April 2012


This was the month Hazel made the transition from newborn to baby. It’s getting really fun. We all love this little thing so much!

  • Rolling, rolling. We got back from the states, I put Hazel on the floor and she started rolling over. Like her big bro, she loves being on her tummy and flips at every opportunity. Unfortunately, she is then stuck there, not yet having figured out how to get back.
  • Owl baby. No, not a night owl, just sounds like one. Hoo-ooo-ooo. Cooing. Miles says she sounds like a train sometimes. Wooo-oooo! She’s also laughing, which is hilarious, and makes us laugh, which makes her laugh more. Too cute!
  • What’s this? A schedule? Looks like it. She’s gets up in the morning around 7-7:30, naps at 9, noon and 3 (usually for no more than 40 minutes, ugh), goes down for the night at 6:30 and is usually up twice at 1 and 5. It’s not perfect, especially the night waking!, but its something so we’ll go with it. To help myself not get caught up in stressing over her schedule, I told myself I would do really well, put her down at the right time and in her bed, 75% of the time. That leaves once a day for me to push it or let her fall asleep when we’re out. Much better this way.
  • Swaddle no more. Due to the rolling in bed and in general getting older, we stopped swaddling her for sleep. Now I really have no devices for getting her to pass out (still refuses to fall asleep while nursing unless she is overtired), so she is learning to go to sleep on her own. It’s working out.
  • Spirited no more. Hazel spent her first 2 months of life in a ‘spirited-plus’ categorization. However, things have calmed down dramatically and I would put her more as a textbook baby. She is happy most of the time, fine with being out down to play by herself, sleeps easily if we don’t let her get overtired and is reaching milestones about right on track. I’d say good parenting, but really it’s just her nature.
  • Sibs. Now that Hazel, I mean Bazel, is able to intact a bit more, Miles loves to lay on the floor with her, hand her a toy, or tickle her feet. He freaks out a bit to see her ‘eating’ toys as he knows she only drinks milk.
  • Health & Body. After months of illness, she finally had a good run! A little stuffy nose early this month but since then nasal passages have been clear. I am off all milk, cream and cheese and it seems to have made a big difference. Her eczema has cleared up as well. Physically, she is a big baby, with skin so tight and rolls at her ankles that make it look like she is wearing a skin-scuba suit. The toe-fat is impressive, I must post a picture of it. Still bald as can be, and people ask so often if we’ve shaved her (common for Chinese & Indians) that I am about ready to do it so I can say yes! She has Miles’ eyes, but most people agree she looks like me. I love her pouty lips and sly side-smile.

Four months go by without any food posts from me and I come at you with donut cake. I wanted to make sure it was something you were all going to make to get you back on track for recipes on this blog. I couldn’t very well make my first post called “kale smoothies” or something, that would not do.

I miss donuts. I ate them often growing up and less and less frequently after leaving the Midwest until coming to Asia where I eat them almost never. Cider mill donuts are the best, the cinnamon sugar kind, fresh and warm. I gorged on them last year when we passed one (open! In July! – I was pregnant, ok?). Well guess what folks…here is a cake that brings you all that warm deliciousness with a sugar crunchy top any time of the year on any continent.

The cake here is a bit denser than your typical cake donut, and the moistness works to mimic that warm steam that emits from a fresh donut. The smell that fills your kitchen as you bake this is almost as good as the cake itself, pure cider mill stuff; I think it’s the nutmeg/vanilla combo. Do yourself a favor and eat this with hot coffee, masala tea or fresh cider, depending on what part of the world you are making this in.

Cider Mill Donut Cake (adapted from The Wednesday Chef)

  • 8 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp cornmeal
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk*
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon suga
  1. Butter and flour an 8″ springform pan. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. With the mixer running, alternatively add flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture in 3 additions each, scraping down the bowl and stopping when it is fully incorporated but not over mixed.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Coat the top of the batter with cinnamon sugar. Bake 35-45 minutes, or until tester inserted comes out clean and you are ready to pass out from the lovely aroma. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then transfer to a plate to eat soon. Or later. Enjoy.

*Asia: no donuts, no buttermilk. You can substitute drained whey from yogurt or milk with a squeeze of lemon juice. They both get the job done.

I know it seemed Miles has been getting the short end of the stick on updates since the arrival of is little sister, but I decided to move to quarterly updates after 2. Little did I know how much could change in 3 months!

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  • Talk, talk, talk. Miles is talking up a storm recently, making 3-5 word sentences and more often than not asking for what he wants instead of just pointing and grunting/crying. His favorite words are the universal “this one”, which is repeated so often it has become a part of our language as well. The crazy thing is he busts out words for things we had no idea he knew. Little sponge.
  • Gimme FOOD! I am so thankful, Miles is a good eater. Favorites include berries, olives, raisins, chicken/rice (kind of a catch all phrase for “food”), eggs, and now granola. He’s not huge on milk or yogurt, so I try to give him cheese for calcium, but I’m not stressing. He eats most things, including veggies at times!, and this last few months he eats a LOT of it. Maybe he will finally gain a little weight, he’s been holding steady for a while and his little sister is quickly approaching!
  • Memories. It is clear that Miles is forming memories of events. He has replayed moments from our trip to Bali over and over verbally as adults might do in our minds. Pretty cool to see it on the outside.
  • Dr. No & the surly stare. Yeah, he’s 2. He lets us know by a drawn out NOOOOO!!! followed by a lowered brow and a stink eye so ripe it’d send a skunk running. Unfortunately, we find it hilarious so end up cracking up half the time. Usually, Mr. Grumpy is welcomed by the very very long arm of Mr. Tickle and leaves the vicinity quickly.
  • Colors and letters and numbers, oh my! I have YouTube to thank for this one, Miles can sing the ABC’s, identify about 10 letters, count to 20 and identify some numbers and is rock solid on his colors.
  • GPS. Whenever we go anywhere, Miles likes to navigate,pointing out the path “this way, this way”.
  • Yep, he’s a boy. Miles loves all diggers, trucks, planes (helicopter, special airplane), basically anything with a gasoline engine.
  • No diapers. After MONTHS of going very slowly with potty training, one morning Miles announced “kindy, no diapers” and from that point on was in undies with minimal accidents. Our trip back to the states caused a complete regression for a month, but he seems to be back on track after getting back to Penang and his little green potty.
  • Family lovin. Miles calls his family Daddio, Mommio, and Bazel. Since his birthday, he’s gotten to see basically all of his family members, which has been so fun.

Unless we were fortunate enough to meet up in the states, you may have noticed we’ve been a bit MIA the last month. But since we saw basically every blood relative in those 30 days and lots of Austin friends, I think that accounts for 80% of this blog’s readership…you were hopefully enjoying us in the flesh instead of in pixels! We spent March 15-April 15 in Austin this year, and it can only be described as an epic trip. Here’s what we got up to:

  1. SxSW. South by was in full swing when we it the ground. I made it to one show and saw 2 songs. It was at 9am, but I still think this is impressive with 2 kids & jet lag, and it was someone I actually wanted to see!
  2. Purging our worldly belongings. I became the Craigslist queen. I held a garage sale on a Friday after work and attracted shoppers with a keg. The truck made more than one trip to Goodwill. I love getting rid of stuff. In the end everything we have in the states fit in a 10’x10′ storage unit.
  3. Selling our house. To do this, we had to clean it out (see above), fix it up, have it cleaned, get it listed, show it, get an offer, accept a contract, go through inspections and negotiations, make concessions, and await closing. We made it through all these steps in 3 weeks. Luckily, we were able to list the day we left for the wedding and I only had to keep the house show able for one day with both kids in it before we got the offer. Whew! Closing next week…
  4. Week with the grandparents and Uncle G. Much of the work getting the house ready to go could not have happened without the help of Tim’s parents and brother. They rolled into town just in time to help out with Miles, Hazel and meals while I focused on house stuff in our free week. Miles had a blast spending afternoons out on walks, at the coffee shop and a the park. Lifesavers.
  5. Stelzer family reunion. Basically every living blood relative on Tim’s side made the journey to Austin for a family reunion. They came from DC, NYC, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and we from Malaysia! Most impressive was 90 year old Nanny’s arrival! We had huge family dinners, played at the hotel and the park, and genuinely had a great time. it was so special for everyone to get to meet Hazel and for Miles to get to know all his uncles, aunties, and cousins. We even managed to capture everyone in one photo!
  6. Bolhouse-Wileman wedding. And then not 24 hours after the Stelzers rolled out of town, the Bolhouse clan showed up. I had hosted a bridesmaids morning for Angel the week before (with custom color analysis for each of us!), and then we had the Rachwal side & grandma and grandpa Bolhouse up for a backyard picnic. We went down to New Braunfels for the wedding weekend and had a blast at the gorgeous ceremony (I did all the hair & gave a speech) and super fun reception where Miles stayed up dancing until 11pm! We visited the newlyweds at their house the next day for some sleep-deprived-hangover leftover cake & breakfast. Great weekend and I am so happy for the new Wlemans!
  7. Chicago SWE meet-up & Riddhi’s wedding. I had planned this girls only weekend (just Hazel and I made the trip) way back in January, but it almost didn’t happen. By Easter weekend I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed and several times wanted to back down. However, we got on the plane and had a great time seeing all my college girlfriends, celebrating Riddhi’s wedding, Denise’s birthday and the pending arrival of baby Hart! And we did it all in Saris and me with a bindi.
  8. Sick kids, jet lag & Hazel is no longer a newborn. Traveling halfway around the world and this level of activity does not come without some downtime. Both kids got knocked down hard in the first week: fever, bronchitis, ear infection, thrush…not fun! Hazel also started to come into her own, giving big smiles for anyone that would engage with her. Lots of fun.
  9. Dinners, walks, play dates, farmers markets & friends. And in between all this we found time to connect with so many Austin friends. Miles caught up with Natalie, Soren, Jack, Kate, Owen, Finn, Julia, Euan, Milo, Ellen, Andrew, Sophia, Abby and Macy while Hazel met some future buddies in Logan and Sabrina all while I caught up with their Mommas. The bluebonnets were out in full force and we did get some time to enjoy Austin at it’s springtime prime.
  10. Travel time. We survived the 24 hours out and 28 hours back, and are getting back on our feet finally. Looking forward to quiet, boring weekends, exercise and most of all routine!

Pictures of everything to come.

Our baby girl is growing up! Seriously, slow this down…it’s going scary fast.

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Here’s what’s been going on:

  • Sick. Hazel spent much of the month under the weather. She had such bad congestion that we were up each night at 4 spraying her up with saline then sucking out snot. She (and Miles, and I) got impetigo, then then next week for 2 days she developed hives every time I fed her (likely culprit is some nuclear colored cauliflower I had at an Indian meal). After flying home, we dealt with fever, ear infection, thrush, bronchitis bordering on pneumonia, and more snot than I care to think about. Ay yo. The doc suspects allergies for the snot problem and I have gone off all dairy to try to help remedy it. We’ll see.
  • Water baby! On our last day in Penang before our trip, Hazel got suited up in a long sleeved rash guard suit and went for her first swim! She loved it.
  • Country #3! This one didn’t result in a passport stamp, but Hazel finally visited the country of her citizenship! We headed back to the US in the middle of the month for a 4 week stay.
  • Hat. The aforementioned trip also gave her a chance to wear a hat to keep the heat in, not just the sun out. Same for socks. It might be a while until we need those again.
  • Sleep. Well, all I can say is she sleeps like a 3 mo old. But much better than a 3 month old Miles. She is typically done for the day around 6:30pm, then will sleep a good chunk until 1 or 2. This is nice as it has allowed Tim and I to get out a few nights. Then she is up once or twice more before being up at 6:30 or 7 for the day. One of those is not a need to eat but to be suctioned out.
  • Eat. She is still eating well, and most people comment initially on her girth. During the day she nurses every 2-2.5 hours, typically right after waking up as she doesn’t need nursing to get to sleep (we have other tricks). She still spits up buckets, and I am getting marginally better at keeping a rag at hand to catch it.
  • Tricks. Speaking of tricks, when we went home, I left all my tricks for getting her to sleep in Penang: the exercise ball, the swing, her bed…all I took was the swaddle. Hopefully she is starting to make an association: swaddle for naps, Woombie for night. I also tried to start getting to her fall keep while nursing. Seems like a bad path to head down, but there was jet lag and illness and I was desperate!
  • All Smiles. It took a while, but this little thing is all smiles. Especially in the morning or right after waking up. She has the cutest little side grin that I cannot get enough of!
  • Joy. Hazel is a joy in all our lives and I am just trying to hold onto this little baby as long as I can, while at the same time looking forward to the little lady she will grow up to be. Love.