Archive for June, 2009

Crunch Time. Or…More Waiting

Less than two weeks to go and all is well in Babyland. The baby is fine so far and according to the ultrasound weighs in at about 6.9 pounds. He’s definitely not going to be the 8 lb, 10 oz newborn that Noah was and I’m happy about that. He also doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of wanting out — no effacement or anything and he still seems to be lodged pretty high — and, with Dr. Doo leaving the country tomorrow for 10 days for a conference, I’m also ok with that. Although carrying a baby around in your stomach can get pretty old…or at least the constant tiredness, occasional and sudden assaults on my bladder and little feet jammed into my ribs is getting old. On the other hand, I was going through some of our old pictures and saw some that Mark took while I was in labor and man, I looked so miserable, so I’m not really looking forward to going through all that again. See? Misery:

I’m glad my sister at least was enjoying herself:

So, as I inch closer and closer to my due date, my anxiety level is start to climb as well. For sure I’m still excited but there’s also that nagging feeling that I’m completely unprepared and have no idea what I’m doing. I’m sure everything will be fine once the baby is actually physically here but being anxious doesn’t make the waiting any easier. Also, I tend to deal with anxiety by getting nostalgic which means my embarrassing 80’s hairband music has been in heavy rotation on my iPod. Which means I hear Starship’s We Built This City pretty much every day which makes me homesick for a karaoke duet with my sister:

At the same time, there is a weird calm-before-the-storm feeling — of wanting to do as much as we possibly can now before a new baby turns our lives upside down again. So far this has translated into catching up on past seasons of Ultimate Fighter and Top Chef and watching a lot of movies. Nevermind that I have a hospital bag to pack or baby clothes to put away. Who wants to do that when Star Trek has finally come to Hong Kong (which, by the way, is probably one of the best movies that we’ve seen all year…which either means we watch a lot of bad movies — *cough* Night at the Museum 2 *cough* — or that Star Trek was just a really awesome movie)? For me, this has also meant knitting like crazy. I finally got around to going to a weekly knitting group on Fridays — something I’ve been meaning to do for close to two years but naturally I waited until a month before popping out a baby to actually do — and I’ve managed to knock out a few projects in the last few weeks:

A bag made out of hemp yarn (which is still waiting for me to sew on the handles but I’m all sewed out right now from having to hand-sew the lining):
WIP -- Brighton Bag still needing handles attached

A mohair wrap which I’m not sure why I knit since 1) I don’t wear wraps and 2) apparently I’m currently impervious to cold air in my overheated pregnant state:
Everyday Wrap

And now I’m working on this tank top which, again, I’m not sure why I’m knitting since I won’t be in any shape (literally) to even try it on for a few months. Oh well.

Anyway, if you made it this far through my post, congratulations and thanks for bearing through all my mindless rambling. And as a bonus, here’s the baby’s latest ultrasound picture:

When Mark and I saw this, we both thought he looks just like Noah when he’s sleeping. Of course when we showed Noah the picture, he disagreed, saying, “I think he looks too orange.” You gotta love literal-minded 3-year-olds.

June 25, 2009 at 11:03 pm 6 comments

A Belated Father’s Day Post

At some point I realized that this Father’s Day is the last one where it will be just Mark and Noah so I wanted to make sure that it would be kind of special for both of them. A few weeks ago I brainstormed some of Mark’s favorite family and solo activities and came up with a family brunch at the W Hotel’s restaurant, Kitchen (which is freakin’ awesome and if anyone ever flies over to visit me I swear I’ll take you there for their Sunday brunch — great food and free-flowing Perrier Jouet…does it get much better? I think not), followed by a relaxing spa day for Mark at W’s Bliss Spa (on the 72nd floor!) while Noah and I went back home to prepare one of Mark’s favorite meals — spicy baby back ribs, baked beans, cornbread and a cherry pie. Well, then preggo-brain kicked into full gear and by Thursday I found myself scrambling and completely unprepared. I had forgotten to call early for reservations and the Father’s Day brunch was completely booked, Mark ended up going on an overnight business trip to Mission Hills Golf Club that week where he got to go golfing and have a spa day with clients, and on Saturday our oven decided to go on strike. Perfect. Considering I spent the majority of my brain cells thinking up Plan A, my back up plan was pretty much nonexistent. Still, I think Noah and I managed to pull off a nice, memorable day for Mark.

Noah and I were aiming for serving Mark breakfast in bed, but when your husband decides to get up at 6 o’clock in the morning on a Sunday (!!!!), well, breakfast in bed is pretty much out of the question. But he did get some nice tv time alone in the morning and then Noah and I made him an awesome breakfast of coconut french toast with caramelized mangoes and a strawberry bellini. Normally I would’ve taken pictures but we were too busy eating it and I forgot. But rest assured, it was quite possibly one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever made (and not to be all braggy but I’ve been known to whip up some really great breakfasts). The bellini apparently was really strong so Mark took a nap afterwards and when he woke up, the three of us hit the outdoor pool at our building:

Then it was off to lunch at Bubba Gump’s in Victoria Peak. Mock if you like but Noah loves Bubba Gump’s so 1) he was guaranteed to eat (always a relief when we can avoid an argument at mealtimes) and 2) they had a Father’s Day set which featured all-you-can-drink beer for dads. The two beers apparently were really strong so as soon as we got home, it was off to bed for Mark for nap #2. The rest of the day was pretty low-key. My brain was seriously tapped out and I just couldn’t muster up anything else. It wasn’t a relaxing spa day for sure but really, a two-nap day?! I don’t know if it gets much better than that.

For Mark’s Father’s Day present, Noah also helped me put a scrapbook together of his and Mark’s greatest hits. And when I say “helped me put a scrapbook together” I really mean he looked through iPhoto with me and repeatedly watched videos of when he was a baby. But here are some of my favorite pictures that made it into the album…

Mark’s first ever picture with a 10 minute old Noah:

One of my favorite sleeping photos of my boys. Noah is about 7 weeks old here:

Mother’s Day, 2006, at our neighborhood pool in Orange County:

New Year’s Eve, 2007, in Reno, NV. I love how much alike they look here:

Chinese New Year’s, 2009, at our apartment complex in HK:

June 25, 2009 at 8:43 am 2 comments

Leavers’ Ceremony

After spending the last two years at Woodlands Montessori Pre-school, Noah’s got one more month before moving on to a new school.  Woodlands normally holds a Leaver’s Ceremony at the end of their Spring term in honor of all the kids who aren’t coming back in the fall.  It’s not quite a graduation ceremony, but when you’re only three it’s close enough.  This year, because of the government’s swine flu overreaction school closure, the usual ceremony was cancelled.  However the school decided to hold a smaller ceremony instead, inviting only the kids who are actually leaving (as opposed to the entire class) on a class by class basis.  Noah’s Bumblebee class held their Leaver’s Ceremony last Wednesday and yes, I’m only getting around to posting pictures now, but hey, better late than never.

The smaller ceremony actually worked out better for me because, really, a graduation is a graduation and who wants to sit through a ton of kids getting fake diplomas when you really only want to snap pictures of your own?  Noah naturally decided to be all slouchy and make funny faces when they called his name so all of my pictures of him are weird, but here are some normalish ones…

The happy “graduate”

With his teachers, Ms. Eileen and Ms. Ina:

The graduating class of ’09. There were a lot of people with cameras…no one really knew where to look. Oh, plus they’re all attention span deficient preschoolers:

Noah’s best friend, Charlie, is moving to Singapore in the fall so he was also there. After the ceremony, Noah and Charlie spent a good half-hour running around like crazy:

Putting those two boys together in one room can get pretty nutso but they’re so cute together. I don’t know if Noah’s processed the fact that he won’t be seeing Charlie anymore (except maybe for an occasional visit in Singapore) but he seems to have a pretty good understanding of having friends in different places (Nevan in Tokyo and Cousin Gabey in Pennsylvania) so I think he’ll be ok.

In celebration of his fake-graduation I promised him a pizza lunch so here he is being weird again at lunch:

June 24, 2009 at 2:02 pm 5 comments

Waiting

(insert Jeopardy theme song here)

I haven’t felt very bloggy lately.  In fact I haven’t felt very much like doing anything for the last week or two now.  But I’m guessing that my new lethargic, exhausted, wiped out phase has something to do with the fact that I only have two weeks to go until my due date (July 8th.  Eek!).  Mostly I’m just tired or else have absolutely no interest in doing anything — not reading, not knitting, not going online and chatting with friends — nothing.  Unless it involves popping out a baby (or obsessively playing Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook.  Which is a terrible game.  Seriously, everyone — stay away from it if you have a competitive bone in your body or are even slightly obsessive-compulsive.  It will suck you in and not let you go).  Still, it’s not like I don’t do anything all day and with Noah at home for one more week before summer school starts up, we’ve had a lot of time to just hang out.  This is both a good and a bad thing.  Good because the boy is hilarious and it’s so much fun hanging out with him trying to anticipate the weird/embarrassing things that will come out of his mouth.  And bad because spending this much time with him tends to make him super clingy and I’ve been trying to manage his expectations about how things will change once the baby comes — particularly in respect to how much time we’ll be able to spend together.  And by “clingy” I mean clingy.  Literally.  Like when we sit down for lunch he’ll eventually scooch his way across the bench until he’s practically in my lap and in the mornings he’ll climb into bed with me and pretty much lay on my back like a baby monkey until Mark pries him off.  Of course whenever I ask him why he needs to squish me, his answer is, “Because I love you so very much.”  Well, if you put it that way…

Anyway, so that’s a really convoluted way of saying that I’m behind on my blogging, as well as my excuse for not being around lately and reading your blogs as well.  So hopefully if I can muster up the energy then I’ll be playing catch up in the next few days.

June 24, 2009 at 12:31 pm 4 comments

Nesting

I have three weeks left to go until my due date.  So with that impending deadline, Mark and I finally decided that it was time to get serious about setting the nursery up.  I’ve had a few stops and starts in the nesting department.  I had the baby furniture repainted two months ago and we did some major baby shopping about a month later, but last weekend was when we finally put everything together.  It’s been a bit of a challenge to say the least.  Shopping for baby stuff here makes me downright nostalgic for Babies R Us — a store that normally depresses and overwhelms us whenever we have to go there.  Everything here is just so much more expensive than it is back home, we need to make multiple trips to multiple stores just to find what we need, plus our American-sized crib is too big for the UK standard sized mattresses which are too small for all of our old crib sets…you get the drift.  Despite that, as of last weekend we’re pretty much all set now.

The crib, changing table, bookcase and, randomly, the high chair in the corner. Just ignore all that stuff we were trying to hide underneath the crib:

There’s a little nook in the room so Mark made the ultimate sacrifice and donated his comfy living room chair for that space (you should also try to imagine a yet-to-be-found/bought floor lamp for that corner. But imagine that it’s cute while you’re at it). Seriously, this is a chair that he spent months looking for before finding the perfect combination of shape, softness and support. Unfortunately for Mark his chair was just a bit too big for our living room after we moved into our new apartment in January so it was easy to talk him into moving it into the nursery:

We had considered painting the room but ultimately I think we both got lazy. Plus Mark found an awesome rug for the room instead — made up of felted wool balls and then individually hand-sewn together. Jae has warned me that it will probably shed like nobody’s business in the next few months but I don’t care. It’s so soft. Besides, I don’t do the vacuuming around here anyway. Here’s a close-up of its lovely poofiness:

And as for Mark’s high maintenance butt (literally), he did get a new chair out of it so happiness all around:

June 16, 2009 at 9:13 pm 4 comments

File Under: What The Hell Was I Thinking?!

Two weeks ago, Noah had a playdate with his beset friend Charlie and Charlie’s little brother George at their house.  Charlie and Noah are in the same preschool class and all three ride the same bus to and from school every day so they’re all good friends and love hanging out together.  Ever since then Noah’s been bugging me to have Charlie and George over to our house so he can show them his room.  Their other good friend, Emma, who lives down the street from us turned four yesterday and invited the three to her house for a birthday party at 3 pm.  In my infinite wisdom, I thought I could kill two birds with one stone and check off a reciprocal playdate and a child’s birthday party off my To Do list all in one day so I called Charlie’s mom and offered to take Charlie and George off the bus after school and just walk the three boys over to Emma’s later in the afternoon.  Perfect, right?  Yes,  if you’re a glutton for punishment.

I initially had some activities planned for the boys after lunch in case playing got a little old.  I had brushes and paint supplies, frosting and sprinkles to decorate cookies with, and there were always those old standbys of kids’ movies and the play area at our complex.  How hard could this playdate gig be?  My first warning sign should’ve been Noah’s lousy night of sleep — he didn’t fall asleep until well past 9 pm and woke up at 5:30 am.  Another warning sign should’ve been the fact that as soon as all three boys descended from the bus they each took off running in different directions and it took me a while to corral them into our elevator lobby.  And if I was still feeling optimistic about that, then the boys blowing out my eardrums with their screaming during the 30 second elevator ride should’ve been the final alarm bell telling me to run while I still had a chance.  But alas — my fight or flight instincts have been numbed from years of pampered living.

The boys got along fine for the first 40 minutes and after lunch it was all downhill.  Apparently feeding little boys makes them lose any ability to share and play nicely and with George being 3, Noah 3 1/2 and Charlie 4, well, that age range isn’t really known for being patient and rational.  The next two hours were filled with screams of “But I want that toy! It’s my turn!”, “You’re a bad guy!  You’re not my friend!”, “Stop being a baby!” and “I don’t like you!” with intermittent crying fits and tantrums.  I scrapped the art and the cookie decorating assuming that it would probably just lead to more arguing and put on a movie instead.  That worked for about 30 minutes until Charlie and Noah found something to argue about during the movie (“I have this book at home” “No you don’t” “Yes I do” “No!  You don’t have this book!” “I already have it” “Noooooo!!!!!”).  Thankfully Noah fell asleep during last half hour of the movie.  Charlie and George played quietly and amiably in Noah’s room during that time and Noah woke up in a better mood.

After the movie it was finally time to foist the three heathens onto some other poor mother go to Emma’s house.  Naturally, Charlie and Noah were just completely loving on each other during the wait for the shuttle bus and on the ride over.  They held hands while they walked, kept giving each other hugs, declared their mutual love for each other and treated the entire bus to an impromptu (and neverending) chorus of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.  If I thought things were going to be easier at Emma’s house, I was wrong again.  The boys were happy at the change in environment but there were also about 20 other 2- to 5-year-olds hopped up on M&Ms running amok in a small space along with them.  The small barking dog devirginizing a pillow was the best behaved one of bunch.  It was madness.  You would also think that with so many kids and parents around, there’d be enough going on that your child’s misadventures would go by relatively unnoticed, but again, not my luck.  On top of his other general misbehaving, after everyone had sung Happy Birthday to Emma and she blew out the candles, her mom picked up the cake to take to the kitchen to cut.  Noah chose that moment to run up to Shirley and spank her on the butt.  Twice.  …And cue the embarrassed mommy pulling him aside to tell him never, ever (and I mean ever) do that again.

Ultimately I don’t think Noah was the most misbehaved child there — he was just the most obvious at it.  Nevertheless, the news that the HK government had ordered all nursery and preschools closed for two weeks — basically through the end of term — effective the next day because of a swine flu scare was not welcome news.  First of all, it meant that Noah’s field trip to the Police Museum on Friday was cancelled (which I was actually ok with because I was exhausted and didn’t know if I really wanted to take him).  Secondly, next week’s Father’s Day breakfast was also cancelled.  Mark had missed it last year because of a business trip and had rearranged his schedule around this year’s breakfast to make sure he would be there.  Thirdly, the preschool’s Leaver’s Ceremony was cancelled.  The Leaver’s Ceremony is a sort of graduation celebration in honor of all the preschoolers who wouldn’t be returning to Woodlands in the fall.  Noah was going to be a part of it because he’s going on to HK Academy and I was bummed out that he’d get to miss this final celebration with his friends.  And finally, there was that panic I always feel when Noah doesn’t have classes.  It goes something along the lines of Oh my god, I actually need to parent my child.  What am I going to do?!!! I’m sure we’ll be ok.  Some of the other moms and I spoke at Emma’s party so we’re planning on arranging some playdates to help tide us over until our various summer plans kick in.  And after yesterday’s experience, I’m sure I’ll be much better prepared (in terms of crisis management, not activities) on future playdates.

June 12, 2009 at 8:42 pm 4 comments

One Week In Bullet Points

I’m a little surprised to see that I haven’t written anything in a week. I mentally update my blog all the time so in my mind you’re all caught up but I guess I’ve been a little lazy actually sitting down and writing it all out (and you should probably be thankful for that…considering the way my mind works sometimes). My mom and I talk every week so I was surprised that she didn’t know that Noah had been sick last which was my cue that I had some family updating to do so here you go…

  • Mark was in Tokyo (again) all of last week.  I mention it only because this trip is his last until after the baby comes so yay!  No more single parenting for a couple more months.
  • Like I already mentioned, Noah was sick last week.  Tuesday and Wednesday he had a pretty high fever which he got over apparently only with the help of lots and lots of episodes of Ben 10.  He’s better and now I’m sick…of Ben 10.
  • Noah got over his cold in time for the Dragon Boat Festival on Thursday.  Unfortunately for him, he also managed to pick up some weird stomach bug/food poisoning thing on Thursday instead so we stayed home and missed the races.  Unfortunately for me, this meant that my day totally got crapped on…literally…and several times throughout the day.  Poor little Noah.  He got over it in time to go to school on Friday but after judging my reaction (and horrible gag reflex) to poop-stained clothing (and floors, rugs and bathroom fixtures), I’m now second-guessing my idea to go with cloth diapers for baby #2.
  • And speaking of sickness and Hong Kong…if you’re worried about something like swine flu, post-SARS Hong Kong is actually not a bad place to be to weather out the swine flu pandemic.  They take it very seriously here.  They have temperature checks set up in a lot of children’s playareas, the vast majority of elevators I’ve been in all have plastic covers on the button panel which is then sterilized every few hours, a ton of places put up hand sanitizer and/or face masks at the entrance so you can self-sterilize…it’s a germaphobe’s dream.  One bad thing about it though is if you have a non-contagious (according to the doctor) cough that refuses to go away, you are kind of looked at as a social pariah unless you become very good at suppressing coughs (which really only leads to you sputtering out other weird noises instead).  The other bad thing is that sometimes people can go a little crazy with the overprotectiveness…like the recent news that several hospitals will not be allowing husbands in the delivery room while their wives are going through labor.  Luckily for me, the hospital I’m delivering at hasn’t adopted this policy (yet) but I can’t help but feel bad thinking about all those women who do have to deliver their babies without their husbands there.
  • Besides marking the end of being sequestered with a cranky, poopy Noah for three days and Mark’s return from his last business trip for the summer, Friday was also my last workout with my trainer until I pop this baby out.  Of course, I might’ve been a little overenthusiastic during my workout and I think I re-pulled my bad back/rib muscle but I have a couple months now to just rest and fatten up and I feel better knowing that I made the effort to take care of myself this time around.
  • Finally, I haven’t really been online much lately.  Besides the aforementioned sick child/solo parenting thing I mentioned earlier, Mark had downloaded an old season of Ultimate Fighter on iTunes so I was busy catching up on my mixed martial arts.  And really, there are few activities better than knitting when you’re watching a bunch of guys beating on each other on tv.  I’ve been doing a lot of stashbusting this week because 1) the size of my stash was ridiculous and 2) I couldn’t leave the house to go to the yarn store so here is what five days worth of  knitting looks like:Kelly BagCabled Toque

    Plus, I’ve started on this bag to use up a couple skeins of hemp yarn that I otherwise have no idea what to do with.

And that was my week in bullet points.  Ok?  Ok.

June 1, 2009 at 11:05 pm 5 comments


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