Thursday, May 31, 2012

the kids' new ride

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Up until recently, it has been pretty easy to wear/carry Will and have Anna walk or ride in her stroller. But carrying Will was getting more difficult. Not only he weighs a ton, but he also squirms. And now that the weather is getting warmer, we both get hot and sweaty if we have to carry him for a long time. We really needed a double stroller when we are out to play.

I had my eyes set on the Joovy Stand-On Tandem double stroller for the longest time, but just waiting for it to go on sale. The regular one (there is also an ultralight model) finally did a couple of weeks ago so we bought it for $120.

We tested it out for the first time in Williamsburg. It works pretty good - easy to push and steer. Anna loves sitting in the back and can get on and off whenever she likes. There is also an option for her to stand, but I think because she's on the shorter side, it is awkward. She can also ride in the front too, of course, whenever Will is not in it. Since Will still can't sit too well yet, you can see that he's slouching a bit, but I think it will work great for him in a few weeks. The stroller does come with the infant carrier attachment, but we are just too lazy to use it.

The only thing I am concerned about is that Anna won't be able to nap in the stroller, sitting in the back. If Will is not too picky, he may be able to nap in the front, but I don't see how it can be comfortable. But we will see.

I can't comment on the folding/unfolding because hubs has been doing that, but he says it's easy. I like how compact it is when folded.

Double strollers can get pricey so I am glad we got this cheaper alternative for now. Hope it will last until the kids outgrow it. I don't want to buy another stroller...this is already our 3rd!
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Will's First Road Trip!

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We took our first trip as a family of four to Williamsburg over the Memorial Day Weekend. It was a lot of fun and wasn't too expensive, thanks to a deal I saw on LivingSocial. With little ones, we got a 1-bedroom condo - with a full kitchen and washer/dryer. It was much better than a standard hotel room. Williamsburg is a great destination for us because it's only a few hours away and with just enough to do. As the kids get older, we will hit up the theme parks, but we stuck with the freebies this time.

Here is a summary of what we did -

Day 1: We got stuck in traffic on the way down so by the time we got there, it was 1pm. We ate at a buffet and then went to Walmart for some essentials. Will went to sleep super early that night since he hardly napped.

Day 2: Breakfast at iHOP. Then we drove the Colonial Parkway toward Yorktown (Beach). Anna wasn't feeling up for playing in the water, but she spent time finding seashells. After we got enough sun, we stopped by Ben & Jerry's before heading home for a loooong nap. That night, we went to Colonial Williamsburg where we tested out our tandem stroller for the first time. We got take-out and after Will was down for the night, the three of us had a yummy dinner.

Day 3: Again, we drove the Colonial Parkway, but this time, toward Jamestown. We stopped at one of the stops on the way there and had the whole beach area to ourselves. We dipped our toes (and ankles) in the water and Anna had so much fun playing with just a stick and sand. Then we checked out Williamsburg Pottery and it was nap time for all of us. That evening we shopped at the outlet and got take-out again.

Day 4: We packed up and drove home. We made a pit-stop at IKEA, and lucked out that kids eat free on Tuesday.

Traveling with kids is never easy. Sometimes I think it's easier to just stay home and never go anywhere. This trip was no exception. However, hubs and I both agreed that this was our best Williamsburg trip yet. I love spending time with my family without any distractions or worry about what to cook for dinner!
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There are over 200 more pictures here.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

playing Poohsticks!

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My mom works for the local county park authority and has all the inside scoop on what events are being offered at the parks. When she saw this event - Wagon Ride to Poohsticks Bridge - offered at nearby Riverbend Park, she signed me & Anna up. She knows Anna is crazy about all things Pooh Bear-related.

It was an easy event for tots. We listened to the story of Pooh and his friends dropping pine cones into the river. Then it was a 20-minute wagon ride through the (hundred-acre) wood to the Poohsticks Bridge. Then we picked up some sticks, walked to the bridge, and dropped the sticks into a stream that runs into the Potomac River.

In the end, I am not 100% sure if Anna made the connection of what we were doing to her favorite silly ol' bear, but she was very excited through it all. When she ran out of sticks, she kept on going back for more. Unfortunately, the stream wasn't flowing so the sticks just sort of floated instead of running down. Oh well...we both liked this outing like Pooh likes his honey hunny.

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Thanks Grandma for sponsoring the excursion!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Will 6 Months Update

Will Learning to Sit
Will gave me his Mama's Day present last night. He slept from 6:30p to 5:15a. And then after I fed him, he didn't wake up for the day until close to 9a! No, I don't expect it to happen again any time soon. But it did give me hope that I will be able to sleep through the night again someday.

Anyway, onto his big 6 months update. My boy is half way into his first year of life!

Sleep

Up until recently, Will has been pretty good with sleeping. But now, he wakes up several times a night, rolling and turning. I don't feed him every time he wakes up because I don't think he's waking up due to hunger so we calm him down with a pacifier. I don't want him to rely on pacifiers, but it's the easiest and quickest way. We are just too tired to put up a fight in the middle of the night!

He takes 1-2 naps a day. On 1-nap days, that nap is usually 2+ hours long and we put him to bed extra early. All in all, I think he gets about 14 hours of total sleep a day.

Eat

Will may be a poor sleeper, but he makes it for being a champion eater. He still gets 5 160cc bottles a day, on top of 2 feedings of solids. It seems to me that he eats a lot, but he always has room for more. He gets mad when the bottle or bowl is empty. He also gets fussy when he sees food, but we are not feeding him (like when he sees a bottle warming up). It's hilarious.

With Anna, she frequently threw up an entire feeding, but Will has never thrown up once. I guess you can't have it all. Anna was a much better sleeper than Will, but Will is a better eater.

Milestones

When Anna was a baby, I compared her milestones with this chart. I don't do this with Will. One, I don't have time. Two, I don't care. But I should explain that it's not so much that I don't care, but it's just that I know Will is happy and healthy and he will get there on his own timeline.

This month, Will officially became a rolling machine, he reaches out to grab + pull objects, he puts everything in his mouth, and sits unassisted for an extended period of time before toppling over. He even got on 4s a couple of times. He's moving right along!

Temperament/Personality

I think Will is a regular baby, not easy, but not particularly hard either. He has good days and bad days. On bad days, we have to hold him all day long. On good days, we can plop him on the floor and he can be happy for a long time. I do think that his bad days are contributed to his skin problems. I don't blame him, when his eczema flares up, he's just not comfortable.

Overall, Will is a happy baby and always flashes a huge grin any time we look at him. He does have a case of mild stranger anxiety, but it can easily be fixed as soon as the person holding him takes him outside.

I remember we used to plan our outings with Anna based on her nap schedule. Now with Will, he just has to accommodate. Luckily he adjusts quickly and usually is a good sport through it all.

Life

Life with two kids just 20 months apart is hard. Anna still demands a lot of our attention. And now she's older (but not old enough...if that makes sense), she's starting to feel jealousy. Now I understand why people space it out a little. But I think once we get past this difficult stage, prehaps once Will turns 18 months and can play with Anna, things will get a lot easier and fun. I really hope they grow up to be friends.

Either way, life is good with many precious moments. It's all worth the hard work! I love my little family.
6 Months Sitting on Grandma
Will 6 Months - Anna 26 Months
6 Months Checkup
6-months stats: 18 lbs 6 oz, 26 inches

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Mama's Day 2012...

Overall, it was a nice day filled with good weather, smiles, and fun. Interspersed in there was some fussing from Will and irrational tantrums completed with screaming from Anna. Lots of tears, lots of yelling. Haha, pretty much the epitome of my life right now.

It's such a cliche thing to say, but being a Mom is the hardest job I have ever had and probably will ever have. A lot of times I just want to forget it all, go hide under the covers, and take a nap. But unlike my outside job, I don't get time-off. I don't get to call in sick. It's also a cliche thing to say, but being a Mom is the best. To watch them learn, discover, laugh, and play. I am pretty sure there is nothing else better out there.
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More images from my THIRD Mama's Day.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

recently / this morning

The kids woke up super early today - think 5:45a - but luckily they were contented with just laying around. Look at that sumo baby on the bed! The scale read 19 pounds last night.
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Lately, as soon as Anna opens her eyes, she asks for books. So giving her a couple of books can buy us at least 20 minutes of freedom. She loves to "read" to herself and I love to watch. She's starting to recognize some words, like Pooh or Buzz or Christopher Robin. Yeah, she's a Winnie the Pooh fan through and through. She was reading really well...until I took out the camera...then she started singing instead.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

One Chicken, Two Ways

Anna has been eating well lately and it has inspired me to cook new dishes for her to try. I took a completely de-boned chicken and cooked it two ways. And since both recipes called for very similar ingredients, they didn't take long to prepare at all.

Chicken is still a hit or miss with Anna. She's starting to eat nuggets, but not always a fan of the chicken dishes I make. So for this, what I did was I mixed plain rice/noodles with the sauce and gave her a side of baby corn + tofu stir fry and hoped for the best.

Well...she ate it all except for a couple of bites!! I guess she liked the flavor.

I really liked both personally. Sooooo good over rice. Definitely making them again.

Clay Pot Chicken with Mushroom -- Modification: I added carrots.
Clay Pot Chicken w/ Mushrooms
Sesame Oil Chicken
Sesame Oil Chicken

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Park & SHAVED ICE (!!!)

I don't think this morning's outing could have gone any better.

We left the house just before 10a for a new-to-us park - Cabin John Regional Park in Maryland. We only went to the playground area....but Anna really enjoyed it. She's such a kid now that every time we get in the car, she asks for park. So taking her to any playground is a guarantee win. But today, even Will had his first ride in the swing. He did awesome -- just look at that smile! There are tons of picnic tables so I can definitely see us coming back with food next time.
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The real reason why we went to Maryland was to check out this shaved ice place. Hubs recently connected with a former coworker of his and found out that he's the owner of Sno Dream.

Now, growing up in Taiwan, I have always liked shaved ice, but can take it or leave it. The shaved ice at Sno Dream, though, is something else. I totally LOVE it. It's light, creamy, and fluffy. Instead of using just regular ice, the "ice" is actually ice cream-like, which makes all the difference.

We ordered a large (mango ice w/ banana, strawberry, mango, and condensed milk) to share among the four of us. Will was a fan, but I think Anna only liked the strawberry topping. Then hubs buddy (the owner) showed up and gave us some freebies (taro ice w/ toppings and green tea ice w/ toppings). I loved them ALL. Seriously, if this place was located at the mall closer to us, I would go all the time. And that's saying a lot for a cheapskate like me.
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Snodream
I ate most of of these two cups because hubs was chatting with his friend. So YUM.
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So as I said, it was a great outing. The kids had fun and our bellies were happy + full.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Well....it's back to the working world.

Today was my first day back at work.

As much as I don't want to be a stay at home mom, I know that juggling work and family life will be a challenge. I know I can do it - just need to plan ahead, get more organized, be more flexible, and don't sweat the small stuff.

(Haha, probably easier said than done.)

Fortunately, to help me ease back in, I am working from home for the next couple of days. The assignment I am supporting can be done after the kids are tucked in bed. So that means Anna and I will still eat breakfast + lunch together and I can still read her books before nap. It will be like nothing has changed, except money will be rolling in again. :)

But it won't last long and here is hoping that we find our new normal soon. Wish us luck, please!

5/1/2012 - Anna's sketch
Balloon art
So peaceful when he sleeps.
Sleeping Will
What a STEAL.
books

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