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Last week I had one of the most delicious lunches in a very long time: half of a toasted French baguette sandwich, a small mixed greens salad, a small cup of smoked paprika flavored potato chips, & a bottle of lemon sparkling water. That lunch really made me feel so satisfied. It put me in a really good mood that day. Eh, but that’s beside the point. The main point of this blog post is that Jian & I took our little bean on her first vacation-slash-road trip.

Jian took a week off of work during the Memorial Day holiday, & we planned a trip to Los Angeles to visit my extended family down there. Yes, I know the Memorial Day holiday was quite a bit of time ago, but with this little bean taking up so much of my life, & Jian occupying our one & only shared desktop computer, I haven’t had much free time for myself other than to play a quick level of an app game on my tablet whilst sitting on the toilet. (I don’t dare stay in the bathroom for too long, lest my mother scream bloody hell that she can no longer carry or distract her grandchild for another minute. My mother has just as short an attention span as my little bean, & even less stamina to keep up with her.) This is all completely frivolous information & totally beside the point. Let’s get on with the main topic, shall we?

Jian & I had carefully planned a road trip down to Los Angeles to visit extended family whom have never seen our little bean in person up until now. Our little bean has only seen aunts, uncles, cousins & the like through a tiny little screen on mommy’s smartphone. Jian & I of course made sure that the both of us were fully Covid-19 vaccinated before we decided to travel anywhere outside our city bubble. Luckily for our little bean, she got to get her vaccine through me & my delicious breast milk. Yes, you heard me right. My breast milk contains antibodies, which can transfer to the babe through breast feeding, which shares with the babe the benefits of mommy’s vaccine.

Both Jian & I were a little worried (me more so than him) that our little bean would not be too happy being confined in her makes-the-baby-too-hot car seat for several hours. So we made plans to take frequent breaks to let the little bean stretch her legs & get some fresh air outside of the car. It turns out that we didn’t really need to take so many breaks. We only stopped for gas, one extra diaper change, & a quick lunch break at a designated rest area. Otherwise, the little bean slept in the car for most of the drive down the interstate. She did complain a little bit about being too hot in the car, but once we blasted the air conditioning, she went back to her regularly scheduled napping.

This is little bean & me after eating lunch.

Originally, Jian & I had planned on staying at one of the super hipster boutique hotels that we’ve heard so much about through Instagram. There was one hotel in particular that we were excited about staying at, but it was a little bit out of the way from where our family lives, so we ended up taking the practical route & stayed at a hotel close to family. That hotel ended up being the best decision & made our trip so effortless & enjoyable. We were close to craft coffee shops, restaurants, & a huge shopping mall, yet also close by to family. Also, having a mini kitchenette in our hotel room made it so much more convenient to take care of a little babe who is still bottle feeding.

Our little bean instantly acclimated to hotel living & fell in love with our hotel room the moment we stepped through the door. She made herself right at home on the king-sized hotel bed, rolling around & playing with her blanket from home. We just plopped her down in the middle of the bed, & she was making all sorts of happy cooing sounds & playing all by herself while the two of us casually unpacked all of our travel gear. Normally at home, our little bean would’ve been whining as soon as we put her down on the bed. At home she won’t even give us two minutes to change out of our pajamas in the morning before she starts crying to have us pick her up from the bed. At the hotel, she immediately would entertain & amuse herself while Jian & I would do our own things like taking a bathroom break or grabbing a drink from the fridge in the kitchenette.

This is little bean & Jian in our hotel room.

Over all, we had a great time visiting family. The two of us were quite pleasantly surprised that our little bean allowed us to do all of the usual things we do when we visit Los Angeles, like hang out at coffee shops, go shopping at our favorite trendy neighborhoods, & eat at various types of busy/crowded/loud food places. This little girl was super chill the entire duration of our trip, except for when she was feeling hot & restless. We thought the weather in Los Angeles was going to be raging hell fire hot, since it is…well…Los Angeles in early summer after all. I even bought the little bean a portable stroller fan, but it turned out that I didn’t really need to use it on most days. The weather was very warm, but not unbearably hot like we were assuming it would be. It turns out that I’ve been using the stroller fan more at home than I ever did on our travels.

Our little bean had a great time with all of the grown-ups (aunts, uncles, and grandparents). I thought she’d see little kids in our family & immediately warm up to them, since they are small like her, but she was actually nervous around the other little kids in our family, her first cousins. Also, as it turns out, our little bean isn’t really afraid of dogs (as long as they’re not the size of Great Danes or German Shepherds). She’ll tolerate them running around the house or sniffing her, but she won’t put her hands close to them or pet them at all. A few of my cousins each have a dog of their own, & our little bean was just fine around them. I thought she would be a little freaked out by them since she’s never really been around animals before, but she took on the situations like a champ!

Well, we’ve been home for a couple of weeks now, & we just realized that we spent most of our time in Los Angeles hunting down the next craft coffee shop to quench our caffeine addiction. Along the way, we unintentionally hauled a bunch of coffee beans to make drip coffee at home. Jian & I are already extremely familiar with all of the local coffee roasters in our region, so finding a new & interesting bag of beans while traveling outside of our area is always something we enjoy doing. When we first started our journey into frequenting craft coffee spots, there weren’t more than just a small handful of roasters based in Los Angeles; a lot of the beans we tried were all imported from Portland, OR, Chicago, IL, or Santa Cruz, CA. Now there’s a lot of local coffee bean roasters based out of Los Angeles, & we were excited to try these new beans at home.

Our coffee bean haul

Wow, I can’t believe my little bean has been napping for nearly 2 hours, giving me time to sit down & properly write this post. I better wrap this up before she wakes & demands all of my attention. I am currently snacking on French Comté cheese & listening to lo-fi music on Spotify. (Check out my playlists & send me a follow if you’re there.) Now it’s time to cook dinner & send my brother off to the airport. Oh, did I forget to tell you that my brother has been in town this past weekend? Oops! Well, I gotta go now, but until next time… santé!

Today’s song of the day:

I thought I’d tell you a little story about my life. I was once a long-time friend of a person I should not have kept a relationship with for very long. I met this girl in primary/elementary school, & we became fast friends. From that point on, we were practically inseparable. We both lived on the same street, very close to each other, so that was an advantage to our friendship. Back then, I was an incredibly gullible & naïve kid, also a pushover.

Oh man, this friend got me to do so many stupid things that I absolutely regret & cringe at whenever I think about it. No, she didn’t get me to do dangerous or illegal things, but they were just childish stupid things nonetheless. I had no idea that throughout our friendship she was pushing me around, not in a bullying way but more like in a manipulative way. This girl definitely wore the pants during our best friendship.

I got to know this girl’s entire family when we were friends. She lived with her mom & grandmother just up the street from where I grew up. We were so close as kids that she even invited me to go with her every weekend to visit her terminally ill dad in the nursing home. I was so close in friendship with this girl that I even got to know her extended family (ie. aunts & uncles). Little did I know that throughout our lengthy friendship, this girl had a crush on me, & I sort of had a crush on her mom.

Now, when I say “crush”, I mean she was physically attracted to me, & I idolized her mom. I thought this girl’s mom was super cool. She was a self-professed hippie back in the 60s, complete with a fringe-y vest & flower crown headband. This girl’s mom even claimed that back in the 60s she & her husband would smoke pot (as well as other illicit hallucinogenics) & hang out at their local record store. She worked as a librarian at a local public library near our house. As kid, I wanted to be a librarian stacking books at a library. I thought that was a fun & easy job.

This girl’s mom was super laid back & always very friendly. She was soft spoken & very pretty. She always let us listen to her old vinyl records as long as we put them back after. She had all of the original Beatles records as well as a bunch of other cool ones from the 60s & 70s. I guess I kind of wanted to be like this girl’s mom in a way; a young woman-about-town, living a carefree life, with a simple job, & listens to cool music. This girl’s mom taught me all about music from the 60s & 70s. That’s how I developed my interest in music from that era.

Let’s get back to that “crush” thing I was talking about earlier. I had no idea during our friendship that this girl was attracted to me as more than just a friend. Now, I can’t say that she was in love with me or anything like that, but I can definitely say that when I now look back on our friendship, I can see that she was trying to figure out her questionable sexuality & I was her easy target. I remember one time when I had invited her over for one of our many sleepovers, & just like in that one scene in the 1995 The Brady Bunch movie, she tried to feel me up by putting her hand on my thigh, & multiple times that night she tried to get me to touch her fully clothed crotch. There were also a couple of other times sprinkled throughout our friendship where she tried to get me to touch her crotch. I didn’t notice these signs at the time. I only noticed these red flags long after our friendship had ended.

Geez, there were so many incidents throughout our friendship that should have made me seriously question &/or straight up end our relationship, but I always gave her second chances & benefits of the doubt. I never questioned her when she tried to sabotage my reputation amongst our friend group by spreading hurtful gossip. I didn’t even bat an eye when she had me call the police (in a naïve panic) & make a falsified police report regarding a death threat she received against one of my family members. It wasn’t until we both left for college & she found out I had started dating my first boyfriend.

I guess at the time she couldn’t handle that I was dating, or maybe she had mistakenly thought before that I was a closeted lesbian & was surprised to find out I was dating a male. We hadn’t really kept in touch during the summer before each starting college (or whatever she had planned to do after high school). Then, all of a sudden, during my time out of state for college, she contacts me out of the blue & asks all kinds of strange questions about my then boyfriend. She didn’t ask about me, her longtime childhood friend. She only talked about him & asked questions about him.

I ultimately broke off all contact with this girl when she began asking me if it would be okay if she met up with my boyfriend without me being present. The final nail-in-the-coffin moment in our friendship ending was when she asked me very specifically & strangely if I would mind if she met up with my boyfriend & hung out with him in a hot tub. I knew at the time that my boyfriend lived with his parents & they own a hot tub, which I’ve become well acquainted with on a few dates with him. So, my mind immediately spiraled into a black hole of negative thoughts. I made a huge “how could you hurt me like this?” scene to my boyfriend over email & instant messenger. I was playing sad break-up songs all the time. Then, I cut off all contact with this girl…but only after I cussed her out like I’ve never cussed anyone out before, & in very specific words I told her our friendship was as dead as death himself.

As you can clearly see now, I am no longer with that first boyfriend, & I have had no other contact with this girl from my past. I will give her a lot of credit for shaping my hobbies, interests, & tastes in music, but I no longer look back on our friendship in any positive light. That girl did shake up my life & made it more interesting (not sure if that’s a good or bad thing), & she gave me quite a few unique stories to tell. However, if I could redo our friendship all over again, I would have definitely guarded myself a little more from this girl & not let her get so close to me & my family. I remember her from time-to-time, but I don’t ever think about how she’s doing now or where she lives now. I only ever wonder every once in a while if her dad had ultimately passed on, & what’s her mom up to these days. Her…not at all.

That’s pretty much the end of this story time. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

Ever since I have been spending 99.99% of my time cooped up inside the house with my little bean, I’ve had plenty of time to relax & truly enjoy my nesting time. I have found so much enjoyment & contentment in little random things. For one, I love giving my little bean a bath (she thoroughly enjoys it too), but I have also renewed my love of taking a super hot shower at the end of the day. Washing up & then jumping into bed while you’re still warm from the shower gives me all the happy feels. After that, it’s the little window of time between putting my little bean to bed & myself going to sleep that also gets me excited. It’s that little notch of quiet “me time” that I enjoy, playing games or internet window shopping on my tablet.

Also, with me being the overly-organized person that I am, I am so super duper overjoyed that my daughter is nearly as organized as I am. She likes to stick to her daily routine just as much as I like to build a daily routine for her. Since the day she came home, I’ve been gradually putting her on a fairly regimented routine. Of course at just a few weeks old there is no such thing as a schedule, but by the time she was one-month old, she was already sleeping in her own bassinet & only waking up a few times throughout the night to be fed & have her diaper changed. My little bean is now 5 months old & she sleeps all by herself in her own crib in her own room. Not only that, she sleeps all the way through the entire night until morning. She rarely wakes up in the middle of the night to be fed or have her diaper changed. See folks, it’s never too early to sleep train the babes. I’ve even trained my little bean to take naps at certain times throughout the day. She pretty much fell into a natural schedule where she also eats at around the same time every day. This has just made my daily schedule so much more organized…& also made my life easier (& more predictable too).

Taking my little bean on little outings, like to our socially distanced COVID-safe shopping mall every once in a while has also been fun. She’s only really fussed once or twice out of the few of times we’ve taken her to go out with us. It’s been fun taking her on these outings, training her to get used to loud noises as well as the hustle & bustle of the city. The only difficult part about taking my little bean out is when we have to pack up her diaper bag, a bottle of formula, & all of her stroller accessories. Jian & I try to adhere to the “less is more” approach, but alas my over-preparedness traits take over, & I end up packing too many little things for all the emergency scenarios I can think of just to go on a short trip to the local shopping mall. It’s also sort of fun to get lots of attention when people see us with our little bean. The other day Jian took us out to the big city to go window shopping & have a special lunch away from home, & everyone at the restaurant was so interested in getting to know our little bean. I kind of felt like a rock star mom for getting so much attention.

One other thing that I have been personally enjoying lately is quite weird & boring, but I love doing it nonetheless. I have really been enjoying brushing my tongue whenever I brush my teeth, so much so that it’s become almost like scrubbing my tongue extra clean with my toothbrush. I know this is a silly thing to get so excited about, but I do have a pet peeve about people with bad breath. I also have a slight paranoia about people thinking that my breath smells bad. So I make sure that I spend a little extra time brushing my tongue after each time I brush my teeth. It not only gives me that fresh breath & clean mouth feeling, but it also kind of makes me feel like I am massaging my tongue to prevent getting those pesky little white cold sores that pop up from time-to-time, & irritates every time my tongue rubs the inside of my mouth. I feel happy just thinking about it.

Next, it’s almost springtime & we are finally getting the winter-type weather we should have gotten during the actual winter season. The temperatures have been quite chilly, but not cold, & we’ve been getting some rain showers on-&-off in our area. As I have said numerous times before, I love rainy weather, & this time I get to share this experience with my little bean. Of course, as with all other babes, she doesn’t like it when it rains while she’s trying to sleep. The rain keeps her up at night. However, during the day, she’s a real trooper & can sleep through just about any noise. It was raining on & off all day yesterday, & I was really enjoying the soothing sounds & watching the rain drip drop off of the awning overhang in the courtyard of my house. Oh man, I wish we could have gotten more rain this past season so we could avoid a potential drought in our area, but it looks like this summer there’s going to be a whole lot less toilet flushing & shorter showers.

Well, that’s a few of the new things that I’ve really been paying attention to & loving recently. It’s truly amazing & blows my mind seeing my little bean progress & develop more every single day. I swear she is super intuitive & advanced for a babe her age. She is ultimately the light of my life, & I better finish this post before she wakes up from her nap again. Until the next nap…I mean post…cheers all!

Today’s song of the day

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