Friday, November 27, 2009

Guess what-- or who-- we're thankful for this year?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Counting down to the fried bird

Last year, I made the mistake of going to Trader Joe's the day before Thanksgiving to buy some last minute things. Big mistake. Not only was there a line to get into the parking lot, just paying for brown sugar and chicken stock took me 20 minutes. In the 15 Items or Less line. This year, we thought to avoid the same mistake by doing our Thanksgiving grocery shopping early. But clearly not early enough because on Sunday, Trader Joe's was already out of fresh green beans and pumpkin pies (that we wanted to buy for ourselves). Which means we're still going to have to run to the store tomorrow for green beans and scallops (we didn't want to get the frozen ones at TJ). Let's hope we don't get marauded...

Ingredients which we did manage to get:
For Whole Wheat Stuffing with Pancetta, Chestnuts,and Parmesan:
Artisanal whole wheat boule
Chicken stock
Extra Parmesan (just in case...)
(I still have to snip rosemary and thyme from our backyard...)

For Green Bean Casserole:
Baby portabella mushrooms
Fried onions

Shopping list for tomorrow:
Fresh green beans
Fresh scallops
Lime (I think I'll briefly marinate the scallops in lemongrass, lime peel and olive oil before grilling)

Thanksgiving is my favorite American holiday and we look forward to it every year; actually, more specifically, my tummy looks forward to Rick's deep-fried turkey and Emilee's sweet potato mash!! That and passing out after the meal in front of some completely mindless, inanely enjoyable movie like Roxanne or Better Off Dead :) Let's see how much of it Sophie will be able to deal with on her first Thanksgiving- it'll be good training for the even bigger Christmas bash coming her way in Singapore!

Friday, November 20, 2009


These days, three things make me happiest:
1) Seeing Jude coming home in the evenings.
2) Looking at Sophie wake up in the mornings.
3) Watching Glee on Wednesdays.

I'm all about empowerment. I empower my Cherrios to live in a constant state of fear by creating an environment of irrational random terror.
-Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Of scallops, noodles, and apples

Yup, there's no doubt that Sophie has our genes...

No child has ever been this happy over the talk of food she can't ingest yet... :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Flip out (or in this case, over)...

Ok everyone, pay attention- this is Sophie. And I'm on way to becoming very dangerous... Fear me for I am trying to flip over!

1. #1: From the top, 2. #2: Here we go, 3. #3: Some help from her mini pillow, 4. #4: D'oh..., 5. #5: Trying again, 6. #6: Almost there

It's hard work, this flipping over- sometimes I'd rather just hold my head up and look around the room. And the thing holding my legs together isn't helping much coz it's so heavy :( But Mama and Daddy help me along by propping me with my little pillow and egging me on with my favorite crazy star toy. I love it to bits even though my parents think it's the most psychotic thing created. What do these adults know?...

I finally get half way there though and Daddy helped me the rest of the way with a little nudge- the first of many I'm expecting him to give me for the rest of my life. That's how much I know he loves me :) And can you hear my Mama squealing in the background? Sometimes, she gets too excited...

Oh don't you worry, you know I'll flip over completely on my own one day. Because I'm Sophie Yew, and I'm awesome!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Separation anxiety

Infant room on the Railroad side
Come January, after we come back from Singapore, Jude and I will be putting Sophie in daycare. It breaks our heart to do it but if both of us want to finish our dissertations in any decent amount of time, we really don't have a choice. Now that she's increasingly responsive and social, it's taking me a lot to manage my time between work and playing with her. I can only squeeze in pockets of time when she's napping (which are getting shorter and fewer in the day) or at night after we've put her to bed to get anything done. And so yesterday, we visited Gretchen's House at Dhu Varren to have a look. It's the closest Gretchen's House to our place (distance is a huge factor for us) and comes highly recommended both from parents who've sent their kids there as well as friends who've taught there before.

It's a lovely, lovely place- bright and warm, with cheery rooms and even cheerier teachers. The infants we saw looked so happy playing in their sensory areas and are clearly well taken care of. One of the biggest things for us is that Sophie will be actively cared for at daycare and not just left in a crib to entertain herself (or as Jude fears, abandoned to wallow in her own dirty diaper...). We want to know that she's being appropriately engaged and stimulated, given lots of affection and hugs and it looks like that's what they do at Gretchen's House. All the teachers have at least a 4-year B.A. degree in a child development field which assures us that Sophie will be getting the most developmentally appropriate care possible.

As we were walking around, I was thinking how funny it was that my work and personal life have collided in this way- in my research job, I work quite a bit on child care quality and in one of the papers I produced for Columbia University, I presented research which suggests that for infants, family day care is more appropriate because of the more intimate environment that simulates the home. I always thought I'd put Sophie in family day care because of that but high quality ones are so hard to find, especially high quality ones near us. And in a situation like this, I'd rather put her in a high quality center than a low quality family day care. Besides, at Gretchen's House, even though they're licensed for a teacher to child ratio of 1:4, they keep it at 1:3 so that the babies get as much personal attention as possible. The whole place is also designed to replicate a home environment, with pods of classrooms that are self-contained units with access to a central living space and the outdoor area.

The tuition for Gretchen's House will be expensive (it costs more than our monthly rent!) but with a student subsidy, we're hoping to make it work. Besides, nothing's more important to us that making sure that Sophie is well taken care of so if it means cutting back on our expenses (thanks to Hulu, we're thinking of dropping our cable anyway...) and being very mindful about how we spend our money, it'll be well worth it!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The moment that made my day

Sophie laughed out loud today.

I can't imagine a more beautiful sound in the world! :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Working girl

1. Hi Serena!, 2. How Sophie occupied herself while Mama worked, 3. Sprawled out across the office table, 4. Morning nap at Mama's research office

Hi everyone,
So today was a big day for me- Mama brought me to her research office with her and I had a great time! I took a nice morning nap in my stroller, letting Mama get some work done. But I wasn't comfortable in there for too long and so she had to take me out and put me in the Baby Bjorn. That was nice- I like being able to look around me. Lights are SO COOL!! But they're tiring to look at so I fell asleep again. I think this allowed Mama to get more work done with her co-workers. They're nice- they said I look cute in my pajamas and let me play with them :) One of them asked Mama if the pound she's convinced I put on during my growth spurt all went to my cheeks- I don't know what that meant but I smiled anyway, puffing out my cheeks, and that made everyone laugh. Who knows why... adults... I woke up in time for Mama's lunch and she brought me to get a salad from Za's with Aunt Serena while I was still in the Bjorn. That was super-duper awesome coz I got to go outside and soak in the gorgeous Fall weather that Mama loves to much. I saw people, and cars, a big blue bus, more people, felt the sun shine on my face, burped while Mama was in line at the cafe which made Aunt Serena laugh out loud. These big people are so easily amused.

Mama was worried that I would be bored so she brought along my favorite toys- Sophie the Giraffe and my rattle as well as a quilt and fleece blanket so I'll be comfortable. And I was! Mama put me on a large office table so she could keep an eye on me and I just chilled there and watched her shuffle papers about. I guess that's what Work is. It looked hard. And tiring. Just looking at her so busy tired *me* out so I fell asleep again. Mama didn't have to Bjorn me this time- I was so pooped from all the smiling and light-staring that I slept soundly in the car seat.

I hope Mama brings me to the office more often- I really had a good time :) Although someone needs to remind her to change my diaper more often. She was so busy at one point that she missed one of my catastro-poops and I did not smell nice. *Adults*!!

Monday, November 09, 2009

The only constant is change

As Sophie turns 3 months old today-- happy 3-month old birthday punkin'!-- I have to say that neither one of us can fathom not having her around anymore, and it's almost like I can't remember how things were like without her. In just 13 short weeks, she has irrevocably turned our lives upside down, and inside-out:

1. Crossing the road is no longer just crossing the road- I literally practice the "look right, then left, and then right again" rule at least 3 times before crossing when she's with me.

2. No sacrifice is too big for her- like giving up caffeine. No questions asked.

3. My heart can now be broken by just hearing her cry.

4. I'm taking better care of myself-- like what I eat-- because it determines what she eats.

5. If she sleeps well, it doesn't matter if I don't.

6. When I carry her and look in the mirror, I look at her instead of myself.

7. I've become a morning person.

8. I'd rather buy her a chew toy than a new winter hat for myself.

9.I've almost completely stopped wearing a watch. Time is defined by the hours in between her feeds.

10. I want to make the world a better place because I want it to be a better place for her.

Kisses to the 3-month old!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

All shot up

We finally did it. After missing several H1N1 flu clinics both at the University and in Ann Arbor, we packed breakfast, bundled Sophie up, and hauled ourselves out of the house before 9am yesterday to Ypsi to get in line for the mass H1N1 clinic for high priority groups. Jude and I fall into this category because we're caring for a child under 6 months old and we also really wanted to get it in anticipation of flying home and not wanting to self-quarantine ourselves for 2 weeks in Singapore.

After hearing horror stories of 5-hour long waits and complete chaos at the Ann Arbor clinics, we were prepared for the worse. It didn't help that it was chilly out and I didn't bring a hat nor gloves (Sophie, on the other hand, was warm and toasty in her Bundle-Me). Fortunately, I think the county learned from its mistakes and the experience was actually rather civilized. We were indoors within 20 minutes and the wristband system definitely helped-- depending on what time you arrived, you got a colored wristband that corresponds to the approximate time you might receive your shot. We got there early enough to make the first group-- and so did the many staff members at hand to handle questions and dispense information. In the end, it still took us 3 hours from start to finish, but it was a chill 3 hours- we were in line with our friend Jina and her daughter, Willow, who was most entertaining, Sophie-- who's thankfully coming out of her growth spurt-- slept through most of it, waking up just to cuddle and flirt with the lady standing behind us, and we stuffed our faces with the English muffins and cinnamon rolls we had packed so we weren't squirming in hunger from 9am to noon.

So Jude and I are now H1N1-vaccinated, with paperwork to show for it. Coupled with having gotten the seasonal flu shots last month, let's hope this household will be illness-free through the Winter!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Growing up is hard to do

I appreciate baby growth spurts in theory, but abhor them in actuality. I get that babies have these periods where they eat A LOT and fuss more because their bodies are going through profound growth. I get it. I really do. And if I weren't so intimately acquainted with it right now, I might even go so far as to say that I'm rather fascinated by this whole process. It's like witnessing Growth right before your eyes. Pretty cool stuff.

But Growth Spurt Genie, if you're reading this, listen up. I hate you.

I hate that you've replaced our sweet baby with a fussing, crying, ravenous Tasmanian Devil incarnate. I hate that I've had to give up my play time with Sophie in exchange for long periods of shushing and soothing her while she cries like she's having an existential meltdown. And so if you'd like to get back into my good graces before manifesting again for Sophie's 6-month growth spurt, you'd better return our daughter back to her normal self. I am a woman surviving on little sleep and exhausted from frequent feeds. I am constantly thirsty and hungry and feel like a pig (or a cow, depending on the situation). I am not happy. And you don't want to mess with Serene Koh when she's not happy. So yes, Growth Spurt Genie, be afraid, be very afraid...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

How do you say No to a face like this?

You don't.

Unless you're trying to wean her off her beloved bouncer, in which case you sit helplessly and listen to her whimper in her crib via the baby monitor and resolutely resist any temptation to put her where she really wants to be.

Tough love sucks.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy day after Halloween!

Dear everyone,
Apparently, it's the day after Halloween. I don't know what this Halloween thing is but my Mama's been putting me in strange clothes these past two days so I'm assuming it's some kind of fashion festival. On Friday, she wrapped me up in a ladybug blankie and pulled a hat over my head. I hate hats. But I was in a good mood so I let her have her way. I think it made her happy :) Besides, I entertained myself with my hand- I never knew it tasted so good till last week. *nom*...

Then yesterday, when Daddy was home, they put me in another outfit, this time a DJ onesie and a pirate beanie hat. Auntie Jenn in Boston got me the outfit and I think I rocked it, if I should say so myself :) DJ Sophie in da house- hijacking the airwaves, and rockin' yours (and my) booties off! I still didn't like the hat so much but it was tiring being so adorable so I slept most of the day and just let my parents do what they wanted. Letting them have their way once in while keeps them on their toes, I think- I make their life interesting that way...

Here's me with Daddy- I think we both look very good, don't you agree? Oh, and I love my Rainbow Brite leg warmers- they make my legs look a little chubby, but oh so cute!