Tuesday, May 31, 2011

So, how was your long weekend?

Ours was exhausting and full, but we got a lot done around the house. Hubby spent a lot of all 3 days in the basement –painting, moving, and rearranging. He did all on his own since I had to watch the baby. And when he wasn’t in the basement, he was doing yard work and washing & vacuuming a very dirty car. So while he was busy with housework, I was also busy with entertaining the baby on my own.

We did manage to squeeze in some family time. Saturday morning we went to a very fancy playground nearby. The entire place is rainbow-colored and ground surfaces are covered in rubber type material. Alas, I think Anna was too young to appreciate the park. Or maybe it was because of the heat or being overtired, but she was cranky pretty much the entire time (see pictures here (she went on her first carousel ride!) and here).

Except for the swings. Oh how she enjoyed them.
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Sunday morning my parents came over to keep me company while hubby retreated to the basement, continued to slave away. Then in the afternoon, we all (including the dogs) went to hubby’s parents’ house for a big family dinner. We brought home tons of leftovers and I didn’t have to cook for the remainder of the weekend. It was great for Anna to be out and about.

We ran errands first thing on Monday morning, but somehow didn’t get home until well after 11. Then it was more work for the hubs. Anna and I spent the afternoon hanging out indoors since it was in the upper 90s and no breeze.

And that was our weekend in a nutshell. Busy, busy, busy. The good news is that the basement is almost done (just few more things to box away). I am excited about the new play space that we are creating for Anna in the basement. It used to just be hub’s man-cave, but as the weather gets warmer, the basement is the place to cool off. I bet Anna will enjoy spending time down there once she sees what we’ve got planned for her.
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That dress? $1.50 from Old Navy. Love.
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Toddler Eats: Chinese Steamed Eggs

Chinese Steamed Egg
It’s a daily battle of ours to get Anna to eat a good amount of food. While I wouldn’t say she’s a very picky eater and will try anything we put in front of her, she just eats very little…just a couple of bites. Maybe she's bored with the menu, but it’s also hard to come up with new things for her to try because she still only has 6 teeth, all in the front. So I think chewing (especially meat) is still difficult for her. Two things she will (almost) ALWAYS eat are skinny noodles and boiled carrots. However, she needs 1) more variety and 2) protein.

Last night I made Chinese Steamed Eggs for her for the first time. It seems to be a winner – we can tell when she likes something because she will grab our hands for more. The texture is silky and smooth so no chewing involved. And eggs are a good source of protein!

You can add whatever you want to get dish, but the base is the same:
//eggs (I used two)
//water or stock (1 egg to 100ml of liquid so I used 200ml)
//pinch of salt and pepper

Beat the above with chopsticks and pass the mixture through a sieve into a dish for steaming. You don’t have to do the second step if you don’t have time, but this will ensure you get a smooth (read: pretty) texture for the egg. After this, you can arrange the other ingredients you want into the dish.

This time, I used:
//imitation crab meat
//fried shallots

Next time, I may use:
//tofu
//mushrooms
//salty duck eggs
//scallions
//etc.

Cover the dish with saran wrap. Finally, time to steam! I used a regular cooking pot and a wire rack. The key is to bring the water to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer before placing the dish in. Steam with a very low flame - which means that you should not hear the rapid boiling of water that you usually do when steaming other dishes. Steam until the egg is set, which can be between 15-20 minutes. You can check whether the egg is set by using a knife and poking the center of the dish. It's done when the egg doesn't run.

The dish was a “go” for Anna as of last night. Not sure about the future, but that was good enough for me.
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The scene at our kitchen whenever Anna decides to "help".
scene at our house when cooking dinner
Last night's dinner for Anna: noodles, boiled carrots, broccoli, and steamed eggs. Grapes and cookies for dessert.
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

easy summer outfits

I bought a couple of basic tees, tanks, shorts, and a skort for Anna today. With summer quickly approaching and lots of picture-taking in the near future, she needs new easy-to-coordinate pieces that even this frumpy mom can’t mess up. My requirements for her summer wear - loose-fitting and comfy and casual. These fit the bill. I think she will as be cute as a daisy in these new outfits. :)

Anna's Summer 2011 Outfits

The Children’s Place is having an awesome sale – extra 15% off and free ship!

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Monday, May 23, 2011

more DC fun

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The first time we went into DC, Anna was 18 weeks, strapped to hubby’s chest. This time, she’s a running toddler, making us chase after her. I used to think it’s comical to put a leash on your kid like you do to a dog, but ha, now I completely understand. Not that I am planning on putting a leash on Anna or anything. It’s great to watch her explore and run off. It’s what toddlers do, right?

So…the other day, we decided to drive into DC. We parked near The Mall and went passed the Washington Monument and to the WWII Memorial. We wanted to go as far as the Lincoln Memorial, but there was too much construction going on near the Reflection Pool. The walk was fun and good, but the real gem was when we found a little water jet and a wading pool (made just for Anna) at the Smithsonian Information Center. It was too much fun watching her splash and get wet. She even attracted an audience. :)

A perfect end to our visit!
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splashing
More images from the trip here.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

snapshots: big girl in the making

I can’t believe how grown up Anna seems now.
Here she is walking Pargo and "drawing" on the driveway.
I am afraid that if I blink again, I will find her learning to drive or sneaking out from her bedroom window.
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(5.19.2011)

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

lunch date with Anna

For the next week, hubby and I are two working parents juggling work and baby without Grandma-care AND trying to do so without taking much personal leave. Hope we survive!

Day One: I went to work this morning, but came home just as hubs jumped onto a conference call. It was about lunch time so Anna and I had a lunch date of noodle soup with carrots. She ate so well - I was pleased. She's napping now, so off to do some work. But of course, blogging comes first. :)

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Monday, May 16, 2011

another lazy post

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Anna - 14 Months

my yellow ball
Anna is (after 2 more days) 14 months old! If all babies are this easy, I want to have 20 more! Haha.

It just keeps on getting better and better. She’s so much fun to be around and not old enough to talk back…although she tries.

People ask me about Anna, and because I don’t want to bore them, I just respond, “She’s doing well. Happy and giggly all the time.”

But truthfully, there is so much more to say about her.

What does she say?
She says – “Baba”, “Mama”, “Go-Ga” for anything that moves, “ball” for anything round like balloons and the moon, "flower" when she sees them, and “milk” in Chinese.

She repeats – “paper” and “baby”.

She can also follow some verbal instructions – “bring me a book”, “pick up this {while pointing to an object} and put it there {while pointing to where to put it} ”, “come here”, "clap hands", "put it back", "brush hair", and "turn the page" to name a few. I am sure I am forgetting a bunch, though.

When we tell her it’s time for a bath in Chinese, she says “wawa”.

How does she eat?
I consider Anna an average eater. Lately she has been drinking 22 oz of milk a day and eating 3 solid meals. We also give her lots of prune juice to help with her digestive system.

She loves rice porridge, noodles, broccoli, CARROTS, apple sauce, strawberries, grapes, and wonton soup. Oh, and omg, she LOVES Keebler fudge cookies.

She’s learning to use a spoon.

How many teeth?
She has 5 teeth - 3 top, 2 bottom. I can see more on the way.

How does she sleep?
She sleeps from 7:30 at night to 5:30 – 6:00 in the morning. She takes two 1-hour naps a day. Sometimes on the weekends, she gets by with just 1 nap.
new face
At this stage, she has a few weird habits.

Weird habit #1
I have a plate full of strawberries, ready to feed her. I pick one up and offer it to her. She refuses and points at the plate. I offer her the plate of strawberries and she happily picks one up, hands it over to me, and I feed her that particular piece. After one bite, she decides she wants a different strawberry and the whole thing starts all over.

Along the same line, when I put food in the spoon to feed her, she refuses it. I then distract her by giving her a piece of carrot to fiddle with and offer her the same food on the spoon again. This time, she happily opens her mouth and then she feeds herself that carrot afterwards.

Also along the same line, sometimes she just doesn’t want to drink from a straw, but putting the same content in a water bottle, she sips everything down.

Weird Habit #2
Maybe not a “weird” habit, but she will randomly lay her whole body, face flat, on the floor as if she's exhausted. SO CUTE. Whenever she does that, we usually lay (gently, of course!) on top of her. And she giggles.

Weird Habit #3
Another maybe not a “weird” habit, but whenever hubby is laying on the floor, she will climb up on top of his back. And they will proceed to play rough where hubby wiggles his body up/down/sideways. Anna falls, laughs, and gets right back on.

Weird Habit #4
After a full meal, we need to be careful about giving her reasons to cry or laugh very hard. Because when she does either, she throws everything up. VERY frustrating for all involved.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Zoo Day

Now that Anna is older and more aware, it’s so fun to take her out. This weekend was her first time to the zoo and she enjoyed it so much. Every little thing delighted her to no end.

Gorgeous weather + easy parking (tip: go early, like 8:45am early, and Parking Lot B is prime) + light crowd = a terrific time all around!

I am usually a stickler to Anna’s nap schedule and prefer to be home when she takes naps. However, I knew a trip to the zoo = a skipped nap. I was concerned with potential meltdown, but she did not disappoint me. Little girl was happy for all 2.5 hours of our stay there. We even stopped by a local Vietnamese noodle shop for yummy pho and then next door to buy some sandwiches on the way home. She was a trooper through it all.

Best Mother’s Day Present Ever.

As I said before, going to old places with a kid make them new all over again. I really can’t wait to take Anna on more adventures this spring and summer.
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This is my new wallpaper at work.
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All 3 of us agreed that Amazonia is the best.
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More images from the trip here.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

growing grass

If I had to make a list of my favorite things about our house, the backyard would not be on it.

It was a sloppy mess. Kind of Muddy. It got no sun. No grass could survive.

[Picture taken in October 2010, a month after we moved in.]
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Hubby decided it was simply unacceptable...for everyone in the family. For us, it was just an eyesore. For the dogs and Anna, we wanted them to have pretty green grass to play on.

So two months ago, in March, we hired people to chop down the pine tree that was blocking all the sun. Besides, the tree was a bit too close to the house anyway. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

(We also pruned some trees in the front, but the pine tree was the biggest task.)
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After the tree was gone and the weather got warmer, hubby scattered grass seeds all around. It actually involved more work than just tossing the seeds, but I wasn't there to watch. Two attempts later (the birds ate all the seeds the first time - boy, were we annoyed), we now beginning to have more grass than mud. The lawn isn’t full and lush (yet), but we can definitely see the potential!

[Picture taken on May 4, 2011.]
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Ask me again what are my favorite things about our house in a few months and the backyard may just be on it. :)

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

one small change

forward-facing, baby!
I know AAP recommends keeping car seats rear-facing until age 2, but we went ahead and broke that “rule” this weekend.

You see, Anna hates being confined to her car seat. I can’t remember the last time a car trip was made without her twisting and fussing, wanting to get out.

But – oh my! – now that the car seat is forward facing and installed on the side (instead of the center like before), this little lady actually tolerates car rides and even I have room to wiggle. Going to places is a whole new experience without constantly having to entertain her. Plus, now, she can look outside, chat with Papa, and stretch her legs.

Best decision ever.
But I know, we will have to be even more cautious on the road now.

We want to plan a family vacation for later this summer, but I was wary about the 5-hour drive. We will have to do a couple more test runs, but maybe it’s time I finally book it!

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