April 2010

It’s official.

I went into work last week and informed them I would not be returning at the end of my leave.  My boss was very supportive, and I feel I will maintain good relationships with the people I have worked with over the past 5 years at AMD.  I was nervous about taking this step, I have used the word “engineer” as a strong self-identifier for a long time.  Now, I will have to learn to identify with my SAHM status.  It was not an easy decision, but one that was made considerably easier by, one, having the cutest little man at home and, two, our other major plans coming up…

We are moving to Malaysia! Also now official (I saw the contract).  Our projected leave date is August 9 (~3 months!), and we will stay about one year.  The destination is Penang, a small island off the west coast of the Malaysian peninsula, a former British settlement with the best food in Asia, possibly the world!  Tim has been several times and has some great photos up on Flickr.

We are very excited about moving back to Asia, although we have a completely different perspective this time.  Miles has made us a bit more cautious.  Whereas we dove into Shanghai head first, with no expectation, no research, adrenaline pumping a motivation and excitement I had not and have not experienced at any other time in my life.  Now we tread slowly, reading up on healthcare (it’s excellent), expat living, neighborhoods, and mom’s groups.  I think our approach to each location mirrors the feel of the cities – Shanghai’s fast-paced, high-stress metropolis to Penang’s laid back, quiet island.  Of course, one thing doesn’t change; our biggest challenge is leaving friends and family behind, people who are only starting to get to know Miles.  So, as always, you are all invited and welcome to visit, crash in our guestroom, or meet up with us in Thailand (a 2-hour ferry away!!).   And I will keep up this blog, so you don’t miss us too too much, with all the Miles in Between.


Yesterday I was sitting in the yard, cross-legged on a blanket, under our giant pecan that finally has enough leaves to cast full shade, nursing Miles, watching the wind pull my sheets on the line out like big white sails.  Late April, and it was truly the perfect Austin day.

We completed it with bare-butt time for Miles, a trio of Charlie’s Angels inspired beer (I was drinking Cameron Diaz, Tim Drew Barrymore), and spotting the first Magnolia bloom of the season.

Growing up, I would have no idea how to even attempt to pronounce this recipe.  (Hint: KEEN-wah Tab-BOO-lee)  Then quinoa hit the scene around 2004 and has been featured on every “superfoods” list since.  It cooks like rice, and when I imported it and ate it in China, I would describe it as “small rice”.  South American in origin, quinoa is actually a seed (not a true grain) that is high in protein.  Tabbouleh is my go-to recipe for too much parsley laying around, or in our case, growing around.  It is traditionally made with bulgur wheat, but I subbed quinoa here.  Adding the other spring time ingredients, the result is bright and lemony, the olives and feta rounding it out with some salty brine.

Note: there are a lot of ingredients listed here.  Feel free to omit or substitute anything.  I have prepared tabbouleh with just the parsley, quinoa and dressing, and it makes a delicious side.  Adding the cheese, olives and garbanzos make it a main course or pita filling.  I have gotten in the habit of buying the big box of crumbled feta and the 2 lb container of olives at Costco and using them in everything – salads, omelets, pizza, bread, etc.  The food processor makes very quick work of this dish.

Quinoa Tabbouleh (adapted from Moosewood Cookbook)

  • 3/4 c uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 1 big bunch parsley
  • 4-7 scallions
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 small cucumber, peeled
  • 2 stalks mint, leaves only
  • 15 pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/4 c crumbled feta
  • 1/2 c garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper
  1. Prepare Quinoa: Place quinoa and water in medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to low and cover until all liquid is evaporated (~15 minutes).  Allow to cool, either spreading it on a baking sheet, or in the pot if it is going to take you 4 hours to complete this recipe because you are tending a 3 month old.
  2. Bust out the Food Processor.
  3. Rinse the parsley well (especially if you just picked it) and shake out the water.  Rough chop into 2″ sections and add to the bowl of the food processor.  Do the same for the scallions: rinse, 2″ chop, in the bowl.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Remove to a big bowl.
  4. Rough chop the pepper and cucumber, add to the processor and pulse until 1/2″ dice form.  Add mint leaves and olives, pulse a few more times until everything is chopped.  Add to the parsley in the bowl.
  5. Add tomato, feta, beans and cooled quinoa to the bowl.  Mix it up.
  6. Prepare dressing: Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a jar.  Shake well.
  7. Add dressing to bowl and mix well to incorporate.  Allow to rest ideally 30 minutes before serving, but you can spoon some directly into your mouth at this time.  Call it quality control.
  8. Serve with hummus & pitas, or on top of romaine lettuce.

Yesterday Valeria and Nico came over for the afternoon.  We had lunch, a photo shoot, gelato and playing in the fountain (me & V, the boys looked on from the stroller. 🙂  It is amazing how much these guys have grown since their last playdate!

I tried to pick the cutest picture, but they were all too cute!!

Sunday dawned clear and blue and quiet.  Quiet because Miles slept until 10am!  By 10:40 we were packed up, in the car and on the way to the green belt for a hike and lunch.  Due to all the rain, it was actually green and there was water in the creek.  Perfect Austin spring day.

Three months today.  Our baby boy is growing up!  This is the end of the proverbial fourth trimester.  These 13 weeks have passed slowly, maybe because I spent so much more of it awake than any other 13 week period in my life.  I tried to be mindful of watching Miles day by day, and enjoying the stage he is in at the moment.

Looking back, some things I will miss:

  • Miles sleeping peacefully on my chest.
  • Tiny little newborn sounds, including the cries – so quiet and adorable (Miles has found his voice in the past week – look out eardrums!)
  • Him curling up in my arms, back into the fetal position with his yogi legs.
  • Days just hanging out in bed: resting, nursing, staring at our little man.
  • The rooting reflex.  This was so unexpected and so adorable.  Little baby, big open mouth, head shaking, hoping to catch a milk spout out there.  Most times he started this, he would.
  • The performance anxiety.  Miles would be over the boob, mouth open, panting, head shaking and pushing away with his arms.  I am totally going to relay this story to his prom date 😉
  • Arms flailing while nursing.  This was especially funny while on skype with Tim, and all he can see is an arm waving around
  • Curling up with my own little heater the cold winter nights.

And some things that I won’t miss that much:

  • Getting only 3 hours of sleep at night
  • Pains of early breastfeeding – engorgement, sore nipples, leaking, worrying if Miles is eating enough
  • Thinking all the time Miles will spontaneously die
  • Daily “happy hour”, or mourning the womb sessions for hours each evening

It’s been a wild ride, I can’t wait to see what’s coming up next as Miles continues to grow, interact and figure out our crazy world.

Some pics Aunt Angel took today of our cute little moose.

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