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