Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene...

it wasn’t bad at all…at least where we live. I mean, We have more leaves and twigs than usual in our yard, but that is all.

Friday after work, I went shopping and loaded on milk, eggs and yogurt. Not to prepare for the storm or anything, but because I hate grocery shopping now and I would rather get it over with on Fridays. I came home with a bunch of perishables and hubs said, “What if we lose power?” Duh! That thought did not occur to me at all. Luckily, we survived Irene and had power all weekend.

So Saturday we spend the entire day in because of the rain and wind outside. We were all playing in the family room and I was taking pictures with my telephoto lens. In the middle of it, hubby went to the basement and brought up my early birthday present! A 50mm prime lens! I won’t pretend to be knowledge about camera equipment here, but I do like this simple and lighter lens. It lets lots of light in so my indoors shots are bright and crisp even with my shaky hands. And now that the camera is 10x lighter, I think taking my big camera with me when I am alone with Anna may actually be doable.

Here are some shots from Saturday.
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Sunday we ran around ALL day. The highlight of it all was Anna got her first real haircut! I have been going to my hair lady for as long as I can remember. On Sunday I finally went in for a cut (in more than 6 months!). My hair lady saw Anna’s uneven hair and offered to give her a little trim, too. Girlfriend cried the entire time. I almost said forget it, but it was over in 3 minutes and I have to admit, it looks pretty good! I will have to take a picture later.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

weekend: a petting zoo (and a train ride that never happened)

I counted…we only have four summer weekends left. Hard to believe. This summer has been full, and we still got a few things left on the horizon before it officially ends. And in the midst of it all, we will be celebrating a wedding anniversary and two birthdays. Anna will also be turning a year and half. Like everyone else, I am planning on enjoying the last summer days to the fullest.

This weekend we went to Reston Zoo, a petting zoo nearby.

In summary, in a list format:
// Anna doesn’t like barns. She can’t get use to the smell.
// A baby goat wandered up to us and licked me. It freaked Anna out.
// She doesn’t care for the animals. She was slightly interested in the gators, but that may just be because she liked standing on the viewing platform.
// She was also slightly interested in the ducks, but that may just be because she liked walking on dirt.
// She LOVED walking on gravel. Next time we are taking her to a construction site.
// She petted a bunny. And a goat I think.
// The raisins saved the day. We had finished the entire zoo and still had 35 minutes before the wagon ride. The raisins kept Anna happy.
// The complementary wagon ride was the highlight of the zoo. The camels, ostriches, and water buffalos got super close. Again, Anna couldn’t care less, but she liked the ride.
// $24 for 2 adults. Eh, not worth it. Especially since Anna didn’t appreciate it. Maybe when she’s older, but by then we will have to pay for her.
Reston Zoo
Reston Zoo
Reston Zoo
Reston Zoo
Yesterday we went to Burke Lake Park, wanting to re-live the day when Anna turned 16 weeks old with a train ride. It was a bummer that the impending rain/storm caused the train to stop running 20 minutes before we got there. So we took her to the lake part of the park and she still had a little bit of fun stepping into the water. We will probably try the train again next week.
Burke Lake Park
Check out this picture, taken at the same location.
Burke Lake Park
See more images from the Reston Zoo.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gotta Have My Grahams

8/15/2011 - Gotta Have My Grahams
We were all eating Teddy Grahams on the couch. Hubby was holding a handful and was giving them to Anna one by one. After popping one in her mouth, hubs gave her another one and said, “Feed Mama.” She did. Eventually, it came down to the last two pieces and hubs gave one to Anna. After putting that in her mouth, he handed her the last one and said, “Feed Mama.” Without any hesitation, she put that one in her mouth as well. I guess seeing that it was the last one, she had to have it.

Kids….
I would have given her 10 more.

Bath time
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Anna - 17 Months

Anna turned 17 months old on Sunday.

Ever since my work location changed in mid-July, I have been spending less time with Anna. I don’t see her in the morning and when I get home at 3, we only have 4 hours together before she gets ready for bed. As much as I know how stressed and tired I will be after Baby B is born, I am looking forward to spending 24 weeks at home with Anna. I feel like I have been missing her growing up lately.

As I mentioned before, Anna has been a tough cookie to deal with this month. She’s just an opinionated toddler now. Getting her to eat a good amount food is still a battle. Sometimes I have to offer her the EXACT SAME FOOD in different ways before she will eat it. She wants to self-feed with a spoon. She wants to stab the food with the fork herself. She wants to use her hands. She wants us to feed her with chopsticks. This girl’s knows what she wants and it’s up to us to figure it out.

This month, Anna is getting into book again. I lay on my side on the floor and she lays on her tummy and we read together. Her vocabulary is increasing and often points to the pictures in the book and correctly identifies them. Of course, she still understands a lot more than she can speak so more often I will ask her “where is….?” and she is pretty accurate most of the time.

Just the other day, we were on a page with a bunch of animals and she got them all correctly. We were so proud! Since Anna gets a mix of Cantonese, Mandarin, and English daily, her verbal development may not be as far along as other tots, but I am sure she will be fine.

Off the top of my head, she knows and says: mama, baba, ball, go-go (dog), bird, cat, frog, flower, book, bubbles, cracker, cookie, wawa (water), cow, car, boat, paper, nose, neck, baby, fish, up, bee, bear, cup, no, diaper, and bye. I am sure I am missing a bunch more. These are the words she says on her own, but she repeats tons of others after us. I don’t count those as the words she knows, though. Then there are some that she doesn’t repeat after us, like clock and curtain, but she points to them when we say those words.

Hubby has been diligently teaching her colors and numbers, but she hasn’t caught up on them yet. I am trying to teach her shapes.

She loves to help. She puts stuff away when we ask her to. She carries grocery bags from the mudroom to the kitchen. When we come home, she takes our bags and…puts them somewhere. In the kitchen, she’s eager to help with stirring. I wish she never stops wanting to help, but I know better.

One of the many cute things she does I want to remember: If we are out shopping and I am the next aisle over, she will yell “MAAAAAAAAmaa!” Loud enough for everyone around her to hear. So cute. And just for the record, she only does that for me. :)

She's currently growing her top left molar.
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On the day she turned 17 months, she was Miss Cranky Pants all morning and only took a 30-minute nap. But then her grandparents came over to visit and, surprisingly, she was in a happy mood for the rest of day. This was the picture I captured.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

playground day

We took Anna to a nearby playground this weekend and she had the time of her life. It was actually our second time there. First time was over the Memorial Day Weekend and she was in a fussy mood so we had no fun. We even took her on the carousel ride and she didn’t appreciate it at all.

Almost 3 months later, she had a completely different experience!

The moment we walked in, she was mesmerized by the carousel, but we lured her away from it to play with other (free) things. She climbed and ran all over the place, amongst all other kids there. Since we don’t get to see her “interact” with other kids often, it was so fun to watch.

Just as we were leaving, we passed by the carousel again, and we could just tell that she really wanted to go on it. So $1.75 later, with a token in hand, she waited patiently in line for her turn.

It was hard to get good shots, but she squealed in delight during the entire ride.

Successful outings are the best. They make everything worthwhile. Happiness is contagious. When Anna is happy, we are happy. Hmph, why can't it work the other way around too?
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Dogs

They used to be our babies, but now, I hate to say it, they just cause headaches.
The barking. The mess. The maintenance.
It’s a weekly discussion between me and the hubs to give them away.
But as much as I don’t want to see them gone, sometimes I think it’s for the best.
Especially things are going to get a lot worse with Baby B’s arrival.

But then there are also the good memories.
And the good memories that I know Anna and Baby B will have with them.
(Anna is starting to enjoy Pesto and kissed him on the nose the other day. She brings over the comb and the brush and “helps” me brush Pargo.)

Anyway, if we really give them away, I know the guilt will eat me up.
And what about the pictures we have of them up on the wall? Will they need to come down?

On the other hand, I think… if we have made it this far….can’t we just go a little bit further?
Tough it out for the next few years?

When I see pictures like these, I think that yes, we can tough it out.
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Monday, August 8, 2011

The “Terrible Twos"

Is that for real and can it start 7 months early? Because I feel like we are in the thick of it.

This past week, Anna has been throwing temper tantrums easily…and it’s hard to not get upset along with her. On one hand, it’s not completely heart-breaking for me to watch her cry, but the thing about Anna is that – whenever she cries, she tends to throw up her entire meal. Since she’s already petite for her age, that is the most frustrating part.

On another hand, I can do whatever it takes to make her happy and make sure she never cries (after a meal), but I don’t want to raise a brat either.

Being a mom is tough sometimes.

Anyway, we had a low-key weekend. Saturday night we hosted a cookout consisted of burgers and hotdogs. No pictures got taken because Anna was glued to me all night long, but I thought it was yet another success and everyone liked the burgers I made. My secret? Sausages! Next time, I think we will try grilling steaks.

Sunday…we went to Meadowlark Gardens again. It was sticky and hot and we didn’t stay long, but Anna was in a happy spirit despite of the heat.
Meadowlark Gardens 7Aug11
Getting up and personal with the geese.
Meadowlark Gardens 7Aug11
She walked uphill – giggling along the way - all on her own. We were so proud of her.
Meadowlark Gardens 7Aug11
We have an annual membership to the gardens and it's expiring at the end of November. We will probably go one last time in two months to check out the fall colors!

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

the best view ever

I am going to start jotting down all the cute/funny/smart/annoying things that Anna does. Here is the first one.

8/3/2011
Anna and I were reading a book on the floor and Pesto was laying next to us. We got to a page that has a picture of a dog and she pointed to it and said “go-ga” (dog). Anyway, so I asked her, “where is our “go-ga”?” She turned to Pesto and pointed at him. I then asked her, “ok, where is Pargo?” Without looking up, she pointed in the direction of the breakfast nook. Haha, yes, Pargo really was in the breakfast area, but from where we were in the family room, he was out of sight. But I guess she knows that he’s always there.

Then she went over to her play kitchen and pointed & said “cup”. There are several toy cups on the kitchen shelve and I gave one to her. She took the cup and said “wawa” (water) and walked toward the kitchen. I filled up the cup with water and she drank from it.

7/31/2011 - the best view ever
Hubby filled up Anna’s baby pool and they played outside while I did stuff in the kitchen. I love seeing the two of them have fun and spend time together.
baby pool time!

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Schedule as a Working Mom (w/ a 16.5 Month Old)

The days are long, but the years are short. So true. I am doing another schedule post to help me remember my last few months as a mother of one. The next time I do a schedule post, I will have two kiddies!

This is my typical weekday schedule pattern with a 16.5 month old. I am also pregnant!

(Note: I recently changed to a new job location and have an earlier wake-up time.)

5:15am – I wake up and get ready for work as quietly as possible. I let the dogs out, eat cereal, pack lunch, and prep Anna’s fruit. I may also fill up the dogs’ bowls with food and water, but it all depends on how much time I have. I am getting more and more efficient and as the weather gets colder, I have a feeling that my wake-up time will be closer to 5:30am instead.

6:00am – I go upstairs to say goodbye to hubby and put Anna’s outfit for the day on the dresser. I brush teeth.

By 6:15am – I put the dogs in the mudroom and leave for work. Anna wakes up between 6:00 – 6:30am so sometimes I see her briefly before leaving home, but usually not. It’s more important for her to sleep so I don’t mind too much, but I do miss hanging out with her in the morning!

6:30 – 6:45am – Arrive to work. Overall, work is still good. Sometimes I wish I can stay home with Anna, but I know a few days of that will drive me up the wall…which is why I think going PT will give me the perfect balance, but then money comes into play. Oh well, I will put a pin in it and re-evaluate once Baby B is here.

At work, hubby and I may email throughout the day. He gives me status reports on Anna – when she wakes up, how much she eats, what she is up to, etc. Right now, Anna has a pretty fixed schedule. She watches a little bit of TV in the morning and twice a week Grandma takes her to the mall play area to hang out. She naps from about 11 – 1pm and then more playing in the early afternoon until I get home.

8 hours later…

2:30pm – Leave work.

3:00pm – Home sweet home! I change out of work clothes and hang out with Anna and hub (if he’s home) for a bit.

3:30 – 4:00pm – Cook dinner. I used to love cooking, but not so much anymore. I blame it on the combination of being pregnant and laziness. Therefore, dinners are nothing elaborate, which is fine with me and hubs. But I worry that Anna isn’t get enough variety in her diet…

4:00 – 4:15pm – I put Anna in her booster seat and feed her dinner (her usual – noodle soup). I feed her first so she can eat without distractions and get full.

4:15 – 4:45pm – We sit down as a family to eat. We give Anna whatever we are eating…(she feeds herself with a spoon)...sometimes she eats more (which we consider it as a bonus!) and sometimes she refuses (which is okay since she already had her noodles earlier). Yesterday we had spaghetti and meatballs and she ate SO WELL.

By 5:00pm – Wash dishes and clean kitchen. We give Anna random stuff for dessert – rice biscuits, fruit, sometimes ice cream. Usually all while playing and hanging out in the kitchen.

5:00 – 5:45pm –Read books, play with toys & the piano, brush Pargo, etc. Each day is a bit different. Last night we sat out in the screened-in porch and watched the storm.

5:45 – 6:00pm – I turn on Baby Einstein (or other baby shows) and feed Anna yogurt. I know it’s a bad habit in the making to feed her in front of TV, but sometimes I don’t have the energy to chase her around while trying to feed her. So TV it is!

6:00 – 6:30pm – Bath time! Hubs is in charge of cleaning Anna while I hop into shower. I take the dogs out and tidy up the house.

6:30 – 7:00pm – Anna and I hang out on the bed, read books, and snuggle. Hubby showers.

7:00pm – I kiss Anna goodnight and hubs puts Anna to sleep. We used to be able to just drop her in the crib and leave, but now she wants us there until she falls asleep. She laughs and kicks before dozing off. It takes about 30 minutes.

7:00 – 7:30pm – I go downstairs, tidy/wipe some more, put the dishes away, check emails (work and personal), and spend some time on the computer.

7:30 to 9:15pm – Hubby and I hang out. These days we are watching this show – Breaking Bad – together. It’s so good! We snack and chat.

After 9:15pm –I may do more stuff on the computer, but being pregnant and having to get up early, I usually choose to go to bed instead.

By 9:30pm – I fall asleep.

9:30pm – 5:15am - I wake up at random times to use the bathroom or because of Anna’s whines. Hubby takes care of Anna (if she needs to be taken care of) through the night. My job is to just sleep.

Read more about my schedules:
As a SAHM to a 5 month old
As a Working Mom to a 11 month old

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Monday, August 1, 2011

"weekending"

I realize that I almost exclusively only blog about our weekends now. On the weekdays we go through the daily grind…not much to report there…but on the weekends is when we have fun and adventures. Alas, they are always too short. I wish that every weekend could be a 3-day one. One day to party, one day to truly relax, and one day to run errands. It would be so nice to work PT and have every Friday off, but I know that it will just be less pay with the same amount of work. So….probably not going to happen.

Anyway, time for the weekend report!

I decided that I wanted to go to a farmer’s market this weekend. I have heard that it is a great place to take kids because there are many things to smell, touch, and sample. I admit that the quality of produce at the farmer’s market is definitely better, but not worth the skyrocket price. In addition to tasting some peaches, tomatoes, and cantaloupes, we bought mango sorbet, blueberries, and a jar of honey. I think it was $32 in all. Ouch. Who cares about buying local, I am sticking with the grocery stores from now on.

Although after popping in a few blueberries, hubby said with a sigh, “Today is the day I fell in love with blueberries.”
Farmer's Market
Farmer's Market
Then it was off to the Air and Space Museum in DC. In reality, Anna is much too young for any kind of museums, but we really like getting her out. Perhaps it was because of the crowd, but she didn’t want to walk when we were inside the museum, but while waiting for it to open, she ran all over the place. I love it that most of the time, she’s a happy-go-lucky girl. Her smiles and laughs are contagious and they make my day. I can say with certainty that they make hubby’s as well. :)
National Air and Space Museum
National Air and Space Museum
More images from our weekend here.

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