Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Daytrip to Brasil from Brooklyn

Greyson usando um presentinho do Tia Renata e Tio Ângelo

Greyson and I went to Brasil for a day.  Well, we went to a Brasilian grocery store in Queens, which is about an hour away door-to-door by subway from Park Slope.  I've heard there are bigger and better Brasilian grocery stores in Newark, New Jersey, but that's too far away from us for a grocery trip since we don't have a car.

I love that in New York, you're just a train ride away from another country.  When Greyson is older, I think it will be so fun to make a day out of visiting ethnic neighborhoods, eating the foods, meeting people and discovering things about those cultures.

So, the motivation to trek out to Queens came to me after emailing my Brasilian mãe last week.  I remembered her delicious pão de queijo (cheese bread), which she made for me when I visited her family in Belo Horizonte in 2008.  When I got married in 2009, she sent me her recipe painted on a plate.  So cute and creative, right?  Well, I never made the bread!  I got all the ingredients back then, but I ate all the Brasilian cheese before I had a chance to make the dish!

Click to continue reading about our field trip.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Gracias, Mami!

The counter guy at the corner deli said, "Gracias, mami" to me this morning and I was hooked on trying to speak a little Spanish, a language I've never learned.

I have been totally inspired by Benny the Irish Polyglot who reminded me that no one ever feels "ready" to speak a language, but that you just have to do it!  Korean was my first language and I have been learning Portuguese for six years.  Yet...I NEVER speak the languages.  I live in New York.  Hello!  I go into Korean delis all the time.  The drycleaners are Korean!  I hear Portuguese all around me.  I love languages and I live in New York, where foreign languages are all around me. 

A week ago, I decided to speak foreign languages whenever I can.  The first place I tried it with was at El Gran Castillo del Jagua, where Rob and I went to get Cuban sandwiches.  OK, let me say that I have never studied Spanish.  Yes, I've studied Portuguese and there are some similarities, but it's still an entirely different language.  I walked in, said buenos dias and said, quiero uno cubano.  The guy was really nice to me and said some stuff back in Spanish, which was fun.  When we left, I was like, yeah, just trying to speak made that transaction so much more an experience than ordering a sandwich.  And I feel like it'll be good for Greyson to witness stuff like that.  Like, it's ok to try and fun and other languages are not a big deal.

Today, I ordered a bagel at a diner around the corner.  The last time I went in there, I wanted to try Spanish, but I got too shy and didn't.  I beat myself up for that because who cares?  Why is it so hard?  So, today, I said buenos dias!  The guy behind the counter said, Buenos dias, como estás?"  I said, muy bien...e tu?  I don't even know if it's "tu" but I saw Y tu mama tambien and so, "tu"was in my head (later I remembered that tu is "your," not you.).  So, the counter guy said bien and what I guess asked me what I'd like.  I said, "quiero uno bagel con butter. (I was going to say manteiga, which is butter in Portuguese)" He said, ok, mantegaya...tostado?  And I said, si, tostado!  I then, asked, como se habla, I'll be right back (I was going to walk Rob to the subway station a few steps away and come back).  He said whatever it was and I didn't hear him, but I thought, oh, I'll have to look it up later.  Anyway, when I came back, the guy gave me my bagel and I said gracias and he said, gracias mami...bon dia or something.  I left smiling because it was so fun communicating in another language.

Not only was it fun, but now I know how to say butter and I will look up how to say, I'll be right back and remember it.  You don't have to be in school to is all around us!  (OK, I'm a nerd.)

Why Does "Baby Food" Exist?

Greyson eating roasted seaweed for the first time
Before having a baby, I never questioned packaged baby food.  Why would I have?  I mean, babies need "baby food," right?

But now that I have a baby who's been eating solids for almost two months, I sort of don't get those jars of baby food you see at the grocery store.  I'm no super mom, but I make Greyson's food because it's easy, inexpensive and I want to give him lots of variety.  The other day, I looked at the baby food aisle for inspiration.  I was thinking, maybe there'd be some combinations of foods I haven't thought of or some vegetables that Greyson hasn't tried yet.  What I saw made me question why baby food exists.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mission Impossible? Finding A Couple Extra Hours Each Day

In Search of Time!  (Sliced Grandfather Clock designed by Rob)

Soon after Greyson was born, I was like, wow, you really have to get organized when you become a mom.  When I'm not organized, I can't do anything but just get through the day doing the stuff that absolutely needs to be done.  And you feel like a robot when you just go through the day completing chores and tasks.  Who wants to live like that?  Currently, I find 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there to do things for myself, but it's so scattered.  It sucks not to have any long stretches of time just to get into whatever I'm working on these days...or even just to veg out.

Here's one way I could find more time.  I could give up taking Greyson to a class, storytime or play group every day.  I could not ever meet a friend for lunch.  I could also give up reading the newspaper.  I could also give up blogging, which is one of those things people love to say only bored people do.  I could never go on internet research adventures.  I could even give up playing with Greyson as much each day.  But all this stuff's important to me.  What I want to do is keep doing the stuff I'm doing each day, but find more time for other stuff, too.

I try not to ever say that I don't have enough time because I find that if I really want to do something, I find the time.  I guess I don't really want to organize and print 7.5 months of baby pictures then, but it's going to keep bugging me until I do it.  That's the kind of project I definitely can't do on my current schedule.

How I plan to find a couple more hours each day after the jump!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is It Too Early to Teach My Baby Three Languages?

As parents, we all have our "things." One of Rob's thing for Greyson is to be musical and one of my things for Greyson is to be multilingual.  My first language was Korean, then English (at age 4-ish when we moved to the States from Seoul), then I took three years of French in high school and I've been learning Brasilian Portuguese for the past five years.  I love how language opens your ears, opens your mind to other cultures and opens up the world to you.  When you first understand or tell a funny story in another language other than your native tongue, it feels amazing!  It feels like unlocking a world, just using sounds, which are available to all of us!

I spoke Korean exclusively until I was around 4 years old, at which point I was taught English, which is what we spoke at home.  Over the years, I didn't pay much attention to Korean, but I went to Korean schools on weekends on and off for years and my parents sent me to a Korean language program in Seoul after finishing high school, so the language was always there in the background.  My understanding of the language is probably just barely at the advanced intermediate line, but speaking is harder for me.  What I'm glad about, though, is that I have a foundation in the language and a comfort with the language because it's always been around me.  Since I have that, I don't feel intimidated by the language and picking it up.

Here's audio of me talking to and singing to my Dad in Korean and English when I was 5.

And here's me singing to my baby in Korean, Brazilian Portuguese and English!

Aren't I going to confuse my baby with so many languages??  I address that topic after the jump.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Is It Appropriate to Send Out Birth Announcements Eight Months Late?

When your birth announcements are eight months late, do you just skip the announcement and send out a first birthday party invitation instead?  Ha!  I don't know if it's appropriate to send the announcements so late, but we're going to send them regardless.  Greyson will be almost eight months old by the time people get their cards in the mail.

It's funny because Rob and I actually designed and laid out our birth announcement before Greyson was born.  We just had to drop in a picture of Greyson's head.  Here's Rob working on the announcement in the hospital.

We didn't love the picture and it didn't work with the design.  Like, the shadows were weird and his face was bright pink, etc.  We decided to wait.  And wait some more.   Yada yada yada, seven months later, we had a birth announcement designed.

Why even bother with an announcement?  I'll tell you what our thinking was and where we got 50 announcements printed for 99 cents.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Things I've Googled Lately: Was the Chicken Who Laid My Egg Happy?

This week, my mind has been on sleep, nutrition, languages and cooking.  I guess that stuff is on my mind every week, they have prompted many googling adventures lately.  Here are some of the things that I've looked up:
  • Is it the total amount of sleep that matters or amount of nap time plus nighttime sleep? Greyson has been taking some 30-minute naps, which was stressing me out.  I called my pediatrician who said that Greyson was getting the perfect amount of sleep and not to worry about the shorter naps.  Also, I was glad to see this on the sleep site: Always keep in mind that your baby’s total sleep in a day will stay relatively constant, so a baby who sleeps 12 hours (some even more), it will directly impact how much sleep she may or may not need during the day. If her average total sleep is 13 1/2 hours then that means she may split 1 1/2 hours into 2-3 naps, for example. That means if you have a 6 month old who takes three naps, you might be looking at three 30-minute catnaps, if she’s sleeping 12 hours at night.

  • Is tofu bad for you?  I just can't go with this one because my people eat tofu daily and they are really healthy.
Click for the rest of the list.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I Buy Local...When Amazon Wants to Tack on A Shipping Charge

"Ooh, those booties look warm," I exclaimed.  The woman sitting next to me at story time had her baby in some fleecy booties.  "They're made by Zutano, they're super warm and they stay on her feet," she said.

It's easy to slip the feet in because the mouth of the booties are huuuge!

I googled Zutano fleece bootie when I got home and the first search result was Amazon's product page.  Cool, the booties are eligible for free shipping if I buy something else that makes the total atleast $25.  I found a roasting rack, something that's been on my list, and added it to the cart.  When I went to check out, it said I owed $6.95 in shipping charges.  Wait, what, why?  Turns out the booties weren't free shipping.  The page that led me to the product page said free shipping, but when you actually got to that page, it wasn't free.  Well, I didn't want to pay $19.95 + $6.95 just for some little booties.  And I couldn't find them anywhere else online without a big shipping charge.

Local vs. Amazon after the jump!

Friday, February 3, 2012

That's It. I'm Taking Off My Maternity Leggings

None of these pants have a stretchy panel!  Whoo for real pants!
Since a month after my now 7-month old son Greyson was born, I have been saying that I need to stop wearing maternity stuff.  Wearing maternity clothes keeps my mind and body in maternity mode.  In maternity world, I eat cake once a week.  In maternity world, I used my belly as a plate holder.

I knew I had to get rid of the leggings with the stretchy belly panels, even though they were still comfortable on me.

But not until about three weeks ago, did I take action.  One morning I woke up and it just hit me.  This has got to stop!  I have to get real clothes!  I can't keep dressing like (and feeling like) a pregnant lady.  I had promised my husband that I wouldn't become a Park Slope mom, whatever that means.  My husband supported my mission by giving me his credit card.  I didn't say no to that!

Here's me discussing why maternity leggings on a non-pregnant lady is plain wrong:

How I happily spent $650 on clothes after pretty much two years of minimal clothes shopping after the jump.  With pictures of the loot.