Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Carnage

Nope, Nachos hasn't arrived yet. I'm not obsessed enough to be blogging from the hospital. Just wanted to write about our simplest Christmas since Hubby and I got married.

We only decided to get a small Christmas tree 2 days before Christmas. We weren't even considering getting one this year, but since Boy Wonder has been singing Jingle Bells and asking us about Christmas presents, we thought he would get a kick out of having a Christmas tree at home. So off Hubby went into the unexpected mayhem of Causeway Bay and got Boy Wonder a Christmas tree and a bike with matching helmet. It must have been so cute seeing Hubby lugging a small bike in the MTR train surrounded with thousands of people. Normally Hubby would be cursing all manner of profanities under his breath, but it was Christmas and he knew it was for a good cause, so he said he was proud at how well he managed the trip home. We were able to distract Boy Wonder enough as we got home that afternoon to tuck the bike away in the laundry area and covered it with a tarp.

We put up the tree that evening and Boy Wonder had a kick out of stringing the garlands and putting up the ornaments. We also finally got a charger for our handy cam, so were able to film the festivities. We then placed the gifts Boy Wonder's grandma and pop had for him under the tree. It was great how he listened when we told him he couldn't open any of them yet until Christmas.

So Christmas day came yesterday. Boy Wonder has been suffering from a bad cough for the last few days, so he didn't wake up in a good mood. It took him quite a few minutes before we could liven him up and get him into the excitement of opening his presents. Below is the carnage that followed after all his presents were opened.

As you can see, it didn't him long before he went through all the toys and started playing with his old cars. But he does like the cash register Grandma, so don't worry. He's also been playing with the water doodle off and on. We just need to keep stopping him from drinking the water out of the pens!

But this Christmas wasn't just all about Boy Wonder. Although does not want to admit it, he also got himself a really nice Christmas present this year:

Yup, he went and got himself a Sony Playstation 3. He got a better than expected bonus, so one day last week off we went and bought baba his new toy. It turned out to be a good investment since now Hubby and Boy Wonder have something to keep them constantly entertained for the next few weeks. Hubby has no work from Christmas to New Years plus he gets 2 weeks paternity leave, so that's alot of time on his hands to kill.

As you can see Boy Wonder is already a pro at handling the controls. Its a bit worry-some, but in a few months, I can just see Boy Wonder in total control of his fingers and working those controls like a pro. Hubby will have to wrestle him soon just so he could also have a go at the Playstation.

Hubby also cooked a great Christmas turkey dinner for us last night. Since it was our helper's day off, Hubby took to the kitchen like a pro. I really enjoyed dinner with my rootbeer. Although it was lonely with only the 3 of us at the dinner table, I was thankful for such a great year and a wonderful family.

It was good having the opportunity to spend some time with just the 3 of us before a new addition arrives in a few days, but this Christmas has made me realize just how important it is to have friends and family around during the holidays. It was wonderful seeing all the pics my side of the family sent over of their Christmas dinner at my brother Min's place. I miss spending special occasions with them. Looking at the pictures just made me miss them even more. I am so looking forward to seeing my parents again in a few weeks then spending some more time with the rest of my family in the States in May.

It would have also been great had we spent Christmas in Australia. It was Aunty Faye's turn to host Christmas dinner this year and we missed out. I've always loved meals at their place. I wonder what Uncle Manny cooked up this year. I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of the festivities we missed.

I think if we decide to have child number 3 which Hubby has already lovingly nicknamed Anchovies, we better make sure he or she doesn't have a due date around any holidays.

I'm going to waddle my way onto the couch now and do some more relaxation as ordered by Hubby. At this point even I'm eager to know what my next blog entry will be like.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Still Here

I'm still here... still pregnant as ever and still getting bigger. My lop-sided stomach is looking worse and just the other day I realized the left side, which is the bigger side has developed stretch marks! Aaaaaaugh! How lop-sided am I going to end up looking? During my last pregnancy, I ended up wearing the same pair of pants everyday because nothing else fit anymore. I was hoping I wouldn't end up being pregnant long enough this time to go through the same fashion dilemma, but I have! If I'm not out with my pants that are too short, I'm home in my pajama pants that are too small to fit over my stomach. I'm just thankful the weather hasn't turned too cold for a complete wardrobe change.

I've kept myself busy the past few weeks, coming up with things to do before I go under house-arrest for a whole month when Nachos arrives. I've done extra Christmas shopping for Boy Wonder, went and picked up some great goodies from my friend who just arrived from Manila. I asked her to order these chocolate crinkles I read that were featured on Dessert Comes First. They are delicious! I am so happy I bugged my friend to go through the trouble. hehe. I also had her get me some of my friends cookies from Delici which were also featured on the same site. I also had her get me some pastillas, but I think it was a good thing she wasn't able to get me any. I'm already wondering if I'll be able to finish all my new found goodies before they go bad.

Since I felt I had the time, I also went and got a brazilian wax today. Gosh, getting it done today reminded me why the only other time I had it done was before I had Boy Wonder. Ouch! When I had it done the first time, my wax lady left a small triangular patch in the middle where she said was the most sensitive. She said after I've gone through childbirth I'll be able to handle the pain of getting that portion removed. I didn't argue one bit and totally believed her. But then I ended up having a cesarean, so I never found out what the pain of childbirth felt like. This time my wax lady didn't give me a choice and just ripped out the spot with the rest of them. It hurt, but I didn't feel like it hurt more than the other areas. And to think I even took a pain killer before leaving the house today. Little that did to ease the pain. But after those few seconds of pain, I was glad I had it done. I felt cleaner down there and knew I wouldn't have the longer lasting discomfort had I been shaved at the hospital.

I don't know why, but suddenly I remembered Mayapapaya's hubby reads this blog from time to time. Sorry to gross you out Mickey.

So anyways, I don't think I can be more ready for Nachos to arrive. It would be nice if she didn't arrive on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but if those are the days she wants to come out, then nothing we can do. The only worry I have at the moment is that Hubby needs to get some things done in Macau on the 27th. I really really hope she doesn't decide to come out on the 27th of all days!

So here I am on my continued waiting game. Let's hope my next post will be a delayed one and the announcement of a birth.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

An Evening At Opia

Thursday was Hubby's company department Christmas dinner. And since there are only 3 people in his department, they had the freedom to pick pretty much wherever they wanted to eat. This was very exciting for me since it's been ages since I've been to a fancy and expensive restaurant. It was great knowing I won't just be able to go out and have some fun for the evening, but meet new people, enjoy some overpriced but good food and most of all not be worried about the bill because Hubby's company was going to take care of it.

After some thoughtful consideration, they decided to hold their Christmas dinner at Opia which is located in JIA Boutique Hotel in Causeway Bay. We all had a few drinks at the bar area then headed to our table coz the pregnant lady was getting hungry. Since I'm not a drinker pregnant or non-pregnant, I don't think I'll ever get the concept of having a few drinks before dinner. Especially if you know its going to be an expensive one. Maybe you need the drink to loosen things up if you're on a date, but other than that, I think it's a waste of stomach space to fill with all that good food that's coming.

The restaurant isn't very big. It was dimly lit with an inviting ambiance. I think it would have been quite a romantic dinner venue had it not been for the large table next to us who was obviously having their company Christmas dinner as well. They all had Christmas hats on and were constantly drawing prizes out of a hat and cheering as the evening drew on. The couple who were seated next to us seemed to be on a dinner date and left very soon after they finished their meal. I think I would have been abit upset if that evening was suppose to be a special dinner date for Hubby and me. Good thing it wasn't so I wasn't bothered by the noise at all.

I was quite excited when the menu was handed to us. I was eagerly looking forward to the bountiful choices to be had. But when I opened the menu to the first page, I was shocked not only at the price, but the type of food in which I was going to be choosing from. The first page offered a 5-6 course meal. It costs $695 per person and started off with a shot of oyster in green tea sauce and followed with a chaser of some type of sushi. The list continued with fishes I had never heard of, foie gras I couldn't eat while pregnant, seafood I was allergic to and dessert that didn't include chocolate! I prayed everyone wasn't going to go with the set meal and thus forcing me to go along with the trend. Good thing not everyone was impressed so we all went on and started looking into ordering our own meals.

Sitting there that evening and looking at all the "sophisticated" dishes made me realize just how unsophisticated of a diner I was. It made me wonder how Ragamuffin girl would respond to the choices and what other food writers would react to what was on offer. Every dish I wanted to order ended up having an ingredient I didn't like or was allergic to. I even kindly asked the waitress if there was someway the chef could replace a single ingredient and although she was apologetic, the answer was a solid no. I knew the chef who started the restaurant is some big shot from New York, so I guess there was no way the waitress was going to risk her job and ask if one of the ingredients could be replaced in such a delectable work of art. In the end I settled for the beef rib because I did feel like some beef and it didn't have anything I was allergic to or disliked. And of course just my luck, after a few minutes of placing our order, the waitress comes out and informs the 3 of us who had ordered the same dish that Christmas party table next door had just ordered the last bit of rib for the evening.

I seriously found it quite difficult to come up with a replacement dish. I asked again if a certain ingredient could be replaced, but it was either the waitress was scared to ask or she knew the drill and I was faced with another no. Not wanting to be difficult and embarrass Hubby by not ordering and say everything was puss, I ended up ordering the duck breast and hoped the abalone in the pie would not be over-powering.

The shots of raw oysters came first, which all 5 of them at the table enjoyed. All I could think of while they downed the shot glass was there goes a taxi cab fare down Hubby's throat. After awhile the bread rolls came with whipped butter. Although it was shaped like a phallic symbol, the softness and hint of saltiness of the bread made me remember just why I like my carbs so much. A few minutes later, our appetizers arrived. I ordered the pan fried mulloway that came with a bed of mash. I'm sure there was something more into the mash, but I can't remember at the moment. The fish was tiny, but fried to perfection. The skin was crispy while the meat was tender. Everything from the mash to the fish to the sauce melded really well together in terms of taste and texture. I wished at that moment they had an entree size of this dish and I would have been very happy.

After a loooong while our mains finally arrived. And because the rest of the table was happily chatting and downing expensive bottles of wine, no one really noticed it took about 45 minutes before our food finally arrived. The waitress at one moment came to apologize for the delay and said the chef will come out and apologize himself, but he never did.

Hubby's lamb dishMy Duck Dish

When our meals finally arrived, I was hopeful but not expecting too much. Most of us at the table were quite disappointed at the size per serving when our appetizers came and went. So this time, we were all verging on wiping our plates clean with our bread sticks if it would come to that.

As I gingerly cut into my duck breast and abalone pie, I wiped my brain and taste buds clean of any expectations. I really enjoyed the fish, so thought to myself the duck and pie combo shouldn't be bad. And to my joy it was delicious! The duck skin was crispy perfect, the meat was juicy and tender. And most of all the pie was discreet yet extremely complimentary. I just felt bad I finished the meal in less than 10 bites. But by looking at Hubby and the size of his meal, I'm sure he was even more disappointed that it all had to end so soon. Thank goodness the bread was so good!

So after 5 phallic shaped bread sticks, an appetizer and a main, we were all eager to move on to dessert! Well, at least I was. I had a peep at the list at the beginning of the evening, but now that its really time to choose something, I put my glasses on and hoped there would be chocolate. The vanilla bean ice cream caught my attention first. And having been craving ice cream for a few days, I decided to fore-go the rest of the choices and go for my initial craving. But bless Hubby in his infinite wisdom, he asked what my second choice was and ordered that for himself. When our desserts came, I literally wolfed down my single scoop of ice cream that came with one poached strawberry before anyone else had the chance to see what I had ordered. And with a knowing smile on his face, Hubby discreetly pushed his plate of chocolate meringue custard tart towards me and told me it was all mine. I love that man.

It was amazing how the chef was able to let the custard crust retain its crunch even while it sits in a bed of cherry sauce. The meringue was thick and gooey, just perfect with the melted chocolate in the tart. One bite and I knew it would go perfect with a latte. It took awhile too long for my coffee to arrive, but when it did, everything went just perfect together.

Although I wouldn't say it was a perfect evening with the best food ever, I would say that evening's meal goes way up there with great food I have had in my meager repertoire of fancy dinners. I have been reminded of why chefs become stars and why people become food writers. I am also reminded of the fact that you get what you pay for... to a degree. For someone that truly knows how to appreciate all the ingredients and the process that went into the preparation of that evenings meal would definitely say it was worth the massive bill that came at the end of the evening. But for someone like me, I will still never be able to truly understand how a few plates of food and a few bottles of wine would end up costing more than double of what my Coach bag that evening costs.

Hmmm... maybe Hubby just needs to get me an even nicer bag on his next trip to New York.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Back To Basics

It's been a hectic last 2 weeks for me. In an effort to save money and probably fool myself into thinking it's going to make my life easier, I've decided to give breastfeeding and cloth nappies a second try when Nachos comes.

I attended a cloth nappy workshop last week. Can you believe I actually traveled all the way to Discovery Bay to listen to someone talk about all the types of cloth nappies that are available out there, why women like to use cloth nappies and why it is environmentally better. Although I am all for recycling and saving the planet, I didn't know if people would misunderstand that my wanting to use cloth nappies was basically a financial reason. And also because I was starting to find having to buy nappies all the time a pain in the butt.

For some reason I thought the lady I was going to meet up with to travel to DB together would be this internet savy, high profile looking, made a ton of money selling cloth nappies to the expat community, well-off French lady. But when I finally met Sophie at the ferry terminal, I was humbled to meet a backpacking, no cell phone carrying, down to earth French female. She had no make-up, carried a huge backpack and was happy to approach me first to ask me if I was who she was supposed to meet. I had a good chat with her on the ferry. Found out she has been living in Macau for 7 years, went there as a student, met her husband there and because of her own frustrations with cloth nappies when she had her own 2 daughters, decided to start an internet company with her husband selling and educating people about cloth nappies. Because their business isn't very big, she still holds a full time job in Macau to support their family.

We arrived in DB and headed to her friend's house who was also in a similar type business. Her friend sells organic products and was having a combined presentation with Sophie that day. Although I feel for the hundreds and maybe even thousands of kids out there who have serious allergy problems, I am still extremely skeptical when it comes to organic products. Our hostess who sells these products import all her stuff from France. When she asked me where I live, she proudly told me she was making quite a few deliveries to the Pok Fu Lam area the following day for all the organic milk orders she has. I looked at her brochure and was shocked to see that one litre of her organic milk costs HK$145!!! Who are these crazy women who would rather feed their babies over priced organic milk rather than just breastfeed???

So I hung out there for about 20 minutes before the rest of the ladies started showing up. All of them were late. I was just happy they had organic chocolates and organic chocolate chip cookies to keep me happy which didn't taste like sweetened cardboard. When the workshop finally started, I was impressed at how much I learned in just a few minutes. All of a sudden the world of cloth nappies didn't seem so complicated at all. I was also very happy that Sophie didn't force any of her products on me. When I told her at the end of the presentation that I still have all my cloth nappies from Boy Wonder and just didn't use them because no one taught me how to, she said she would email me more information and to try what I have before I actually venture into other cloth nappy products. That made me happy because then I knew she was more into her "cause" than her business. I left the workshop satisfied that I made the effort and felt relieved that all those cloth nappies I had might not go to waste after all. I think Hubby was even more relieved when he heard the workshop was free and that I didn't end up buying anything that afternoon.

Then today I attended a La Leche League meeting in Happy Valley. All of us who attended were either pregnant or just had a baby. Oh, it was only the host of the event that had a 9 and 6 year old and wasn't breastfeeding anymore or about to start breastfeeding. I don't think I have been presented with so many bare breasts in my life before! I think other than the fact that I'm worried whether I'll have enough milk or not, its the thought of having to expose my boob everytime Nachos gets hungry that's up there on my list. I know its suppose to be a natural thing, but I'm a woman of the 21st century, I am not used to flopping my boob out when there is hunger to be satisfied. How do you get past that? Heck I am seriously considering breastfeeding, but I also understand how some people may be opposed to women breastfeeding in public. How do you deprogram a society that has been so pushed into thinking women's breasts are an erotic part of the body and not purely for the practical reason of nourishment? We mention our breasts as a neglected part of fore play when we complain that our partner only wants sex. But after we've gotten the fore play and produced the baby, how do you suddenly switch your brain into thinking: ok, now your boobs are to be used purely for nourishment by your baby? And to tell your partner not to touch them anymore because the baby will be suckling on them from now on until its been weaned?

So anyways, the afternoon went on quite well. I learned alot from the meeting and felt confident again that this time I'll have all this information and support to work with while I attempt to breastfeed. All the experienced mothers there gave me their support, told me to call them if I have any problems and were very eager that I succeed this time round. It was obvious these meetings were not social and they were all there for a purpose. Although I didn't agree with all their opinions in terms of looking after the baby, I was glad to find they were a no non-sense bunch and wanted you to succeed. I left the meeting with a stack of information, a handful of phone numbers and a tummy full of delicious chocolate cake. I'm looking forward to not having to buy formula, washing baby bottles and using my breastfeeding cape when Nachos arrives.

So all in all I feel like I'm doing my homework this time and not just waiting around for the day to come. Although I really want to succeed in at least one of these goals, I know I have to be realistic and not stress myself out in the end if nothing works.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Waiting For The Day

When I was pregnant with Boy Wonder, I gained a total of 45 pounds. When his due date arrived and passed, we discussed things with my doctor and decided to cut him out of me instead. Besides, my parents had already arrived for a week and Hubby was starting to suffer from cabin fever. Life was getting tough with 2 additional adults in a 750 square foot apartment. Boy Wonder had Hubby's big head and from my ultra-sounds, it was obvious he wasn't going to be a small baby. Since we didn't want to add more headaches into the situation, we randomly picked a day that was most convenient for all of us and settled on a Sunday, May 16, 2004. We were fully covered by insurance, so the added costs of doing things on a Sunday wasn't an issue. And it was a good thing we decided to cut Boy Wonder out of me, because he arrived into this world at a whopping 4310gms, which is exactly 9.5pounds!

Now we fast forward to the present. I have so far gained 36 pounds and Nachos was abit over 7 pounds during my last ultra-sound. There are 2 more weeks to go before my due date and I am worried she'll keep gaining the weight till she decides to come out. Since my parents won't be here till the first week of January, we have decided to let mother nature take it's course. Hubby has already been telling Nachos that she can come out anyday now, just not on the 2 days he needs to be in Macau to get some paperwork done. I am hoping she'll wait till the later half of the month because there are still a few things I need to get done. It may all be wishful thinking, but hopefully she'll cooperate.

In the meantime, my lunch group all tell me I don't look like I'm even pregnant from behind. If you don't count the waddle when I walk, I definitely don't look as whale-like as when I was pregnant with Boy Wonder. Phew! I remember realizing just how much weight I gained with Boy Wonder when I tried to put on a pair of knee high boots a month after he was born. I thought my boots should fit coz come on, how much weight can a pair of legs gain? Apparently alot! I couldn't zip the zipper up past my ankles! Then when a family friend came over to visit, she also pointed out I gained so much weight that even my legs look fat! Waaah! thank goodness I lost almost all of it almost a year later. And hopefully this time round I can easily loose the added weight as well.

My complaints for this pregnancy are the following: swollen ankles and fingers, heart burn, really feeling the added weight and a few pinched nerves in a few parts of my body. I was able to still hike around the Peak when I was pregnant with Boy Wonder, but with Nachos I know I'll die if I do any hikes for more than 20 minutes. I can see and feel that I am not as physically able as I was this pregnancy, and it has also made me realize I really need to work out and get in shape if we want more kids after Nachos. Now I truly see why its better to have kids when you're younger.

So anyways, the count down continues. I've gone to my cloth nappy workshop, La Leche League seminar is next week. Boy Wonder has already been moved to his new bed and his crib is now in our bedroom. All the baby clothes have been washed and my hospital is just about all packed. We're really looking forward to meeting Nachos and hopefully come up with her full name by the time she arrives.