Thursday, September 30, 2010

thoughts on being a working mom

Life as a working mom isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, I am really liking it.

Reasons why I have no complaints:

: First and foremost, I am not a super mom and I can’t care for Anna 24/7 without breaks. Work is my break. I bow to those SAHMs who do it day in and day out.
: At work, I get to have adult conversations. I get to socialize.
: I have a positive attitude toward work now. I appreciate having a good, steady job.
: All about the money. Saving for retirement, living a comfortable life, and (hopefully) doing stuff that we want to do.
: I know Anna is well taken care of at home by her Grandma. This is not to say that I don't wish hub's mom would do things exactly the way I would do them, but I know at the very least she does it with good intentions. And when we ask her to consider a different alternative, she's very acceptable.
: When I go home in the evening, I play with Anna, feeling refreshed and energized because I haven’t seen her all day. Since she's rarely fussy now, we spend good quality time together.

Reasons why it’s working out:

: I waited until Anna was 5.5 months before going back to work. By then, she wasn’t a newborn and had a set routine. I wasn’t leaving a helpless baby behind.
: My job is flexible & stress free. Commute isn’t terrible. No overtime.
: The biggest reason of all - we have a FANTASTIC situation where hubby’s mom COMES TO OUR PLACE to take care of the baby. No daycare drop off/pick up saves us a lot of time. I only have to get myself ready in the morning and I go straight home after work.

On the other hand, as well as being a working mom is going for me, sometimes I wish I wasn’t one.

Reasons why being a working mom is tough:

: I practically have no free time. From the minute I wake up at 5am to when I go to sleep around 9:30, I am always doing something. Life is on a constant go. I don’t have time to aimlessly surf the interweb. I wish there were more hours in the day.
: Time away from Anna. She’s growing up fast and I am missing the little moments. But then I just tell myself: she is asleep 4 of the 9 hours I am away anyway.
: Paying more than what I used to pay for everyday things. I’ve stepped down as the Coupon Queen. There is just simply not enough time (or energy) to strategize where to shop for cheapest deals. Being a bargainer at heart, this is hard to adjust.

But, for our family, for now, the pros definitely outweighs the cons.

At first, I thought I would miss Anna when I am away from her…(and I do)…but when things get busy at work, I glance at her pictures in my cubicle and continue working. No big deal. Work days go by so quickly now.

Of course, if we were multi-millionaires, I would choose not to work.

I would stay home…but hire a nanny. :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Anna @ 6.5 months

Anna is 6.5 months old.

At the moment, she’s really liking solids. We offer her a small amount of solids twice a day and little snacks of whatever we are eating here and there. She will eat whatever we wave in front of her and is really good at swallowing.

With that said, she’s drinking less – usually just 640-670cc a day.

Even though Anna was born a big baby (8 lbs 2 oz), she is no longer a chunky monkey. She’s staying pretty tiny and I worry that she might be underweight, but she seems to be developing just fine and the doctor isn’t concerned. So I won’t either.

We are so fortunate to have a sleepy baby. She sleeps 12 hours straight through the night. Recently, she consolidated her naps to just twice a day. She wakes up from her last nap around 3pm, just about the time I get home from work. Then I get to spend 4 hours with her before her bedtime. (I need to write a post about being a working mom – so far, I like it.)

She’s very close to crawling. She can already move herself from point A to point B by creeping. Yesterday, though, I watched her lifting her hands off the ground to move forward. However, she’s not coordinated yet so she still falls down, but at least she’s getting that her arms need to move too.

I haven’t witnessed this myself yet, but Grandma said that she found Anna sitting up in her crib after a few naps last week. My baby can sit up on her own from laying down? Amazing.

I need to update Anna’s toy collection. Some are too baby-ish for her now. Until I find time to shop around, she loves to bang on the keyboard and crinkle magazines. We try to involve her in everything we do – sorting the mail, putting up curtains, or changing out the battery in the smoke detector. I put her on the countertop (in the Bumbo) while I cook and she does just fine.

Overall, Anna is doing great!

i want some treat too!
i love to laugh with my mouth wide open!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our Little Garden - Basil, Chili, Roses

If we were neighbors, I would invite you over for a cup of tea and send you home with some basil, chili peppers, and a stem of rose.

chili peppers

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, September 27, 2010

In case you were wondering

where I've been the last week... Just in case you were beginning to worry...

I haven’t been working hard. I haven’t had any crisis. There were no disasters.

I've just been doing a lot of bumming under the Caribbean sun:

fun in the sun
It was niiiiice.

But as with all vacations, it’s great to be back home. We got what needed – lots of food and (more importantly) sleep – but I think it’s safe to say that hubs and I are done with cruise vacations for a while.

Charging $60 for a cab ride to the beach just because they can? Not a fan. Waiting an extra hour ON TOP of the one hour we already waited just so they can get more customers for the snorkeling trip? That was frustrating. Almost losing our luggage just because some guy expected to be tipped? Don’t get me started on this one.

Don’t get me wrong, there was definitely more good than bad. I will miss all the free time we had. I will miss having food available 24/7 and no dishes to wash. I will miss our balcony cabin.

more eating
But it’s good to be home. Good to be home with Anna + the boys.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Baby Test Kitchen

Hi, I am Anna's mom and my new hobby is making baby food.

At the moment, I make very simple baby food of pureed chicken, vegetables, and rice.

This is spinach, mushy white rice, and chicken.

Doesn’t the deep green just scream calcium!
When I make apple puree, it turns out too tart...and Anna doesn't like it. I need to remember to buy ready-made next time.
I really like turning lumps of food into velvety, soft, creamy mush.

To save time, I make baby food in big batches and freeze in ice cube trays. It really is a lot of fun.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

6 months

Miss A,

Half a year has gone by. It seems long, but went oh so fast. Our little family has been a busy bunch lately, but you have a been champion at adjusting to all of our big changes.

These days, you are:
*Spending 7-3 with Grandma. We are so fortunate to have this arrangement.
*Sleeping in your own room and isn't at all bothered by the transition.
*Rocking the solids and has the proper poos to prove it. You go nuts over mushy rice blended with squash and chicken.
*Getting more curious about the two other creatures that live with us.
*Doing great on developing your gross motor skills. "She's very advanced." Your new pediatrician's words. Not mine.
*Squealing in delight when we hug/kiss/squeeze you. Your personality is coming out.
*Continuing to have strange anxiety. Guess you are just careful on who you want to associate with. :)
*Loving the great outdoors. When we take you out, you don't ever get upset.
*Hating some diaper changes. One day you will understand that we are actually doing you a favor.
*Staring us down while we eat.
*Grabbing everything in sight and then put it in your mouth.

Anna, you sparkle with charm and I am treasuring our moments more than ever as time is slipping by so so quickly. Well, as I always say, if I had super power, I would cast a spell and keep you in babyhood a bit longer.


[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, September 13, 2010

How Big is Anna?

So big!
So big she's sitting on her own. No more tripoding.
So big she's on all 4s, trying to inch forward.
So big I can hardly stand it.

Here are just two little videos of Anna...and a little glimpse of our family room, where we spend the majority of our time.

Considering we have a little babe, it's not too messy, right?

Sitting Anna from sugarlens on Vimeo.

Pre-crawling Anna from sugarlens on Vimeo.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Swedish Meatballs!

Swedish Meatballs
We went to IKEA to look for a desk and walked out $130 poorer & no desk.

This trip made me realize I really like IKEA...but it is a very dangerous place to be. I have no idea how all those things ended up in my shopping cart!

PS. Now I know why people fuss over those Swedish meatballs - they were super YUM.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

wedding anniversary #3

Exactly 3 years ago, we kicked off this whole crazy adventure with one pretty party and two sweet promises. I don't know what happened to the last 3 years--it's like they were over in a blink.

I can honestly say that marriage-wise this past year has probably been the most challenging yet. More challenges, more hard decisions, and more work to be done, all with less time and less time together. But even when we are completely exhausted and spread so thin and frustrated with one another, at the end of the day, I am glad to have my partner-in-crime by my side – he knows exactly how to cheer me up after a bad day and the key to make me laugh so hard that my belly hurts.

To hubs - I can’t wait for the next set of adventures with our new sidekick, as I know they will be more than I ever expected.

Joyce & Luke Wedding 9Sept2007

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

a broken record

I know that’s what I have been sounding like lately, but I am just so. darn. tired. These last few days have got to be the most physically draining days of my life. Packing, moving, cleaning, unpacking – all while doing day to day baby duties – have been unbelievably difficult.

We have been, and still are, SO BUSY.

The hard part is over, though. We are living in our new house and doing a very good job unpacking and putting things away. We handed over the keys to our old place and our landlady was so impressed by how well we cleaned (4 hours of labor was worth it to get our deposit back - we need every cent now). I figured out my commute to work. Baby A has successfully spent several nights on her own in her room. Internet is up and running. The dogs are adjusting.

Here is hoping things will start to feel “normal” again.

I know I promised pictures, but I just haven’t got the time to take any. In fact, this is the only one I’ve taken since Saturday, when the whole madness started. We asked Anna to help, but all she did was sit there and look cute.

Life is hard for this baby girl!

Moving Day 2010

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Today, on September 3 2010…

we became homeowners!

Despite some bumps with our financing along the way, everything worked out smoothly in the end. It feels surreal, after THREE years of searching in the hot summer heat or in the icy slippery snow, we have finally reached the end…and a new beginning.

Although our savings account is drained, I am so content with our new place. It is everything I’d ever dreamed to find in a home, even a lofty one of wanting a mud room. Although we now have the giant responsibility and commitment of a mortgage, I am so glad we found our home.

I think we are really going to flourish there.

The big bad move is this weekend. If all goes well, I will be back online on Saturday night.

I promise to have pictures for show and tell. :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Anna @ 5.5 months

Anna is 5.5 months old and at the pre-crawling stage.

She gets up on her hands and knees, wriggles back and forth, stretches and arches, squirms, rolls, and plops…and after a few minutes, she’s moved to the other side of the mat! It’s not graceful and it’s not fast, but she’s a baby on the move!

rainbow girl
She is still a champ at sleeping through the night. Not much to comment there, except that she sleeps on her side like a little person and it always makes me chuckle.

I haven’t been very good at giving her solids. With going back to work and moving, I am holding off and waiting until 6 months before giving her solids regularly. However, so far, she has tasted mushy brown rice, mango, peach, green squash, banana, and plum. Mango and plum are by far her favorites - she gets so excited for them, reaching forward and flapping her arms. Eating solids is just for fun, though, she’s still getting 160-170cc bottles 5 times a day.

It’s pretty hard to say what kind of personality Anna has, but she seems to be a mix of easy-going and strong-willed. If she’s full and well-rested, she’s can be on her tummy for a long stretch of time with just a few toys and play by herself. On another hand, if she’s not happy about something, she will SCREAM SO LOUD for attention.

Either way, she smiles easily and makes us laugh constantly. I love squeezing her.

I said it before and I will say it again, she’s one cute and cuddly little gal, and I feel very, very blessed.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Road Tripping to W'Burg and Y'Town

Williamsburg/Yorktown Roadtrip

Well, it wasn’t a glamorous summer vacation, but our little family got some quality time together before the daily grind started. We went to Williamsburg and Yorktown this past weekend.

The weather cooperated – mild with cool summer breezes. We had a fun time dipping our toes in the Chesapeake Bay (Baby A didn’t like it when water got too deep), walking the streets of Colonial Williamsburg, eating icy treats, and shopping at the outlet. And we got some great pictures.

Traveling with a baby was anything but relaxing, though. Everything we did was according to Anna’s schedule. Dinner never happened on Saturday night because I didn’t want to risk going to a restaurant so close to Anna’s bedtime. Thankfully, we brought some Vietnamese sandwiches from home with us. I also wanted to take Anna to the pool, but by the time she woke up from her nap, it was time to check-out. So basically, not all plans worked out, but we just kind of roll with the punches.

At one point during the trip, we spent a while on the Colonial Parkway looking for a certain stop…while Anna was peacefully sleeping in the car seat. Hubs was frustrated and said, “What a waste of gas.” To which I quickly responded, “It’s not a waste of gas, Anna is sleeping. We can drive like this for the next hour for all I care.” Ha. I definitely see traveling differently now. Before I was all about checking things off the tourist guide, now it’s all about spending time together and a happy baby.

Anna experienced many firsts, including first time sleeping away from home. She did wonderfully! Yes, there were some crazy moments, but nothing that could’ve been avoided even if we were at home.

Ultimately, although the trip was tiring, hubs and I got what we wanted – to get away. No packing. No Internet. No distractions. Whenever Baby A slept, we just sat on the couch together and talked. We agreed that once in a while, a weekend like this is very necessary.

Williamsburg/Yorktown Roadtrip
Williamsburg/Yorktown Roadtrip
More images from the trip here.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!