not sorry

Friday, June 20, 2014

i want to say that i have been too pregnant to blog lately. which is partially true. that and it's been well near 100 degrees the past few days, which to me, has felt like 110 degrees (at least!) thank goodness for a well air conditioned whole foods 2.5 blocks from our house. it's been an evening ritual for me and the scrunch to cruise through there, devouring all the smoked gouda cheese samples (apparently alexander has quite the cheese palette), and soaking up all that strong, FREE air conditioning. and don't you know, it's hard to be inspired when it is so hot and humid out. but it looks like we're getting a break in the weather. just two days ago, it was 99 degrees (pre-heat index), and today, it's a balmy 83, with a high of 71 forecasted for our saturday! so things are looking up for us already.

to make things even better, my rockstar hubs sent me this inspiring video, which was entirely unexpected, but so appreciated. it was just the push i needed to get back to blogging. makes me wish i would have kissed him a little more passionately as he walked out the door to work this morning, but  you know, there's always tonight ;)

the take away is that basically, i never have to say sorry ever again in our marriage. and isn't that wonderful news for a friday, leading into a beautiful weekend?!

happy friday friends. and to all the ladies out there, let's be #notsorry because we're so freaking awesome (wish my hair looked so nice all the time). 

33 weeks and reality

Thursday, May 29, 2014

the other day i mentioned to david, mei mei is due in seven weeks. (mei mei means little sister in mandarin). husband's response: "yeah i'm not ready to think about it yet."

ok to be fair, neither am i. every time i think about going from one incredibly adorable, yet exhausting energetic baby to having two, and the whole newborn, nursing around the clock thing, i just panic. so i don't fault david. it's just that i rely on him to be the reasonable one. the calm one. so if david hints at trepidation or panic, then i am doomed. doomed. he is, in many ways, my rock, not prone to the shifting tides of violent emotions, unlike yours truly.

lately, growing ever larger, and ever more tired, i have found it exceedingly hard to keep up with alexander. thank goodness for our nanny and an incredibly supportive and fun husband who will entertain alexander so i can get more sleep. how do you moms do it without full time help?!

i have found myself, of late, tending towards being an impatient mommy. i'm just tired and it doesn't matter how early i go to sleep - because i am getting up every hour to pee. it seems the motto around the house lately is, "no alexander, mommy can't. STOP WHINING ALEXANDER." it hardly seems fair. he's only barely 14 months old. i want so much to be present for him. to be the momma he deserves, instead of the momma who is dreading his 630 am wake up call and equally dreading life with two littles. but i can't force myself to be patient because, hi. this is grace. i am so impatient. even more so when exhausted. (just ask the hubs.)

but this morning, as alexander lay next to me, at 6 am, thirty minutes before his usual wake up time, drinking his bottle, he leaned in, closed his eyes, and gave me his half smile. he inched his head closer to mine, and i thought, if only i could take a picture, except pulling out my phone would disturb the both of us from this intimate reverie. so i stared at him, and took a mental picture, hoping i will never forget this little boy who just loves his momma, however imperfect she is. and suddenly i felt so lucky to be his mother and a soon-to-be mother of two.

in other news, this is what 33 weeks looks like. it's getting harder and harder to put an outfit together for the days i am in the office.

over the weekend, husband and i had the opportunity to go on a quiet breakfast date, thanks to nai nai (grandma in mandarin). as we strolled to a nearby cafe in the early morning sun, husband asked me one of life's deep questions. it went like this: "babe, what would your super hero plume de nom be?"

after gently assuring him that it was nom de plume, i was actually stumped. i spend most of my time considering what my super hero power would be, not what my name would be. sensing my conundrum, husband made the suggestion that has officially knocked him out of contention for husband of the year award. this is a direct quote: "well given your current girth, perhaps you should consider 'Bone Crusher.'"

let me tell you, in that moment, there was only one person's bones i wanted to crush, and he was walking next to me about to pay for my pastry and coffee.

graceful acceptance

Monday, May 19, 2014

husband took the big plunge last night to "bald gracefully." for a few months now, david has been debating whether or not to shave his head. no comb overs here! so last night, as i was tidying up the kitchen, david walked over and announced, "i'm going to do it. i'm going to shave my head." and with that, we marched upstairs, vacuum in hand, and opened the carlson barber shop.

look at that smiling face (and muscular arms and broad shoulders whoooooo wheeeee!)

and with that we have officially opened up the carlson barber shop - available for all your hair shaving needs.

be kind (period).

Friday, May 16, 2014

yesterday, the husband and i celebrated our five year anniversary. five years. at times it has seemed like a long brutal fifty years. actually, more times than we would probably like to admit. this marriage thing is hard.

when david and i first started, i don't think i thought about marriage as a long road ahead, with twists and turns that we couldn't predict. all i could think of was happily ever after (thanks disney and unrealistic expectations). the truth is, to have a happy marriage takes a lot of work, and quite frankly, i'm not always up for putting in the requisite amount of labor.

there have been times, where the fork in the road has led us to disastrous ends, full of disappointment, anger, and bitterness. there have been other roads that we have taken that have led us to much happiness and pleasure - simple pleasures in each other's company, and knowing this person gets me. it's a pretty intense and intimate bond. for someone to know you, i mean truly know you, warts and the warts within the warts, and the nasty puss within the warts, and still love you - love you in the sense of, "i'm sticking around. i'm committed, in spite of the worst of you," is an amazing thing - something far above hollywood romance. and it is often overlooked in favor of the butterflies, the immediate sense of romance. don't get me wrong, romance and butterflies are necessary, but at the end of the day, it's this commitment and this commitment alone that has gotten us to five years, and hopefully another five.

a close friend recently shared some insight with me regarding marriage that i have found profound and shockingly simple. she said, "be kind to one another. don't let the familiarity in your marriage rob you of being kind." i took this to heart. i am taking this to heart. and i have come to realize that it is decidedly unkind to be kind to david and then begrudge him when he does not reciprocate that same level of kindness to me. be kind. be kind. be kind. this has become my mantra. in the mornings when i make breakfast for everyone, i focus on how appreciative david is of the kind gesture rather than resenting how this has become my "chore" and how come no one ever makes mommy breakfast? it's made me markedly happier to focus on how my kindness makes my family happy. how my kindness makes my husband happy, and how that makes me happy, and how for that moment, we have a happy marriage. 

so here's to small moments of kindness - a little lesson i have learned at the tail end of my fifth year of marriage. the road ahead is looking more hopeful than it was, even just two months ago. 

to david, i love you, you big hoobie!

a spoonful of sugar

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

with both pregnancies, i didn't have "weird" cravings of the pickle and ice cream variety. but i have had strong cravings. with alexander, it was meat, meat, and more meat. with baby girl, it has been carbs, veggies, and sweets, sweets, sweets.

about a week before we left for california, i emailed a dear friend of mine, whom i met back in college about 13 years ago (suddenly feeling very old). she used to make this amazing banana cream pie which would just lift my spirits. we had made plans to have dinner together during our california trip and i requested she make banana cream pie. the added bonus of being pregnant is you can kind of make outrageous demands, and people, no matter how busy, will bend over backwards to accommodate, especially a close friend who loves you.

back in college, dianne and i use to stay up until three a.m. making this pie, so i knew it was a big ask. but being the amazingly generous and crazy friend she is, she happily agreed to make it for me. the only problem was, she also prepared a 10 course meal of meat, pasta, salad, seafood, and appetizers with enough food to feed at least 15 people, when in reality, only 6 adults would be partaking. i know i have a reputation for exaggerating, but seriously, you can even ask david - it was that much food. and a pregnant lady cannot be trusted not to gorge herself with the feast spread before her, so i ate and ate and ate. by the time the banana cream pie came out, my stomach was literally in my throat. i forced myself to eat the medium slice served to me, though i couldn't adequately appreciate its decadence. and yet i simultaneously wanted a bigger slice.

the next day, and every day since, i have craved that banana cream pie. sigh. and when you're pregnant, you desperately just want people to cook the things you want to eat for you. but alas, dianne is 3000 miles away, otherwise, i know she would have showed up at my doorstep with pie in hand (like she use to do in college when times were tough). so yesterday morning, i strapped alexander in the stroller and made my way to the grocery store to stock up on ingredients.

here are a few modifications that i make to the recipe:

1) i tend to find american desserts too sweet for my liking. anywhere the recipe called for sugar, i halved it or used about three-quarters of what the recipe called for. (i do this for any baking recipe: cookies, cakes, pie...)
2) i omitted the chocolate sauce. but not the caramel sauce.
3) back in college, we were of the waste not, want not mind set, so instead of whipping cream to top the pie, we used the extra egg whites and made a meringue topping instead. to this day, that is still my preference, especially since the custard is so rich. once the meringue is set, top the assembled pie and bake on broil for a few minutes, watch the meringue brown in all the right places. let cool and pop the pie back in the fridge so the custard can reset. be mindful while your meringue is baking lest it get a tad burnt like mine did (in my defense, i was tending to a work email)
4) i know you can buy pre made graham cracker crusts these days, but trust me when i say you want to make your own from scratch. also, make your own graham cracker crumbs - it's more deliciously authentic. something is just off about the pre-crumbed graham crackers that makes me suspicious. back in college, when dianne and i lacked a well equipped kitchen, we would put four graham crackers in large ziplock bags, grab coffee mugs, and sit in front of the tv, while we smashed the crackers into crumbs - by far the most laborious part of the pie making. you can't put more than four crackers at a time because it will eventually tear the ziplock and you will lose preciously earned crumbs. but now, 13 years later, i just break the crackers into my food processor and in less than two minutes, i have the requisite three cups of crumbs. note, you will need three packages of graham crackers (i believe there are four to a box). you must add the melted butter and half smashed banana. it makes all the difference. once you make your crust, you will have some left over crust crumbs. DO use a spoon to eat it like cereal. trust me. no judgment here.
5) and finally: skip dinner, or just eat a salad, because there are more than enough calories to fill hungry bellies in this pie!

mother's day

Sunday, May 11, 2014

for the longest time, i did not want to be a mother. i'm kind of rough around the edges and prone to criticism and judgment. (i'm an asian female after all). i was afraid i wouldn't be kind enough, nurturing enough, motherly enough to be a mother. that and i wanted an easy, hassle free, unlimited life. but then i suddenly wanted to be a mother. and the want turned into desperation because it wasn't happening - at least not fast enough. not in the timing that i wanted. so when i finally became pregnant, it was surreal. it was happiness beyond whatever human experience or understanding of happiness i had ever had. from the moment i found out i was pregnant with alexander david carlson, i knew, i am a mother.

but i still really hesitate to say or to think: "david and i made him." because i feel so intrinsically and deeply that alexander was gifted to us. God gave me this amazing baby for some temporary safe keeping. He made me a mother. and for these two things alone, i will praise His glorious name all the days of my life.

so as we celebrate mother's day (hey why not mother's day month?!), i like to redirect some of that celebration from me to Him (though i am always happy to celebrate me!) today, i am thankful. so very very thankful for my God who made me a mother.


Friday, May 09, 2014

the hubby turned forty - according to him - it was not worth celebrating. he specifically requested that there be no party. and it was one of those requests that was not tainted with, "this is what i am saying, but actually do the opposite." so the party idea was nixed. however, two months back, i did plan a birthday trip for him out to california where all his immediate family resides. it was super special because it was the first time that david's parents got to meet the scrunch in person. the birthday trip was wonderful. so wonderful that we talked about looking for jobs in california and moving. you just cannot beat the weather, the cheap and authentically delicious mexican food, chinese food, all kinds of food, the clearly designated left turn lanes, the wide freeway lanes where you're not the fastest driver when you are cruising at a laid back 85 m.p.h.

of course we experienced the exhaustion that comes with traveling to a different time zone with a baby. it didn't seem to bother alexander in the least. he loves flying and torturing us at three a.m. local time, cause hey, it's always an appropriate time to have a baby rager. oh to be a baby. so when we took the red eye flight back from long beach on tuesday night, arriving on wednesday, husband's actual birthday, we were bone tired. i mean actually our bones were literally tired. we were able to nap for about three hours before we both had to get up, and live on east coast time, and do the whole work for pay thing. by the time dinner rolled around, i just was not feeling human enough to do anything particularly special except possibly make a reservation for dinner somewhere. but husband, still processing the weight of turning forty, declined a dinner out and requested a simple homemade meal, as long as i was up for cooking something. no problem. i pulled out some trader joe's frozen chicken tenders and threw them in the oven while i whipped up an unexciting salad. it really was a major wife fail moment, particularly because david hates chicken. but what can you do on almost no sleep? but husband was really appreciative especially because i made a spicy honey mustard dip to cover up that chicken he hates so much.

but the next night, after recovering (mostly) and thanks to alexander who is still on california time, and slept in until 7:55 a.m. (you read that right, i said slept in!!!), i was able to plan a more husband-centric meal in celebration of turning 40, with just a few very close friends on hand. i wanted to honor david's request not to make a big deal out of turning 40, he seems really subdued by it. so instead, no candles, rather muted singing of happy birthday (whispers really because i couldn't stop our friends), and a delicious cheese, wine, and charcuterie pairing to toast the birthday boy.

and now i present onto you, the carlson cheese plate with accoutrements. note: no pictures of baked chicken tenders birthday dinner.

i realize it has been quite a while since i have blogged. i was kind of going through one of my bi-annual mid-mid life crises where i was just itchy for change all over. i couldn't figure out what my blogger persona and image should be. but i worked with, and am still working with my friends - awesome husband wife team - to nail down the final touches. in the meantime, david has encouraged me to start blogging again and to do it consistently because really that's when everyone is happiest. so friends, here is my welcome back to the blogging world. pictures from our california trip to come in future posts.

as always, thanks for reading and patiently awaiting my return. i hope to revisit with you all soonest.