The beauty of Sapa in autumn

Travelling to Sapa in this autumn either in Sapa tours or by yourself, you all can witness the gorgeous beauty here. Sapa in autumn is very beautiful, sunshine like silk, dry air, average cold atmosphere, in the evening, wearing a light jacket then strolling around the town with friends, how warm is it! During daytime, sightseeing Muong Hoa valley, watching the yellow terraces layer by layer and trekking to Ta Phin village, how wonderful is it? Yes, Sapa in autumn is Sapa in grain season, when the terraced rice fields all around Lao Cai province gleam a bright yellow color. Yellow color covers all the mountain slopes where hundreds hectares of terraced rice fields grown in Ta Van, Lao Chai, Ban Den, Trung Chai, Ta Phin creating a giant painting landscapes with winding lines of talented ‘barefoot artists’. Continue reading The beauty of Sapa in autumn

Being a Sunshine

I know I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog complaining about my daughter’s bad sleeping and other stressors associated with being her primary care-taking parent, and I feel like overall I’ve barely expressed the amazement and in-love of my days with Anna.

Not that I’m going to forget any time soon.  How could 15 months not be 15% percent more hilarious and gorgeous than 14 months, when it seems every week bring more delightful mannerisms, funny words, and a shocking increase in her toddler beauty?

I mean, she’s the Arm & Hammer baby for God’s sake.

And that was when she was only 7 months old.  She’s on track to displace all Gerber and Old Navy models by the time she hits 2.

But cuteness only gets you so far (very far).  Personality and fun and a liking for hugging and kissing Mommy get you the rest of the way.  Charming all humans, amimals and some cadavers with pure sweetness is just a typical day for Anna.

She loves anything fun, happy, shiny, sparkling, musical, exciting, or new.  She loves dogs, tigers, lions and cats.  She loves people.  She loves people loving her.  Center of attention is too mild a term.

She starts the day by calling “dog…dog…dog!” meaning it’s time for me to come and take her out of her crib to visit Finn on my bed.  We cuddle and kiss Finn until he can’t take it anymore and jets away.  I find her in her crib after a nap with red cheeks, messed up bed-head curls, and a happy disposition.  If I leave her for any amount of time, as soon as I return and she sees me, it’s a full-fledged run and fall into my arms.  Happily muttering “dada, dada” since she calls both me and my husband “dada.”

If there’s a joke and anyone laughs, she’s chiming in with the world’s worst-faked “ha ha ha. Ha ha.”  If there’s something pretty, unusual, or interesting to see, she’s there, pointing her finger at it with a face of wonderment.

What’s life going to be like with a child like this? Fun, maddening, special, warm, cozy, happy, exciting, comedic.

Good thing I’ll get to be there.

When she’s not a cute baby monkey clinging onto Momma’s fur, she’s a little birdie, squawking and receiving bits of food into her mouth.  We ask her to show us her teeth and she happily sticks her tongue out at us (we don’t get it either).  “Itsy-bitsy Spider” is requested, often, with a command consisting of her little fists tangling about themselves in the air and a musically mish-mashed phrase “witsy witsy witsah.”  Grandma is excitedly anticipated at the door with an exaggerated peering around the corner and a “Goy??  Goy?? Goy??”

Life is made new.  Holidays, places to go…it’s like the reason the Thanksgiving Day Parade was ever invented in the first place is for us to experience it with Anna this year.  Could it have bothered to exist before?

Yup, that’s for you.

Somehow Daddy knew to make “You are my sunshine” your official theme song, and it couldn’t fit more perfectly.

Sure, there are the rumblings of tantrums to come, and if any small person grabs a toy you are into, you’re sure to yell “nonono Anna nanana” meaning “get the hell away from me before I push you and I will, I’ve done it before” but really? This is you.


So I’ve never considered myself particularly crafty. Artistic, yes. Creative, definitely. But craftiness implies a level of…patience and detail wrangling I just don’t have.

When my daughter was less than a month old, in some kind of hormonal haze, I bought a Martha Stewart scrapbook kit. The idea was that this would be her baby book. It was part of a shopping spree only explainable by being freed from my breastfeeding house arrest.

It turns out this is kind of fun. Now don’t get any ideas that I’m some scrapbook maven. I’m sure it’s cheating to use one of the kits, and I know people do amazing work with little bits of paper, doilies, and glue. Did I mention I hate using glue sticks? I mean, I graduated nursery school for a reason. I also got my only Below Average mark on a report card in all of elementary school for cutting. “Cutting” was an evaluated task and I wasn’t good enough. Patience! Details! Little bits o’ things! Not my forte.

When I got into drawing and painting as a teenager, these limitations did come back to haunt me. Patience and a sort of neatness are virtues in painting and I would always hastily declare something DONE! ART! It’s done because it’s art and I say so! before I should have due to a severe lack of patience.

Anyway, lifetime failings aside, here’s my daughter’s baby book in progress. I want to mostly finish it so I can leave it out at her 1st birthday party and awe people. With my awe-inspiring awesomeness at life. And paper bits.

In progress. It’s a messy business. Note the quesadilla maker box is used as a platform for coloring for my daughter. It’s not part of her baby book. Yet.

Oh, yeah. I guess I didn’t do the cover yet. I forgot I had to do the cover, too. This is time-consuming.

Labor page. The midwives said I was awesome because I pushed (from fully dilated to birth) for 7 hours with no epidural or pain medication.

Hmm, this page looks a bit crowded. I will amend!

First Halloween and Christmas. All my photos are digital so if I happen to have anything printed, I’m adding it to the book. If I don’t have any physical prints this very moment of an event, like oh, say, my first child’s first Thanksgiving, it’s going to get skipped. Wow, I’m a great scrapbooker.

Love needs a mention.

Gotta brag record for future generations when your baby does everything early, right?

This page isn’t done. I couldn’t handle any more assemblage of minute ephemera by this point.

I’m up to Easter! I could conceivably finish by the time Anna gets married!

Dairy Free Dinners

I’m on week two of a dairy free diet, and so far it’s been slightly challenging to find meals that leave me feeling full and satisfied.

Thanksgiving leftovers, the only dairy I’ve had in 2.5 weeks

I keep feeling like I’m missing something. Not sure if it’s the richness/ taste of dairy or the fullness from saturated fats. I’m not a huge red meat eater so I think I’m missing that…animal fat, I guess.

Foods I’m using to try and satisfy this feeling:

Avocado, on everything

Almond milk (in cereal and oatmeal)

More nuts

More eggs and meat

Peanut butter


Tonight I had regular old pasta with tomato sauce, and I didn’t miss the Parmesan cheese too much. I wanted pizza, so this had to do.
Other weeknight meals this week: chicken sausage and peppers and ground turkey and avocado tortillas.

I’m obsessed with Frontera Foods flavoring packets from Rick Bayless. Did you know he’s a fitness junkie?
And hot?

Anyway, with avocado and warm corn tortillas, I didn’t miss the cheese.

I chopped up half an onion, two potatoes, and cooked them with ground turkey then added the simmer sauce. So easy it works with a twenty-minute napping baby.

I’ve also been trying some really expensive dairy free products like this chocolate chip cookie dough. I was just craving yummy baked goods.

They definitely didn’t have the consistency or look of standard cookies, but they tasted good!

Since I’ve cut dairy, Henry seems much less fussy and gassy, but his diapers are still really full of mucus. I know, it’s gross. I’m not sure if I should cut soy next, or if it will just take more time.