a photo slideshow for their wedding. I informed them I will be making them a video slideshow. Their wedding is this weekend. Of course, as usual, I started it later than I should have. That's the only way I can be sure it'll be good - if it's birthed out of crisis. But yes, this means strings of long nights working, especially since I feel like I can concentrate only during the times when my baby is sleeping in a long stretch. Good thing she sleeps until 8 now.

    Last night was particularly bad because my motion graphics program that I use to create titling was crashing - over and over and over again. Every time I'd try to change a typeface it would crash. I thought to myself, this is a serious problem. Well, after about an hour of trying to fix it, it turned out just to be some corrupted preferences. On a mac, all you have to do is delete the preferences for that program, and open the program again. The program will regenerate that file and everything should be happy again. Fortunately, for me it was that easy. The only thing was, by that time, it was already 1am.

    Tonight was good - I got a lot more done, especially since I nailed down the titling concept that I wanted to use. All I had to do today, then, was just change the type for it, over and over again. I LOOOOOVE titling. Makes everything look extra special. I will upload a portion of the video after this weekend. It's only fair that the bride and groom get to see it first. :-)

    Bleeding together

    Monday, July 07, 2008

    Over the last week, the pace has picked up. Picked up A LOT. Suddenly I'm designing a heck of a lot - my sister-in-law's wedding invitation, my cousin's two video slideshows, weekly message PowerPoint presentations, now work has added an additional task: the weekly bulletin...

    THE COOL THING: Sofia sleeps ALL NIGHT until 8am now. I'm not sure if this is still a bit fluky, but so far so good. Couple of nights she has done this now. Solids have been going super well. A couple of days ago, I shared with her a mango I was eating. She was eying it the whole time so I decided to let her taste it. Unfortunately she bit off a huge chunk and I had to dive into her mouth to get it before she choked on it. Today, I let her gnaw on some plum and she even managed to take some bites off of it and managed okay. I realize I have to be careful that she doesn't get too big of a piece, but I do like that she's getting some experience of some new textures - not just everything pureed.

    I think that I'll be busy until next week. Everything going on is good... but I am having to get used to being busy and thinking a little faster. It's funny how my mind has slipped into a completely different mode over the last few months. It has been good for me though. I can be a little bit high-strung, but Sofia has taught me to just relax a whole lot more and just take a lot more things in stride. Now, to transfer these lessons back into the working part of my life - and to strike some balance. Balance is such an art.