Tuesday, December 13, 2011

IN THE MOMENT - GREY SWEATERS

Hey Everyone,

How do you guys like the new background? Since it's almost a new year I thought "True Love" needed a renewal. Let me know what you guys think.

If you guys know me fairly well you guys all ready know that fashion is another passion and love I have since I was young. I love everything about fashion and beauty. The vibrant colors, different combinations, shapes, and spontaneousness. So, I wanted to share this side of my "LOVE" with you guys as well. 

"In the Moment" will be a new addition to my blog where I will be sharing an item that I'm currently crushing over at the moment. It may be anywhere from clothes, shoes, purse, beauty products, cool gadgets (although it's not completely fashion), and many more. Let me know if you guys like my new addition. Hope you guys enjoy!


www.TOPSHOP.com

Love,
Sandy

Monday, December 12, 2011

My first birth experience was...

Hey Everyone,

It's been a very long time since I've wrote to you guys.  I got a little lazy the last few weeks of my pregnancy so I didn't update as frequently.  Sorry for being MIA.  I was also a little busy preparing for Topher to come as well.  Chris and I were so anxious to meet Topher the last few weeks it was kind of driving us crazy (in a good way). I also couldn't sleep. There were days I would be awake until 4:00 am or 5:00 am. Thank goodness I was on maternity leave or I would be one grumpy pregnant lady at work.

My official due date was 11/28/11 but Topher was born on 11/21/11 at 10:15 pm. If you would like to know how my first birth experience was you can continue to read.


On 11/20/11, Sunday morning I had a bloody show so Chris and I went into the hospital to get a check up. It turned out that I was 2 cm dilated and it was a sign of pre-term labor. They monitored my contractions and checked if I would dilate more for about 3 hours but I didn't make any progression so they sent me home. I was getting stronger contractions by that time but it wasn't strong enough. The nurse told us we would most likely be back that night seeing the amount of contractions I was having. We were both super anxious to see Topher so we were very hopeful and excited to know that I may go into labor that night. After I was discharged we went to John's house (our pastor) to have Thanksgiving dinner. Everything was great until 9 pm that night. I started getting really strong contractions and much closer in time. This time there were about 3-5 minutes a part but it wasn't consistent. I wanted to make sure it was the real thing so we monitored it for about 5 hours and finally at 2 am it was so painful I couldn't handle it anymore. We finally drove to the hospital and found out that I was 3 1/2 cm dilated. I was considered "in active labor".

I was able to get the epidural right away (THANK GOD). The process was a bit scary because I really don't like needles. There were also a few more unexpected events that made the experience of giving birth a lot more nerve recking then I expected but once you're numb it gets better. Especially because you don't feel your contractions anymore. That's one of the worse pains ever.

I was in labor from 2 am to 3 pm. I didn't feel any of the pain so I slept most of the time. Then finally at 3 pm I was 10 cm dilated and the nurse said I was ready to push. The nurse came back at 3:30pm and I started pushing. Chris and the nurse helped me through the whole process.  The nurse expected me to push for about 1 hour max but I ended up pushing for 3 1/2 hours. My doctor thought I would be able to push better if I was able to feel the contractions more so my epidural doses was cut by half and I was given medicine to feel more contractions. That was the most painful part of my whole birth experience. It turned out that Topher was facing up and not down so the bigger part of his head was coming out first. That's why he wouldn't come out. After 3 1/2 long hours of pushing my doctor said I had to get a C-section because Topher's head wasn't turning. I was so scared when she told me because the thought of going into surgery was terrifying. I was trembling and so many thoughts were going through my mind. I was praying the whole time. It helped tremendously that Chris was there the whole time. I don't know what I would have done without him. Finally we went into the operation room around 10:00 pm and at 10:15pm Topher was born.

My recovery wasn't as painful as I thought it would be. I'm very lucky to have a quick recovery. I started walking a little the next day and by the end of the week I was able to walk fairly well. It's been 3 weeks since I gave birth and I feel about 90% recovered.

The process of becoming a mom is definitely not easy but like all mom's would say it's well worth it. Chris and I are enjoying everyday with Topher. His smiles, cries, farts, poops, burps, and every thing about him puts a smile on our face. He's truly perfect. Chris and I still can't believe we're parents. I don't think it'll really hit us until Topher starts talking. He's truly a gift from God. We love him so much! I hope to share all the great memories that our family will have with everyone. Thank you everyone for your love and prayers. It has made our journey as a parent that much more special and wonderful. I will try my best to share our journey as a family with you guys.

My two favorite men in my life. 

This is us in our recovery room

I can't believe Christmas is almost a week away. Time seems to fly these days. I hope you guys are excited! We are because it's our first as a family. How exciting! Let's start counting down the days!



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I've been living on other people's verbal throw up

Hey Everyone,

You're probably thinking, "verbal throw up?" I guess it's kind of literal. If you would like to know please continue to read.

My life after Renovare had it's ups and downs (mainly because of my hormones I think) but overall it's been good. I'm continuously learning.

There's a few great changes I noticed in my life.

The first is that I'm able to soak in God's words as the truth and not just merely information. I didn't know how to put that into words until we started going through a series called MetaX at our church. Before I would read the bible and most of the time it would soak in as good information. I didn't feel it penetrating into my heart. After renovare, I noticed that my heart was able to recieve God's word in a more deeper but simple way.

Another great awakening was that I realized that I've been living on other people's throw-up most of my life.
Let me elaborate on that.

I realized I got burnt out quickly because my strength came from books, sermons, and other sources other then my personal time with God. All the books and sermon's are great information but it's not good enough to give my body all the nourishment it needs in order to function properly everyday. Our pastor put it as Zero Calories. The great books, sermons, newspaper articles are zero calories unless we have God's word in us. All the books and sermon's were information they received from their personal time with God. In return they're sharing it with others and we're listening to their verbal throw up. It's not bad but it's not enough.

I've also realized how important comunity was tremdously through our NUMA family. I've been growing through the love people have been giving me and also through other peoples lives. I was able to see God through them.

What must I do now that I know this? I'm trying to create more margin for God each day. Creating margin for God means letting God be the center and pushing all the worldly things outwards so that God may go inward. Has it been easy? Not necessarily but God pursued after me before I ever pursued after Him.

Do you guys have a similar experience or understand where I'm coming from?

Love,
Sandy

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pregnancy Week 33: Baby Shower + Our first trip to Babies R' Us

Hey Guys,

Week 33, Day 2
Topher Update:
Topher is approximately 17 inches which is about the size of a pineapple and weighs about 4.25lbs. He's still moving around a lot. He also hiccups about 2-3 times a day. I have to say that it feels a little annoying but I'll endure it for our baby.

Weekend Recap:
I hope you guys all had a great weekend! Mine was definitely awesome!
My sisters threw me a Baby Shower this past weekend and I had a blast. I wouldn't have had so much fun if it wasn't for all my dear friends and family. Thank you guys again for coming out and making it so memorable. Also, thank you babe for capturing all the great moments. I love you guys!!

I think the best part was seeing everyone's facial expression when they were smelling the chocolates inside the diapers. It was one of the games we played. It was pretty hilarious. Anything brown inside a diaper doesn't look pretty or tasty even if it's chocolates.







Our trip to Babies R' Us:
Chris and I finally went to Babies R' Us this past Sunday to buy a few things for Topher. It felt surreal to be inside the store. Who knew this day would come so soon. We realized how clueless we were about what Topher really needed. Why do babies need so many things? Thank God we have people around us to give us some stuff because we would easily spend a fortune.
Chris was so excited to go through all the aisles. I was a bit tired but he was so excited that I couldn't resist not going.
The funiest moment was when Chris freaked when he saw how expensive the Baby Bjorn was. He said, "It cost $200 to carry my son", but of course it's all worth it. He was also super excited to build Topher's Pack and Play. He stayed up until 1 AM building all his stuff. He's such a great dad!

Tips for first time shoppers at Babies R' Us:
1) We asked for a registry list at the guest service and went down the list to see what we needed to buy. Cross out everything you have, don't need, and stick with the most important things.
2) Ask the workers at the store for help when in doubt then do your own research.
3) Not all babies like the same baby bottle so only buy a couple to test it out. See if your baby likes it first and then you can buy more after. We personally bought the Tommie Tippee because it's currenlty one of the best selling and it was recommended by our friend.
4) Use coupon's.
5) Baby Carrier: Our friend recommened to get the one with full back support. It's more expensive but well worth the investment. It puts a strain on our back especially for us women. We got the Baby Bjorn brand. We found it for about 30% less on Amazon.com and it was directly from the company.
6) Try not to resist hand me downs especially things for newborns. They grow out of it so fast and they would never know or even care that it's not brand new.

Mom's if I forgot anything please leave comments below.


Chris making Topher's Pack and Play
 I hope you guys have a great rest of the week!

Love,
Sandy

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pregnancy Week 32: Contractions? + Nutrition Update + My Birthday

Hey Guys,

Weekend Recap:

I hope you guys had a great weekend!! Mine was fabulous! I celebrated my 28th birthday which was by far one of the best. Chris threw me a surprise birthday party. My hubby is truly the best. I seriously had no idea. As soon as I walked in John's house everyone quitely screamed SURPRISE (b/c of Topher) then each person handed me a rose with warm hugs. I was so overwhelmed with love and joy. Then it kept getting better. I saw all the great food, decorations, and all the love that people poured out to make that day perfect for me and Chris. I was a reck that day because I cried my eyes out. Then on Monday (my actual b-day) I celebrated it my the NUMA ladies at the women Covenant Group. Jeni made delicious food and all the girls got me a gift card to a really fancy spa. I'm really going to make good use out of that after Topher get's here. I felt really loved this entire weekend. Thank you everyone for all your love, presents, and cakes. I won't forget it.

I prayed for a church and God provided a family!!
 Topher Update:

He's aprroximately 3.75lbs and 16.7 inches big. Topher's a lot more active so his movements are a lot bigger now. Sometimes I feel like I can see his body parts through my stomack when he kicks. It's really interesting.



Pregnancy Upate:

I'm currently on week 32, Day 3. I read on Babybump that Topher is gaining about 1/2 lb a week and i'm gaining approximately a one pound a week. I weighed myself 2 weeks ago and I weighed 110 lbs. I gained about 20 pounds so far. Based on the book Conception, Pregnancy & Birth I'm right on target with my weight gain. Also, I've been experiencing Braxton Hicks Contraction this week. They say you get them as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy but you won't really notice it unitl your mid-pregnancy if you feel it at all. You feel your stomach tensing up and then you feel like you have to pee. It's not painful so it's bareable. You can read more about it here.(What's Braxton Hicks contraction?)

Nutrition Update:


Week 31, Day 7

It's hard eating healthy during pregnancy because there's certain things you crave even when you know it's not good for you or your baby. My solution to that is just to have enough to satisfy your craving but don't finish the whole bag. Depriving yourself might lead to binging or stress which isn't any better so eat a little but remember that junk foods are empty calories. You may ask, so do I eat healthy all the time? Absoutely not but I do try. When you're hungry you tend to crave sweets or foods that'll satisfy you instantly so I keep healthy snacks at my desk, purse, car for those moments such as:

1) Almonds and nuts
2) Several Fruits ( I get them at a local farmers market because they only sell fruits that are in season)
3) Organic Meal Bars/ snack bars that's has vitamins and good nutrition. Make sure it's not just filled with sugar.
4) Mineral Water (It's extremely great for me and Topher)

I tend to eat not so healthy when I'm tired or really hungry. My weaknesses are pizza, french fries, and pastries. I crave those periodically. I do satisfy my hunger but I just don't eat it every day or every week.

Due to Dr. Miriam Stoppard more problems develop if you eat too little than if you eat too much. However, you do need to beware of truly excessive weight gain. Junk food, from chocolate bar to hamburger and fries, tends to be made up  mainly of fat and sugar, which are of little value to your growing baby, and your body converts it to maternal fat. Maternal fat is hard to lose after your baby. (source Book: Conception, Pregnancy & Birth).

Hope you guys all have a great week!!
Let me know if there's some other things you would like to know about pregnancy or myself.
I love hearing from you guys!!

Love,
Sandy

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What a beautiful MESS



On the weekend of Labor Day I got baptized for the first time. I wanted to share the experience with you guys. There are a lot of things I want to share so I decided to break it up into different blog posts.

The process:
The emotions of being baptized didn’t dawn on me until I was in the water and Pastor John was asking me if I commit to being baptized through the name of Jesus Christ. I had about a month to prepare for my baptism but it didn’t really hit me until then. I almost broke out in tears when he asked me that question because it was a very sacred moment. I made a vow in front of people I loved.

I’ve always thought about being baptized but I didn’t know the clear reason why we had to be baptized.  I once asked someone if I had to be baptized to go to heaven and I remember them saying that wasn’t the case. So, I really didn’t know what the importance of it was. Also, there might have been a part of me that wanted to avoid making that kind of commitment so I may have used it as an excuse.
Then, Pastor John explained what baptism was and it cleared up a lot of the questions I had. Now, It didn’t matter why I had to do it. I just wanted to receive it.

Among the few things Pastor John Park talked about the main thing that stood out to me was that once we’re baptized we’re identified with God. Growing up I had difficulties with my self-image and although I’ve found myself in Christ I wanted to made a declaration by accepting his grace through the baptism. Also, our Pastor talked about a renewal. To be baptized meant to be renewed by God.  He also explained that God has freely given us grace and being baptized is us accepting his grace. It’s not just us making a commitment but us accepting the commitment God has already made to us. I wanted to accept God’s love and commitment through my action. The whole experience was even more amazing because I was able to do it with Chris and Topher.

We got baptized in Newport Beach because that’s where we had our retreat called Renovare which means Renewal in Greek. It was 3 nights and 4 days.  Our beach house was literally on the beach which was incredibly relaxing. Also, I felt God’s love through our NUMA family the entire weekend.  We had a lot of time to “X” which means to connect with one another with Christ in the center.  So, every night we got a chance to hear someones story. It gave us a chance to learn from one another , get to know each other better , and hear about all the wonderful things God did and was doing in our lives. It was awesome!

The baptism:
On the day of the baptism we had Sunday worship at our Beach House. My friend Susie, Alex, and my sister came to share this sacred moment with me which meant a lot. I also asked Chris to help baptize me and Topher which was incredibly special.  

The whole ceremony was a celebration. Every one was cheering and congratulating one another. It wasn’t like any other baptism ceremony I’ve seen. It was beautiful. I’m getting teary just thinking about that moment again. I was a little scared walking into the ocean because I'm scared of waves but I felt secured because God, Chris, Pastor John, and Pastor Jenny was with me.  I thought the water would be extremely cold but surprisingly it wasn't. As we saw the wave coming P. John asked me if I would like to make this vow to God and I said YES! Then, they helped me into the water and Chris shoved my head into the water. He said he wanted to make sure I didn't cheat myself from fully being baptized and renewed. He knows me too well. I might have jumped right up due to my fear of the ocean. It was awesome! I have been RENEWED!

There were a few people getting baptized that day who were none believers. It’s amazing the transformation God can do in our lives. We were all a little worried that day because the waves were huge, it was really cold, and there were no sunlight. Although the circumstance wasn’t the best it turned out perfect. Our pastor described it perfectly . It was a beautiful mess. His wife Jeni shared that she received a word from God that morning telling her that that’s how we should come. We don’t need to be right with ourselves to be cleansed from God.  Everything doesn’t have to be perfect but even in the midst of the ugly storm he’ll make it beautiful. We just come as we are. It’s so amazing that it’s hard to grasp but that’s how awesome and amazing He is.

On a side note: A funny thing that happended that day was how P. Jenny got baptized several times along with us because the wave swallowed her up. She's very petite so she kept getting swept away. I felt so thankful for her sacrafice and can't deny that it was incredibly funny. We all couldn't stop laughing. That made it even more memorable. We're going to miss you P. Jenny!






This is a tribute for P. Jenny. This is her getting swept away for the 5th time =)


We love you P. Jenny for your sacrafices =)


What a beautiful MESS <3

Please leave me wonderful comments. I love reading them!
Hope you guys have a great day!

 Love,
Sandy

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pregnancy Week 29: X-ing with Topher, Chris, and Family

Hey Guys,

Update on Pregnancy:
I'm currently on week 29. I have 77 more days until my due date. Isn't that crazy! Less then 3 months. I haven't weighed myself lately but I know I gained a few pounds because Topher is getting big. My tummy is starting to feel a little sloughy and heavy so I need to get a waist band.
I want to share a funny story that happened last week. So, Chris and I was at our pool during the day getting a nice tan and I decided to do my pedicure. The worst idea ever. I'm so glad nobody else was there. I was sitting in the most awkward position and it was a challenge finishing all my 10 toes. I serisouly wanted to give up in the middle. I litterally had to take breaks in between. Pregnancy 101: Do not attempt to paint your toe nails when you can't reach your toes..duh!!

Topher Update:
Weighs approximately 2.5 lbs and about 15.25 inches. About the size of a butternut squash.

Our Babymoon Part 2:
Chris and I were on our 2nd Babymoon last week. This time we stayed local. It was really nice spending some time connecting with eachother. First, we went to Newport Beach with our church family over the Labor Day weekend to X (connect) with eachother and God. We rented a beach house which was literally on the beach. It was Aww-mazing. I also got baptized that weekend which was truly a remarkable moment. I'll share more about that on my next entry.

Then, Chris and I were on a vacation since Labor Day. One of the best things we did was finding a Breakfast and Brunch restaurant called The Crema Cafe in Seal Beach. The food is so awesome we went three days in a row. We ordered something new everytime and it surprised us how amazingly delicious every meal was. They received 4 1/2 stars out of 332 reviews. I highly recommend this place to everyone.

We also layed out at Seal Beach which was really nice. I spent some time reading my book and the bible. I had a great time connecting with God. We also met up with the Park Family and ate yummy Korean BBQ. We also went to visit the Nutrilite Farm in Lakeview with our other family. It was nice to have great friends and family around.

Here are some pictures from our babymoon:








Hope you guys are enjoying your Monday!
Please don't forget to subscribe~

Love,
Sandy Choi

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The end of our Summer of Love- What's the point of being intentional?


Hey Guys,

I hope you guys all had a great weekend!

Chris and I had a great time this past weekend with friends and mentors. We had a special leadership conference that was truly inspiring. It always feels great to expand our knowledge.

This week was the last week of Summer of Love for our Covenant Group. You can read my posts about the different topics we've been discussing and experiences during the past weeks here: post 1, post 2,  post 3

It was also the last day for Chris and I at the Young Adult Covenant Group yesterday. We'll be transitioning to the Family CG in September. It almost feels like we're graduating into the next chapter of our lives.

Since it was officially the last day for "Summer of Love" we all shared what our experiences were like this past summer; especially learning about love. Generally, most people said they really felt true love through the actions of people around them and through NUMA family which was awesome.

Chris and I also felt a great measure of love through our brothers and sisters at NUMA as well. We were newcomers and looking for a community to be a part of and we really felt like everyone embraced us into their family which was in turn God's family. It really reflected the love God has for us.

I've also seen a change in Chris over this past summer. He shared that he learned how to intentionally be interested in other people lives. He's become a much better listener and a friend. He also shared how he was able to be himself wherever he was. He didn't have to separate himself by the work Chris, church Chris, husband Chris, etc. He was just Chris. His focus was on the other person and not on himself. This helped him to build more meaningful relationships. That lead him to ask more questions and listen instead of talking all the time (not that he does that). It's interesting how much we grow when we become more selfless. This is definitely something I've been learning as well. I've been more intentional in getting to know people on a deeper level. Thank you NUMA family for showing us through your example.

I'm praying that this wouldn't be just for the summer but a lifelong thing. Genuinely listening and caring for the people around us and through this showing love responsibly.

Love God relentlessly and love people responsibly- Joana Cho-

P.S.
Please share and subscribe if you enjoyed reading today's entry.
I love reading comments so please leave them for me.

Love,
Sandy Choi


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pregnancy Week 26: Stronger Kicks/ Cramps & Marriage as a priority

Hey Guys,

I officially have 95 more day's until we meet Topher if I have him on Nov.28th. Baby bump say's that he should be approximately 14 inches and weigh 1.75lb. That's the size of a hothouse cucumber.
I've been experiencing more cramps, backaches, and nauseousness this past week.  I'm hoping it'll get better.

Lately, I've been feeling a bit of a husband withdrawal. I kept thinking about how Chris and I won't be spending as much time alone and I kind of got me sad. I heard some women go through this and I'm sure one of them. Chris and I are making a concious effort to do as much as we can before Topher comes. Although we're both excited we both know a lot is about to change. There will be some tough moments but we know that's just part of parenthood.

I've made a commitment that my husband will stay a priority along with my son. Which means I will make a concious effort to spend my alone time with him. A personal decision I've made was that I wouldn't allow our kids to sleep in our bed. I've read married couples have a non existing intimate life because their kids are always with them and that can cause problems in the marriage. A person shared that their married men friends with kids feel less important then their dog at home because their wife is too busy taking care of life or sometimes vice versa. I've noticed that a lof of people are afraid to have kids because they feel it may break up their marraige. Aren't kids a blessing from God? Then why is it that people feel this way? It's really disheartening and sad. I'm sure it'll be a challenge for Chris and I but we've make a commitment to put our marriage as a priority while raising our kids together. We believe that's important for our kids as well.

On a separate note, here are some pictures from the weekend. Chris and I went to Genwa BBQ this past weekend and the food was pretty amazing. The experience was even better. It's a little more pricer then most Korean BBQ but I think it's worth going at least once to experience their ambiance. They give you massive amounts of side dishes and they serve high quality meat (kobe beef).







Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer of Love- I've been in love with the idea of LOVE

Hey Guys,


Have you guys ever been in love with the "idea" of being in love? I sure have.

Our pastor John Park was sharing a few weeks ago that he's also been in love with the idea of being in love before he met his wife. He said he dreamed about marriage ever since he was 4 (or something like that). So, everytime he met someone he would think "she could be the one!" then fell head first. I can totally relate to that because there was point in my life when I was in love with the "idea" of being in love as well.

I was pretty independent all throughout high school and college. I didn't mind being single and actually enjoyed not being committed to someone. It wasn't until after college when I started really thining about love and marriage. I had a list of things I wanted in a husband and prayed priodically for him. Then everytime I met someone I would think, "can he be the one?" and I would fall head first instead of God really showing me who my better half was.

I think there was a part of me that subcontiously knew when someone wasn't the right person for me. I use to pray to God to show me confirmations if the person I was interested or dating wasn't the right person for me. But when I met Chris, I prayed for God to show me confirmations if he was the right person for me. My prayer itself was different. Although deep inside I knew it wasn't right a part of me wanted it to be so I prayed for God to show me comfirmations so that I may be able to move on. I'm not sure if all this is making sense.

One thing I realized is that I really wanted to get married because of the "idea" of marriage and love. The stability, companionship, acceptance, friendship, being loved, and etc. I didn't want it for the sake of just love. Does that make sense? I was seeking love for merely my selfish wants and needs. In 1 Corinthians 13:5 it says "It is not rude, it is not self seeking." It meanig love. That's what I've been relearning these past few weeks.

When I met Chris, I was at a point in my life when I was completely fulfilled with just God's love alone. I didn't need a man to fufill my voids anymore. So, I didn't need to be in a relationship or want to be married because of my own needs. It wasn't self seeking. I fell in love with Chris for Chris and not for the idea of being in love.

I was reminded to seek after God's love first before I looked for it in others because people can always dissapoint me but God's love is neverchanging.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pregnancy Week 24 & 25: My prenatal workouts

Hey Guys,

I'm currently on week 25 and day 3 of my pregnancy. I have 103 more day's until we meet Topher. I think I'm gaining about 1 pound a week these days. I've read that was average. I went for my doctors appointment last week and I'm currently 104 lbs. The doctor said everything looked normal and great which is awesome.

This past weekend Chris rearranged our living room to make more space for Topher. It looks a lot more roomier. We both love the new layout, especially Chris. Maybe i'll post some picture later.

Lately, Chris has been acting really cute everytime we talk about Topher. We recently made our first baby purchase and bought a car seat. Whenever Chris looks at the car seat he starts talking to it as if Topher's sitting in it. Our car seat has tiny seat belts and cushions that looks like the shape of a baby so it's incredibly cute. We both can't wait to meet him.

Prenatal Workout DVD's:
I've also started working out more frequently. I've been using 3 different prenatal DVD's and elliptical for my workouts. The DVD's I got got really great reviews on Amazon and it was very close to what I was looking for.


The instructor for this workout was a former cirque du soleil performer so you can imagine what great of a shape she's in. I don't recommend this work out for someone who hasn't workout at all prior to getting pregnant. It may be a little challenging unless that's what you're looking for. I use to work out about 4 times a week including strength training. I also trained with P90X for over 1 year so this DVD wasn't too challenging for me since I was active.
I really love this DVD becaust it really works you out. The entire work out is about 40 minutes and there's 3 different levels you can follow. There's beginner, intermediate, and advance.She's shows you all 3 poses for each work out so it's very easy to follow.


This workout comes with two discs. I've only tried the first one and I really enjoyed it. It also has a workout you can do with your partner which is great. I was looking for a yoga DVD that was more then just stretching. I wanted to feel like I was actually working out. I read the reviews for the DVD and I read that it was challenging. I tried it this past weekend and the workout I chose from the disc was a little over an hour. It was really relaxing and I was sweating after 20 minutes or so. If the full hour is too long you can split it up. I'm looking foward to doing my yoga this weekend as well. You don't use any weights but some yoga tools are needed such as mats, yoga blocks, etc.





This work out is great for people who are busy and can't seem to make time to work out.  It's also great for all 3 trimester. Each work out is only 10 minutes and theres 5 different workouts in the DVD so you won't get bored. If you have more time you can do 2 of the workouts in one session or all 4.  I actually got sore after this doing this workout. It incorporates light weight lifting, thigh, arms, buns, sides, back and chest work outs. If you're looking for a pilates workout that only does strethces this isn't for you. It does push you a little but it's not too hard to do.






My work out routine is  to do cardio twice a week and strenth training twice a week. I took a Weight Management DNA test and it said that I metabolized carbs well and I needed to do more intense work out in order to stay fit and lose weight. So, ideally I would be on the elliptical twice a week and incorporate one of the DVD's twice a week. So far i've been working out only twice a week so I'm slowing trying to increase it. Sometimes it's hard because I feel really tired but if I can I usually take a quick nap and then work out after so that I don't get fatigued. You usually feel less tired throughout the day when you're active. It's also better to walk around more then sitting down all the time because there's a lot of pressure as your belly get's bigger.

Post Workout:
I  drink a power smoothie after my work outs to make sure I get my protein and it helps me to recover. I use a scoop of organic Nutrilite soy protein, 1 banana, 5 strawberries, and 1 packet of organic Nutrilite fiber powder. This taste delicious. I make sure I eat enough calories and protein so that I don't get too tired throughout the day.

I've talked to my doctor about my workout routines so if you would like to be safe you should consult with your doctor as well.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pregnancy Week 23: My feeling towards being a mom + Comfortable bra's during pregnancy

Hey Guys,


That's how our baby looks right now

Parenting:
I can't believe 23 weeks has flown by already. I have about 4 more months until I meet our little Topher. Since my due date is coming around sooner I started getting a little nervous. I'm also getting a little nervous about motherhood too. Especially after being with all 4 of my nephews this past weekend. It's a little scary to think that another human beings live is in my hands. I'm sure we all had moments when we said "When I have kids I'm not going to be like that to my kids" after getting into an argument with our parents. I just want to make sure our kids always feel like they can talk to us.  I not only want to be their parent but also a friend at times. Chris and I started talking about how we're going to raise our kids and we both agreed that we don't want to smother them but show them a lot of love and discipline them when it's needed. Also, we've made a commitment to not let our kids take over our lives. I want to make sure Chris is still my priority as well as our son. I don't want Chris to feel like I'm neglecting him and I wouldn't want to be neglected either. Chris and I are also going to take parenting classes that's taught through the word of God. One of my mentors teaches parents- to-be and I heard so many great things from people who took the class. Her kids are wild because that's how kids are but they also listen to their parents very well. They also sleep exactly at 8:30 pm which is awesome. They never sleep with their parents and sleep in their own room which is what I want as well. It teaches how to train our kids from the beginning so that it's healthier for both the parents and kids in the future. It'll also help us as a couple. Thinking about parenting really makes me lean on God more and more. I know Chris and I would not be able to get through it without his guidance. I trust and pray that God will continually work with us so that we can be a great parent and a friend to our children.

Our baby right now:
I read today that Topher's sense of movement is now well developed so our baby can feel me dance now. The blood vessels in his lungs are developoing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that our baby's increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing him for the outside world. The baby should be the size of a mango which is about 11 inches long and just over 1lb. Our baby was about 1lb on week 20 so I'm assuming he'll be a little bigger then that now. Everyone's been saying that my tummy is getting gignormous. Then again I'm only 5'0" tall so at this point any type of belly would look extremely huge. My morning sickness has been coming back lately which kind of sucks. Some people say it can be because Topher is moving around a lot which is giving me motion sickness. I'm just praying that Topher is developing well and he's healthy.

This is Chris and I @ Mammoth this past weekend with my family.
Week 22 and 6 days
Maternity Bra:
I've read not to buy maternity bra's too early in the pregnancy because our boob size will continually grow. So, I was holding off on it for a while but all the bra's I currently owned were getting too comfortable. I would feel like I was getting indigestion because my bra was too tight. So, I was on a hunt to buy something incredibly comfortable. I wanted something with no wire, full coverage, and extremely comfortable.
I went to Motherhood and tried on a few bra's but I didn't like them too much. It didn't feel too comfortable and it was more for nursing. I tried victoria secret but they're bit pricey for a bra I'll only wear for a few months. Then I decided to try Target and found one that I liked which is pictured below. It wasn't too expensive and it was comfortable. I liked how it had no wire but provided support. It doesn't have any type of padding so I used thin pads that comes with my swimming suit for coverage.

Stella Nursing & Maternity Bra from Target

I also needed a strapless bra especially since it's summer time and I'm wearing a lot of tanktops. I saw some bandeau's as Target and thought it was perfect. Bandeau's are wireless and extremely comfortable. I used  thin pads from my swimming suit for support as well. I wear this almost everyday. You can get white bandeau's at Target, Urban outfitters, and most clothing stores. You can be creative and get colorful one's to make it more fashionable under your garments like the picture below.


White Bandeau (similar to the one I have)

Black & White Bandeau (http://www.mikkatmarket.com/)
Looks great under garments to add some fun to your outfit

http://www.mikkatmarket.com/


Hope you guys all have a great week!

Love,
Sandy Choi

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pregnancy Week 22: Is using nail polish during pregnancy safe?

Hey Everyone,

How am I feeling these days?:
No dramatic changes from last week. Although Topher has been kicking a lot more. They're getting much stronger. I also started seeing little bumps whenever he kicks me. It's pretty interesting. Chris and I were talking about how weird but cool that was. It's almost alien like. As a women the only great part about being pregnant is being able to feel the baby in my tummy. Chris's sister in law and I were talking about that a few weeks ago. The morning sickness, body changes, and mood swings won't be missed but  feeling the baby inside my body is priceless. All in all it's still a blessing.

Today on Babybump (iphone app) it talked about manicures for mom to be. We've all heard that we should limit our exposure to potential toxic fumes and chemicals. So does that include nail polish? I love painting my nails, especially my toe nails. My husband always carefully asks, "is that safe for Topher?". According to Babybump the question is debatable. If the polish contains the chemicals phthalate or Bisphenol A (BPA), you shouldn't use it. Found in many plastics and beauty products, these chemicals can be harmful for you and your baby. If your nail polish doesn't have these, you may paint away. If you still feel uneasy about the fumes, you can wear a mask.

I found some website that listed nail polishes that are safe for mothers to use who would still like to pamper them with pedicures and manicures like me.

http://www.piggypaint.com/index.html (I haven't tried these but looking forward to pursing some to try)
http://naturemoms.com/blog/2008/05/05/ditch-the-nail-polish-nasties/
http://www.alllacqueredup.com/2007/05/big-3-chemicals-that-is.html (You can read more about why these chemicals are bad and what it does to our health)

I was so happy to read that OPI (australian collection & newer), Sally Hansen, and Revlon were free of nasties.

Hope this was helpful!
Have a fun and blessed week everyone!

Love,
Sandy Choi

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer of Love Part II - It's hard for me to trust someone when it hurts

Yesterday was an amazing Sunday. We had a great time at church. Being around great people always lifts my spirit. Then in the afternoon my sister, brother in law, and nephews came over to swim.  It was so much fun! My nephews are getting so big.
The sermon our pastor spoke of was much needed in my current life. As we’re going through this series of what “love” is it’s been a challenge for me personally because of certain events in my life.
I shared in a earlier post (What's been going on in my life) that we were learning about love and breaking apart the passage 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 . This past Sunday our Pastor John Park preached about “Love always trusts.”
First, I would like to share what I learned about the word “love.”
So, what is love?
In the bible it says that God is love. (GOD=LOVE)
In Greek, “love” is the word agaphe.  It’s divine and selfless. So, it’s something that’s not human. It’s so special and beautiful.
When our pastor shared an example of what “Love always trusts” looks like I started asking myself when I was more selfless then selfish.
Selfish: Can I trust them? (This focus on me)
Selfless: Am I trustworthy? (This focus on God and our fellow bother)
My struggle:
The whole time as I was hearing this sermon I was really struggling in my heart.  I recently got into a really big turmoil with a family member and some hurtful words were said. Every time I heard the word trust I also heard the word forgive. In order for me to trust them I knew I had to truly forgive them. It’s like a battle in my mind. One side of my mind is sayings, “Sandy, were you being trustworthy to them? You did wrong too. Let’s forgive and trust them.” Another park of me is saying, “Yea, but it still hurts and they shouldn’t have said that. They had no right.” It sounds like my selfish and selfless side battling against each other.
One important thing that our pastor shared that gave me a lot of hope and peace was that we didn’t have to rush into trusting and forgiving someone. Although that doesn’t mean we should ignore the issue. He mentioned that we should confront them with love once we have truly forgiven them in our hearts.  He shared a personal testimony about his struggle with forgiving someone. He really disliked this person who has hurt him. Then, he finally reached out to that person after 2 years when he felt he was finally ready to talk with them.  Although they didn’t respond in kindness, he knew he had fully healed because he didn’t feel anger when they didn’t respond in kindness. He felt more sorrow.  I’m not quite there yet, but now I know that I don’t need to rush into making the situation better. I really want this situation to make my relationship with them much stronger and better. In order for that to happen I know I have to ask God to work with my heart first.
Are you guys struggling with something similar?
If you guys are I hope this helped give you some sort of direction and peace as it did for me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pregnancy week 21: We're having a BOY!


20 weeks
 Hey Everyone,

Last week I shared that we were going to find out the sex of our baby and we found out that it's a boy. Chris and I had the names of our baby all planned out. If it was a boy his name was going to be Topher. So, everyone say hello to our son Topher.
I wanted to name our son Topher because it's unique and it fulfills Chris's name. Most people think Chris's name is Christopher but it's actually just Chris. So, I thought it would be nice for our son to fulfill his name; Chris-Topher. It has the meaning of our son fulfilling Chris. Also, Topher means bearer of Christ. Chris and I both want our son to grow up in the name of God and do what He has planned for his life.
The process of the ultrasound is quite boring for the mother. The dad gets to see everything but I'm lying down so I can't see anything until the nurse turns the screen. The most exciting part was finding out that we're having a baby boy. The snapshot of his little genitals was so funny and cute.
Chris was extremely happy but he wanted to make sure I was okay with us having a son because I expressed to him a few times that having a baby girl would be amazing. I knew that choice was out of our hands so I tried to set all my feelings aside and I believe it helped. When I found out we were having a boy I was genuinely happy. I just want our baby to be happy and healthy. 
It made me even more happy to see Chris so excited to make great memories with our future son. He's always wanted to teach his son how to play ball, ride a bike, swim, and all the boy stuff. I'm really glad that he'll be able to do that with our son.
It hasn't hit me yet completely that my life is about to change completely. I'm sure I won't until our son comes into this world but each day I'm anticipating for motherhood even more. There's a part of me that's scared and wondering if I'm ready. The more I feel that way it leads me to God.  All I can do is pray that God will lead me to be a great mom and a great wife. It's something we all go into not really knowing how to be a great parent. So, I know I'll need God to guide me through our new journey. I remember my sister once saying that my nephew wasn't her child. She said he was God's child and she was just taking care of him until the day Jesus came back for his children.  So, she had to be a great shepard for my nephew. Those words stuck with me. That's how I see our son. Topher isn't our child. He is God's child and we're here to take care of him until God comes for all of us. Until then I will try to enjoy every step of the way. Even through the sleepless nights.


Love,
Sandy

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What's been going on in my life: Church + Summer of Love


Chris and I were attending New Song Church in Irvine for about 2 years prior to NUMA church. We really loved Pastor Dave Gibbons sermon's but we both felt we were lacking a community. So, we wanted to look for smaller church we can build a strong relationship with.  At the time our friends Jeff and Anne was attending NUMA church and told us great things about it. So, we decided to check it out a few times. After getting to know a lot of the members of the church we knew this was a community we wanted to grow in. Everyone made us feel welcome and I loved how we were all growing together. I'm looking foward to our journey at NUMA.

We've been going through a series called Summer of Love at our covenant group and it couldn't have came at a better time. I've been struggling to love certain people in my life. Although Chris and I missed this weeks CG I got a chance to read through the material and I really wanted to share it with you guys because it's great stuff.

Week 1: Love is Patient
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

What a beautiful image of love. If only my love looked like this too.

I think my love looks more like this:
"Love is sometimes patient, sometimes kind (depending on who it is). It does not envy, it does not boast (unless they do it first), and it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered (unless they push my buttons), it keeps no record of wrongs (except if they do this, this, or that). Love does not delight in evil (but they got what they deserved) but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts (unless I catch them lying), always hopes, always perserveres (until I'm fed up).

I notice that I pick and chose to love people a certain way depending on the situation but God loved us all equally no matter what we did. That blows me away.

We're going to pick apart 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to discuss what it's saying to us and how we can live out love. If you're having a hard to being patient with people in your life or on a daily basis like me I would like to encourage you to start digesting these words and find a way to have a patient love with me. It's a learning process but it's doable. We can start by spending more time with a patient person which is God.
I want to know more about a love like that and be a person that can show that kind of love to others and I hope you guys do too.

This week is 1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is Patient.

Somethings to think about + my thoughts (don't judge =P)
1) Are you a patient person? Sometimes. What would others say about you?
2) How can you be more patient? I need to spend more time with people with patience. First would be to spend quality time with God.
3) In what circumstances do you need patience? When people treat me wrong, when people nag, when I meet people with no desires or aspirations, etc.
4) To whom do you need patience with? People at my work, my family...


How about you guys?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pregnancy week 20: My monthly check up + Morning sickness remedies


Week 18: You can see my tiny bump

Our baby is the size of a cantaloupe now! Our baby is getting big. Also he or she have been kicking non-stop which feels incredible.

I've been following my pregnancy update day to day on a iphone app called Babybump. It's indredibly informational. Today's say that our baby can start recognizing my voice starting week 20. So, i'm going to start singing away to my baby. You know you all do that in your car anyways. 
I had my monthly check up yesterday. I have a routine when I go in for my check-up. I provide the nurse a sample of my urine for her to check my body’s ph level.  Then she weigh’s me and checks my blood pressure. The most exciting part is when she checks the baby’s heartbeat to make sure it sounds great. My check up’s usually takes about 15 minutes.
The doctor said the baby’s heartbeat sounded great and I looked great so we’re on the right track.  I’m currently 101 lbs. I gained about 4 lbs since last month. The doctor said the gradual weight gain was very healthy. My pregnancy has been fairly good except for all the drowsiness and morning sickness.  It sucks that I’m still having morning sickness even during my second trimester. It’s a little difficult when I get tired during the day as well.  I try to take naps for about an hour if I have time but if I don’t a cold drink usually help. I like to drink orange juice or my mango citrus Fruits & Vegetable Twist Tube. I only buy Orange juice that’s not from concentrate with no added sugars or preservatives. It tastes fresher. I didn’t like orange juice before I got pregnant but now it tastes amazing. It’s incredibly refreshing. The other drink I’m in love with is the mango citrus twist tube. It tastes amazing as well. I love that it doesn’t have a sweet after taste so it doesn’t make me feel thirstier. It’s made from organic fruits and vegetables which is awesome. Also, I get two servings of fruits and vegetable per drink which is much needed for me and my baby.  
Morning Sickness:
I wanted to share a little bit about my morning sickness experience. I started feeling morning sickness around week 7. The first week was bearable but it started getting really bad into my week 8. I was throwing up everything I ate. Also my senses were heightened so I was able to smell anything from miles away. Chris had to immediately brush his teeth after he ate something or I would smell it the minute he came home. I specifically hated the smell of fast food. It made me really nauseous. Luckily I wasn’t gagging at the sight of food but just throwing up once it entered my body.  I couldn't swollow my vitamins during my first trimaster so Chris grinded them for me and we added it into my food. I couldn't leave out my vitamins.
A few things that helped my nausea:
1)  Ondansetron: Ondansetron is used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. Doctors prescribe it for pregnant women with severe morning sickness. This made my morning sickness diminish about 90%. Please contact your doctor for more information.
2)  Baked Potato Chips: Potato chips helped my nausea a lot. I usually get the Gluten Free/ Cholesterol Free/ All Natural Baked Potato Chips from Trader Joes. You’ll find it in the chips aisle.
3) Plenty of rest: Especially during your first Trimester make sure you get plenty of rest. I felt more nausea when I was tired. If you’re still working like me try to take 30 min naps during your lunch time.
4) Still try to eat even if you throw up. I know it’ incredibly hard but I kept trying to eat anything I can think of because having an empty stomach makes the nausea worse. I ate even if I would throw it back up hoping at least 1% of it would stay in my stomach.
5) Udon Noodle Soup: I almost lived off of udon noodles and the soup for couple of weeks. The warm soup helped soothe my stomach tremendously. I get the brand Pulmone. You can get buy them at any Korean markets. It has no MSG or preservatives.  
**There's alot of websites such as http://www.babycenter.com/morning-sickness with great remedies for improving morning sickness.
A few things that made my morning sickess worse:
1) When I ate fruits on an empty stomach it made my nausea worse. The acid in the fruits was too harsh for my body. I usually eat it after a meal.
2) Spicy food: It was hard for my digestive system to digest spicy food so I would get heart burns.

That’s all that I remember for now. If I remember more I’ll definitely share it with you guys. I hope this was informational.

Love,
Sandy
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