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… a mother of two on maternity leave.

Obviously only when all the stars are aligned and it all goes well.

6 a.m. Time to get up, hopefully both kids are still asleep, get the kettle on, prep breakfast for C and a snack for preschool

6.30 a.m. Wake the husband. Ava is usually wakes at this time, I pull her out of the crib, change her nappy and leave her on the couch to kick about. C wakes soon after and whines for me (200% mummy’s girl). I give her a cuddle, she asks for Ava and I bring her out to the couch.

7.15 a.m. Mr. P leaves for work while I nag at C to finish her breakfast, nurse (trying to bottle her lately) Ava and feed myself.

8 a.m. Drive C to school with Ava in tow.

8.30 a.m. Back home with A. She naps on the couch for 1-1.5 hours if I manage to transfer her successfully without waking her from the car seat to home to couch. Else I have to nurse / rock her back to sleep. It’s a bad habit I know but someone else can deal with it when she starts daycare. I spend this time pumping milk, washing all the bottles and feeding myself if I hadn’t managed to do so before school.

10 a.m. Ava is awake, I let her stretch and kick on the play mat before feeding her again around 10.30 a.m.. I am usually famished by this time so I get my lunch ready; breastfeeding is calorie consuming work!  Ava gets a wipe down. Sometimes I take her out to run some errands in the neighbourhood and hope she doesn’t fall asleep in the pram or carrier.

Noon Nap time. I take this time to feed myself, catch up on chores or blog once she goes down. I also have to pump again if I didn’t nurse her and prepare stuff for Clover’s dinner.

2 or 2.30 p.m. Ava wakes up, she does tummy time, more kicking about, more listening to my singing and story telling. I feed her (AGAIN) and wash her if we miss the earlier wipe down.

3.30 or 4 p.m. School pick up. Depending on days, Clover has her after school activities, so I will usually pick her up after and hope Ava takes a catnap on route.

4.30 p.m. I get dinner ready while Ava is either napping or gets entertained by Clover. Clover also works on colouring, tracing or writing.

5.30 p.m. I nag at Clover to eat her dinner while I nurse Ava and change her into her PJs after.

6.30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Clover gets some TV time followed by Dada time when Mr. P gets home from work. Ava goes down anytime between 6.30 to 7.30 p.m. She has this habit of waking up after the first put down in her crib. I usually nurse her or Mr. P cuddles her and puts her down again.

8 – 9 p.m. I spend some mummy time with C and then it’s bedtime for Clover and I.

9  p.m. to 6 a.m. Mr. P chills out,  feeds Ava if she wakes up before 1 a.m and it’s lights out for him. I will wake to feed Ava and pump if she wakes up for milk after 1 a.m.

Rinse and repeat!!

:: Bubba :: Halloween 2014

Growing up I never really bothered with Halloween; neither did Mr. P. As previously mentioned, October 31st has now become a big deal.

Last year C went as Dorothy the Dinosaur (from The Wiggles). This year, she couldn’t decide so she went as Anna for her school Halloween Parade in the morning.

Performing outside her school

Performing outside her school

After our lovely anniversary lunch, Mr. P and I brought her 2nd outfit to school for her to become a yellow wiggle before we went trick or treating down Washington Street. Unfortunately it was such a cold day, we left Ava (Red Wiggle) at home. C still had lots of fun though.

The Wiggles (sans Miss Red)

The Wiggles (sans Miss Red)

 

With her teacher in school

With her teacher in school

Look who we bumped into?

Look who we bumped into?

 

Grabbing candy

Grabbing candy

Hopefully Ava will be toddling by next year and I should really plan our outfits earlier!

I drove the kids to school today!!!

Okay it’s nothing big to shout about for most, it’s a major accomplishment for me. Growing up in Singapore (back in those days) there was never a need for a car. I attempted to obtain my driver’s licence while in university but didn’t get further than passing the basic theory test (didn’t even bother to sit for the advance theory test).

For some reason I thought it’d be a fantastic idea to tackle the hilly Hong Kong roads and get my licence there! Well that was 7.5 years ago.

Th last time I drove was back in 2009 when we were in NZ which has more sheep than cars on the road. It wasn’t by choice; Mr. P was caught speeding by an unmarked police car (hidden in the shrubs I reckon) passing the only car we saw in 2 hours of driving down a straight and seemingly infinite road. His licence was immediately suspended for going 30km over the speed limit.

I still remember the officer asking if I had a licence!

That was over 2 years since passing my driving test and I had to drive across NZ to Christchurch along winding mountain roads, narrow bridges and railroad crossings; all of which I had no experience with. We managed to get to Christchurch scaring Mr. P and scarring me for life!

Anyway fast forward to having 2 kids who go to school uptown (Ava starts in December) and winter approaching, I had to get my act together and convert my HK licence to a U.S. one. While the route from home to school is lovely 20 minute walk with 2 parks along the way, it’s not something I want to do in the dead of winter!

With my mum here, I went to the MVC early one morning to take the knowledge test and thankfully there was no need for a road test. Unfortunately I procrastinated for too long and couldn’t get in any driving practice (I need it especially I now have to drive on the other side of the road) before she left.

Mr. P watched the kids for 2 hours for the last 2 Sundays while I went for my much needed lesson. Yesterday I was finally brave comfortable enough to take to the roads with everyone in tow. I drove us to the Asian supermarket along an NJ state route. Mr. P thankfully wasn’t as vocal about close-shaves as he was 5 years ago hah!

This morning I did my first solo drive and we all survived! Another time later today for school pick up, I hope it goes smoothly as well!

:: NYC Eats :: ABC Kitchen

For our 5th anniversary, I decided on lunch instead of dinner as I didn’t want to stress about the girls’ bedtime. Plus, I love the idea of a weekday lunch at a good restaurant. You get to savour good food at decent prices (lunch menus are always a fraction of dinner prices) while everyone is at work. We headed into the city after Clover’s Halloween Party at school and enjoyed a 5-hour long stretch of quality couple time (we’ll take what we can get!!),

This year we went to ABC Kitchen for lunch based on recommendations by a few people at work; one of them a big foodie. Given my food preferences – nothing raw, no foie gras, no cavier, no funky parts (cheeks, tongues, intestines, privates lol) – often times French restaurants are a no-go; it’s a complete waste of money to be eating rabbit food at exorbitant prices. (E.g. Per Se would have been a complete waste on my palette.)

ABC Kitchen is by Jean-Gorges; we had a lovely meal and warm service without paying an arm and a leg for it. And it’s the first time in ages I had wine with a meal!

 

ABC Kitchen

ABC Kitchen

 

Mr. P started with a tuna sashimi in a ginger, soy marinate and I had the day’s special – a cauliflower soup with warmed manchego cheese and sourdough croutons, finished with chili oil. Both were simple fares but oh so tasty. I love that they didn’t dumb down the spice of the chili oil.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

 

Tuna Sashimi

Tuna Sashimi

 

For mains, Mr. P went with a ricotta and egg raviolo (yes ONE) on a bed of pulled pork with freshly grated parmesan. Again, really well done except the parmesan was slightly overpowering the delicate flavour of the runny egg and ricotta. I had a lobster main done with lemon-butter and chili. This is one of the best lobster I’ve had. So simple and perfectly cooked; the meat was so sweet.

Mr. P's raviolo

Mr. P’s raviolo

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Lobster

 We finished the meal with a plate of cookies and an expresso for Mr. P along with a nice touch from the restaurant; they sent over a couple of cupcakes for our anniversary.

Happy anniversary to us!

Happy anniversary to us!

Happy Anniversary Mr. P

Happy Anniversary Mr. P

:: No 2 :: Ava @ 2 Months

All dressed up at 2 months

All dressed up at 2 months

I am working on getting these out on time if only the bub would take her naps at the scheduled time and place (i.e. not my arms).

:: Eating :: 

We are down to 6-7 feeds a day (7.30am, 10.30am, 2pm, 5.30pm, 7pm and 1-2 times between 8pm to 7am).  I am not sure what her weight is but as my sister puts it “look at those arms and thighs”. Nom nom nom!

She loves her boobies and is exhibiting signs of bottle rejection. She will, however, take the bottle if she is starving or semi-asleep when Mr. P feeds her at night.

Bottling is something we have to work on in the next few weeks.



:: Sleeping :: 

Still not napping in her crib :(

I spent most of the week trying to put her on a schedule and moving her to the crib with mixed results but I shall persevere. Her night sleep is fine (touch wood) even if some nights she is a nightmare to put down. Once she is in, she is starting to do 4-6 hour stretches (7 hours on a couple of occasions).



:: Physical Development ::  

Ava smiled properly toward the end of her first month; in the last 4 weeks she is smiles and coos a whole lot more. Ava is most delightful to be around first thing in the morning and she loves it when Clover talks and sings to her. She is starting to notice her hands and when I bring her close to the mirror, she stares at the reflection. I am pretty sure she isn’t sure what the heck she is looking at.

Her neck is really strong now; she loves being held upright. Of late, she likes it when I stand her up (holding her under her pits and semi-supporting her neck) and “complains” when I set her down on the play mat or against a pillow on the couch.

I moved her well baby appointment to next Tuesday (well it’s a big weekend, we don’t really want to deal with post-vaccinations grumpiness), we’ll find out what the PD thinks then.

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Ava @ 1 month

:: No. 2 :: Ava @ 1 Month

A whole month late, but better than never right?

 

1 month old

1 month old

满月 or full month marks the end of confinement for both myself and Ava. Given that I have school runs to deal with and Ava has her well baby appointment, photoshoot and passport application, we didn’t really abide by the main confinement requirement (not leave the house!!).

As you can see I am far from traditional but now that I have kids I think some of these Chinese traditions are fun to introduce to both kids. Since my mum was still here, I got her to make red eggs to mark the day. Clover had a lot of fun peeling and eating them (she is back in an egg phase).

红鸡蛋

红鸡蛋

 

:: Eating ::

Ava is feeding about 8 times daily. Other than the first week where I supplemented before my milk came in, she has been on breast milk and mostly nursing. She is a little sleepy on the breast but with my ample supply, she is putting on weight (unlike her skinny monkey sister which had me worrying all the time back then). There were a few times when she spat up from overfeeding. Oops.

She wakes up to feed 2-3 times a night.

:: Sleeping ::

It seems I have a non-sleeper (AGAIN). During the first 10 days, she was fairly good with napping in her crib. But the last 2 weeks, she had “woken up”. Since my mum is still here and Clover is sleeping in our room, she has been sleeping on the couch at night. Not great but we don’t really have a choice. I don’t want to wake my mum up every time we have to feed her.

Unfortunately, my mum we have been carrying her a fair bit.

Arms make the best bed

Arms make the best bed

 

:: Physical Development :: 

Not much to report here; she is generally healthy (other than a slight stuffy nose at 2 weeks old thanks to Clover) and the PD is happy with her progress so we are good. I have to say she is one noisy baby. All that grunting and wheezing (newborn reflux due to immature gut) can rival Monica Seles!

Ava loves to be held upright and in the last few days she is starting to lift her head off our shoulders for a few seconds at a time. We haven’t been too diligent with tummy time per se but the holding her upright definitely helps.

So that’s that. We survived the first month!

15 days old

15 days old

:: Life :: October 31st

It’s kinda a big deal around here given that it’s our anniversary!

5 years, 2 kids, a big international move and a new home later, marrying Mr. P is still the best decision of my life. (Even if some days I don’t like him very much and want to throttle him! #justsaying)

Just us (and a hidden baby)

Just us (and a hidden baby)

Halloween is also huge in this part of the world. Last year we moved on Halloween (so romantic I know), so Clover had to miss the Rag-a-muffin parade.

This year we have big plans for October 31st.

I’ve hired a baby nurse to watch Ava when we head off to Clover’s school party in the morning. Mr. P and I will hopefully have a lovely anniversary lunch at ABC Kitchen. Post lunch, it’s off to the Rag-a-muffin Parade; deck out as The Wiggles. (Not sure if our Red Wiggle is coming along given the weather forecast.)

In any case I’m looking forward to tomorrow and an action packed weekend (ballet and a birthday party upstate on Sat / driving, grocery run and swimming on Sun).

Happy Halloween and have a wonderful weekend!

My two bubs from this morning

My two bubs from this morning

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