Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Vietnamese pork chops (, wings)

There is a Vietnamese restaurant around the corner from where I live. It's one of those down home places that one expects to find hidden in a Chinatown somewhere, but lo and behold, it's found its way my neighborhood. One of favorite dishes is pho with grilled pork chops or chicken breast. I had a craving the other week and decided to surf the web for a recipe and found this one

I decided to use chicken wings instead of the traditional pork chops or chicken breast since g loves to chomp on them and usually wouldn't touch white meat.

F comment:
Pretty good. There is a little something missing though. Perhaps the MSG which I don't have. It's pretty close to the taste of the restaurant. g ate an average of 4 pieces at every meal until we ran out.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A cheap thrill

I did not expect to be one of "those" mothers who would be thrilled at the sound of their kids' voices. Really, I hear it all the time. Believe me with the way g makes herself heard, there is no way I could not hear her when I am at home. Today though is different. G had called me at work for some rudimentary question concerning where something was in the kithen. We were about to hang up when he asked, "do you want to speak to g?" Usually "speaking to g" really means a couple of seconds of my talking in a typical sing-song mommy voice into the receiver while receiving dead air as a response. Oddly since g has known how to "use" a phone for months now and knows how to talk into one, she always seemed genuinely surprised when she hears something other than nothing on the receiver. She would typically just look at the phone incredelously with a "what's going on here?" expression on her little face. When asked to say hello or goodbye, she would wave at the phone, remaining mum. However today little g got on the phone and said "he-yo" like a wannabe immigrant receptionist. I was beside myself. It was definite "awww" moment. Definitely made the workday a little brighter.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Rock and Roll

s did the roll herself today. This is the first legitimate roll since the previous times she did it, it always seems like she started sort of lopsided already. So here it is....enjoy.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The special for this evening is ----- Chicken Francese

The recipe that I used is this one from

F comments:

I am a fan of Chicken Francese, but generally speaking this recipe was way too lemony, very sour. Now I am not sure if the cheap wine we used had anything to do with it, but this recipe elicited a pucker on the first taste. So I tried to save it by counteracting the sour with a little more salt. I had intended to simmer some pasta in the sauce but decided not to because of the taste. However I have found that putting in on pasta in small doses wasn't bad at all. The dish turned out ok but strictly following the recipe would have made the sauce inedible.

I am sure I will make this again but more adjustments (scale back on the lemon, purchase some decent wine) are needed for it to rate a thumbs-up.

G's comments:
Cutlet may be a bit overcooked (cook's issue, not the recipe)

s sleep - an update

I have posted this in response to some of the posters to my previous post on s' sleep:

"Thanks for all the posts. As I have mentioned s was really good last night at letting me co-sleep. I had a good night's sleep which is something I really needed since I had a client meeting this morning. So thefamilyc is actually relatively well-rested today."

Now is this the proverbial "turning of the corner"? I don't know but I most definitely don't want to get my hopes up. She has been alternately a good and bad sleeper depending on what week it is. I am trying though not to be too pessimistic. I am hoping that the co-sleeping works out for us. I will worry about weaning when that time comes. For now, I am enjoying my small doses of sleep.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

g von trapp

Here's another dose of g. This time in a rendition of a timeless classic. Next time we'll try to work in some choreography.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Now what do I do?

Well, it's official. s has gotten much much worst. For the last 3 nights, she does a good job of sleeping early in the evening, but around the 2-6 AM hours, she can only sleep if she stays in my arms. I have tried it all now, it seems. I have swaddled tight, swaddled loosely, swung, shushed, white noise, putting rolled up blankets on either side of her, kept her warm, kept her cool, co-slept, burped her, suctioned her nose, massaged her belly ad nauseum. There doesn't seem to be anything that I can do to make her sleep a little better.

The only thing that seems to consistently works for her to for me to nurse her. She would then fall asleep in my arms. I am then not to move so that she can remain asleep. If I tried to put her down, she would be awake within minutes.

Now what do I do?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Now...a comment for Commenters

I am not sure exactly what the blog etiquette is, but here's what I was thinking of doing. I make sure to read all comments, but am not quite sure how to respond. Do I respond with a private email? Do I add a new post about the comment? Or do I just comment below the comment?

I think I will take the third option of commenting below the comment. So from here on out, if you want to see a response to your comment, it will be found underneath your comment filed with the original post.

Thanks to everyone who has been following along and commenting especially Auntie K, Jac, JW and a's mommy

Cooking...A new segment

A new year is upon us, so resolutions abound. One of mine is to be more experimental with my cooking and to make time for it. I have always loved to cook but lately I have been sticking with the tried and true stuff that frankly has been getting kind of stale. So I blew the dust off my many cookbooks and restarted my search on With all the changes in our lives, I really need to be more organized with our meals. In addition, with my impending full-time return-to-work, I have to plan meals ahead of time. This will have to include preparing easy-to-heat meals on the weekends and maybe a few new fast-prep dishes for the weeknights and lunches. This weekend was a bit of a success. We made Steamed mussels (reviewed below), rolled a massive amount of spring rolls and made a cauldron of chicken soup.

Steamed mussels - recipe found here -

It was a roaring success, if I don't say so myself.

F's Comments on the recipe:
1) A minor thing but pretty obvious to most cooks - please add salt and pepper to taste.
2) Rather than just serving a separate plate of pasta, I incorporated the pasta into the dish at the same time as the tomato was added to give the pasta time to absorb all the tasty sauce. Not enough time. Next time, I would probably remove the mussels and let the pasta just simmer in the sauce for a few minutes. Another thought is the use bean thread noodles (for the Filipinos, sotanghon). This kind of noodles absorb lots of water (sauce) and would be ideal here. YUM.

G's comments:
2) More crushed red pepper - of course, do this to taste.

CALLING ALL RECIPES - since I will be cooking a lot more, I would love to get recipes from anyone who is willing to share his/her favorites. I have a stack of cookbooks and a decent listing of online recipe sites, but nothing beats a good home recipe.

g on her "cell"

Wanted to share this video of g.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New leaf turned or an anamoly

I took the first shift last night so that F could get some rest. We put baby s down to bed at 11:30 pm after a bottle of milk. I went to bed shortly after that. Aside from her usual grunts and noises she slept until 4:30 am last night. While for many regular folk being awakened at 4:30 in the morning sucks, that's considered a steep improvement for s. Her grunts at 3:30 am actually woke me up. I thought for sure she'd be hungry by then but she kept sleeping for another hour while I laid in a light sleep expecting the inevitable. At 4:30 am I feed s and then woke up F to feed her some more. According to F, after another 15 minutes of feeding, baby s feel back asleep til 9 am this morning.

Was last night a fluke or is a the inflection point I have been hoping for? In the eyes of baby s, she did have a traumatic day. In the morning we took her to the doctor and she got 4 shots in her legs for various disease preventions. Maybe she was so stressed out by the experience that she was left exhausted. We'll see how tonight goes.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New fears ahead and some good news

Well, let's start with the good news. I went into the office today to negotiate a return date with my boss. I went in set to ask for one more week. He actually offered to let me work from home for another week at least or as long as I would need. I was so speechless and grateful.

It looks as though I will need all that extra time. I came home after being out for 2 hours to s crying her head off. Nny looked like she was about to tear her hair out. g was just playing in the living room. There doesn't seem to be anything that she could do to calm s down. She fed her, changed her, burped her and was carrying and comforting her. So finally I took s from her. She calmed down immediately. I think s might have an early case of separation anxiety. s was still a little annoyed and cranky. It is really difficult to see her so angry, so upset. I didn't anticipate having this problem with someone so young. g definitely didn't have this problem. I guess the difference also with g was that my parents were here to care for her.

So what to do?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Would have had good news to report.... but not quite

For some who have been tracking my sleep training operation for baby s, I finally gave up last Saturday and just thought of letting her sleep/play/wake as she prefers. It actually turned out to be much better. On Saturday and Sunday, she slept better at night. She would have one good stretch of sleep (regrettably during the early part of the night - around 8:00 PM to midnight), but at least she was easier to put to sleep for all the other times she woke up. So I hae been trying to put her to sleep closer to a schedule. But why, F? Why are you messing with a formula that seems to be working? I have to. I return to work in less than a week. How could I survive with less than a few hours of fragmented sleep here and there.

I have never realized that my body would react that way to the lack of sleep. It is almost better for me to totally deprive myself of sleep rather than go for an hour or few minutes here and there. My body seems to be rebelling against the sleep tease that I have been giving it. Whereas when I went a couple of days without sleep, I was able to go about my day running on fumes but able to function.

I am also afraid for the nanny. Thus far, she has been charged to take care of g while I have been nursing and caring for s. I never realized that this would be a big deal. I was so wrong. Since I return to work next week, I decided that starting today we would start simulating my work schedule. The morning went ok, a few bumps but tolerable. G was here so that was ok. The afternoon was a nightmare. I had intended to leave them alone, but after s started going insane, I couldn't. She cried and carried on in the Nanny's arms. Nny tried to feed her, changed her diaper, rocked her, etc. Nothing calmed her until I finally took her into my arms. S quieted down immediately. I should be pleased but I am panicking. How will s survive my return to work?

Friday, January 05, 2007

g at 27 months

Just wanted to drop an updated photo of the g. She is growing a lot though not weightwise. She has been stuck in the 28-30 lb range for the last 6 months. She is talking up a storm and is actually using whole sentences. However she is getting her many languages mixed up in one sentence. She would say for example, "want to go kai-kai (cantonese for go out)". She has a great memory and remembers all her friends like a (P&K's son), ys and a (E&R's son). She is also beginning to play with other kids rather than just doing parallel play although it takes her FOREVER to warm up to anyone though.
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You lookin' at me?!!!

s at week 8. Still adorable, still prefers to sleep during the day, still loves to be awake at night.
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And the word is .... sarcastic

This is how the conversation went...

Me: So is our boss back from vacation yet?
S: No, he is not due back till next week.
Me: Oh. Did he go anywhere interesting?
S: He's in Hawaii.
Me: I really feel bad for him.
S: Huh??
Me: Oh, I didn't mean that. I was just being...uh. Hmmm.
S: So how's the baby?

It then took me another few hours (ok, it took me a day) to finally recall the word I was looking for. The word was sarcastic. You'd think that because I have been SARCASTIC all my life that it would be a word that I would never forget. Nope. Brain cells are currently being burned off by sleep deprivation that soon I will no longer recall .... uh, recall....hmmm.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I can't really think right now. I got news from Auntie K that one of her friend's daughter (I think she's around 3-4 years old) has just died in her sleep. There isn't much information yet, but I am stunned. The Family C had vacationed with them to Virginia a little over a year ago. She was not ill and had no major complaint that evening except a slight fever. I cannot imagine how that could be. I cannot imagine what I would feel. There is nothing that could prepare a parent for the death of her child.

That was what Gmom was trying to tell me tonight. That's probably why she told me that she was going to brew some bitter orange drink for g tomorrow. g's been coughing on and off and have had a cold for a few days now. G & I were pretty out of sorts for about 2 weeks through the holidays. It was the worst cold/flu/cough combo I have had in a while and I think it has more to do with my not being able to take any medication.

I want to say something. I want to do something. But there really isn't anything that can ease. I can't imagine how I would survive knowing I would never be able to cuddle up to little g or to blow into s' little belly.

Oh How Cruel

I am staring into my dear little s' face. It is now 8:45 pm and I have spent the last 2 hours trying to wake s up to eat and play. This is part of Operation Reset - the project to shift s' sleep from only during the day to mainly during the night. We have tried to wake her up more often during the day. It wasn't too difficult the first few hours in the morning because she is usually wakeful at that time. However starting in the early afternoon till early evening is usually when she sleeps very deeply. So deeply that despite all my efforts I could not rouse her from sleep. When she does wake for a few minutes, she would cry out. I feel so horrible. I feel like I am torturing her. Her cries sound like "what are you trying to do to me? What have I done to you?" She also gives me that "you-are-going-to-pay-for-this" look.

Last night she woke up every hour on the hour. She was sleepy but she just needed to be soothed every time she enters the light stage of sleep. Whereas now, I look at her sleeping through my dishwashing, my stripping her down. She has such a peaceful little face now. That sweet little face is a cruel reminder of my fate tonight. The constant waking, crying, etc, etc, etc. I am not looking forward to tonight.