AT, also known as Angela at mommy bytes and moonfever0 around the internet, became a mommy 8 years ago when she was working crazy hours as a software engineer in the biotech field. Afterwards, due to daycare constraints, she fell into working normal business hours. Previously, she was also able to telecommute one or two days a week and save on daycare and commuting time. At her current company, she works five days a week in the office as a software engineer and manager.
Before kids, there were so many things to do! AT loved to travel, go skiing, attend classical music and rock concerts, play classical piano, sing in a choir, play in a band, play tennis, and watch movies. She especially loves thrillers.
AT grew up mostly in New York, went to school in Massachusetts and California, and has lived in Massachusetts for the past 15 years. She lives with her husband, 8-year-old son Adam, and 5-year-old daughter Dova. AT works away from home mainly to support her family, and her husband stays at home to take care of the kids.
During the work week, AT helps to get the kids ready for school, especially her daughter, who hates to get dressed. Since the kids go to school fairly late and AT’s work hours are somewhat flexible, she has some extra time to snuggle with them and see them off. She works during normal business hours and sometimes needs to travel for work. In the evenings, they have dinner, and then she sometimes plays card games or board games with the kids. AT also enjoys playing video games with them on the computer, the Wii, or Nintendo DS (They think she’s the coolest mom!). After the kids go to sleep, AT spends time addicted to the Internet or watching TV with her husband. During soccer season in the spring and fall, they are constantly going to soccer practices in the evening or games on the weekends.
AT’s family is very interested in frugal living in their household, although they do like to enjoy family vacations and day trips. She’s spelled out many tips for saving money in the post, 25 Ways I Save Money. The most important one is to make your own lunches for work. It is so easy to eat in the cafeteria or local sub shop, but it is costly in the long run and often not as healthy. They also save money by turning down the heat and using their wood stove in the winter. AT cuts her family's hair and is always looking for the best bargains in the stores and online. And, she makes a tiny bit of extra money by blogging.
To make her life easier, AT is always trying to look for ways to do things efficiently. This applies to preparing meals, consolidating errands, and delegating tasks. Most of all, she tries not to take on too much. When they commit to too many activities, everyone gets stressed out. There's nothing wrong with saying no and just spending a day at home with the family.
AT doesn’t speak much Chinese, so she can't pass it on to her kids. She was born in the United States, and her parents, who immigrated from China, insisted that she learn English from the start so that she would fit in. AT understood Mandarin while growing up, but she never really spoke it. By the time she was in grade school, AT went to Chinese school on the weekends. All the kids were just like her, with varying amounts of fluency in Chinese. Most of all they would just get together and have fun. They ended up forming a Chinese youth orchestra where they would play Chinese music, which was much more interesting to them than learning to speak, read, and write Chinese. In the end, AT feels unfortunate that she doesn't know much of the Chinese language.
AT does buy books about Chinese culture for the kids and herself. In fact, she’s learned quite a bit about Chinese culture from children's books. Just recently, AT learned from Henry's First-Moon Birthday that you color eggs red by rubbing them with wet red envelopes. These red eggs symbolize happiness and good luck. They celebrate Chinese New Year with AT’s mother, where they have a traditional hot pot dinner. AT has also made dumplings with her daughter. Both of her kids are proud to be half-Chinese.
Nowadays, most of AT’s activities are done with the family. They like to go skiing, go ice skating, and play soccer and frisbee in their yard. In the summer, they take family bike rides along the rail trail near their house.
What does AT do that’s just for her? She enjoys listening to music and podcasts and occasionally gets to play classical piano. For nearly five years, AT also used blogging as an outlet for her sanity. She tries to keep her posts positive and relishes the beautiful moments with her family. Recently, AT also started regular visits to a massage therapist, which has greatly improved her stress levels and well-being.