Strength

Although I haven’t been going to Crossfit lately, I still love me some kettlebells. I would like to do more of these Loaded Carries with Kettlebells.

I don’t know what has gotten into me. It’s probably age but in the last year, I’ve been liking more gold than silver. Silver was all I would wear but now, it’s gold, copper and rose gold. These gold rings and ear studs/jackets are lovely.

I’m enjoying this new podcast – An Even Better You from Mental Floss. The episodes on Batman Comics and Board Games were intriguing. I learned so much. Podcasts have been inspiring me to make little recordings of “conversations with Sagan”. I might post some of them later on.

Not a paleo recipe but gluten-free – I’ve been eating these Indian chickpea crepes (Pudla). Delicious, because of the cilantro and ginger.

“Leisure … is not the privilege of those who can afford to take time; it is the virtue of those who give to everything they do the time it deserves to take.” – David Steindl-Rast

July July

We have been on and off our paleo/primal eating but recently, listening to Nom Nom Paleo’s podcast, I’ve been inspired all over again. I really enjoy listening to Michelle and her lovely family share their favorite recipes and tips about a real food lifestyle.

From one of their episodes, they recommend this prosciutto from La Quercia – good quality and tasty! Turns out, I can pick it up from a nearby QFC or even Beecher’s right by the market.

Last Christmas, I got my very own ukulele (thanks to S, S & A). I haven’t had a chance to do anything but there is a ukulele workshop this Sunday at the Redmond library that I might check out.

Another podcast that I have started listening to – The Beginning of The End. I enjoyed the first episode, it made me think about endings and how endings really could be the beginning of something else. The 2nd episode is out today.

It’s been a while since we took a vacation and I’ve been living vicariously through my Instagram feed. My friends have been exploring some really beautiful spots and now I have a new vacation destination on the list – Antibes. So many places to visit, so little time!

We recently bought a grill basket for grilling up veggies like mushrooms, green beans and brussels sprouts. We don’t have to worry about veggies falling through the grates anymore. Think it would be great for shrimp too!

Long Weekend

New summer sandals

A photo posted by @astromei on

I am so happy that I extended my long weekend by taking an extra day off yesterday. Lately, I’ve been feeling the effects of the many moves we had earlier in the year. My body was begging for rest. I complied and went shopping, thus the Instagram.

I’ve been listening to the Mystery Show podcast, thanks to Kate! Loved it so much that I listened to all the episodes in one day. Now I have to wait…

Also really enjoying Crime Writers on Serial. If you listened to Serial Season 1 and like me, have been caught up in this case, you would like this podcast and of course, the very detailed Undisclosed. These podcasts turn my 40 minute bus-ride into a flash!

I downloaded a new (to me!) book that comes highly recommended by a blog friend who prides herself on living life to the fullest.

Loving watermelon, iced coffees, brie on crackers and late night catch-up chats with Mike.

Staying Cool in the Heat

Skagit Sun Strawberries #hellosummer

A photo posted by @astromei on

Eating cold spicy peanut sesame noodles – quick and easy and delicious! Use rice noodles or soba for a gluten-free option.

Listening to Leon Bridges’ new album – his sound is timeless.

Reading The Little Prince again because when you are feeling a little tired and off, this tips you in the right direction.

Enjoying warmer mornings, toddler chit chat, iced tea and dark chocolate-covered dried mango.

Eating Primal: This past week

Breakfasts:

A combination of some of these foods – bacon, eggs (boiled or fried), sausage, smoked turkey, cheese, sauerkraut, kim chee, carrot sticks, avocado and coffee with huge splash of cream.

Lunches:

Deviled eggs, salmon cakes, leftover roast chicken and buffalo sliders, as lettuce wraps or a mixed green salad, with extra avocado and bacon on the side.

Dinners:

Porterhouse steak with blue cheese and brussel sprouts, ham and cheese frittata and grilled bratwurst with mustard.

Cravings:

Bubble milk tea. Good hearty ramen.

Fall

I am truly grateful for this time at home, with my little guy.  It is difficult at about 3.30am in the morning but when he smiles and coos back at me, nothing else matters. As much as we try to get him into a routine, he always surprises us. Like on our recent trip, he slept from 10pm to 4.45am. I woke up suddenly, worried that I had missed his cries. But there he was, sound asleep.

Chicago was fun. There was still more that I’d like to have done but when you are travelling with an infant, it just takes a little more planning and things have to move in a bit of a slow motion. S did great on the flights (even flirted with a couple of high school girls) and was such a trooper when we dragged him through the windy rains to get flapjacks at Bongo Room (yum!). We ate deep dish pizza, Italian Beef sandwiches dipped in au jus, Vienna Beef Hot Dogs Chicago-style, tasty Corned Beef sandwiches and even enjoyed a little bit of Barcelona-Catalunya cooking at Mercat a la Planxa. Yum yum. No trip is complete without foodie finds like these.

I was also a little nervous about travelling while breastfeeding.  I usually have no problems about nursing in public, but it really isn’t always convenient to just sit down and nurse. Fortunately I had some really good experiences – one museum had a nursing room and another had lots of seating near the restrooms. Almost intuitively, S drank efficiently and didn’t want to nurse too often. Maybe he was just distracted. Having always pumped and nursed, I was engorged for the first 3 days but then I think my body regulated itself. Breastfeeding is such a challenge but the benefits for S and our alone time is so worth it.  I met a mum in the restroom pumping while travelling. Her 11-month old was home and she said she was planning to start weaning by age 1. That is my goal. We’ll see how this goes.

Some things I’ve come across lately:

The days are getting shorter and I am enjoying cozy evenings cuddling with my boys. Are you finding some warmth in these cooler climes?

Oh My

All the sleep deprivation in the world is made better when I see this face.  I do miss my sleep. Before Sagan, I was the type of person who needed her 8 hours.  You see, I have a really active dream life (read: a lot happens, many people show up in them and I remember them clearly) and if I don’t get my 8 hours, I will feel utterly unrested.  Now, even though I only get a couple of hours here and there, I still have the same vivid dreams.  Thus, on most mornings at 6.30am, you’ll find me quite a zombie.  But how can you get frustrated with a face like this one?

He is growing like a weed.  Two weeks ago at his 2-month well-baby check, he weighed in at almost 13lb. I’m willing to bet that he is almost 15lb right now.  I really hope my arm strength will catch up with his growth rate.  I don’t know how folks can pick up their toddlers but if they can, I probably should be able to, eventually.

It’s almost time to think about going back to work. Most mothers go back to work after 12-16 weeks. I am, however, in a unique position where I have to find a new job.  The last one was only a contract position.  I know that it’s going to be difficult for me to go back to a full-time work schedule or to keep the schedule I had before.  I am going to want to have time for the boy because I would hate to miss those milestones.  I feel lucky that we can afford for me to spend the rest of the year at home, I am truly  grateful for this time off. I hope the new year brings new opportunities that will allow me to work fewer hours.

By the way, it is my favorite time of the year – fall.  I love all the smells, colors and tastes.  I’ve baked 3 pumpkin pies in the last week and I have to say that adding 2 tbsp of brandy to your pumpkin pie filling makes your pie taste deeeeeee-leeeee-cious!  I blind-bake store-bought crusts, follow the recipe on the Libby’s can except for the brandy and an extra pinch of nutmeg.  Next on my list, sweet potato pie.

I’ve also been enjoying some cocktails lately but nothing says colder weather like a Dark & Stormy. Spicy ginger beer with spicy dark rum. Ooh la la!

Other exploits in the kitchen – Buffalo Wings and Yong Tau Foo.  The latter is tofu/tofu puffs stuffed with a fish meat paste and steamed.  You can it in a clear broth that contains soy beans or you can have it with hoisin sauce and chili sauce on rice vermicelli (bee hoon).

I’m looking forward to making more stews and definitely try my hand at braising.

On the creative front, I’m trying to find some time to sew more burp cloths and maybe a pair of pants for the boy. We’ll see. Right now, I’m having fun checking out patterns and selecting cute fabric here, here and of course, on Etsy.

Coconut Ice Cream

I started back working today and fortunately, I am able to do it from home and on a part time basis.  It’s very helpful.  I don’t have to worry about commuting for an hour each way to work/home.  I realized that I am still recovering even though my incision has healed quite well and I have been weaned off the pain meds.  I am not trying to be heroic, I just didn’t want to keep pumping myself with pain meds since I do have a little bean absorbing whatever I put into my system.

I wish I had more energy and I miss prenatal yoga quite a bit.  I have to take another two weeks off from stretching but I’m trying to put some meditation time into my day.

My appetite has also become unpredictable.  I don’t care much for food these days but I have the odd craving for ice cream, donuts, peanut butter & sugar bagels and bananas.  Not all bad for me.  My current favorite ice cream flavor is coconut.  It’s never been my favorite before! I love this brand, it’s very tasty and not overwhelmingly coconut-y.  I get it from the local Asian supermarket but it’s available on Amazon Fresh too.

Spring is slowly unfolding itself here in the NW and I can’t wait to have more energy since I would really need it for the rest of the pregnancy.

Floored

Thank you all, for the many well-wishes, here and through email and phone calls. We are so touched that you are still out there and with such enthusiasm.

It was a rainy Saturday yesterday here in Seattle (surprising, I know!). We had lunch at my favorite Indian restaurant – I have a curry craving. All kinds of curry, please! After that we went to watch Tron at the 3D IMAX theatre. It was pretty cool to me but to Mike, I think it was cool on a whole different level. He grew up knowing the film. However, I must say that I have a thing for older Jeff Bridges. Is that you, pregnancy hormones?!

We are off to lunch in a bit, to have an early celebration for my folks’ 41st anniversary. How does anyone stay married for this long? I still have no idea but they have my unfailing admiration.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Peanut butter yum

Firstly, a courtesy announcement for my niece O – LOOK AWAY!

For those of you who are on my FB friend list, you might have seen these amazingly delicious peanut butter cookies that I got to enjoy last week. This week, to fulfil my craving for peanut butter, I am eating these delicious granola bars from Kashi. My body needs the fiber right now and I love these in particular, because they don’t have a great deal of sugar. I’ve been sort of averse to sugar lately. Odd, I know.

I’ve tried several flavors but peanut butter always trumps every other flavor for me.