Happy Mother’s Day to Me ♡

After such a hard childhood, I’ve been fortunate with many outcomes in my adult life; and although I was unlucky in love in the past, God has blessed me a hundred times over for all of the heartaches and misery I’ve endured (and forgiven me for the ones I’ve caused to others) — I am so grateful for such a wonderful husband, and his equally wonderful parents. ♡

Happy Mother’s Day to me. ♡

They’re beautiful. I LOVE them!

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The Waiting Game

My baby will be here by Memorial Day weekend, which is then followed by my wedding anniversary… my hubby drove with our daughter to Cincinnati to see our new niece, and while he was there he picked up the top layer of our wedding cake from the Dr. and Mrs., who had saved it from our wedding last year.

Now, traditionally you’re supposed to eat it on your child’s christening day… but it’s been in my freezer for a week now, and I couldn’t help myself — I ate it!

The top layer of my beautiful wedding cake that the Dr. and Mrs. saved for us from our wedding last year.

Back in the 19th century, couples saved the top tier of their wedding cake for the christening of their first child. Today, couples generally don’t have a “honeymoon baby” like we are, so they’ll save a slice or the top tier of their cake for their first wedding anniversary instead.

While your cake can survive a year in the freezer (if it’s well wrapped in plastic and sealed in an airtight container), it’s advised to eat it early (maybe your one month anniversary or six months anniversary instead). If you do decide to wait for the one year mark, remember to remove everything that is non-edible from the cake, like flowers and other garnishes, and to wrap it carefully to avoid freezer burn.

My hubby is going to be so disappointed in me when he wakes up in the morning and finds out I’ve ate it — anyway, I hope I don’t get food poisoning since I’m so far along in my pregnancy now (2 more weeks to go, but who’s counting, right?).

Honeymoon Baby ♡

Our honeymoon baby will be here soon! (The anticipation is unbearable.) He will be born within our one year wedding anniversary (a “honeymoon baby”). ♡

The baby’s nursery is finally complete! Thank you to all our family and friends for our baby’s gifts, from diaper rash cream to nursery furniture, and everything in between.

My husband painted that painting! ♡

We appreciate everyone for taking the time to come celebrate with us at our baby shower; especially those that traveled from afar, and those that sent gifts from afar too… but most importantly, a huge thank you to my in-laws (the Dr. and Mrs.) for spending the time and money to give us our lovely baby shower and baby’s gifts. We appreciate them so much for everything that they’ve done for us. They are the best parents, grandparents, and in-laws anyone can ever ask for. ♡

My Baby Shower ♡

I had my baby shower this weekend, hosted by the Dr. and Mrs. We are having the first grandson (and great-grandson) on my hubby’s side of the family. My baby shower was at Grand Finale Restaurant.

The restaurant is beautiful, with an English tea garden décor (Google image the restaurant if you want to see what the restaurant looks like). My mom-in-law had reserved this place for our engagement party last March — how sweet that my baby shower is at the same restaurant the following March! (We are having a honeymoon-baby, since he will be born within our first year of marriage.) ♡

The restaurant has an upstairs, an enclosed patio area, a private room, and a courtyard for diners; as well as their main dining room. It’s a “fancy” restaurant; some place that you would go to for a special occasion or a romantic date. It’s also a lovely place for a bridal shower, baby shower, or rehearsal dinner. They have a website and their menu is online as well.

The ambiance is like an English tea party, which is why it’s a perfect place to have an event like the ones I’ve mentioned; very lady-like… pink roses and floral arrangements throughout, brick walls, gallery paintings — sipping a nice glass of red or white wine… you know, stuff like that.

I am so grateful for such a wonderful mom-in-law for hosting such a lovely shower for me — most people just have a baby shower at someone’s house, or a public park, or rent a room at a community center (and even then you’re just getting chips and sodas, not an actual meal).

I made the invitations myself (of course!); I got the kit from Gartner Studios. It was perfect because the cards (and matching envelopes are blue), with two birds on the bottom right corner — it actually coordinated with our wedding invitations and engagement party invitations (continuing our whole entire wedding theme, ha!); and my mom-in-law got a cake designed to match our invitation. ♡ She is AMAZING, we had 30 guests altogether — even our floral centerpieces were beautiful and smell like spring and a flower garden.

Our baby is so blessed to have such a wonderful family and great friends. We are so grateful.

With Grandma (Grandpa was with us in spirit). ♡

The restaurant is in a very high-bracket realty neighborhood, with some very gorgeous homes in the area. Our waiter and waitresses assigned to our event were very attentive. The food was also very good (my pasta was delicious); they also have their own parking lot, which is always a plus. This is a very nice place to host a social event or go for a special occasion dinner.

Thank you to all our family and friends for the diapers, toys, clothes, car seat, walker, nursery furniture, etc. There’s just way too much to list, but we are so thankful for everything. ♡

Best Hubby Award ♡

My hubby is AMAZING. ♡

I got food poisoning. I can’t be sure, but I think it was from Subway’s (in Columbus, GA, off of Veterans Blvd — the location with the 31909 zip code). I ate a foot-long tuna on Monday, by the next day around 10AM, I had severe abdominal pain. I seriously thought something was wrong because it hurt so bad.

It was sporadic, and because I’m entering my third trimester, I couldn’t be sure if it was my intestines or my uterus that was in such excruciating pain. I figured I’d just let it pass, but then I had diarrhea and vomiting too in the afternoon (and I haven’t thrown up in like a month). The pain was so intense I was worried about the baby, but I waited it out until the next day.

By Wednesday morning I was still feeling the sporadic, severe pain. I couldn’t even take Ava to school because I was so ill. Danny took her to school, and then he drove me to the ER on base. When we went to check in, the receptionist told us to go to Labor and Delivery. We stayed there until a little past 11:15AM.

I can’t believe how incredibly lucky I am to have such a great guy. I definitely don’t deserve him. I am such a spoil brat, and I know it too!

When we came home I fell asleep and he went in the afternoon to pick Ava up from school (an hour round-trip each time). Last night he went out very late at night, because I was on the couch in such agonizing pain, to buy me my favorite drinks and fruits.

The doctor says the baby seems fine, and says my symptoms seem to be either a gastrointestinal infection like food poisoning or the stomach flu. He says there wasn’t really anything he could give me for it, that I just had to let it run its course; plenty of liquids to replace the lost fluids from the diarrhea and vomiting, and bed rest.

Everyone keeps saying I need to gain more weight, but I’ve always been petite to begin with; and that makes me wonder, do they tell overweight women to lose weight like they’re always telling me to gain more? Anyway, my hubby was worried about my lack of weight gain so he bought me a month supply of this drink that they give people in developing countries and geriatrics to help them gain weight. I didn’t think I like it… but it kind of tastes like Ensure or Slim Fast, are those even around anymore???

My husband is so wonderful. I have been such a “dependa” during this pregnancy, and he really does baby me. He’s cooked, cleaned, goes to work, pay the bills, takes care of me and our daughter (and he has one of the most stressful occupations in any career field) — I love him so much.

Family Guy

I love this photo of us.

Every woman wants a man to feel safe with; my guy is the best protector and provider for our little family, and we love him so much for it.

We are so proud of him for so many reasons: Bronze Star Medal for Afghanistan, LRS, Ranger School, Air Assault School, Airborne School (2 jumps away from qualifying for Jump Master…); getting his MBA, his EIB on the first try… the list is endless. He does so much for his country, the Army, his career — but especially for me. ♡

I never felt I needed a man to support me, as I’ve always pride myself on my independence; but do feel sometimes I need a protector, and I love having a man that I feel so safe and protected with. I seriously get so anxious when he’s away from home because I need a man in the house! (And because he fixes everything, gets all the stuff on the top shelves… and those annoying jars that just won’t open.)

I am so thankful to God for such a great man for a husband and father. ♡ — and because I know any children we have won’t end up being short, ha!

#FlashbackFridays

Honeymoon ♡

My hubby booked our honeymoon on his own (I feel we could have definitely gotten a better deal if we had shopped around online, but he doesn’t have the patience for that kind of stuff). We spent about $5,000 on our honeymoon, he had booked it through Expedia, I think (I vaguely remember).

We went dining at lots of local restaurants, but also at the beautiful restaurants at our resort. Our resort was gorgeous, with its own private beach; lots of activities on site, dining, even live entertainment on site — there was bocce ball, tennis, basketball, foosball, etc. A beauty spa, gym, fire pits… I even stole their mini shampoos and soap when I left because it smells like heaven, ha!

The only thing was that there was occasional sprinkling of rain, kind of like in Hawaii actually — but one night, I did get caught in a heavy downpour with lightning and thunder though.

We went kayaking (my hubby wanted to go scuba diving or snorkeling, but I don’t know how to swim)… and since I never went kayaking either, I wore a life-vest, and my hubby didn’t paddle very far out from shore. We went fishing right off our pier at the resort’s private beach; we also went deep sea fishing on a charter boat, went on a glass-bottom boat ride to a coral reef, checked out an aquarium… Mostly we dined and stayed in bed (I want a honeymoon baby, ha!). ♡

My Experience as a June Bride ♡

I am so thankful for such a wonderful mom-in-law, not enough credit is given to these women. Sure, everyone knows about the monster-in-law, and most brides hope for a mother-in-law, but very few are lucky enough to have a mom-in-law.

My guy wasn’t very involved in the planning, so it was his mom and me who planned it mostly; and it gave us an opportunity to get to bond with each other. We had a $10,000 wedding budget (we originally had a $5,000 budget, but then decided that wasn’t realistic for what we wanted).

For those in the surrounding Cincinnati area, our beautiful venue was at Norlyn Manor. They offer an inclusive wedding package that includes everything from linen to centerpieces. The starting price is $4,000 — our venue cost came out to about $7,500 alone; but we had upgraded our menu, included a cocktail hour, and our ceremony on site.

One of our tables in our reception room on the day of our wedding.

I got all my bridesmaids a bracelet from Amazon. (I bought myself one too.) The girls got their dresses from Forever21. I gave them three choices to choose from, they ended up all choosing the same dress. The guys got their suits at Men’s Warehouse, and the Dr. paid for their suit rentals. My reception dress I bought from an online retailer. My wedding dress I bought online from China (if you’re skinny enough, buying a dress from China will save you a few hundred bucks if you don’t mind waiting for the long shipping date).

You can’t tell in this picture, but there is a heart charm on the last link, and when you hook the clasp on a link, the heart dangles from it.

I asked our bridesmaids and groomsmen to be a part of our wedding through individual homemade cards that I made for each of them, and attached to each was a ring-pop… I asked them to post a picture on FB and tag us on it if they accepted. ♡

My reception dress was the traditional bright red that Chinese brides wear (red is a lucky, happy, and love color in traditional Chinese culture); and my bridesmaids dresses were a red wine color. (That’s us with Aunt Diane, Heidi, and Grandma – Grandpa wandered off to another table with Steve, Dad, Mom, and Uncle Joe to mingle with the other guests by the time we got to their table).

My flowers were the traditional red roses. My mom-in-law could have saved a lot of money if she had went with sunflowers (or any other flowers besides from roses). We used the centerpieces from our venue; so my mom-in-law only needed bouquets, corsages, and boutonnières… and decorations for the gazebo and table-toppers for a few “special” tables (our sweetheart table, the place-card table, etc.) — we had beautiful red roses in vases at these tables too.

Our beautiful red roses that were on our gift table, at the bar, our place-card table, etc.

I made all the prints myself, including the invitations. I used Gartner Studios kits, and they had so many bird themes. (Our wedding theme is lovebirds.) The only prints that I used a professional service for was our rehearsal dinner invitations, and that was a huge disappointment. I used Wedding Paper Divas; they were expensive, and there was a print error on the back of one of my cards; but the cardstock quality was excellent, so I’ll give them that.

I made the place-cards and all our invitations myself (except for our rehearsal dinner invitations). We saved A LOT of money on DIY printing.

Our wedding was a Lovebirds theme; I made our invitations myself using a Gartner Studios’ kit.

Our wedding favors and engagement party favors I ordered online. For the wedding, we got stemless wine glasses engraved with birds on a branch and our names and date; for the engagement we got a lovebird salt and pepper shaker set from Amazon, (I wished I had ordered those for the wedding instead, they’re perfect!).

Our wedding favors.

Our engagement party favors… I got them on Amazon (they’re Kate Aspen, it’s a brand of popular wedding favors).

We got the Dr. and Mrs. a high-end Cuisinart carafe maker… it might be too high-tech for the Mrs. though, so the Dr. will have to program it instead. The guys got a really nice engraved drinking set in an engraved metal case as their gift.

Our wedding website was the Knot, and they even have a lovebird theme that matched our invitations. We registered at BB&B and Amazon.com because they are partnered with our wedding website; and our chosen charity is the US Fund for UNICEF — which is also partnered with the Knot for registry donations.

We went with the recommendations from our venue on the DJ (Steve Bender Entertainment, and our DJ, whose name was RJ, was excellent). My mom-in-law chose a bakery that she’s used before. I let her choose the design; she went with a tiered cake with red roses cascading down, and I bought our rehearsal dinner cake topper on Amazon. It’s two blue lovebirds with a top-hat and a veil.

Our beautiful wedding cake. (We saved the top layer, and it was left un-cut for our anniversary next year.) ♡

Our rehearsal dinner cake… I got the love birds topper on Amazon, and my sweet mom-in-law had the cake designed with sunflowers (my favorite flower).

With the wedding itself, we did it within our $10K budget; but we had help from the Dr. and Mrs. on some of the expenses, and they also host our other events for us like our engagement party (unfortunately his grandpa got very sick around that time); and our rehearsal dinner was paid for by my wonderful brother John. We were very fortunate that they were able to help us out financially with some of the expenses because most couples have to foot the bill entirely on their own.

The whole thing cost closer to about $25,000 though if we included our honeymoon and things outside of the actual wedding; like all the traveling expenses for our wedding, the hotel for our wedding night, etc. (After our reception we stayed at a hotel near our venue in their honeymoon suite, and we left for our honeymoon the next day.) ♡

50 Shades of Crazy

I finally got a chance to read this smut. Unbelievable. If I had the motivation to actually finish my book by its deadline so that it’ll be published, I could write better porn than this crap! They actually made a trilogy out of this obnoxious-ness… in book and film!

Alright, I had my fair share of crazy — where I’ve dealt with the crazy, and have even been the crazy. If there’s any ex out there reading this (or even a random guy using Google), here’s some insight for you, the clueless guy… the lacking in confidence guy, the dealing-with-this-crazy-shit guy… you know who you are. You are that geek who tries so hard to get the hot girl in all those teen-flicks, only to realize afterwards that you have all the confidence in the world (Revenge of the Nerds).

There’s the normal jealousy and insecurity that’s even cute and makes us feel loved, and then there’s the does-your-mama-know-your-ass-is-crazy. Yet many of us don’t know the difference.

What separates sweet possessiveness (as seen in the few insecure stages of love) with bitch-be-crazzzyyyyy? (I’m thinking of the movie Gone Girl here.) At what point do we say enough is enough?

When left unexplored and unresolved, possessive relationships can amount to feelings of misery, anxiety, anger, and even physical or emotional abuse — for women and men — hey, I’ve known a few crazy gals beat the crap out of guys who just took the beatings because they felt wrong to hit a woman back. I’ve always followed the mantra: Act like a man, get treated like one. So if women truly believe in equality, then expect to get punched in the face if you’re swinging at a guy. An even better mantra is: Keep your hands to yourself!

At first it can seem adorable and even flattering to be on the receiving end of your partner’s intense love and devotion, but after a while it becomes smothering and even destructive. Is your relationship supportive of your well-being, or a declination to your health and happiness?

Although it can be hard to admit flaws in a boyfriend, girlfriend or partner (except for me, I’m critical of everyone, ha!), it is worth getting real about your relationship for your own happiness. After all, you have to live with your decisions for the rest of your life. Essentially, if you don’t comply with what your partner wants, then comes the nagging, demanding, threatening, and/or emotional blackmailing.

Whenever you want to go out, meet up with a friend or family member, or even just take a break from them (because honestly, sometimes you just want to say I’m sick of looking at your face!), your partner wants to be a part of everything you do. Often they will discourage prolonged periods of going out and try to keep you confined to the house, typically in menacing or manipulative ways… like sex. Men use love to get sex, and women use sex to get love — (Mallory Knox in Natural Born Killers flashes to mind).

Your partner keeps an eye on every little thing you do to the point of stalking you (or when they’re really nutty — they stalk your friends, your family, even your freakin’ ex’s ex). This might include logging in to your social media accounts and checking your private messages, reading through your emails or text messages, checking your internet browser history, etc… I usually just snoop through the papers on his desk like a normal weirdo, ha!

One key sign of a possessive boyfriend, girlfriend or partner is their tendency to remind you that you are the center of their world; so much so that they need no other friends or social connections because they have you… it’s when they display anger or resentment towards your friends, colleagues or family members — or the exact opposite, make “friends” with your friends, colleagues, and family — that the alarm bells should be sounding. I’ve never understood that need to be so clingy; you know, to extend the theory of six degrees by separation, and this from a woman that approves every random friend request sent — who the hell are those 250 people following me on Instagram and LinkedIn!?!

A dark and serious kind of jealousy seems to boil under the surface of your partner’s façade as they try to dissuade you from spending time with your friends, colleagues or family members. They might criticize, character-dissect, bring up old issues you’ve experienced, or even fabricate lies about those you want to spend time with, sometimes even turning you against those you care about. They might also make up stories about non-existent people and events to try to make you jealous; like, telling you someone asked them out, gave them a compliment, anything to try to make you feel as jealous as they do; they equate jealousy with love. This is the most serious and dangerous warning sign of an abusive or destructive relationship, because these behaviors are so hard to unmask or reveal.

In a possessive relationship, personal space is rarely a concept that is valued. If you have a possessive boyfriend, girlfriend or partner, chances are they will impose themselves too much on your need to have time, space and objects that are exclusively yours. To them, they need to know it ALL. What’s the name of your first pet, your best friend’s name, the make and model of your first car — dude, that’s how Russian hackers get your bank info! … Seriously though, they’re just crazy. (I’m thinking bunny-boiling Fatal Attraction.)

If you talk to a man or woman, they want to know why. If you get a phone call from someone, they want to know why. If you get a friend request from someone, they want to know why. If you get spam mail, they want to know why. And God help you if you innocently reveal any kind of attraction to another person! This might lead to severe guilt-tripping, emotional punishment, or even violence. (Think a young Mark Wahlberg in Fear.)

Going out? Better make sure that you get approval from your partner! The possessive boyfriend, girlfriend or lover will always openly invite themselves somehow to anything that you are a part of — oh, you’re going to a men’s prostrate club meeting, bring her along too because you are her world!

For some reason, your partner always seems to call or text you more than usual because you’re out, they know it, and wasn’t able to swindle their way into joining you. (Oh, I’m just texting you for the 50th time in the last 15 minutes to tell you how much I love you, miss you, am sniffing your underwear for the scent of you because you’re so great and I looovvvvveeeee you so much!) Every decision you make — your partner wants to be there. Period. Often you will even feel pressured to do what they want to do, even if the decision has nothing to do with them.

Your possessive boyfriend/girlfriend/partner has a way of diminishing your self-confidence. They might be emotionally abusive, gaslight you and make you feel as though you don’t truly know what is best for you. All of their jealousy, all of their paranoia, all of their controlling behavior… “it’s all just love”. Your partner justifies his/her toxic behavior by pulling the love card on you, thus paving an easy escape route to avoid responsibility and blame. In fact, you might have bought into the “love” excuse yourself, continuing to justify your partner’s destructive behavior because you are unconsciously too scared to face reality. Fear that this person is the best you can do, fear of wasted time and investment, fear of embarrassment in having to explain it all to others. Fear of being alone.

Possessiveness and any kind of controlling behavior in relationships is a clear sign of insecurity. And where does this insecurity come from? From the fear of abandonment, rejection and powerlessness. If your partner is possessive, it is very likely that they have a great lack of self-love and self-confidence, and this is because deep down, they feel that they need you in order to be happy, safe, secure, and successful. This is the main reason why you are their world, they have no motivation or ambitions of their own, and basically is riding on your coattails in friends, status, financial security, and satisfaction. They live by-carelessly through you. They are “successful” because you’re successful, and therefore they see themselves as successful too for being with you (For Colored Girls).

Re-establish your self-confidence and self-respect which might have been crushed or depleted in your relationship. For instance, explore self-assertiveness, how to love and take care of yourself, and if you are quiet by nature, learn how to discover your voice.

Set aside an appropriate time to talk with your partner. Open the conversation by letting them know how and why you appreciate them, and then merge into the problems you are facing with their behavior. Always talk in terms of their behavior. (No one likes to be called crazy; beware of the woman who adamantly denies it, because let’s be real, all women are to some degree crazy — sane is the woman who knows it.) This removes unnecessary blaming and negativity. Provide specific examples of what behavior is disturbing or upsetting you, and what you would like to change.

Be aware that your partner might get very offended, angry, dismissive, or upset. Prepare yourself for this beforehand to ensure that you keep your cool. Be very clear about what you want to change in the relationship. Remember, if you emotionally react, then the conversation is over once egos get involved.

If they agree to change, help them out by drawing attention to any possessive behavior in the future and setting “time out” periods where you sit together and talk about the progress being made. Possessiveness can’t be cured overnight. Give yourself an ultimatum if there’s no real effort to better the relationship from either side. If you can’t carry out these recommendations (e.g. due to abuse, egotism, financial dependency, etc.), it is best to consider ending the relationship, and build a support network for yourself.

Being in a smothering relationship can be really hard and stressful. Remove some of that stress and burden by letting go of unrealistic fears of being alone, starting over, embarrassment, etc. And if you have any advice… please feel free to lend a helping hand, there’s a lot of crazies out there!