Wednesday, December 24, 2008

12 days...or so

For the past few years, Christmas for me, and then for me and Brian after that, used to involve a decision about where we would spend the holidays - in Toronto? in Albany? in Maple Ridge? in Seattle? The last time I actually put up a tree in my house before last year was when I was still living at home with my parents!

Now that our own family is growing, we find that Christmas is more like the event it used to be when we were kids - this time, of course, we're the ones making it happen! Josh is only 2 years old and I'm sure he won't remember this particular Christmas, but he's having fun along the way and learning some Christmas traditions while he's at it!
Brian got our lights up early this year. We had them on outside before December 1st! We did the tree the first weekend in December. Last year, Josh was too young, so we just did the tree after he went to bed. This year, we put up the tree with Josh. He was interested in the lights and ornaments, but he wasn't much interested in putting them on the tree...

Josh was introduced to advent calendars this year. Auntie Val gave him a chocolate one, which he LOVED. He was good about having only one per day, though. And he was also good at recognizing the picture on the piece of chocolate! Funny how fast kids pick things up when there are sweets involved!

Also, Josh's buddy, Elijah's grandmother gave Josh an ornament advent calendar. There were 24 pockets on the bottom calendar, each containing a miniature ornament wrapped in tissue paper. The top part of the calendar is a Christmas tree, with 24 buttons on it. Each day, we would open an ornament and put it on one of the buttons on the tree. Josh had a blast. He would inspect each ornament, play with it for a bit and then we'd put it on the "tree". The last ornament, of course, was the baby Jesus. We told him that Christmas was the celebration of baby Jesus' birthday and Josh went right into a chorus of "Happy Birthday". Too funny...

And then there was Santa. Last year's Santa photo was a bit of a disaster, but I figured I would try again anyway. After all, Josh DID warm up to the Disney characters after a couple of days on the cruise.

Josh's first encounter with Santa this year was at my company's kids Christmas party. He didn't seem to react to Santa. He had to go up to Santa to get his gift, but we didn't get him to sit on Santa's lap or anything. Josh seemed perfectly fine with all of it!

Next, we visited Santa at Motoring Munchkins. I asked Josh if he wanted to visit Santa and he said yes, so we joined the line! The resulting photo turned out pretty well! Josh would NOT sit in Santa's lap and he wouldn't even sit on my knee closest to Santa, but when I asked him to say cheese, he pulled off the cutest "cheese" smile. This was the result...
A week or so later, we were at Metrotown and I asked Josh again if he wanted to see Santa. Surprise, surprise - he said yes again! I coached him this time to sit on Santa's knee and he seemed pretty ok with it! Unfortunately, the boy in line before Josh wanted absolutely nothing to do with Santa and screamed and cried as his parents forced him on Santa's knee. Josh saw this and said, "Baby sad" all the while clinging to me with a kung-fu death grip. Needless to say, he wouldn't sit on Santa's knee after that, but we got a pretty good shot with him on my knee closest to Santa!
The Christmas season definitely seems more "festive" with a child. It no longer just feels like the time of year that you have buy presents for everyone and then eat a lot of food and spend a lot of time with family. It's actually a bit more fantastical, where you stop and look at lights and decorations, talk to Santa Claus and start your own little family traditions that your children will look forward to and remember for years to come.

Monday, December 15, 2008

the second time around

No two pregnancies are alike. That's what we're told right from the beginning. It's true. Though there are triggers that bring back the memories and emotions from other times, it's never truly quite the same.

I said that I would never forget pregnancy nausea, but I guess I did forget until this time around. NOW, I know I will NEVER forget it. Especially since it seems to have gone away as quickly as it came. Something that didn't happening with Josh. Nausea seemed to linger throughout the first time around and this time, it completely gone, except for the occasional wave.

This time around, I feel SO MUCH BIGGER. Now, I'm told that you start showing sooner the second time around, but this is ridiculous. Someone came up to me a few weeks ago and asked if I was 6 months along. I was 4.5 months! Ugh.

And I'm much more of a hypochondriac this time. Every little thing that seems "out-of-the-ordinary" makes me worry. When my nausea went away JUST LIKE THAT, I panicked that something was wrong with the baby and I paged my mid-wife. When we went for our 18-week ultrasound, I had so many more questions and felt so much more relief when I saw the baby and heard it's heartbeat. Everytime I feel a cramp, I worry. I'm just that much more "in tune" with my body (and baby!).

Being more "in tune" also has it's moments of pure bliss. On November 25th, I felt the baby for the first time. I was just approaching 18 weeks. I didn't feel Josh kick until I was 6 months along! I've since felt the baby poking, jabbing and kicking me countless times. It is one of those rare, indescribable feelings that only a mother can experience. It actually chokes me up to think that this will likely be the last time that I experience this!

Last night, for the first time, Brian was able to feel the baby kick. It was such an amazing thing to be able to share with him at 20.5 weeks. I don't think he felt Josh kick until 7 months. Oh...gotta's kicking and I have to sit back and enjoy it while it lasts!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

happy joshie day!

Wow! Two posts in one day after no posts for a month - this MUST be a special occasion!

All I can say is that I can't believe that my baby is 2-years-old. Happy 2nd Birthday, Joshie! Most parents know the term "Terrible Two's", but even with the terrible 2's, I love this age! I feel like I learn something new everytime Josh learns something new and he seems to learn something new everyday! Today, for the first time, he said, "Happy Birthday. Josh blow candle.". He used to say new words each day and now he says new sentences each day! It's amazing.

During the cruise, my brother (who has 2 young daughters) said to me, "There's baby-sitting and then there's Josh-sitting." Josh is a wild toddler. He's not afraid to go off on his own, even if Mommy and Daddy are out of eyesight. He just seems to trust that we'll find him. He also doesn't listen very well. Bad combination! He loves to climb; he loves to run; he loves to play in the water. In the past year, we've seem a very active, adventurous and independent child blossom. It's amazing.

We're doing our "official" birthday celebration next week, but I still wanted to mark the day for Josh. Here are some photos of him over the past couple of months as well as his birthday candle blow out...
Watching the planes fly overhead at the airport

Joshie's bonding with Nikita these days

Irresistible smile

Josh as ringbearer with this cousins at Lenny and Tini's wedding in October

Josh's only Hallowe'en party this year (we spent Hallowe'en in Orlando)

OK, how did Josh learn to give the stink eye?!

Joshie and Brian bonding in front of the tv

The birthday boy with his birthday cupcake

disney magic

We went on a Liem family vacation at the beginning of November to celebrate my parent's 40th anniversary this year. In a word, it was fabulous. There are 19 people (plus a half!) in my family and we also had honorary Liem's - Gordon and Andrew - join us.

We all met up in Orlando for a couple of days of shopping and reuniting before we boarded the Disney Magic and set "sail" for a 7-day western Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral. Now, I can't speak for everyone in my family when I say that we had a fabulous time, but I think everyone had a pretty fabulous time! I think we're lucky that way.

In early October, my youngest brother, Lenny got married in Toronto. The whole family was there for the wedding (2 1/2 weeks before flying to Orlando for the cruise!). My mom's friend commented to her at the wedding that she was lucky that all her kids and their spouses got along well. I never really thought about it, but we DO all get along!

I love spending time with my family. I love it when Josh gets to meet up with his Liem cousins. We always seem to get along (even when we exasperate each other because it takes us FOREVER to get anywhere!). And I know I'm lucky to have such a loving family. It's a hard feeling to explain, but I know that I was very sad when the trip was over - not only because the vacation was over, but also because I wouldn't get to see my family together again for awhile.

As for the Disney cruise, I HIGHLY recommend it for a family vacation. I've never been on a cruise before, but I don't know why anyone would take kids on any other cruise?! They just seem to have everything covered for kids of all ages. All of my nieces and nephews seems to have a blast and one of my nieces even cried when she realized that we weren't going back on the ship!

And though the cruise isn't really meant to cater to adults, Disney does not forget that parents need a break too - they have their share of adult-only areas on board, so if we needed a break from the kids, there were many places to go.

One thing to mention, though, is that this is my second big vacation when I was 4 months pregnant. Ugh. Though I didn't get any more nauseous than I already was (in fact, my nausea improved in the warmer weather!), I wasn't able to partake in the culinary delights that most cruises are known for. Actually, that may have been a good thing! Though, I can't WAIT to take a vacation where I am NOT pregnant!

So, I can't say much more about how amazing our vacation was, so I'll just post the photos now...

Brian and Josh celebrate at the Cast-Away Party

Brekkie with Mickey

C, Little H, Josh and Big H with Cinderella. Josh decided to "pick" a present for the princess...

Family Bingo!

Jon and Caroline's interpretation of "working out"

Josh and Little H in Mickey's splash pool

Josh, C and Big H are SO full...

Swimming with the sting rays on Grand Caymen

Jon feeding a sting ray

Disney Magic at port on Cozumel

Starfish and kayaks on Castaway Cay (Disney's island on the Bahamas)

C, Big H and Josh enjoying an ice cream cone, Castaway Cay

Pirates in the Caribbean, Castaway Cay

Sunset from the ship

Celebrating Josh's (and cousin L's) birthday with Disney

The Liem women

Friday, October 17, 2008

iDop v2.0

So, I'm sure that most of you guessed why I haven't been blogging. Either that, or I've already told you. iDop v2.0 is on the way. It doesn't promise to be better than iDop v1.0 (nicknamed "Josh") but it definitely promises to be newer!

The photo above was taken during my dating ultrasound. iDop 2.0 was only 7 weeks at the time. It's not much of a picture, I know. You can barely see the baby - my uterus is the black oval near the centre of the photo. The baby is the bit of fuzziness inside the black oval. Cool.

So, why haven't I been posting?! Well, from about 5 weeks until the last couple of days, I've been extremely nauseous and tired. I just passed the 12 week mark, so it's been 7 weeks of hell! Now, I haven't been puking up a storm - it's more like all-day nausea that causes alot of coughing and heaving. But between that and the fatigue, I've been keeping a pretty low profile. My doctor even prescribed a 2-week medical leave from work so that I could rest - I guess working and trying to take care of Josh wasn't really helping my situation!

Is it much different than when I was pregnant with Josh? Well, I'm not sure. I recall that I had all-day nausea when I was pregnant with Josh and it lasted well into the 2nd trimester. But I never missed work with Josh and I never took Diclectin. I think the difference is that this time around, I have to take care of Josh too! I don't have as much downtime with him around and that contributes to the fatigue, which contributes to the nausea. This is what my acupuncturist tells me, anyway.

I think Brian has been happy to keep a low profile too. With me laying on the couch most of the time I'm home, Brian has been doing the lion's share of the work around the house. He's been AMAZING! But I'm sure he's looking forward to me getting over this nausea and fatigue stage as much as I am. Well, maybe not AS much, but pretty close!

I'm due April 29th and I'm currently contemplating a VBAC, but my mid-wife says that I can change my mind at any time and opt for a scheduled Caesarean, in which case, they will refer me to an obstetrician.

We're also not going to find out the gender this time around. We found out with Josh because I felt like we needed to know to be more prepared. But this time, we don't feel we need to know to be any more prepared than we know that we are not! Plus, I also wanted to know what it feels like when the baby pops out and the caregivers says, "It's a {insert gender here}!".

To sum it up, I'm not very good with pregnancy, so I haven't been that good with this one so far. But don't get me wrong - I am thrilled that our family is growing again! It's been such an adventure being a parent and I can't imagine what happens when you throw another baby into the mix. Half the time, Bri and I feel like we're barely able to keep our heads above water trying to keep up with everything. But for some wickedly insane reason, we want to add to the craziness. It's AMAZING!

I can't wait to see what I say about life soon after the baby is born...YIKES!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


OMG. I haven't posted in over a month. What is going on?! Stay tuned to find out...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

labour for who?

Labour Day is such a bittersweet day because it's a holiday, but at the same time, it marks the official "end of summer" for many. For us, it's not such a big deal yet, since Josh is not yet in school. But for the crazy creatures at the Queen's Park Petting Zoo, it marks the end of the "petting zoo" season for them.

You've gotta wonder what a remarkable temperament these animals must have to be constantly surrounded by kids each day in the summer. I personally feel sorry for them, but the kids LOVE them. I just hope they get some good R&R at the Langley farm where they are sent for the winter (at least that's what we were told!).

On this closing day at the petting zoo, some of us Baby Talk moms went with our wee ones to say bye to the animals. Josh and I went a couple of times over the summer, but some of the moms were bringing their kids every week. They're not quite sure what to tell their kids when go back to the park next week and the animals aren't there!
Tammy and Fox, Alex and Joanna, Josh (doing his Michael Jackson imitation) and me

"No, Josh, it's not a puppy, it's a goat!"

"OH! A goat! Woof. Woof." Notice the death grip on mommy's finger.

"Can I put my finger in here, Mommy?"

Josh, Syriana and Ruby are watching the ducks in the duck pond(or was that zoo staff cleaning the duck pond?! Either way, they were fascinated!)

Monday, August 25, 2008


We use the term "owie" with Josh to describe anything that is, well, an owie! A couple of weeks ago, Josh got a pretty big owie. He got bit on the nose by a dog. I'm not going to go into any of the details about who's dog it was and where. We've dealt with the matter with the dog owner.

The important thing is that Josh is fine. The bruising below was completely gone after a couple of days and there doesn't seem to be any emotional bruising. Josh is completely fine with Nikita, still giving her unprompted pats and hugs. I think mommy's emotional bruising lasted longer! I definitely won't forget this for a long time. It's the worst feeling in the world when your child gets hurt.

I guess I'm posting this as a reminder as Josh gets older that he will have many owie's along the way. How else will my hair go completely grey?! The most important thing is that he comes out okay in the end and that we're there to love and comfort him.

P.S. Please ignore the california roll all over his face!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

where in the world are the van dop's?!

I haven't posted in August because we've been a bit busy! This is what we're working on...
You can tell we're not done yet (look on the left). In fact, we're only half way there! Ugh! I'll post more about this and other stuff we've been doing in August once we're done with all this painting!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

time out for a time out

A couple of weekends ago, we went up to Pemberton area (the week before the Festival) to dog-sit my girlfriend's 2 dogs. Unfortunately, we forgot our camera and do not have any photos from our relaxing weekend away from home. "Dog-sitting" sounds like a job, but really, it was a fun weekend away at the "Bush ranch", as we like to call it. The 3 dogs ran around the acres of property and just enjoyed each other's company. Josh was so overwhelmed by the plethora of toys (Nicole runs a family daycare in her home), he was absolutely nutty! And we even managed to go into Whistler and wander around the village for a couple of hours. I am truly bummed that we have no photos of our weekend.

With all the excitement and new surroundings, Josh managed to get himself into a little bit of trouble. At home, he has been sufficiently scolded that he rarely plays with Nikita's food and water bowls. But at the Bush ranch, their water bowl for the dogs is about 5 times as big as ours and always full of water. It's like a wee kiddie pool! Josh would not stop splashing and throwing stuff in the water bowl. Finally, we threatened him with his first time out and when he wouldn't stop, I pulled him out of the situation and gave him a time out.

In my head, a time out seemed pretty straight forward. I mean, I've seen Nanny 911 put kids on the naughty mat many times! Should be easy, right? Wrong. There is actually a whole methodology and best practices for time out. And when you are in the heat of a time out moment, having that methodology really helps! Unfortunately, I did not know this the first time around and we muddled our way through a very unsuccessful time out!

Firstly, a time out should generally last as many minutes as the child's age in years (e.g. Josh is 1.5 years-old and should get a 1.5 minute time out). I would have just left Josh in the time out until he realized the error of his ways or just completely gave in to me (realizing, of course, that it would never happen that way!).

Secondly, the whole point of the time out is punishment by boredom! I did not know that! So, basically, you remove the child from the situation and place them somewhere quiet and isolating. You leave them alone so all they can do is sit there. I actually sat with Josh in his timeout and tried to get him to apologize to me for what he did. Wrong! I should have just left him there by himself. The time out is also a time out for the parent to cool off and you can't do that by constantly badgering your child for an apology!

Lastly, when the time out is over, it is over. There should be no threats of "if you do that again..." and no further consequence. Even hugging and making up can help too.

Having failed miserably at the first time out, Brian and I researched, re-grouped and came to an agreement how our time outs would work. Last week, Brian and Josh were at home and Josh decided he needed to put all his shoes in Nikita's water bowl. That was grounds for an immediate time out! Brian sat him in a corner facing a wall and Josh was so compliant that Brian was able to walk away and take a photo! He sat quietly for over 1.5 minutes (why stop a good thing?!) and when Brian told him he was done his time out, they hugged and Josh went on with playing.

Well, we thought we were time out experts now! We thought that we have our rock solid punishment that will help us to teach Josh his boundaries in our family! Ha. Josh had different ideas. He has since had 2 time outs and both were gong shows. Josh has discovered when he doesn't just sit there and tries to get away, we go after him and put him back in the corner. Hey look! It's a game! He finds it very funny, too. Ugh. So, we're back at square one again with time outs and trying to find ways to discipline our nutty child. Anyone have any ideas?!

Monday, July 28, 2008

the july that flew by

OMG...I can't believe that July is almost over! We've been SO busy (and SO caught up in our new favourite show - 24) that I haven't blogged in ages. I usually don't like to just post a bunch of photos without a theme, but I'm going to make the theme "July" and post a bunch of photos. This would normally be about 4 posts, but I'm afraid I'll just keep falling further behind if I keep waiting...

Our July started off right with a Canada Day picnic in the park. This is a video of Josh sporting his Canada Day duds and singing a song with his Mommy. Check here for more photos from our picnic.

The hot weather finally hit Vancouver and Josh and Nikita are cooling off in the pool!

Even Brian wants to cool off a bit

Sandbox wisdom: With much fun in sandbox comes much mess from sandbox

Nikita and Josh playing (or is that just standing?) in the yard

Josh and Opa learning french

Nikita's thinking, "That's the last time I chase a cat under a car!"

Grabbing a quick snack during a playdate with Keira and Elijah at Elijah's house

Josh eats and throws rocks with his cousins, Ciarra and Jaidyn, at the foot of Alouette Lake's Lower Falls

My boy with the big brown eyes

Susanne reads a book to Josh and his buddy, Nolan

Baby Talk reunion - my have our babies grown!