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A couple of weeks ago I got to visit my family back East and of course as I expected, my mother made comments about me being too skinny. It wasn’t the first thing she said when she saw me, but I could tell she was holding it in as she sized me up with her eyes. It finally came out on the last day as we were saying goodbye – she gave me the gentle admonition in Chinese “tai shou bu hao” (translation: too skinny, no good).

I was ready for it so it didn’t bother me too much. My in-laws had made the same observation the last time we visited them. They all seem concerned that my apparent loss of weight means that I’m not eating enough, that I’m too tired and run-down. Okay yes, sometimes lunch for me consists of toddler leftovers and yes, my energy could use a boost on most days. And yes, sometimes I’m so focused on feeding the boys that I forget to feed myself. But I think I’m doing a pretty good job of eating three square meals a day in addition to snacks in between and sometimes late night desserts. I’ve just been cursed with fast metabolism which I’m sure will eventually catch up with me sooner or later.

Apparently my father-in-law has the same problem. He’s been trying to gain weight for years and has tried all kinds of things. His latest diet scheme is to eat lots of good quality dark chocolate as a high calorie snack. Larry was down in So Cal last weekend and guess what he brought back from his parents? Yup, that’s right, bars and bars of dark chocolate for me so I can gain some weight. I don’t know if it’ll work, but out of respect for them, I guess I should just bite the bullet and give it a try? I guess I can live with comments about me being too skinny if it means I can indulge in free dark chocolate. 🙂

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‘Tis the season of DIY projects for me right now. I don’t know, I guess of late I’ve been feeling like I’ve needed some diversion that doesn’t involve little toddler boys. Something to do with my hands that’s not diaper-changing or cooking or folding laundry or loading the dishwasher. Something more creative, I suppose.

So I’ve been trying to work my way through the DIY Pinterest board I created for myself. I saw this video posted on Facebook a while ago on arm-knitting and I thought, “How cool! I can totally do that!” You don’t need any knitting needles, just some yarn and your two arms.

 

 

So this past Monday night I put the boys to bed early and set to work. It took me more like two hours instead of 30 minutes, but that’s because I spent a lot of time pausing and rewinding the video. Once I got the hang of it, it went pretty fast and was not difficult at all.

My scarf came out a little too long and bulky. I had  to wrap it around three times and it kind of felt like I had a python around my neck. Next time I think I’ll use one skein of yarn instead of two. Here’s a picture of my lovely friend Jing modeling the scarf. It looked much better on her, and since she’ll be moving to New York soon, she’ll probably have more need for a python infinity scarf anyway.

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The prompt for this week is…

Paint

GO

I mentioned in my last post that my spring break project was to repaint an old cabinet I found. Well here it is! Our new cabinet for tea cups and snacks and cookbooks.

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Not that impressed, you say? Well if you knew me, you’d be impressed. The extent of my DIY ability is repurposing an old glass jar by putting pens in it. Most of my experiences of “doing it myself” have turned out to be like the firetruck birthday cake I tried to make for CC two years ago. Yeah, not good.

But I’ve been looking for some kind of cabinet for the living room to store our stuff for tea and snacks. We had no budget for new furniture and I couldn’t find anything I liked on craigslist. So it was serendipitous that I happened to be there on the day they were spring cleaning our church meeting hall and someone unearthed this old wooden cabinet. Perfect, I said to myself, all it needs is a new coat of paint. I had my husband move it into an empty storage area and couldn’t wait for spring break so that I could start working on it.

After searching on pinterest and repeated trips to the paint store (where I was absolutely clueless) I finally emerged with a can of cover stain primer, a can of paint, a paint roller, and one of those sponge paint brushes. During our spring break, while the kids were napping, I would retreat into the back tool room and paint and paint and paint. It was surprisingly therapeutic and not as difficult as I thought (although it did take me a good 15 minutes to pry the lid off the paint can). Result turned out okay, no? Much better than the fire truck cake at least.

STOP

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Happy new year, my friends! Sorry I’ve been pretty silent on this blog in the last couple of weeks. We’ve been down in So Cal staying with Larry’s parents and I just got lazy. But now we’re back home and I’m slowly starting to ease back into the swing of things, which I hope will mean that you’ll hear from me at least twice a week again.

So a few things from our recent winter vacay…

  • We attended the semi-annual training, a week long Bible conference, this time covering Genesis chapters 12-24. It was awesome and faith infusing. I hope to share some highlights with you in next week’s Truth Tuesday post.

 

  • We explored some more museums in LA, the La Brea Tar Pits and the Natural History Museum. CC loved both and could not stop talking about saber tooth cats, mastodons and of course dinosaurs. The charge for admission is the same at both museums, but the Natural History museum is waaayyy bigger and in my opinion, more bang for the buck. You can get a combo ticket that gets you into both (and you don’t have to go to both on the same day, just within two weeks time), which is probably what we should have done.

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  • So you know how I often complain about CC’s eating…or more like his not eating? My mother in law suggested that we take him to see her Chinese doctor, who’s a combination of a chiropractor and a chi gung master. I’m usually pretty skeptical about these kind of things, but I thought, “Hey, if it doesn’t hurt, why not?” So she made an appointment for him and we all went along. The guy put CC on the massage table, showed us how part of his spine was not aligned (which I couldn’t really see), gave him some gentle adjustments, did some special massages on his back and hands which were supposed to stimulate his appetite and told us he was cured. We were instructed to do those same massages on him once a week. For the next few days CC ate like a ravenous wolf, all without any prompting. I’m not saying I’m a believer now, but I’d happily do little finger dances and pinches up his spine once a week if it means there will be less battles at the dinner table.

 

  • On our winter break I started this book with CC – Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. It was recommended to me by a friend, so I picked up a copy at Barnes and Nobles before we left for So Cal. My background and training is in teaching ESL, but surprisingly enough, I’ve never had any experience or exposure to teaching phonics. This book is broken down into 100 short lessons and you’re supposed to do one a day. The great thing is that it actually scripts out everything you’re supposed to say to the child word for word, so anyone can use it, even if you have no background in teaching. It really is amazing. Each lesson only takes us about 10 minutes and by Lesson 7, CC was already sounding out three letter words all by himself. I totally wished I had started this with him earlier.

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  • We had a pretty uneventful New Year’s Eve. While Larry’s parents went out to party, we had dinner at a mediocre Japanese restaurant, came home to do laundry and pack, and then put the kids to bed. Larry and I did however each spend some time to pray personally and then together to freshly consecrate ourselves and our family to the Lord. For us, it was the best way to end the year. I was in bed and asleep by 11. 🙂

Hope you all had a wonderful end to 2013, whatever that means for you, and I’m excited and looking forward to a new year which I hope will be full of more pearls of wisdom to share with you all!

 

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About a month ago I went through a little bit of a wardrobe crisis and put out an impassioned plea for help. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from friends. Some offered to take me shopping or babysit so I could go shopping, some gave me their hand-me-downs (which I have no problems taking), and one friend went out and actually bought me a pair of pants. Anyways, I am quite touched to say the least that you all care so much about making sure I don’t feel and look frumpy.

All your support has motivated me to purge my closet. It felt so good to finally get rid of clothes I’ve been hanging on to for years, but never wear. It has also encouraged me to do something I’ve always wanted to try – Stitch Fix. In case you don’t know what Stitch Fix is, it’s basically like having your own fashion consultant and it’s awesome and so much fun! Almost every mommy blog I read has a review of Stitch Fix. How exactly does it work? After you create an account and fill out a fashion profile, you can schedule to have a stylist pick out five random articles of clothing which gets mailed to you. You have three days to try out the clothes, decide what you want to keep, and mail the rest back in a postage paid bag which they provide. Each time you schedule a “fix,” you pay a $20 “styling fee” which gets deducted from the price of any clothes you end up keeping. Shopping can’t get any easier.

So why haven’t I done it before? It’s because I have a strange habit of buying only clothes that are on sale. When I go to a store, I ignore all the nice displays in the front and head straight to the back where the clearance racks are. For me to feel justified about buying anything, it has to be marked down not once, but twice. And let’s just say, Stitch Fix clothes are not sale prices. But I finally decided it was time to go against every frugal fiber in my body and just give it a try…because it’s really not fun anymore to comb through bargain racks with two kids in tow.

So last week I received my first Stitch Fix box in the mail and this is what I got:

20131123-155521.jpgStriped long sleeve shirt. I wasn’t too crazy about this one. A little too boxy and stripy so it went back.

20131123-155306.jpgBlouse with studs. I liked the style and color…but the studs, not so much. Plus, it needs to be hand washed, so it went back too.

20131123-154949.jpgCharcoal skinny jeans. I’m a latecomer to the whole skinny jeans bandwagon because they remind me of junior high (because the last time I wore them was in junior high). When I first saw these jeans, my first thought was way too tight and way too long. But after trying them on, I actually really liked them. They were super comfortable and scrunched up nicely. But hubby thought they were too tight (ok, I did have to peel them off) and it was a little pricier than I’m used to paying for jeans…so they went back.

20131123-155745.jpgGrey blazer. Loved this! I tried this on with a whole bunch of different outfits and it matched with everything. I like how I can wear it casually or dressed up. It’s actually cotton/spandex material so it’s machine washable! This one was a keeper!

20131123-154531.jpgCharm necklace. I’m normally not big on jewelry, but I can totally see myself wearing this necklace. Not too overstated, but just enough bling to jazz up an outfit. Decided to keep this one too!

So overall, it was a fun experience but I can probably afford to do it only once in a while. The pieces also come with suggestions on what you can wear it with, so at least now I kind of know what to look for when I’m shopping. If you need a fun refresh for your wardrobe, I think Stitch Fix is worth trying at least once. And…oh…if you do decide you want to try it…can you please use my referral link? Shameless plug, I know, but the $25 credit from the referral would definitely contribute to the “Help Sophia look less frumpy fund.” Thanks!

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The prompt for this week is…

Fly

GO

I got my first pair of rollerblades while I was in grad school somewhere in my mid-twenties. I got them on a whim because my friend wanted someone to learn with. We practiced that whole summer, on the esplanade along the Charles River, around Jamaica Pond, on the Minuteman Trail, on Sundays on Memorial Drive when they would close the street to cars…basically anywhere that was paved and car-free. I had my share of falls and wipe-outs, the worst being when I fell so hard on my tail bone going down a ramp that it hurt to cough and sneeze for a whole week.

But eventually I got to the point where I could cruise on my blades with confidence, learning how to step over cracks on the pavement and lean back ever so slightly with one knee bent to brake. I have fond memories of warm summer afternoons spent blading down the esplanade, from the BU bridge to the Museum of Science, hair flying in the wind, the river on one side and fellow bladers, bikers, joggers whizzing alongside me. It was the glorious feeling of flying.

I still have those rollerblades stashed in the bottom of my closet, although they’ve been gathering dust for the last seven to eight years. I think about taking them out now and then, but there’s no esplanade here. Maybe if I can find a place that’s smooth enough for me to blade while pushing a stroller alongside a four year old on a scooter, I’ll do it. It probably won’t feel like flying, but it’ll be better than nothing.

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STOP

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Today is one of those days. I woke up feeling frumpy. There was no motivation for me to comb my hair. It’s been almost a year since I’ve gotten a haircut, years since I’ve gotten one I’ve actually liked. I keep wavering between having bangs and growing them out, so my hair seems to always be in that weird annoying in-between stage where it’s constantly in my face. So I decided to forgo the brushing and pulled it back into a ponytail and put on a hairband to keep back those wayward bangs even though hairbands give me a headache.

I looked into my closet this morning and I was not inspired. I’m tempted to stay in my pajamas but I’ll eventually have to leave the house to pick up CC from school. I pulled on a pair of pants that are too big for me and a shirt that is somewhat stain free. My wardrobe can definitely use some updating.

On my way back from the dry cleaners today I decided to stop in Buffalo Exchange. After browsing through the racks of blouses and jackets I gave up and left. It was just all too utterly perplexing and I felt so. completely. lost. Okay I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never been a fashionista or anything, but I think I used to be able to tell what looked good and what didn’t and put together somewhat decent outfits from my limited wardrobe. Now I feel like I haven’t a clue. I scrutinize the clothes of women walking by on the street and I’m amazed at how they pull it all together. Stripes with prints, red with pink…seems like anything goes. And don’t get me started on the accessories…how do people even have time to accessorize? Maybe I can set my own trend and bring the fanny pack back into style (were fanny packs ever actually in style?).

So yeah I feel frumpy. My two boys are more styling than me. Why can’t they make adult clothes like kids’ clothes? Kids’ clothes are easy to mix and match, are always cute, and are amazingly stain resistant. I wish I had someone to pick out my outfits and dress me every morning. Or I would just settle for someone who would take me shopping. Anyone? Pretty please? If you don’t, I might seriously try the fanny pack thing.

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Fanny packs can be cute…especially if you have an Elmo one.

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