Category Archives: son

Goodbye Summer

Cannot believe that we are already in September. Seems like the summer just flew by this year. It is hard to believe that soon enough, the weather is going to get chilly (it already has in Vancouver) and the days will get shorter…

I was just reflecting on this summer that just pass and I managed to come up with a fairly lengthy list of things that we did or accomplished this season. I wanted to joint it down here so that I can remember this.

  • Gardening – We finally set up our own garden in our backyard after 4 years of living in this house and we managed to grow quite a bit of vegetables for our first year of gardening. We had a lot of zucchini (I made a lot of chocolate zucchini bread!), plenty of lettuce, some radish, a few carrots, and we are expecting a lot of tomatoes (they are still green on the vines now). Pretty proud of what we were able to grow this year. Must definitely do this again next year. I am also hoping that our pumpkins will grow before the end of October for Halloween.
  • Golf – I finally got off my butt and got golf lessons. Been going to the driving range weekly (sometimes a couple of times per week) and I am definitely seeing some improvement! Now I need to actually play the game or maybe try some pitch and putt before I get more serious. But I have to admit I am definitely enjoying this new found sport and wish the summer could extend longer so that I can practice more. Looking forward to next year so that I can get even better.
  • Biking – My oldest son (big J) learned how to bike a 2-wheel bike this summer! Was so proud of him when I took him to the park and taught him how to ride a bike without training wheels. I have to say that I am a pretty proud momma to help him with this accomplishment that he mostly did on his own. What a determined kid. So proud of my boy.
  • Swimming – Big J also improved on his swimming quite a bit this summer. He enrolled in swimming classes when he did not have preschool and he has definitely gotten better. He passed his level and will be moving on once swimming classes start again later this month. He also enjoys it a lot and it is great to see him enjoy these sorts of activities that build up his confidence.
  • Fireworks – For the first time in a long time, I managed to go see the fireworks again for the Celebration of Lights in Vancouver. After having kids, it’s hard to go out and participate in these sorts of activities. Now that the kids are a bit older and that we can leave them behind for a few hours with a babysitter, the hubby and I are capable of doing date-like events again (movies, fireworks, golfing range, etc.). It was enjoyable watching the fireworks at Kits beach. Big J also had the chance to go watch the fireworks with his daddy who took him on one of the nights. He really enjoyed the experience and I can tell it was a memorable event for him.
  • Blueberry Picking – Last time we went it was quite a few years back before little J was born. For some reason it felt really warm this year and at the end we just bought some more blueberries rather than pick them as the price by the pound is the same. Anyhow, the kids (mostly big J) enjoyed picking blueberries but I enjoy eating them and baking with them. I usually enjoy baking my blueberry scones after a round of blueberry picking. It is also nice when my family enjoys my baking and asks for more scones! My recipe can be found here in this post.
  • Other highlights include going to the night market, church picnics, birthday parties, going to the beach, hanging out at the water parks, going to the PNE, and our last out of town trip to Victoria.

This has definitely been a memorable summer. Sad that it is almost over but looking forward to a new season of change. Goodbye summer.

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Metamorphosis

Hi friends,

I was out looking for some moss at the park yesterday for our dinosaur terrarium (that will be another post) and while looking at the mossy trees, I found a caterpillar. It turns out that what we found is a Woolly Bear Caterpillar and he will eventually turn into a Isabella Tiger moth.

The kids are pretty excited whenever we find bugs. We have attempted to keep a caterpillar before but unfortunately it died :( .

I have always wanted to keep caterpillars and watch them turn into a cocoon and eventually a butterfly. This time around we are in luck and our fuzzy caterpillar had already spun a silk cocoon around himself (only after a day of keeping him). Just this morning I watched the caterpillar crawl along the leaf and later in the day I thought he disappeared until I realized he had turned into a cocoon already. Nature is pretty amazing!

Well, it says on the Internet that it takes about a week to turn into a moth. My husband was disappointed that the caterpillar turns into a moth and not a butterfly but I am thrilled to just see this part of nature take place in front of my eyes and the fact that the kids get to witness it as well. What a teachable moment!

I will let you know how it all turns out. Hoping that we will see the complete metamorphosis of this bug’s life.

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Speaking of change, last week was the kidlet’s first day of kindergarten. My little boy isn’t so little anymore. They grow up so fast!

I leave you with a picture of him on his first day excited about bringing his lunch to school. I had packed his lunch the night before and surprised him in the morning with his new lunchbox (that is a Goodbyn lunchbox). He was so thrilled when he saw his lunchbox and all the neatly cut up food inside. What made it even more fun was that he was able to decorate his lunch box with stickers. I will forever remember this moment in my memories…

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Boo

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Happy Halloween!

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Little J Pushes Big J in Stroller

My kids are hilarious.

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A Safari Birthday Party

Both of my sons are born in the month of May. Since their birthdays are fairly close, we decided on a joint birthday party this year (my oldest one turned 4 and my youngest one turned 1). And of course, we always need a theme for a birthday party! We decided on a Safari animal theme since it was appropriate for both a baby and also a preschooler.

Below are some of the pictures from the party.

Birthday Banner

Safari Passports

Goodie Bags

Paper Banner

Balloons

Chocolate Cake

The Boys

Family Pic

It was fun but also a lot of effort to plan for this party. Mostly because I am an ambitious mother and had this grand vision of the kids doing all these fun activities, however during the course of the event the children just entertained themselves and I really should not have spent so much time thinking and planning activities for them (because little kids don’t follow rules you know?).

I had this vision of the kids coming into our house and they would be welcomed with a greeter which would take an instant picture of the kids (with my Fujifilm Instax camera that I purchased online) with the backdrop of our plants in our annex. Then the kids would pick out a Safari booklet that they could keep and place their instant picture inside – like a real passport. And then, the kids could fill out their info inside the booklets and also collect stamps by going around the stations that were set up. We had some games set up, but the kids weren’t really interested in them. We also had a craft area setup and luckily that was pretty popular with mostly the girls. The crafts were of course safari animal related. The instant pictures were kind of fun and I wish I had taken some pictures with the instant pictures installed inside the passport booklet (oh well!).

Here are some of my resources:

  • The animal scrapbooking decorations were custom made by Cute Cards (thanks Gloria!). That would be the paper birthday banner and the Safari Passport covers. I also had some cupcake toppers made, but I ended up not using them (we had small cupcakes which didn’t really work with the cupcake toppers – I’ll save them for something else).
  • Custom stamp for the passport booklets from Etsy.
  • I made the goodie bags with fabrics from the Alexander Henry 2D Zoo collection and I used this online tutorial.
  • Safari-themed balloons were purchased from Splash Toys.
  • Animal cake toppers are from Wilton.

Some of the items inside the goodie bags:

  • Animalz wooden toys
  • Safari animal temporary tattoos
  • Animal finger puppets (for the young kids)
  • Small Play-Doh tubs (for the bigger kids)
  • Candy!

Animalz

Safari Finger Puppets

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading!

P.S. I am officially back at work now. My boys and I are slowly adjusting but I am glad to announce that it is good to be working again. Yay for mental stimulation and for more income! :)

P.P.S. Today is my 8 year wedding anniversary. Crazy how much has happened within the last 8 years. 1 dog, 2 kids, 1 house, 1 car… 3 jobs for the hubby and the same job for me!

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10 Months

Happy 10 months little man!

My baby officially turned 10 months today. This means I have about 2 more months left of my maternity leave.

Sometimes when I look at my youngest son I find it hard to believe that he’s almost 1 year’s old! I still think of him very much as a baby and not so much as a little boy. It is hard not to compare him to my first son but my boys are unique in their own ways.

Some of the milestones or facts about my little J as of today are:

  • He is a very noisy kid. I used to think that big J talked a lot but now I am starting to think that perhaps little J is going to be the chatty one! He makes a lot of noises and says a lot of “ma ma” and “ba ba” which I think is probably not meaningful at the moment yet. It is quite humourous hearing him chatter. He also does this funny laugh that sounds like a sheep.
  • He is finally starting to like his solids. Compared to big J, he never ate and nursed as much (maybe that is why he is in the lower 25th percentile in weight), and when we started solids for him he did not seem too excited about food quite yet. The only foods that he really liked was chicken congee (that is Chinese rice porridge) and I had the hardest time thinking about what to feed him for meals. Nowadays, he seems to enjoy the variety of beef stew, lamb stew, chicken congee, pears & oatmeal, cheese bread, Cheerios, etc. He especially likes cheese.
  • He only has 2 teeth. Big J got his first tooth at 4 months and little J didn’t get his first tooth until about 7 months. Big J also had a lot of teeth by 10 months and was eating a variety of finger foods, whereas little J doesn’t have many teeth so I have not been very adventurous in giving him finger foods until recently. So he basically just “gums” his finger foods by chewing with his gums.
  • He does not sleep well. At first we thought he would be the good sleeper compared to big J, however after quite a few spells of being sick he hasn’t really slept well for a long long time. I think his longest stretch ever was 7 hours at around 4 months and he only did that once. Ever since then, his longest stretch is usually around 5 hours. Big J started sleeping through the night (8+ hours) at around 9 months of age and little J is nowhere close to sleeping more than 6 continuous hours. *sigh* His naps don’t seem to be so great either. Big J was also never a good napper (however he seems to be fairly OK as a preschooler now – yes he still takes naps!). He generally sleeps in his crib for the first 30 minutes (which big J never did) and then needs to be held for the rest of his naps (big J needed to be held for the entire duration of his naps when he was a baby). I have tried “nap training” a few times but have often failed since he always seems to get sick right after I start the process and then when he is sick I just don’t have the heart to have him cry for his naps. So I am definitely a sleep deprived mother still at 10 months, however I am super thankful for my mom who comes by to help me during the weekdays and holds little J for naps so that I can take a nap during the day too (since I get so much broken up sleep at night). Thank goodness for mothers!
  • He is not crawling yet. I think most babies are crawling at around 8 or 9 months of age and little J just does not crawl. He is definitely eager to stand but when we place him on his tummy, he will move his arms and legs but just does not go anywhere! Big J used to be a very proficient crawler by the age of 9 months so I find it very different with little J who isn’t quite mobile yet. Perhaps this a good thing so that I do not have to chase after him. Maybe he will be the type of kid that walks and just skips the crawling stage. We shall see.
  • He likes to sit and observe. As mentioned above, he is not really mobile but he does sit very well and is very good at people watching. He especially gets excited watching his older brother. Little J enjoys watching television (not that we let him watch it that often, just mostly Treehouse in the afternoon after his nap) unlike big J who did not care too much about TV until much later. He must get that from my husband who enjoys TV.
  • He generally a very happy baby. Besides the sleeping thing, he is always a happy camper. Big J was always such a serious and intense baby but little J loves to smile at people and is super happy when we aren’t trying to get him to take a nap!

I was also just thinking today about the many things that I will miss once my maternity leave is over and I am back at work.

  • Walking big J to preschool and seeing him wave goodbye to me from the window.
  • Picking up big J from preschool and chatting with the other parents.
  • Going for walks along Dunbar after we eat lunch.
  • Cupcakes and cookies from Butter Baked Goods. Oh, how I am going to miss all that yumminess!
  • Taking naps with big J in our bed (even though he usually takes forever to fall asleep and sleeps a wee bit too close to me).
  • Hanging out with little J and just watching him grow every day. It makes me sad to think that I could be missing some of his milestones like walking. :(
  • Hanging out with my mom. It has been a real blessing having her help out with my family during my mat leave. It has also been great being able to see her more often and just talking to her more.
  • Our weekly trips to the library.
  • Going to Swiss Chalet for lunch.
  • Going to Oakridge for Dim Sum.
  • Just being at home more with the boys.

So even though I have to admit that sometimes not working is a bit mundane for me, I am surely going to miss those moments with my family! I get a little weepy every time I think about how I won’t see them for most of the day when I am back at work. I am however also very much looking forward to going back to work again because A) I need the income and B) I need the mental stimulation (not that being with my kids is not challenging enough). I can totally understand why a lot of women are torn when they have kids and decide to do the stay home mom thing. And it is not like I do not want to be with my kids, but I know that I am a very social person that needs to be with more people. I do miss those conversations that I have with my co-workers. And I totally miss interacting with adults.

I think mothers will always feel guilty for whatever decision they make for their kids. Who said having children would be easy? As mothers we just want to do what’s best for our children but I am also of the belief that in order to take care of other people you also have to take good care of yourself. And for me, I need that separate identity of working in order to be happy. If I sacrificed that and decided to work from home and stay home with the kids I think I will end up blaming them for “giving up opportunities”. And I just don’t want to do that to them. So even though big J often says, “Mommy, don’t go back to work.” (and trust me it totally breaks my heart when he says that) I know I have to go back.

Well, before I know it these next 2 months will soon be over…

 

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My boys at Dim Sum today

 

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Happy 2011!



Have a safe and happy new year!

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Quick Update & 2010 Reflections

Birds by the Sea

Wow, where has the time gone? Looks like I have neglected this blog yet again (I haven’t updated since October!).

Well, perhaps I should at least recap some of the major events that have happened since my last update.

  • We went trick-or-treating with the boys (baby’s first Halloween!)
  • We went to Hawaii for a wedding (BTW, traveling with 2 young kids is no walk in the park)
  • Christmas came and went (baby’s first Christmas)

Best buddies

Here are some highlights about the boys:

  • The kidlet (my oldest son who is 3) loves to draw these days. In fact, he is able to draw people with faces, arms, and legs. He used to just draw squiggles prior to this progress so this is pretty impressive stuff for us.
  • The kidlet can read. OK, maybe not but he can pretend to read. He memorizes the books we read him (some are pretty lenghty ones too) and recites them back to us.
  • The baby can sit (started sitting with more balance at 6 months)
  • The baby’s been eating solids (he didn’t enjoy at first but now seems to like his food)
  • The little guy got his first haircut. His hair was growing like crazy and his long sideburns made him look like a girl (he often got mistaken for a girl). So my mom chopped off the sides and trimmed a little bit of the front (was getting into his eyes). Now he looks more like a boy.
  • We can see teeth on the baby’s gums. They haven’t really sprouted out yet, but we can finally see the whites of his teeth. For the longest time we thought he was teething (at around 4 months) but we only started seeing them in the last couple of weeks (at around 7 months).

Some random updates about myself:

  • Still sleep deprived. The baby was starting to wake up every 2 hours at one point after he hit 4 months. We thought he was teething, but he wasn’t yet. Then he kept getting sick (the big one gets sick from preschool and always manages to spread the germs to the baby) and then getting better, and then getting sick again. At the moment, he is sick again with another cold (cough, stuffy nose, fussiness, etc.). He’s been sleeping better lately but not really close to sleeping through the night yet. I guess every baby is different. I am looking forward to the day that I can sleep more than 6 hours straight. Broken up sleep is better than no sleep but not comparable to continuous sleep.
  • I haven’t done too much sewing lately. I think I made a bunting flag and a small zippered pouch for gifts. Oh, I did make the baby some pants which I had to adjust because his bottom is too big. I had gotten all this Christmas fabric which I didn’t even have the chance to use this year! What a bummer. I guess I will have to save it for next year…
  • Bought a new point and shoot camera for myself (Canon SD1300 IS). Not sure if I love it. It was at a good price but for some reason it’s hard to compare with my dSLR. I will have to take some more daytime pictures before I can judge.

Nothing overly exciting but this is my life now as a mom with 2 boys on maternity leave. Sometimes life feels pretty mundane but then again I know that this is the season for me to be a mom and be there for my kids and I am trying to enjoy the little joys in life. The boys bring me joy (the giggles, the way I see the brothers bond, the milestones that they achieve each day) and they of course also bring me pain (the meltdowns from my toddler, the sleepless nights from the baby’s wakings). But I know that I would rather go through this in life than never to experience this at all. So I am just trying to take this in one day at a time. Soon enough my maternity leave will be over and I will be back at work (kind of looking forward to working again and thinking of “adult” stuff again if you know what I mean). But for now, I need to live my time as a mom for my boys. And of course I totally appreciate the help that I have been receiving from my family (my mom has been so helpful with the little one this year and the hubby will try to take care of the kids on the weekends when he isn’t working) and our nanny.

Olympic Mosaic

I cannot believe that 2010 is almost over. This will totally be a memorable year on many levels.

  • The Vancouver Winter Olympics! Definitely a highlight for our city. It made our nation so proud to be Canadians. (I think many people had Olympic withdrawal after the Olympics ended!) Watching the gold medal men’s hockey game was the most exciting event ever.
  • We had another baby! Little j was born in May. Having to care for two children is definitely a different challenge than just caring for one. It has been amazing watching the little one hit his milestones as a baby. How quickly we forget once they happen. Now I know why some parents record everything that their children do. We cannot help but sometimes compare the little guy to our first born. But it is also amazing how unique and different each child can be even though they come from the same gene pool.
  • First time traveling with 2 kids. We went to Oahu, Honolulu for a good friend’s wedding. We love Hawaii but this was a very challenging trip for me. I had to pack for a 6 month old, a 3 year-old, and myself. We had so much stuff to bring. I have to admit that this wasn’t my most pleasant trip however I am thankful that I was able to witness the union of our good friends in such a beautiful venue. Hawaii will always have a special place in my heart. I am sure that we’ll be back again. My oldest son is already saying, “I want to go back to Hawaii again.”

Looking back on my list back in January 2010, I have to say that I want to do more of the same things that I listed back then for 2011. I think I can honestly say that I have indeed done more of all of the items that I have listed (yay for me!) but of course being the Type A personality that I am, what I have accomplished is just never enough.

Here is the list again (with an extra bonus for 2011):

  1. More photography. I need to take more pictures. I need to take more pictures of my children. I also want a new camera and a new lens. But that’s another post of its own…
  2. More crafting. I love to sew. Hope to have more time for this in the new year.
  3. More reading. I love to learn! I really should do more of this to keep my brain healthy.
  4. More blogging. I should post more often.
  5. More journaling. Writing down the events of your life is important for self-reflection.
  6. More exercise. This is a new item for 2011. It’s not like I don’t run around the house after my kids (well only one kids is mobile for now) but I definitely need to get off my butt more often and just get my heart pumping. I find regular cardio kind of boring these days. Maybe I need to sign up for something fun like hip-hop lessons or something. Hopefully I can find the time when the baby starts to sleep better.

little j

Well, wishing you all a very happy 2011! (I need to go sleep now…)

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Beach Life and Baby Update

Low Tide @ Jericho Beach (stitched)

We Love the Beach

One of the best things about living in Vancouver is how we are so close to the water. And not only that, we also have the view of the beautiful mountains.

One of our favourite things to do as a family is go to the beach. We’ve been heading down to Jericho Beach (or I think it’s actually closer to Laguno Beach) numerous times this summer already. It’s a short drive for us, and my 3 year-old son can easily stay there for hours (good entertainment value). We especially enjoy going during low tide when we can walk far down along the shore.

My 2 month old baby is a bit too young to enjoy the beach so he mostly just sleeps in a baby carrier when we go. If he is anything like the rest of his family, he is also going to love the beach. Cannot wait until he can sit up and play with sand!

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I cannot believe that the month of July is almost over already! I thought I would post more often this month but I guess not. We’ll see how busy August will be…

Baby Update

My baby is almost 12 weeks old. Time flies. He’ll be turning 3 months soon. He’s also been sleeping a bit better lately. Not exactly sleeping through the night yet but if I’m lucky I will have nights where he will sleep 5 hours straight through. The worse nights were the ones where he woke up every 1-2 hours. That was so brutal.

My mom and nanny have also been helping a great deal during the day with the baby. This allows me to get a nap during the day time when the baby needed to be held for naps. He’s been transitioning to sleeping in his crib more often for naps and that also really helps (he has been sleeping in his crib at night for a while). Yay baby! Not sure if this is because it’s the second baby or if he’s just “easier” compared to my first born. I hope his naps will be more regular so that we can schedule some activities and outings in between naps.

I have always found the sleep training thing to be the hardest thing with babies. My oldest son was never really a good napper. Luckily, he eventually slept through the night (8+ hours) at around 8 months but from what I remember it was pretty tiring before that. It’s funny how easily we forget about the pains and woes of parenting as time passes. Perhaps that is why people have more than 1 kid, because they forget about how miserable it can be with those sleepless nights! Or some are lucky are and have babies that are easy to soothe and that sleep well from birth. Not my children! (I won’t even go into the details about how my oldest son has been waking up at night lately…)

It also helps that baby #2 seems to be mild tempered. Little j seems to be generally a happier baby than big J was when he was a baby. My second son is pretty cheery most of the time (he loves to smile at faces!) and can sit still in a car seat, stroller, or baby rocker for long periods of time whereas my first son was a very serious baby and hated sitting on his own and always wanted to be held (I used baby carriers a lot with my first son).

This being very likely my last child, I think that I have been trying to savour the moments of having a baby a bit more than the first time around. I just love those little fingers and toes, and especially all those cute little noises that my baby makes. Little j loves to coo and “talk” to people. It’s just the most adorable thing! Makes those sleepless nights not as miserable when you look at your baby and realize how helpless and sweet they are. How could I be mad at this little guy for keeping me up at night? Or maybe I am just getting softer now that I have been a mom for a while.

Anyhow, I leave you with a couple of pictures of the little guy. Isn’t he adorable? I know that as a mother you’ll always find your own children cute but you have to admit that he IS pretty darn cute! ;)

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P.S. The baby room is almost complete (have a few final touches that I have not been able to hang up yet) and hopefully I can post more pictures soon.
P.P.S. Been sewing again lately! Maybe I will write about some of the stuff I have been sewing in another post. Bye for now!

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Curiosity

Silly Boys

My 3 year-old son asked my husband a question the other day before bedtime. My husband usually tucks him in to bed and before he goes to sleep, they cuddle on the bed and chat for a bit.

My husband told me about this conversation that they had the other night:

J: Daddy, who bought J?
D: What do you mean who bought J?
J: Who bought me?
D: Oh, we didn’t buy J!
J: You didn’t?
D: No, we made J.
J: How?
D: Um.
J: How did you make J?
D: …

I cannot help but laugh at that. I wonder when is an appropriate age to tell children about the birds and the bees. The joys of parenting!

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