Whirlwind March

Holy frijoles, I can’t believe it’s almost been an entire MONTH since I blogged last! Hot diggity dog, the time really does fly. Penny will be celebrating SEVEN months this weekend!!

Needless to say, the past month has been a doozy. I’ve been keeping super busy with work, and then last week Penny & I flew down to visit my sister in Atlanta! Penny did great on the plane there and back (her 5th and 6th flights since she was born!), although I was definitely even more nervous about flying with her this time than I was last time (when she was still just a little lump). It’s just that she requires a lot more entertainment and is more difficult to coax to sleep now — the world is just far too interesting! I still managed to get her to nap for at least a little bit on both flights by stickin’ her on the boob, though, heh.

It was BEYOND worth the slight stress of flying solo with a baby again, though, since we got to be there for my niece Mia’s 5th birthday! I’m still in denial that she’s FIVE years old. That’s like, a real little kid, man! I mean, she starts KINDERGARTEN this Fall! Gah!!!!

She had a Brave themed birthday party that was a ton of fun to help my sister prep for (if you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my Story documenting the epic fail that was our first attempt at the Bear Claw Brownies ::insert crying laughing emoji::).

 
 
And just look at all the STINKIN’ ADORABLE photos I got to take of Penny with her cousins. I mean, just, like, can you EVEN?!

 
And honestly this is just a fraction of the photos I took while I was down there, hahahaha.

Aaaanyway, I’ll give a full update on how Penny’s been doing, what milestones she’s been crushing, and all that good stuff for her 7 month post, but things have been pretty great with all things regarding her lately. Sleep was obviously impacted by our trip, but she didn’t do toooooo badly all things considered, and she’s generally back to mostly sleeping through from her bedtime around 7, 7:30 until 5 or 6 AM (whereupon I usually just nurse her back to sleep so I can coax a couple more hours out of her, haha.)

And I’ve also been planning a big bash for my upcoming birthday: The Big 3-0! I’m having a 90s-themed house party to celebrate my entrance into the next decade, and it’s honestly sooooo much fun (not to mention wicked nostalgic) to plan out. We’re talking choker necklaces, neon & cheetah print EVERYTHING, butterfly clips, slap bracelets, bagel bites, pixie sticks, oversized Zack Morris-style cell phones, and YES I absolutely did buy jelly sandals in my current, adult shoe size. Here’s a throwback to this sexy trio rocking some seriously sweet early-nineties fashion — is it weird that I would 100% still wear those saddle shoes?

Here’s where I need your help though: the music! No 90s party could possibly be complete without an EPIC party playlist to get funky to, amiright?

What’s your must-have 90s song for me to put on the party playlist?

 

Penny: Six Months Old

Happy half-birthday to our Lucky Penny!

Well, technically, she doesn’t really have a half-birthday, since she was born on the 30th and there are only 28 days in February. Which deeeefinitely threw me off my game, because yesterday rolled around and I still hadn’t taken her monthly progress photo! Here is my feelings on said failure, as demonstrated by Penelope:

WOMP.

Obviously I wasn’t just going to let SIX MONTHS pass us by without properly commemorating it, though, so I rallied and snuck in a quick little photoshoot before her second nap yesterday, hehe.

 
At six months, our beautiful little girl weighs in at 17 pounds, 13 ounces, and 26.5″ long. She’s in the 80th percentile for both height & weight. Her eyes are still blueblueblue and her hair is still like a red-brown-blonde, if you can believe it! She’s wearing 9 month clothing, and is still wonderfully cooperative in letting me dress her up everyday, hehe. I hope it lasts!

She sits up like a total rockstar, although seems to have pretty much given up on the whole rolling thing, lol. Oh well, maybe she’ll be one of those babies who just skips crawling altogether — I can see her being a little butt-scooter pretty soon, and she loves assisted standing, too!

 

She loves to eat real food, and so far is a big fan of:

  • Sweet potato
  • Avocado
  • Peas
  • Pears
  • Banana
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots

Strawberries and mashed potatoes, however, not so much.

She’s a real little chatterbox these days, too, and is so expressive! She is OBSESSED with her feet, always trying to pull her socks off and playing with them. Still no teeth, although she’s been teething (drooling, chewing, little red cheeks) for what feels like forever already!

Sleepwise she’s made it solidly through the night several times over the past month or so, but it’s very inconsistent. We know she’s capable of going all night without eating, but sometimes she still wants to nurse around 2 or 3 AM. Still not too shabby! She seems to have a big preference for side-sleeping whenever she can, so we’re going to be working on transitioning her out of her Magic Sleepsuit (*deep breaths*) over the next month. I’m hoping that once she has a little more control over her sleeping position (and once she can get her pacifier back in her own mouth — she’s been getting better at this lately too!), we’ll have the sleep thing locked down for real!

All in all, we couldn’t be happier with how our little girl is continuing to grow, change, and thrive. It’s bittersweet though, of course, since if the first six months have passed by so quickly, what does that say about the next ones? I’m not ready!

We love you, Penny!

Day in the Life: Office Mom Edition

Aloha! So, the last time I wrote up a Day in the Life post, Penny was only 2 months old and I was still on maternity leave. It kind of feels like I just wrote that post up, but clearly it’s been a while! And since I’ve returned to work and Penny is now almost 6 months old, I’d say that more than a few things have changed, haha. Because I work from home 4/5 days a week, things still look pretty different from one to the next. There are just so many factors that inform my daily schedule: who I have helping out with Penny (our part-time nanny, my mother-in-law, or my parents), if I have in-person meetings or calls scheduled, if I have an Elite Event that evening, etc.

So I’m thinking I’ll be doing another day in the life post sooner rather than later to try and give a picture of what things are like for me when I’m at home vs. going into DC, but since yesterday was an office day, you get the latter first!

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4 AM: Our day starts bright & early (or, more accurately, dark & drearily), as Penny wakes up happily in her crib at 4 AM after having gone to bed at 7 PM the previous night. She’s just chat, chat, chatting away, petting her unicorn, and being adorably AWAKE. After a little while, I go down to her room and replace her pacifier with foolish optimism, but she has absolutely nooooo interest in going back to sleep. Oh well! I go back upstairs and watch the monitor hoping in vain that she’ll fall asleep again eventually… spoiler alert: she doesn’t.

4:45 AM: She finally starts to fuss, so Sean goes down and brings her upstairs to me so I can nurse her. She nurses for like 20 minutes per side and we both fall back asleep when she’s on the second side — whoops! We snooze until almost 7:30.

 
7:30 AM: Time to get up! I nurse Penny again (just for 5 minutes), change her wet diaper, and then go downstairs to let the dogs out. I also pick out her outfit for the day and get her dressed, since her room is on our downstairs level.

I also toss a load of laundry in the machine while we’re downstairs, as I’m trying to make a habit of doing small loads of laundry more often. Y’know, instead of my previous way of doing it, which was to wait until I’m literally wearing my last pair of clean underwear and then spend two days doing like 6 separate loads, lol.

When I come back upstairs, I feed the dogs their breakfast and supplements, Penny and I play a little bit, and I take her daily #OOTD photos, hehe. She’s sitting up SO well these days — self-correcting when she starts to teeter to one side, and even pulled herself into an upright sitting position when I placed her leaning back on the pillow! So proud of my strong little girl. <3

8 AM: I place Penny in her new Bumper Jumper for some self-play and sit down at my desk to go through my emails.

JUST KIDDING! My computer has decided to update itself all on its own because Skynet is nigh.

So I fill out my Panda Planner for the day, check my email on my phone, and get myself ready… giving a little extra attention to my hair & makeup since I have the time, lol. I am going into the office today anyway, I guess I should make myself presentable?

 
Penny lasts a good half hour in her jumper (!!), but when she gets tired of it, I give her favorite teether to her and hold her in my lap while I put my newly-perfected one-handed typing skills to use and respond to a few emails.

9 AM: Penny is showing signs of tiredness, so I go try to put her down for her first nap of the day.

She is pretty fussy once I lay her down (she has been fighting this morning nap pretty hard for the past couple of days), so it takes some extra time and some extra nursing (3 minutes) to get her calmed down. I lay her back in her crib and she finally falls asleep at 9:30.

9:50 AM: My mother-in-law arrives, so it’s time for me to head out! Typically, I’d have taken Penny over to my parents’ house before going into the office, and Sean’s mom comes and helps out on a different day. My parents are out of town visiting my sister and their other grandchildren this week, however, so Kim to the rescue! She texts me while I’m en route to work to let me know that Penny woke up at 10:15 — her classic short 45-minute nap.

10:45 AM: There was an accident or something causing a ton of traffic, so it takes almost an hour to get to the office even though rush hour was supposed to have been over by the time I left. Womp womp. Oh well, eventually I do make it to Yelp’s brand spankin’ new Chinatown office! H/T to my coworker Kimberly for the rad pic of our reception area below:

10:50 AM: I dump my stuff at my desk and head right to the Mother’s Room and pump first thing.

 
Somehow, I managed to remember to shove my pumping bra into my bag but forgot pretty much everything else, including extra containers to hold my milk. Thankfully Yelp is awesome and the Mother’s Room is not only stocked with the pump itself (every pumping mama gets their own set of flanges, tubing, and milk storage bottles), but also has spare parts for exactly this type of situation. I make a note in my planner to bring some storage bags to keep here at the office next week, though.

11 AM: I make a quick trip to the kitchen to grab some coffee and hodgepodge together a super late breakfast, since I haven’t eaten anything yet today. Definitely not a good habit… something I’m definitely trying to work on! I make myself a piece of toast with nutella and banana, and grab a strawberry Chobani, a hard-boiled egg, and some coffee. Yeah, our office kitchen is pretty boss.

I finally have a few minutes to bang out some actual work — responding to messages, queueing up emails, setting appointments, doing backend work, etc.

 
11:30 AM: Time for my weekly 1:1 with my boss. This used to be done on the phone, but now we can meet in person whenever possible and it’s so nice to get time to catch up and discuss what I have going on work-wise. Our meeting lasts half an hour, and afterwards I head back to my desk and keep plugging away at my to-do list!

Having Penny around has definitely taught me to be much more efficient with my time when I have work to do. A few hours of uninterrupted time at my computer probably doesn’t seem like much to most people, but I’m able to fly through my task list because I’m so focused on making the most of my time in the office.

I do have two more calls on my agenda today — our weekly team call at 1 PM, and a call related to a special project I’m working on at 2:30.

2:45 PM: After my last call of the day, I enjoy a late lunch with my coworkers in the office. This is my favorite part of having an office to go into — getting to see my colleagues on a regular basis! I’m already one of the lucky ones in the Community Manager program at Yelp, since my coworkers in DC and the MD Burbs are so close by (plus our boss, who also lives in DC), and we’ve been able to get together relatively regularly over the years. But having the office now means we see each other on an even more frequent basis! Forget the Coke Freestyle machine — getting to spend time with my work fam is 100% my favorite office perk.

Anyway, after we finish eating, I go back to my desk to wrap up a few more things with the intention of going to pump again, but my laptop’s mystical powers suck me in and I totally lose track of time. Womp. My mother-in-law lives in Stafford (an hour away without traffic), I want her to be able to head home before she gets stuck in the worst part of rush hour, so I decide to skip pumping and head out.

4 PM: I leave the office to go relieve my MIL from Penny duty! Alas, traffic is already pretty heavy, but that’s DC for ya…

4:50 PM: Reunited and it feels so good! My mother-in-law tells me all about Penny’s day: she napped twice, pooped twice, drank her bottles (hooray!!), and had baby oatmeal and carrots. She unfortunately threw up some of the carrots, but I think otherwise she was pretty good for Grandma! It’s a big relief to know she wasn’t too fussy, and also that she drank her milk since she’s occasionally weird about drinking frozen milk / from bottles (not sure which part is the issue). And of course, it’s also just a huge relief for me to get to snuggle mah baybeh again!

As if watching our little Lucky Penny wasn’t already enough, my wonderful mother-in-law also finished up the laundry that I started this AM. We say bye-bye to Grandma Foxy and I nurse Penny pretty much immediately — it’s been 6 hours since I pumped! She nurses for 11 minutes.

 
5:30 PM: We play together for a bit, before I try to put Penny down in our room for her last catnap of the day. She’s a little distracted though. Hmm, wonder why? 😉

I shoo her brothers away but the DockATot still isn’t cutting it. I can tell she’s really tired though, and if she doesn’t nap soon it’s going to mess with bedtime. So I snuggle up with her and she falls asleep pretty much instantly curled up against me. ::heart eyes emoji:: I certainly ain’t mad about it. Penny cuddles are pretty much the best thing in the entire world, after all.

 
Sean comes home while she’s napping, and because miracles do exist, I’m able to extricate myself from the bed without waking her to say hi to my husband.

6:20 PM: Penny naps for about 40 minutes (the last nap of the day is always a short one), and when she wakes up she is so excited to see her Daddy! It’s the most heartwarming thing ever.

6:45 PM: Sean plays with her a little bit while and then goes to prepare her bath. Penny is a total water baby and looooves the bath! She’s starting to get pretty big for our Schnuggle tub, though — when she splish-splashes, it goes everywhere now! Might have to move on up to the real bathtub soon ::sniff::

We wrap her up in a little bunny robe that her nanny gifted us — is she not the cutest little somebunny you ever did see? <3

 
7 PM: We normally try to get our little bunny in bed between 7 and 7:30, so we’re still doing pretty well on time. I nurse her one last time (just 5 minutes), and we get her into her jammies. I’m crazy for this unicorn footie sleeper that we recently picked up at Target (it’s Carter’s Just One You brand). My squeaky clean li’l unicorn!

 
7:15 PM: It’s bedtime! Sean and I have been trying to alternate nights putting her to bed, and tonight it’s my turn. Our bedtime routine is simply to put her in her magic sleepsuit, give her paci & her Zoe to her, and walk out of the room. Half the time she’ll fall asleep within a minute or two, and the other half of the time she needs a little bit of extra TLC. Tonight it’s the latter, but she’s not too bad. She fusses on and off a little bit and loses her paci twice, but I plug it back in and she’s down for the count by 7:30!

7:30 PM: I let the dogs back outside and it’s dinnertime for Sean and me. We eat and watch an episode of Altered Carbon on Netflix — we’ve been really digging it! I definitely recommend if you like sci-fi, murder mysteries, or futuristic thrillers.

8:45 PM: We clean up a bit after dinner and it’s time for some meeeee time! Sean plays a video game, and I throw a face mask on, toss some Friends up on the TV, cuddle up with Daxter by my side and Harry at my feet, and start writing this post!

 
12:00 AM: Sean went to bed at 10:45, but I really wanted to finish this post so it’s looking like a late night for me. Which, honestly, is basically business as usual for me. When you’re trying to balance work & blog & household & self-care, something’s gotta give, and for me, that thing is usually sleep, haha. So anyway, if you see me posting about decluttering my house and momming it up and working and still finding time to do my makeup, just know that being productive, for me, does not come without at least this sacrifice, haha. But whatever man, I’m sure I’ll more than catch up on my sleep when Penny’s a teenager and sleeping until 2 PM every weekend like I did. 😛

One last thing to do before I get ready for bed: pump, as I’ve been trying to build my freezer stash back up (and since I only pumped the one time at work today.) I pump for 9 minutes and get 6 ounces, so I’m really glad that I did!

12:45 AM: Daxter wants to go out one last time, so I wake Old Man Harry up and let both dogs outside while I quickly go through my own bedtime routine: wash my face, put on moisturizer, brush my teeth (accidentally putting facewash on my toothbrush… so maybe this whole sleep thing is taking more of a toll than I thought, eh?) and put my PJs on. Then I bring the dogs back in and crawl into bed a little after 1 AM.

Now we get to wait and see if Penny makes it straight through ’til morning (it’s happened before!) or if we’re in for another 4 AM wakeup call.

Cheers, everyone!

(Morning update: She did not, in fact, wake me up at 4 AM! She woke me up at 3 instead, hahahahacry. Thank goodness for coffee! 😅)

Good News, Everybody!

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and a brilliant beginning of the Year of the Dog! Our Chinese New Year celebration was even more spectacular than usual this year, not only because it was Penny’s first, but because…

Good things come to those who wait…

Posted by Ben Powell on Friday, February 16, 2018

Ben & Taylor (my brother and sister-in-law) made a very important announcement: they’re expecting a BABY!!!! Click here if you can’t view the video embedded above — it’s worth it! (Plus I make a cameo at the beginning, hehe.)

We could NOT be more excited for the two of them — they have been waiting for this little bebe for a while, and my sister-in-law in particular has been admirably and wonderfully open about their struggles to conceive. I am so excited to be an aunt again, and for Penny to have a little cousin so close in both age and distance to her!!

Anyway, clearly we had a lot to celebrate on Friday, which we did via a huge Chinese New Year feast that my hardworking mama prepared!

 
 

We invited Taylor’s parents and Sean’s parents to join in on the celebration this year as well, which was wonderful. Penny got showered with many good wishes for the new year… as well as some very generously gifted hong bao / lai see (red envelopes) to fund her dreams (and her college savings account!)

 
 

I also picked up a new toy for her: a bumper jumper! It’s the kind that hangs from a doorframe — something that was initially a bit panic-inducing, but it has rave reviews, and once I clipped it up, I felt confident in how secure it is. She’s still getting the hang of actually jumping in it, but seems to like twisting around and lifting her feet off the ground so she can swing back and forth, lol.

This type of jumper is much more portable than the other, stationary jumper we have (which is this one from Skip Hop), which I had brought to my parents’ house over Christmas and never taken back because it’s so cumbersome to move. But my parents are set to be going out of town quite a bit this Spring, so I wanted to take back that jumper and get something we can more easily move back and forth between our houses.

 

And things are otherwise going really well with our little mischief-maker! She’s been trying all kinds of new foods — so far she mostly likes everything, including sweet potatoes, oatmeal, bananas, green beans, pears, and broccoli! And she has thus far not seemed to enjoy strawberries (too tart — we’ll have to try again when they’re more in season) or mashed potatoes (maybe a texture thing?)

 

When we first started solids, they seemed to wreak a bit of havoc on her sensitive li’l tummy, which affected her sleep. (And, in turn, affected our sleep, lol.) She would wake up screeeeeeaming after a couple of hours, and it was almost impossible to calm her back down without nursing her back to sleep. So it was a bit of a rough week or so in that department, but thankfully things are really looking up — I guess her digestive issues are subsiding (for now at least!), because the past couple of nights have been great again!

 

I’m always hesitant to celebrate her sleep accomplishments tooooooo loudly, since it’s all still very unpredictable (and will likely remain that way for a while still, haha), but the past few nights she’s been back to sleeping 7 PM to 7 AM. Woo-hoo! Naps are still a bit of a struggle, as she usually only naps for a single sleep cycle (30 – 45 minutes), although randomly and rarely she’ll sometimes sleep 1.5 – 2 hours. Now that I have a more consistent schedule with childcare help and whatnot, her short naps aren’t as much of an issue for me (just for her, since they mean she gets tired again super quickly!)

So yes! Lots of good things happening — Penny’s new cousin is baking (due this summer!), I’m getting into a really good groove with work, and I’m feeling so much more carefree and content about the state of our house since I started my decluttering project. I’m still nowhere near done, but I’m continuing to make strides in clearing out junk, reorganizing our living spaces to be more functional, and trying to create joy where there was only chaos, hahaha.

Plus, clearing out my closet has been super freeing — I’ve donated like 10 bags of clothing, but also have been able to sell many of my nicer/higher end pieces on Poshmark! So, yes, I’m feeling really good about the progress made so far, I just hope that I’m not losing momentum. I wasn’t able to get very much done this past week with how busy things were work-wise, so I’m hoping that since I have a bit of a lighter schedule this week, I’ll get back on top of things!

 

Here’s to a productive and happy week ahead!

Year of the Dog

Happy Chinese New Year!

I’m half-Chinese, so CNY is a pretty big deal around these parts. My mom usually cooks up a huge celebratory feast to ring in the new year, and typically this is done on New Year’s Eve. This year, however, we pushed it to New Year’s Day (so, tonight) so that both my brother’s and my in-laws can join in on the festivities!

We can’t wait to introduce our little quarter-Chinese, quarter-Korean dumpling (Sean is also a halfie like moi) to this little slice of her heritage. She’s already developed a (literal) taste for hong bao — the red envelopes that are filled with monaaaaaay… that’ll be going straight into her college fund, lol.

 
So happy new year, guys! May your years be blessed with good health, good fortune, good times spent with friends & family, and some damn good food, too!