Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Travel beds and closing doors

One of you lovely readers left a nice comment on my post from yesterday about trying to make decisions. And mentioned that I might want to keep the pack-n-play for travel or such.  I responded on email and surprised myself when I stopped to count how many portable beds we actually had- we're up to SEVEN.  I hadn't realized just how out of control it had gotten.  Plus my grandmother has a pack-n-play at her house and my parents have one at their house. Insane. 

On that note, Vivian's napping in the kids' room for day 2 while Ethan plays with his dried beans and makes a mess of the living room. So far so good!

And on the work/book chapter front, I ended up having to say no to the project.  I really wanted to work on it, and it seemed reasonable timewise, until Daniel asked the smart question "is this unpaid?"  And it was, which isn't a big deal and would not have been a deal-breaker normally, except for the fact that it would preclude me doing any other projects for work, since my free time is extremely limited.  I don't make  much money lately, but it's still something, and it would be hard on our budget to not have that.

I was telling Daniel that I feel like God is really trying to work on my attitude and my priorities lately by making it clear that this is not the time for me to be taking on work projects that are of any substance or major time commitment. Every time I try to take something on that's beyond my small projects, it has turned out badly and it has taken a heavy toll on our family. I am not liking this particular lesson much, but I know I need to find my worth in Him and in my current place in life, and not be constantly looking for external validation and approval and pats on the back. Darn it.  My coworkers are so much better at validation and nice comments than the kids are :)

In other news, we got a zoo membership today, so I have another fun place to spend time this summer! Poor Daniel is going to be taking the bus to work a lot, I think!

Monday, June 28, 2010


I'm trying to make a couple of decisions right now. One is not a big deal, the other a bit more.

1) Are we ready to get rid of the pack-n-play in our room that Vivian has been sleeping in on and off?  For the most part, we've got her used to sleeping in the crib in Ethan's room. Even when they go to bed at the same time it's gone pretty well, since they end up distracting each other long enough to get through those last few minutes of fighting sleep.  And they're both pretty sound sleepers, so even when one is crying, the other hasn't woken up.

Until now we've been keeping the pack-n-play in our room for naptimes, but now she's down to one nap, and I can keep Ethan entertained in the living room for that time. Today he and I cleaned out the dusty mess under my bed. Excitement!

I'd love to have the floor space back in our room- we didn't have much to spare to begin with, so it would be nice to get the giant bed out of there.  But will today's nap success continue? Are we really ready to finish the baby-out-of-our-room move?  Seriously, how crazy fast did she grow up!

She's still not used to sleeping in the crib, especially without her sleep sack

2) Career decision. One of my senior co-workers, a person that I've worked with very closely for 7 years has been asked to write a chapter in the latest update of a majorly well known book in our branch of science. And the chapter that he's going to be writing is about a branch of our profession where I've developed a lot of strength over the last few years. And it's one I enjoy.

But when I tried to do some work two weeks ago, I ended up almost having a panic attack and having to pull out with the work only 90% done.  Yes, I waste a lot of time on the computer during the day and am online a lot, but being online with the kids around doesn't require any brainpower or attention, and work requires a great deal of both.

Oh, and then there's the fact that I don't have any faith in my abilities or knowledge and freak out at the idea of getting outside my comfort zone.  My comfort zone lately=sitting in my living room and messing around on the computer. Pretty much everything else freaks me out. 

I've emailed my coworker back to ask more details about what he thinks this will require, time and effort wise. It's a long-range project, and maybe that would work better for me than these fast deadlines. I don't know.  Eek.  It would be awfully nice to actually accomplish something concrete for once, I have to admit that. Possibly worth all the stress and time that it would take.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

First haircut!

This couldn't be included in the post about the bugs. I just couldn't do that to Vivian :)

So, this weekend I got a haircut and Daniel got a haircut and I decided that I'd had enough of Vivian's hair and that it was time for her to get a haircut. And yes, I was willing to pay the crazy high price for "baby's first haircut". I needed the whole experience for Ethan and needed it again for Vivian!

This is how Ethan reacted to his first haircut, so we weren't sure what to expect with Vivian:
That picture still cracks me up

We showed up, put Vivian in the haircut chair and she just looked at us like the whole thing was old hat. Seriously, she's the most chill baby ever.  Not a peep out of her the entire time. She barely looked up from the toy box. Ethan was a little concerned for her though. 

The result isn't vastly different from before, but it's more tidy and we got rid of the baby dreadlocks in the back and it's all just tidier looking in general. The bangs are a tad bit short. If you're my facebook friend you know that I compared her current look to the young Spock in the last Star Trek movie :)

Oh, and she also started walking this week! Big, big week for Vivian!!!


When I was in my last year of college, I lived on the top floor of a very, very old house in a small city in Tennessee. We're talking just-post Civil War era, if not earlier. The house was occupied by descendants of the original owners and there were generations of boxes and belongings everywhere. The entire second floor of the house wasn't even used for anything other than storage.  There was even an old elevator that was no longer in use.  A totally cool house.

Except for the bug problem. My particular issue was with the silverfish/earwigs. There is nothing in this world creepier. One dropped on me one day as I sat on the couch and I NEVER sat on the couch again. I spent all my leisure time in a chair in the middle of the room where nothing could fall on me from the walls. My friend who lived with me one summer still mocks me for that. But whatever, I stayed bug free after that incident.

When I lived in Ukraine I dealt with the most enormous cockroaches of all times, but they pretty much stuck to the kitchen and nighttime.  I didn't bother them too much and they stayed away from me. Not my favorite thing, but less traumatic.

So I've been a happy camper lately, living for the past 4 years in a fairly new building, far away from nature and bugs and all things of that nature.  Until one day last month, when I found a silverfish IN MY BED.  I killed it, freaked out, washed everything in sight, and blamed the really old book that I had been reading in bed.

And then a few weeks ago I found another one on the wall. And the next week one in our master bathroom. And today another on my bedroom wall.  All just in the bedroom and our bathroom.  So I went online and did some research and found out that these creepy things thrive in high humidity and rooms that are 70-80 degrees. Our bedroom/bathroom are pretty much the poster child for this description. My entire condo is generally at least 80 degrees, thanks to the afternoon sun, but lately we've been having trouble with our bathroom always seeming damp and our room is humid.  Apparently the bugs thought the same and moved in from somewhere.


Now I'm running the dehumidifier in our room and trying to cool it off and dry it out. And we're running the bathroom fan non-stop.  I will also be sleeping with one eye open from now on.  And I think that if I find one more creepy bug in my bedroom, I'm moving out.  It's just not right.  Shudder.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Thoughs on soccer

Any predictions on how quickly we will all now forget everything we learned about the World Cup and soccer in general?  It was fun while it lasted though, soccer is a great game. I especially like how fast it all moves, perfect for an ADD person like me!

I'm hoping that the soccer craze continues to grow here in the US though. I'm greatly looking forward to signing Ethan up for soccer next summer and being highly entertained by watching him run around in circles.  :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Memories- not always good ones

I cannot remember if I've blogged about this here before or not. I know I've thought about it at least, so if this is a duplicate blog post, I apologize.

This morning I packed up Vivian, Ethan and myself and we went off to the University of Washington to take part in a research study.  Some background- I did my Master's degree work at UW and worked with human subjects and know first hand how hard recruitment/finding suitable subjects is, so I volunteer myself and the kids for whatever we qualify for. We generally don't get anything out of it other than parking and maybe a small toy, but I feel like I'm helping science and I'm glad to be a part of it.

The problem is, the infant development labs are next door to the UW Medical Center.  Which is where I did all of my work for grad school and where 90% of my grad school classes were held, and where I did all my prenatal care with Ethan and where he was born.  Grad school alone was a very intense experience, but adding all the stuff with Ethan into that, all in one building- let's just say that I honestly have to look away every time we pass this building.

It's an ugly concrete building with sprawling hallways. Not something memorable for most people. But my pregnancy with Ethan was high-risk and involved LOTS of testing and appointments and worry. And grad school was such a turning point in my life, one that launched me into the career and helped form the person that I am now.  That's all before Ethan's birth is even factored in.  For those of you who are new readers- Ethan's birth is summed up as follows: 1) induction attempt thanks to my hypertension, 2) induction failed to do anything, after an entire weekend of Pitocin, 3) me sent home to wait for another spot later in the week, 4) lots of calls every day to see if a room is available, 5) room available on Thursday, Pitocin started again, 6) again, Pitocin failed, Cervadil started, 7) labor finally started at 5 AM Friday, only to send Ethan's heartrate into decline by 6 AM, leading to a room full of doctors and nurses and internal monitoring and me spending the rest of my labor confined to my left side, with an oxygen mask on my face, 8) pushing starting at 4 PM with no descent by 8 PM, 9) c-section decided on at 9 PM, me having so much pain that I ask to be put under anesthesia, meaning Daniel couldn't be in the room, 10) Ethan safely arrived at 10 PM, I was unconscious and Daniel was not there.

MASSIVE guilt. I still, almost 3 years later am SO glad that Ethan was born safe and that I am fine and was able to recover quickly and have another baby, but there was so, so much drama around Ethan's birth that I still can't look at the building without feeling an overwhelming sense of exhaustion and guilt.   So when all those emotions and experiences are added in to the craziness of grad school.... seriously, that building is going to have a bad aura for me forever.

I think this is such an example of mom guilt. I wish that I could let this go and focus on the fact that we're safe and healthy and alive and thriving, and most of the time I do, but then the sight of an ugly concrete building can send me into such an emotional tailspin.  I hope I can let this all go soon. I hope I can deal with all my emotional issues surrounding my pregnancies and births and accept what was and what is.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I'm registered for my first 5K!!!!

So, today I bit the bullet and registered for my first 5K. Daniel didn't understand why I was registering almost 2 whole months before the deadline (have I mentioned that I do everything early and he does everything last minute?  Yeah, that makes for some fun times in our marriage....), but I told him that I needed to be financially committed so that I could stick with these last weeks of training.  Apparently I chose well, as it's a flat 5K (and even a flat 10K!). Which, if you've ever run in the Seattle area, you know is a rarity. 

I'll be running the Snoqualmie Railroad Days 5K.  If my best friend is willing to tag along and watch the kids, Daniel's going to run too. If not, he'll stay with the kids while I run. And, in other fun news, Liz and her husband are going to run it too! Liz is going to be two-time half-marathoner by then, so she'll probably finish the 10K by the time I finish the 5K, but I'll try not to dislike her. Too much :) 

I'm oddly excited about this. Oddly because I'm a high heel and makeup and pearl-wearing type of woman, yet I'm somehow thriving on this public humiliation/exercise.  I haven't succeeded in anything new in a while now, and I feel like there's hope that I can pull this off.  And that's a good feeling.

Twiddling my thumbs and waiting for inspiration

It's Thursday- the week has been going reasonably quickly so far, but now it's slowed down to a snail's pace. Come on Saturday! I originally had plans to go to a Mariner's game today, but then Daniel ended up with an appointment this morning and a company-wide meeting at noon, and there is no way I'm dealing with the kids at a MLB game without him. So we didn't go. 

I need to come up with a plan for today soon though. Poor Ethan- yesterday we happened to run into his beloved aunt at Seattle Center when we were out for a walk, but they were late to see Toy Story and we were heading home, so it was just in passing. He cried so hard when he couldn't stay with her- people were actually turning around and staring.  Then this morning, Ethan came out of his room asking about one of his friends, going to the door and calling her name and then dissolving into great sobs when we told him she wasn't coming today.  The kid gets seriously attached to people! 

He's better now though- Vivian's napping, which means he gets to play with toddler-inappropriate toys, and is happy with that.  I just need a plan to keep them both occupied this afternoon. I'm lacking in energy- getting up at 6 AM every day to work out is a little tiring, but I'm doing both the C25K and reviewing a program called Body Gospel for the blog, so I'm stuck with lots of exercise.  Which is great, but tends to make for a tired mommy by mid-morning.

Actually, the real motivation for going out this afternoon is not entertaining the kids- it's because I am out of Eiet Coke. I love Daniel enough that I sent my last Diet Coke with him this  morning.  That's love, in my love languages. :)  So a walk is a must in our future- Mommy needs more caffeine!

Speaking of running, off to a good start with C25K week 5.  I'm a little nervous about the next two days of week 5 though- 8 minutes of running on Saturday and 20 the next time! Listen to me whining about 8 minutes of running, when I know several people running a 1/2 marathon on Saturday.  :)

Anyway, that's all my rambling from here.... hope the sun is shining where you all are and that you're having a great Thursday!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Seasonal affective disorder much?

Liz called a few minutes ago to see if I was heading to the Children's Museum today. Unbelievably, the answer was no- we're actually off on an outing to the Seattle waterfront with out-of-town relatives.  Today is a perfect day for that outing, since the sun is out! Really, really out! And it's supposed to be 70 today. Liz and I were laughing about our energy levels today- you would not believe how much pep is in the step of everyone that I see outside. 

Personally, I'm laughing and smiling and did all my morning chores right away.  And I keep claiming that I don't have SAD... right....

In running news, I got through week 4!!! You would not believe the sense of accomplishment that I felt. Particularly because I went from utter failure and crying on Saturday to running today like it was nothing. I didn't want to stop at any point in the 5 minute run periods, and I could have kept going longer.  My new running music helped a lot. Also, Daniel had suggested some breathing techniques which totally worked. World of difference. I'm a shallow breather normally, and I had been having so much trouble with that before. Today it was great.

I'm glad I didn't give up on the running. I thought about it.  But for some reason this is so important to me. I need to be able to do this, I need to prove that my body still has something left in it. I need to show my kids that Mommy can do things outside of the house, things to help her stay healthy for her sake and theirs.  I really need to do this.

Off on our outing now! Hope the sun is shining where you are!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


We had a great Father's Day today- awesome sermon at church, good sushi lunch, good talk on Skype with my parents and a fabulous time at the Seattle Storm game that I got to attend because of the review blog. Visit the review blog tomorrow (hopefully) to read a recap of our experience!

The highlight of the day though, was the sermon at church. I actually tried to convince Daniel that he needed a day off from everything and that we should sleep in on Sunday. And the kids did cooperate and slept well, and I woke up feeling awful, with sinus issues, and joint issues and Daniel was hurting too, thanks to Seattle's continuing winter weather (55 and rainy here today! First day of summer tomorrow!).  But we went to church anyway, and I'm SO glad we did. 

At our church, the pastor preaches through a book of the Bible at a time, verse by verse. And we're in Matthew now, and today reached the verses about Jesus calming the storm. Some of my favorite verses.  Our pastor uses other verses in preaching about the main topic, and one of the verses that he mentioned today was Philippians 1:6-

Philippians 1:6 (New International Version)

6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

After church I was telling Daniel that I so needed to hear this verse today.  Often I feel like my usefulness is done.  I became a Christian in college (yes, it took that long, even though I grew up in a pastor's home!) and did mission work and lived overseas for a year as a missionary and sang in the worship band and all that... then I got married and had babies and now am at home and my world is so much smaller.  And I have trouble with perspective and with repetition and with mundane things, so I turn inward a lot and feel like life is just done for me. I did my fun things, I got my education, I did my mission work, I was involved at church... now what.

But hearing Philippians 1:6 was such a good reminder to me that God's not done with me.  He's here and working in my life now with the kids and our small life in our small home and I have a great job to do with them. And soon the kids will be in school and I will again have a moment to myself and I can figure out then where He's leading me to be.

I'm not saying that today fixed all the problems of discouragement and depression that I've been dealing with. I'm still not in a great place and I know that I have a long way to go. But it's such a blessing when God shines a bright light in a dark part of life and more or less hollers at us over a loudspeaker to say "I'm still here! Pay attention to me and things will be fine!" 

Praise God for reminders of what's important.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

I remember getting ready for Father's Day 2009- I bought cards on one of my last prenatal appointments, knowing that having a baby on June 1st (she was born via scheduled c-section) wasn't conducive to buying Father's Day cards.  This time last year we were in the depths of exhaustion and sleep deprivation, with a newborn and a toddler. Now it's just about 75% exhaustion, with a toddler who is teething and doesn't believe in sleep.  Progress!

Can I tell you all that any modicum of sanity that I might have left (and it's not a lot) is due to the greatest blessing in my life, my husband. He is such an amazing, selfless person, willing to step in and help out at any time, no matter how long his day has been. My biggest complaint is that he does too much around the house and doesn't rest enough. I know, what kind of complaint is that!

Daniel, meeting you 6+ years ago was the most important turning point in my life.  You have been my rock, my best friend and now the most amazing Dad that two little kids could ever want. Thank you for loving them and loving me and for keeping us all sane. At least a little bit.  We love you so much. Happy Father's Day!

Our most recent photo of Daniel and the kids, last Saturday at his cousin's wedding. Ethan was trying to run off and play in the dirt, while Vivian was getting upset that no one was giving her cake. So a very realistic photo of our life :)

Another weather report

The first day of summer is Monday. It's currently 58 and drizzling here. I wish it would just rain and move on. Rain I can handle, all day drizzle is another thing. And it's June. I need sunshine. I REALLY need sunshine.  Please... someone... find the sunshine and send it this way!

This is not a good day. So this will not be a happy, cheerful post. But I need to blog so that I can process and move on and be productive today. Daniel's gone off with the kids for a few hours so that I have time to finish up my report for work.  The one I've barely started, but that has to be done today. Fun.  There's nothing more exciting than writing about the toxicology of treated wood products on a rainy Saturday morning.

I'm feeling like a giant failure this morning. I went out in the rain to try, once again, to finish up day 3 of week 4 of the Couch to 5K. And I again, failed. It seems like my endurance is getting worse. Last week I could run the 3 minutes no problem and most of the 5 minutes, this week I'm not even able to do 3. And it's not like there's any big problem, I just can't seem to make it.

So I'm frustrated with myself. I feel like I've been failing at everything lately.  I'm not doing a good job with the kids- I snap at them and I'm on the computer too much and I don't want to referee their little squabbles all the time or draw another choo-choo. Daniel and I are like ships passing in the night. Even when we do sit down for a meal, we have nothing to talk about because all he does is work and all I do is sit at home and we don't have any conversation left. I've gained back 5 pounds of the weight I lost and I'm certainly not going to lose it again, because I snack all day when I'm inside.

So not making it through the run today just felt like one more thing that I can't seem to manage. It would be one thing if I was putting too much on my to-do list, but I'm not really doing anything, so there's no reason that I shouldn't be able to do a good job of at least something. The kids are healthy and happy and all, so that's good, but that's about the extent of what I've done.

I'm just so tired of being sad and discouraged. I wish I could find my energy and personality again. I don't like this version of me one bit.

Okay, back to treated wood. Hopefully I will feel better when I get this checked off my to-do list. It's been hanging over me all week and really freaking me out.  Time to focus! 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I am so screwed

So, Ethan didn't walk until almost 18 months. He still doesn't really climb on things and gets scared by... everything.  Daniel and I (erroneously) believed that such things would be true for baby #2.

Today I put out the stroller, left Vivian at one side of the living room, and then went a few feet away into Ethan's room to put on his shoes. Keep in mind that our entire home is only three rooms in 900 square feet. I was not far away and not gone for long.  I came into the kitchen area of the living room to find this:

That, my friends, is why I make sure the door is deadbolted locked and the windows are all shut EVERY time I go to the bathroom and leave the kids alone.  

She's only a year and 15 days old! And she's already been responsible for about 300% more grey hairs than her brother. I am doomed! 

Summer could really arrive any time now. Seriously, I would be fine with the departure of the rain...

I know, I'm just feeding into the stereotype about Seattle- that it rains all the time here. Because it's totally true lately. Hopefully the sun will come back again soon though and stay around this time!

To try to head of my growing sense of insanity/cabin fever/oh mygoodness-it's 9 AM and I have nothing to do today with the kids or tomorrow and I'm going to go nuts before Friday night- I dressed the kids up in bright colors today and took pictures of them.  It's dark in the house and outside, but at least I have little dots of color running around!

They're totally thinking "that lady! is taking pictures of us! again!"

Monkey gives Vivian a kiss
Okay, this picture- is Vivian in a nutshell. That's her personality on display right there. And Ethan's too, he just ignores her when she's yelling and trying to get attention.
Love it!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thoughts on Ethan

My kids are both napping!!! And I'm supposed to be writing a report for work, but my brain is out of practice and doing actual science stuff is starting to hurt my head. So I decided that it was time for a break.

This morning I took Ethan to his second dentist appointment. And failed to remember that we had changed dental plans and that the dentist might not be on our new plan and so we're going to have to pay for this visit out of pocket. Whoops! Not the greatest start to the morning, for sure. But the appointment went well and Ethan didn't cry and he was really cute asking the dentist to clean Monkey's teeth as well. This is Monkey- as you can see, he doesn't have teeth, but the hygienist and the dentist nicely played along.

The funny thing is that that picture is from April and Ethan was wearing the exact same outfit today. There are benefits to a kid that never grows- saves money on clothes, as he can just wear the same thing for months and months!

Anyway, I was out with Ethan at the dentist and we just had so much fun being together.  I've been spending a bit more time alone with him over the past few weeks, when we've had visitors and been going on trips and he's had appointments that I didn't want to take Vivian along to. And I've been loving it! More than just the crazy ease of life with only one kid to put into the car and going places with a kid that can walk on his own and doesn't need a stroller or to be carried (although I do love that!).  When it's just us, I can see more of his little personality and less of his skills in fighting with Vivian. (Side note on that topic- Vivian is totally starting about 75% of their conflicts these days. She's a little scrapper and bites him and takes his toys and everything else. I'm used to yelling at Ethan to leave her alone, but most of the time lately it's the other way around!)

When Ethan was little and I was whining about motherhood, people assured me that I would like it more as my kids got older. I suspected that would be true too.  I love my kids, always have. But I don't really enjoy taking care of people and I don't know what to do with helplessness. So babies are just not my thing. Never have been. 

But this age where he's communicating and talking and making me laugh and saying "Mommy hug" many, many times per day--- I love it! Yes, he still makes me nuts sometimes, but he also actually does what he's told on occasion and loves to help out and be the big boy of the house. Even when he's talking back (which I do not approve of at all!) he makes me laugh, as he now is very intentional about his "t" and "k" sound and adds them to the end of words where they don't belong. So, when he does refuse to do something that I ask (usually involving food consumption), instead of being ignored, I get a very deliberate "no..t" (sounds like note). It's so hard to keep a straight face!

Motherhood is a tough gig sometimes, so it's such a blessing to have these times to focus on the joys of my children. They are such wonderful little people and I'm honored to be the person watching them grow.  

Ethan and Mommy having a snuggle

Monday, June 14, 2010

Naked people!!!

I KNEW there was something else that I meant to tell you all about my trip this weekend. Seriously, I sat here and tried to remember and tried to remember and went through the weekend in my mind.... and nothing. Then we were watching Last Comic Standing tonight and there was a naked person on, and I remembered!

So, it was Saturday, after the wedding. Vivian had missed her morning nap- which is not a huge issue- her nap time is flexible, but it was 2:30 PM and she was clearly losing it and Ethan had eaten sugar and danced and flirted his little head off and our kids were DONE.  So we packed them up in their carseats and Daniel took the long way around Stanley Park to show me all the park and let the kids sleep a little extra before we got back to my in-laws' home. My favorite way of interacting with nature and the outdoors- from the safety of my air-conditioned car!

Then we got back to downtown Vancouver and were very, very slowly making our way around the waterfront roads. Slowly, because it was 70 something degrees and sunny for the first time in weeks and pretty much everyone in the city of Vancouver was out in Stanley Park and on the waterfront.  All of a sudden, I saw a bunch of bicyclists coming towards us in the oncoming lanes. Then I looked closer and said to Daniel "I think they're naked!" He didn't believe me at first, but then we sat at our traffic light and watched as a horde of naked people biked past us. 

I'm not entirely sure what to say about the whole sight. Except that we were amused by the people hanging out of the waterfront restaurant taking pictures of the naked bicyclists. And really amused by the nude people who still wore bike helmets. Safety first! And my favorite part of the whole thing- the cops on motorcycle and bicycle riding along side the naked bicyclists. Apparently any organized ride requires cops-  do you think that was a good job to end up with or a bad one? 

We did decide that it was a good thing that the kids were napping. Ethan likes to yell 'nudie nude' at the top of his breathe whenever anyone takes off any amount of clothes, and he LOVES to comment on everything that he sees out his car window, so I think the naked bicyclists would have sent him over the edge :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I really need another weekend to recover from the weekend

1) So, Friday night I picked up Daniel and work and we headed north. And Vivian stubbornly refused to nap and whined and cried until just before the border. And then she fell asleep. And then we got picked for random screening and had to get out of the car and go into the office and have the car searched.  But it was okay, because if she had stayed asleep, she probably would have been up all night. It was also pretty funny, because we had told Ethan that we were going into Canada right before the border, so when we were in the large, echoing office, he kept pointing at the maple leaf on the signs and saying (loudly) "CANADA!!! CANADA!!!" Not surprisingly, the Canadian border officials realized fairly quickly that we were not dangerous and didn't have anything illegal, and we were on our way in only about 20 minutes. 

2) Daniel's cousin had an outdoor wedding on Saturday at Stanley Park in Vancouver. This is a huge tourist destination and the wedding ended up being part of the sightseeing tour and photographed by many strangers. Ethan and I were walking around during the wedding and overheard a tourist saying to her husband "try to get a picture of the bride's face!"  It was a beautiful day and a gorgeous wedding and Daniel's cousin is very pretty, but it still seems odd to take pictures of someone else's wedding.

3) The groom in the wedding is Caucasian and the bride (obviously) is Chinese. It was SO weird to be sitting on the Chinese side at the wedding and to be at the Chinese table for dim sum today!

4) Dude- Saturday's soccer game of the US versus England? Wow. And I don't even like soccer much, but am still getting sucked into all this World Cup enthusiasm. 

5) I ran on the treadmill at my in-laws condo's fitness room this weekend. I love running on Canadian equipment- it has a display in km/hour! I'm suddenly going 5.5 when walking and 8.5 when running! I'm fast!  I choose to not convert those to what they really are.

6) When does this running thing get easier? 5 minutes of running (I'm on week 4 of C25K) is SO long and I don't always make it. 

7) Tomorrow I have to go in for a cholesterol check. Which is spectacularly good timing, since I've eaten nothing but hors d'oeuvres and Chinese food all weekend.  But I've been putting it off for several weeks and there is no more time to delay.  Should be interesting!

8) I'm sure I had other interesting things to share with you from this weekend, but I'm sleepy now and forgot. I'll try to remember and share with you tomorrow. Aren't you SO excited :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Running update

This morning I finally finished week 3 of the C25K! (I did 2 of the 3 days, then took a week off for my knees, so started it over again). And I didn't have any problems running or have to stop early. I've found that as long as I run on downhill/flat surfaces, I'm fine and have almost no knee issues. Which means I'm looking like a lunatic as I loop around Seattle Center, trying to scurry up hills during my walk times and randomly turning around or repeating blocks when it's time to run. I love the C25K program, but since it switches up the run/walk time every week, I'm constantly having to find new routes.

Saturday I get to run on a treadmill at Daniel's parent's place, so that'll be a new experience as well. Hopefully there will not be old Asian people (99% of the population of their giant building) in the workout room when I'm in there. It might be a little too terrifying for them to have to see me "running".

We're leaving tomorrow for Canada and I've done NOTHING toward packing. I have though- gone running, sorted through all the kids' clothes in their rooms and gotten rid of everything too small/out of season, moved Vivian's clothes to the kids' room (out of my closet), done the dishes, ran a number of errands and called my grandmother.  Productivity on everything except what I REALLY need to be doing=Success. Packing=fail.

I need to call my parents shortly. That should be a fun conversation, as all that's happened since this time last week (when they were still here!) has been pretty much un-fun. On their end at least.

In other news. THE SUN IS COMING BACK!!! It's going to be nice weather for the next while here- not too hot, but no more rain and I am so happy! Hurray for sunshine!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Too sad

I wrote last week about how sad it is for my parents when they have to head home and leave us and the kids behind. Especially when they know that it's going to be a long time before our next visit.  Then their luggage took 4 days to make it to them. So my parents were already having a bad week, and then things got worse.

When I was growing up, my family was always frugal, but I never realized that the family budget often didn't have a single penny to spare.  As I've gotten older I've found out more about just how tight finances were. And that was all before my dad became a full-time pastor, which didn't do any favors to his income.

But my parents finally got my brother and I out of the house and my mom got a master's degree and started a career and things were slowly improving. They still didn't have much, but the budget had a little bit more room for saving money. 

When my dad was a teenager he had a 1960 something Ford Mustang (I am not a car person, so I have no idea what year).  And for years after he sold it, he missed that car.  So when the new Mustangs came out a few years ago and looked like that one from his youth, he started dreaming. And my parents started saving and researching and finally, finally he got his beautiful new Mustang.

People, he LOVED that car. He took care of it like someone would take care of a newborn baby.  The car brought him so much joy after a childhood growing up in extreme poverty and an adulthood of making ends meet and working so hard to provide for a family. He finally got to spoil himself and we were all so glad. He even made plans to leave the car to my brother in his will- it was going to be in the family for a long time. Several years after he bought it, the car was still in perfect shape- not a scratch, barely a smudge. 

Then came Tuesday- my mom came home for lunch and found Dad in the driveway on the phone, no car in sight. Apparently Dad had come home to meet a repairman for something for the house, parked on the street since the repair vehicle was in the driveway, locked the car, went inside and came out 10 minutes later to find the car missing.  About 45 minutes later the police got a phone call that someone had a Mustang in their backyard- apparently the car (which was not parked on an incline!) had rolled down the street, through several yards, hitting a deck support and coming to rest in someone's yard.

The car is totaled, and Dad's fun car is gone forever. We're still not sure what happened or how the car got started rolling backwards on the flat surface.

We're feeling so sad for Dad tonight. He's worked so hard for the family and for his church members for so many years.  I know no one is hurt and that's great and it's not like someone died, but it's still really sad.

RIP dear Mustang. 

Dad and Ethan in the car on our visit in 2008

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I posted this whole long message- then got a nice comment on it. Over at the review blog! Whoops! I usually try to keep the whining off that blog and save it for you all :)

Today was supposed to be a sunny, warm day. I'll agree that it turned out warm, but we're a bit lacking in the sun department. BUT- it's not raining, so I'm okay with slightly overcast.  This weekend is supposed to be nice, which will be great as we have a family wedding to attend outdoors. And I think Daniel's going to take me on an actual date on Saturday night while we're up in Vancouver. Hurray for grandparents and free babysitting!

We will be paying for the date in the most random way- I've been meaning to tell you guys about this. So, last month I was at Goodwill getting some books for our trip with my parents. I picked one off the shelf that looked decent and bought it- and when I looked more closely, there was $125 Canadian inside! I'm not sure how it wasn't found before. My mom said that maybe the only people who saw it didn't recognize Canadian money as real money or something. I gave part of it to my brother and his wife for their trip to Vancouver, and we'll use the rest for a nice night out this weekend.  Crazy, huh!

Speaking of weddings- I dropped off the bridesmaid's dress today. With tax the alterations are going to cost me $93. Which puts the total dress cost at almost $400. Thank goodness I got my shoes for $10-  the dress and hotel and plane ticket are adding up very quickly! I'm going to work on my perspective on this though- it's well worth it to be a part of my friend's big day. And we can afford it, it's not going to bankrupt us and we don't have to decided between groceries and this stuff.  But still, $93 for alterations?  (It does need quite a few and I trust the lady who will be doing them and all.)

And in Ethan news, he's being so cute lately and wanting to only hang out with me all the time.  He's never been particularly attached, so I'm secretly loving his refusal to walk with anyone else or let anyone else carry him or whatever.  I know this will only last until Friday night when he sees his aunt up in Canada. I will then return to being chopped liver. So I should enjoy it :)

In other Ethan news, bad weigh-in today. He had an eye appointment at Children's and they weighed him and he was down almost a pound. He's been eating fairly well lately, but this means he's slipping on his high calorie drinks and I'm not entirely surprised. He also threw up all over himself in the car on the way to his appointment, which was an unpleasant surprise when we arrived.  Vomiting is such a non-issue for us these days that I didn't even notice until I got ready to get him out of the car.  Ah, motherhood :)  We're just trying to decide now what to do and whether to have him go through another, more invasive test to see if something is wrong. All the preliminary tests have turned up negative, and he'd have to undergo anesthesia for the next test, so we're hesitant. But having him vomiting all the time is also not really working for us very well.

Okay, I need to stop rambling and go clean up a bit. As I was just telling friends on email- it baffles me that my kids cannot manage to get along at all, ever... until there's something in the house to wreck or destroy. Then they work so well together! :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

It's still broad daylight at 8 PM

Does anyone from an area NOT up north want to know how tough it is to convince an over-tired kid to go to bed at 7:30, especially since 7:30 PM is pretty much as much daylight as mid-afternoon? Thankfully we won the battle with Ethan. Vivian, however, is crawling around the living room and occasionally escaping into Ethan's room.  Seriously, every time I say "hey- where are you going?" she crawls so fast that I can barely see her little legs in motion.  :)

We had a nice day today- great sermon at church, then a quick trip to the mall, where I found cute shoes for the bridesmaid's dress! Hurray, Payless Shoes!  Now I just have to drag the dress and shoes and kids to one of the local stores that does alterations to get that on the road. Daniel and I were talking today today about which place I was going to take my dress to- he started to ask me if the place that I was thinking of going was run by Asian people, then we both laughed, because, of course, it was.  (He is Chinese, so we are NOT being racially insensitive here).  The truth is- pretty much every drycleaner/alteration store in the area is run by Asian people. And his uncle and aunt run one up in BC.

I'm still secretly freaking out about the alterations, especially since the alteration places nearby are all run by 75 pound Asian women.  Because it means putting on my dress in front of these thin people and looking enormous in comparison.  But it's all worth it to have a well-fitting dress, right?

In other news- I AM SO TIRED.  Not really tired, just feeling incapable of dealing with other day of the kids fighting and bickering and whatnot.  If you live nearby and have free time this week- PLEASE- visit me! I have nothing planned and am lonely and need company! I will give you coffee and maybe even low-fat brownies!  And my kids are cute!

And in other other news- I'm going to go running again tomorrow to do (again) day 2 of week 3 of Couch to 5K.  I'm hoping to make it for a few weeks before my knees collapse on me again. Liz gave me a helpful hint for knee braces this week, and I need to get those so that I can keep running and lose weight and then stop hurting my knees so much by being enormous and heavy. It's such a vicious cycle- it's hard to run because I'm overweight and out of shape, but in order to stop being overweight and out of shape I need to run...

Okay, that's all I've got. But seriously, Seattle people- come see me! Please!

Answers for Lindsay! Because I don't know how else to answer you!  Yes, I'm training for  5K in September.  I wish that walking would help me get in shape, since I walk most days with the 50+ pounds of kids and 15+ pounds of stroller. But, sadly, that exercise just keeps me from sinking deeper into fatness.  I also have Wii games and DVDs and such, but those also only seem to keep my attention for about 3 minutes at a time. There's something about running that does appeal to me- maybe it's because of coming from a family of runners. Or just the actually getting out on my own for a few minutes in the morning. I'm not sure, but as long as my body is cooperating, I'm really liking the C25K program.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


We had such a nice day today- Vivian's birthday party went well this morning and most of our friends were able to make it.  We had fun eating cupcakes and the kids ran around the museum and checked out the exhibits, then a group of us trekked upstairs and ate yummy Filipino food at the cultural festival going on at Seattle Center. I was eating lunch while sitting on a bench next to Vivian in her stroller, just across the sidewalk from everyone else, who was sitting on the grass. And I looked up and saw my husband and son and them laughing with our friends... I was just overwhelmed by how much God has blessed us to live in such a beautiful part of the world and to have such wonderful people in our lives (and I'm not just talking about those who were at lunch today!).

After Vivian took a long nap, we went out to look for shoes to go with my bridesmaid's dress. This was one of the few times that Vivian and I had been shopping on our own, and it was fun to be out doing a mom/daughter activity with her.  I know we'll have many more fun shopping trips in the years to come! Vivian did draw some attention at Target for reasons other than her cuteness though- she has a set of lungs on her, and whenever I did something that she disapproved of (touching the handle of the shopping cart, being too slow to get her her sippy cup, not letting her chew on the grocery cart...) she would let out the most ear-piercing shriek. People kept turning and staring at me. I know they were thinking that I was torturing the cute little baby :)

Now Daniel and Ethan have gone out to enjoy the last of the 70 degrees and sunshine, while Vivian and I hang out here and play with her birthday presents. It's been a long birthday celebration, but we've had such fun with family and friends.  Now I'm done with throwing parties until Ethan turns 5! I'm sure August 2012 will be here before I know it....

Friday, June 4, 2010

Utter and complete randomness

1.  If you need a laugh- imagine what I just looked like as I tried to get 3 dozen cupcakes home from the grocery store just now- holding 2 dozen of them in my arms and balancing the other dozen on top of the stroller as I pushed the stroller and kids up the hill.  I should have just made Daniel buy them tonight, but I didn't realize that I wasn't going to be able to fit some of them in my stroller basket until it was too late. Whoops.  They made it home, more or less intact. Now I just have to figure out how to get the cupcakes, kids, and multiple bottles of water and lemonade to the party tomorrow.

2.  I'm having trouble readjusting to actually taking care of my own kids all the time.  Where are the other 5 adults?  Two small people are much more manageable when there are 6 adults around than when it's just me. I need nannies. Lots of them.

3. On that note, during my parents' visit, my dad looked at one of the kids and said "if your mother makes it until you go to school without breaking down and going back to work, it's going to be a miracle".  This coming from the person who was 150% against me working when Ethan was born.  We're still trying to figure out how to keep me from going nuts- the problem is that we have nothing on the calendar, ever. No classes, no preschool, no scheduled anything. This is a combo of money issues and lack of a car during the week. But it's just not working for us anymore, and it must change.

4. In completely different news, Vivian ate part of her spoon at breakfast this morning.  Not the one I was feeding her with, but the one I'd given her to play with. She actually took a big bite out of the rubber coating.  I didn't notice right away, but did manage to get it out of her mouth before she swallowed it.

5. And on the bridesmaid dress saga update- I'm going shoe shopping (Payless rocks!) tomorrow after the party or Sunday to find shoes, then I will take it in to be altered. Local people- please start planning fancy dress parties so that I have excuses to wear this dress again! Thanks. :)

6.  My friends on Facebook have been laughing at Vivian's never-ending birthday celebrations. They have been dragging on a bit, haven't they! Normally we would have just done one party, but then her birthday coincided with my family's visit and her dedication at church, and things spiraled from there. We have decided to only do parties every 5 years, at least while the kids are small. So after this, I'm off the hook until August 2012!

7. My house is a mess. I really should fold laundry or something.

8. I'm going to try to get back to running tomorrow. I'm down to just 2 ibuprofen per day for my knees, so I think I'll be functional again by then. I hope so- I'm feeling very lumpish these days. I need some exercise!

9.  Okay, that's all. I'll leave you alone now.  :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

And they wonder why we're not hopping a plane to visit

On Tuesday my brother and his wife left Seattle to fly home to their home in East Tennessee. They left Seattle at 9 AM and made it to their house at 4:30 AM the next day, thanks to delayed flights in Atlanta.  My brother went straight to work and his wife slept a few hours before heading off to her job. The joys of being self-employed!

This morning my parents left- supposedly on a 6 AM flight out of Seattle. Their flight actually left at 9:30, arriving an hour past the time that their connecting flight left. Which put them into the airport where their car was at 10:40 PM, instead of 4 PM.  They're due to arrive home at 2 AM the next day.  Their luggage is not with them.

And they all wonder whey we balk at flying east with two small kids. Seriously.  What is an annoyance for adults is a hardship with small people in tow.

In other news- one more day until I get to see most of my friends at Vivian's birthday party! I think I'm looking forward to it more than Vivian or Ethan or pretty much anyone else- I haven't seen much of my friends lately and I've missed them! And we get to eat cupcakes! Hurray!!!


I should clarify (and defend the bride) in the wedding that I'm participating in next month- I did choose the bridesmaid's dress myself from a list of options that she gave us. And it is a pretty black dress that I will hopefully be able to wear again. Although probably not soon, since I live in Seattle where people wear jeans to the opera and theater :)  So, at least I didn't have to spend money on an ugly dress that I hate.  I knew that the dress actually fitting right the first time was a long-shot, but I was hopeful!

I tried on the dress again last night and have decided that alterations are a must to take in the top and about 4 inches in length. And I just need to suck it up and pay for that and not stress. I stress about money. A LOT.  Even when our bank account is fine and I can afford things, I hate spending money.  I am one of the cheapest people that I know.  I've blogged here before, that this sometimes is not a good thing, because I often have trouble remembering that sometimes money does have to be spent for good reasons for friends and family and it's worth the cost.  And that money going out of my bank account is not always a bad thing.

So I'm going to buy shoes for the dress this weekend and then find someone to do alterations after that. Anyone local know of someone who is affordable to hem a dress and take in the top a bit? 

Mom and Dad left last night amidst many tears.  Their flight this morning apparently got delayed thanks to some bad weather in their connecting city, but hopefully they wont be stuck in the middle of the US too long and will get home at a reasonable time. My brother and his wife also got delayed on their trip and got home at 4:30 AM before having to be at work at 7. And my family wonders why we're not anxious to pack up the kids and fly back east. Seems like it's always complicated to travel, and complicated with kids is just not a good thing.

In other news though, the sun is out today, so I need to take the kids out to enjoy it. Oh, and then I actually need to do something to get ready for Vivian's birthday party on Saturday! I am such a slacker!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This is not good

So, I picked up my bridesmaid's dress today. The one that I had to order in a plus size. Grr. I am not a plus size in street clothes or even dresses from normal stores, so I hate having to pay extra to order plus size formal gowns. 

The dress "fits". But not well. The top is slightly baggy and the length is WAY too long for my 5' 1" frame and it's strapless, which is not good with my chubby arms. Oh, and it's black, which sounded nice in theory, but looks bad against my winter white Seattle skin.

And this dress cost over twice as much as my wedding dress, so I'm about to cry at the thought of alterations.

In other news, vacation is almost over for me. My parents have to be at the airport at 4 AM tomorrow morning, so when they leave tonight to go back to my uncle's house, that'll be goodbye. So much crying is in my near future and much sadness from all. We've promised to try to fly out there this fall sometime, so hopefully that will distract them a bit.  I doubt it though.

4:20 isn't too early to open the bottle of wine sitting on my counter, is it?  :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dear Vivian

To my beautiful daughter,

Right now you're sleeping peacefully in your pack n play in the corner of our bedroom. Your brother is out playing with your grandparents right now. It's been so fun to have them here to help us celebrate your birthday! I'm sorry that you're not growing up geographically closer to family- but at least we have great technology that helps us stay connected across long distances!

I can't believe that a year has gone by.  This exact time a year ago, your daddy and I had finished with all the hospital check-in procedures and pre-op stuff and were sitting in a nice, sunny room at Swedish Hospital, watching Cash Cab on TV and waiting for our 4 PM appointment.  I will forever associate your birth with that show.  That was definitely the last hour of calm before the storm- you've kept us busy since then.

You've been such an easy baby since birth- as long as you got your way in everything. We're already starting to see that you have a very independent little personality.  And you have definite opinions about everything, which you manage to express despite your lack of words.

Your favorite activity is going for walks and having people say how cute you are.  We know that you're well aware of your cuteness. Most of the time you are smiley and friendly, but sometimes you make people work for attention from you. 

We're fairly certain that you actually do know how to walk by now- even though you really want your hands being held at all times while you dash around the living room.   Life would be so much more fun if you were walking, I promise! 

Your brother loves you so much and I know you two are going to be good friends. The two of you fight over toys a lot, but you also want to be playing together and giving hugs and holding hands- that makes up for the fighting by far. 

I was a mother before you were born, but having a daughter has definitely been an eye-opening and wonderful experience. I can already tell that our relationship is going to be different than the one I have with your brother. Both relationships are so precious, and I love the differences.  I apologize for all the pink ruffles and frills and bows that I've dressed you in for the last year. I will continue doing so, however, for the foreseeable future. Mommy waited a long time to have a little girl to dress up.

Thank you for all the snuggles and hugs and smiles for the past year. You are such a blessing to your daddy, mommy and brother, as well as all of the other family members who love you so much. We're so glad that you are a part of our lives.