Max, At 6 Days of Age, Poundering Meaning of Life…

In addition to taking pictures of Max as often as I can, I am also trying to take videos of him to document his life. Up to a few days ago, all Max did was to sleep, eat, and poop. There were rarely any good opportunities to take videos with him doing something. I know, I am asking a lot for a new born. But a few days ago, he actually stayed awake for a while after the morning feeding. So I took this rare opportunity to take a 30 second video of him checking out his new surrounding.

-Flo.

Introducing Max to the World!

Sorry I have been away for a while… I promise there’s a good reason.  Our second son Max decided to come into this world about 20 days ahead of his due date!  That totally caught us off guard.  So I spent the last week in the hospital and came back home to settle in with the baby.  I haven’t had time to do much writing yet, as I am still catching up.  I finally sent out an announcement email today to our friends and family, and I would like to share it with you.

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Max was born on Monday April 18th, 2011.  He came into this world in a hurry, in fact, a whole three weeks before his due date!  In the morning, the waves of contraction caught his mom by surprise but refused to believe that the baby was really coming.  She kept thinking of the boxes in his room and the long list of things that needed to be done before his arrival.  She definitely needed another three weeks to get ready.  But the pain kept coming and she finally admitted defeat and came to the hospital with dad by lunch time. Dad was slightly scared but had high hope that he will finally meet his new son by dinner time.  However, when they arrived to the hospital, Max refused to come out.  So after losing the epidural and been in active labor for an hour, his mom finally opted for a cesarean.   Max finally arrived to our world at 9:43PM, weigh 7lbs and 1.1oz, length 19 inches, to the happiest family in the world!

Max right after birth

 

Max at 6 days of age

 

Proud mom and dad,

Flo and Mario.

My New Favorite Drink

What I missed most while being pregnant and during the first year of breast feeding is drinking tea.  I used to be a tea fanatic.  I am not talking about those fruity fake stuff you find at Ralphs.  I am talking about the real Chinese good stuff, like Oolong and Pu-Erh, brewed the right way.  My definition of a good day was associated to the number of cups of tea I could drink before I had to get off my butt to do some real work.  There’s something about the taste of tea that just feel addictive to me.  I can’t put my finger on it, but I just can’t live without it.  Thank god there’s no negative side of drinking tea so I could drink it all day long.

It was a sad sad day when I found out I was not supposed to drink tea anymore during my last pregnancy.  The process of quitting my tea drinking habit was like quitting drugs.  I had to do it “cold turkey.”  But I tough it out.  After nearly two years, I welcomed tea drinking back into my life again and I was sssooo happy.  Quitting tea during this pregnancy was a little easier, but I still miss it so much.  I have searched high and low for a good substitute, but nothing can compare to my beloved it tea. Until last weekend…

 

Perrier

We had some family and friends come over last weekend.  Since we had nothing but filtered water (Flo’s drinks, yuck!) and zero calorie fruity sodas (Mario’s preferred drinks), I went to Costco and got a pack of Perrier.  I remotely remember from long ago that it was pretty good and decided to take a chance.  What’s the worst that can happen?  I could always make Mario finish any carbonated stuff.

I tried one while the guests were here.  Hey, it tasted pretty good.  Not sweet and the carbonation actually gives it a bit of salty flavor.  During the next few days, I averaged about three a day and the stuff started to grow on me.  Yesterday while I was surfing the web, I saw the nutrition facts on the back of the bottle.

 

Nutrition Facts on the back of the Perrier Bottle

Of course, zero calorie… Little bit of salt, much less than 1%, that explains the taste…  What?!  It contains 7% of calcium?  This stuff is actually good for me!  As I am generally calcium deficient during my pregnancy.  Wow, I can drink this stuff!  Finally, something I don’t mind drinking that’s good for me!  What are the odds.  I declare that this Perrier is my new favorite drink for the rest of my pregnancy and breast feeding days!  It is not anywhere near as good as my tea, but I can live with this stuff for less than a year!  I am so happy to have found my new favorite drink!

-Flo.

Balcony Door Make Over

I know it is unbelievable, but we are still under renovation.  It started on January 3rd of this year and we kept adding scope as more and more issues were found.  Remember the movie Money Pit from back in the eighties?  I feel like I am a permanent cast member of that movie looped for eternal re-run.  As I am typing away right now, I hear the roofers hard at work above me.  With every bang of loud noise they make, a few more dollars disappears from my bank account.

Complains aside, the house is looking better and better.  One thing I put my final personal touch on recently was the balcony door.  Here’s a little bit of history.  When we first saw this house, there were these four panel glass doors leading out to a 500 square feet balcony.  It looked absolutely gorgeous, allowing light to flash into the living room, which made the place looked airy and upbeat.  However, a closer look suggested heavy termite and rain damage.  So just like everything else in the house, it needed to be replaced.

 

Balcony Door, Original Condition

 

During renovation, both the doors and wooden frame were replaced by one continuous double sided sliding doors.  This made the space look larger and more modern.

 

Balcony Door, After Renovation

 

From day one, I’ve always envisioned a long, flowing, and thick curtain going over this space to make the window look even more dramatic.  I’ve searched high and low on the web to find the right curtains and rod that’s long and tall enough for this space with just the right color to match the rest of the space.  Eventually I’ve found some double wide curtains that will fit this space.  Better yet, I was able to score them at 15% off their already discounted price!  It is a pair of blackout curtains at 96 inches x 96 inches in desert velvet color.  Imaging my happiness when they finally arrived!  I also ordered some curtain rings from Amazon.com to go with the black extra long curtain rods.

 

Curtain Rings in Black

 

Attaching the rings to the curtains was so simple, even for a DYI idiot like me.  I only had to make sure the rings were clipped onto the curtains with 6 inches between them, and the silver clips that came with the curtains were removed.

 

Attaching Curtain Rings to the Curtain

 

Curtain Rings Are All Attached

 

It took my contractor only fifteen minutes to put on the brackets and hang the curtains on the rod.  The finally product looked every bit as beautiful as I imagined!  I got to say, the desert velvet color matches so well with the wooden ceiling and the cabinets int he kitchen, and the black curtain rod and curtain rings matches really well with the black sconces around the living room.  The height of the curtain is just perfect too, with the bottom barely touching the floor.

 

Curtains Finally Got Hung Up, 1

Curtains Finally Got Hung Up, 2

 

Overall, I love how everything came together.  I was worried about the cost at one point when someone came in to give me a quote.  I am so glad I was able to do the project mostly by myself at less than half of that amount.  I can’t wait to move onto the next project!

 

-Flo.

Ravi, You Are 25 Months Old Today!

Dear Ravi,

You turned 25 months old today!  It feels like time has been a run away train that I have no power to rein in.  I thought we just celebrated your second birthday a week ago, and here you are another month older.  Of course, mommy couldn’t be prouder of your development in the past months.

You love to sing.  Often when you are sitting in car or playing by yourself, you break into a song, just like daddy does all the time.  Your favorites are “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “ABC.”  One day I was putting your toys away in your room and you started to singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”  It was the first time I heard you sing through the whole song all on your own.  I was so amazed that you knew the tune and most of the words, but I pretended that I didn’t notice it so you would keep singing.  Sometimes you sing “ABC,” but there are some places you don’t quit get so you muddle through it or invent your own wording.  But that’s okay, you are getting there.

Since we moved to our new home, you have been attending a new daycare.  Mommy and daddy wanted to make sure we send you to a good one, so you can grow in a safe and happy environment.  This daycare was the first one we went to see and we loved it!  It is only three blocks away from the beach, and your daddy loved that your required packing list includes sun tan lotion and swim trunks!  But for the first three weeks, you cried every morning when we dropped you off.  It broke my heart, and your daddy had to pull me away from you.  But this week, you are doing much better.  You whimper a bit in the morning but recovered only a minute later.  I hope you will begin to enjoy the large facilities and the company of other kids your age soon.

You amaze us with your long term memory.  Mommy bought a pair of shoes that’s too big for you last Thanksgiving, but you loved it!  Ever since I shown it to you the first time, you would point to its box and request to wear it even though you have another pair exactly your size.  I finally took it from you and hidden it somewhere else.  But you found its box again months later when we moved in to our new home.  From that point on, you refuse to be apart from it.  So now you are wearing it everyday.  There are lots of other places where you demonstrated your long term memory too, like you remember where A-Pa’s garden gates’ keys are and which bottle you’ve hidden your favorite little trinkets.

Last week, you said “I love mommy” for the first time!  Imagine how happy I was when you did that.  I knew the words weren’t a challenge for you, but I was sure you wanted to hold out just because you didn’t want to spoil mommy.  But that night, mommy took care of you all by myself when you weren’t feeling well.  I carried you around the block couple of times when you wanted to go for a walk but didn’t want to use your own legs, fed you your favorite food, and held you close when you didn’t want to be left alone.  It was a special evening for both of us and I am sure you realized how much mommy loved you.  When we finally lay down to sleep, I asked you if you know how to say “I love you”, but you said “I love mommy” instead!  That moment made every single drop of sweat and tear worth it!  But you refuse to say it again from that day on.  I guess you didn’t have to, mommy knows your love everyday.

Mommy has been wanting to take you to get your two year pictures taken.  But with the move and daddy’s busy schedule, we still haven’t got around to do it.  It is now the top priority for our family!  Can’t wait to frame your handsome pictures and hang them in our new living room.

 

Love,

Mommy.

Our Old Apartment

I haven’t posted any pictures on this blog for the last three weeks!  This is because I couldn’t find my camera to laptop cable.  You know how it is during a move: you can’t find anything you need when you need it.  Finally Mario found it last weekend!  Just for that, he became my hero again.  That’s how much I wanted that cable back.

Back in 2002, when Mario was finishing up school and me moved back to LA , we live in this tiny, odd shaped, one bedroom, and rent-controlled apartment on Hollywood Hills.  Down the hill, it was only four blocks away from the famous landmark Mann Chinese Theater; up the hill, it was only a driveway away from those multi-million dollar houses.  It sounds very glamorous, but in fact it wasn’t.  There were helicopters flying overhead before dawn, it was impossible to find a parking at all times, our cars got broken into, and our side view mirrors were smashed (likely on purpose) more than once.  It was the worst place I could ever imagine to live and I could not understand why anybody else would want to live there.  We did because the rent was super cheap, we paid only $650 a month!  But why the heck did all the other people pay thousands of dollars is beyond me.

It was a stressful place to live.  So in early 2004 we decided to move to a better place.  Mario found this one near his friend’s condo.  It has two large bedrooms and located in a nice residential neighborhood near restaurants and shopping areas.  I went to see it immediately, and within a few days our application was approved and we were moving in!  We had some very happy time there.  There were certainly plenty of room for two of us, but it began to feel small when Ravi started to walk.  So finally last year, we took the plunge and bought our own place.  On March 14th, 2011, we officially moved out of this place where we lived for over seven years.

I snapped these pictures after the movers have loaded everything and headed to our new home.  I was in charge of closing out and locking the door.  The place looks old and dirty then, but with a fresh coat of paint and new carpet, it would make someone else very happy like it did to us.

 

Living Room

 

Kitchen and Dinning Room Area

Master Bedroom

Ravi's Room

This was our first real home together, where Mario and I both became adults.  Even though we won’t miss living in this place, we would miss all the good times we had there.

-Flo.

I Would Carry Ravi for as Long as I Can!

One discussion topic that disrupts our household peace on regular basis is either we should be carrying Ravi, now that he is two years old and has a brother on the way.  This topic becomes particularly severe when we focus it on me and the potential consequences as I am approaching my due day.

My stand as always is: I’ll carry Ravi for as long as he wants me to, especially now that I only have little time left before I will have to shift my focus to another child.  I want to dedicate all my time and energy to make him feel special and loved.  Ravi has been the focal point of all my love and affection since the day I knew he existed, and I would have gladly given him all that I’ve got.  As it always has been since he was born, I run to him at his first cry, I kiss and cuddle him when he is scared and needs comfort, I am there for him when no one else is there for him.  After all, he is my first child and that love between me and him cannot be described in words.  With all the attention he received from me, he remains a well behaved and mannered child and I am not convinced that I’ve done anything wrong.

Over the years, I have heard many people talk about “training” babies and toddlers so that they would behave certain way that’s beneficial to their parents and/or guardians.  Things like training them not needing to be picked up from a young age, or bend their eat/sleep habits so it is easier to be taken care of.  I was never a believer of these things.  If I wanted to train something and bend their will, I’ll get a puppy.  I wanted children!  Because they can think for themselves and become responsible adults.  At an young age, I don’t think kids can be devious.  They don’t have Einstein’s IQ at a few months or years of age.  They cry not to manipulate us but to inform us of their discomfort.  I believe carrying and loving our children is not just our responsibility but our privilege.  Giving them all the attention they need is surely difficult, but we grow stronger as their demand gets bigger.  Being a mom taught me to be less selfish because now I have to put other people’s well being before my own and it is not easy to do all the time.  I treasure the moments that I can hold him or kiss him, because all that closeness will fade away when he gets older and I will miss it terribly.

So I still carry Ravi, after long tiring days, when I am not feeling well, or have pile of other things waiting for me to do.  I would hold him because no one else will do, because he chooses me over everyone else in the world.  Because I love this little boy so much…

-Flo.