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12.24.2009

I. Suck.

First off...Happy Holidays!

Second....I. Suck.

Yesterday...oops, check that since it is already passed midnight now...the day BEFORE yesterday we take our beloved puppies in to get bathed. They came back several different shades lighter than when we took them in. They were THAT dirty. Anyhoo...we let our old lady sleep in our room for once and guess what...I got very little sleep. My poor baby Remi snores like my grandfather who, unfortunately, you can hear snoring even if you stood outside the house. He is THAT loud...and so is my girl. Add a sick hubby to the mix who is adding his own acoustics of snoring and throat-clearing in his sleep...and it's a veritable orchestra in our room...one that has vaulted ceilings so the sounds are just echoing everywhere.

I actually needed a bit of rest for once. I had to gear up for today...whoops...yesterday since Sean was going to stand duty and I had a butt-load of baking to do...not to mention all the gazillion loads of laundry and packing for the next 10 days for the fam. All needing to be done and ready to go by the time my wonderful hubby arrives in the morning so we can get on the road to The Fam ASAP. Oh yeah...did I mention gifts?

No, I did not. Why should I? The forward-thinking type A individual I am has devised the perfect plan the past few years of ordering my gifts and shipping them to my mom's house...where I stay up real late and wrap to my heart's content. I *heart* you Amazon Prime.

So...the kids were pretty good, baking was smooth sailing, laundry was smooth sailing, and I still was a pretty good single parent today. It was precisely at 1953...or 7:53pm for you civilians that my life...ok, less drama...my DAY took a turn for the worse. The doorbell rings. WTF? Really? Almost 8pm. I peek outside and there is a figure dressed in dark clothes standing at the end of my driveway. Crap. Really? Ok...my two crazy but CLEAN dogs are with me at the doorway. I see a box in front of my door, a truck circling around our cul-de-sac, and quickly surmise that this dude standing at the end of my driveway is a UPS dude.

What? Almost everyone knows we're going to be in DC...not here. It is addressed to me.

Hmmmmmm....

Oh...well what do you know? It's a portion of the huge order I put in on Tuesday...the order that was the most stressful since I needed to make sure that all and everyone were accounted for since with my Wednesday being insanely hellish...I wasn't about to add shopping to my list. No siree Bob...I don't think so.

Funny...why are these gifts being sent here and not to my mom's?

Oh yeah...because I'm an idiot.

In my stress-induced haze of procrastination, being sole-planner/caretaker of this fam, and again...sole planner...I neglected to double-check my order and see that I sent it to myself at my MOM'S address and not MINE.

Why? Because I suck.

So, no instead of getting on the road ASAP in the morning...we now will have to wait for this damn package to arrive...hopefully not close to 8pm like tonight..oops...LAST NIGHT. What's more...UPS actually was supposed to deliver it TODAY...crap...YESTERDAY but had to reschedule it to tomorrow...oops, TODAY (12/24).

I hate me. I really, really hate me right now.

Somehow moving my whole family up halfway up the East Coast by myself during the holidays...even managing to make HOMEMADE presents during a move and while my hubby was out to sea seemed a LOT less stressful.

However...a glimmer of positivity in all this mess...besides the 4 cakes and 3 different types of cookies I made in one day...I did manage to take holiday photos for a holiday card that will not make it out again...keeping up with the yearly tradition I have upheld since we last left here in 2006. So, after moves to CT and FL and now back here...at least I kept up with the tradition of taking the freakin' photo. Except...we couldn't take it in front of our lake since with all the rain we've been having it's a bit soggy back there...not to mention the dog poop that we still have yet to pick up!

I managed to screw up this year's photo by looking a little plasticky...so, enjoy one of the outtakes where I don't have a crazy fake smile on my face!

Oh yeah...like my Amazon order, I'm not rechecking this...so I look forward to my hubby pointing out all of my typos and grammatical errors! ;o)

Happy Holidays, Everyone! Please stay safe and enjoy the time you have with your loved ones this season. We're so thankful that we actually get to spend the holidays together and it makes all these petty problems just that...petty and insignificant.

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, & Happy Hanukkah!

We're coming, Talia...as soon as the Man in Brown (or Men in Brown...and def men since it's only males who do our route so far) comes...we're coming.


12.11.2009

Lazy.

I'm too lazy...but uber-proud of my daughter...

So...check out our
family blog.

12.04.2009

My. Ovaries. Hurt.


My ovaries hurt. They do. They have that certain achiness whenever I think how big my kids have gotten and how little my niece is. I long for those moments of holding a baby and smelling their sweet scent. I miss being pregnant and not having to worry about muffin top or sucking my stomach in. I. Miss. Boobs. Yes, after breastfeeding both kids for a cumulative 24 months...they managed to perform a successful lipo...in my boobs. I barely had any to begin with and I was secure with that. But now...nada. What you see is 100% Victoria's Secret.

Then again, I don't miss sleeping for 2-3 hour stints. Scratch that...with Kaia, it was 30 MINUTE stints. My darling daughter, to this day, still does not sleep very long NOR does she need a lot of sleep to function....and not get grouchy. She's very much like me. I don't miss diaper changes, rigid schedules, and constant feedings.

What I'd miss is being able to really spend quality time with my kids right now. They are so much fun and I cannot even begin to fathom adding another to the mix and being a complete mommy to them. Then again, Jaron starts school next year and then I'd feel like "what is the use of being at home?" Except for the fact that VA kindergarten is only freakin' 3 hours from the time he gets on the bus to the time he gets off the bus.

Then again, I look how nurturing my kids are with their baby cousin. They love her so much and call her their baby sister...not out of want for another sibling, but because they look at her as if she were their sister. I know my kids would be thrilled with another sibling...especially when the topic comes up regularly and they ask for twins. A boy and a girl. Order up!

I think it's just the type of person I am. I totally stress out because I think of every single possibility and outcome of my actions...upcoming moves, upcoming deployments/patrols/underways, planning large events, which schools to pick, what activities we'll do, etc. etc. etc. And you know what...they're always turned out fine and I have always been able to handle them.

Do I want to upset the balance of 2s in our life? 2 of us, 2 kids, 2 dogs, 2 vehicles, 2 houses...

I stress because I feel that time is ticking and the kids are getting older and the age gap between them and a 3rd gets bigger by the day. I mourn the loss of my kids as I think of both of them going off to college...one after the other. Yes, I DO think that far ahead. I long for a 3rd...but I love being able to be a "full-time" aunt to Talia. But, I think we're not complete without a third...which is weird since I never wanted an odd amount of children...but 4 of definitely a big fat NO...heeeellllllll no. Then watch, we'll have a third and I'll long for a playmate close to his/her age. Hahaha.

But it's weird...I long for a third. I miss being a mommy to an infant. Being the granddaughter of a woman who had 9 children...I'm going to keep my Mirena up until the last second...we are pretty blessed to be able to think about getting pregnant and *poof* we're knocked up.

Ahhhhh...this battle in my head continues. Until then...my itch will be satisfied whenever we are with The Fam and I get to be with my favorite spiky-headed, mohawked little niece!


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...

12.02.2009

Breeeeeeathe

I somehow turn off my alarm this morning and neglect to set a backup...thereby waking up at 7:23am...23 minutes later than the absolute latest I should be waking up...esp. today of all days!! Luckily, K-bear was already reading in her room...so I didn't have to spend 10 minutes getting her cute little booty up. After picking out outfits, I then go down and have to figure out breakfast...and really quick nutritious breakfast!!!

Plus, this is the morning I have to make cookies and prepare a meal for the JO's fam that is moving to VT tomorrow...and I'm so anal about my cooking.

Kaia's now on the schoolbus & cookies are in the oven....time to start on lunch.

Steaks are marinated, cookies are DONE. Grill is started and I finally let the dogs out. Dogs are in and wiped down of mud. Grill is OFF...yes, OFF. Either it is no longer working or the propane is out. I dunno...now I have 4 steaks I have to pan-fry...yuck and booooooooooooo. This is bordering on being a terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad day....but it's so petty compared to what others are experiencing...like real problems. Anyway...back to being anal about cooking...now I'm pissed since when the Type-A in me wants a specific flavor...I. Want. That. Flavor. Now this family will have to get a sub-par meal. ARGH.

Meal is done, cookies are packed...I shower. Meal is packed, we get lunch @ Chick-fil-A and drop the meal off. It's always sad to see nice people move. Navy lives always allow us to cross paths.

We come home after having a scare that one of the bridges would be up therefore creating the usual traffic mess....luckily, it's not up!! We get home, I poop, and Jaron is read to & put down for a nap.

I decide to be a good daughter for once and actually talk to my mother...because 1) I actually have enough time and quiet to be able to think and have enough patience for her & 2) I should be a better daughter & 3) I would have enough patience. My mom really is great though...she's a really, really wonderful mom. But, both sides are getting slightly annoyed over the conversation of a gym membership. My mom thinks it's a year but like Jan-Dec type of year and I explain that the contract should be good for a year from when you sign. She ends with wanting to call the gym. Good...that's good anyway...since there is a slight chance I might be wrong. Yes, you like how I said SLIGHT? This is what my husband has to put up with. Anyway...a slight argument over gym memberships and more annoyance on my part since my sister & I wanted to get her a membership for Xmas (her old one expired a while ago).

Argh.

2:35pm.

Let the rest of this day go smoother. Hahahaha. 40 minutes till K gets home and hopefully her & Jaron will have a better day. I figured I need to get tougher with them when we're on the phone and they feel like they don't have to use manners and/or listen to any rules we set forth immediately prior to the phone call or established rules. Hahahaha...at least they got a lot of sleep last night!!

Ok...thank you. I feel better now!

Hump day...hubby comes home day after tomorrow...and then goes right into work the next morning...on Saturday.

I complain...but really, it's really so trivial compared to what's going on to so many around me. It's definitely more laughable than anything.

11.24.2009

Black Friday

One of the wives in the wardroom let us in on a little secret...

http://www.black-friday.net/

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Shopping!!

11.19.2009

Mutilation

This past weekend we celebrated my little sister's 30th birthday. Fun was to be had all around in the happening Lancaster, PA area...it actually was a bunch of fun. Anyhoo...the last day of our weekend in DC was spent at all of the Gap Co.'s stores using their Gap Give & Get Program discount. Oh yeah, it was also spent being there to mutilate pierce our niece's ears!

With that being said...we did put our two cents in that it would be better for Talia to get them now while she's not so squirmy & so she won't remember this traumatic experience. Kaia got her's around this age too...and like my sister & brother...I hated it. BUT...our BFFs (the Martinos) & Sean did convince me that it would be better now versus later. Yet, how could I do that to my smiling, happy daughter??

It was deja vu being there for Talia...but I was comforted in knowing that this would be less painful for all right now versus later. Again, Yi-jeung (Uncle Sean) would be the strong, comforting arms to protect you.

Poor unsuspecting little mohawked cutie. We picked pink crystals to avoid any gender-confusion. Yet, after all was said and done with her pink earrings, pink outfit, & pink blanket...someone asked my sister if that was her son or daughter. Talia...no one can rock that mohawk like your beautiful little self.

Oh please forgive us, Baby Girl.

Self-soothe, Baby..self-soothe.

10.29.2009

PAYLESS 50% Off Entire Purchase Discount!!!!!!!!!

Want to score a 50% discount @ Payless Shoes? Shoot...I do!! I was searching for hints for the Old Navy Weekly Ad and found that you could get a 50% off your entire purchase @ Payless Shoes.

Let's preface this. I used to work at Abercrombie & Fitch during college right in the beginning where it blew up and became uber-popular and college campuses around the US started looking like A&F threw up all over it. I would never, EVER shop @ the Gap (although my sister worked there, employees were treated better, paid better, scored better discounts, etc.), American Eagle (who eventually got sued for imitating A&F's looks), Old Navy, and hell-to-the-nizzo to Aeropostale. Who would've thought my apparel snobbery would trickle over to cosmetics when I started working for the LVMH-owned Sephora. HAHAHAHA. Fast forward to the future (and present)...I now shop almost all with the exception of AE & Aeropostale...it's all about baby steps.

Anyhoo...I'm all about taking my mom's attitude of shoes for my kids...to an extent. I do still buy them nice shoes, if it's worth it and esp. if it's a bargain. BUT, they are kids and kids feet grow ridiculously fast...so Payless it is (although not as cheap anymore).

So, I tried this and it worked...text "oprahshow" to 242424 and receive a 50% off your total purchase from Payless Shoes. It's good only until close of business 10/30/09.

Happy shopping!

10.28.2009

I. Love. Military. Medicine.

Okay...not really. I don't love that Kaia had some freak accident and broke her ankle while hopping to the bus afterschool last Friday...HOPPING. I wrapped her ankle after seeing it was bruised and a bit swollen and we headed up to DC for her belated birthday party. So, the morning of her belated party, Sean takes her to the ER at Nat'l Naval Medical Center (yes, the same one the US Presidents often go to...formerly known as Bethesda Naval Medical Center). After an admitted mix-up at the front desk and a myriad of other people go in front of her that came way after her, she gets seen and is eventually released with a sprained ankle....a mildly sprained ankle.

We get home a little after midnight Monday morning only to find that the docs @ NNMC left us a message to call them back in reference to Kaia's x-rays. So, 36 hours after she is released, I call to find out that our daughter, who had been hopping on one-leg when she wasn't being carried around...more hopping than anything and in an uber-protective Ace bandage, had FRACTURED her ankle.

What's more...the doc was calling to set up an appointment for a cast...which was surprising considering Kaia was released with a sprain. He wondered if she was still getting around on crutches that were given to her, but I reminded him that none were given to her since they said she was too small for them.

Anyhoo...long story short, our 6-year old is a super trooper and you wouldn't even know that she was injured except for the chronic one-leg hop she utilized all weekend-long to get around. I'm just pretty ticked that a hospital would release a child with a sprain only to find out that she has a fracture along her growth plate that could potentially stunt her growth or lead to other problems if not treated aggressively. Nice. I'm also ticked that despite the efforts made to call our home in VA Beach twice (2100 & 2200), no one bothered to call my husband's cell since we were out of town in DC. Double Nice.

When I look at her, how I can not get super-protective? Especially since she doesn't complain or victimize herself!!!!



10.14.2009

Female Dolphins?

The Hubs' sub leaving last winter.

Women on Subs...one of the newest oldest debates may soon become a reality. I'm not sure what my thoughts are on this. We've always fielded the questions of "why can't women be on subs" from our daughter and I've always told her that maybe one day she'll be able to be on a sub...or that women could be on subs (not exactly sure that she'd want to do what daddy does).

I'm definitely pro-woman on lots of subjects...but also am wondering about the implications of mixed-sex crews on subs. Shoot...if racism can be pretty rampant in the not-so-very diverse submarine community...what about sexism? Also, knowing how deployments/underways/patrols can be pretty taxing on some sub spouses...what if you do add to the mix the additional worry of having your spouse be tempted by female crew members. Additionally, what about the safety of these female crew members as well as support by the rest of the crew. My biggest concern would be the type of support these women would need and would they get it fairly?

I think my spouse would be able to fairly nurture female crew members...being an officer of color (who is prior-enlisted) married to a former civil rights activist, he's got some training and is more sensitive to underrepresented communities. BUT...what about the others? What more if the women are women of color? Like I said, it's very rare to have an person of color in the wardroom (the officers)...let alone 2. We've been lucky to have shared both tours with another officer of color and have always shared similar sentiments with regards to the lack of diversity and sensitivity (ie. EDUCATION) to underserved communities...this is shared by both officer and spouse.

Obviously the training from the Hubs' alma mater will be stellar and I'm glad to see that they would be grooming women @ the USNA to become trailblazers in this community. But, I can't reiterate enough how much support these women will need from their chain of command and the Navy to be as successful as their potential allows. I hope the right measures will be put in place to allow for the success and safety of these women.

Anyhoo...thoughts?

*Ironically, as the Navy mulls this issue over, it so happens it's occuring during Military Rape Awareness Week. Here is one woman's experience, a staff sgt. in the Army. Just one of the issues that women could be facing living life as a bubblehead.

10.13.2009

OTT

Ahhhhh...thank you to one of my most fave sub wives, the uber-talented and ridiculously gorgeous Liza, just gave me this award...in addition to the other two awards that she gave me a while back that I'm so behind on still posting!!! Sorry, Liza!!

[Overthetopaward.png]

So the rules are:
Copy and change the answers to suit you and pass it on. You must use only one word answers!

Once you have filled it out you then pass it on to 6 of your favorite bloggers and alert them that they have been awarded
.

1. Where is your cell phone? Kitchen
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

Now I'm passing the love to:


9.11.2009

Time to Remember

Today is a day in which many will remember exactly what they were doing at the time of one of the most horrific times in American history. We will remember all the lives that were lost and all of the pain and anger that was left behind following the attacks. We will remember unity of the country and some will remember the hate crimes and racism that followed the attacks...on fellow Americans.

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.

9.02.2009

Puppy


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!!

8.09.2009

Feliz Cumpleanos

Happy Birthday to my wonderful maternal grandfather...and by birthday, let's not leave out the most important part of that wish...

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!!!



Photo of us I took in downtown Silver Spring, MD 2 years ago...nice granddaugther blinding her grandfather for a photo op! He looks great here, but younger in person!

8.05.2009

Reunited...

How could watching the coverage of this NOT bring a tear to your eye? Hearing the moments leading up to the meeting with N. Korean leaders and Bill Clinton emotionally described by Laura Ling got me so teary-eyed...then coupled with watching Euna Lee holding her 4-year old daughter after a 4-month separation...so awesome.

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!

7.31.2009

Backed Up...

Alrighty...here it is...the couple of photos from Sub Ball:



And a close up of my make-up.


It's been years since my days at Sephora and I never really have a need to wear lots of make-up, if at all. Many days I go nekkid. Anyhoo...it was lots of fun playing around. I used NARS Duo Eye Shadow in Habanera on my eyes, along with a few individual Shu Uemura Flare Eyelashes - Black at the outer corners) although the falsies were more for volume than length), and topped off with Shu Uemura basic mascara. OOH...and I cannot, CANNOT forget that I primed my eyes with Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. Without it, my eye make-up would've lasted all of 2 hours instead of all night long. I've been using that primer for a few years now...and trust me, there's a good reason why this bad boy has a cult following. It's that good.

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!!!

P.S. Liza...I'm still going to reply to your post from waaaay back!!!

5.20.2009

Still need to catch up...

I've been meaning to post a quick recap of Sub Ball '09, but will do that soon.

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)


4.16.2009

Preps & Apologies


Two explanations for the photos above.
1. Sorry for the narcissitic moments! These were a necessity since I was going to have to send these to my sister for a fashionista consult. Sean's no help...I love the man, but he's no help in this department.
2. I'm not exactly sure why I didn't use my Gorillapod & set the timer! What a dodo.

It's the eve of our first, and probably last, sub ball. Mom is down and will watch the kiddies. I got my dress (black...and I'm doing a one-shouldered variation) this past Tuesday and have been playing around with different looks. Sean had to buy a new uniform since made O-4...so he better get some use out of it in the future!!!!

I couldn't believe I was wasting time doing things like practicing my hair & makeup when I could've been spending time with my hubby. Good thing is, I did spend time with him afterwards doing P90X. Bad thing, any gains from P90X were obliterated this evening at the sushi buffet. ;o) Then again, I feel more relaxed going into tomorrow knowing what I'm going to do and just having to worry about making sure Mom & the kiddies are set for the evening....I premade the lasagna & garlic mix for the bread today. Yea-uh! I guess the hair & makeup practice and pre-making tomorrow night's meal are anti-procrastination...whoooooooa...so unlike me!!! ;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.

Oh...and apologies are in order for the following parties:

Poetic Wax: I am so sorry I made you work so hard to wax the jungle that were my pits.

Venus Razor: I totally apologize that you had to be dragged through the forest that was on my legs.

Toe nails: I am sorry you are part of me. I will try to take better care of you. Ok, I won't...there are other things more important to me...sorry!! But, you know I show you some love like 2-3x/year! ;o)

On a positive note, I'd like to send a shout out to my Mom for not only being here, but giving me part of your hairless (ok, barely-has-any-body-hair genes)...I would've had to replace the blade on my razor for each leg if it weren't for your genes.

TMI again? You're welcome.

;o)

4.09.2009

Loca

Yeah, I think I'm crazy. Well...that I've always known...but it seems that I always like to put more on my plate than I can handle...except for food, 'cause I can literally put a lot on my plate and handle that bad boy with no problem...thank you Li genes for big appetites and high metabolisms (except mine is definitely a lot more sluggish nowadays...lack of exercise doesn't help)!! ;o)

Take for instance, gearing up to move, Hubby's out to sea, Xmas is approaching...so, I decide to MAKE Xmas presents instead of doing my usual Amazon.com ordering (Amazon.com Prime...I LOVE YOU). Yeah...seriously? It started with these for our neices:



I was pretty proud of 'em since they were 100% handmade/designed/sewn...by someone who is now 100% not crafty. I used to be artsy when I was a kid, but that took a backseat as I grew older. Anyhoo...it was part of a kit I put together. THEN...I really liked it and wanted to do it for our other neice who is like a big sister to Kaia...and of course since they're like sisters, they have to have the same things...so then I had to make one for Kaia (poor thing is still waiting for hers since I ran out of trim for the apron). Jaida also got a halter that's like Kaia's sub halter. Of course, since I was doing an apron for the girls...I couldn't be gender-biased with the aprons and not make one for their brothers!! Boys gotta learn how to cook as much as girls! Equal opportunity is our motto. Also, I can't claim all the credit for the sub shirts...the kids painted them for their "siblings"...the Martinos!


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!!!!!!!!!!!!

4.07.2009

Kal Penn

Go on Kal Penn with your hot, smart self!

This is the same guy who also taught a course in Asian American studies at UPenn.

Congrats!

P90X...kiss my rump.

Hahahaha....JK. The hubs has been dying to do this darn P90X program that he's seen on the infomercials for the past few months. By seeing...I literally mean the man watches the infomercials like real t.v. shows. Even the kids know what P90X is. HAHAHAHAHA.

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.

P.S.
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!

3.19.2009

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The annual Submarine Ball is quickly approaching and the Hubs and I will finally be making our first, and possibly, our last Sub Ball ever. Yup...our first AND last.

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.

It's called the Chameleon Dress by Isadora Clothing. You can totally change it up and make it strapless, sleeveless, shortsleeved, etc.

Like this:
or this:

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!

3.15.2009

Really?

43 apps...seriously? Ughhhhhhhhhh...I need to finish these by tomorrow!!!!!!

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!

3.11.2009

YIKES!!!

I so want to update but I have to finish knitting a lil' somethin'-somethin' for my mama's birthday next week and do these scholarship reviews that are supposed to be completed by Monday! YIKES!! The project for Mom is almost done and I knocked out 7 apps last night. Last year I reviewed maybe close to 200 or so...sooooooooooooo yeah.........

No more procrastinating!

3.04.2009

Say What?

I just read a post from the blog French Kiss about being bi/multi-lingual...it got me thinking....

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.

Sad.

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.