Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 30: Baby Shower Recap and Being Pretty and Jealousy

Baby Shower Recap

I mentioned a few weeks ago that our awesome friends threw us an amazing baby shower! Here are a few pics of the awesome dessert and hors-d'oeuvres table. 

Love this diaper cake, especially with the little booties on top. Also, a sneak peek of the reusable bags that Katie had made as favors for the guests.

There was also a ton of food we forgot to take pictures of: some large trays of salad and pasta from Bucca di Beppo and 5 pizza pies from Delfina. Delfina states that they can do half-baked pizzas on their website but they misheard when we ordered so they ended up baking them fully and taking 20 minutes longer than they promised. I am currently on a Delfina strike because of I'm still miffed at how the server nonchalantly said "oh yeah I didn't hear that you wanted half baked...sorry it took so long." Don't cross a pregnant woman!

Nonetheless, the shower was just right for us - we didn't want to go overboard by inviting too many people. Katie's house can only fit so many of us! Plus I didn't want to seem too gift grabby. In our current stage of life, we can broadly categorize our friends into three buckets:

- Friends with kids, who have their hands full trying to manage their kids
- Friends without kids who are happily enjoying their kid-free stage 
- Friends without kids who are really hoping to have kids soon

Maybe it's just me but it feels awkward to celebrate this stage in life with other friends, particularly since most can't relate. I feel like they have other things to worry about, the last thing they're thinking about is showering us and our new baby. I'm just not good at having the attention all directed at me and my growing bump!

Being Pretty and Jealousy

I was listening to a Fresh Air podcast with Jennifer Lawrence this week - I don't particularly love her but she actually made a few good points that stuck out in my mind as good parenting tips. Haha...go figure.
  • She grew up thinking she was ugly but it didn't matter to her. If she ever had a daughter, she wouldn't want her daughter to obsess over being pretty either. She'd want her daughter to question "Who cares how you look? Why does that matter?" I love that! If I ever have a daughter, I hope she will grow up this self-assured so that she doesn't care about her looks either.
  • When girls in school were mean to her, her mother would say "Oh they're just jealous of you!" Her brothers would then say "Don't tell her that! Maybe she's just an *sshole!" While a bit harsh, I think it's kind of awesome and true most of the time. I have always hated how parents always claim other kids are jealous of their perfect angelic wonderful kids who don't need to change at all. Regardless of jealousy, it doesn't mean that your kid isn't a jerk!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Week 29: Tips for Flying in the Last Trimester


I spent the past week in Boston for work. While most of the time was spent working, my colleagues and I did get to enjoy some New England cuisine and a bit of Boston. We indulged in some delicious seafood at the Atlantic Fish Company and decadent desserts at Max Brenner - both conveniently located right across the street from the Prudential Center. 

The Atlantic Fish Company has great service! I loved the flavor of my spicy lobster linguine but found the clam chowder too heavy and salty.

Max Brenner, on the other hand, was disappointing. The dark hot chocolate with marshmallows was great but small, the molten lava chocolate cake was dry, and the waffle was stale. I suspect I should have tried the fondue or crepes instead! So I'd be willing to give them another try. 

On our last day, we took some time to walk around drizzly Boston. Here's a view from Boston Commons:

Flying in the Last Trimester

Pregnancy wise - it's a lot harder to fly at 29 weeks! Here are some tips to make flights more bearable at this stage:
  • Having an aisle seat is critical for the frequent bathroom trips and much needed stretching breaks.
  • Bring sufficient food. Since my flights to and from were 6-7 hours, I made sure to always have a sandwich and fresh fruit. Don't count on purchasing in-flight options, which will consist of lots of cheese and cold cuts.
  • If you're flying alone and bringing a carry on, make sure you're able to lift it up into the overhead bin yourself. Don't assume strangers will help you because no one offered to help me and I'm very visibly 7 months pregnant! I ended up bringing a duffle bag because my roller bag is pretty heavy. I need to invest in lighter luggage!
While it pains the wanderlust in me to say this, I'm glad this is probably the longest flight I'll need to take for awhile. Flying while very pregnant is tough, and flying with a baby won't be any easier!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Week 28: Maternity Wear

Maternity Wear

I've mentioned that maternity wear is difficult to shop for. There are not too many items of maternity clothing that fit well, are comfortable, and work across all 9 months of pregnancy - which is really unfortunate because it makes maternity wear even less versatile. Ugh.

For example - this H&M dress fit well in my second trimester but now that I'm in my third trimester, it's not quite as stretchy and comfortable. $29.99 is a bit high for a very plain H&M dress that's not made of particularly good material!

The one pair of maternity jeans I've bought are these Old Navy maternity flare jeans - they're comfortable except they keep sliding down so I'm constantly tugging at them all day long. The 2.5 star reviews on the website are pretty accurate!

Interestingly enough, the items that fit the best are my non-maternity clothes. Maybe because they have proven to be most versatile and comfortable. I loved this Jersey A-Line dress pre-pregnancy and continue to love it through my pregnancy - I even wore it to our coed baby shower this past week.

While these boots aren't technically maternity wear, the low heel makes it safe for me to wear throughout pregnancy. I was surprised how comfortable and cute they are, considering they're from Target. Boots have a way of looking saggy around my ankles, which I find super unflattering.  I've been looking for boots at a higher price point for awhile and I haven't found a pair that fits well as well as these Target Merona boots. They don't look or feel cheap at all - they are definitely worth the $28 I paid for them. I'm almost tempted to pick up a second pair in grey or black. I just worry that boots made of synthetic material will stink up my feet so I'm trying to resist the urge to stock up on cheap shoes. 

Baby Shower

Katie and Tzui graciously hosted a shower for us this past weekend! I don't have the pictures yet but suffice it to say, it was amazing. I loved getting a chance to catch up with a bunch of my favorite people at the same time, while eating delicious treats until I was stuffed to the gills. I'm so touched by how much baby Lucas is loved!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Week 27: Other pregnancy tidbits

I realized that my last few updates haven't really mentioned too much about my actual pregnancy so here's a quick rundown:
  • At my 26 week checkup, my doctor said that I was a bit underweight at +10 pounds but she's not too worried. Most of the weight gain is supposed to take place in the last trimester so I have some time to catch up to the goal weight gain of 30 pounds. 
  • I definitely don't feel underweight - my bump is much larger and more noticeable these days! I also can't sit up as easily anymore - I have to remember to roll onto my side to get up more comfortably.
  • If I'm lucky enough to ever get pregnant again, I hope it's a summer pregnancy. Summer maternity clothes are easier to manage with loose, flowy non-maternity dresses. I had no trouble dressing for Maui! Winter maternity clothes are harder because pants, leggings, and tights are necessary to keep warm and I definitely can't wear the non-maternity version of those clothes. Unfortunately, I can't find maternity version of these items that are comfortable and well-fitted. I also can't zip or button up any of my jackets anymore so I have to make sure to wear warm bulky scarves to keep my torso warm.
  • My belly button is still an innie for now but quickly filling in. Should I start counting down the days until it's an outie? 
  • I've been using stretch mark cream for almost 3 months now. I know that I probably won't escape stretch marks since my mom has them but I'm hoping to at least try and mitigate their effects! I'm not sure if it's working as I notice some faint white stretch marks in my hips and butt - I know I've had some of those stretch marks since puberty but I think pregnancy may have added a few. Maybe they would be red and angry looking without the stretch mark cream? I was using a jar of Mama Mio Tummy Rub that Donna generously gifted me - since it ran out, I've been using Body Merry cream, which is about half the price but doesn't smell as good. Maybe it's just me, since I don't love smelling like cocoa butter. At least it's rated highly on Amazon! 

  • My platelet count is still normal but on the low side. Again, my doctor isn't too worried but noted that this is something she will continue to monitor. Not sure if I should be trying to have some more vitamin K in the meantime to boost my blood clotting abilities?
All in all, I've had a really positive pregnancy experience. I'm enjoying the experience of growing a child and feeling him form, grow, and move around inside me. I can understand why some women go through post-partum now. I'll miss having Lucas safe inside me, knowing where he is at all times and knowing that my body is giving him everything he needs to grow and thrive. Plus, he can't cry or need a diaper change when he's in utero. :)

Maui, Hawaii, November 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Week 27: Black Friday Sales

Black Friday sales extend way before and beyond Thanksgiving these days, so it feels like I've been shopping forever! The best deals I found were on, although often their sale price was the same or even higher than Target and Amazon's regular prices, so it's important to always check. I do like that has the most flexible return policy, with up to a year for returns. Many of these items won't be used for months at the very least, so it's nice to know I have some flexibility in case I buy things that are the wrong size or I end up finding an even better deal in the meantime.

Here are some of the good deals I managed to snatch up. I'm posting earlier this week so hopefully you can catch these good deals before they expire!
  • Chicco Keyfit 30: 25% off on, which comes out to $149.99+tax. This is one of the top-rated infant car seats from Consumer Reports and at 25% off, it's the best deal I've found so far for this seat (compared to the Amazon and Target registry completion discounts of 10-15% and the Buy Buy Baby / Bed Bath and Beyond coupons of 20% off one item). Keep in mind, this papyrus color is more beige/tan than gray, as the picture implies but that doesn't bother us. We like that it's relatively gender neutral just in case we end up with baby girls in the future, or we lend it out to friends with baby girls.

  • Baby Jogger adapter: 45% off on Amazon, which comes out to $32.94+tax. This is so that the Chicco Keyfit will snap into our Baby Jogger City Mini GT stroller. We've already installed the adapter with the Keyfit onto our stroller to make sure it fits well - so far so good, even though we've only tested it in the confines of our smooth-floored living room. 
  • Baby Jogger City Mini GT: 20% off on Amazon, which comes out to $279.99+tax. Luckily, Bryan and Sandy were able to get a price adjustment after the $70 price drop!
  • Chicco Nextfit: 25% off on, which comes out to $224.99+tax. This is one of the top-rated convertible car seats from Consumer Reports. Like with its infant carrier counterpart, this is the best deal I've seen so far. I didn't even realized at first that we needed both an infant carrier and a convertible car seat. I thought we could make due with just a convertible, since they can fit children from 5 lbs all the way up to 65 lbs but the experienced moms told me that the infant car seat was pretty necessary for the ease and convenience of carrying the baby in and out with minimal disturbance when they fall asleep in the car seat (which they are likely to do anytime they are in the car).

  • Huggies diapers and wipes: 30% off on - varies depending on size, type, etc. I'm still trying to figure out how to stock up on diapers! I've found some good resources but will have to cross-check to figure out what works best for us. Still, I did buy a bunch of these. If they're the wrong size, I will be within the one year window for exchange to the right size.
  • Bravado Seamless Nursing Bras: 30% off on, which comes out to $34.30+tax. Donna raves about these bras, as does everyone else on Amazon and moms tend to start wearing these while pregnant to get the most wear out of them. So far they seem okay but nothing amazing. I also can't figure out what size I should be wearing as I feel like I'm in between now but I can also get by with my old bras plus a bra extender. I may have a better opinion on these later on!

  • 64GB iPhone 6s in Rose Gold: $299.99+all the random fees and a 2-year contract with AT&T. I know everyone complains a ton about AT&T but I've been using them for over 10 years across 4 different cities on both coasts with no issues whatsoever. This is probably my only non-baby purchase, although it honestly is very much baby-related! My 5S is only 16GB so I'm almost always out of space. I doubt that as a new mom, I'll have the time, diligence, or memory to constantly back up my phone to ensure I can capture new pictures of him. Plus, I want to make sure I can take high quality pictures of baby Lucas. According to, this same model was on sale for $249.99 in-store but the store I went to wouldn't honor the price. She insisted that they don't do 2-year contracts even though their website says they do and she told me just to go to One of the few times Target has really let me down!

Whew! This is the most I've ever spent on Black Friday. I guess it's a good sign of growth that I wasn't just splurging on myself? :)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Week 26: Babymoon in Maui!

We spent this past week in Maui, enjoying a few days of relaxation and what will be our last vacation for awhile! But not before I took my gestational diabetes test. Luckily, the results came out great so I can eat "regularly". Jeff has been cautioning me to not take the results as a sign to go nuts, reminding me that I still need to eat healthy. So I did enjoy some delicious Ululani shave ice but I also snorkeled everyday to stay fit. Snorkeling is perfectly safe for pregnant woman and I found it oddly relaxing, even though I'm not a strong swimmer.

We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Wailea. While it wasn't located on the beach, there was car service  to take us down to Wailea Beach, which was a 5 minute drive away. The car service was extremely fast, available, and comfortable - we were always driven down in a Mercedes Benz! Once at the beach, there was a dedicated area with staff to provide us with chairs, umbrellas, and cold water, which was much appreciated. I don't know if I'll ever be able to visit a public beach after this! It's too bad that it's a couples only resort so I don't think we'll be coming back anytime soon.

We were uncharacteristically mellow for this trip. We didn't hike to the volcano for sunset or sunrise since the weather was super cloudy for the days we were there, and we didn't make the trip to Hana because Jeff was worried I would get nauseous from the long, winding drive. We still managed to snorkel at Napili Bay and Wailea Beach, go on a canoeing expedition, check out the Iao needle, hang out with a large group of beached turtles in Paia, and eat some fun Maui foods. I enjoyed the more relaxing pace and anticipate that this is as jam-packed as vacation schedules will be once baby Jemily / Lucas is out! Despite the huge lifestyle change, we're so excited for him to come. :)

A view of the sunset from the Hotel Wailea lobby

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Week 25: My Experience with "Leaning In"

A lot of people are surprised to learn that I knew I was pregnant when I chose to switch jobs (and companies). It definitely wasn't an easy decision - leaving my old job meant giving up a job with great benefits at a large, stable company. It was especially hard to walk away from their very generous maternity leave and FMLA protection at that point (new moms that have been working at their companies for less than a year don't have the job protection of FMLA).

On the flip side, even before getting pregnant, I was already looking for a new challenge. I had been at my company for four years and I was ready to learn something new. I also wasn't sure I believed in the company's new direction. It didn't help that lots of people at the company had been there for decades. A lot of them didn't take the opportunity to leave earlier on in their tenure when they had the chance, so they ended up staying at the company for their entire careers. While that worked out well for those who climbed the corporate ladder up to the top, some got stuck in an awkward in-between position with nowhere to go. A lot of those colleagues confessed that it was hard for them to convince other employers that they could be a good fit for their cultures, since they spent so much time at one company. So they ended up staying, but really due to lack of choice.

My new company is much smaller, with fewer corporate benefits like bonuses, retirement contributions, and generous maternity leaves. However, I'm learning and doing so much more because the company is smaller and more agile. Plus, it's in a different industry so I'm learning about marketing a whole new type of product. We're also growing at a tremendous rate across all metrics, which is exciting to see and not something I had ever experienced at my former Fortune 500 employer. By the time I joined, they had already passed that phase of phenomenal growth so I never had the chance to see or experience that for myself.

Of course, there are a lot of risks with my new position. My new company might not be able to sustain its growth. They don't even have to guarantee me a job after I give birth. (On a sidenote, legislators really need to rethink the restrictions on FMLA because it really limits women's career opportunities in their child bearing years.) Maybe the risk will be on me - it's possible I won't want to come back to work after becoming a mom. I may not always agree with the principles of Lean In but in this case, I do agree wholeheartedly with Sheryl Sandberg. In her book, she talks about how women start checking out of their jobs months or even years before they start having children. She argues that we should be leaning more into our careers at this pre-children stage, because we're more likely to go back to our careers if we're doing meaningful, interesting work.

In my case, this is particularly true because I knew that staying at my old job meant that I was likely to quit after becoming a mom. That would be great if it's what I truly wanted, but less great if it's only because I wasn't that enthusiastic about going back to my job. Now that I'm in a new job (with stock options that incentivize me to extend my tenure), I'm much more likely to return to work after my maternity leave. And even if I don't end up back at the job, at least I spent the last few months gaining new skills in a new company and industry. That way, if and when I am ready to go back to work, I'll have more to show for on my resume.

Does that mean that I definitely made the right choice? It's too early for me to say at this point but so far so good. And if it doesn't turn out to be my glorious Lean In moment? Then I'll figure out what the next move should be and go from there. In the meantime, I'll just take life a day at a time.

Santorini, Greece, July 2011

Friday, November 13, 2015

WW24: Reading & Registering

More Reading

I like the no-nonsense approach of Eat Sleep Poop. It tells you the info you need to know without going to overboard in one direction or the other. While a lot of it talks about things I haven't had to deal with yet, like a real live baby, it gave me practical advice about blood cord banking and things that I need to buy in preparation for baby. So far so good! His parenting style and approach seem pretty practical and reasonable.

The Happiest Baby on the Block was highly recommended by a lot of moms so it was one of the first on my reading list. This is probably one of those books that I won't understand the value of until baby Jemily is out, since it's basically all about how swaddling, shushing, swinging, and two other techniques I can't remember off the top of my head. I wish I had gotten the DVD version instead so that I could actually see how to swaddle, swing, shush, etc. instead of attempting to visualize and interpret through words.


Our co-ed baby shower is next month so we set up a registry. I've registered at Amazon and Target per other mommy recommendations. The registry completion discounts are great for both at 10-15% off! I guess this explains why I saw a jumbo bag of Doritos on a friend's registry? Hehe. The gifts have already started rolling in from our generous friends and family. We're especially excited by this awesome stroller by Baby Jogger:

Despite the name, it's not  a jogging stroller but it gets rave reviews. I'm baffled by how the generosity and love we're already being showered with. Baby Jemily is already so so loved...what a lucky boy!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Week 23: Mommy Paranoia & More Home Renovations

Mommy Paranoia

I had my first bout of mommy paranoia this week. These days, Jemily is usually very active right as I lie down to go to sleep so it takes me awhile to get used to all his movement and fall asleep. However, on Sunday night, he seemed unusually still for once. Instead of enjoying the peace, I ended up sleeping very poorly, as I kept waking up to wonder why he wasn't moving.

By the time morning rolled around, I realized that I hadn't felt him for at least 18 hours. I know that this isn't necessarily abnormal when the baby is only 23 weeks but I couldn't help worrying if this meant something was amiss, since I had been consistently feeling him move at least once each day. I finally decided that if there was a time to be that paranoid patient, this was the time, since this isn't just about my health but my baby's health! Luckily, my doctor's office is very understanding and scheduled me to come in that same day to check out Jemily's movement. The doctor used an ultrasound to confirm that everything was fine and he is moving a lot, but perhaps just happens to be positioned in such a way that the movements aren't as perceptible for me. What a relief! I'm sure this is just the beginning of what will surely be a lifetime of parental anxiety and worry. Hopefully I'll be able to keep that in check most of the time. I'm not usually a paranoid worrier about health!

Home Renovations

Our new fireplace, ceiling fan, and living room overhead lights have been installed! Now our living room is a much warmer and more inviting place, as opposed to the cool tundra that we used to avoid for 3-4 months out of a year.

The work on our guest bathroom begins this week. It will take a few weeks to complete but we're using the same contractor that we used for our master bath, so I feel confident that they'll do great work again. Once it's done, we should be done with our renovations. Not that our house is perfect but that's all we have budget and time for. After that, we're just going to go into hyper nesting mode!

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, June 2011

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Week 22: Cord Blood Banking

At first, Jeff was really gung-ho about keeping baby Jemily's cord blood - their marketing is pretty effective! These banks will tell you that storing your baby's cord blood will preserve precious stem cells that could potentially save your child from various illnesses and afflictions in the future. But after doing some research, I'm not sure I really believe in what they're selling. Here's a few things I learned:
  • This WSJ article revealed that many of these banks don't properly store the blood. Some of these facilities were in unsanitary conditions with dirt and dead insects!
  • Chances are, a person wouldn't be able to use their own cord blood because if they have a genetic condition that makes them predisposed to a certain illness, their own stem cells wouldn't be able to cure them because those stem cells would have the same genetic predisposition for that illness. So it could work for a sibling or other type of close relative, assuming he/she is a match.
  • There's no guarantee for how long the cord blood can last, even though cord blood banks will offer storage options for decades and lifetimes.
  • Many samples don't contain enough stem cells for treatment.
  • The cost is anywhere from $4,000 - $11,000.
  • According to my OB, approximately 10% of her patients bank the cord blood.
On the other hand, I wanted to donate baby Jemily's cord blood because there's a chance he could be a match for someone else in need right now. Unfortunately, it's a pretty cumbersome process to donate. You have to start the process a long time in advance and there is a lot of screening to make sure the cord blood is eligible for donation. Part of me feels like if I am going to go through all that trouble, I might as well keep it for Jemily himself! *sigh*...

Cinque Terre, Italy, June 2011

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Week 21: Maui, Maternity Shopping, & More Musings


I just booked a trip to Maui for next month! We don't anticipate that we'll have the opportunity to travel much after baby Jemily arrives so we decided to squeeze in one more vacation before his arrival. While I would have loved to travel to Europe, ultimately I wasn't sure if I could handle such a long flight. Plus, I wanted to be in an English speaking country just in case I end up needing any kind of medical attention.

We haven't been to Hawaii since our honeymoon in 2008 so we're excited to go back. We've both been working hard since we started new jobs a few months ago so we could both use a break to relax and recharge. If you have any Maui tips, please share!

Maternity Shopping

I gained 5 pounds this past month! Given that I didn't gain much weight in the first half of my pregnancy, my doctor's not concerned about my overall weight gain. Still, this new weight gain means that I've had to finally succumb to maternity clothes. Trying to fit into some of my regular clothes has been a total joke! Sadly, it's really hard to shop for maternity clothes. The selection in-stores is scarce and I'm never quite sure what your size should be when I order online. Am I really going to still fit into a size small?

I found these Gap jeans really snug when I tried them on last month so I knew there was no way they could last me throughout my pregnancy. Clearly I'm not the only one who thought that! The reviews seem to reflect similarly. I just got these Old Navy jeans, which are definitely more comfy. They were 40% off so while I don't have high hopes for them, I'm just hoping they're not terrible!

In the meantime, I think I'm just going to have to order some stuff online and hope for the best. I really love the look of the maternity dress that Kate Middleton wore:

But since I'm having a winter baby, I know I need to find more warm weather maternity clothes! But so far, everything seems to be sleeveless. I guess they assume pregnant women are generally really warm, regardless of time of the year? I need at least one nice dress, since we're attending a wedding, having a shower, and a photoshoot in the next few months. It'd be nice to not look like a ridiculous encased sausage for those occasions!

More Musings
  • I briefly thought about placenta pills but after the reaction I got from asking around about this, I decided that this was a no-go. There just isn't any evidence to show that there's really any benefit to this and the very unscientific, anecdotal evidence I've heard thus far just isn't convincing enough for me. Plus, this isn't a regulated process so there's no way to know what is getting added to the pills - what if it's not even my placenta?! Eek.
  • I haven't been keeping up with my reading - hopefully I'll get back on track next week.
  • I booked a photographer for a maternity shoot! I have a few months to decide but I need to figure out a location.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Week 20: House Projects & Purchases for Jemily

House Projects

Now that we're halfway through the pregnancy, we're starting to get serious about all the work we want to do on the house, since we won't have the time or money to do them when Jemily is here. We're updating the guest bathroom to be more kid-friendly and adding a new fireplace, fan, and overhead lighting to our living room so that it'll be a cozier, warmer space. We also need to figure out a way to add more storage to our kitchen, since we don't currently have anywhere to put bottles or any other kind of baby stuff. It might not seem like a lot but the costs add up quickly and it takes awhile to get it all done. Hopefully, we'll have everything done by the end of the year!

Purchases for Jemily

We've started researching some of the big ticket items, as well as smaller things that we'll need for Jemily. So far, I've only purchased the following:
  • Breast pump: I guess this technically isn't a purchase since I was able to get this fully covered by insurance - go Obamacare! My insurance coverage is pretty good so I had a lot of options to choose from. I ended up choosing the Spectre S2 through Byram Healthcare since I read a lot of great reviews about this model compared to the Medela, which is probably the most common model used by moms. I was surprised by how quick and easy the process of getting one was. I got the list of covered providers through my insurance company, filled out an online form through the Byram Healthcare website, and received the pump in the mail after 10 days. Awesome!
  • Crib: Jeff had to make a trip to Ikea for bathroom stuff so I told him to pick up a crib while he was there. The Ikea Sundvik crib is one of Consumer Reports' top rated cribs and only $119! Safe and cheap seems like a win-win to me.
  • Wipes and diapers: These purchases were opportunistic. Epantry had a diaper and wipes promotion for $1.99 (they were basically free, the $1.99 was the shipping fee) while Amazon had a 50% off sale for select Huggies diapers and wipes. Part of me feels ridiculous for already buying diapers when my baby is only 20 weeks in utero but the other part of me can't pass up on the good deal. :)
  • Baby's first outfit: Jeff couldn't resist buying a cute Superman onesie!
I have some ideas for some of the other items but I want to do a bit more research. I've been basing most of my decisions for the big ticket items like strollers and car seats off the Consumer Report ratings since I think safety trumps all else but Jeff also wants the big items like the stroller and the car seat to be light and convenient to carry around too - and the combination of those two characteristics in one item don't always exist. Also, baby items can be so expensive! Am I a terrible mom for not being willing to spend the $900 on the Uppa Vista stroller that every other mom seems to buy and swear by? That just seems insane to me!

Big Ben, London, March 2011

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Week 19: It's a boy and it's moving!

It's a boy!

Even though we've suspected since week 12, we now have official confirmation that it's a boy. We would have been happy with either gender but we're excited for a baby boy! We now intermittently refer to baby Jemily as Lucas to test the name out. So far, we like it - I also like the name Luke as a nickname. Now we just have to figure out a middle name, and maybe a Chinese name.

And he's moving...sometimes...

I've been feeling a few flutters down there since last week - at first, they were pretty subtle so I couldn't tell if they were stomach growls, gas, or Jemily moving out and about. But now the movements are stronger so I know it's Jemily moving. What a weird and awesome feeling! It's like there's an alien life forming inside me. Jeff was with me when he made his first perceptible kicks so he was able to experience them with me by putting his hand over my belly - it was a truly magical experience! The movement isn't quite consistent at this stage though. After a few days of not feeling much, I poked him and got a quick punch in return! It's nice to know he has fast reflexes. ;)

More pregnant company

Jeff's cousin Michelle came to visit last weekend. We're always happy to see her but this time was especially fun because she's also pregnant and our due dates are only a month apart. Not only did we voraciously feast together, I also took her with me to prenatal yoga class. It's definitely much more motivating to go with other mommy friends. Jeff and I are also excited that baby Jemily / Lucas will have a cousin the same age!

A face that only a mother could love ;)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Week 18: Working Out, Pregnancy Buddies, & Reading

Working out while pregnant:

Prior to getting sick in week 8, I was still doing my regular runs on the treadmill - albeit a bit more slowly than usual just to make sure I wasn't overexerting myself. After getting sick, we ended up going on vacation, and then by the time I felt better, it had been many weeks since I'd been on a treadmill and I just didn't know if it was safe for me to start up my running routine again. I've been focused a lot on walking and some Blogilates videos once in awhile. I attended my second pre-natal yoga class this week and I'm really enjoying it so far.

I wish I could work out more - I miss sweating it out with a good run! But I worry about overexerting myself - even though it's most likely okay, I don't want to take any chances with baby Jemily. Plus, with my new job there just isn't time to do more beyond daily walks and once a week yoga. Jeff and I are thinking about getting a treadmill so that we can work out in the comfort of our own home after Jemily is born.

Pregnancy buddies:

My dear friend Donna is also pregnant, so going through this experience with her has been super fun. She's also three months ahead of me, which makes it super helpful for me since she's figured out a bunch of stuff already. Pregnancy can feel overwhelming - knowing what to do, what to buy, etc. so being able to share research and information with a trusted friend really helps. Plus, it's fun to have a pre-natal yoga buddy. I can't wait for our kids to play together (and hopefully give us a break)!


I have a ton of pregnancy and parenting books on my list to get through. I didn't want to start too early in the pregnancy, lest I forget everything useful but now I feel like I'm so behind! Here's what I've read so far:
  • BabySafe in Seven Steps: This book was mostly an advertisement for Babyganics products. This book is skippable.
  • What to Expect When You're Expecting: The information in this book is all stuff that I get through my pregnancy apps so it seems a bit redundant. I was surprised that I read it cover to cover - the only thing I found noteworthy was the list of what to take to the hospital, which will change once we take the hospital tour and find out what the hospital provides (and doesn't provide). If you're short on time, this is another book I'd skip!


The one thing we have figured out is the post-partum nanny - who-hoo! :)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Week 17: First Month Nannies, Prenatal Yoga, and Baby Names

First Month Nannies

In Chinese tradition, the one month following birth is a critical time for the new mom to recover. The two most critical aspects are getting enough rest and following a specific diet. Hence, Jeff and I have been looking into Chinese first month nannies to help out with these two aspects. Most of them offer pretty standardized services for 26 days (I'm not sure why it's not a full month).

  • Pretty self-explanatory - they sleep in the same room as baby and are in charge of night duty, minus breastfeeding (they can bring the baby to you if/when you need to breastfeed).
Meal preparation:
  • The meals are prepared with ingredients aimed to restore the mom's health and energy post-delivery.
  • You can let her know your food preferences and she will adjust her cooking accordingly.
  • The fees do not cover cost of food. You take the nanny to go food shopping once a week. 
  • They can usually make enough food for everyone in the house, unless your family is unusually large. Most of the nannies we spoke to assumed it was a given that she would prepare enough food for Jeff to eat too.

These type of nannies are expensive to hire - many moms have told me it's worth the cost though. They're also difficult to find, as they're not exactly listed on or Yelp. You basically have to either get one through a friend's referral or agents / brokers. It's challenging to evaluate them if you don't have a reliable referral, so you are taking a leap of faith when you invite a complete stranger into your home for 26 days. The good ones that have a lot of positive referrals book many many months in advance - people will call to reserve them as soon as they pee on a stick!

Prenatal Yoga

I attended my first prenatal yoga class this week. I really enjoyed the workout - mostly because I haven't done yoga in months so I'm pretty out of shape! I hope I can keep going at least once a week throughout my pregnancy to stay healthy.

Baby Names

While we're not 100% sure on the gender yet, the boy names we like are Lucas, Adam, Jacob, and James (more or less in that order). Boy names are hard!

Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto, August 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week 16

Strangely enough, I still don't look too pregnant, even though I can't wear pants anymore. I can barely zip them up now so I've pretty much given up on the rubber band trick. I can't quite commit to maternity clothing yet so I'm just wearing lots of loose and stretchy non-maternity clothes and hoping I can hold out for as long as possible. Maternity clothing just doesn't seem very versatile or prudent when you calculate the cost per wear!

This week, I'm feeling overwhelmed by all the things we need to research and prepare for so I'm trying to get organized. The list is neverending but so far, here's what I'm trying to prioritize:

- Redo the guest / baby's bathroom
- Look into getting a nanny for the first month (月掃)
- Determine longer-term childcare options (nanny or daycare)
- Decide on blood cord banking
- Start downloading and reading parenting books
- Purchase the big ticket items:
  • Car
  • Crib
  • Stroller
  • Car seat
  • Er...everything else?
On the plus side, I've found a prenatal yoga class and I've signed up for a bunch of parenting classes for us to attend. Who-hoo - two things off the list! Too bad I still have a lot more to go...

Kyoto Imperial Palace, August 2015

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Week 15

Telling my boss about my pregnancy was a bit nervewracking for me, since I'm only 2 weeks into a new job at a new company (Sheryl Sandberg would be so proud of me for leaning in this way - I'll post about that some more another day). Luckily, he was super supportive and excited for me - I had no reason to be nervous at all. He also highly encouraged taking a babymoon, which of course I've already been thinking about (even though we technically had one in the first trimester, since we went to Taipei, Kyoto, and New York). But still, this will be our last opportunity to take kid-free vacation for a long time, so I'm definitely going to advantage of it. :)

Jeff and I are thinking that it's probably not a good idea to fly too far so we're thinking potentially Maui. He's never been and I haven't been in many years, so it'd be nice to spend a relaxing babymoon there. I might do some research to see which resorts are close to hospitals, just in case. A bit paranoid I suppose, but you never know!

Golden Pavilion, Kyoto, August 2015

Monday, September 7, 2015

Week 14

Even though I've been diligently taking my prenatal vitamins for months, my hair and nails aren't growing any faster or more beautifully. But at least it's not worse so I'm not complaining. I'm also moisturizing my belly and hips, hoping to prevent the dreaded pregnancy stretch marks. In the meantime, I'm finding it harder to dress my bump. I am trying to incorporate pants back into my wardrobe with the rubberband trick but I'm going to need new pants altogether in a few weeks! Buying maternity clothes is really hard. There isn't that much available and whatever is available isn't particularly versatile or stylish.

Physical changes aside, I'm so relieved and excited to finally be out of the first trimester. That means we can start telling people - particularly my boss, who I'm hoping to talk to about this tomorrow. Hopefully that conversation goes well - wish me luck!

Pescadero Beach, September 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A First Trimester Summary

So much has happened since we found out we were expecting. I know we have awhile to go before baby Jemily is born but it still feels like time has passed so fast - it's hard to imagine that I've reached the end of my first trimester. For awhile, I wondered if we'd ever get to this point! My fear that things wouldn't go well prevented me from blogging throughout the first trimester and now I kind of regret it - I wish I had documented how I was feeling at each stage.

A rather lengthy recap of my first trimester - more for my own record keeping than anything else. Apologies for the boring details!

  • Week 4: The positive pregnancy test feels totally surreal. I called the doctor right away to schedule my first prenatal appointment. It was scheduled for week 9 - I was told that doctors typically won't see expecting moms earlier than that because there's not much to see in the ultrasound when the baby is so tiny. I'm sure the high probability of miscarriage in the early weeks plays a part in the timing as well. While the latter is a bit unsettling, I understand that these are the realities to keep healthcare costs affordable.
  • Week 5: I experienced some spotting a few days in a row. I called the doctor and she ordered two blood tests for me to measure my hCG levels. I had some mother friends give me tips on how to demand an ultrasound at week 5 but I felt like there wasn't any point to doing so. If something was wrong at this point, it's not like an ultrasound could save baby Jemily. 
  • Week 6 - My hCG levels doubled over 48 hours, so my doctor told me not to worry about the spotting. What a relief! Strangely enough, we weren't all that anxious about this. Thank God we were able to remain relatively calm during this time.
  • Week 7 - Still feeling great. Jeff and I started to wonder if I'm really pregnant?
  • Week 8 - I was hit with a nasty bout of food poisoning that finally made me feel pregnant. I spent three days bedridden and eating minimally. I felt tired and bloated all the time and food aversions started kicking in. All the normal foods I used to eat were no longer appetizing.
  • Week 9 - We finally got to see baby Jemily! Baby looked like a little gummy bear in the ultrasound and the heartbeat was a rapid 185 beats per second. The doctor confirmed that everything looked great, much to our relief. I didn't gain any weight but I was rounder and more swollen than usual. 
  • Week 10 - I survived a 12 hour flight to Taiwan! I took advantage of the great food and cheap shopping. I needed to find looser, more comfortable clothes since none of my pants fit anymore. It was fun to revel in the good news of Jemily's impending arrival with family in person. 
  • Week 11 - I got hit with either a nasty bout of food poisoning again or heat exhaustion (or both!) in Taiwan, the day of the big typhoon. Being pregnant was really rough at this point - luckily, I recovered after only a day in bed. My limited time in Taiwan is too precious to waste in sick in bed.
  • Week 12 - We got an ultrasound and the technician predicted with 80% confidence that Jemily is a boy! I had no idea we could find out any indication of gender so early so this was an unexpected surprise. We also got the results back from a battery of blood tests I took in Week 10 (7 vials!) and got the good news that so far the Down's Syndrome and Trisomy 18 risks are very low. Feeling so blessed!
  • Week 13 - This week's doctor's appointment was pretty anticlimactic. We didn't get to see Jemily, we just got to hear his heartbeat, which was 156 heartbeats per second. They confirmed that the gender guess during the week 12 ultrasound is usually pretty accurate. My belly also gets bigger as the day goes on, only to shrink back down in the morning. My post-dinner belly looks ridiculously large compared to how I look when I first wake up! It's kind of fun to have a belly, if only I weren't trying so desperately to hide it at this point, since I'm still in the first trimester.
Our little gummy bear at week 9

TL;DR - I can't believe we've made it this far! We're still in disbelief that this is really happening but it's starting to sink in a bit more with each passing day and week. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

My "First" Father's Day

My parents divorced when I was very young and the family situation is complicated, so Father's Day has never been a holiday that I celebrate. This year's Father's Day marked the first time the holiday has been a cause for celebration in my life:

It's still extremely early so anything could happen at this point - but we're reveling in cautious excitement in the meantime! 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Quick Stop in Santa Barbara

After 6 days in New York, I hopped back to California for my friend Allison's bachelorette weekend in Santa Barbara. I don't get to see her much since she lives all the way in Hong Kong so it was great to have a whole weekend to catch up. I was the only non-lawyer of the group, which I found really fun and fascinating - lawyers are so analytical and well-spoken! I got lazy and neglected to take photos - luckily, Rebecca took photos to document the weekend.

The gorgeous mountain view we enjoyed from our amazing rental house - and yes that is a hot tub in the back! We spent most of our time relaxing here.

Unfortunately, there was an oil spill a few days before so we didn't go into the water - but the beach was still beautiful!

My first time trying aerial yoga - a lot of fun, but I shouldn't have had a bacon biscuit right before the class! I'd be open to trying it again. :)

A succulent at the farmer's market

It was a super relaxing weekend with great conversation and delicious food - just what I needed after 6 days of non-stop walking and sightseeing in New York. I'm so glad that at this point, my friends are so over the scandalous type of bachelorette party - I can't wait for her wedding in August!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Playing Tourist in NYC

In addition to visiting the Met, we spent a lot of time seeing other tourist sites in NYC, since our family from Taiwan had never been before! Here are a few of the sites we visited:

The view from the bottom of Rockefeller Center

The view from the top of Rockefeller Center - look how expansive Central Park is!

Washington Square lit up at night - since we were there right after the NYU commencement, the place was flooded with graduates and their families. The Empire State building was also lit up in purple as a tribute to the new grads - very cool!

Central Park Observatory - at the very northeast corner of the park, and where we celebrated Bryan and Sandy's wedding! 

A montage of pictures from Highline Park - a very cool and unique juxtaposition to Central Park!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

China: Through the Looking Glass

One of our first stops in New York was the Met, even though we were just there in October. There was a special exhibit going on this time that I wanted to check out - China: Through the Looking Glass. My favorite part of the exhibit was the Chinese-inspired haute couture. The dresses were absolutely gorgeous - especially the blue and white ones designed by Chanel! If only I lived the sort of life where I could afford these dresses and have somewhere fabulous to wear them to...

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Little Blue Box

Katie generously gifted me with a beautiful Tiffany's necklace for helping with her wedding. The necklace is a gorgeous, classic design that I love - it's the same one that Jeff got me for our one year dating anniversary 12 years ago! Yes, we've been together for a long time. :)

Katie had already included a gift receipt just in case, and graciously assured me that she wanted me to exchange it for something I don't already own. Here are some other beautiful necklaces that I'm considering as an alternative:

Paloma Picasso®:Villa Paloma<br>Flower Pendant

Elsa Peretti®:Bean® Pendant

I love the feminine design of the flower, as well as the simple, timeless design of the bean. I'm leaning slightly more towards the flower, only because I've never seen that on anyone in real life before. Both are beautiful options though! I'll have go to the store in person to check out how they look on me.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A wedding at the Ramekins

Last week, we had the pleasure of attending a gorgeous wedding at the Ramekins in Sonoma. Jeff and I were both honored to take part in the wedding as an officiant and a bridesmaid respectively. Because I have a great memory for little details and cute stories, I helped him draft up his speech, which he delivered beautifully. He received so many compliments, I started joking that he was available for hire at future weddings! 

Love the hanging florals for the ceremony

Gorgeous centerpieces for every table (and now my coffee table)

Because the Ramekins is a culinary school, the food was some of the best I've ever had at a wedding. No rubbery chicken in sight...

A delicious salad to start off the meal

There was a last minute no-show at our table but the kitchen graciously served us their entree anyway, which we shared family style at the table. I typically discriminate against vegetarian options but now I see that I've been missing out - this mushroom ravioli was amazing!

Sea bass - perfectly cooked and paired with a light, flavorful sauce

Jeff loves his steak! If I'm being honest, I'm not a huge fan of beef when sea bass is an option.

A beautiful cake from the Ramekins, supplemented with delicious angel food cupcakes from Angel Heart Cakes and Krispy Kremes (per groom's request!). The espresso chip and strawberry cupcakes were my favorites of the night!

This was definitely one of the best weddings I've ever attended! Jeff and I are close friends with both the bride and groom, so it was a lot of fun for us to participate in the wedding. We also got to catch up with familiar faces and old friends during the cocktail hour and reception. Most importantly, the newly wedded couple took care to make sure everyone had a good time and it definitely paid off. Here's to a lifetime of happiness and joy for the bride and groom!