Savanna’s first camping trip

Almost exactly 2 years ago, we took Josh camping for the first time. All I could remember is how miserable I felt on that trip. Looking back now, I suspect the pregnancy hormone and the physical discomfort probably had something to do with it too.

We decided to brave it and take both kids camping this past weekend. It was Savanna’s first camping trip ever. Even with all of us crowded into a smaller tent, forgetting to pack some important things, me having stomach issues, and the campground being kind of crappy, I enjoyed the experience and I think Savanna did too.

Savanna loved sitting in the lawn chair, running across the grassy field, stuffing her face with marshmallows, and rolling around in the tent. She also loves sitting outside the tent and playing with the rain fly. It was so much fun for me to see her so excited about every little thing.

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Baby girl’s birthday

For Savanna’s birthday, Cliff made her French toast with whipped cream and blackberries for breakfast.  Then we went out for pho for lunch.  For dinner, I made her favorite food: osso buco.  We ended the evening with a cake smash that wasn’t as messy as I was hoping for.

I spent the entire past year in complete contradiction: wishing she would grow faster and bigger so we can do more things together, and dreading how fast she was growing out of her infant stage and out of my arms.  For me, today was a day I slowed down and savoured this contradiction.  I guess this is parenthood.  This is the way things will always be for as long as I am her mother.  I will always feel that she’s growing too slow and too fast all at the same time.

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Happy birthday to my little girl

My dearest Savanna,

Exactly a year ago today, Daddy and I drove to the hospital in the morning for the scheduled c-section.  It was a grey, cloudy day.  Other commuters on the road were all going about their own business like usual.  Don’t they get it?  It was the big day!  It was the day I get to meet my girl!  I felt like the world should pause because you were about to arrive.

When you finally came out, the doctor lifted you over the blue curtain so I could see your face. Your eyes were puffy and closed, and you started to cry. My life was changed forever in that moment.  Once they placed you in my trembling arms, tears rolled down my cheeks when I laid my eyes on you. My little girl, you were finally here. I felt like I’ve waited so long to meet you and to hold you. The 9 months of pregnancy and crazy work hours were behind us, and we were finally going to spend the next year together as a family.

You are so precious to me, because I begged God for you. He must have heard my prayers and answered with a “yes”. Since they day I found out I was pregnant with you, I thanked Him everyday for you.

I remember many hours of nursing you at night, sitting in semi darkness, and staring at your beautiful face. I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to have you in my arms. Daddy and I turned the den into your nursery, and I loved having you near. I loved hearing you breathe and stir in your sleep. Every little sound you made reminded me how precious life is.

You spent a lot of your early days in the Ergo carrier with me. Because even though you were too young to play, your brother needed to get out of the house everyday and spend time at the park. All winter, we went out every morning and every afternoon–you in the Ergo strapped to my chest and mostly asleep, your brother bouncing all over the place on his own, and Sam on leash trailing behind us. While your brother dug in the sandpit and got dirty, I got to stare at your sleeping face. I loved having your head rest so snuggly on me. I was always tempted to munch on your cheeks.

You traveled like a pro. We spent a week in Whistler, a week in LA, and three weeks in Asia, all before you were 7 months old. Somehow everything with you seems easy. You slept well, you ate well, you didn’t fuss on the flights. You just fit right in everywhere we went.

When you were 3 months old, you decided to quit drinking formula and bottles. When we started giving you solid food, you decided that fruits are your all-time favorite. You love bananas and grapes. You are not a big meat eater. Although, when I made osso buco for Daddy’s birthday, you chowed down on that like there is no tomorrow. I made you cupcakes for your birthday party, and you plunked your face right into the white chocolate icing.

You took your first step 5 days ago. I think in a matter for weeks, you’ll start walking. Your first word was “dada”. Then it was “up”. Then it was “down”. Then it was “da” for dance. I’d really like you to say “mama” soon.

I love it when I pick you up from your crib in the morning, you kick your little legs with happiness. Before I put you down at night, you always put your head on my shoulder and grip my shirt, as if to say “Don’t put me down!” I love it when I say “kiss mommy”, you lean in close with your mouth wide open and slobber all over my face. I love it that you tilt your head back and invite me to tickle your neck. I love your giggles. I love that you swing side to side when I say “dance”.

Your brother calls you “mei-mei”.  Daddy and I call you “little girl”.  Sometimes I call you “Vanna”.

You have given me a chance to re-evaluate my life, and spend time on what I think matter the most. You have inspired me to be better, to be kind, and to be true to myself.

Daddy and I came up with your name back in 2009. We were in Tanzania on a safari. One day, while standing on top of a hill and looking down at the savanna below us, my heart was filled with emotion. The Serengeti was just so full of life, so wild and so unpretentious. I turned around and said to Daddy, if we ever have a girl one day, let’s name her Savanna. He said ok. That’s how we named you. Savanna without the h.

Thank you for picking me to be your mommy. I am the luckiest woman in the world. I look forward to being amazed by you even more. I wish you all the adventures and discoveries and happiness in the world.

Happy birthday!

Love,
Mama

Freestanding

Savanna has been growing like a weed.  She can say “dada”, and just this week, she learned to say “up”.

Why does the monkey girl not say “mama”?  I think she’s trying to irk me.  She would say “dada”, and turn around and look at me with a smirk.

Damned baby.

She can now stand on her own for a few seconds at a time.  Today she was showing off to me how she was freestanding, and she did it for a good solid 10 seconds.  She was so happy with herself, she clapped and giggled.

I can’t believe she’ll be ONE in a few more weeks.  Where did my little baby go?

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Stuck

When Joshua first started to crawl, he crawled backwards.  He would use his arms to push himself back, until he got stuck somewhere.  One time I took a picture of him getting stuck under the couch, and I thought it was hilarious.

Last week, Savanna started to get on her all fours, and started to pump her little tush like she’s getting ready to crawl.  This week, she started to push herself backwards, just like Joshua did.  The other day, she pushed herself so far back that she was stuck under the couch.  Deja vu!

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Double trouble

I always resisted the possibility of a double stroller.  For months, I would carry Savanna in the baby carrier, and Joshua would sit in the stroller.  But now that Savanna is getting heavier, I want Joshua to graduate to walking everywhere, so Savanna can sit in the stroller.

I guess Joshua didn’t get that memo.

Last week, I broke down and bought a double stroller off Craigslist.  When I brought it home, Joshua was so excited.  He climbed into it and stayed there for a good long time.  If he had his way, he would have had his dinner in it too.

Luckily for me, both kids love being in this stroller.  Even though this big elephant of a stroller is taking up very precious real estate smack in the middle of my apartment, it is nice to be able to go for long walks and come home like this:

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Settling back in

We now return to our regular programming of being back home in Vancouver.

We’ve been back for 6 days now, and I feel like I’ve lost the battle with the kids’ jet lag.  Savanna is up playing usually from 2 to 6 am.  Joshua randomly cries and screams during this time as well.  If they both happen to dose off, one of them will cry, waking up the other.  I can’t remember how many f bombs I’ve dropped in the last 6 nights.  I’ve yelled at both kids and ended up in tears myself a few times with exhaustion.

If you could all please send sleep vibes to my kids, I’d really appreciate it!

It’s always interesting to go away for a period of time.  When we come home, I can see clearly how much the kids have grown.  Savanna’s cloth diaper now must be buttoned with a space apart because she has gotten bigger.  She sprouted a tooth with a second one following closely behind.  Joshua has put on 2 pounds while we were away.  Both kids seem longer in their beds.

It was so nice to get Sammy back.  I’ve really missed him.  He always fits easily and quietly back into our lives after we’ve been away.  Sam is a constant and a calming spirit when the rest of the household is going crazy with sleep deprivation.

Getting right back to digging in his favorite sandpit.

Getting right back to digging in his favorite sandpit.

See the tooth?

See the tooth?

My old boy.

My old boy.

Pictures from Asia: Part 2, Family

The whole point of this trip was to spend time with my family.  I have so many pictures of my kids and my parents together!  Since my parents don’t live in Vancouver, my kids rarely get to see them other than on Skype.

Joshua now knows that Gong-gong (grandpa) will give him pretty much anything he asks for.  On this trip, he has gotten into the habit that whenever mommy says “no”, he can turn to Gong-gong and probably get that toy car to add to his collection.

My parents playing with Savanna.

My parents playing with Savanna.

Very jet lagged Joshua.

Very jet lagged Joshua.

My dad preparing a feast for us.

My dad preparing a feast for us.

My mom hanging out with Savanna.

My mom hanging out with Savanna.

Joshua likes to put his shoes next to my dad's slippers.

Joshua likes to put his shoes next to my dad’s slippers.

 

Joshua likes to put his shoes next to my dad's slippers, even when the slippers are apart.

Joshua likes to put his shoes next to my dad’s slippers, even when the slippers are apart.

Joshua enjoying Gong-gong's company.

Joshua enjoying Gong-gong’s company.

Gong-gong and grandson.

Gong-gong and grandson.

Joshua.

Joshua.

Handsome little Tiger.

Handsome little Tiger.

My godmother came to visit.

My godmother came to visit.

Tiger and Joshua playing on the iPad.

Tiger and Joshua playing on the iPad.

Gong-gong goofing around with Joshua.

Gong-gong goofing around with Joshua.

Tiger giving Joshua a hug.

Tiger giving Joshua a hug.

Still very jet lagged Joshua.

Still very jet lagged Joshua.

My dad preparing another feast in the kitchen.

My dad preparing another feast in the kitchen.

Savanna killing me with her sweet smile.

Savanna killing me with her sweet smile.

Joshua gesturing that I love him "this much".

Joshua gesturing that I love him “this much”.

Gong-gong playing Lego with Joshua.

Gong-gong playing Lego with Joshua.

My grandmother, who no longer recognize us due to Alzheimers, still enjoys our company.

My grandmother, who no longer recognize us due to Alzheimers, still enjoys our company.

Cooling off in the air conditioned hotel room.

Cooling off in the air conditioned hotel room.

My grandpa's ashes.  He passed away almost 2 years ago.

My grandpa’s ashes. He passed away almost 2 years ago.

Even though my grandma doesn't recognize us, she was keen to hold Savanna.

Even though my grandma doesn’t recognize us, she was keen to hold Savanna.

Pretending to be cool on my uncle's brand spanking new Harley.

Pretending to be cool on my uncle’s brand spanking new Harley.

My aunt trying to put Savanna down for a nap.

My aunt trying to put Savanna down for a nap.

Going for a trike ride at my aunt's farm.

Going for a trike ride at my aunt’s farm.

Feeding chickens at my aunt's farm.

Feeding chickens at my aunt’s farm.

This is Joshua's first time meeting my aunt, and he really took to her.

This is Joshua’s first time meeting my aunt, and he really took to her.

The same carousel I was addicted to at Joshua's age.

The same carousel I was addicted to at Joshua’s age.

Hanging out with gong-gong.

Hanging out with gong-gong.

Hanging out with po-po.

Hanging out with po-po.

Waiting for our ice dessert at Ice Monster.

Waiting for our ice dessert at Ice Monster.

Hanging out with po-po.

Hanging out with po-po.

Joshua watering my dad.

Joshua watering my dad.

Chilling out.

Chilling out.

Joshua insisted on sleeping in the crib in the Hong Kong hotel.

Joshua insisted on sleeping in the crib in the Hong Kong hotel.

Disneyland HK.

Disneyland HK.

Disneyland HK.

Disneyland HK.

This is the smile that makes me do whatever he wants.

This is the smile that makes me do whatever he wants.

Winnie, my very cool BFF from our SFU days.

Winnie, my very cool BFF from our SFU days.

Winnie's gorgeous son, Seth.

Winnie’s gorgeous son, Seth.

My parents at the Beer Fest in HK.

My parents at the Beer Fest in HK.

Joshua at the Science Museum in HK.

Joshua at the Science Museum in HK.

My girl.  She grew so much while we were on our trip.

My girl. She grew so much while we were on our trip.

My goofballs.

My goofballs.

Getting ready for the trip home.

Getting ready for the trip home.

Last meal in HK.

Last meal in HK.

Last meal in HK.

Last meal in HK.

Flying home.

Flying home.

Savanna grew a whole tooth on this trip.

Savanna grew a whole tooth on this trip.

Did you miss me?

We got home last night, after some brutally long and unnecessary delays for various reasons.  We are doing loads of laundry and settling back in.  We’re all still on the Asia clock, with Joshua winning the jet lag award for being up since 4:30 am.

We had a fantastic time with my family in Taiwan and Hong Kong.  I took almost 1,500 pictures.  Now I am going to sink into the deep hole of going through so many photos!

It’s nice to be home to sleep in my own bed, and have Sammy back.  At the same time, I sorely miss my family and the delicious food in Taiwan.

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