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:: Life :: Real Estate

Change is the only constant or so they say. Less than two years at our current place, we are moving (yet again) in two weeks! This time undertaking such an endeavour with TWO kids in tow. (Have I used enough twos in a paragraph yet?) Crazy huh?

No, we are not off to the Burbs, well not for another 2-3 years anyway. Earlier in the year Mr. P and I revisited the Burbs idea; we spent (too many) weekends out in the usual commuting towns checking out open houses.

There was a NYTimes article on the cost effectiveness of moving out to the Burbs. The bottom line: it makes financial sense if you have at least 2 school age children. Herein lies our challenge; Ava is not. While infant care is  ($3-500) cheaper out in Timbaktu the Burbs, real estate taxes* are also higher.

*I think about RE taxes as an offset to school fees. I don’t quite mind higher taxes if the public school system is good.
Then there’s the dilemma of downtown versus quality of schools. I love Montclair and Maplewood, not so much their school system. (I don’t care what everyone says about the lack of creativity in Singapore’s curriculum, I enjoyed my childhood and schools I went to.)

Back to the drawing board. Should we sell our 2 bed / 2 bath apartment and stump up the cash for a 3 bed? Should we buy a 1 bed for rental and maybe even a weekend place up in the Catskills?

In the end we bought another 2 bed / 2 bath 8 blocks north of where we are! We closed on Tuesday but will only take possession next week because of a sale and lease back agreement with the seller.

(New) home sweet home

The new apartment will be our primary residence. We are on the top floor, there’s a skylight above the open kitchen and many windows. It has a handicapped parking spot right next to the lift, a gym, a resident lounge and a courtyard in the middle of the building. It is also uptown, closer to the supermarket and the beer garden.

The even better news was leasing our current place two days after listing. We had multiple applications! The rent covers mortgage, interest and HOA fees. Could we have gotten a couple of hundreds more? Possibly. Would we have to wait longer for a tenant? Maybe. The tenants are a professional couple with an 8 month old baby girl; I don’t even have to repaint the girls’ room to a neutral palette! Win-win!

:: Life :: Choices

I have life-choice envy. There I said it. It’s not jealously; more of an “I wish”.

One of my best girlfriends recently finished her EMBA course. I am extremely proud of her; completing this journey that we once dreamed of by the pool bar in Bintan Lagoon Resort a decade ago. I suppose dreams do come through if you put your mind to it.

I had have a similar dream to pursue higher education. That is now shelved indefinitely. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, raising two kids in the states with no family means a lack of resources – money and time. This is what economists call opportunity cost. The best kind of friends encourage one another to do more, to do better. My girlfriend told me that the some of the inspiring women in her EMBA class came back to school after their kids are older and it is never be too late. I certainly hope that is applicable to me.

I always thought I would be the last to get married among my friends. I am never the kind of girl who felt my life would be incomplete without children. I still don’t. It sounds like lip service since I now have two of my own, but it is the truth. Do I love them? Of course but these feelings are not mutually exclusive.

Life happened. I met someone who is amazing, that I can live with and cannot live without. My love for him resulted in two adorable (and infuriating) bundles of noise. They are so, so fortunate to have him for a father. He loves me, warts, strops and all.

I’ve made my bed…

Oh Chicago! Where do I even begin? 

  

I have to admit, my first impressions weren’t great. Made worse by the looks of The Langham; the hotel is housed in a bland tower block with the lobby on the second floor (I have no idea why). It improved when we reached the hotel hobby. The staffs were wonderful and the room spacious. 
We had an amazing four days in the city; could have easily stayed the week. There was so much to do, we didn’t even make it to the Lincoln Park Zoo nor the Art Institue. What a travesty if you asked me. 
We have to go back; this time with a pram for Ava (Mr. P forgot the stroller!!). Lugging a 15lb bub all around town was no joke. 
More later! 

  
 

:: Littlest :: Milestones

 

A week ago I posted the above on my Instagram. 

I TAKE IT ALL BACK! 

Someone forgot to give Ava the holiday memo; in St. Lucia little missy has hit a number of milestones at the same time! Her little head is not coping very well with the new skills and knowledge. This translated into multiple wakings all week. Coming from “the good baby” who let us sleep through the night since 10 weeks, I’m ready to give her up for adoption. 

It’s the most tiring week I have had in a while. I suppose it could be worse – having to work in a zombie-fied state instead of chilling (as much as you can with a spirited 4 year old) on a tropical island.

A week before she turns 8 months, Miss A can now flip, sprouted her first tooth, said “mama” for the first time yesterday and is starting to crawl. Oh and she now (like finally) enjoys baths and swimming! 

Well done littlest! Can’t wait to get you into toddlerhood. 

P.S. I’m must one of the few, if not only, mother who doesn’t think her baby is growing up too fast. I still truly dislike the baby stage.

:: Jetset :: Saint Lucia

We are away in Saint Lucia for the week, after what felt like a year (it’s not, only 2 months) since our Disney-Miami trip. 

It’s been too long since I was on a beach holiday; made an amateur mistake and I’m a little sunburnt!! 

The resort pools are great but accommodations, not so much. 真的是一分钱一分货. This trip is almost half what we spent last year in Dominican Republic; when we arrived, I understood why. Story for another post. It could be worse I guess. 

On an unrelated note, Ava has cut her first tooth, has started flipping, is learning to crawl (the moving backwards stage) and is now more into feeding her self (grabbing and shoving) then puréed food.  All while we are on holiday!!! 

Some pictures of the girls playing together this morning. Clover really is an amazing sister for a kid this young! 

     

:: Life :: Bump

I seem to have hit a disequilibrium of late.

Maybe it’s all that daily rushing around; feed baby, pump milk, get dressed for work, get C ready, drop the kids off, get into work for a role that’s somewhat foreign to me, pump milk, get back home to see the kids, feed them dinner, eat (more like shove it down in 5 minutes flat), put them to bed, and lights out for me.

Or the season; short days and frigid temperatures DO NOT sit well with a Singaporean (snowy winter is lovely and all if I get to stay indoors with hot cocoa and no kids).

Perhaps the lack of me time; ALL THAT NOISE from C, from A and from Mr. P ALL THE TIME. It makes me want to give it all up and run away.

I am losing sight of what I’m fighting for, working toward. I am tired, so very tired.

Four months!

Four months!

What a month it has been for our littlest!

Ava started daycare 3 days after turning 3 months, 2.5 weeks before my return to work. True to her easy nature, she took to the new environment and faces without much fuss.

One of the first days in school

One of the first days in school

:: Eating ::

This month Ava had to drink from the bottle at daycare; surprisingly without much protest (thank God). She had major gas issues the first week mostly because she was hardly bottle fed (babies take in less air when nursing). We had the teachers give her gas drops with each feed; she became better with expelling the air after a week and a half.

These days she nurses twice a day (morning and before bedtime) and drinks around 5oz, four times a day in school.

:: Sleeping ::
I hope I don’t jinx it by writing this down: early this month, Ava pretty much started sleeping through the night. She goes down around 7pm for 11-12 hours!

She takes 3-4 naps a day and when we are lucky one of those would be a glorious 2-hour long one. When the stars are aligned, that long nap coincides with Clover’s which means family siesta!

:: Physical Development / Notes ::
Ava is still not flipping. I guess it’s not a big deal given that Clover never bothered with this skill either. She can hold her head steadily and her back is getting stronger. We are sitting her up (with support) a lot more. She sometimes kamikazes forward with excitement, which is awfully cute and funny!

She also seems to be teething; we could see a touch of white at the bottom front of Ava’s gums. Oh the drool! And all that finger chewing, you would think we were starving her. I really don’t remember Clover being such a drool monster; then again she got her first tooth only at 11 months.

Unfortunately this month she caught a stomach bug from school; she diarrhea for the last 3 weeks! It had just about cleared up when she was down with a proper cough and cold in the week between Christmas and New Year.

Good news is she’s just about fully recovered. I pray that she will stay healthy through winter and beyond!

In a too small onesie

In a too small onesie

All smiles for mama

All smiles for mama

Clover and Ava (who is devouring her fingers)

Clover and Ava (who is devouring her fingers)

Love her smiles

Love her smile

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