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2014 retrospective.

December 31, 2014   

I’ve written nothing here in over two years. The last time was when I was pregnant with K, before we had any inkling what his name would be. J was a touch under 3. It was a different life.

My brain is so full of things I want to cover in the gap, mostly photos and memories of my beautiful, amazing sons. My blog is full of early memories of J and tell nothing of K’s early years but that’s because our lives have been so full, not because anything about having K has been any less wondrous than our experience with J. I intend to go back and do 3 month retrospectives on the kids.

But let’s just do one thing at a time. For now, it’s just a 2014 review.

Professionally, the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 was the most painful, stressful, heart-achingly agonizing time I’ve ever experienced. It ended the best era of my professional life thus far. I walked away. Because I had to. For my own sanity.

My little one turned one early in the year. He is a natural wonder, a tornado, cheerful bulldozer that I love to my every fiber.

My big one turned five late in the year. He is kind, generous, and inventive beyond any possible imaginings I’d ever had about how he’d be.

My husband, my rock, my love is strong, resilient, and focused. He’s been through so much but he’s pushing through. He’s been the most patient dad and the most giving spouse this past year. Every year, he grows and becomes an even better version of himself.

This year, we went to Hawaii and to Baja with two different sets of friends. Vacations are so much better when the kids have other friends to play with.

I end the year a bit on a low. I have a cold so I’m not 100% and I could always use more sleep. I’m uncharacteristically feeling bad physical self-esteem.

Next year is going to be a lot of firsts. We’ll ship our first product. We’ll get our first customer and earn our first dollar. We’ll hopefully hire our first employee.

A part of me thinks, or we’ll shut down our first startup. Normal me wouldn’t say that out loud but sick, down me will admit it publicly.

The great thing about 2014 is that everyone in our family stayed healthy! I would love for 2015 to bring continued robust health to all our family. I’d love to see old friends from Philly. I’d love to see family. I’d love to visit a new place we’ve never been. I’d love to get funded.

Resolutions? Lose 15 lbs and maintain through the end of 2015. Make our first dollar in Q1. Go one new place with family.

Not too aggressive but real goals.

The waiting

October 11, 2009   

Just a week and a half ago, I was nervous and wishing the baby would arrive late, because I felt panicked and worried about, well, everything.

In the last week, I’ve come to a place of readiness and waiting (as has Seppo), which has turned to impatience to meet the little guy! Almost every night, I experience what feels like really low-intensity regular contractions about 10-20 minutes apart, which convinces me that I’m in early labor, only to have those contractions go away by morning.

We had two non-stress tests (NST) and amniotic fluid scans last week, and everything seems to be better than fine, so there is no rush to get him out of there. I know this, but this doesn’t stop my impatience! πŸ˜€ I have another regular doctor’s appointment on Tuesday and another NST on Wednesday.

I think he knows we don’t have a name yet and is waiting for us to make up our minds. Heh.

I was really stressed out during the middle to the end of this week because it turned out that the insurance company had the wrong identifying info for me. I hadn’t known I could contact our outsourced HR administrator to resolve the problem for me, so I spent several days on the phone trying to get things worked out. It was stressful because the insurance company representative stated some extremely alarming things regarding my coverage (or lack thereof, in their eyes). With Seppo’s assistance and a follow-up by our HR administrator, the issue got straightened out, but it was a stress point that I didn’t want to have to deal with. I wish the insurance company rep hadn’t been so alarming in his statements, which threw me into a panic and an embarrassing breakdown/crying jag.

I really don’t enjoy feeling/looking weak in front of others, especially strangers, especially in a business setting. I hated that it happened that way, but it is hard to discount the role of an overwhelming amount of hormones coursing through the system, as well as all the normal stresses involved with getting ready for a baby.

I’ve been napping on and off throughout the last few days. I haven’t been sleeping well because of the contractions — both the physical feelings of mild contractions and the mental awareness that they are happening — but I think I’ve also been extra tired. I’ve pretty much had the phone going straight to voicemail.

My mom is coming on Tuesday, late at night. When we booked the tickets, I assumed that we’d be home with the baby by then, and Seppo could slip out to pick her up, but now I wonder if the baby will even be born by then. Who knows, really. He’ll arrive when he wants to arrive. He’s not listening to his mom even now; can you imagine when he’s a teenager? :p

We had a cleaning crew come to do a thorough cleaning before the baby comes. They came on Saturday and did an amazing job. I can’t believe how fast and thoroughly they worked. This really helped us get the last bits of organization for the baby done, so we can focus on the big picture instead of worrying about small details. It’s such a load off my mind.

I’m still writing the thank you notes (and looking up people’s addresses) from the baby shower, but at the rate I’m going, I’ll be including pictures of the baby with the thank you notes! πŸ˜€ Well, not if the little guy refuses to come out. :p

We’ve been filling our evenings and weekends with a combination of trying to get ready for the baby and going out to do random things that will be harder to do when the baby is here, like eating out or even going to Best Buy. It’s hard not to think, “This will be our last outing before the baby, surely,” only to have the days keep passing.

Dear baby,

You might as well come out already. We have prepared a good home for you and we are ready to love you. Well, we already love you, but we want to both be able to hold you and look into your face and find out what you are thinking. I can’t speak for your dad, but I’m not too excited about the changing diapers part, but I’ll do it because I love you. πŸ˜€ We’ll show you all sorts of exciting and new things. The world has so much to offer. You’ll get to meet all sorts of wonderful people, like grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and little friends (most of them are bigger than you, but some will be coming after you). It’ll be much better than being inside. I wouldn’t lie to you!


No more calls for a while

October 5, 2009   

I just wanted to let people know that I won’t be answering my phone for a little bit, along the lines of several days. No, the baby is not here, and no, I’m not in labor. I’m not on my way to the hospital or anything.

I just realized that I have a decent number of calls I need to make this week still and it is sort of a lot of work to spend a lot of time being “on-call” to my phone, and what I’d like right now is to be able to take a good nap during the day without worrying that I’m going to miss a call.

So feel free to send me email, leave a facebook message, tweet at me, or leave a comment here, but I’d really dig it if calls were kept down to a minimum. I’m just trying to stay sane. πŸ™‚ And don’t be mad if I don’t return your email/message/tweet/etc. for a little while. πŸ˜€

Don’t worry; you’ll definitely know when the baby gets here. πŸ˜€ Thanks!

The Final Countdown

October 5, 2009   

Every time I hear that phrase, I think of GOB from Arrested Development and mentally go into “doing cheesy magic” mode. Da da dun dun, da da dun dun dun, da da dun dun, da da dun dun dun dun dun! *cue doves*

But seriously, this is the final countdown. The official due date that my doctor and I have on record is Wednesday, 10/07/2009, and that came from the first ultrasound. The date that came out of the 12? 16? (I no longer remember) week ultrasound was 10/05/2009, but since it was so close to the original due date, the doctor and I never changed the records to reflect this.

So if the baby is “on time” — and no one expects the baby abide by the exact # of days we outside in the normal world are counting — then he’ll arrive sometime between Monday and Wednesday. If he’s a procrastinator like me, then he’ll arrive a bit late.

We’ve been doing some last minute things, like getting vaccinations (me, Seppo, and the dog), arranging for a dog walker for the first few weeks (he’ll be taken for 2.5-3 hour play/swim/hike sessions with other dogs, three times a week to start), buying some last minute stuff (pump, which I haven’t opened yet since I just read that it may be partially covered by my health insurance), borrowing some stuff (bottles, lightweight stroller frame for baby seat), and going to eat at some places we likely won’t be able to go to for a while.

It’s pretty nutty.

I still need to do things like clean up my bedside stand and my side of the room to make room for baby stuff, store away all the things we won’t need for at least a month into the spare room closet, contact the neighbor to ask if they’d recommend their cleaning service to us to have them come in periodically in the first month or so to help out, and just tidying up and trying to get the mind into a calm place in general.

OH WAIT. Then there is the fact that we still do not have a name. 😐 That is definitely more of a priority now than it used to be. Hopefully, we won’t end up naming him Whatshisface. πŸ˜€

As for the date, my sister is rooting for 10/6, Seppo’s dad is betting on 10/8, Seppo’s aunt is hoping for her birthday (I think 10/9??), and I’m rooting for Tuesday (10/6) so that we’ll be able to transition seamlessly from Seppo’s work from home day to the scheduled doctor appointment in the afternoon to the hospital and BAM! Heh. Yeah, sure.

I think my mom will be able to come out at the end of next week or the beginning of the week after. I am looking to book a ticket now.

Lunchtime Blogging

July 28, 2009   

Been crazy busy with work lately. Not so unusual, but it’s pretty exciting. I wish I had a couple of breathers to just sort of clean up all the messy corners and tighten up the loose bolts, but time is limited.

Sleeping badly lately too, probably far less than before getting pregnant. Hip joint and left shoulder hurts like a mofo. Hip joint pops every time I get up and hurts like a joint that shouldn’t pop.

Clearly have been tweeting too much, as I can only seem to write in fragmented sentences.

Looking forward to the new season of America’s Best Dance Crew. Woo!

The public areas of the house are starting to tidy up  and feel nice.

Trying to figure out when to have my mom come out to help with the baby.

Found out yesterday that my sister told my dad I was pregnant. It is nice to know he knows. I’m still reluctant to talk to him, for complicated reasons. I may write him a letter. He has a job as a security guard and is working. With my grandmother’s recent passing, I don’t want to have regrets about not reaching out to him later, but it is still really hard.

It kills me that even with all the money I make, I don’t make enough to  pay all the bills here, shore up our financial security, and still get my mom off food stamps. I breaks my heart that she’s still on food stamps. It just kills me.

I’ve finished the Sookie Stackhouse series (up to the most current one out) and started Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. She got me with her free Kindle book, Darkfever.

Looking forward to getting away to Hawaii in August. At the same time, I think about my dad in Korea and my mom and think, gah, is this really, really ok? Couldn’t I be helping them more? I know there are things I need to do for myself too but in the long run, what will make me happier?

A blogger I read regularly is getting divorced. It saddens me more than it should, given that he’s a stranger.

I’ve been cooking Korean food the last few days. Simple Korean food (not restaurant food) really feeds more than my body; making it and eating it calms me, makes me feel rooted, and other touchy-feely bs that kinda makes me want to hurl, but there it is, undeniably making me feel good. Truly, it is comfort food.

I feel tired. I feel restless. I feel like things are changing faster than I can really take in. I don’t feel like myself, but a wimpier, weaker, whinier version of myself. This too shall pass. I’m not used to it, but it’s not like it’s a permanent state.

I recently reread my NaNoWriMo project from 2 years ago. Or has it been three years already? It wasn’t as good as I had hoped it was. Oh well. It was a learning experience, and I think I can come up with something better.

I’d like to organize my photos. I wish I had more photos as a baby.

Seppo and I talked about how amazing it was that we are where we are in life right now. I was born in my grandmom’s house, lived in houses without running water or indoor plumbing or a modern stove (cooking was done over the fire), and now I live in the Bay Area, in a great neighborhood, living a comfortable life, calling some incredible people my friends, with access to all sorts of material and cultural goods and experiences. It’s crazy. Honestly, if I thought it was just through my own hard work and not also through a series of incredibly lucky events and helpful people, I’d be the most arrogant ass on Earth.

Life, despite all the little bumps and bruises, is great. The bumps and bruises are tiny, insignificant. Our child-to-be has every chance to live to great life, and I just have to make sure he doesn’t become an entitled person, but an appreciative one. πŸ™‚

On Being Bilingual

July 21, 2009   

Just this week, a friend shared this article on Google Reader, resparking thoughts on raising our child bilingually.

Being bilingual myself (although my Korean could use a LOT of work), I have always valued this trait. It’s helped me to understand (although not actually speak) other languages faster than average (or so I believe), having internalized the concept of grammar, context, and situational conjugation differences in languages and cultures, not to mention untranslatable colloquialisms, since early on.

Take a simple question like, “Do you feel up to going to the library, or do you feel like going home?” which is, almost verbatim, a question I overheard my second grade teacher asking my fellow student when she was feeling sick in class one day. To someone who was trying to literally translating the sentence, as I was in my first year of having immigrated to the US, that was a completely incomprehensible sentence to me.

These were the thoughts going through my head: “feel” means “to perceive by touching”. “Up” is the direction opposite to “down”, the direction of the sky above my head. “Like” means “enjoy” or something less than “love”. So the teacher’s question made no sense to me. What did the question have to do with the fact that the student looked like they were sick? Within a matter of months, if not weeks, of the incident, the secondary meanings and the combined phrases became second nature to me, and taught me a variety of flexible linguistic guidelines, the most important of which was that I needed to be open to new guidelines that I hadn’t yet encountered.

Just on Sunday, Seppo’s lifelong friend E and his lovely wife J were in town from the east coast and dropped by to hang out with us and a couple of other friends. E’s family is fluent in French and J also speaks a fair amount of French, so they are raising their two kids bilingually, by having E speak at home exclusively in French and having J speak a combination of English and French.

I would love to do this, except with Korean, obviously, since that is the language I have the most emotional and cultural ties to, outside of English. The big challenge is that my Korean is pretty weak. My comprehension of the grammar is near perfect, but my vocabulary comprehension is horrific. My ability to speak grammatically correct is atrocious. I wish my family lived near by so that our future kid(s) could have access to people who speak pretty much perfect Korean as a natural part of their lives.

I’ve gotten in touch with an Oakland Korean American Mom & Pop group that meets nearby, because I’d love to have our child grow up with other Korean Americans around them, not just me. It’s not that I value our future child’s Korean American-ness more than his Japanese & Finnish American heritages more, but that it’s the part of his heritage that I can do the most to help define. A part of this desire is a linguistic connection that goes back millenia; a part of it is wanting my own mother and my older relatives to be able to communicate meaningfully with him; a part of it is wanting him not to reject them as strange and foreign; a part of it is wanting him to grow up with a sense of global community and not just a nationalistic sense of self.

Within my own extended family, there is a huge linguistic gulf between the first and second generation, where children and parents can’t communicate at all, not just from the growing pains of adolescence and beyond, but from the inability to form the sentences that would adequately express themselves to the other generation. There are so many things I can’t say to my parents, and that I don’t understand when they speak to me, and I’m one of the luckier ones in the family who learned & retained more Korean from actually living in Korea.

Recently, my grandmother passed away. I think about all the things I couldn’t tell her when I saw her last. I think about how when my little brother met my grandmothers in Korea for the first time, he had nothing to say to them, both because he saw them so rarely and because he didn’t have the language skills to reach across the divide, nor any motivation to try, and it makes me so sad. My relationship with them meant so much to me, but he didn’t and doesn’t have that, not that he feels the loss. You can’t miss something you never had.

But that’s the thing. I don’t want our kid to grow up never missing what he didn’t have, in terms of being around family, being around people in touch with his cultural heritages (all of them), being able to grow up with the internalized knowledge of other languages and customs. If he didn’t have them, I’m sure he wouldn’t miss them, at least until he was well into his twenties or even thirties, if ever. But I would know what he was missing out on, and I want these things for him.

I really need to learn more Korean!

Another generically-titled update

July 1, 2009   

Let’s see… Back pain is increasing in proportion to weight gain, which is to be expected. Vision is definitely a little on the blurry side. Hands and feet experience some swelling for about an hour or two a day, depending on my position, but has not been as bad as the one time when I was visiting my best friend in May.

The biggest unexpected thing from the last two weeks is pain in my hands, near my thumb joint. I think it’s because I have been using my hands a lot more to compensate for the lack of ability to use my abdominal muscles to sit/stand up or even roll over. It’s amazing how the body works in unacknowledged concert; it’s only when you have reduced function in any one part that you can truly appreciate the well-orchestrated machine the body is. I’m sure some of the pain in the hands is also due to a bit of RSI that is exacerbated by the swelling of the extremities.

The baby himself has been very active, which is really fun. He seems to shift around a lot when I roll over. I think he’s been waking me up at around 6am every morning. Or maybe I’ve been waking him up? He also is fairly active after I have a meal. So far, it’s just an incredibly neat, stupefying experience, rather than a painful one, so I am enjoying it as much as I can. It’s amazing to see my belly jump around every so often. I hadn’t expected to see this much movement externally in the second trimester (which is coming to an end soon), but it’s really cool.

Our friends H&S have said we can borrow their infant carseat and breast pump, as they will be just transistioning off them when our little guy arrives, if he’s not too early, so this is great for us. We picked up some baby clothes, a floor gym thingy, and a Bumbo seat, the last of which we’ve lent to H&S for now, since we won’t need it for at least two or three months after the baby is born.

I have to go in to do the glucose test for gestational diabetes this week. Fun! πŸ˜€

People are awesome

June 4, 2009   

In addition to getting cool stuff from a coworker, friends S&V are sending us their cloth diaper stash! Woo hoo! It is already in the mail, apparently.

We aren’t 100% committed to doing cloth diapers; in fact, we haven’t really discussed it, but we think it’s something we can try out. If it doesn’t work, disposables it is!

One of the bloggers I met this week also offered to lend us her son’s hanbok (Korean traditional outfit) for when we have our baby’s dol (first birthday). Rad!

Small stresses

June 4, 2009   

Just when I thought the worst physical symptoms were over, new ones began! πŸ™ Physically, I’m great when I’m sitting down — almost no pain or stress. When I lie down, my back, thighs, and neck hurt like crazy. You can imagine how this affects my sleep. I wake up every morning more tired than the morning before. When I stand, my back strains and my legs & feet swell up. The swelling has been much, much better since I’ve been able to drink water at will, so it’s not a big issue, but does kind of freak me out occasionally. I’ve woken up a couple of times at night with freakishly painful cramping in my calves, which my friend U had warned me might happen.

In some ways, these things are MUCH better than the constant nausea, vomiting, and heartburn of the first trimester. But having had a reprieve of a few easy weeks really spoiled me!

In addition to the major things, it’s been really, really depressing the number of very minor things that are harder for me to do. Putting on my shoes, bending down to pick up a book, reaching a shelf for something I need, picking up my backpack, walking up stairs, getting out of the car, walking Mobi & controlling him when he’s seen something he wants to chase, bending to pull out the drain plug from the bathtub, etc. Literally everything is harder, most of which I hadn’t expected. The biggest thing is that because so many of these things are so lame, I feel horrible about even mentioning it out loud or asking for help. And when I just keep it to myself, I get into sort of a lonely, sad state of mind. So here I am, talking about it. 😐

Mentally, I have been fretting. Am I doing enough at work? Am I doing enough at home? Am I getting enough rest? Am I eating the right foods? Should I have had that cup of tea? Why didn’t I feel the baby kick today? Did I do something to hurt the baby? Are the paint fumes bad, even though we ventilate the house very well and I only paint for short periods of time? Should I have lifted that heavy bag? Why did I eat that? Am I complaining too much? How will we find daycare? Which pediatrician should we choose? When should we start taking classes? Do I want my mom to come to visit just before giving birth or after Seppo goes back to work? How will Mobi feel when we have a baby? Will Mobi hate the baby? What will happen to the project I’m working on when I’m at home? Do we have enough money to take more time off? Should we be buying baby stuff now? How will I learn to be neater so our baby doesn’t grow up in my mess? What should we name the baby?

My brain feel so full, and I can’t get any relief from the thoughts.


May 19, 2009   

Tomorrow, we will officially hit halfway through our pregnancy: 20 weeks. Whoa.

The week before I went to Chicago, it became obvious that I was pregnant and showing. The weeks since, it’s eye-popping how huge my belly has gotten!

Unexpected things:

  • How uncomfortable the feeling of constantly stretched skin feels. Try poking your tongue really hard against your cheek and see how your cheek feels. Except it’s a baby/my uterus against my abdominal flesh. This is 10x worse after I eat, because it’s crowded in there.
  • How fast that dark weird line in the center of the belly came on. And I hate it. It’s so weird! I will refrain from speaking in detail of other lady parts. 😐
  • How quickly it has become difficult for me to put on my shoes, pick up things from the floor, get out of the car, etc. I can do it still, but bending over that far means I need to put a lot of pressure on my belly which is being squished and it is both really uncomfortable (hard to breathe, that kind of thing) and it makes me worry.
  • How often I forget I’m pregnant when I’m sitting down.

Great things:

  • Feeling like I can eat like my normal self. I love being able to eat without the constant terror of headaches/nausea/vomiting hanging over my had (or actually in progress).
  • Not feeling like I’m going to die while I’m at work.
  • The teeny little feelings I have in my belly region. I think  have been feeling the baby for about two weeks now. At first, it was tiny flutters, but now, I think I feel actual movement. I think in another week or so, we’ll be able to feel the movement from the outside.
  • Feeling a lot more relaxed about the pregnancy and the potential for things going wrong. The doctor and all the books have pretty much said that you make it this far, and there is little to worry about. I know things can still go wrong, but those odds are much better at this stage.
  • As a result of the item immediately above, feeling more free to speculate about the reality of the baby: will it be a he or a she? Will s/he have our tiny eyes and short yet substantial legs? Hee.

Stuff to worry about:

  • Getting more of the house stuff done
  • Finding a pediatrician
  • Finding daycare
  • Getting more of the work stuff done so it’s left in a good state when I take leave
  • Figuring out how to get a good night’s sleep with the weight/discomfort of the bulge. It’s actually already starting to give me trouble.

We should really start taking regular pictures and posting them somewhere. I went to a baby shower for a friend who is expecting end of July, putting her about 2.5 months ahead of me, and my belly was much bigger than hers, which makes me worry that I’m getting too large, too fast.