Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Warning: Nerdy Post Ahead
I would just like to say I really love timers. Especially programmable timers. I love the automation. I love setting it and leaving it. I love being able to deal with something, walking away, and when it is time for it work, it just DOES.

The Oven Timer
Before we bought a house, we grew up with whatever stove was in the rental. In my parents' apartment, their stove is probably over 30 years old. I seriously think it pre-dates me. I THINK it has some kind of timer, but it is an analog clock and my parents have never ever used it. I don't know if it even works. Besides, not much Chinese cooking happens inside an oven anyhow.

This house that we bought, we inherited a stove that may be over 10 years old, but there is an oven timer that will turn your oven on when you want it to and turn off also. Which, for all of you house dwellers, is probably OLD news. But this was awesome for us when we had a busy weekend last weekend with the Christmas presentation and could come home to a hot Shepherd's Pie all ready for us. It's like we had a maid who prepared the food and had it all ready for us when we needed it!

The Programmable Electrical Timer
With the little splurge for Christmas decorations, a little bit of an annoying thing is that we had no timer for having the Christmas lights go on and off. Every day someone would go out and plug the lights in, and then when it was freezing cold outside, just when we were turning in to bed, we'd have to go BACK outside and unplug them. I told my parents WE HAVE TO BUY A TIMER, but then being all frugal and all, they're like, no big deal! But as the temperature has been dropping, they have been very happy that I went out and bought the thing.

I love looking outside and seeing, yes, the sweet little thing is working.

Microsoft Outlook
Since I have been on a Mac at work, this is the feature that I miss the most: "Send Later". I loved being able to write emails to the staff, reminding them of this and that, and setting it to send later. Like, later while I am on vacation. Or later, when I know that if it's sitting on top of their pile of email, they'll respond better. Or later, as a follow up email to one that I wrote JUST NOW. Stupid Microsoft put a "Send Later" button in Entourage, but it literally only sends minutes later. What is the point in that?!

Do you have some set it leave it tips? Leave 'em here!

Sofia is 2 years old

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Last night we celebrated with 17 members of our family Sofia's second birthday. I cannot believe that two years have gone by already. It really is true when they say that life goes by even faster with children.

We had a really nice time together last night. I made a ton of food - with good help from Christine and Gabbie. Gabbie helped me with some of the side dish prep and Christine made TWO desserts: the birthday cake as well as a pie. The birthday cake was particularly exceptional! She made a layered chocolate sponge cake with buttercream frosting. Baking really is becoming her thing.

Because I am asian and want to remember what I ate during this celebration, here is what we served:

• Marinated Grilled Flank Steak
• Miso-Glazed Grilled Cod
• Tomato salad
• Potato salad
• Green Bean salad
• Parsley and lemon orzo
• Biscuits (by the hubby)

The key to my stressless dinner was the fact that all of that was easy to make. I went for volume, not difficulty and I went to bed happy - not frazzled. I mean, I WAS serving 17 people. AND I am five and a half months pregnant. Don't want to knock myself over.

I used to write about what Sofia is up to now, but that stopped at around 14 months. Life got exceptionally busy and so I couldn't keep up with it, but I'll do my best now.

Sofia, perhaps over the last month, just started spilling out all these words. Up until then she would only say words that we had worked at teaching her, but now she comes with up words that she has heard and just decides to use them. I figure she probably uses over 150 to 200 words now. She is even starting to express possession (pointing to herself, saying "Sofia's" about different things she would like), and putting two-word sentences together. She knows the names for a ridiculous amount of animals - even knowing the difference between an eagle, an owl and duck. Unfortunately, she does point to an ostrich and calls it a "duck". Anyway, all of this reminds us to quit swearing like sailors at home.

Dancing and Music
She is crazy about both. Every day she asks for music. Every day she shows us some weird dance moves - accompanied with facial expressions. We try not to let her watch too many music videos (since most of them are not appropriate for a two year old), but each time she does, we know she is studying the dance moves and tries them after. Freaky baby.

She likes to play on the piano. She has a toy electric guitar. Her abuelos bought her a toy microphone with stand that has a colourful disco light thing at the base.

She is starting to really love action songs and picks them up pretty quickly. When she learns them at church I have to try to guess what they taught her.

Physical Ability
She loves to climb things and jump off of them. She climbs the piano bench and jumps off. She climbs the couch and jumps off. We recently cleared off a tv stand, and I knew she was eyeing it to jump off of it. We quickly found some plants and other decorative junk to make sure she doesn't try to jump off of that.

She nearly runs everywhere.

I guess this would be the biggest development. I was getting stuck thinking of what other skills has she developed and couldn't think of any... 'cause this would definitely overshadow all of that. Well, she loves to help and is thoughtful. We started having her help set the table and bring plates of rice over. She is concerned if she has her plate and you are sitting with nothing, or if you need a glass.

She uses humour to try to get out of being disciplined. Gonzo falls for it every time. I just glare at him.

She's starting to pretend a little bit. Today I found her feeding her stuffed animals with plastic food saying, "Try...try..." I guess I say that to her...?

Loves books. But that is only because we had to really teach her that she can't sit and watch television for hours and hours and hours. When we were moving, that was the big mistake that we made: we would just pop a movie in and just let her watch it to keep her out of the way. Now, we don't let her watch any TV until we are preparing dinner. If we let her watch anything earlier in the day, that is all she asks for all day. I think that TV in large quantities makes people dumb and bored. When we were "weaning" her from television, she cried all day the first day. That was But since we got her into books, she can memorize where certain pictures are in the books (when she is letting us know that she is acting something out from a certain page), and re-tell something that I taught her the day before. It's cool to see how the memory develops.

Although today is her actual birthday, most of us are shafting her today for a dress rehearsal we have at church. Good thing she has no idea that indeed today is the day she joined us.

Half way there

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Okay, okay, so I went to the first rehearsal and it wasn't that bad. I actually played better than I thought I would. Now, I'm no where near able to play all the music perfectly, but at least I am not -

1) Lost, or worse,
2) Irritating

Christmas Decorating

Friday, December 04, 2009

This year, back in August, my husband and I bought a house together with my parents. We just felt it was time to think about purchasing, and my father had - very casually - suggested the idea of buying a house together. This way we could stay in the neighbourhood that we have lived in our whole lives, and frankly, it's just too expensive to try and do anything else. And, after one night of house-hunting, we found our house and closed in less than a month. It's great that it's over now, 'cause I'm unsure I'd ever want to do that again.

Now, it's Christmas. We have never owned a home before - in fact, I've never LIVED in a house before. There are things about being in a house that I have always looked forward to. And one of those things is decorating the house for Christmas. ESPECIALLY the outside. HOWEVER... this year, was one EXPENSIVE year.

• I was in a wedding. Being the maid of honour has its costs.
• We bought a house. As mentioned.
• We had new utility accounts. Geez, why do they need security deposits. Just check our credit rating like EVERYONE ELSE!
• We bought a new car last month.
• Traveling to the hubby's home country at the end of December. And, that happens to be on another continent, in another hemisphere.

So, I had to conclude that we wouldn't be able to buy a Christmas tree this year, let alone buy any lights for outside. But, as each day goes buy, another house in the neighbourhood puts up their lights. And every day, I do get a bit more envious - and this says a lot 'cause I don't covet many things. Last night, my mother and I were out with Sofia, and we were in a neighbourhood that had a ton of lights up, and I started moaning and whining about how we don't have any decorations and we look like people who don't celebrate Christmas - which is weird considering that we are practicing Christians - but even weirder 'cause lights have nothing to do with Christianity. Anyway, my mother and I decided to split buying some decorations and went out and got some tonight.

Let me tell you - 100 dollars worth of lights DO NOT GET YOU MUCH. It decorates four measly bushes. In case you haven't guessed, that picture above IS NOT our house. Which, then, makes me think - HOLY COW PEOPLE SPEND A LOT OF MONEY ON LIGHTS. Nevertheless, my desire to decorate SOMETHING is satiated and my mother and father and I are very excited about building our decoration collection. My hubby isn't so into it 'cause well, he just hates the cold which just turns him off to anything that has to do with outside. He can just go back to playing FIFA on Wii.

Why did I say yes?

Every night since Monday, after Sofia's bedtime (which seems to be 10:30 these days), I pull this thing out to...what my father calls... "slaughter some pigs." When Matt roped me into playing in the Christmas presentation at church, and I reluctantly said yes, I really, really, really knew that it was going to be a painful experience. Practicing, that is.

Violin ain't nothing like playing piano. It's one thing to not play well on the piano - you probably just can't play as fast, and maybe your touch is a bit off - but not to play well on the violin, well, you have to deal with the crappy intonation, the crappy, uncomfortable bow hold, the sore neck, and certainly not playing fast enough...and, did I mention, all of this is happening INCHES away from your left ear? Yeah...this is a slow death.

However, since I've been averaging about an hour and 45 minutes every night, I maybe improve at 2 or so grades a night. It's kinda fantastical. However, I figure I can only be as good as when I had lessons last. :-( When I was 13 I made it to grade 9. I think that is where it ends. Ugh. That was 17 years ago. SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO.

That makes me want to swear.

Anyway, I played in orchestra throughout high school. Played some weird stuff - Shostakovich is definitely a ... memory. I felt like EVERYONE was better than me. I guess that's not such a bad thing. Being the near best at something in a group is a nice feeling, but in the end you're not going to learn much.

The last time that I really touched the violin was... I can't even really remember. I must have played at some kinda church something. But I definitely haven't played since I got married. It has got to be more than five years. So, you can only imagine how terrible I must sound.

Now, it's one thing to sound terrible to myself. In my own livingroom. With only my family putting up with me and telling me, "Yes, yes, you sound better than yesterday." But in two days, I have to attend rehearsal and at least two people who will be there are professionals. Professional STRING PLAYERS.

Just shoot me.

Best Chinese Restaurants in Toronto

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One of the ridiculous amounts of blogs that I follow is blogTO. (If you're a Torontonian and don't follow this blog, you must!).

Anyway, I was excited when today's feature was "The Best Chinese Restaurants in Toronto".There are few there that I am definitely going to try out.


Monday, November 16, 2009

touch the rainbow

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Accurate Translation

Sunday, November 08, 2009

[Kathy] Sofia! What did you have for dinner? *whispers, brocolli*

[Sofia] Brah-coh-lli!

[Gonz] Sofia, do you know how to say brocolli in Spanish?

[Sofia] YUCK!

[Gonz] ...yeah, probably.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

When we bought this house we inherited, among other things, a JUNGLE of a garden. The previous owners just *loved* flowers. Lots and lots of flowers. They'd just plant it anywhere. Half of our backyard was a massive tangled mess "English" garden. There are flowers under our pine tree. There are flowers under our bushes. Basically, if there was any open soil, no matter how small - it was an opportunity for FLOWERS.

We had a couple of family friends over and we gutted 75% of it. From 9 am until 4 pm, we pulled and raked and tossed everything that our friends didn't like (they're really into gardening, and well, we've just started), and transplanted everything else that we liked (hydrangea bush, roses, etc.)

Now, actually, the exciting thing for me is that a couple of weeks ago, I raked and threw down some topsoil and seeded under the pine tree and another section behind the house. Every day since then I've been looking for grass. Nada. Until...YESTERDAY! I found little bright green sprigs of grass sprouting up randomly. Can't wait for it to see it blend into the rest of the grass (I realize it may take a while...)

Same theme, different story... this morning, as I was leaving home for work, our neighbours across the street were working on chopping down this 100-foot tall tree. When I came home, they were still chopping it down. I don't think that they even hired professionals...I think that they were doing it themselves! All I was thinking was I hope that they have a permit. Reading up on it, you can a minimum $500 fine for cutting a tree down in Toronto without permission, up to a max fine of $100,000. Crazy!

Always a nice visit

Monday, October 05, 2009

Matty's comment on my weird, blank blogpost inspired me to perhaps try to keep up my blog.

Just got home from visiting my in-laws – my very wonderful add-on family. I was very happy to see my sister-in-law Maria who recently had surgery for gallbladder removal. There were some concerns for complications, and when you are in the midst of the situation, you feel like those small risks for complications are 100% guaranteed outcomes. Now that we're all on the other side of it, it was great to see her completely back on her feet and since I kinda missed the whole thing (the attacks, the hospital stay and visits), it didn't seem like she had surgery at all.

It was also great to see Sofia play so well with her very first cousin. Over the last few times that they have been together, Elizabeth would chase Sofia around, trying to hug her, hold her hand, and just plain play with her – and Sofia would just keep screaming, "NO!" This time, they just ran around, copying each other: yelling, jumping off of furniture, eating Cheerios non-stop, taking off socks, Sofia wanting to go potty too, playing with cars, talking to each other in their completely non-sensical pretend languages, and laughing and laughing and laughing. It's unbelievably cool.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

After two days of straight packing boxes and moving, and two semi days of throwing things into any kind of container and moving, the Jimenez are finally out of their first apartment. I was too tired and ... I hate to admit ... stressed to even get sentimental about it. Gonz was like, "Honey, this is our last night here." I was like, "I don't care." However, after my mother and I brought the last bits over to the new house, it was a bit sad to look at the empty space and leave it behind. But I think that I will mostly miss my neighbours, honestly. The thing about living in a house, I think that it's a lot harder to find out people's names and well, A LOT less people to get to know, whereas in an apartment, when you ride the elevator at least twice a day, you are GOING to bump into someone and strike up some random conversation about, at least, the weather.

Although I am now relieved that the apartment is all moved out of, I only walk into a house that is LINED with boxes. Little towers of boxes...EVERYWHERE. As much as I tend to live cluttery, this is a bit much for me. I will definitely have to take pictures of it tomorrow so that I feel REALLY good when we've found a home for every piece of crap that we've come to own over the last few years.

It's late now, and I've gotta wake early to prepare some stuff for our big Arts+Media Training Day at work, so it's off to bed. But thought that I should at least get that much in. I haven't had much time to reflect lately and I think it's wearing me thin...

p.s. Funny. Just asked my mom, this is the third time I've ever moved in my entire life. But the funnier thing is that I've lived in the same kilometre in my entire life. Well, at least I've traveled some, so I am not a total ignoramus.

Fruit flies, DIE

Monday, July 27, 2009

We came back from a four-day vacation and forgot to remove any uneaten fruit from our kitchen console. One forgotten plum. One forgotten plum has reaped up a bunch of fruit flies, and for the last few days we've been clapping our hands in the air and smacking our cabinets trying to kill them.

Funny thing is Sofia goes around copying us like it's some funny game.

Yesterday we went over to Gonz's parents and I forgot that Blanca has a home-made trap for them. Vinegar in a bowl, plastic wrapped, holes punched into it.

I came home and did the same. Mine didn't work. HOWEVER, I had used white vinegar.
Looks like the little buggers prefer balsamic. How fancy.

Another provision...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Because of the early closing of our new home, that meant that we were giving short notice to our rental landlords and THAT meant that we may be on the hook for an extra month of rent although we aren't occupying the apartment. That is, unless they find a renter in time - for the end of the August. (We wanted a month overlap anyway).

We had a couple of people come by in a week to see the apartment. I wasn't here the first time (back on Tuesday) 'cause I was running around prepping for the M+M shower, but Christine was here baking pies. She is the ultimate seller (all those years at Club Monaco are really coming in handy), and she basically sold the apartment to her! I think that if I was here, I definitely would have seemed too eager. :-)

So, that lady called today and told me that she was interested in moving in. She will still have to fill out application forms, get background checked or whatever they do. But if all that goes well, I will be off the hook for the extra month!

I hope it all works out.

Farewell Jonathan

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Today, as a staff, we said farewell to Pastor Jonathan. He has been with us since 2000 and led APC in the capacity of Director of Outreach and Toronto Community Churches. He has had a big influence on my life. At 21, a mere child, I came on to the staff full time with no real boss to report to, since I really serve all the ministries at the church, he became my big brother - my protector. He saw me through many tears. Including personal ones, like when I found out a friend of mine from high school had committed suicide. He was always there to encourage and pray. Also, since I have no real formal training as a graphic designer, videographer, or anything else that I do now, he really gave me confidence and direction when I needed it.

So, I feel like his departure is also a new chapter for me: I am now an adult. I have a few things under my belt. Although I still have a lot of things to learn. Many of the early years were trial by fire for me, and I have made it because of people like him who really saw me through.

M+M's Shower

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A major event in my life has now been taken care of: a wedding shower for my little sister and her fiancee, Matt. I have this problem of making everything into a production. I do not know how to do anything low-key although I think that I like laid back gatherings and just plain old hanging out. Well, I guess I do, but if I'm in charge of it, I have this habit of blowing the thing out of proportion. Probably why this shower has felt a little heavier than necessary. A shower: it's fun! It's an eat-fest. It's present-time! What can be so stressy about that?

Well, it came off well. Our friends Sara + Gladson Thomas graciously opened their newly renovated home for us to host the party at. We fit over 50 people there comfortably. Many people brought great food, which is important 'cause food is kinda important to Matt and Margaret. :-)

Everyone was in such great spirits and participated in a photo keepsake guest book where everyone filled out these sheets of paper with words of wisdom for the couple and topped it off with a polaroid of themselves. I wasn't sure what the response was going to be like, but I guess it doesn't hurt to bribe them with a draw for gift cards. And now, Matt and Margaret have a memory book of that evening.

Matt and Margaret have an awesome wedding party to plan stuff with. Dave and Matt (Chapman) are ridiculously creative and make us (the girls) not make stuff too serious with these traditional type events.

Okay, back to house closing preparations. Got my home insurance quotation today, have to get in touch with the lawyer my agent hooked us up with, organize the money and get our key! All in 16 days!!

on the threshold

Sunday, July 12, 2009

On Tuesday, June 30, we went shopping for houses for the first time. That night we saw four houses, the last one we fell in love with. On Wednesday we made up our offer. On Monday, July 6 we presented our offer in a multiple offer situation. After improving the offer once, ours was accepted. On Monday, July 13 (two days from now) we finalize the offer on our first home. We get the keys on July 31. Talk about fast moving. So much has happened since Tuesday, June 30 I am far too tired to write it all down completely (I definitely started to write this blog far too late).

For one thing...I never want to see a fax machine again.

On being over-extended

Friday, July 03, 2009

I have never juggled more major things in my life, all at one time. Professionally AND personally. The good thing is that I am not stressed. The bad thing is that I kinda don’t feel on top of all of them. I tend to be a one-project-at-a-time kind of girl. Especially if one of those projects happens to be house-hunting.

Yes, I am looking to buy my first home.

I did not realize how stinkin’ expensive my desired location is. All around where I have lived MY ENTIRE LIFE sit $700,000 to $1.2 million dollar homes. I still hope that there is one house that is within reach. It’s also crazy how many details go into purchasing a home - all the applications, the paperwork, the questions, the research, the traveling, the snooping in people’s homes... It’s fun, but I think a big part of that is having a great agent. If I have any advice to give based on my very EXTENSIVE experience (i.e., less than a week), get an agent that you feel that you will want to hang out with because you will be on the phone with them every day, you will spend entire afternoons with them, and you’re going to have to feel that you can be very honest with this person, also. I have a great agent - he makes this ridiculously fun.

Okay, I am going to sleep now - ‘cause Gonz and I realized that was do not go to bed early very well. He wakes at 6 am every day - 12:30 am is not a good time to start going to bed. I have the day off tomorrow - which actually just means it’s a day to get everything outside of my day job done, so I should turn in too.

Nice to check in. I hope to be back soon.

Sofia is 18 months + 16 days

Friday, June 26, 2009

Time is flying by and I don't even have time to catch it throw it in a blog. :-(


While I was procrastinating...

Friday, June 19, 2009

This is crazy.

H1N1 flu

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I had first heard about the Swine Flu from my father in-law a couple of weeks back. Crazy to think that I hadn’t heard it myself from news or the internet - especially with how big it’s getting. I have been following the statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. I am particularly interested because I am planning on visiting some family in New Jersey in the very near future - with my baby.

Since yesterday, there has been 200 additional cases added to the statistics, with one more death added to the toll. But after googling the news regarding this flu, Bloomberg says that it’s because test kits had been sent out so more labs were equipped to identify infected people. Whereas previously only the CDC lab in Atlanta could identify the strain.

It’s crazy to think that this whole thing started in one country and have now spread to 23 countries. Disease trackers are now trying to determine whether the virus has now established itself outside of North America, and if so, the World Health Organization would declare a pandemic - the first since 1968!

It makes me think, what should I do to protect myself and those I love. When SARS was here in Toronto, some people took, what I felt, were extreme measures - wearing face masks everywhere, staying at home away from the public. But now that I have a baby, I don’t want to stupid either. All I’ve heard and found is to consistently practice hand washing thoroughly (as long as it takes you to sing yourself “Happy Birthday” apparently), if you cough or sneeze to make sure you cover your mouth with hand or arm, and if you develop any flu-like symptoms to STAY HOME. It’s much too important that we keep this from spreading to other people.

For more information, take a look at the CDC website.

The White House Flickr Photostream

Friday, May 01, 2009

Okay, I can't even really remember where I found out about this, but do you know that "The White House" has its own Flickr photostream? I think that President Obama is brilliant for leveraging all of these social networking thingies to bring the public closer to the political action because involvement will often follow interest. It's working against that whole outta sight, outta mind thing.

Regardless of your politics, you should check out the photostream. Soooo interesting to see all those people meeting to discuss important matters. Hopefully they're being productive.

Well, for one thing, they now have to at least appear to be!
But a break, or two, to hang out with the kiddies is definitely fine by me!

President Barack Obama cheers on a young child as she rolls her egg toward the finish line Monday, April 13, 2009, during the White House Easter Egg Roll.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Sofia: 16 months

Friday, April 24, 2009

This monthly installment of “Sofia’s life” is coming 14 days late. Easter had eaten our lives whole and it took two weeks to kinda recover. I am looking forward to my day off tomorrow.

Sofia turned 16 months on Good Friday. She missed Good Friday service due to the exporting of videos which had encountered some technical difficulties. We would have left it for another time except that it was for that 3 pm performance of which a call time of 1:30 was racing up to our faces so fast we really were getting nauseous. Fortunately, we did figure it out although it cost Tyler about three hours of sleep that he could have had.

Okay, back to Sofia.

  1. She is now a stellar walker. We borrowed a little “monkey on her back” contraption that allows us to hang on to its tail while it hugs Sofia. This way, when we are in public she thinks she can run, far, far, away, until we YANK.

  2. My mother taught her this ridiculous thing of CLIMBING A STEP LADDER. Mind you, at least it’s only a two-step step ladder. But, I was already pretty livid when she taught Sofia how to climb a chair at the dining room table. I think my mother will, next, try to teach her how to chop green onions for dinner.

  3. Sofia now can say three Chinese (Hokkien) words: “Diow-loh” (finished), “Tseh-tseh” (sit), and “Kwah” (look)

  4. Sofia’s sign language is to the point where I can pretty much make out everything she wants. Most of the gestures are for: sitting (patting a chair), mum-mum (food, fingertips touching and motioning to mouth), ice cream (tongue out, fist moving up and down beside her mouth), me (pointing at herself), stinky (holding nose), nodding (for yes) and shaking her head (for no), and tons of pointing

  5. Sofia knows the following body parts in Chinese: hair, nose, mouth, eyes, hands, feet, bum.

  6. Sofia knows the following body parts in Spanish: eyes, bum (Dad, you’ve got some work to do)

  7. Sofia started doing this fakey smile one day, completely unprompted. The crazy thing is that I had the exact fakey smile when I was kid. It is SO the same, that when I had her do it for my parents, my parents fell off their chairs.

  8. Sofia is now 24 pounds.

  9. Sofia wears a size 4 shoe.

  10. Sofia’s naps are becoming a bit funny. For a long time, she has had a morning nap at 11 am, and an afternoon nap at 3 pm. Each one and half hours. Lately, we’ll lie with her for like 45 minutes in the afternoon trying to get her to nap. No nap. My mother and I started giving up. But she’s really in between stages right now. I don’t think that she is really ready for skipping a morning nap and moving into one nap a day (in the afternoon). I know this because when we go to church in the morning, as soon as she is in the car seat to go home at around 1 pm, she is OUT. The car ride is only 5 minutes.

  11. Sofia sleeps at least 11 hours a night. Sometimes 12.

  12. Sofia is eating more of our regular food now. She no longer rejects steamed rice. She may have Chinese in her after all.

  13. Sofia will run into my arms squealing to give me a hug, when I kneel down with my arms open. Pretty much my favourite development.

Of course, with every month, her personality is developing more and more. She’s a scared-y cat. For some reason, some dolls or stuffed animals really freak her out. And the laundry room at my parents’ apartment. She is aggressively friendly. She started walking towards a kid while saying and waving good-bye, when he didn’t wave back.

Pretty much every day I’ll just sit and watch her, and shake my head in disbelief that 16 months have gone by and this is now the daughter that I have. I remember when she couldn’t hold her head up by herself. I remember when we were so excited when she’d stay awake for 20 minutes straight. I remember when she’d try to suck on her fist and she’d punch herself in the eye.

I have to remember to always pay attention, ‘cause it happens all so quickly that in a blink of an eye, I’ll find her a teenager if I’m not careful.

It arrived!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Back on Thursday, I got to work and found a big box waiting for me at my mail slot. I hadn't ordered anything for work so it could only mean one thing! The DSLR is back from repair! I have been taking lots of pictures since then and getting reacquainted with the oh-too-many controls on this baby. One thing that I have started to do is only shooting in RAW - as per my sister, the professional,'s recommendation. It's so true! I can do so much to it afterwards!

If you want to check out some of my updates, please visit my flickr account (just click on the image below).

An old hobby is reborn! Thanks Christine!

Sofia +CPK


Thursday, April 02, 2009

I'm always pushing spring. In past years, it's been about wearing sandals in March. Now that I'm a mom, I realize that is ridiculous. Now, I celebrate a little more sanely by taking my baby to play in the park.

I love photography and I wish I was a better photographer, and I'm looking forward to when Christine's old Canon 20D comes back from repairs. We have this share-thing, where I get to have it on loan, and she'll take it to her wedding gigs as a back up in case her main one fails. When it's back, I'm going invest in a 50mm lens, which Christine tells me, I'm gonna love.

I was excited to find out that LIFE magazine has created a website with GettyImages so that you can browse all their old photos, and see their new ones. They're allowing embedding of images, printing (of some kind) and even purchasing some.


Whoa, Easter!

I did start to write a post on March 22 to report on how awesome a visit to meet up with my high school friend and get a tour of the AGO was. But then my work-life took over again.

Easter prep is taking over my life.

See, the thing is, I work at a church, right? So, of course, I’ll be doing lots of Easter preparation. I am also a wife, right? I love to help my husband with whatever he is involved with. UNFORTUNATELY, right now, he’s heavily involved with the Easter presentation at the church that I work at. Therefore, once I stop working at my job, I am working with my husband who makes me return to my job basically. Morning ‘til night: Easter, Easter, Easter, Easter...

To be honest, I feel backed up against the wall. I care about this presentation that we’re putting on A LOT. So I want to do all that I can to make sure this thing gets pulled off right. But, I think that I’m overloaded by at least 25%. (Please do not ask how I quantified the emotional stress.)

It doesn’t need to be all that bad. I am realizing my limits - which is definitely a theme of my last year, while in maternity leave. Kathy. Just back away.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

I am very excited! Tomorrow I, and my little family will be going down to the Art Gallery of Ontario to meet up with a friend of mine from high school whom I have not seen since high school! She found me on Facebook (my primary reason for why I love Facebook so much) back in the fall and now we’re going to meet up. She currently works at the AGO and offered to give us a tour of the newly renovated building. I have not been to the art gallery in way too long!

Last week Sofia went to her, like, fourth art opening. This week, it’s the art gallery instead of her nap. I don’t think that I even went to an art gallery until I was 13! Lucky butt.

What I am up to...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I do not know where the days go. I guess it just got a whole bunch busier now that my husband is finally back at work after a medical leave of about two and half months. In case you don’t know, he was off due to a back problem that we discovered that is chronic. Since going back to work it has bugged him on and off, but for the most part, we are thankful that it is under control. The best part is that the people at work are being so understanding and helping him return to work by giving him the light duties (like cooking) just so he can be back at work. So many of his co-workers were telling him about how other co-workers are so happy for him to be back and stories of how they were sad while he was away and were so excited when they heard he was coming back. He really does have some awesome friends at work and I’m glad that the time away has caused him to see that.

I am excited. Tomorrow night, Gonzo and I have a date night! Sofia will be sleeping over and Gwa-Kong’s and Gwa-Ma’s and we’re going to go see The Watchmen! I know NOTHING about the movie, but Gonzo knows pretty much everything about it. Which is the way we like to go see the movie. Imagine my disbelief when I saw The Matrix (the first one) knowing nothing about it. I now try to see movies without knowing anything about them so I can recreate that feeling. :-)

Work is going pretty well. I am plugging along and getting some major projects done fast; like, getting a 5,000 piece maildrop, two 10,000 piece invitations, and another 21,000 piece maildrop (in Chinese!) done in a matter of three days - in amongst my regular tasks. Here is some of what I did:

Another reason why life seems to be picking up is because Easter is coming up, fast and soon. When you work at a church, Easter is the high point in the whole year. It's important to remember while I and my co-workers work at making this special time in the Christian calendar meaningful for all of those who attend, I have to remember to hang back, mentally, and not allow myself to get carried away with all of these preparation so that I lose out on the meaning for myself.

15 months

Thursday, March 12, 2009

This last couple of weeks has really been marked with development in understanding everything I say. And the best part is, everything I say in CHINESE. (But also English, lest her father be left out of the whole equation). It’s been a lot of fun to see how she is leaving baby-ness behind...although a little sad too.

  1. Sofia has finally decided that she’d join the rest of the world and try walking. She’s walking a good five to six feet now at a time. I am seeing her crawl less and less every day.

  2. This past month she hasn’t been feeling very well. Her appetite went way down - gagging at most meals, and vomiting at a good number of them. We couldn’t figure it out. We adjusted the texture of the food from chunky to all the way down to soup, trying everything in between. Nothing helped. And then on top of that, she had a touch of food poisoning last week - I woke up to find her sleeping in her barf, and in a soiled diaper. Almost nothing sadder. On Monday, though, she woke up hungry and hasn’t stopped eating since. Glad that is ALL over. When I think back, the last time she was fine was before The Ramen Incident. A long, long time ago.

  3. She can help with preparing her milk: she sits and watches me pour the milk into the bottle, I hand her the water vial to put into the bottle warmer, she takes the bottle puts it into the bottle warmer, and pushes the button.

  4. Sofia no longer throws something she doesn’t want anymore. She actually hands it to me. This brings joy to my heart.

  5. Sofia’s vocabulary now consists of, “Daddy”, “beh-beh”, and “Diow loh”. No “mommy” yet. Lots of gibberish.

  6. Sofia understands a lot more, of course, than she can say. Yesterday I gave her instructions to help me put away the groceries. I sat her on our kitchen counter, and had her help me put away the oranges into the fruit bowl. She took them one by one and put them in the bowl. The funny thing is that when there wasn’t any more room to be at the bottom of the bowl, it stressed her out for her to stack them on top of the other ones.

  7. Sofia clasps her hands to ask me to pray before every meal.

  8. When she happy, she kisses us a lot. And also when she’s going down to sleep.

Because of the food bit, this month has been stressful. But the developments over this last week has completely overshadowed it. Her personality is totally shining now and it’s fascinating to watch all this happen inside that head of hers. Now, what I am really looking forward to is not having to carry around a 23 pound (and increasing!) kid anymore!

Missing Husbands

Friday, February 27, 2009

All week long my husband has been busy with the Easter presentation for our church. They’re working on something pretty big this year and so it’s pretty exciting, but also stressful. Further, my husband dragged another woman’s husband into this whole ordeal. He planned with my husband, and built two of the Easter sets ... and will be building a few more. My husband is very excited about having these sets. The other husband is likely very tired.

The wife of the husband that my husband recruited has been hanging out with me all week. Tonight we treated ourselves to a dinner out with the babies. Sofia ate some crayons, Marcus threw a few hundred cheerios to the ground. It was a lovely night.

Now, we’re just waiting for them to come home. So, we’re online shopping on Etsy.

The Ultimate Milestone

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The ultimate milestone happened today!

I was at home working, and Gonzo is still home due to back problems, so everyone was home to witness it. Gonz was lying on the floor playing with Sofia. Sofia was sitting on her little toy car. Gonz calls Sofia to come to him for something. She stands up and walks over. WALKS OVER! Fortunately Gonz called me in time for me to turn around and see her do it. That was in the early afternoon. We couldn’t get her to do it again.

We went over to my parents’ for dinner, and I set Sofia down in the doorway. My mother calls her, and Sofia takes about four steps and goes to her! My parents were so excited. Then she did it a whole bunch more times.

It was so nice. These achievements are like big celebrations for us. It’s funny, ‘cause the way she walks is exactly how I imagined she would look like: like every other toddler. Arms in the air, legs clumsily being thrown forward, one after the other, eyes focused in a spot somewhere “in front”. Yay! Sofia!

We managed to capture it on video. Enjoy!

Scare of my life

Monday, February 16, 2009

With my cousins last night, we went out to Asian Legend for dinner. It’s always a mystery as to what we’re gonna feed Sofia at restaurants. Usually it’s some kind of soup, or congee. Unfortunately the only appropriate soup to choose for Sofia had crab in it, so that wasn’t going to work. We found a noodle in some broth with slow cooked chicken and figured that would probably be okay.

My mother always feeds Sofia if she is with her. She almost won’t let me. She looooooooves to feed Sofia. The problem is that she is so busy doting on her that she hardly eats herself. So, mid-way through dinner I ask my mother how much did she eat she showed me that she had fed her one small bowl of the noodles. At home she eats out of a much larger bowl. I switch seats with Christine and begin to feed her more. Only half way through this supposed second bowl, Sofia starts to gag and then proceeds to throw up. Okay, this is nothing new. She now does this from time to time. BUT this time, it’s not stopping. She throws up. Gags. Throws up some more. And then throws up some more.

At this point, I am freaking out ‘cause there are billion noodles coming out, in a huge solid tube. The panic that is now in Sofia’s eyes is making me panic. Fortunately, Matt, Mr. CPR, is there and reassures us that she is fine, and just to let her do her thing.

Finally, she stops. I am convinced that there was more than just one bowl of noodles in there. But then again, these were those kind of noodles that expand as they sit in the broth. Expand and expand and expand.

I was never more afraid of losing Sofia in my life. Even if it was for a split second that something I never want to experience again... although I am almost positive that there will be more moments like this.

My Quotes Page

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I have been talking about reviving my quotes page that I started back in like 2002 or something. Just random quotes that I hear hanging with friends and family. I think that I might have lost my original ones... or they are archived on a hard drive somewhere. I will dig them up sometime.

Well, just thought that I’d remind you that they exist, and that I’ve added a couple more today.

Family Valentine's Day

My cousins from the States are arriving tomorrow and staying until Tuesday. Since we usually visit my in-laws once a week and that day is usually Sunday, we had to adjust our schedule a little. The adjustment made our visit land on today–Valentine’s Day.

My husband doesn’t care much for Valentine’s Day, so therefore I guess I don’t either. (If you know anything about how my sisters and I were raised, we didn’t really celebrate anything that someone else didn’t “make” us celebrate. And no, we are not Jehovah’s Witnesses). And my point about that is that we didn’t have anything planned for ourselves, so it’s not like we were interrupting anything.

BUT we couldn’t have possibly had better plans. We got to see Max again. Only the second time since he was born. But I felt like he was born like three weeks ago. I was corrected today he will only be two weeks on Tuesday! I really thought it was longer. Anyway, I was excited to see him and was glad that not that much time had passed by. He’s doing really well, and I am so happy to hear that Maria is having a nice and easy time with him. Elizabeth was a really difficult baby and so I am particularly glad to hear that she is able to enjoy this time around.

We had once (chilean tea time), and then basically watched Sofia and Elizabeth chase each other around, play and squeal for about three hours. A particular highlight was watching Elizabeth and Sofia hang around Max, the newcomer. I think that moments like these must be particularly satisfying for Juan and Blanca, the grandparents, who, after years of hard work, being immigrants, not once but twice in their lives (first to Sweden, then to Canada), raising children in the absence of all of their family, to see their family grow, healthy, happy and well. Probably beyond words, really.

It was just one of those times that as we made the weekly drive home from Oshawa we said to each other that it was good to be together.

Here’s a little snippet of our being together: Elizabeth doting on Max. Sofia being a ham. Max busy wondering how he will survive.

14 months

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sofia turned 14 months today.

A couple of days ago Sofia started standing hands-free! Gonzalo and I were having lunch and saw her standing in the kitchen, watching her reflection in the toaster and making faces. She stood there for at least 15 seconds. OH MY GOODNESS... we were so excited. But yes, I already blogged about this already.

Sofia is starting the sounds of singing. She will repeat after me when I say “La, la, lahhhh.” She’ll copy the rhythm, and a little bit of the inflection.

She is gagging a lot lately during meal times. I am not quite sure what that is all about. My mother thinks it’s another skill that she has learned (probably from her De-Ee), and she’s just using it. She is even throwing up sometimes. When in her first entire year she threw up maybe two times. Exactly twice.

Sofia is starting to realize what it means to be in trouble, and what that means to feel badly. When she realizes that she is in trouble, she’ll instantly want a hug. Over and over again. Or, she’ll throw a flying kiss at you to divert the discipline.

She’s showing me that she has that memory that all kids have. In the parking garage I told Sofia that when we got upstairs I’d brush her teeth. She loooooves having her teeth brushed. We got upstairs, and I changed her into her pajamas, washed her face and hands, and went to prepare her milk. She reminded me (with sign language) to brush her teeth.

Sofia is a cautious girl. Not quite scaredy, but definitely cautious. When we gets down from a chair or our bed or something, she’ll stretch her foot down to see if she can feel the floor. If she can’t, she’ll crawl all the way back up and then try again. She gets really frustrated if she can’t feel the floor first before climbing all the way down.

She climbs down stairs now. (Crawling).

She drinks 22 ounces of organic milk. Organic milk is $8.77 for a 4 litre bag. That stuff is expensive. I am not sold on all things organic, but for Sofia, organic milk seems like a necessity right now for her stage in life.

Sofia says, “Mmmmmm...” at the sight of food. All food.

She loves croutons. Scratchy, scratchy croutons.

When she really wants to go fast, she tucks her head down when she is crawling. It’s like she’s working on being more aerodynamic.

She weighs 23 pounds now.

I can set a bowl of food down on her high chair tray now and she won’t totally flip it over.

What is interesting about her development now is that whereas most of her development previously was motor, now it’s cognitive. So, while there isn’t much to observe from week to week, you can see, slowly, all these little subtle things turning on in her brain. Like, her imagination firing up. Now, that is really exciting stuff.

25 Random Things

Friday, February 06, 2009

I posted this note in Facebook. It’s one of those tag-you tag-me quizzy things. Here’s a whole bunch of stuff about me.

1. I wish I had eyelashes.

2. I love blogs. I currently follow 26 blogs. Design blogs. Food blogs. Personal blogs.

3. I love my apple computers. My first apple was in Grade 10: a Performa.

4.I have two sisters. In high school all my friends were boys. My parents said that I was making up for the lack of brothers.

5. With every stage in life I've gotten cheaper and cheaper. When I was in high school, I thought something on sale for $50 was a great deal. Now I won't buy myself a new pair of socks for over $3.

6. Until I learned to manage my stress better I used to have stomach aches every time after I ate. That was a horrible 6 months of my life.

7. When I was hired for my first (and only) full time job, I was completely unqualified. I had never held a video camera before or never used Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign/Motion/Dreamweaver before. Someone took a big, fat chance on me.

8. My biggest phobias are heights and bugs. Even typing those two things are making me cringe.

9. My family is getting more mixed. I have a Bulgarian uncle, a Chilean husband, a couple of Filipino cousins, Irish-Italian almost-brother-in-law... to mention a few.

10. I can't handle caffeine. My rule is if the sun is down, no coffee. Otherwise, I am up until 4am.

11. I work in a church and draw pictures all day long.

12. Among the strangest things I've learned to do is mime and tap dance and make my own circuit board.

13. I was born with this loud voice. My kindergarten teacher told my mother to get my ears checked - I spoke so loud she suspected I was deaf.

14. I love shoes. Maybe a little too much.

15. I love snorkeling. I have snorkeled in the Philippines, Mexico and Hawaii.

16. I think that I am scared to try scuba diving. It's the opposite of heights.

17. Sloppy work makes me angry.

18. I had braces for less than one year although I had horrendous teeth. That would be because I would triple my elastics to make it go faster.

19. One of the things I am most proud of in life: I gave birth without an epidural.

20. I think my favourite colour is green. That changes from time to time.

21. The first newborn I ever held was my own.

22. I have lived in the same square kilometer in my entire life.

23. I play the piano. I play the voice. I kinda play the violin.

24. I learned to type as an early teenager hanging out in chatrooms.

25. My husband thinks I am very, very mean.

A significant milestone

With Sofia, there have been a few things that I have been looking forward to her being able to do since she was born. One would be playing with her feet, and another would be her saying “Mommy” or “Daddy”. She hit another one of those again today: Sofia is now able to stand on her own.

Gonzo and I were sitting having lunch. Sofia had already had her lunch so she was down on the floor playing on her own. She was in the kitchen standing in front of the toaster, looking at her own reflection and there, I caught her standing on her own! And she just kept standing! She was looking down at her sweater, and had both hands busy picking at the buttons. I whispered to Gonzo, “Look! Look!” We were trying to not attract any of her attention to see how long she would stand there for. She probably stood for something like 15 to 20 seconds.

I tried to take a picture, but didn’t work out. However, she probably stood something like four times today, so I am sure I will be able to catch it in the near future.


Four blooms

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I am obviously enjoying this a whole lot.

24 hours later

After coming home from visiting Max, I found two blooms waiting for me already!

Visiting Maximillian Matthew Miller

The Toronto Jimenez traveled out to Oshawa today to meet Maximillian! He is our newest addition to the family. He was born yesterday, and weighed in at 10.5 pounds! I was so excited to meet him.

Holding a newborn... Picking him up, all the feelings came back again: the preciousness, the awareness that these early moments fade quickly, the marvel of life. Gives me goosebumps! The cool thing is that this time around I was, of course, less apprehensive of holding the baby – no fear that I was going to “break” him. I remember the first time I held Elizabeth, the first newborn I had ever held; and she was only like half an hour old! I was so afraid of dropping her, holding her too tight, holding her too loose, watching the position of her head... This time, I am seasoned. I AM A MOTHER. I KNOW HOW TO DO THIS.

I am looking forward to seeing how Elizabeth does as a big sister (I really have very little doubt she is going to an amazing big sister, but children are children and it will take getting used to when the novelty wears off). I am looking forward to seeing Sofia as no longer the littlest cousin. Maybe she will poke at his eyes too. (Elizabeth did that to her the first few times she saw her).

These are very awesome days. The days where the family grows, and the families are still young. We have to learn so much as the kids learn, but it’s such a gift that we are all so close in proximity–which, then, is my hope that we continue to grow closer in our relationship to one another. These events certainly help that to happen.

If you are one of my friends on FB, you can view my photos here.

Already blooming!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

At breakfast there was nothing. An hour later, here it is! Peeking out!

Snow, snow, go away

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Each winter there is a point where you throw your hands up and say, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.” The way I have expressed it this year is buying daffodils. The hope of spring sitting on my dining room table. Can’t wait to see those yellow petals.

New Family Member!

Today, at 8:30 am, Maxmillian Miller was born to Maria Paz and Matthew Miller, and sister Elizabeth. He’s a big boy, weighing in at 10.5 pounds. Cousin Sofia, Tia Kathy and Tio Gonzalo will be visiting this new family member tomorrow.

Can’t wait! Pictures to come.

My husband bakes!

Monday, February 02, 2009

My husband has learned to bake. As I posted some photos to Facebook I realized that he has mastered a few tasty things! Click here to see my Facebook album.

Can't Break a Promise

I’ll admit, over the last couple of weeks I haven't been doing too well with waking early. I was waking at 7:30 am, which is definitely early for my “old” life, but certainly not early enough for my “new” life. I was back to revving myself up to wake early as I went to sleep, only to wake up rationalizing why I could snooze my alarm for the fifth time in a row.

Last night, I started talking myself into waking early again. But I knew I had to change it up to actually make it happen. I took a big sticky note and wrote the following:

I’m not really into breaking my word, so I basically muscled myself into waking early. I am just not rational during the space between being horizontal and to the end of the three foot path that is my alarm clock. The bright sticky note covered my snooze button at the bottom of the alarm clock, so I definitely couldn’t miss it.

Hopefully it works tomorrow.
Hopefully my morning-person doesn’t demand a new sticky note.

Enough Fiddling

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Well, it only took me something like three hours to tweak this downloaded template. I am obviously NOT a programmer.

Hope you like the new layout.
If not, too bad. :-|

Follow up poster

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Just sent my husband down to post this follow up poster.

Lost and Found

Last night we went out to my in-laws to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday. My husband had made a cake and we were lugging down a cooler with ice cream and plus all of the baby stuff, we had to use our “granny cart” to bring down all of this stuff (including the baby).

The red shopping cart that we have is one that my parents gave us when we first got married. My mother had gotten it from another woman from their building who wasn’t using it anymore. There was one screw that was missing, and when I told my dad that I could really use it, he went and fixed it with this ridiculously long screw, fastened it with a nut, and then bent the screw down so it looked like it was saying, “Take a right turn here.”

This sentimental cart wasn’t there anymore when we came home from our visit. We probably leave it in our parking spot at least once a week and have never had a problem before. Probably my fault for being a little too trusting.

I was sad about my missing cart and thinking about how our life is going to be a lot more inconvenient because I now am without my cart. Sure, it’s just a cart, but we use it a lot and with my husband’s bad back, that means I will have to carry even more stuff (including the baby).

I decided to fight this problem with a little bit of graphic design.

I woke this morning, threw a little poster together in ten minutes and at 9:08 posted it downstairs at the elevators in the basement level and posted one also in the laundry room (where I suspect someone would even try to use my cart), then started hoping.

I went to pick up my glasses that were in for repair, at around 10:30. Picked up my glasses - look good as new! and then headed home. As you probably guessed, this story has a happy ending: 11:15 my cart was sitting back at our parking spot. Something ACTUALLY got returned to me when I asked for it back. That is a crazy happy feeling. My face wouldn’t stop smiling.

A good day has three things

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I often think about how people accomplish in varying degrees in life. Some people accomplish a ridiculous amount in a short 35 years of living. They are influential, have great ideas, possess wisdom, read people well, lead people who lead other people... Then there are others who have lived the same 35 years, but because of different circumstances, different upbringing, different experiences, different priorities, different choices they are still figuring out basics like paying bills, how to act appropriately in an awkward situation, just realizing that they should move onto the next stage of life where his mother isn’t doing his laundry.

I am in the middle there somewhere. I’m not an overachiever. I am mostly happy where I am in life. I am happy that I have a great husband, a happy, healthy daughter, nice living space, a wonderful family, a job where I feel fulfilled everyday surrounded by wonderful co-workers... Life isn’t perfect, and of course, it isn’t always easy, but I’d like to say that I am doing alright.

However, I know that there are spaces in my life that remain stagnant. Stupid stuff like the pile of magazines that sit on my dining room table that I intend on tossing. Nagging stuff like getting exercise into my weekly routine. I know that I drag my heels on so many things that probably won’t even take me that much time. Sure, those things might have semi-importance, but things that make me even more disappointed is stuff like I want to get a gift for my pregnant neighbour and it’s been in my head for at least two weeks... I could be making a friendship, but it’s still in a theoretical state.

So, I’ve been thinking how do I get out of this? I know that I am better than I ever used to be, but frankly, I am just slow. I also like thinking ahead - trying to see as far as possible based on what I know now. If I draw a straight line between today and the 15 years from now that I want to arrive at, what do I have to do?

Well, that straight line is made up of 5,475 days. What choices can I make over and over again that help me get as far down the road when I arrive at day 5,476?

I think that I can include three things in every day to start with:

1) Organize what I am going to do today. The best thing my former boss ever told me to do when I couldn’t get my act straight at work, he told me to make one to-do list. I used to keep notes on post-it notes all over my desk, computer screen, and corkboard, to remind me what I had to do. It only just made a visual reminder of how screwed I was. How everyday I came to work and I was increasingly drowning in my tasks. Once I organized all of these same notes to myself on one sheet of paper, my stress went right down, my focus narrowed in, and I started plowing through stuff.

2) Get stuff done on the list. Sure, that seems obvious, but there are days that make a wonderful list that I intend on doing, but I get so distracted that I don’t get a single thing done. Some times there are great reasons - other times, it’s just a waste of time.

3) Learn something today. Life isn’t just about accomplishing tasks, that with each task you move forward. Life is about growing; expanding our knowledge, our worldview, our capacities for love, and there are many areas that we can be growing. Every day we should be feeding ourselves by spending time with books, with websites, or with friends. There are many ways we can be growing.

A good life is full of good days. Every day is full of habits. If each day is full of good habits, how can I not make the most of my life? I don’t intend for the above to be the magic formula to the perfect life, since life is full of things that we cannot control but I am writing about the things that I can control, and I know that this is definitely something that I can take into my hands and do.

And on top of that....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In my new working-mom weekly routine, I run out and prepare for the week by planning our menu and going grocery shopping on Sunday morning. This morning was going well, the stores weren’t busy, and I was just about to head on down to bank to get my card replaced. However, I forgot to buy my husband’s cereal at my first supermarket so I headed back. There was a car parked in my usual spot, but the spot in front of it was free so I backed into it... and backed right into the concrete base of the light post. I was relieved when I figured out that I didn’t hit the car behind me, and went into the store deciding to check on the damage later. With the speed that I was going I couldn’t have done more than dented the bumper.

Yup, you read that I was horribly wrong.

I come back out and check on the bumper - there is hole punched into it and the whole right side is cracked. It shattered like it was a clay pot. Seriously. I think because it was super cold outside this morning. Maybe that had impact on how shatter-able it was. RIDICULOUS.

My spirit sank some more. But I feel better now. I went to church tonight where we had “Cathedral” - our worship night. I’m not really a big worship concert kind of gal, but there was a lot of sincere worship going up and I felt my mood lift too. It’s great to be reminded to keep my eyes off myself and my situation and focus on the big God that holds all of my life in His hands.

On another note - so the compromise on the debit card back on Friday was wider spread than I imagined. I was chatting with the lady who was helping me out at the bank, and she had $1,000 taken, and also her co-worker. She said a lot of the employees also had their cards compromised, and that every other person that came into the bank was asking for a replacement card. Crazy. Well, somehow that makes me feel better.

Well, on to this week! Please pray that my husband’s back gets better. I feel badly for him.


I was just checking my balance online just now and discovered that apparently I had withdrawn $500 from my account yesterday. I thought to myself, “Really? I don’t remember doing that...” I NEVER TAKE OUT THAT MUCH CASH OUT. My heart sank and hit my stomach, rock bottom. My legs feel weak... and I’m sitting down. I can’t believe that this is happening...

I called the bank immediately and reported that my card was stolen... at least it was virtually. They’ve cancelled my card and assured me that I’ll have my money reimbursed to me within 5 to 10 business days, or if it’s something that they’ve already figured out that has happened to many other people, they’ll reimburse me directly to my account sooner.

I have just such a sick feeling in my stomach. The good thing is that there are good systems set up by banks and credit card companies, that when these kinds of things happen, their clients are protected. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be in business....right?

Still, it’s that 1% chance that I won’t be getting my money back that makes me feel horribly sad. Or...wait - no, it’s not it that makes me sad; it makes me sad that another human being would take something from me. I earned that money. I worked hard for that money - waking early and sleeping late, caring for my daughter, caring for my husband who is on sick-leave from work. I feel a bit stretched.

Well, I’m finding out who I am when the pressure is on. That is for sure.

13 Months

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sofia just went to her one-year check-up. She got her measles-mumps-rubella shot today. Dr. Chin said that she took it very well. Regarding her reaction, he was almost like, “That’s it?!” Yup, that’s my tough girl.

So, apparently, even with all the food that we give this girl, her weight percentile is dropping. She’s following the curve well for her height and her head circumference (Dr. Chin, “Oh, Dr. Chin measured your head wrong... uh no, Sofia, you just have a big, big head.”), but her weight has dropped to the 50th percentile. I fed her so much dinner tonight, you should have seen how big her tummy got. She kept opening her mouth though.

What’s up with her now?

  1. Kissing. Sofia used to run away from kisses, now she’s doling them out like she’s a bankrupt store having a closing sale. The great thing is that she has learned now to close her mouth. The funny thing is that it comes with sound effects: “Muahhhhhhh!”

  2. Mobility. Sofia is still reluctant to stand without support, and therefore to make any attempts at walking. She’s cruising like crazy, crawling at warp speed and has learned to ride her little plastic car. Doctor says she’s fine babies these days tend to walk between 13 and 15 months. We’ll see...

  3. Words. In the race to see which parent Sofia would call out to first, Sofia has learned to say “Dah-ddy” over the last couple of days. It actually makes me happy that she said Daddy first... it’s a nice encouragement while he’s here at home off of work with his back problem. Sofia still says “beh-bie” to everything, which I have figured out is that she is expressing what she wants. It’s like, “Baby wants to go over there” or “Baby wants to eat that.” “Beh-bie” is Sofia. She has started to say “Hi”. These are coming along slowly. She expresses a lot in other ways - the made up sign language is working for her. Like dropping her mouth wide open and then saying, “Mmmmmmm....” when she wants to eat something.

  4. Comprehension. She understands a lot. It really surprises me because it’s hard to know that she understands me when she says so little. She can look for her bellybutton when I say, “Where is your bellybutton?” She looks in Daddy’s direction when I say, “Where is Daddy?” Points to her mouth when I say, “How do you brush your teeth?” So fun!

  5. Food. Everything. Minus peanut butter and other peanut products. I have even started giving her dessert whenever we eat dessert (just a little) because I don’t want to end up with a kid that eats sugar in secret because we held out on her. My parents never had much junk in the house, but when there was junk, we were allowed to have some. Now, a bag of chips, or a package of cookies will go stale on our shelves. Just doesn’t have that hold on us.

  6. Fine motor skills. Sofia might not be walking, but she’s really good with her hands. She’s learning to open packaging. The other day she got into the diaper bag and found the Penaten. A few minutes later, Gonzo found her with Penaten all over her face and hands. Sometimes I even have trouble opening that tiny metal case.

Next month, Sofia will have another cousin. She won’t be the youngest anymore. It’ll be fun to see how Sofia treats the next little one. Sofia will be younger than Elizabeth when Sofia was born, but only by a few months. She really likes playing with Marcus (even when Marcus doesn’t want to play - he’s a four and half month old of some friends of ours).

I am so excited about Sofia’s new cousin. Some people like their family small. Give ‘em to me big!

Fun and free things for your (Mac) computer

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My computer seems to be a lot better. Mind you, I haven’t tried working with Motion since I visited the Apple Store Genius. I am planning on trying out again tomorrow. But, right now, it’s performing like it should be. Streeessssssful.

Right now, I’d like to share with you some stuff that I’ve found on the internet that has helped me with enjoying 1.) my computer better; 2.) organizing my personal finance better; and 3.) using dashboard again.

1. For enjoying my computer better. One of things that I love finding is awesome desktop wallpaper. However, what I don’t enjoy is LOOKING for awesome desktop wallpaper. There is so much out there that is digitally rendered sunsets and dolphins, space themes or half-naked ladies. I want wallpaper that is designed well to inspire the graphic designer in me. I found a pile! One useful place is Flickr, and search for wallpaper. You’ll find a lot of gorgeous ones - but yes, you’ll still have to wade through a bit in order to find those special ones. Another place that I found today, which is really the jackpot for me, is at, a stock photography website, but they have a lot of interactive features on there. Yeah, you have to sign up for a (free) account, but it’s totally worth it. Then you’ll have to visit their wallpaper area. Lots of clever stuff!

2. For organizing my personal finances with joy! For the last couple of years I’ve been recording how we use our money in an excel spreadsheet, but frankly for the last few months I’ve stopped using it ‘cause, well, it’s a hassle. While managing personal finances will always be a hassle, for people like me, if it’s got a fancy interface, graphical reports and uses colours for categories, sounds like fun! I have been researching the internet up and down for a good and free program (for Mac OSX), and after a couple of days, I found it! iCompta is good and pretty simple (you’ll have to orient yourself a bit). You can set your budgets, enter recurring bills and income, export and import files among others. We’ll see how it goes over the next few months.

3. Dashboard widgets. When Mac OSX first introduced widgets, I downloaded a whole bunch that I thought were pretty cool, but they were more fancy than useful. Shortly thereafter I stopped using widgets. With my new computer, I decided I wanted a timer that was simple enough that I could use to track the time while I work at home. I was expecting a lot of interruptions once Sofia was awake, and I didn’t want to feel like I couldn’t get up from my computer to attend to her so I could get my hours in, but also didn’t want to feel like I was ripping work off by not working. ChronoTrack is nice and simple and easy to use. There were other ones that could track by projects, etc., but I just wanted to keep track of my day. I also needed a checklist to keep me on track as I am pulled in a thousand directions. Checkmarker is awesome. I keep multiple lists, prioritize some, and of course, check off tasks as I finish them. iCal events is nice; to show me a summary of my events for the next three or so days. Twidget is fun – keeps me updating, but doesn’t waste my company’s time by going to the Twitter website. Just get my thoughts down and go.

Hope you find something useful in there!

A Working Mom

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I have now officially worked one week as a working mother. I feel a bit overwhelmed, but I know that this is because it’s an adjustment.

Some things that I have really enjoyed:

  1. Today, in the morning, I worked at home and then in the afternoon, we went to visit Gonzo’s parents, and I worked from there. And was still seriously productive. So, loving the mobility.

  2. Having that feeling of getting stuff done. Tasks. Done. Check. Awesome.

  3. Hearing over and over again, “Glad to have you back.” Who wouldn’t like that?!

  4. Being creative. Sure, I can do that at home, but I certainly don’t carve out the time to be creative like I have to be when I’m at work.

Some things that I have found a challenge:

  1. Staying on top of keeping a clean home. But that is always a challenge.

  2. Making sure we have something to eat at every meal, at home. Not eating out.

  3. Keeping my temper in check. When I am stressed I am also angry. Which is different than my dad: when he gets scared, he’s mad. Weird.

  4. My computer: it keeps crashing. Oh gosh, I know - a mac! Crashing! I’m not quite sure what is going on with it - when I use Motion, it crashes. Anyway, I have an appointment with a Genius on Wednesday to see what is up with it.

  5. My computer and the network at work. It’s not hooking up where as I had NO problem with my previous computers.

I know that the balance to strike between work and home is going to be something that I am always going to have to practice at. It’s an art, for sure. One thing that I’m trying to work out is all the ways I can save time and that is low-stress. Like:

  • Slow cooking. Looking for awesome recipes that are healthy and that can cook while I am away at work. It’s like a chef was working all day at home so I have a hot cooked meal when I walk in the door.

  • Going grocery shopping during non-busy times in the week. Sunday morning is a great time. You don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get some good shopping done, and done fast. And then I’m prepared for the week.

  • One week down. I haven’t cried yet, so this is going pretty good.


    Sunday, January 04, 2009

    This has only happened to me twice.

    Each week, I must do a PowerPoint presentation for the weekend’s message. This was a very weird week: a work week chopped in half with a New Year’s Day holiday, AND it was my first week back at work. So, needless to say, I definitely wasn’t feeling like I was in a good work-rhythm.

    I arrived at Saturday Night Gathering tonight to rehearse with the band, and Matt asks, “Hey, did Jan get a hold of you? They’re looking for the PowerPoint.” I’m thinking, shoot, did I even do it? Yes, yes, I did. Uh, I think that I even checked the sent file folder to make sure that it went through. I went online to check my sent folder again so that I could pull the file off of there, but no, the email was no where to be found.

    I had to rush home and get the file. I had done it on my computer at home so it’s not like my dad (who was watching Sofia) could bring my computer when he came to church with her. I get home in record time (read: I was speeding), and I sat down at my computer only to remember that I had just deleted all my files for work off of my home computer this afternoon when Gonz complained that there wasn’t enough room on the external hard drive for him to load some video clips. I had moved my computer files on my work laptop earlier that week, BUT before I had created the PowerPoint file for the weekend.

    My stomach sank.

    Well, what could I do? Not much. So I promptly called Jan and she made one up in like thirty minutes so we’d have something for tonight.

    I just finished the re-do of it. Sucks having to do a job twice.