Saturday, June 27, 2009

6 years...

I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you're here
Brighten my northern sky.

It's been a long time that I'm waiting
Been a long time that I'm blown
been a long time that I've wandered
Through the people I have known
Oh, if you would and you could
Straighten my new mind's eye.

Would you love me for my money
Would you love me for my head
Would you love me through the winter
Would you love me 'til I'm dead
Oh, if you would and you could
Come blow your horn on high.

I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you're here
Brighten my northern sky.
-"Northern Sky", Nick Drake
Northern Sky - Nick Drake

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's getting SO hot in here...

Originally uploaded by ghetto of our mind
I finally understand why people have been giving me that look of abject pity when I tell them I'll be pregnant through the summer. It was 88F (30C) today and I was HOT. No ordinary hot, people- we're talking steaming, sauna-like, heaving, humid, oppressive, feel-all-of-our-baby's-3lbs-weight, I-need-a-shower-as-I'm-walking HOT :( I felt like I was literally lumbering down the street, pitiful, heavy, and melting... Apart from the fact that I'm pregnant, I think it's also because we've actually had fairly cool weather for June so far and the transition to this sweltering heat was just too sudden for me to adjust to. We finally turned the A/C in our room on, and many thanks to our friends Irving and Tarja, we now have a unit downstairs too just waiting to be installed. Oh, and we're (ok, I'm) going through tubs of ice-cream like my life depended on it.

Honestly, this is the first time I've felt genuinely uncomfortable during the pregnancy. It might be a little early to say this (although I *am* only 10 weeks away...), but so far, I've been spared many of the usual ailments I was told to expect- swollen fingers and feet, varicose veins, bulbous nose, putting on weight in all the wrong places, sciatica, bad nausea, stretch marks, etc. I'm mostly enjoying being pregnant actually (except for the whole not being able to eat raw sushi part...) and really grateful that our daughter has been a most pleasant and forgiving tenant :) The heat, though, is really getting to me- I walk slower, our baby feels heavier, and everything's just that degree more uncomfortable (could there be a fabric even lighter than cotton???) And I'm sure the worst is yet to come...

Tomorrow's going to hit 90F. I think I'm going to stay indoors.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Yogi mommies

One of the things I've really been enjoying (and hopefully, so has Baby) is my weekly prenatal yoga sessions. It was wonderful practising yesterday especially on summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Summer's finally here in Ann Arbor and the heat radiating through the studio mirrored the heat radiating through our bodies as we went through our modified downward dogs and warrior IIs. Warrior mommies, Heather my instructor called us, posing strong and rooted for the little cargoes we're holding within us. I love how refreshed and energized I always feel after, but also relaxed and calm, if that makes sense...

And a large part of it is also about being with other would-be moms in various stages of their pregnancy, sharing their stories, and allowing me to look both at how far I've come and also to look forward to the couple of months ahead. There was this one mom who's clearly where I was a couple of months ago in terms of shopping frantically for baby clothes- I was totally onboard with her mania :) She shared with us this website that's designed specifically for yogi mommies (and babies): yoli-poli started as a website selling yoga accessories but now also specializes in organic cotton clothing for children with a particular yoga theme. Check out these cutie tees for slightly older children: triangle pose and tree pose for girls, and warrior II and crow for boys. But my absolute favorites are actually the tees for infants, and all you yogis out there should know exactly why, for instance:


Can someone just say TOO PRECIOUS?!! :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I can't wait...

Those of you who've read and love Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife will understand why at about 1:22 into the trailer, I-- sitting in the middle of my school's computer lab-- burst into spontaneous tears...

For all my literary pretensions, at the end of the day, nothing moves me like a love story. And The Time Traveler's Wife is an unabashed love story. I remember reading it over summer a couple of years ago and that I had to read at least the last 25 pages twice over because the first time round was through a blur of tears. I finished it at 5.30 in the morning, Jude was still up finishing an assignment, and I had to go give him a hug because the book was just that powerful.

And now, they've brought it to the screen. I've always had reservations about screen adaptations of my favorite novels (see Possession for the ultimate travesty...) but this actually does look promising. I really like Rachel McAdams and while I had a different vision of how Henry should look like (more a cross between Ryan Gosling and Edward Norton), I can live with Eric Bana.

Let's just hope come August 16 when the movie opens, this girl will be still able to waddle her way into the movie theatre... ;)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Eating well

Salmon miso soup
Originally uploaded by ghetto of our mind
As we waddle happily along into the third trimester, I’m trying even harder to make sure I eat well since Baby’s really needing that boost of nutrients and vitamins more than ever right now: Omega-3 for her brain, calcium for her bones and muscle development, iron for heart and nervous system, and a whole bunch of other stuff I’m getting from my prenatal vitamins. Finding time to cook has been a little tricky though, what with teaching through the whole month of June. It’s an intense class and by the time I’m home in the evening, coupled with an increasing level of exhaustion that’s apparently part-and-parcel of the third trimester, I’m too pooped to even walk upstairs to our room, lest of all bustle around the kitchen to put something together. On the other hand, to make things easier, we’ve been getting such fabulously fresh and tasty veggies from our farmshare that I’m constantly inspired to try new things with produce I’ve either never cooked with before like radishes or with more spinach than I’ve ever encountered in a 3 week period…

And so last night, in the midst of a slightly chilly June evening, I decided to try making a salmon miso soup. We’ve been getting really good salmon from Costco and since it’s a great source of Omega-3, I’m frequently trying to integrate it into our meals. Using a dashi stock base and some miso paste, I threw in carrots and potatoes, and the radishes and a bunch of spinach from the farmshare. Just before serving, I added the salmon and some rice vermicelli to make it heartier so that we wouldn’t need to have it with rice. It was warm, comforting, flavorful, and I’m hoping really nourishing for Baby too. More than shopping for onesies, clearing out our wardrobe, or reading to her, eating well is probably one of the best things I can do for our little girl right now. She’s been moving about (and kicking & punching) more vigorously these days and according to our OB, activity is a sign of good health. Yup, it would seem that our little girl’s a feisty one... :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

A child's reaction to the "Where the Wild Things Are' trailer

Trailer Reaction from We Love You So on Vimeo.

I thought that this video capture was an interesting study in a child's visceral reaction to the trailer for Spike Jonze's "Where the Wild Things Are". While I agree that there are obviously movies that are inappropriate for kids, this video shows us that toddlers can be a sophisticated audience of media. There is a lot going on in the trailer and some of it I would have assumed to be inappropriate for children. But as the video above shows, that really isn't the case. I think that there is a lot of scope for research that 1) better takes into account the cognitive capacities of young children and 2) studies that measure the emotional responses to media content.

And also, as you dear reader may notice, our attention is slowly shifting to all things parenthood and child-focused :)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Happy birthday Jude!

Thank god the weather held up. For most of Friday, Saturday, and early Sunday, I was convinced that it was going to literally rain on Jude’s parade, or in this case, his birthday/ baby shower. Yes, baby shower. I don’t think it’s fair that the moms always get fussed over pre-baby and the dad’s just relegated to a supporting role; I mean, we’re both having the baby and he deserves just as much attention. And so I thought it would be a good idea to throw Jude a birthday party/ baby shower to just celebrate him, his last baby-less birthday, and impending fatherhood :) And I think it was pretty successful, with people bring gifts like books on surviving fatherhood, a handbook for caring for babies, a survival kit for first-time dads, and even an REI gift card so that Jude can be the kind of dad that will buy baby Keens and/or teach our daughter to love camping! :) Of course, there were also many generous gifts from our baby registry- thank you everyone!

And let’s not forget the ton of food that was thrown on the grill and that are still chilling in our fridge AND freezer. On the menu last night:
- Spinach-artichoke dip
- Sesame radish salad (made with our farmshare radishes)
- Baguette with homemade olive tapenade (thanks to Eric, Amy and Finn for bringing it- soooo delicious!)
- Ginger-soy marinated chicken wings (marinated for two days so the flavor really came through)
- Havarti cheese stuffed burgers (it was the first time we tried making these and they actually turned out much better than we had expected…)
- Sauteed onions and fennel, and bacon as burger toppings
- Bratwursts (we brought these back from an amazing meat merchant when we were up north over Memorial weekend)
- Lime-lemongrass marinated shrimp and scallop skewers (we bought surprisingly good frozen shrimp and scallops from Costco and marinated these ourselves)
- Grilled asparagus
- Peppers-onions-cremini mushrooms skewers
- Romesco sauce for the grilled veggies (nutty and fruity at the same time, I made this on Saturday with roasted tomatoes and garlic.)

Plus a SPECTACULAR birthday cake that we just had to buy the moment we saw it in the display case at Whole Foods. Eric said it best when I brought it out, “Is that even possible??!!” Ladies and gentlemen, behold the awesomeness of the Burger Birthday Cake!

It has actual layers made of yellow and chocolate cakes, cheese made from fondant, and piped buttercream for mayo, lettuce (ice-berg clearly, from that pale green…), mustard, and ketchup. Pure stupendousness! Considering how much of a novelty cake it was, it was actually surprisingly moist and tasty. See cross-section for full impact. Instead of just taking a picture of the cake, I should have taken one of everyone whipping out their cameras to take photos of the cake... ;)

And to make things all the more special, our friend, Felicia is here to visit from Singapore. The last time she was here was 4 years ago, and it's so wonderful that she's here now with us to hold our hands through all the pre-baby jitters, questions, and to just bless us with her company :)

See rest of photos here.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Sitting pretty

Jude and I were at The Little Seedling last week getting our Moby Wrap and Ergo baby carrier when we chanced upon this wonderful creation: Stokke's TRIPP TRAPP® highchair. We know, our little girl isn't going to need this till she's about 6 months old, but it doesn't hurt to start thinking about these things now... It's a beautiful piece of furniture and Jude and I really do appreciate it when it's obvious that people have put a whole lot of thought into their designs, even for something as seemingly mundane as a highchair. Meant to grow with a child, it's fully adjustable (to the point when an adult can sit in it as well), ergonomically designed, and encourages family interaction because there isn't that extra tray table in front that gets in the way of the baby eating from the table with us. The lack of the tray table also means that she'll have to eat on the dinner table which is something we really want to encourage, instead of in front of the TV or just somewhere random. It also comes in a range of gorgeous colours which is a bonus :)

We're not quite ready to buy it right now but the good thing is that we do have 6 months to save for it, and also to accumulate enough gift vouchers (from our credit card points) to be able to offset some of the cost. Jude's also watching a couple of these high-chairs on eBay, although looking at how quickly the bids are going up, we're better off waiting and then getting a brand new one when the time's right.