First Year Photo Shoot!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I am in love with these pictures!  The conditions were less than ideal- for the first time ever, Sisi had refused her second nap that day (she's going through that infamous 2-1 nap transition) so she was uber-cranky.  Also, I chose The Lab Antimall as the location because it's colorful and quirky, not knowing that they tend to kick out photographers. Oops!  Of course, Trista worked with it, we stuck to the alleys and perimeter so we couldn't get caught, and in 45 minutes, captured some really priceless moments.  She is so talented, and I'm so blessed to call her a friend. 

Without further adieu:

I love my little chubby monster :)  These are just a few of my favs, check out the full post on Trista's blog!

P.S. DIY tutorial for the "I'm This Many" onesie coming soon! 
P.P.S. I got that adorable monster hat on etsy from justbehappy. Super pleased with her products and customer service :)


Instafriday 1/27/2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Today is the first day of the last year of my twenties.  Crazy!  I still feed like a high school kid sometimes.  I still have dreams about being late for AP History and roaming around the school in my pajamas.

life rearrangedDidn't take that many cell phone pics this week- I've been busy preparing for Siena's puppy party on Saturday.  Lots of people rsvp'd last minute, and it looks like we'll be squeezing 40ish people into our humble home.  So excited though!  I just want to celebrate this crazy/wonderful year!

 I make a much less sweet, but just as delish version of thai iced tea using these tea bags, heavy cream, and honey.  A nice change from my morning coffee or chai.
 Big girl, drinking raw goat's milk once a day, and nursing 3x a day.  Can't believe she used to nurse like 14 times a day!  BTW, I made her shirt using freezer paper and my new silhouette cameo :) 
 Thanks grandma and grandpa for the talking Winnie the Pooh!

 My hubby made his own lunch, and it was actually pretty!  How many guys out there can do that?
 Sisi's first bday present!  She's been wearing that giant necklace around the house lately.
 Another delicious bacon-filled paleo frittata.
 Siena, me and Jenny celebrating all 3 of our birthdays with a lovely Euro-Vietnamese breakfast.  Yay for Vietnamese Iced Coffee and the hyper productivity that ensued for the 10 hour duration of my coffee buzz..
 A preview of Sisi's party decor.
 Sorry Pesto, I know you're a boy, but your die cut just needed that pop of red.
 Thursday evenings, Joe meets me and Sisi at a coffee shop after work. He takes Sisi home and tucks her in, while I stay there and read.  Right now I'm reading Respectable Sins for my Bible Study group.  Super convicting, yet not legalistic or guilt provoking.  It's wonderful!


Easy Bouncy Curls (for flat half-asian hair)...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Or for anyone with stick straight no-volume hair, like me.  I hear lots of half asian gals complain about this, since we have the straight hair of our asian parent, but without that thick, gorgeous glossiness that full asian hair tends to have. Sorry if I'm "hair-eotyping" a little bit.

For Siena's 1 year photo shoot, I wanted some volume and curl that would last throughout the day. My hot rollers make a beautiful curl, but it doesn't last longer than a few hours.  I stumbled upon this wonderful no-heat curl tutorial which uses nothing but a little gel/mouse and a stretchy elastic headband. Definitely check out Paper Mama's very thorough tutorial! 

Here's how it worked for me:

Post shower and upside-down blow dry (just the slightest bit damp), with a little Big Fat Hair worked in.
 Definitely comfy enough to wear to bed with no issues. Way better than my paper towel rag curls I used to do almost every day in high school.
 Am I crazy for thinking that with a pretty beaded headband, this might be a nice Grecian updo?  Well, at least it's not to embarrassing to run to the grocery store like this.
 The next morning: I was definitely surprised that the strands stayed put.
 Here's where I freaked out- a little too Shirley Temple for my tastes. Before I jumped into the shower or did what we're all not supposed to do (brush the curls out frantically, resulting in a fro), I went about my daily tasks and decided to see if they would calm down.
 They did!  I finger combed the curls, and pinned back my growing out bangs. The soft curls lasted til the next day! 


I'm This Many!!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Trista Lerit was so sweet to send this teaser over just in time for Sisi's birthday.  Can't wait to see the rest!  THANKS TRISTA!  You are the best auntie and friend ever!


One Year Ago...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

... there was a giant blowup jacuzzi heated up to 98 degrees in my living room.  I was reading InStyle magazine in a bubble bath, trying to calm my nerves.  I had your first outfit- a tiny little cap, onesie, booties, and like 20 receiving blankets laid out in your empty nursery, just waiting for you.  I wasn't 100% sure I would meet you tomorrow, but let's just say I wasn't surprised when you started break-dancing in my belly, getting into primo position. Then that night, my water broke. I was so focused on giving you a peaceful and calm entrance into the world (Sorry I screamed and hollered so loudly! It wasn't your fault.)  I couldn't begin to comprehend what life would be like with you outside of me. 

You immediately went to sleep cradled in my armpit.  I had no idea what I was doing and my mind was racing with what ifs, but you still felt totally safe in my presence. Because I'm your mama.  I'm the mommy God gave you (I used to repeat that to myself all the time because it didn't seem real!) That night, you slept bundled up between me and daddy, breathing quick, newborn breaths.We didn't sleep at all. "Her nose is whistling, her breathing is irregular.  She keeps moaning! Should we call the midwife???"  But you were just fine, your lungs were getting used to dry Winter air.

My dear, sweet Siena, it's been beautiful.  Both of us have had our cranky moments and meltdowns, but we've had so many intensely wonderful "rainbows shooting out my butt"* moments too.  And there are the times when you are sleeping, and daddy and I come quietly creeping into your bedroom just to see what funny position you've landed in.  We study your peaceful face, your quiet breathing in and out, and your chubby onesied body sleeping in snow angel position atop a pile of stuffed animals (moo cow clutched in your hands.) A warm feeling comes over us, and our heart literally hurts a little, just stretching to hold all the love we have for you.  Sometimes we creep into your bedroom two or three times.  Yes, we are stalkers, in the best possible way. 

My sweet almost 1 year old daughter, you are truly a gift from God.  May this next year be filled with lots and lots of belly laughs and "rainbow butt" moments ;) 


*Yes Sisi, I said the word butt.   It's just, sometimes I feel so much joy it's like riding on a rainbow.  Best way I've heard that feeling described.


Proud Mama Moment: Siena Featured!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I posted this video a little while back.  Besides being sooo cute, what important lessons can we learn from Siena's break-dancing? Check out this post on Janet Lansbury's blog, Elevating Childcare, to find out!

I've linked to this blog before (when I talked about sharing here, and when I talked about play pens here) because it offered insights about nurturing babies' independence.  I could very well have been a hover mom, micromanaging Sisi's playtime, thinking that made me an involved parent.  I certainly started out that way.  But the RIE parenting approach that Janet advocates on her blog have helped bring joy and confidence to me as a mom, and helped Siena explore the world on her own and come up with the coolest ways of entertaining herself, like breakdancing (which she did right in the middle of Barnes and Noble today ;)  


A Comment About Venting v. Complaining

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This guest blog post on Geek In Heels (one of my favorite blogs!) really struck me.   I'll leave it to you to read it if you have the time and desire, but here's the gist:

Basically, it discusses an NPR article about how stinkin' hard parenting is, and how most moms feel totally unprepared for this and surprised that no one warned them. Just as I was nodding in agreement, ready to call all my pregnant friends and give them my top 10 reasons why raising a kid is the most thankless job in the world, the author surprised me.  She said ummm... what?  Isn't the negative, yucky, exhausting side of parenthood all parents ever talk about?  Don't we seem to relish in these nightmarish stories and find instant comraderie with others who will whine with us?  She's sick of all the complaining, and thinks perhaps we need to toughen up and have a more positive outlook on life in general, like our parents' generation.

Here is the comment I left:

"i’m a new mom (baby is almost 10 months) and i’ve been thinking about your post all day- super thought provoking! like another commenter said, people told me all about how physically taxing it would be (heard lots of “sleep now while you can!” when i was pregnant) but i was not really warned about the emotional and spiritual toll motherhood would take on me in the beginning. i was not told about the intense fight or flight response that would surge through me every time baby cried, or the depression that would hit each time the sun went down. when i shared these feelings with parents, they were sympathetic, but didn't quite seem to get it.  when i vented these same feelings with my peers, they totally understood and made me feel validated. so in the beginning, i think my complaining was totally necessary. group therapy, if you will.

BUT when my hormones were back on track and motherhood was becoming my “new normal”, my venting turned into whining. i really think this stemmed from 1) my perfectionism- wanting baby to be/act/sleep perfect, and wanting to be the perfect mom but failing constantly 2)wayyy too much info online making me hyper-aware of everything baby was doing or not doing 3) i’m just a wuss, straight up! i’ve had a relatively easy, comfortable life and motherhood is not easy, or comfortable.

then a few months ago, i stopped whining. like, pretty much cold turkey. my 11 year old cousin was dying of cancer at the time, and I felt it was a slap in his parents’ faces to complain about how “hard” it is to care for my healthy, vibrant baby girl. a few middle of the night wakings is nothing compared to what his parents had to do- comfort him all night long as he vomited, inject medicine into him constantly, and prepare to say goodbye to him for good.  they never lost hope, and they never wallowed in self-pity.  just like that, my whole perspective on motherhood changed. i now enjoy motn feedings, and make sure to kiss baby and stroke her little head while i enjoy the stillness of the night. my cousin is gone, and i know his parents would do ANYTHING to hold him again."

**edit:  I still whine, it's just not my prevailing attitude as a mom anymore, praise the Lord. 
***Siena turns 1 year in just a few days, and when people ask me how motherhood is, I still feel the need to talk about how hard it was in the beginning. If you've followed our journey on this blog, you know that at around 6 months we found our stride, and I started to LOVE motherhood, but I still don't feel genuine if I fail to mention that I did not handle the newborn stage well, AT ALL.  Why can't I just let it go?  My perspective certainly changed after my dear cousin passed away, but the sting of postpartum depression (or my teeny mini version of it) is still fresh.  I really hope that once Siena turns 1, I can look ahead with hope and excitement instead of hold onto the regret I have from the first months.  I guess that's my New Year's Resolution...

Any thoughts on this topic?  Not even related to motherhood, just life in general?


Instafriday 1/13/11

Friday, January 13, 2012

life rearrangedLinking up with Life Rearranged for another instafriday! The theme of this week was BALLS!  Let me clarify---Tack balls, fabric balls, wool balls, baby toy balls, dog toy balls, balls of cake (cake pops)... I was way too busy to take pics of everything, but here's a snippet:

The centerpieces for my best friend's baby shower.  It was SUCH an incredible day.

 When these wool balls arrived off of etsy (also for Angel's shower), I did the happy dance! 
 Beautifully packaged, even the etsy supply sellers make their items feel like a special gift.  That's why I love etsy so much! (these were made to order in Angel's nursery colors by mylittlekawaii)

 Pesto is Sisi's best friend.
 She loves when he licks off baby food residue from her face.  I should probably prevent it, but I don't.
 Flower shopping, for Angels' shower.  Look at those daffodils!
 And these delicate paperwhites!
 Here's what became of the wool balls- lots of faux craspedia to add to the arrangements.
 My 2nd cameo project, which required like 10 pieces of sacrificial cardstock to get the settings just right.  I think I'm getting a hang of the cameo though!  It's an incredible little gadget.
 My sister's Christmas gift to me- a 3 step mascara process.  Primer, mascara, and these crazy (sorta creepy) little fuzzy hairs that you brush onto your wet lashes. Then repeat.  Normally, I just curl my lashes and walk out the door, but Angel's shower seemed the occasion to try out this lash trilogy. 
It did make my lashes super long and fake looking after just 1 coat. 
 The braised short ribs at Lucques- so melt-in-your -mouth good I wanted to cry, because I know I won't be able to eat them again until I'm rich.  I'll just have to wait, but in the meantime, I've got creamy horseradish on my mind...
How was your week?  This weekend, we'll be helping my mom move into her new beach pad (she is letting me take up prime closet real estate with my surfboard, so hopefully I'll really really really get back into surfing this summer and burn off the remaining baby belly for good)


Paleo Treat: Coconut Manna

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Coconut manna.  Doesn't that name intrigue you? Like manna sent from Heaven?

Paleo dieters just LOVE coconut. It really is a miracle food, and they use it for everything, including cooking, beauty, hydration (coconut water is a substitute for IV fluid in the tropics), and diaper rash.  Since strict paleo dieters don't eat peanuts and tend to go light on nuts in general, coconut manna is a great alternative to peanut or almond butter.

Here's what the label says:  "Coconut Manna™ is a delicious whole food, made of pure, dried coconut flesh. This tropical "melts in your mouth" treat contains 12% fiber and 9% protein and nourishing fats." 

(BTW, From what I can tell, coconut manna and coconut butter are the same thing.)

The verdict:  When you open the jar, you'll see that the oil has risen to the top.  You have to soak the jar in hot water for a few minutes, then mix it all together.  Then take a big spoonful, wasn't life changing or anything, but that stuff is really good. As far as paleo "treats" go, this is the only one I get really excited about.  It's slightly salty, sweet, and very, very rich.  One bite and you don't want to eat for a few hours.  Once the jar cools again, the butter gets hard and crumbly.  If you want a creamy nut butter, you'll have to rewarm it every time.  But we like it crumbly.  We eat little chunks throughout the day as a treat. 
Siena loves the stuff.   Just a few little crumbles on her high chair tray and she goes nuts. She savors it as it melts in her mouth and she goes hunting for every last crumb to devour.  I'm fully convinced babies DO NOT need sugary treats.  Coconut manna gives her more pleasure than a plate full of oreos used to give me.

The texture of coconut manna reminds me of the creamy, crumbly inside of a peanut butter ball.  So I created this recipe that was a big hit at our Christmas party among the paleo crowd. (It was 50% successful among the non-paleo crowd who wished it was sweeter.)   It's a dessert that I didn't feel guilty giving to my child, which makes it the best ever.

Ingredients:  (this made about 20 balls)
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter/manna (melted)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/4 cup (or more if you want it really sweet) honey or real maple syrup (there is some disagreement on whether honey and syrup are ok in the paleo world, but since I don't care for Stevia, it's the best I can do)
  • dark chocolate chips or pure cocoa powder
  • line a cookie sheet with wax paper
  • in a mixing bowl, mix together the coconut butter, flour, oil and syrup/honey. 
  • Form into balls and place on the cookie sheet.
  • melt your chocolate chips over low heat, and dip or drizzle balls with chocolate to your liking. I liked them drenched in chocolate.  If you are a super strict paleo person, then simply roll the balls in cocoa powder for a completely paleo-legit dessert.
  • place in the fridge to cool and harden.  

  •