Mommyhood


So, it’s not the end of January yet and I’ve already broken my New Year’s Resolution.  My blogging hasn’t been very fruitful.  I’ve been VERY busy!  My mother left last week and I’ve been fending for myself which is going OK, but which also means I have very little time for much else.  Thank goodness Annabelle is a relatively easy baby and Noah is improving everyday.

So, since Samantha’s birthday we’ve done a lot.  We were planning to go to the zoo on the Monday after, but it turned out to be a really HOT and very sunny day. We decided it best not to be out all day so just took it easy. I was still recovering from the weekend. So, instead we went on Tuesday which turned out to be 1000x better as the temperature was almost 10degrees cooler and a bit of cloud cover which is the ideal weather for walking all around a zoo.  I love Taronga Zoo because it is small. You can easily do the whole thing in a few hours and it has the best views of any zoo, anywhere.  I have an annual pass as well as a guest pass so it really only costs me $5 for parking so we try to go as often as we can but this is the first time we took all 3 kids - though Annabelle literally slept the entire time.  Since it was my Mom’s last day, I wanted to do something very Sydney-ish with her.  We watched the seal show, saw the new baby elephants and the new baby hippo.  The kids splashed in the water and rode the sky safari. All in all, a very lovely day.

The next day, not so lovely, as I had to take my mother to the airport and say goodbye.  How the hell did 2 1/2 months go by so fast? and I felt like we did nothing. It was all such a blur. I guess the first week was Halloween and just waiting for the baby to come. The second week the baby was born. The next two weeks was just getting used to it all. Then it was Thanksgiving and James and Sam went to the States. By the time they came back, it was a week before Christmas. Then it was New Years and we went up to Forster. Came back and went to a birthday party the next weekend and the Sam’s birthday, her party and then, that’s it… Crazy! I am just so lucky my mother could be here for as long as she was. Not every mother is so inclined to drop everything and fly to the other side of the world just to help their child so I appreciate her so much.  I don’t know how I would have done it without her.  She is my rock and my role model. I only hope to be as good as she is.

So, Mom left and James and I were all on our own.  On Wednesday, luckily James stayed home in the morning so I could take my mom to the airport alone which was nice. That afternoon, when Sam, Annabelle and I went to pick up Noah from daycare, I realized I totally forgot that Sam had a Kindy playdate at school.  Thank goodness Noah’s daycare is right next to Sam’s school or I would have totally missed it. So, I took all three to introduce Sam to her new schoolmates and to try to meet some new mums.  I actually met a few I liked and got along well so we’ll see how it goes. It was 5pm by the time we got home and I still had to make dinner.  Somehow, I whipped together a lasagna and it came out really great! By the time James came home, I just totally passed out.

Friday was going to be my real test having all 3 kids home all day long but luckily, we went to visit my friend, Shell, who just had a new baby girl a week before.  She’s a trooper and Baby Olivia is adorable.  She’s got to other boys Sam and Noah’s age so it worked out really well. The kids all played really well together with very little issue.  We were there all day.  Shell said she didn’t mind as it kept her kids busy too and we were able to catch up a bit along with our other friend, Rae. So it was a win/win. That made for a pretty easy day.

Then Saturday was a beautifully gorgeous day so we ended up heading out to Jamberoo! A big waterpark about 2 hours south of us.  We went with our friends, Christine and Rene, and their almost 3yr old.  I was really worried how we’d do with all 3 kids and just the two of us at a waterpark but it was actually a really good experience.  We’ve been there twice last yr so we knew what to expect so that helped.  But since it was the last weekend of school holidays, it was packed! But, packed in Australia is not even a light day back in the US.  We set up our tents and picnic baskets under some trees and tag teamed on the rides.  It helped that Christine and Rene only had 1 kid so they could take 1 of ours on the rides while I stayed back with Annabelle.  The weather was warm and comfortable - really the perfect weather.  The kids all had a great time.  Noah listened well and never ran off.  They ate their lunch and played nicely with each other.  It was so wonderful! And then, on cue, they both passed out on the ride home - Noah for the rest of the night.  We love Jamberoo.

We had lofty ambitions of going to another beach on Sunday as the weather was so lovely but I was just dead to the world Sunday morning. I don’t think I got out of bed until 10am (Thank you James).  I was totally pooped. I think the last week totally caught up with me and I was in no condition to do much so we kept it low key and just stayed home - though I did do 5 loads of laundry.  Now, typically, you’d say laundry, no big deal. How hard is it to put clothes in the washer and then in the dryer? But, I’ve become more Australian and am regularly hanging clothes out on the line. So, it’s a lot more work. And I started packing for Fiji since we leave early Wed morning.

So, today is Monday (well, technically early Tuesday morning) and I had a whole list of to do’s and all 3 kids to do them with. I was totally dreading it but I had so much to do.  I had 2 more loads of laundry to do before loading the kids in the car and heading back to Chatswood.  I had to go to the bank to withdraw money. Then go to the post office to order Fiji dollars. Then to the library to return Mom’s books. Over to the shops to reward the kids for being so good on the first three things with a smoothie from Boost and grab lunch. Overall, it actually went really smooth.  I used our double Phil & Ted’s stroller with Annabelle in the front in her carseat and Noah in the back seat. Samantha walked, though she complained almost the whole time.  Annabelle slept the whole time. Noah sat nicely in the stroller and Sam kept up.  And they ate lunch without any chaos and I didn’t have to yell at them even once - wow!  We went to a few stores to buy sunscreen, bug spray, shampoo, etc to get ready for the trip and it wasn’t bad at all. I can totally handle three kids on my own. That is until we got home.  Noah wouldn’t nap and Sam was getting bratty. I haven’t seen Samantha this naughty in a long time. I made her get off the computer (her favorite activity) and she had the biggest tantrum. She ended up in time out pretty much the rest of the afternoon. It was not pretty. And it was loud which then set off Annabelle. Noah was the good one for a change. I was exhausted and fed up and still had to make dinner. Ugh… by the time James got home, I was in a foul mood.  At one point, while I was cooking dinner, I actually drank a bottle of beer. I just needed something to cool me down (it’s super hot and humid today) and something to take the edge off. I haven’t had a beer in years and this one actually tasted pretty good.

And now it’s 12:26am and I’m writing this blog entry instead of sleeping.  Ok, off to bed to do it all again tomorrow. Wish me luck.  Only 2 more sleeps until Fiji…

Five years ago, my life changed in the most amazing way - I became a mother, and now my baby is a big girl now.  When James and I first started dating, we had discussed our goals, ambitions, dreams, fears, etc. He knew he always wanted a family.  Me? I wasn’t quite so sure.  The idea of being a mother was, quite frankly, terrifying.  I was never one of those girls who always knew she just wanted to be a mother.  I, on the other hand, thought I’d be a workaholic, climbing the corporate ladder and taking over the world.   I was ok with the idea of children, sort of, down the road, all in hypotheticals. I just thought I’d be a bad mother.  I was too selfish, too self centered to think about all the sacrifice one would need to be a good mother and I just didn’t think I had it in me.

So what changed?

I think my first two years post college graduation changed my view of the world completely.  I became an investment banking analyst, otherwise known as the lowest rung on this imaginary corporate ladder I had such high hopes of climbing.  I was that rung for a full two years, working 100+ hours a week, being bored out of my mind and looking at my bosses and thinking, I don’t want to be them.  This is not the life I want to lead and the people I want to become.  I had moved back to Los Angeles to be close to my family, yet, I saw less of them than I did when I lived in Boston.  I started to realize how much family really did mean to me, and having a family of my own.  Don’t get me wrong, I still wasn’t on the baby track but my outlook on life had definitely changed.

When I found out I was pregnant with Samantha, I wish I could say my first reaction was being overjoyed, where in reality, it was something more like “oh sh*t!”  My mind went straight to all the changes that were about to completely rock my world and panic started to set in.  Thank goodness James was the calm, excited one. But, once I had a chance to let it sink in, the idea really started to grow on me, well… actually, in me.

The day Samantha was born was one of the happiest days of my life.  The fact that she was a girl totally took me by surprise and filled my heart. She was a wonderful, easy baby and now, she is a beautiful, happy child.  I am still nervous about my prowess as a mother and pray to God I don’t mess this up, but together, we’ll take it day by day. I  try my best, I don’t always succeed but I love my baby girl and hope she will always remember that, even when she’s a hormonal teenager.

So, in celebration of her birth, we celebrated the actual day with a trip into the city to visit the Powerhouse Museum.  James was able to take a long lunch and join me, my mother and Annabelle.  Noah was in school so Sam got a lot of personal attention on her special day.

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We had a special dinner - pizza from Crust and my practice birthday cake, in preparation for the big party to be had on Saturday.

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On Saturday, 15 of her closest little friends and 14 adults descended upon our house to celebrate our little girl.  My baby didn’t want a princess birthday party, no, she wanted a STAR party, and not the Hollywood kind.  We had spent the whole week preparing for this party with several visits to a multitude of stores to find the right decorations, games and prizes that 4-5yr old boys and girls would love.  We spent hours cutting out stars, painting them, spreading glitter on them, tying ribbons and attaching them all over the house.  We wrapped presents for pass the parcel and downloaded music for limbo and create our very own disco in the basement.  Overall, it was a wonderful, fun filled 2hours of games and food on the only really hot and muggy day in Sydney all month.  Thank goodness we have air conditioning.  Of course, no good party can go without incident.  We had a 4yr old try to run straight through our floor-to-ceiling window and completely cracked it - but luckily, he was unharmed, just a bit shaken.  We had a 2yr old get his head stuck between the banisters on the stairs to the basement (and I thought that only happened in the movies) and we had another 2yr old get his little fingers slammed in our front door, potentially caused by Noah, but we’re not 100% sure.  But all involved escaped without too much damage that was easily cured by a little Jello.

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We did end the birthday festivities today with a trip to the Sydney Entertainment Center for Disney Live! Three Princess Stories on stage and a ride on the big ferris wheel in Darling Harbor.  So, enough is enough… thank goodness birthdays only come once a year and you only turn 5 once, ever.  I think my Dad was actually onto something when I was only allowed a birthday party every 8 years.  Do you think Samantha would agree to that? I think I’ve already created a monster… but I love her too much not to.

Up next, Noah turns 3 in March.  I think it’s time to head to Wizzy World instead…

The stork has visited our family again and has brought us a beautiful baby girl - Annabelle Mei-Li.

Annabelle arrived on November 9, 2010 at 5:22pm at the Mater Hospital in North Sydney.  She came out with a healthy set of lungs, 7 lbs (3.178kg), 20.5inches (52cm) long and head circumference of 13.6inches (34.5cm).

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The birth went really well - we couldn’t have been happier with the hospital, the doctor or the midwife.  We had excellent service and attention and most importantly, Annabelle is happy and healthy.

Annabelle was born 1 day short of my 39th week of pregnancy.  Unlike Samantha or Noah’s births, Annabelle was induced in order to keep her from being born in an emergency situation.  As some of you may remember, both Samantha and Noah were very quick births.  Samantha was 6hrs from 1st contraction until birth, which is pretty fast for a first baby and Noah was 1hr from first contraction to birth.  For some reason, my body doesn’t seem to feel a lot of the early labor contractions and my water never breaks first so I have very little clue that I’m in labor until we’re in the thick of things - which is good and bad.  Good  because I escape hours of unnecessary labor pains but bad because I can go into labor very quickly.  So, together, we decided to induce Annabelle so that mum and bub are both safe.  My biggest fear was having Annabelle born in our bathroom. I even had towels and things at the ready, just in case.

So, the morning of the 9th, we arrive at the Mater Hospital at 7am to get checked in and situated. They even gave me breakfast.

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My OB, Dr. Wang, checked in around 8:30am and at 9am she broke my water and we decided to see how my body reacted. I was expecting to go straight into labor after that but unfortunately, nothing was happening.  James and I walked around the hospital for the next 2 hours. He kept asking how I was feeling and all I could say was “fine”.  I was feeling nothing.  No pain, nothing… but that’s nothing new, right? I never felt my early contractions but I was sure I was having them.  So, after 2 hrs, they checked me and nothing much had changed.  My OB suggested we start using the induction medicine - Syntocinon or also know as Pitocin in the US - to get things moving, but I wanted to wait just a little longer… Well, we waited another 2hrs and still, nothing. I walked, I squatted, I prayed. Nothing.  So, finally I gave in and said, let’s get the show on the road, but by that time, my OB had to go back to her office for her afternoon appointments. So, they started me off slowly. I think I felt my first weak contractions around 3pm and then they were coming every 10mins or so but they were nothing serious.  My midwife - Susan - was wonderful.  She was this really nice lady who was just a happy person, who listened to what I wanted, who reassured me every step along the way and was always there when I needed her.  Both James and I really liked her. Really, she does all the hard work, and the OB just shows up for the last part.  In any case, since we were waiting for my OB to get back, Susan just kept reducing the Syntocinon whenever I started to feel stronger contractions.  Finally, at 5pm, Dr. Wang gets back to the hospital and they turn up the medicine.  Literally, a minute later, I could finally feel a really strong contraction.  The next one came a couple minutes later and now I knew I was in the transition stage as these were really rough contractions.  I told Susan to get Dr. Wang because on the next contraction, I was ready to push this baby out.  They urged me not to push yet and I could barely hold it in. Finally, they said, OK and with 3 great big pushes, Annabelle came sliding out - wailing away and very pink.  James cut the umbilical cord and they plopped her right on my chest.

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I started to feed Annabelle as soon as I could and she latched on right away.  Then, James went to go get Sam, Noah and Mom so they could meet their new sister/granddaughter.  Everyone arrived and it was chaotic but wonderful.

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Samantha and Noah fell in love with Annabelle immediately.  I was worried Noah would get jealous but he’s been nothing but loving towards Annabelle and can clearly say her name, which is so adorable.  They actually fight over who gets to hold her.

The Hospital provides a lot of great after care services.  Lots of classes to attend to learn about breastfeeding, sleeping , bathing, exercise, etc.  All the midwives are wonderful and they have great lactation consultants that come and check in on your to make sure things are going well.  This time around, I’m doing much better in breastfeeding  than I did with Noah. It really helps having experts there to help.  James also went to the bathing class and gave Annabelle her first bath.

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I stayed in the hospital for 4 days which was really nice.  The midwives would keep the baby in the nursery overnight letting me sleep a bit and during the day, I didn’t have to worry about Sam and Noah as my mom was there to take good care of them.  On my last night in the hospital, the midwives will watch the baby and allow mum and dad a chance to go out to a celebratory dinner.  We decided to go to this nice Japanese restaurant right up the street called Waqu.  The Mater is in a great location, right by Crows Nest with plenty of restaurants to choose from, plus it was Friday night.  We had a lovely dinner and enjoyed a final night of peace before going home with 3 small children.

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Being a mother of 3 definitely takes a lot of getting used to. Just trying to keep Sam and Noah on their regular schedules while juggling a newborn with no real schedule is difficult.  I’m getting a decent amount of sleep as Annabelle is a good eater and is sleeping well, but it’s still hard functioning on interrupted sleep nightly. Luckily, Mom is here. I don’t know what I’d do without her.  Just having an extra pair of hands and eyes helps a lot. Because the birth was pretty smooth, physically, I’m doing really well and haven’t had any issues besides your normal post birth side effects, but I won’t go into all that. Needless to say, I’m doing well and back about doing everything I did pre-baby. It does help having Mom stay home with Annabelle and Noah when I have to drop Samantha off at school or run to the grocery store. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it all soon, but Mom is here through Mid-January, so I am very thankful for that.

Annabelle is doing great. She doesn’t cry much, only when hungry. She’s pretty sleepy these days but has some really good awake times which is great. I’ve been trying to capture her moments as best I can… here are some of my favorite pics.

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More to come… I’m sure. She’s very photogenic.

So, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately updating this blog since I’ve been procrastinating for so long - I still have so much to catch up on, but now I’ve found an even better way to delay writing… I’ve been reading all my past postings, or at least looking at the pictures. I’m so amazed at all that’s changed in the last 3.5yrs. It’s really amazing to have this site and be able to see the changes in Sam and in Noah.  Just going back through all the memories and experiences we’ve had put a big smile on my face but also reminded me why it is so important to really keep this up.  I’ve just pdf’d the whole blog so that I never lose all the pictures and info… I know someday, Sam and Noah will be so excited to see and read all about their early years. I just wish I had started sooner as we’re missing the first 17mths of Samantha’s life since I was never really good at keeping a diary.

But now I also need to be vigilant about making sure I track all my thoughts for Noah and this new baby as well. It’s so different when you only have 1 child to think about. Now, we’re on the verge of 3 and I know there’s so little info about this baby so let’s put some words down.

We are now T-6 days until the birth of this baby (or sooner).  My official due date isn’t until the 17th but if this baby doesn’t come out on her own by the 9th, they’re going to make her come out.  You know me, I’m not really a earthy, organic kind of mommy but I would prefer for nature to take its own course so scheduling an induction isn’t necessarily my first choice but it does make some sense.  With Noah, I was very lucky that on the day of my 38wk OB appointment, they realized I was already in the early stages of labor because I had no clue. Had I waited until I felt my first contraction, it was highly possible, I could have had Noah in my bathroom as he was born only 1 hr after I felt any labor pains.  I didn’t have any other signs of early labor - no water breaking, no mucous plug coming loose, nothing. So, after telling this to my current OB, she suggested we think about inducing this baby in order to have a more controlled delivery as opposed to giving birth at home or in the car, or who knows where since I’m out and about all day.  Of course, the baby can decide to come out anytime before then but who knows.  The biggest worry was before my mom arrived, I would have had to wait for friends to arrive to watch Sam and Noah before leaving for the hospital which could take up precious time but now that Mommy is here, we can all breath a little easier knowing she is always here to stay with them no matter when the baby decides to come. That’s one big relief.  It’s funny, this is the first time my mom will be here for the actual birth of one of my babies. With Samantha, she came 2 weeks after she was born and with Noah, it was 2 months.  It’s nice to know my mom will be able to meet this baby the day she is born - that’s very exciting for both of us.

So, for now, we just wait.  I had my 38wk OB check-up on Tuesday and I wasn’t sent to the hospital so history is not currently repeating itself, although, technically, I was only 37wks and 6 days whereas Sam and Noah were both born at 38wks and 2days which would put this baby’s arrival for tomorrow - YIKES.  I’m getting very anxious and nervous at the same time. On one hand, I’m ready for this baby to come out so we can just get on with it and just start loving her. On the other, I’m totally freaked out with the thought of having 3 kids under the age of 5 on my hands. Thank God my mom is here.  I feel there’s still so much to do but just don’t know what to do.  The crib is up, clothes are washed, I’ve got some diapers and wipes, creams, etc… but still feel like I missing something.  I still can’t believe I’m having my 3rd child - this is so weird… but exciting.  I can’t wait to introduce her to all of you (the 3 of you who still read this). Wish me luck the next few days…

It was a long time coming, but we finally came back to California for a visit after 18months away in Sydney.  The last time we were home was Christmas 2008 - so what took so long? Well… my very best friend in the world was finally getting married!!! and I, being the matron-of-honor, could not miss all the festivities.  It was hard being so far away and not being able to help Cindy with all the fun wedding planning but I’m glad I was able to be there for her bridal shower, bachelorette party and wedding.  So, in all, I was in the US for about 5 weeks, but it went by soooo fast.  Unfortunately, James was unable to take that much time off work, plus he had already been back in the US in Feb for a wedding and the best man for his cousin Allen’s wedding coming up in Nov so we had to make some hard decisions.  The hardest part was that I’d be flying to and back (14hrs each way) alone with a 2.5yr old and a 4.5yr old, while 4-5months pregnant - NOT FUN… but we survived.

So, so much to plan for this one trip as it not only encompassed being at Cindy’s pre-wedding and wedding activities, it also had visiting James’ family as well as everyone was going to be around for 4th of July and also doing a family vacation with my side of the family as everyone would be together for the first time as well (everyone except James).  In retrospect, he really should have come home, at least for a week or two but it was just not to be.  Everyone asks me how I can travel with 2 young children and not be so frazzled, but I guess, at this point, we’re so used to it and the kids are really good. My big concern was Noah as he is at the very active stage and he tends to be really LOUD.  Samantha is a pro… so long as she has her personal TV and headset, she’s pretty set but we still had to prepare.  So, this is how we managed the intimidating trip.

First, we enlisted the help of Dora.  Since Samantha was 4.5yrs old now, she is a big girl and can pull her own rollerboard/carryon.  I was a bit worried she wouldn’t be able to do it or would fuss, but she did great.  We got a new Dora rolly with a detachable little backpack which worked perfectly for carrying all her coloring/activity books, a portable DVD player plus favorite DVDs, lots of food, snacks and gummy bears, and room for a few new toys as well as pink teddy and her blankie.  This saved me a lot of room in my carryon backpack that consisted mainly of diapers/wipes and clothes and more snacks.  You can never have enough…We thought about getting Noah this cool little Lightning McQueen rolly that he could also sit on but glad we didn’t as there’s no way he would have been able to pull it himself through the airport nor would I be able to do it as well.  The other question was what stroller or carseats would we take with us.  On the plane, I absolutely need Noah to sit in a 5 point harness, not only for safety but for keeping him contained.  There’s no way he would sit still in a regular seat without wanting to climb all over me or roam around the entire airplane.  He is used to sitting in his carseat so we needed to bring it. But his carseat is just too heavy for me to carry around along with the rest even though we got it purposefully to travel (Radian 60). But usually James will carry it and with just me and pregnant with 2 kids, I couldn’t do it. So, we dusted off the old Sit n’ Stroll.  That things has been one of our best investments as it has been all over the world and has got us through difficult situations like this.  It’s definitely on its last leg but it worked wonderfully on this trip.  Noah still fits in it and it rolled through the airport without too much difficulty.  It kept Noah contained in the airport as well as on the plane and it also meant I didn’t have to drag my other stroller out with me.  So, in total we had me pushing Noah in the Sit n’ Stroll, me wearing a back-pack, Sam walking next to us with her Dora backpack and rolly and also we checked in 1 large rolly duffle.  Check-in wasn’t too bad as James was there with us and getting through security alone was all right. The hard part was getting out of the airport but we’ll get to that later.

So, logistically, we were under control. I tried to pack as light as possible and prepare as much as I could.  What I hadn’t prepared for was Noah getting sick the night before our 10am flight.  Yes, the night before the flight, Sam had her Mid-Winter festival at pre-school and Noah ended up vomiting all over the place, including on James. He threw up again at home and also had diarrhea but no fever.  Great! I was imagining the worst case scenario. Do we cancel the trip? Do we go? What if he’s really sick??? Well, not sure if others would do the same but we decided to go.  He had a good night’s sleep and seemed OK in the morning. I packed extra plastic bags and changes of clothes just in case.  Surprisingly, Noah being sick actually made the trip much easier as he wasn’t as active as he usually is.  He was quite lethargic and didn’t care to eat and slept a lot.  Since we were going on a daytime flight, I had packed a ton of food as that’s usually the way to keep Noah happy but he didn’t really want to eat anything. Oh, I did have his Thomas the Tank back pack full of his favorite little cars which, of course, we left at home.  So, in the airport, I was searching for little cars for Noah, and guess what, none of the shops had any except this one store had pens that had little wind up cars on the cap. Weird but I bought them and these two little cars kept Noah happy for most of the trip - that plus a variety of movies that he watched w/no sound as he doesn’t like to wear the headsets.  Samantha was a happy camper watching her videos and coloring and drawing.  Both were able to get a decent amount of sleep and there was very little crying or noise making. Wow - so much better than I expected.

The hardest parts were getting off the plane and picking up the luggage.  Because Noah is so heavy, I can’t carry him in the Sit n’ Stroll down the airplane aisle but he refused to walk so I had to carry him and try to carry the Sit n’ Stroll while trying to get Sam to pull her rolly on her own. It was a sight to see. Luckily, a flight attendant offered to carry the Sit n’ Stroll to the jetbridge. Once there, I was able to put the Sit n’  Stroll into stroller mode and push Noah down to immigration. But, customs is a really long walk for our gate and guess who had to use the bathroom? Yup - Samantha was about to explode and there was no bathroom in sight, so, finally, I just pulled over to the side of the hallway (to the shock of some other passengers) and had her pull her pants down and pee into one of Noah’s diapers.  Well, what was I supposed to do? She would have just peed all over her pants and on the carpet if I hadn’t so I figured this was better than nothing. At least it was contained.  She felt better and there was no mess. As we walked around the corner, guess what we saw? Yes, bathrooms - only 100m away from where we had stopped. Oh well. We went in to just clean her up properly and for me to go, just in case and then headed into customs.  Luckily we got through that really quickly - I guess there weren’t as many American’s coming from Sydney as the US line was really short. Now, it was just a matter of getting our 1 big piece of luggage and out of baggage claim.  It was awkward pushing Noah in the Sit N’ Stroll while pulling my big luggage behind but we made it to the curb. I was then surprised to realize we hadn’t come out of Bradley Int’l Terminal.  We had flown Delta, which we never do since we are usually loyal American Airlines frequent fliers but we got really great tickets, so I was a bit disoriented. Now, did my parents know we weren’t going to be at Bradley? We were only 1 terminal away but the thought of walking there was very depressing. But then, I see my dad’s big green Armada pull up to the curb - thank goodness. James had called them and confirmed we were on Delta so they were able to deduce we’d come out of a different terminal. Thank goodness because my phone wouldn’t have worked and finding them would have been the last thing I wanted to do at 6am with very little sleep.  But all was good as I was now in the hands of Mommy and Daddy.  When we finally got back to Chino Hills, we ate some food and we all just took a big nap.  The kids were great… they were able to get back on schedule by the next day - such troopers I have!  Me? I was a total wreck but I was HOME.

So, my laziness has no bounds as I continue to procrastinate on catching up on this blog but I don’t think anyone is reading anymore so there’s really no pressure. But I figured I should keep forging ahead and not fall even further behind than I am.

So, as of today, I am 35 weeks pregnant and this baby is so different from Samantha and Noah.  With Sam, I gained an unsightly 50lbs or so - crazy!! Noah was around 30lbs and baby #3  so far is only 15lbs. I guess that means less work on getting back to pre-baby size after birth, right?  The funniest things is that of the 15lbs I’ve gained, 10 of the lbs were gained while I was in LA back in June/July.  I guess I do live a healthier life here in Sydney - no more super sized meals for me.

I finally visited and toured the hospital I’m going to deliver this baby in (unless this baby pops out in my bathroom).  The Mater Hospital is a well respected private hospital about 10mins away from home.  It’s funny, when you have a baby here in Australia, you have to book your hospital right away or it may be full, so when we first found out about the pregnancy around 6weeks, I was very on the ball and booked right in. It only took my 29 more weeks before actually seeing what the hospital looked like, though I got lots of great recommendations for it, so I guess it didn’t really matter to me. So different having #3 versus your 1st baby where everything seems to be so important.  I really just went today to make sure I knew where to go and what to do when this baby decides she wants to present herself.

Oh, yeah - it’s a girl!!! or at least that’s what the ultrasound tech told us. Another difference with #3, we decided to learn the sex of the baby first this time.  With Sam and Noah, it was a total surprise but I guess since we already have 1 of each sex, it didn’t really make a difference if #3 was a boy or girl - at least to me and James, but Sam is over the moon for her baby sister!

Another big difference with this pregnancy and the other two before is that I can FEEL this baby sooooo much more. It’s like an alien is inside my body. My stomach moves around into various shapes and I can feel every little kick.  With Samantha, I guess my placenta was in the front and kind of kept me from feeling much movement. I never understood how people could count their baby’s kicks as I could barely feel them. I guess it was good in a sense as I didn’t really feel my early contractions either. But this baby, oh my goodness… does not stop moving! And 2 weeks ago, we had a bit of a scare as I was feeling pretty intense Braxton-Hicks contractions all weekend long. I could barely move, they were so uncomfortable. I never had that before. Luckily, it has calmed down a lot since then and I’m feeling much better, but I now have 4 really good friends all on red alert in case this baby decides to arrive before my mother does.

And speaking of mothers - I can’t wait until my mommy gets here! Only 2 more weeks - so baby, just hang in there 2 more weeks.  I love my mother and I’m so excited for her to get here. I’m just getting so tired now - walking or standing tires me out and with Noah around, that means I’m tired a lot!  How am I going to do this with 3 kids? YIKES!! But my mom will be here for 2.5months so that’ll help a lot.

So, keep an eye out - only a few weeks left. I still have a lot to do… please let me have the energy to do it all.

Yippeeeee!!!! Who knew bodily functions would make me so happy? Well, Sam has been potty training this week and she has made pee pee in the potty 4 times now… what an accomplishment! We’ve been trying FOREVER.  We bought Sam her own potty around the age of 18months. That’s a bit early by US standards but she loved all the books and Elmo’s potty video so we thought why not.  She wasn’t too keen on it for a long time but now with Noah here, getting her out of diapers has been an increasing goal of mine. Especially since my mother is here to help.  So, finally, she’s starting to get it. Only a couple of accidents but so far, so good. Who knew chocolate koalas could be such a good incentive?  Well… wish us continued luck.  If we can get Sam potty trained and Noah sleeping through the night before my mother leaves, I think I may actually survive life alone with two kids =)

To all you mothers out there - HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!

I never realized until becoming a mom myself, how much moms really do.  Yes, we all love our moms and we know we wouldn’t be the who we are without them, but I think there’s a whole new level of understanding once you become a mother yourself.  Mother’s Day has a whole new meaning for me and is so important now. Not really doing a big thing, but just feeling appreciated and expressed outwardly, particularly in cute crafts projects kids make for us.

Sam’s school always does the cutest crafts and I was so happy when they invited us moms to come join them for class on Friday. Upon walking in, we were handed beautiful pipe cleaner/tissue paper flowers.

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Then, they sang us songs and presented us with a flower in a pot made using the outline of their little hands:

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and hands hugging a heart telling us how much they love us:

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So cute - makes me happy to be a mom just to be able to receive these beautiful gifts.

So, thank you to both our moms - two amazing women who worked tirelessly to raise all their children.  We love you and are so proud to call you “MOM”.

Love Annie & James

and Samantha and Noah too!

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Ok, I’m being a little sarcastic here. I know some women LOVE being pregnant, but if I’m being really honest, I don’t love it. Wish I could say I do, but it’s not pleasant. Let’s see, gaining uncomfortable amounts of weight, back aches, charlie horses in the middle of the night, waking up 3-5 times a night to pee, waddling around, stretch marks, hemrhoids, heartburn - I can go on and on. But, oh do I love to feel the baby move. I guess that makes up for the rest. Though, this baby won’t stop moving…

With Samantha, my pregnancy was easy with no complications, so I thought that would be the same with this pregnancy, and for the most part, it is. No morning sickness, no major issues until we did the gestational diabetes screening test 1.5 weeks ago. I figured, no problem… but I was told I was a bit high and had to come back in for a full test. I knew it was 3 hours long, but had no clue what it truly entailed. I went in at 9am on an empty stomach and first thing they did was take a vial of blood. Now, I’m not squeamish and the needle doesn’t really hurt but still not a fan. OK, no problem - then I drink 3 small paper cups full of sugar water. Then told to come back every hour for the next three hours to have blood pulled again each time - WHAT? That’s a total of 4 blood draws and NO FOOD. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a very nice person when I’m hungry. James knows that very well first hand. So this was not making for a good day. Luckily I did bring a book with me as it was freezing cold outside and I lost the energy to roam aimlessly around Xintiandi. So, I sat for the most part, in the waiting area. Probably not sitting as properly as I should. By the time I got home, I had blood taken from both arms and a horrible back ache. Oh, the things we do for our babies.

I’m still waiting for the results. I see my doc on Thurs (it’s now Mon) and I didn’t get a call so I’m hoping that’s good news. I got called the same day when I didn’t pass the original screen, but we’ll see. I hear that most people end up being fine after the 3 hour test but it needs to be done to rule out GD. I’m hoping, I’m one of those. Not that I’m a big sugar eater but still, something I’d like to avoid if possible. So, stay tuned…

… Big Sister. Well, in 4 more months - but we’re preparing. Yes, we are having another baby. I’m not sure why it’s taken me this long to put it up on the blog, we’re at 22 weeks now so we’re pretty in the clear, but you never know. So, if you do the math, we got pregnant not too long after we arrived in Shanghai, so yes… all the travels were in my first 2 trimesters. Typically not the norm to travel so much, especially in the first trimester, but most of our trips were already planned and I was feeling great. Aside from the constant fatigue, which could be attributed to several things (pregnancy, raising a toddler, moving to another country…), I was feeling really good. Although I don’t like to talk about my lack of morning sickness too much, for fear of jinxing myself and for not wanting to upset those who have tough morning sickness, I was quite lucky (so far) w/both my pregnancies. Sam was easy to carry to term - my only problem was the excessive weight gain. Last time, I gained about 50lbs. Not a good look for me =). This time, I’ve been eating well and very active. Besides all the traveling, I’ve been working out on a regular basis, 2-3x per week plus a whole lot of walking. Though my parents are constantly worried for me, we’ve been doing well. Gaining weight appropriately and going through all the normal pregnancy ups and downs. Samantha is very excited to be a big sister (jie jie) though I’m not sure she quite realizes what’s going to happen. She loves babies and is great with them. So, I’m including a few sneak peaks of our little “sydney”. We aren’t finding out the sex and were unable to think of another cute fruit nickname to go w/”mango” so we’re using “sydney” since we found out we were pregnant the day before our trip to Sydney, Australia. Plus, the name could be either boy or girl… maybe it’ll stick, maybe not - we have a ways to go…

8weeks

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20 weeksus-3.bmpimg_7660.jpgmonth 2

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