Want to do something good?

The sporadic blogger is back, but just to write about one of my dearest friend's newest endeavors.  Dharma has been one of my dearest friends since college.  We met in one of our Asian American studies classes, participated in the same student leadership groups, and comprised 2/3 of the first students to graduate with the then-newly established Asian American Studies certificate from UMD.  Since then she has been confidant, a wonderful aunt to my kiddies, and sister.  Dharms continues to help mentor, counsel, and raise young student leaders to this day, many of whom are excelling in the fields of social justice in non-profit orgs, private sector, and the government.  Now she is directing some of her endless energy and humanitarianism towards human trafficking.  I am totally and completely way late in posting about this...but better late than never.

Dharma and her friend Pareesha were inspired by another fellow Terp alum to travel to Mysore, India to volunteer for an organization called Odanadi.  They have been fundraising since October, prior to their upcoming trip this December to Mysore.  They have raised 81% (as of today) towards their goal of $5,000.  (You can find the breakdown of how the donations will be utilized here.)

Need a good cause to support this holiday season?  Check out Dharma & Pareesha's blog and consider contributing to their efforts in fighting human trafficking.  They're accepting donations thru December 8!

Thank you!

Good luck, Special Friend and thank you for making this world a better place for all!


Attempted Murder

I just wanted to let you know of the "attempted murder" that just occurred...with this woman:

I tried to visit with Jackie Warner only to have her try to kill me.  After 14 min. and some odd secs, I had enough and left.  Granted, the visit was On Demand in my family I didn't have far to go.

Hopefully I'll still be able to walk to the bus stop to get my son.

If I don't answer my phone later, you know who is responsible.

I'm sooooooooo out of shape.  Remember the WALK that almost killed me?



You were treated to a visual feast of my sister, brother, and cutie pie niece the other day.  Now, another goodie from one of my college friends and favorite blogger, Ben aka DILF-in-Training (when you visit his site, please vote for him as a top baby blog)!  Thank you very much, for these beautiful photos that we will cherish forever!

I met Tanya about a decade ago (egads!) while we were both students at the University of Maryland. What’s amazing is that despite the fact I was an obnoxious, self-righteous twenty year old prick (really…who wasn’t at that age?) who had only now transformed into a slightly-less obnoxious, self-righteous thirty year old (and only slightly prick-ish) dad, we’ve remained friends all the same. Bless her heart. Really.
Though the details escape me as of this writing, Tanya and I somehow reconnected over the years via the multitude of social networking sites and blogs that were literally at our fingertips. We kept up with each other’s journeys towards happily ever after: marriage, white picket fences and 2.5 kids. And as a fellow foodie, experimental chef and shutterbug, she reliably remained at the top of my daily reading list all these years. Naturally :).
You can follow her blog here.
Since I was going to be in the vicinity for a wedding, I proposed to meet up to introduce the fam, under one condition: they allowed me to photograph their awesomely photogenic family!  It took some arm-twisting at first (okay, maybe not), but after some back-and-forth, she graciously accepted my humble offer and we found ourselves as weekend guests at their beautiful home (with Lil Monster in tow, no less!).
As a budding shutterbug, I was grateful for even a few casual shots. But this family totally went all out!  They even got matching outfits! So without further ado, allow me to introduce the fam!
Tanya + Jaron
Tanya + Kaia
Sean + Jaron
Sean + Kaia
Admittedly, my skills as a photographer and post-production slave are still works in progress,  but this family was such an absolute joy to photograph!  If I didn’t know any better, I would venture to guess that they did this on a regular basis!  Tan & Sean, thank you so much for having us over for the weekend, and allowing us to capture and share all these fantastic moments with your family.  I’m almost tempted to suggest we make this an annual event!
What can I say? We are absolutely IN LOVE with this family!
Photo Credits: Ben and Benson Lau


Amazing Awesomeness

I'm going the lazy route today (but at least I'm posting and it's not months later...not that anyone except all of my .5 readers care...hahahaha). One of my favorite blogs happens to be from a friend from college. We weren't the same year (he's younger), we didn't have the same major, and we didn't really participate in the same clubs. Yet, we still participated together in two of the biggest shows on campus together. It's definitely through the years...and more so when he started his Dad Knows Best and Conceived and Composed blog series that I've come to regard Ben's way with words and his awesomeness with a camera.

Anyway, Ben & his brother were originally coming down to our neck of the woods to shoot a wedding (again, these guys are REALLY GOOD and they're "just starting out")...of course we can't let friends stay anywhere but our house (unless we are hit by a plague or lose air-conditioning). Then they're beautiful wives & newborn baby...and well, for us, THE MORE THE MERRIER!  K & K & "Little Monster" (who, btw, is such a sweetie) were awesome! Ben's K had a baby almost 8 weeks ago and doesn't show any signs that she even gestated anything inside her tiny frame.  But, since I follow Ben's blog, I do know that she was, for sure, pregos at some point and must have abs & skin with the elasticity of Spanx.

But, even before we offered up our place, Ben had asked if he could shoot photos of our fam...which, of course, is a no-brainer on so many levels!  Of course, this turned into a photo shoot of not just our family but The Fam.  Mom was already down here (enjoying her recent retirement) and Kim, J, & Talia came down for the weekend.

We had a great time and those of you who are my FB friends have seen some of the other previews of the Lau Brothers' ridiculous talent!

THANK YOU, BEN & BENSON!!!!!!!  Please check out Ben's blog Future DILF-in-Training.  He's a great writer and photographer!  While you're at it, you can also vote for him as a Top Baby Blog!

And now without further ado, Ben's post (jacked, stolen, yanked, reprinted with permission) of my sister, brother (for those who are confused when I leave out the in-law, he's techinically my brother-in-law but he's way more than just an in-law), and my baby...errrrr...niece:

Jason + Kim + Talia

September 12, 2010

Here’s the funny thing about this particular family. Unbeknownst to me, I attended school with both Jason and Kim, and even graduated the same year; but the fact we had never crossed paths was just downright unforgivable. Goes to show how impersonal campus life can be when you’ve got 40,000 kids wandering on University of Maryland’s sprawling campus (go Terps!). When they heard that I was going to be in around town for a wedding, I accepted their hospitality under one condition:
That they allow me to photograph this wonderfully photogenic family.
Photo Credits: Ben and Benson Lau



It's a gorgeous day and both kids are in, I decided to push my atrophied self out the door to enjoy the weather and go for a walk with Jax.

I came to the following conclusions:

A) Being sedentary for so long causes both shock and confusion in both my muscles and my dog. It sounded like Bozo the Clown was walking with a dirty prank caller.

B) It's a good idea to make sure that if you are bringing your largest canine with you on a walk that you need to make sure that he has emptied his bowels prior to walking...thereby avoiding the walk of shame back to your house with a giant bag of steamy poo.

C) Stop being so sedentary.

You would figure someone who was a few courses short of obtaining her bachelor's in kinesiology (before I switched to criminology & criminal justice) would be more cognizant of keeping herself moving...but nooooooooooo.  It's usually too hot or too cold or too rainy or just about to rain or the kids need me or the hubby needs me or blah blah blah...

But today, it was just right.

Now, I just have to start convincing my body not to go into shock and to stop rejecting the fresh oxygen being pumped throughout her...


Wish me luck!

First Day of School

School started this week, officially marking the end of a crazy, fun-filled, jam-packed summer.  Jaron started kindergarten this year...leaving his mama single and sad...but excited for this new chapter in his life.  When did our "babies" grow up?

I know he's in good hands...specifically, his sister's.
I hope they'll always take care of each other.
Start of a bittersweet day where we've entrusted our kids to others
and knowing they're in great care.



It's been a while and still might be a while until I blog again...just having the busiest summer to date and enjoying every minute of it.  But, I just wanted to send a huge congratulations to Daphne Kwok who was recently appointed by President Obama to be the chair of his advisory committee on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.  You can read more about it here and here.

There really couldn't be a more stellar pick than Daphne.  I had the good fortune of knowing here from my days working in DC.  It was with her (and her deputy director at the time, Emmy Akiyama) that I was in the car en route to NYC to do some exit polling when tragedy struck the city and nation on 9/11.  Daphne is just ridiculously awesome and amazing...and humble.  Her parents are pretty kick-butt too raising this awesome woman.  I was pregos with Kaia when her dad told me that having daughters first is the way to go since they'll be your biggest help and blessing, as Daphne was.  I couldn't agree more with Mr. Kwok.  I know their daughter's recent achievement is just another in a long line of achievements to be proud of.

Congratulations, Daphne!  I know Obama's in great hands with you as his chair!


Wordle: Figure It Out Friday

Almost an entire month ago Recently, we held a joint birthday party for my son & niece.  Usually, the kids' birthday shindigs are a big deal because we hold them in DC every time as a way to be able to reconnect with so many friends & fam (or friendmily) that we don't get to see regularly due to our military life.  AND...thanks to our amazing fam, we've pulled this not-so-tiny interstate but intracoast about 10 times now.

So, I'm usually the one who creates and is responsible for a majority of the menu...and like at home, it tends to be from scratch and healthy (or at least healthier).  The cakes are no exception.  I get the uber-insane idea of baking nonstop for 48 hours before these parties to ensure some delectable treats.  The cakes (with icing), from scratch, always include two flavors...let me clarify...two different cakes.

This year was cake for my son & one for my baby, oops, I mean niece.  Jaron's was chocolate with cookies & cream buttercream...the texture & color of the buttercream actually added a nice gravelly effect to the finished product.  Big Boy vascillated between chocolate chip, chocolate, and lemon raspberry for his cake flavors.  LUCKILY, I got to choose the lemon raspberry for Talia.  This was also my first foray into the wonderful world of fondant (which I DID NOT MAKE from scratch).  I bought these cute little posies for her cake and used yellow pearl luster dust to color it a pale yellow...except I also forgot to bring a soft brush with me and used my mom's old pastry brush resulting in some streaks here and there.

However, friends should not let friends fondant (yes, I made it into a verb) without doing a test cake first.  Also, friends let friends RESEARCH how to work with and drape fondant correctly before doing so on the DAY OF THE PARTY.  I apparently am not a fondant rockstar like my friend Melissa.

Otherwise, you'll have to take your first try and let your shame face the wall.

Have a fabulous weekend!


Cookies & Compost = Yummy Deliciousness


Say what?

Yup...cookies and compost equal some pretty darn yummy creations...especially when that creation is from the uber-renowned NYC restaurant Momofuku.  Ok, so it's not really compost per se, but basically you take whatever you have on hand and throw it into this cookie.

This is actually the cookie that you saw my kids were sharing.  That cookie was out of pure laziness since I ran out of room for the initial shaping & chilling stage of the cookie and dumped it into a bowl.  I then proceeded to dump said bowl onto the cookie sheet & baked it as is.  Yeah, I'm lazy a rebel like that.

For our cookies, I threw in chocolate, peanut butter, & butterscotch chips:

Ok, yes, that's quite here's where we make it interesting:

See that?  That, my friends, is a melange of pretzels, Oreos, potato chips, & coffee grounds...and yes, it all goes in the cookies.  I know I made my sister throw up a little in her mouth when I mentioned my add-ins.  Whoops.

But, if you're a person who likes sweet & savory creations, give this a try!  Christina Tosi, pastry chef of the Momofuku restaurants and David Chang, chef/owner/culinary bad-a$$ of the Momofuku restaurants serve this cookie in the Momofuku Milk Bar.  His other Momofuku restaurant Momofuku Ssam Bar was named of the 50 Best Restaurants in the World.  David has been nominated/won several James Beard awards over the years and was one of Times 100 Most Influential People for he's a DC native...whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat.  His cookbook Momofuku was released last fall.

My friend Linda, a fellow foodie and restaurant owner tipped me off to these bad boys.  You can find the recipe here.  Christina Tosi was on "Live with Regis & Kelly" showing how to make them.  On that segment one of the things they used was Goldfish crackers...I'm adventurous, but I'm not sure I could use those.  Anyhoo...if you have a stand mixer, you're in luck...'cause these bad boys need a total of 10 straight minutes of butter/sugar beating!  Also, definitely follow the chilling time.  I actually chilled mine at least overnight and even waited the 36 hours as recommended by Shirley Corriher when making cookies.  Ooh and my last rec would be to use the coffee grounds (which I used fresh coffee grounds and I've seen as used, dry grounds)...they lend a depth to the cookie which is ridiculous!

Again, find the recipe here and ENJOY!


Sibling Love

Anyone want to share?

Ironically, the number of this photo is 143.

What's more ironic?

They are currently fighting.

Ahhhhhh...sibling love.

Figure It Out Friday

Wordle: Figure It Out Friday

I am the author of 3 blogs.



Well, I started our family blog for the obvious.  Being a military family away from friends and fam, I started it to keep everyone updated.  Except, I failed to realize that also being a military family, you run into slumps...most noticeably when you're a "single married spouse/mom" (SMS/M) and/or the computer is in a different room on a different floor in your house away from your kids.  Also, when I have the time to blog, I'd rather spend it with my husband with whom I've probably spent 1/2 of our relationship actually being in his physical presence.  I also didn't want to clutter our family blog with my own personal stuff since well, it's our family blog.

Besides my family, my passion is cooking and eating.  So, I started my food blog.

Since I'm starting to lose steam, time, and energy on giving the appearance of maintaining three...I'm going to simplify and put everything on this bad boy...with the exception of my food blog which I'll just double post on both blogs,  so any foodies won't have to read my ramblings & babblings...except in my food posts.

Which means, I'll still be blogging with the same frequency...which is occasionally.

So there.


11 years...

Annapolis, MD

11 years since he first put on his officer shoulder boards and almost 13 years in... much for "Five & Dive" 
(for all the civvies, we thought he'd serve his 5 year commitment and be out).

I can't even begin to count how much of our 11+ years together you've been in a tube under the sea or just in the tube docked at the pier...missing birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, entire seasons, scary moments, sad moments, happy moments, days/weeks/months of our children's lives, and narrowly missing the birth of our first child (and the ensuing hurricane).

I'm thankful for all that you do...without complaints.

I'm grateful that you never undermine the role of a military spouse, especially a submariner's wife, and how much we go through as "single married spouses/parents" in an isolated and secretive world.

I'm so proud of you and all that you do for us and our country.

Thank you.

I love you.


Mom n' Me Monday

BWS tips button

Jumping on Julie's Mom n' Me Mondays' bandwagon where she had the fabulous idea of encouraging parents who are the main family photographer to put themselves in photos occasionally...

...made easier by purchasing one of these handy little bad boys:

Taking advantage of the annual free tix from Busch Gardens/Sea World (of which this would be the SECOND time we have taken advantage of the deal despite living within in driving distances of two of its major parks for the entire 5 years the program has existed)...and not having my point-and-shoot, we took a pre-Busch Gardens family photo since I was not going to bring my newest baby with me to an amusement park.

So, here it is:

Pop over to Julie's blog to check it out and to participate!

ATTN: Military & HOV in Hampton Roads

In case you're active duty or know someone who is, military personnel may now use the HOV lanes to or from a military facility in Hampton Roads.  Now that The Hubs has more "normal" working hours, he's a bit happier that his commute will be easier.

Check it out here.

**UPDATE:  The Federal Govt. struck down this legislation despite state approval since they hold jurisdiction over interstates.  Boooooooooooooo.


Figure It Out Friday...

Wordle: Figure It Out Friday

It's been a, I apologize to my one reader...and by one, I mean the spammer who likes leaving me messages in Chinese.  Dude, my family left China a long time ago.  Not building-the-railroads long time ago, but several generations back. of my new favorite reads is Julie's blog @ The Peanut Gallery...Exit Here.  Her family had a newly adopted pet duck this past spring and named him Buck.  That reminded me of last year.

Right before my sweet baby niece was born, we had a little arrival of our own:

That's a frikkin' unfathomable amount of offspring for one female, but she did it.  We watched them grow, beg for food from us, come up on our deck and return our food (albeit in a different form than it was originally given and through a different outlet), use my SUV simultaneously as a shelter AND a restroom, and mature from cute furry little things to these:

Do you see the dinosaur resemblance?  I have never seen such "interesting" ducks outside of this area.  By "interesting" I also mean who hit these ducks with the ugly stick?

Although the number of our duck family significantly dwindled from 18 to a core group of 6, the circle of life continues...on the side of our house, no less:

Have a great weekend!


Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day

To all the military spouses doing what you do (and if you have children, often as a "single married spouse" doing the work of two people 24/7 for most of the year), without complaints (although you're definitely allowed the occasional vent), and sometimes without the credit you truly deserve...

Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day!


Mom n' Me Monday

BWS tips button

Loving Julie's project to force herself to be in some photos with her kids...and as the sole main photographer in this family, I've been relying on old photos to participate.  It's almost as if I don't know that most cameras made post-Flintstone age have timers ...or maybe it's just that 90% of the week I look like a hot mess and I'm not trying to break my new camera.

So, my brother-in-law is in town and staying with us for a little while.  Sean and I managed to sneak out for a quick date this past weekend...bringing up the total of dates we've had since Kaia was born to less fingers than I have on both hands.  While I have few photos with the kiddies...I probably have even less with Sean.  So, a pre-date photo was needed but we had company:

While a majority of people say that Jaron looks like Sean (and even though you can't tell because apparently Kaia has some latent issues about wanting to be the only child)...I beg to differ.

Seriously beg to differ.

Because, right here, he CLEARLY looks like his mom:

So there.

Pop over to Julie's blog to join in the memory-making!


Figure It Out Friday

Wordle: Figure It Out Friday

Dear Big Puppy,

I love you but you need to stop using Mama's boots as chew toys.  I've tried to be patient with you.  I've bought you lots of toys even when Dad said you had too many.  I've let the kids know the importance of putting away their wooden toys as you seem to have a penchant for wood.

But now, you done did it.

You ate Larry.

You know Mama doesn't buy expensive shoes/boots.  These were my ONLY leather boots...and I even named them.  Even the kids know their names and which is which and that they are Mommy's other children.  Harold is sad that his partner Larry has been maimed.  I waited patiently for an entire season for these bad boys to drop in price...drastically.  

Seriously, Puppy, you need cheaper chew toys.

But, thank you for providing a great lesson for the kids that Mommy needs to work on HER procrastination and put HER stuff away.

Still, touch Harold and be prepared for the wrath of Mom.

That sounded tough, didn't it?