December 2012


Today we celebrate the joy of twelve months with our baby girl.  We are definitely in the sweet spot, and it is a true pleasure.

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Hazel’s Life:

  • Growing up.  This month marked very few major milestones, but a few tiny ones that add up to a very big change.  Hazel feels so much more grown up now.  She’s not talking, but she’s communicating.  She’s not walking, but she is getting around.  And somehow, without any of the big guns, her personality is blossomed into a very playful, lovable and funny little girl.
  • The sweet spot.  At one, Hazel feels a lot younger than Miles did at this age.  She has little hair, only 2 nubby teeth, and is pretty cuddly. It’s a glorious time when she no longer cries for no reason, but doesn’t have enough reason yet to cry.  Such a happy time for our baby.  I know now why we started thinking about #2 when Miles was this age.  (FYI: With a three year old also to compare to, we are not considering #3 at this time)  So, so fun.
  • Standing on two legs…but not yet walking.  Hazel gets around quickest on her tried and true right-foot-left-knee crawl, but breaks into a bear crawl often to keep her knees clean.  Her stand is solid, she can be plopped down on her feet and hold it, or she can raise up from a squat.  She’s had a few attempts at steps, and even a few consecutive ones if you ask her dad, but nothing to count yet.
  • Climber.  Guess this runs in the family.  Hazel is up and on top of everything!  Give her a set of steps and she is good for the next hour.  She is in and out of the pool.  Up and down the coffee table.  Chillin in the arm chair one minute and on top of the inverted salad spinner the next.
  • Talking.  Hazel really tries here.  She will copy what you ask her to, and it comes out in muffled mumbled syllables.  Still, we can understand ‘caterpillar’ while dad is reading her favorite book.  Her signing is still going strong, but I think she uses “milk” for “momma”.  Guess the two are synonymous anyway.
  • Uh-Oh!  Oh, yeah.  Everything is uh-oh.  This never stops being cute.
  • Eating.  Here is where Hazel really shines.  This girl can put it away!  We went to a restaurant and I ordered something I knew she could eat (grilled fish & mashed potatoes with salad) so we could share.  All I got was the salad.  I knew there would come a day when I would be ordering her adult meals, just not before her first birthday!  It’s impressive.  For the first time this month, she is showing clear preference about what she eats.  Pretty much that means she wants what is on my plate/spoon.  Bread is an all-time favorite, and she likes meat.  She’s off avocados, but finally wizened up and started pounding blueberries.  She’s still nursing, but only a couple times a day and mostly to go to sleep (or allow me to stay in bed in the morning).
  • Sleep.  I finally stopped feeding Hazel at her 5am wake up.  It took only 2 days and probably 5 minutes cumulative of crying and she started sleeping through to at least 6am.  We’re in a good spot right now where there is little danger of her falling asleep when we are out and about.  She naps in the morning and afternoon, but the period between them has stretched so we can actually do lunch!
  • Poop.  I had been having trouble getting Miles to use the toilet before naptime, so I started putting his baby sister on as a motivator.  Well, she started using the potty!  One of her little words is poop, “pfffp”.  We’ve been catching about half of her solids in the pot, which for any cloth diapering mom is pretty nice.  This is definitely “elimination communication” and not potty training.
  • Swimming.  I started an infant swimming thing I read about online, teaching her to get in, get out, float, kick and submerge in the water.  We have so much fun in the pool right now!  Another favorite activity is “froggy jumps” which is bouncing up and down in the pool.  When I ask if she wants to do the jumps, she bounces a bit then high-tails it to the baby pool.
  • And…she loves music and “dances” when she hears some… she is gentle when touching my dangling earrings or following an ant along with her finger… we’ve got a dog lover on our hands, she points and “mwwwfff”s when she sees one, even the strays… She loves birds too, and bugs and fish.
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To all our friends and family out there, Merry Christmas!

Ho! Ho! Ho!!

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Last Friday, I took up the reigns from a previous Penang momma expat and invited all the moms and kids I know to a Christmas party.  We had crafts and swimming and lots of delicious treats on the potluck buffet table.  After planning for a week, I had had a bit of stress and one friend arrived with a timely delivery of an ice cold (Mickey Mouse plastic) glass of Prosecco.  Thankfully, everything went very well.  I had such a great time, and am so thankful for the fantastic community here in Penang.

Sixty people made it into the group photo.

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Since we came home from the states four weeks ago, Miles has been in kind of a state.  Looking back, he probably started this about a week and a half or so before we headed back to Malaysia, but it’s been consistent and troubling.

Miles has always been pretty chill and definitely not the kid to blow up when he is told “no”/has had a toy snatched from him/redirected from something he was enjoying but not supposed to be doing.  As I’ve mentioned before, he was a kid who could easily be talked down off the ledge.  I could have attributed this to his demeanor, or even chalked it up to great parenting, but honestly I think it is because he was extremely well rested.  For the better part of a year, Miles slept solidly 11-12 hours a night and then 2-3 hours for an afternoon nap.  I’d be pretty happy if I got that kind of sleep too.  (Admittedly, I am pretty obsessive about sleep. I lose sleep over sleep.  Should not happen.)

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Anyway, the last month or so, Miles has been deficient in sleep.  Not napping, waking up at night, having difficulty going to bed and waking up really early.  He’s tired and on edge; I’m tired and on edge.  Not a winning combination.  Meltdowns on the hour (from one of us at least) makes for very long days.

The two of us were ripe for an outing.  Last Thursday, we got our chance.  Miles was well rested, Hazel was in bed and Suzi was at home.  Miles and I jumped into the car and headed out for a momma date.  Our destination was Monkey Tree cafe at the Tropical Spice Garden, and after picking up a few Christmas gifts from the shop, we sat down for some monkey juice and monkey spotting.  On our way home Miles said, “this is momma and Miles time.”  I think it was just what we needed to reset.

Things are still not perfect, but after Friday’s horrible news from CT, I am trying to put life in perspective.  I have two happy, healthy children that I can give hugs to whenever I want.  Even at midnight when there are scary sounds at night.  Especially.

Counting balance bikes and tricycles, our Penang Bike count now exceeds anything we’ve seen in Austin or China.  We have eight in total: 1 balance bike, 2 tricycles, 2 road bikes, 1 belt-driven Bridgestone, and now 2 second-hand Japanese cruisers with a baby basket between the handlebars.  The latest purchase was to accommodate our latest rider – Hazel!  She’s even got a gorgeous peacock helmet.  We’ve been out riding to the clinic for shots once and to lunch two Sundays in a row.  Pretty fun to cruise as a family of 4 on 2 wheels.

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Tim and I celebrated our seven year wedding anniversary this year.  With champagne!photo (16)

And remembered our wedding day.

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And the years since we met:

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