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RIP Misha + Zuki


A hugely impactful event that occurred recently was the passing of both Misha and Zuki IN THE SAME WEEK.  What are the odds of that, really?

Zuki was the much older cat, around 19 years old.  Matt had her since he was in grad school and she stuck around for much longer than he ever expected.  For the last few years, she definitely started slowing down.  She went completely deaf a couple years ago…and in the last year or so, she was slower.  While I was away on a business trip in London mid-May, my parents flew in to help Matt out.  After a day, my dad realized he hadn’t seen Zuki and asked Matt where she was.  He started looking at could not find her.  He honestly thought she probably ran away like many cats that are ready to go do…but then he noticed Misha was just sitting next to our bedroom window and wouldn’t leave that position.  So, he took one last look under our bed and there she was.  It was sad but Matt had been expecting her time to come soon, so it wasn’t a big surprise.  It was definitely shocking for me to hear about all this while I was in London.  That was on Thursday, May 15th.

I returned from London on Saturday and Matt mentioned to me over the phone that he noticed Misha seemed really depressed and not eating much.  When I got back, he looked like a completely different cat from when I left.  He was significantly thinner and limping around the house.  It was shocking that he wouldn’t eat anything or drink water (and he used to drink water like it was going out of style).  It freaked me out and I scheduled an appointment with the vet for the next day.  He did not look good and his movements were shaky.  I took him to the vet on Sunday the 18th and they took him to the back to take his blood to diagnose his issue.   Before I knew it, the vet rushed back to me to tell me he had gone into cardiac arrest and CPR was being performed and that I should go back to say goodbye.  Just as I stepped back, his heartbeat came back on his own. He was barely breathing and his heart was weak.  10 minutes later, his heart stopped again and miraculously after a bit of CPR it came back again.  At that point, the blood results came back indicating complete kidney failure.  The vet then recommended immediate euthanasia.  I broke down and called Matt who rushed over.  We said our goodbye and he was euthanized. 

Misha’s death was definitely shocking and unexpected.  He was technically a senior cat but, compared to Zuki, we thought we had a couple years left with him.  We have no idea what caused his sudden deterioration. It could have been something he ate outside or just natural cause.  I’m glad that somehow, he knew I was out of the country and hung on until I returned.  I was devastated and would shed tears for awhile.  I had him for over 10 years and he was always there for me.

Friends have asked if we plan to get another cat. The answer is no.  We agreed long ago that when the cats eventually pass, that we were going to take a break from picking up poop, human or feline.  We have at least 2 more years with Andrew…but after that, we welcome that break, lol.

It took us awhile to adjust to the cats not being around.  So much of our behavior revolved around the cats…such as always closing the doors to the bedrooms to prevent Misha from entering (he was constantly spraying on carpeted areas)…or subconsciously checking the back deck before we head up for the night to see if one of the cats wanted to be let in.

They were excellent, loyal companions and we will miss them so much.

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Natalie’s goodbye routine

Natalie has a pretty funny lil routine when it comes to parting ways at her preschool.  I wanted to jot this down before I forget.

First, a hug.

Then, a kiss.

Next, a handshake.

After that, she enters the classroom while I start to leave.

Then she runs out and stands at the gate reaching out and says “oh, and don’t forget to drop me off at home and tell me if the school is closed!”

It doesn’t make much sense but it’s her way of saying goodbye at the start of the day.

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Andrew is a toddler!

Oh gawd, I thought I was bad keeping up with this blog when I had one kid.  Now I’m just terrible with two kids.  I’ll try to follow up with other posts about other events (like travel) but I’ll focus this one on updating about Andrew.

Andrew is a toddler now! Well, he isn’t actually “toddlin’” but he’s officially a year old.  We had a great backyard BBQ party with some friends to celebrate—it was a beautiful, sunny day and it was our first time hosting a party in our new backyard. We finally got a grill and we cooked up lots of burgers and hot dogs.  Andrew completely devoured the cupcake we presented to him (his second cake as we gave him one on his actual birthday) and had a great time.  Anyway, inspired by a friend’s blog about her children, here’s a summary of where Andrew is:

1 year Stats:
Weight: 19 pounds 14 oz.
Height: 28.25”
Head Circumference: 47 cm.

Teeth: His teeth seemed to come in all at once…but he’s now at 6 teeth: 4 on top, 2 on the bottom.  And honestly, he’s been handling teething so far like a champ.  He sleeps sooo well (no jinx!) and teething hasn’t so far seemed to interrupt his sleep patterns at all.

Gross Motor Skills: This has really started to pick up in the last month.  Shortly after he turned 1, he finally started to crawl a few steps.  At first, he would only crawl on hardwood…and even then, just a yard or so.  Then a little over a week later while we were vacationing in Cannon Beach, OR over the 4th of July weekend, his crawling was really picking up as we noticed him crawling all around our hotel room.  Easily by the time we returned, he was confidently (and quickly!) crawling everywhere!  So yes, we have a crawler now.  Any guesses on when his first walking steps will be now?  Around the same time he started crawling, he started really pulling up on things.  On June 21st, I saw him pull up to his knees in his crib…and again, around the start of July, he started conquering pulling up to a stand.  I finally lowered the mattress on his crib last week and he’s gotten so good at pulling to a stand.  But now, he’ll just stand there and be scared to sit back down…so he mostly pulls to a stand and then eventually screams cuz he feels stuck.  Our goal is to have him cruising by his 15 month appointment, so crossing fingers!  Oh, and he claps now.  It’s adorable.


Communication: He’s still mostly babbling.  The only thing he clearly says is “uh oh!” when he drops items to the floor (which he thinks is hilarious)  Otherwise, we do hear lots of consonants but I don’t think I’ve heard a specific word.  I’ve also been working on the sign language but haven’t seen him sign back…but I’m determined!

Food: Oh man, this boy loves his food.  Nothing makes him more happy than being able to eat.  He quite frequently eats more than Natalie.  He always wants to eat eat eat…which, honestly, we are so happy with considering his slow weight gain last year.  I know this doesn’t seem like much but he’s now in the 5-10% for weight which is a huge gain from the previous 1%. I swear he sucks down a pouch in less than 30 seconds now.  He will pretty much eat anything we give him…though there have been times when he’s turned his nose at something (carrots, avocado, even fried chicken).  We are hoping this may translate to him being an easy eater as we remember Natalie being picky with her food at this age (and oh boy, she is picky now).


On the milk front, he is still breastfeeding but only twice a day – morning and at bedtime.  I stopped pumping mid-May after a week long business trip to London.  It was clear my supply changed shortly after (at least my boobs seemed to shrink overnight!)  Because I was gone for a week, most of my frozen milk stash was used up and at the start of June, we switched to formula…but only for about 3 weeks as switched to whole milk really easily.  Andrew had no problems with the transition and switched cold turkey.  We’ve also mostly stopped using bottles (on occasion, we use it out of laziness as he’s obviously very efficient with a bottle nipple).  To my surprise, he took to the straw sippy the easiest (Natalie was the opposite).  I’d love to work with him on learning to tilt a regular sippy cup up and throwing his head back (this is probably why the straw was easier)

Sleep: (no jinx) Sleep is splendid.  I can’t believe it but since he started to sleep through the night, he really hasn’t regressed.  Like Natalie, his schedule is on the late side.  He’ll go to bed typically between 8:30-9:30pm and wake up around 12 hours later, around 9am.  I’ve started to finally introduce a book at bedtime (previously, he’d be so eager to nurse that he would bat any books away) then I nurse him.  If he doesn’t fall asleep right away, I’ll rock him briefly afterwards and then put him down.  If he doesn’t sleep right away, he may cry for a bit but almost always fall asleep within 5 minutes.  Naps are generally twice a day though there have been days when he only has one nap if the first one starts late (like after 12pm) and is long.  He falls asleep in the car or the stroller easily, so it’s a breeze to just take him out on the go and have him sleep wherever.  We’ve also been successful at having him fall asleep in the car and then be able to carry him out of the car and bring him to the crib to continue sleeping.

Likes/Temperament: Andrew is overall a really chill baby.  As long as he has food when he’s hungry, he’s just happy and willing to go with the flow.  He’s constantly smiling and laughing. He LOVES Natalie and really admires her.  As his mobility increases, they play together a lot more.  He loves playing with trucks and 4-wheeled objects and empty boxes.  Anything that makes sound — he can bang away at an empty sandbox forever.  Of course, he still loves mommy.  Whenever I come in the room, he immediately crawls over and wants to be held.  I often need to leave the room because he doesn’t understand why I’m in the same room as him and not holding him.  He loves it when I carry him in the Ergo (another place where he falls asleep easily)

Grooming: just had to mention he got his first haircut on June 27th! His hair was getting long on the sides and he was due…and his new haircut makes him so handsome! (I’m biased of course)  Natalie got a haircut at the same time—super fun having them both getting haircuts at the same time.


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Andrew Q1 2014 Update

Andrew’s Sleep – Hallelujah! This is probably the best update for this year.  The beginning of the year started off awful—the jet lag from Hong Kong combined with Andrew’s general terrible sleep patterns made for a really rough early January.  Matt and I were taking turns watching him.  One would watch him til 2am and then the other would take over.  He’d be so spastic that I just set myself up in the living room with HBO Go set up on the TV and sit there with him on the boob whenever he fussed.  I even dragged the Rock N Play next to me to attempt to get him out of my arms despite my vow to not let him sleep overnight in that.  Anyway, one evening, he did a 4 hour stretch (which, believe me, was an amazing stretch at that point).  Then, the next night, 5 hours. The second weekend, we had a date night and the sitter not only got him to sleep in the crib but he slept an amazing 8 hours (mark that night – Jan 11th.  As far as I’m concerned, I’ll consider that his first time “sleeping through the night”).  From then on, we decided to put him in the crib to sleep—something we hadn’t been successful doing at all prior to 7 months. A lot of other new sleep-related things happened around that time too:

A. Started to put him down “drowsy but awake”.  One night during a late night wake up, I was so tired rocking him so I put him down to run to the bathroom.  He was clearly awake when I lay him down.  When I came back 2 minutes later, he was out.  That’s when I realized he was capable of putting himself to sleep – something Natalie was never able to do.  We’d always gotten this advice but it never worked with her.  I couldn’t believe it was something possible until, well, it worked with him.  Ever since, I just rock him briefly (if anything, so I can get my own cuddles) and lay him down.  He may fuss briefly but usually lets out a sign, rolls to his side and falls asleep.  Uh-mazing.

B. Unswaddled him.  We figured we were making so many changes so why not remove the swaddle.  He wasn’t really rolling much then so it wasn’t much worry but figured at 7 months, it was time anyway.  I borrowed a friend’s “Magic Merlin Sleepsuit” as a transition for a few weeks and it was a cinch! I don’t know how much it was the sleepsuit vs him just being ready and fine going unswaddled…but even after a few weeks in that, we were able to switch to a sleepsack and that was easy as well.

Over the next month from that one 8 hour night, it was touch and go. On average, he woke up twice but would have 4-7 hour stretches in between.  His second stretch was often long and he wouldn’t wake until anywhere between 9-11am.  It was an odd schedule but we went with it.  On occasion, he would sleep straight through the night (10.5 hrs on Jan 21st and almost 13 hrs on Jan 25th) but the twice nightly wakeup was most common………but by mid-February, those wakeups pretty much became nonexistent, so for the last 1.5 months, his norm is sleeping straight through the night (WOO HOO!!)  Sometimes he’ll wake up and cry but will usually self soothe within 10 min.  If not, one of us can usually rock him back to sleep pretty quickly.  I’ve only needed to nurse him maybe once in the middle of the night since then.

(a side benefit of him sleeping through the night is that I’ve been able to get a really substantial early morning pump and rebuild my freezer stash)

So currently, I get him to bed around 8:30pm – 9:00pm (I really should work on getting him down earlier but this time has worked well with our work schedules) and he’ll sleep until about 8-8:30am on average.  It’s awesome.  [no jinx no jinx!]


Andrew is on solid foods – I do wonder if this had anything to do with the change in sleep – after we got back from Hong Kong, we introduced solid foods to Andrew. We started off with just dinner.  Then a few weeks later, we added lunch…and by March, we were on 3 solid meals a day.  He took to solid foods like a champ (though we stayed with purees as my brief attempts at more chewable foods resulted in scary gagging moments).  What surprised us most was HOW MUCH he eats.  In the beginning, we gave him 2-4 oz of food…but now, he pretty much easily takes down 8-10 oz of food which is A LOT.  That’s like an entire bowl or two of those baby food pouches.  Even then, he can still munch on a Mum Mum afterwards. That’s so much more than what Natalie ate at this age.

He’s still only on purees but I’m really hoping to work on more solid foods soon.  Meanwhile, like with Natalie, I make my own purees for the most part.  On weekends, I’ll usually make sweet potatoes, yams, butternut squash, corn, carrots, or peas and freeze them in ice cube trays and stick them in gallon storage bags.

Other Andrew developments

  • He got 2 teeth sometime between 8-9 months.  He is constantly drooling nowadays and always wanting to gnaw on something.  We have to put some good waterproof teething bibs on him; otherwise, his chest gets super damp by mid day from all his drooling. 
  • Around the same time, he finally learned to sit up unassisted! It’s so awesome because we can now plop him down with a bunch of toys around him and he can just play play play.  This has really allowed us to let him be more independent now (whereas before, someone always had to hold him)
  • He finally got long enough to really start jumping in the jumperoo.  He LOVES it and we frequently put him there.
  • Funny noises – he learned to make raspberries and making this click-clack sound with his tongue. It’s so cute seeing him learn new noises he can make.
  • Takes baths in the big bathtub now.  He outgrew the Puj tub we were using in the sink.  Although he can sit up on his own, I still feel better putting him in either the Eurotub on the inflatable ducky tub.  That said, because I have him in that, we’ve been able to have him and Natalie take baths together (even though she’s squeezed over to the side).  I’m looking forward to putting the two of them in there together.  I probably could now but I don’t trust Natalie to not accidentally knock him over!
  • Since he can sit up now, we put him in high chairs in restaurants now too.  It’s great to have him be more engaged with the family when we go out now.

Andrew is just the sweetest baby and we are really enjoying this time right now with him.  It’s that honeymoon period where he’s gained more independence but yet hasn’t learned to crawl away.  We were a little concerned about his weight gain at his 9 month check up (just 3%!) so I’ve been sticking lots of butter in his purees and adding breastmilk/formula to his purees too to give him extra calories.  I can’t wait to weigh him again but he FEELS heavier and looks bigger to a lot of people that haven’t seen him in awhile. He was only 15lb 6oz at his 9 mo check up.  Wonder what he is now.  I tried him on my home scale and it said 18 lbs.  Is it possible for him to gain that much weight in a few weeks?

Meanwhile, things we are working on: pronouncing consonants (mama, dada, etc.), his pincer grasp, getting him to crawl (tummy time and getting him to reach items) and eating more solid foods.

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Ah, the holidays are over

We’ve had a busy few months and, once again, I’ve let this blog behind in the dust.  I actually really struggle all the time with how to best document our lives as I really truly do see this blog like a journal and I love looking back at it…yet, it’s so hard to keep up.  I sometimes toy around with seeing if I can somehow embed some other microblogging site into here like tumblr or twitter, but I’m not a fan of it being something randomly off in the sidebar…and I just haven’t taken the time to see what I can do to actually embed it into posts.  I could actually use an easier way to upload photos to reflect our lives…and yet still be able to write long journals if I want to.  Anyhow, PM me if you have any ideas to make this easier.  I’m sure there is something out there, I just don’t have the time to figure it all out.

Anyhoo—first up: Thanksgiving!  We actually stayed home this year since my parents headed over to SE Asia for a tour with friends.  We haven’t done that in years so we were looking forward to just chilling at home for awhile.  My brother, Aaron, came out to visit for the week and it was his first time meeting Andrew so that was a special treat!  We tried when we could to go out and have some nice meals since Aaron loves a good culinary experience…otherwise, it was a lot of chilling out with the kids being able to play with Aaron.  The best way to see how the visit went is by checking out his photos from that week as he takes A TON of pictures that are pretty excellent with his lil Sony camera. 

Over the course of Thanksgiving, we had a huge backyard remodel done.  I wish I had a good picture of the “Before” but just imagine a really terrible, narrow, weed-filled boring backyard with a major slope that both went across the length of the house and towards the house.  All we had was a boring small wood deck that was only big enough for a very small couch and chair.  Anyway, we finally decided to do something about it, and just before my maternity leave ended, I met with some landscape designers and came up with a plan to put in a retaining wall, level the upper yard and add a stone patio.  We didn’t to mow anything and wanted it to be low maintenance.  That was our primary goal…in the end, our budget allowed for some simple steps to go into the lower yard and for some playchips to be added to create a kids play area.  I’m really looking forward to getting a sandbox or playhouse to put there.  Here are some pictures.

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I need to add more patio furniture and we want to get some sort of Adirondack chairs to put on the deck.  We now also finally have room to get a nice barbeque on the side and hook it to our gas line!  We are very much looking forward to summer backyard entertaining!

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas,…sold the condo!  This was not a planned activity for 2013 and it ended up being a pretty spectacular transaction.  Spectacular in that it was so easy.  In the fall, our tenant gave notice that he was moving out as he had purchased a new house.  In his email, he mentioned the guys next door, who were renting from the unit next door, may be interested in taking over the lease.  So, I sent them an email and they wrote back saying that they were actually interested in buying…and if that I was wanting to sell, they’d be interested! So we went back and forth and agreed on a price.  Then we each got real estate attorneys (mine was free as I have a friend from PEPS that does this for a living) to work everything out.  It was SO EASY.  As a seller, all I had to do:

  • Review the Purchase & Sale agreement
  • Set up Title & Escrow (just call up a Title company of your choice and they do the rest)
  • Be available for the appraisal (usually a 15 minute appointment)
  • Respond to any requests made from the P&S (our buyers waived inspection, so easy peasy)
  • Sign the papers!

That was it.  The paperwork was like 10% of what I’d done in previous sales.  AND, since this was a private sale, I saved thousands of dollars on commission.  Highly highly recommend doing a private sale if it’s an option—since I had a buyer already lined up, it was incredibly easy.  Anyway, the sale was of course bittersweet since I had so many wonderful memories in that condo.

Two weeks after Thanksgiving was over, we jumped on an airplane to go to Hong Kong!  Yes, with both kids.  Fortunately, Andrew is still small enough that we we qualified for a bassinet for the flight over and got to sit in the bulkhead seats which had tons of legroom.


At the time, though, Andrew wasn’t really accustomed to sleeping on a flat surface, much less out of our arms…so we actually spent much of our flying time having to hold him.  The above picture was a rare moment of peace with him sleeping there.

Well, our trip to Hong Kong was unfortunately overshadowed by a major illness.  A couple of days after being there, we started to notice Andrew was sleeping A LOT more than normal.  Remember, this is a baby that never slept more than 2-3 hour stretches…and he was going longer than that.  At first, it seemed related to the jetlag but something just didn’t feel right.  He had a mild fever (as far as babies are concerned) as his temp remained primarily around 99-100 and had a spike or two to 101-102 (which is still nothing alarming for a baby)…but it was his lethargic behavior that rang alarm bells.  Finally, after the urging of my mother, we took him to the emergency room of a public hospital (the private hospital actually turned us away as they didn’t have a pediatrician on call that evening—strange eh?)…and he was diagnosed with Pneumonia and needed to be admitted to the hospital!  Oh boy.  Wasn’t expecting that.  I spent the first night in an awkward room with 6 cribs and 3 other kids that were fighting some sort of lung infection as they were all getting treated with nebulizers.  Poor Andrew had to immediately be given oxygen via nasal prongs (which he was not a fan of) and an IV since he was so weak he was barely feeding.  The next day, the mucus swab result came back indicating the cause:  Respiratory Synctial Virus (RSV).  Ugh.  Because of that, they then moved him to the “isolation ward” since he was contagious.  As scary as that sounds, it was actually nice since we then got to have our own room, restroom, etc. .. but it required us to wear gowns and masks all the time.

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That said, Andrew ended up spending 6 days 6 nights in the hospital, finally being released on Christmas Eve.  We took turns going over to watch him (and after a couple of days spending the night, the nurses told us they could care for him at night, which was nice since there was literally nothing to lay down on as a caretaker aside from uncomfortable metal chairs).  He started to act more like himself after about 3 days, and then after that, they just wanted to watch him and make sure he could maintain his oxygen levels.

So, despite that lil’ trip to the hospital, Hong Kong was great of course.  The best was that my grandmother got to meet Andrew for the first time, and got to catch up with Natalie which she just loved.

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Another highlight was that we went to Disneyland for the first time!  A couple days after Andrew checked out of the hospital, we left him with my parents for the day and gave Natalie some much deserved Natalie time and headed over to Hong Kong Disneyland.  It’s apparently a much smaller Disneyland compared to other locations..but for it being our first trip, it was great.  Natalie absolutely loved seeing Mickey, Minnie, Winnie the Pooh, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto and riding Dumbo.


One new thing that we haven’t done in awhile was stay at a hotel.  Through the hotel industry hookup of our cousin, Money, we stayed at the Harbour Plaza Metropolis Hotel.  It was such a great experience.  We got two 1-bedroom suites next to each other, both with kitchenettes and with plenty of space.  Best of all, we had an amazing view of the harbour which we’ve never gotten from any of our stays.  It was so nice to wake up and see that and to go to bed seeing the city lights.  A shuttle provided a very quick ride into the heart of Kowloon; otherwise, we were walking distance to the train station and were also connected to a small mall (which was convenient during the time when Andrew  was in the hospital and we weren’t in the mood to venture out too much, so the mall food court sufficed for dinners)

View from our hotel room

Of course, just like with Thanksgiving, Aaron took a ton of really great photos while we were in Hong Kong so I recommend going over to Flickr to check them out—- either Hong Kong Selects or you can see all 3,000+ photos here.  He really captured a lot of the goofiness of Natalie since he spent so much time with her.

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Natalie updates

I’ve been so focused on Andrew lately that I haven’t had a chance to update how Natalie is doing.

  • loves singing songs from school, such as Days of the Week or the Stone Soup song
  • is a total sponge and is really building up her vocabulary.  She surprises us often with things she says, like: “that’s not fair!”, “that would be lovely”, “Oh, I would love to..”, “are you kidding me?”
  • usually eats cereal, oatmeal or “fig bars” (i.e. cereal bars) for breakfast
  • loves deconstructing her sandwiches.  For example, with a PB+J, she’ll lick out the jam first, then the peanut butter, then eat the bread (leaving the crusts of course)
  • still loves to walk on her tip toes…
  • which is great for ballet, which she started a couple months ago
  • loves to dress herself.  She normally can’t do that well as she still has a hard time taking shirts off — but this morning (Nov 12th for our records), she woke up, took her jammies off and completely dressed herself! (and the outfit was matching nonetheless) I was amazed!
  • favorite tv shows are: Wonder Pets, anything Mickey, Kipper the Dog, Team Umizoomi, Kai-Lan, Color Crew, My Little Pony, Spiderman
  • best friends at school are Daniel and Jack
  • loves picking out the fall leaves
  • imagination is growing — she loves bringing “all her friends” (i.e stuffed animals) and telling us stories about them, putting them to bed, organizing parties for them. She also loves to “make food” in her toy kitchen.
  • is now brushing her teeth with an electronic toothbrush! I got her a Hello Kitty one and she loves it
  • is an adrenaline junkie and has no problem going on tall slides or climbing tall structures.  She loves kiddie roller coasters and spinning “faster! faster!” at the playground.
  • is still a night owl.  It’s hard getting her to sleep at night (if she’s asleep before 10pm, that’s a win for us) and will usually wake up between 8-9am but can easily go past 9am if she goes to bed late.
  • bedtime is still a battle with her.  We don’t give her naps during the day so she can be as tired at night as possible.  I never thought I would intentionally remove naps–if you had told me that when she was 1, I would’ve thought that was crazy as I looooved naptime…but I love a stress-free evening more.
  • super picky with food — refuses to eat anything that’s green or orange or even remotely looks like a vegetable.
  • will sometimes come to our room and shove daddy aside so she can sleep in our bed
  • is still very very social.  She LOVES saying hi to people.  Whenever we walk to and from school, she’ll say “HI!!!” to anyone she encounters and keep doing so until they say Hi! back to her
  • loves giving kisses and hugs in saying goodbye to people.  As someone is leaving, she’ll usually go “wait!!  I didn’t give you a kiss and hug!”

I’ve seen some funny blog posts lately about how the age of 3 is worse than 2 (like this and this) and that definitely resonates with us.  At the age of 3, she’s more fiercely independent and defiant. She’s smarter and knows what she’s doing.  For example, sometimes she’ll play with her food at dinner and spill it onto the table — not good.  Sometimes in the process of getting her food with her fork, she accidentally spills it — okay, it’s just an accident.  So now, whenever she drops something or spills her milk, etc. she’ll look at us with batting eyes and says “but it was just an accident!!” [sigh]  It’s all really cool to see but it’s also quite the PITA sometimes!  For the most part, she’s growing into a wonderful, caring little girl..but she knows when she’s testing us! Oh boy.

Another weird thing that’s been happening to Natalie since the beginning of summer is her hair.  If you’ve seen her lately, she looks like she’s rockin’ an 80’s Joan Jett haircut (a nice female mullet)…but it’s not due to a bad trip to the kiddie hair salon.  Sometime beginning in May, her hair started to thin out, particularly around the crown and side of her head.  We have no idea why.  The good news is that the hair started to grow back so it’s not like she’s permanently losing hair.  But I swear, at the beginning of summer, she had all these short 1/2″ stubs of hair.  In speaking to her pediatrician, it’s likely she had a bizarre reaction to some illness in the late spring, resulting in her hair falling out.  It’s rare this happens but it can happen I guess.

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Back to work

I returned back to work last week.  Now that I have more (baby-free) time, I can hopefully (procrastinate) contribute to this blog more.  Andrew is such a clingy baby that it was hard during my maternity leave to really put him down to do much.

Work has been fine.  Transitioning is easy as I’ve come back at the end of a milestone so there’s just lots of minor things to keep track of.  Plus, I have an awesome manager that is sensitive to returning to work.  Pumping is no fun but is the reality of being a working mom.  Similar to my return with Natalie, I am not pumping anywhere close to what Andrew has each day…but I’m hoping in a week or so, my body will start catching up so I don’t have to worry about it as much.  Meanwhile, it’s great that I have a pretty substantial freezer stash that I’d been slowly building up over the last few months (miraculously considering I barely had any time to pump) — the day before I went back to work, it was 186.5 ounces (woo hoo!) That’s even more than what I had when I returned to work with Natalie.  I’m also on Operation Boost-My-Supply by doing the following: eating steel cut oatmeal for breakfast (made with almond milk!), keeping bottles of Motherlove More Milk Plus and Fenugreeek at my desk, drinking Mother’s Milk Tea everyday and then drinking liquids as much as possible.  The cafeteria now has two of those Coca-Cola Freestyle machines so I just load up my water bottle with Strawberry Powerade Zero and I’m good to go.  Another thing I did to make things more convenient for me was buy an extra breast pump that I’m just leaving at work — thanks to Obamacare, I can reimburse this new pump, score!  So all I need to do is bring bottles back and forth.

Sleep is still lacking as Andrew still feeds throughout the night and refuses to sleep anywhere except in our bed and in our arms.  Matt is helping out more since I’ve returned to work and he’s watching Andrew in the early part of the night so I can attempt 3-4 hours of sleep.  Andrew loves to just snuggle up on Matt’s chest.

Otherwise, Andrew really is such a sweet little baby.  He gives a nice smile and he’s so cuddly.  He’s now grabbing objects with more purpose so we can finally give him little toys to play with (it also means he’s constantly grabbing my hair, ouch!)  No signs of rolling yet but his neck strength is definitely getting better. Tummy time isn’t so sad anymore, and he’s willing to hang out on his tummy for a good amount of time now.

We started the nanny share and it’s going great. After a couple weeks of searching, we found a really awesome nanny and she’s been wonderful.  We feel fortunate to have the opportunity for a nanny share again.  Plus, when Natalie doesn’t have school, the nanny will watch her too…so that’s highly convenient as well.

Posted in Uncategorized.

Newborn cloth diapering

Last week, I packed up the set of newborn cloth diapers that I had rented and sent them back.  Now that he can fit into most of the one size diapers we have, I don’t need them anymore.  (BTW, I went through Earthy Crunchy Mama — highly recommend the program as you can select the types of diapers you want to rent, and the customer service was fantastic!)  Andrew is 3.5 months and we only really started the cloth diapers when he was about a month old, mainly because he was such a tiny guy that he could barely fit into the diapers I had (plus, we were just exhausted so I wasn’t ready to take on cloth diapering).  I never had the chance to try newborn cloth diapers with Natalie as I didn’t decide to CD until she was 3 months old…and by then, she was big enough to wear regular one-size diapers.  Anyway, I thought I’d write a post about my experience with the different brands I tried (the nice thing about renting was being able to try out different brands). 

Everyone will have a different experience based on the size and shape of their baby – Andrew was 6 lb 13 oz at birth and it took him a month to get back to his birth weight, so he was on the small side (not preemie small) for a baby with skinny legs.  Keep this in mind if you want to compare, particularly if you tend to birth chunkier babies, since the fit would be very different.

Here they are, in the order I liked them:

Bumgenius XS AIO
I actually own these and these were the only newborn diapers I purchased, as I saw them on a clearance sale in the spring…and I’d heard these are great.  I totally agree!  They fit really well and even now at 3.5 months, I’m still using them regularly…though they probably will stop fitting in a month or so as the velcro tabs are attaching only at the ends right now.  Because they’re so small, they dry really quickly and they don’t take up a lot of bulk in the diaper bag.  The only bummer is that they just come in simple solid colors, but that’s fine.

Rumparooz Lil’ Joeys AIO
Love love these . They’re nice and thick and these were the first diapers to fit Andrew (I think the sizing goes down to 6lbs).  They also come in all the great, cute prints that the Rumparooz diapers come in (my favorite is Dexter)  They take a little longer than the Bumgenius diapers to dry since they’re a bit thicker, but all in all, loved these!

Prefolds + Covers
This was my first time trying prefolds and covers, and I was a little hesitant at first…but I grew to really like it once I got the fold down pat (I like the jelly roll fold!).  I got both cotton and hemp prefolds…and I don’t know if it just happened to be the batch I had that didn’t work, but I could only get the Snappi to grab ahold of the cotton and not the hemp, so I pretty much rarely used the hemp prefolds.  I did feel like Andrew was a strong pee’r so he wet these pretty fast…but I did like how easy they were.

Fuzzibunz XS Pockets
I thought I’d like these a lot since I’m used to Fuzzibunz, but I grew to really get annoyed stuffing pockets of NB diapers.  It was just harder.  One thing I did like, naturally, was that these were usually the first to be ready since they could dry faster with the inserts being separate.  As for fit, I had leg gaps for awhile until he got bigger, so I didn’t reach for these much at first.

Kissaluvs Fitted diapers
I used these along with the covers obviously.  These also took awhile to fit well with leg gaps…and were an easy alternative to using prefolds.  My only complaint is that everytime I changed him, this diaper was *completely* soaked through.  Because of that, I preferred the cotton prefolds which seemed to have higher absorbency.

Kissaluvs AIO
I pretty much rarely used these and only grabbed them if there were no clean diapers.  I could never get these to fit, even at 3.5 months, as they were just huge leg gaps.  I would think these would work well with a baby with chunkier legs, but for my lil’ chicken legged baby, they didn’t fit well….plus, as an AIO, it felt pretty thin, compared to the other 2 AIOs I had.

Overall thoughts on style:

I preferred AIO over pockets or prefolds.  Just easier during this stage.
I preferred velcro over snaps.  I’m normally a snaps girl but you don’t use newborn diapers for long, so the velcro is just fine..and it’s easier at this stage to get a better fit as a result.

As for a price comparison (i.e. are newborn diapers worth it?) – I can only compare to when I used disposables with Natalie for 3 months, which cost about $275.

For this particular program, for renting for 3 months, the cost is either $85 (if using store credit) or $145 (if getting cash back) which is a heck of a deal IMHO.  So yes, renting newborn diapers *can* be cheaper than buying disposables for 3 months! (of course, we ended up buying more disposable diapers since Andrew was born than I was planning…)

Posted in parenting.

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Busy with two

Oh man, I have really neglected this blog.  I actually started a draft a few weeks ago and then lost it…and while I’m frequently on my laptop, it’s usually while nursing and with just one hand available…not optimal blog writing conditions.  Here are some updates – mainly on the kids front:

Andrew’s gaining weight
We’ve been on breastmilk only since he was a month.  By the time he was 2 months, he was 8lb 7.5oz.  Still a small baby (I think he’s officially in the .5-1%) but he’s gaining weight appropriately per the curve according to the pediatrician.  He’s nearly 3 months now and I don’t know how much he weighs but he does feel heavier (or maybe we are just holding him and rocking him so much that our arms are tiring out!)  Anyway, it’s made life so much easier now that I don’t need to pump or supplement for nutritional purposes.  I still try to pump at least once a day, if I can, just to create a freezer stash for returning to work so that I’m not too much of a maniac about it in the month before returning.  It’s hard to get much out of the pump right now since he still feeds multiple times at night so I am usually pumping after a feed and get 3-4oz at a time.

Sleepless nights
We were hoping Andrew would follow in Natalie’s footsteps and be an early great sleeper..and it’s not looking like that at all.  Natalie started doing long stretches of sleep (like 8+ hours) at 8-9 weeks and was easily sleeping 12 hours by the time she was 3 months old.  Andrew is currently 2.5 months old (knock off a month if you want to adjust since he was preterm) but he still wakes up multiple times at night.  Even more difficult is that we can’t for the life of us put him down in the PnP or somewhere else to sleep. Aside from the tanning bed for his jaundice, he’s pretty much slept every single night in our bed, quite frequently in the nook of my elbow. (and it gets even more fun when our 3 year old crawls into the bed at 4am and I have to be half awake to make sure she doesn’t accidentally kick him in the head)  One thing where he is similar to Natalie so far is being a night owl and late sleeper.  Here’s a typical schedule, starting in the evening:

5pm – put Andrew in a sling or stroller and walk to get Natalie from school.  He’ll usually fall asleep as a result

6pm – Andrew wakes up.  I feed him.  He usually stays awake

7pm – Eat dinner. He’s usually fussy while we scramble around with dinner and tradeoff holding him.

8pm – if I’m lucky, I can rock him back for a catnap

9pm – he’ll wake up and just be fussy and be cluster feeding for the next few hours.  I will dim the lights and seem to get him down but he wakes the minute I put him down.  Sometimes I’ll give up and just head to the basement to watch a TV show with Matt while nursing him at 11pm.

12am – Head to bed.  Turn off lights.  Stick him on the boob.  He’ll finally fall asleep.

4-5am – He’ll wake up and do a quick (like less than 5 minutes) feed and fall back asleep.

7:30am – Another quick feed.  Fall back asleep.

9:30am – Another quick feed. Fall back asleep.

11am – Another feed but then be awake for the day.

At that point, I can usually get him back asleep around 12:30pm when I go out for lunch and he’ll take a good 2-3 hour nap. 

While it sucks that he’s still waking up a lot at night, the cosleeping helps since he’s right there and I can feed him pretty quickly.  It’s honestly the best way for me to get sleep myself.

In a few weeks as I start to prep for going back to work, we may shift to a schedule where Matt can handle Andrew between 10pm-1am or 2am so that I can guarantee get sleep during that time frame just in case he’s up all night.  For now, Matt’s on Natalie duty and I’m on Andrew duty which has worked well.

Being on my own with baby
Baby this second time around is certainly easier than it was the first time. Life is crazy, for sure, with having two…but I’m not as stir crazy as I was with Natalie.  It’s helped that my parents were around a lot (a month in the beginning and than 2 weeks later on)—nothing like good ol homecooking from mom or an extra set of hands to hold the baby to run a quick errand.  I’m just not as freaked out as much by needing to constantly coddle baby or worry about them crying.

Parents are a big help
Speaking of parents – yes, they were around a lot.  They came out the day Andrew was born and stayed about a month.  Then they came back to fly with me to Canada and upon returning home to Seattle, they stayed another week.  Just like with Natalie, they were so incredibly helpful.  if anything, merely ensuring that I ate a healthy Chinese meal everyday went a long way…but there’s also nothing like handing baby off to take a shower or to do a quick errand.  I’m also glad that they had the opportunity to hang out with Natalie this summer and participate in fun summer activities, like watching her dig sandcastles at Golden Gardens Beach…or riding a roller coaster at Remlinger Farms.  We can’t thank them enough for all their help.


Natalie as big sister
Natalie has been so sweet as a big sister and she just loves Andrew. Often when I pick her up at school with Andrew, she’ll declare to other kids “look everyone! It’s my baby brother! He’s so CUTE!” (she often overemphasizes the “cute” in that phrase with a very loud high pitched scream)  When he cries, she’ll say “awww…baby Andrew is crying! don’t worry! don’t worry!”  When he is crying, she feels the only solution is to give him a binky (she keeps pronouncing it “Pinky”)…but she’s learned a lot from observing us and will try to rock him if he’s in the Rock n Play or will go “ssssssshhhhh!” from across the room (mimicking the shushing sound).  That said, I’ve been impressed by her big sister powers sometimes.  The other day, I had just driven 20 min in traffic with both kids and Andrew screaming his head off.  I brought him inside and he was still screaming.  I then went to get the mail while Natalie started attending to him. By the time I came back in, he was silent and sleeping – Natalie had grabbed a binky, put it in his mouth and rocked the car seat.  I came around the corner saying “oh wow, is Andrew asl….” and Natalie looked at me whispering “ssshh! He’s sleeping! Be quiet!”  Sure enough, she miraculously got him back asleep.  I said “wow Natalie, that’s impressive!”  She just gave me this look like “duh, of course.  I have big sister magic powers. Booyah”

All that said, she IS a big sister and isn’t always full aware that she’s bigger and stronger than him…so we are constantly yelling at her to be gentle with Andrew or not rock him so hard. She’s in a phase where she pokes his face and says “are you my father? are you my father?” (I think it’ comes from Finding Nemo) Sigh. It’s all fun though.  And how can you not smile at this?


Finding childcare
We knew our only options for Andrew’s childcare was either a nanny or a daycare center of some sort.  There aren’t many places that do infant care in our neighborhood and all have waitlists that are months long.  A nanny alone would be really expensive but we were hoping to find another family to do a nanny share with.

Lucky us – I responded to a post from a mom on the NE Seattle Moms Yahoo group who lives literally blocks away from me.  Our needs in a schedule are really similar and we are planning on doing a nanny share together which I am psyched about!  Now we have lots to do – search for a nanny, interview candidates and then get all set up for taxes.  The mom in my previous nanny share was a rock star for taking on all the payroll + tax stuff.  I’m going to need to learn from her so that I can do the same for this share.  Crossing fingers for finding a great nanny!

Natalie starts Montessori
I’ve talked about Andrew so much this summer that I forgot to mention one significant milestone for Natalie – she started at Montessori preschool!  We’ve known for awhile that we wanted to remove her from the Chinese bilingual school in Bellevue—while we LOVED all the Mandarin she was learning, it was becoming inconvenient to have her in a school so far from home…so we sought out a school closer to home and we were able to get her into a school literally right around the corner from us.  She started July 1st and seems to be really enjoying it.  We LOVE that it’s mixed age so she’s interacting with other kids as old as 5.  We believe she likes it so far – I don’t know if it’s the school or an age factor but I’ll tell you this: while at the Chinese school, she frequently had a hard time at dropoff.  She would cling onto me and not want to step into the school without me.  I’d have to spend 5 min holding her and then sneak out.  It was surprising since she’s quite social and usually has no problems being dropped off somewhere.  Since we’ve started at this school, we haven’t had this issue at all for dropoff.


Visiting Canada
At the end of August, my parents came back to Seattle to accompany me and the 2 kids for a long weekend trip to Edmonton, to attend my (distant) cousin Marilyn’s wedding and for Natalie to be a flower girl for the first time.  I wasn’t sure if we were going to go at first because of Andrew’s due date…but with him arriving a month early, it became much more realistic to go.  I needed that extra month as it took 4 weeks for his social security # to even arrive in the mail! (for passport application)  Anyway, so off we went in my first international flight with both kids (which was relatively easy since it was just a 2 hour flight and my parents were on board to help). Here’s a picture from a brief period on the flight when both kids were asleep—a miracle!


I really enjoyed my first trip to Edmonton.  We saw many relatives that I hadn’t seen since I got married (so it’d been…6 years)  Marilyn was GORGEOUS and the wedding was really fun.  Natalie was a CRAZY flower girl running all over the place before the ceremony…but somehow, I roped her in and she calmly walked down the aisle when it was her turn (although she forgot to throw the flowers) 

IMG_0341  IMG_0334


The reception was fun and Natalie had a blast dancing.  I got to see my cousin Anthony which was awesome and we had lots of good food to eat.


Edmonton is known for its mall which is MASSIVE.  There’s an indoor amusement park, water park and all sorts of other attractions.  On Sunday, my parents watched Andrew while I took Natalie into the waterpark which was a ton of fun.  I was amazed to see her be fearless going down some waterslides that started off at 2 or 3 stories high all by herself.  She also loved sitting in a tube while we battled the waves in the huge wavepool. It makes me really want to finally enroll her in swim lessons…but with ballet + gymnastics already on the dock this fall, it’s hard finding time.  Plus, we’ve talked about bringing her back to soccer. sigh, so many activities…


Other random adventures
Aside from traveling to Canada, we’ve stayed at home mostly this summer with baby and only done short little daytrips around the area.  For example—in July, we picked berries with the Joes.


In August, we had a few day beach trips with the gorgeous summer weather in Seattle.  Here I am chilling out with Andrew at Golden Gardens.

IMG_0583  IMG_0574

In September, we went to the Evergreen State Fair for the first time with the Halletts—lots of fun with the kids and a really nice fair to attend: plenty to do and not too crowded.


Posted in parenting, travel.

Turning the corner….

Wahoo, Andrew is finally gaining weight!  I went for a weight check yesterday and he weighed….[drumroll]….7 lb 4 oz!  Now, it’s not apples to apples as the lactation nurse weighed him with his clothes and diaper on.  Even then, she said that the clothes at most contribute 4-5 ounces, so even at 6 lb 15 oz, that’s an incredible weight gain! Whew!

Just to stay on track, we’re going to keep supplementing with an ounce of milk after a feeding…but I’m going to wean off some of the pumping (cue the sounds of heaven).  That said, based on my pumping output, she does think my supply is on the low end, so the pumping will help with increasing it, so it doesn’t hurt to keep it going a bit (plus, since we are still supplementing, I need/prefer to pump so we don’t need to supplement with formula).  For now, I’m removing my late afternoon pump.  (it was the least productive anyway)

Since this news gives me more flexibility to leave the house, I wanted to celebrate my parents and I went down to Elliott’s for their Oyster Happy hour and I indulged in oysters and tuna poke, both things I missed dearly during my pregnancy.  Mmmmm, so good.

Crossing fingers that his weight continues moving up for his 1 month appt next week!

Posted in parenting.