Monday, May 15, 2017

april book report.


I read 7 books in April (if you count listening to an audiobook and a book I started in January)! I think it's partly because I haven't been watching any TV really, and partly because I'm subconsciously trying to read as much as possible before baby girl comes. Here's what I read and what I thought:

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch / I'd seen this reviewed and recommended by many people online and most of them said something along the lines of, "Even if you don't like science fiction, you will love this book!" They were right. I was hooked right away and had such a hard time putting it down each night to go to sleep. I want everyone to read it so we can talk about it.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak / I tried reading this a long time ago and just couldn't get into the writing style. After hearing nothing but good things over the years, I decided to try again and I'm so glad I did. I fell in love with all of the characters—Liesel, Papa, Rudy, Max, and even Death. I laughed and I cried. I laughed and cried some more. I would recommend this book to anyone.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah / I listened to this through Audible and it was narrated by the author. So glad that I listened to this one! (I listen to most non-fiction books.) The stories he told were funny, heartbreaking, and eye-opening and hearing them told by Noah himself made them that much better I think. He used different voices for different people; his voice for himself as a child—hilarious! One morning as I was listening, my husband asked me, "Is this fiction or non-fiction?" Turns out, he had been listening too and couldn't believe when I said that it was a memoir!

Here's to Us by Elin Hilderbrand / I'm always a fan of Hilderbrand's novels. This one was fun, although sad at times, and well-written. Loved the premise, the characters, and the way the story developed. I hope there's a sequel someday; I want to know more about everyone!

Expecting Better by Emily Oster / Loved this book because it felt like a no-nonsense, fresh perspective on pregnancy and all the advice people (professionals and not) love to give. I'm sure I'll reference this as I make decisions for the remainder of my pregnancy and the birth, and I'll definitely keep it so I can flip through it again next time. (The only reason that it took me so long to get through it was because I was reading other books at the same time and only picked this up once in awhile.)

Wreckage by Emily Bleeker / About a plane crash and being stranded on an island. Kind of interesting, but also predictable. Quick read. (If you don't mind reading about plane crashes, I'd recommend In the Unlikely Event. I've also heard great things about Before the Fall; I have it on hold through the library.)

Lord of the Flies by William Golding / Somehow I made it through my entire school career without reading this classic. I knew the premise and always understood pop culture references to it, but thought it was time I read it. I didn't love it, didn't even really like it that much, and was left wondering, 'Am I missing something?'

Have you read any of these? What did you think? What have you read and loved lately?

P.S. My last book report was from July, but I've read a lot since then (25 books in 2017 so far!). You can see my star ratings on Goodreads, if you're interested. And more book reports here.

Monday, April 24, 2017

what I want to remember: chinese new year 2017.












It makes me laugh that I thought this was "big"—at 21 weeks. (Also, Bellabands—I have one each in black and white—were godsends for a looong time.)



In keeping with the "what I want to remember theme," here is what I want to remember from Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) this year: 

Going out for burgers at Dicos with our niece and nephew. 

Xiao Yu stealing my french fries.

All of us eating ice cream sundaes. 

How good the fries and fountain coke tasted. 

Going out with them again to a "western" restaurant that kind of sucked but it was fun anyway.

The two of them eating more food than both of us. 

Playing Crazy Eights with Xiao Xuan and T. 

Teaching T's mom how to play Crazy Eights. 

Eating Dicos again with Xiao Xuan while T went to a family dinner without me. 

Watching T, his dad, and Xiao Xuan play cards.

Chinese New Year's Eve meal. 

Telling T's parents that they are a great example, and so are his brother and wife, and that I'm honoured to be a Zhang. 

Taking family photos. (I was pleasantly surprised that everyone happily agreed!)

Eating pomelo for the first time. 

Every time after that that T peeled pomelo for me. (I have not been able to eat enough citrus fruit since being pregnant.)

Afternoon naps. 

Sitting in T's parents' bedroom before going to bed and talking. 

T's mom telling me, "Speak Chinese!" and Xiao Xuan telling her, "She is!" 

Eating crispy rice. 

T's cousin remembering my name after 2 years later and only meeting once. 

Skipping 3 family dinners. 

T feeling the baby move. 

Playing Crazy Eight countdown with T. 

P.S. Chinese New Year 2014, 2015, 2016.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

what I want to remember: the first 7 months of pregnancy.

I haven't documented my pregnancy the way that I thought I would. I haven't blogged about it other than this "checking in" post. I haven't taken weekly—or even monthly—"bump" photos. I haven't written anything in my journal.

Let the mom guilt begin!

Kidding, mostly.

I'm surprised that I haven't been writing or taking photos, and I do feel a bit of... regret's not the right word, at least, I don't regret anything right now, but maybe later I will. I do feel the need to record the details somewhere, but that feeling hasn't been strong enough to actually make me take action, other than typing quick thoughts and memories into a note titled "What I want to remember" on my phone.

The last "bump" photo we took. I was 27 weeks; I'm 31 weeks now. (Also, not an ad for Snapple, just a result of T and I heading back to school after lunch and me saying, "We're the worst! We haven't taken a photo in weeks!")

Maybe someday I'll write the details of everything I remember—finding out we were pregnant, our feelings and reaction, the doctor appointments, etc—somewhere, whether it be here or my journal. But for now, here are those notes:

Peeing on the stick and the second line appearing immediately. Asking Tony, "Babe, can you come in here? I'm not sure if I did this right, but..."

Taking another test the next morning and the line appearing immediately again.

Waking Tony up to tell him, "We're having a baby!" and him kissing me and falling back asleep.

Seeing the little appleseed on the ultrasound and realizing we're having a baby, really.

Googling every symptom and feeling because I worried so much. (This actually usually made me feel better.)

Falling asleep between 7 and 8:30 every night and sleeping in until 6:30 every morning and taking a nap every lunchtime during the first trimester.

Feeling nauseous every morning and every night and most afternoons.

How hard it was to keep a secret from almost everyone.

Eating tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, pasta, hamburgers and fries, pizza, and clementines almost exclusively for weeks because that's all I wanted/could handle.

Sobbing because T "bought the wrong kiiiiiind of tomatooooo sooooup."

Not being able to stand salmon for weeks; even photos of it would make me gag.

T getting excited as soon as we saw the baby on the screen at the 12-week ultrasound; me getting excited when we saw it move. (I had been so worried something would go wrong.)

Sitting in a taxi with T, on our way to brunch, and me saying, "It's amazing what we get used to. I mean, if I felt this sick before I was pregnant, I'd be on the couch, but now I'm like, 'I feel okay! Let's go to brunch!'"

Puking 3 times on the sidewalk walking home from that brunch.

Seeing the baby yawn at 16 weeks! And relaxing with its arm behind its head.

Bedtime is my fave part of the day because that's when I almost always feel the baby.

Eating so much fruit, especially citrus.

T got me Haagen Dazs a few times.

T woke me up from a nap because he was rummaging through the drawer to get the camera because "we have to start taking photos!" (And then we never took photos.)

I couldn't stand the smell of his favourite soup noodles, so I wouldn't let him order them and the one time I did let him, I had to spend a few hours in the bedroom with the door closed.

When I told my principal I was pregnant, she said, "Your life is about to get so much better!"

Me at 10PM, in bed: "Can you get me the pickles?"
T: "Now?!"
Me: "Yah..."
T: "Okay..."
Me: "And cheese slices too!"

When T felt the baby move for the first time. I was 20 weeks, we were laying in bed at his parents' home during Chinese New Year, and I was like, "Woah!" and he was like, "I felt it!" His laugh and the look in his eyes was the best.

When he felt it again a few nights later. No less magical.

Not being able to fall asleep at T's parents' home and I asked him to sing (after I cried and swore and punched a pillow). He sang Adele and Don McLean and Bob Dylan and it was probably just a coincidence, but baby started to move around. (And then I fell asleep.)

Finding out it's a girl! I teared up. Almost immediately thought of the song "Daddy's Girl" by Red Sovine.

The ultrasound technician telling us she has big eyes and a high nose, "beautiful like her mom."

The ultrasound technician telling us she was grabbing her foot.

We played "Daddy's Girl" for baby girl when we got home and she moved a lot!

I kept thinking, Tony's going to have a daughter. It wasn't until an hour later that I realized, I'M going to have a daughter.

FaceTiming T's parents to tell them and they were both on the screen and smiling and T's dad guessed, "It's a granddaughter!" (In Chinese, of course.) When T said yes, his dad smiled SO big; I've never seen him smile that big.

FaceTiming with my dad and him showing me the clothes he bought his granddaughter (including the cutest little yellow bathrobe).

Looking at clothes in GAP. T's smile and eyes, shining happy and proud, when I showed him the onesie that said "I'm Daddy's sunshine." And then when he said, "I'm a little excited" (which in T speak means very excited).

Buying that onesie and the one that said "I love my mommy and she loves me."

Every time T says, "It's a miracle!"

Packages from mom filled with baby and maternity clothes.

T begging me to drink milk: "Please, I want my daughter to have milk." And then I became addicted and drink at least 3 litres a week.

Receiving gifts from colleagues and friends as soon as they knew we were expecting.

Thinking, Baby Zhang is already so loved. We're so loved.

Tums, so many Tums.

My nipple leaking and me knowing right away, "Oh, this must be colostrum."

Simultaneously being anxious and amazed at how my body is changing.

Feeling baby girl move every morning and every night and more often throughout the day.

When Tony and I made up after an argument and hugged, baby girl kicked. T laughed and said, "I felt her!" I said, "She's saying, 'Group hug!'"

The giant package from dad—the first mail he's sent me since I moved to China—filled with baby clothes and books and toys.

All of the unsolicited advice and ridiculous comments and questions from people.

T taking care of all of the insurance/money stuff.

T waking me up because I was sleeping on my back.

Finally buying a pregnancy body pillow and sleeping through the night (other than my usual middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom).

T waking me up because he was poking around my stomach, "I'm worried the pillow is squishing the baby!"

Me asking the doctor to tell Tony to not wake me up. The doctor showing Tony that my uterus is like a balloon and helping him feel it and assuring him that baby is safe.

T waking me up a few weeks later to tell me to get under the blankets because, "What if the baby's cold?" And then me yelling at him, "DON'T WAKE ME UP AGAIN! DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS FOR ME TO GET A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP WITHOUT YOU WAKING ME UP?"

Every morning when he wakes up and every evening when he gets home from work, T asks me, "How's my baby?"

T held my hand while I got a needle in the butt (yay, being Rh-negative) and told me I was strong (I think he was practicing for when I'm in labour). Then he said, "Tell me everything you're worried about, one-by-one, and we'll figure it all out" to calm me down when I couldn't stop silently crying because I felt anxious about everything and nothing.

Craving caesar salad with Kraft caesar dressing. Two different people bringing me a bottle of salad dressing from Canada.

T talking to my stomach, "Wǒ de bǎobèi guīnǚ..." (Translation: My baby daughter.)

T telling me, "Last night I couldn't fall asleep for like, 10 minutes, because you were cuddled up to me and she was kicking so much!"

A couple weeks later, I cuddled up to him in the morning and she woke us both up with her kicking.

Reading the weekly updates about baby and my body on the What to Expect app every Sunday.

***

Man, writing this all out makes me wish I had been blogging all along. I could have blogged about why we didn't go anywhere for Christmas, what my students said when they found out I was having a baby, all of the above in more detail...

Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

Weeks 6-12 crept by slowly, weeks 12-31 have flown by; I wonder how the next 9 will go. I have a feeling they will feel both so long and so short. We'll see...

Thursday, March 09, 2017

this made me...


think, 'This describes today perfectly. I love spring.'

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

checking in.

21 weeks pregnant; I'm 24 weeks now. 

That was a long 4 month unexpected break. I'm not even a mom yet (Am I? Can I be called a mom when baby girl is still in utero?) and already I'm apparently not blogging.

I've had a few people ask why not and all I can say is... first trimester morning sickness and extreme tiredness, followed up by second trimester... hibernating? I mean, I've been feeling pretty great since about 14 weeks, but still a little more tired than usual and just not feeling like spending time on my computer. Plus winter, plus pollution, plus teaching preschool. Blah.

But also, kind of not blah... I've been napping lots more than I ever did before. And reading a lot more. (I've already 11 books this year.) So yah, not entirely blah.

I've also had a few people say they miss my blog (thank you!) and ask if I plan on blogging again. Or if I'm going to blog about being pregnant and being a mom. The answer to these questions is yes! I can't promise any kind of regularity right now, but I love blogging and connecting with people so I have no plans to stop forever. And I don't plan on being a "mommy blogger" but with that being said, people tell me that having a kid is going to completely change my life, so I'm sure it will be mentioned here a few times ;)

Anyway, all of this to say that I miss blogging, I want to blog, and I plan on popping in here more often than I have been. No promises, mind you, but if any of you still want to visit my tiny corner of the internet, please do!

I'll be back soon with another post (hopefully).
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