Tough love

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sofia is really, really looking forward to going to school. While she is very strong willed, she isn't that independent in some respects. Like, she still wants me to take her to the bathroom at home, wants me to build her Lego with her, put on her socks, etc. Mealtimes is exceptionally challenging. We have friends whose son has been feeding himself before he turned two. So, to try to convince her to start doing things on her own, we'll tell her she'll need these skills when she goes to school on her own.

Today at lunch, my mother, in an effort to get Sofia (my nearly 3-year old) to feed herself her lunch, she tells her, "When you go to school, you have to feed yourself. No one is going to feed you. You're going to be hungry."

I nearly fell over.
I guess that's how she made me the self-motivated person I am today. :)

Life Lesson

Saturday, November 13, 2010

one of my favourite things my mother taught me: what good is it if you're so smart but no one likes you. :)

Having to play doctor, but not for fun

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My eldest has been sick over the last few days – since Wednesday night. This is probably the first time she has had a full blown sickness since she was born. She's two months shy of three years old, so I'm counting my blessings. This one was particularly bad because she was so congested. She'd ask me to stay while she napped which was just torture because I'd listen to all the mucus in her chest flapping around as she was breathing, and she'd wake crying in frustration because she was so tired and just wanted to sleep. Her vocal chords were so wrapped in phlegm she effectively lost her voice. Her throat started really killing her and so it was tough to make her drink or eat anything. So, I'd sit with her forcing her to eat and especially drink which was so frustrating also since she'd cry and whine and whine and whine. (I don't take whining particularly well). And while it's bad for her, it's bad for me too 'cause she'll wake several times a night and that means I'm awake too. And then couple that with Joaquin waking and that just means I've had a night of a string of half-hour naps.

Last night we finally had a good night -- she slept soundly the entire night. A few things really helped her as I racked my brain about everything my mother ever did and also from scouring the internet.

1) Vicks Vapo-Rub. Yesterday, when the congestion was particularly bad, I put it on her chest, back and neck as instructed. She liked it and it did help her significantly.

2) Sleeping with a humidifier in her room. I think that this might be why she's sick to begin with... Every year when the heat would come on in our apartment building, I'd be sick. Just the sudden change in humidity always caused me to have a sore throat and stuffy nose.

3) Honey and lemon tea. I love honey and lemon tea, but Sofia does not. She says it's "Tooooo sour!" I didn't even put that much lemon in and I sure put a load of honey in it. I forced her to drink about 250 ml of it before she went to bed last night and it was funny 'cause as she'd whine and complain in between each sip she could hear her voice getting stronger. At least at that point she felt a bit more motivated to choke it down, but she still complained.

4) Children's Advil. If her fever was low enough, I'd just let her ride it out and let her body fight it. But as soon as it started causing her to act terrible (due to her feeling really uncomfortable) I'd give it to her.

5) Anti-biotics. I took her to the walk-in-clinic on Friday (our doctor was away), and the doctor prescribed her an anti-biotic for ear infections/tonsilitis. He told me to just see that if it got worse over the weekend to get filled. Up until that point she was still eating well and not behaving too badly, but that night she started losing interest in eating. Good thing I got it filled too, 'cause the next day wasn't so good.

6) Warm baths. Nothing like steam to get that congestion loose and really, really warm water to get those aches out of muscles.

7) Keeping her in a good mood. I did my best to just keep her as happy as possible. That included breaking some rules -- like way too much tv. Part of getting better, I believe, is just staying positive and so I let her watch whatever movie she wanted to watch. I let her wear dresses all day. I really did up her hair after bathing. These things I know really make her happy.

It's really hard to watch my kids being sick. Especially when it's when they can't breathe. I'm grateful that they are generally in good health, and that they haven't had to fight anything for too long of any length of time.

First instalment: Parenting Memories

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My friend, Chris has a series on his blog called "Epic Fail". I have been thinking about doing series too, and I think that I'll start posting my favourite parenting memories. There are so many moments while being with my children that are so ridiculously funny. Hopefully they're not just funny to me only... But I may also post some moments that have meant so much to me. The stuff that really put the joy into parenting. Thought these may be fun to record and share.


Instalment #1: All Drains Lead to the Ocean, Kid

Over the summer, we were visiting my cousin and her family who live in New Jersey. At this point, Sofia is two and half. In the middle of the night, one night, Sofia asked to go to the bathroom. I didn't bring her potty seat since the car was full -- one less thing to bring. In an effort to be independent, she asked that I not hold on to her while she sat on the toilet. I obliged... probably since I was still sleepy. Next thing you know, she fell in so far that she was literally folded in half. I stifled my laughter as she started to cry. I said, "Sofia! Sofia! It's okay, it's okay..." as I lifted her out. She finally calms down and says, "Momma...No flush Sofia okay?"

Another spread

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Here is another spread from the Picaboo photobook that I am preparing that covers our recent holiday to Germany. So far it has been really fun. I am at page 20/21. The software, however, is a bit slow and limited. Like, I can't choose what typeface I want and the typefaces that they do provide don't allow for accented letters. HELLOOOOO. There are going to be other languages people want to type in that isn't ENGLISH. Yeah, that's a big deal to me.

I'm gonna publish myself!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Making a book!

I have been wanting to put a photobook together for a while now. Ever since Blurb books were advertising on Flickr a while back (uh, maybe 2008?). Me, being a little bit high-performance, I have been procrastinating on this little dream of mine: What look should I go with? I don't have enough photos that are good enough! etc., have really made it nearly impossible. Especially if I'm gonna pay for something, it better look good enough to sell!

Well, the perfect opportunity came: Picaboo, another company who does these photobooks, have an offer for free books up to a $39 value for all new customers. All you have to do is enter "FALLBK" when you check out your order on their website. The offer is good until October 25 at 11:59 Pacific Standard Time.

This situation is perfect for me. No longer is there pressure to make the perfect book since it's free, ANNNNND there is a deadline!

So, I've decided that I'm going to do up my recent visit to Germany. I'm up to page 9 in my book. I was thinking that I'd like to do a 40 page book since that didn't sound like a lot to me...but now that I've gotten started I think that 15 will do.

So not worth it

Monday, October 18, 2010

Today, we took the kids to a pumpkin patch up in Richmond Hill. We chose three pumpkins that we'd make into jack-o-lanterns, and brought them home.

After dinner tonight, Gonzo and I made sketches as to what we would carve into these pumpkins...and promptly stopped -- remembering what happened with the Ikea train set. My husband spent so much time designing a train track that would utilize every single piece that Sofia completely lost interest and we couldn't gain it back. Anyway, back to the pumpkins...the last time I was in the presence of a pumpkin being carved, it was back when I was in kindergarten - for real. I told G to check YouTube for a pumpkin carving video, you know, to get some tips. Man, it was a lot harder than I remember my teacher let on. We tried out all sorts of different knives (from chefs' knives to utility ones) all while trying not to plunge the knife into my gut or cutting off my hand. We found that the steak knife worked the best.

After over hour of cutting the circle into the top, removing all the pumpkin innards, scraping the inside out, drawing the face and finally cutting all the pieces out, my right forearm and upper back was so sore - but it was finally done! We placed the candle inside and set it out in the backyard so Sofia could see. You know what she said?

I don't like it.
It's scary.


Making traveling with kids less crazy

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I recently went to Germany for one week with my husband. When I'd tell people about our plans I was countered often with, "You're not taking your kids are you?" I pause and think to myself...why not?

I definitely knew what I was up against. The timezone adjustment was going to be tough. Germany is six hours ahead. When it is six in the evening where we live, it is 12 midnight over there. We weren't going to be going there long enough to be adjusted fully and by the time they'd really be, we'd be back home. So, what does that mean when it comes to outings and experiencing new things? Sofia, my two year old, like others her age, aren't that cooperative when they are tired. Joaquin, my six month old, I was most concerned about waking in the middle of the night thinking that his day has started (3 am German time is 9 am ours). And when he is awake and not doing anything, he yaps away. He is NOISY. Therefore, he was going to be the alarm clock that is set at the wrong time and he doesn't have a snooze button.

Another thing: all the stuff you have to bring when you're a parent. I try my best to be minimalistic, but after the car seats and strollers, that is four large items you have to bring besides your baggage. I borrowed what I could from friends we have in Germany, but it's still lots to lug around.

Sure, taking young children to far away lands isn't convenient, but signing up for parenthood is asking for your life to never be convenient again. But why do I bother? Do they even remember anything? I take my children everywhere I go because:

1) My parents did. When I was young, I traveled to the Philippines (24 hour flights) every four years. The first time I went, I was under two years old. That means my mother HELD ME on her lap for the duration of those flights (definitely many connecting flights -- to save money). Do I remember anything from that trip? No. Was it worth it? Definitely. I have family members who know me, and I grew to know them. I have a comfort of flying. I get VERY excited about going to the airport. And because my parents took me everywhere I knew they loved to be with me...even if I was a pain in the butt. I know that this is a big chunk of why we're so close today.

2) To create memories for our family. If I don't take my kids anywhere how will we have any family memories? Shared memories build closeness that I know that my growing family will enjoy in the future. Every good thing takes work. It's an investment in my family that my husband and I are making now.

3) To get them traveling. If I don't start now, I never will. Traveling is so important, much like reading is. Traveling and reading has your mind considering ideas that you never thought of before. But unlike traveling, reading is only considering theories. Reading doesn't have the substance that traveling does. Traveling has you experiencing something new. Touching, feeling, interacting... Experiencing new things helps me become a person that deals with change well, and if I can deal with change well, then I can become a better person. To be the best possible version of myself as I can be. If I don't travel, I don't throw myself into new situations and I will always just live with whatever I am comfortable with at home. The times that I have felt most conflicted whether to go or not, those are the times that have been the most rewarding. I do this for myself, so I do this for my children.

But, I am not a fan of torturing my children just for my ideals. A few things that really helped us make the most of our days:

Strollers/carriers. To deal with my eldest being tired mid-day, we bought a convenience stroller that reclines way back so she could nap while we were sightseeing. At home we are pretty against her being as big as she is still using a stroller, but we had to be realistic. We'd just have a big ball of tantrum waiting to explode if we didn't have it ready for her to use. On one of the day trips, she slept a full hour in the stroller while we shopped.

To navigate crowded streets, using one less stroller made it easier. For my youngest (6 months), I wore my baby using a mei tai carrier my friend made me. Just make sure you wear good shoes 'cause the extra weight can really do a number on your knees and back if you're not careful...especially on all that cobblestone. The carrier was especially handy at the airport. Instead of pushing my infant in a stroller, carrying him in a carrier meant my hands were free so I was able to help my husband push a second luggage cart. We had nine large pieces to bring across the Atlantic. And we made it!

Exposing to sunlight. I decided to see what others knew about traveling with children across timezones and I found on Travel with Your Kids that helping them get as much sunlight as possible helps their bodies adjust. It really did help. Almost immediately they adjusted...the first night they both woke at around 4 am, but went right back to sleep.

Buy what you can once you get there. Diapers. Geez, those things take up a lot of space. To save luggage space, I decided to buy diapers once I got there. I was fighting to try to make everything fit. I was really stressed about making all that we had fit into the VW Golf that we were going to be renting once we got there. So one thing that really did help to keep the luggage space down was to only bring 24 hours' worth of diapers and just buy them when we got there.

Candies and other things to eat. For those moments that just really need your kid to behave but they've got nothing left, make sure you have candies in your purse/pocket. At home I really limit my two year old's sugar intake 'cause she sure is active enough. Too much sugar and she gets scary. The purpose of our trip was to attend a wedding of a friend of ours. The whole wedding was in German. It was one-hour long. It was during nap time. All those factors really were ingredients to a meltdown. I had to be prepared. I brought along a single serving box of cereal (like Corn Puffs) and sugar-free candies. When she started getting restless, I'd give her the corn puffs one by one. This avoids her spilling them all over the church floor, and keeps her occupied. This kept her settled for a while longer. I saved the candies for when nothing else will work.

Plan to do stuff they'd enjoy doing. I have to accept that my children might not enjoy the Hauptstraße (shopping promenade) as much as I will. But Sofia would love the Wildpark (a kind-of zoo). Sure, it seems obvious to include activities that the kids will enjoy, but I am a human being, I am selfish and I just want to do what I want to do. Alternating things that they will enjoy with things that are more adult-centred really helps to balance the holiday out. You don't feel like you went all the way to Germany to see animals that you could see at the zoo at home, but then you don't feel frazzled because your children hate you. It's amazing when I remember that my children are people too.

In the end, I've just got to accept that my children are only two years and six months old. They're children. They're going to cry. They're going to be tired. They're going to be messy. Just do the best I can to prevent what I can, or be prepared for when they are. Keep a loose schedule. I had to accept that if something we had planned was just going to make them unacceptably miserable, we just had to forego it and go with another plan. By doing this, we had a great holiday, made an investment in some friendships we really wanted to keep, we got to introduce our children to people who mean something to us and we came home with experiences that were just amazing.


One thing that I forgot to add that helped us a lot, which is one of the best things that made sure happen was seat selection on our flight. When you've got kids, the risk of getting anywhere late is quite high, and to check-in for your flight to only find out that you can't sit together is stress that no one needs! We flew with Air Transat and since they are so discounted (we flew for probably half the price of Air Canada) seat selection costs another $20 per person per way. However, they tipped me off that if I signed Sofia up for their Kids Club that she got seat selection for free. So after I selected our seats, I signed her up and got my money back. It was definitely worth the extra $80 for all of us that when we checked in for our flight that we knew exactly where we were going to sit. On the flight there, I booked early enough that I scored the front row seats in economy. And this is awesome because they were able to provide me with a bassinet that my six month old could sleep in ... especially awesome since this was an overnight flight... and even more awesome that he slept the entire flight. What was not so awesome was that I had a coffee before boarding the flight and coupled with the anxiety and excitement of preparing for a trip made me sleepless the entire flight. By the time we got to sleep in Germany, I had been awake for 33 hours. That's something NOT to do.

CBE | A visit to a local awesomeness!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Today, our little family went down to pick up a "tradesies" that my hubby was getting for editing some footage for a promotional video. The video was for a little company called CBE (short for Clothing Brand Experiment). The funny thing about the way things can work today is that you can collaborate with people you totally would never need to meet to complete a project together.

1. Elly (designer/owner of CBE) contacts Christine to shoot footage for video
2. Christine meets up with Elly to shoot footage
3. Christine sends footage over by ftp to Gonzalo for editing
4. Gonzalo edits and sends draft clip via ftp over to Christine
5. Christine sends draft clip to Elly for approval via email/ftp
6. Elly emails Christine approval
7. Christine sends video clip over to ftp over to Lodevijk to write soundtrack
8. Lodevijk sends track to Christine/Elly via email
9. Elly approves track
10. Christine sends track over to Gonzalo via email/ftp
11. Gonzalo downloads track and adds it to video, completing the video
12. Gonzalo ftp's the new video over to Elly
13. Elly posts on the internet
14. People view and make a purchase

...and at only one step does someone need to leave their desk.

Doing work today is so crazy-different than let's say even 10 years ago.

A little bit about CBE -- CBE is Elly Green's company and they are all about the perfect hoodie. And perfect THEY REALLY ARE. Seriously amazing fit and fabric, colour and design. She seems to really be into collaborating which really brings something interesting to the design too. Imagine wearing some of the really awesome graffiti that you see around the city. She's got some of that going on. Check out her website -- support some local talent!

Beauty in a new form

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oh man, watching this for the first time gave me a ridiculous amount of shivers. Such a lovely technique. What doesn't hurt is the really cool music too. Enjoy!

Glasses shopping - My Favourite!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

My hubby and I are always excited when it comes time to get new prescription glasses. We get an allowance from our group benefits and so it's like free shopping! So, I was just doing a little shopping online and found a online store called, "Contacts and Specs". They carry a lot of brands that I have never heard of, which is always fun.

Here are a few of my picks -- which are unfortunately completely out of my budget. Oh, and only one of them are actually glasses and not sunglasses. Too bad you can't wear sunglasses indoors without feeling like a total fool.

Oliver Peoples Sunglasses, Candice
Oliver Peoples Sunglasses, Ilana

Starck Eyes, PLO837

Salt Optics - Natali

And to think that these prices are before purchasing the lenses. Bah! Oh well...I'm sure we can still find something totally amazing at Pacific Mall!

A new road to travel on

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Today, G and I made his first visit to a naturopathic doctor. I don't know many people who are under the care of this kind of doctor so I looked for one online that could care for his post-colitis needs. I managed to find one quite easily, located downtown. We left early to make sure we were on time for our 10 am appointment.

I got it in my mind to try sending him to a naturopathic doctor because his health was declining again. The last time he went to a specialist for gastrointestinal health they put him on antibiotics...indefinitely. I just really don't feel like that can be good. Isn't probiotics all the rage these days in health food circles? He has been noticing that he has been getting sick more often when he is in contact with someone else who has, or is, sick. His immunity is definitely down.

I am also wary of him just taking more and more medication. My parents raised me to be as independent from medication as possible. We are not ANTI-medication. We are not ANTI-conventional medicine. We just don't like to mask the real issue. Instead of buying expensive creams and lotions to improve the skin, why not just drink more water? Instead of getting caffeinated all the time, why not trying to sleep more? If you have a headache, instead of taking ibuprofen, why not check to see if you're dehydrated or perhaps hungry? So, if my husband has an infection in his gut (which is a common complication of being post-colitis), can't we find a way to fend off the infection and try to figure out a way to keep it away? This must be healthier in the long run. Of course, when the natural way has run its course and the situation still exists, dependence on medication is necessary and unavoidable. I just don't like running to it when it should be the last resort.

With all of my husband's health issues, it took a two hour discussion to paint the picture for the doctor. The doctor was patient and understanding as G told him problem after problem. It only made me feel like we should have done this earlier. Nevertheless, we are here at this point and glad that we're making an effort to take care of this now, as opposed to putting it off until his health status is irreversible.

One of things that we are most happy with is that this doctor isn't "us vs. them" when it comes to viewing conventional compared to naturopathic medicine. He likes to see them work together which is what we were hoping for.

Well, we'll see how it goes. This is a long term treatment so it might be a few months before we starting seeing a real improvement. But health is a long-term commitment so I am okay with this.

Upside Down

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Ugh. I am totally going to regret this. 5:30 am, can't sleep due to children waking me once too many times and figured I'd might as well as get something out of this. Hopefully I can make Sofia take a nap today and konk out also at that time.

Joaquin update: 3 months on the 25th of June. He's doing well... 15 pounds and 13 ounces. Gonzalo's boss said that his daughter is 16 pounds, and she's 10 months old. She makes Joaquin sound like a monster.

Joaquin is a lot more awake now, although sometimes I think that he wants to be asleep more than I let him. That's one difference with having two: with Sofia, she would often dictate how the day would go. If she was napping, well, that's what we were doing then. Staying at home. Sofia gets stir-crazy if we stay at home too many days in a row and starts destroying stuff, so we've gotta get out of the house. Trying to plan this while Joaquin is awake would be trying to go to the mall or otherwise in 15 to 45 minute segments. Lame-o. So, sorry Joaquin, we hope you'll fall asleep in the car.

More diet restrictions: A little more than a month ago I really solidified that Joaquin has a milk protein allergy. This means, whenever I consume milk and milk products (uncooked -- like, yogurt, cheese, ICE CREAM...) it really makes him crampy and therefore scream-y. Now that I've been off of dairy for a long while, he is like a different baby altogether. Poor thing. So, I've been on the search for desserts without dairy, which I have discovered is sure harder than one realizes. Everything wonderful has dairy. Creamy delightfulness. Well, I found that lemon meringue pie has no dairy! So, I've been having it everyday for the last four days or so. Apparently no one else in the house likes it, including Sofia...and Joaquin. Joaquin started showing rashes on his face. Maybe eczema? BRUTAL. So, adding to the list of no-eats are: milk, milk products, broccoli (EXTREME GASSINESS that he cannot even nurse hardly the following day), soy (rashiness) and now I figure, egg (the main ingredient in the meringue). I will now cut that BACK OUT of my diet and see if he improves. This guy is a diva. Hiiiiiigh maintenance.

Anyway, he's still a joy to have around. He's a happy baby (at least he is now, now that cow's milk is out of his life), and it's fun to watch him grow. Even though I've already been through all of this once, I still like to sit by his crib sometimes and watch him sleep. I love to study his little hands and feet. It really never gets old. Babies and children are such a wonder.

Sofia update: ridiculous, really sums everything up. She's learning to stall at bedtime. One night, while I am waiting for her to kiss everyone goodnight (some nights we need to start this a half hour earlier, depending on how many people are over), she calls me over and tells me to "Sit down...I tell you a story. Cooooome," with this learned adult mannerism and intonation. Kinda cute. Kinda creepy.

She's learning to get out of being disciplined when she knooooows she in trouble. She'll flash me a manipulative grin. She'll hug me and tell me, "I looooove you, Mommy." She'll use comedy. She'll negotiate. SHE'S TWO A HALF and you'd think she's going to make her life as a lawyer. Makes me kinda proud, but mostly makes me cringe.

She's learning to confess her sins at bedtime. A couple of days ago, we ran into a two-too-many-kids-need-mommy-Kathy-at-once situation. Joaquin was tired and hungry. Sofia was also hungry. Joaquin was already crying. Sofia is old enough to wait -- especially since I was trying to make her have a snack a few hours earlier, but she would rather watch the Hunchback of Notre Dame (which I now don't think is a good idea for a two year old -- kinda scary), than have a snack. Fine. So, I'm feeding Joaquin and Sofia begins to whine about being hungry. She wants ice cream. She wants a chocolate egg (yes, leftover from Easter). She wants cereal. She wants candy. No. No. No. And NO. "You'll have to wait." I can hear her downstairs CRYING. This is just terrible. Like, I've left her to fend for herself on the street with nothing but a backpack of stuffed animals, barefoot. Obviously, I was frustrated and really gave her a stern lecturing about how she needs to eat her snack when I tell her to. Later, that night, when I tuck her into bed to sleep, she says, "Momma, sorry for being hungry." Way to go to break my heart.

Even with all these crazy ways my life has been completely ransacked...I think I couldn't be happier. How can I hold anything against my children when Sofia will stop whatever she's doing and run over and give her brother a kiss saying, "I love you, Joaquin," and then promptly give him a breath-stopping squeeze? How can I feel tired when I watch Joaquin follow his sister around (with his gaze, obviously at this age) with a hopeless smile on his face? It's hectic sometimes, but I am earning myself something wonderful: I am building a family.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

This year has been a good, good year. A LOT of change happened. I think that is probably the thing that marked my life the most: change. I experienced a lot of new things and got to do a lot of new things so it was pretty exciting. Of course, difficult at times, but I'm a sucker for suffering.

This year I was a working mom for the first time. Work has been very kind to me. I didn't go back to full time work, cutting back my week to four days instead of five, and working half in the office, and half at home. While working at home sounds nice, it actually brings MAJOR challenges, like, learning to design something while a one-year old is standing behind you in your chair with her arms wringing your neck. Proof reading is even tougher this way. My best days were when I would wake at 5:30 am to get some hours in before she woke up at 9, don't work at all while she was awake, and get the rest of the hours in when she was napping in the afternoon. However, 5:30 is really not natural for a Lim to be awake at, so this didn't happen too often although the intention is always there...

I went to my first work conference. We traveled to Chicago for the Willow Creek Arts Conference. That was mind-blowing. It really showed all the possibilities that can be accomplished "even though" we're a church. Sometimes I think that kind of thinking holds my creativity back; the thought that things have to be a certain way because that is what church is like, although perhaps I have never put it in so many words.

This year we bought a house. We know NOTHING about buying a house, or owning a house. Both my parents and my husband's parents are renters so we have absolutely no background knowledge. Thank the Lord for the internet and for knowledgeable, kind and generous friends who DO know about home ownership. Otherwise, we'd be up Crap Creek. I learned about mortgages, MLS, bidding, home inspections, lawyers, house closings, mortgage insurance, title insurance, home insurance, all that stinkin' paperwork, property taxes, utilities, moving in way too little time, renovations...and other stuff, I'm sure. Now, we own a house without having to move out of the city and in a great neighbourhood. I still often sit back and think about the fact that I am now a home owner and shake my head in disbelief.

My little sister got married. I got my first brother-in-law. It was the first time I was ever a maid/matron-of-honour. I threw my first wedding shower. That was one nice wedding!

This year I went to Chile for the first time. It was also the first time I had met any of my husband's family outside of his immediate. That was an incredibly memorable experience. It was awesome traveling with Ana and Joseph (my husband's sister and brother-in-law) and getting to know them better too. I was seven months pregnant then with no summer maternity clothes and somehow Ana would hook me up although she is tiny and has never been pregnant herself. She had clothes for every situation! I only wish that the trip were longer so that we could experience more of the city, but the most important thing was that I got to know Gonzalo's family there. Now, we have Facebook and they leave all these comments in Spanish which I have to get translated all the time. Can't wait to go back.

We bought our first new car in preparation needing a more reliable car for the new baby coming (at the time). Now we have a shiny black Matrix. Even with all the Toyota bad press, we love it.

And on March 25, being a mother for the second time. God blessed us with another baby. A baby boy this time. Honestly, I hoped that I would have another girl. Gonzalo only honestly told me yesterday that he also had hoped for a girl also. I know that my reason for wanting another girl is because I know NOTHING about raising a boy. I am girl and have two sisters and have a daughter... My PARENTS can't even give me advice about raising a boy! Nothing about peeing-in-the-face prevention. About whether to circumcise, or not to circumcise. Why boys are stinkier than girls. I guess it's that I know what it is to have a girl and I love Sofia so I wanted to have that all over again. BUT NOW, I AM (well, WE are) SO HAPPY THAT WE HAVE A BOY. It's, gender would even make a difference. I know that if I had a girl, I'd be so happy. I have boy, and I AM so happy. It's really got nothing to do about gender, but the fact that I have a healthy, (mostly) happy baby in my arms. What more could I ask for?

It has been a full, full year overflowing with God's blessings. Looking forward to this year, I can only be sure that it might actually be crazier (children have a habit of turning your life upside down). A thank you to everyone who surrounds me and my family with such love and friendship -- I am grateful for what you bring to my life. Can't wait to see what 31 brings.

Brown to black?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

With all of this being outside-ness, Sofia is really getting a mighty fine tan. Yes, I am jealous. Today, I exclaim to her, rhetorically...

[ME] Sofia, you are so dark! What colour are you going to be at the end of the summer?!

...well, I guess...

Life with Two Children

Since this early heat wave hit, I have pulled out the kiddie pool that I bought for Sofia about a month ago. I'd like to think that this will get her ready for big pool time. I fill it up in the morning with the hose from the garden and so that by after lunch, it's not super freezing. This, however, also builds ridiculous anticipation for a two year old. Yesterday, Sofia had finished her lunch and got ready to play in the pool before her afternoon nap. My mother had to leave for work, so here I am with Joaquín in the sling and Sofia headed for the pool. I was hoping that Joaquín would fall asleep BEFORE I put Sofia in the pool, but no such luck. But, I didn't want Sofia to have to wait any longer because I wanted her to have as much time in the pool as possible before she had to nap. I had to stand away from the pool, closer to the house, to stay in the shade so that Joaquín wasn't in the sun -- and this caused a major problem. See, Sofia HATES bugs. She is PETRIFIED of bugs. I hate bugs also, but this is just insane. Of course, in the pool, there WILL be bugs that will fall in. But the bugs that fell in yesterday, I could hardly even see them. I think all she had were fruit flies. I agreed to scoop them out a few times, but it was getting stupid. She was so fixated on the bugs that COULD land in her pool that she wasn't even enjoying the pool anymore. So I told her, either cope with the bugs or get out and take a nap. No go with the bugs, but she refused to get out. This resulted in a screaming Sofia. Out in the open air. Crying and screaming at the top of her lungs (and she comes from a long line of strong, large lungs). I was positive that CAS was going to show up at my door. This went back and forth for a little bit: me telling Sofia to get inside NOW, and Sofia yelling NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Joaquín finally fell asleep so I quickly go inside and I put him down (Sofia is still standing in the pool CRYING and SCREAMING). As I come back outside, Sofia stops crying and starts GAGGING, and THROWS UP IN THE POOL. Which, then, results in EVEN LOUDER CRYING. This is quickly spiralling out of control. I run outside and pick Sofia up, demanding that she stop crying lest she throw up more, but she's kicking and screaming and sobbing and heaving. I run upstairs and put her down in the tub, where she throws up two more times. I tell her calmly, slow down. She actually listens to me and follows me as I demonstrate how to take deep breaths (which sounds completely stupid that I am doing this but she was really crying out of control now). I change her out of her bathing suit and clean her up. I sit her down and explain to her that she can't cry like that and that bugs are really not going to hurt her (although I hardly believe that). I lay her down in bed and tell her I am going to go clean out her pool and she can go "swimming" when she wakes up.

I go back downstairs (Joaquín is miraculously still sleeping even after all that), and first try and just only scoop out the barf but this is impossible. I throw out all the water -- using a plastic container and flinging it all over the garden (I might as well try to water the garden instead of making a muddy puddle) and turn the hose on to fill the pool back up again. I go back inside and Joaquín is now crying hard so I pick him and finally settle him down and get him to sleep too. I go upstairs to his room, and put him down in the crib, and thankfully he stays asleep. I go and check on Sofia and she is sleeping too.

I go downstairs, plop myself on the couch and think of all the chocolate bars I could eat.

That was an INSANE half hour. But then it was all over. And I was proud of myself that I didn't totally lose my cool. I was definitely frustrated, but I didn't totally flip and freak out. Maybe I am growing as a parent! Hopefully...

Joaquín: Two Months

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

51a - 2010 05 14 tummy time

Joaquín turned two months old today. I find myself comparing Joaquín at this stage to where Sofia was at unintentionally. I keep trying to think if Sofia was this heavy, or if Sofia was awake yet, etc. But really, I don't really remember. I just can't help it.

It has been a challenging couple of weeks with Joaquín. He has been more awake during the day, and I just figured that it was a developmental thing: they can't sleep for the rest of their lives. But he wasn't happy. He was quite cranky. He'd fall asleep and only to wake up ten minutes later. He would be pretty okay if you carried him, but if you put him down, he'd cry. I guessed that he was just a big suck. On his way to being a Mama's boy.

Night times have been bad too. I started noticing that every night at around 9, no matter if he was awake or sleeping, he'd start crying and be hard to console. I'd be able to get to sleep after some serious work, and be finally relieved that he was sleeping, but just like the daytime: I'd put him down only for him to wake again. He settle down if I had him in the babysling, but he would never really sleep until it was well past 10 o'clock. And at this point, I had been carrying him for two hours. This was particularly frustrating because 1, he is so heavy. He must be well past 12 pounds now, and 2, Sofia really wants to be with me at night. She doesn't settle down well if I don't tuck her in and do the nighttime routine with her, which I do want to do... It's just hard when two kids need me simultaneously.

I accepted the fact that I had a mildly colicky baby on my hands. I say, "mildly" because I personally know mothers who have had to deal with "real" colicky babies that cry every night for four to six hours, for four to six months. They admit they have feelings of wanting to throw the baby out of the window. It is extremely trying. I can't even imagine the stress and sadness that would "mildly" colicky baby is stressful enough. But the end of the evening, I was beat and knew that I had to wake again in a few hours to feed him.

However, I don't give up easily, so I kept in the back of my mind, perhaps there is something that I am eating that is really bothering him. Although most sites say that mothers can eat whatever and whenever they want and that there is no real evidence that anything transfers through to the breast milk, and that if a mother notices that there is a food that causes fussiness then just avoid it. I couldn't think of anything... I was staying away from broccoli, spicy foods (BOO), eggs, and even celery. I couldn't think of anything else. That is, until I was searching the internet to see if any sites had mentioned that celery is a common culprit. I found on that a small amount of babies are actually very sensitive to what is in their mother's diet and the most common culprit is cow's milk. MILK?! I was convinced that this was it. I did notice that early on, when Joaquín was about two weeks old that whenever I didn't have milk that he'd be a lot better in the evenings. But that phase passed and he was great for a few weeks. But since the difficult days and nights have started, I am positive that I have been having ice cream for dessert every night, and who knows how many different foods I have been eating during the day with milk in it.

So on Sunday I watched EVERYTHING I ate and made sure that there was no milk in it. On Monday, Joaquín was the dream-child that Sofia was. Back to sleeping all day and at night, fell asleep and STAYED asleep. Poor thing. I felt so bad that what I was eating was bugging him, but then again, it's not like I knew what was going on. Today was pretty okay - I ate some pasta salad that I think maybe had some parmesan on it, and he was not happy in the afternoon. But I was successful in avoiding milk for the rest of the day, and although he was tough in the early evening, I gave him a dose of gripe water and he fell asleep tonight at around 8:30 and has stayed sleep since. Funny, says that I may not notice improvement immediately. Thankfully this is not the case.

I am so relieved that it is now figured out. I will have to avoid it for the next few weeks and try again then to see if his sensitivity is still there. I am obviously happy for myself, that I have my evenings back – but I am especially happy that my baby is no longer in any pain.

Aside from that, what Joaquín is up to:
  • He is doing awesome at tummytime. I'm sure you've seen a baby's head flopping around because they have absolutely no control. The purpose of tummy time is help develop and strengthen a baby's neck muscles. Sofia couldn't lift her head up even an inch when I started working with her at around this same time. Joaquín has had no problem. The photo above is the second time I have ever put him on his tummy.

  • Joaquín is following my face when I move side to side.
  • He is so ticklish. But the laughing isn't there yet.

  • He is SO stinky! Is this a boy thing? After a bath, the wonderful baby smell only lasts until the end of the day.

  • He can sleep anywhere between 5 hours to 7 hours straight a night. The stretch is slowly growing.

Over these past few weeks, it has been brought into sharp focus how fortunate I am that I have so much help and support around me. I have my husband obviously, but I also have my father and my mother since we live altogether. My father regularly takes care of dinner. My mother helps me in anyway she can -- particularly with entertaining Sofia so I can concentrate on Joaquín when he needs me. I really don't know how every other mother does it since I know that I don't have the typical arrangement. I am REALLY grateful for them.

Oh, let me sleep tonight!

Monday, May 17, 2010

48 - 2010 05 11 napping by window

We moved Joaquín into the nursery!
It's funny, doing this the second time around. I vividly remember the guilty feeling I had moving Sofia into the nursery. I really didn't want to, but I had read that babies start forming sleeping habits at six weeks, and I KNEW that I didn't want a 12 year old still sharing my bed. Especially if I want to have at least three kids. So, off to the nursery Sofia went. With Joaquín, I was basically begging Gonzalo to re-set up the crib. Honey! PLEASE GET THIS KID OUT OF HERE.

But seriously, I need this kid to sleep through the night more than I needed Sofia to. A crappy night sleep really makes dealing with two kids really difficult emotionally. (And all my friends with four children are laughing at me right now...) I really want to be a kind mother, but it's funny how a poor rest the night before really makes that nearly impossible. Today I was playing with PlayDoh with Sofia, and I put my head down on the diningroom table and Sofia asked, "What happened?" I said, "Mommy has a headache." Sofia, "Sorry's my fault." I hope she doesn't actually know what she is saying 'cause I really hope that I don't make her feel like that.

So, last night was the first night we put Joaquín in the nursery and I anticipated a terrible night ahead. While in the bassinet that we keep right beside me, it's easy when he wakes to pop the pacifier back in and back to sleep he goes. The nursery is a whole 'nother room. I have to GET UP and WALK there and fumble in the dark to figure out what the heck I am doing. 4 am came and he kept waking. As soon as the pacifier falls out, he wakes up again. Then, I remembered what Gabbie said about her baby - SWADDLE HIM. I swaddled Sofia all the time because the apartment we were living in at the time was quite cold and she was a December baby. So, I swaddled her for temperature's sake. But swaddling is also for helping them feel stable. If you ever lay a newborn down on a flat surface watch their arms and legs flail out as if they're looking for their balance. They lose their equilibrium quite easily. I forgot about that. After getting up about six times, I finally swaddle him and he sleeps until 8 am. AWE. SOME.

We'll see how he does tonight. I fed him at 8:30 and put him to sleep right after...SWADDLED. And it's 12:11 am and he's still sleeping. I can't tell you how nice it is to get my night back. I have had to keep him in a babysling until 11 every night for the last three or so weeks to keep him from crying and somewhat sleeping. For some reason when it's 11 or so, he is able to settle down and just sleep, but not before that. Also, he normally has a three-hour feeding pattern - that is, until one feed that is around 8:30 that needs to happen regardless of when he was fed before that. After this feed is when he feeds whenever. I am still not sure what time that middle-of-the-night feed is. But it's somewhere around 5 hours he goes down for night-time sleep.

Babies are a big fat puzzle. They're fun. That is, if you have had a good night's sleep.

Time for a routine

Monday, May 10, 2010

Joaquín is now a month and a half exactly. It has been a good month and a half. He is sleeping a little bit longer at night - five hour stretches regularly. He is gaining waaaaay too fast. He is outpacing the strengthening of my arms. Sofia gained at a good rate where my arms would get stronger at the same pace. But with Joaquín, after five minutes, I've gotta either pass him off, or put him down. He really is just that heavy. What a beast.

I am now less tired since I am getting to sleep a little bit longer at night, and the big thing: Joaquín is passed that gassy phase. For parents, we all know that our babies go through this period that you just dread - night time gassiness. Imagine, in the middle of the night, after a feeding, your baby cannot stop crying because they are so bloated. Their little tummies huge with air. You have to pat, pat, pat their backs, and massage their tummies, work their legs...all in hope that you can get them to pass that gas so your baby can sleep, and therefore SO CAN YOU. This is the single thing that determines whether or not I am completely exhausted the next day. He still has a little bit of evening fussiness, but it's easily solved by carrying him in a sling - although for the ENTIRE evening!

And that I am now not falling asleep every time I sit down, I am looking to be productive. I would hate for my maternity leave to just disappear without accomplishing something. For me, what I hope for the most would be to either 1) acquire a new positive habit, or 2) learn something new.

A great new habit would be simply to exercise. Even at least 20 minutes a day. All through my pregnancy with Joaquín I said that if I would hope to have a third kid, I'd better do some strength training. Because I didn't do any after I gave birth to Sofia, I really feel that is why I felt so achy with Joaquín so much earlier in my pregnancy. With Sofia, I never reached that I-am-so-done-being-pregnant feeling due to the fact that I was at the gym four times a week, running at least 20 minutes and then lots of ab work. And now, that was a long, long time ago. Sure, it would be nice to look great, but I care more about feeling strong and healthy while my children are growing up. I anticipate that it would really help my patience level go up if I'm not grumpy from feeling like total crap all of the time.

The new thing that I am learning is making bread. The thing that made me think of this is that my family grows through A LOT of bread. I bought a house with my parents last year and so there are four adults and a pre-schooler that consumes bread daily. My mother, I swear, is a addicted to bread. She may eat four to six slices a day. (And no, she is no where near overweight.) So, my mother alone probably eats a third of a loaf on her own. What scares me about the bread that is readily available to us is all of the added ingredients that is in it to keep it pretty on the shelf. Have you ever left Wonderbread on your counter for weeks? The only thing that happens to it is that it gets a little dry, otherwise, it appears unchanged. I used to buy bread with no preservatives - it is moldy in three days. WHAT THE HECK IS IN WONDERBREAD (and other commercially prepared bread)?! With these two reasons, I decided it may be worthwhile to get a bread machine, since it would be completely unrealistic to hope that we could hand make our bread on a regular basis. If you have ever made bread you will know how impossibly long it takes. Gonzalo made bread once, and it took four hours of on and off supervision. It's ridiculous. I mean, it's nice once and a while, but again, not realistic for daily consumption.

I did some research into some bread machines and got some prices, but had no idea what was a good brand, what features would I want in one, etc., and it seemed that a middle of the road one would cost around $100. (There's a fancy Japanese one that costs over $300!) I posted my intentions of acquiring said machine on Facebook and asked for a suggestion for a brandname. My high school friend, Dahila, replied with an offer to purchase hers for $20! Wicked. (And we scored an awesome mini-reunion at the same time). So far I have made bread once since I picked it up last week and it's really easy despite all the warnings in the 20-page instruction manual that says if you don't follow the recipes to an exact "T" your bread will be a flop. I substituted the heck out of the recipe that was in the manual since I was so excited to use it and didn't check to see if I had everything. Typical Kathy move. I even screwed it up to the point where I followed the one-pound bread recipe that they had in the manual, only to find out that there was only a 1.5-pound and 2-pound setting on the machine. Show me the logic in that! Instead of throwing out all of the ingredients I just decided, WHAT THE HECK, and just trying it anyway. And three and half hours later...VOILA! BREAD! And it was delicious. Annnd gone in two hours.

One other project I am going to work on next is propagating my hydrangea plants that we have in our backyard. I hope to plant a bush in my front yard. We'll see how this goes.

Oh! Joaquín is awake and is hungry. Gotta go! Hope to be posting a little more regularly in the future.

Joaquín: One Month

Monday, April 26, 2010

And there it went: the first month with Joaquín. And yes, it definitely went by fast. I certainly could not have asked for a better first month. Joaquín certainly has his fussy times and tough times in the middle of the night, but that is certainly to be expected. However, for the most part, he just slept the first month away. Some days, I don't think that I saw his eyes open at all!

Since his last weigh in a couple of weeks ago, he has gained a ridiculous two and half pounds - now, at 11 pounds and 5 ounces. My doctor couldn't believe it so he weighed him twice. Apparently with my children, my doctor is always asking me what I am feeding them. I guess I produce some kind of breastmilk concentrate.

Compared to Sofia, Joaquín is one fast nurser. I remember with Sofia, every feeding would take at least an hour. After diapering, feeding her the instructed twenty minutes on each side, burping, and not to mention, the constant task of trying to wake Sofia to get to drink (blowing on her, stripping her down to her diaper, rubbing her hands and feet, tickling her, etc.), it would definitely be an hour. And she fed every two and half hours. With Joaquín, he's done feeding and burping in about twenty minutes. And he is fed about every three hours - although sometimes I have to wake him. I am really happy that less of my time is taken up with breastfeeding because with Sofia I felt like that was all I was ever doing. I already have one kid, and so I am happy that I do have more time between feedings to spend time with her, or accomplish other things around the house (which is often not very much).

Now, diapering is the real challenge! I am a lot better now, but the peeing everywhere takes some getting used to. One of the first days he was home, I was changing him in the livingroom, and he managed to pee himself in the face. First few weeks, we were going through four sleepers or more because I just couldn't find a way to keep him from peeing when I opened the diaper. Now, when I go to diaper him, I have the new diaper unfolded. I have the barrier cream uncovered. I have the extra paper towels torn off the roll. I have the wipes box open. And then race against time begins. But, even worse than the urine sprinkler is the massive amounts of poo that can come out of that butt. A RIVER OF POO flows out of him at times, and it won't stop. No diaper on earth can keep it from flowing everywhere. I have developed the technique of laying down layers and layers of paper towel to absorb it and now I am more successful than not at keeping his clothes unsoiled. Gee, boys are a lot harder than girls in this area.

Now that he has gained a significant amount of weight I have been looking forward to seeing how his sleeping patterns will change (i.e., SLEEPING THE NIGHT). For those without children, newborns feed around the clock without regard of day or night. Every three hours is every three hours whether the sun or the moon is out. Because their tummies are so small (about the size of a chickpea apparently), they can only hold so much "fuel". They need to refill often. But when they start to get enough calories during the day, they will not look for it during the night. And last night, I am pleased to announce, that he slept a stretch of six hours. I woke up deliriously happy. Think: since he was born, at night, all I have had are a series of naps. We'll see how he does tonight.

Randoms about Joaquín:

• He is a smiley kid. I realize that smiling at this very early stage is completely
involuntary, but when I look down and he is smiling after his nursing session, I can't help but feel happy too! The other morning, when he slept while I held him, he was laughing. Laughing like someone told him a joke. It'll be ironic if he grows up to be a grump.

• He has a wicked temper. I change his diaper before nursing time. I made the mistake a couple of times of not changing him before eating time and diaper overflowed. But this means a few more minutes before he gets to eat. He'll cry until he is purple from head to toe. He is the Incredible Hulk - just a different hue.

• Over the last few days he has started cooing. It is refreshing to hear his voice. It is nice to hear his voice in a form that is not delivered in a shriek.

So it has been a really nice month. I have had so much help from my parents, my husband and my sisters. Plus, Joaquín being the second time around does make it easier. Just the fact that I don't feel like they are going to break, or they are going to die, if I don't deal with a situation as swiftly or as correctly as possible, sure takes the pressure off, and eases the stress. I sure am still tired, but I haven't even come close to a middle-of-the-night breakdown, like I have had when Sofia was only a month old. It has been sure nice.

Joaquín: Two weeks

Saturday, April 10, 2010

joaquin awake, originally uploaded by kathy photo.

Joaquín turned two weeks old yesterday. Gonz said, that's all? He was convinced that he was already three weeks. Well, I guess when you're up at all times of the night, each day can feel a lot longer – or, you lose track of days passing. I have no idea what date it is any day.

Today we took Joaquín to the doctor's for his two week appointment. I was excited about this follow-up appointment 'cause, I guess, I love feedback, and so you can imagine how pleased I was to find out that he was now 8 pounds and 13 ounces, having gained 20 ounces in 12 days (since his last appointment with our doctor). Apparently, for newborns they're looking for them to gain at least one ounce per day. He gained almost double that! But really, it is a relief to me because he got sick on Saturday and was coughing and stuffy nosed for a few days after that.

We've been enjoying him over the last two weeks... even if he doesn't really do anything. I have A SON. What the heck?! It has been so nice to watch Sofia with him. She cares about him so, so, so much. First thing she wants to see in the morning is her brother, and the last thing she wants to do in the day is to give him a kiss goodnight. She gives him hugs and kisses regularly throughout the day, even if she is in the middle of doing something. She wants to share her food with him, whether it's a lollipop, almonds, ice's obviously difficult for her to understand that the poor boy will only be consuming milk for the next 6 months.

Speaking of which... gotta go!

Sofia makes up the answer

Monday, April 05, 2010

We often ask Sofia to recount her day to her grandparents. Here is today's outcome.

[me] Hey, Sofia! What did you have at McDonald's today?
[Sofia] I had E-I-E-I-O.

Joaquín Hugo

Joaquín Hugo, originally uploaded by kathy photo.

He is finally here. FINALLY!
Joaquín arrived on March 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm, at 7 pounds and 10 ounces. His due date was March 27, so he arrived two days early.

I managed to wrap up work without going into labour and leaving work unprepared. I left lots of instructions and notes for my replacement and so felt good going into my one week of vacation before my due date. Who knew, though, how much of that vacation I was going to get to enjoy. The baby could come at the end of the week, or on Monday when I start my vacation. He let me have three days.

Towards the end of my pregnancy I was really getting weary. Not really during the day, but at night, trying to get comfortable enough to sleep was hard. And with thoughts of perhaps going into labour while at the office, or somewhere else as equally awkward, stressing me out it didn't help with my shortage of sleep. And yet despite all of this, I was still hoping that he wouldn't arrive too early so that I could have a few days to enjoy with Sofia, and have some time for last preparations for his arrival.

On Wednesday at 10:15 am, I had a scheduled appointment at my OB's where he planned on doing an internal to determine what we'd do if it didn't look like the baby was coming anytime soon. Fortunately, he said I was on the brink of labour and performed a procedure that would help it along... even daring to say that labour may occur within 24 hours. Well, he was certainly correct. Joaquín would start making his way the next morning at 7 am.

I woke up on Thursday morning at 6:30 to settle Sofia back into bed. I took her into my bed with me and tried to sleep a little more, but with no avail. Just after 7 am I felt my first contractions, which I wasn't sure whether it was contractions, like as in going into labour, or just some soreness that I had been experiencing over the last week. I decided to wait it out and see if was going to get worse. I didn't want to be calling all of my family and set into motion what I may not be able to stop if it happens to be false labour.

As nerdy as this totally sounds, I used an app that I downloaded onto my iPod Touch called "Stage1" that helped me track the length and time between my contractions. I am really happy that I had it 'cause it helped to convince myself that i was really going into REAL labour and make the decision to call my husband to come back home and take me to the hospital. If i didn't have it, I think that I probably would have stayed at home far too long and it would have been a really stressful and painful trip to the hospital.

My contractions started about 20 minutes apart, but immediately started dropping after that. In one hour, they were 9 and half minutes apart. And fifteen minutes after that, they were only 5 minutes apart...and I was still sitting at home. At that point I called Gonz to come home. Fortunately, they hovered around 5 minutes for a while but they were getting stronger and much more uncomfortable. There was definitely no doubt now that labour was well on its way and I was going to see my baby soon!

My labour was about 5 hours with a half hour of pushing at the end -- which is half of what I had to do with Sofia (10 hours of labour and an hour of pushing), so that was great. Couldn't complain. I managed to do this drug-free again, and I really feel great this time around. I was out shopping for an Easter outfit for him four days later. Today, I haven't taken a single pain killer although I have been only taking it once in the morning over the last week. I am so thankful for uncomplicated pregnancies and deliveries. I do not take it lightly.

Joaquín is doing well. He is so sleepy though. I CANNOT wake him to feed him sometimes! At the hospital, I tried to wake him for a good 45 minutes to feed him (the medical staff encouraged us to feed them every 2 to 3 hours to make sure that they keep jaundice away). But once I wake him, he is ravenous. Now, he wakes up to nurse every 3 and half hours and apparently this works for him 'cause he gained most of his birth weight back four days after his arrival - he was only short 1 and half ounces (where on average it takes 14 days to do that).

Many people have been asking how Sofia had been handling the arrival of her new baby brother. I really couldn't have wished it to be going any better. Sofia adores her brother, really wants to help with him, and cannot stop showing him affection. The first few days she was acting up a bit: being demanding, throwing mini-tantrums... basically being a two year old. But all of that is already gone, and she is doing great. And this all happened without having to do all the tricks that I have been told I should do to ensure my first born doesn't try to murder the new baby within a week of his arrival home. Phew!

I am a mother of two. I have kidS. We are a family of FOUR. Even though this is the second time this has happened to me, bringing life into this world is an unbelievable event.

Like, seriously, where is this baby?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tonight I was hoping that I'd go into labour. It's a little more tricky this time: last time, I just had myself to worry about - but this time, if I go into labour, depending on who is with me at the time, who is going to take care of Sofia? Most times it'll be okay. Gwa-Kong and Gwa-Ma are around most of the time. But what if I go into labour tomorrow morning? It's just me and Sofia. I guess Gonz could make it home in about 20 minutes or so... Okay, maybe no reason to panic. But still, going into labour tonight would have been convenient, and plus, I want to meet this kid!

Got an appointment with the OB/GYN tomorrow. We'll see what he says...

First day of mat leave

Monday, March 22, 2010

painted nails, originally uploaded by kathy photo.

Well, technically, I am on vacation. I am taking up my left over vacation until this baby comes and then I will be on maternity leave officially. Unfortunately, Sofia is sick so I couldn't do much on the first day of my mat leave that would drag her all over the city on these few newborn-less days that I will have, but that's alright.

It was a nice feeling to just hang with Sofia today, and not right away pile up on my to-do list. Over the weekend I did chip away on a few more things (laundering the newborn clothes, re-organizing the nursery), but today was just going to be a bonding day. Well, bonding right now is more of a necessity anyway 'cause a few nights last week she has had a fever, but now it has turned into congestion. There's nothing like a sick child that will make a mother drop everything else that she has going on to turn full attention to making them feel better. I gave her a long bath which got rid of a lot, trimmed her nails and then decided to PAINT THEM.

Yeah...I'm not really one to do ridiculously girlie stuff to Sofia. I hate Barbies, princesses, castles, pink, glitter and nasty stuff like that mostly because I don't want my daughter(s) to be prissy. Prissy = annoying. Where grown women just can't deal with their day 'cause they chipped a nail. And YES it starts with a single Barbie.

Anyway, painting her toenails is something I have wanted to do a long time but unfortunately, it does fall into the prissy-fying category. I decided to throw care to the wind 'cause HECK! Sofia is sick! and I'm on mat leave and these few days I AM GOING TO ENJOY THEM before the NEWBORN TAKES OVER OUR LIVES ALL OVER AGAIN!

Successfully wrapped up

Friday, March 19, 2010

What a relief. I managed to finish up my work week without going into labour. And it was a nice last day too. I managed to finish most of my work yesterday and so everything I did today was just to tie up the little things. I never wrote so many instructions and memos and lists and charts and things that I hope help draw the big picture with some details to help that person understand what it is that is my job who is replacing me for the year. The depressing thing about all that preparation is the thought there is a high probability that there are things that I have totally forgot about.

So having finished all of that yesterday I was able to enjoy a nice lunch with the MAM team at one of my favourite restaurants: Asian Legend.

It was surreal leaving work today, with a little reusable bag with the personal items from my office like two pictures of Sofia and a plant. I won't be going back for an entire year again. Like, really? I had a really great year too which will obviously make me miss it all the more.

Well, it looks like tomorrow won't be real vacation day where we'll be going out and having fun 'cause Sofia had a fever tonight and last night. I'll have to watch how she is tomorrow and hopefully we can get some fresh air even if we can't get a whole outing in.

Now it's just waiting it out. At least now I can be positive that I won't be going into labour at the office. That is an awkward scene that I'd rather completely avoid.

On the eve

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I am here on the eve of leaving my workplace for a year. I am a bit excited. I am a bit sad. I am ALL anticipation.

What I am so excited about is being able to be one thing: a mom. First and foremost. As crazy as it can still be - a toddler and a newborn together... I am looking forward to a year without due dates and deadlines (except to get my children (!) into scheduled doctor's appointments). Although I thrive on deadlines and to-do lists, I know that it's really good for me. I can be a little bit too much of a Type A to slow down and step back. I find that having children really does this for me. Really paying attention to Sofia makes me appreciate so much about life and all of God's blessings that flow in (and hopefully out) of my house on a second-by-second basis. To not notice this would really be a tragedy.

It is amazing to think that I've been back at work for nearly a full year and three months. It really has flown by. It was really great to come back to work after maternity leave to a department. A department? Yes, a department...that had other people in it. Before I left for maternity leave, for five years I worked in a "department" that had one person in it: me. I used to joke about it all the time, but really, it's been great to work with a mini-powerhouse team. Yeah, that's us: MAM. I am really going to miss being part of the creative whirlwind that happens every week.

So, it's with bittersweetness that I move into this chunk of time of my (and my family's) life. I am going to, like I did last time, make a list of things that I'd like to accomplish that I could not otherwise if I didn't have these wonderful 52 weeks off. Like taking up reading again. Really jumping into photography again (even if the subject is just my kids). A new one: working on the garden, now that I am in a house. This year can hold so much possibility, not just growing as mom, but as a person...which makes me a better mom.

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day of a lot of little things. Wrapping up the details and making sure that I don't just leave something hanging. Well, it can't be worse than the first time around where Sofia had me leave work 16 days early and NOTHING was prepared for. I thought honestly that I would have at least 16 more days to work and maybe even more since statistically the first born is usually late.

Well, I should turn in 'cause I want to get to work as early as possible so I can make sure that I get everything in and not have to SEND myself into labour by running like a crazy person.

Baby, one more day, just hang on one more day...

One down, three to go

Monday, March 15, 2010

In this final work week before I go on one week vacation (that is, if the baby doesn't have plans to come out early), and then on maternity leave I have got three days left. I got a mail drop completed today, a chunk of the Easter program completed, and all my routine work for Monday done.

Today we moved Sofia into her new room to vacate her old one so we can revert it back into the nursery. She was ridiculously excited about it, so much so that I think she got so worked up that she can't sleep now. Well, it's hard to tell whether it is that or maybe the time change that happened yesterday. Or both. Well, it IS 11 pm now. I'd like to be abpe to have just a little time to myself without having to stay up until 2 am.

Tomorrow I get to actually go to the office and work with my co-workers for the second last time. Too bad my nose is probably going to be too close to the grind to hang with any of them too much. At least we have a support team lunch tomorrow so we'll have facetime then.

Yup. Too excited to sleep. Sofia came out three times while I was writing this in addition to the already four times before that. She usually only comes out once these days.

Here's to taking another day "one day at a time".

Final Stretch

It's funny... I was at church this morning, which is not the service that we usually attend. We usually attend the Saturday night service due to hubby's schedule although most of the friends I grew up with are all at Sunday morning. Anyway, so I see a good chunk of them and all of them were convinced that I was WAY past my due date. And we figured it was because I had posted on FB that I was full-term. Full term, for those who don't know, is considered when the mother has carried the baby to 37 weeks. Due dates are calculated at 40 weeks. So this 37 to 40 window is when it's "normal" to expect the baby to come out and play.

So, I have been full-term since Saturday, March 6. And since then I've been a bit nervous..."Could it be today? Tomorrow...?" The first time around, I was naturally much more naive and had assumed that I'd hit my due date or go over, especially since most first time pregnancies are late. Nope, not Sofia. She thought it sounded far too exciting outside.

This week is my final week of work. I then take one week off of vacation and then my due date hits (Saturday, March 27). I am hoping that we can make it until Thursday - my last day. I would love to just leave work left in a nice, neat little package for whoever is (or, all of those people who are) taking over for me. Last time was no where near prepared. Sofia had arrived 16 days early, and the to-do list was VERY long. If I can make it until Thursday, I have a very good shot of actually getting everything done that I need to get done.

I'm feeling pretty good. Can't complain. The aches that I was feeling a couple of weeks ago kinda disappeared. I am feeling less tired. Apparently these are some of the symptoms that labour is close. Well, we'll see what happens.

New Toy

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

And tonight I play with my new iPod touch! I am looking forward to this little piece of equipment enriching my soon-to-be maternity leave life.

The best part: it was free. Thanks Airmiles!

Chile and the earthquake

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I have been really looking forward today. I haven't seen my sister Christine since December 27. It's the longest I have been away from her -- so today was a big day on the calendar.

But today became a big day for another reason. As we were eating breakfast, my mother-in-law calls and tells us that there has been a massive earthquake that has hit Chile -- from a bit north of Santiago, the capital, all the way down to Antarctica. Most of the family was accounted for, but we didn't know about Tia Monica and Tia Sandra. We immediately prayed for them.

Gonzo's been the computer all day, corresponding with his cousin's boyfriend (he lives in Santiago) who has really been so well connected with all of the family there. Our family there have lost power so we can't reach them. Nelson has been so great updating his Facebook status so that we can stay on top of how everyone is doing. (ANOTHER REASON WHY I LOVE FACEBOOK).

I really can't believe that we were in Chile a month and a week ago. While we were there, Gonzo would point out all the ways that the buildings were prepared for earthquakes. Unbelievable to think that we'd see all that architectural planning in action so soon.

As today progressed we were starting to hear more and more how the more remote areas of Chile were faring. The worst we have heard now that there is a possibility of an island off the coast of Chile that its entire population may be completely lost. That is just unbelievable. I was just hoping that although 8.8 is a pretty powerful earthquake (it is the seventh most powerful earthquake in recorded history) that perhaps Chile was so well prepared that they would escape fairly well. I can only hope that we have heard the worst...

It has been amazing how many people have contacted us today to see if all of our family is okay. My cousin called from Woodbridge, my uncle called from Jersey, Gonzo's manager at work, the leader at the indoor soccer get together at church, friends from church... It's so nice to be thought of. Thanks everyone.

Well, we've had a really nice day with Christine hearing about her trip and getting lots of presents and time together. And, we have since heard that Tia Monica and Tia Sandra are fine. Just without power. So happy that all of the family is okay...but I really want everyone else, who is someone's family, to be okay too.

Full, full day

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Today turned out to be a super-fun day. It was one of those days that everything came together easily although there were one thousand moving parts. And the fact that I had been up since 4 am (okay, okay, I ran out of steam before I left for work and ended up taking a one hour nap before leaving...which then, again, made me late for work).

One fun thing I did today was shoot a video with my husband and with my friend, Danian. The video is to promote our senior pastor's new Easter message series. Poor guy, we had Danian climbing up snowy hills and struggle the slippery slopes in Converse and bare hands. Great actors really are such troopers. He was obviously so cold, but just kept going -- take after take. I think that we came up with some great footage today. I'm excited to design the mail drop that will be going into many homes in just a few weeks.

It's fun to work with my husband. He has taught me to be so visual, and to tell stories, and to convey emotion so that others can feel it too. Fortunately, we actually fight less when we work together than in regular, daily life. :-)

Got home, Gonz and Danian went to review the footage, Joseph arrived to kill time between leaving work and his night class. We had a nice time hanging out and attempting to buy a toilet. Joseph is the kind of guy that chases a deal hard.

Joseph eats and runs ('cause he has gotta get to his class on time) and my dad and I and Sofia are enjoying dinner (Gonz went off to a production meeting at church), and my dad asks me to tell Matt that his throat still isn't that good and won't be able to make it to rehearsal...which then reminded me that I HAD TO GO TO REHEARSAL TONIGHT. I completely forgot. My dad is like, "How can you forget that?" DAD. I AM 36 WEEKS PREGNANT, WITH ONLY 3 HOURS OF SLEEP. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.

I made it to rehearsal 10 minutes late. Not so bad although I hate to be late -- especially for rehearsals and everyone is waiting on you. It's not like I play the flute. I PLAY THE PIANO. I might as well be the drums. Rehearsal without drums really BLOW. Anyway, the choir song sounds cool without being too hard so I could just enjoy it without being too stressy. I even get to play with Margaret this weekend - which I haven't done in a long, long while. AND she made banana cake with frosting for the rehearsal. Another super big bonus.

Sofia's off to bed when I get home, and I'm sitting in bed just finishing up the weekend's Keynote presentation. As I was typing the last slide, my eyes were starting to cross. I haven't actually been this sleepy in a long time. Sure, I've been tired... but not sleepy (and that isn't the same to me, somehow). And what's awesome is that I get to go to bed feeling that today was a very well used day.

Sofia! Let me sleep!

It is so weird. I have totally read and heard lots of stories about this: the strange behaviour of the first born when the arrival of the second born is imminent.

Over the last few weeks, Sofia has started to wake up in the middle of the night INSISTING that she wants to sleep in our bed. Sometimes up to three and five times a night. Last night - four. In fact, it started at 4 am, and I'm usually good at falling back asleep. But after waking me up four times after that, I was staring at the ceiling. So, here I am at 7 am finished my breakfast and answering work emails. I know that at about 11 am, I'll be asleep at my desk.

Like, how the heck do they know? Sofia cannot possibly even understand what it might mean to have another whole human being living here starting in a few weeks and what kind of upside-down-ness the 7 or 8 pounder might cause. Most adults, until experiencing it first hand, cannot imagine the change in life -- not necessarily all bad -- will happen when a newborn comes home. I am trying my best to have good, devoted hang time with Sofia every day, regardless of how tired I am. So what is making her really act up? I think that my huge belly is more of a funny point to her, rather than something that signals impending change.

Anyway, I'm bracing myself for the big, fat transition. My mother keeps reassuring me, "At least you'll have lots of help!" Which is completely and absolutely true. I am definitely spoiled on that side of things.

My mother in-law called me up yesterday, insisting that she come and help me set up Sofia's new room. I don't know what is wrong with me...even when I really could use the help, and I am in the position to even WANT the help, I can't even think about how to accept it. Well, my in-laws certainly know this so they just basically announced that they're coming over on Friday to take care of whatever needs to be done to make HER granddaughter's room her new little nighttime home. I'm excited to see that room together. I wonder if Sofia is going to transition well... or just plain old freak out. Instead of coming to my bed 4 times a night, it'll be 11.

Well, since I'm up, I might as well try and get to work on time. As much as having another child has its challenges, I am ridiculously excited to see who is coming along next to join us in our family.

no words.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hoping to make some feathered friends...

Saturday, February 06, 2010

On this gorgeous sunny Saturday, in the morning, my father, Sofia and I decided that we'd go and hang out. We went to see if we could pick up something that my mother requested, and upon failing that (sold out all over the city), we ended up at the Walmart. We were there early enough that it didn't totally tick me off - and I like Walmart for the same reason why I love Winners... it's so random. Especially with a little one, it's nice to not have to bundle and re-bundle them over and over and over again and buckle and re-buckle them into their car-seats to go to other stores. It's all in one place. So, while we were there, Sofia asked to go see the fish, but unfortunately, on the way to the fish, we had to pass by the toy section. Good thing is that we weren't on a mission, so we just let her see whatever she wanted. We did eventually get to the fish section and while my dad and Sofia were checking out the sparse selection, we wandered the pet section and found some bird feeders.

My dad and I have been talking about getting a bird feeder for sometime, particularly for Sofia to be able to check out some wildlife in our backyard. In the warm weather, we'd see a lot more roaming around - normal stuff like squirrels and birds, but even rarer ones like rabbits - but since the cold weather settled in, we'll get a random cat and that's it. One fun thing is that we can spot tracks in what snow and guess what we've got back there.

Getting a bird feeder is never really in someone's priority list, so even though we've talked about it several times, we never actually got it. But today, we did! I'm really excited to see what comes to feed. All day we've been checking to see if anything is coming around. My dad keeps asking why nothing is coming to eat at it yet. All I can keep thinking of comparing it to is that it's like you have to wait for a new domain name to propagate.

I'm such a internet loser.

Well, when the news is out among the bird gangs that the Lim-Jim home is where to get the goods, I hope to take some photos of what we spot!

She's getting...expressive.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Today, at the store, Gonzalo and I went to buy a box of cookies. When we rounded the corner and Sofia saw the entire aisle stocked with various cookies, she said, "Oh goodness!"

Family Trip to Chile

Friday, January 22, 2010

I finally went to Chile. After many attempts derailed by various reasons (not enough money, having a baby when family was going to go down, bad timing etc.), I finally got to meet the country and family behind my husband.

We had an amazing time. Honestly, it was hard to get the finances together to make the trip happen, but I knew it was a trip that we just could not miss, especially now that Sofia is born. It's really important to me that Sofia knows as much family as she can possibly know. My parents did that for me by traveling to the Philippines every four years, and now I have relationships with relatives oceans away. Anyway, like I've said before, this year was a really big year: my sister got married, we bought a house, we bought a car... things that all needed to happen - and I'm still happy they did. They just made it tight to squeeze one more major thing in: a huge family trip down to South America. But God brought lots of freelance my way from September to December which covered everything! We still managed to pay all the bills on time and paid all credit cards in full as usual. He is so good!

"All of us" included my husband's parents, my husband's sister and her husband, my husband, me and Sofia. Seven of us. We went from December 28, the Monday after Christmas, until January 14. Almost three glorious weeks of pure sunshine (okay, fine there were a few cloudy hours - maybe four).

It's hard for me to understand weather that is that predictable. 32 to 34ªC everyday. Not a cloud in the sky. You can pretty much count on it. The crazy thing is that when we got there it's only the beginning of summer. Peak of summer is February and March. That is also hard for me to believe. But unlike everywhere else I've ever been with great weather (Philippines, Hawaii, Mexico...) it is NOT humid. My husband has always talked to me about how Chile is "dry heat" but nothing could have prepared me for what dry heat is actually like. I found out that my skin is definitely Asian and likes the humidity. I had eczema that rivaled my early teenage years. I moisturized my face with cocoa butter and it was still dry. But other than that I really didn't have any other issues (like, traveler's tummy, or other gross stomach issues that usually accompany traveling to a foreign country).

I believe that my next few posts are going to be about Chile - especially since I haven't written about it at all yet. It was such an amazing trip with family that I did not yet get to travel with and to meet a whole new set of family members that I could call my own. I need more family members! My side of the family is already huge. I have more than my share...but I'm honestly so happy to discover more and more family members. Family is SO FUN.