Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I've heard more than once before that babies naturally know how to swim, because of the environment that they are in prior to birth. Instinctively, I guess I can kind of see an infant kicking his/her leg if you put them in a body of water, much like Ethan did when we gave him his first bath. But somehow, I have a hard time believing that they would actually "know" how to swim... or I'm probably just underestimating the little ones. After all, a baby duck, after breaking out of its shell and gathering up enough energy, will instinctively follow the mom.

Anyway, somebody then told me that there is only a small window of opportunity after birth, when an infant can be re-introduced to a larger body of water and be able to "remember" how to swim. Apparently, Ethan's crossed that threshold so we signed him up (and both mommy and daddy) for some swimming "lessons" with no hesitation and hope he wouldn't drown!

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First time Ethan seeing something larger than the tub (with the exception of the ocean, which he saw for the first -and only- time at 9 weeks old in California).

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This is Ethan testing the temperature of the water, which I hope can be fixed to somewhat warmer during the next couple of weeks after the construction/fixes gets done.

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Learning how to float without any kind of floatation device.

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Our future surfer boy!

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This is Ethan trying to make a break. Who could blame him? That water was too cold!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Another Reason for Sunday Mornings

Before Ethan, I thought Sunday mornings were reserved for only two sets of people: the ones who had a rough Saturday night so they spend the next day sleeping in and the ones who self-controllably get up and stagger to church. Today, I realized there was a whole other category that I could now fall under. The ones who get up and are blessed with smiles like this......

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Bath Time!

Bath photos seem to be the trend of the week, so I'll bite! It's been a while since I've posted any photos of the naked baby anyway :)

Ethan LOVES his bath... loves to splash too, especially getting mommy or daddy wet. Recently though, he's been wanting to take all his toys and dump them out of the tub (I think it started when his mouth got caught in the fish hook on his Little People boat)...

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Unsolicited Advice

Elevator conversations are a funny thing. When you're in a 7x7 box of steel suspended by hoist cables, your biggest concerns are 1. you leave enough space around you so that people don't think it's ok to pile in there to test the maximum weight limit, 2. you can hold your breath for as long as it takes in case you get stuck beside someone who doesn't believe in deodorants, and 3. you push the right button. Inevitably, when confined in that small of a space, strangers feel compelled to make small talk even if they comment on the most palpable thing like the weather. But this morning, on my way up to my floor, I got blindsighted.

"Oh my God, the last time I remember seeing you, you were a skinny little thing with a big baby belly," a lady from the other side mused. It took me about 2 seconds to realize that she was talking to me. Now I admit I can be very bad with names, but I don't even recall ever seeing this lady before. To be polite, I gave out a small laugh.

"My baby is one now... and growing by the minute," I responded. And then she said something that stung... and even after the elevator doors opened and she walked out to the floor, I was still trying to process it.

"I hope you're ready! As a mom, you can kiss your identity goodbye!", she said as the elevator doors closed. At first, I wasn't quite sure whether to take it as a joke or a threat. Is it true? Do we really lose our identities when we join the secret club of parenthood? I like to think not.

Yes --- life's changed since Ethan was born. I no longer worry if my haircut makes my face look fat or whether my legs have been shaved within the past 3 days (sometimes even weeks). Instead, I obsess whether Ethan is getting enough fruits and vegetables everyday.... if his socks match his outfit.... or if we've taken every thing important or dangerous out of reach since he gets into everything.

But no, I don't think I've lost my identity... I just gained a new one. A more powerful one in fact -- one where I'm responsible for shaping this whole other individual to self-directing. I am still the crazy Anne that gets pissed off whenever someone cuts me off (I get so mad that my knuckles start making dents on the steering wheel), only I get even MORE mad when they cut me off while Ethan's in the car with me. I'm still the same person who enjoys photographing life, except now I have a family that I would love nothing more than to capture every loving minute of our lives. I'm still the same person that Mike married who loves surprises and traveling to new and exciting places, except that I think spending $1000 on a weekend getaway is a bit too much.

I don't look at life now as if there is a whole new life before that I miss, because I trully don't. And if I were asked to trade my blessings now for what I had before, my answer would be a resounding no.

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Who'd want to give this up?

Mohawk No-Mo

I just had to add.... this probably wouldn't been a much better "before" photo before I forced Ethan to sport a buzz cut.

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It was just out of control! :)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Big Boy Haircut

I've never really been fond of those little boys who walk around with long, shaggy, bowlcut haircuts. So when we took Ethan to get his second haircut this weekend, I opted for the "buzz cut" similar to what Mike has. I didn't expect that $15 later, my baby would like he was 2 years older!!!

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How depressing.....

Monday, February 19, 2007

On the Air Again

Whoever said that radio is only for ugly people who can't make it on tv... lied. Mike and I are cute as a button and we rule on the radio. :) Of course, being on the local show in Charleston was as different as light and day from when we were on the air in Bosnia almost 3 years ago. It's a whole different ballgame when your audience doesn't speak a foreign language, for one. Second, since we weren't ruled by the FCC regs, we pretty much did/said whatever we wanted with zero fear of repercussion. Here, you better be damn sure you don't say anything offensive or you'll have the station's general manager on your ass before the next jingle's over.

With that said, I have to admit I miss being on the air sometimes. So when the local top 40 station advertised that they were looking for folks to come in and help on the Friday morning show, I eagerly entered our names in the draw. Now despite the overdo of mainstream Gwen-Stefani-pop, I actually listen to Coach & Libby every morning on my way to work because frankly... they remind me of how Mike and I used to bicker on the radio. Sure enough, they called about a week after and we were set.

We were supposed to be there bright and early on Friday morning at 7am to start the show. We arranged for an alternate babysitter since the daycare doesn't open until 7, and made sure we padded our time in case we got lost -- LOST being the operative word. We got there 20 minutes late and I ended up being a laughing stock with my lack of ability to follow the directions to the radio station for the remainder of the show. Har Har.

They also thought it would be amusing to have Mike and I play in their minimized version of the Newlywed Game. I got booted out of the studio while C&L asked Mike some questions live on the air. I was tempted to try to listen in so I could get a heads up on the questions, but I thought to myself... Mike and I know each other like the back of our hands --- this will be a piece of cake.

Question #1: On a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the best... how would you rate your "love life"?
Mike: 8
Anne: 11 (what a freaken idiot answer was that?)

Question #2: What is Anne's favorite food?
Mike: Chocolate
Anne: Thai food (not even REMOTELY close)

Question #3: How would you describe your first kiss? Excellent, okay, needed work.
Mike: Excellent
Anne: Excellent (I said if Mike valued his life, he would've said excellent, and he did!)

The best part of the show was arguing as to why guys are so clueless when it comes to Valentines day. Mike and Coach argued that women should just make it easier on them and tell them what we want EXACTLY. Libby and I countered that if men paid attention, that they would (or at least should) have an idea of what their woman would like/appreciate for Valentines... and that women ALWAYS expect something for Valentines, even if they say they don't... because that's just how we are.

All in all, the show went great. They joked about giving us weekend jobs, but even if they were serious, I don't think either Mike and I would have time for that kind of extra curricular activity. It's a nice thought though!

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy <3 Day!

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Ethan got introduced to a whole new concept in mobility this weekend. It was Matt's last weekend in Ohio and we were looking for something we could do collectively.. and while the slopes sounded good in theory --- it was just too cold for this California girl. So someone evidently thought it would be fun to visit the good ol' roller rink (where it's warm and toasty) and of course, I couldn't pass up a good kodak opportunity. I honestly didn't even think they made skates that small, but I was quickly disproved.

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Daddy, what are those round bulky things under my new shoe?

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Whoaaaaaaaa. I just learned to walk and now I'm supposed to learn how to roll?

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My mommy and daddy are helping me.....

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I think I'm starting to get the hang of this!!

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Or maybe not.....

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I've Been Tagged.......

So I've been tagged by Kim to dish out six weird things about myself. Now I don't like to be called weird -- because that's something I call my husband. Instead, I consider myself eccentric and quaint.... colorful, even. But for my blogger viewers' pleasure, I guess I could come up with a thing or two that might be deemed odd by some.

1. I have six years of active military training and my grappling partner in hand-to-hand combat can tell you I can kick ass (or I used to anyway). I am proficiently trained in arsenal weapons from grenade launchers, pistols to machine guns AND I'm a qualified sharpshooter with a rifle...... but I can't kill a stupid spider.

2. I only pick my nose when I'm in the bathroom. I get frantically uncomfortable with just the thought of someone else seeing me stretch my nostrills digging for treasure.

3. I am notorious for picking things up with my feet to prevent having to bend down. Whether it's a lost sock, a penny, or a remote control... I can wrap my long, monkey toes (what can I say, I've been blessed) around almost anything -- except to hang upside down from a tree. Maybe I'll work on that....

4. When I'm using a public restroom and they don't have any sheet protectors, I take massive lengths of toilet paper and layer them up on the seat before sitting down. And yes, I refuse to "squat"... that's even more gross especially since we don't have a hose that we can aim. Trust me, I've peed in holes on the ground before... if there's a seat, you're damn straight I'm sitting on it.

5. For at least 6 months (stemmed from pregnancy through post-partum), I ate the same McDonalds #5 breakfast combo every single day -- Steak, egg and cheese with a large sweet tea. I finally broke the disgusting habit about 2 months ago after I dropped grease on a brand new suede jacket Mike bought for me. Unfortunately, even after a $50 drycleaning bill, the coat couldn't be saved.

6. I absolutely CANNOT watch a horror movie -- especially the ones with ghosts/spirits -- without having to sleep with the lights on that night. Just last night, I couldn't pass up a cuddle moment with hubby, so I reluctantly agreed to watch Grudge 2. I woke up at midnight and I swear I kept hearing that throat-wrenching sound the murdered girl makes in the movie... so I got up and turned the bathroom light on (the hallway light was already on) AND turned the tv on in an effort to mask the white noise.

I could probably go on and on, but I wouldn't want you to think I'm too weird :)

Time to pass on the buck to Joana, Mary, Keryn, and everyone else who wants to join the bandwagon. Tag, you're it!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Pursuit of the Shadow

Ethan made a new discovery this weekend --- he discovered his own shadow. The same shadow he chased around the parking lot for 10 minutes... trying feverishly to stomp on it with his spanking new Stride Rites. He kept pointing as if he wanted me to join the pursuit. But I was too busy gawking at how determined he was to catch it.

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The Thinker

It's amazing how much Ethan has grown into this little person so intrigued by everything around him. We didn't have to teach him that... he learned that on his own. It's like he knows that everything around him serves a bigger purpose -- and it's so tantalizing to watch him process his thoughts... even though his decisions are only solely based on his immediate needs.

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We've got ourselves a thinker. And everyday, I can't wait to find out what he thinks of next....

Friday, February 09, 2007

Much Ado about Twenty-One

My beloved sister turns 21 today. Technically, if we go by Philippine standard time (which is where she was born), she's been 21 for over twenty four hours. But what's so great about turning 21 anyway? I never understood why it's regarded such a huge milestone -- when the only thing you could do (that you couldn't do "legally") from the day before is purchase/consume alcohol with no guilt. Oh, and waltz into a club proudly flashing your OWN driver's license. Big deal. Most kids have already acquired alcohol (and gotten a hangover) before they even finish grade school, and it's gotten more easy nowadays to get a fake ID for $50 from some disgruntled DMV ex-employee. You can get a driving permit by 16. Cigarettes and voting privileges are given out at 18. But your insurance doesn't get adjusted until you turn 25.

Alright, I admit ---- I had the typical booze party when I turned 21. My friends were all in a mission to test my boundaries with hard liquor, but I remorsefully only made it to the 15th shot before throwing up all over the yard. I don't remember very much after that, besides being passed around by at least 3 of my staggering friends while they tried to tuck me into bed -- with a glass of water and a puke-bucket on the bedside table. But like my previous point, it wasn't like I had never had Captain Morgan (that's what did me in) before. Granted it was the first time I actually passed out.... some might actually consider that a right of passage.

And NO, 21-year-olds shouldn't be allowed to complain that they feel old. That's just stupid. That's like Bill Gates complaining about a $2.99 combo platter at Dennys.

But when you think about it, turning 21 is really the last "milestone" of youth. After that comes turning 30, then 40, after which you lose count and start saying things like "Great things get finer with age -- like wine. Har! Har!" I guess it's the last hurdle to enjoying the benefits of adulthood, but what you lose is the "forbidden" element of childhood. No more coercing your older loser friends to buy the beer, no more excitement of sneaking into the club with an ID that says you are 30 and lived in some buck-state-nowhere.

What you might get after the excessive drinking ritual is a pang of guilt that you have crossed the threshold to adulthood and that your mooching-off-of-mommy days are probably slowly coming to an end.

So get, Sissy! Don't worry.. mom let me used her washing machine even after I moved out. ;)

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Snow Day

So the meteorologists were right. We woke up this morning and there were at least 4 inches of snow. We watched the news for a little bit, trying to catch a glimpse of whether Ethan's daycare was going to be closed like every other school. No such luck.

I did decide to take the day off because I didn't want to risk the drive. The roads were bad enough last night when I got off work that it took us 3 hours to make a 20-mile drive back home. This morning, it took a while for the snowplowers to get to the highways, especially the side roads -- even the garbage trucks decided to take a snow day.

Ethan had never really touched the snow. I mean, up until this week, there really hasn't been much for him to play with. So today, we bundled him up and introduced him to some powder. I thought, why not... the skies had calmed down and it was chilly, but I thought he'd enjoy playing in the snow. Except I don't think the introductions went very well....

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He didn't even make an attempt to move... he just a blank, almost confused, look on his face.

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My baby looked so cute!

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Mommy and daddy had to be ghetto and used a nearby trashcan lid for a makeshift sled.

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Of course, the snow was too fluffy that he didn't really slide down anywhere far... but even then, he still denied any expression.

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We even tried sitting him down to see if that'll encourage him to play with the snow, until he finally gives us some expression -- just not the one we were looking for.

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[In the back porch] we finally get a smile!


Matt, Sissy, and I went to the Justin Timberlake to the concert this past Saturday in Cleveland. Much to my surprise, the crowd was a good mix of teeny boppers (who tried really hard to ignore the fact that they were there with their parents), 20-some year old girls who are all probably residues of the former NSYNC-crazed fanbase from the 90's (check out photo below), and guys like "The King" Lebron James who didn't care to be seen in a JT concert, despite being outnumbered by ludicrously shrilling chicks waving their camera phones around.

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This was Leah and I's FIRST (among many) NSYNC concert in San Diego. We were so crazy we saw the exact same show the NEXT day in LA.

Truth was, it was really good show. The arena wasn't as big as the ones in LA, so we were suprisingly closer than we expected for $75 a pop. Sissy screamed like she did almost 10 years ago... and we all had a CRUNK time (if you don't know what crunk means, you missed the JT bandwagon).

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

This is what zero degrees looks like

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HOLY CRAP, it's cold.

My car wouldn't even start this morning. I almost wished (or perhaps it was winter ignorance) that my gas tank had frozen and I would have an excuse to stay home and cuddle with Ethan. It would've been nice to stay in bed where it is at least 68 degrees ---- that's 68 degrees higher than downtown Charleston temperature where I instead have to battle the bitter frost weather for two blocks walking from the parking garage to my building!

"Bundle up" is the favorite slogan of the week. Today, I am wearing my long trench winter coat on top of a turtleneck sweater on top of a long sleeve shirt... with gloves and a scarf and knee high winter socks and STILL, I am frozen. I might just break down tonight and head on to Walmart to get the most fashionable hat I could find. Or better yet, I should just grudgingly give up all sense of fashion until Spring and just perpetually wrap myself in Gortex, polypropelene and fleece until the temperature picks back up to 75. You would think this extra layer of lingering fat would help me warm up just a little...... uh, no. Useless piece of fat!

But the worst is yet to come... our friendly meteorologists are predicting tomorrow to be a snow day (only for the kids, darn it) with snowplows wrapping up the job of clearing about 3-5 inches of powder. Sounds pretty, doesn't it? Maybe if I was vacationing in the alps and sipping a nice warm cup of hot chocolate while waiting for the ski lifts to open!! In reality, it means my drive to work will be slick, arduous and LONG... seeing as some idiots can't compensate for the icy roads and insist on going 85 mph with no regard for everyone else.

So if you are reading this from sunny California or rain soaked Florida or any other warm port of call, I hate you with every frozen bone in body right now.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Birthday Photos

My creative writing juices are dry tonight... but I did want to post some shots from Ethan's birthday party last weekend. So here goes....

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Where's my Boyfriend?

I read somewhere that if a couple thrives (or survives) the first year of their marriage, the chances for a successful marriage increases. Not that I think our marriage is unsuccessful. Our first year was definitely a little more arduous than most, and we had to work twice as hard to stay in the "honeymoon stage". Granted our priorities had to shift a little bit after Ethan made us a family, but I don't think either one of us took the time to re-evaluate about how we were going to keep "us".... US. Neither one of us thought romance was something we'll have to put on our never ending "to-do list".

When I'm not thinking about how to dreadfully catch up on laundry or what to fix Ethan for dinner, lately I've been reminiscing about how things were like before we get married. How exciting things were when we first started "going out"--- How my heart raced everytime someone even as much mentioned his name. How giggly I got knowing we were going to breakfast together. How often we exchanged love letters, trying to outdo each other by how many pages we could fill and how creative we could fold them. How I made up random excuses just so I could "run into" him sporadically throughout the day. How exciting it was to plan a night "out", even it meant illegally making smores and setting the backporch on fire. How he used to walk me to my door at 2am, even it was freezing temperature outside. How we stayed up all night sending text messages until one of us finally fell asleep. How shocked I was to get to my hotel room in Florence, Italy and was greeted by a dozen long-stemmed red roses for Valentines day.....

I had hoped (and still do) that the same affection, conversation and recreational companionship can carry on to exist in a marriage -- and not just during the "stage" of dating. Granted going on dates meant getting to know each other which could lead to falling in love and then eventually marriage. Why should it have to stop just because we said "we do"? I have to admit it's been hard lately -- between work, school, chores, raising Ethan, and sleep... who can find the time? Or am I just back to making excuses again?

I don't need to set the backporch on fire to feel nostalgic... and I don't need a box of fatty chocolates. I just want my "boyfriend" back.

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This is a photo of me and Mike in 2003 - the very FIRST time we went out in Bosnia (not together, but with a bunch of other people). You could swear like we were together already then though!


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