Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy Birthday my sweet Lana Ru!

Today is your birthday and you are two! I can't believe how fast the time has flown by. It seems like we just brought you home--but that was 2 homes ago,2 cities ago, so I guess it has been a little while. I know you are excited to sing "Happy Birthday to me" and I am looking forward to seeing you play with your friends and blow out your candles.

You are the best thing that has ever happened to Baba and I. Everyday we feel so lucky to have you. We love you more than words can describe. There are a hundred little moments every day that make me laugh--you do and say so many funny and smart things! I have never seen your Baba smile bigger than when he smiles at you.

You love to run and jump and gallop--in circles, fast, all while laughing with that big beautiful smile! You love to go "in", which means to hide under a blanket and gather your stuffed animals and ask Mama or Baba to "come in" or "go away". You love to be outside in the garden with Baba--digging in the dirt or getting yourself soaked with the hose. You love to play with your blocks and to color with Mama. You love to help Mama "clean up" around the house--sometimes you make a mess on purpose just so I will get the broom and you can help clean up.

You love fruit--any kind of fruit, but especially berries and cherries. Some days I think you only eat fruit and drink milk. But overall you are a good eater, especially if noodles are involved. You hate potatoes, cheese, pizza, ketchup and spinach.

While you are very active, you have recently decided that hugs and kisses are nice too. But only on your terms. This melts Mama and Baba's heart more than you know.

Lately you talk and talk and talk. In the car, you tell me which way to go--"this way Mama!" and you point out all the buses, where we have eaten and all the important places we go--the bank, museum, library, etc. You tell me to "sit down right here Mommy" or "all done Mommy".

This past year you have grown so much, from a unsteadily walking baby to a "big girl", as we say to you. I love watching you discover new things. I love the look on your face when you see a bird, a doggie or Elmo. I love the unbridled belly laughs you give to me when I tickle you or swing you in the air. That beautiful round face of yours with the big smile is something I will remember till I am old and gray.

Oh sweet Lana Ru, how we love you! We hope you have a great birthday. We hope this year is filled with all of the joy of these past 2 years and more. Baba and I can't wait to watch you grow into an even bigger "big girl" and we can't wait to see what this next year holds for us.

Oh man!

My silly little girl! She says the funniest things. Maybe they are only funny to me and Bill, but I want to remember them all. I hear a million times a day, "mommy, take a look" when she wants me to look at whatever she is doing. She can say anything you ask her to now, which Bill is having fun with. She started saying "oh shit" which comes out more like "oh dit" thankfully. I told her that only grownups can say shit and that she is not allowed. So now she says, in perfect context I might add, "Mommy--oh shit, Baba--oh shit, Lana--OH MAN!" If Bill or I slip and say Shit--she will correct us and say--OH MAN! She also loves to describe things as big or little. "Lana, BIG poopie--BIG ONE!!" And she does this hand motion when she says BIG ONE, like it is the biggest one EVER! She also likes to count on her fingers and then clap and say YAY when she is done. She thinks her one hand has 6 fingers. She can count to 16 in English and 10 in Chinese. She definitely has a flair for the dramatic.

Memorial Day Weekend

I was so looking forward to the long weekend--I envisioned us maybe taking a day trip or a ferry ride somewhere to explore this new area in which we live, but my plans were dashed on the previous Wednesday when Bill came home and said, "I think I am getting sick--I'm freezing!" He got Lana's virus from last week, which I am guessing was a version of hand-foot-and-mouth disease b/c it was the fever, then a rash on her feet and in her mouth. Bill got pummeled by this illness--I have never seen him so sick actually. He never registered a fever. Instead his body temp was low and he was so cold, along with the body aches and all that. But it lasted 3 days and he had no appetite until Sunday. He operated on Friday--I have no idea how he could function well enough to do so b/c as soon as he came home he went straight to bed. So our weekend was quite low-key. But we probably needed a relaxing weekend anyway, so it all worked out. We did manage to clean out our garage on Monday--finally unpacking the last 20 or so boxes from our move last August. Sheesh! That only took 10 months! We kept Lana entertained by letting her play with some old Barbie toys I had in a box. She kept wanting to sit in the corvette, rather than letting Malibu Barbie drive. We also picked some flowers from our garden and brought them inside. 10 huge white calla lillies, these big hot pink peony-looking flowers (i'm not sure what they are) and a bunch of orange and pink poppies. The previous owner of our house really planned the garden thoughtfully. Just as one plant flowers, another is ready to bloom--we have a constant stream of flowers with something new opening every week. Our irises look almost ready to open--I can't wait--I love those! I am so grateful for this garden and how little we have to do with it and yet we are constantly reaping the rewards of someone else's work. We had beautiful weather the whole weekend and we spent a lot of time outside just hanging out. I am so looking forward to this summer and the fun we will have in the garden, at the park, the pool--ooh, I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Weekend at the Beach

We had a warm, record-breaking heat weekend! We took advantage and went to the beach. Lana loves the sand and water--you have to watch her every second b/c she wants to run right into the ocean--even if its freezing! Here she is in all her glory and no, she won't look at the camera--she is too busy:

There was also a great playground there, with an "up-down" (a seesaw). She cried buckets when we left . We all had a great time .

Friday, May 16, 2008


Well, it happened. Lana puked. All over the sofa and a little on me. Most everyone who knows me knows that I am a raging puke-a-phobe. Seeing someone barf makes me want to run--fast. I was not the friend who would hold your hair after a long night of drinking. You puke in my car--we are no longer pals. If you are a boyfriend and you puke in my presence, don't expect a kiss any time soon. I don't do it often. I had a puke-free streak of 20 years, but then I got a bug when we visited Taiwan in 2005. It must have been some crazy Asian flu b/c I can fight off puking like nobody's business. Even through my very green pregnancy, I dry heaved almost every day, but I talked myself out of giving it up, which is so silly b/c it probably would have made me feel better.

One of my big fears and misconceptions about having a baby is that the kid would be puking constantly. Lucky for me, Lana is not a barfer--like me! Before this current incident, there was only one other time during a nasty case of gastroenteritits last winter. Well, I have to say I survived the throw up today. It was yucky, but I made it. And I still gave her kisses afterward. So I suppose that progress has been made, although I couldn't help but think that I was next b/c we share every single illness that either of us gets. But so far, so good.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tender moments

Its no secret that Lana has never been a cuddly kind of kid. She is super independent and has been from Day 1. During the newborn phase when you can generally rock your baby to sleep and they feel safe in your arms, I had my screaming baby in the carseat bucket, rocking it b/c she did not enjoy being held by me (sniff, sniff). I can count on one hand the number of times she fell asleep on my shoulder.

Well, times have changed! Lana has suddenly, out of nowhere decide that hugs with the pat on the back are nice, sitting close on the sofa, leaning into mommy is comforting and kisses are the best thing ever! Oh, how I have waited for this to happen! This is not a perfect utopia, b/c we are still having sleep issues where she wants me to stay until she is asleep. We plan on sleep training (AGAIN!) soon (yes, I am procrastinating), but whereas I once complained that this sleep regression sucked, I have discovered that it may have been a blessing in disguise. Lana and I have had some incredibly sweet moments as I lay with her and she drifts off to sleep. Maybe this is all par for the course to other moms who have always had cuddly kiddos, but for me, it has been so special. She wants me to sing her special "airplane" song--a song Bill made up to get her to sleep on the airplane, the last time we traveled. She wants me to improvise the lyrics with "no talking" and "close eyes". She wants to get under the covers: "in". She grabs my hand and puts it next to her cheek and periodically kisses it. If I open my eyes to check to see if she is sleeping yet, she will laugh hysterically--like she got me! And she points to my pillow and says, "mommy, stay--sleeping". These quiet moments are such contrast to the running, talking, jumping kid she normally is and I cherish each and every one of them.

Happy birthday mother's day

Bill: Lana, can you say Happy Mother's Day to Mommy?
Lana: Appy Birtday Mudder's Day!!

Too cute!! I guess she is really looking forward to her birthday. We had a nice relaxing morning--Bill and Lana made me breakfast. Then we dropped Lana off at my inlaws while we went car shopping--we are thinking minivan (gasp! so uncool, i know!). Its between the Honda Odessey or the Toyota Sienna. I am kind of apathetic on the nitty gritty of car shopping--I guess its Bill's department. Plus, cars for me are just a way to get around. I am looking forward to having the DVD player for Lana to watch while I drive. She is so miserable in the car that driving any longer than 20 min is miserable for me too. I also want the butt warmers--the heated seats, but we'll see... I guess those are my only requirements. Even the color I don't care about. The trick is going to be keeping it clean b/c Lana snacks in the car. Admittedly, its my only way to keep her quiet--give the kid some goldfish or those freeze dried fruit snacks and enjoy the few moments of silence. My blogging friend Beth asked a long time ago what is the price you would pay for peace? My answer: fruit. In any format. Fresh, frozen, dried--any variety. I am going broke buying those damn Gerber freeze dried apples and the banana and strawberry mix. Walmart makes their own brand too, but at $2.19 a bag, which doesn't last long, I spend a lot of change on these snacks. But, the few moments of quiet in the car are totally worth it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sweet memories

Our dear friends S & N had their first baby yesterday--a girl! Lana has a cousin--YAY! Bill and I are both only children, so our dear friends are considered family to us. Anyway, they called the other night to say that N's water had broken and they were going to the hospital and I couldn't sleep just thinking about them and how everything was about to change for them. I thought about that afternoon, two years ago when Bill and I were driving to the hospital and I said "I'm so nervous" about 300 times. It was such a lovely, sunny May day in San Diego--I was being induced and I had NO idea what to expect--who does, really? I ended up with a C-section b/c every doc that examined me said--whoa, that's one small pelvis--there is no way a baby is coming out of there! Anyway, I remember hearing Lana's cry (LOUD!) and seeing her round face for the first time. I was thinking about how little she was and how cute she looked under the blue lights for her jaundice treatment. I was thinking about how natural it felt to hold her and how terrified I felt to be left alone with her b/c I had no clue what I was doing. Ugh, I remember getting out of bed to go pee for the first time and thinking, are you kidding me? I have to walk all the way across the room? Ouchie! I remember the pain of my milk coming in and the bitchy lactation consultant that made me cry trying to get me motivated to breastfeed through the pain. I also remember Bill standing on one side of me and the lactation bitch on the other as they both "milked" me like a cow, while I screamed and sweat, trying to relieve the engorgement. That was the most unnatural moment of my life. I remember bringing Lana home to our apartment, filled with moving boxes (we moved across the country 6 weeks later) and how she slept on her side, even though we put her on her back and how it made me so nervous. She was defiant and independent even then--I should have known what I was in for! I remember the colic--the freakin colic! Bill studying for boards with a screaming baby in his arms. Me, losing my mind b/c I was pumping and then bottle feeding and then Lana would sleep and I would wash the pump parts and then there was only 30 min till the next feeding. A person cannot survive on 30 min naps round the clock.

Okay, so this post started off sweet and turned into a remembrance of how hard it was. But I guess that is what the first few weeks were like for us. What I know now that I didn't know then was that the tough times pass and it gets easier. You don't sleep for 30 min stretches for the rest of your life. The colic ends (thankfully) and eventually you figure out what the screaming blob of baby wants or at least how to make them chill for 10 min. Bill is ready for baby #2. I am not quite there yet, although I am open to the idea of it in the relatively near future. I wonder how it will be different the second time around. Will I be less nervous? More confident? How will Lana react? Will she be jealous or a helper? Who knows! All I do know is when you see that new baby for the first time, it is true love and that alone makes all the tough times totally totally worth it and then some!

Congratulations S & N if you are reading--may you enjoy every moment of your miracle!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mama's little piggy

Why do I find it so hilarious when Lana is eating and makes a mess. Am I the only one who finds it endearing? She is getting quite good with utensils finally and is SO proud of herself when she gets the job done. I finally found a yogurt flavor that she likes--mixed berry--go figure!
The other day I gave her breakfast and left the room for 2 seconds. This is what I came back to:

I guess there was a more efficient way of eating the yogurt. What a ham.

Food allergies

As I mentioned I have been having tummy troubles since I had Lana. The first year after her birth was pretty rough--I kept thinking I was getting food poisoning, but I guess not. I saw a GI specialist--she told me I had IBS, there is no treatment. Take some fiber, try to figure out your triggers and pray you are near a bathroom when you need one. Thanks. I have noticed that with normal hormone changes, I feel worse, so I take hormones to help stabilize the big swings. I also take fiber and probiotics. All help some, but there are still days when I feel like shit. (pardon the pun) So I got a new specialist doc and he did a bunch of bloodwork to make sure I didn't have cancer or something scary like that and I turned out okay, except my IgE levels were high, suggesting allergy, potentially environmental or food. His theory was that a food allergy may be messing up my guts. Alrighty--yesterday I got a scratch test--about 45 things tested and it turns out I am allergic to all the major food allergens: peanuts, milk, egg, chicken, corn and soybeans. Oh and oranges (huh?). The good news: I am not allergic to coffee! The bad news: what the hell am I supposed to eat? How is it possible that I am allergic to everything and I have never noticed before? I thought with food allergies, you blow up like a fish, hurl, get hives, anaphalaxis? WTF? I am getting some more blood tests and we will start an elimination diet to see if cutting out any of these allergens will help make me feel better. I like the idea of feeling better. On the downside, I think this will make me even crazier and more obsessive than I already am. The doc also told me that Lana is high risk for food allergies and we need to be giving her acidophilis, which is supposed to protect her somehow. Bill thinks this is all a bunch of hooey, which is what I would expect. He is such a surgeon sometimes. Ah well, off to have some coffee--yay!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Weekend Report

We had a very special weekend, as Bill cashed in on his birthday present from me--tickets to the Seattle Symphony. Lana stayed with my inlaws overnight, yes, that's right--OVERNIGHT--woo hoo! I used Priceline.com to get a hotel and I scored a very fancy hotel called the Edgewater. We got the room at half price, which is a good thing since we would never pay that much for a hotel, even if it did have a water view! Our room literally overlooked the water--you could spit in the Puget Sound--which incidentally Bill did, just because he could. When we got to our room and opened the curtains--a ginormous Norwegian Cruise Ship was looking at us, docked at the port. It was so close that if the captain got drunk and confused, we could have been run over. This was the view from our window:
Then we heard the big honk and this is what we saw:

We got there around lunchtime and decided to splurge and eat at the fancy hotel restaurant. It was a lovely surprise! Bill had clams with picholine olives, roasted tomatoes and chorizo in a very interesting sauce that had some type of wine--madiera? Marsala? Not sure, but damn, it was good. I had a caesar salad that came in a parmesan-bowl--have you seen these creations? Yum! Our intent with this excursion was to relax, so of course we napped--like a monster nap--like we haven't slept in years! I was worried we would have insomnia, but who was I kidding, we are really sleep deprived! It was heavenly! We caught some apps and drinks at a restaurant near Symphony Hall and then some gelato (and coffee for me). Yes, we ate all day long. The coffee was key for me though b/c I am not into classical music so much and I was worried I would nod off during the performance, which would be embarrassing! We had great seats--on the balcony. I almost was killed though b/c I was wearing these stupid 3 inch heels and I tripped over the chick sitting next to us on my way to our seats--she was wearing these big clunker shoes and I literally went flying--thank goodness I caught myself or I would have gone over the balcony to my death! I really have no business wearing heels. I can't walk in them, they pinch my feet and they are not made for city walking. After walking a few blocks from my car to the restaurant to the gelateria to the symphony, I had bloody stumps. The performance itself was nice. Bill really enjoyed it--really really enjoyed it. I liked it too, but I don't have the same appreciation for classical music. Bill felt so inspired that he wants to get the strings on his violin repaired. He played all his life, but quit during residency when things got too hectic. As I was listening to the performance, I was wondering if Lana would also take lessons one day and inherit some of her father's talent. Or not. I was also thinking about how these musicians are so immersed in a world that is so foreign to me, how difficult it is to land a seat in a symphony in a major city and how diverse peoples' career choices really are. While Bill and I are both science-types, we both have interest in art, although my interest is more in the visual arts. I wonder how this will impact Lana, if at all or if she will just surprise us all and become an economist or something like that. I was thinking about how fun college was when you could go from a chemistry class to a world religion class to a Spanish art class--who has the time these days to explore intellectual pursuits just for the heck of it? Ah college--what fun!

After the Symphony, we planned to catch a night-cap somewhere, but we had to get back to the room pronto for more sleeping--this was a golden opportunity you see! No baby monitor, no singing "The Wheels on the Bus" 800 times in a row to get Lana to sleep, no crying in the middle of the night''Mama!!", no switching beds and no getting kicked in the trachea (which REALLY hurts, I might add)! It was such a fun and relaxing weekend, but the best part was coming home and seeing Lana run to me screaming "Mommy!!". She was so loving and affectionate the rest of the day--her hugs are the best.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I love it here

When you say you live in the Seattle area, everyone says--OMG, it rains all the time there--do people get seasonal-affective disorder? Okay people, its not that bad. Yes, it rains here. Yes, winter is gray--but not any grayer that living just east of Lake Erie in my fantabulous hometown of Buffalo, NY. Does it give you depression--Hell NO! I love it here! After experiencing our first winter, all I have to say is that it was painless. It rained, but not everyday. We even had snow--but only like an inch and it melted the next day. The great thing is that it doesn't get that cold, so even around Christmas time on dry days Lana and I went to the park. Certainly it is a mild winter compared to Buffalo or Chicago--now I loved living in Chicago, but it is freakin COLD there! Like I-can't-breathe-because-my-lungs-are-frozen cold. Anyhoo, enough about winter--spring is here!! We have a very mature garden that the previous owners of the house put a lot of love and money into and it has been so fun seeing what pops up this spring. We have hyacinths and daffodils, but I love my tulips:

I also love that the days are so long here. The sun sets around 8:30pm and this is the view from our master bedroom--looking out into the Puget Sound. Yeah, the people across the street have a much better view, but still our whole upstairs has an orange glow at sunset. This is reason enough for me love it here.

And here is Lana sniffing the flowers in the front yard with her beloved "watery crayon" as she calls the watering can.
Since she is always so busy and you can never see her face--here is one up close--she looks a bit confused.

Fruit is explosive

Lana is addicted to fruit. Its serious--I may have to have an intervention at some point. Since she eats so much fruit, we have banned juice, which of course my inlaws have decided to ignore. But that's okay, b/c grandparents are supposed to spoil the children, right? Okay, let me give you an idea of how much fruit we go through. Over the weekend we bought a huge clamshell of strawberries and another big clamshell of blackberries, both from Costco. On Monday I bought a pretty big watermelon, some oranges and apples. It is now Thursday and we are down to half a watermelon, about 5 strawberries and 2 oranges. Okay, Bill and I eat some fruit too, but the berries are all Lana. Plus she loves frozen cherries (look out once the fresh ones hit) and the frozen triple berry mix. Its out of control and EXPENSIVE!! But, I have something to use for bribes. Four more bites of dinner till you get berries... I know its not horrible--the kid likes something healthy at least. True. I can't think of another snack I would rather give her--cookies, crackers? So the only downside I suppose is when she goes a little overboard--the diapers are mind-blowing (pardon the expression). The other night Bill is working late and Lana and I are enjoying some beef stew I made in the crock pot. She takes a dump, no big deal--gotta make room, right? She keeps asking for "more meat Mommy". All is well till I take her out of the seat--Oh MY!! This is seriously THE biggest poop I have ever seen! Can we say too much fruit? It has blown out the side of the diaper and is all down her leg and blown up the front! I am not grossed out by poop--thank goodness--b/c this was quite a clean up job. I was only sad that Bill wasn't around to witness it. Impressive job Lana and tomorrow we must cut back on those blackberries!