Tuesday, September 27, 2011

a new walkway + stoop

Back when our house was being built, the construction crew thought that the house was suppose to come with a front porch and put in this giant slab of concrete. Once the mistake was realized, the orignal owners decided to take a discount on the house instead of having it removed. At least, this was the story that we were told when we bought the house.
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It never bothered me as much as it bothered hubs. Yes, it wasn’t pretty, but I would rather spend money on the INSIDE of the house. But because he does all the maintenance outside and curb appeal is important, we agreed to get it fixed, especially since the concrete didn’t sit entirely flat and it was slowly inching away from the house, leaving a gap.
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Hubs secured a contractor, worked with them on the design, picked out the colors, and the job officially started yesterday!

I can’t believe the progress they've made after just two days. If weather cooperates, it should be completed by tomorrow. Once it’s done, I am going to get a couple pots of mums and a big, round pumpkin. Just in time for fall.
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

OBX: Anna & Baba

These pictures were taken on the day Anna turned 18 months old. The day started off with watching the sunrise, followed by lots of laughs at the beach and the pool with her Baba.
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Anna is such a sweet, happy, adventurous, sparkly little girl. She is my sunshine on a cloudy day. I love that she's in my life!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Anna - 18 Months

I can’t believe Anna is one and a half years old.

Yesterday at her 18-month appointment, she weighs 22 lbs and 12 oz and stands 30.75 inches tall. She is squarely at the 25 percentile for both. She received an iron deficiency test (she passed) and two shots and cried like a baby through them all. I am glad that at her next appointment (2 years), there won’t be any more shots.

She is adding more words to her repertoire. I don’t do a good job of tracking, but new for this month that I can remember: dog/doggie (instead of go-go like she used to say) clock, pot, turtle, bug, mouse, fork, socks, shoes, hat, moon, eat, tree, box, blocks, star, uh oh, hot, train, broccoli, up, and down. These are words she says on her own, not just repeated after us. There are some words that she says in Chinese, but not in English, like egg, noodles, and horse.

I am surprised that Anna hasn’t picked up on thank you or please yet since we say them to her all the time. But she put two distinct words together for the first time at OBX, bye-bye, beach.

She can identify all her body parts, including the less common ones like knees, neck, elbows, and back.

Sometimes, when we say one, two, she will say three.

She seems to be able to identify colors and shapes. She doesn’t say the shapes, but when I ask her to hand me a certain shape (out of an assortment of others), she gets it right most of the time. At dinner, we have been playing with different colors of sponges and when I ask her to hand me the green sponge, she gets it. I trick her, though – when there is only one color left, say pink, I will ask her for yellow. She hesitates, but hands me the pink anyway. So I guess she’s not 100% accurate yet, but we are getting there!

In the tub, hubs teaches her ABC.

No is her favorite word.

She was never into stuffed animals…until this month. Now she has a bear that she likes to hug and kiss.

When hubs tells her it's time for bed, she will grab her blanket and gives me a kiss before going over to hubs. SO SWEET.

Anna continues to be a cautious little girl. It still takes her a while to warm up to people, but when she does, she has fun with them. She doesn’t mind little people, though. When we take her to play with trains at the bookstore, she plays among other kids. Not exactly playing with them, but holds her own even though she’s always the smallest one there. Yesterday at the doctor’s office, she played at the activity table with two bigger girls (4 or 5 years old, maybe). They started interacting with her and instead of running back to us, she just stayed there and did her own thing.

I am really enjoying this stage now – it’s so much fun that she’s communicating with us and calms down when we reason with her. I am going to do my best to stop, soak in the moment, and really enjoy my big one-and-a-half-year old girl before Baby B comes. There is a lot to enjoy!
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Monday, September 19, 2011

OBX: Birthday!

I turned a year older while down at OBX. I am 29 now, if you must know.

That day we skipped the beach and the pool and went shopping. We went to a waterfront shopping plaza and had a lesurisly walk along the pier. It was yet another sunny day! As I get older, birthdays are no longer about presents and cakes and big trips (although I did receive some petty presents from hubs & Anna and cake in the form of Duck Donuts and we were on vacation) but more about spending time with my little fam and getting a nice picture with all 3 of us to remember the day.

Instead of buying a present for myself, we actually got something for Anna – an ornament. It will be her “Second Christmas” ornament. She won’t remember a thing about this vacation, but we will tell her plenty of stories every time we hang the ornament for years to come.
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

OBX: Then and Now

Being stuck in the same car with
a toddlerAnna for 5+ hours is no joke. So, to make it as tear-free as possible, we left a day before our vacation was suppose to end to beat the mad traffic. Besides, the weather had turned cold and windy the day we left so we didn't feel like we wasted a day.

We got home late last night and today I shopped for groceries while hubs did yard work stuff outside (yikes, he found bats!). The bags are unpacked and mails are sorted and we will have tomorrow to relax before returning to work on Monday.

Anyway, back to the vacation. We went to the beach before we left so Anna can say "bye-bye, beach" one last time. Just look at those crazy waves - so glad our vacation was ending and not just starting!
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But, before arriving home, we made a pit stop at Colonial Williamsburg to let Anna stretch her legs.

It was almost exactly a year ago when we took Anna to Williamsburg. I thought it would be fun to take some pictures at the same exact locations to see how they compare.

8.2010 - Anna @ 5.5 Months Old
Williamsburg/Yorktown Roadtrip
9.2011 - Anna @ 18 Months Old
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I still think of Anna as a tiny girl, but my how she has grown!

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

OBX: Good Morning, Sun!

We haven't been sleeping in on this vacation. Our little alarm clock wakes up bright and early each morning. Yesterday, on her 18-month birthday, she woke up even earlier at 6am. As sleepy as we were, we took it as a sign that we should go watch the sunrise on the beach. We tried to stay out of the water, but she still managed to fall and got herself all dirty.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

OBX: Some Sightseeing

Yesterday we took a half day trip to the Wright Brothers National Memorial and Jockey's Ridge State Park. It was one of the best excursions we've ever had - not that what we saw was particular interesting to me - but because everyone was in a happy mood. We can be at the most boring place, but as long as we are all happy, it becomes the best place. Cheesy, but true.

We left just before 9am, Anna navigating along the way.
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Once at the Wright Brothers National memorial, we took a fairly steep walk to get to the monument.
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Then it was off to Jockey's Ridge to see the sand dunes. Walking uphill in the sand can leave your calves burning. Hubs did it while carrying Anna. I did it in my 3rd trimester. Even Anna requested to walk. I was so proud of all of us!
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We got home way past Anna's nap time, so she didn't finally wake up until just before 4. Then hubs took her to the beach while I stayed behind to relax. I guess not only did we have one of the best excursions, we had one of the best days.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

OBX: Lighthouse, More Beach, and Keep Calm & Move On

My friend commented yesterday that we are totally her heroes for traveling as much as we do with a baby. Well, we actually don't. I consider this as our first family vacation, even though we have taken a few road trips in the past. Anyway, I replied saying that traveling with a tot is just taking the show on the road. We are still dealing with temper tantrums, battling with eating, and all the stuff that we face at home.

For example, since we got to OBX, Anna has been refusing milk. So...she hasn't had a drop of milk since Saturday morning. We were so stressed about it that there were many not-so-memorable moments. But then we decided that we could either continue to be stress about it & have it ruin our vacation or just stay calm & move on. We chose the latter. And since then, we have been having lots of fun, milk or no milk. It's all about managing expectations, I guess.

Anyway, here are some pictures from yesterday. We visited one of the many lighthouses here and afterwards we drove on the beach! Supposedly if we had gone further, we could have seen wild horses, but driving on the sand was kind of scary (even though I wasn't doing the driving) so we only did a little bit to get the experience.
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After Anna woke up from her nap, we went back to the beach again. She loved digging and putting the sand in her bucket. Yesterday was a bit windier, but she still had fun despite the giant waves.
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Monday, September 12, 2011

OBX: Meeting the Ocean

Greetings from the Outer Banks!

We arrived at our beach house late Saturday afternoon after a long drive and took Anna to see the ocean first thing the next morning. Judging by the smile on her face, I think it's safe to say that she likes "wawa" a lot.
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If I don't get too lazy, I should have time to post more throughout the week. Besides the pool and the ocean, there isn't a whole lot to do here but to just relax. Sounds like a perfect vacation to me.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

happy 4th anniversary

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I am feeling short on words today, but this year has proved to be yet another challenging one. More of those “for worse” experiences have crept in and we’ve relied on each other more than ever. I can honestly say that this year we worked together as a team – and while it doesn’t make for romance, it does make for long lasting partnership and love.

But let me just say, juggling our jobs + our house + our dogs + our Anna hasn’t been easy. True confession, in the past 365 days, we have only left the house and baby ONCE – to go on our cruise vacation – and that was almost ONE year ago. I hope in the coming year, we can change that.

As we move onto Year 5, things will inevitably be even harder – a new baby! But, if the last four years are any indication, we will handle anything that life throws at us just fine.

To hubs –I am so thrilled for our expanding little family and being able to share it all with you. Happy anniversary.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Charm City!

Over the holiday weekend, we spent some time in Baltimore!

You must all be thinking…why Baltimore?? Few weeks back, hubs decided to sign up to work at the Grand Prix. When he asked if Anna and I would like to tag along, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. It was going to be a new experience for Anna – sleeping away from home (the first and only time she stayed at a hotel was when she was 5.5 months old) and seeing a new city. Although it wasn’t anything new to me, I was looking forward to a weekend away from home – no cleaning or cooking – and just spend time with Anna.

Traveling with a toddler is never easy. I didn’t know how my 28-weeks pregnant body would handle too much running around with a tot…so we didn’t. Instead, we took it really easy. Only one or two attractions per day and went back to the hotel room for her naps. For dinners, instead of dealing with potential tantrums at the restaurant, we just went to Whole Foods and bought prepared foods. It worked out well.

Before the trip, I knew all I wanted was to take Anna to Port Discovery (a children’s museum) and the National Aquarium. We made it to both and more!

Port Discovery was awesome. We went on a Friday and the place was nearly empty when we arrived at 10am. In hindsight, it probably would be more fun for Anna to have more kids running around, but it didn’t work out that way. We had a great time there – she loved the water exhibit and nearly had a meltdown when I finally dragged her out. Since we didn’t cover everything in the morning, we went back again in the afternoon before hubs returned from work.
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Going to Federal Hill Park wasn’t on the agenda, but hubs suggested it and it turned out to be a neat outing. From our hotel to the park was about a 25-minute walk. I was huffing and puffing by the time I walked up the hill to get there, but it was worth it. We got a panoramic view of Inner Harbor and there was a nice playground up on top, too.
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Ah….the aquarium. I was expecting a wonderful visit, but it turned out to be anything but. Anna was well rested and well fed just prior to our arrival so I was expecting good behavior from her. But once we got inside…maybe it was the darkness and the crowd…but she didn’t want to walk. On top of that, she couldn’t care less about all the marine life around her. A shark could be swimming in front of her and she would be looking down at her shoes. Dolphins? No thanks. Hubs declared: I am never paying to take her to see animals again! Haha.
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I took Anna to Fell’s Point on our last day there. I visited there back in 2008 and if you click here, you will see a picture of me and Pargo at the same spot below. Anna is a weirdo - she didn’t want to walk at the aquarium the previous night, but she couldn’t get enough of walking at Fell’s Point. In fact, she had another whining episode when I had to put her back in the stroller to go back to the hotel.
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So anyway, that was out Baltimore stay in a nutshell. There are a lot more pictures here, some with descriptions. I will be totally honest and say that the trip wasn’t all happy, all the time. There were frustrating moments, but seeing Anna’s oohs and ahhs made it all worth it.

See more images from our Baltimore trip here.

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