Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Opinions Wanted: Name

My given name is Chia-Yi. When I was 16, when I became an US citizen, I legally changed it to Joyce. I love my Chinese name...when spoken in Chinese. But when translated to English? Not so much. Kids at school called me Chia Pet.

The reason why I legally changed it to Joyce was purely because so it would be easier for others to pronounce, and, at that time, fitting in was important to me.

Now as a grown adult, I think if my Chinese name had been more pronounceable or translated correctly (it should be Jaiyee), I would have kept it. It's unique, different, and more meaningful. In a similar situation, my sister-in-law says the same about her own name.


When it comes to naming Baby A, I have always thought: AmericanFirstName ChineseMiddleName LastName. He/she will be born in the US, so it just makes sense to have an American name. The Chinese middle name is to signify his/her cultural root. Sounds good, right?

But hubs is less than enthused.

Baby A's name should just be: ChineseFirstName LastName. Why have an American name just so it would be easier for others to pronounce? And it's always the Koreans/Chinese/Taiwanese who change their names. You don't see the Japanese changing their names to John, Bob, or Mary.

"We need to be different!" he said.

I still like my version better, but I agree that if we make sure Baby A's Chinese name is easy to pronounce, then I would be willing to go that route.

I talked to a coworker about this and he also likes my idea better. He said that if the baby chooses to, he/she can go by the American first name or the Chinese middle name, but at least there will be an option.

Then I look at my friend Su-Ting LastName. Her name is pretty (both in sound and look). She simply goes by Su. No American name, even though she was born and raised here.

What do you think? My way or hub's way?

10/1/09 - Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts! They were all very helpful. On another note, I must had a case of "baby brain" when hubs and I had the conversation. Just want to clarify one point - besides the Japanese typically not changing their names, hubs also said it is the same with many Indians and other nationalities.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Making Baby A, Week 15: A Little Announcement

Today is a special day. Today I share with you a little big secret that I have been keeping for the last 2+ months. Today I am ready to share it with the blogging world!

My husband and I are going to be parents (to a human baby) next March!


Although the pregnancy planned, it wasn't meticulously done. So while hubs and I are delighted to welcome a new little person into the family next year, I would be lying if I didn't also mention that we are still adjusting to the fact that our easy, responsibilities-free lives are about to change...in a big way.

I've written several posts on the journey thus far and you can read the whole story of Making Baby A here.

P.S. I do have to say "sorry" for the neglect that the blog has suffered. After the morning sickness (and fatigue and food aversion) kicked-in in early August, cooking went out of the window, pictures didn't get taken, and weekends got boring. All in all, the last few weeks of summer went by in one big lazy blur. Although the symptoms haven't completely vanished yet, I am glad to say that at least I don't fall asleep by 7pm anymore. So hopefully regular blogging will return this fall. :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Goodbye flip flops, short shorts, and tank tops
Goodbye strawberry pops
Goodbye light traffic
Goodbye warm summer days

Hello gold+red+orange leaves
Hello Halloween, Hello Thanksgiving
Hello must-see TV
Hello chilly mornings and cozy evenings

Welcome fall, I am glad you are here!

{picture by my sister-in-law}

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend Summary Sept 18-20

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Making Baby A, Week 14: First Baby Purchase

Hubs and I went to a consignment sale entirely dedicated to baby/kids merchandise this weekend. We didn't find out about the event until a couple of hours prior so we went on a whim, without a clue of what we were looking for. Even though I had been researching baby products a bit, I was nowhere near buying anything. Besides, I am only 14 weeks along - buying anything right now is premature. Still, we decided to check it out.

Inside a high school cafeteria, besides hundreds of people, we saw almost anything imaginable for infants and kids: cribs, toddler beds, bassinets, gliders, pack-n-plays, strollers, high chairs, booster seats, swings, bouncy seats, bath toys, bottles, utensils, bibs, linens, nursing accessories, safety items, gates, potty training items, infant carriers/back packs, diaper bags, books, dvds, and CLOTHES!

Hubs and I were overwhelmed by all the STUFF! So we went a more familiar territory - the onesies section - and start digging through the boxes. We found a few new-ish looking onesies packaged in zip-lock bags and threw them in our shopping bag. Not knowing the sex of the baby yet, we looked for gender-neutral pieces, but most were either blue or pink. We ended up with several blue onesies - girls can still wear blue, but boys can't wear pink, right? We also bought some caps and a swaddler.

I was surprised at how organized the event was - helpers all around and despite the heavy crowd, check-out was a breeze.

We came home and I decided to do research on the MOST BASIC NECESSITIES NEEDED FOR THE FIRST 6 WEEKS. I found the lists (see them here and here), but narrowed them down even further. I think this is probably what hubs and I will need to buy before next March:

Nursing pillow: Boppy or My Brest Friend
Bibs (4)
Breast pump: rent or buy?
Formula: just in case breastfeeding doesn't work out
Bottles and nipples

Diaper wipes
Diaper cream or petroleum jelly

I don't think we will buy a crib immediately - hopefully we can find a cheap bassinet off Craigslist. If not, maybe we will just buy a playard that comes with a changing table and bassinet.

Plastic bathtub
Hooded terrycloth towels

Getting around
Front pack or sling
Car seat

Receiving blankets (4)

One-piece outfits (4-7)
One-piece pajamas or wearable blankets (4-7)
Socks and booties (4-7)
Cap or bonnet (1-3)

I will have to run this list by a couple of experienced mothers (ie. friends with babies) and see what they think. I really want to avoid buying too much, but I also don't want to not cover the most basic.

So much to think about...

{written on 9/20/09, published on 9/23/09}

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Disney 2009: We go to Hollywood!

Next stop: Hollywood!

Disney Hollywood Studios is rather small compared to other parks, but we ended up spending the entire day there! The light crowd made it hard to leave - we spent a lot of time just sittin' around.

Our day went a little bit like this -

First ride of the day - Star Tours, where we raced to the Moon of Endor with a novice "pilot-in-training". I wasn't a fan of this bumpy ride. The best part of it was walking into the gift shop after the ride and finally learned what an "Ewok" was.

Next we strolled down Sunset Boulevard and went on an elevator ride inside The Hollywood Tower Hotel. This ride had me at the edge of my seat because you never know when the elevator is going to drop. When it finally did, let me just say that my butt was in the air and I didn't stop screaming.

A quick snapshot of us as we waited in the hotel lobby...

Seeing that there was no wait at the Voyage of The Little Mermaid show, hubs and I jumped in. Lighting techniques and special effects made me felt like I was indeed under the sea. Wonderful, wonderful show.

When we got hungry for lunch, we hit the ABC Commissary and chowed down burgers, fries, and a couple of desserts. Tasty!

After lunch, we visited Hollywood's legendary Chinese Theater for The Great Movie Ride. We sat on a large moving tram and we were treated to scenes from famous old movies such as Casablanca, Mary Poppins, Wizard of Oz, and Alien.

At the Magic of Disney Animation, we attended a class hosted by a Disney Animator and learned how to draw Pooh. Mine didn't turn out so well. Hubs' was better, but we didn't get a picture.

The Toy Story Mania ride was so fun. This short ride is an interactive shooting game adventure like Buzz Lightyear, except it involves video screens and 3-D glasses! You sit in a vehicle and wind and twirl your way through a maze of objectives to score as many points as you can. Shooting balloons, capturing aliens, and just generally hitting targets!

And at the end of the ride…here were our scores. Hubs won by a landslide, but notice who had the better accuracy?

Sometimes after lunch and before dinner, we squeezed in some gigantic cupcakes. We were ready for a nap after this! And hubs did take one - at the Beauty and the Beast show. He missed out on some great singing, chereography, and dancing, though.

'Course we couldn't leave the park without a picture with the Sorcerer's Hat...

as well as one last walk through the Streets of America.

Oh Disney, how I miss you already.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Birthday No. 3x

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Disney 2009: lions, tigers, but no bears

Maybe it was the economy, maybe it was our good timing, but on the day we went to Animal Kingdom, the park was near empty. Hubs and I had no complaints as we ran straight to DinoLand USA as soon as we went through the turnstiles. First ride - DINOSAUR!

We got on the time rover and blasted back 65 million years to bring back the last iguanodon!

I don't know why a couple of animatronics dinosaurs scared me so much. Pffft.

Next, we headed to "Theater in the Wild" for Finding Nemo-The Musical. We arrived 30 minutes early and kept ourselves busy by people-watching and finding Nemo in one of the plastic bubbles on stage. The show? I never did like the puppets, the singing, or the dancing, but hubs (he actually stayed awake this time) enjoyed it so it was all good. We both left the theater with a cramped back, though. The seats were just hideous - not at all contoured.

After the show, we walked through Asia and arrived in Africa for our lunch reservation at Tusker House. Hubs stuffed himself silly with lemon bars and I had fun just watching him eat.

The perfect way to digest all that food was to go on an open-air safari ride through the African savannah and try to spot elephants, tigers, lions, and giraffes roaming free. This ride never gets old for me, especially this time when we saw more animals than ever! We didn't take a single picture as we've been to the savannah countless times. So instead, this time, we just enjoyed the ride and breeze. It was niiiiice.

Looking for a way to cool down, we decided to catch a 3D showing of "It's Tough to be a Bug". Hosted by Flik, we were made honorary insects for 8 minutes. I have to admit that some special effects made me jump - even though, again, I have seen the show, like, a gazillion times. It was still fun.

One thing we had never done, but so glad we caught it this year (at the end of the day too!), was the Flights of Wonder, a show featuring species of free-flying exotic birds. During the show, birds big and small flew inches above our heads. It was so entertaining! I never knew that birds were so smart and trainable and talented. Definitely tops as one of my favorite shows at Disney!

Once the show concluded, hubs and I were pretty much ready to call it a day. However, not without some pictures to document the fact that we were there. So we each got a pop (strawberry for me and pineapple for him) and smiled for the camera.

We had a magical day! :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Pesto!

My younger boy turned 1 this past Wednesday, which also happened to be our wedding anniversary! Since we were away on vacation, we didn't give him a proper celebration (although thanks to my mom, he had a great day filled with chicken) so I decided to bake him a cake today (recipe at the end of the post).

Pesto has been with us for 9 months now! I have to say that it hasn't all been easy. We got him right in the middle of dark, cold winter and standing outside waiting for him to do his business was never my idea of a good time. For the first few weeks, he pee'd and pooped inside the house - our little household was gross and filled with yelling. Then spring came and followed by summer...things gradually became better, but definitely not perfect. Our ADD boy is as hyper and needy as they come and he still has a long road of training in front of him.

Regardless, I love Pesto! He brings lots of love and laughter to the family. He's a klutz who often falls off the bed or the couch. He thinks your fingers and toes are his treats. He gets super jealous when he sees you brush Pargo and will sit close to you until it is his turn. He walks like a duck, makes squeaky sounds, and hides his bones for rainy days. He follows you, cuddles with you, and tries his darnest to please you.

Happy Birthday, Pesto! May you always be forever young at heart!

And now...the cake. Huge success! The two boys gobbled it all up! It smelled so good even I wanted a piece.

Pesto's Monkey Cake:

- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/3 cup honey (optional)
- 1 egg
- 1 medium ripe banana, mashed

Mix the dry ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients and mix quickly. Bake in a greased 6" pan at 350° for 35-40 minutes. Store in the refrigerator. Recipe adapted from here

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Disney 2009: The Grub

And we are back from Disney World!

Hubs disappointed me and only gained 6 pounds, but overall, another tasty trip!

What we put in our tummies:

We started out with dinner at Chefs de France (EPCOT/France). This was probably the worst meal we have ever had at Disney (or anywhere else for that matter). The lobster bisque was disgustingly salty, the salmon was bland and fishy, and beef short ribs were unappetizing. For dessert we ordered crème brulee and puff choux with vanilla ice cream - both were just so-so at best.

I whole-heartily do not recommend this place and would definitely not eat here again.

The Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom) buffet features Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet. The restaurant is bright, light filled, and spacious. However, as nice as the atmosphere was, the food options were limited. Even hubs, the least pickiest person I know, couldn't find a whole lot to eat. For me, the saving grace was the beef vegetable soup.

Hubs was all smiles about the dessert, though.

After two bad meals, things began to look up.

Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano (Disney Hollywood Studios) was surprisingly good! Great service, cozy atmosphere. I ordered spicy sausage with rigatoni pasta, peppers, onions, and tomato basil sauce. Hubs had steak with polenta and asparagus.

We finished EVERYTHING.

The Tusker House (Animal Kingdom) was a repeat from last year. I think hubs enjoyed it even more this time around. He loved everything, especially the lemon bar! We were stuffed from the buffet until 8pm at night.

We had our anniversary dinner at Le Cellier Steakhouse (EPCOT/Canada) and it was the best meal we've had in a long time! The steaks were tender, juicy, and yummy. Besides the food, the service was also top-notch. We both really liked the place!

Our waitress recommended the filet mignon and that was what I ordered. The steak was served with wild mushroom risotto and butter sauce. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of ordering it medium-well, which turned out to be basicially well-done. Still good, but definitely would had been better if it was a bit pink inside. Hubs had the New York strip steak with potato au graitin. Yum-o!

We have been to Disney World four times in the last four years and have ate at a good number of restaurants. I like to try new things so when I made the reservations for this year, I randomly picked a few new restaurants to try. I have to admit that of the new restaurants we tried, I would only return to Le Cellier again.

So there you have it, a little taste of our culinary adventure at Disney!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Making Baby A, Week 13: First Trimester Screen

After some research, my husband and I decided to undergo first trimester screen (FTS). This non-invasive test provides a risk assessment for Down syndrome and Trisomy 18 or 13. Although based on our age group and families histories, we didn't have any reasons to believe that Baby A would have any birth defects, we figured that as long as the insurance covered it, why not? Besides, if there were any problems, we wanted to know as early as possible.

We showed up for the appointment last Friday. I was excited to see Baby A again!

As the sonographer rolled the ultrasound wand over my belly, I could see all the bones in the baby’s legs, the form of the arms, and roundness of the body. She measured the back of the neck and found the nasal bone quickly.

I was amazed by the clear image that even though I knew it was too early, I couldn't help but ask if she could tell the sex of the baby. No.

We then had a brief consultation with a geneticist and had my blood drawn.

We received the test result just yesterday and everything is good - the chances of Baby A having Down syndrome and Trisomy 18 or 13 are super, super low!

I am so relieved to know that the baby is healthy, strong, and growing well.

Now I finally feel ready to tell my friends!

{written on 9/10/09, published on 9/23/09}

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Two years ago, that guy and that girl got married under that gazebo on a gorgeous Sunday morning...

...and then the fun really began.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Disney 2009: Time For Lift-Off

Tomorrow hubs and I are off to one of our favorite destinations, Disney World, to celebrate our two year anniversary!

Believe it when I say that we have been counting down the days since the beginning of summer! Although this will mark our fifth time to Disney together, we are just as excited about it as if we were going there the first time. Disney never gets old, it's our special place. :)

I mentioned it before that Disney is mostly about eating for us. This year, we are trying out four new restaurants and revisiting a hub's favorite, Tusker House. In between the sit-down meals, we will be stuffing our faces with chicken fingers, burgers, fries, ribs, smoothies, floats, sundaes, and pastries.

Hubs is expecting to gain at least 10 pounds.

I hope tomorrow comes quickly and the next six days go by sloowy.

Full trip report when we get back....of course.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!