Mom Life Sleep Thankful


We never sleep trained our 3yo but finally started to teach her to sleep on her own using the method taught in The Happy Sleeper book. Now we no longer lay next to her until she falls asleep (yay!); we check in on her in 1,2,3,5,10 minute increments at her door. My husband is usually in charge of her sleep but tonight I decided to try it for the first time. He warned me, “she will ask you to lay with her, don’t do it” and I was like yeah sure of course. After the 5 min check in my daughter goes “mommy? You need to come closer to me…because I love you.” 🥺🥺🥺 how do you say no to that? Lol. I said, “ok baby I’m going to brush my teeth.” She goes, “okay, go quickly mommy!”

I brushed and by the time I was out, she was asleep. Not sure if I was happy she fell asleep on her own, or disappointed I didn’t get to cuddle. 🤔

Mom Life Thankful

Olivia, Age 3

Sometimes I forget that Olivia is only three years old. I am really grateful to have Olivia as our first child because I can tell she’s going to be a really good big sister and set great examples for her siblings. Daniel and I are trying very hard to make sure we raise thoughtful, kind, and resourceful humans who care and make use of their brains. Here are two examples from this weekend-

  • We gave a monetary gift to Olivia’s teacher for Christmas. At drop-off the other day, the teacher gave us a present for Olivia, because she said she really appreciated our gift. It was totally not necessary for her to do that, but we appreciate it. I tried to teach Olivia gratitude by letting her know she should thank her teacher on Monday and why. I started listing the effort that her teacher put in to getting this gift into Olivia’s hands- she spent the time to ponder what Olivia would like, she took time to shop for the gift, she spent the money to buy the actual present, she brought the gift with her to school so she could give it to us. Olivia added, “and she took the time to wrap it!” which made me smile since I didn’t even think of that myself, and it showed that Olivia understood what I was trying to teach her. Gratitude and manners are important, but I also want Olivia to understand that products do not just magically appear out of nowhere. I am not a fan of too much stuff, so I want to make sure my children understand the cost of materialism. While Olivia’s too young for me to go on a tirade about environmental impact, I like to think I’m building a strong foundation for her to think deeper and to care about the world around her.
  • This morning Chloe coughed. Olivia stepped away from what she was working on (her beloved marble run), went over to Chloe, asked “Chloe, are you okay?” and then patted her on the back to help ease the cough. I loved how this sequence of events unfolded so naturally in front of me. Kudos to Daniel as he taught Olivia to ask “are you okay?” if someone is hurt. I don’t know who taught Olivia to pat someone on the back if they’re coughing- maybe she picked that up as that’s what we do for her. It is so heartwarming to see my little baby grow into a strong girl who definitely uses her brain to think for herself.

Since Chloe’s arrival, while Daniel and I try to give both babies as much of our time as possible, naturally we’ve split parenting duties so that I’m the primary caregiver (and food source) for Chloe while he looks after Olivia. He texted me last night-

I assume he means she’s independent because Olivia is able to hang out by herself and give him some alone time. She’s a fan of making arts and crafts by herself, coloring worksheets, and cutting up worksheets. Tonight while I went to put Chloe to sleep, Daniel made his dinner, and Olivia did her own thing. When I went to clean up her table as Daniel put her to bed, I was pleasantly surprised to see what she had been working on, all by herself-

While Olivia might not have understood the character she was writing, I appreciate her practicing her tracing and taking the initiative to work on something like this herself without asking for our help. Daniel was looking at photos of Olivia when she was two and it’s just crazy how much she’s grown in the last year and a half. I am excited to be part of Olivia’s journey and for the privilege of watching her grow up. Knowing what we know now about Olivia’s development, it’s also exciting to think of what’s coming for Chloe. So many fun things to look forward to!

Mom Life

You Know You’re a Modern Asian Mom

…when you thoroughly enjoy discussing elementary school options with another mom, though both your daughters are only 3 and aren’t even eligible to apply for kindergarten yet 😂 .

In seriousness, it’s so refreshing to have a buddy who’s on the same wavelength as you when it comes to education for our children. It’s another mom from Olivia’s Montessori school, whose daughter is one of Olivia’s favorite friends in her class. I’m kind of nervous for next year, when we will start applying for kindergarten, since there are so many options and I don’t want to “screw” anything up for Olivia. Thus, it’s so nice to have someone to ping who will be going through the same thing and share similar values with me on education.

The funny thing is that our lives are also very similar – she and her husband met in high school, did long distance, and they also have two kids with the same age gap as Olivia and Chloe (3 years, 2 months). Who says you can’t make friends in your 30s?

Mom Life Thankful

Going Back to Work after a 4 Month Maternity Leave

Today is the day I officially return to work. It’s cold and rainy out, so I’m extra grateful that returning back to work consists of me turning on my work laptop in my office as opposed to the personal laptop I’ve been working off the last 4 months.

Sometimes I think I manifested this type of work environment because in my 20s I never saw myself working the traditional corporate life after I had kids. In fact, when I was pregnant with our first child, Daniel and I both left the workforce because we both wanted to spend more time with our baby, not stuck in hour-long commutes each way or being forced to make small talk with colleagues. Back in 2019, neither of us were in tech and remote work was not an option (though perhaps we should’ve/could’ve looked harder to make it happen), so in our minds, our only option was to quit and figure it out later.

Even though we absolutely relished the break we got to take, and the ultimate gift of time and freedom we had in the first year and half (me) to two and a half years (Daniel) of Olivia’s life, it wouldn’t be practical to do it every time we have a baby since it would derail our plans to provide a secure financial future for the entire family. I feel very fortunate that with Chloe, I’ve had four months of paid leave plus two additional PTO weeks. Even though I still believe maternity leave should be a year long like in Canada, I know what I have is considered very good for the States. While I definitely would not have been ready to start commuting to an office again, I don’t mind the few steps I have to take to reach my office and sign into a computer.

Chloe just turned 4 months, so we are still working on getting her on a nap schedule. She has a slight cold from her sister’s daycare germs, so that’s a bummer but it is very manageable with the combination of my mom being here to help and both Daniel and I working from home. So before I get back to work I just want to take a moment to mentally relive the last four months and truly appreciate the time to focus on baby Chloe. It’s been tiring but so much fun. I love my girls so much!!

Life Thankful

Happy 2023, and 2022 in Review

Every December 31st, I can’t believe a whole year is over and another one is about to start. Yesterday was no different, but I am very grateful for everything that happened in 2022, and I am so excited for all that’s to come in 2023. Throughout 2021, and the most part of 2022, I was looking forward to having a happy and healthy second child, and I was praying and hoping we’d sell our Forest Hills apartment. By the end of the year, we’d accomplished both, so it feels like a lot has been lifted off our backs. After a brief moment to pause and bask in our reality, it will soon be time to get back to work and get better. I will always strive for continuous improvement, and I look forward to leading a “do better” life.

For 2023, I am excited to watch our girls grow up. Olivia is already such a firecracker at age 3.5, and we’ve seen so much growth since she first started Montessori school at age 2. It’s incredible how much she knows and how much she can communicate to us. I love talking to her and getting a chance to see how her brain works. Just two years ago she was learning to speak, say mama and dada, and now she can say things like “I love daddy, mommy, Chloe, and our family. When I grow up I will buy a purple and pink Tesla and take Chloe with me wherever I go!” (and she can say this in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin!). At 4 months, Chloe is no longer a newborn and she’s also starting to express herself a lot too. It’s so fun to be second-time parents because we can see so many differences between baby Chloe and Olivia when she was a baby. They both seem to love each other so much (Olivia is very protective of her baby sister and Chloe lights up whenever big sister is around), so I can’t wait to see how their bond grows as they grow.

We’ve got a pretty cool trip coming up this year- Singapore and Tokyo! It will be an adventure for sure with a toddler and a baby, but I think we’ll be just fine and everyone will have a lot of fun. Daniel and I hope to buy our first investment property sometime in 2023, and we’ll also sprinkle in some smaller trips and weekend hotel stays. We’ve got plans to be productive, and I hope that we will use our Forest Hills experience to push ourselves.

Reflecting on 2022, it was a really good year overall, and we all experienced a lot of growth. We started the year in January knowing we were pregnant, but were cautiously optimistic given our previous chemical pregnancy. My morning sickness with Chloe was way worse with Chloe than Olivia and I remember throwing up multiple times a day, for many days, with absolutely no appetite. My diet consisted of crackers and fruit chews. I legit had a water aversion, which was worse than not being able to eat. During the day I was somehow able to get through work without any issue – as I enjoy my job, perhaps the work itself distracted me from my symptoms, but after 5PM I would basically crash and have to curl up on our sofa in the living room while Daniel took care of Olivia. I was very careful with my pregnancy, as I was with Olivia’s, so I didn’t want to take any medicine for my nausea, but around 10 weeks or so I had to start taking diclegis because it was very, very bad. After maybe 18 weeks or so I was finally able to eat again, but I didn’t truly get my appetite back until after delivery and then confinement.

In May we took a family vacation (first vacation in the pandemic era) to Cancun and stayed at the Finest in Playa Mujeres. It was really nice as we had a pool in the back of our hotel room, and Olivia’s cousins were only two rooms down, so we were able to all hang out together in the pool. The all-inclusive aspect was great to make things easier for our family group. My mom and brother did not go with us, but Olivia was really cute and kept telling my mom she’ll bring her with us next time (we asked them but they had no interest in Mexico).

Work was pretty good for me throughout the year. I started helping more with the business operations team, which is one of the perks of having a supportive manager and working for a startup where there are many opportunities to improve efficiency. Right before I left for maternity, literally the week before, I was working with a really demanding client and almost made a huge security mistake, but thankfully I did not. I didn’t plan it that way, but end of August turned out to be a great time to start maternity leave. I was supposed to go back to work in the middle of December, but my manager suggested I take some of my unlimited PTO and just come back in January, so I said thanks!

Chloe arrived a couple of days after I started mat leave. Daniel and I had been wondering how it’d work out with Olivia, because if we had to go to the hospital in the middle of the day, it would’ve been less than ideal for someone else to pick her up after school as we didn’t want her to feel like we left her behind. We ended up going to the hospital at night, so we were able to leave Olivia with my mother-in-law. I had a pretty good labor and delivery experience, which I can dedicate a whole post to another time, and we were so happy to meet Chloe and settle into life as a family of four.

I really cherished the last four months of 2022, as I got to know my new baby, and learn what Olivia is like as a big sister. September was actually a rough month for us because we sent Olivia to a subsidized 3K program near us and she did not enjoy the school at all. Thankfully, we were out of there in October and went back to Montessori. Even though September was not fun for us or Olivia, it turned out to be a necessary growth experience as Olivia matured a lot and we now appreciate Montessori more than ever. In November I received a promotion and a raise from work, which was awesome as I thought I wouldn’t qualify for the current performance review cycle but my manager fought for me. Along with the good news we also received some bad news – our buyer’s offer for our Forest Hills apartment was rejected by the board. We were so dejected as it meant we had to start over in rising rates environment, but I posted my situation to a local Facebook group and got an idea to increase the offer price to match the appraisal. I don’t understand how it’s legal, as basically the board wanted us to make up a sale price that they like, but we had the buyer resubmit with the higher price (which we offset with a seller’s concession, so the only people to lose out was us as we had to pay higher transfer taxes, but whatever), and our buyer was accepted shortly after Thanksgiving.

The last month of 2022, we were eagerly waiting to close, trying to figure out a plan for childcare once I got back to work, and also trying to get Chloe to practice good sleeping habits so she would be easier to handle. We ended up not closing until the end of December, which was crazy but we’re just glad it’s all behind us and asked my mom to come help us because nannies are really expensive and it’s so hard for me to trust a stranger with my baby. Chloe is doing well- her night sleeps are good; she can fall asleep on her own after I place her awake in her crib. She’s still eating twice in the middle of the night but goes back to sleep after eating. We are still working on her naps, but it is taking time.

The last day of 2022, I woke up with a huge clog from nursing. We were originally going to go out to the mall but ended up staying home because I wanted to prevent mastitis and get the clog out. Chloe needed contact naps the lat couple of days, so I assume my baby wearing caused the clog since baby was all smooshed against me. I tried a bunch of ways, but was unable to get the clog out, though it no longer hurts as much as when I woke up, so I think I at least loosened some the clog. My brother-in-law invited us over for dinner, and we were treated to homemade beef Wellington, candied apples, mashed potatoes, and mac n cheese. We brought over a strawberry cheesecake from a local bakery that specializes in cheesecakes. Dinner was fabulous- I’m truly so lucky to have married into a family of awesome home chefs – and we were able to get home at a reasonable time, around 8:30PM. I put Chloe to bed, Daniel put Olivia to sleep, and that was about it for the last night of 2022. Family time and great food- what else could you really ask for?