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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Photo Editing Frenzy Begins!

As Little E's 2nd birthday quickly approaches, I'm finding myself in a photo editing frenzy. Last year I did the same thing and showcased the photos in a slideshow for family and friends. Throughout the year I try to edit photos, but I will glance over a lot of them if they're not good enough. Sounds silly because most of them are edit worthy. I just have limited time, and I focus on editing the latest batch of photos from some special event and the older ones are forgotten. I'm pretty sure I have a ton of photos from his first year that went untouched. Maybe I'll get to them if I ever have the time.

Since I'm busy editing, I figure it's a good time to share some of the photos that have been freshly uploaded to my Flickr. Enjoy!

Playing with Elephant Ball Popper 
enjoying his birthday present

Posing in Birthday Clothes 
I dress him up in clothes that family and friends generously gift him and take pictures of it in case he grows out of it too fast.

Elliot & Mommy 
I do not have enough photos with him but the few I have are super cute.

Driving Around with Daddy and Pop Pop 
taking a walk with Daddy & Pop Pop in his new car

Eating Sorbet 
enjoying sorbet for the second time

playing at the park to burn off some energy (aka sugar rush)

playing peek-a-boo behind the couch

crazy sweaty hair

playing behind the curtains

Please Read Mommy 
asking to read a book (yes, I put a barrette in his hair)

CLA Canonet QL17 
Bonus Picture -- H operates on his Canonet QL17 ($3 garage sale find)

I can't believe Little E used to be that little. So much happens during the infant months, and it's all in anticipation for the first steps into toddler hood (walking, talking, eating solids, etc). Once Little E was officially a toddler, his milestones didn't seem as significant as the ones he made as a baby. Now that I look back on the past year, I am amazed how much my little guy has grown. He runs, hops, jumps, talks up a storm, and learns so much everyday. Can he stay tiny for just a bit longer? I'm not ready for him to grow up.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Little E's Valentine's Day Project

I love to find ways to get crafty with Little E, and Valentine's Day was the perfect occasion. I lured him with the words "heart" and "paint." Hehe. He was overly excited, but I was super slow on figuring out the plan of attack. I had a few Martha Stewart bottles of paint, but they seemed to fancy for the occasion. A few months back we painted with yogurt, which seemed to work well. I did most of the painting at the time while Little E cautiously watched. Yogurt + food coloring... yup, that will work.

Valentine's Day Project: Painting 

Kids have the greatest memories. Little E was looking back on the painting that we worked on a few months back that I have hanging on the wall. He used that as a guide while he figured out how to paint. I tried to convince him to use his fingers instead, but he preferred painting with his paint brushes. Occasionally he would touch the brushes with his fingers and get a little paint on them. He immediately called for me to wipe his fingers. Such a clean little kid.

Valentine's Day Project: Painting Valentine's Day Project: Painting Valentine's Day Project: Painting Valentine's Day Project: Painting Valentine's Day Project: Painting Valentine's Day Project: Painting 

He had a blast painting, especially knowing that we were making an extra special gift for Daddy. The next day we transformed his painting into a piece of art with hearts. I cut out the hearts and put them through the Xyron. Little E used the newly formed stickers and put them on the pink piece of card stock. He loved every detail about our crafty project, and I cannot wait to make more pieces of art with him.

Valentine's Day Project
posing with his work of art :)

Elliot's Painting Valentine's Day Gift for Daddy
Valentine's Day 2013
Art by Little E (with Mommy's help)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The State of My Body

My name is Yin, and I don't like my body. If you travel back in time, you will find that I never liked my body even when I was super skinny. Stupid self-esteem and body issues. Well now I've aged, had a baby, and my body doesn't even resemble what it used to look like. My stomach is flabby. My muscles have long disappeared. The last time I tried to work out was ages ago, and I'm too lazy to exercise regularly. I don't check the number on the scale because some days it doesn't matter to me. I have a visual image of what I want my body to look like, and while that may not be realistic, I at least want to fit back into some of my old clothes.

Yin Plays Dress Up
skinny Yin -- April 2009

Here's the problem. I started out skinny at 109 lbs. I didn't gain much during my pregnancy due to gestational diabetes and topped the scale at 126 lbs before delivering Little E. At 6 weeks postpartum, I weighed 108 lbs. Great... except I have gained a few pounds since then, and I still can't fit into most of my clothes. I was too busy in the first year of being a mom to find the time to feed myself a proper meal. I was still bitter about having gestational diabetes and wanted to eat all the foods that I missed out on for three months. Little E had really bad eczema, and I started to limit my own diet to help his skin clear up a bit. I didn't eat wheat and dairy for 6 months. Now that I no longer have any restrictions, I eat as I please. My leftover sweet tooth from pregnancy doesn't seem to want to go away.

Strolling Around the Neighborhood
a week after giving birth and hiding in sweatpants and an over sized shirt

I'm Asian. I see people judging me constantly. Heck I just popped a baby out, and everyone wanted to point to my stomach and say, "Why is she still fat?" My parents pestered me about it. My MIL even made a few comments. It wasn't acceptable for me to still look pregnant right after giving birth, and it wasn't acceptable that it took me a few months to get rid of the extra weight. That didn't help with my body image issues and just made it worse. I feared having human contact because I didn't want to feel constantly judged.

Garage Sale with Elliot
hiding my extra tummy weight with an Ergo

I exclusively pumped for a year, and I always had an excuse for packing on a few extra pounds. I needed it to keep up my milk production. I ate an extra 500 calories a day to meet my body's needs. It was a huge change but one that I fully accepted. This was what my body needed in order to provide nutrients for my baby. I had no problem with keeping on the weight, knowing that it will eventually melt away once I stopped pumping. Well a year went by, I stopped pumping, and the weight remained the same. Sigh. I pretty much set myself for failure with the assumption that my extra flab would disappear as soon as I stopped breastfeeding.

Cherry Picking at Milburn Orchards
unflattering picture of me but there's a cute baby and hubby next to me :)

That brings me to my current state. I checked the scale recently, and it wasn't too scary. Like I mentioned before, the number doesn't bother me as much as my actual body. My goal for this year is to eat healthy. That means eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruits with proteins. That means eating three meals a day. My skinny years were not healthy years by any means, and I want to change that. I want to maintain my weight and eat better. I want to try to be more active (besides chasing a toddler around and running up and down the stairs throughout the day). Maybe I'll try yoga at home a few times a week. Maybe I'll try running around the neighborhood again. Part of the problem is recognizing it, right? I no longer want to live in sweatpants and sweatshirts. I want to like my body again. One step at a time.

Pool Adventure
so thankful for stylish one piece bathing suits

P.S. I also understand that lots of people would love to be in my body. I'll be honest and tell you that I wear a size small now (going from an extra small pre-pregnancy). Pant size... 2-4. Astonishing, huh? They are relatively small numbers, but it makes the biggest difference on my petite body. I'm afraid of feeling too comfortable in my new skin and not being able to find motivation to get back in shape.

P.P.S. I still wear maternity clothes because it's so comfortable. Maybe I should stop...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Video Mondays: Healthier Oatmeal Cookies

I'm a huge fan of Instagram (follow me @yinthinks), and it's not a surprise that I am jumping on the Vine bandwagon. It's pretty much Instagram in video form, giving you 6 seconds to record a video of your choice. You can split up the 6 seconds or record it continuously. It's fun to see how creative others can be with their videos.

making healthier oatmeal cookies

Last week I made a batch of oatmeal cookies using a combination of two recipes (Hellobee and Edible Perspective), which are gluten free and vegan. Yum! Little E loves cookies, and I love being able to make them for him. Of course you won't find me making him chocolate chip cookies any time soon. Only healthy cookies for my little guy. :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sweet Little E

Little E is such a sweet kid, and I know he is ready to be a big brother some day. He is so kind to his baby cousin, and here are just a few moments I captured the other day:

Reading Books Together Reading Books Together Reading Books Together Reading Books Together Reading Books Together Reading Books Together *Points to Camera* "Say Cheese, Sydney!" *Points to Camera* "Say Cheese, Sydney!" Reading Books Together "Let's Get Up & Look Out the Window" "Let's Get Up & Look Out the Window" "Let's Get Up & Look Out the Window"

I simply watched and snapped the pictures with my camera. Little E read to his cousin, held her hand, told her to smile for the camera, and wanted her to come up with him to look out the window. He is so gentle and caring. Can he stay this little forever? 

Fun Fact Fridays: Bottle Temperatures

Feeding Elliot

Fun Fact Fridays #8
As a new parent I assumed that all bottles had to be warmed up to the perfect temperature for baby. While I was pregnant my sister gave me great advice about giving the baby a cold bottle instead. Babies get accustomed to what they are given, and if you give them a warm bottle every time, then that's what they will expect. Imagine all the extra work of heating up a bottle being eliminated from the equation. That was enticing so I gave it a try. Since breastfeeding didn't work out for us, I pumped breast milk. In the beginning he drank fresh breast milk. Sometimes it was warm (freshly pumped), and other times it was room temperature. After a month I experimented with a bottle straight out of the fridge. It was a hot day, and maybe he liked the cooling effect of a cold bottle. Maybe he was just really hungry. Whatever it was, it worked! He had a mix of room temperature and cold bottles for the first 6 months and exclusively cold for the remaining 6 months.

Restaurant Outing with Baby

For formula bottles, you should never mix and leave the bottle out in room temperature. Make sure to either mix and serve right away or premix and leave in the fridge until ready to serve (up to 24 hours in the fridge). For breast milk, you can leave fresh milk out in room temperature for up to 4-8 hours (ideally 3-4 hours) or serve refrigerated fresh milk for up to 3-8 days (ideally 72 hours) according to


It was so convenient to never have to warm up a bottle of milk. I could pack milk on the go, and I didn't have to find a way to heat up a bottle when we were out. I could easily take it out of the cooler bag and feed him directly. It was already enough work for me to pump around the clock, and I'm glad warming up milk was one less thing for me to worry about. On the downside, my kid only likes room temperature to cold foods. Give him anything that is warm to hot, and he will have a meltdown. Again, this makes it easy for us on the go with a packed lunch, but it's not so easy when he wants his bowl of hot pho right away.

Nighttime Bottle

P.S. I am not a medical professional. If you have any questions about bottle feeding, please seek advice from your physician. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Video Mondays: Play Kitchen

Little E 
17.5 months old

For Little E's first birthday we bought him a play kitchen, and it is one of the most used toys we have in the house. He plays with it everyday, and it is conveniently located in my kitchen which makes cooking meals a whole lot easier for me. He will play in his kitchen while I cook in mine. Even though he has a pretty nifty kitchen at home, he cannot get enough of the play kitchen at the local co-op store. Since he loves it so much, we ended up buying the same pots and pans plus another Melissa and Doug wooden toy set. It will be a sad day when he outgrows the kitchen, and I'm hoping it never happens. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fun Fact Fridays: Prefold Diapers Make Perfect Burp Cloths

Burping Action
burping Baby E - 2 months old

Fun Fact Fridays #7
Did you know that diapers make great burp cloths? I learned this tip online but didn't actually use them until Little E was a few weeks old. I must have forgotten and spent weeks using thin pieces of fabric that were advertised as burp cloths but didn't hold much spit up at all. I switched to diapers and haven't looked back! It really doesn't look as weird as it sounds... just a simple piece of cloth that has a double layer in the middle which is made to be absorbent (obviously since it's a diaper). Prefold diapers are affordable and more practical. I still use them today to wipe tears, snots, and even an occasional throw up. They become softer with each wash so it's very gentle on the skin. Can I keep going about how much I love them? I have one sitting next to me on the couch right now, ready to wipe Little E's runny nose.

* Have you noticed that every time I start blogging I continue with Video Mondays and Fun Fact Fridays? It'll last for two weeks before I forget and stop again. Oops!