Obligatory Thankful Post

It’s that time of year where we all mull over how thankful we are, ya? I haven’t done this yet, but today is as good a day as any. I shall put it in list form, since I know so many people are so fond of lists. I’m looking at you, Gynji…..

1. My Fiance/Boyfriend/Best Friend/Soulmate: First off, I am so thankful to have found the absolute love of my life. Not only are we completely meant to be together, (seriously, ask anyone who knows us) there are so many paths we could have taken where we would’ve ended up living completely different lives. We have supported each other through good and bad. I do not know anybody who is a better partner, lover, father. Sure, we fight, but I look at it this way: I’m sure you remember that movie, Forest Gump, and that stupid quote, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.” If you get the Russell’s it tells you, with a nice diagram actually. The only way you don’t know is if you accidentally look at it upside down or something… Anyway, I think of it more in terms of, once you’ve eaten all the good chocolate, you have to eat the bad chocolate. You know, like the weird nougaty maple or something ones. He’s my box of chocolate, and I don’t waste chocolate.

2. My Little Man/Son/Baby/Child: It’s still hard to believe we made a human. A functioning, thinking, laughing, completely silly, amazingly smart, human.  From the moment we found out we were pregnant, we were scared shit-less. What the hell are we going to do with a child? We can’t take care of ourselves! We suited ourselves up for our greatest adventure, and here we are. You are an amazing child, who has the whole world ahead of you and I couldn’t ask for anything more. An amazingly textbook pregnancy (ya know, besides the 70 lbs I gained…I like food…) a perfect beginning to our breast feeding relationship, (with amazing support from above mentioned) a perfectly healthy baby. I never thought I would feel so accomplished in life, and I am so thankful for you everyday. I see things differently now, and I cannot wait to experience all the adventure life has to offer with you.

3. My mom: Nothing brings mother and daughter together like having a baby. When we found out we were pregnant, my mother and I had a very rocky relationship. As the pregnancy continued, I started to realize all the things my mom must have suffered. Not just in the sacrifices she made, but just life. She was 21 when she had me. By the time she was my age she had 4 kids in a country not her own. To leave her family behind because she felt it was the best for us, is incredible courage and commitment. While, I don’t always agree with her, she is extremely supportive when it comes to B and how we are choosing to raise him. My kid, my choice, and I absolutely love that. Right now, our relationship is the best it’s ever been, and I hope that we always continue down this path. She has shown me to be strong, and to stand up for what I believe in, whether it’s good or bad. She has encouraged me  with her actions and words, and shown me the meaning of hard work and persistence. I think for the first time in my life, I understand her. She has taught me to be open minded, hard working, self sacrificing; she is my fixed point.

4. My dad: This is going to come as a shock to some because my relationship with my father hasn’t been the best lately, but that doesn’t mean I am not thankful for all he is, and all he tried to be. When you become an adult, you start to realize things about your parents that perhaps you didn’t see, or just plain didn’t know about them. My father is a very different person now, then the person he was. I will always remember my father trying his very best to teach us integrity and self pride. However, the biggest lesson I learned is something he never tried to teach. Be Happy. I know realize that my father was never truly happy after his days in the military. Retiring left a hole in him that he cannot fill. As much as he tried, and still tries, to find himself and his own happiness, I don’t know if he knows how. That in itself is very powerful, and I wish he could see himself through my eyes.

5. Jeff:  My mom’s husband. They were just married in August. Even though I have only known him a short time, he has taught me so much about life, and myself. He is an amazing person with a ginormous heart who is so selfless, I don’t have words to describe. All I can say, is I am so thankful to have him in my life. He has opened his home, and his life to us, without question. He renovated his entire house to accommodate our family from Korea. I haven’t seen my grandparents, and aunts since 1994. I’ve never met my uncles, and cousins until this year. Just in that one act alone, he has completely blown me away. He is a grandfather to B, an amazing step-father to us, and truly cares about each one of us as his own. I have never met someone like him, and I am thankful not only for being in my life, but for my mom. He makes her so happy, and I literally do not have words to describe how that has helped our relationship.

6. Extended Family: We have a big family. I have 3 sisters, Ez has 3 sisters and a brother, plus they all have kids. Holidays are definitely fun. Although we don’t all see each other as much as I like, (I will admit I am horrible at keeping in touch with people IRL.) Throughout it all I am thankful for all of them. Family is very important. I have learned no matter how crazy or weird you think your family is, someone’s got you beat. As much as we fight, and as different as we are, I am so glad that B has such a big family. It is comforting to know no matter what happens, or if something happens to Ez and I, he will be well taken care of, and will always have the support he may need.

7. My life: Life is such a precious thing that can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye. I have absolutely no regrets, because every decision I have made has brought me to this exact moment, which I would not change for anything. I am thankful I am able to put my family first. I am thankful for the experiences that have helped mold and shape who I am.

The rest are pretty self explanatory.

8. Nap Time

9. Gaming

10. The Internet

What are some things you are thankful for?

/bow

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5 tips for pumping in the work place

Breastfeeding is hard. Breastfeeding and working is harder. For those of you that nurse, are considering nursing, or just plain curious, here are some things I learned about both.

1.) Know your rights.

Although the US is a little behind in a lot of parental rights compared to our peers throughout the world, we as new parents, do have rights. When it  comes to pumping, there are many laws that protect us both on a state and federal level. The most important tool you have is information. According to federal law, a women has a right to express breast milk for up to 1 year, in a private space (NOT A BATHROOM) provided by the employer, and shall be allowed reasonable break time in order to do this. This statute applies to employees covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This is the same act that determines your eligibility for Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). These are minimun standards set by the federal government. Any state laws that expand upon these laws will take precedence. If you are not considered covered by FLSA, than you will solely rely on your state laws for information on your rights as a breastfeeding mother. Please be aware that there is a clause in FLSA if employers deem it an “undue hardship” to provide this for you. I have never had experience with this, if you have please let me know so I can make sure to include that information in this post for the people who may need it.

2.) Open communication

The second best tool that you have is communication, with your boss, and your co-workers. While I was on maternity leave, I went into work to discuss this new addition in our lives and how it will affect me in the workplace. At the time, I was a full time department assistant manager, so it was very important to me to have this open dialogue, not only with my superiors, but with my crew. Fortunately I work for some pretty awesome people, and we were able to sit down and come up with a plan. I also had a copy of this pdf with me in case I ran into any problems. I felt it was important for my co-workers to know that we were pumping, so that there wasn’t any miscommunication about any break times, or amount of “breaks” I was taking.  If an issue arose, with another employee for example, it was addressed. I was never ashamed about having to pump, or talking about pumping, and everyone was very supportive.

3.) Private Space

As stated in the law, your employer is required to provide you a private space, free from prying eyes and such, that IS NOT A BATHROOM in order to pump. I used a conference room that was automatically locked, and only upper management had access to the keys. To further prevent any mishaps I also made a sign that I would put onto the door for sessions.  Again, open communication. If you are using a shared space, yes it is your right to pump, no it is not your right to be a bitch about it. If I knew a meeting would be held in there, or someone was using it, I would ask someone if I could use their office, or time my pump sessions around it (if I could). Compromise is a good thing. It helps you, it helps them, and nobody gets angry, upset, or confused. If your employer offers you a bathroom, please remind them of the laws that apply to your situation (state or federal). Alternately, depending on your employer, you may be able to negotiate other compromises.

4.) Compromises

Depending on your employer, you may be able to come up with other arrangements. When I first started pumping at work, I worked 8-10 hours a day 5 days a week. A regular pumping schedule was needed to keep up my supply and still make sure I am doing my job. Now that I am part time, pumping at work is not an issue. I pump before work, or when I get home. B is also into solid foods, so he will usually wait for me to get home to nurse. Once in a while, I will be asked to do an 8-9 hour shift. Normally I am allowed 2 paid 15 minute breaks and 1 30 minute lunch unpaid. Instead of pumping at work every break, I take a 1 hour unpaid lunch, and drive 10 minutes home, feed and/or pump, and go back to work. This is why open communication is so important. This compromise meets both my needs and the needs of the employer, without me having to lug all my pumping stuff to work for one pumping session. I have read of other moms being able to go to daycare to feed their babies, and even of dads bringing babies to mom’s work for a feeding session.

5.) Confidence

You are the most important person in your breastfeeding journey. Whatever your reason for breastfeeding, you are providing nutrition for your child. You are using your body to grow a person, again. You should be confident in your decision and information is the most powerful confidence booster. Know your rights, communicate your needs, and never ever let anyone bring you down. Not all co-workers/employers are going to be understanding. Sadly enough, I even ran into some women that didn’t understand why I needed to pump, or why I’m still pumping. Remember you have the right to pump up to a year under federal law. Remember you are your child’s biggest advocate. Never be embarrassed or question your rights or decisions. Be confident in your actions. You are mom.

For all the men out there: The most important thing you can do for the mother of your child is BE SUPPORTIVE regardless of her nutrition decisions.  

If you would like more information on feeding your babies please go to kellymom.com, or feel free to ask! You can reach me at Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and of course here!

Have a story of your own? Please comment!

Remember, CONFIDENCE!

/bow

Why I refuse to stop gaming

“You’re going to have to stop playing video games.”

“Well, I  guess that’s the end of your gaming hobby.”

“You guys aren’t going to have time to play your games.”

It started when we learned of our incredible life change, pregnancy. As the pregnancy was coming to a close, it got worse. It seemed as if every time we stepped out of the house, someone would comment about how our gaming will somehow cease to exist because of this impending arrival. No more gaming…. What?

Asking me to drop gaming is the equivalent of asking me to stop eating Korean food, or better yet. Stop being Korean. Sure it’s only part of who I am, but if it was gone, there would still be a part of me missing. Why would I want to do that?

Gaming has been a significant part of my being. I’ve been doing it since I was 5. My childhood is Mario and Sonic, (and those damn pigs in Rocket Knight Adventures) My preteen years and teen angst years are Playstation. Halo was college. Halo 2 and FFXI were the beginning of Ezrah and I’s relationship. Our love grew over headshots and Maat fights. Final Fantasy XIV will be a new era for Final Fantasy MMOs along with the pregnancy and birth of our child. See gaming is more than just a hobby. I have been on countless adventures. Why would I give any of this up?

Have you ever heard someone say, “Oh well, now that you have a new arrival coming, you’re going to have to give up your favorite television shows!”

Neither have I.

There are so many ways your life changes when you become a parent. Why should your favorite hobbies, your core of who you truly are as a person, be different? Why should they change? Entering the world of parenthood doesn’t mean you have to shed your former self and jump into a new person. Mom is not something I became. I simply added Mom to my resume. I am still me. I still game. Ni No Kuni was my maternity leave. I plan on gaming with my son. I cannot wait for the many adventures that we will have together.

Don’t misunderstand me. I have changed. A lot. Life is about experiences. We need to take those experiences, learn from them, and grow.  There are things I find myself doing that I never thought would ever enter my mind. Apologizing to my mom, for one. I don’t smoke. I have wicked mom anxiety. We do laundry every week, clean the house almost everyday. I budget my money. I care about the things I never even questioned before. The amount of time I play each day has changed dramatically, and I can’t go buy any game I want, but I still game.

It is important to take time out to be yourself. The {insert adult mature task you “need” to do} can wait.

Yes those things are important. Yes , focusing on your child is important.

YOU are important.

 

 

 

Sorting Inventory: Entrance Way

Today I get to go to HMart. For those of you unfamiliar it is the Walmart for Asians, but with a food court. There’s all sorts of things you can’t find anywhere else. Believe it or not, we don’t have a decent Korean store, ya know the ones you could rent tapes from, and your mom went to church with the owners so sometimes she would just pay later. You know the one I’m talking about. When we went to Florida a couple years ago, I found one because where I live now, we don’t have one. It’s shocking. We have Asian food stores, but its not the same thing. So when my mom needs something specific, she goes to HMart. She wants to make Kimchi, so we get to go. This isn’t even what I’m writing about today, I’m just that excited.

Today I’m going to start showing you my house!^^

Ok, it’s an apartment, and I’m only showing you one part, and no, it’s not my kitchen. But First!

When we first moved into this apartment, I was 8 months pregnant. Everything was put into reach. Everything was put in a very easily accessible spot. Now that I have full range of motion back, everything needs to change.

The other day I started my organizing the house project by “creating an entryway”. I noticed in a lot of vlogs and blogs that a set entryway is very important. They are absolutely right. It really is nice to have a place to put your keys so you don’t have to make sure you remember to slot in “look for the keys” time when you’re leaving for work. We tried having a set place to put keys before, but with a set up entry way, you are forced to put your keys in that spot. Where else would you put them? Ok on with the pictures.

Entrancewaydoor

 This is what my entrance way looks like now. We bought the coat hangers a few months ago, but that is a bookshelf we bought from Walmart that has been sitting in another spot. It’s been mostly empty except for a mountain of things gathering on the top of it. In the spot there was a chair that had a mountain of clothes on it, 90% my work clothes. The first thing I did was put everything that didn’t belong in the living room, into the appropriate room.

Second, I took a big empty diaper box, and put EVERYTHING that was on the top of that bookcase into it, except for the trash, you know, papers and things that get tossed on it. I still have yet to go through this box, but luckily we have an extra bedroom that literally just has storage in it for now.

WP_20131108_004On top of the bookshelf we have our change bottles. These are just glass milk bottles that we get at a local market. Some day I am planning on decorating them, but for now they still serve their purpose! We sort change into pennies, dimes and nickles, and quarters. We do laundry at the laundromat. This method is useful so we don’t have to worry about getting quarters. The next time we have to do laundry we usually have enough.  Next to the change bottles is a 3 cup thing that we bought at Target. This is my new designated keys area, also my name tag.

WP_20131108_006

In the bookshelf I am planning on keeping a few things that we need to grab on the way out, diaper bag, electric pump, B’s shoes (when I figure out where the other one went), hats, and gloves. I have to be careful how I plan spaces, simply because of B. I am trying to organize, but be baby friendly at the same time, which really limits options, but it also adds a level of difficulty to the challenge. I only have to worry about this in the living area, since the kitchen is gated off, and everyplace else has doors.

Tada! I am really proud of how this turned out. I have absolutely no skills in this department, and it’s hard to find organizing tips in the space that I am living. Hopefully this segment gives you some ideas on how to organize your own small space, by using different things that you already have. I still have yet to get to the box of things from the top of that bookshelf.

/grin

Going Chewie: Homemade Linoleum Floor Cleaner

Today I cleaned my kitchen floor.  This may not sound like a big deal to most, but today I did it with a cleaner that I made myself, which always makes it better. It’s the ultimate win win, clean kitchen floor, accomplished mommy. Plus making my own cleaners makes me feel like a scientist.. MY CREATION!

Okay so it’s not entirely my creation. I look around the interwebs and usually end up combining ideas from other random people to make something spectacular. So without further ado, here is how I cleaned my kitchen floor! (I don’t have pictures, because I’m planning on bombarding your eye balls with lots of pictures coming soon. Imagination should work for now.)

I used a microfiber cloth that I picked up from the super market. I literally was on my way to get something else and saw it, figured I would give it a go. I will say that if cheapy store brand microfiber works that good, I cannot wait to get my hands on some good quality microfiber clothes. I think I’m hooked. Thank god, because I’m really sick of buying paper towels.

I have a 5 gallon pickle bucket that I use for a cleaning bucket. Why spend money on a bucket when I can get one that is just going to be recycled? Ask your local deli department or even bakery, since they get giant frosting buckets. It depends on your grocery store, but most will let you purchase a bucket or two for pretty cheap.

Ingredients:

~one gallon of hot water

~1 1/2 cup of vinegar

~3 drops dish soap

~3 drops baby oil

~15 drops each of lavender essential oil and tea tree essential oil

I don’t know why but lavender and tea tree is my favorite scent right now.

I mixed them all in the bucket dunked my microfiber cloth, and begin to wash! The baby oil adds some sheen, I used Dawn blue dish soap for grease cutting factor, and increased the vinegar a little based on a lot of recipes I read because well, my floor needed it.

Vinegar is a great cleaner because of the non toxic and also acidic properties. I just buy a big gallon of regular white distilled vinegar. There is a Heinz Cleaning Vinegar that has 6% acidity instead of the normal 5%, I haven’t tried this out yet to see if there is that much of a difference. If you have, let me know!

/cheer

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