Sunday, December 24, 2006

Is Santa Coming to YOUR Home? Ask NORAD!

So what do you do when you need something to do on a 24/7 rotation during the holiday season with nobody else around and the nation's most expensive equipment at your disposal? Track Santa, of course! Apparently the North American Air Defense Command, or NORAD, has been doing so for at least 50 years now. There's actually a phone number you can call, and there's actually a live person that will tell you the current location of Santa, and the ETA of Santa to your location! I guess usually it's kids that call the number; Bev and I called it, thinking it was an automated message like the phone number you're supposed to give people when they hit on you in a bar (I don't remember the number for the insult line...anyone?). But somebody at NORAD actually picks up and gives you the exact location. Excellent! Well, since Santa's ETA for the NCR is anywhere between 10-12 tonight, I'd better go to bed, or else you know who ain't comin'! Merry Christmas everyone! 1-877-HI-NORAD

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Brian-cam Pics

Here are some pics that Brian took of our trip to Taiwan.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Seattle for Thanksgiving

*Warning: this is a long one, cause its been a few weeks in the making. :)

Well, actually I'm glad to be home for a while. You can only live out of a suitcase for so long. From Ottawa, Canada, to Taipei, Taiwan, to Seattle, Washington, all in a little over a month. I was home for a total of 7 days. Enough time to find subs for my CTR 8 class and do laundry. Mark and I spent Sat cleaning the house. It was in shambles. Everything was out of place cause we didn't have time to put it back where it belonged. I still need to vacuum, cause with Fall, so do the leaves, and there are bits of leaves all over the place. How does that happen when we take our shoes off at the door?

We're slowing adjusting back into a regular sleeping schedule. But I think I'm the one with it bad. I'm up late and can't get motivated in the day. Mark seems fine. Evan sleeps late, but he'll sleep 12 hours.

Speaking of sleep... We've lowered Evan's crib and took one side of the crib bars off to transition him to a 'big boy' bed. His crib is up against the foot of twin bed also in his room, so he really only had about 1.5 ft of a gap to get off his crib. So, I figure he's got a 10% chance of falling out of bed during the night.

The other day Mark checked on him before he left for work, and woke me up to see what had happened to Evan. Evan had either fallen out of his bed or crawled down from his bed and was sound asleep on the floor in the middle of the room! I figured he's obviously tired enough to sleep on the floor, I'll just let him sleep, leave the door open so when he wakes he can just walk out to find me. Well, hours goes by and he's still on the floor asleep. So at about 1pm I decide that this was getting ridiculous, and went to wake him up by taking pictures of him. No wakey wakey.
Lucy came bounding in his room and licked him. Still asleep! So, I talk to him to wake him. I should have videotaped this, cause he opens his eyes and just starts yakking to me like we were in the middle of a conversation! Then he gets up, still talking, walks over to his bed, and pointing to it, jabbers on, probably telling me about how he fell out of bed and found the floor to be much more comfortable than his bed and that I should have just let him sleep on the floor from the beginning!

I haven't found him asleep on the floor since, but it's nice that he can climb out of bed himself, open his door, walk down the hall, open my door, and come wake me.

Thanksgiving was good. I'm working on putting together a family history book for a family reunion later this year. And I was glad to get a lot of scanning of old photos done and collecting personal histories.

Mark and I even got a lot of our Christmas gifts out to family early, so that's a big check off my list of To-do's.

It's always too short of time when we're home, and never get to do everything we wanted or spend enough time with everyone. Oh well. While everyone was in town, my family got together to take a family portrait. I tried to get Evan to nap before, but he had other plans. He was in a good mood when we got to the studio, but they were swamped with other photo sessions that we had to wait almost an hour. That put Evan at his limit. And then the photographer lady scared Evan with a giant black foam block to sit on, it was all down hill after that. Evan didn't want anything to do with the lady or sitting. We managed to take 3 pictures. Figures that as soon as we leave, Evan's smiling, walking around and not tired. sheesh. I haven't seen the proofs, so I hope there was one good one. Maybe I'll have to photoshop a smile in
for Evan and myself.

I got my haircut and colored out there. I went to the same place I got my hair cut last time, but found out they'd switched owners. I should have asked first why the lady the cut my hair last time wasn't there cause my haircut and color isn't what I expected. There was a bit of misunderstanding too. The Vietnamese lady thought I wanted to dye my whole head when I just wanted highlights, so that tee'd her off. But I didn't care, it's my hair, lets get this straight! So I showed them what color highlights I was thinking, brown slightly red, and I don't think they were really listening to me or maybe they didn't care to match it closely, cause they came out with this bowl of bright red paste. I thought maybe it's just the dye, cause it was the case when I dyed it brown before.
Anyway, so almost 2 hours later, I've got short hair with red highlights... argh... I would have been ok with the cut if the lady didn't trim it even more at the end. The brightness has died down a bit since, but something about the cut just makes styling it really frustrating. I can't put my finger on it. Like my hair has gone limp and no matter what I do it just doesn't sit right. I bet its the dye. It has stripped my hair of something that gave it some volume before. Mark assures me its just the weather. hmmm... I'm gonna have to find someone new to cut my hair. Anyone have recommendations? I should have got my haircut when I was in Taiwan... and the massage was included too!
OK enough obsessing over my hair.

The rest of our trip was good. Until the last day we were there, when we were on the road in the middle of rush hour when we got caught in a heavy snow. It had rained and snowed on and off the night before so when it snowed heavily on top of the slush, it turned to ice. It took us an hour to get out of Mark's hometown! And it's not a big town! It's very hilly and rural so cars were sliding into ditches all around us. We were glad to be driving the Tahoe cause of its weight and all wheel drive, but it gave me a bit of a scare when we stopped on a hill and had a moment of vertigo when all the cars around us started moving to the right, when really we were the ones sliding to the left into the other lane.

We got close to getting on the freeway, and noticed that no cars were moving. So we exited quickly and took back roads to my parent's home. Those back roads don't get plowed, are rural and hilly, and were packed with people also avoiding the freeway. We kept driving down one road and turning around again and again after finding traffic of sliding cars, abandoned cars left and right, and closed off roads. I felt bad for people around us that got caught traveling home on the ice; when they left in the morning the sun was shining and looked like nice day. People panic and are driving poorly and there are accidents everywhere. I was so nervous that some car was going to slide into us or we'd go sliding off the road and be stranded. Mark probably thought I was cold but really I was shivering from seeing so many wrecks and
close calls. I was so sore the next day from being so tense.

Well, what usually takes us 20 mins to get from Mark's mom's house to my parent's house, took us 4 hours. 4 white-knuckled-hours!! 4 hours to go 20 miles. Mark says that we averaged 5 miles an hour, that's about walking speed, so, we could have walked to my parent's house in that time! Wow.

But that wasn't all. We decided to make going to the airport safer the next day, we would drive back to Mark's mom's house to return the Tahoe, pick up our luggage, and my dad would drive us back to his house to spend the night. hmmm... it sounds like we were crazy to go through all that again... well I think it was, but there wasn't another option. The roads were icy in Mark's hometown, and it wasn't in mine.

So, it was another scary drive. We took another route this time, but this time in a small car without all wheel drive. It was later at night and less crazy drivers on the road, but still I was so nervous in the back seat feeling our car slide and the tires spin. I'm so glad to get through that night safely.

I can't tell you how relieved I was to come home to DC and feel beautiful 60 degree weather and see the only snowflakes were on my Christmas tree. It does get icy here in DC too, but we have less hills to worry about.

So, no more traveling till the end of this month. And it's to sunny LA. After traveling so much the last months, I think I now really appreciate the comforts of our own home, no matter how small and simple it is. Maybe this Christmas will actually feel like our own Christmas in our own home. And not like a small version of Christmas of our own and then fly off to really celebrate it with family later like in years past. But my thoughts on Christmas since being married is another blog entry...

*Note: I have to point out and give credit to Mark for changing the blog template. I had no part in it. It may look like something I would do, but it isn't. But I can promise you that I will tweak with this one to make it an original. "When?" is the real question. Good job, Mark. You picked a winner. Quite appropriate for winter time, I think.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

why didn't I think of that?!
I randomly found a link to this site from a google ad, and was curious see what a milk band was. I laughed when I found out that it was created by a mom in Utah.
It's ingenious! Its a bracelet that helps breastfeeding mothers keep track of which side they fed from last by flipping the bracelet.
There are also removeable pegs that keep track of how long baby has fed in a day. Or how many diapers changed, or what time last fed, or when to feed again... or whatever you need it to keep track of.
Breastfeeding moms know, that try as you may, you're SO tired that you can't even remember the last time you showered. I had my own system to remember which side to feed from next, but knowing number of feedings or length of time was a guess.
I'm way passed needing it for breastfeeding, but it would have been nice to have to keep track of naps a day back when I worried about how much sleep Evan was getting.
Well, maybe I'll get one for the next time around... whenever that is...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Say Cheese!

First times: 1) Voluntarily left the shower cap on (we haven't been able to do it since), 2) Said Cheese on Demand, 3) Took his own shower (just kidding). The thing on his shoulder is remnants of eczema he had when he was "younger" soon as it starts to heal and disappear, he scratches it in his sleep, and it gets bad again. "So why don't you put a bandage on," you ask?? Bandages make it worse, dummy.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

It was HFMD...

So what I had while in Taiwan was Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD). What is it, you ask? According to the Center for Disease Control, HFMD "is a common illness of infants and children. [and 27 year olds and their 23 year old sisters] It is characterized by fever, sores in the mouth, and a rash with blisters. [I did have some funky zits on my hands] HFMD begins with a mild fever [Evan had the fever, not me though], poor appetite [hmm, I wanted to eat, but couldn't], malaise ("feeling sick") [just from the pain], and frequently a sore throat [nope, Mr. Huang had that]. [So maybe we had a group HFMD incident] One or 2 days after the fever begins, painful sores develop in the mouth. [Yep] They begin as small red spots that blister and then often become ulcers. [Thought they were cold sores] They are usually located on the tongue, gums, and inside of the cheeks. [the ones on the tongue suck] The skin rash develops over 1 to 2 days with flat or raised red spots, some with blisters. The rash does not itch, and it is usually located on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It may also appear on the buttocks. [Um, none on mine, but I didn't really check myself out...Bev?] A person with HFMD may have only the rash or the mouth ulcers. [That's me]" So I guess HFMD is pretty common in Taiwan, it's similar to chickenpox: once you've had it, you're good for life. So Rose and I are good. We're thinking of ganging up on D. Heheheh.

I'm all better now. Actually, all I needed was Anbesol. And couldn't find it anywhere in Taiwan. The day I got home, I put it on, and could instantly eat afterwards with relative comfort (it couldn't get any worse!). I should have brought that stuff with me to Taiwan...oh well. I guess it did prevent me from eating the whole country. Plus, Turkey Day's coming up.

More about HFMD

Serious? No.

Contagious? Yes. Ask Rose :) [Sorry!] "Infection is spread from person to person by direct contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the stool of infected persons. A person is most contagious during the first week of the illness. HFMD is not transmitted to or from pets or other animals." Rose, I won't fling poo at you ever again. Can't guarantee that Evan won't though.

Who gets sick? "HFMD occurs mainly in children under 10 years old, but may also occur in adults too. Everyone is at risk of infection, but not everyone who is infected becomes ill. Infants, children, and adolescents are more likely to be susceptible to infection and illness from these viruses, because they are less likely than adults to have antibodies and be immune from previous exposures to them. Infection results in immunity to the specific virus, but a second episode may occur following infection with a different member of the enterovirus group."

Where is it prevalent? "Individual cases and outbreaks of HFMD occur worldwide, more frequently in summer and early autumn. In the recent past, major outbreaks of HFMD attributable to enterovirus 71 have been reported in some South East Asian countries (Malaysia, 1997; Taiwan, 1998)." I think one person died in Taiwan from it.

How do you know you have it? "HFMD is one of many infections that result in mouth sores. Another common cause is oral herpes virus infection, which produces an inflammation of the mouth and gums (sometimes called stomatitis). Usually, the physician can distinguish between HFMD and other causes of mouth sores based on the age of the patient, the pattern of symptoms reported by the patient or parent, and the appearance of the rash and sores on examination. A throat swab or stool specimen may be sent to a laboratory to determine which enterovirus caused the illness. Since the testing often takes 2 to 4 weeks to obtain a final answer, the physician usually does not order these tests."

Can HFMD be prevented? "Specific prevention for HFMD or other non-polio enterovirus infections is not available, but the risk of infection can be lowered by good hygienic practices. Preventive measures include frequent handwashing, especially after diaper changes, cleaning of contaminated surfaces and soiled items first with soap and water, and then disinfecting them by diluted solution of chlorine-containing bleach."

So maybe I should listen to Bev and actually clean my hands after changing diapers. Oh well.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Still Awake at 3am

Andrew: Yeah I think I'll be posting pics in Picasa Web Album from now on. It's nice to do quick edits and upload them or blog them straight from Picasa. I just wished it allowed to edit pics more like Photoshop does. What I LOVE even better about Picasa is that with all the edits you make, it never changes the original file. It some how remembers everything you've done to that photo, but if you look at the photo from it's folder in explorer it's untouched. amazing!
We have a huge jar of steroid cream for Evan too. I actualy have a presciption for another cream with even more steriod content. So while Neo will have big muscles, Evan will be the incredible hulk.
Jerin: Yeah I spend a lot of time looking at pics too. Surprisingly, traveling with Evan was easier than I thought and it was fun too. Naps were the hardest part on the go. But surprisingly Evan got used to sleeping with all the city noises. A cheap umbrella stroller was definitely a good thing in the city.
Another reason why taking Evan along was easier than I thought is that since he's at just a good age that I don't have to breastfeed, he walks on his own, doesn't pick everything up and put it in his mouth, I don't have to carry bottles of formula around, and he'll eat what we eat at restaurants so I don't have to haul around so many jars of babyfood. But he still could careless where we go or see, so I do have to bring toys/books/dvd player/snacks around to keep him entertained.
You know I don't know why I didn't take more food pics... we practically ate ALL the time. It could be that I was too busy trying to eat with one hand and hold Evan down with the other at the restaurants and street vendors.
Lynn: Sorry I guess I didn't make it clear that Mark was the one with the sores. I lucked out this time. Last time we went, I was 3 mos. pregnant and all the smells in the city of food and garbage and pollution made me SO nauseous. I caught a cold and was eaten alive by mosquitoes. So, it was so nice to go this time and actually enjoy myself.
I hope that scar Tim's got heals well, 'cause Mark had a sore on his lip from the last time we went to Taiwan (about a yr ago), and there's still a faint scar where it was.

So Evan and I basically slept the day off. Kind of a waste 'cause we do have quite a few things to get done before Wednesday. Why Wednesday? Cause Evan and I are flying out to Seattle early for Thanksgiving. I pretty much emptied our suitcases into the washing machine when we got home last night.
Well I guess I'd better try to get some sleep now. It's 12 midnight in Seattle now so I guess I'm already adjusted to Pacific time!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Jerin: Proof we really were in Taiwan

Here's an updated photobook of all our pics.

There's still lots more pics that Brian took that we're anxiously awaiting to see ourselves. I'll post them post-haste as soon as I get my hands on them.

Jet-lag sucks... Evan was awake all night and I pretty much stayed up all night with him. I haven't done that since freshman year in college, and that was by choice! I think I've had a total of 10 hours of sleep in 2 days. argh.

This is my new wallpaper. I caught Evan in the shower and snapped a pic of him saying "cheeeeese!" Evan just started actaully saying words that we can understand. He had his own language before. But it's like a light turned on and he says cheese and bus and up please and help please and fish. Basically anyword with S's in it are good for him. hehehe. I think Brian was a good influence on him, since Brian is the one that catches him saying these words. We think he may have said "Brian" too, but Evan is a one-time-only kid.

Oh, and that thing on his arm is eczema. Don't worry its fine. It heals and then he scratches it up again and it looks raw.

Ok, I'm going to attempt to nap before Evan wakes from his nap.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

cold sores

And just so I don't sound like a wuss, I wanted to explain the sores in my mouth so you can get an idea of the pain I am (still) in. One of the two main sores is just off the tip of my tongue, starting on the side and going to the bottom, and the other sore is on the bottom side of the tongue on the other side. There are a few more sores located on the roof, the side, and just in front of my front teeth. Doctor said it's some kind of virus, and I should have sought treatment as soon as it started. But who knew that a typical-looking cold sore would turn into something so massive?! I can't talk (and when I do I sound like Sloth), I can't eat unless the pieces are small and I shove it to the back corner of my mouth to avoid any pain. Hard to sleep too. I'd take a picture if you're interested in seeing it, but I think after you see it, you may not visit this blog again. So I'll just leave it at that. Hopefully these sores will go away soon. I feel like the sidekick dog, like Muttley, or Scooby Doo, or one that holds up signs to say something.
It'll definitely be an interesting last day of work tomorrow!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Leaving Formosa

We're ready and packed to head back home to DC. Funny thing is,
Brian's coming too! He's lives in San Francisco, but he's got a meeting out
in DC. And then we'll see him again Thanksgiving time back in Seattle!
November is National Brian Month, where you hang out with your
friendly neighborhood Brian every day all day! I have to say that it's
been great having Brian with us on our trip. One, Evan has pretty much
bonded with Brian and he loves to play with Brian. Two, its nice to
have someone that doesn't speak Chinese either on this trip, then I
have someone to chat with when I don't know what's going on. Bonus,
Brian takes LOTS of great pics of our little boy and trip for us!
Evan's got his own paparazzi.
Yesterday we drove out to HuaLien and spent the night there and drove
back this afternoon. Its a 3 hour drive, but with Mr. Huang at the
wheel it'll take you 2.5 hours. It's one crazy drive out there. You're
on the cliffs edge on winding roads. It was scary, not because you're
on a cliffs edge, but because Mr. Huang and everyone on the road are
NUTS! I had to 'sleep' just to not give myself an anxiety attack from
watching the road. People were passing on blind curves, and big trucks
or buses that make wide turn on tight curves; we'd have some near
misses as these huge vehicles rounded the tight bends! And I can't
even begin describe how people drive in the city! If you've never
been, you have to see it for yourself! Its like traffic rules are just
words of advice or recommendations.
HuaLien was fun. I always enjoy being at the ocean, but it's never
enough time. We also went to Taroko park to see waterfalls and walk
through the huge gorges. I remembered the rock to be a lot bluer last
time I went; perhaps it was just the time of day and the cloud cover
that made it seem blue. And it wouldn't be complete without trying
some local mochi. yummy.
well that's all I have time for now. We're just waiting around in the
lounge. I'll post more about it and pics from Ottawa when we get home.
Its been a great trip. I feel bad that Mark didn't get to enjoy it
more because of the massive sores in his mouth. Thanks to Ben and CC
for housing us and cute little Evelyn for making us laugh so hard! And
Rose for organizing time for us to meet with the relatives and
spending time with us especially. And a HUGE thank you for Mr. Huang,
cause he was pretty much our personal guide, chauffer, and babysitter!
He knew all the best places to eat. We never ate so much!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Nate & Maggie - Taipei 101 is filled with stores. It's funny 'cause the higher up in floors you go in the shopping area, the more upscale the stores are. so there's really a 'bargain basement'. Oh, and we had a chance to try out the iGallop, that new crazy workout equipment that's really more like a mechanical bull.
We didn't get seafood in Danshui. Actully we've been a little cautious of seafood, since the last time we were here Mark got food poisoning and was out for half our trip.
Poor Mark, it seems he can't catch a break in Taiwan. Everytime he comes something happens that keeps him from enjoying what he loves best in Taiwan, the food. This time around, he's got some major sores in his mouth and tongue. And talking is pain as well. Its too bad we can't find western medications like ambesol to relieve some of the pain.

Alexis - The protest was kind of wimpy actually. When we drove past it on Sunday there was a lot more yelling and chanting and protesting. When we went the next day, it was like watching a variety show. There were performers and a tenor singer and there were video presentations playing on the big screen. The only action we saw was when the cops showed up to chase the illegal vendors away.

We went to an amazing Japanese buffet yesterday. It was only $15 USD and a lot better than buffets we've been to in the States. And SO much variety in food too! It was like everywhere you looked there was more food! The buffet was spread out all over the space. The best thing I had there was the tempura fried sandwiches and Japanese styled crab salad. And the fruit smoothie machines where so cool! Evan loved their cream puffs too! "Mum mum mum mum mum!"

We took Evan to a park yesterday that was having a fall flower festival. But Evan can't be bothered with things like beautiful flower displays. No, he was busy handing out pieces of bark from the garden and digging holes to China, well I guess more like to the US. Of all the great things we can see and do playing in the dirt will be his highlight of our trip.

I'm really surprised at how consistently Evan has gone to bed every night. No matter where we are or what we're doing, he'll fall asleep at around 8-9 every night and sleep all the way home and till the morning! It's made putting him to bed SO easy, but then I can't give him a bath, get him in pjs, or brush his teeth. I think because I can't brush his teeth, I've noticed that he's got bad breath too. I'll have to do that first thing in the morning.

Today was a more relaxed travel day. We first went to the doctor for them to check out Mark's sores in his mouth. He said that it was viral and that we should have gone in sooner cause it was going to get worse without meds. He give Mark some antibiotics and oral pain relievers. I hope it helps Mark to at least enjoy some food and to be able to speak.
We went over to Rose's (Mark's sister) apartment for lunch of really good potstickers. She's living at a really nice apartment in a great part of town. She's teaching English and taking Chinese classes. What a great life!
We took Evan to the zoo. He's usually pretty excited about seeing animals, but this time he was just ok at seeing them. I think because when we're in the car and he starts to get fussy I tell him to look at dogs/cats/birds/giraffes/bears/etc. outside the window to get him to quiet down whether they are really there or not. Maybe I've worn out that trick.
We met up with Mark's relatives for dinner at a nice restaurant. We had planned for Evan to take a nap before because we wanted him to be happy and well behaved at dinner, but he had other plans. He never did take a nap. Surprisingly Evan was the perfect little boy! He was all smiles and played with the relatives, ate well, sat well in his high chair (as resonably long as a little 1 yr old can be expected to sit still), hardly any crying or fussing, gave gifts to relatives, and even gave a round of kisses to anyone what wanted one! I was so surprised that he'd give kisses so willingly! Even I have to pursuade him to give me kisses and time it just right! What a cutie! I can't wait to see how the pictures Brian took turned out.

Well, got to go to bed. We've got to get up early to drive to HuaLien tomorrow. I hope Evan will do well on the 3 hour drive.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Day #3

Leroy: Yellow watermellon has a more mellow melon flavor and mostly same sweetness. I think I like red better, though. Yes, its not only hot here, it's SO humid! It drives me crazy that things don't get dry and when you get in bed the sheets feel like Evan's been drooling all over it.
I forgot to mention yesterday that we went to a government protest outside the train station. I forgot to take pictures. But its a bunch of people protesting the current president wanting him to resign because of allegations that he's been embezzling money from the government. Well, we were there for the t-shirts. hehehe. They were selling some creative shirts and Mark and Brian wanted to get a few as souvenirs. As we were walking around, a guy walked up to Evan and handed him a glow stick. I thought he was trying to push his wares on Evan for me to buy but he handed it to him and walked away. It's funny how even at a protest, everyone's there trying to make a buck selling anything from shirts to light up thumbs down necklaces. While Mark and Brian were looking at shirts, I saw people scattering in the distance. I saw that it was the Taiwan police and told Mark and Brian to wait on the shrits. The venders quickly cleared out of the area. So funny to see that even though the cops were right there, people were still coming up to us trying to sell us stuff without the cops seeing them. Its like Mark says, Taiwan is like a adhoc country, its like anything goes. Nothing goes to waste, and people will do anything to make money.
Today, we went to Taipei 101. One of the tallest building in the world and has the worlds fastest elevators. It's supposed to have pressurized elevators to minimize change in air pressure as you ride up, but my ears still popped. Perhaps not as bad as it could have been. There's a screen in the elevator that tells you stats of your trip up to the top. And it lookes like we maxed out at 700 meters per min. Not it's fastest as Brian tells me. We were ripped off! I want my money back. It's quite the view at the top. Oh, and not only do you have to pay to go to the top, you have to pay again to walk up the stairs to the open air deck! Oh well, it was good for the price.
We went to Danshui too. There's a carnival boardwalk where you play games for prizes and they sell ice cream cones almost 2 feet tall. I thought Mark was exaggerating before, but I found out that it's true. We walked around and watched the sunset. And we had sweet tofu with red beans from the same restaurant we went to last to last time.
more to come...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Day 2

Yesterday was fun. Mark's dad's friend took us around the northern coastline. And we visited with Evan's greatgrandma and  Mark's aunts and uncles. Evan didn't put on the best impression, I think because of a combination of things. Probably jet lag, being in the car a lot, and he's teething a molar. I'm sure that's gotta hurt. We hadn't seen anything in his gums till last night while he was in a crying fit. You can see in the back of his mouth a little white thing pokeing through. The tylenol didn't seem to do anything for him and I couldn't find the oragel I thought I packed. So the poor kid just had to deal with it. He fell asleep really easily, but kept waking up in the middle of the night. At 2am i heard him moving around in his peapod bed and the next thing I knew he was on our bed and did a belly flop on me. With his jet lag he was awake at 5am fussing and rolling all over the bed and us. Mark and I both got pleasent wake up kicks and punches from his flinging limbs.
We've been eating non-stop it seems. Just as we think we've recovered from the last food coma, we're fed again. We went to a wholesale fruit market yesterday, and now we have a few crates of papaya, yellow watermelon, and something that Mark calls an apple shaped like a pear that tastes like a sweet celery?
Well, we're on our way to church. And I think I heard something about going to a Japanese buffet today.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Oh the Humidity!

24 hours ago we were enjoying unsually beautiful 75 degree fall weather. Bright fall leaves and not a jacket in sight.
Now, we're in what feels like 100% humidity on a warm evening! The kind were you don't ever feel like you've dried off after a shower. The kind you experiance in Taiwan. Where we find ourselves today, with our friend Brian, who met up with us at the San Fransico leg of the trip.
I'm surprised at how wonderfully Evan has been over the 24 hour flight plan. He woke up with a bit of a fever and as the day went on it felt like he was a little baked potato. I'm glad I took the time to search out the baby tylenol and pack it. So, Evan slept for a lot of the flights.
Mark had 3 seat upgrades and we all got to enjoy business class treatment for the long flight from San Fran, to Nagoya, Japan, to Taipei Taiwan. We were even fortunate enough to get an empty seat between Mark and myself, so Evan enjoyed his own huge seat in business class! That probably added to his good behavior, since he had a huge seat to sit, play, eat, and sleep in. He was so cute sitting in his princely throne watching his own tv screen with headphones on! Too bad he wasn't feeling well. The flight attendents would keep coming by to see how wonderfully this little boy in business class was sitting so well.
What a HUGE difference it is to get business class service. And even more, business class service in Japan! The Japanese lady at the ticket counter came up to us to help us out even before we got near to the podium! In the States you'd expect to stand in long lines at the gate just to get a stroller tag. So, when she approched us I thought we were in trouble or something! While we were waiting, I took Evan to a little play area for kids. THAT was so nice to have next to the gate! Then Brian came up and said, we gotta go we're being summoned.... I thought, summoned? What did we do? Did we bring something in the country we shouldn't have? I walked back to where we were waiting, and the same lady that helped us at the ticket counter was waiting with Mark. I asked what's going on? Mark said we were personally being assisted to the plane before anyone else. Wow what service! She carried some of our stuff and walked us through the gate with our tickets, and took our stroller as we boarded. Now that I think of it... should we have tipped her?
We left DC at 8am and arrived in Taipei at 11am our time. What a day. When you walk to baggage claim in Taipei airport, there's a part where you walk pass their Center of Diesease counter. They have a heat detector on you as you walked by, and you see yourself in heat images on the screen. I didn't know what it was when we came before. I thought they were looking for weapons. But this time they stopped me and asked to take Evan's tempreture. Now I get it. It's to see if there are sick people coming in the country! Then I was worried that if Evan shows to be warmer than usual on their screen and they find out he's got a fever would they put us in quarenteen? Maybe that wouldn't be so bad... like free babysitting? jk. They took his temp, and he checked out ok by their standards. I guess that last dose of tylenol kicked in just in time!
We're staying with our friends from BYU, Ben and CC and their little girl Evelynn. And we're moching off someone's unsecure wireless connection.
On the agenda today: Breakfast, Taiwan National Place Museum, Chiang Kai Shek Memorial, and "food, food, food" as Mark tries to be a backseat blogger.  

Monday, October 30, 2006

Evan Falling Asleep on the Job

This was from awhile ago... but I forgot I never posted it.

Towel Tasting

Another one that I forgot I never posted. I just upload them and expected you to find them on google videos...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Christmas Ornament Swap

I thought this was a great idea. Sign up get a list of 8-10 people to mail your ornaments, make 8-10 crafty ornaments, mail out by Dec 1st, and get 8-10 in the mail from other crafty people around the world!
I just might try it if I have enough time.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Parler NON Francais!!!

Today we find ourselves in Gatineau, Quebec, struggling just to order a McPoulet from Mc Frickin Donalds!! Mark says, "I bet the cashier was thinking, you stupid Americans can't even order your own American food!" Well, who'd think that in Canada the menus at McDonalds would be all in French? Only in Quebec! We thought if we order by number it be easy. Nope. Then paying for it was a pain. "Visa, NOT accepted everywhere." And trying to get cash back was just as tough. We went from grocery stores to fast food resturants and gave up. We finally got to an ATM to get cash to pay tips at the Hilton so we wouldn't look cheap. We felt bad that we didn't have cash to tip so we parked our own car and moved our own luggage to avoid it. hehehe. That's the true sign of a cheapskate. Those valet guys outside were probably bad mouthing us in French while we walked away and we didn't even know it. We just say "Howdy!"

Mark's at a conference and Evan is taking a nap, so I'm sitting around in a bathrobe and slippers, eating bonbons. hehehe jk. It's SO cold here. Yesterday, after we checked into the Hilton, it started to snow. Its not cold enough to stick, but it was a pain to run around town in. We're definitely NOT ready for the cold. We were still enjoying 70 degree weather at home.

Yesterday, after we got off the plane and got our rental car (le Pontiac boat), we headed to the nearest church building for sacrament. We got there just in time, but couldn't find seats, so we thought we could just sit in the foyer and they'd come out with it. We thought wrong. We went to the hotel to check in and came back to the singles ward and poor Evan was at the end of his rope and Mark took him out in the foyer. Well, I guess they do things differently here in Canada, cause they again didn't come out into the hall with the sacrament! Poor Mark missed the sacrament twice.

On top of that, sacrament meeting was all messed up. They had a bunch of people go up and bear their testimonies before the sacrament which went on FOREVER. Then they had sacrement and speakers. But the bishop went up in the middle of the speakers to give the ward announcements. So weird.

At least, the Hilton is good. One of the better Hiltons I've been to. And tons of amenities too. Everything from spas, heated outdoor pools that you swim to from the pools indoors, bike rentals, boat dock, gardens, and of course the massive casino. I just wish it wasn't so wet and cold. And everyone here speaks to us in French too. :(

We're on the higher floors and have an amazing view of Quebec, the huge casino, and man-made lake. The casino is attached to the Hilton. I haven't ventured over there yet. I worry that if its anything like Las Vegas casinos that its smokey and loud, therefore not a place for Evan. But I have to say that I like the architecture. Not amusment park looking like a lot of the hotel/casinos on the strip. This one actually looks ultra modern and classy. Come to think of it, a lot of Ottawa's buildings are very modern. Very European modern. I like it. I guess that's expected since everyone here speaks French.

There's one thing about French influence that I can appreciate... their food! Its no ordinary chocolate on your pillow here at the Hilton Lac-Leamy. Its the most divine piece of chocolate I've ever tasted! And best of all it's no dainty piece of chocolate either. Creamy hard chocolate surround a hazelnut chocolate creme middle with little bits of something crispy mixed in. WOW. I'm gonna have to raid the housekeeping ladies' carts when they aren't looking!

As part of the hotel package we get buffet breakfasts every morning. It was just Evan and I at the buffet today, Mark didn't want to get up at 6:30 am today just to have time to eat before his meetings. The buffet was so good. Not at all good for you. hehehe except the fruit. Its a pretty nice resturant, and Evan behaved like a perfect little gentleman. Sitting in his high chair, eating with silverware, and even wiping his mouth with the napkin! (I thought I'd give him the napkin to see what he'd do with it. He first started to wipe the highchair tray with it. Then I showed him how I wipe my mouth with a napkin and then he was wiping his mouth the rest of the meal!)

Well, thats about it for now. I gotta figure out how to get to the art museums downtown from here without the rental.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

IKEA Commercial

Being a big 'contributor' to IKEA's sucess, I get a kick out of this commercial... not sure if it's the real deal or not, but it makes me laugh.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Glass Etching Nativity Scene

I've had a lot of people ask me for the instructions for this craft. So I'm gonna post it here for you all.

NEW!!!   Nativity in Vinyl  & 10% Off Coupon!
I'm excited to tell you that I've joined with JannieJo Creations to have the Glass Etching Nativity image cut out of vinyl for easier application just for you! Have it cut in regular vinyl to etch glass or have it cut in etched glass vinyl and skip the etching cream all together. Either way, it makes for a quick and easy project to add a simply beautiful decoration for the Christmas season to your home or make as a gift.
*ORDER NOW from JannieJo Creations for a limited time! Just for my wonderful crafters, include this coupon code MYNATIVITY2011 in the notes section when you purchase and receive 10% off your entire purchase! *
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I'm excited that what started out as a project I drew up to teach a couple ladies at church a simple craft for Christmas, has received a lot of attention!
So, I'm so happy to share my pattern on Etsy!
Happy Crafting Holidays!



*For a little more info on glass etching in general, I found this site to be quite helpful.

ingredients: mirror or piece of glass, 1 sheet 8.5 x 11 inch clear mailing label (Avery brand is the one I used. Any type that can go through a printer and withstand water works), Xacto knife or utility knife, masking tape, paint brush, glass cleaner, and Armour Etch (glass etching cream from local craft store)

CLEAN mirror with glass cleaner.
PRINT image onto 8.5 x 11 clear Avery mailing lable.
PLACE in the center of mirror and adhere one side of mailing lable with masking tape to create a hinge
PEEL backing off of adhesive image in parts, and APPLY it to the front of your mirror.
COVER remaining exposed portions of the mirror with masking tape.
CUT carefully with your X-acto knife the colored portions of the image. Peel the pieces of material out as you go. *If you make a mistake and cut outside of the lines, cover it with a piece of masking tape to prevent the glass etching cream from eating away at the mirror where you don't want it to. Don't worry, the knife will NOT damage the glass.
CLEAN the exposed parts of the mirror CAREFULLY with masking tape and glass cleaner to get any sticky residue off the mirror, being sure not to pull up any of the fine details you have just cut in the adhesive material. Residue left behind will prevent the glass etching cream from etching the mirror and distort your image.
BRUSH on a generous layer of glass etching cream over the exposed portions of the mirror. BE CAREFUL! Wear GLOVES to protect your hands and be sure you are in a WELL VENTILATED room.
WAIT 10 minutes. Wash off your brush.
WASH all the cream off your mirror. You can use your brush to help. If there are spots that didn't etch where it should, clean it again and reapply etch cream, wait 10 mins and wash again.
PEEL off the adhesive material to reveal your final image!
CLEAN the mirror one last time to get any left over sticky residue.

I had a calling at church as a Enrichment Committee member. And we had organized a "Super Saturday" of crafts for one of our activities. I volunteered to teach a class on glass etching a nativity scene on a piece of mirror. I hadn't done it since Junior High, but I figure, "how hard could it be?" I WAY underestimated the project and the time it would take. "Super Saturday" was from 8:30 to 12:30 and only 2 ladies finished. Wow. I had sat down to do an example piece, and it took me 2 hours. But obviously I didn't know how quick I was with an Xacto knife.
Well, overall, the class went well, and the ladies have been calling me one by one as they finish up their pieces at home to tell me how much they loved the end product. I'm so glad.
Teaching this class has been a great confidence booster I think. We've been in this area and our ward for over 2 years and I still feel like I don't really know that many people. And I couldn't make that initial connection to get to know people.
I made it a goal to get to know the sisters that had signed up for my class and to really extend myself to overcome whatever was holding me back. Fear perhaps. For me, it's like a mini-anxity attack at the thought of having to talk to someone, whether I knew them well or not. I never felt like this before.
I think since becoming a mom its gotten worse. I've kind of withdrawn into and been content my own little world. Which is the total opposit of what I should be doing as a new mom. I wouldn't want Evan to grow up to be a hermit, right?
Well, I'm glad to have set a goal to extend myself through this calling and reached it. And, also alittle glad to let this 'secret' out to float around in cyberspace.

Oh, and I found out on Sunday that I was released from Enrichment Committee and called to be a primary worker teaching the 7 and 8 yr olds! I think it will be fun, and a whole new challange. :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Baby Sign

To answer your question Jerin...
The book Evan was holding up in a previous post is an introductory book on how best to implement sign in your everyday interactions with baby. I got it for $8 @ Target. Its a pretty good book, but it should come with a preface that not all babies need to communicate with sign. I have a friend who's 10 month old boy already "talks" to her. He actually says words and probably doesn't need sign.
They recommend starting at 8 months, but not to expect seeing any reciprocation till 10 months or older. They really should emphasize 'older' cause it just made me frustrated and feel goofy for signing to a kid that doesn't seem to care. :)
I like this book because it emphasizes not just signing, but also speaking to your baby as you sign. That way he's learning both. My only concern was that Evan would get comfortable just signing and not attempt speaking. Right now, he doesn't actually speak words we'd understand, but I know what he's trying to say with the noises me makes and signs.
The book doesn't have as many sign examples as I'd like, but I guess I could just get a real sign language book for that. The funny thing is that Evan has made up his own signs and ways of communicating. And he's simplified signs for his own convenience. Like the sign for banana, the whole sign is one hand holds up an index finger, to represent the banana, and the other hand acts as if its peeling the banana. Evan just does the peeling part with his right hand. So, like baby talk is simplified speech, baby sign is simplified sign language!
What does Evan sign now? Food, drink, banana, thank you, claps when he's pleased with himself, pointing, Lucy to 'come', Lucy to 'stay', where & what, no no no don't touch, all done & all gone (eating), give, and pick him up.
Also, kids are pretty bright to figure out that handing you your keys or their shoes means they want to go out, or something like that, that isn't an official sign. Really the end point is that baby and parent have another way of communicating, other than crying and tantrums.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Santana and the mysterious skunk funk

A title of a children's book I'm working on. hehehe jk
Last week Mark and I had a date nite to see Santana in concert. I was worried that Evan's sitter was going to have a tough time with putting him to bed, but I've learned that shouldn't doubt a fellow mom. So, I was a little curious as to what kind of crowds Santana would draw. He is Mexican, so I wondered if there'd be a lot of Mexicans there. But really it was all the hippies and rockers of the classic rock era that were there. Yeah, OLD hippies are funny dancers. They reminded me of my old HS art teacher Mr. Stockton, who we always tried to trick into admiting to us that he was a hippie.
We had pretty good seats, but I wished we could have moved up closer since it wasn't a sold out show. I told Mark that if Santana played my fav song, Smooth, a duet he did with Rob Thomas from Matchbox20, that it would be a perfect night. And it was.
He also broke out some classics like Black Magic Women. My dad would have loved to hear that one live. I'd have to thank my dad for raising me with an appreciation for music, especially classic rock.
Los Lonely Boys were also playing that night. I was a bit dissapointed with their set choice. Mark said they were probably just testing out some of their other songs to see the crowds reaction. I wasn't too impressed. It just sounded like too much noise. Their saving grace was their final song, How Far is Heaven, when the crowd suddenly woke up and got on their feet.
The only downer was when Santana decided to climb on his soapbox and go on about the war in Iraq. He probably doesn't know how close he is to DC and there are very opposing views on that topic. He started out fine saying "whatever side of the fence you're on" that we should work towards peace. Then he goes on to offend quite a few people, who decided to leave the concert right there. I think what took me back was that people actually had the courage to get up and walk out. Kind of like when a movie is bad, and you decide to walk out. Carlos Santana is entitled to his opinions, but I paid for him to play his guitar that night.

Now, about that mysterious funky skunk. If anyone has any ideas on what it is, please let me know!
Every few weeks, mostly in the summer, but its happened in the winter as well, there's a strange lingering odor that not only permeates into our home, but lingers in the house days after. It smells like skunk, and trust me skunk is one nasty smell. It falls somewhere between rancid garbage and cow farm, but with the kick of vineger being-inhaled-through-the-nose. It gives me a headach just thinking about it. If you've ever drove past a dead skunk on the side of the road, you'd know it by its smell.
I thought this smell was from roadkill out on the main road because I've seen dead skunk there before. We live in a fairly preserved foresty area and roadkill is common. But come on, can one little rodent cause an entire neighborhood to reeeek? Maybe, there's a little skunk family that lives in the woods behind our house and has target practice at our house? or does our town have roadkill BBQs at all hours of the night? I hate it when I wake up to that smell in the middle of the night, especially pregnant! Gag me!

Moving on, a little Evan update:
The Eman DANCES! I'm not sure where he learned it, or when he's seen dancing, but that little guy has got his groove on! Its so random too. We put in the Fat Albert DVD, and when you're in the main menu there's some hip hop music playing in the background. Suddenly, we see Evan stand up from whatever he was doing, and started moving to the music!! Of course, I started freaking out in laughter at his silliness. And it was all over as soon as he saw us cheering him on. So far, we've only seen him dance when Fat Albert and his friends break into song during the movie, when Mark played Boyz to Men, and to an Old Navy commercial "get your fash on". Pretty random. But it's SO FUNNY to see him attempt to bop his head and move his body to the music!!! Click here and here!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Cookies, Cream, and Garlic

So while Andrew and Liew were here over the past weekend, we (ok, Liew and Beverly) made some Papaya Salad using papaya, carrots, fish sauce, garlic, tomatoes, limes, salt, and sugar. Tried to make some more during mid-week, since Andrew left the masher thingie here "for us to practice making it" (I've seen it made plenty of times but conveniently forget so someone else can make it, since they're all much better than me--come on, I know I'm not the only one who does this!).

Well, a few things I have noticed about storing this salad:
1) Whenever the fridge door is opened, the whole house smells like garlic
2) My Turkey Hill Cookies and Cream Ice Cream now tastes like garlic

Lessons Learned:
1) Eat all the papaya salad you make so you don't have any stinky leftovers -- come to think of it, while on my mission in Fresno, I don't think I saw any Cambodians putting leftover salad in the fridge. Of course, it's probably because I ate it all.
2) Even ten boxes of Arm and Hammer won't be able to defeat fish sauce.
3) If you need to store it, put it in a tightly sealed container, wrap it in the lead apron they give you for teeth xrays, and secure it like a SCIF.
4) If you're going to store the salad, eat all your ice cream so it doesn't end up tasting like garlic.
5) Or if you can't eat all the ice cream, you might as well throw it away and wait until Giant has their 1.99 sale on either Breyers, Edys (Dreyers), or Turkey Hill ice cream. And pick up some Super G String Cheese while you're at it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Home Improvement

So, you know when you walk in to Ikea thinking, "we're just going to get just a few things" and then you walk away with a new kitchen.... yeah, that's what happened. Well, it was a half impulse buy. I've wanted to solve some of our issues with our house for a while, and didn't know how we'd do it until then.
We added some needed storage and counter space to our little kitchen with more shelving and a cabinet. I love it! I can't even fill up the new storage. And I can't begin to say how much I love having more counter space! We really wanted to take that wall down and build a counter there but this was a cheaper fix to our problem.

Not only is pushing the restart button one of Evan's favorite things, but he loves pulling paper out of the printer, taking the squishy mouse armrest, pulling on power cords, and taking the mouse to play with the buttons. Plus, I like having the computer in the livingroom, but don't like the mess that can accumulate around the desk. So, I've been looking for a computer armoir that you could close the doors on and hide everything from Evan and guests. This was perfect! I was almost going to buy one from Walmart, but Mark convinced me that it wasn't sturdy enough. I was so excited to find this one that was hidden from view amoungst a sea of furniture. Its worked out so great. I higly recommend it! or something like it.

We don't stop there. I bought a chair years ago knowing I'd use it for when we had a baby. Now, Evan's a year old and that chair has kind of been passed down. We found a kids version of my chair, and in the middle of Ikea Evan climbed right in it with a big grin on his face. I guess Evan was staking his claim on it.
Now everyday when I give him his milk, he points to his chair, pulls the pillow off of it, hands me his towel to catch drips, climbs in, waits for me to put the towel around his neck and hand him his milk. so cute! I can't believe he does all that without any coaching or even me teaching him that.

What else is Evan doing these days? He actually likes brushing his teeth. I tell him its time to brush teeth and he'll drop everything he's doing, stick his tongue out, and start walking towards the stairs to go to his bathroom. Even if we're ever near his bathroom, he'll stick his tongue out ready to brush teeth!
If I need him to get ready to go out, I tell him to "say bye to Lucy". Then Lucy gets ready for us to leave by going to the kitchen to her kennel, where I'll put up the baby gate to lock her in the kitchen. Evan looks for his shoes and hands them to me. I pick up my bag and keys and he starts to wave bye as I pick him and head out the door. I never taught any of that to Evan or Lucy, but out of doing it over and over again they both have learned it!
As soon as I put Evan in his car seat he yawns! Even if he's not tired or never falls asleep during the drive. Habit I guess.
Evan likes to point at Lucy and tell her to "day". He's really trying to tell her to "stay". Lucy hasn't caught on yet to what he's saying, but we'll tell her to "stay" just so Evan feels like he did it.
Those two are so cute together! I can't imagine what life would be like with more kids like Evan.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hodge Podge

Just a sampling of my thoughts throughout the day.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar! International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Too bad it's only one day a year.

David Palmer (I think his real name is Dennis Haysbert, but he'll always be the Prez in my book) was on HOT 99.5 this morning in a radio interview, and the radio hosts had him say "'Cause you're in Allstate's Hands" or something like that. He came on to promote the new season of The Unit on CBS, which I have to admit, before he explained what the TV show was about, I had no idea what the show was about; when I watched it last season, it seemed like there were guys out in the field shooting people and blowing things up, and then the next scene would be of women living their normal lives. After DP explained that the show is about the lives of the Special Forces Officers and their wives and children, it made much more sense. The show seems much more interesting as well, now that DP said the stories are based on accounts from a retired SF officer. The season premiere was excellent this time, knowing the background! The coolest part was when DP (I don't know his real name in The Unit) was trying to get out of the place before the enemies capture him. He used his handy helium tank to inflate a mini blimp, tied a huge rope to it, attached the other end to himself, and as the rescue plane flew by, there was some type of doohickey attached to grab the blimp and carry DP away! Sweet ending.

I know, I tried to explain it to Bev. She didn't really get what was so cool about it. Just watch it.

**Oh, the real reason I was writing about DP and The Unit was this: The trademark DP voice heard in 24 and the Allstate commercials isn't heard as much on The Unit. So for those of you looking for a DP voice fix on The Unit, just letting you know, you may be disappointed. But it's good to see him in action. After watching him in 24, I knew he had a little SF Ops blood in him!**

DP joins the ranks of James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman who not only have distinguished voices, they also have distinguished looks. I was trying to think of others in this category, but could only think of those with "distinguishable" voices rather than distinguished. Jack Bauer's voice is distinguishable, but Sean Connery's is probably more distinguished (if anyone disagrees, you need to watch the SNL Celebrity Jeopardy skits).

Flyboys is another movie that might/might not be cool to see. Flying home from Arizona one day, the guy sitting next to me recommended a book called Flyboys, which reports of nine American Navy and Marine aviators who were shot down off the Japanese-held island of Chichi Jima in February 1945. (Of note, President George H.W. Bush was a young pilot who escaped capture--he didn't find out about the others until he reached presidency!) All of them were eventually executed by the Japanese; several of the guilty parties were tried and condemned as war criminals. The book keeps its eye on the aviators-growing up under a variety of conditions before the war, entering service, serving as the U. S. Navy's spearhead aboard the fast carriers, or facing captivity and death.

Well, the plot outline for Flyboys the movie is: "The adventures of the Lafayette Escadrille, young Americans who volunteered for the French military before the U.S. entered World War I, and became the country's first fighter pilots."

Poop. Stupid "Inspired by a True Story"/same name, different story movies!!

Best thing on Jay Leno's headlines last night: Super G String Cheese. It's funnier when you shop at the store he's talking about! We have a Giant supermarket in VA suburbs probably every mile you drive. They are the bringers of Super G products...including string cheese...Super G String Cheese! You know, a dash in between would make things worse!

I'm going to have to buy one and put it online.

Why are the Washington Nationals doing well now that they are eliminated from the postseason?

And why am I complaining? Tickets are half-price now that the end of the season really doesn't matter! As low as $3 a ticket--and every seat in RFK Stadium is great...except the one behind the foul pole (I will never buy another ticket from eBay again!).

Since Evan loved playing in the rocks on the beach at Portland, everytime he sees rocks, he wants to pick them up...even if it means grabbing mud and other junk at the same time! The worst: gravel lots. The funniest: those sidewalks with bumpy rocks cemented into them.

Time for bed.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Don't know what you've got till its gone

So our microwave just keeled over and died yesterday. Not sure why. I used it to warm Evan's last bottle and when I came home from visiting teaching, I noticed the clock was out and there was an eerie silence in the kitchen. Could there be foul play involved?

Well, I'm going to have to leave this one unsolved, cause I'm taking it back to Costco asap!

I can't believe how difficult my life is without a microwave! I know it sounds ridiculous. People have lived thousands of years without microwaves!
Ok, I know, I just need to make a little more effort to take a pan out and reheat food, or start defrosting meat for dinner now, or use the bottle warmer for Evan's bottles. But its these little inconvenses that make me want to say "forget it! Its too much work!"

Evan and I are going to hit up the sample tables at Costco for lunch.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mark Chang on Nickelodeon

As it turns out there's a character on The Fairly Odd Parents, a cartoon on Nickelodeon, that's named Mark Chang. He's an alien prince, friend of the main character Timmy, from the planet Yugopotamia and has strikingly similar characteristics as our real life Mark Chang. The alien believes anything horrible is good; our Mark likes to play "yes-is-no,-and-no-is-yes" day just to tease me. The alien speaks with a slight surfer accent and puts the wrong emphases on the wrong syllable; our Mark likes to speak in a FOB accent and also likes to put the wrong emPHAses on the wrong sylLAble also to tease me. The alien Mark celebrates a strange holiday named F.L.A.R.G. in which each letter stands for a daily activity. F for farting, L is for lying, A is for amnesia, R is for ranksgiving (in which Mark Chang eats Earth's most delicious foods and throws up on his "gracious host" Timmy), and G stands for goodbye. Our Mark loves to make up acronyms for anything and everything, and would probably be making up his own meaning of FLARG right now.
I could go on and on... There's just such a striking resemblance!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What happens in Maine stays in Maine

I didn't know what to expect from our trip to Maine. Honestly, I didn't know the Maine coastline would be so beautiful. And the weather worked out so well for us! There was rain, but it never rained when we were out and about.
Liew, Andrew, and Andersen were our traveling companions, and Andrew's parent's were wonderful hosts. Grandma Tang even volunteered to take care of Andersen and Evan while we went siteseeing. I was worried that Evan would give her a hard time because he's a bit tough to put down to sleep. But she said naps were no problem, just bed time was tough. Evan ended up staying up until we came home.
Grandma Tang gave me the analogy of how little chicks look for the mother hen when it gets dark out. Because Evan is easy to put down for naps but difficult at night, this could be the reason why. He just needs to know we're around at night. It makes sense.
Best of all is that Grandma Tang helped me keep Evan's schedule. So now that we're home he's still good at going to naps and bed! No need to work for a week to get him back on schedule. Whoo hooo!
We went shopping in the coolest outlet around. It looks like an old colonial town, but there were all the outlet stores you'd ever want. Plus being in Maine, there were a lot more of the outdoorsie type stores.
We visited two lighthouses, Portland Head Light and Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. Evan was so upset to leave the beach at Portland Head Light, that he actually put up a fit when I picked him up! That was a first. He's trying to assert more of his independence... it's all downhill from here.

We walked a mile on a rock wall to get to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. That was a lot longer walk than it looks like. I never felt so out of shape! At half way I was telling Mark that the lighthouse views better be worth it! Good thing it was or Mark would have to carry me the mile walk back.
We visited the quaint little port towns of Bar Harbor and Camden. Liew and I spotted a crafts fair and had to make a deal with the guys that if they came with us they'd get ice cream afterwards. As most of these crafts fairs go, there's the strange stalls selling metal springs shaped and painted into animals. But there were some stalls with some really cool stuff. Mark liked the antique combination lock mailboxes they turned into mailboxes. Too bad antiques are a bit pricey.
Best of all, we were able to see Andersen get blessed on Sunday! I made sure to bring a camera but too bad I forgot to actually use it to take pictures of cute little Andersen in his white outfit that Liew sewed. sheeesh.
And spending time chatting, eating, and playing games with Andrew's parents, Grandma and Grandpa Tang, was SO much fun! We'd met them many times before, but it was so nice to actually get to know them. They were the best hosts! Grandma Tang went as far as to borrow a pack-n-play for Evan to sleep in, and even knew to buy whole milk for Evan to drink! It was a true vacation to have those things taken cared of. Especially, to have Andrew's parents take care of Andersen and Evan for us while we toured Maine. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Tang!
Overall, it was a great trip. The only bad experience was when Liew and I decided to watch a movie on the rental's DVD player and we both got SO car sick. It ended up that only Mark and Andrew put that DVD player to use.
Here are more pics from our trip.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Evan Update

Just watching Evan is all the entertainment we'll ever need. It blows me away at what he understands. I try asking him to do things that I think are out of his understanding, and he always seems to comprehend it or part of it.
So what is he doing these days?
I taught him to hold up his index finger when I asked him "How old are you, Evan?" "One!!!"
He folds his arms and sometimes bows his head when he thinks its time to eat. I could be moving things around on the dinning table and he'll fold his arms!
He sits patiently on a chair outside the kitchen baby gate waiting for his milk. I taught him to sign "drink" while we waited for the microwave. One day he walked up to the kitchen baby gate when I was in the kitchen and he signed it to me without any coaching. It's so nice to know what he wants now!
He loves doing hand signs to nursery rhymes, and we're working on getting him to put his hands together for 'itsy bitsy spider". He just wiggles his fingers with his hands apart. Just cute.
I put new shoes on him and it was like he knew they were new and was happy to try them on. He walked around the living room for 20mins non-stop. He'd walk to a corner and turn around really quick and head off to another corner! So silly!
He loves to blow raspberries on Mark.
He'll collect toys and put them in the basket of his tricycle and hop on his bike and wait there until you push him around the livingroom on it. The other day I pushed him on the bike into Mark lying on the ground. Mark reacted silly, and Evan just erupted into laughter!
He'll start waving "bye bye" if you walk to the door with keys in your hand. And sometimes he'll want you to pick him up to take him with you.
His new thing is stacking blocks and clapping his hands when he's done. Then he knocks them over and claps some more.
On some days he just doesn't like anything on our couches and he will go around pulling all the pillows off the couches.
He loves to talk. A lot and loud.He still loves to take my cell phone when Mark's on speaker phone and walk around the house talking to daddy.

There's one thing that's been worrying me. He's hitting his head on things lately. Like the walls, the stairs, the ground, the couch, and on his toys. He'll even hit his face and head with is own hands. I've read up on it, and it's supposed to be normal, its a self soothing thing... but how's it soothing if he cries cause he just smacked his own face with his hands? Maybe there's nothing wrong with him, and maybe he's imitating behavior he's seen somewhere. I don't know...

We've finally got him back on schedule with sleeping. He'll go to bed at 9 and wake up at 8 or 9 and take naps at 12 and 4. It took a lot longer than before to get him to sleep on schedule. Most likely because he's so much more mobile and taking time out for sleep isn't on the top of his list. Now we're going to Boston and Maine for Labor Day weekend, and I have a feeling we're going to have a lot of work to do when we get back.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

your own pollock

Now, you can create your own Jackson Pollock masterpiece without the mess! *hint: click to change colors. Happy Painting!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

before & after

Oct 2005
Aug 2006

*Oct picture taken by Brian

Monday, August 14, 2006

Virtual Earth + Real Estate = The Best Website EVER

You've got to check out Look up your house value if you have one, and find out comparable prices in your neighborhood. If you're thinking about moving, you can check out where the more affordable houses are in potential areas of interest.

...Or check out your the value of your friends' houses to see how much money they have :) Yep, you know it, Jerin!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Evening Parade at the Marine Barracks

A beautiful evening to watch "The President's Own" and "The Commandant's Own" in the Evening Parade at the Marine Barracks. Can't forget the Silent Drill Platoon, with their mad rifle throwing skillz. Those things are 10.5 pounds each! How do you practice for that?! Watching the Marines was like watching It's a Small World at Disneyland--so mechanical and synchronized. And punctual. Marines always start on time, end on time. Exactly 8:45 start, 10:00 end. Amazing. Wish I could say that about the other components! I kid, I kid.

Friday, August 11, 2006

What the Heo!?

First Season "Last Comic Standing" Winner Dat Phan. He's frickin hilarious!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Button Happy

Sorry for the delay in updating... even Jerin was heckling me about it. So I started writing this really long update, and who comes along to press the bright green power button on the cpu? yep. Its his next favorite button to press besides the dvd drive. He likes the dvd drive because you can put things in it and pull yourself up with it from a sitting to standing position. The masking tape I put on it was a bit of a deterrent, but when he's determined, its as good as a wet noodle.

It's SO hot outside. DC has even declared it a code Red with ozone alert because of the poor air quality. It may be 100 degrees but with the humidity the heat index is saying it feels like 110 degrees. eckh... There's an excessive heat warning till 6pm tonight. So they're handing out free water and free bus rides all over the place. Yesssss, I feel SO much better...

Mark's sister Rose spent part of the weekend with us. It was nice to have her here so Evan could have someone else to play with and I'm sure Lucy loved the extra pampering attention. I took Rose downtown to catch the chinatown bus back to NY. That was the first time its ever taken me only 20 mins to get into DC! I don't make it downtown too often because of traffic, so I figured I'd spend some time there. I didn't know it was going to get so hot, so I took Evan to the National Museum of American Art for some culture and AC. He's in a new stage where he likes to test out the noises he can make with his voice. His latest noise, sounds very much like a police siren. Lets just say I got tired of getting looks.
Next stop, the zoo. I figured Evan was old enough to start appreciating the animals at the zoo. He was so cute! Every time he saw an animal he'd say "da!" or "aah!" That started out being his imitation of the whimpering Lucy does, then it evolved to the noises he'd make for anything on four legs. He especially got excited seeing animals that moved around a lot, made noises, and went up close to him. Its so much fun to see him excited about new things. We had a good time even though we both were so hot and sweating bullets and had to pay $16 for parking!

Andrew Liew and Andersen stopped by for a visit as well on their way to Baltimore. It was so good to finally see and hold little Andersen! I was so jealous that Mark was there when Andersen was just a few hours old.
They got Evan this really cute blue robe for his birthday. I was so busy admiring how cute it was I nearly missed seeing that Liew had even embroidered Evan's name on it! They also gave me a turtle! And not just any turtle. Its one that's solar powered and lights up at night! hehehe ok so its not a real turtle. Its meant to light up your yard, but I thought it was too cool to put outside with the dog poop. So its sitting on the table in my pink room. (the pink room is the room that was painted bright pink by the previous owners, but I've kept it pink cause its my crafty room. Mark thinks its hideous and always tries to convince me to repaint it.)

Our New Pet: One thing I don't like about Virginia is the HUGE bugs here, and the mass quantities there are. They all seem to find there way into our house every summer. This is one of them. We had to go online to find out it's a wheel bug. We found out first had that it likes to eat blood when it killed and ate the other bugs in the jar! Or perhaps it was so hungry it resorted to eating the other bugs?
In our basement we've caught creatures that look like huge spiders, about the size of your thumb, but jump about 3 ft in the air when you try to squish them. Everyday, guaranteed, we come across silverfish, ants, and flies. There's little bugs that look like grains of sand that run around our sinks. And there are the daddy long leg spiders that try to spin webs in the worst locations. They're not too smart, but I sometimes leave them alone if they're in a hard to reach place hoping they'll eat the other bugs. Anyway, I've learned to toughen up and deal with them, but the one thing that I can't deal with are ticks. I've found them on Lucy, on me, and even on Evan. That was the last straw because ticks can carry Lyme disease. So I spent an afternoon laying pesticide granules all around our house and covering every inch of our lawn. I hope it works. Any other ideas? I'm SO open to them.

In Evan News:
He said his first cuss word the other day. Mark was sitting on the stairs eating a plum, Evan saw it and came waddling over. "MUM! Mum mum mum mum!" Sorry not for Evans, and Mark quickly finished it and popped it in his mouth. Evan was so let down after anticipating food. "Aaaahhhhh, Dam!" I heard it all the way from the kitchen. "WHAT did you say?!" We were rolling in laughter, but poor Evan still had a look of disappointment on his face. "Mum!"
We think it was a cross of him saying "da" (his way of saying dad) and "mum". Well, glad it was just a fluke and not a word he likes to repeat.
Our friend's kid, Abe, used to say "see it!" all the times he saw something he recognized. You can understand that a little 1.5 yr isn't going to enunciate. So little Abe just slurred it out as "sheit!" Repeating it anywhere, anytime. You can't help but laugh.

We also 'celebrated' Evan's first birthday again. We went back to watch the video from NY of him going at his vegan cake and the video was all screwed up. We taped over an old tape and something went wrong and we got big horizontal stripes of death of the old and new video and mixed audio on the screen! So we have a video of cute little Evan eating his first cake to strobe lights, to disco bowling, and to the not so cute tune of the Humpy Dance.
So for our own peace of mind, we redeemed our "free birthday cake" coupon from Safeway and staged the whole thing over again.

Meanwhile, back on the Chang Ranch... We painted our living room this Sat. We've been going back and forth on colors since we moved in the place 2 yrs ago! I wanted a color that was sophisticated and modern but not too out there. We'd like it to help up the visual value of the house when we decide to sell. So, its light french grey. It actually turned out more blue than gray, and I was a bit disappointed, but we finished painting anyway. Now its starting to grow on me. We painted 3 walls and we thought about doing something dramatic and different on the fourth wall to transition to the dinning room. I'm thinking maybe some really mod wall paper. Or big square panels of shellacked wood or really textured silk fabric. For a while I really wanted to try decoupaging a wall with a couple shades of copper colored pieces of paper because of the great shine and texture it would create. Anyone with other ideas? Winner gets an all expense paid stay at the Chang Hotel to admire their creation! ;)

I guess that's about it for now. We have a busy Monday ahead of us. Evan's got a play date with George Washington University, where they want to hook him up to machines and see how he responds. :) I wonder if these tests are really a ploy to determine if he's up to par to be admitted to GWU when he's older? The new early admission registration, your DNA sample please.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Finally playing catch up

I didn't realize that we were months behind on updating pictures here. We posted a few here and there, but I forgot to upload them to our photogallery. I guess its old news now, but for anyone still interested here they are!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

America's Got Talent

Jerin & Wami, remember these guys from the chinese new year festival at the Sandy convention center? We saw Ming Na Wen from ER there too... well I guess they're still around, and dropped a member and are on Regis's show America's Got Talent. I was just flipping channels and thought that name sounded familiar. Too bad they're still singing other people's songs and they don't sound any better since 2002. But I'll still cheer for them. Asian pride.

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Birthday at the Circus

Yummy, strawberry cheese cake! Ask me what I imagined myself at 26, and I'll tell you I never saw myself past 21! hmmm, I guess it feels like its all downhill from here to 30. And 30 feels like REAL adulthood.
Reflecting back on the past year, I'm just glad to see that I've survived all those sleepless nights and diaper changes and lasted a year of breastfeeding. It feels good. A boost of confidence to keep going and maybe do it again.

Mark got tickets to go see Cirque du Soleil: Delirium for my birthday. Very cool show. Though it turned out to be more concert than acrobatic feats than we thought. I guess we should have checked out the site first to know what to expect! oh well it was still a good show. And big thanks again to Crystal for taking care of Evan for us while we were at the show!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

NY 2006

Evan and I have been to Seattle, LA, and NY all in one month! wow!
well, here's pics from the NY portion of our trips.

included are pics from Evan's vegan first birthday party & Chang wedding reception in Philly.

more to come... but I'm not making any guarantees.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Never Lose Track of Baby Again!

Evan on house arrest with an ankle braclet after being caught doing some insider trading.

What's this on Evan's ankle you ask? No, its not me being silly and putting a watch on Evan's leg. Though it does have the time 5:00 permentantly affixed to its face, it's actaully an "actigraph", much like a pedometer. The actigraph tracks Evan's movents and activity levels while he wears it over a weeks time. At the same time I'm charting when he is in motion that is controlled by an outside force, i.e. when he is in a vehicle or when I'm carrying him. For the next two weeks I am also tracking his sleep patterns. How long he sleeps, how he's put to sleep, how long it takes hime to fall asleep, etc. And this evening and tomorrow evening Evan is being filmed while he sleeps at night. There's a video camera set up over his crib that takes a time laps video (compresses an nights sleep into a 1/2 hour video) of how he sleeps at night. Pretty cool stuff!
What is all this research and experimentation for? If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll remember an old post about Evan being part of a study put on by George Washington University called the "Parent-Child Health Project" about how depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental health disorders are pass on from one generation to the next. A lot of the information they've gathered are about how Evan responds to certain items or sounds, what skills he's developed and when. And now this new one over his activity levels and sleep. They even interviewed Mark and I about our history, fears, and levels of anxiety we feel in our fears.
Well, anyway, its been great to be apart of the study and to see Evan be so cooperative with a watch on his ankle for a week.

BTW, so this is my *real* haircut...the last one was Photoshopped to see what I would look like w/short hair. Glad you guys liked it! I decided at the last min to highlight my hair too, but instead of brown it looks more red. Oh well. I got it cut at a place in Edmonds, WA called HK Hair Center next to Ranch 99. What do you think, do I look like a fob? hahaha

Why the sudden hair change? I needed something new, and it was Lynns doing. She had this link on her blog. Thanks Lynn, I spent way too much time there.

Glad I got a picture of it, cause I'll never get it to look the way the salon styled it again!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

New Kid on the Block

So after an hour of running around looking for the Tang family in the wrong hospital (who puts hospitals within five miles of each other, anyway?), compounded by the fact that I had run out of batteries on my cell phone (so I couldn't call them, and they thought I had died), I was finally able to see Liew and Andrew's new addition to their family: Andersen. Such a cute little man, Evan's going to have so much fun with him! For more pictures and details, click on Liew and Andrew's Blog on the right!