Friday, May 31, 2013

Will - 18.5 months update

Since gotten back from Hawaii, I haven't been good at taking pictures. All these pictures/video were taken while on vacation, which was when Will actually turned 18 months.
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Will is already 18.5 months so I am super late with this month’s update, but I didn’t want to let his BIG 18 MONTH go by without some kind of documentation. So here a short update on the little guy and I will do a longer update in another two weeks.

First things first, Will is 50 percentile in height and a whopping 95 percentile in weight. But even with that, it’s evident that he’s thinning out. Maybe it is because he didn’t eat as well on our long vacation or maybe he’s just reaching that stage. One thing I know for sure, I am going to miss my chunky monkey so much.

Will says a handful of words, but repeats a lot after us. My favorite word he says is “mama” – he doesn’t say it all that often, but it is the best when he runs to me and shouts “mama!” after a long day at work. He’s an affectionate guy and doesn’t mind my hugs, kisses, and squeezes. Hubs has been teaching Will letters and so far he knows A thru G. He knows the sound to a lot of other letters, though. He has no idea what numbers are. He’s very good at matching.
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Will tried swimming for the first time in his life this month. And he loved it! He was hesitant first, and CLINGED to me, but it didn’t take him a long to get comfortable. I think this says a lot about his personality. He’s quick to adjust. He loves to be around people and isn’t afraid to join in, but that’s not to say that he doesn’t prefer his family over anything else. He loves to smile and saying hi. He laughs easily.
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Now that Will understand that he can sort-of communicate, he’s more opinionated and demanding. And he throws a mean tantrum when we take things away. Like, the Kindle. Every morning, he gets some Kindle time and he kicks and screams when we take away. I give him plenty of warning and says “all done,” but I guess he doesn’t get that yet. Also, water. He can be happily eating his dinner and sees Anna drinking water. Then he will demand water and unless he gets his water, he won’t take another bite. He has other quirks. He doesn’t want the food that he has no intention to eat on his tray. He will hand it back to me, one by one. Funny, but annoying.

I am looking forward to this summer. Last summer Will was still so little that he couldn’t participate (or understand) in anything that we did. Now that he can run, he’s going to have so much fun wherever we go.

Will is becoming a little boy right before my very eyes. His big personality just kills me, and I so wish I could just put my fingers together and freeze time. I overheard a conversation the other day between coworkers about their grown (20-something) children and, after hearing that, I just wish I could keep my kids little forever.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

lately / memorial day weekend

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1 / 2 picked up a fresh batch of library books and then to the playground for swing + slide.
3 / 4 bbq with family to kick off the unofficial start of summer. we grilled corn, ribs, and kabobs. for the kabobs, we marinated porterhouse steak with garlic pepper, cilantro, and oilve oil. everyone said it was delish.
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5 / 6 it wasn't my idea to transition Will out of his crib at 18.5 months, but maybe it will turn out for the best. at least Anna loves bunking with her brother. ps. she requested for bunk beds, but later said she was scared to climb the ladder so we took it apart.
7 / 8 choo choo train ride with Grandma.
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9 / 10 / 11 / 12 haha, i especially like #12...who needs a stroller? the kids thought it was so. much. fun.
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13 lots of rearranging + cleaning went on over the long weekend due to 5 / 6.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hawaii : Day 13 (Maui Ocean Center)

I don’t know how I managed to do it, but I spent 13 days on Maui without going snorkeling. Not even once. I mean, we thought about it, but it would just be too hard taking turns wrangling two kids on land while the other snorkel. And on top of that, I am not really good in the water and, in the past, hubs always snorkeled right beside me (or at least somewhere close by) and we obviously couldn’t leave two kids on shore on their own. So nope, we didn’t do any snorkeling.* I felt like I missed out on the whole Hawaiian experience…who goes to Hawaii without seeing some fish?

So on the last day of our vacation, just before we head to the airport, we went to the Maui Ocean Center. We saw so many fish! And not just fish, but sharks, sting rays, green sea turtles, and tons of other aquatic creatures. Just call it our version of hassle-free snorkeling. The kids were mesmerized, as was I.

The admission was steep, but so worth it. They were both absolutely thrilled to be there. Although I don’t think Anna cared for the sharks while we had to pull Will away. It was a good 1-2 hours spent before having to go to the airport and hop on the plane.
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After we were packed and before we checked out of the hotel, we went to the beach one last time.
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The drive to the Maui Ocean Center was along the coast. We stopped at a lookout for pictures.
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Ah, Hawaii, I miss you already. So pretty.  PS. This is probably our best family shot during the trip.  All looking at the camera, but only 3 out of 4 smiling.
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So many yellow tangs.
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Face to face with a shark.
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The best part of the aquarium was the underwater tunnel that put you in the position of having fish, sharks, and even gigantic sting rays swim around you.

I was half expecting the wait at the airport to be painful, but it went by fast. We bought a drink and it entertained them for a good 30 minutes.
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Then another 30 minutes passed just having a good time watching the plane through the glass and walking on the platform.
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The 9-hour flight we endured (from Honolulu to DC) wasn't too bad. The kids slept, but couldn't get comfortable. Hubs and I both agree that no more trips like this again until the kids are older. We will most likely have more road trips than trips where we need to fly from now on. It's just easier that way.

* Hubs did snorkel for about 10 minutes at Black Rock on our first day there. We were with family. I could've gone, too, but I was in a bad mood. Haha, long story.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hawaii : Day 12 (Whale Watching)

A long time ago, I blogged about a snorkeling excursion in Belize and said that it was the worst excursion ever. Ha, I take that back. I actually found something to top that. Ohmigod, the whale watching excursion we went on in Maui on Day 12, it was an absolute torture for the kids…and therefore, by default, me.

It was fine in the beginning, we picked a spot right on the deck with a great view.  The kids were excited about being on a boat. Their first! They laughed, screamed, clapped, and even danced. We were all in a great mood and ready to see some whales!

Twenty minutes later, with no whales in sight and sweaty from the hot sun, we went under the cover to cool off. This was when Will started to get fussy, really fussy. At first I thought it was because he wanted to be out on the deck so I took him back out, but that didn’t help. For the next half hour, it was a dance of me sitting down, getting up, walking around until he finally fell asleep in my arms. I thought he was just due for a nap (even though he had just cat-napped in the car on the way to the pier), but later realized that he was suffering from motion sickness. Luckily, one he fell asleep, he slept for the rest of the trip.

And he didn’t miss much. We didn’t see any whales.

As for Anna, she got sea sick, too. I could tell by her tired face. Hubs held her and she fell asleep as well, but she was so good and didn’t complain at all.

I guess it could’ve been worse. One kid (a young teenager?) threw up all over the table. At least mine just slept. But it was seriously the longest two-hour ever. When Will began to go crazy, I wish I could just turn the boat around. Screw the whales! Get me off the frickin’ boat!

Haha, now that I wrote it all out, it didn’t seem THAT bad. With little kids, you just kind of have to go with the flow and laugh about it. Really, the guaranteed fun for them was just spending time in the pool or at the beach, but this Mama wanted to do more. I seriously did think they would enjoy it, though. Never expected that they would get sick.

Once we got off the boat, they were happy once again. Even more so after we downed a mango smoothie.
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The fun before the storm.
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Both kids out. Haha, look at my happy face. Hubs' face was for real, though. He took it all in stride.
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Blue ocean, blue sky, gorgeous day. But WHERE ARE THE WHALES?!IMG_2050
We drank that smoothie fast.
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Dancing under the bayan trees.
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We knew that the kids were done with their naps for the day, so we shopped a little.
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And took a picture for a comparion. What do you think? I haven't aged a bit, right? :) Excuse my funny eyes, though, I was squinting from the bright sun.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hawaii : Day 11 (Baby Beach)

Home sweet home! We are back from Hawaii. After a smooth-but-uncomfortable 9-hour plane ride, we landed on Friday around noon. We are still recovering from jet lag, but it seems easier to adjust back to EST. I return to work tomorrow....for real. While in Hawaii, I received an email from my boss that I've been placed on a project. So, tomorrow, I actually have to get myself dressed and butt out of the door. It's going to be an adjustment, after having a month and half off.  I wish I had another week to get myself organized after a long vacation, but I guess it's better to keep the paychecks coming! 

I knew about Baby Beach all along, but it took us until Day 11 to visit the place. I only wish we had gone sooner. It was truly a safe haven for the kids. Unlike other beaches with big waves, Baby Beach has coral reefs that blocked the waves, creating a shallow little kid-friendly spot for splashing around.

Anna and Will entertained themselves with the buckets and shovels that we brought, or just simply waddle in the water. Because the water was calm and we didn't have to worry about any waves, hubs and I were able to sit on our blankets in the shade and enjoyed ourselves, too. We only left because it was close to lunch and nap time.
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Proof that the kids had fun.
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You could walk all the way out and it was only about waist deep.  Can you spot me?  
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The best toy of all is hubs.  He army crawled on his tummy and totally made them laugh.
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Before we left the Baby Beach area, we took some pictures at Jodo Mission, which we just happened to came across when we parked our car.
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That night we went to town of Lahaina for dinner.  Will was claiming independence and didn't want to hold our hands. 
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They had the most fun sticking their heads through the fence and watching the waves crashing into the rocks.
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Eating ice cream while watching sunset by the waterfront -- life doesn't get much better.
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LOVE LOVE LOVE this picture of me and my girl.

Day 11 was hands down one of the best days we had in Maui.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hawaii : Day 10 (Road to Hana)

We weren't planning on driving the Road to Hana. Hubs and I have done it before, and while the view was beautiful along the coast, it was a long drive that we were sure that the kids would not enjoy. But on Day 10, I felt restless so we packed a picnic lunch, filled up the tank, and took off.

Sigh. The long Road to Hana was made longer by two screaming kids in the backseat. Anna and Will are usually very good in the car, so I wasn't expecting all the drama. But in the end, I am still glad we did it. It's just one of those things "you had to do" while in Maui.

We didn’t make nearly as many stops as the average Hana traveler might (hiking to waterfalls wasn’t so easy with the kids) but we did try to take in as much as possible from the road itself – like stopping at scenic lookouts.

Our final destination before turning back was the Waianapanapa State Park, home to the black sand beach. I don't think Anna ever had a worse-r time than she had at this beach. It started out fine, until she got splashed by some waves while inside a cave. Then it all went down hill -- she cried and screamed that the beach was "dirty, messy, and stinky" and refused to be put down. Will, on the other hand, LOVED the beach. He loved getting splashed by the waves and wanted to walk everywhere (even climbing the stairs) all on his own.

Anyway, the Road to Hana....we did not make any long-lasting memories here, but we survived. The kids both took a nap on the way back and when they woke up, they were happy and laughing and having a good time.
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While the kids were asleep in the car, hubs and I sneaked out and climbed a little waterfall.
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The exact same spot where we had a flat tire when we visited back in 07.
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Inside a creepy cave.
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The boys couldn't get enough of the black sand and hubs even wanted to go for a swim.  I stayed behind to calm a hysterical Anna.
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The stunning view.
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The sign says, "Do not go beyond this point," so he went beyond it.
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Finally back at the resort and stretching his legs fins.
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She forgot all about the traumatic time she had at the black sand beach.
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Anna is getting really good at taking pictures!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hawaii : Day 8 + 9 (Mother's Day)

Day 8 was a transition day for us...we said goodbye to family members (who were all leaving to go home or another island) and moved to a new resort further up north. Our new home has two bedrooms and a full kitchen (the Marriott only had a microwave and mini-fridge), which is great for us with little ones. Instead of going out for a meal that costs a minimum of $50 (and kids eating two bites of it), we bought a bunch of groceries and having been cooking at home.
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The first and last hammock ride before checking out at the Marriott.  
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At first, I thought having a 2 bedroom was a total luxury, but it is actually a necessity.  
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$77 worth of groceries.  Bet I could have gotten the same things for a third of the price back home.
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It was a happy accident for us to get a ground level room, the screen door opens completely and we have our own patio and garden.

The next day was Mother's Day. Happy belated Mother's Day to all the mothers in my life! We had a really low-key Mother's Day at the resort, just spending time as a family by the pool & beach. These past few days have been difficult.  Hubs and I are getting NO relaxation on this vacation. Everything is work.  For example, taking them to the pool. It's a whole production of wrangling the kids into bathing suits, putting on shoes, getting stuff (water/snack/towel) packed, keeping a close watch on them at the pool, dealing with meltdowns, and then cleaning them when we get back. Oh, and breaking up fights through it all.  It's exhausting.

On the other hand, when they are not fighting, Anna and Will play really well together and their squeals of laughter make our hearts so full. It reminds me that being a Mom is pretty darn good!
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Thanks kids for making me a Mama - I love you guys!
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Prior to this trip, neither of them had spent much time in the water.  In fact, Will had none.  It makes me happy that both have become little swimmers.
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Will refused to get off of me.
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Their first sand castle. I thought it was quite magnificent.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!