Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weekend Summary Feb 26-28

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Making Baby A, Week 37: "Are you ready?"

Operating under the assumption that if Baby A decides to stick around inside my belly past 3/17 but the doctor makes her come out no later than a week after that, I am looking at a max of 26 days before she arrives. Gulp.

A question I have been getting almost on a daily basis: "Are you ready?"

I never really quite know how to answer that.

I am prepared to see Baby A, but at the same time, I also would like to hit the pause button - maybe indefinitely - until I'm really ready.

I have known about the 3/17 date for almost eight months now. I have had eight months to prepare. She has a full wardrobe, washed and neatly folded in the dresser. She has enough diapers and wipes to last several months. Car seat has been installed and inspected since January. Her crib is all set up in the little corner of our bedroom.

Gear-wise, we are fully prepared.

But am I mentally prepared?

It's strange. This baby situation is something I created for myself - I wanted to get pregnant and have a baby. The pregnancy is completely intended so automatically one would assume that I should be mentally prepared. But admittedly, it still feels unreal and my mind still can't wrap around the idea that I am going to be a MOM to a HUMAN soon. So every night, I think to myself - another day is over and we are one day closer to the BIG DAY...and I freak out a bit.

So what I'm saying is, I am not mentally ready and don't know if I will ever be. I guess I will just fake readiness and close my eyes tight and wing it. Hope Baby A won't notice.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

DIY Maternity Photos

Although I had the best intention of documenting this pregnancy, week-by-week, it just never happened. Being pregnant was so exhausting for me that sometimes anything other than getting out of bed, eating, showering, and sleeping is a pesky chore. So weeks went by and no pictures got taken...and already, I am 3 days away from 37 weeks.

As I am getting close to the end, I know I wanted some nice pictures to remember being pregnant, and since paying a professional photographer to do it seems silly to me, I had hubs took some quick photos yesterday. There was still snow on the ground and the sun was out!

Nothing fancy schmancy. No special artistic effects. Straight from the camera. Just good ol' me in my regular maternity clothes, light makeup, and everyday hair. I think it gets the point across, though - I am pregnant, I am huge, and this is what I look like at this moment.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Making Baby A, Week 36: Dear Baby A:

Hope you are enjoying your last few weeks (or maybe days??) inside Mama's belly. Soon you will make your grand entrance to the world and I have to admit that I am a bit more than excited now. Can't wait to meet you.

This week has been productive.

On Wednesday, Mama visited your future pediatrician. It's a practice of four pediatricians and I spoke to one of them. The doctor is enthusiastic, friendly, and personable. The waiting area is clean and big and has a play area. They also have a doctor on-call at night to answer any emergency questions that I, no doubt, will have. They also provided me with immunization and checkup schedules, which is important for a planner like your Mama. Perhaps the best of all - the office is next to Potbelly's and Ben & Jerry's (both you will come to appreciate when you are older).

It looks like a good fit so we will go with them for now, but you let me know what you think when you come out, okay?

Then yesterday, your Papa came with me to my 36-week appointment. You continue to be doing fantastically. Very active and your heartbeat is healthy and strong. This time, however, the doctor couldn't tell whether your head was in the right position so we had a surprise ultrasound! Definitely very happy to see you again. And yes! Thank you for your cooperation, you are a smartie and your head is exactly where it should be.

The doctor also said you are an average-size baby, with head circumference measuring at 36 weeks exactly. Good job for being average, Baby A! But don't make it a habit because once you are here, I expect you to excel in everything. :)

Oh, and after some more examination, the doc said we may be expecting you earlier than we thought! Oh boy...

Papa also got a few goodies for you this week, all by himself. I will keep them a surprise, but hint hint, you will love him for them.

Not much longer to go, Baby A. Stay happy and healthy and I will be holding you soon. In the meantime, take it easy on Mama's bladder, please. It's not a toy.

Love, Mama

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Making Baby A, Week 35: Thinking Positively

After giving birth, many women say they miss being pregnant. Well, I can say with confidence that I won't be one of those women. As soon as Baby A is full term, I will be wishing her a speedy + easy exit.

However, this post isn't to rehash about the body aches I have been experiencing, the frequent trips to the bathroom, or the overall fatigue I feel throughout the day, it is to write down my thoughts on the rewarding physical aspects of being pregnant.

Being able to feel Baby A move and kick with her little limbs has been amazing. I love feeling her become active at certain times and in certain situations (such as whenever I eat!). I enjoy watching my tummy move and gently pushing the top part of my stomach area where her butt is, now that her head has descended. Despite the discomforts I am experiencing, I love the feeling of closeness I have with Baby A as a physical part of me.

So as much as I wish I can be normal size again this instant, I'm aware that all these aches and pains will be over soon enough, and the experience of being the incubator to our little girl has changed me in many ways.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chinese New Year 2010

Yesterday was the first day of the Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New year or Spring Festival). CNY is probably the most celebrated Chinese holidays and there are many traditions that people do for it:

Families give their home a thorough cleaning because it is believed the cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes their homes ready for good luck. Homes are decorated with paper cutouts of Chinese auspicious phrases and couplets. Children play with firecrackers and card games. Everyone wears new clothes to welcome a brand new year.

I definitely remember doing some of those things when I was a kid living in Taiwan!

But here in the US, CNY is just like any other day. No cleaning, no firecrackers, no new clothes.

We did go over to hubs' parents' house on the eve of Chinese New Year for dinner. We went in the early afternoon and snacked until dinner. Then had a huge dinner with noodles, fish, veggies, and roasted pork. After dinner came dessert. Needless to say, I suffered a very bad food coma.

We also received red packets! Yes, hubs and I married and in our 30s and we still shamelessly accept the money and wish it will never end.

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone! Good fortune to you! Have a prosperous year!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

it's v-day, make these brownies!

I made these sinful brownies yesterday...and we only have 4 pieces left. Luckily, I am happy to say that we didn't eat them all on our own. I served some to a couple of friends who came over and took the rest to hubs' side of family for Chinese New Year.

Everyone seemed to like them a lot!

I found this recipe via Bakerella. According to directions, the last step is to smear the brownies with store-bought frosting or homemade ganache (see recipe on Bakerella's post). I skipped that because 1) I didn't have the frosting handy, 2) I didn't have the ingredients to make the ganache handy, and 3) I thought it would be too sweet.

To fancy them up, serve the brownies with vanilla ice cream. That's what we did and it was gooooood!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Disney 2009: Celebrating Our Anniversary Day Around the World

Five months and one day later, I am finally going to finish recapping the Disney trip we took back in September 09. Forgot about the trip already? I almost did too. I had to read here, here, here, and here to catch up.

On the day of our actual anniversary (2 years!), we spent the day traveling around the world. We wandered around the bustling marketplace in Mexico, saw picturesque landscape of a Scandinavian village square in Norway, and posed for pictures in front of Temple of Heaven in China.

After cooling off with some red bean ice cream, we ventured on to the remainder of the countries, strolling through all the trinket shops along the way. We made a point of spending more time at some countries that we usually glanced over, such as Morocco, UK, and France, but realized that there was a reason why we did that to begin with. Not too much to see there. And France really needs to update their prehistoric film.

We didn't have any must do's. It was all about spending the day together in a relaxing environment (yes, Disney can be a relaxing place!).

Somehow the day passed us by quickly and already it was time for our dinner reservation. We had the most fabulous steak dinner in Canada. Fabulous!

With that, our Disney trip came to an end. As we left the park that night, an "end of an era" sad feeling washed over us. I was 13-weeks pregnant at that time and we knew that our free spirited ways would soon come to an end. But now at 35-weeks, I am much more optimistic again. I am looking forward to family vacations, either local or exotic, and making new memories! Maybe we will be back to Disney (Disney cruise?) sooner than we thought? :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Baby Purchases, Round III

I truly believe that babies don't need much to be happy and healthy. After all, during the first few weeks, all they need is to be fed, changed, burped, and held.

Having said that, there are just too many temptations out there that I still strayed away from the original shopping list that I made while 14-weeks pregnant (what the heck did I know back then anyway?) and ended up with more stuff than intended. Still, I don't feel I went overboard and I know all these things will make taking care of Baby A a little bit easier and more convenient.

This last round of baby purchases was made possible mostly by friends and family, a tiny bit by us.

Sleep

Graco - Lauren 4-in-1 Convertible Fixed Side Classic Crib - We wanted a crib with no moving parts and something that can be converted to a toddler bed or day bed. This one fits the bill. It was also a snap to put together - hubs did it without reading the instructions.
Sealy Baby - Ultra Rest Crib and Toddler Bed Mattress - I picked this mattress based on the good reviews. I also wanted something firm and this one has 204 coils.
Sealy Baby - SnugFit Crib Mattress Pad - This fits perfectly over the mattress.
Infant Stim-Mobile - Award-winning and, best of all, it doesn't require any batteries.
Graco Pack 'n Play Portable Playard - Wyndham

On the Go

Skip Hop Duo Deluxe - A diaper bag seemed frivolous at first, but this one is so cute and has many compartments. I am sure to use it all the time.
Moby Wrap - If/when I figure out how to use this thing, it will be easy to have the baby close to me while doing household chores.
BABYBJĂ–RN Baby Carrier Active - I originally ordered one on my own, but it got canceled due to pricing mistake. Hubs' sister ended up buying this for us. I imagine hubs using this to carry Baby A when we go on walks.

Feeding/Nursing

Born Free BPA Free Wide Neck Bottles - 5-Ounce - I had already bought some, but I registered for a couple more for convenience.
Born Free Stage 2 Silicone Nipples
Philips Avent Bottle Brush
Munchkin Powdered Formula Dispenser
The First Years - Modular Drying Rack
Gerber Pre-folded Organic Cotton Cloth Diaper - I returned the fancy, cutesy ones I bought earlier after I heard these are very effective as burp cloths
Philips Avent ISIS Manual Breast Pump, Lansinoh - Breast Milk Storage Bags, Lanolin Breast Cream, Lansinoh - Disposable Nursing Pads - Because I don't know how breastfeeding will work out for me, I am keeping all the receipts and I am not buying any nursing cover, bras, or tops until later.

Health/Safety

Safety First Fold-Up Nail Clipper and Nasal Aspirator

Gear/Toys - Definitely nice-to-haves

Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe - Lights & Music
Fisher-Price Precious Planet Jumperoo
Fisher-Price Lil' Laugh and Learn Bouncer
Bumbo - Baby Sitter
Jacques the Peacock, Musical Inchworm, Stack & Roll Cups, Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether, My First Mirror, and Baby Einstein Lights & Melodies Mirror.

Wow, I doubt hubs and I had nearly half of these stuff when we were babies!

Catch-up:
Baby Purchases, Round I
Baby Purchases, Round II

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snowy Photos

The snow storm that swept through the northeast left me with the opportunity to take these pictures just right outside of my doorsteps.

And I am loving how soft and fluffy they turned out!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cheap Breakfast Burritos

You can stuff your breakfast burritos with anything you like. Mine consisted of scrambled eggs, ground sausages (Jimmy Dean brand), my ultimate home fries, and Velveeta cheese (just for the hubs).

With little prepping and cooking time, we had the most delicious burritos to start the weekend!

And just a side note: McDonald's new Dollar Menu at breakfast sells breakfast burritos for a dollar. I did a rough calculation and my burritos (bigger than McD's, btw) are less than $0.50 a piece.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, February 5, 2010

My Secrets to Cooking Good Fried Rice

Nowadays, we almost always have fried rice on Friday nights to use up all the leftover rice from the week. Cooking this humble one-pot meal is not hard, but there are a few techniques I follow to make sure they turn out light and fluffy each time. I thought I'd share.

Secret #1: Rice. Day-old rice makes the best fried rice (storing in the refrigerator overnight). This will turn the grains firm and get rid of the excess moisture. They will also be much easier to separate. I use jasmine rice for fried rice. Leftover rice from Chinese take-out restaurants also makes great fried rice.

Secret #2: Cook the ingredients separately and salt+pepper as you go. Fried rice has many different ingredients, and in my kitchen it’s usually just a mixture of whatever vegetables (I love using peas and carrots), meats, or seafood I find in the fridge. Whatever the ingredients, though, you want to make sure that you can taste each individual one. To do this, you have to cook meat or seafood first, remove from pan when almost cooked through and then toss it back in towards the end of the stir fry to finish cooking.

Secret #3: High heat. The high heat ensures that whatever ingredients that you put into the pan gets fried quickly and that each grain of rice gets hot to the core. I always crank up the heat at the very end to add that burnt taste.

Secret #4: Oyster sauce. I just recently discovered this. In the past, I normally used soy sauce, but the end result always turned out too salty, too dark, and un-appetizing. Salt+pepper as you go to flavor the fried rice, but use oyster sauce to give the dish that golden color.

What are your secrets in cooking fried rice?

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Easy Origami: Bookmark of Heart

Valentine's Day is creeping up on us!

Today I used up my last scrapbook paper and made a couple of these heart bookmarks. I followed the instructions from here. There is even an animated version of the how-to - for people who follow directions better visually...like myself.

I had to rewind several times, though.

One for the hubs and one for me. I already replaced the piece of paper he uses as "bookmark" with this handsome handcrafted one. I hope he likes his early V-day present. :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!