December 31, 2009

The end of a decade

Wow, I can't believe that it is the end of a decade.

In this decade...

I met and fell in love with the man I would marry.
I completed my Ph.D.
I got my first real job.
I learned to crochet.
I bought my first car on my own (I always had hand me downs).
I made many new and wonderful friends.
I moved 4 times.
I lost my sister-in-law.
I married my best friend.
I paid off all my credit cards.
I ran a 10K and a relay triathlon.
I became a mother (probably the best things that happened to me this decade).

The last 10 years were packed with so much, some great and some not so great (losing my sister-in-law in particular). Lets see what the next decade holds for me.

December 29, 2009

Not the mama

I used to watch this show as a kid. I have been trying to remember what the show was called and my brother reminded me today.

December 22, 2009

Injured, ugh!

I think that I have tennis elbow. I have been experiencing pain in my elbow and forearm. At first I thought it was just muscle soreness from starting to lift weights and doing my push-ups, but my right arm has continued to hurt. Sometimes lifting my water bottle to drink hurts. I was talking to a friend about it and he mentioned that it might be tennis elbow and that I should probably lay off push-ups and lifting. I don't really like that solution, but I supposed it is what I need to do. It is tough to not lift anything at all, since Baby Bear does need to be carried more often than not. So my healing process will probably be slowed due to her demands. Just when I thought I was getting back on track I hit another roadblock.

Since I have to put the 100 push-ups on the back burner, I am going to try to focus on cardio and running. My mile time is atrocious, so that I will be working on a time that is more acceptable to me. I have never been a fast runner, so I am realistic about it and I know I have to take it a little slow at first because of my knees. (They have been bothering me too. I know I am falling apart.) But I just got new running shoes, so maybe that will help. I sure hope so.

Motherhood is wonderful, but it has done a number on my body. I have to remember to be patient since it has only been 6 months postpartum. I will get there; I know I will.

December 17, 2009

Two years



Two years ago today Tricia was taken from us by cancer. Her memory is still very strong in our hearts and minds and will always be so.

Tricia, you are not forgotten. You are always in our heart and memories. I think of you often and I miss you.

December 8, 2009

100 push up update and a new gym

I am finally back on track with my 100 push up training. I am on week 3 of the training and I have to go down a level of training. Missing training has a definite impact on your progress. But that is life and being a new mommy has a toll on you. I am still suffering from sleep deprivation but I am doing my best.

I have found a new workout schedule that seems to be working for me. I have free access to the gym at the college that I work at. It is a new gym and last week I started going before heading back to work. So far that has been working out for me. I drop Baby Bear off a little earlier and get a 30 minute workout in (I wish I had more time, but that is all I can squeeze in right now). I shower and change and then walk over to my office a little later than usual. I think this has been the best bet for me. I have worked out more in the last week and a half than I have in the last 2 months since I came back to work. So this is great. Lunch time workout were not working, but so far this new schedule is working.

I definitely have a ways to go before getting back to the level I once was at. I ran on the treadmill yesterday morning and my time was really sad. It took me almost 14 minutes to run a mile. Now that is sad, you would have thought I was walking. I just have to keep on working to get my stamina back. All in time.

November 24, 2009

100 push-up update and step class

I have to be honest, I been slacking off with my 100 push-ups training. Mostly because Baby Bear has been sick and then Papa Bear got sick, so essentially I had two sick babies. That meant I wasn't getting much sleep at all so week 3 of training went out the door. I know excuses, excuses. I promise myself that I will be back on track next week.

On a positive note, today I had the chance to go to the gym and take a step class. I hadn't taken a step class since I was pregnant. It kicked my butt a bit, but it felt so good to be challenged! I have been walking a lot with Baby Bear (she is not quite old enough for me to be able to run with the jogging stroller, hopefully soon) but it is not the same as doing a really good workout. It was really nice to get to the gym. It is tough to find the time. I tried fitting in lunch time workouts and did so for a week or so, but that was not very successful since I generally have to pump during lunch and many times end up working through lunch. It is going to take me a little more time to find a way to fit exercise back into my life. I just keep having to to try different times during the week and hopefully I will be able to find something that will work into my life and schedule.

November 17, 2009

100 push-ups: Week 2 update

I am a little late with my week 2 update (I had a sick Baby Bear to deal with the last couple of days). Week 2 was tougher but I survived. At the end of the week, I did the exhaustion test and I completed good 24 push-ups. That means that for week 3, I will go to the second level of training. I was just 2 push-ups away from the third level of training, but I could not push out another push-up. Let's see how I do this week.

November 15, 2009

Autism Walk

We walked on Saturday and I raised just under $300 for Autism Speaks. Our team raised $1600. Not bad! Thank you to everyone who supported Baby Bear and I in our walk. For some pictures, check out Baby Bear's blog.

It is not the most organized walk, but it is for a good cause and it is pretty cool to get to walk on the field of Angels Stadium.

November 9, 2009

Walk for Autsim - reaching our Goal!

Saturday is the Walk for Autism and Baby Bear and I have already surpassed our fundraising goal!! Thank you to all who have donated!

If you would still like to donate, it is not too late to help out. Click here to go to my personal web page and help me and Baby Bear in our efforts to support Autism Speaks.

November 8, 2009

100 push-ups: Survived the first week

Made it through the first week of my 100 push-up challenge and training program. Didn't do too bad and did a total of 62 push-ups for day 3. For day 3, the training has you do 5 sets with 120 second rest breaks. So I did 11, 15, 9, 9 for the first 4 sets. The last set, you do as many push-ups as you can manage and I did 18 (10 of them were full push-ups and the last 8 I ended up going on my knees). Not too bad for the first week.

November 5, 2009

Lunch time yoga

Today I did a yoga podcast during my lunch break. I turned off the lights in my office and went for it. It felt so great and I feel energized during the afternoon when I usually feel a slump. I am glad I gave it a shot. I think lunch may be my only workout time and so I am going to do my best to keep doing something energizing during lunch time.

November 4, 2009

100 push-ups: Day 2

I decided not to move down to the second level and stick it out with the third level. I am doing this to challenge myself and make it to 100 push-ups. I have set the goal to get to at least to 50 consecutive push-ups in my first shot. Because I still working my way to get back in shape, I want to make a realistic goal. It has been a long time since I really did push-ups. I stopped doing push-ups during my pregnancy because my baby bump got in the way. It's hard to do a proper push-up when you belly does not allow you to go down to your chest, LOL!!

November 2, 2009

100 push-ups: Week 1, Day 1

I started the training today. I started with level 3 of the workout, which was where my initial test placed me. Yikes, that was tough. I am thinking that I should probably start off with the second level. I made it through but I did not do full push-ups for each set. I will have a rest day tomorrow and then go on to day 2 on Wednesday. It really wasn't so bad.

October 30, 2009

100 push ups: Initial Test (and yoga!)

So I am serious about starting my 1o0 push-up training and the first step was to do the initial test to see what level I will start at and how many I can do. I completed 12 full good push-ups. That puts me in the 2nd rank according to the website (I was two away from the 3rd rank just and I couldn't get that 13 push-up out). That is not as bad as I thought I would do. But I also know that I used to be able to do about 20 or so and at one time I could do 30. Because I completed more than 10, that puts in the highest training level (there are 3). Crazy especially since I haven't done any real push-ups in so long. I had to stop some time during the pregnancy since my belly bump got in the way. Now I am ready to get started on Monday. It will be a good way to start a new week and a new month!! Wohoo! I am excited about this.

On top of starting up my 100 push-up training, this morning I went to yoga!! I love yoga. I had been going to yoga classes sporadically during my maternity leave and I was going to a Mommy and Me yoga class. Now that I know that Baby Bear can take a bottle (she was previously on bottle strike) I plan to go to yoga more regularly since I am now confident that Papa Bear can watch Baby Bear without starving her. My back is all out of whack from pregnancy and my epidural and I believe that yoga will help me to strengthen my back again. I know that when I began practicing yoga almost 8 year ago, that my back pains were greatly alleviated. In fact, I rarely had back pains when I started practicing yoga regularly. So I hope that the same will happen once I keep up my practice.

It feels good to getting back to some type of fitness routine. I am well on my way to getting fit. Hurray!!

October 28, 2009

100 push-up challenge

I so need to get back into shape. As a working mother, I am finding it very hard to find the time to workout. Before having Baby Bear, I worked out and exercised 4-6 days a week. I exercised throughout my pregnancy and even went for a nice walk the day I went into labor. Since she has been born, my time to work out has been scarce. I thought I would be back to getting into the gym by now, but I like to spend the little free time I have during the day with Baby Bear.

I really miss getting to the gym and doing an intense workout session and I feel so out of shape that it is very depressing to me. So I figured that I have to do something about it. Looking at my time, I am going to try to get a little exercise in during my lunch breaks. I figure 30-45 minutes a day is better than nothing.

I am going to start the 100 push-ups training program. I have talked before about how I love push-ups. I used to be able to do full push-ups without too much of a problem. Now I am lucky to do a few. So this will be one way to get me back. It is a 3-day a week commitment for 6 weeks, so it is very doable during lunch breaks. Hopefully, I can get a walk or maybe even a run in on the other days.

I am very excited to give it a shot and I will update my progress on this blog to help me stay accountable and to get this blog up and running again. This poor blog has been largely neglected because I have nothing to write about except Baby Bear. So here is something that is just for me that I can start to write about. I am very excited about this challenge and to get fit once again.

October 26, 2009

Walk Now for Autism

Last year I participated in the Walk for Autism and I have signed up to do it once again. This will be Baby Bear's first charity walk (well, she participated last year in the womb). It is never too early to start to give and do something for a good cause.

I have written about why this cause is near and dear to my heart before, you can read about it in my other blog, Sher's Corner.

Click here to go to my personal web page and help me and Baby Bear in our efforts to support Autism Speaks.

October 13, 2009

Time to change those wiper blades

The forecast calls for possible rain in Southern California and my car needed new windshield wiper blades. Papa Bear kindly took care of this last night in anticipation of the rain. He went to one store and they were sold out of windshield wiper blades, so he went to another store and got them. He put them on in the parking lot and threw away the packaging and old wiper in the dumpster near the store. The dumpster was filled with old wiper blades and packaging. I guess we weren't the only ones taking care of things in anticipation of the rain.

Thanks Papa Bear for taking care of me! I love you.

October 6, 2009

A Pooh Bear Sequel


Photo from NPR

A sequel to the Winnie the Pooh books, Return to the Hundred Acre Woods, is coming out. I am totally excited!!!

Listen to the report on NPR.

September 29, 2009

Update on ways to help

My wonderful friends set up a few ways that people can help Jewelyn's family.

A P.O. box (thanks Kim!) was set up to accept formula checks (any brand, even checks that are expired!), diaper coupons, or gift cards -- basically anything that can fit in an envelope. Anything not used will be donated to The Liz Logelin Foundation. Send to:

The Jewelyn Okamoto Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 235971
Encinitas, CA 92023-5971



A memorial fund was set up at Arrowhead Credit Union (thanks, Angelina!), and checks can be made out to The Jewelyn Okamoto Memorial Fund. They can be mailed to:

The Jewelyn Okamoto Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 235971
Encinitas, CA 92023-5971


For those who want to send packages larger than an envelope or shipments from UPS, Fed Ex, etc., please send to:

Brandi Futrell
c/o The Jewelyn Okamoto Memorial Fund
14928 S. Maple Avenue
Gardena, CA 90248


There is also the option to contribute via PayPal, that email address is 4jewelyn@gmail.com.


It is absolutely amazing the out pour of support that we have received for Jewelyn's family from all over the world. Thank you to everyone who has helped to get the word out and thank you for your support.

A call for help

If you follow my other blog, you know that my friend, Jewelyn, passed away on Sunday, September 27th due to an amniotic fluid embolism, just hours after giving birth to her first child, Gabrielle.

Gabrielle is doing well and will be released from the NICU this week. Jewelyn's husband, Philip, is going to need all the help he can get over the coming months and years.

A PO Box has been set up to receive formula checks and diaper coupons. Any and all brands will be accepted, and whatever Philip doesn't use will be donated to the Liz Logelin Foundation.

Formula checks and diaper coupons can be sent to:

Jewelyn Okamoto Memorial Fund
PO Box 235971
Encinitas, CA 92023-5971

September 9, 2009

Hello again!

Wow, it has been some time since I have posted on this blog. I had a baby and life has changed. I worried about losing myself and be so absorbed into motherhood that the other parts of me would be lost. I think that for the first few months while Baby Bear was a newborn it was. Baby Bear needed me so much that I had to be absorbed into motherhood, if I hadn't allowed myself that I would not have been the best mama bear I could possibly be. Is it selfish that I also want to be more than a mother and also be who I have always been? I don't think so and I hope that is not the case.

I love being a mother, it is absolutely amazing. Baby Bear is absolutely amazing and you see more about her on her blog. I have about a month left until I return to work and it is time to focus a fraction of my attention on me. A happy mama = a happy baby.

The one thing I have really wanted to get back into is working out. I have been taking Baby Bear for walks/jogs and going to mommy and Me yoga. But I am not able to workout like I was pre-pregnancy or even to the extent that I did during pregnancy. It is hard to find the time to get back to the gym with a baby who is so dependent on you. So I decided I needed to figure something out.

Today, I started the 30 Day Shred. I've heard so much about it and wanted to try it out before I got pregnant. I started with level 1 and that kicked my butt. I realize that it has been some time since I have done a real workout and I had a baby 3 months ago, but boy am I out of shape. I have a month before I go back to work and who knows what my time will be like once I add work back into the mix. So I figured I better get my butt in gear and make the commitment. I feel great! I love working out and feeling the burn. I missed that so much!!

I do still have baby weight to lose, but I am more concerned about toning back up and getting back to being fit. My goal is not to lose weight as much since I am still breastfeeding, but to get back to my pre-pregnancy fitness level.

May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day


How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!
~Maya Angelou


May 20, 2009

Prenatal Yoga

(also posted on Adventures with Baby Bear)

I while back I participated in a yoga video, see blog entry here. Well, I have loved yoga. Yoga practice was a big part of who I was and what I did before I got pregnant. I have been practicing yoga for over 5 years and I continued to practice yoga throughout my pregnancy. Yoga has been wonderful for me. I never took any formal prenatal yoga class, rather I continued to take my yoga class with my favorite yoga instructor, Monica Matthews. I modified my poses to accommodate my growing baby bump.

Yoga is amazing and helped me to feel amazing throughout my pregnancy. It helped with all the aches and pains that accompany pregnancy. It was especially wonderful for back pains and tight hips. The yoga poses helped to keep me strong and flexible; yoga helps you to build awareness of your body and to relax. It has just been absolutely great for me.

Monica asked to take come pictures on me in poses to put on her website. I was absolutely flattered. I was also honored to be in her yoga video which is an awesome yoga video, Yoga - Wherever You Are, for all levels (of course I am a little biased). Here are some of the photos that she took:






May 17, 2009

Just felt a little earthquake!!

Did you feel it? It didn't seem real big. But we definitely felt it. Not big but not fun!! We definitely felt it about 45 miles away.

This is what I found on Kcal9.com and here (Thanks Wee):

5.0 earthquake in Los Angeles at about 8:39pm.

EDIT: there was an aftershock of 3.1 at 8:45pm

May 11, 2009

Procrastination: 2 years later

It has taken me two years to finally get my wedding dress cleaned. As I have been nesting and getting our home ready for baby bear, I realized that my wedding dress (still in a garment bag) was in the corner of the room waiting to be cleaned. I am not usually a procrastinator, I am usually a planner who gets things done right away. But when it came to getting my wedding dress cleaned I just never got around to it. Well, it is finally off to get cleaned and boxed up. It is definitely time. I loved that dress and although I don't expect Baby Bear to ever wear the dress, I do want to keep it for me.

One of my favorite pictures of my dress:

May 10, 2009

May 6, 2009

Our Anniversary update

We had a very nice low key anniversary. It was just perfect since we were together. Mr. Bear got me a dozen red roses that were absolutely beautiful and we went to yummy dinner at PF Changs. The food was good and the company was even better. It is hard to believe that not only have we been married for 712 days (Mr. Bear calculated the days), but we met 9 years ago to the day. Mr. Bear said it was a good 9 years and I agree.

At the end of dinner we got our fortune cookies and strangely enough my fortune cookie had two fortunes in it!! It had one for Baby Bear. What are the chance of that? That was pretty cool. It was nice to have Baby Bear with us to celebrate our special day!!

May 5, 2009

2 years!!



Today we celebrate our 2 year wedding anniversary!! I can't believe how quickly time has gone. I can't believe that in about a month we will add to our family a beautiful little Baby Bear.

We are pretty simple and low key people. With all that is going on, we are just going to have a nice low key anniversary. What matters most is that we are together. Each day is a special important day knowing that he is in my life. I cherish and celebrate every day we have with each other. I am so happy to be Mrs. Bear and I am so thankful to have such a wonderful man in my life who is loving, kind, and caring. I know that he loves me and that I am important to him.

We enter this new journey in our family as parents together. I know that Mr. Bear will be a great father. I see the love and kindness in his eyes. I see the apprehension and worry as well, but I think that all comes with the territory because I feet it too. I know that this will be something that we will do together. We both want to do what is best for our little girl and we both want to provide a loving home for our family. I love who we are together today and I love what we are going to become as a family in the days to come.

Mr. Bear is the best husband and everything I can ever hope for in a husband and life partner. I love him with all my heart and I look forward to many years to come. I am glad that I have him to share in this journey of life together.

May 1, 2009

Neglect

I realize that I have been very neglectful of this blog. Impending motherhood has been all consuming of my mind and body. When I am not working, I am thinking about Baby Bear's arrival and preparing as much as I can. I never knew that the idea of becoming a mother takes over you so completely. But, it does so in a good way.

I always thought that I would be able to retain a part of me that would be independent of motherhood. I still believe that I will (who knows I may be naive in thinking this), but I think it will take some time and at this particular time the changes in my body and hormones have taken over so completely that my needs are not so important as the needs of the new life that is inside of me. It is an amazing experience and feeling.

Many people say that motherhood changes you and I am sure that it will, but I also hope at the same time that I still able to retain who I am. I look forward to the challenges and rewards of motherhood, but I hope it will enhance who I am rather than totally change my entire being, if that makes any sense. I guess time will tell.

I have many thoughts and feelings with the idea of motherhood. Apprehension and excitement is all around this entire experience. Will I be a good mother? Will I continue to be a good wife? Will I continue to be me? So many questions run through my head. In the end this new life will enter the world and it is up to Mr. Bear and I to guide her through life. we are up for the challenge and we are so excited for this little one to enter our lives. But at the same time I am a little nervous about it all. Will there ever come a time where I do not obsess about motherhood and my abilities to be a good mother? Or is this a part of this new phase of my life and a part of who I have become? Hmmm, I wonder.

April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day 2009



What have been doing to be green?
  • I use reusable shopping bags whenever I go to the grocery store or Target. I do need to get better at bringing a reusable bag when I do other shopping, so that is my next goal.
  • We recycle.
  • I use natural cleaning products, pretty much vinegar is a cleaning staple in our household. I stop using dryer sheets and instead use vinegar in my rinse cycle and use the dryer balls in the dryer. I will definitely continue to do this for all of Baby Bear's clothes. It is better for us and better for the environment.
  • I receive paperless statements and all my banking and payments are done online.
  • I always reuse the back side of scratch paper. My work printer has scratch paper in it so I do my best not to waste paper when I do have to print things out.

I know it is not a whole lot considering that I do drive an SUV, but I don't drive much or very far to work. I was riding my bike to work a few days a week before I got pregnant, but at 33 weeks pregnant that is just not going to be very practical. I would like to get back to that again but we will have to see how Baby Bear will change things.


I know there is so much more that I can be doing and I will keep working on it. I do try to be cognizant and chose to be more earth and green friendly when I make choices on a daily business. But I do have to admit that I am not always good about it.

April 14, 2009

I love my cat

Chase Monster is just the best cat ever!! He may not be the most affectionate cat in the world but he definitely loves me. I truly believe that animals can sense when you are pregnant. Lately, he has been by my side a lot more. He knows that something is up and that I am moving quite differently than normal. Well, basically I am waddling.



Here he is looking outside and watching the birds. He can easily push the screen door open and make a run for freedom. But he would never leave the comforts of home and his mama bear. He just loves me too much.



Here you can see his bigness in proportion to the door.

He has never ever even made an attempt to go out, but I often wonder what he is thinking about as he looks out. Out there there is no bed for him to sleep on and no one to feed him when he meows. He must know how good he has it. He is the king of the house and so so spoiled (Baby Bear may disrupt that a bit).

Chase Monster could never be an outdoor kitty, he just doesn't have the street smarts, nor would he be able to run and jump fences as other skinny kitties would. He is big boned and not much of a runner.

March 31, 2009

Who will I become?

This blog has not been receiving the love it deserves from me. I have been all consumed by pregnancy and upcoming motherhood, that I have been neglectful of this blog. I guess that it is true that motherhood begins to alter you when you become pregnant. But I always hoped that I would continue to define myself by my many roles; psychologist, wife, friend, woman, and mother. Lately, it has all been about being mother-to-be.

I guess this all makes sense since this new journey is uncharted territory for me. I have the excitement and anxiety that comes when you take on a new role. Yet, this role is different from any other role I have taken. With this role comes the responsibility of a new life and guiding this at first helpless being into a productive individual. I am looking forward to figuring this all out and the challenge of it all, but a part of me worries that I will lose a part of myself along the way. Right now when people look at me all they see is an obviously pregnant woman. I am constantly asked how I am feeling and how far along I am. While the attention is nice and I should enjoy it while it lasts (I only have about 10 weeks left to go), I wonder if a part of me is lost or if a part of me is altered. I know I am forever changed and this is a great change that I have been looking forward to for a long time. But as with every change you experience there is some apprehension and anxiety about where it will take you.

I like who I am and who I was, will I like who I become? Can I continue to be the person I was after this life changing event? So many questions run through me head.

March 30, 2009

Today's forecast

From accuweather.com

Currently At 5:42AM
Cloudy
51°F
Cloudy

Then why is it raining outside??

The forecast says:

Monday, Mar 30
High: 71 °F RealFeel®: 76 °F
Sunshine




It is almost 6 in the morning and it is definitely raining out there. Not a little morning drizzle or dew. I was looking forward to a beautiful sunny day. Maybe it will clear up. I hope so.

March 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Mr. Bear!!

Today is his birthday!! Mr. Bear is the best and most wonderful husband. We don't do anything big for our birthdays, but I did make him a yummy pot roast dinner. He seems content with a homemade dinner. I was going make him some red velvet cupcakes, but that would entail making an entire batch of 24 cupcakes. It is kind of hard to make just a few. So he said not to make any. His mom had gotten him some Lindt Lindor Truffles as part of his gift. Those are some yummy truffles!

Mr. Bear, I hope you had a great Birthday!! I LOVE YOU!

March 20, 2009

Best Yoga Instructor

video

My yoga instructor sent me this video. Gotta love it!! In fact, in yoga this morning she incorporated some of these poses :) I love yoga!

Spring is here!

Happy Spring!! It is a perfect day in Southern California. Sunny and warm (but not too warm). What a great first day of spring. I enjoy what spring has to bring, beautiful flowers in so many beautiful shades and sunny days. I've always enjoyed the coming of spring because the weather usually gets warmer and because of daylight savings time, the days are longer. Enjoy the spring season.

March 16, 2009

I raced!

(Blog entry from Sher's Corner)

I did it, I Raced for the Cure yesterday. Thank you to all that helped to support this organization. I raised a total of $905! I never raised that much money for anything. I am really proud of myself for doing so. Baby Bear and I completed the 5K in a little over 52 minutes. Not too bad for being 28 weeks pregnant. We jog a small part of it but mostly walked since the extra weight I have gained makes my feet hurt when I run (it is a sad thing about being pregnant). I am pretty happy that I did this! I was excited to see others jogging with jogging strollers and their babies. Next year, that will be me!!

It was a great event and had a wonderful turn out. I have participated in the Race for the Cure for several years now and I was glad that I was still able to participate and not let being pregnant make me miss out on this. It has been important for me to do this in memory of my sister-in-law.

(I did take a picture but I look so awful in it there is no way I am posting it. Mr. Bear agreed that it wasn't the best picture of me. Oh well next year!)

March 9, 2009

Cheez-Its: My all time favorite snack

I had forgotten how much I love Cheez-Its. I saw it on sale at the store the other day and picked up a box and it is almost gone. As a kid, I absolutely loved Cheez-Its, I still do. My favorite is to have Cheez-Its with cream cheese. Mmmm.

I know that Cheez-Its are not the healthiest choice, but there is something comforting about Cheez-Its to me. I know that is really strange but it is true. I don't buy them often simply because I know they are my weakness. I can't seem to eat them in moderation. I fail in that respect. I am eating them as I type and I am not even hungry. They sure do taste good.

Chase Monster loves them too! He always seems to know when I am snacking on them, he is immediately by my side. I always give him a couple of crackers. I know probably not a good idea for my monster of a cat, but it is not everyday that I buy Cheez-Its.

March 7, 2009

Another birthday tech toy

I know it is a week past my birthday, but I got some birthday money from my parents and a phone upgrade credit just waiting to be used. So I got a new phone for my birthday. I have been wanting a smartphone that would sync with my email accounts.

It has been really busy at work (being pregnant and working 2 jobs probably doesn't help matters), so I have also been heavily relying on my Outlook calendar to keep me organized with my meetings and commitments that having two offices entails. I thought a smartphone would at least help me to manage my email influx when I was between offices. Since I will become a working mother, I know that being organized is a pretty important thing when managing work and family. I felt that this little piece of technology might help to make things a little easier. When Baby Bear comes I will need all the help I can get.

So I did my research, as I always do. I didn't have a lot of options since I did want to stick with my existing wireless provides, so that I could take advantage of my upgrade credit. My family uses Verizon wireless, so that left me with only a few choices. I kind of wanted an iPhone, but Verizon does not offer that phone. So I turned my research to Verizon phones.

It was very important that the smartphone I chose sync up with my Outlook at work. First, I considered the Blackberry Storm, which is Blackberry's version of the iPhone. It did look very cool and felt nice. But I had read some reviews about bugs in the system and I knew it would take a little more work for me to figure out how to configure it with my Outlook at work (according to our work website, they do not support Blackberries. It can be done but my IT dept. won't be able to really help me). Not a good sign for the Storm.

So I looked at the Samsung Omnia i910. Also a touch screen phone and very comparable to the Blackberry Storm and the iPhone. I looked at reviews online and there were many favorable reviews, both by users and professional reviewers. Some touted the Omnia to be better than the Storm and the iPhone. Definitely, a worthy competitor to the iPhone. It operates on Windows Mobile, which allows it to work very well with Outlook. That was definitely a plus for me. Plus, Verizon was offering a rebate for the purchase of an Omnia.

So I went to a Verizon store to take a look at the Samsung Omnia i910 in person. I liked the feel of it and the way it worked in the store. The rebate coupled with the upgrade credit helped to make it very inexpensive in comparison to other phones, so it seemed like the way to go. I've only had it for a day so we will so how it holds up. So far I am pleased with my choice.

March 3, 2009

My B-day gift: Aiptek 720p HD camcorder

For a little while, Mr. Bear and I had been talking about getting a small little video camera for when the baby arrives. I had been talking with my friend who has extensive knowledge about these things (he has worked for Warner Bros, Disney, and Dreamworks) and he recommended an Aiptek High Definition camcorder.

He has an older model and uses this more than his professional grade equipment since it is so portable. I had played around with his in the past and it was so easy to use. I really love how small it is. I have heard so much about the Flip Video and was looking into those as well. But the Aiptek not only has 1 GB of memory storage, but also takes a SD flash card as well for more memory. Whereas the Flip only has the built-in memory, so you would have to download videos right away in order to take other videos after you use your memory up. I like that I can stick the SD Flash card in my card reader and not have the need to install any other program like you would for the Flip. The Aiptek also takes still photos (up to 8 megapixels), not really a necessary feature for me but the Flip does not take still photos so that is an added bonus for the Aiptek. The Flip has some great reviews but I really liked the versatility of the Aiptek, plus the recommendation from someone I trust who really knows his video equipment helped.

For my birthday, Mr. Bear went out and got me one!! He got me the Aiptek 720P. It is a high definition camcorder that fits in your hand. Best of all, it doesn't break the bank. It also takes still 8 megapixel photos as well as video and has a digital zoom (not the greatest, but fine for me and our purposes).

So far I love it. It will definitely come in handy for when Baby Bear arrives. I can stick it in my diaper bag and capture those first moments. Plus, it also has a decent camera so I won't miss those "Kodak" moments as well and I won't have to carry around a camera and a camcorder. In my first few uses, it has been really easy to use. I have yet to download the videos to my computer, but then again I haven't really captured anything substantial quite yet. Mostly, just random things in testing it out. I am quite pleased and looking forward to capturing some great family moments. I can't wait to capture some great Baby Bear moments with this new little toy. Thank you Mr. Bear, you are awesome and so thoughtful!!

February 28, 2009

February 24, 2009

I will race!

Once again, I'm participating in the Susan G. Komen LA Race for the Cure. This national nonprofit with chapters all over the U.S. work towards educating and providing funds for breast cancer research.

Yes, I realize that I will be 28 weeks pregnant during this event, but I assure you that I can do this (I have been exercising and jogging with my doctors okay, 3-4 days a week throughout my entire pregnancy). I have participated in this 5K for the past 5 years. As I did last year, I run/walk (maybe more of a waddle) in memory of my sister-in-law, Tricia Borba Vasquez, who was taken from us by this awful cancer.

As part of the event, I've created my own Personal Donation Page and since my birthday is coming up soon, what a great birthday gift!! Your support would be the best gift you could ever give me and this is for an important cause.

Did you know?
  • Ten to fifteen percent of breast cancers are not detected by mammography?
  • Men are also at risk for developing breast cancer?
  • Having no children or a first child after age 30 are among some of the risks?

February 23, 2009

I knew Octo-mom

I was looking in Star Magazine (I know not the most intellectual magazine out there but it is one of my guilty pleasures) and it showed pictures of the Octo-mom from when she was in Jr. high school. She went to my Jr. high school and high school for a little while. I knew her!! She went by a different name then for some reason, but I definitely remembered her. I did not know her well, but she was in my class and I do remember her being a little different and quiet. I believe that she was in the band and that she played the flute, but I might be wrong about that. It was over 20 year ago.

From our 7th grade yearbook:



From freshman high school yearbook:



What a small world. I definitely have opinions about her actions and I really feel for her children. I think that she was very selfish in the decision she made to have additional children, when she could barely take care of the 6 children she already had. It is one thing to have children when you do not have the financial means for whatever reason. But it is another thing to get artificially inseminated (with 8 embryos no less!) when you are barely able to fully support the children you already have.

I just think of these children and the kind of life that they are going to have. These children had no choice in the matter and their lives will not be easy, at least not at this time. I think of all the women who want to desperately have 1 child and for whatever reason are unable to do so. I think how irresponsible this doctor was to do this. I don't know the whole story or what her thought process was like and I haven't followed this story to much. But, it just seems that she wasn't really thinking of her older children or the babies that she had, she was more interested in what she wanted and herself. It just seems like a sad situation.

Free pancakes at IHOP!



National Pancake Day at IHOP is tomorrow! Go to your local IHOP between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. for a FREE short stack (three pancakes). All they ask is that you make a donation to the Children's Miracle Network, a great cause!!

February 19, 2009

February 15, 2009

After the storm



I always love the day after a good rain. The skies are clear and in the mountains are dusted with snow. It is absolutely beautiful after a storm. Mother nature is just amazing.

February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

I am not big on Valentine's Day. It is more of a Hallmark holiday than anything else.

We are celebrating our Valentine's Day buy spending it with some good friends and yummy food. We are having a Valentine's Gourmet Club tonight with wine and appetizers. I will post pictures soon on my food blog, Rumbly Tumbly Treats. I am trying a new recipe so we will see how it turns out.

February 11, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Mama Bear

Today is my mommy's birthday!! She is so beautiful and you would never guess that she is about to become a grandma!

I know she never gets to read my blog, since she doesn't have the internet and is not really into technology. Nevertheless, it is a special day and she should be acknowledged!!

Love you Mommy!!!

February 10, 2009

Brrr...

It's cold. It is in the 50's today in Southern California. Brr, that is very cold!!! I just do not like the cold at all. Just last week, the weather was absolutely beautiful and it was around 70 degrees. While I realize that 50 degrees is not very cold in the grand scheme of things, it is very cold for this So. Cal. girl. I am such a wimp when it comes to cold.

I love warm, sunny days. That is one of the main reasons, I will most likely always be a So. Cal. girl. I am not generally one to complain about 100 degree weather, but I will complain when it goes below 60 degrees. I hope it warms up soon, even though I know our forecast calls for rain later this week. Boo! I can't wait for spring!

February 2, 2009

Wow, Life has been busy...

Well, actually there really isn't anything too interesting going on in my life except for work and family. But work has been keeping me very busy. The next few months are going to be pretty crazy at work and I am just trying to keep up with all. As you might remember, I started a new position in November and working in two departments through the end of June (well, actually until I go on maternity leave). It is a lot of work working two positions that should really be 2 full-time positions (Right now I am splitting my time between the two so it is supposed to be two half-time positions). I am surviving, just barely.

What is most difficult, is that I want to excel in both positions. Since I will be leaving my old position at the end of the fiscal year, I want to leave on a positive note. Especially, since I will still continue to interact and collaborate with this boss on campus. My boss has been so supportive of me and I want to continue to provide her with quality work during this transition time.

With my new position, I still feel like I have to prove myself. Sometimes, I feel like I have to prove myself a little more in my newer position simply because I am pregnant and informed them of my pregnancy just after starting this new position. I realize that they should not look at my performance differently, but I worry that I am scrutinized a little differently. My newer boss is a man and I have never had a male boss until now. He is also a father; he is very supportive of me and he is a family-friendly boss. Yet, never having a male boss, I worry that I must work a little harder to show him that he did not make a bad decision in hiring me.

I also don't want to appear like I am slacking off on either job because I will be going on maternity leave and I want my newer boss to feel confident that I will return (because I will). So trying to balance these two positions is a challenge and taking up a lot of my time. Then add a personal life and family to all that and that is enough to keep anyone busy. I do count myself very fortunate that in this time of economic crisis that I have a job and it is a job(s) that I enjoy. I am not complaining, I am just a little tired. I guess the pregnancy may also contribute to that exhaustion a little.

January 26, 2009

Happy New Year!



Happy Chinese New Year to all!! It is the Year of the Ox. The Ox is the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. I think that is very fitting with the current times. Wishing you all the best.

January 24, 2009

Happy Blogiversary to Sher's Corner!!

Wow, it is hard to believe that one year ago I started this blog. I have really enjoyed being a "blogger." I have enjoyed it so much that I began 2 other blogs. My food blog, Rumbly Tumbly Treats, was simply a way for me to organized new (and old) recipes that I have the chance to try and to share my gourmet club fun. My baby blog, Adventures with Baby Bear, is newer and was started for obvious reasons. I wanted a place to talk about this new journey in my life but was not yet ready to share with others, so the baby blog was kept private until Mr. Bear and I were ready to go public. The baby blog will focus on my journey into motherhood and my adventures with Baby Bear.

So my other two blogs have very specific purposes. What is the purpose of Sher's Corner? I began this blog as a thoughtful spot to write about silly stuff and fluff. Issues that I thought were important and things that were just nonsense. It continues to be my thoughtful spot. And as I delve into my new role as mother in about 4-5 months, I realize that this thoughtful spot will become even more important to me. I believe that life is about balance; it is about balanced health and well-being. I continually strive to find balance in my life. I will become a mother but I also continue to be an individual, a wife, an employee, a friend, a daughter, a woman, etc. Although I look forward to my new role as a mother, I realize that with this new role lies a new challenge of finding balance to allow myself to continue to be everything that I am including "mom." So the purpose of this blog remains the same: To be a thoughtful spot. I have enjoyed sharing my silly stuff and fluff over the last year and I look forward to sharing new silly stuff and fluff in the year to come.

January 23, 2009

Hannah you will be missed

Last night, Mr. Bear's step-dad and mom had to put their beloved dog, Hannah, to sleep. She was 14 years old and was really doing very badly. It was a very sad day.

Hannah was a great pup; she was smart and friendly. I'll always remember her great love of beef jerky and her tail that could knock you over. She never barked and always greeted me when ever I came to visit. She was an awesome dog and awesome companion to my in-laws. She was a big part of our family. We all loved her.

I wish that I had a picture to share here so that I could share her sweet eyes.

Hannah will be missed!!!!

January 21, 2009

A Daughter's Approval

Gotta love this moment. It just makes you feel good to have a little girl's approval at such an important event.



Obama's daughters are just so cute.

January 20, 2009

President Obama



I wish our new president all the best. I truly hope that he will bring upon positive change.

I can only imagine that being the president of the United States of America is no easy task, especially with the state of our current economy. I believe that he will bring upon positive change to our nation and will help it rise out of the crisis that we are experiencing. It will not be easy, but I don't think that anyone runs for president thinking that it will be an easy job.

January 19, 2009

All men and women are made equal

Today, we celebrate and remember Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. He led the way to a nonviolent civil rights movement. As a woman of color, I am thankful for the path he laid for me years before I was even conceived. It is because of him, that I am able to do anything that I put my mind to.

What a wonderful time to be celebrating this wonderful man. Tomorrow is the inauguration of our first Black president. An amazing and historic event. We have definitely come a long way. While I do believe that we have come a long way, I also believe that there is still more to be done. It is unfortunate but discrimination still exists. However, knowing that a man like MLK could make a difference I know that there is hope and there will be change to come. Many people are not apt to change, but change is inevitable it is up to people to make sure that the change that comes is a change in the positive direction.

I have experienced challenges and discrimination being an Asian-American woman. I am pretty fortunate that I have had many opportunities. Sometimes it appears that I am oblivious to the discrimination that I face (I have had friends who have been offended by other's actions toward me that have been discriminatory). It is not that I am oblivious; it is that I usually ignore and brush it off to ignorance. That is my way.

January 14, 2009

Resolution Observations: Part II

Today I heard about this:



Well, I am not sure if this is the best way to reward your workout routine and fitness resolutions, it kind of defeats the purpose. On the other hand, this pregnant woman wants some ice cream!!!!

I had wrote last week about resolution observations and the crowds at the gym. Although I was not thrilled with the crowds, I was happy that people were making it a point to be fit and I hoped that people stuck with it. Well, it seems that attendance at the gym has gotten back to normal. The New Year's resolution crowd has already dissipated. That is actually kind of sad.

Is it really possible that people's fitness resolutions only lasted a week? I hope not. I am hoping that due to the economy that people may not be going to the gym but are trying to keep up their fitness resolutions by working out at home or outdoors. The weather in Southern California has been really nice (in the 80's all week), so it is possible people are simply taking advantage of the nice weather we are blessed with in So Cal and keeping up with their fitness resolutions by taking their workouts outdoors. I did so yesterday so I hope others are too. Don't give up on your fitness goals!!

January 11, 2009

A compliment from Mr. Bear

The other morning, Mr. Bear woke up early and was getting ready before me. I was still in bed and just starting to work up. He looked at me with a smile. He said, "you're lucky you look good even when you wake up in the morning."

I think that is one of the nicest things Mr. Bear has ever said to me. It was very sweet and just came out of no where. Just one of the many reasons that I love Mr. Bear.

January 8, 2009

Everyone makes New Year's Resolutions

Resolutions is just a fancy word for goals. I don't have any New Year's resolutions, mainly because I set goals for myself every so often and continue on with the goals that I have made. The beginning of the year is a great time to assess the goals I have made and see where I am at meeting those goals. My goals generally focus on fitness and finances.

Fitness

Last year, I did very well at meeting the fitness goals I set out. I ran a 5K and a 10K and participated in a relay triathlon. I had set some goals to complete after the triathlon; I wanted to participated in another triathlon in April, the Mud Run in June, and possibly a duathlon. But after discovering that I was pregnant, I had to reassess those goals and made maintaining a fitness level that was healthy for pregnancy my goal. After consulting with my OB/GYN, I have found that I am able to do quite and bit of exercise and after getting the green light to start running again, I am planning on participate in the Race for the Cure 5K in March. I participated last year and ran in memory of my sister-in-law. I have participated in this 5K the last few years and I plan to do so again this year (I just might not be able to run the whole distance, but I am going to give it a shot). After I meet that goal, I will assess my pregnancy and how I am doing and hopefully I will be able to set a new goal.

Finances

After reflecting back on my previous finance goals, I don't see any reasons to change anything at this time. I am keeping to my budget and last year I was able to cut in some areas to save more money. I am also continuing to pay down the one credit card I have left. I will continue on my goal to pay down that credit card (I am very close) so that I will be credit card debt free. My goal is to be there by the time Baby Bear is born. I have about 6 months to go and I am on track to meeting my goal. It is not a resolution or a new goal, just simply a continuation of my current goal.

So no real New Year's resolutions for me, just a plan to continue to meet the goals I had set out for myself and have been working on already. Once I meet my current goals, I will reassess and set out some new goals. All in all, I am pretty happy with the path I have been taking and hope that I can continue to forge ahead.

January 7, 2009

Recycle/Donate old greeting cards

Now that the holidays have past, you are probably wondering what to do with all your holiday cards. You could just throw them in the the trash or put them in the recycle bin. But I have a better solution: Donate them.

St. Jude’s Ranch for Children has a Recycled Card Program. The children make new recycled cards by removing the front and attaching a new back made with recycled paper. The new card is a beautiful, “green” card made by the children and volunteers. The benefits are two-fold: customers receive "green" holiday cards for use and the children receive payment for their work and learn the benefits and importance of "going green".

From November 15, 2008 thru February 28, 2009, you can donate your used, all-occasion greeting cards to St Jude's Ranch for Children. Just mail your donation to:

St. Jude's Ranch for Children
Card Recycling Program
100 St. Jude's Street
Boulder City, NV 89005

There is also information on their website about how to purchase the cards that the children make. It is a great way to be green and to help children, a win-win for everyone!!

January 6, 2009

Resolution observations

It is a new year and it is the time when people make resolutions. What I've found is most people make resolutions around the themes of money and finances or health and fitness. It is harder to observe people's resolutions about money and finances. But I go to the gym regularly and every January I always see a surge of people joining the gym and making their first steps toward their health and fitness resolutions. Attendance always seems to taper down by February.

Although I am glad that people are making decision to be more fit and healthy, it is a little annoying to have to wrestle with parking and crowded gyms during the month of January. I haven't changed my workout schedule (even when I found out I was pregnant I still continued to workout on the same schedule, although modified intensity), yet the presence at the gym has changed. Now I have to alter my schedule slightly to get there a little earlier for the classes I take or to get a machine.

I do truly hope that people will make true changes and make health and fitness a priority. If people can keep it up for a month and make it part of their regular schedule it has a good chance of becoming a habit and they will be able to realize the benefits. It is hard at first to get started so good for the newbies at the gym for making an effort. Keep it up!!

It is important to remember that health and fitness is a life long commitment, going to the gym for a week out of the year is not going to cut it. (And you don't need to belong to a gym to exercise.) It is not easy but it is the best thing that you can do for yourself.

Some tips to start a fitness routine:
  • Start of with one, measurable goal. It should be something that you can track and that can be easy to meet. Once you meet that goal, make another goal, and continue to build upon each goal. You will feel more successful if you are able to track your goal and meet them using baby steps. And with baby steps you are more likely to stick with a fitness routine.
  • Start slowly. Gradually challenge and build up your stamina and strength over time. If you've never ran before, don't think you can just start running a marathon right away. You may need to start off by walking 10-15 minutes at first and then increase the time and combine walking and running before you can run the distance.
  • Schedule your workouts. Schedule your time for working out like you would schedule a meeting or appointment. Put it in your calendar and treat it like any other appointment or meeting.
  • Drink plenty of water. Be sure to hydrate yourself.
  • Don't forget to strength train. Many people just do cardio workouts and don't realize how important strength training is to losing weight and being fit. Strength training builds muscle which helps to burn calories. It is a balance of cardio and strength training that will help you to get fit and get to your goals.
Good luck and be well!

January 5, 2009

Gotta love my Mother-in-law!

I was sick last week and she came by and brought me some fresh squeezed orange juice. Not only was it fresh squeezed, but the oranges were picked from her orange orchard. How awesome is that? She is awesome. I am so fortunate to have her in my life!!

Sadly, Mr. Bear was sick the week before and he didn't get that attention from her, it probably helps that I am carrying her grandbaby (and I am limited in the medicated relief that I can take).