Auntie Mimi

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

Our first year in NC, none of our family members were nearby. The closest were my parents who were still a 5-7 hour car ride away (depending on traffic). But a year ago, my SIL moved from Chicago and she now only lives three hours away. We are fortunate to have Auntie Mimi (Emma calls her that) nearby so she can visit often! Em loves her so much, and you better believe it’s serious fun whenever she comes for a visit.

Not having any family nearby when raising a child is tough. I didn’t realize the importance of having extended family, especially for Em as she grows up. Both Steve and I are very close to our siblings, so we are super lucky that Emma gets to experience that bond. And of course they spoil her rotten with unconditional love, so that’s a huge plus.  😀 This blog post is titled “Auntie Mimi”, but really, it’s for all of our siblings, Mary and Paul included. Thank you for always being there for our little family and loving Emma like she is your own. Em is so blessed to have y’all in her life! We miss you and love you!

IMG_2444IMG_1682IMG_5795

Now enjoy some pictures from Mimi’s last visit when we went to the Museum of Life and Science!

IMG_2262IMG_2591IMG_2555IMG_2431IMG_2359IMG_2380IMG_2391IMG_2396IMG_2468IMG_2469IMG_2499IMG_2522IMG_2535

-m

Advertisements

One Year Postpartum Update

Hooray! We survived the first year and kept our little babe happy and healthy! To be honest though, first year literally flew by. I feel like it wasn’t too long ago when I could feel her tiny feet kicking in my belly, now she is taking steps with those tiny feet!

img_1086

At the end of 9 months she started crawling on her hands and knees then she was off! I think she was waiting for this discovery, because once she found out how to crawl, she moved around the entire house on her hands and knees in warp speed! By 10.5 months old, she was pulling herself up on everything she could get her little hands on – sofa, consoles, stairs, chairs etc. One of her favorite activities is pulling out the drawers and taking everything out. More work for mama to clean after her mess… LOL. The first time she stood for a long time unsupported was around when Emma was 11 months old. She pulled out a drawer from her dresser and pulled herself up. She dug around and found something she liked then magically started standing on her own with the object she pulled out of the drawer in her hands. From then on, she started standing on her own longer and longer, and now she is standing and taking a couple of steps without any support. I think she’s a very cautious baby though. She’s scared to let go of our hands and walk freely. I’m not in a hurry for her to walk anyway because that means we have to chase her 24/7. Haha.

img_0520

in traditional Kazakh hat and handmade booties I bought when I was on a business trip in Kazakhstan ❤

At one year old, she has 6 teeth visible, her 4th tooth at the bottom came out at 10 months and by 10.5 months, she had two top teeth. We now see another set of two coming out from the top, but they have not broken through yet. She is also  more verbal now, repeating a lot of things we say and making all sorts of different sounds. She would mimic animal sounds and lets us know when she is fascinated about something by making “OOohhH” sounds. It is the cutest thing! It’s super darling to see her very animated, copying everything we do – she does this one thing where she puts her hands on her head and says “WOW”, and she knows when she is being cute! She would scrunch her nose and put on the biggest grin while tilting her head to one side. I mean, come on! You can get away with ANYTHING with that face! We are so in trouble!!

As for solids, we are now off of formula altogether. She kind of started weaning herself off a week before she turned one. She’d eat more table food and less formula. Once she turned one, I transitioned off of formula to whole milk. We still give her whole milk in a bottle when she wakes up and before she goes to bed – but no more bottle feeding during the day! Man, it feels good not having to do that and lugging around bottles and water! Now we gotta tackle getting rid of bottles. I tried giving her morning milk in a sippy cup, but she didn’t drink any! Babies are strange, she does fine with water in a sippy cup, but not milk. We shall see how this transition goes.. as always, I’m mostly going with the flow.

img_1046

She was saying, “oooooh!”

For me, one year postpartum seems surreal. I just cannot believe my baby is one and it’s been a full year since I gave birth! I definitely feel more like a seasoned mama, haha. I’m not as anxious or paranoid about raising a baby. I definitely feel more comfortable in my parenting style and I no longer freak out if I forget to pack something in her diaper bag. 😉 Now only if I can lose the last stubborn 10 lbs of preggo weight…I’ll be golden! But I really can’t complain since I haven’t done much to help lose the weight. I shall report back once I have done so. 😉 All in all, the past year was an amazing experience for me, I grew as a mother which in turn made me grow as a person. Believe it or not, I learned more about motherhood through Emma than anything I’ve read in books or the internet. She helped me shape into the mother I am today and my only hope is that Emma will always be proud to have me as her mother.

The monthly postpartum update will end here, but stay tuned for periodic toddler updates!

-m

 

Baby Talk: Starting Solids

Starting solids is both super exciting and super nerve-racking! I debated between traditional weaning and baby-led weaning and decided to do both. I felt more comfortable giving her purees and incorporating chunky foods for her to pick up. We started solids when Em was about 5.5 months with rice cereal per our pediatrician’s recommendation. Bad move. Em immediately got constipated even though she only ate it twice! After that, we never went back to rice cereal. It broke my heart to see her struggling with constipation not to mention constantly worrying if it has to do with her malrotation. Thankfully, with apple juice and prunes, she went back to having regular bowel movements. Post rice cereal episode, we gave her food that helped with her bowel movements – peaches, peas, pears, prunes (all the “p” foods). Then we gradually incorporated everything else. She loved everything we fed her except eggs and avocados. She literally cried when she first tasted eggs – video here. It’s hilarious.

IMG_8057

IMG_8065

5.5 months old – first time trying solids!

highchair – Graco Blossom 4-in-1 Seating System in Winslet

Now at almost 9 months, she eats pretty much anything allowed for her age (she still doesn’t like eggs). She chews and swallows pretty well and is crazy about food! It’s so much fun seeing her get so excited about foods she tries for the first time. We gave a slice of watermelon because um, what’s summer without it? And she LOVED it! Can’t wait for her to get more teeth, it’s going to be a fun journey enhancing her palate.

IMG_9883IMG_9899IMG_9890IMG_9863IMG_9914

-m

 

Summer Babes

It’s officially summer, y’all! Although, here in North Carolina, it’s been summer for a while with temperatures averaging in the high 80’s. At one point last week, it even hit 100. I’m definitely not a summer person due to heat. I don’t do well with heat. Last summer when I was massively pregnant, I lived at the pool after work and on weekends. So you won’t be surprised if you find me at the pool escaping the heat this summer too. Except this time around, I’ll be with my little babe ❤

IMG_9967IMG_9989IMG_9997

Swimsuit – Gap | Sun Hat – the North Face

The first time we took Em to the pool, there were tons of kids from the neighborhood there. I think she got scared with big kids splashing and making a lot of noise. Needlessly to say, she did not have a pleasant experience.

wp-1466618390043.jpg

not a happy camper

Second time around was a success! There weren’t many people at the pool and she even got in her float. We found this baby float at Costco (similar found on Amazon), and it is amazing! We love it and so does Em. After making sure that she enjoys the pool, we even had an afternoon of playdate with her new friend, Adair. The babies were so cute together talking and splashing (video)! So glad that Em enjoys the pool as much as we do! Next thing to tackle is the beach. Hopefully she’ll like the beach even more!

wp-1466618556410.jpgwp-1466618438371.jpg

Hope everyone’s enjoying their summer!

-m

Father’s Day

Father’s Day means so much more to me now since I get to celebrate the love of my life on this day too! I always knew Steve would be a great dad, but I had no idea he would surpass all my expectations of what it meant to be a father. No words need to be said about how wonderful he is with Emma, a few minutes of observing these two, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about! My heart explodes when seeing these two together!

wp-1466467943431.jpg

Em and I wanted to make Steve’s first Father’s Day special by making him a present. We made some finger paint pictures to put in a shadowbox and he LOVED the present! Em and I also had fun getting a little messy. We used Crayola’s non-toxic washable finger paint I purchased from Target. It was her first time playing with paint and though she was more confused than anything, I like to think she enjoyed it. 😉

wp-1466444511902.jpgwp-1466468115376.jpgwp-1466444831943.jpg

After church on Sunday, we went to the Tumble Gym in Raleigh with our new friends we met at church and their 14 month old daughter. It was our first time there, so we didn’t really know what to expect. Though the gym is for ages 0 and up, it is definitely geared towards kids and not babies, but there was no one at the gym so we were able to let the babies roam freely. Em had tons of fun bouncing on the trampoline and hanging from a bar (video). We are still amazed that she hung for a few seconds on her own. Strong girl!

wp-1466444831935.jpgwp-1466468079138.jpgwp-1466468057388.jpg

wp-1466468040805.jpg

always wanting to practice walking… are you going to skip crawling?

wp-1466467915207.jpg

wp-1466444656746.jpg

our best attempt at a family photo. -_-

After the gym, we said our goodbyes to our friends and headed over to Pullen Park since we were in the area. We heard so many great things about this park, and the park definitely lived up to its hype! There were TONS of things to do for children. Em was a bit too young to take full advantage of the park, but we still had a lot of fun exploring and trying new things. She even got on her first carousel ride, well..sort of. She got scared once the ride started and didn’t want to sit on the horse. But she still wanted to grab onto a poll and pretend she was riding it. So I had to hold her while she held on to a stationary pole next to the horse (video). It was pretty funny. Silly girl. ❤

wp-1466444511901.jpg

the parentals while the baby naps

wp-1466468006093.jpgwp-1466468023229.jpgwp-1466444656747.jpgwp-1466467962172.jpgwp-1466467991966.jpg

Spending time at the park was a perfect ending to Steve’s first Father’s Day. The only regret is that we completely forgot to grab the memory card case for our camera. I was hoping to take some nice pictures of Em and Steve for Father’s Day, but we had to settle on phone pictures. 😛

Happy Father’s Day again, Babe! I hope you enjoyed your day with us gals! 🙂 You are such an amazing man and seeing you with our daughter reminds me every day how lucky we are to have you in our lives. We love you so much! 

-m

Chicago Visit

About a month ago, we visited Chicago for the first time since Em was born. Almost all of Steve’s side of the family are in Chicago including his parents, so it made for an exciting trip – Em’s first time visiting her paternal grandparents’ house! Because we were going to be there for a little over a week, we decided to drive. Yes, with a 7 month old (at the time). I was definitely nervous to do a long distance traveling (about 13 hours without stops) in the car with an infant, but we figured we’d have to do it sooner or later so why not sooner? 😉 I’ll do a separate post on our experience and tips for long distance traveling later, but Em was an angel! We could not believe how well she behaved and endured the long car ride!

Needlessly to say, our week in Chicago was packed! The weekend we arrived was filled with family functions. My sister-in-law, Mina’s dental school graduation was on Saturday (congrats, Dr. Hwang!) followed by Mother’s Day celebration with our extended family.

IMG_8954

During the week, we had playdates with baby friends and I got to catch up with my friends. Catching up with my friends was totally a different feel with a baby (phone pictures on my Instagram). We dined at baby friendly restaurants instead of hip/trendy lounge like we used to. Chicago felt a little different to me this time around but in a good way, I promise. 🙂 We had an opportunity to take Emma to the city (we were staying at Steve’s parents’ in the suburbs) for a bit. Steve was taking pictures of Mina in her cap and gown, so we tagged along to snap some shots of Em at Lincoln Park Zoo. Unfortunately the zoo was closed, but we did get some beautiful shots near the zoo.

IMG_9169IMG_9131IMG_9108IMG_9198IMG_9211

The last two days in Chicago, we got to spend it with my best friends and their hubbies and baby Charles. My best friends, Amy & Sabrina, and I tentatively planned on getting together to go on a vacation for our 30th birthday year, but life and babies happened. So we decided to meet in Chicago instead and do a full day of reunion in the city with our hubbies and babies. Amy and her husband, Jeff actually live in SF, and they flew to Chicago just to spend some time with us. I think Amy was more excited to see the babies than me and Sabrina. It’s okay, we forgive you. We spent our day being tourists – taking the CTA, walking downtown, eating at Portillo’s, going on an architecture tour, and ending the day in Chinatown for dinner at Joy Yee. And our sweet, sweet babies did amazing! It was actually Charles’ full day of being out and about, and he was a trooper! Of course, being around other first time parents and baby loving friends made it so much easier! Gahhh, I miss my best friends so much already!! 😦

IMG_9268IMG_9293IMG_9306IMG_9301IMG_9311IMG_9317IMG_9321IMG_9335IMG_9339IMG_9341IMG_9343

There’s never enough time when visiting Chicago, too many things to do and people to see. I’m glad to have met up with most of my lovies while we were there, and sorry to have missed others! But we’ll be back for Thanksgiving! And y’all are welcome to come visit us in NC in the meantime. 🙂

-m

Memorial Day Weekend

After almost 1.5 weeks of 8 months sleep regression, Steve and I welcomed the long weekend with open arms! We have survived yet another sleep regression, yay! Although this one wasn’t as bad as her 4 months one, it was still very exhausting. So, so glad to have our good sleeper back!

My parents visited for the weekend to spend time with us. The timing was actually really great because Steve and I were able to go out on a date to celebrate our two year wedding anniversary which is today! (Happy anniversary, Babe! ❤ ) My parents had no objections on babysitting, they are obsessed with Em. It was nice going out and spending time with each other, enjoying a meal without feeling rushed. Thanks, mom and dad for babysitting! 🙂

wp-1464657972568.jpg

wp-1464658023232.jpg

Attack of the grandparents! ❤

We were cooped up inside the house the entire weekend due to horrible weather. Thankfully, Memorial Day’s weather eased up a bit and no rain was in sight for a good chunk of the day. After my parents left, we took advantage of the weather and went to a park to get some fresh air and take pictures of Em. As Em gets older, dressing her up in cute clothes has been so much more fun! I swear it’s becoming a hobby, but I can’t resist! Definitely perks of having a girl. 😉

IMG_9670IMG_9619IMG_9711IMG_9717IMG_9765IMG_9767IMG_9827

-m