Sofia and her Anatomy Book

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Funny parenting memory...

We were in bookstore and had bought Sofia an Eyewitness Anatomy book. There were real photos of kids with little faded in areas with illustrations of veins, organs, and bones. We thought it would be good for her to visualize what was on the inside, and under her skin. Right after my mother purchased it for her, excited, she snatched it from her hand, took it over to the stairs at the BMV, sat down and started to look at the pictures. 

I was browsing around still, and then I hear her voice. 

"Mommy... I'm scared."

Not really the desired effect. 
She couldn't look at the book for a week without someone sitting with her to look at it. 

Sofia Goes to School

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sofia finally goes to school.

My husband and I have been waiting a long time for her to go. Because she is such a social kid, we figured she could benefit from hanging out with kids her own age, and from some structure in her day – but we held out until Junior Kindergarten. We enjoyed the summer and kept reminding Sofia about the awesome time that she was going to have when she started going to school in the fall.

Okay, seriously, in our minds, Sofia was going to LOVE school. She was going to BEG us to take her in the mornings. She was going to talk our ears off about all the things that she has learned, and all the awesome activities that she accomplished in the day.

It kinda hasn't been like that.

First day of school, a Friday, Sofia went off to her classroom with a little bit of resistance, but I don't blame her since there was a screaming kid, hanging on to the doorposts while his mom was trying to get him to enter the school doors and get him in line. I imagine the wheels in her head turning thinking, "What does this kid know that I don't?!" Fortunately, I managed to leave before she changed her mind about signing up for this thing called school.

When I picked Sofia up from school, she looked exhausted. And she is only going half day where many schools in Ontario are going to full days every other day. Well, honestly, it couldn't have been a more straining time for her to start school. Her aunt was getting married the day after she started school. Therefore, we have been having rehearsals, family festivities, zipping up and down the city to arrange and prepare for this wedding. In the middle of this: Sofia starts school. The night before, we had my sister's fiancĂ©'s family over for dinner – fresh from the airport. She had been looking forward all day to it and once they arrived, it was non-stop chatter and playing with Josiah's four other brother and sisters, mom and dad. That night, she comes into my room, at about 4 am and says, "Mommy! Mommy! Monkeys are cutting my hair!" And it took forever to get her to settle back into her bed. She kept coming back, anticipating the arrival of the monkeys. Exhausted at school the next day? No surprise here.

Every day we've been asking what she did at school, who she played with, the names of her friends... she just rolls her eyes and yells, "NAH-THING!" All she'd say is that she didn't get to play at the water or the sand tables, and that she didn't get to paint. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday went by and her attitude towards school was not anything that I'd call stellar. I really want her to like school. My husband and I loved school and it sure makes it easier to perform well if you don't dread going. Yeah, I know it's kindergarten, but I still want her to have a good impression of the whole education deal.

Then Thursday arrived. Sofia came home beaming about school, and yammered away about making birthday crowns, having played at the water and sand tables, and today, she got to paint and that she behaved well (obviously a very subjective comment).

I am relieved. I think that it just takes a little while to setting into routines and have reality live up to the expectations. She has been really good at being obedient at bedtimes, and waking up really hasn't been an issue. Most of the time we're early to school. Every day I stand in line with her and the other children in her class and their parents, everyone looks less strained and stressed. Looking forward to a good school year!

Oh, and the first exciting thing comin' up: PICTURE DAY!

Trial Run

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Today, we took Sofia to the kindergarten open house at her school. The picture is us en route. My first born! Going to school! Sofia has been really excited about going to school for, honestly, about a year.

The open house was great. They allowed the kids to just go around and have a good experience in the classroom for about 45 minutes; water station, sand box, toy area, painting, crafts... Sofia chose painting and crafts. She painted letters from her name (all random and scattered all over the page), and also tried out making flowers. But she went back to painting.

Part way, the kindergarten teacher announced to the parents that a little later, if their children would be comfortable with staying in the classroom without them, the public health nurse was going to go over some preparation ideas for us to help the kids with the transition. I knew Sofia wouldn't have a problem with it, but I decided to warn her that we were going to be leaving her to hear a lady talk. Two minutes into hanging out with her, Sofia says, "Okay Mama, you can go now." How's that for comfortable in her new environment?

Some ideas that the nurse went over were:
  • Adjusting their routine now so that they can go to bed early to wake early
  • Making sure that they have a good breakfast before they go to school, and giving them a fair amount of time to eat it
  • Dressing them practically for outside play
  • If your child is sick, don't send them to school. She made reference to the fact that in some cultures and/or countries, sending a child to school sick is acceptable, but it isn't here (I thought that this was a good thing to bring up although some people might find that political incorrect)
  • A parent brought this up: what if your child decides one day that s/he doesn't want to go to school, what do you do? The nurse said, you know your child best. Make sure, one, s/he is not sick. Then consider your environment: has something been stressful at home? Has there been a significant change? If not, then try to find out if something happened at school the day before. Speak with the teacher to see if there is anything that they are aware of
We went back to the classroom after a good time with other parents and the nurse, and found Sofia, as always, sitting with an adult one-on-one, still painting. She made about 10 pieces in 15 minutes. Being the first born, apparently, we're really comfortable with adults. Perhaps more comfortable with adults than with other kids. However, she did start off painting with another child and did a good job (surprised me, actually) with sharing the paints and space.

We left pretty happy and excited that Sofia is really, really ready for school. It has been a little bit of a concern for me (teeny tiny bit) that she would face challenges because she is going to be one of the youngest kids in the class having been born in December. But I can proudly say that she appears to be more ready than a lot of the other kids. I know a big part of this readiness is due to having been part of the children's program at church. Once a week, since she was about six months old, she has been under the care of other adults that we trust, and experience a program that is appropriate for their age. Growing and learning to operate within a structure has been invaluable.

So, we're going to enjoy this summer. Gonna live it up! But looking forward to back-to-school preparations and start the long path of formal learning for my daughter. I'm excited for her to learn to read especially. I still remember the first time I could actually sound out a word. The word "FOREST". Enabling a child, giving them confidence to accomplish things in life, to feel that they can contribute to a community, to society...what an awesome privilege.


Friday, June 17, 2011

I need a holiday.
Let me tell you, this working-mom-with-two-kids thing is really, really hard work.

The work-family balance is hard to strike with one kid. With two, yes, it's definitely harder. But I think that I'm getting better. Part of that is realizing and admitting to myself that I have limits. I am definitely a person that loves to throw myself into whatever I get involved in. Heart and soul. But that's the problem. When I've got two young ones, I can only throw myself into so many things until I am spread so thin that I've got nothing left for my kids.

I am learning that I can't do it all.
And honestly, learning this has been a great relief.

I am done demanding so much from myself. I am a ridiculous and extreme example of a first born. I am eager to please. I subject myself to high expectations that are really bordering ridiculous (i.e., I used to aim for a perfect day with Sofia when she was a newborn. A perfect day would be if she didn't cry. Yes, I am officially bonkers). I push, push, push...until sometimes I am so exhausted. I now accept this is not a sustainable way to live.

So part of accepting my limits is understanding I need regular times of rest, of changing gears and putting back into myself, so I have something to give my children. This is not only regular holidays, but also daily. Daily, I must get good rest (being woken up pretty much every night means I need to go to bed earlier). Daily, I must take care of my body (exercise and a good diet). Daily, I must be fed spiritually (reading my Bible, spending time with God).

I've been doing a few of things better.

Kids are a handful. They can really take a lot out of you.
There is nothing more rewarding, however. And children will teach you about yourself more than you'd ever care to know. They have really opened my eyes and I have to be willing to grow and learn from them.

What I have learned from them most recently is that I'm not super-human. And I have to keep reminding the first born in me that it is okay.

Rice, Unboring-ified

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I do not know much about Indian food. The times that I've had it, I've enjoyed it, but all the spices are definitely not something I am really familiar with. At dinner one night I was bemoaning the fact that I am so sick of eating basmati rice. We used to eat jasmine rice like good Chinese people, but because of my husband's and my mother's blood sugar issues, we switched to basmati. They're healthier because of it, so I'm happy about that, but I really needed a switch-up. So, Matt had some suggestions and said he had a recipe that I could try out. Lemon rice -- by Jamie Oliver nonetheless. Okay, I'm game. He even went out and bought some of the harder to get ingredients and biked them over to my house. I definitely had to try it out now!

I had no idea what to expect especially since I had no idea what curry leaves, or mustard seeds tasted like. Turned out good! New family is always looking for them somehow.

Just found the recipe online: check it out here!

"The Way Home" - Easter 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

I've been absent for some time. But that always happens around Easter. Especially the Easters that my husband is involved in writing and directing some crazy production at church. Those Easters...they swallow our family whole.

This year's was awesome. Obviously, I am biased considering my husband's role in the whole shabang, but I do consider myself someone who is actually harder on those closest to me. Ask my sisters. But yes, I was going to say, that honestly for once I was extremely proud about the entire thing. There wasn't anything that made me feel like it could have been better, or make me shy away from yelling from the treetops that everyone should come and see this thing.

Here's a photo from my favourite scene.
(You can view more photos here)

Not exactly sure about how many people attended the five presentations that we put on, but I think that a really conservative estimation would be 7,000 people.

I think that all the volunteers are STILL exhausted from it. The actors were rehearsing with my husband and co-director Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Often coming home at 11 pm. That's hard. But it really, really paid off. Everyone was so excited about it and we received such amazing feedback all over the place.

Always amazing to see everyone's passion to see Jesus' story told. Always.

An Hour and Half Date night

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Tonight, once the kids were in bed, I asked Mom if hubby and I could just duck out and have a short date night together. I was desperate to get out of the house all day, but Joaquin had gotten his shots this morning and we have a soft rule that if our children had received a vaccine that day, that we had to make sure that child gets good rest that day. So, although the weather was wonderful, we were shut up in the house for J's sake. Also, it was busy week and has been a busy time in general with G doing lots of rehearsing with the actors for Easter and so it was great to be able to reconnect a little.

We drove allllll the way downtown and hung out on our favourite street: Bloor (over in the Annex, to be specific). We spent a lot of our dating days on that street, eating sushi, gathering used CDs, taking tons of sugar at Future's... so, it's got lots of memories for us there. I really wanted a coffee drink at Aroma and well, there aren't many around, so downtown we went. Then over to Sonic Boom after that, and I scored a Brooke Fraser album (wonderful listen, so far). G found the soundtrack to "Life Aquatic" which is really an inside joke for us. After watching the movie years ago, we would sing the theme to "Ping Island/Lightning Strike Rescue Op" over and over again for at least a couple of weeks.

After that, I thought that perhaps we should head back home since he had to work in the morning, but he wanted to stay a bit longer, so arm in arm we walked a lap around people watching and just enjoying each other's company.

And I thought to myself, even after 13 years of being together, I really still am in love.

My first week back

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tomorrow marks the end of my first week back at work from maternity leave. I was bracing myself for a much worse week, honestly. I was anticipating a lot of meltdowns and tantrums...maybe some from my kids too.

I've been able to get up way before them for all three days. Joaquin wakes first at around 8; Sofia wakes a whole hour later. I've been getting up somewhere around 6:30/45, and it gives me enough time to actually have a quiet breakfast, journal and read my Bible, and get grounded for the day. I even have time to shower (GASP!) and BLOW. DRY. MY. HAIR. I know... how long can this possibly last? I haven't yet put exercising into this whole mix, but it will need to get in there somewhere. I already feel really bad posture and secretary's butt coming on.

It's been a wonderful week back though. I didn't realize how much I missed my co-workers until I was actually back (when you're running around with two kids all the time, it's hard to think about much else). It's great to be a part of a team and such a great team at that. I've been there for around eight years now, so yes, there has got to have been some kind of bonding happening during those years, right? I've felt so loved, appreciated, encouraged and high-fived as soon I walked in the door. It's really awesome to be able to collaborate and build something together with people who are all working hard towards the goal. It's a shame when that doesn't happen.

I think that I'm going to have adjust my working hours back an hour because I feel like from the moment I start my day until I put the kids to bed at 9, I am running non-stop. If I want to make this a sustainable way to live, I am going to need a break and chill at some point in there. Plus! When it's summertime? I am not going to want to waste my evenings. BUT, we'll try that next week. Maybe I'll start backing it up by a half hour first. I come from a long, long line of night owls. Gotta be gentle. Waking at 5 am is not appealing to me - in theory it is... in practice, a whole different story.

Work/Family balance. It's a hard one to strike. I'll keep posting whatever I figure out. Love to hear what any one out there has got on how to survive the psycho working-and-got-a-family-life-thing (hint, hint - leave a comment!).

Joaquin // ONE

Friday, March 25, 2011

Joaquin, you're one? Really? How come you didn't warn me?!

Wallpaper // God is good

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A wallpaper for you, if you please.
One size // 1920 x 1200

Staying Sane with Two Children

Friday, March 11, 2011

In the next couple of weeks my second born will be turning one. The year really has gone by so fast. I feel like I say that so much, but it's true. It's probably because there are many days and nights that bleed into each other since being a mother means being on call all of the time.

I have been a mother of two children for almost a year now, and I can't tell you how many times they have pushed me to the edge. I am convinced that there is nothing else in life that can help refine my character as much as children will, since they regularly put me through FIRE. If I do not prepare myself with a good night's sleep, a little quiet time for myself in the morning, I lose my temper and feel defeated more easily than if I had. Sure, I suppose life would be a lot easier if I would just leave the television on all day long to babysit them, but I will not resort to that. However, I am happy to say that coming up to this one year mark, I have it under control more often than not.

There are a few things I've learned that really help me keep my sanity and be a mother that my children want to be around:

• Get a good night's sleep.

Joaquin has been sleeping through the night from about five months. I worked really hard to get my baby to sleep through the night. That meant feeding him as much as could at meal times (babies sleep through the night once they receive enough calories during the day, they won't need to be fed in the middle of the night) and trying my best to figure out any thing that would prevent that. And Joaquin sure is sensitive. At one point he was waking because he was too cold. Babies aren't known for keeping blankets on, so I had to dress him in a onesie as well as a flannel sleeper. And then another point he started waking again and I discovered that it was that he felt wet so I had to try different types of diapers until I found that worked. I even had to figure out an optimal amount of formula to feed him before he went to bed: enough to keep him satisfied 'til morning, but not so much that made him overflow his diaper. It can be so frustrating though - ask any parent - when you can't figure out why they just won't stay sleeping. Finally we've hit a good spot.

• Help your first born understand

It occurred to me that perhaps my three year old doesn't comprehend all of the implications of another baby in the family. I'd find myself in a situation where I'd have Joaquin crying 'cause he was hungry and then Sofia would go to the bathroom and need me to help her "finish the job" and she'd be yelling and he'd be screaming and I just want to go close myself in my room. Those moments are inevitable. When we'd start bumping into these times, I found myself starting to explain to her that "Mommy's only one person." I think sometimes we unknowingly expect little ones to understand what is going on, but really, they need to be taught everything.

• Be flexible

I am the kind of person that if I don't get anything done that I was planning on doing I get really bummed. Like, low-energy, almost depressed, kind of bummed. I have had to learn to just be okay with getting it done later - like on a whole 'nother day. It'll be okay.

• Communicate and Plan

This one is the other side of the coin of "Be flexible". Some things are non-negotiable. Especially if you're a working mom. I have been working a little bit during my maternity leave and there are deadlines. I still have to meet those. How do I do this with as little stress as possible? First, explain to those you work with that you have a few more variables going on at home now, and whenever possible if requests could come to you as soon it is possible to allow as much time as possible this would be ideal. It's amazing how people will comply to help you out. And then this also means sometimes to make sure I can do the best job possible, I'll do a task late at night when it's quiet (details are hard to pay attention to if I've got one baby chewing on my ankle and another asking to put on a dress over the skirt she has on already), or wake early to get something done. This way, I do not have far too many things competing for my attention.

• Time for myself

Every day I make sure I have time for myself. Not just a time to zone out, but I mean quality time. Quality time for myself means that I learn something, grow something or work on something that is good for me: reading a book, knitting a present, writing in my journal, reading my Bible, exercising or something along those lines. Not playing Angry Birds or Facebook stalk for the hour and half that I have the silence I need. This also means that only on desperate occasions do I take a nap. I find that napping makes me want to have a nap the next day too even if I have had a good night's rest. Sleep then starts to take over my life and that makes me unproductive and THAT makes me very unhappy. (Sorry if I sound totally insane).

• Step back and remind myself

And ultimately, whatever is going on, I have to just step back and remind myself, "SOFIA IS ONLY THREE" and it's amazing the patience that will suddenly flow through my being. A lot of my frustration comes from me expecting far too much from her. I think it's partially her fault since she really speaks quite clearly and expresses herself really well, but then can't feed herself her meal from beginning to end, or put her Lego away. And well, Joaquin is a baby so I don't expect much. :)

Being a parent is unbelievably challenging, but it is the absolutely most rewarding thing I have ever done. When I think that my child is on the cusp of going to school for the first time, I can't believe that she is ready to do that. What an incredible responsibility and awesome privilege it is to prepare another human being to succeed in the next step in life.

I just look into their little faces and think, wow...and I almost decided against this whole idea.

Obviously many days go by that are less than perfect. I lose my temper much more than I'd like to admit. But every day I try hard to be a patient and understanding parent, so I know that I'll be adding more skills to the list that I live by now. What are some of the ways you stay centered in the midst of pressure, whether you have kids or not? I'd love to hear them!

A new direction

Sunday, March 06, 2011

One thing that I'm really looking forward to is designing a lot more. My maternity leave is up at the end of this month and it's really hard to believe that a whole year has passed me by. Again. My latest baby is nearly 365 days old. I look at him and think, really?

Anyway, I'm getting ready to be back at work and since I'm itching to get back, I've started designing some websites for a couple of friends and I'm excited about how they're turning out. I treat each leave as some kind of sabbatical, where I can assess my work: step back, look at my style, my technique, my skills -- where do I want to improve? Where can help others? When I'm return to working life this time, my newest area is going to be designing websites that are online portfolio-type websites. Like, for artists, designers, musicians, etc. I am NOT a programmer, so I can't do fancy database driven stuff. Just websites that let the world know, "Here I am, and here is what I do." I know that there must be a niche for those who can provide a website that is attractive but isn't going to be charging a zillion dollars for. That's gonna be me. :)

I'm building up my portfolio and am looking forward to seeing what I can generate. As they get completed, I'll be letting you all know.

A Glimpse into the Near Future

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

I'm so really happy right now.

February 23 came and went and I completely forgot that I was supposed to register Sofia for school. COMPLETELY FORGOT, despite the fact that we were looking forward to it for the last two months or something. Fortunately, for the internet, I looked up the info for what to do now and it was fine, and totally normal and that I was to call and arrange an appointment to get registered.

Hubby has been on my back to call the school to set up an appointment and so I did today. The secretary (or whatever they call them these days) asked me to pick up a package for registration to prepare for the appointment. And she added, "Are you available now?" So, I excitedly asked Sofia if she wanted to visit her school and well, of course she wanted to. So we walked there ... okay, I walked there, and Sofia RAN there. She ran all the way all the while saying under her breath, "Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" which eventually became "I'm getting tired, I'm getting tired, I'm getting tired..."

We get had to buzz to get into the school (times have sure changed since when I went over 25 years ago!) and went straight to the office. I looked for the secretary and she made eye contact with me and said, "Oh, are you the lady I just spoke with?", looked down and said, "Oh! She's a cutie!" I'm beaming and SO EXCITED THAT MY BABY IS GOING TO SCHOOL. She walked me through the package and set me up with an appointment and then said, "Hey Sofia, do you want to see your classroom?" Sofia nodded and the secretary took her by the hand and walked across the hall to her future classroom where she met her future teacher.

The whole experience was ridiculously positive. I have only heard amazing things about her school and I'm excited that just the vibe in there is that they really care about the students. It feels so warm and friendly. What else could you ask for?! THANK YOU, LORD!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Who I am practicing to next!

Modern Meal Planning: Recipe D'Internet

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I am a mom. I work a little bit (currently on maternity leave). I'm a supportive wife (read: my husband drags me into his involvements and commitments ;-) ). Life gets really busy... and so, sometimes the the biggest question of the day is:


I am always searching for easy, quick, delicious, healthy dinner recipes. And on the weekends, I'm looking for exciting, new, fancy dinner recipes. I own a dozen recipe books but hardly open them because of the plethora of recipes now available online. Always what helps is that often these recipes have been tried by other people who have rated it and so you don't have to go through the suffering of slaving over a dish that doesn't have a great pay-off.

1) The Weeknight Meal: Real Simple (

I absolutely love Real Simple's magazine - which is where I first starting falling in love with their recipes. They really live up to their magazine's title: they don't require 1,000 ingredients, they usually take a maximum of one hour to prepare, and they're healthy too. The way they have the recipes set up for searching is pretty good. You can search for a specific recipe, but you can browse the recipe by collection (like, "30 No Fail Chicken Dinners"). I haven't made a recipe from that site that I haven't liked.

2) The Fancy Meal: Williams Sonoma (

This is also a site from where I have gotten recipes and have never been disappointed. The only thing is that yes, you will have a list of 12 items that you have never, ever heard of before, or you know will be a challenge to find in your local grocery store (not that it's not there, but the grocery boy has no idea in which direction to point you). My husband recently made me a duck dish with a recipe from Williams Sonoma and it was seriously the best duck I have ever had. I need to challenge my tastes more and just pick random recipes from there.

3) Using the Left Over Ingredients: All Recipes (

There is nothing more annoying than buying an ingredient for a recipe you're trying, and never using it again -- only to have it rot in your refrigerator. This is where I love, love, love Go to the "Ingredients" search and you can search just by that one ingredient - or even a combo of them, OR EVEN by the ingredients you DON'T want! This is extremely helpful for those of us who really hate wasting food.

Those are my three go-to's.
What are yours?

Alone on Valentine's

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thinking about love today naturally brought my pessimistic self to think about the time when I felt unloved. I must have been in my final year of high school or early years in college where I was in transition: my friends were a year or two ahead of me, so we were drifting apart mostly due to distance and different routines. Nothing catastrophic happened. Just life.

Now, this is not to say that this was reality. I am sure I was loved by my mother, my father, my sisters...but I think the problem was that I felt unconnected. I didn't have that feeling that I could just appear at a friend's home and walk in. I didn't feel like anyone else understood exactly how I felt - maybe not even myself. I also had the feeling of, this phase would never end. I sure hoped that it was just a phase.

I don't feel like this anymore. I feel greatly surrounded by love. I feel secure, confident and content. When I think back to the dark place I was in many years ago, I feel relieved.

Perhaps it was a mini-depression that I was going through. I don't know. I never talked to anyone about it (since...I didn't feel like I could which was the root my problem). And when I think about that time I am trying to think if I remember how and when I got out of it. I can't really remember, but it took time. I know that I tried my best not think about it, not to indulge in my self-pity (i.e., "Woe is me. I am so alone"). I focused on other things and figured if it's friends that I want to grow closer to, the best thing to do is to go out and invest in friendships that I could have, instead of looking for them to come to me.

So, why am I writing about this depressing topic on Valentine's Day? I figured on a day where people are celebrating the significant other that they have in their life, it often brings into sharp focus the loneliness others feel. I just want to let you know that I am remembering you if you are that person today, and that your disconnection will end if you want it to.

Happy Valentine's Day to you!

Pushy Mommy

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Today, Sofia and I prepared some hearts for mailing. She was excited when I brought home the Valentine's Day stickers and bugged me all day to make the hearts with her. However, this always seems to be the pattern: she is excited to do the activity until she actually starts and realizes that her mother is a relentless taskmaster.

I say to her:
No, don't put too many of those stickers there. You have to save them for other hearts!
No, you have to colour the heart first - you won't be able to colour over the stickers!
Come on, you can have a snack after. Make one more!

I can hear myself, but I can't stop it. WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?

I need expensive, professional help.

But...they turned out really cute....!

Little Girls

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Dolls. Dresses. Pink. Princesses. Dress up. Nail polish.


No, crazy people. I did not GIVE her lipstick. I did not PUT lipstick on her.
That is, my friends, Crayola marker. Thank the Lord, it's washable. Even Especially when forbidden, she will FIND a way to imitate grown ladies.

You've gotta admit, she did a decent job.
And even picked a decent shade.


Friday, February 04, 2011

I know, I know... I'm one of those crazy people that likes winter. I'm not so crazy that I would want it every single day of the year, but I do enjoy my four seasons and when winter comes around, I watch for the snowflake icon to appear on the Weather Network's report.

Now, since I had my first baby, I've been looking forward to taking her out into the snow. This year is particularly awesome 'cause her legs are long enough that now we can do some serious snow activities. I make sure I rig her up in really decent snow gear 'cause I remember freezing my butt off (especially because of the wind) when I was growing up. Thank the Lord for innovative technology that is now built into every snowboarding style snowsuit! Hilarious... a jacket for a three year old has the rig up for an iPod.

Anyway, today was the second time I took Sofia out to go sledding. Poor girl, we have to walk to the hill which is no biggie, but we have to cross this field to get to the hill. After the snow dump from the last two days, the snow is virtually up to her knees. I get her to chant "hard work, hard work, everybody hard work" and focus on the fun that is before her. Otherwise, she whines and keeps falling on her face complaining that it's toooooo haaaaard. Bah! Annoying! You are a Chinese child and you will ENJOY THIS especially because of the hard work! She comes around and does get to the hill.

I'm not sure that I have no ulterior motive in taking Sofia sledding. Really, I think I want to go for myself. But, of course, I just really want to share my love of winter with my little girl -- 'cause she sure ain't gonna get it from her South American dad.

Here is the video that I took of the first time Sofia and I go down the hill - one week ago. Enjoy!

Fruit of a decision

Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's moments like these that affirm that our decision to purchase a house together with my parents, to live together, was the best decision I could have possibly made for my children.

I guess my parents benefit, too. :)

The God Book

Our church is doing a three-year series called, The God Book. Our pastor basically laid out a three-year plan where we will be covering every, single book of the Bible -- even the "boring" ones. So I started the church project with the assigned book, "Leviticus", which lays out all the instructions for the sacrificial offerings of the Jewish people. God is very specific about how to do everything. I have been having a great time moving through the scriptures.

To be honest, I haven't been consistently reading my Bible for a long time. Uh, like since Bible College. I read the Bible nearly every day before going to college, but afterwards, it was different. I didn't have the habit anymore. I think what happened was that before, no one told me to read it, then in college, I read what I was assigned. Once the assignments were done, there wasn't that habit of reading devotionally that brought me back to the book again and again.

The scary thing is that in a way I felt that I had covered all of it, what else was there to know? Obviously, I know that the scriptures will have something for me to learn for the rest of my life, but I just didn't feel that way. But with this church project, it has been different. I really wanted to feel connected to God and really have Him shape my life in ways that haven't happened in a long time.

This has been my prayer and He really is answering.

Nike Training Club // Update

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Just look at that arm.
I want that arm...well, okay, maybe not. Just my arm's version of that arm.

I've done the Nike Training Club workouts four times now. Today, I did a new one since the first one I did I can complete the whole thing now -- to keep pushing myself. Today's was brutal. And I am still doing the beginner's level stuff. To think that I am at the bottom of the fitness totem pole! Good thing total and utter shame works as a good motivator for me. :)

I didn't exercise at all this past week 'cause I came down with a touch of stomach flu. It was hard to figure out that was what I had 'cause I didn't throw up, didn't have "loose stools"...just an uneasiness that crept into my stomach and stayed there for one whole week. G told me that it was because I was stressed. My mother told me it was because I was exhausted. I didn't feel that it was either thing even though I did throw three dinner parties in one week. I even went to the doctor and he told me that I just have a plain old stomach ache and just to stay away from stuff that would produce too much acid (caffeine, alcohol, fried and fatty foods, etc.). I did that, took Zantac...nada. Still the same crappy feeling. I only figured out what I had when my son started vomiting and couldn't keep anything down. Aha! GASTROENTERITIS! the ER doctor told us at 2 am. The good thing about having passed it on to him is that I knew exactly how he felt. Sensitive tummy and super sleepy. He got it over it a lot quicker than I did, and no one else caught it in the family. Counting our blessings.

Anyway, all that to say, now that I feel better, I'm getting back on track. I already feel stronger in my legs. Good thing, 'cause Joaquin is getting lots heavier and carrying him requires all the strength I can muster!

Parenting Memories: Instalment #2

Joaquin must have been only a month old or so. I left him in Sofia's room, with Sofia, for only a moment, while I grabbed something from the bathroom. I hurried back since, at this point, I really didn't trust my two year old with the newborn. And I should have trusted my instincts.

When I got back, to my horror, I found Sofia sitting on top of Joaquin, bouncing up and down. I immediately picked up her and applied some disciplining principles. She really needed to understand that is a big fat no-no. I looked in her face which told me, "Yes, I definitely knew that was wrong..." and I asked her, "Do you know why you can't do that?" She says, "Because Joaquin isn't a horse."

At that point, I lost it and could not stop laughing. I am usually really good at the stern-momma look, but that was so honest and completely unexpected. Well, the important thing is, she hasn't done it since.

Lost, but now found!

I am so excited. I have been looking for my journal that my friend Gabbie gave me for a few months now. Well, actually since the summertime. It's my 'takeaway' journal – my regular journal is about the size of a first century bible. It's been great on trips (our trip to Germany 2010 is in it), and any other time I knew I would want to write something but didn't want to lug the regular one on my back.

However, an even bigger reason I needed to find it was that I had written the memory down of the birth of my son. I feared that I had lost that forever. Obviously, I remember a lot about what happened that day and the days following, but it's just not that same as actually having the words that I scratched down to help me feel those emotions all over again. Every time I thought about perhaps never finding that journal again really gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach.

Well, no more sorrow! I have found it! I found it in my closet where I store a lot of extra office supplies: pens, pencils, pads of paper...I haven't a clue as to how it ended up there. But, when I'm not sure how something disappears and I find it somewhere weird, my first thought is always...SOFIA!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My mom turned 60 today.
She is the most generous, kind, selfless, hard-working woman I know. I am so blessed to be raised by her and have her as an example to strive for in raising my own kids.

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you very, very much.

Nike Women // Nike Training Club

Thursday, January 06, 2011

I was browsing for apps last night on my iPod for no reason other than to procrastinate going to bed (my other New Year's resolution...ha!). iTunes had "New Year, New You" featured area and that's where I found the "NikeWomen Training Club" app.

I downloaded it, since it was free, to check it out. And it seriously is set up to be amazing. It has 90+ different workouts to get lean, strong, to focus on "trouble spots" :) and keep you challenged.

I did one today, and it kicked my butt. The shortest workout is 30 minutes long and I could only complete 20 minutes. All my muscles have that fatigued feeling -- they're trembling.

I am so out of shape, it's becoming scary. I pick up and drop exercise workout programs so often and the first time back is always a little tough, but this one just killed me. It's got so many basic moves that are easy enough to do, but challenging enough that I have a way to go until I master it.

This might be something that I can stick with! It requires nothing but my living room, maybe some free weights (when I get there), my iPod and some headphones. I can select what album or playlist that I want work out to, and then there are audible instructions that play over my music that help move the workout along through the different moves. There really is no excuse.

Of course, there has to be a social networking aspect to this. After you complete your workout, you log into your online account at through your iPod and basically report your workout. You earn rewards, which I have no idea what it gets you aside from some kind of self-satisfaction (which is enough for me) and can track your progress milestones. Ladies, if you join this, let me know by adding me to your friends!

Everything about this appeals to me. I can take it anywhere. I am looking forward to being strong again. And perhaps gain some of my pre-children energy back!

My Christmas Habit

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Well, hello blog.
I've been away a long time.

It has been a very busy but very lovely holiday season.
This year, I decided that I would attempt to make all our gifts to our family. Hence, my absence from my blog. I wasn't quite successful in making them all, but did manage to make them for all of my husband's family. I ended up making seven pairs of slippers and two hats. Seven pairs of slippers equal to fourteen items, plus two hats... I knitted sixteen things - in about a period of a month and a half. Plus, about 70-odd cookies (gingerbread and shortbread and some other goodies).

You should see my hands.

Making things for Christmas made the holiday season take on a whole new tone for me. It's funny... it's like it slowed everything down. It invited stillness into the upcoming, big event, that is Christmastime.

Now, it's the new year...
I am looking forward to continuing to make things for my family (and friends). It's a nice habit to have, I think. It takes me away from my computer-life, too much information and busyness. I am looking forward to attempting my first sweater.

This might mean that my blog is going to be even more abandoned than ever. I guess we'll have to see.