‘Bama!

Ok, it’s getting really bad how I’m posting things so far after they happen… Blame my at home business, blame overlapping toddler rearing and pregnancy… I dunno AGH! My blogging seems to go in waves of productivity and non-productivity…

So two weeks ago now, we took a little family trip to visit my older sister in law’s family in Auburn, Alabama. Beautiful state, but a bit too hot for me if I’m honest. Their April felt like what I’m used to back here in NY/NJ in June/Julyish. I’m pretty sure I literally got sunburned after only an hour or so every time I stepped outside (without sunscreen). Back in NY/NJ, I rarely wear sunscreen anywhere but my face unless I’m going to the beach. Not sure if this change is related to the difference in the ozone layer or what, but just something I noticed.

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Here’s baby girl, Aunt J, and I strolling to the community gym and pool in the apartment complex.

Besides being hot, though, Alabama is beautiful. I love any place that’s green and treeful (The Diane Dictionary: entry #412). Driving around and seeing farms and cows again was really nice. It brought me back to my North Carolina road tripping days.

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Swimming! Well, standing. I don’t know how to swim anyway. I just kind of putter around clumsily, gasping for air the whole time. #25weekspregnant

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One of my daughter’s favorite things to do is to feed me. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing…

We didn’t plan anything extravagant while we were away. Spent a lot of time just relaxing. Besides working out and hanging out at the pool, we lounged around the house playing video games, cards, and Monopoly, watching tv, baking pies. My sister in law J and brother in law Y worked hard on planning my dream gender reveal photo shoot. Love you, guys!

We did take a little drive down to Destin, Florida. Played on the beach, checked out some local eateries (I recommend Donut Hole and Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House!), rented a boat (Thanks, Dockside Watersports & Parasailing!). Silver Dunes Condominiums was lovely. The rooms were clean and well kept and having the beach literally a 2 minute walking distance from us was pretty perfect.

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3 1/2 hour drive. The kids did really well (playing, singing, using their gadgets, eating, sleeping) for about 3 hours…before all hell broke loose. I won’t post any pictures of that. 

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View from our condo

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Lookin out over the water

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My children seem to endlessly have dirty feet 

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Making our way to the beach

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Y and her doting older cousin

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Look at that crystal clear water!

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Cleanest, purest white sand I’ve ever seen

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Best buds. So glad they could be reunited. Just noticed that photobomb in the back. Who is that, Appa?

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BAM! Look at dat bellay!

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Splish splashing with the daddies

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So glad my husband thinks family vacations are important. They’re the only things he’ll really take time off for.

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My little angel. Hard to believe she’s not going to be the baby anymore soon!

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She’ll always be a daddy’s girl, though. She goes running to him instead of me a lot these days. Pretty adorable.

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T writing his name in the sand. What a studious boy trying to get in some practice while on vacation!

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Obligatory legs on the beach photo. Ignore my wonky toes

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I like shadow photos

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Wanna go back

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Boating!

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Me gazing adoringly at my daughter despite her quirkiness. Is she eating that mouse?? ALSO, Floridians are so friendly! Three people in the span of 10 minutes told me they loved my shirt/thought it was hilarious (“I grow people. What’s your super power?”). NY/NJans are not nearly as quick to speak to strangers let alone compliment them.

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Couple photo! Yay! This is probably 2 seconds before he collapsed from my monstrous weight on him.

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Back at the room. Whose idea was it to bring s’mores?! OMGGGGGGG 

We headed back to Auburn after a refreshing beachy weekend. Back in ‘Bama, we tried to use up the rest of our time as wisely as we could (time always goes too fast!!) despite being pretty exhausted already.

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Had to visit the Waffle House!

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Ice cream from Bruster’s Real Ice Cream! Free cones for shorties! They have a chart shaped like a giant ice cream cone that measures about 3 1/2 feet tall and if you’re shorter than that, you get a free mini cone! Too cute! 5 stars just for that.

I think this is about the point my phone ran out of memory to be honest. Always happens! One of my biggest dilemmas since becoming a mom.

Hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse into our lazy little getaway. Tell me about some of your favorite places to relax!

It’s a…

Hubby, myself, and our kiddos just got back from a little family vacay in Alabama! During our stay we also took a drive down to Florida and back to get our beach on in Destin. Shout out to Silver Dunes Condominums- beautiful facility right smack dab next to the water, so we could walk out there anytime we wanted. (Will post some more vacation photos in the next entry)

I find myself looking for little things to anticipate. I live off of things to look forward to. This was one example. My older sister in law’s family (including T’s best friend- his cousin S) moved to Alabama in the beginning of March and we’ve been missing them ever since and planning this little trip for some time. We were so blessed to have brother in law Y and sister in law J be able to travel out and meet us too! It was a mini family reunion! Y and J were gracious enough to help me carry out one of the things on my bucket list for this pregnancy. We are pretty sure this is our last and so I decided I needed to do some of the things I had wanted to do but never got a chance to during my other pregnancies. One thing was cute gender reveal photos! We kept it really simple and just did the balloons in a box idea that’s everywhere. Set up right outside of the house and had our two amateur photographers click away for about 10 minutes total. That’s about all we could manage! I gotta say photoshoots with kids have proved to be one of the most challenging activities I’ve endured as a parent. I don’t know if my kids happen to be squirmier than most or what, but if we continue to push and prod and bark “Sit down!” and “Smile!” and “Look here!” past the 10 minute mark, one or two meltdowns are almost certainly on the horizon. H has two children as well, so put the four of them all together…well, we ended up with a lot of tears.

Here are two of my faves (before things broke down):

 

With each of my pregnancies, I had a gut feeling what the sex would be. Mostly an instinctual thing, but I also had a few dreams. Side topic – does anyone else have really weird dreams when they’re pregnant? Like their baby popping out of their belly like in the Alien movie? Crazy hormones…

So, anyway, I did think it was a boy, but it was still really cool to hand the sealed envelope over to my brother in law and have my guess confirmed in the form of helium balloons!

Three months to go. I already feel enormous. But I shall make it through! I always do…

Duh duh duh dun duh DUN!!! *Trumpets playing*

So, I suppose now is as good a time as any to tell you we are expecting a baby! My son turned 4 in December, my daughter is 2 and a quarter and this little piggy makes number three! Hubby and I are pretty sure we feel like this completes us, but I think we should always leave the possibility window open a crack, in case God has other plans. We’ll see what I say once bebe is here. I may slam that window right shut 😜.

I am excited and petrified. Part of me finds myself in la la land daydreaming about holding a wee one again, and part of me gets nervous knots in my stomach thinking about handling three at bedtime. Or mealtime or going to school time or anytime.

I have a few friends with three kiddos. I may be knocking on their doors (at least their Facebook Messenger doors) a few times over the next…decade. Surely I will need advice (and comfort?!) from those more experienced than I. My favorite reactions to my news from my seasoned mom friends so far are: “You’re in for a wild and wonderful ride!” and “Three is big time!” 😬😄


Hey, guys, can we get kisses too?

Since we’re *planning* that three is it, I spent some time reminding myself of all the things I wanted to do during my previous pregnancies that I either got too busy (or lazy) to do or just didn’t allow myself because they were “unnecessary”. I have written out a whole list of things I’m going to do this time around because this is my last chance! One thing on my list is “cute announcement photo”. I wanted to take some “Aww” inspiring announcement photos, so that my entire Pinterest board would not have been made in vain. I actually tried to do the above shoe one when I was pregnant with my daughter, but my husband was fussy and I dropped it. This time I stood my ground and pulled the “Last baby” card! I may have to keep that card real handy 😉.  Didn’t my sister in law do a great job? She visited from Cali at just the perfect time! In case you were wondering, no, it is NOT easy to take photos with two active kids. I’m actually amazed how many came out well. We did the same shoe succession picture on a football field as well, so that the number 3 was in it.


This one was with a Samsung (don’t know if you can tell the quality difference at first glance, but this is the main reason I have an iPhone). Lighting was much better at this time of day than in the others. I probably should have gone back home to get my charger, but I didn’t. We came back the next morning on our way to breakfast – hence the really bright ones – and the dang park/field was closed, so we couldn’t go back to the “3”.


This one was taken with my iPhone before it died. Big difference, right? I got these shoes at Walmart. They didn’t really have any gender neutral ones like white or something, but we could have a sporty girl. I may try to do a short gender reveal photo shoot (also something on my list). Not professional, just something like what my sister in law did for us.

I also quite like this unplanned one where you find yourself trying to figure out if that is belly or just lumpy coat.


The answer is both! I definitely started to show earlier this pregnancy than during my first two, which they say is the norm. Not that it made me very happy… I just felt fat. But now my belly is sort of rounding out nicely so it looks more like baby and less like a dozen too many doughnuts. Speaking of doughnuts, during the early weeks, along with nausea came my body’s rejection of sweets. Very weird (but good, of course). The brownies and cookies and chocolate I normally love made me sick, so I went for a while without. It was kind of nice to not have to use will power to avoid all that goodness. As I neared 12 weeks, unfortunately, my usual sweet tooth came back with a vengeance (Eek! Now, where did I leave my Self Control?…)

Readers who have more than two kids, any words of wisdom for me?! Advice is much appreciated! 

Obligatory Christmas Post

Merry Christmas everybody!!! I love Christmas. It’s so beautiful everywhere- all the lit up houses, decorated shop windows, and sometimes snow if we’re lucky. Christmas classics on the radio are the cherry on top (though I adamantly believe these should not be played -or listened to- until the earliest, after Thankgiving).

We had a beautiful Christmas service at church. My dad recounted the story of Jesus, walking us through various parts of the Bible. After all, the most important thing at Christmas is to remember what it’s really all about- God being able to finally send His Son. The shiny packages and bows (and Santa Claus’) are nice, but I hope that people will always, always remember the true meaning and Christian spirit of Christmas.

After church, we went to my aunt’s house. I am blessed to have a good number of family members living close by me. This year, I’ve come to really appreciate that. I’ve talked to several people recently who have told me how lucky I am to have so many local family members to spend special occasions with. It’s true! On the big holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, usually almost 30 of us gather together. (This is my dad’s side of the family- the Chinese side. My mom’s side is in North Carolina, my second home, and I missed them this Christmas. It’s a little more difficult to plan out getting together with mom’s side, but always worth it. You may recall our visit this past Summer?)

My kids were delighted to open their piles and piles of gifts. I took a bunch of photos and videos, of course, as a good mom should. Though about three quarters of them are out of focus or someone’s head is cut off or someone’s picking their nose (what else is new). That’s why the trick is to take three times more photos than a normal person (i.e. non mom of toddlers) would. I’m sure I’ll be able to dig out a few keepers. I did buy a couple of matching Paul Frank shirts for the kids this year: “I’m on the Nice List” for Y and “Does good enough count?” for T. Bless that little boy’s heart, he is doing so, so much better. Learning more self control and delayed gratification, and becoming such a good helper to me (Lord knows I need it right about now).

It’s always so nice to see my cousins. I miss the times when I could sit and have a conversation for longer than 3 minutes without being interrupted. But those times will come again.

Fellow humans, treasure your loved ones at Christmas and always! At the end of the day, the quality time spent with them is truly the only thing that matters.

Road Trip

My daughter wants to type this blog post. She’s sitting on my lap PreSSGING al

l the fun buttons!! I think she has a future in writing 😉

I have proceeded to lay her upside down on my lap. That worked for about 2 seconds. She’s up again and I’m holding her on my shoulders. Ah, parenthood.

So, this past Labor Day weekend, my dad and I drove my little ones to the “home place” – my mother’s parents’ old house in North Carolina. What could be like an 8 hour drive with the usual two short meal + bathroom breaks turned into about a 12 hour drive (we made 5 or 6 stops). That’s to be expected, though, with a 3 year old and a 1 year old! We had a few challenging moments, but no major meltdowns on the way down or back up, so I consider it a huge WIN!! I’m so glad we did it. I’ve been wanting to take that drive with my dad for a while now. We bonded over political conversations and the Frozen soundtrack on repeat. And it may very well have been the last time we got to see the house, as it is now for sale.

It’s a beautiful, red brick ranch style house. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, huge basement, and an attic. In its prime it had the most cozy, comfortable, right at home feeling. It hasn’t been lived in for a while, now, so it’s changed. Even so, the memories remain! My cousin and I doing somersaults and backflips over the living room sofa, playing the (now terribly out of tune) piano and opening presents (I think I asked for Barbies fourteen years in a row…) together with my aunts, playing pick up sticks with Grandmother in the dining room (she never let me cheat!), picking figs with my Granddaddy (I LOVE fresh figs!), making home videos with my uncles.

We spent a few hours out in the big, grassy, front yard (a nice change from the parking lot we usually play in). I showed my son how to climb the trees I used to climb and pet the caterpillars I used to pet (someone recently brought to my attention that the fuzzy caterpillars are often poisonous! Why did no one tell me this before?? I may have been risking my life and my child’s life this whole time…)

OF COURSE, we stopped to see my collective best friend – D’s entire family. A whole nother rush of memories! Sadly, we could only spend one day together, so I could only have like one half conversation with each individual… Also, my children have me running this way and that every 90 seconds, so it’s hard to carry an actual fluid conversation to begin with. Anyway, there’s always next time!

I took some cute photos along the way. Had to commemorate my children playing with all these wonderful people and beautiful animals we don’t normally get to see. Enjoy!

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(Please excuse the quality. iPhone brags about their photos on billboards, but apparently those are taken by some markedly more skilled photographers than I!)