Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Community Team Work

I love that Goldman promotes volunteerism among its employees so they can make a difference in the community. Groups of employees chose days to be involved with "Community Team Work." Today, instead of going into the office, I went to Globus Relief to help sort and package medical supplies to be sent to places that needed them both within and out of the United States. For example, they have sent supplies to Hurricane Sandy as well as Oklahoma and Haiti. They have been making a difference for decades and have now reached over 100 different countries. Read more about them here.

Starting off the day was a little challenging as there were only stairs in front of the entrance, so I recruited 2 young men to help carry me up into the building. Then, when I needed to use the restroom, the receptionist led me to one that was not wheelchair accessible and told me there were no other options. Luckily, I had my carpool friends, Angela and Shayla helped fireman carry me into the stall. Imagine fitting three grown ladies in a teeny restroom stall. That was tricky and hilarious. But I dreaded the thought of going through the ordeal every two hours (due to my pregnancy). Luckily, we came across a wheelchair accessible restroom near the work room. What a relief!

Service with a smile!

I wouldn't say we had the most thrilling time of our lives but we knew we were doing something good that will go to help many others. The work we did was repetitive; sorting unexpired supplies from expired ones, boxing and packing, and labeling. But we had a great time talking and hanging out with each other in the process. Overall, it was a rewarding experience to be involved in the community in another way, as well as learn another part of what the Goldman culture entails. I hope to volunteer more often and that you will, too!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Drunken Noodles at J-Wong's Bistro

For lunch, my friend, Mia and I went out for a stroll to J-Wong's Bistro, an Asian fusion restaurant that brings in flavors from China, Thailand, Indonesia, etc. It was just a 10-minute walk from our building (which may play a role in this place being all the rage among Goldman folks) and was well worth the walk. To cleanse our palates, we had a delicious hot and sour soup with mushrooms and carrots. For the main dish, I had Drunken Noodles and it was superb! This dish is flat rice noodles with onions, bell peppers, carrots, celery, baby corn, broccoli, and beef. It had a nice balance of sour and savory flavors. I loved the crispiness from fresh vegetables. They were the best drunken noodles I've ever had! I think little Boston was happy too because he was making all sorts of ruckus during lunch :)

Not only was the dish commendable, but so were the chill ambiance and friendly and quick service. Plus, the price and portions are decent. We had a really nice time and would definitely recommend a visit here. Check out this website for their menu and prices.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Good baby books for mothers

I came home today to find that our good friends from Fresno, the Hernandez' had ordered for us tons of books on just about everything related to pregnancy and parenthood. Each is pretty popular and well-rated by other mothers. I suspect these are useful for other expecting mothers as well:
  • Eating well when you're expecting
  • What to expect when you are expecting
  • Nursing mother's companion
  • What to expect the first year (must have!)
I think I'm set for the rest of the pregnancy if I can discipline myself to read these books in preparation of Boston. I'm sure when he arrives, natural motherly instincts will kick it, but it'll be nice to have references as well.

It's scary to think that our baby is on his way, and we have no set plans of care from a wheelchair nor even a crib yet! The type A in me is getting anxious for AJ to return home so we can work more on Boston's nursery and prepare for his arrival. But for now the exhausted me has taken over and is trying to take it one step at a time. My body has changed so much from pregnancy. I never knew I could be so bulgy and have to endure so much heart burn! 9 months worth! I'm sure many mothers out there can sympathize with me. I have to keep reminding myself that this will be worth it in the end. It's even worth it now to feel the little flutters and kicks of the baby. He already makes me feel so happy to know he's there. Kids, I hear they are just full of surprises. Let's just hope this little one doesn't surprise us with a visit before AJ returns. --feeling exhausted but excited :)

Chubby's in American Fork

For dinner, we went to a local restaurant called Chubby's in American Fork. Iy looked small on the outside, kind of on a busy road, but was quite spacious and wheelchair accessible inside (although, soda fountains could have been lower). Surprisingly, the restaurant was packed with visitors so it must mean this place is good. It was an interestingly decorated establishment with random local pictures and signs as well as items from the old days such as a hand drawn clothes washer. Here are some of the treasures we found :

This lady is a champ for modeling big onions, as you can see.
I thought this sign was very fitting.

Holly found an old school washing machine. Whoa!

The menu had a variety of burgers, salads, and kid's meals to choose from. I'm kind of sad I didn't get a picture of the very large spicy buffalo salad I had; it was so good and definitely was too much food for this pregnant lady to handle. It was fairly priced as well. It was loaded with romaine lettuce, fried chicken strips, spicy buffalo sauce, and feta cheese. Dad had a "Utah" burger, which basically means classic burger with FRY SAUCE! Holly had  the "usual" (chicken strips). Overall, it was a very delicious meal in a cute, intimate setting. I would recommend it.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Filipino Vegas

Vegas is such a melting pot for people from all over, which means lots of delicious cuisines as well. Since were just a couple hours away, we decided to go on a drive to Vegas to pick some delicacies from a filipino supermarket mecca, Seafood City  on Maryland Blvd, or as Holly said, "Maryland Monroad." The store has a wide variety of tropical fruits including rambutan, jackfruit, and lychee. It was even equipped with the Filipino equivalence of McD's and Panda Express called, Jolly Bee and Chow King. I was excited to have some of the same things we had while we were in the Philippines. I highly recommend a visit here to see another, more ethnic and local part of Vegas.

Right next door is a teeny bakery called, Valerio's Tropical Bakery where clients are shoulder to shoulder with each other. They make fresh Filipino goods everyday including Puto Bumbang (coconut and purple yam dessert) to die for and pan de coco (coconut bread)! Be sure to stop by this quaint bakery.

Jolly Bee!
Our collection of foods: fried chicken and rice

Halo halo

And of course we couldn't pass up the chance to drive down the Strip despite having gone there so many times before. Fancy.

The Bellagio

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

Updating post for AJ: This is the second year in a row that AJ has been out of the country during the Fourth of July. It's a little sad for me to think about because he completes my holidays and every day, really. But I'm glad to know he's probably enjoying a nice little Cambodian-made burger somewhere awesome. 

Our family didn't have a whole ton of plans this year as I had to get up and work the next day (on a Friday...lame, but I guess that's the real world). So, we did some pretty American things:

Ate classic In N Out burgers and fries for lunch

Shopped for baby at IKEA.
Had a bbq with steak, corn on the cob, and mango...only the good stuff :)
Watched fireworks surrounding our house at night. So pretty!

Holly had some successful ones :)

Not super American, but I hit 28 weeks - 7 months!! Mega awesome!

We had a lovely Fourth. Hopefully next summer will see more AJ in America. Nonetheless, I'm very proud to be an American and have such essential rights granted and protected for me by this amazing country. I'm thankful for the men and women who are out there fighting for me. I'm grateful for caring people who are out there making things happen for the rest of us. I'm thankful that because of the reasons above and more, I can make something out of myself despite my humble roots and provide new opportunities for my posterity as well. Thank you, America!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Anthony's Mission Call to Cambodia

My brother, Anthony has been preparing himself to go on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. After a long, strenuous process filled with paperwork, interviews, doctor exams, and study, he was finally eligible to put in his application. After a couple of weeks, a big white envelope for "Elder Anthony Lao," came in the mail. The letter we've all been waiting for had finally arrived. 

On the evening of his birthday (July 3rd), with excitement in his demeanor and trembling hands, he opened his mission call in front of family members (in person, over the phone, and via Skype). We learned that for 24 months, he will be spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Cambodia Phnom Penh mission, the homeland of our parents. We were so thrilled for him to serve our people and make a difference in their lives. We discussed many things he needed to prepare for and teased him about eating fried grasshoppers and spiders for snack. We are so excited for him to meet our grandma and relatives for the first time.

That was a sweet birthday present for him to say the least. We are so proud of him and wish him the best.
To learn more about the LDS Church and our beliefs, please visit this site.
We all watched him open it.
Sadly, AJ will be home already before Anthony leaves to the mission field, otherwise, it would have been cool for him to show Ant some of the ropes in Cambodia. However, there are still lots of tales to be told of our adventures there and we'll make sure to prepare him well. He enters the Missionary Training Center (MTC) on September 4th. Good luck bro! We love you!!!!!