Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The baby's alive! Posted by Hello

Monday, April 11, 2005

Only a few minutes after birth. Wide awake and ready to face the world. Posted by Hello

Finally, we've got pictures! We thought we were prepared for everything but it turns out that nothing every goes according to plan. I'm sure that's the sign of things to come. But looking at her precious face makes all these thought go away. (Mostly when she's not wailing though!) Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Love in the 1st degree

Lately I've been thinking a little more about being an older first time father. Did I wait too long? How will my body hold up when she's at the peak of her own physical strength? Can I keep up with being the best dad I can be? Was all those years of fun and independence from responsibilities worth it? I'm sure all first time parents think these things.

I look at dads who are barely in their 40s and have grown children and can now look forward to enjoying their own lives and wondering again, if we waited too long. The occasional aches and pains that I suffer from are no help as they are a constant reminder of the inevitability of age. Yet I can't help but feel in my gut that the time is right, only now.

I have had thoughts of being a father for a long time and always felt that I'd be a pretty cool dad to my son or daughter. But I'm glad that we didn't rush into getting our lives "in order"; get the house, SUV, job, riches, you know, the things that we all want to have when we have that nesting feeling, especially after we got married. For Courtney and me, I think that the accumulation of life's experiences, seeing different places and things, seeing and observing the people around us grow and change, has made our relationship more multi facted and stronger and but also equipped us with feelings and tools to grow our family the way we want to. But with that said, the work has yet to begin.

We attended a seminar this morning on "Nurturing your child" at the hospital. Not another waste of time I thought, after having attended several antenatal classes as part of course we signed up for. So far, the lessons have pretty much been info anyone could have read in books or received from friends and family. How could this be different? The talk was given by an man who started talking about how important if was to be there as a father to your children, striking a balance between work and home, understanding your spouse and child, yadda yadda yadda. I know all that already (proudly talking to myself)! He even cited a very interesting fact about how young fatherless bull elephants in south africa had the bad habit or stomping white rhinos to death until people reintroduced "father figure" elephants into their community! Very interesting, I thought, but still looking at cell phone to check the time. But as he went on, I realised that I myself was being drawn into his message about loving your children. It was not due to how interesting the information was but his conncection with it. I realised that here was a man who was clearly in love with his wife and family and seemed to have a true, albeit romantic,and sincere desire to educate the public. As a part time teacher myself, I find myself wanting and trying to inspire my own students to look beyond the information and see things that are in your gut instead of simply in the books. This I found inspiring. I felt my own love for my unborn child welling up and although his messages were mostly just things that I had known already, I found myself being reminded about the emotions attached to this incredible experience.

I've developed a little simple habit of putting my head and hands on COurtney's tummy at night before bed and think about this little life the we're bringing into this world, as though trying to telepathically transmit thoughts and feelings through her epidermis membrane. But the other night, I found myself consciously, for the first time in my life, falling in love. It was a complex mixture of extreme happiness, love, optimism...and fear. I welled up inside and as a defense mechanism, held my tears back. It now seems that this child will be my biggest source of strength, and weakness. As personal and special this feeling is to me, I do think that I'm finally starting to understand what others through time immemorial have experienced before me. Fatherhood.


Thursday, March 24, 2005

What were we thinking?!!!

I know, I know. I'm just glad that mom is still talking to us. What were we thinking? It was an inspired moment of genius miscalculations that we thought what we pulled would be, least of all, funny. Needless to say, baby Olivia, who was so embarassingly featured in our practical joke email, is 100% Chinese without Ju's eyes or Courtney's hair (she is a darlin though!). The only consolation we can take with us is that Courtney, bless her judgement, knew that it would probably NOT go down too well, only a few minutes later and sent out an explanation email soon after. A thousand apologies to all for the Shorty proportion hoax. We owe you all big time.

On a more realistic note, the gyne appointments are coming fast and furious and so are the antenatal classes. It does seem like we trying to cram everything in before all hell breaks loose come april 10th (maybe earlier, yikes!)! We think we've got almost everything we need for right after the birth. The only things left on the list are an infant stroller and a simple changing mat. The hand me downs and 2nd hand goods have been great and I don't think we had to buy anything new (except for the generous gifts that we given to us over Courtney's christmas baby shower up in Frisco, so graciously organised by Leyca. Can't thank you enough!). We get an ultrasound scan everytime we go to the gyne (or as they call them in the US, OBGYNs)and baby just won't show her face! She's got her arms perpetually crossed over her have like Mohd Ali's famous tank defence! "NO way you're gonna see this mug until I come out, dudes!". She's definitely keeping us in suspense.

Needless to say, we're terribly excited and so is the family. People just LOVE having little babies around...as long as they don't have to take care of them! Haha! I guess we're got to pay our dues. We've taken advantage of other babies in our time.

Anywa, stay tuned to this channel for more updates and pics. Next time, it'll be FOR REAL!

Love to all,

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

How many socks and booties does one need? Rate this collection from 1-10. Posted by Hello

A year of clothes..... done!

What a windfall! We've been scouring the classifieds for used baby items recently and last saturday, COurtney came across one specifically getting rid of first year stuff for twin daughters! We jumped at the chance and drove the 25 minutes (virtually across the country, Singapore scale!) to check out her wares! Finally, we walked out of her apartment with a play pen, plastic bathtub with stand, another "moses" baby basket w/stand, an assortment of newbie cushion supports and TONNES of clothes! Courtney started sorting out clothes there and then but we soon decided that we could use almost all of them and proceeded to make an offer for the whole shabang! Do you know how much baby clothes one can stuff in a duffel bag! There must have been in excess of 200 items in there including the cutest selection of baby socks and booties! Haha! It sure brought out the organiser in Courtney as she waded through all the colours, sizes, types as soon as we got home.

The kid's room is getting tighter now and the stork hasn't even arrived! Yes, she hasn't arrived..... ahem.

Last night's antenatal class wasn't exactly the most enjoyable, albeit informative. The topic - the labour process and pain management. I could see CC's face cringe in anticipation of pain through the descriptions of epidural application, episiotomies, stitching and all the various risks involved. No! We want to hear the fun and good stuff! Anyway, we try to console ourselves that this is a completely natural process and that through time immemorial, women have gone through this. Pant, pant! Breathe, Breathe!

Time's ticking, more updates soon.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Classic Ultrasound scan!. So far, nothing beats this earlier image of baby! She looks so peaceful. Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 03, 2005

What's in a name? (sigh!)

So we haven't come up with her name yet. Perhaps we'll simply shortlist a few, wait for her to pop out and then see what she looks like.

We've started antenatal classes. We're a few weeks late into the pregnancy to be starting the class and have to make up a few classes. The first few weeks are pretty stuff that we already know about and we're eagerly waiting to the fun stuff, like how to breathe, what to expect in labour, etc. I've been mentioning to the ole courtster that we ought to be packing our bags already. In a couple of weeks, she can actually come out if she wants to! ohmygod! I still remember last summer when CC let it out to mom that we were trying for a baby and now, voila! We're actually getting one! The first thing that came to my mind was.....oh sh....t! THen it was.... wow, it really works! Haha! How time flies.

She's now moving like mad in the tummy and clearly concocting CC's belly into all figures of shapes. Now it's left, then it's right. CC walks around and suddenly yelps as if being kicked by her imaginary friend. If she wasn't pregnant, one'll think that she was off her rocker!

The baby equipment scene in Singapore, as we would have imagined, is limited compared to the US. I remember being floored by the 50 yard crescent of gliders (nursing chairs for those unacquainted!) where one could test each one at one's own leisure! Here, we've only seen one so far! I guess nannys have replaced the gliders in Singapore! However, we did feel like we found eden the other day when we literally bumped into a warehouse retail outlet specialising in baby stuff. "Finally!", somewhere where we've got all the strollers in front of us to test out and compare, not this one here one there thing that we've had to do. Frugal as we always are, we only walked out with a baby changing tray and a couple of pillows. But now we know where to go.

out, ju

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Pardon the bad mouse handwriting! How look at the other image again! Posted by Hello

Awwwwwwww! Ultrasound image on 24 Feb 05. If you can't see her little features, check out the other image posted! Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Getting Busy?

Hi all. It seems like this bad throat of mine has made a comeback. Ever since I returned from Austin, it's come and gone. The last time I went to the doctor here, she at least comfirmed that it wasn't bacterial and that my lungs were clear. SO that's good, I guess. The bush fires that have been going on here haven't helped either. Every since Chinese New Year, hardly a drop of rain has fallen and the vegetation around, at least those that are not cared for by the government (!), are bone dry. Irresponsible smokers throwing lit cigarette butts and people leaving garbage containing glass bottles around have contributed to the most bush fires here in Singapore's history. And here I thought that the smoke I've been smelling in the air were the annual bush burning and crop burning activities in Malaysia and Indonesia.

We had another gyne appointment this morning and everything is going according to plan, i.e. everything normal. All sizes and weights are "medium". I guess we'll be having a "medium" girl! :O. We managed to get a little ultrasound shot of her face which I'll post here as soon as I get it scanned. Not as good as the one Courtney got some weeks back. That one was amazing! But you can still see the features of her face. And it's confirmed, she's a girl. The gyne loooked around and spotted the "hamburgers", as she called them. You all know what I mean right. That's one for the dictionaries, together with.... ahem! ahem! We're getting all sappy right now anticipating the big day. Both of us already feel that that will be THE happiest day of our lives. I don't know about the following months though! urrgghh! But it's happy pain, right??!!

With that schedule in mind, I'm rather content with what I have on my own work plate. However, that might soon change drastically. I've got a couple of things in the wings and there is a chance that they'll all come to a head in a couple of months. Or sooner! I might be gettin' busy, in more than one sense of the word!

The rest of the folks will be heading up to France in a few weeks for a ski trip, leaving us pregnant people at home. Sob! But I'm sure we'll have plenty to keep us busy. We're also planning to have our last "adults only" party! Our last hurrah, good food, wine, music, women, porn,..... Haha! You know, the calm before the storm! For things'll be a changin' soon!

ju, out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Midweek Mullings

Friends with celebrity status here in Singapore are getting married this Saturday. I've been happily roped into the choir which will back up a few songs for the happy couple. It's been a while since my choir days back in.... Well it's been a while, let's just leave it at that, but it's great to get those vocal chords active again. There're few things that beat the sound of harmonizing vocal parts. The dress code for the wedding will be "colourfully glamorous" and we haven't gotten anything for it yet! It promises to be a great time.

CC's almost done with her classes and now can fully focus on what's growing in her tummy. It's only about 8 weeks away before baby comes. Most nights, it seems like she's ready to come out already! But thankfully, she's not really keeping CC awake, that'll come later for us.

I not sure what the culture is in the US and neither does CC, but here, the first month, or the "confinement month" is quite a big deal. And it's not just the Chinese. It seems to be an Asian thing. New mothers are not supposed to leave the house, nor wash their hair! Often, a confinement maid is hired to help take care of the mother and baby. We're not planning on having one but have been forewarned about some of the pitfalls of hiring one, they're demanding quite a lot of money nowadays and some also demand that you feed them! I thought that they were supposed to feed us! Another thing often done is to have a specialised post natal massage. Often done by a malay masseuse, she concocts oils, massages your organs back into place and then wraps your abs tight for the next 24 hours. This goes on for a week. Now I understand how all these mothers in Singapore get their tight abs back! Yes, I look!

Anyway, it's been a great time thinking about all these wonderful things and the new culture of becoming parents. So far, we've been pretty shameless in taking hand me downs. We'll consider whatever you have!

Other news and stuff:

For all you raiders fans out there, guess they pulled a big one by beating Kansas, huh. Bobby Knight must be starting to do something right. Meanwhile, Syracuse seems to be going on a little skid. March madness is just around the corner!

Flights from Singapore to Phuket, Thailand are now going for as low as S$10 one-way. You believe that?! I'm actually thinking of taking my students there for a day! I've written a simple programme for my 1st year architecture students to design a memorial to the tsunami. A visit would definitely be helpful.

It happens every year it seems. Weather is great from October to January. But when Chinese New Year comes along, BAM! the temperature rises. Apparently, Chinese New Year day this year was the hottest it's been in 15 years! Although only 35 deg Celsius, and for all you macho Texans out there who may think that this is just a cool summer day in the Lone Star State, think again. Coupled with the humidity....Just come on down and try it out for size! And it's been hot hot hot ever since. Can't wait for the next rain.

Please feel free to post comments or email me. Let me know what other stuff you'd like me to post on this blog to make it better for you all.

Til the next time,

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Sunday Morning Coffee

I've been thinking about names for each day's post and just came up with this one. Whaddayall think?

HP's outgoing CEO Carly Fiorina's severence package has been in the news lately and it blows me away at the kind of money that's thrown around in corporate America. Even when the job was generally seen as a"failure"! However, kudos to her for being able to wring out the bucks. The compensation for putting up with the pressures of Wall Street is probably enough reason to be paid so highly.

On a lighter note, we got a late afternoon call yesterday from my brother in law asking if our nieces and nephew could come over to our playground to play. Apparently, after their afternoon nap, they spontaneously asked if they call could come over to play! It's nice to know that though Courtney and I live in the smallest place in my family, that there's a draw for the kids. Mom ended up bringing over pots of home cooked food for dinner and it ended up being a rather happy evening affair with the kids playing doctor in the apartment as we just talked and listened to music. Courtney even remarked that she loved seing kids in our home. Well, there's gonna be one permanent one soon, and it ain't gonna be as serene as it is now! We're happily bracing ourselves for the chaos that's gonna ensue.

We simply love our little place, especially in the evenings. We've changed it constantly over the few years that we've lived here and now seem to have struck the right balance of use in the various areas of the apartment. Over the last month, we've moved some spaces and things around to make space for the new kid. We also took the opportunity and time to finally throw some things out, mostly things that I've been keeping around in hopes of recycling.

This reminds me of a little incident when we first moved in. I had spotted some perfectly good solid wood louvred (that's how we spell it here!) doors in a dumpster and I thought that it was such a waste. While I was bringing them up to the apartment, a guy stopped me and abruptly said:"You've lived abroad, right?". Haha, he laughed and lamented that one wouldn't see "locals" doing this. It took me awhile but after regular reminders of "so when are you going to do something with the doors?", I finally made them into a table, bend and an end table.

Lately, that's been one of my pet peeves about modern life in Singapore, especially after many years of life in America, that people don't do enough things for themselves here. And I don't want to fall into the same pattern. So we painted our own apartment, mounted cabinets on the wall, changed a ceiling light, you know, all the little weekend warrior things that any American would do. But somehow, urban life sometimes gets in the way, as well as the fact that people here grow up in very small spaces with little or no opportunity to learn the trades of their hands. I think that's a shame. Study, study, study, that's been the mantra. However, I do think that there's a little movement by the government to revamp some parts of the education to create a more holistic system of teaching and learning to stimulate more "creative" thinking. And in my mind, that can only be a good thing.

Our current dilemma is....names for the baby. NO SUGGESTIONS PLEASE, thank you. :) It'll come to us. But I hear we've got quite a bit of time after the baby is born so we're not feeling the pressure yet. We might just make a short list and wait for her to pop out before naming her.

Signing off,

Friday, February 11, 2005

Thursday, 10 Feb 2005

Well, we're in the year of the Rooster now, which will be our up and coming daughter's year. People always say that with big families, you only see everyone during 2 occasions, weddings and funerals. Well, if you celebrate the Lunar New Year, you can add at least one more time to cathcing up with what everyone's up to. However, it seems to be more of a trend nowadays for people to travel during the Lunar New Year. Too much driving around visiting people, perhaps, or maybe it's the stress of having to get the house all dolled up and ready to receive guests at any time. Well, for those strapped for cash, this trend may not be such a bad thing... LESS HONG BAOS (Red packets)! For those of you who might not be too familiar with the somewhat pagan custom, little red packets filled with cash are given to children and unmarried people (not all the time but usually). Courtney and I have now been in the "married" category now for the last seven years and since being in Singapore are still getting used to the idea of dishing out the cash every year at this time. Having no children (Yet!!), it's been one way street. Well, come April, no more! Next year, it's payback time!

Speaking of babies, it seems that people are starting to get all sorts of dreams about the little one. From giving birth to a virtually grown child to seeing "blockhead" children running around. I know, I know. From all you veterans with children already, you've gone through this but hey, it never gets old does it? Or does it!

Til the next time,

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Pacifier Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Wednesday, 9 Feb 2005

Happy Lunar New Year!

An auspicious way to start a new blog here. Updates soon on food, babies, family life here in Singapore and local rants!!

Signing off,