Friday, November 18, 2011

Photo Friday

I got my hair cut! I lopped off about 7 inches or so.  I don't intend to keep it short, but I just couldn't stand to be losing so much anymore. (Lovely post-pregnancy hormones.)  I know I'll still keep losing the same amount, but at least I'll find short pieces all over the place instead of long ones!

I had to share this cute one of Gemma in her snowsuit.  She looks like a little pink marshmallow.  She'll be needing a new one soon along with upgrading to her convertible car seat.  She's only about an inch away from outgrowing the infant one.  (Not sure how we got a tall baby!)

This is a newer thing Gemma has been doing.  She's all about sticking her tongue out. Constantly. I love that little weirdo.

Loved this verse.  I was getting a heat massage (or something weird in a time capsule sort of thing) at Body Beautiful the other day and as I was waiting, I read some daily verses. This date is my hubby's birthday.  I thought it was a pretty fitting reminder for him, so I snapped it with my phone and sent it to him. :)

This isn't a photo, but I wanted to share it anyway. :) Gemma has been using this jumperoo for a while now and loves it.  We borrowed it from our friends and are so glad we did!  (Along with a lot of other bigger toys that I said I never wanted! wink wink.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Next Year I will Make Cheesecake

Today is the day my oldest brother, Matt, was born. My parents were so young---my mom was 20 and my dad was 23. Being the firstborn, there are a lot of stories of Matt's young childhood.  My dad likes to tell a little ditty of the day he was born. Dad told Mom Matt looked like a monkey. Mom cried.

Matt could walk at 8 months and could recite every nursery rhyme under the sun by the time he was a year old. His first word was "cocky." (My dad is a little mischievous.)  Matt was fast. Matt was athletic. Matt was popular. Homecoming king, in fact. I was in first grade and probably 6 years old that year.  All of the high school girls liked me (because of Matt, I'm sure).  They gave me those knotted thread bracelets (only to be worn on your left wrist, mind you).  I sat next to those girls during coronation. One asked me who I wanted to win, and I said I didn't care. (Of course I did!)  When Matt won, I jumped into his arms to hug him in the receiving line.  That embrace made the newspaper.

Matt was always my favorite sibling.  We rarely fought. Probably because we were so far apart in age.  Even when he was mad at me, like the time I told on him for piercing his ear (ha!), he didn't hold a grudge for long.   He was a sweet talker and I begrudgingly did things for him I really didn't want to do.  I just couldn't say no to him.

Matt gave me the most beautiful little niece and goddaughter, Kaitlin. She is one of the lasting reminders we have of him since he died in a car accident the day after my high school graduation.  Kaitlin was just shy of her third birthday.  And, even though she doesn't remember much of him, I try to remind her of how much Matt loved her.  He was one of the most devoted dads I have ever seen.

Sometimes I'm sad about losing my oldest brother. I'm sad he didn't see me graduate from college, get married, have a baby of my own. I wonder what he'd be doing now. What he'd look like. But, mostly I just miss him. Miss confiding in him.  I am, however, grateful. Grateful that I had 18 years with him. Grateful that we still have Kaitlin in our lives. Grateful that we were raised in a Christian family and, therefore, grateful that I will be with Matt again one day.

And, can I just add that I have the strongest mother on earth?  You see, I always only knew how it felt to lose a brother. And, now that I have a child of my own who has only been here five and a half months, I can't even bear to think of losing her.  Gemma and I baked some sweets and brought them to my mom at work today. We were celebrating Matt's life.  Mom was reminiscing a little and reminded me that Matt always requested cheesecake for his birthday. I can't believe I forgot that. It's my favorite dessert, too. Next year and probably every year after that, I will make cheesecake.

P.S. In no way am I trying to paint Matt as an angel on earth.   He had his fair share of faults, as we all do.  One of my favorite memories is of him outrunning the cops on his friend's motorcycle. He ditched the motorcycle and ran into our house.  My parents probably made a poor decision and told the cops they hadn't seen Matt since he had left earlier that night.  Bad kid, bad parenting. ha!  Anyway, I don't want to talk about his bad traits.  I just want to remember the good.  For today, anyway.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I always thought...

.....I wanted my children to inherit my blue eyes. (I knew this wouldn't be likely when I got married, considering my husband is 100% Chinese.)  But, I find myself gazing into Gemma's brown almond-shaped eyes and thinking they are the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen.

.....I wanted an important job where I would have authority and decision-making power. I now have that, but it's a completely different job than I ever expected. And, it certainly doesn't come with a high paying salary. (It does come with huge perks and is more rewarding than I ever expected.)

.....I would move far away from my hometown to a big city like Chicago.  I never did that, and while it makes me a little sad that I probably will never move out of Minnesota, I'm thankful to be so close to my parents and my in-laws. Knowing that my kids will grow up having a close relationship with both sets of grandparents makes me happier than the city life could. (I guess there's always Minneapolis?!)

Today, I'm grateful for being totally wrong about so many things in my life and knowing that He has bigger and better plans for my life than I could even imagine.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 Before 30 Update

I realize now how crazy I was to make some of these goals. I clearly didn't realize how much having a baby changes your life. But, one of my main goals for the goals (ha!), was to ensure that I didn't lose my sense of self when I became a mom. I, of course, have goals for motherhood and for my baby, but that's not what this list is about. :)

Now, before we get to it. I have to say that I'm honestly not sure I will keep this list or not. I don't like a lot of the goals because they are not specific. I'm not sure why I did that--it's one of my pet peeves! "Become a better blocker, setter, and hitter in volleyball." How the heck am I going to measure that?! Man, I must've really had pregnancy brain when I wrote these goals. ha! That's what I'm blaming anyway. And, some of the things I just don't think I plain want to do anymore. Dye my hair blonde. Meh. I don't think so.

1.      Run half marathon  (yeah!)
2.      Finish 90 days of P90X or complete a round of Insanity (I haven't decided which yet)
3.      Learn to knit
4.      Learn to sew well enough to hem pants
5.      Become a better blocker, hitter and setter in volleyball
6.      Buy a piano and start playing more
7.      Learn to give myself a proper manicure
8.      Find a fish recipe I can stand to eat regularly (Still liking the Thai Coconut Curry Tilapia!)
9.      Read 6 non-fiction/business related books
10.  Learn and master Adobe Photoshop
11.  Ride in a hot air balloon (This one may not get done. Does a helicopter ride count?)
12.  Take a weekend trip alone with my hubby
13.  Take up crafting/painting/drawing again
14.  Finish decorating all rooms in upstairs of home
15.  Have family photos taken
16.  Read the entire Bible
17.  Learn to make angel food cake from scratch
18.  Prepare, plant, and maintain a fruitful vegetable and herb garden (I only kind of did this. My mom actually planted the garden for me as I had just had a baby.  We harvested a lot of green beans, rosemary, and basil.)
19.  Do our taxes myself
20.  Decide once and for all which church our family will attend and be members of
21.  Build wooden planters for our house
22.  Re-paint our front door the perfect shade of yellow (I found the color! Just need to do it/hire someone to get it painted!)
23.  Figure out landscaping for our backyard (I had a landscaper come and give us estimates. We just need to have it done in the spring now. $$!)
24.  Find an organization where I can volunteer on a regular basis
25.  Dye my hair blonde
26.  Make Bolo Bau from scratch
27.  Learn basic, conversational Mandarin 
28.  Update my marketing portfolio (Did this when I officially quit my job!)
29.  Learn how to use my hot rollers
30.  Research my family history on my dad’s side

So clearly I am not one of those people who accomplishes things when they publicly put them out there. Lesson learned. (Insert my blushing face here.) At least I got a few things accomplished that I may not have had I not made this list at all. I'm going with that. Someone hold me and tell me its okay. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween 2011

Gemma's first Halloween was pretty uneventful.  I knew we would just stay home and hand out candy since she is too young to eat candy and it would most likely be to cold to take her around the neighborhood anyway.

Even though we weren't planning to go out trick or treating, I wanted Gemma be in costume when we answered the door for our trick or treaters.  I originally had intended to make her costume out of a long-sleeved onesie I had dyed. (I was going for mustard yellow, but it turned out bright yellow instead.) I was going to hand stitch some black fabric of some sort into stripes, put some black leggings on her, add some wings we had on hand, and call her a bumble bee.

Enter my sister and her ebay shopping. She sent me a link to the cutest baby Halloween costume. A koi fish.  My father-in-law loves koi ponds, so I couldn't resist. (He and Jeff even bought about 100 gold fish a few summers ago and put them in the pond behind our house to see if they would survive. We saw some pretty big buggers out there this fall!!)  I decided to put in the minimum bid on the outfit and figured if I won, great, and if I didn't, we would have a bumblebee! (Might I add that Jeff was "disgusted" to find that I had bid completely wrong because I didn't wait until the last minute.)  Well, I won the auction. Guess I showed him!

We don't get many trick or treaters since we live in a newish, small development, but we had a great time anyway.  Our new neighbors and friends, Sarah and Adelyn, came trick or treating and Gemma and I decided to walk around to a few houses with them, too. Next year, we'll probably go around the entire neighborhood with them!
It was a pretty nice day! Harper was a pumpkin for about 10 minutes. Her costume from 2 years ago doesn't quite fit anymore!

Handing out candy put this baby right to sleep!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Half Marathon Completed!

One of my goals on my 30 before 30 list was to complete a half marathon.  I knew if I didn't run in the Mankato Marathon on October 22, I probably wouldn't be able to complete that goal before I turn 30 in March.  So, I began training at the beginning of August, and man, it was a little rough!  The furthest I had ever run was a 10k, so it was pretty crazy to me that about midway in, my "short" runs were 5 miles.

One of the benefits of my hubby working from home while I stay at home, is that I could go out for my shorter runs when the baby was asleep either for her morning nap or her afternoon nap.  It mostly worked out; however, there were a couple of times when I'd get home and Jeff would say, "She woke up as soon as you left and didn't stop crying the entire time!" But, he was so supportive and would give it a try the next time with no hesitation.

I've always used the Nike+ ipod device when training for my 10k runs, but this time, I didn't start using it until about mid-September.  I didn't want to get too caught up (and thence, discouraged) in my times, especially at the beginning. Plus, I knew that it can be difficult to get it calibrated EXACTLY.  So, I tried not to be too hard on myself when I discovered I was running only about 11 minute miles on my long runs (the 8+ milers).  I told myself "Hey. I just had a baby not that long ago! Just run so that you can finish!" I'm pretty sure my body is still moving back into place as I would have a sore hip after many of my long runs. I was starting to feel like an 80-year-old woman.

So, the day of the race, I was super nervous. I had one main goal and a sub-goal. :)  My main goal was to finish the run without walking, and my sub-goal was to run 10 minute miles.  I knew the sub-goal would be kind of hard to accomplish since I hadn't been running that during my training. But, I held out a little hope that my adrenaline would carry me a little faster.

It was super cold the morning of the race (maybe in high 40s?), and there were so many people there.  They all seemed like they were running with someone, so I felt a little out of place.  Jeff and Gemma dropped me off, and I lined up with the 9:55 pacer, only to see one of my friends from book club!  We decided to run together, but agreed that if either one of us need to drop behind or move ahead, we would just do what we needed to do.  I was so thankful to have her!

The run was AWESOME.  The weather was perfect for a run. The course was gorgeous. The "fans" were fabulous!  I was SO grateful to see friendly faces in Christy, Angie, and Katie. (Not to mention Jeff, Gemma and my mom!) And, it turns out my Nike+ipod device hadn't been calibrated very well at all! I had most likely been running 10 minute miles and better all throughout my training. I ended up finishing the race in 2 hours and 7 minutes, which was a pace of 9:43.  I'm pretty proud of myself, but honestly, a little disappointed because at the end, it felt just a little too easy.  Maybe I'll run another one some day and shoot for under 2 hours, but right now, my body needs a break! :)

Mile 12ish.

Finishers medal

Family photo time!

The running was a little exhausting for Gemma!
So, I can cross off another thing on my goal list. (One of the few, I'm afraid.) I'll post an update soon on the things I have accomplished on my list.  Maybe that will give me some motivation to get a few more things done in the meantime!