About Me

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It's interesting to look at your life, past to present, and think: "It has all led up to this...." And then wonder where it will lead to next.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Food is on my mind...

Here's the thing, I love food. I mean, I've been sitting here fantasizing about it enough to actually write a blog post on it. As much as I'd love to blame it on pregnancy, my obsession with food is no new thing. Although the degree of obsession may have upped a bit. Here's the other thing, I love food other people make. I'll cook, but it never tastes as good as when someone else does. I really wish I was a cooking fanatic, but it's just never been my thing. I can't watch cooking shows because instead of inspiring me to whip something up myself, they make me mad that I can't eat the food I'm seeing.

One of my most reoccurring cravings is Chinese food. But not just any P.F. Chang crap, I want authentic, made in actual China food. Especially noodles. In fact, sometimes the craving is so strong that I try to convince Aaron that going thousands of dollars into debt to visit China would be totally worth a bowl of soup noodles. He doesn't understand because he has never had them. In China, noodle shops sit on every corner (as I believe they will in heaven). They're like the Eastern McDonald's, but with real food. Noodle soup is a very common meal, I ate it almost everyday for seven years, sometimes twice a day. Wanna know how good it is? I never got sick of it! And I still crave it almost everyday since I last had it four years ago. You just can't find it here. The rice noodles are made from scratch every day, as is the broth they are served in. The meat was probably still a chicken, pig, or cow the day before and the veggies just as fresh. The toppings are what seal the deal. Fresh chives and garlic cut just so (it makes a difference, I swear), perfectly fried peanuts, variety of red pepper spices, chopped jalapeƱo. Dump it all on top, mix it around, and there you go! World's most appetizing lunch. If you really want to spoil yourself, purchase a donut stick to dip in the soup. No matter how hot and humid the day may be, you'll find yourself slurping up every last drop of it. I promise. Why not just make it myself, you ask? Well, I have tried many times and have yet to achieve that distinct authentic flavor of Southern China. Although, now that I'm thinking about it, the one ingredient I haven't tried yet is MSG... that would explain a lot, wouldn't it.

My most recent cravings have been seasonal desserts. This makes sense seeing as the holidays are basically here. But honestly, I've been craving them since August. Apple pie. Pumpkin pie. Eggnog. I just can't get them out of my head! Tonight I have resolved to bake an apple pie. Yes, I know Thanksgiving is next week. But have you met me? Have you met pregnant me? Exactly. I'm a little nervous as I have never made one before and I'm craving good apple pie, not mediocre apple pie, but I will do my best and hope that it doesn't disappoint.

If any one has any good Asian or baked goods recipes, please pass them along. I must learn to enjoy making the food I love, or I fear my stomach may up and decide to leave me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


When I imagined being a mother, I imagined a woman full of grace and serenity. What a patient mother I would be, and so loving. My children would never doubt for a moment what they meant to me. Full of wisdom and strength, I would be a pillar in this fallen world. I guess I didn't realize at the time I'd be 21 when I'd fill that role. I don't know, maybe I thought I'd have a thousand years to live and learn before I had kids or something. The future me is always much more impressive than the present. Perhaps if I lived in reality I wouldn't have set the standards so high for myself. Perhaps if reality didn't involve so much poop.

Today I am tired. I have had a killer headache for a week now. It's the kind that doesn't go away, but rather get's more and less intense so that at the less intense times you may be fooled into thinking it's going away only for it to come back with a vengeance. Coffee and Tylenol can numb the pain for a little while, but when you're pregnant there's only so much of that you can take. After my small daily dose wears off, I take the pain like a mother. Maybe not with grace, but with the knowledge that crying like a baby won't change the fact that I still have to take care of my actual baby.

Today was my day to watch Oliver, my friend's son and Aiden's best friend. We exchange childcare so that we don't have to pay for babysitters. The boys are potty training and have been doing pretty well, until today. Oliver arrived in soaking pants, his mother apologizing, telling me she'd just put a diaper on him for the rest of the morning, mentioning he hadn't yet pooped for the day. About 20 minutes later I see him grunting as he races a car around with Aiden. Oh, did I mention I was feeling wonderfully nauseous already at this point? I braced myself, held my breath as long as I could and started the process of changing his diaper. The thing about changing a toddler is, playtime is all the time. They roll this way and that way, and if you can finish wiping (not to mention getting a clean diaper on them) before they're running away, you're doing pretty damn well for yourself. Well I made it through the mushy mess with out more than a little gag here and there and was happy to be done.

After 45 minutes of playing toy referee and 20 minutes of trying to get them both dressed with shoes and putting the car seats in the car, we headed out to visit my friend Katie and her daughter Anna for a walk to the park. When we arrived I pulled Oliver out of his seat and noticed a wet sensation on my arm. I sighed. A deep and rather pitiful sigh. Lovely. And I don't have any extra pants. I thought regrettably to myself, wishing I had just put another diaper on him instead of trusting my abilities to get him to the toilet. Luckily Katie owned a pair of androgynous pants his size. After a quick change and loading up the strollers we were on our way to the park. Walks are the perfect remedy for bad days. Especially if they're with a friend. Somehow, no matter your situation, you find yourself laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.

We walked a couple laps around the lake, trying the limits of our 2-year-old's abilities to sit still, then stopped at the playground to let them run around. In mid-sentence, I looked up to see Aiden on his way up the slide with a very concentrated look on his face. "No. No! Aiden, wait baby!" There wasn't a bathroom close enough to the playground to get to in time in a situation like that. So I ran up the steps, picked Aiden up, and basically flew to the edge of the play ground. Pants down, squat. Not good enough. Pee all over his pants. Poop. Poop. Poop. Thought he was done. No. More poop. I sat there holding him up by his armpits so that he wouldn't fall and land in the pile he was dropping. Did I mention I was still nauseous at this point? Yeah, there was no holding your breath for that poop. Breathe through your mouth and you'd taste it. So I took it. Like a mom. Letting him finish, despite the stares. Cleaned him up the best I could. Picked up the poop and put it in the trash. Poop on my hand, poop on my pants, pee from earlier still on my arm. It was time to go home.

Oliver headed home around noon and as Aiden and I sat eating lunch, I got a call from Katie. She needed to go to the doctor unexpectedly and asked if I could watch Anna. Of course I said yes. When they arrived, Aiden was ecstatic to find play time was not over yet. I had already put a diaper on Aiden for nap, so when I went to lift him up, I felt an extra squishy diaper. I had been smelling something not great, but had pushed it aside in denial, now to realize that Aiden had pooped yet again! Then as Katie began to leave, she said, "Oh yeah, Anna hasn't pooped yet today, so..." Oh boy.

Mothers, the kind I dream of being, are not born but made. Patience is learned through many trying times. Love may be natural, but the skill of sharing it is often learned through painful failures. Strength takes time to build. Grace and serenity require self-restraint and sacrifice. And wisdom is a gift from God. It's not just the headaches, the messes, the sleepless nights, and whining children that shape a woman into a mother, but the love that leads her through to the end of the day. And the end of a day, is a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher.

I hate feeling like every piece of writing has to end with a positive note. I hate feeling like I should have the answer by the end of a difficult day. Sometimes you just feel like crap and don't know why. Sometimes you do know why, but feel as though you shouldn't. I very much relate to the author of Ecclesiastes today. Sometimes it all feels meaningless. I'm a little sick of coming back to this place time and again. I get caught up in finding answers, then trying to apply them to my life. I want to fix everything and move on to bigger and better things. It's rather unrealistic when I take a moment to really think it all through. Oh Lord, if I only knew how to rest in you at this moment. I used to imagine myself (ok I still do) in the arms of God resting my head on his chest like a lover. The picture would always zoom out to reveal Him holding me the way a mother holds her baby; effortlessly, my entire body fitting in his arms. I feel like I can rest there. But I am not there today. I am on a dirt path, my nails caked with muddy clay, scooting along on my rear with no energy to stand. I am a mess and there is nothing to hide it. I don't feel lost, just lonely and tired and rather ugly too. I cannot cling to my goals and dreams of the future as I normally would, after all, they are meaningless. So I sit in the ugliness of this place and hope that God reveals himself even through the muck.

"Consider what God has done:
Who can straighten
   what he has made crooked?
When times are good, be happy;
   but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one
   as well as the other.
Therefore, a man cannot discover
   anything about his future."
 "Much dreaming and many 
words are meaningless. Therefore stand
in awe of God."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rainy Days

This morning, as every morning, I awoke to, "Mommy.. mommy... moommy... moooommy..." repeated over and over again by my two-year-old son through the baby monitor. Each resounding "mommy" got a little longer and whinier and motivated me to move a little faster out of bed, through the living room, and to his bedroom to retrieve him from his crib. As we hurried through the frosty living room back to the warmth of my bedroom, I took a quick peek out the window to see what kind of day would be presented to me. Clouds. Though unwilling to reveal the sun, they did not seem like they wanted to do much of anything except perhaps hang around in a lazy haze. Satisfied to find we could still spend time outside today, I continued with the morning routine.

On the drive back from a quick grocery run it hit me. At first I would not believe it. Though the evidence was clear. The clouds were swollen and dark, and there were even tiny drops of spittle on my windshield. When I finally caved and switched on my wipers, I decided it was so. Today, was indeed, a rainy day after all. My heart sank a little. It's not that I had big plans. It's that we had no plans at all! What were Aiden and I to do the rest of the day? As we pulled up the drive I was satisfied to see the radio read 12:00 pm. Lunch. Then nap. After Thomas the Train, Cat in the Hat, and a few forced tears, Aiden quieted into a restful sleep.

My usual options for nap time are: sleep, clean, homework. I choose one or two, occasionally all three, depending on what is most needed and what our plans are for the afternoon. Today I decided none of those options would suffice. Despite the fact that I have homework to do, I haven't slept much in days, and I haven't touched the dishes from breakfast, nostalgia has set in. This next hour and a half (two if I'm lucky) I will sit useless to the world.

As I watch the bare branches out my window slowly collect and release rain drops, I think of my rainy days past. I used to love rainy days. In college when I'd wake up to a rainy day I might even smile to myself, knowing that coffee, blankets, books, and plenty of writing were in store for my day. Now I limit myself to cheap decaf, think through my mental list of indoor activities, and call friends in hopes of planning a play date. Coffee shops are reserved for date nights, blankets for bed time, books for vacation (what are those again?), and writing... well, whenever it fits in.

Aiden and I will probably spend this afternoon in a tent making play-doe creations, reading books, and wrestling with the dog (well Aiden will, I'll just be the ref). Perhaps I'll make myself a cup of cider, pretend The Cat in the Hat is a Connie Willis novel, use Aza as a blanket, and remember Aiden is much more exciting than any journal entry I've yet to make. And most likely, one day I'll be nostalgic for rainy days like these.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today is one of those warm fall days right after a cold spurt that almost has you thinking that winter will never come. I love these days because they remind me that though winter is just around the corner, it doesn't last forever. Spring is in fact to follow the dreadful months of dark and cold. But I also get agitated with days like today. Do you think me a fool?? I know winter is coming! I will not let my guard down! Yes, I know it seems slightly dramatic. However, you must understand that winter to me is not just a season, but rather a nemesis I live to conquer. My Northern friends may laugh at my sincere hatred for what they see as "mild winters" here in the WNC mountains, but I was raised on tropical islands and Southern China where the cities feel like giant saunas within saunas. Though I have lived here for almost six years, I fear I will never adjust.

I have been praying for God to teach me the art of contentment, no matter my circumstances. I have seen the world, I know I am blessed, and yet there is always this dissatisfaction. I have my moments of contentment, sometimes these moments last for months. But it's never too long before I come back to being discontent with something or other. Here's the sad part. Usually it starts as a passionate yearning to seek after Christ. Then slowly as the days pass, I start replacing my yearning for God with a yearning for material things. I start seeking the world to fulfill my heart's desires. If only I could afford nice winter clothes, then maybe winter wouldn't be so bad. If only I could make my home look like one out of a Simple magazine, then maybe I wouldn't mind being stuck indoors. Maybe if I had a nice 4x4 car, I could go out more in the ice and snow. I somehow come to the conclusion that with out these things I shouldn't be content. Then I come to the crazy conclusion that I actually deserve these things. And why not? The world tells me I do. No one is dumb enough to believe they'll be forever content with just a few more things. It is, however, slightly easier to convince yourself you'll work harder at being content once you have what you need. And the definition of "need" can vary greatly.

When I think about the millions who are lucky to have as much as a tarp over their heads, shoes on their feet, or a meal for the day, I wonder how I can live in such disillusionment. In all my blessings, I have had the nerve to pity myself for something as trivial as the weather. This year I have resolved to change my attitude toward the weather. I cannot guarantee I will enjoy the cold, but perhaps if I focus on the creator of this season, I will see it in a new light. Remind me of this if you find me writing much too much about the woes of winter!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Birthday...

In my 24 years of life I have learned there is plenty to complain about. Most days of the year are too cold or too hot. There’s always something I’m not quite old enough or not quite young enough to do. Something always hurts. People in general are a little dumber than I think they should be. Including myself. Time goes too fast, or too slow. There’s too much to do. Or not enough. Even blessings seem to come with a little string of curses attached.

Yes, I’ve learned there’s plenty to complain about. I just call it naming the facts.

However, when it comes to your birthday nobody wants boring facts. Or even interesting ones. No one wants to think about the amount of calories in a cake, the aching pressure around your cerebellum, or how long a giraffe can hold its breath. *


Birthdays call for reflection. The one day a year that it’s not egotistical to celebrate you! A day to stop and reflect on your life, how far you’ve come and what you’ve learned along the way.

Life feels short. There is so much to accomplish. Growing up, getting degrees, making families, saving the world- all this while having fun no less. Why we shouldn’t have a second to waste! The world is your oyster! (What does that really mean, anyway?) And yet the cellulite on your backside can cause you to stop for a moment. And wonder. What is it all about? Well, I’m not here to answer that, but simply to muse on a few things I’ve learned.

Well, when it comes to God, I’ve learned a few basics. First of all, the more I try to learn about Him, the more I realize I don’t know. Condensing God into a comprehensible pocket of knowledge leads to disappointment and bitterness. God is never changing. Yet God is not predictable. And when it comes to God, things aren’t black and white. Except for when they are. Basically, my mind cannot wrap itself around God no matter how hard I try. And basically, the less I try to make God more like me, the more I want to know Him.

I love friends! They are there for you. They love you unconditionally. They never let you down. Oh no, wait… That’s God again. Ok, friends. Friends are people you enjoy and live life with. They sometimes choose boyfriends over you. They get annoyed with your annoying habits. And they tend to let you down every once in a while. Every time a friend disappoints me, I realize something about them. They’re about as perfect as… me. You get my point. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that people aren’t perfect. But it’s nice to love and be loved by them anyway. Friends are perfect for laughing with, eating junk food with, feeling sick with after eating junk food, and crying with when necessary. Watching how my friends live their lives has helped me become better wife and a better mother. When my friends express their love for me, whether in action or words, they give me a token of hope that I try to share with the rest of the world. And lastly, I’ve learned that friends come and go. But there is good reason we still cherish even the friendships that have been gone for years.

Chaos. Family is a big chaotic bubble of lives forced to live connected in one way or another. It can be a beautiful mess or a tragic disaster. I have been blessed with a beautiful mess. I think I name the facts about family more than anything in life. I love it and I hate it. I run to it and I run from it. It has protected me and scarred me and pretty much made me who I am today. Oh family, how you drive me crazy. Somehow you have taught me how to be confident, even while pointing out my insecurities. You have taught me that I can be beautiful even when I feel terribly ugly. You have taught me that I can do anything, while also teaching me that it doesn’t come all at once. You have taught me what it means to “live life together” as they say. You are beautiful and I am happy to be a part of the mess.

It’s hard to be a wife, but I’d still choose it over being a husband. Wives are much harder to please. My husband is my favorite part about marriage. When we were dating I couldn’t imagine loving him more than I did then, I thought the only thing that could possibly make our relationship more perfect was marriage. When you get married you realize more than ever how far short you come from perfect every single day. But as I continue to remind myself, life is not about perfection, but finding and cherishing all the imperfect moments that make a life so special. Marriage is teaching me patience, for myself and for others. Love has a whole new meaning when shared with a person so intimately and consistently. There are no words to describe it and its meaning has been tainted so many times that finding it and keeping it is not easy to do. You just simply know it when you have it, and hopefully don’t let go of it. Marriage is not a happy ending, but a gift of companionship for the roads traveled. Road trips are no fun alone.

Now I’m going to apologize ahead of time because I know I’m going to be naming some facts. One of the best things that has ever happened in my life is having my baby boy. He is better than I could have ever imagined and I thank God for him every day. But seriously, if Eve could have seen what was coming before she ate that fruit, she would have run for dear life. Let’s start with pregnancy. I envy those women who get glowy eyed every time they talk about pregnancy because they love it so much. What’s to love?? I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s a pretty cool process going on, but the side effects blow. Nausea, exhaustion, constant discomfort, lack of sleep, a lot of peeing- I won’t even get into labor and delivery! Then to top it off, everyone expects you to be so happy all the time. Everyone thinks they have the right to know when you’ll be popping junior out, what the name will be, and if you’re going to breastfeed. Forgive me. Motherhood has taught me more than anything in my entire life put together. You truly learn what it means to put others first. In fact, you become so accustomed to it that you almost have to relearn how to take care of yourself. The most amazing thing is getting to know this person that you love more than anything before you even really know who they’ll become. Watching, teaching, learning.  Now it doesn’t always feel wonderful or convenient, like at 3:30 am when the only cure for whatever is bothering junior is mommy’s very tired arms. But somehow we get through it, and we even love it. The world just doesn’t seem like such a bad place the day your two-year old walks up to you and says, “Love you mommy”. That, in and of itself, is worth a thousand sleepless nights.

All and all, I don’t think I’ve learned anything new or different than anyone else, but I must say I’ve enjoyed it. Even despite the facts. I don’t think there will be some huge climax or a fairy tale happy ending, but more a series of rolling hills, perhaps some a little steeper than others. Part of the reward in reaching the top of one hill is getting a glimpse of the next. So here’s to the top of my 24th hill! I am enjoying the view.

*There is no reason for a giraffe to hold its breath; therefore it has not been researched. Sorry to disappoint, I was interested as well.