Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!



I took a long hiatus from blogging because as much as I was wanted to write what was going on in our lives, my friend Natalie introduced me to Instagram and convinced me to create an account so we can see pictures of some of the events going in our lives.

Basically Instagram replaced blogging!

On Instagram, you get the acknowledgement that your picture is approved and viewed by the amount of likes you get on your picture.

On Blogging, you get the sound of crickets.  When you don't have comments, you have no idea if anyone is reading.  However, there is the satisfaction that you can create a blog book at the end of each year for your descendants to read.  You hope your descendants are inspired by your story and learn through all your highs and lows.

I don't think Instagram can achieve that.

However this is a Thanksgiving post.  Here are just a few of the things that I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving.  (FYI:  The turkey is still cooking and it will take another hour before we eat and I'm really hungry, so to ignore the hunger pains....I'll blog!)




I'm grateful that late spring my mother treated all her girls and their families
for an all expense paid 3 night trip to Asilomar Monterey California.  
We stayed at this beautiful lodge right across the Pacific Grove Beach. 
 This was the first time my sisters, their spouses,
 and families were together in one event.  
Though we are not related by blood, we are united in our love 
for a mother who gave us a safe haven to call home, a refuge from the chaos, a place where love, and trust,  was built steadily over the years.





I am grateful for my health! 
This picture was taken two months ago and I lost 12 lbs at the time, but
I gained more muscle and lost inches.
 To date, I have lost 20 pounds and counting!





I'm grateful that our entire family is getting healthy. 
 RM has lost 50 pounds and Moe has lost over 50 pounds. 
 It helps when you're family is on the same page
 when it comes to health and fitness. 
 Early this Thanksgiving morning RM and I
were at the gym at 6am and Moe worked out later.  
Though it's Thanksgiving, we wanted to get a good work out
and still be mindful of how we eat.




 I am grateful for extended family, especially RM's family.
This summer we went to Utah for a family reunion
 to meet family members of RM that Moe and I haven't met.
Moe was reunited with cousins he had not seen since he was in preschool.




 (sad attempt of a selfie on the Gondola ride, can't seem to keep my eyes from being crossed!)
I am grateful for my husband.  He is the real deal.  
A man's character is judged not by how he acts in front of the world,
 but rather how he acts within the walls of his own home.  
After visiting with family out of state for a few weeks, RM took me (sans Moe) to a fun weekend in Lake Tahoe.
Another great thing about RM?  He's fun to be with!  
All we did was laugh, eat, and relax. 




I am grateful that Mitchell has cousins that he loves
and that is closer to his age.





As an only child, Moe's cousins are like his brothers and sisters.
I'm especially grateful for that.







They're having a fun night out
before they depart to college and church missions.







I am grateful to discover new hobbies like being a member of Toastmasters to refine my speaking and communication skills and.... being a foodie amateur photographer! We started a Paleo way of eating early this summer and I wanted to take pictures of the dishes that I was making.  I wanted to take pictures that looked like they belonged to a cooking magazine.  My love for food photography deserves it's own post....more about that in the near future.







A fun thing to be grateful for....
the SF Giants third World Series Title within a 5 year period!
YES! YES!  YES!
 (SF Giants championship mantra)




RM believes that when you watch an important game on TV,
it's important to have your game face on and wear your team's apparel.






RM has been a fan of the Giants since the 80s,
I've been a fan since I grew up in the SF Bay Area.
And Moe loved the SF Giants before he really knew what they were.
 We are definitely not  SF Giants bandwagon fans.





I am grateful that this year, I finally got it.
 I finally understood what lay beneath all the
 anger, hurt, and disappointments.
In order to start healing physically and emotionally, I had to step away from commitments and responsibilities outside of my family.  It was draining me.
RM helped me to realize that there would be people who wouldn't understand my decisions, but as long as I felt at peace with it,
 I had to stand firm with those decisions.
It saddens me that for almost 10 years, I've been existing and not living.
 I let all the disappointments of life break me.  No more.
 I am taking charge of my life, focusing on what I can control.
 And the things that I can't control?  I leave that to Heavenly Father.






I am grateful for Whole Foods Thanksgiving pre-made dinners!  When it's only the three of you for Thanksgiving, it makes more sense to buy your dinners premade.  I'm getting used to having Holiday dinners with our little family of three.  I'll always be the kind of person that enjoys having big family gatherings more, but I love our tight knit family.
We enjoy each other's company and we have great conversations.



I am very grateful for my beautiful family of three.




Thursday, March 6, 2014

True Friendships






I have been blessed to have made wonderful friends over the years.  I wish I could have them all in one place and keep everyone from moving away.  There are friends for every season and even when one moves away.....true friendships remain intact no matter the distance.  It takes a little more work to keep in touch, but you know you have a strong friendship when you can go several months to an entire year and pick up where you left off.


Yesterday, I said goodbye to a dear friend who has been more sister than friend.

I instantly liked Natalie the moment I met her.  She was one of the first persons that introduced herself to us the first Sunday we attended the Folsom ward. I started to get to know her better when we joined a weight loss group, then we became closer as we went to the temple together on a regular basis. It's been a great friendship ever since.


I also became close to Natalie's girls, especially her two oldest daughters.  When RM would travel, and I was alone at home, and feeling slightly depressed, Natalie would suggest that I spend time with her two oldest daughters, Ashley and Katie. It became a win-win situation, I was able to experience girly things if I had my own daughters (shopping, baking,...) and Natalie was able to spend quality time with her other children.

Natalie and her kids reminded me a lot of my younger sister J and her children.  It was a devastating loss when my sister J decided not to talk to me 4 years ago. Her children are also no longer in my life.  It was heartbreaking because I was very close to her children especially her daughters.  Natalie and her kids helped fill that loss for me.

My sister J's latest offense will make it harder for me to trust her again, but I'm hoping that one day we can reconcile.  When Natalie told me that she was moving to the South, we both broke down crying. I tearfully told her that she reminded me of my sister J, except she was a lot nicer.  We both laughed at that sad, but true statement.


I'm going to miss hanging out at Natalie's home.

I'll miss going to the temple with her.

I'll miss picking up her girls to go do something simple as grocery shopping.

I'll miss that she lived only a mile away....




Thursday, February 20, 2014

The longest road to recovery....Ever



Obviously that blog title is a gross exaggeration of how long it's taken me to recover from a surgery that was only 5 weeks ago.  But for me, it is the longest 5 weeks of my life.


I feel like this little sad fish in the glass fish bowl.  I'm stuck at home- limited to what I can do or where I go. 

On top of the painful cramps, I look like I'm 6 months pregnant!  Apparently that's a normal side effect from the surgery and my doctor assured me that the swelling should go down.  I was able to go to church last Sunday after several weeks of absence, and wore a very loose dress to hide my stomach.  Of course, one elderly lady asked me if I was expecting.  I told her I wasn't and that was our cue to leave church early. 

Later that day, Moe poked my stomach and asked me, "So if I poked your stomach, is something small going to kick me?" I told him the only thing that was going to kick him was MY FOOT

I'm sure my attitude will improve once the swelling goes down and I'm able to get back to exercising and eating right.  (It's easier for me to stick to a healthier diet when I'm exercising)

There have been some advantages to recovering at home:

* I don't worry about cooking (though I am getting tired of take outs)

* I binge watched all seasons of:  Teen Wolf, Pretty Little Liars, and a reality show Bar Rescue 

* I have more time reading. I read an average of 2 books a week.

* I sleep in.

* It was nice to have friends bring goodies home and my friend Natalie would often pick me up so I can get out of the house and we would just hang out at her house.

* RM is a great caregiver and Moe has taken over most of the household chores. 

* I have more time blogging!

Wow, after reading all the advantages, I really shouldn't be complaining! I think I need to re-evaluate and enjoy this guilt free time that I have to sit around.

I may feel like I'm in a fish bowl, but at least it's a comfortable fish bowl.









Friday, February 14, 2014

This Must Be Love....



- You find yourself craving for chocolate and as you scour the cupboards for a chocolate fix....your hubby magically presents you a King Sized Butterfingers Candy Bar. 


- When you're having a bad day, he's developed the sixth sense when to offer words of encouragement, or just hold you while you're crying and not say a single word.


- You make a silly joke that you're son thinks is lame, but your hubby is laughing hysterically as if you were the funniest person in the world.


- You're standing in the middle of the kitchen overwhelmed with thoughts of work and trying to figure out what to make for dinner.  He tells you to sit down and orders take out Chinese.


- He sees you browsing through your favorite online clothing store and gives you his credit card.


- For the first several years of marriage, he's never complained about your lack of cooking skills or the few bouts of food sickness that he's survived. (I have become a great cook and there has been no food poisoning incidents.)


- In the middle of a church meeting, he whispers something in your ear that makes you blush and you look around hoping no one can decipher why you look so guilty. Until your son asks you why your ears look so red.


- When he kisses you even after 21 years of marriage - it still curls your toes and gives you goose bumps.


- He's dead beat tired after a long day's of work, but when your favorite song is playing....he asks you to dance with him.



This. Must. Be. Love.


Happy Valentines Day 2014!





Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My first surgery...and hopefully the last


Several months ago, I went in for a routine pap smear.  Since I had a blood transfusion three years ago because of a heavy period, my doctor asked me if my periods were still heavy.

I told him that my periods were still heavy, but I was only in bed for two to three days because of the severe cramping I experienced and the heavy flow of my period. He looked concerned, and I assured him that it took only a few days to get my energy back and that I usually felt better within a week.

I didn't think anything of this because I was dealing with it for almost two and half years.  I came to accept that it was something I would deal with until menopause.

I was surprised when my doctor said, "You're basically telling me that you're out of commission for about a week and the other three weeks of the month- you're fine."  He then handed me a brochure of a surgical procedure that could eliminate the heavy bleeding. "Take a look at this. This procedure could help you feel good physically all four weeks of the month, instead of only three."

I've always had heavy periods, but the cramping and the flow became worse. It's hard to stick to a an exercise and diet plan when you're in bed for a few days feeling bloated, crampy, hormonal, and bleeding so heavily that it reminds you of a gushing red Niagara Falls (sorry for the visual).

And when the bleeding and cramping finally subsides, it takes a few more days to get your energy back.  When you finally feel energetic to  perform the more high impact exercise routines and have the mental clarity to stick to your diet- your period arrives.

It becomes a vicious cycle.

I knew by having this procedure, it would definitely close the chapter of being able to have more children biologically. 
You would think after years of trying, that I accepted long ago of my inability to have more children.  I told family and friends that I was grateful to at least have one child and that I was moving on.
But deep down inside I held on to that slim hope...that maybe....just maybe I could get pregnant again.

This procedure would definitely remove any possibility of getting pregnant..... and the fragile hope that I was clinging on to.

Ironically, it didn't take me long to make the decision to have the surgery.  As soon as my doctor showed me the pamphlet, I knew it was the right thing to do.

I went in on a Friday at  6:30 am for surgery.

RM was with me when I went into a room to be prepped for surgery.  He knew that my nerves were very tight and made jokes about my "fashion sense" when I changed into a hospital gown.

As they wheeled me into the operating room, RM yelled out, "Hey, if something happens to you in there and you end up in Heaven- make sure you give me a free pass. I have a feeling you're going to have to sneak me in there."  I shook my head as the nurses laughed.

His warped sense of humor helped loosen my nerves.

It felt surreal to be in the surgery room. There was my doctor, a surgical nurse, and an anesthesiologist.  I took in my surroundings and was reminded of episodes of ER. 

When the anesthesiologist put the oxygen mask over my face, he explained to me that I was breathing in oxygen and the next few seconds I would breathe in the anesthetic that would put me to sleep.  My nose was itchy and I almost asked if I could remove the mask so I could scratch it.

And then I thought, 'Oh what the hell....I'm going to be knocked out in a few seconds anyway'.

That was my last thought before I slipped into peaceful oblivion.

A few hours later, I felt a hand stroking my forehead and knew immediately it was RM.  It was comforting to have him there since he went back to work when I was in the operating room.  When I was finally able to open my eyes, I felt groggy.  I was surprised that I wasn't in any pain. The nurse said it was probably because the anesthesia had not worn off, but I would experience cramping and more bleeding later in the day.

As soon as the nurse left, I looked at RM and said, "She's wrong, you know."

I could tell RM wanted to roll his eyes, but instead he said, "Oh, yeah. And why is that?"

"If I'm not feeling pain now, it's because there won't be any pain later on." This time RM did roll his eyes. "Every online message board I read, women go about their lives the next day." When I saw his look of disbelief, I continued, "It's true. There was a woman on the show Doctors who went out to dinner with her friends the same day of her surgery."

"Not according to the paperwork your doctor gave me." RM took out a piece of paper and pointed to a paragraph. "See that last line here, it says NO strenuous activity for the next TWO weeks."

"If women in China can have a baby and work in the rice fields minutes after they have their baby; then I can start exercising within two days."

"I think the anesthesia is clouding your judgment."

I gave RM a determined look, "Just wait, two days from now- I'll be shaking my booty in Zumba."

RM patted my head like a parent would give to a difficult child, "Uh huh, sure you will."


Two weeks and three days later, I'm finally able to walk a block without feeling any pain or cramping.  RM has been kind enough to refrain from saying, 'I told you so'.


I expected a torrent of tears after the surgery.  A chapter firmly closed from any future pregnancies.


There are no more tears because it's already been spent. I finally came to my senses, that my health and well being comes first.


Our family of three is a complete and whole unit.  Yet our family unit isn't finished, it's bursting in the seams ready to add more children. 


Our lives are pretty chaotic right now.  The timing isn't right for us to adopt- the Lord will let us know when it's time.


And when we get the green light; we'll be ready.








Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bring on the New Year!

  
 
Usually when New Year's Eve arrives, the last you thing you want to do is to go to a party- at least it has been for me and RM.
 
A New Years Eve evening spent lounging on the couch in your PJ's watching a marathon of movies, while eating pizza is absolutely....reeelaaaaaxing. 
 
Which is why we keep going to the Clark's annual New Year Eve's party.
 
 Ringing in the new year with close friends is still a lot more fun than sitting on the couch.
 
For years, I would make a list of New Year's Resolutions and a few months into the new year- the New Year Resolutions are forgotten.
 
This year, I made one resolution for the New Year and it's this:
 
Become a better me.
 
That's it.
 
I think that's a worthwhile goal- to strive to become a better person every year.
 
But I'll start the new goal tomorrow....
 
Today I've been lounging in my  PJ's all day, watching a marathon of movies, and eating all sorts of yummy junk food.
 
That's what I call a very relaxing New Year's day celebration.
 
 
 
 
 


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our Family Christmas 2013


CHRISTMAS EVE:

We have had a family celebration on Christmas Eve for over 25 years. 
Our family is fortunate that we have a two day Christmas celebration!


 My mom is the Santa that provides the stocking presents.
Since the number in our family has grown,
and it's easier to buy only stocking stuffers for two;
the stockings are limited to my nephew Tommy and Moe. 
Traditionally stocking presents are opened before dinner.
  
 
 
 A new tradition for Christmas Eve: 
Christmas Socks
 
 
  
 
 
 RM has turned down promotions that required us to move out of state
so that we could be home with Moe during his recovery. 
Though I look forward to the day we move out of expensive California,
I will really miss Christmas Eves with my sister and mother.
 
 
 
 
And every Christmas Eve we always remark
 on how each other's children has grown.
 
  
 
 
Delicious Food
 
Lots of laughter
 
Festive Music
 
Great Family
 
A memorable Christmas Eve 2013
 
 
 
CHRISTMAS MORNING:
 
I don't remember a Christmas morning where Moe
 would get up before 10am even when he was little.

Since we arrived home after one am from my sisters,
I was surprised that he was up before noon!

The first presents that Moe opened were an amplifier,
 guitar stand, and a cable.
 
We tricked him into thinking that he would get
 his electrical guitar next month, when prices were lower. 
He believed us and since he's a bargain hunter himself,
he thought it made sense.
 
 
Until we asked him to check outside for any packages....
and there right in front of our door was his
guitar with a big red ribbon in the front.
 
 
  
 
 He immediately started to plug in his guitar....and played away.




Duck Dynasty (Moe's favorite show) beef jerky to add to his 72 hour emergency kit.
 
 
 
RM loves flashlights.
He lights up (no pun intended)
 when he sees a display of high tech flashlights.
It was only fitting that he received a flashlight for Christmas.
 
 
 
I told RM and Moe that I did not want anything for Christmas.
 
I did not want material objects.
 
All  I wanted for Christmas was to have Peace On Earth...
 
*** 
RM scoffed at my remark and reminded me that I used his credit card
 several weeks ago on a shopping spree,
since I was too impatient to wait until Christmas.
 
So what if I indulged in a few presents for myself.
 I still want peace on earth and one day....
red Louboutin platform heels.
 
 

Merry Christmas 2013!