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!