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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Office Blog

Sorry I have been a little behind on posting to this site.  With the holidays and our anniversary, things have become really hectic!  But, another big reason is because I have started a blog on our office website.  The office blog will focus more on ophthalmology, cosmetic services and will still include pics of the family, but more in the context of being a working mom (like so many of you out there).  I'll continue posting my home life, personal DIY projects and family pics here on this blog for our family and friends.  But, feel free to pop on over to to check it out.

Here's a snapshot of my latest post below:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Four Years?

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband. You are patient, kind and warm.  You're an amazing husband and father and I don't say it enough.  I can't believe it's been 4 years already.  We have accomplished so much in such a short period of time - we moved to Hawaii from Boston, bought a house, took over an ophthalmology clinic (and in the process, became bosses for the first time), and had 2 boys!  Yowser!

It makes me remember the write-up in the New York Times about our wedding.  I had submitted our wedding, more or less, as a lark.  I had some extra time between patients at Boston Children's one day and I figured - why not?  We have a cute story, met in NYC and I thought that might peak someone's interest. My college roommate had this amazing article about her wedding and I thought I'd give it a try.  So, I emailed off the one paragraph summary of our wedding and promptly forgot about it.  On the submission form, you have to list the names of your parents, priest and contact information.  Well, I completely forgot to tell anyone that I had submitted our wedding, mainly because I really didn't think we would make it in to the paper.  Then, a few weeks later, I was talking to my father and he mentions he got this strange phone call, from someone claiming to be from the New York Times, who was clearly trying to steal his identity - asking all of these personal questions.  Ooops!  So, I finally explained that he was a real reporter and here's the story below.

And, here are some pics from our multicultural wedding.  We had a Hindu ceremony in the morning (we had to fly a priest out from California since there are no Hindu priests in Hawaii), followed by an Indian vegetarian lunch.  Then we had a Presbyterian ceremony in the afternoon, followed by a dinner with a band, Chinese lion dance and interludes of Indian music! My colors were a deep red and pink (to echo the Royal Hawaiian hotel), with more gold in the morning to reflect the Indian ceremony.  Everything was DIY for the wedding - the programs, place cards, name cards, etc.  It was hard getting everything over to Hawaii from Boston, but I'm glad that we did.  Not only did it save money, but it added a personal touch.

If anyone wants help with ideas for creating an inter-faith, multi-cultural wedding, just let me know!  There are some things I would have done differently now in retrospect, but it was a beautiful day.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Taj's Travel / Cultural Themed Nursery

I'll start off with a pic of the nursery before we moved in.  It's a very small room, about 9 feet by 8 feet, which is why when the previous owners lived in the house, all they could squeeze in was a twin bed and a nightstand.  

The size of the room was the main challenge in creating the nursery.  Initially, when I found out that Taj (my second son) was a boy, I wasn't going to change the nursery at all, since it was all set from Nikhil's.  But, as the pregnancy continued, I really felt that urge to  nest.  Since Nikhil's nursery was put together very quickly, I didn't have time to plan things out they way I really wanted to.  This time, I was able to think things through, get inspired by other blogs and  so I ended up changing the artwork and theme of the room.

We repainted the walls a similar green, but a little less minty than the original owners and I changed the furniture layout, keeping the crib by the door so that we could peek in and see the baby. We painted right before we moved into the house and the color was chosen in like 3 seconds.  Originally, I wanted to save money and we weren't going to repaint the house before we moved in.  But, my brother-in-law convinced us that painting before we moved in was the best time to do it and would make the house really feel like "ours."  So, we literally had 2 days to choose colors for the whole house (and remember, we had just moved from Boston and sold all of our stuff in craig's list, so we had absolutely no furniture). We chose green because at the time I was pregnant with Nikhil and knew he was going to be a boy, but we knew we wanted more kids and wanted something gender neutral which would be acceptable for a girl too.   So, I had to do things backwards and find stuff that matched the wall color rather than vice versa.

 The jumping off point was the Michael Miller fabric I found for the crib sheet and crib skirt. I loved the green seersucker fabric for the bumpers (reminded me of North Carolina) with the soft minky dot fabric on the inside.  All the fabric was purchased online at

 My talented mom made the crib bumpers.  The crib skirt and sheet were made by a woman on Etsy whose shop is now closed.  Unfortunately, right after my mom had made the bumpers, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with their policy statement regarding the hazards of bumpers.  But, we haven't left Taj to sleep in his crib yet (he sleeps in a bassinet in our room).  So I figured it's OK for now, since we're always watching him when he's in the crib, which is no more than about 10 minutes at a time right now.  When we transition him to the crib, we will remove the bumpers.

The awesome chevron curtains were made by my mother from fabric I bought at  It's Annette Tatum's chevron in blue.  She stitched them with black out liner and along with the Home Depot faux white wood blinds, they make it really dark during the day, perfect for naps.

I scored the rocking chair from costco for $200.  As with all things costco, it's not always available, but we were lucky that we found it right before Nikhil was born.  I used to have the footstool in here too, but it really made the room tiny, so I removed it and it's easy enough to rock.  The other thing that we added was carpet.  It's just a remnant, cut down to the size of the room with a super thick rug pad underneath.  It's way better than the 4x 6 area rug I had in here before, which really made the room smaller.  Plus, it wasn't as cushiony soft as the carpet.

I made the wall art below.  It has his name in English, Tamil and his Chinese name as well.  I bought paint pens in coordinating colors and printed out templates and traced them onto the canvas (after I had painted it blue with some leftover house paint).  For the post about the cute plane crib mobile that my mom made, click here.  Are you sensing the theme here?  I'm not talking about the travel/cultural theme of the nursery, but the theme that my mom was super instrumental in creating this nursery!

Jessica Flannigan's nursery
I love these custom prints designed by Lisa Barbero on Etsy.  I initially saw them on Jessica's nursery which was featured on chic cheap  Here's a pic of her nursery.  Once I saw it, I loved it and it's funny because I didn't run across her nursery pic for her son, Bodhi, until I had finished my nursery (all except for the art), but there are some definite similarities.

Like Jeff and I, Jessica and her husband are from 2 different backgrounds (check out her site).  And, she had the brilliant idea of having Lisa do cities that were meaningful to them.  I loved the idea of Taj having something like this in his room, so I had Lisa do prints for Madras, India (where my Mom is from), Zhongshan, China (where Jeff's father is from ) Honolulu (where Jeff is from and where we live now), as well as New York, where Jeff and I met.  I left out Raleigh where I grew up, only because I couldn't really think of an iconic skyline that NC had and NYC is more meaningful to the story of Taj.

Lisa did a fantastic job on the custom prints.  She was open to feedback and changed things until we happy with the end result. I really love the Madras one.  She captured the temple and St. George's church beautifully and even made an extra copy for my mom.

Continuing on the cultural, travel theme, I used letter blocks in English and Tamil and a globe for decoration.

A huge change I made was to remove the closet doors and shell out the cash to get a closet organizing system.  It has made the biggest change in the room and creates much more space, while also being a lot more organized than before.  Click here for the pic of the way the closet looked with Nikhil.

If you are interested in knowing where I purchased anything, just drop me an email or comment, and I'll be happy to reply!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Kids Art Display

This is a quick post on a simple little project I did to display Nikhil's art.  All the projects I choose to do have to be things that can be done easily with a newborn.  I would love to do more detailed projects, but somehow there's just never enough time.  And, as I gear back up to return to work in 3 short week (where did the time go?).  I have to prioritize.

I was inspired by this pic in Coastal Living.  I love this room. and it's funny because it has the same colors as Nikhil's room, though I guess there's nothing really crazy about turquoise and white.  I've seen the clothes pins on fishing line idea for displaying art, but I liked the fact that this didn't use fishing line or string or something that I'm always worried can be a choking hazard for little boys.

So, I bought the metal clips on amazon and there was only one size that would ship to Hawaii.  Turned out they were way too big and way too hard to open and close.

So, then I decided to use clothes pins, a little Modge Podge and Japanese paper I bought at Ben Franklin.

I cut out strips of the paper the size of the clothes pins and Modge Podged them on.  You can also remove the springs and paint the entire pin white, but I was too lazy.

Then, I bought 2 pieces of 8 foot white molding at Home Depot.  I think each piece was $10-$12 and had them cut it in half, for 4 pieces.  I glued the clothes pins with gorilla glue to the molding and let it set for an hour.  I think that was the hardest part since gorilla glue takes a while to completely dry and I don't really have a space in my house for such long boards, I kept accidentally moving the pins.  Then, just use a nail gun to attach the molding to the wall.  At some point I'll go back in and use a little wood filler and paint to cover the nail holes, but for right now, I'm too lazy.

And, here's the finished product.  A rotating canvas for our budding Picasso.

Friday, January 6, 2012

What Santa Brought Us

The best present Santa brought us was little Taj!  Even Nikhil loves this present.  (And, I did make these little tie shirts).
But, now on to material things.  In our family, we only buy presents for the kids (nieces, nephews, etc), which is a great tradition since they're the most important part of Christmas.  But Santa did bring me a little something I needed.  The backstory is that when I run, I always take Jeff's watch.  My watch (which he bought me for our first anniversary) is a dress watch and I don't want to run with that, so I take his surf watch.  He hates that I do that because I get sunscreen and sweat all over it and then sometimes I misplace it.  So, for Christmas, Santa bought me...

a Roxy surfwatch which I love.  I've started swimming at the Outrigger, which for some reason impresses my former swimmer/water polo husband.  The first time he saw me swim, he commented that  he was surprised, I think he thought I would be flailing around, since we always joke that I'm the land athlete and he's the water athlete.  Little did he know that I swam on the Springdale summer swim team until I was 10 years old - that's right, everyone should be impressed.  

For Jeff's present, I wanted to get him something meaningful.  It's a running joke that our only dates are to Hawaii Ophthalmology Society meetings.  We both have to attend, so we get a babysitter and the restaurants are nice, the meals are free and those have been our dates.  I am exaggerating only slightly, we do usually go out to dinner for our birthdays as well.  But, it occurred to me that discussing the latest Medicare cuts does not constitute a date.  And, some of you may be thinking, you two see each other all the time - at work, at home.  This is true, but not true.  We do obviously work together, but we each have our own patient load and we only see each other at lunch time, as we eat at our desk in front of our computer, so our main conversations revolve around payroll, administrative issues, bills.  And, at home, as parents, we are just trying to survive - get Nikhil his dinner, bathe him, get him to bed, which for some reason has now turned into a 2 hour affair.  So, it really leaves little time for real conversation.

I was browsing the blogosphere (why reinvent the wheel?) for husband gift ideas, when I came across this blog, find joy in the journey, with the best idea. It was perfect - 12 pre-planned dates, one each month, for the whole year.  Jeff and I always say we are going to do things and then the day comes around for our "date" and somehow, a trip to Costco ends up getting substituted.  But, no more.  I gave him a box with 12 envelopes.  On the inside cover of the box, I included a schedule of the dates after going through our work calendar and finding the Saturdays that we aren't working.  

I also gave him little hints and he's already trying to figure out each date.

January is the most extravagant, mainly because it's our anniversary and after having Taj, we have had very little time alone.  Each envelope has a printed card with the itinerary and other information.

Some dates are free, I don't want to give them away, in case Jeff's reading, but they are all things we have talked about doing over the past 3.5 years living here in Hawaii.  I'll post pics of the envelope and date as we do them in case other Hawaii couples are looking for fun things to do here!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Holidays!

We had an exciting 2 weeks.  My sister-in-laws came in from California and it was an awesome, chaotic time!  There were 9 kids - 8 years old and under, which makes for a very fun Christmas morning.

Here's the Christmas tree at my mother-in-law's house with ALL of the presents under it.

Getting together with my husband's family is what makes me want to have a large family.  It's so nice to have all the kids running around and everything is just so much more fun. Though, extremely loud - and next year will be worse, since Taj and Jacqueline will be walking.  The adults figured that we have about 6 more years before things calm down because by then, the 2 oldest girls, will be 13 and 14 years old which is old enough to babysit!  Though 4 teenage boys will probably always be loud.

And, Mark, my brother-in-law hard at work, whipping up another delicious meal for us.  He is basically the holiday chef, he cooks non-stop when he is here visiting.  And, awesome meals too - short ribs, boeuf bourguignon, bananas foster.  For Christmas morning, he made a fritata.

The adults did get a moment of peace while the kids watched a bit of TV (less than 2 hours though as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics!).

 And then, the chaos begins!

We bought my mother-in-law her own Honolulu Eye Clinic hoodie.  She saw mine and said she wanted one like it (I had already ordered it when she mentioned this).  So, I pretended that we couldn't get it in time and then we gave it to her this morning.

So far, people think Taj looks like Nikhil, though I think he is starting to look a little different.  Bella thinks Taj looks like my dad, but he jokes that the similarity only exists because they're both bald.  But, looking at this pic, I think I can see the resemblance.

All the guys with their Reyn Spooner shirts

My mom made these cute headbands for all the girls.  Here's my youngest niece trying hers on.

 Ryan's Hot Wheels toy was the hit of the morning.

Nikhil got Bash & Dash (and he can tell them apart).

And, there was even a little break dancing.  This is my sister-in-law Kristina doing the "turtle".  The story behind this - Nikhil accidentally scratched my mother-in-law's floor because this awesome truck that he got actually had screws on the bottom, which we didn't remove.  To remove the scratches, Mark used some floor polish, which got the scratches off, but made the floor very slick, enough for KK to break out her dance moves.

At night, the kids put on a Christmas show.  They sang 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing'.  It was very cute and they even had a sign posted for all attendees.

Mark made these awesome molten chocolate cakes - one for each person.  Now, our family is large - so that was literally, I think like 40 cakes.  And, there's nothing more I like than melty, hot chocolate with vanilla ice cream.

Here's my mother-in-law with 9 of her grandkids.  Kind of hard to get all the kids to look and smile at the same time.  But, it's still a cute pic anyway.  One grandkid born every year since 2001.  2010 was the only year that a grandchild wasn't born.  Jacqueline was born in Feb of this year and Taj in Oct, so it was so close to having one every year.

There was a point in the night when I was taking out the trash and I could hear all the activity inside the house.  Jeff's uncle playing piano, the murmur of the adults talking, kids laughing and screaming.  And, I thought, this is what cheesy Christmas movies try to imitate - what we had, but minus the snow and cold weather.

We missed all the family who couldn't make it this Christmas - Uncle Ric, Alison and the Wai Family.  We were thinking of you.