Thursday, June 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mike

Today's my hubby's birthday. 24 years old, but so young at heart. He's not even a quarter century old, if you can believe it. Something feels important about it, i'm not sure what exactly, somehow we're getting a bit older and somehow that means we're turning into real adults, or something like that. Not that the past few years have not put more years on us [than either of us would ever want]. But I always did think he acted much older than he really is... except for the only thing he wanted for his birthday this year is a pair of Heelys. Go figure.

He's become a brother to my siblings, a son to my parents - in fact, my mom trusts him more to drive her Mercedes than her first born child. He's the greatest father anyone could ever ask for -- full of love, almost as if he was born to be a nurturer, but stern when it comes to the "no-no" stuff.

This past year, we've gone through so much with the move, starting a family, going through rough patches -- and to this day we are still trying to figure it all out. It seems as if the closer we move to all of it, something else comes up and i am terrified again.... but my husband, takes it all one day at a time. He's my rock. And despite all my craziness that might send any man into severe panic... he just takes it with stride, and knows exactly what to do, and how to handle it. I'm not sure how he got to be that way, how he has such an even and calm way about him, it's truly amazing. No wonder we're such a great pair, because he's become my protector from my own insanity.

He's my bestfriend, my confidant, my biggest supporter -- the one I could tell anything and trust that he would listen intently without judgement, but would give me his honest opinion if I wanted it. And if I just needed to be tickled, he becomes my personal entertainer -- even if that meant singing a song he didn't know the lyrics to.

He's the yang to my ying. He's my Mike.

Happy Birthday, baby. Here's to another great year. I love you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Daddy Phase

Intently watching the baseball game for Father's Day.

I knew the day would come, but I had hoped it would be later than sooner. For 18 months, it was always about mommy. Call it Attachment Parenting, or whatever you want, but from day 1, I had always made sure Ethan and I were securely attached. I breastfed for as long as I could and even though that meant sole responsibility in nighttime feedings, that was fine with me because I got to hug him longer. I broke down when the time came to go back to work, and I know the guilt will probably never go away (but we have to do what's best for everyone). Well-meaning family [even my husband], friends, and strangers would say: "you carry him too much", or "you shouldn't let him sleep on your bed", "why do you pick him up as soon as he cries". I do all those things because I want him to learn as early as he can that mommy will always be there for him.

Ethan is the epitome of the attached child: very loving, very engaged and social, very curious, extremely happy, always smiling... many say that they have never seen a happier child… very intelligent, very INDEPENDENT. Alas, Ethan has had everything he needed in order to build a solid foundation: his mommy and her undivided guidance, attention, and patience… that is, until now.

Now, it's all about daddy and all but ignores me. Now, I have to BEG to get kisses and hugs, and I'd be lucky if I even get a nod. He gets excited when Daddy comes home, cries when he leaves, and he can walk around saying "dadda" all day long. He likes how daddy throws the baseball back, or how daddy lets him ride on his back like a "horsey", or how daddy gives much better (and louder) "raspberries". I love the fact that he's so excited about his daddy, but I can't help feeling a little jealous.

It's like all of a sudden they built this special bond that I can't quite figure out. Maybe it's a boys' thing. He clings on to daddy like a baby kangaroo in daddy's pouch. Not so much in mommy's pouch anymore. Im thankful sometimes for that since I think my back's gonna give out if I have to constantly lug a 25-lb toddler around all the time. But still, I can't help but feel a little sad.

This morning, our routine got sidetracked a bit since daddy woke up earlier to get in the shower so he wasn't around when Ethan woke up. Then, Ethan saw a huge suitcase in the hallway from when I started packing his clothes for our trip [which he's learned to realize that every time he sees one of those, it almost always means "someone" is going somewhere]. As soon as daddy came out of the bathroom, Ethan clung on to him like a leach. Mike sensed that Ethan might've thought that daddy's leaving again. And then it dawned on me. Ethan started getting really attached to Mike after he came back from his 2-week trip for work. Before that, he hadn't seen daddy while Mike was in the hospital.

Even though I still hope that this is just a phase and that eventually I will re-claim my throne as #1... I trust that he knows that mommy will always be there for him at the end of the day.

I just had to add this other photo from the baseball game since you'll almost never see Ethan with a hat on... he hates em!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Is it Friday yet?

Between the wedding season, busting my balls to get a promotion at work, late nights procrastinating on horrid calculus quizzes, planning Christmas parties and basketball tournaments (who has time to volunteer anyway????), pitching to host a new parenting blog in a local newspaper, keeping up with the house, not to mention a teething toddler... life is busy, although comparably good, yet it's driving me absolutely bonkers.

Thing is, I know that everything's a decision and amidst all the chaos, this guilt-ridden rookie mom still manages to spend time with Ethan. I am very blessed to have a husband who would do the laundry while I do my Math homework and get Ethan ready in the morning so I could have a few extra minutes of sleep.

Still, I am burnt out and in DIRE need of a vacation.

That's why Friday CANNOT come any faster... where we get to hop on a plane to Sunny California and spend a week surrounded by family and friends and where the gas prices are somehow shadowed by the endless possibilities for recreation. I wish I could say that I am able to leave all my worries here, but truth of the matter is, I surmise that I will end up in front of a computer at some point or another tending to obligations I'm supposed to be escaping from in the first place.

There I go again... stressing out about getting stressed out when I'm supposed to be UNstressing on vacation.

Ah well, ces't la vie.

This is how mommy feels....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Secret to a Happy Marriage according to John Griffin

I have another confession to make... I think I've become a reality tv junkie. And I don't mean Survivor or Bachelor type of reality series... I seem to be more drawn to shows that have somewhat of a storyline to follow (I think the addiction started with that darn Newlyweds stint). Bravo has become the biggest culprit in hogging what little I have left for "free time" -- Top Chef, Work Out and Kathy Griffin - My life on the D List (I cannot wait until they bring Project Runway back!!!!).

Mike doesn't understand what I see in a bunch of people try to reinvent ways to cook chicken liver, or a lesbian fitness guru with acceptance issues, or a comedian trying to survive through the slumps of Hollywood. To me, following these shows is almost like the rush of following the blogs that I read... it's the unadulterated truth of human emotions that draws me in. It's like getting an insight to what other people feel without being intrusive, learning from their successes and failures, and getting that feeling of joy when something works out and sadness when something doesn't.

Anyway, last week's episode of Kathy was particularly memorable... and I'd been pondering about this since watching it over the weekend. The episode, like any other episode, followed Kathy around with her shenanigans, but then they also showed segments of her dad's health deteriorating and then eventually leading his death. Which I have to give kudos to the producers -- they unfolded his death dramatically but in a non-cheesy way, even ending it with a rather touching montage.

The reason I'm writing about this is because there was a part when Kathy was talking about her last conversations with her dad... where she near-tearfully reminisced about asking him for his secret. "What's the secret to your happy marriage?" she asked.

And he answered wholeheartedly, as a 90-year old man who have been married to the same woman all his life would, "The guy just has to think that the gal is the best gal in the world. And the gal has to think that the guy is the best guy in the world."

Then Kathy said what I was thinking at that very moment..... THAT'S IT? That's the secret? "That's it," he said without a crack in his voice. And that stuck with me.

Why do they always make is sound so easy anyway?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hats, out. Man-bonnets, in?

When get I get a chance to get away from my 9-5 cubicle home, I usually make a mad dash to this little cafe next door called Diana's where I can drown in freshly brewed sweet tea and catch up on futile world news on Fox. The whole Paris-in-jail craze must be dying down or Hollywood must be taking a break from parole violations, because today, they had a segment on the latest in gawd-awful fashion trend they call the man-bonnet.

I just about died laughing.

I'm sorry, but there are just some things not meant to be worn on a man's head -- like a woman's thong, or a diaper, or this...

I hope this guy got paid enough to wear this...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007

No Sidewalk, No Problem

The asphalt parking lot will work for now! Since we started getting the warm weather, they've been playing with them at daycare so I figured it was about time I join in on the fun. Heck, for 99c a bucket, it sure keeps Ethan busy for a while. It's interesting how he treats the chalk differently from crayons, though. The crayons just usually ends up in his mouth. But with the chalk, I noticed he was very meticulous about taking them out of the bucket one at a time and then putting them back when he was done.

Speaking of chalk, I'll be checking out Julian Beaver in downtown Charleston sometime next week as part of Festivall. Beever is renowned for his drawings using the art technique called trompe l’oeil, or “trick of the eye,” which uses realistic images to create an optical illusion depicting an object or scene as actually existing. The trick is that the illusion only works if viewed from a certain angle. Rumor has it that he'll start drawing on Monday, at a site only a few blocks from my work. So I hope to post some next week!

Thursday, June 14, 2007


"One-at-a-time" is scarcely in my vocabulary. There's never enough hours during the day anyway, so I'm always trying to do two (even three) things at the same time. Laundry while cooking dinner. Breakfast while driving to work. Catching up on some reading while on the toilet. Fighting with a telemarketer while scraping ravioli off of Ethan's ears. Blogging while (supposedly) doing Calculus homework.

And looks like Ethan's taking after mommy in that department. Can't say I've ever vacuumed on skates before though (while eating twizzlers, at that)....

PS. I felt the urge to edit after a very comment about giving my son a vacuum cleaner for a toy. Ethan's got everything from every sport toy imaginable, trucks, cars, cowboys and space cadets, a 4-wheeler... the vacuum is just one among many. I very much doubt that people now still think that boys are only supposed to play war and sports while girls are to play with dolls and pretend house. Vacuuming would be part of playing house, as would playing with kitchen with the pretend pots and pans and silverware. Not that I'm planning on getting Ethan an easy-bake oven anytime soon, but I see nothing wrong with him learning household chores at a tender age of 17 months! Haha. Of course, he just thinks it's the coolest thing in the world because mommy has one like it... one that lights up and makes noise when you push the button.

Two by Two Meme

I've been tagged with this meme. Thanks Kim! :)

Two Names You Go By:
1. Anne
2. Ms Anna

Two Things You are Wearing Right Now:
1. Blue checkered skirt
2. Denim Jacket - it's funny that it's against our dress code policy to wear jeans, yet it's ok to wear denim jackets, skirts or even dresses

Two Things You Want In A Relationship:
1. Romance
2. Trust

Two Of Your Favorite Things To Do:
1. Travel -- especially places I've never been to before
2. Taking photographs of anything and everything!

Two Things You Want Very Badly At The Moment:
1. My hubby to come home.. haven't seen him in 2 weeks :(
2. Paint my walls.. but landlord won't let us

Two Pets You Have Or Had:
1. Pong the little turtle - my mom bought for me in high school... he was so small he could fit in my palm. He died 2 weeks later because I think he was taken too early from him momma
2. Bob the fish - Bob is the most strong-willed beta fish you'll ever meet. We bought him in 2005, made our roadtrip from CA to WV, and still alive and kicking! (well, swimming)

Two People Who Will Fill This Out First:
1. Andrea
2. Jami

Two Things You Did Last Night:
1. Started reading a book that was recommended to me - The Five Love Languages
2. Tried to wait for the season premiere of Top Chef (i love that show!), but didn't quite make it to 10 oclock!

Two Chores That You Don't Like Doing:
1. Folding laundry and putting them away
2. Cleaning the bathroom

Two Things You Ate Today:
1. All I've had this morning is a large cup of McDonalds sweet tea
2. Haven't eaten it yet - but I'm having Lean Cuisine for lunch!

Two People You Talked To Last:
1. Mike
2. Mom

Two Things You're Doing Tomorrow:
1. Clean the house
2. Finish shopping for Father's day gift

Two Favorite Holidays:
1. 4th of July
2. Christmas

Two Favorite Beverages:
1. SWEET TEA!!!!!!!
2. Baileys on the rocks -- although I haven't had one in a while :/

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bad Mommy

Let's face it, no one's perfect... not even my mom and I love her to death. We all have faults, yes, but how ghastly are your failings?

I found a website called True Mom Confessions where mothers are encouraged to anonymously confess their worst inner thoughts and deeds. Visitors can click a "me too" button if they share the sentiment, a palpable socio-emotional tactic (if you ask me) to let people feel they're not alone -- therefore justifying whatever it is that they feel bad about. For example, someone submitted "I wish I had a child that ran on batteries so I could turn him off", and 20 people agreed. Another poster said "I am 30 and still don't know, other than my children, what I want in this life", and an unsurprising 25 hit the "me too" button -- I actually expected more. At 7:02 this morning, someone posted that today is the day she's coming out to her family and friends about being a lesbian. "I'm finally being true to me and dammit, it feels good." she added. 2 agreed.

My confession's not as momentous, but here it is: I am indulgent. If it were up to me, Ethan can stay up as late as he wants to. Mike has to often tear him off my arms for bedtime, and even then, I still try to buy an extra 10-15 minutes of cuddly time. Since Mike hasn't been home, Ethan's been staying up past 8:30 to watch Law and Order reruns with me and sleeping in our bed. I let him eat candy... not a lot, but I'm the only mom I know who keeps M&M's in the emergency snack bag instead of something healthy like carrot sticks. Actually, I pretty much let him eat anything. Also, I may (or may not) be letting him watch too much TV. In my defense, sometimes he gets in one of these moods where the only thing that would calm him down is a run through (or two) of the "Wiggly Groove".

I just think there's far better things to worry about than scolding a toddler for re-arranging the jars in the refrigerator.

Then again, that's just me.

Monday, June 11, 2007

One Cranky Baby

It might not look like it here, but Ethan's been one cranky little boy the past couple of days. His nose has been running and has had a fever the past 2 days so I was afraid he was getting another ear infection. Turns out he's got teeth cutting through -- 4 of them at that!! Which makes for one cranky baby and a very exhausted, sleepless mommy.

He did finally decide he likes popsicles this afternoon (wouldn't even give them the time of day before) which were the only comfort I could give him besides sitting through 3 recorded episodes of the Wiggles.

And of course, a rootbeer popsicle later, Ethan was ready for a quick swim in the tub. One of these days, I'm gonna try to quit being the deadbeat mom and finally put up his blow up pool in the backyard.

Is that an awesome butt shot or what?

DNA Portrait

Last year for Father's day, I searched high and low for an infant Cleveland Cavaliers jersey to put on Ethan (which at the time, the only size I could find was 12 months so he looked like he was drowning in it at 5 months -- but still looked UBER cute), propped him on a boppy pillow and framed the photo for him to show off at work. Albeit a FABULOUS idea --- it probably would've made more sense this year since the Cavs made it to the playoffs. Nonetheless, 1 week away and I'm still dry of ideas. I was going to get tickets to a Linkin Park concert, but as my luck would have it, turns out he has training that weekend. He's already got the ipod and the fancy phone and the manly tools... and I'm normally a practical gift-giver anyway, but I would really like to refrain from getting him socks for Father's day, if I could.

And then I ran into this really unique, almost freaky, idea that I had to share.

The company, DNA 11, sends you a "kit" which includes a swab that you take and swipe in your baby's mouth and preserve. Then you send it back to their lab (which by the way is in Canada) and in an almost eerie CSI-process, the DNA is extracted from the sample and put into some kind of gel where they then take a digital photo of it. The file's enhanced microscopic proportions and for only $390, you can have an 18x24 canvas of your child's DNA hanging on your wall - TADA! Talk about personalized art work....

I know this might seem silly to point out, but this is a sample on their site, and I'm wondering if it really is some real kid's DNA.

If I had $390 just laying around, I just might jump on this wagon. But I don't, so it looks like it's gonna be a Homer Simpson tie this year... :)

Seriously.... any ideas.... I'm all ears!

Thursday, June 07, 2007


I always joke that Mike is the kind of dad that would have Ethan playing on every sport known to mankind as soon as he's able. And that's probably not far from the truth. I think my child's even been brainwashed because lately I've been catching him changing the tv channel from my HGTV to ESPN!!!!! He loves shooting hoops in the patio, kicking his soccer ball around the house, throwing the baseball to play catch....

But his newest obsession is swinging his golf clubs around like there's no tomorrow... and I've noticed that he's very partial to the driver. Every now and then he'd pay attention to the putter... which only sends mommy on fishing expeditions for all sorts of balls from under the couch. But I guess that's better than dealing with a broken mirror or a window.

Now I'm not an avid golf fan (I've tried playing 9 holes once and I totally sucked), but I would venture to say that that's a pretty darn good swing for a 16-month old! You should see his follow-through! Tiger Woods did supposedly start at a tender age of 2... so Ethan's probably right on track. :)

Flashback to July of last year... Ethan was only 5 months old and already been to a golf course!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fun with Ravioli

Ethan's been feeding himself since he was 4 months old. He met his Mr. Independent alter ego a bit early, I guess. When he got messy then, we figured he was just testing the limits of his motor skills and sometimes the hand that picks up the food from the tray doesn't always find the mouth.

Now, Ethan's re-inventing ways to make dinner time more fun --- like using ravioli sauce as a pre-conditioning treatment. Funny thing is, instead of freaking out, my first instinct is dash out to geth the camera!

Hmmmm.... this actually feels kinda nice....

Uh oh! I'm busted....

I wasn't doing anything mom... I was just finishing my dinner...

Hehehe... now I get to play in the tub!!!!

Trash to Treasure?

Hours under the sun: 6
Official total sale for the day: $128
Ethan's expression when he saw strangers walking away with his things: Priceless

I personally like to go "yardsaling". You can't beat paying .50 cents a pop for baby clothes that have barely been worn, if at all. My best deal to-date is an authentic Coach purse and wristlet that I was able to talk the seller to dropping from $200 to mere pocket change. Who expects anyone to yardsale around with $200 anyway?

But I digress... I didn't realize how much work it would be to be on the receiving end. Let's just say I started "spring cleaning" before winter even ended [I finally got tired of the skinny clothes taunting me from the closet], so we ended up with boxes of junk in our hallway for months. Part of the problem was finding an open weekend for both Mike and I so we could finally try to sell our clutter. One person's trash is someone else's treasure, right? I thought I could make a killing on my dust-accumulatingting size 5 jean collection. So at the last minute, we decided we would have it on Saturday -- ironically what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the week. And by last minute, I mean we (majority me naturally) were up til past midnight on Friday trying to price things and then back up at the crack of dawn the next morning trying to organize them in boxes.

I have to admit, I felt emancipated finally letting go A LOT of my old clothes, but I felt almost disappointed that they went through the whole day ignored at the yard sale. As expected, Ethan's baby stuff were the biggest sellers -- toys, clothes, baby monitors, blankets, diaper bags, crib sheets...... My haggling skills definitely got a great workout during my interactions with some particularly bargain-minded moms and grandmothers. Once, a dad stopped by to look at some baby clothes, only to be interupted by a 3 year old in the backseat yelling "Daddy!!!!! I want out! I want out!". Poor guy was so flustered, I think he would have paid boocoo $ just to get out of there, but I wasn't one to take advantage. I was happy though to see some very pregnant girl leave with my jester hat that I got from Carnivale in Venice for $2. Mike's cowboy hat, he let go for a buck. Purses I had ridiculously been harboring since [probably] high school, $1 a pop.

Ethan, the Entertainer, waved, blew kisses and even helped seal a deal a couple of times. I just drop a phrase like "He LOVES that toy... we just have too much stuff in the house", and the transfer of dollars often followed. Mike? Let's just say he was delegated mostly the carrying duties. And what didn't sell by the time I threw in the white flag, went into huge trash bags that we IMMEDIATELY drove to Goodwill. I was adamant about not bringing anything back in the house (at least before judiciously making an exception for some baby clothes that I think could rack up money on ebay --- if I ever find the time).

Would we ever have another one? Probably not in this lifetime. But should the time come and I am pursuaded to have another yard sale, here are my lessons learned.

1. Put sunscreen on.
2. Quit being a pack-rat, or at least condense the tendencies.
3. Wait til we have an actual GARAGE. Hauling things back and forth to the parking lot was a pain in the ass.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Overworked. Underpaid.

My mood portrayed by Dilbert.

Monday, June 04, 2007

My First Feature!

One of the weddings I shot last year has made it as a featured West Virginia wedding on The Knot. As a planning bride 2 years ago (gosh, that seems like forever ago), I seriously don't know how I could've survived without The Knot. In fact, I frequented the local boards so much, that I've actually became great friends with the girls who planned their weddings around the same time as me --- and in time, we've all graduated into The Nest and still keep very much in touch!

Katie and Brian were a blast.... and I'm excited that they were picked to be featured!


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