Monday, February 28, 2011

Anna @ 11.5 months

Anna is 11.5 months old.


She drinks about 600cc of milk and eats three meals of solids a day.

Her eating schedule:
Morning when she wakes up: milk
Mid-morning before morning nap: apple, yogurt, milk (sometimes)
Late morning/noon: rice/meat/veggie puree
Early afternoon before afternoon nap: milk
Late afternoon/dinner: whatever we eat for dinner, rice/meat/veggie puree (sometimes)
Before bed: milk

She also snacks throughout the day. This month, we discovered her love for citrus fruit. Especially clementines.

Anna eats just fine, not great, but not terrible either. Haha, when she had enough, instead of just turning her head away, she will eat it and spit it out. Annoying, but cute, but messy.


Anna is active, but she also loves to sleep. She sleeps 11-12 hours through the night and takes two 1 to 1.5-hour naps during the day. Hooray for a sleepy baby!


Anna started walking independently a few days before turning 11 months, and now she’s just getting better and better at it. She can change directions and turn corners! It’s so cool to watch. She’s always testing herself and trying to do more.

Hubby got her a yellow ball and she practices walking behind it, while kicking it along. For this, we have to hold her hand – but I am sure it won’t be long before she starts dribbling. :)

She has also figured out how to get down steps – butt first. However, she hasn’t figured out the height part yet. For instance, she thinks she can safely get off the countertop or the bed just as long as it is butt first. Crazy girl! She’s lucky we are there to catch her!


Anna developed a stranger anxiety earlier than most babies and I had hoped that she would get over it earlier as well. Not so! At 11.5 months old, she still doesn’t like it when people (whether family/friends or real strangers) look her in the eyes or touch her hands. And by “doesn’t like”, I mean she screams and cries with tears and snot running down her face. (She will warm up to them eventually, but still very cautious.)

Along the same line, she also has a touch of separation anxiety. When there are other people in the house, we can’t be out of her sight. (However, when it is just the 3 of us in the house, hubby and I can walk away and be in different rooms without her going bonkers.)

She’s also very sensitive. She can read facial expressions and sense stern voice tones. When we tell her “no”, she gets upset. (But, as long as we keep on talking and explain to her why she shouldn’t do that, she seems to be okay.)

I think Anna may grow up to be a quiet girl – which is fine. Both hubby and I are introverts, so it’s not a surprise. It’s not that we are shy, but we don’t need to be around a lot of people either. I just want Anna to be able to handle herself in unfamiliar situations…which is why we are going to take her out whenever possible as soon as the weather warms up.

Stranger and separation anxieties aside, she is at a super cute age - constantly exploring the world, happy with the simplest things, and full of smiles and giggles.
11.5 months
11.5 months

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

shopping for a dining set from the comfort of my cube

I wasn’t looking forward to shopping for a dining table. The car rides, the actual shopping part, the decisions, the price comparison. All while lugging a baby along. It just didn’t sound like fun to me. And that’s why our dining room sits empty, even after almost 6 months.

But guess what? Not for long! Come this Friday, we will have a new resident in the house!

On Monday, President’s Day, while I was at work, hubby (who had the day off) decided to take on the dirty job himself. He had told me days earlier about his plan and since - I have to admit - hubby is better at judging what pieces would work/not work for our house, I totally trusted him to pick a good one.

My only requirement was that it can accommodate 6 people minimum. Bonus if it can expand and 8 people can sit around it comfortably. Extra bonus for a table without legs, but with a pedestal base instead.

Oh, and since we already have a casual dining table big enough for our little family in the breakfast nook, this dining table is more for when we have guests over. So we were looking for something more formal and classic, but not stuffy with ornate carvings.

I was happy that hubby wanted to go shopping alone and wasn’t expecting him to involve me in the decision, but he did. These are just some of the cell phone pictures I received from him while sitting in my cube.

dining table options
I didn’t like the top left one period. The bottom ones were too casual and not big enough (although bottom left one is something that would look great in our breakfast nook – if we need to replace our current one down the road). The only one that spoke to me was the upper right one, but not completely in love either since we don’t like those thick straight legs.

Eventually, this one showed up in my inbox and – ta-da! – we found The One!
The One
It was love at first sight and hubs admitted that this was the first one that he actually sat down at. When collapsed, it sits 6, and up to 8 or even 10 when expanded. The chairs are solid wood. Unfortunately, the table top isn’t, but that wasn’t one of my must-haves anyway. We will still be doing our everyday living using our current dining table, so I don’t see us abusing this one too much. And lastly, the extra bonus, a (leggy) pedestal! Now no one will end up having to straddle a leg throughout the meal. Good, right?

Once it is here and all set up on Friday, we will need to move some things out of the dining room and do a bit of rearrangement. Can’t wait to snap pictures of before and after!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, February 21, 2011

this is how we play

Anna may be quiet and reserved when we are out and about, but her personality shines when we are at home. Haha, she is such an adrenaline junkie.

Anna the Daredevil from sugarlens on Vimeo.

PS. Not to worry, we are super careful whenever she decides to take a dive.

PPS. If we are to only make one home improvement this summer, it will be those curtains. They. have. to. go.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, February 18, 2011

being a mom

I had never once in my life bought anything organic.

Until now.

And not only that, I fell for the "DHA Omega-3" version for 50 cents more.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Schedule as a Working Mom (w/ an 11 month old)

The last time I did a schedule post, I was a stay-at-home-mom with a 5 month old. Days are different now so I thought I would follow up with another schedule post. This is just my typical schedule pattern, and the exact time definitely varies from day to day!

5:45am – I wake up, let the dogs out, and pump. I wash pump parts, fill up the dogs’ food and water bowls, and unload the dishwasher. On days when I am running late, I may skip the latter two and hubby does them.

6:25am – I head upstairs to get ready for work.

6:45am – Anna wakes up. I pick her up from the crib. We go downstairs. I change and dress her for the day.

(Recently, Anna has been waking up between 6:25 – 6:45am. So, sometimes she may watch me get ready for work. Sometimes, she wakes up even earlier, while I am still pumping…in that case, hubby picks her up and changes her and entertains her until Grandma arrives.)

6:50 - 7:00am – Grandma arrives and takes over! I eat breakfast (milk and cereal) and pack lunch. I may brush Pargo, take stuff out from the freezer to defrost for dinner, and few other things, but it all depends on how much time I have.

By 7:15am – I kiss Anna & hubby and leave for work.

7:25 – 7:45am – Arrive to work. Time to relax!! :) (I may have busy days, but for the most part, work is easy and undemanding. I am lucky to have a good work situation and I definitely don’t think that I could handle being a working mom as well if I had a stressful job. I won't lie - I enjoy my daily escape into the adult world.)

8 hours later….

3:30 – 4:00pm – Home! Change out of work clothes and ask Grandma about the day. Occasionally, when hubby works from home* and has no meetings scheduled, Grandma leaves before I get home. The baby may still be taking her second nap at this point, but will wakes up shortly. When she wakes up, I change her.

4:15pm – Start dinner. Baby and I hang out in the kitchen together. Hubby pops in every now and then (when not working) and makes Anna laugh. (We eat very simple meals on the weekdays. On most days, Grandma cooks a vegetable dish for us so all I do is cook rice and a meat/fish dish. I do make soup, too, and it lasts for 2-3 days.)

4:30 – 5:00pm – Dinner. We put Anna in her Bumbo and eat dinner together. Sometimes I give her a bottle.

By 5:30pm – Dinner doesn’t take long to eat and clean up is usually easy too.

5:30 – 7:00pm – Playtime with Anna! We play on the piano, read books, spend time on the floor, give the dogs attention, sometimes a bath, and a million of other things. Hubby takes the dogs and trash out. Each day is different. I do my best to keep the TV and computers off during this time. Around 6:45pm, if it isn’t a bath night, I change her into PJs, wipe her face and teeth.

7:00pm – I head upstairs with Anna and give her a bottle. She doesn’t fall asleep at the bottle anymore so I hold her a bit before kissing her and putting her in the crib.

7:15 – 9:30pm – FREE TIME! I shower, pump, watch TV (although rarely pay attention), hang out with hubby, browse, edit/sort pictures, tidy & clean a bit, and other random things. I may snack.

9:30pm – I get myself ready for bed. Browse a bit more. Read magazines.

By 10:00pm – I crash into bed.

*Husband works, but frequently from home. On days when he does go out, he is still usually back by 3:30pm. Although, sometimes, he can be in the basement, on conference calls, until 5pm. When that’s the case, we eat dinner later and I play with Anna before dinner. Sometimes he has no calls scheduled and we all hang out the minute I get home. It's great when we get to do that!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, February 14, 2011

11 months

11 months
Anna Banana,

You are just one month away from being ONE YEAR OLD! How exciting!

As you round out your first year, here are some quirky things you are up to.

Your preferred mode of transportation is walking.
Unless you are in a rush, then you bolt around on all 4’s.
You shoot up your right arm high when we yell “How big is Anna?”
(You are SO BIG, by the way.)
Still not too interested in toys, but diapers, small hotel shampoo and lotion bottles, and Vaseline keep you entertained.
Especially that Vaseline. Oh my. The content inside has your little fingerprints all over it.
You climb.
So far, you have conquered the fireplace, the dishwasher, and the couch.
You bang objects together or bang them on the floor with strong passion.
You also love to bang on piano keys.
You have trouble slowing down when self-feeding.
(You are so curious to find out just how many Cheerios you can fit inside your mouth.)
You let out massive giggles when we smash you into an Anna sandwich!

Anna, you are such an animated girl and continue to make me laugh and make my life a happy occasion. I love hanging out with you and listening to your little chit chat. I love watching how you marvel at the tiniest things. I relish in reading you stories and smile when you turn the pages. You are the best, my little big girl, I can hardly believe you are almost one. xoxo.
11 months
Happy Valentine's Day

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

wobbly waddle

Anna is walking for real this week! It's amazing. First she took a few steps. Then a few more. And now she can walk quite a distance.

Ah, she will be off & running in no time!

I finally caught it on video and now I am sharing it with you. Thanks for watching, but would you tune out our high-pitched baby praises? *sheepish* What can I say? We are just your typical doting parents.

Happy Baby Steps from sugarlens on Vimeo.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I made five dollars.

Exciting news! I made five dollars through my banner ads on {sugarlens}!

Pretty soon I will be making a six figure salary from blogging about my kid and dogs and unoriginal recipes that you can find anywhere else! :)

Haha, yes, it’s just five dollars....AND it did take TWO years….but I am completely delighted either way.

Of course, I couldn’t have earned those five dollars without you guys, my most loyal readers. While I truly enjoy documenting my life online and would continue to do so even if my only visitor was my hubby, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t look forward in reading all YOUR kind comments everytime I post. So thanks a bunch!

Now…the (five-dollar) question is: What should I spend the money on? I absolutely think I am going to spend it. Really, no point in saving five dollars here. I am thinking something totally un-practical and unnecessary.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Scenes: Baby's First Lunar New Year 2011

Hello & Happy Monday!

Whew, after a long week, I am happy to report that Anna is 98% recovered from her first cold. She's drinking normally again and had her first grilled cheese sandwich. Alas, the sandwich made a reappearance shortly after. Not because she was sick, but because she didn't know to swallow before shoveling more into her mouth. Ah, will try again tomorrow. Just glad that she loves it. Anyway, the point is, she's feeling much better. Thanks for all your well wishes!

We did spend some time with families this weekend. Because of a malfunctioning nipple (long story), Saturday night with hubby's family included some fussy moments for Anna. Sunday lunch with my family went a lot smoother - she happily munched on sea bass and dumplings! It's so convenient that she can really eat whatever we eat now.

Anyway, not many pictures to share, but here are my favorites. Haha, especially loving the second one. Crying shots are the best.
PS. Lucky Anna is $106 richer by the end of the weekend.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Friday!

I've seen this post idea on a few other blogs, and am unabashedly using it here. Every Friday (or every other Friday, or whenever I get the opportunity), I will share some of my favorite things I found on the Interweb. My links will predominantly be on home decorating (preferably on the cheap), money saving, all things baby, simple meals, and easy crafts.

Hopefully this will also help me keep track of all those fabulous and inspiring ideas without my bookmarks getting out of hand. Maybe you may find something you like too? Okay, let’s get started!

+ I saw this weeks ago and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. (Thanks Donya!)
+ This weekend, I have a date with Upromise and my bonus cards. Easy money.
+ Make an easy wall art without spending a ton.
+ What’s better than Magic Kingdom? A bigger Magic Kingdom.
+ Some people get a box of diapers for as low as 39 cents. Crazy.
+ Can't wait to try this recipe.
+ And many more via this link.

(image from ohdeedoh)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


First hubby got sick, then baby caught his bug, and now I am feeling under the weather (WHY did I share that yogurt with her? With the same spoon?! GAH!). Anyway, needless to say, it has been a tough few days. Not to mention, a baby who doesn't eat nearly as she normally does stresses me out. I can't wait until we are all feeling better. Hopefully by Saturday. We have plans to visit both sides of the family for the new year.

I am off to get some sleep soon, but I didn't want to miss wishing you all a prosperous and HEALTHY bunny year!
Lunar New Year
Fresh blooms for the New Year
First Hong Bao
Photos: Clearly, Anna much prefers to be a tiger :: fresh blooms :: Anna's first new year hong bao

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuscan White Bean and Sausage Soup

If your weather outside has been as soggy and cold as mine, it means it’s time to curl up at home with a hot bowl of soup!

I made this amazing Tuscan White Bean with Sausage Soup on Saturday and it fed us the entire day. The baby had some, too.

All you need is a bag of small white beans (16 oz, but you will only use half), 1 medium onion, 2 carrots, fresh rosemary (roughly 1 tsp), 2 cloves of garlic, some olive oil, 2 cubes of chicken bouillon, and ground sausage. And a loaf of crusty bread - very important. Basically, what I am trying to say is that this soup is CHEAP to make. But really, really GOOD and FILLING.


Clean and sort small white beans. Soak overnight.

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté diced onion, diced carrots, and rosemary until vegetables are soft. Stir in minced garlic. Let it cook for 5-6 minute. Add 6 cups of water, 8 oz of small white beans, and 2 cubes of chicken bouillon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let it simmer until beans are tender, about 2 hours.

While you wait, sauté 1/2 pound of ground sausage. More or less depending on your preference. Or you can omit it all together for a vegetarian meal. Set it aside.

DO THIS BEFORE YOU ADD THE SAUSAGE INTO THE SOUP: To thicken the soup, stick an immersion blender (best Christmas present ever) into the pot and swirl it around for a while. The key is to process half of the soup smooth, but leave the other half chunky. If you don’t have an immersion blender, a food processor will do the trick…but you just need to transfer half of the soup to the food processor...more dishes to wash.

Add sausage to the soup. Bring everything to a boil and you are done.
Healthy and delicious. High in fiber and protein.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!