Saturday, May 31, 2008

Trial by Liquids

As an introduction to the chinese culture, former mission companions often heard me say that eating is a celebration of life and life needs to be celebrated at least 3 times a day. That has been one of my axioms for a long time, and Kent can attest to the variety I try to have in every meal. Since having my soft tissue graft surgery, I'm unable to 'celebrate' as I once did. Apparently I've been grinding my teeth so badly at night that the gums have receeded on 5 of my teeth, leaving much of the root exposed. The periodontist took tissue from my hard palate and then stitched it in place of where the gum line should be. Needless to say, the roof of my mouth hurts as well as my gums. Hence the cold liquid diet ... which leaves one never feeling satiated. Unfortunately most of the cold 'liquids' are sweet and while I love eating sweets, having 24-7 is extremely unappealing. Ice cream, my greatest weakness, doesn't come near to giving me the satifaction it once did. Instead, I morosely take it while gazing hungarily at my son's Cheerios! Who'd have thought Cheerios could be that appealing! I've resorted to cooking French onion soup, creamed spinach and asparagus soup and simply having it cold. At least it isn't sweet!

The saddest part is that on June 2 is Isaac's birthday. We chose to bake a carrot cake recipe (with crushed pineapple and cream cheese icing) to celebrate. I cannot even indulge in a single bite! La sigh ... this too shall pass - in 3 weeks!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Free at Last - in a Manner of Speaking

Freedom at last!!!! How does one begin to describe the love-hate relationship of breastfeeding? On the one hand, your body has already played 'host' for nine months to another being and then for a year after you become the 'snack bar', pacifier and chew toy. On the other hand, there were the wonders of life with in, the joys of physically nurturing another being and the sweet quiet moments of cuddling intimately as only a mother and child can. While a part of me mourns the loss of it, a greater part cannot help do a 'Mary Poppins' leap for joy! My son is growing up and will be a year old in 5 days. His dependance on me lessens as time goes and I take joy in his growth and quietly hold to the memories of his younger days. In the meantime I celebrate my small measure of freedom - no more aches, lumps, blisters and leaks ... until the next one!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Finale and Farewells

Now that I've had a chance to recover from the trip ... here are the remaining pictures. Saturday was a busy day, we went to a park and rode on the carousel and a train. Everything was fun until things started moving. My son is not what you call a cuddly child, but he clung to me for the remainder of the day!

Afterwards we went to the butterfly gardens, an amazing exhibt of live butterflies all around you. If you were careful enough to walk and move slowly, they'd land on you and tickle you with their proboscis searching for the nectar. I guess I must have been sweet!

Exhausted from all the stimulus, Isaac slept through dim sum ... which is rather amazing considering the appetite he displayed on this trip. We then took a short trip around DC to see the major sights.

The White House ...

The fairly recent World War 2 Memorial

And of course the Washington Monument.

We had an amazing time and Isaac loved having playmates. Abbey was the consummate host, as evidenced by my weight gain of 5 lbs and Da was our own private photographer. (Incredible pictures ... I even like how I look in them!) Thanks you guys ... we must do this again, but next time with Kent.

Someone's tired and wants to go home!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Chinese Picnic

Chinese don't do sandwiches ... it's not considered a proper lunch, so .... the alternative is to go to Costco and get a whole cooked chicken with bread and veggies too. Mind you, we didn't have any utensils so that we're back to the 'medieval' way of eating. I suppose it wasn't very 'proper' in a British sense ... but it sure was good.

We played at a huge park again, everything from see-saws to swings. Isaac had a blast, but he was so worn out near the end. He even met a 'girlfriend' (Catherine) who kept asking if the cute baby wanted to play with her.

Last night the boys accompanied us to Enrichment since Da had a business dinner. Prior to it we stopped by the lake to feed the geese. Nasty little birds! They chase you down for food when they think you haven't fed them enough - something just out of Alfred Hitchcock movie. The two older ones helped to make dumplings and wontons. Isaac kept complaining that Mama didn't feed him fast enough ... my only reply was to say if he didn't make it, he couldn't complain about ;0)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ahhhhh ... Fresh, Clean, Maryland Air

Maryland is gorgeous! I love the trees everywhere and the green, green ... GREEN!!! Having been in AZ and NM for the last few years, I'd forgotten what a 'proper' shade of green looks like! This morning we went to the park to play that's only 5mins from Auntie Abbey's home. We played on the slide, smelled flowers, chased bubbles, etc. Simple clean fun!

Our little monkey!

Clayton is such a good 'brother', he's playing peek-a-boo with Isaac.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Strawberry Wine

The true secret to making strawberry wine is in 3 main ingredients: hungry little boys, old clothes and a great big field of strawberries. Instruction: Simply let the boys have at it! This morning we went to a farm to pick our own fresh strawberries. We were one of the few first people to come and it was strawberries as far as the eye could see. Isaac was a little dubious at first, after all, he's never tasted fresh strawberries before, but after his first bite it was evident by the color of his face and clothes what he thought of it.

The first bites of strawberries

Clayton and Isaac, expounding and pondering upon the sweet nature of these fresh strawberries.

For those who are concerned, the red around Isaac are strawberries stains, not an allergy reaction. If you look carefully, you can even see it on his forhead!

Afterwards we went to a sushi buffet place ... Mama's turn to be in heaven! I ate and ate and ate .... AND ATE!!!! While Isaac didn't get to sample the authentic raw sushi, he enjoyed everything else. It made for a very busy morning. Tonight Auntie Abbey has planned a big meal with missionaries and friends ... I only hope I'll have room to eat again by then.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Alive and Well in Maryland

Isaac and I made it safely and 'sanely' to Maryland. For whatever reason, the little tyke wouldn't sleep the night before so I was more than a little worried about the 4 hr flight but it wasn't too bad. At one point he dropped his binkie and it rolled up the aisle and I could just envision us asking the pilot to make an announcment "looking for a green binkie - for the child's sake and ours". Isaac loves his two older 'brothers' - Brennan and Clayton, and never fails to mimic them. That resulted in a rather wet jacket from their 'spitting'/singing contest on the way to the Washington DC temple.

Note the rather 'stoned' expression on Isaac's face due to sleep deprivation.

We got some good sleep that night and on Tuesday afternoon we went to a "Mommy and Me" event to meet Elmo and read some books at the library.

Isaac isn't too sure about this big red guy.

Cool Dude on a bike!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Maryland, Mouth, Mesa and Moving - In that Order

So, we have a crazy schedule coming up, Kent leaves for a conference to CA on Tues, so he bought me a ticket to Maryland to visit with an old roommate. (Yippeee!) We leave Monday, we get back Saturday. Then May 29 I have a soft tissue graft surgery for my mouth ... if you want the gritty nasty details I'll be sure to enlighten all who are daring enough to hear. (or who just want to know that someone else can whine worse than they) This is a rather drawn out thing, with follow up appointments on June 5, 12 and 26 and lots of cold liquid food. Chinese food doesn't go well up through a straw ... any HEALTHY AND TASTY suggestions would be nice otherwise I'm left with ice cream, yogurt and shakes. (anyone hearing the pounds just adding up) Isaac's birthday is the 2nd of June, and mine is the 22nd of June ... by which I hope to be eating normal foods again. (.... pleeeeease let me be eating, not drinking!) We leave for Mesa and Phoenix June 28 until July 6. We then rent the truck to move July 8 and hopefully arrive in Houston July 13. Kent starts his residency July 21. Maryland, my mouth, Mesa and moving ... we need a MIRACLE! ;0)

PS. Weird random thought: if we read to know we're not alone, then do we write to know we exist? ... is there a point to this post? Hmmmmmmmmm

Friday, May 16, 2008

The 'Wilds' of the Playground

Feeling a little bored with nothing to do, I decided to take Isaac to the park to play. We scoped out a few but hit the perfect one ... swings, slides, sand and shade - playground heaven! He loved watching all the other children and never failed to give them a friendly wave hello. He was especially keen on the kids with bikes - wow can they move fast! With his 'safari' Houston Zoo hat, he was ready to explore the wilds. Every twig, leave, and flower was not left unturned. Even a poor unsuspecting ladybug had a moment to fear for it's small life, thankfully Mama rescued it. After much exploring, it was evident that Isaac has a strong dislike to feeling grass with his feet ... a little too prickly I guess, he was meticulous in his crawling to use only his knees and hands. We went further afield and he took his first swing ride, rode a horsey, and went down slides. Alas, we ran out of time to play in the sand, but perhaps another day.

Gotta love those chubby feet curled up away from the grass.

"Hey world, look at me!"

"Wow, so many other little people!"

Botany class 101 - clover flowers.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Isaac had a few friends come visiting this morning. My visiting teaching companion, Tiffany Law need to drop the kids off for an appointment this morning and I'd been trying to prep Isaac for the visit. It was a mixed bag of emotions for him, one moment, elation at some other 'little people' being around, the next, jealousy ... "Mama's holding another baby!?" I wonder what he'll do when we have another child! All in all I think he had fun. The girls sure like Sunshine, and for once Sunshine was pleased to be fed carrots and petted lovingly.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

In the Buff

I guess Isaac's pants are a little long and as he steps he tends to step so as to pull the pant leg down further and further. The result ... a clear shot of his Elmo diapers. I think I must have put his pants back on him at least 3 times today! Check out that darling chubby thigh! What is it about babies that makes their being bald and chubby cute when their in the buff and utterly disgusting when your older?!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Alpha Rabbit

There are some things I think that are inherent in human nature - call it greed, survival of the fittest, whatever ... my son clearly displayed this the other day. When we bring Sunshine (the rabbit) in to play, Isaac typically smiles and crawls after her. I've even seen them play a game of tag where she hops just out of reach. At times he's not too gentle with her, but Sunshine tolerates it well and when she's had enough she runs and hides. We often eat afternoon snacks where inevitably, the rabbit sniffs out the sweets and comes begging so we throw her a animal cracker or two.

Lately Isaac's been a little perturbed each time I've given her a cracker but yesterday he responded with a clear gesture. I'd given him his share of the snack and turned to hand one to the rabbit. Isaac grabbed at my hand to try and take the cracker. When he didn't succeed, he lunged at the rabbit, grabbed her ears and pulled her head away from the cracker. With his other hand, he took the half-eaten cracker and promptly stuffed it into his mouth. Maybe he's defining his territory or dominance. As long as he doesn't do it with pee, I guess I'm okay!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Many 'Firsts'

So while we were on the trip, Isaac had many 'firsts'. Since I didn't have the option of bringing the homemade baby food, he pretty much ate off our plates. You should have seen the look of ecstasy as he tasted his first bit of dim sum .... "I've been missing this all my life!!!???" For those who don't know, dim sum is a Cantonese style of brunch/teatime. Great food that is mostly steamed in bamboo steamers. Kent is definately converted, when I asked what he wanted to eat on the trip, it was a resounding, "Dim Sum" so we ate it twice! He's what I like to call a true 'egg' - white on the outside, but yellow at heart. Here's what dim sum can look like.

I've been trying to keep sweets at a minimum for Isaac in the hopes he'll take to more natural sugars in fruits, etc. Unfortunately we went to a resturant that had newly opened in Houston. The owner was eager to please his customers and brought Isaac a 'Dum Dum'. I protested giving it to him, but the man unwrapped the sucker and plugged my son in. Isaac literally squealed with delight. If you can envision a dog holding tight to his chew toy no matter how you tug at it, that was Isaac. He didn't quite get the idea of sucking up the 'juice' and so pink dribble soon ran out of his mouth everywhere. He kept trying to bit the thing and got more frustrated as he went till he was nearly in hysterics. Kent took him to the bathroom to clean up and I quickly hid the offending object. I wish we'd been able to get a picture beforehand. So much for his first sucker.

Oh, a note about the previous post - Kent likes to edit my posts since I tend to type quickly and have a lot of errors. He said I sounded more 'chinese' in the last one, (forgetting my 's', etc) and wonders if it's the effect of speaking Cantonese again!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


We are back!!! What a trip it was! Kent was a little stressed, given the reaction I had to moving to Albuquerque, we both were worried about how I'd respond to Houston ... but's it's a winner!!! There's something about going to a place where I can have good dim sum and hear Cantonese spoken around me. The humidity felt great for my skin and it was just so incredibly green! I haven't seen that much green since I served my mission in Vancouver. The cost of living is cheaper in every way from Albuquerque and our apartment is posh!! You can do all the upgrades (wood floors, stainless steel appliances, etc) but just the basic is beautiful. They even have a community 'theater room' that has stadium seating! There are multiple swimming pools (including a kiddie pool) in the community and it's a few minutes walk to the lightrail for Kent to get dropped off in front of his hospital. We'll be just a few miles from the museum district ... an amazing area with 10 or so different museums. The children's museum was a big hit with us and Isaac. It was a wonderland of toys and objects made safe for children to explore. They even had a make-believe studio for kids to pretend to be on TV, grocery stores with little fake foods and cash registers, a cow to milk, etc. Something for every age.

This area was a special play area for children under 2 years.

Isaac kept staring up at the ribbons that they'd tied to the fan. He'd nearly fall over each time he gaped up at the ceiling.

The zoo is very close by and Isaac had a blast in the children's area, playing in teh eagle nest and touching the 'frogs, crabs, dolphins and mice'.

Here we're gazing at the goats. Mama's a little cautious of them since I had a scarring experience with them when I was a child. (goat attack me and my bag of popcorn, eating all of it - the bag included. I swear they stampeed me!) So we're observing for the moment before we go in for a face to face experience.

Herman park which host concert events every weekend for the spring and summer month - free of charge! (what more can an asian ask for?) We went for two nights and even danced together to latin music with Isaac laughing and hanging on. Oh, and Chinatown .... I had to stop myself from buying everything I've been missing for the last year!