What I Ate Series -1/12/17

I love my routines because it usually start with a run during the sunrise

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I am someone who values individuality despite mounting life responsibilities. Thus that morning hour in the nature, still cold and dark, either listening my favorite podcast or my breathing, it is the moment to connect with the most important person , myself.

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when I’m back, sun has came out, family has woke up, the day has officially started.
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Quick shower, put biz appropriate cloth, and 5 min makeup routine. I head down to have food.

7:50 A.M. – Breakfast

2 sunny eggs, 2 slices of multigrain sourdough toasts, and big piece of goat cheese with blueberries.

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I’ve been having this combo for months and still loving it. It has a good mix of protein, whole grains and healthy fat. Protein in breakfast is key for me to not be hungry an hour later, and usually savory meals satisfy me more.

Morning commute was bad but not terribly. After dropping Sofia to the daycare, I arrived office past 9 A.M. Dig into work right away.

11:15 A.M. – Snack

A fig bar 

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I don’t snack unless I’m hungry. But since I’m nursing and running, I find myself hungry more often so I’d have a snack small enough just to abate the hunger. Fig bar is made with whole grain, organic fruits, and without corn syrup.

Just before lunch I went to a talk on “How to teach our children to be more resilient”

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My main takeaway is that resilience is an acquired skill just like math. So, the more we help our kids practice being resilient (with empathy, putting in perspective, problem solving mindset), the more they can develop that skill.

1:00 P.M. – Lunch

Noodle bowl with assorted vegetables and shrimp with chicken curry broth

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I met with a friend for lunch. Her son is 3 days older than Sofia so we had a lot to talk about. 4 years olds are funny little persons. 🙂

4:00 P.M. – Snack

KIND bar – dark chocolate chili almond

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I met a friend from grad school for an afternoon break. I am really lucky to have good friends working either in my organization or across the street. So, often time when we need a break from the computer, we’d meet for a quick chat.

For snack I had a KIND bar, the best flavor I’ve had so far. I like KIND bar because it has simple ingredients, nuts, fruits and whole grain. No artificial or unpronounceable ingredients.

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I left office at 5:30pm and went to pick up Sofia. She always welcomes me but at the same time she wants to play just one more minute. 🙂 Playing is so important for children for their development, so I let her play a bit more.

6:20 P.M. – Dinner

curry chicken, taro root, bok choy, tofu with seafood stew, and smoked tofu with edamame and green bell pepper

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My mom always welcomes us with dinner ready when we step in the house. We like to have assorted vegetables and 1-2 protein dishes.

After I finished dinner, I fed Lizzy. She’s such a good eater, usually finishes it in <5 min! Such a relief for not having two slow eaters. 🙂

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Then we had family play time. Sofia took the lead and Lizzy followed her around. It made me smile just looking at them.

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then I had the second part of my dinner KABOCHA!

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I don’t usually eat white rice/bread/pasta, but carb is essential so I rely mostly on kabocha/corn/sweet potato for that.

After kids were in bed, I finally changed to my Pj. The moment I put it on, I feel relaxed. I usually take good 20 min to change, take off makeup, skincare, and brush teeth. I do it alone when the house is quiet, again a moment to connect with myself at the end of the day.

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last ritual of the day…. I make a tea and take it to bed while I do some reading. I’ve been loving ginger tea with tumeric

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My hubby was waiting for me in bed. We curdled up, catch up with each other about our days, and then light was out by 9:30PM.

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2016 to 2017

We didn’t celebrate the last day of 2016 in any particular way. We simply spent the day doing what we normally do on Saturdays. But it was good. I heard laughs from my parents, Sofia, Lizzy and Tony. That’s what makes it special and I cherish it everyday. I want to do a bit of looking back and looking forward in term of my relationships.

With parents: I took my parents and Sofia for brunch and suddenly realized my parents have aged a lot in the last year. I guess there’s a tipping point when aging happens rapidly, and they have reached that point. My mom wasn’t feeling good for the last couple of days, nothing major but GI discomfort. I felt guilty. I felt guilty for not taking better care of them. I felt guilty not asking more often how they are. I neglected them when all they do is to help me. I felt like the worst daughter in the world. There are 9 months left before they go back to China where they will have access to better health care. My number 1 goal for 2017 is to make the best of these 9 months. Spend more time with them, create more memorable moments as a family of 6 because time left with them is precious.

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With husband: 2016 also marked a year of test for me and Tony. Our first year as married couple. No matter how much we love each other, marriage is hard, very hard. But once we know that love is so powerful to dilute any differences, to invite compromise on both sides, it does get easier. Eventually it comes second nature the daily effort of making it work. During half of this year while Tony wasn’t working, we fight a lot because both of us weren’t in a good mental state. Fortunately it got resolved and we are in a better place now. It taught me how to be a supportive wife, the fine balance between encouraging and pushing, and how to love a man.

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With Lizzy: In 2016 Lizzy came to our world. I’d admit that it wasn’t love at first encounter. I found her precious, fragile and my instinct was to protect her, but love didn’t come at first. I even told my BFF that everyone with more than one kid are lying, you can’t love your second child equally as your first one. She very wisely told me, maybe that’s true for you, but it doesn’t mean it’s that way for everyone. I made peace and didn’t force myself to love Lizzy as I thought I should have. Days passed, weeks followed, and then months, slowly love grew on me. I find her so adorable, such an angel to us, so happy everyday. She’s really an angel baby, if Sofia was good baby, Lizzy was 10 times better. She never complains but to smile to us. Now, I cherish every nursing session as the last one. It is true, love is not limited, it expands when you have second child. Sofia will always be special in my heart for being the first one, but Lizzy will be my last baby, the one that I learned to cherish more each step of babyhood.

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With Sofia: In 2016, Sofia showed me more her personality. She’s a kind person, so kind that I admire her for that. She’s genuinely caring for others, specially her little sister. Although Lizzy is still little to play with her, she still loves spending time with her, making her laugh tirelessly. Although I’m very strict with her, she still loves me unconditionally. Sometimes I wonder if I should be more flexible, but I always remind myself that my role is to be her mom, not her friend. She loves me reading to her. Probably not for the books per se, but to get my 100% attention. I should do more in 2017. Since Lizzy’s arrival, I spend less time with her alone, and whenever we do, it makes her really happy. I should remind her smile on those moments and do more in 2017. In 2017, she’ll start kindergarten, a big step for a little person. I am sure she’ll thrive and love new friends. It’s the mom that might be tearing because her baby is long gone.

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With myself: I believe the most important relationship is with ourselves, that’s our core, our foundation. I did a good job keeping my individuality in the past, pursued my passion, and continued my health living style despite the seemingly overwhelming life of a full time professional with two little girls. I need to give huge credit to my family to support me during the journey, without them I couldn’t have. Going forward, I will continue this balancing act of different hats I have. I’m starting a new project in 2017, something that put me out of my comfort zone, something completely new to anything I’ve ever done. But there’s one thing that gives me confidence in this immense uncertainty, my passion about it. I feel excited, challenged, but confident that no matter how it turns out, I’ll learn more about myself during this journey, a fun one! To avoid this passion put me out of balance, I’ll need to remind myself to not get absorbed by it and neglect my other important relationships and passions. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

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New year 2017

Our new year was low key, just how I wanted. To be with the family and relax. We Tony first finished building Christmas City Lego

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so proud of the duo 😀 (basically Tony tries to build it, Sofia tries to destroy it, and repeat! :D)

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I took Sofia and my parents for brunch one day

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had the most beautiful avocado toast! It’s really easy to make but so good. Toast + smashed avocado + feta cheese + tomato + green onion + poached egg. If I’d make at home, I’ll omit the feta cheese and replace poached egg by fried egg.

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On a cold Sunday, I started my day with a run, with my lovely husband. As you can see from the pics, it was a dreading run for him, but glad he finished the 3 miles. I then run another 8. 11 miles on 1/1. 🙂

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usual breakfast tastes even better after a long run

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then we did groceries and prepared a Chinese meal for the family

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and an international meal for dinner. Poached salmon with mushroom in sherry sauce. First time trying sherry… I like the taste but didn’t dare to put too much at first, so the final product lacked the distinct sherry flavor. I’ll do better next time.

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Monday was still holiday so we had friends over for lunch… The girls got to play dolls…

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the grow ups got to make dumplings

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Sofia loves playing with Tiantian, once again because Tiantian basically follows Sofia’s lead. Sofia is a natural leader… or want to be 🙂

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and when Lizzy is up, she joined the big girls… Sofia always so sweet with her little sister

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while chinese dumpling was being made, I made the beef taco station

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the final food table, a mix of chinese and international food

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it was my first time making taco, so easy and so tasty! It’s definitely a crowd pleasing meal. and it’s fun to assemble it too, a competition of who gets more filling in!

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our new year started with the tone for the year… good run, good time with family and friends, and good food. 🙂

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