Thursday, June 30, 2011

Baby B! Sugar & Spice Or Snakes & Snails?

Tomorrow is the day! The anatomy scan! I can’t wait to see Baby B again and I am thrilled that Anna is coming along. We plan to go out for burgers and fries afterwards.

It is also the day that, if baby cooperates, we will find out if baby is a boy or girl!

Haha, at the very beginning, I was stubborn on wanting to wait the full 40 weeks, at the delivery room, to find out about the gender. Since we are 99.99% sure this is our last baby, I thought it would be fun to be surprised this time.

But the planner in me won at the end and I am so anxious to find out if we are having another daughter or a son!

A lot of women just “know” what they are carrying…I don’t have it. But I do have a slight feeling that it may be a girl…since hub’s side of the family is nearly all girls.

Anyway, before I find out tomorrow at exactly 2:30pm, I thought I would take this old wives’ tale quiz for fun.

Boy or Girl? 21 Old Wives’ Tales That May Tell You

Sleep Position
Pay attention to which way you lay down in bed tonight. If you prefer sleeping on your left side, you’ll have a boy. Right side? You’re pregnant with a girl.
BOY – I sleep on the left, but this is to avoid having my face kicked by Anna.

Upset Stomach
Little girls aren’t always sweet. Extreme nausea means you are having a daughter.
BOY – I do have nausea, but not extreme.

Soft or Dry Hands
If your hands are dry during pregnancy, you are having a boy; soft—expect a girl.
GIRL

Food Cravings
Your favorite pregnancy foods may tell you what sex the baby is. If you’re craving citrus while pregnant, you’re having a girl.
GIRL – I have an orange every day. It was the same with Anna.

Adult Acne
If altering hormones makes your skin break out, expect a girl.
BOY – no acne this time. With Anna, I broke out like a teenager.

Graceful or Clumsy Pregnancy
If you feel as though you’re gliding through the day, you’ll have a girl. Stumbling? It’s a boy.
BOY – but it may be because I work full time and go home to a toddler.

Face Weight Gain
If your face gets fuller, it means you’re having a girl.
BOY – no change so far.

Sugar and Spice Food Cravings
Craving salt during pregnancy? Potato chips, pretzels, and popcorn means a boy is on the way. Need a little something sweet? Ice cream, chocolate, and candy means you’re having a girl.
GIRL.

Mood Changes
If you’re experiencing pregnant mood-swings, expect a baby girl to arrive soon.
BOY.

High or Low Pregnant Belly
If you’re carrying the baby low on your stomach, expect a boy. If it’s high, you’re having a girl.
BOY, but I also carried Anna low on my tummy.

Baby Weight
If you’re carrying baby in front, it’s a boy. Is the baby weight spaced all around your middle? It’s a girl.
BOY.

Pendulum Test
Dangle a chain with a charm over your palm. If it swings back and forth: boy. In a circle: girl.
Not tested.

Model Your Hands
“Show me your hands.” If you would hold your hands palms up it’s a girl. Down? You’re having a boy.
GIRL.

Toddler Advice
Get baby advice from a nephew or friend’s little boy. If a toddler boy shows interest in your belly, you’ll have a girl. If he ignores you, it’s a boy.
Not tested.

Eat Garlic
Guess the baby’s sex by eating garlic. If the smell seeps out of your pores it’s a boy. If there’s no scent it’s a little girl.
GIRL.

Key to Pregnancy
If you pick up a key by the round end, you’re having a boy. If it’s by the long end? A girl.
Not sure, I just grab them with my entire palm.

Even and Odd Numbers
If your age and year of conception are both even or odd, it’s girl. One even, one odd means a boy.
BOY.

Baby’s Heartbeat
If the baby’s heart beats more than 150 times per minute, you’re pregnant with a girl. Less than 150, it’s a boy.
GIRL.

Stress Test
A child tends to be of the same sex as the parent who is less stressed at the time of conception.
Not sure.

Dream Meanings
If you dream about having a girl while pregnant, you will wind up having a boy and vice versa.
No dreams.

Breast Size
If your right breast is larger than the left while pregnant, you are having a girl. If the left is larger, it’s a baby boy.
Neither.

My score: BOY - 9 GIRL - 6

There’s also the Chinese Gender Chart which some people swear by, but you have to use your Chinese age and the month of conception needs to be the Chinese Lunar Month. With what I *think* is the right combo, I am having a girl.

Well, either way, we should find out for sure tomorrow!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Anna's Big Girl Room, the Beginning

Anna will be moving into her big girl room once Baby B arrives. Although, to make sure the arrival of Baby B doesn’t disrupt her life completely, we will probably have Baby B sleep with us in our room for the first 3-4 months while Anna stays in her crib. Then after that, we will slowly make the transition. Of course, after Baby B is born, I suspect hectic times ahead so we plan to have Anna’s new room set up before Thanksgiving.
Anna's Big Girl Room - In Progress
We started off with a blank slate. We didn’t have any furniture in the room so painting was pretty straight forward. We opted to keep it simple and used the same color as our family room – a muted purple and pinkish color.

After curtains were hung and ceiling fan was installed, this is what the room looks like today...or as of two weeks ago.
Anna_Room
Anna_Room2
I am not at all good at interior decorating so after hubs passed the baton to me, progress has stopped. I know the room at a minimum needs a bed, a nightstand, and maybe a dresser. But I also want to create a little reading nook so I will need to find shelves/bookcase. Then I want to put up hooks to keep things off the floor. And wall art to make the room pretty.

And the cheapskate in me want to find those things as cheaply as possible.

I am 95% sure that we will go with this bed. I like the clean lines and the price. Even though I think the bed may be a little too high for Anna at first, I don’t like the ones that sit on/very low to the ground. I figure a safety rail and steps will solve the problem.

And really, that’s all the updates I have on Anna’s room. Yes, I better get my act together soon.
Anna_Room3

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, June 27, 2011

weekend snapshots

baby pool time
Meadow Lane Park
Museum of Natural History
This weekend felt extra long because I worked half day on Friday.

We did no housework and just hung out as a family the entire time.

I took a nap on both days.

Why can't all weekends all be like this?

----
+ Splashing in her private pool.
+ Subs from a local Italian sandwich shop. Cupcakes from a newly discovered cupcakery. Just another lazy afternoon at the playground.
+ Miss. A’s first visit to a museum. Her pick? Museum of Natural History.

More images from Meadow Lane Park and the museum.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Her First Masterpiece

I took Anna to an arts & craft playdate today. It was our first one ever.

I wasn't sure how she would do - would she try or just cling onto me the whole time? I was thinking the latter and almost bailed. But it's important for her to see kids her age so off we went.

When we got there, I learned the project was to paint tiny terracotta flower pots. Anna dabbles with crayons and chalk all the time, but it was her first time with paint and using a BRUSH!

As expected, she made a huge mess. Of the table, of herself, of me. Strangely, I was the only mom covered in paint.

She insisted on doing everything herself and if I tried to guide her, she jerked away and paint splattered everywhere. So I just sat back and let her be.
0622111518
Even after the pot was covered in paint, she still wasn't ready to stop. So she started painting on a piece of paper.
0622111523
0622111523b
This now hangs on the fridge. Anna first masterpiece.
0622111537
We both had a great time! Anna experienced something new and I got to talk to other moms. Too bad opportunities like this come few and far in between for working moms. But now I kind of want to buy Anna a bunch of paint, an easel, and a smock so we can have our own art class at home.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Anna - 15 Months, Part II

Yesterday was Anna’s 15-months checkup and her stats are:

Weight: 20 lbs 15 oz (20 percentile)
Height: 30 inches (30 percentile)

So…still growing along the curve…just on the petite side.
15 Months Checkup
At 15 months, my favorite girl:

…is drinking about ~480cc of whole milk daily, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Still using bottles, can't seem to quit.
…is eating lots of fruits. Oranges, watermelon, peaches, strawberries, grapes, mango, kiwi, papaya. She likes them all.
…is down to one nap a day. About 1.5 – 2 hours during mid-day.
…falls asleep around 7:30pm in her crib and comes to sleep with us in the middle of the night. Wakes up around 6am.
…asks for milk (in Chinese) when she wakes up in the morning and does the sign for it.
…has 8 teeth. 4 on top. 4 on bottom.
…is doing too many cute things to list here so I may just have to do a separate post for it. The latest – she opens the door for the dogs to come in from outside. If one of them hasn’t done his business yet and we only let one back in, she cries. But then whenever the other one comes back in, she claps.
…is becoming more social at the play area at the mall. She runs around, climbs the steps, and slides down the slide. She knows to wait for her turn.
…blows kisses goodbye.
…is playing with crayons and we are teaching her to draw lines. Also, her latest favorite toys are the corn popper push toy and Mega Blocks. However, they are all distant seconds to her books. She loves to curl up in our laps and flip through pages.
...loves to share her food with the dogs. She also clearly knows which one is Pargo and which one is Pesto.
…dances to music.
…gets frustrated when playing with toys (such as trying to balance a cookie using a spatula) so she throws them and says “arh!”
…watches Martha Speaks, Curious George, and Sesame Street. Lots of PBS shows. Also watching Brainy Baby and Baby Einstein. No longer keeping up with the signs, though. Maybe we will come back to it this month?
…gives me so much joy that I never expected. Sigh, I just ♥ her to pieces.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Baba's Day

Baba's Day Card 2011
Baba's Day Card 2011
I can't believe hubs has already celebrated his 2nd father's day. Last year we were both newbies at this whole parenting thing... Now he is a seasoned dad who works hard and spends his free time entertaining his favorite magic monkey.

For example, just last night I could hear the two of them laughing in the bathtub all the way from downstairs. Made me smile too even though I had no idea what those two were up to.

I love how much Anna adores her Baba and I can see hubby feels the same way. And that is the best thing in the world to see!
crafting
Anna and I had a little craft afternoon one day last week. I worked and she played with ribbons. I think photo cards (omg, can't believe how tiny Anna was!) will be our tradition from now on. They are so easy and cheap. This one was twenty cents to make.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Anna - 15 Months

15 Months
15 Months
Anna is 15 months old.

Instead of going over her sleeping, eating, and other stats, I thought I would tell a story.

The other night after dinner, we all went to the playground. Usually whenever we visit, we stick to Anna's two favorite things - the slide and the swing. She never walked or climbed the obstacle courses.

That night was the first time we decided to let her try walking the obstacle courses. Like always, Anna was cautious. She hesitated and looked at us for assistance, which we happily provided. But within 10 minutes, she went from us guiding her through a “baby” obstacle course to a “big-kid” one, leading the way with curiosity.

And that’s my girl. She’s cautious. She’s an observer. But give her time, she gains confidence and shows her true personality. Here is hoping she continues this in life.

Love you Anna bear!

(Hehe, hubby said this outfit makes Anna look like a retired old lady. I agree.)

15 Months from sugarlens on Vimeo.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, June 13, 2011

weekend outings

This weekend we took Anna on two little trips.

// She was a bit apprehensive at first, but eventually warmed up to the water jets and had lots of fun getting wet. We then dined outside on some Potbelly sandwiches.
just happy
fountain
splashy splashy
// Our first farm experience was hilarious. Haha, you know those kids who walk behind their parents, whining and complaining about being out? Well, that was Anna at the farm. She was hot and miserable, dragged her feet behind while we walked in front of her. At one point, hubby and I looked back and just had a good laugh watching her. Too funny. She’s such a little person now. Still, she made us proud - just marched on and no meltdown whatsoever.

Then inside the barn, she gagged four times because it was so smelly. Hmmm...I wonder what does it say about us as parents to have a laugh at her expense first before chauffeuring her out of there?
Frying Pan Farm Park
We saw goats, pigs, horses, peacocks, chickens, and sheep, and cows. Hubby petted a sheep, Anna almost did, too.
Farm Animals
Frying Pan Farm Park
Frying Pan Farm Park
It was a pretty good weekend! We got to spend lots of time together.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Baby B! Coming Soon!

Hey, guess what, we are expecting Baby B this fall! Nov 26 is the exact due date, but since Baby A was a few days early, we might very well be having a Thanksgiving baby! I am 16 weeks pregnant tomorrow.

With Baby A, I wrote weekly private posts before I made the announcement and published them. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with weekly updates with this pregnancy so I didn’t even try. However, I do want to play catch up in the form of Q&A.

When did you find out?

We found out on 3/29. After playing with Anna in her room, we were all heading downstairs. As I passed by the linen closet, I asked hubs, “Hey, should I take a pregnancy test?” I was a few days late, but didn’t think anything of it because I have always had very irregular cycles. I remember hubby responded, “Sure, why not? You got tons anyway.” (Just to clarify: I bought 25 test strips online while trying to get pregnant with Baby A. I used three. These were the leftovers - nearly expired, too.)

I grabbed one and went to the bathroom as Anna and hubby went downstairs. The two pink lines popped up SO fast, I couldn't believe it. I ran downstairs yelling, “Pregnant!” Hubby had a big smile on his face and Anna looked confused.

My first thought: Oh man, I am not ready to be pregnant again.
My second thought: How am I going to take care of Anna with a big tummy?

I tossed and turned that night. I kept on thinking, what are we going to do with Anna when I go to the hospital to deliver?

Milestones so far.

3/29 - Positive pregnancy test
4/14 - First prenantal appointment. Saw Baby B and heartbeat.
5/12 - Second prenantal appointment. Heard heartbeat through a doppler.
5/13 - First Trimester Screen. Everything looks great!
6/9 - Third prenatal appointment. Still looking good!

How are you feeling?

Maybe it is all psychological, but as soon as the test came back positive, I started experiencing pregnancy symptoms. I have all the symptoms I experienced with Baby A, except no acne this time. I feel a bit of nauseous and lots of fatigue, but no complaints really. As long as the baby is growing and doing well, it is all good.

So, was it planned?

Sort of. I planned to get pregnant sometime this year (June at the earliest), but to actually give birth in 2012. As I said, I have irregular cycles so I didn't expect to get pregnant easily, and especially since I had just started back up on my cycles in January (after cutting back pumping to twice a day). Well, I proved myself wrong.

So there was a plan....we are just 4 months ahead of it....but so happy about this early addition to the family.

I still have anxieties about having two kids under two, though, but I am SO excited that Anna and her sibling will just be 20 months apart. Which is why…

Boy or Girl?

Like all mothers-to-be, a healthy baby is priority, but I want another girl juuuuuuuust a teeny bit more. I think it would be awesome to have two girls close in age and grow up to be friends. But since I already have Anna, I would be okay with a boy too. :) Either way, we find out in 3 weeks!

Are you showing?

I have definitely popped and not just recently either. I started wearing maternity pants at 10 weeks and then tops at almost 13 weeks. It’s true, you start showing sooner after the first pregnancy.

See for yourself.
Baby B
Will you take another 24 weeks off?

That’s the plan. I will be home all through the holiday season and beyond Anna’s second birthday. It will be crazy times, but I can’t wait.

Is Baby B's first name going to start with a B?

Nope. We already have a girl name picked out and a few boy name contenders. None of them starts with a B.

I think that’s it for now. Now that the cat is out of the bag, I am going to try to blog more about the pregnancy for my own recording keeping and other fun stuff such as getting Anna’s big girl bedroom ready. It's already painted!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Taiwanese-Style Fried Pork Tenderloin

Taiwanese Style Pork Chops
I made these fried pork tenderloins last night and they were crispy and pretty delicious, so I am here to share how I made them.

//The Night Before
Slice pork tenderloin into thin slices.
With the back of a butcher knife, pound the slices to make them even flatter. I placed the slices between saran wrap to avoid splatter or mess.
In an airtight container, marinate the pork in light soy sauce, rice wine, minced garlic, Chinese 5-spice powder, and salt & pepper powder (available at Asian grocery stores).
Let it sit in fridge overnight.

//The Day Of
Place flour, beaten eggs (I used 2), and sweet potato starch in three separate shallow bowls.
Dip both sides of pork slices into the above ingredients in the following order: flour - egg mixture - sweet potato starch.
Heat cooking oil in a pan and cook over medium-high heat until it turns gold brown.
While hot, sprinkle with more salt & pepper power and offer some to your toddler!

You can eat them with rice with a side of veggies (which was what hubby did) or with noodle soup (which was what I did). Or make a sandwich. The point is – however you want to eat it, it is gooooood!

Note. I’ve made two other dishes with pork chops/tenderloins in the past - Chinese-Style Fried Pork Chops and Deep Fried Pork Cutlets. You will notice that these dishes, along with this Taiwanese-Style Fried Pork Tenderloin all have very similar ingredients. The difference with this Taiwanese-Style one is the salt & pepper powder, which is what I grew up with living in Taiwan. Having this particular ingredient is what makes it "Taiwanese" for me.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

play kitchen! (& a slight re-arrangement of the family room)

Yay, we now have a play kitchen!

Few weekends ago, when I asked hubby’s sister about play kitchens, she said, “Oh, take ours!” I clapped happily.

The original plan was to put the kitchen in the basement, and therefore creating a play area in the man-cave. This was probably the reason why hubby was in a hurry to paint the basement over the long weekend – to get it ready for Anna’s new toy.

Well, after moving the new toy into the basement on Saturday, hubby took one look and said, “No way.” Apparently, the pastel-colored kitchen ruined the "sophistication of the basement." His words.

And that’s why we did a little re-arrangement of our family room after the big cabinet project on Sunday.
IMG_5508
I wish I took a ‘before’ picture, but Anna was demanding attention so I didn’t get a chance. But in a nutshell, we basically took away the pack n’ play that sat in the corner and replaced it with the kitchen. We were no longer using the changing table on the pack n’ play and it was just serving as a place to hold Anna’s diapers, clothes, blankets, etc. So I pared down all her stuff and, lo and behold, they all fit in those pink and yellow storage boxes*. Of the four boxes, one actually still sits empty and one holds her toys. Haha, this is just to prove how much junk we had stored in the pack n’ play.

Note: The family room isn't always this tidy during daytime, but it is before my head hits the pillow at night. But I wanted to take the pictures in natural light so I cleaned the room and snapped some pictures in record time before the baby mania messes up again.

Anna doesn't really play with the kitchen just yet though. Usually, she just takes the play food, runs around with them, and hands them to people.
IMG_5530
A close up - I love it that it is made out of wood.
IMG_5512
These are just 4% of the play food that we inherited.
IMG_5522
IMG_5514
Because we lost a place to hold the diapers, lotion, etc, they now sit on top of the bookcase. Diapers and wipes are in the wicker basket and I need to remember to replace those full size bottles of lotion and baby powder with smaller ones.
IMG_5523
So the play kitchen wasn't suppose to live in the family room, but I am kind of glad it worked out that way. I am sure we will get more use out of it when it sits where we hang out most of the time.

Whew! It had been two very busy weekends filled with house-related projects. As much as I love all these productivity, I told hubby that we need to just take a weekend off and devote all our attention to Anna. Hope this upcoming weekend will be it.

* Can I just gosh about those pink and yellow storage boxes? They are heavy duty and opens from the top AND side. So convenient.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, June 6, 2011

open

I really love our house. It has my definition of a perfect layout. A separate formal living and dining area, but the place where we spend most of our time (kitchen, breakfast nook, and family room) is open and connected.

But there were these two cabinets that sort of blocked the openness.

See what I mean?
kitchen with the cabinets
Hubby wanted to remove them from day one, but I was against it initially because I didn’t want to lose storage space. Eventually, I came to realize that some of the stuff in those cabinets were things not being used at all.

For example, one cabinet was filled to the brim with Anna’s plates, bowls, sippy cups, and utensils. Did she really need all those? I recall her using the same one bowl, plate, cup, and spoon every day. So I boxed up the stuff she doesn’t use (some even still in its original packaging) and down it went to the basement. As for other things (vases, paper towels, a couple bottles of wine (which I don’t know why we bother keeping them since neither one of us appreciates wine), etc), I found space in other cabinets for them.

So this weekend, hubby and his dad got to work while Anna supervised. To put it simply, first they removed the cabinets, then installed recessed lights, and finally finished the job with a coat of paint. It took one afternoon and the next morning.
during
And this is how it is looking today. I like it!
kitchen without the cabinets
after_kitchen_kitchen
As I said, I love our house. We have no plans to upgrade to a bigger/newer house as long as we live in the area so it's nice to make improvements to suit our style. Eventually, we would like to turn the screen-in porch into part of the family room, but that may be a couple more years down the road. In the meantime, we are just enjoying this new openess. It acually makes our house feel bigger without adding any square footage. It's amazing what knocking down two cabinets can do.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!