Wednesday, December 10, 2008

First baby purchase

Another exciting event in our household was that we finally made our first baby purchase! We've been going back and forth and looking at a variety of baby furniture and the various stores and finally decided on the Munir*e Newport collection. I have never been so stressed about making a decision, not even when picking out my wedding dress! In any case, I am so glad that that decision is made!

We got the hutch combo, 6 drawer chest, night stand and convertible crib in a darker color as below.

I think the yellow is soothing but Mr. J thinks it's for girls! I guess anything other than his Crimson will not do!

In any case, we don't have it at home yet just because some pieces needs to be ordered and Mr. J wants to paint the baby's room before setting things up.

We're still debating the colors, he wants a sports theme with Alabama Crimson red on the bottom half and the sheerest baby blue on the top half... I am not completely sold on the idea so unless I can come up with a better idea/color scheme, he's just going to go ahead with it! In any case, I don't think I can get off of using the red on the palette, I just hope the baby would not be an angry one looking at all the red around him :( Sigh, I would prefer pastel, "baby" colors with little animals as a theme but I guess that is an exhausting debate!

So I guess we've gotten the biggest part taken care of, now it's time for accessories... car seat, bouncy chair, bottles, clothes etc. Question for all you experienced Mommies out there... what things have you used with your baby/ies that you highly recommend or cannot imagine living without???

Week 21 update

All is well here in the J household! The husband, puppy, baby and I are enjoying my parent's visit from Malaysia. They got in a week before Thanksgiving and hence, we've been visiting places as well as family. It would be a lot nicer if we didn't have to work in that time frame, but it is kind of difficult to avoid that since my parents are visiting for 6 weeks!

I will most definitely miss their company as well as the creature comforts that only parents can bring when they leave on the 27th :( With my mom's cooking, I have finally been able to up my weight. I had gained 5 pounds in the first 3 months and then 2 more at Week 14. But that's where it had stopped cos I was still only 7 pounds up at Week 19 during my checkup. I guess all those salads I consumed didn't stick! In any case, at Week 21, after 3 weeks of Mom's cooking, I gained 2 more pounds!

Everything looked a-okay during our detailed anomally ultrasound scan at Week 19. The Little One was progressing well and in the 85th percentile and I can also tell that he is going to be a handful since he did not keep still long enough for the ultrasound technician to take a good shot... so here are a could of my feisty boy!

Profile shot

Frontal shot

Well son, when you're old enough to read this, your Daddy just HAD to make sure! :) He is so unbelievably excited, he's already planning everything he's going to do with you, he keeps wishing that you were here already!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Why does this feel like it's going so fast and yet so slow all at the same time?

We count down the weeks and they seem to hit us in rapid succession, one after another but yet, at Week 16 (plus 4 days), Week 40 seems like a far distant future :) Yes, can you tell that I am so impatient for week for to come by and finally meet our little womb tenant!

I am, however, thankful that once we hit Week 13, the nausea subsided, the bloatedness disappeared and it feels wonderful to be able be out and about without gagging everytime I smelled anything remotely food-related. So far, I've gained 6 lbs and as Hubby was going through our wedding video last night, I cannot believe that it was only less than a year ago when I fit into my wedding dress! Ha ha... however, I'm anticipating lots of running around and sleepless nights [well, hopefully not a lot of this cos Mommy is a BEAR when lacking in the sleep department! BUT I guess baby changes me :)] so maybe the weight will melt away.

Having the puppy at home is good training as to what's in store, she's really like a toddler, getting in things that you didn't even think would interest anyone or expect it to be! Her latest craze is toilet paper, we keep the spares in stands in 3 of the bathrooms and it's really like warfare tactics to ensure she stays out of it. In any case, I hope she grows out of it cos I don't know how I'm going to handle 2 little rugrats running all over the place! Bama is, thankfully, recovered from her spaying surgery and she seems to not even remember anything about it. I do sometimes miss the times when after the surgery, that all she did was lay about but it's good to have my little girl back!

Right after surgery, the Princess just moped about and here's a shot of her laying on the armrest of the couch as she kept me company as I studied.

The 4 inch scar after those nasty stitches were removed!

Hmmm... why you mumbling to yourself Mommy???? You would too Bama if you were trying to memorize this alternative minimum tax formula!

Okay, I wanna go out now!

I do need to mention the Hubby in this post as well because the poor man must feel like Baby is #1, Puppy is #2, Cravings is #3 etc and that he's at the bottom of the list! :) He's been so wonderful and supportive it really enriches the whole experience. I can tell he's so excited about having a baby at home and for those of you who know Hubby personally, he's this manly man and always so serious that he may come across as being a grumpus but here he is, talking animatedly about everything from nursery themes, baby names to college funds. Also, since he leaves so early everyday for work and I'm still in bed, not only the Mommy gets a kiss but the baby too and I just love that! Oh, it's also nice to receive 'no reason' flowers and cards.

So yesterday, for some reason I was having this intense craving for the Chik-Fil-A Southwest Chicken salad and since there is not one close by me, I asked Hubby to get it (I've asked before as well and he always forgot!) and this is so cute, he took it upon himself to remember and get me the RIGHT order. Hence, he bypassed the drive thru, went into the store and told the manager that the order must not be messed up as it's for his pregnant wife! Ha ha the Manager took that in good humour and sent Hubby home with a generous and absolutely delicious salad plus a 50% discount! I don't know how he manages to pull things like this off but I guess he did a wonderful job. And in case you're wondering, this little boy craves healthy things, he loves salads and fruit best.

Well, another 3 1/2 weeks till we go for the thorough 20 Week anatomical ultrasound, I simply can't wait! It's been a couple of weeks since we got to have a peek at him!

Okay, time to go back to studying and I'm glad I have a great study companion!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bad Mommy

I have been so nervous and anxious all week as our little Bama is scheduled to be spayed and have her baby canines extracted since her permanent ones are out but the milk teeth refuse to fall off! I guess that it's not a big deal, millions of dogs get spayed/neutered all around the world, I just never thought I'd feel this way when our turn came.

Hubby doesn't give this too much thought, he makes fun of me for being so worried but until I have my baby home safe, I won't be at ease. Maybe this is what other Mommy's [of human or furry babies] feel?

Bama probably knew something was different today [how can she not??? Her Daddy teased her yesterday about today!]... J takes her out every morning when he wakes up at 5ish and puts her back in the crate before he leaves for work. Bama will usually sit in there and watch me till I wake up and let her out. Today, was different though, she did not do that, she just laid in her crate listless and even when I let her out, she was reluctant to come out. She stayed by my side every single step and only when I brushed her, she got some of her spunk back [she thinks brushing is play time].

I brought out her doggie carrier and she thought it was 'going out' day... since she did not go No. 2 when J took her out, I took her one last time and after tinkling real quickly, she wanted to run in [never happens cos she always try to convince us to take her on her walkies!].... as soon as she got in, she ran into her carrier... it was the funniest thing.

The whole short drive, I was feeling so guilty, she kept scratching on the carrier and giving me her cutesy look... so innocent, so trusting and here I'm sending her to pain and misery :( Oh gosh... how am I going to survive taking my child for his shots!!! I know it's for their own good but I wish there wasn't any pain involved :(

She realised it wasn't a joyride when we stopped at the vet's... she didn't want to get out of her carrier and when I took her in, she could not stop shaking... again, this is odd as she likes going to the vet as we send her here for grooming, boarding and doggie daycare (before we found her a dogwalker). Anyways, I left her in the arms of the vet technician, still shaking and I really had to try very hard not to cry.

Maybe it's the pregnancy or maybe like I said, it's a 'Mommy' feeling... people say it's 'just a dog' but it's not just a dog to me, she's a family member and maybe I'm over protective because she's defenseless, she trusts us to take care of her and her trust and love is unconditional. Period.

I am praying hard that everything will be okay and she'll be back to her normal self in a couple of days.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween Party

We just got invited to a dress up Halloween party by one of our neighbors and I'm at a loss as to what to dress up as! Suggestions so far are;
i) Pumpkin (so original right???)
ii) Nun (by the hostess who thinks a pregnant nun is hilarious... ummm I think I'll pass)

So it's back to the drawing board, just have to keep pondering (in between breaks from study and work of course!). About this whole study thing, it IS so true that the older you get, the harder it is to focus and this is by all means nothing to do with age. It seems that the older I am, the more things we have going on... last year was the wedding, this year the baby and I HOPE there is NO next year!

I am beginning to detest sitting with my books as the beautiful days pass on by and my poor neglected Hubby passes time alone upstairs either watching tv, strumming on his guitar, DIY projects or playing with the puppy. It's time like these that you'd find me going upstairs every so often with really no reason but to escape studying and re-join life.

So I'm praying hard that I can focus and just get this done... it doesn't help that I missed passing by 1 point last year... argh! Next year, I want to enjoy my non-work hours watching my baby grow, be wifey to the Hubby and just spend time doing the things I enjoy. If that's not motivation enough, I'm not sure what is! I guess what's left is I need to remind myself of that.

Back to the books!

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's a BOY!

Today marks the beginning of Week 14 and what a surprise we had when we took a little peep at Little Bit this morning! First and foremost, he had grown 50% since we had seen him 2 weeks ago, his current stats are;

Length - 93 mm
Heartbeat - 122 bpm

It was so fun to watch him, his arms and legs were already formed, we got to count the 5 perfect little fingers and much to our delight, we finally got to see that it's a little boy! No more he/she but HIM! He was a little shy at first keeping his legs crossed and after the ultrasound technician poked and prodded, the little one finally adjusted and there it was... for all to see, his little pee-pee.

The pee-pee! Do you see it??

The Hubby is still in denial, he keeps saying it's the umbilical cord but to prove to him that it isn't, the ultrasound technician switched on the thermal scanner which shows the movement/flow of blood and alas, the umbilical cord was nowhere near Little Bit's nether regions. Anyways, I am convinced it's a boy and so is the technician. I guess Daddy'll just have to wait till the next thorough ultrasound in 4weeks.

Look at this adorable profile!

Hi Mommy!!! Or was it nudging my ribcage???

Do you see the tips of his fingers?

So now, we have to pick a boy's name since I had been so sure it was a girl and my mindset was ready for little dresses, ballet classes etc... don't get me wrong, I am so excited it's a boy but I think every Mother secretly wishes to have a little girl! Anyways, I can see myself as a soccer/football/hockey/cub scout mom and I really can't wait for him to be here so we can finally hold him!

Keep growing little one, be healthy and strong... know you are so loved even before we've laid eyes on you!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Catch up

Monday, October 6th – Week 12

Another trip to the doctor for a follow up, and another peek into our snuggle bunny’s hideaway. It’s got to be a better machine being used or maybe it’s because they have an extra monitor for the parents to look at and instead of just laying there trying to sneak a peek, the Little One was in full view. What joy it was! It was a whole lot different than I remember at 7 week. Instead of a blurb with a yolk sac attached, this was one little human being, as observed sketchily in Week 11, you could see the head, eyes, arms legs and it was amazing just watching him do somersaults and his tiny arms were propped as if he were in a boxing match. The nurse suggested that maybe it’s a boy since it’s so rowdy… of course that made his Daddy beam! In any case, both of us were just so amazed to see this precious little life God has blessed us with!

This time, we got copies of the ultrasound pictures, and in one of them, we witnessed our child’s first smile. It was as clear as day and my heart just scrunched up, I want so bad for everything to be okay, for our baby to be born happy and healthy… we constantly worry about this but to see his smile, was as if he was reassuring us that everything would be okay and not to worry!

I wish we knew how to scan this in to share with you but each attempt just resulted in an ugly blotch of black and white. Any tips or ideas for those of you who’ve successfully been able to scan this in?

Week 12 stats;
Heartbeat - 160 bpm
Length - 60 mm

UPDATE - Scans are here!

Already know how to pose for the camera!

Do you see his SMILE? *heart melts*

Arial view.

The "Daddy" profile... smooth big head, smooth bigger belly... ha ha

Monday, September 29th - Week 11

This marks a month since we last went for our initial OB visit and ultrasound. To my surprise, it was very brief. My obstetrician just went through a list of routine questions, attempted to detect Little Bit’s heartbeat using a Doppler but was unsuccessful which I was very glad! That only meant that she had to use the ultrasound machine and hence we got a sneak peak of the Little One. How much has he grown! We see little arms and little legs and a big round head just like daddy’s! Most importantly, we saw his little heart beating strongly… every little glimpse of this little wonder growing in me just makes us fall in love with him all over again.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Of Seahorses and Prayers

Mr. J and I have been on pins and needles since 08.08.08. The reason being, that was the day we found out we were pregnant! The day before, a Thursday, I went for my routine annual exam with my gynecologist. It was nothing out of the ordinary, pap smear, lab, consultation, all packed in a compressed 1 hour visit and I left the doctor’s with nary a second thought.

August 8, 2008

We received a phone call in the morning from Cherie, my gynae’s assistant. She goes into this spiel of how my lab work comes back and every thing looks fine BUT… and I was like “Oh dear, what is she going to tell me??? Abnormal cells? Hormonal imbalance? Diabetes???!!!”. Anyways, in the midst of those torrential thoughts, I hear the word ‘pregnant’. And there were are, by the kitchen bar and my husband is looking at me dumbfounded and asking me who’s pregnant??? I guess it’s me!!! Ha ha Cherie later told us that our sheer delight are the rewards of her job and I can understand why!!! She gets to deliver the good news that our prayers were answered!

She did caution me that it seems that we had merely just conceived so to ensure it is progressing normally, I had to come in the next week to draw another lab test. I have not had so much blood withdrawn as I had with this pregnancy, in as much as I dread it, knowing that it’s a means to an end is consolation. I guess any mother would do just about anything for their little one!

August 13, 2008

Second lab test. HcG levels have doubled, pregnancy is progressing well. I am prescribed prometrium in addition to prenatal vitamins. Apparently prometrium helps thicken the linings of the uterus so that the fetus/embryo has a nice cushy layer to nestle in. I am to take this till Week 13. This night was the first time I took it and boy, it knocked me out, the next day, waking up, I had to wonder if I got run over by a truck in my sleep judging from how achy I felt!

By this time, Mr. J has been called away for over 3 weeks of military exercise in Mississippi, so little baby, little puppy and a very alone mummy tried to cope through morning sickness, housebreaking, working, studying and everything else the best we can!

September 2, 2008

Our very first ultrasound! Needless to say, this day has been all we’ve been looking forward to ever since we found out that we are having a little one. Had I known just how much occurs during this visit [took us 4 hours!], we would have had breakfast or at least brought a snack along.

We first started with the ultrasound; this was, hands down, the most fun. After a mess of warm jelly was slathered all over my belly, it was time to peek in at the little one. It did not take too much searching and there she/he was! Such a relief to know the little one is where it’s supposed to be. Worries about ectopic pregnancies melted away as the glee we felt overcame us.

The husband’s first reaction was “Holy crap! It looks like a tadpole!”… then it was “Holy crap, it looks like an alien!”, to my disapproving grunts, he took that one back, then it was “Holy crap, look at it’s tail, it looks like a seahorse!”… All this while, the hubby was alternating between squeezing my feet, grasping his head, rubbing his eyes, there surely was no lack of emotions going on for sure!

The 'fiery' looking globe is the yolk sac... Hubby has a point, it kind of looks like a baby dragon spitting blobs of flame :)

See the little heartbeat for the first time was a surreal feeling for sure, a healthy 154 bpm, it validates the nausea, headaches, elevated heartbeats, frequent got-to-go’s, bloating and the list goes on!

The rest of the visit was pretty much routine met with my Obstetrician and went over the vital signs and the last stop was the lab to drop off some blood. By this time, the hubby was more than ready to go. Men, they are all cranky when tired :)

September 10, 2008

We finally broke down and told the parents. I was so afraid his mother was going to have coronary failure, she was in her own little piece of heaven. This will be her very first grandchild from her only child so I can imagine her relief and excitement as she probably didn’t think her son would ever get married, much less have an offspring :)

What a relief, we no longer have to make a conscious effort to not let it slip that Mr. Stork will be paying us a visit!

Present Day

Mr. J needs to read a book on pregnancy! I don’t think he is sympathetic enough just because he can’t relate to the changes I am going through. He’s a food police, always forcing me to eat when the mere thought of it is enough to cause heaving reactions. He barks at me if I wear anything close to form fitting since he thinks it’s going to suffocate baby so I walk around in maternity sacks and I’m only 2 months along! Oh well, I guess no one notices.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hurricane season

Life has been a whirlwind. I have not seen my husband for the past month, work keeps me busy 70-80 hours a week, I've pretty much have been a single parent to our little BamBam for the past month, that plus studying for the international qualification exam and keeping up the house, I am surprised that I have yet to pass out!

It's finally Labor Day weekend, my husband is home, puppy's happy, almost perfect right? Well it would have been if I am not here in Toronto, Canada, attending a comprehensive 3-day live course of exam preparation classes. On the plus side, I've made new friends and am enjoying their company and exploring the city.

I'm looking forward for Monday when I can finally go home and perhaps spend some cuddle time with my dear hubster... until he told me that he may not be home... they're alerting the Tenn. Guards for a possible mobilisation to Mississippi for the hurricane relief efforts, if God forbid, it turns out horrendous on Monday when the storm is expected to hit.

So I am putting my hands together and lifting my prayers that no more lives will be lost in this raging storm and that Mr. J can be home for a while. We miss each other and I can't wait till our little family is complete once again... even if it's just for a little while.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Eights are GREAT!

08.08.2008 has started out in the best possible way ever imaginable. It truly will be a day seared in our heart's memory regardless of where and when in the future we look back. We are so overjoyed and lift everything up to the Lord, that He blesses us with what He sees fit!

More later, been busy busy busy and the Hubby has been swamped with gathering equipment and supplies as well as coordinating his troop's deployment for a 3 week training camp in the boon docks of Missourri.

I am rather worried as the weather is scorching as well as humid and hope that they are not over-exerted in the field and are overcome with heat exhaustion. He leaves tomorrow at 0400. It shall be a very quiet 3 weeks ahead. Probably for the best since I DO need to start cracking on the IQEX exam anyways if I am going to be half way prepared for the classes in Toronto at the end of the month! Oh well, the little girl and I will man the fort.

We'll be missing you!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Love is...

The joy that only a puppy can bring!

Yes indeed, I never truly realized how much responsibility it took to welcome a puppy into the family! We've always had dogs growing up but we never really had to do anything with it, our parents always took care of everything. So when Mr. J repeated the prep talk for the umpteenth I thought he was exaggerating. By Day 2, I had to take a nap in the afternoon, thank goodness it was the weekend!

First hour home, so timid and quiet.

Daddy comforting the little bug on her first night sleeping in the crate.

Next morning, it was my duty to take her potty at 5.30am and she refused to get into her crate and her Daddy who previously insisted that no dog was getting in our bed, plopped her on a towel in bed!

Yawn... it's so tiring being a puppy!

Afternoon nap after a full morning of exploring her new home!

Driving around with Grandma during her visit!

Happy family :)

Thanks for the pretty dress Grandma!

Ready to go for a walk with Daddy.

Anyhow, our little bug is finally happy with sleeping in her crate and only wakes up once at about 5.30 am to go potty. I’ve not seen her for 2 weeks as I have been out of town for work but Mr. J tells me how smart and quick she is to learn things.

This pic was taken yesterday, my how she's grown, I'm counting down the days before I get to hold her again!

My sister K, noted that I've been so quiet with posts, now you know what we've been busy with! We had an enjoyable 4th of July with the family at a mountain top cabin, it was great to regroup and re-energize, I will have some pics to post soon.

How was your 4th of July?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

What a wonderful day it was! As we remember our fallen heroes and also those men and women of the uniform who continuously sacrifice so that we may live in peace and prosperity. Thank you, we are forever grateful.

Mr. J and I took a short trip to Annapolis, Maryland to visit with a family who I can only describe as being my very own angel placed here on earth by Him to pick me up during my darkest days.

I will update with pics soon!

We got back to Nashville yesterday and decided to take it easy and enjoy each other's company doing the things we love. It was off for a drive in the countryside, the weather was perfect, sunny and cool, calves and foals with their mothers grazing in the fields, foliage just so lush and green, the wondorously sweet smell jasmine lingering in the air, all little reminders oncoming summer season. It was a perfect day and just when we thought nothing could get better, we dropped by to see our little girl for the very first time.

As we drove to the maginificent farmhouse she was born in, the anticipation was almost unbearable, Mr. J could only chuckle at my delight.

The moment the little bundle wrapped in a pink blankie was placed in my arms, it was absolute love at first sight!

She was simply perfect, our little rosebud... how fitting it is that Rose is her middle name :)

We will get to bring her home on June 13th when she's 7 weeks old and we simply cannot wait!

It was off shopping for patio furniture and we finally found the perfect set! What better to celebrate a wonderful day than a homecooked meal prepared by none other than my dear husband!

Grilled pork with a grilled pineapple salsa, shrimp skewers and grilled corn. Everything was scrumptuos.

Siiigh, and then the work week begins!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Our hearts go out to you.

Heartbreaking news today of Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter's death. He has touched many lives through his music and ministry, it is our turn to lift him and his family up and send them out love and prayer. Through the tears and heartache, find peace in knowing that Cinderella** is on the lap of her Father.

(** Curtis Chapman's recent release, Cinderella, was written in part for Maria. He spoke to Bethany Christian Services about the song.

This song was inspired by my two youngest girls. One night I was giving them a bath and trying to get them in bed. I was hurrying and became frustrated. After I got the girls in bed, God convicted me not to miss these moments because kids grow up so quickly. The song is called 'Cinderella.')

Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter killed by car in driveway
By KATE HOWARD and LINDA ZETTLER • Staff Writers • May 21, 2008

Steven Curtis Chapman’s youngest child died Wednesday evening after being struck by a car driven by her teenage brother in the driveway of the family’s Williamson County home.

Maria, one of the Christian singer’s six children, was taken by LifeFlight to Vanderbilt Hospital, which confirmed the death, according to Laura McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The 5-year-old was hit by an SUV driven by her teenage brother, she said. Police did not give the driver’s name.

The teen was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser down the driveway of the rural home at about 5:30 p.m. and several children were playing in the area, McPherson said. He did not see Maria in the driveway before the vehicle struck her, she said.

“It appears to be a terrible accident,’’ McPherson said.

No charges are expected, she said. The accident was witnessed by two other children; the entire family was home at the time, McPherson said.

Singer/songwriter Chapman, who recently was inducted into Music City Walk of Fame, is one of contemporary Christian music’s most recognizable and most awarded names.

He and his wife Mary Beth have long been supporters of international adoption, having brought three girls from China into their family. Maria was the youngest.
The couple is so active in the cause that they formed an organization, Shaohannah’s Hope, to aid families wanting to adopt.

With his latest music tour, which came through Nashville in November, Chapman started a campaign called “Change for Orphans”. He asked audience members at each stop to bring spare change to the concert, where it was counted and given to a local family to aid in their adoption process.

“I don’t know of anybody who loves his children more than he does and is so committed to the adoption concept, and to lose one, no matter what the circumstances, is heartbreaking beyond all comprehension,” said John Styll, president of the Nashville-based Gospel Music Association.

“He talks about his kids all the time. That’s his life. His kids are more important to him than music, that’s for sure.”

The tragedy was announced during Wednesday-night services at Harpeth Hills Church of Christ, which the family attends. Maria had just graduated from the church preschool.

And word spread throughout the tight-knit Christian music community on Wednesday evening.

Styll got the news not long after Maria’s death.

“I’m confident I can speak for everyone in the community to say we will do everything we can to support this family, as we would do at any time, but especially at a time like this,” he said.

Most of the Chapman family was at Vanderbilt children’s hospital after the accident and could not be contacted. The long, gravel driveway leading to the home west of Franklin was blocked off by Williamson County sheriff’s deputies.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Little things

More often than not, I find the greatest pleasure in the littlest things... and what wonderful time of the year to enjoy some of Mother Nature's simple pleasures. It's hard not to like Spring with the icy fingers of frost melting away, emerald buds emerging from their artic slumber, blooms of all different shades lending magnificent color to the canvas of our daily lives... so much enthusiasm, so much promise. I love this time of year!

This week has been a good one by far, we had to spend evenings together, be it watching Law & Order on the couch [yes, we have gotten hooked on the marathons they've been running and since we never had time to watch tv, most of these episodes were new to us] or even like last night, just laying together on the couch downstairs with nary a sound but us talking about everything and anything under the sun and we wound up to the topic of children and out of the blue Mr. J proclaims that if we were to be blessed with a son, his name will be Ghosamer. YES, my reaction exactly!!!! What the heck does that EVEN mean??? In what language???? It turns out that he was pulling my leg cos he loves seeing me freak out... he wants to play this by his parents... so the only thing left is I need to be able to keep a straight face!

What a nice way to end the week, another cozy night in with dinner prepared by yours truly, crabcakes with salad topped with gourmand walnut cheese, black grapes and macademias with a touch of balsamic vinegrette.

Ooooh, and I struck purple gold! I found Ribena here in Nashville! All the way from Malaysia. Retailing at $7.99, it was definitely more expensive but hey, anything that brings you down memory lane is worth it!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Of travel and pleasure

The perks of being an audit-or [well I guess one can argue the'perk' value] is that I get to travel extensively, it is when I landed here in the US of A that I discovered the joys of driving. Not intercity traffice jams but rather, the long distance haul. For me, it is actually very relaxing, I pick out a sporty car, visit the library and check out several audio books, pack my bags and I'm ready to hit the road. I love the different terrains, the feel of the road and of course, anticipation of getting to my destination.

It seems almost peaceful, I'm usually completely immersed in my 'book', occasionally, there'll be a loud honk from the truckers, the first few times that happened to me, I'd freak out and pull over off the next exit to make sure my trunk or gas tank flap wasn't open or my tyres weren't flat, it was only later that I realized that it has to be pretty amusing for a 'little' Asian chick to be driving around in a Mustang, I get the same reaction when I drive Mr. J's huge truck. I have learnt to smile and wave these days :)

This past week brought me to Atlanta, it was a short stay but I had the opportunity to stock up on our Asian groceries. I made a pitstop at the Buford Highway Farmer's Market, we get decent Asian groceries here in Nashville but it's usually hit or miss. So with Mr. J's dwindling supply of Indo Mi Goreng, it was time to stock up. I do notice more and more Malaysian products being brought in at this store.

I've never tried this 'kau' (strong/thick) version. It's probably more 'herby' but since my dear husband does not partake in this dish, I rarely make this so it was a pass for me.

Old town coffee mix, belachan and shrimp paste. Had to stock up on shrimp paste as I have been craving my Penang Rojak!

Maggi Chilli Sauce!!!! Finally, I had to un-train myself to eat French Fries with ketchup instead of chilli sauce :) I remember when we were in Paris, I made my hubby ask them if they have chilli sauce, he looked at me like I were crazy [or jakun] but asked anyways. Ah, love makes one lose all semblences of rationality :)

After all the shopping, it was off to Penang Restaurant. It's not the bestest Malaysian food but beggars can't really be choosers! The staff is kind of stuck up in my opinion, which really drives me mad cos I spend at least $50 by myself when I am there as I like a smorgasboard :) Or just plain deprived and greedy :)

Penang Rojak, just alright, notice no peanuts in the sauce or shrimp crackers :(

Roti Telur, again, just okay, quite rubbery and curry is bland with too much coconut milk.

This was supposed to be "Ikan Panggang" but when served, it was some tilapia deep fried with a belachan sambal. The fish was overfried, maybe to mask the un-freshness and the sauce was black and tasted burnt. This cost $25, definitely not worth it!

Okay, after disappointing dinner, it was finally time to check in to the hotel du jour, the Mar-riott Marquis in downtown Atlanta, I LOVE the king sized bed!

Going to sleep with the skyline from the 45th floor was awesome!

Nothing like yummy truffles for a nightcap :)

We have a unspoken rule in our household, whenever my husband goes off on his business trips, he buys me a present and when I go on my business trips, I buy me a present :) Hee hee. In the spring spirit and the upcoming arrival of our little girl, I have been on a pink crazy, hence it was time to change out my black wallet to a pretty pink one!

Mmmmm, I love the smell of leather!

So that was last week, what have you been up to?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

To my mother, thank you for all you have done and continue to do for me, for us.Your kindness, selflessness, sacrifice and love is unsurpassable.

Happy Mother's Day, we love you!

To all women who have cared for and loved a child, biological or otherwise. You make a difference in our lives!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Announcing the arrival of our little one.

The J household has been all abuzz with excitement this week, Mr. J and I have been seriously discussing getting a baby, considering all the newfound responsibilities and commitment whilst juggling travel and long hours, we finally feel we’re ready. I knew exactly in my mind what I wanted.

After a lot of research and looking, we finally found her.

Introducing little Ms. Bama J*****n. (She's the one on the left)

Born: April 25th, 2008
Color: Apricot
Breed: Miniature Poodle (AKC Certified)
Weight: 1 lb, 2 oz
Length: Palm sized
Cuteness: Unsurpassed!

Please let me tell you though, it was a great big struggle to get Mr. J to agree on a poodle as he thinks they're 'sissy' dogs, especially since I insisted we get a girl. In any case, Mr. J had to have one say in the matter, her naming, he insists we name her Bama after his alumni, the University of Alabama. He initially wanted to name our future daughter this if we had one! So guess better the dog than a little girl :) I haven't decided on her middle name yet (so that I can use her naughty name when she's being bad)... I'm considering 2 right now, Bama-Nicole or Bama-Rose.... we'll see.

I guess I am a little biased because we had a mini poodle in Malaysia named Katie, she passed away before I came here due to tickcide poisoning, it broke my heart because even as she lay dying, she'd drag herself to me so that I can love on her... such is a dog's love, so innocent and trusting...

I am so excited and nervous of course because this is a big responsibility, no longer can I wake up 15 minutes before I have to leave as she'll need to be walked and come home during lunch to let her out and give her baths and groom her... ooh speaking of grooming, I found out that her anal glands will need to be expressed! I'm gagging thinking of this but hopefully I'll get through it like a champ! Mr. J is chuckling because he's offered to assume 60% of the responsibilities with EXCEPTION of the anal expression :(

We still haven't seen her in person as she's still only 6 days old and just had her tail docked and dew claws removed so hopefully in 2 weeks when her furry mummy is okay with people visiting, we'll go see our little baby! We will take possession of her when she's 8 weeks old. I cannot even begin to express how excited I am.

So this weekend is baby-shopping, we need to get her a crate, food, grooming items, vitamins, pink glitter t-shirt (don't tell Mr. J that though as I had to promise not to put clothes on her, my fingers were crossed of course!). Her Daddy's going to take her to doggie school so that she'll learn to be obedient and understand signs, poodles are intelligent [ranked 2nd smartest breed after border collies] and I am sure she'll be valedictorian of her class!

Exciting (and challenging) times ahead in our household but it'll all be worth it!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weekend Projects

There is something about being deprived of warmth and sunshine over an extended period of time which makes one spring into a buzz of activity. We worked on the yard and put in a little vegetable garden in the backyard. After tilling the soil and weeding our little designated patch, I was very glad that we didn't do this for a living! Dear hubby is sitting on the couch with a heating pad on his back right now and I feel like I've been put through a washing machine! In any case, I think when we see the flowers blooming and eat the produce from the garden, it would be all worth it!

Mr. J started out early, mowing the lawn and prepping the area

Our little vegetable garden, we've put in cherry and regular tomatoes, chilli peppers, yellow string beans, sugar snap peas, carrots, yellow squash, chives, lavender and green onions.

Mr. J planted various bulbs etc so hopefully we'll see blooms in the summer or maybe next spring.

Of course, with my guy working hard outside, I slipped in to put a pot roast together.

Sear a good chunk of pot roast beef. Place in slow cooker, add beef broth. Season with onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, basil, bay leaf and Lea & Perrins sauce.

Layer with sliced onions, carrots, potatoes and sliced mushrooms.

6 hours later, served with toast.

When the boy has his meat and potatoes, what's a girl got to eat?

Sushi with unagi, crabstick, cucumber, avacado and egg. 3 slices not because I'm on diet but because I couldn't stop eating when I was rolling them. Mr. J insisted that I eat dinner with him so 3 slices it was :) Mr. J laughed when he saw my plate, he was like, all day cooking and this is what you made???? Ahem, look for results in the next pic :)

I usually stock up on weekday meals since I have LeanCuisine for lunch with fruit or carrots, I like to have a hot meal when I come home that's not instant. I made Ikan Bilis Sambal and Beef Rendang, can't wait for a Nasi Lemak night! And Ikan Bilis Sambal is excellent with fried rice/noodles, sayur lodeh or can even be made into Sambal Telur... oooh, the possibilities are endless.

These pics are from last weekend, I made shortcut curry laksa, I used chicken stock with my mother's laksa paste that I had in the freezer.

Chicken breast seasoned with salt, garlic and ginger ready to be steamed in the microwave. Once cooled, shred for topping.

Ladle broth over rice vermicelli, yellow noodles and bean sprouts. Top with shredded chicken, mint leaves and sambal. Enjoy!