Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflecting on 2013!

As 2013 quickly comes to an end, it has made think about how the year had started and will end. The year started with Lina<3 becoming a toddler, learning to sleep through the night, and being weening from breastfeeding after 14 months. Lina<3 had become more adorable over the year. It was wonderful watching her learn many new things each day. I feel that she understands us more and speaks to us more often. It was once a upon of time when we needed to make Lina<3 laugh but now she knows how to make us laugh and giggle at her silliness. Lina<3 had learned what it was like for Mommy to have a baby in the belly. Lina<3 also learned how to interact with her grandparents more often, during the days when Mommy went back to work for a several months. My pregnancy with Serena:) was wonderful experience although it had some difficulties. I am enjoying my newborn so much. I am enjoying being a Mommy of two little girls :) and loving it! Serena:) is adorable and beautiful who I love very much. I love my little Lina<3. I love my family!

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Good Morning...

This morning was one of the best mornings, we had in a long while.  Daddy got Lina<3 ready for the day while Mama took care of Serena:) After taking care of Serena:) she played in her bassinet with hanging toys and she looked so happy playing with her toys - it was so cute! During that time, I was able to enjoy breakfast with Lina<3 that Daddy prepared for us. When Daddy left for work, it was just us girls, and we had a good time. Lina<3 was such a good girl, this morning, there was very limited fussiness and whining. Lina<3 used the potty by herself, took off her own pants, pee pee, and Mama wiped. All while I had to take care of Serena as well with nursing, and diaper changes. The only difficult thing was lunch time, where Lina<3 refused to eat. The best thing was that Serena:) had slept for almost five hours, which allowed me to feed Lina<3 lunch, myself, and take care of nap time.

I wished I could say that it was an good afternoon and evening time. As soon as Lina<3 woke up from her nap, it was all about whining, crying, and being difficult when she could not get her way.  Lina<3 did not want me to take care of Serena:) at all and she wanted was pick up. Snack time was difficult because Lina<3 kept changing her mind about rather she wanted to eat or not. Evening was the toughest, when I had both of them demanding attention from me.  The good thing was that using the potty for Lina<3 went fine and no accidents.

It felt like once I was done taking care of Lina<3, it was Serena:) turn, then back to Lina<3, and then Serena:) And around and around we go.

Now as both of them sleep, it is time for Mama to sleep.

2013 End of The Year Tips : Part Two - Pregnancy and Postpartum

It is Part Two : Pregnancy and Postpartum Tips

It was not easy being pregnant, and having a toddler run around, demanding your every waking moment especially the first and last trimester.
1.  Getting enough sleep and resting were extremely important for me because I was always so tired. It was great to have a husband who allowed me to do that by taking over the household chores and our little Lina<3.
2.  Eating healthy while pregnant, this time around was a little harder, because I was craving so much junk food (my pet peeve) and I was always hungry.  I did portion control as best as I could, my meals. With the diagnosis of gestational diabetes... portion control was extremely important, staying away from white carbohydrates which can raise your glucose levels. I did not have to take insulin because it was managed with diet and exercise (well, mostly diet). Drink a lot of water (at least 64oz) throughout the day, but especially after eating your meal, and before you take you finger stick.
3.  Drink a lot of water.  At least 64oz, that is what the diabetic educator told me to do. With that much water, expect to use the bathroom frequently. Do not try to hold it.
4.  Try and exercise - the only exercise I did was walk, (but that did not happen too much) and light cardio.  Do kegel exercise which will help during child birth and the aftermath.
5.  Relax and do not stress, stress is not good for your health or the baby's.

Having a c-section with Serena:) was the scariest and nerve wrecking thing I have experience because no matter how I read about it, it was not same as real life. It was not most warm situation to be in when the baby comes out, because all you can do is look at the baby, and kiss her, then off she goes to get cleaned up, and to the nursery. The good thing was that Daddy was able to hold you, and then follow you to the nursery.
1.  Recovery time was hard the first 24 hours. It was difficult to move. I was not in so much pain, because all the pain medications and also I can handle pain well. It was difficult taking care of Serena:) after she was born. I push through it by trying to move as  much as possible, as it will help you heal.  The difference between the c-section and vaginal birth was the pain level - for me, I felt more pain with the vaginal delivery, and the pain lasted for about a few month afterwards.
2.  When taking care of the baby postpartum, do no be afraid to accept help from your spouse, and family members.  It will definitely take the edge off and help you relax a little more. I am not one to ask for help except from my husband, but I will not decline help if my parents offer it.  When Lina<3 was born two years ago, I always wanted to do things on my own and did not want any help but now, I welcome it. I welcome as much help as possible.
3.  "Wear a griddle" - my doctor told me. It will help you keep your stomach muscle in tackle. I never like wearing anything tight on my stomach, so it was hard for me to wear the griddle for more than three weeks.
4.  Eat, Eat, Eat and Nap, Sleep, Sleep, and Drink a lot of water.  Sometimes it is hard to do when you are taking care of two kids by yourself.  When I have help, it is easier to do and think about myself a little bit, by remembering to eat, and drink liquids. I find that when I do not drink enough, I get headaches. If I do not eat enough, I find that my breast does not get fill up that much, like the appearance of less breast milk, produced.
5.  Breast feed the baby!  It is my motto. If breastfeeding hurts, try a used tea bag and rub it on your nipples, and it should bring some relief.  It helps me.
6.  Take care of yourself, or at least let hubby do it for you :) I have the best husband in the world. He takes such good care of us girls :D

Please be Advised that all these tips are from my own experiences and if there are any concerns or questions regarding these tips, please refer them to a professional.

If you have any tips for me regarding pregnancy or postpartum, please comment below.

Also, for 2013 End of the Year Tips : Part One - Baby/Toddler

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 End of The Year Tips : Part One - Baby/Toddler

This is the second annual End of The Year Tips, and I hope that Lina<3 and Serena:) viewers enjoys it, and find it useful. It will be a part two series, so tune for the next couple days.

2013 is a great year.  Now it is time to take some time, and reflect on the year as it comes quickly to an end.  2013 came quickly, and ending faster.

Here are some tips regarding my baby Serena:) :

The first two to three weeks, babies used about 300-400 newborn diapers.  Serena:) used about 8-12 diapers a day for the first three weeks and then she outgrew the newborn diapers and moved onto size one diapers. We use Pampers diapers, and trust them.

Skin to skin to contact is one of the most precious moments.  I love doing skin to skin contact with my baby Serena:) and with Lina<3 when she was born two years ago, which increases our bonding time that will last a lifetime.

I believe that tummy time starts as soon as possible.  It could be done when skin to skin contact is done, when the baby is lying down on your chest.

With a second child, it is okay for the younger sibling to use her sister's clothes.  If you really want to buy some new outfits, buy some outfits for outings.

It is okay to let the baby cry sometimes... This happens to a little too often for my little Serena:) but it is either let Lina<3 cry a little or let Serena:) cry a little.  When the baby cries too much, it is okay to let her cry it out while you take a big breathe in, and relax a little.

Take a nap when the baby naps.  It was not always the easiest thing for me to do but it was always helpful when I did nap.

Breastfeeding is my motto.  Breastfeed the baby!  It is the best way for the baby to get nutrition and there are many benefits to breastfeeding. Breastfeed as much as possible, and for as long as possible.  I hope that my body produces enough breast milk for Serena:) for at least a year or more. I had breastfed Lina<3 up to 14 months.

Pacifier : to use or not to use. I had tried the pacifier with Lina<3 (my first born) but she never liked it.  Serena:) likes the pacifier.  I had decided to use it with Serena:) as it helps me manage the two of my girls better, and keeps me a little sane.

Get as much as one to one time with the baby as much as possible because with a toddler around, it is not always easy.

Here are some helpful websites that I love to use when I need to refer to something.

Here are some tips regarding my toddler Lina<3 :

"terrible twos: I am going to take a few breathers, because it is just the beginning. It has been only one month since Lina<3 turned two and it has not been easy at all.  Patience is key! and sometimes, a little giving in into what Lina<3 wants kind of helps.

Potty time: I introduced the potty chair to Lina<3 even before she could walk. She did not started using it until after she turned one years old.  Let the child see you on the toilet, and watch the process - using it, wiping, flushing, washing hands.  If the child does not want to use the potty in the bathroom, try a different room, or try her play area. Have fun with the idea of potty by using her dolls/bears on the potty, before she uses the potty, or sing a special potty song (it worked for Lina<3 in the beginning, even when she did not pee pee in the potty, she was able to sit on the potty chair longer and longer) Show her a video about using the potty.  Here are some other tips that may work for you from Babycenter.

Reading time: I love to read to my little Lina<3, and she loves it too.  It is one of our night time routines.  In the beginning, it was hard to her to sit still for one short story. What we did was, just look at pictures and describes the pictures to Lina<3 in funny animations voices, exclamation remarks, funny faces and sounds effects.  Once she got used to it and was able to sit through a entire book, although a very short book, it was time to read.  Through the reading process, we also describe pictures for her, ask her to repeat simple words, or sound effects, point out different things. Now Lina<3 is able to pick out her own books to read at night time.  She is able to get a book when I ask her to get a specific book. She even "reads" to her dolls and stuff animals, to self, and to us. She is able to answer open-ended questions about the books we read.

Playtime is fun for all of us and it is always a learning time as well. I have been trying to get Lina<3 pick up her toys after she is finished playing but it has been hard, but I think that I need to be more consistent with it. I am trying to get her to share her toys with her baby sister by asking her permission before handing the toys to Serena:) and it usually works.  If Lina<3 thinks that all her toys are pretend food or a medicine to heal bruises, then let her. I usually let Lina<3 lead me when we are playing together, and she lets me know when she wants to let her know how to play. Try to have a variety of different toys so that it does not become boring.  It is okay to let girls play with cars/trucks/trains because Lina<3 loves her cars/trucks and those are the words that arepott used frequently.

When I was pregnant with Serena:) it was important for me to play with Lina<3 as much as possible because I knew that once the baby was born, I will not have as much with her.  It was important for me to let Lina<3 that there was a baby growing inside on me as my belly got bigger and bigger. I would get her to rub my belly, and talk to the baby. We taught her how to hold the baby with her dolls. We gave her dolls bottles and taught her how to feed the baby.  It was the cutest things as she imitates us.

If you speak another language besides English, teach it to the baby. Chinese has become Lina<3 most used language now, and English as well.  It is been proven that children at this age learned language the easiest, and fastest.

Okay, these are about as much tips as I can remember about baby Serena:) and little Lina<3

Please be Advised that all these tips are from my own experiences and if there are any concerns or questions regarding these tips, please refer them to a professional.

If you have any tips for me regarding babies and toddlers, please comment below. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Day 2013

We had a wonderful Christmas. It was our first Christmas with our little Serena:)   Lina<3 actually opened presents by herself, and had fun playing with her gifts.  It was all about the girls this Christmas as it should be :D
christmas day 2013 4

Saturday, December 21, 2013

What is Lina up to?

To my little Lina<3

Hello baby! How are you doing? You are two years old now. You have been two for less than a month, and it has been tiring. It is just the beginning of your "terrible twos." There had been so much whining, and crying about every little thing. It is useless to find a middle ground for you, because you will whine, and cry til you get what you want. You can be incredibly obstinate which can test my patience but I do love watching you. At times, it can be really cute, and can't help but laugh, and smile at your stubbornness.

Besides your daily "terrible two" events, you have been developing very well. Your speech development has been incredible- learning two to three words daily, and putting words together in English and Chinese. These last few days, your favorite phrase was "oh my god" and I still do not know where you learned that from. The other phrase is "Jingle Bells".
The day starts (for the last few days) off with a "good morning" to us and your sister. It had changed from "morning", which you started saying this month. The day ends with a "good night" and "ai ni" (which means I love you in Chinese Mandarin). You have learned to express yourself more and more even though at times, you do not speak the words. You can tell us when you want food or a snack; or when you or something that falls down; or when the pacifier comes out of Serena:) mouth; or when you want to sleep; and when you want  to read or play or color. You can answer close ended questions but your answers are always "no", lol. An open ended question can cause you to be silly, giggles, and, smiles. I usually ask open ended questions when we are reading books, and you answers well; and as well as throughout the day. You are learning how to count in English and Chinese. In Chinese,  you count, 1,3,5,8,9,10, lol. You can count along side with me. In English, you count from one to five, all by yourself.

Jie Jie is what you are, Lina<3 jie jie- big sister. You can help me with baby Serena:) when you want to. When it comes to diaper changes, you can help me by throwing the dirty diaper away. When you hear your sister crying, you tell me, we go together, and check on her. When Serena:) pacifier comes out of her mouth, you help put it back, but you had learned to pull it out over the past weekend. There are times when you get extremely jealous. We try not ignore you at all but you need to understand that Serena:) needs us more urgently, and immediately.

When it comes to food, you have good days and bad days. When you absolutely refused to eat, then that is it! When you get obsessed about a specific food like an bagel or crackers, you would not want any other food. No matter what foods were offer are out of the question, then a tantrum would start, tears comes, screaming, and crying. It almost seemed like there is no way out. This last week, you have been eating well, by yourself - feeding yourself. I love watching you eat but there's an OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) tendency - you do not like it when your hands get dirty, and when the area around the table gets dirty; and needs it clean right away, otherwise you won't eat. To avoid picky eating, Mama is trying to add a variety of different foods during meal time.

You play well, and I can not wait til Serena:) is big enough to play with you. You two are going to have so much fun together. Sometimes, you look so lonely playing by yourself but it also looked like you did not mind playing by yourself for a little while. You  love to play with Daddy and I. Everything becomes food to you when you play - blocks become food, and drums set. You like to play with your phones, and pretend to or actually call everyone from PorPor to Daddy. The last few mornings, we call  PorPor (grandmother in Chinese), GongGong (grandfather in Chinese), uncle and aunts. You have a habit of throwing things which I try to stop you from doing. You love to run back and forth from your room to the living room, which is a long stretch. There's so much running that we are always afraid that you are going fall or trip over something, because you run so fast.

Potty training is going well :) Lina<3, you are learning how to use the potty (both for pee pee and poop) on your own by telling me when you need to go without any reminders. We had not had an accident since the beginning of the week. We have two potty chairs, but you only like to use the potty inside Mama's room.

There are so many moments that I will always treasure :) I know that sometimes you get anxious about Mama taking care of Serena:) and not being able to play with or give you enough attention, but I want you to know that Mama will always love you and will spend as much as time as possible with you when I am able to :)

I love you always my Lina<3

Thursday, December 19, 2013

In the News: ... .... ...

Here are a few more articles that I thought was interesting, but had not the time to post til now... It may not be the latest news but news still worth reading.

"The rise of A.D.H.D. diagnoses and prescriptions for stimulants over the years coincided with a remarkably successful two-decade campaign by pharmaceutical companies to publicize the syndrome and promote the pills to doctors, educators and parents. With the children’s market booming, the industry is now employing similar marketing techniques as it focuses on adult A.D.H.D., which could become even more profitable. “The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous,” Dr. Conners, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Duke University, said in a subsequent interview. “This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels.” – No surprise here, just as with the HPV and other vaccines, their mandated use translates into huge profits for the pharmaceuticals. It is astonishing to think that there are attempts currently underway to make the HPV vaccine mandatory for our children. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease and active use of condoms and limiting sex partners can keep one safe. One does not need yet another vaccine."


In other words, dangerous criminals don’t turn violent. They just stay that way.
These findings have been replicated in multiple large studies by several researchers on several continents.
“It’s highly reliable,” said Brad J. Bushman, a psychology professor at Ohio State University and an expert on child violence, who noted that toddlers use physical aggression even more than people in violent youth gangs do. “Thank God toddlers don’t carry weapons.”

--> Lina<3 is going through her 'terrible twos' presently but I am so happy it is not to the extent of hitting, kicking, biting, or pushing. She is just whiny and obstinate.


"Choking is the fourth-leading cause of unintentional deaths in children under age 5; every five days, at least one child dies after choking on food.

Few parents of newborns are taught how to prevent choking and what to do if it occurs. Yet infants and toddlers routinely explore the world with their mouths, and anything they may find lying about can become a choking hazard."

--> This is exactly why I always encouraged Lina<3  to chew her food by showing her how fun chewing can be with a lot of sound effects, and actually making sure that she is chewing her food. Lina<3 is encouraged not to stuff her mouth. Daddy or I are always right there when she eats.


"The Chinese culture in the United States has a very unique food scene, and if you're a kid who has grown up in a Chinese household, you know that things were kind of different for you growing up. Most families incorporate American traditions with longstanding Chinese ones to create a very interesting hybrid of customs."


"...always lying belly up can delay motor development, because a baby gets less of a chance to work the muscles in his upper body. Lack of tummy time can not only affect how long it takes for your little one to master such basic skills as lifting his head and turning over, it may also have an impact on sitting up and crawling.

The solution? Flip your baby over when he's awake and you're there to help. "The position promotes trunk stability, limb coordination, and head control," explains Henry Shapiro, M.D., medical director of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at All Children's Hospital, in St. Petersburg, Florida. That's not all: Spending time on his belly encourages your baby to practice reaching and pivoting, skills that are often the precursors to crawling." 

--> I believe that tummy time started at birth.


"Researchers believe that the taste preferences that develop at crucial periods in infancy have lasting effects for life. In fact, changing food preferences beyond toddlerhood appears to be extremely difficult.

“What’s really interesting about children is, the preferences they form during the first years of life actually predict what they’ll eat later,” said Julie Mennella, a biopsychologist and researcher at the Monell Center"


"Basically from birth, (all) babies will look more at the eye part of faces," says Jones. But at about 4 to 6 weeks, he says the attention to eyes decreases, then in typical babies picks up again at 2 months. Jones found, "in the first 6 months of life we're seeing a decline in the amount of looking at other people's eyes in children who later are diagnosed with autism."

The research suggests that a baby's initial eye contact ability may be an almost a reflex-like behavior, but then there may be a second phase of development that depends on different brain and gene systems which lead to social interaction, Jones says. That's where a typically developing child's development may differ from a child with autism.

The study authors conclude that "the observation of this decline in eye fixation - rather than outright absence - offers a promising opportunity for early intervention."


Saturday, December 14, 2013

In the News: Invisible Child

This has to be the most disconsolate, and affecting article that I have ever read.  I just had to  share it.
It's a lengthy article but so worth the read.  Print it out and read during your commute to work or school  or while you are relaxing with a cup of hot cocoa.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tummy Time

This is how Serena:) does tummy time. Tummy time for Serena:) has become a wonderful affair with all three of us girls.  Of course, Lina<3 thinks Serena:) is sleeping, and wants to sleep as well. Whatever Serena:) is doing, Lina<3 must join us, otherwise it will become a hissy fit. The unfortunate thing is that I am unable to do tummy time for too long with Serena:) as I am afraid that Lina<3 might hurt her in some way, by being too close to her, or by throwing toys at her. So Serena:) does tummy time several times a day, on the floor, and on the bed.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Let it Snow

Lina<3 learned some new words today: “snow”, “snowing”, “snowman”, “mitten”, “cotton ball”, and “soft”.  She says “noe” for snow, and “noe-ing” for snowing, lol, the “s” is hard for her to pronounce but says “snowman” pretty well. Lina<3 got to enjoyed the snow for the first time. She played with the snow, and tasted it.  Also learning a new song, “Let it snow”.

We did an impromptu art project in honor of the snow outside…with a lot of cotton balls.  Lina<3 learned about shapes, and how to use the glue.