SF, Here We Come!

So after much debate about where to go and what to do for our anniversary, we decided on San Francisco! Tickets are booked and mom is ready to handle Ella for the weekend (I know I’ll miss her so much). We’ll be staying at my sis-in-law’s and I can’t wait to see her and her hubby again. I love spending time with them! On the agenda? Hubby’s not telling me, but I get to put in my two cents. I don’t like surprises. Haha. But I am so excited to just take in the city, spend time with him throughout the day into the night, check out the cute shops, and eat delicious food. Mmmm. I’m excited to have fresh crab cocktail and clam chowder on the wharf. And, take amazing pictures. It will be an adventure, long overdue. Speaking of pictures, when I get my act together I plan on taking more photos and posting it on here. This blog needs color! ;)

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Random Thoughts Thursday

  • Proud of myself for making my favorite Thai food yesterday – Phad Seeyew. The noodles were a little tricky to cook, but I figured it out and it was sooo good!
  • I don’t usually get to watch TV much but somehow got caught up in that new FoodTV show “Worst Cooks in America” last night. It was interesting seeing these random people follow what seemed to be delicous recipes and cater a party! Interesting concept, I thought.
  • Baking cupcakes for daughter to bring to class tomorrow – I think vanilla cupcakes with strawberry frosting will be good with the 3rd graders. :)
  • I’m already excited for Ella’s 2nd birthday – I’m probably going to plan little by little as the months go on. I really want to take her to the Yo Gabba Gabba LIVE show but we’d have to travel for it…considering it though.
  • I know it hasn’t been a full week yet but I’ve already lost 2 lbs…hoping I can work out today or go for a walk at least during lunch. Little changes are showing differences!
  • I am so thankful for my mom and how helpful and understanding she’s been especially in the last year. She is the best with Ella!
  • Was so proud when Ella kept asking for more carrots and broccoli last night at dinner. Thank goodness this child is eating veggies!

Answers

Let’s just get to it!

What makes you happy? Family time, quiet time. Familiar places, new places to explore. A good meal. Dinner time conversations. Music. A good read. Feeling like I made a difference in my kids’ lives. A pat on the back. Good work. Date nights with Hubby. Spending time with my girlfriends. Ella.

What really irritates you?  People who love to talk shit for no good reason. Those are the same people who don’t hold themselves accountable in life – they’re irritating too. Bad parents. Bad drivers. People who don’t listen and after explaining things a million times, they still don’t “get it”. Poor customer service – super irritating. Paying a lot of money for a really bad meal. Liars.

What makes you sad? Seeing my kids (or any of my family members) mistreated in any way. Seeing somebody sick. Loss. The news (which is why I can’t watch it). Watching my parents get older. Watching my kids get older and “needing” us less.

What makes you angry? Lies. When loyalty is challenged. Unfairness.

What makes you scared? Deep water (LOL). Balloons popping. People running in a store. The reality that everyone dies at some time. Hearing my daughter cry. Seeing someone I love sick or in the hospital.

Who is your best friend? My hubby, Rose, my brother & my mom.

Ever broken a bone? Never (knocking on wood).

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “Keep things simple” and “Don’t ask a question you really don’t want to know the answer to.”

What was the last CD you bought? Alicia Keys’ The Element of Freedom, although I did receive new CDs for Christmas: Paramore & Jack Johnson

What was the last book you read? Dear John

Who was the last person you spoke to? Co-worker (in person) & Mom (phone)

What was the last thing you ate? White chocolate hand-dipped strawberry

What was the last thing you drank? Water

What’s the best thing you’ve ever bought? Our house

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever bought? A really expensive meal that was not worth it!

What’s the best thing you’ve ever been given? Being called “Mom” by my kids

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever been given? Blame when it wasn’t deserved.

What are your future goals? Pay off more, save more, buy a new car, travel more, exercise more, and eventually if time and money allow – do my own thing. :)

Describe your bedroom? A mash-up of a bedroom, nursery and living room. Ella’s crib lives in there but isn’t being used. 42 inch plasma, loveseat w/ottoman and a comfy bed. A bit of a mess right now, but we’re working on it.

What’s your most embarrassing moment? Too many – I get embarrassed and flushed just standing in a group of new people!

If you were granted 3 wishes, what would they be? This is a hard question to answer. I’ll have to answer this question another time.

What’s the first thing you think about when you wake up? I gotta get ready before Ella wakes up!

What advice would you give to a kid? Be gracious for every little and big thing you are given in life.

Describe yourself in 3 words: Loving, Creative, Headstrong

To Counter-Vent

I started my day with a post that was not so pleasant, so I thought I’d end my day with a more positive post:

  • After years of trying to conceive, my friend Karen, who I always thought would be a wonderful mother, is pregnant with TWINS! She had undergone some treatment the last I had seen her, so I’m happy to report that it was successful! She is due in August and I am just so thrilled for her.
  • I turned down the leftover enchiladas and mexican deliciousness up for grabs in the lunch room today and instead threw down with my salad – spinach, chicken, craisins, pecans, feta and a sweet onion dressing (lite, even). GO WILL POWER!
  • I’m excited for the anniversary plans hubby is making for us this February.
  • I read a good quote in my magazine last night by Audrey Hepburn: “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m Possible.”

Weekend Recap

  • Felt bad for hubby’s cousin who was visiting for his honeymoon – weather was really bad last week, and had they only come a week later they’d be soaking in this magnificent San Diego weather that we pay so much for!
  • Daughter got a steal and scored 4 points last weekend at her basketball game – hooray!
  • McDonalds has a gourmet bistro in Carmel Valley? Really??
  • Finished my book – finally! It was amazingly good and I was surprised at how emotional I was. It’s called Dear John and hubby will be taking me to watch it opening weekend. Yay!
  • Went to Kensington Grill after all. Lamb spring rolls, calamari, pork osso bucco, chocolate pot de creme, banana bread pudding…mmmmmm!
  • I think I’m turning into a fan of bread pudding after the last three I’ve tried at Urban Solace, Luc’s Bistro and Kensington Grill.
  • Finally, making more progress on our next family newsletter.
  • I made up my mind – I think I’m going to cut FB ties with someone who is friends with the evil J – conflict of interest, sorry! ;)
  • I had a great time at Godson’s 3rd birthday this weekend.
  • I loved seeing my best girlfriends this weekend.
  • We’re getting close to booking our family trip – woohoo! Not Hawaii this year though, but will be just as fun. :)
  • Started WW officially today. Determined to trim down by family vacation time.
  • Hubby took me shopping this weekend – thanks hon!
  • Had my favorite cookie – Chocolate Duet from Panera…it was sinfully good.
  • Shopped for daughter’s 9th birthday this weekend – no huge celebration this year, but we have something special planned.
  • I think I have the best brother ever – random, but I just realized that I am lucky.
  • Back to work…busy with V’day emails.

Rainy Thursday Thoughts

  • What is up with these storms? Since my office has windows, I get freaked out seeing how hard it’s raining and blowing outside! Not to mention this office has a leak – bleh. I think it’s crazy that San Diego was on tornado watch – what?!!
  • I think I was late to work every day this week.
  • I hope I don’t regret adding someone to my FB – and no, it’s not an ex.
  • This bagel sandwich is the bomb – chorizo, eggs, and cheese!
  • It’s good to have the hubby home. :)
  • I am scared to drive in the rain.
  • I still haven’t had time to finish my book and I’m dying to get back to reading it!
  • I hope the rain doesn’t ruin my Godson’s birthday party this weekend.
  • I hope my daughter’s basketball team plays better than last weekend – I blame it on the coaching.
  • I am excited to eat good food tomorrow…mmmm!
  • I wish weekends were longer – who came up with weekends being on Saturdays and Sundays only?
  • I wish I could have slept longer today.
  • I miss the days when I was a stay-at-home – yes I said it! But I do not miss the lack of income.
  • Getting paid weekly rocks!

Future Planning

I find myself more than ever watching our budget and for the first time in 6 years I feel like I’m gaining control of our finances again. So many things happened in the last two years, the biggest was me being laid off. We took a hit in several ways, but are finally seeing the light at the end of the once very dark tunnel. We put off so many things – mostly travel and the purchase of a much needed third vehicle. But we realized that at the time that they really weren’t a priority, and we were able to survive without it. I am proud at the fact that although we faced some hardships, we were able to continue to give our kids the things they needed, feed them good food and celebrate their birthdays and the holidays.

Today, I am happy to see us spending more mindfully. We do fun things, but we plan for it in advance and reserve a little for spontaneous spending. We are also able to save for emergencies and hopefully a family vacation this year. Destination…it’s in the works. But if all goes well, it will be nice trip for all of us. It feels good to live on our real income and within our means, and to see things being paid off. I can’t wait to have our SUV paid off this year so we can get a third vehicle. Most likely, I will drive the new car, my hubby will have the SUV and our son will take the Civic. For now, we’re being humble in many ways, and splurging in other ways. I have been meal-planning and cooking again – not as often as I did when I stayed at home, but we’ve been eating out a lot less these days. This weekend, I get to splurge a little and I cannot wait – Restaurant Week and Shopping. :)

The Unexpected Indulgence

I’ve never been the bookworm, a lover of novels. Never ever was I interested in using (or what I thought was wasting) my time to sit and read something that had no pictures – sad but true, but I was a lover of magazines! Short articles, vibrant photos, useful information, a galleria of ideas on glossy paper. Reading was considered a non-option for me. Remember, I am the same person who cannot sit in a theater for 2 1/2 hours (unless it was a movie I really wanted to see) so all the long trilogies and reels that were popular among the masses, were just not for me. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc…not for me. I used to joke that it was my self-diagnosed “ADD” that would keep me away from movie-watching or reading – I truly had a deficient supply of attention when it came to long periods of me being silent and for lack of a better way of putting it, “paying attention”.

So the spell has somewhat been broken. And thanks to my close girlfriends who seemed to have this camaraderie surrounding their love for books, I am slowly becoming a member! This is completely new – a first in all of my 32 years of existence. Reading.

My life is busy and my time is limited, but so far this year I’ve finished one book (Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas) and am almost done with my second (Dear John). For the first time, I’ve been able to consume myself in silence and escape my own reality to join the story in front of me. I’ve been able to set aside what seemed to be a very lengthy mental to-do list and focus on the characters who sometimes seem like familiar faces in my own personal life through their emotions and experiences. 

I look forward to seeing if this is an “in the moment” indulgence or one I can enjoy over a longer period of time. I hope it’s the latter.

Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing…

I don’t wanna miss a thing…in terms of reflecting on how amazing my weekend has been. It’s Sunday and only a day and half more and my hubby will be home. I miss him so much, but honestly I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had the chance to be sad or feel alone – emotions I was quite frankly afraid of feeling this weekend. I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage without him and having all four of our kids this weekend, complete with softball tryouts, basketball games, football banquet, a movie date that I had to be a driver for, and my personal goals for this weekend…well, more like house chores: take the bins stuffed with Christmas decor back to storage; get rid of all the bags of recyclables that have been taking up space and creating an eye-sore in our patio; go grocery shopping;  finish laundry; sort through all the bags of miscellaneous items and take the ones worth donating to the Goodwill; cook meals from our jam-packed freezer of meats and veggies;  and empty the fridge of the old and uneaten. That was a lot and I wondered if I was setting myself up for a disastrous, disappointing weekend. The most important thing I wanted to do was spend quality time with my kids, but after realizing how busy and overly ambitious I was trying to be this weekend, I didn’t think it was even possible. Crazy but true, everything got done…and I was able to spend quality time with my kids!

Quality time was found during the drive to each destination or errand; between games; cooking together; eating together; playing a game after dinnertime…this weekend was a true testament to how wonderful my kids are and how blessed I am to call them my family. This morning, I awoke from a sleepless night (Ella coughing and unable to go back to sleep from 1am-3am). My kids had already planned to make me breakfast, brew me fresh coffee and give me a foot massage (my 8 year old even – can you believe it!!!) and indeed they did. I felt like the luckiest mother in the world. While they were preparing a delicous breakfast, I was able to consume myself with my latest read.

I feel happy. I feel proud. I was able to get all my house-chores done, make sure the kids got to where they needed to be, cooked all weekend, read my book, prep dinners for the next two nights, pack a healthy lunch for work tomorrow as well as gym clothes, watch the Chargers game, and spend quality time with my kids. This weekend has been a great prelude to another work week, and while I miss my husband so very much, I feel rejuvenated and look forward to his safe return and spending time with him as a stronger wife and mommy.

Inhale, Exhale, Repeat

Today the hubby is leaving for the east coast to attend his cousin’s wedding – he will be gone for 4 days! We have never been a part for long periods of time. The last time was when he was hospitalized after a severe ruptured appendix in 2008. He was gone for a whole week and out of commission for at least a month. That had to have been one of the scariest times of my life. I felt like my strength as a mother was being put to the test. How insane my life was. Seeing him in this helpless state and missing his presence in our daily lives was a sample of what my life would be like without him. I fought great sadness every day so that I can care for our 4 kids – Ella at the time was only 7 months old. It was after the birthdays of our two older kids, the start of holidays, in the midst of my unemployment…but it was the unemployment that served as a blessing and gave me the time I needed to care for him and my family. I drove back and forth from the hospital every day, made sure the kids were cared for during the day (by our parents), fed at dinner time, and secure by bedtime. But it was that lonely scared feeling I’d have at night when I didn’t have him there with me. I would talk to him nightly on the phone mostly listening to his deliria from the meds and hear him doze off to sleep. That was a sad time and in retrospect I’m amazed at how we all made it through.

As the days got closer to his departure (today), I began to feel stress filling my body at the thought of potential annoyances, requests and demands that I would face alone with the kids. But somehow I managed to sort it out – on paper and in my mind – how things would go and told myself that I’ve done this before under worse circumstances and I can do it again.

Be easy-going, have no high expectations, communicate clearly, stick to my agenda, listen openly, and enjoy quality time with my children. Take moments to breathe in…and breathe out. I hope he will come back refreshed and ready to come back home to his family. I will miss him but this weekend won’t allow me much time to feel sad. I am determined to have a good weekend – just me and my kids.