Monday, December 29, 2014

Here we go...

Nick spent the better part of last Saturday doing some demo on our house. 

I'm thrilled to see the old ceramic floor tiles and the accompanying pink grout gone for good. I'm not sure pink grout was ever "in style", but for whatever reason the original owners sure thought it was worth investing in. For now we will live with concrete floors in the dining/kitchen until our new kitchen is in. 

I'm cool with that. 


Also gone is the divider wall between our dining room and living room. It already looks bigger and brighter inside. I love it, and look forward to a few months down the road when everything pulls together and the house we've worked hard for finally reflects our vision of a home. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Carla is 11 months old

Ahhh, late again to blog about Carla's 11th month with us. 

Better late than never....especially since these moments are fleeting and I don't want to forget them.

How on earth she is almost a year old is beyond me. 


At 11 months, Carla is a professional at free standing. She can do the Chinese squat, pop up to a stand, and go back down to squat like a pro. She also climbs anything, and EVERYTHING. Her consecutive step count is up to four, but it's not happening often enough to make her an "official" walker quite yet. 

Give her a week. Girlfriend is determined. 


She's still a smiling happy baby, often flirting her way through the checkout line at grocery stores. She waves at people, throws arms up with a squeal of excitement and grins ear to ear when someone stops to give her attention. She met Santa this month and was a good sport.

She recently begun drinking cow's milk ( I ran out of formula one morning and said, "screw it, she's almost a year") and so far she's done well. She still has formula for 2/3 of her daily bottles, but I think we are in the clear as far as lactose allergies go. Unbeknownst to me, she also had her first strawberries courtesy of big brother today, and again--looks like we are in the clear. I'm crossing my fingers we can avoid food allergies in this family, because they are no joke for those who do suffer from them. 

One of my favorite things she has started doing is chatting. She says "mama" & "dada" and tries to imitate us on words like, "Nonno" (her grandpa's name) , "dog", "woof", "cat". She also says "yeah" and "howda" which reminds me of the Chinese word "hao" which is the equivalent of "good" or "uh huh" in our language. 


The only drawback to month eleven has been some sleep regression overnight. Naps are stellar. Two hours in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. Bedtime is at 7:00, and she often lays awake chatting (or shrieking) with Sal until well after 8:30. She also wakes once or twice in the middle of the night, but doesn't require us to get her back to sleep. She just lays in her crib fussing a little (and waking her big brother who tells her "go to sweep Cah, the sun is not up"). I'm not sure if she is getting teeth, growing, or just reaching so many milestones at once that she is having trouble staying asleep, but as with anything, this too shall pass. 

Or at least that's what this mama with pregnancy induced insomnia tells myself. 

One more month til she's a whole year old, and three more months til she is a BIG sister. 

Can't wait to celebrate her first birthday with family this year. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rainy day play date

One of my favorite things about being back in California is being able to exercise my crafty side again. I found a few crafty outlets while in China, but nothing in comparison to what's available here. I guess since so many people struggle to survive day to day life there, spending money on craft supplies isn't on the top of their list for the culture as a whole. Granted, there are some very very rich Chinese, but I'm guessing they just pay decoration companies to come decorate for holidays and such.

Anyways, I'm loving having my fabric store back, as well as Michaels and even a Hobby Lobby now!

Sal and I invited our friends Makayla and Jenna over for a rainy day play date this morning...and even though the rain ended, we enjoyed an indoor activity of decorating icecream cone Christmas trees. 

We made an early morning trip to CVS (Sal thinks that's where all candy comes from) to buy candy and ice cream cones, and somehow also managed to leave the store with a balloon in tow. Lucky kid.

We bought smarties

Jelly beans and fruit loops

m&m's and marshmallows

And I made green buttercream frosting to cover the cones...

I figured I'd put out some healthier snacks for the kids to eat while decorating (bwahaha, yeah right!)....Popcorn snow, carrot noses and olive button eyes. 

Sal impatiently waited for his play date to show up...and was so excited when she arrived!
The two of them did a great job decorating their cones even though we mamas did the icing part of the cones. 

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas 'round here. 

Friday, December 12, 2014


I still have to remind myself that we are here to stay. For the first few weeks that NZ was back, it felt even more like a visit because he had time off to spend with us before getting back into the daily grind. Now that he's back to work, life is feeling more and more like normal and I've been doing my best to treat the kids to some holiday festivities that we weren't privy to overseas.

At almost three years old, I decided that Sal might just be old enough for the Elf on the Shelf that my grandmother got him. We read the book, named the elf "Mahbra" (I think he was going for Barbara, but even as I grilled him on the name before writing it, he stuck with "Mahbra")..

Mahbra it is.

Anyways, we discussed why Mahbra was here, and that Mahbra reports to Santa every night. Santa will remember who has been behaving, and who hasn't based on what Mahbra and his friends tell Santa. Those who behave usually get really cool Christmas presents, while those who don't behave sometimes don't get anything. 

Well, it took a grand total of twenty minutes before I used "Mahbra is watching. Mahbra will tell Santa that you just kicked Carla. You don't want Santa to hear you've been misbehaving, do you?" And what followed was a very vocal and dramatic meltdown......I let him have his moment and then tried some redirection. 

"Hey Bud, let's go back downstairs and have a snack."

But Sal wasn't budging. He started sobbing again. When asked why, he said he didn't want Mahbra to see him. He would not go in the same room I had Mahbra hanging out in. He didn't like Mahbra and he didn't like Santa and he didn't want any presents. He just wanted Mahbra to go away.

Mom fail.

Scarred my child for life. 

Had to redeem myself the next morning, so Mahbra showed up with a pair of Santa socks for Sal.

Thank goodness Sal was receptive and told me Mahbra could stay and he did, in fact, like Santa. 

Dodged that bullet.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

23 weeks pregnant

Weight gain: 14 lbs since the start. 7 of those in the last four weeks. Time to lay off the "I just moved back to America so I'm gonna eat everything I've missed" mentality. 

Maternity clothes? Yes. I love leggings. 

Stretch marks? None. 

Sleep: Mid pregnancy insomnia has hit. Add to that the fact that we've transitioned both kids into a shared bedroom, we've had some midnight waking from the littlest as of late. 

Best moment this week: Had a good visit with the OB (other than getting reprimanded for gaining too much) and was able to hear his heartbeat which always puts my mind and heart at ease. 

Miss anything?: My pre-babies body and workout ethic (;

Movement: Yes. But still sporadic. I wish I felt more. 

Food cravings: bean and cheese burritos and fruit loops cereal. 

Anything making you queasy or sick: no

Gender: Boy

Happy or Moody?: Moody. I'm nearing the same time in this pregnancy in which I lost Denise. 

Looking forward to: Christmas with my kids & family. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sharing with my "somedays"

When I went away to college, my mom boxed up a bunch of my childhood items. Among that box, was a quiet book that she made me when I was about 3 years old. It's dated 1980. When I got married, she sent the box with me. I've held onto it through numerous moves, and saved it for my "someday" kids.

Today was the day that I pulled out the quiet book for my "somedays". The three of us played quietly together for the better part of a half hour, which says a lot for the attention span of a two year old tornado. Once Carla lost interest in fighting Sal to touch it, I left him be to play with it alone.

I admit. I got misty eyed as I watched and listened to him play with it.

I'm not usually a person that saves things or keeps things for sentimental value. I let go of stuff pretty easy. This quiet book though--it's one of the few material items that mean the world to me (my knitted Christmas stocking being my most treasured). 

Seeing the kids that I saved it for, finally playing with it?....