|From I'm not sure what I want to be when I grow up...|
|From I'm not sure what I want to be when I grow up...|
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2. Your hair? Brunette
3. Your mother? Wonderful
4. Your father? Inspiring
5. Your favorite food? All
6. Your dream last night? Scary
7. Your favorite drink? Tea
8. Your dream/goal? Happiness
9. What room are you in? FROG
10. Your hobby? Cooking
11. Your fear? Claustrophobia
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Secure
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren't? Satiated
15. Muffins? Apple
16. Wish list item? D90
17. Where did you grow up? DC
18. Last thing you did? Parent
19. What are you wearing? PJs
20. Your TV? BROKEN
21. Your pets? Canine
22. Friends? Friendmily
23. Your life? Nonstop
24. Your mood? Drained
25. Missing someone? Always
26. Vehicle? Sequoia
27. Something you’re not wearing? Contacts
28. Your favorite store? TJ's (Trader Joe's)
29. Your favorite color? Charcoal
30. When was the last time you laughed? Lunch
31. Last time you cried? Saturday
32. Your best friend? Awesome
33. One place that I go to over and over? Home
34. One person who emails me regularly? Sister
35. Favorite place to eat? In-N-Out
I will remember my fiance leaving that very morning, before the attacks happened, on the USS Boise, a US Navy fast attack submarine as a junior officer. I thought of him as I climbed into the car of the APAICS executive director's (Daphne Kwok) car with her and her deputy director (Emmy Akiyama) and headed off to NYC for exit polling...and how a missed turn on the highway resulted in our delay in arrival time to NYC. I remember our cell phones ringing...Daphne's parents calling her to tell her of events occurring in NYC and my sister calling to see where we were. After deciding to turn around and returning back to DC, we get more phone calls about events occurring in DC. I remember thinking what is happening and that we were stuck in between two war zones. I worried that my fiance, who had surely heard the news in his little tube under the sea, was worried sick knowing that I had intended on going to NYC that day and not knowing if I was ok (especially since it's not like I could just call him and that my emails took several days to reach him to tell him that I was safe & sound). Returning back to the office, a block and a half away from the White House, seeing tanks and military police on the street below was so surreal...as was the fear of riding the Metro into and working in DC and living in the DC metro area with fears of dirty bombs and repeat attacks.
I remember calling our neighbor who daughter and our dear childhood friend worked in the World Trade Center. I remember her telling us that Alex left her office at the top of the building to go downstairs to buy some breakfast...something she never used to do but an action out-of-the-ordinary that saved her life. I remember feeling thankful that my co-worker Giles who was supposed to fly to AZ that day was back and safe. I remember watching the horrible scenes from that day and thinking about all the lives lost and the pain that so many were feeling. I remember feeling especially empathetic about those who lost loved ones in this tragedy having just lost my father almost two years prior. I remember feeling fear and empathy for those Americans who suffered/died post-9/11 because of misplaced hatred/anger towards those who were different and viewed as "the enemy" and yet were probably more American than their attackers. I remembered thinking that those feelings were history repeating itself, more specifically remembering the Japanese American Internment during WWII. I remember feeling fear for so many of my friends who are South Asian American and also wondering if that hatred towards "others" would extend to more Asian Americans and other people of color & underrepresented communities (which it did). I remember feeling helpless & hopeless with this nation both united and divided.
But mainly, I remember the lives lost, the loved ones left behind, and those who selflessly volunteered/fave their lives to help others. I remember those who took complete disregard for their lives to help others in danger and need. I remember that despite living in a world so filled with hatred that there still was a lot of good in the world...and that we must always continue to nurture.
Man, my puppy is a turkey...but I love him. He's also technically not a puppy since he's a little over 3 years old now. I also love the fact that he protects us and we need that when Sean's out to sea.
Today, the UPS man nearly pooped his shorts as he was booking it back to his truck. Nevermind the fact I was outside and Jax was inside...albeit barking his head off like Kujo in a way that said "Back up from this house and my mama!". Thanks, Jax. I love you. Remi, I still love you even though you are really our cat in a pit bull skin. 9 years old and slowing down, but still the sweetest girl ever.
Navy life has blessed us with keeping us from putting Kaia into 3 different schools in one year. Found out that Sean finally has a replacement lined up (he'll be graduating SOAC...sub officer dept. head school...@ the end of September) and will be rotating off in February/March. He'll most likely be doing a post-DH tour in Norfolk. It'll be nice to stay put and fix this darn house up.
Although we could've gone to DC, I didn't want to move again...mainly because I didn't want Kaia entering 3 different schools within one year. Also, 2 homes also does not afford us to buy a home in the DC area....hahahahahaha. It's nice to be close to The Fam but in an area close to the beach (you know, the beach we're so good at visiting....pu-hahahaha) and in a house with an amaing backyard...just mind the waterfowl poop.
Now...just on to deciding...#3, grad school, yes/no, when...
Oops...can't sign off without wishing the hottest WEPS on the USS TN a special shout-out!!
HAPPY 99th BIRTHDAY, GUNG-GUNG!!!
Gung-gung is what I call my grandfather in Chinese. Luis Li, Sr. is a man who was ophaned when he was still a single-digit age and raised by his older sisters. As a teenager, he immigrated to Mexico, then to Honduras, married my amazing grandmother (Lord, Lord, Lord is this woman amazing), raised NINE children, owned & ran a store in Honduras, immigrated w/the whole fam to Miami, and is just plain awesome. Now...take an orphan in China (at 6, I believe and raised by his older sisters until his teens) who moves to Mexico & Honduras...but factor in that he has to learn another language, starts business & family, takes care of a slew of extended family back in China, moves to the US, learns another language, and takes care of everyone still...and by everyone, I mean family here and abroad (distant relatives) financially.
He's just plain freakin' awesome. I'm so thankful for all that he's (and my grandma) given us. He's helped basically every single child buy their homes. He's helped fund the grandkids' college funds (although since I'm the oldest, only my sister and I have graduated college...with 5 more in college this year and several younger cousins). We're all pretty lucky to have the lives that we have now because of the hardwork and dedication of this man (and his wife).
He's lived an amazing life...just one year shy of a century...but what a crazy life it has been. In addition to what I already wrote, he's also spent loads of time in Hong Kong studying chefs there perfecting his cooking, suffered a debilitating stroke over a decade ago that left him paralyzed on the entire left side of his body and wheelchair-bound. That paralysis was something that killed his passion...cooking and taking long a$$ walks when he was annoyed with my grandmother. I can only feel for him as I watch him these days wheel himself over to the kitchen watching everyone cook and wonder what goes on in his mind. He's a very quiet man...verrrrrry quiet. Never complains and barely speaks. But yet, you know what he's thinking and definitely takes everything in. Even though this is a post about my grandfather, big, BIG props have to go to my grandmother (Po-po) for doing everything an 80-something year old should not be doing...ie. taking care of the house, my grandfather...doing things a nurse or person half her age should be doing...even with arthritic joints.
My grandparents have lots of things to teach my kids. I hope that they'll learn to be good people by learning directly and indirectly from their great-grandparents.
Oh, if you're wondering why I'm wishing him birthday wishes in Spanish...it's because girl ain't know a lick of Chinese (at least my maternal side of the family's dialect)! Booooooooooooo. So, the main way to communicate with him is in Spanish.
Happy Birthday, Gung-gung. Thank you for all you have done to make our lives better, easier, and richer. 99 never looked so good!!!
Definitely the military spouse in me can empathize on some level with Euna Lee reuniting with her spouse and daughter after almost 1/3 a year. BUT...I cannot fully empathize since these two journalists were almost sent to hard labor camps for 12 years!!! I cannot imagine living everyday not knowing when you'd be sent to these camps and for Euna not to be able to see her daughter until she was a teenager.
This is just a great time. I'm so glad it turned out like fellow journalist Roxana Saberi's outcome. Congratulations to the families and great job to all parties involved in securing the release of these women!
And a close up of my make-up.
Sub ball was fun. I did my own hair and make-up and Mom babysat the kids. The food was ok. The dancing would've been better if my dress wasn't so damn dramtically long. All in all, it was a great evening with my favorite waiter...one of the few times in years (let's say 6 since Kaia turns 6 in September) that we've gotten to spend by ourselves.
Still, my waiter wasn't that great...I'm still waiting on my water refill. JUST KIDDING, Beb...LOVE YOU!!!
But in the meantime, my wonderful, amazing, BFF sister had her (our) very first baby!!! Talia Mei Shih was born on May 8th and bringing lots of joy to our family! Kim's water broke at 2am and she called me at 2:30am, apologizing because we joked so many times that she'd go into labor when Sean wasn't home...and he wasn't! He was standing one of his rare duty days (department heads have only been standing about 4-5 duty days per month while the poor JOs (junior officers) are standing twice that amount...although I remember Sean standing a lot more than just 10/month when he was a JO). She apologized because she figured I had just gotten to sleep and that Sean was at work. I was confused since I thought it was maybe 6am...but it wasn't. I had to deliberate whether or not to get me & the kids (incl. the canine kids) up, packed, and drive up to DC with 1.5 hrs. of sleep and me starting to get sick. We had been planning on driving up on the 8th anyway for the weekend. BUT...being there for my sister's labor & delivery was really important to me...although I know that's one of those important milestones that military spouses/fams have to sacrifice.
Sean was relieving early on Friday anyway for a farewell for one of the JOs. Since the boat (sub) is in drydock and most of the landlines are disconnected...I wasn't sure how to get a hold of him. I was texting him like crazy and then decided to try to get a bit of shut-eye should I decide to head out soon. At 4:30am, Sean calls and I tell him what was going on...he was going to try to figure things out on his end. I fall back asleep and Mom calls at 6:30am...saying Kim's in the hospital and has an epidural and is at 5cm dialated.
Anyhoo...long story short...Sean's WONDERFUL COMMAND (the CO & XO) let him go (not after giving him some grief). I know we're REALLY lucky that they gave him liberty so his spouse could be there for her sister. My terrific hubby drops me off at the hospital at 1pm. Kim starts pushing at 2pm. Talia enters the world at 3:25pm!!! The whole drive up 95 I'm almost crying thinking that I won't be there for my sister...and simultaneously worrying that we'll die in a car accident going at 85 mph the whole trip up there...and then ruining Talia's grand entrance!! BUT...Talia's here safe & sound and just in time to make this past Mother's day, Kim's first official Mother's day. The whole Lee-Shih fam made it home on Mother's day with the help of Sean (*sigh*...he's so awesome). Mom & the kids welcomed them at their house while I stayed at Mom's sick in bed and not wanting to contaminate the new fam. BUT...I did get to say goodbye before we left. We popped by and I said goodbye from outside their storm door. Sooooo pathetic, but I wanted to make sure I got to say goodbye to my wonderful little niece...who unfortunately likes my awful singing!!! Poor baby.
Our Baby, as we've referred to her this whole pregnancy, is gorgeous and such a good girl already! She's got amazing parents and is so lucky to have them. They're going to do an amazing job (and already have). Kaia, Jaron, Sean, & I are just smitten with Our Baby and miss her so much.
BTW...want to know more about her name? Our kids' names were chosen to begin with a K & J after Kim & Jason. Talia's name is a combo of my name and J's sister's name Liane....although Kim says it's more for me...tee hee hee. Mei is for the grandmommies...Ming & Maybelle.
We'll see you this weekend, Talia!!! Oops...and you too, Mom, Kim, & J!! ;o)
Anyway...I had to choose between the two looks and the one with the bangs out of my face won because my hubby doesn't like bangs. ;o) I'll humor him this time...tee hee hee.
This (Jaida's tank)...
...is modeled after these the kids made in the summer...
...and this (Kaia's dolphin tank that she waited on me for FOREVER to make):
Anyhoo...Jaron's birthday party is this weekend in DC. We're having it early so my neice (who's birth date is supposed to be in mid-May) does not crash the party early. I want her to ripen up as much as possible in my sister's uterus!!! ;o) LOVE YOU, TALIA!! I've made two cakes and going to make two batches of cupcake lollipops. Jenn Shih...you can thank me later. This girl can single handedly eat an entire batch of these lollipops...and I make over 50 per batch and these bad boys are not small. However...Jenn Shih is tiny and can pack 'em away like no other! ;o) I *heart* you, Jenn!
Here's a teaser of the lollipops...
So, as I waste my time in this wasteland called the internet...it's off to make these lollipops, bake two more cakes from SCRATCH...none of that boxed-mix crap), two batches of buttercream, two desserts, run errands, 5 loads of laundry (2 down, 3 to go), and PACK!!
Yet, it's so worth it. Doing things from the heart for people we love...family...it's worth it. I LOVE CELEBRATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anyhoo...seeing how this fine piece of perfection that he married is...I figured, I'll humor him by doing it. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. This poor body of mine has not seen exercise since college and is DYING. Shoot...I started falling apart in my 20s and I directly attribute that to lack of exercise.
ATROPHY IS NOT MY FRIEND.
So, we'll see how long we keep up with it. We're both not the ideal body shape we'd like to be. I want muscle definition back and to lose some extra LBs of fat that I've accumulated over the years...slowly replacing all that atrophied muscle. Sean would like to lose the extra fat and get more cut. My man's already nice and buff...*sigh* His only downfall is way too big/many portions of my cooking...and his *mealing* habits. Mealing is what I call his snacking...except you can tell by my term his portion sizes. ;o) At least I cook uber-healthy (fresh, loads of veggies, high in fiber, lots of unsaturated fats, no trans fats, etc.)! I shudder to think what we'd look like on a different diet. Eek!
The only place I've managed to lose weight over the past 5 years is up north...somewhere below my neck and above my stomach. I love my kids and wouldn't change the fact that they were both breastfed for a year...but man, did they do a number on the itty bitties I once had. Now, I am the proud owner of just nipples and no breast tissue. Sorry for the TMI. Then again, if you know me...you know I'm always no-holds-barred on everything...honesty...brutal honesty. Anyhoo...if you see me, know that it's 100% Victoria's Secret....100%. If we add a third child to the mix, I'm probably looking at concave boobies! HOORAY! *sigh*
Anyhoo...it's already been a nice week of muscle soreness and the expected DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness...that, Kids, is something from my kinesiology days). But, we've been doing more outdoorsy stuff and not just staying at home (even though we SHOULD stay at home since *surprise, surprise*...we still have boxes to unpack and lots of stuff to do around the house...like CLEANING IT). But, I like us being good role models for the kids by working out since they're going to grow up loving food...and they're high metabolism genes will only last so long.
I hurt...and I love it.
Thank you for the help with the dress. I actually went boring and ordered it in black. I figured I'll have this dress forever and probably will end up passing it down to Kaia one day! Hahahaha. Now, I'm just paying the waiting game!
Sean has been in the sub community now for 9 years (11ish, if you count enlisted time)...total Navy time 12 years. He's towards the end of his department head tour now and is considering transfering to the EDO (engineering duty officer) community. I have mixed feelings abotu the change, but ultimately, it boils down to what's best for our fam in the long run and Sean's happiness too. We'll see what happens...we still don't know. Being the researcher of this fam...I still want to know more info!!
Anyhoo...with that being said. Girlfriend needs a dress. I've been eyeing this dress from Etsy (which I started looking into after seeing that Becca was so addicted to it). It's always nice to support designers directly rather than some huge conglomerate. The dress I'm eyeing is crazy versatile. I. Love. It.
Now I have to choose a darn color & order it by Friday!! I think I narrowed the colors down to Dark Teal and Black. ARGH! I was considering dusty pink & charcoal...but maybe just between the teal & black to make it easier? I think teal would look good, but would I eventually tire of the color? Black is boring, but basic and I know I'll get good use out of this dress. ARGH! ARGH! ARGH!!
HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!! I need opinions!
BTW...I just realized how awful my hair color is in the above photo. YIKES! Time for a new photo!
BTW...I'm a reader for this scholarship foundation...good stuff. Makes me very thankful to have the life that I have when these kids are parts of families living off close to nothing and yet these individuals still manage to persevere and excel in their academics and extracurriculars!
No more procrastinating!
It's always been a bit frustrating not being able to speak to both sets of grandparents. I am 3rd-generation Chinese American (generation status explained below). Although that status is a little weird since my paternal great-grandparents are buried here and my mom is 1.5 generation Asian American. Anyhoo...back to the bi/multilingual thing...
My paternal grandmother used to babysit us all the time while our parents were at work. We picked up some Toishan (pronouced "toy-san", a dialect of Chinese and more exact, a sub-dialect of Cantonese)...but our conversations usually were a mix of Toishan and English...usually our end being all English. My grandmother was pretty funny since she always claimed to not know any English, yet would get herself all around DC on public transportation and would always be the first one to laugh at any jokes (told in English) at the family table. What a turkey.
My maternal grandparents also speak a sub-dialect of Cantonese called Jungsan. BUT...just to make it confusing...my grandfather immigrated to Central America as a teenager and my mom (eldest of 9) lived in Honduras till high school...making my mom's side of the family trilingual...Spanish, Chinese, and English. Actually, my grandparents also know straight Hong Kong Cantonese...so, quadrilingual? The whole fam (well, when speaking to my grandparents) hold conversations that are a mix of Spanish, Chinese, and English...and no, not separate sentences...I mean those three languages are included in every single sentence. But, my mom is still more fluent in English and Spanish.
And the other thing...my parents met at Georgetown while both were majoring in linguistics...Mandarin (Chinese) to be exact. Yeaaaaaaaah. Then my paternal grandmother makes my mom learn Toishan.
Sooooo...for the count:
*Daddy-O: English, Toishan, & Mandarin
*Mama Dukes: English, Spanish, Jungsan, Toishan, & Mandarin
*The Lee Girls: English...and a little Spanish and a little hodge-podge of Toishan, Jungsan, and Cantonese...and by hodge-podge, I mean like 5-10 words of each dialect.
*My kids...English and the 5-10 words of each Chinese dialect I can pass down to them....oops, I did forget that we are teaching them Spanish.
Oooh...which leads me to a teaching lesson...ahhhhhhhh, back to the old days.
Generation Status: pretty easy...start with the first generation of immigrants and they are the 1st generation ____ Americans. It gets a bit tricky when the kids immigrate with the parents...they are then considered the "1.5 generation"....like my mama.
Nationality: Oooh...my favorite. Where your citizenship belongs to is what determines your nationality. So, when I get the funny looks in response of my answer of "American"...I mean, American. Which leads to "Where are you REALLY from?" To which I answer DC or MD. Which then usually leads to "No, where are your parents from?" Can you tell I'm a pro at this and hear this a LOT? I usually answer for my dad's birthplace (Washington, D.C.) since my mom's (Honduras) is really going to lead to a long conversation in which I usually don't have to time (or at that point, the patience) to explain. Which always leads me to my next question for them "Oh, you mean my ETHNICITY?"...to which I usually receive a confused look of "Uhhh, ok...sure?" Another case of perpetual foreigner.
Ethnicity: Where you can trace your peeps to...in my case China...thus making my ethnicity Chinese. My hubby's is Chinese & Filipino. My kids...1/4 Filipino and 3/4 Chinese.
Race: Social construct of the grouping of people based on physical characteristics. Historically, race (being a social construct) was/is used to discriminate against specific groups of people through legislation.
Perpetual Foreigner: A stereotype of Asian Americans of seeing them as the exotic other and never being fully capable of acculterating into mainstream society. i.e. the question mentioned above in nationality "No, where are you really from?" Another example, when someone asks my race/ethnicity/nationality and I ask him/her the same...he/she is usually pretty surprised I have asked him/her.
Since I'm still going on this...
Sex: Male or Female...whatever chromosomes you were born with...XY or XX...except in special cases.
Gender: Man or Woman...another social construct of masculinity and feminity.
And with that...Sean's standing duty and it's time for my weekly shower.
Did I just say weekly?
I may be exaggerating...or am I? ;o) Mu-hahahahaha.