A Couple of Firsts and a Makeover

First Number One

Have I mentioned that we started Julian on solid food?  Yeah.  Already.  Given Noah’s history of allergies, Julian’s doctor had recommended that we wait until Julian was six months old before introducing solids (the later a baby starts, the less likely they are to develop food allergies) but Julian went from needing to eat every six hours one week, to every five hours the next week, to every four hours the following week, and by Thanksgiving weekend he was hungry every three hours.  It was a little much.  So Mark and I decided it would be a good time to start him on solids.

I found an organic four grain porridge from a UK company for babies starting at four months, and I know you’re supposed to start with single grain food but a quinoa/rice/millet/amaranth blend sounded so much more appetizing than just plain old rice.  Plus, Julian loves this stuff.  Like, seriously loves it.  From past experience I was expecting the first feeding to be messy — more a chance for the baby to get acquainted with rice cereal than to sate his appetite.  But Julian took to solids like an old pro.  He pushed some of the food out of his mouth with his tongue of course, but surprisingly most of it ended up getting eaten.  And when we ran out of cereal, he screamed at us until I fixed another serving for him and fed him that too.  Halfway through that first feed he started grabbing for the spoon and trying to guide it into his mouth, not letting go until the spoon was empty.  He also screams when we take too long putting cereal on the spoon and his mouth is empty for more than two seconds.  Yep…I have a good feeling that of my two boys, Julian is going to be my adventurous eater and potential chef (which more than makes up for the fact that he is a crappy sleeper).

Naturally, I have video of the first feeding, but it’s boring and I don’t feel like trying to edit it into something watchable.  But here’s a picture instead:

First Number Two

Mark has been trying to convince me for the last three months that Julian needs a haircut. I’ve been resisting because his hair is finally long enough that it doesn’t stick straight up all the time (plus it’s kind of cute like that and it smells good). Part of it is also vanity because I see so many babies — some twice Julian’s age — with less hair than he has so I like to flaunt his long, flowy locks (and no, I really don’t mind that most people assume he’s a girl because of it). But with Christmas coming up (read: lots of photo ops), I finally conceded that the boy looks a little on the raggedy side. So this morning, while Mark held a sleeping Julian in his arms, I grabbed my hair scissors and started snipping away. And now the boy has gone from looking like a baby girl with shaggy hair:

to a baby girl with a bad haircut:

Oh well. At least it’ll grow out.

A Makeover
Way back when Noah first outgrew his crib, Mark and I were kind of unprepared for it so we ended up buying the first toddler bed that we happened to come across — which just happened to come from Ikea. Mark and I have a love/hate relationship with Ikea. Ikea has saved us many a time when we’ve been too broke or busy to buy real furniture and a lot of their stuff is actually really cute, but we have quality issues with them. And sizing issues…that is, furniture from Ikea doesn’t seem to come in standard sizes so if you ever want to accessorize them or, say, get new bed sheets, you’re kind of forced to buy them at Ikea too unless you want something that isn’t quite the right size. I hate Ikea bedsheets. Especially their overly cutesy children’s sheets which we had because, surprise, they were the only ones that fit Noah’s bed. So, we’ve been itching to redecorate Noah’s room for a while. We finally found a children’s furniture company in HK that we liked and that wasn’t exorbitantly priced so we designed and ordered a bed for Noah. After four weeks, it finally came yesterday:

Mark loves it because he designed it to look like a castle; I love it because the steps are also drawers so there’s a ton of storage in his room now; and Noah loves it because it’s got steps and a curtain for privacy. So happiness all around. Here it is after four hours of rearranging books and toys:

And if the new bed provides an incentive for Noah to stay in his room all night long rather than coming into our room in the early morning and crowding me, well, to me (and my poor achy back) it’ll be well worth the money.


December 8, 2009 at 10:21 pm 2 comments

Cultural Food Festival

Today was the Cultural Food Festival at Noah’s school.  I’ve been feeling a little burnt out with his school lately — what with volunteering, fundraisers, playdates, assemblies and all that good stuff — so I thought, “Well, why don’t I skip just this one event?”  I tried to ignore the gazillion notices the school sent us about the event but eventually I clued in on their message — hey, this is actually kind of a big thing at the school.  So I got in touch with the parent coordinator for the U.S. table to let her know what our “American food” contribution was which meant that this morning I was up at 8 am making a ton of grilled cheese sandwiches.

The Cultural Food Festival was actually really fun and I’m glad that I decided to participate in it after all.  They started off the cultural assembly in the gym with their Parade of Nations, where all the children got to walk on stage with their flag while the Head of School, Dr. Andy, rattled off facts about each nation.  Going into HK Academy, I knew that it was a pretty diverse school and it was one of the reasons that I liked the school so much, but I had no idea just how diverse it was until I went to the assembly.  There were students representing 40 different countries — from Argentina to Wales.  Of the 14 children in Noah’s class alone, there are kids from the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Mexico, Hong Kong, Australia, Japan, Thailand and Germany.  It was amazing to see all of that represented on stage.  Hands down, the U.S. delegation was the largest.  Here is Noah getting lost among all the other Americans:

Some of the children were dressed in extravagant costumes representing their country.  Whenever we travel, we occasionally pick up clothing for Noah so he’s got things like a rugby jersey, a traditional Singaporean shirt, t-shirts for Japanese baseball teams, etc. but nothing that really shouts “I’m American yo!”  The most American thing I could find was the football shirt that Cristina had sent him so an extra big thank you again to her.  Here are all of the different flag bearers on stage at the end:

Some of the things that I learned during the assembly…

  • Canada is the mosquito capital of the world
  • In Malaysia, more people are born during the month of October than any other month
  • In Poland, the largest section in any grocery store is the candy aisle
  • Nepal has the only flag that is not a quadrangle
  • New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote
  • Japan has a 100% literacy rate
  • India is the only country that has a bill of rights for cows

There were a few performances after the parade and then we all headed up to the rooftop to where all the food was.  Here is the map of food table locations just so you can get an idea of how they were organized:

It was awesome to see all the different types of food they had there and to get a chance to sample them.  I actually didn’t get to try too much — Noah kept hovering around the Chinese table because apparently they had the best desserts — but I was able try a couple of new items at Argentina, Iran and Israel’s table (I purposefully stayed away from the Australian table because I suspected most of their food offerings might have been laced with Vegemite.  Uh, no thanks.).  So overall, a very fun event.  I’m actually even looking forward to next year’s festival.

December 3, 2009 at 12:19 am 1 comment

Julian vs. The Pacifier (vs. His Hand)

At 20 weeks old, Julian’s gaining more and more control over his movements daily — particularly his hands. On the plus side, this means he’s just that much more fun to play with since he’s more interactive. He reaches out for his toys, he grabs his toes and my fingers, and he swats in the air when he’s happy. He even fights with me when he’s choking on his bottle and I try to take it out of his mouth — he’s strong enough to keep the bottle jammed into his mouth despite a heavy coughing fit. On the downside, this is bad news for his pacifiers.  We get a few Dr. Strangelove moments where it seems like Julian is fighting with his own hands — one struggling to keep his pacifier in his mouth, the other trying to fling it out.  But let’s face it, this is actually pretty entertaining as well (mostly because of all the screaming involved)…

November 25, 2009 at 10:13 am 4 comments

Birthday Nom Noms

My birthday was on Saturday and normally I like to have something nice and low-key (with the exception of #29 when Mark threw a surprise birthday dinner party for me…and #30 in Thailand…but really, they are usually low-key). For some reason, for the better part of this year I thought that I was turning 33. So when I actually did the math and realized I was only 32, I felt like I had gained a year and was pretty happy with that already. Bad math aside, Mark knows that eating also makes me pretty happy so he planned my birthday around some pretty good meals.

First of all, there was some sleeping in. I’m not sure in what part of the universe waking up at 9 am is considered “sleeping in” but apparently I live in that part of it. Mark and Noah left so Noah could do some birthday present shopping for me, so Julian and I had a nice, leisurely morning by ourselves. At noon I met up with Mark and Noah at Sevva, one of Mark’s favorite restaurants, where we had lunch reservations. Noah was pretty tired from all the shopping so he kind of conked out in our booth, but not before he presented me with the gift that he had picked out — a modernized friendship bracelet in silver and pink:

Of course, Noah woke up in time for my birthday cake — the Marie Antoinette Crave cake. Yes, my cake comes with its own name, but then again, if you were a cake and you looked like this:

well, you’d probably want your own name too. It was a pistachio layer cake with a light raspberry cream filling, studded with different types of macaroon cookies and topped with a huge mound of cotton candy.  Naturally we all had massive stomachaches afterwards…but it was totally worth it.

Mark and I had dinner reservations later at Spoon (which is one of my favorite places…in the whole world) but we seriously needed an eating break.  So after spending some time with the kiddos at home, Mark and I did a little pre-dinner shopping.  I had seen a coat at Ted Baker a few days ago that I loved but had resigned to “strictly covet only” status, but with Mark alongside me (and more importantly, his credit card), I got to pick it up as my birthday present:

I seriously love this thing.  Seriously. There’s nothing about it that I don’t drool over — double-breasted, military-style trenchcoat with a twirly lower half — how could you not love that? And it’s red! And even the lining is cute. Of course, the cold spell has ended (for now) and we’re back to running the A/C again but this gives me just one more reason to look forward to winter.

So it’s safe to say that Mark done good. Leave it to him to find a way to make aging less painful.

November 24, 2009 at 9:53 pm 1 comment

School Picture

Hooray! School pictures arrived today and Noah is not flashing his squishy face (which has its merits…but not for school pictures):

November 20, 2009 at 12:10 pm 2 comments

Hello, Winter Knitting!…Or, Why I Won’t Be Blogging

For about 300 days of the year, I’m usually complaining about the heat and humidity out here in Hong Kong.  So when a cold front moved in earlier this week, for the most part it was a welcome change.  Well, welcome except for one thing — we are seriously lacking in the cold weather clothing area.  I took Julian out for our regular morning stroll on Monday and popped on the only cap he hasn’t outgrown.  It was cute, but made him look like a pudgy little longshoreman:

So for the last couple of days, I’ve been working on bulking up our winter gear. This includes an alligator scarf for Noah:

A little brimmed cap for Julian:

As well as an aviator style helmet complete with strap to ensure that it actually stays on his head:

For me, I need to complete the right hand for this pair of gloves:

And for Mark, a scarf. I haven’t gotten around to starting it yet — Mark wanted to design it himself so I’ve got to come up with and test out the pattern on my own so this might take a while, but hopefully it will be done in time to be worn during this winter. And on top of that, there are Christmas gifts and baby things to be knitted so if I’m not around much, well, now you know why.

November 19, 2009 at 4:19 am 5 comments

How The Kiddos Are Doing

Generally when people ask me these days how my kids are doing, my answer is usually, “Well, one of them doesn’t sleep and the other one doesn’t stop talking.”  At this point I’m not sure which is worse.

In case you didn’t guess, Julian is my non-sleeper.  Poor little guy.  He even has the really dark undereye circles going on.  See?

As you can imagine, he can get pretty cranky from time to time, but overall he’s still my happy-go-lucky baby:

If you were to ask me to describe Julian right now, I would tell you that he’s cheerful and happy, very mellow but at the same time he loves attention and looking at people. This means that if we happen to leave Julian in a room by himself, he’ll make a noise that sounds like two cats fighting until someone comes over to him and then he’ll just be the most chilled out guy ever and will sit in your lap quietly observing until he needs something else (and then cue banshee-screaming).  It’s actually quite cute. And funny since Noah was not like that at all when he was a baby.

Noah, on the other hand, sleeps…but just doesn’t shut up when he’s awake.  It’s gotten to the point where it feels like my ears are bleeding from hearing the words, “Hey Mommy!  Hey Mommy!  Hey Mommy!” over and over.  He’s also at that age where he tries to be funny, but his attempts at it are funny in an unintentional way.  Like when he tells jokes:

Noah: Hey Mommy. I have a joke for you. The chicken crossed the street. (Laughter — him because he thinks the joke is funny and me because he has just butchered the easiest riddle in the world.)

Last week at his school it was Artists In Residence week. The school had six visiting artists (a dancer, an actor, a painter, an illustrator, a storyteller and a composer) for the week and they got to work with each of the classes. Noah’s class worked with storyteller JoAnne Lower and composer/pianist Warren Wills during the week and at Monday’s school assembly, his class got up on stage and sang the song they had composed together as a class with Warren (“The Elephant’s Child” which was based on a story told by JoAnne).

Noah was just amazing to watch onstage. He was comfortable, he wasn’t shy and he sang. Loudly. When I asked him afterwards if he liked being on stage, he told me he did and that he wasn’t nervous. Keep in mind this was in front of the entire student body (preschool through high school), including parents. I was so proud of him and I hope he never loses that fearlessness.

And speaking of not being afraid, here are some pictures from last Sunday’s Peak Market:

Hey Munoz 05! That’s a nice necklace you got there. Why don’t you turn around and show it to us:

Ahhhhh! Snake! The kickass shirt, by the way, is courtesy of my awesome friend Cristina. She also sent over a matching onesie (™!!!) with Munoz 09 on it for Julian.  Ok, Noah, we get it…you’re not afraid of snakes:

But hedgehogs, on the other hand, are a totally different matter…

Oh, and my PSA this week…you know all those reports about Crocs-wearing kids getting their toes eaten by escalators? Yeah…those are for reals. Noah had a close call at Ocean Park the other day. No blood drawn, but we did end up with one very scared child and an incredibly panic-stricken mom. So watch those feet!

November 18, 2009 at 3:51 pm 3 comments

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