Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone! We had a great day and I hope you all did as well. I'd love to write a post about - you know - our actual Christmas. But I'm completely and utterly exhausted. December has a way of completely sucking the life out of me every year. Maybe it has something to do with the FIVE family birthdays that fall between November 16th and Christmas Day - all culminating in the mother of all holidays. Every year I swear I'm going to do it better next time - and I always find new and exciting ways to drive myself to drink.

So! Instead you get to see the super fun process that was creating the 2009 MasterWong Unspecified Holiday Card. I have not yet joined the ranks of the smart people who just pick the best family picture from the year before. No instead I need to 1) find the "perfect" holiday outfits for the kid(s) and 2) get everyone posed together for a super picture. I learned this year that the addition of one child pretty much makes the above goals impossible. So after finally procuring a holiday-ish dress for Lily that I didn't hate (thank you Hanna Andersson) and realizing that I was not willing to pay the prices photographers wanted to procure actual digital images - we armed ourselves with Gordon's tripod and tried to do it ourselves.

The experience was - ummm - educational.

We started with Lily - and you know, no one told me that kids get MORE difficult to photograph as they get older. I mean what's up with this new "smile"?

But I guess any smile is better than this:

After a few rounds of this type of thing I looked like this:

Eventually we banished Lily for a little while citing "lack of cooperative spirit" and focused on Quinn. He's easy to photograph if you give him something to distract him - like this stocking ornament. Take note of the white paper tag attached to it please (ooo foreshadowing).

He started chewing on the ornament - and we started taking pictures - because Look! Cute Baby! and At Least It's Not Glass!

In all the picture-taking frenzy we failed to notice what was happening to the paper tag. Here, I'll give you a chance to spot it. Can you top our superb parenting skillz and determine what's wrong with this picture?

Well, we couldn't. Until Quinn looked like this:

And then puked up half of the paper tag from that stocking into Gordon's hand. Sorry no picture of that - even we're not THAT bad (besides, our photographer was busy being puked on).

But even with that bit of excitement Quinn was still totally our photo superstar of the 2009 MWUHC:

We did cave in the end and let Lily have another shot. We never got anything fantastic with her in it. But thankfully she's pretty cute, so we were able to salvage a couple for the card:

And- that's all folks! Hope you had a super fantastic day today! We're heading to New Jersey soon so maybe I'll have some time to play blog catch-up while we're there and the kids are otherwise occupied creating havoc with their cousins.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Turning Three

Boy do I owe Lily a post or what? I feel like over here in LilyPad land it's been all about Quinn lately. Part of the reason for that is there is just too much Lily material lately. I don't even know what to say or how to boil it all down! But our little girl is turning three tomorrow- THREE! So she is very much deserving of some catch-up posts. Let's see what I can do...

First - I have to say that the only reason I'm getting to write anything right now is that BOTH MY KIDS ARE ASLEEP - IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY - AND AT THE SAME TIME. I know - that's a lot of caps. But really, this is a momentous event. Lily has given up napping at home for the most part and Quinn still tends to cat-nap through his day. I had all but given up on having any time to myself at all on my days home alone with them. So really this is glorious - just glorious. I put them both in their bedroom at about 2:20. There was a lot of goofing around with each other. It's funny - how they can totally play/talk together even though Quinn can't get much past "a-goo" yet. I can't wait for the day they can have real conversations in there. And I can eavesdrop on the monitor!

Today we had Lily's 3-year check-up and I was just struck by how grown up she's seeming lately. She totally handled the whole thing pretty much without me. She told Dr. Mahoney how she eats a lot of vegetables "broccoli, carrots and asparagus". And while she does eat a ton of broccoli - that's pretty much her only vegetable. So I'm not sure where the carrots and asparagus embellishment came from! She was very careful to tell Dr. Mahoney that she only has "one vitamin a day". Even though she would like to have more because "they are very yummy - just like candy". Oh but candy - she doesn't eat much of that. She was careful to tell the doctor that too. She got up on the table, cooperated with all the ear/eye/throat checking, marched over to the scale to be weighed and measured. It feels like SUCH a milestone that she's no longer being weighed on the baby scale. Lily is a big fan of Dr Mahoney and was dismayed when it was time for her to leave the room. "Aren't you going to stay with us?" she asked.

[OK so I started this Monday with the two kids asleep, but then Quinn woke up - shocker]

AND now it's the day AFTER Lily's birthday and this post is not really going anywhere quickly. So! Happy Birthday Lily. I can't believe you're three. You're growing up into such an awesome little girl. I hardly have the words to describe it. This pat year you've grown from a toddler into our little companion. You are a great lunch date, museum-buddy, kitchen-helper and storytime cuddler. You've embraced your role as big sister with such vigor. I love watching you take care of Quinn. I love when you tell me that you have a "long long long story to tell me. Yup, very long". I love when you come running into the room and say "Mom! Mom! I have TWO Questions" I miss being called "Ma-ee" and wonder when I became "Mom". I love how you chatter constantly when we're in the car. I love that you love holiday decorations and Christmas lights. I love seeing the world through your eyes. I love that I can still comfort you, even though you are so very brave now. You give us the gift of yourself, every day. We are so lucky and so thankful. Happy Birthday to our little girl.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Quinn: 7 Months

Mom's pretty late on this 7-month post of mine - so I decided to take matters into my own hands. After all I'm SEVEN MONTHS old now - I think I can handle blogger. Besides, she's way distracted lately - something about birthdays and Christmas and whatever - just give me more of that food lady and stop the whining. That's my department.

Anyway - my seventh month has been pretty good. I still like hanging around with Mom - she's pretty cool.


But really, I just like the ladies in general. You should see me work the room. I had the entire Somerville High craft fair in the palm of my hand just by flashing some smiles around. Here I am with my Auntie Megan rocking the "babylegs" that my Auntie Dory made me. I mean seriously - I make this look good.


Mom's always talking about how my teeth need to hurry up and just show up. But so far - they're staying hidden. I still like chomping on my hand or whatever else I can shove into my mouth. I'm still drooling a ton too - and Mom still hasn't gotten the hang of actually putting bibs on me to deal with that. I've given up on her and just gotten used to it.


I've been working on my pouty baby-model look. What do you think? I so rock stripes. And this sitting up thing - that's so 6-months. I'm a pro now.


I like to laugh too - a lot. I love it when people play silly games with me. I find that if I sit around and look cute long enough someone will come over and act like a total fool. It's the best. Here I am at the head of the Thanksgiving table. I totally got Grammy to come goof off with me. I've got her wrapped too.


So have a I mentioned how much I love food? I LOVE IT. And really, I don't care where it comes from - boob, bottle, spoon - it's all the same to me. JUST GIVE ME MORE. Sometimes Mom and Dad let Jeh Jeh feed me. It's kind of fun. But one time, Mom left the room while Jeh Jeh was feeding me. And that was a DUMB MOVE. Hasn't anyone told her it's not smart to leave the 3-year-old in charge of the baby? Anyway, Jeh Jeh went and put the pears just a little too close. I was able to snag the bowl and HURL it across the room. Pears all over the couch. I did it for Mommy though - she hates that couch.


Everyone always says I look like my Dad. What do you think? I'm cool with the idea - I mean I could do a lot worse, you know? My Dad rocks too.


I'm sure my Mom would have more to say - she talks a lot. Something about her going back to work this month... oh yeah - now I spend a couple of days a week at Kathy's house. Kathy is awesome. She thinks I'm the bomb. She holds me all day and there are three big kids for me to watch and hang with. I'm enjoying making my Mom look bad. I never complain there and often take two hour naps. Heh Heh.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lily (and Quinn) and the Imaginary Zoo

When she was just a baby Lily received the book "Lily and the Imaginary Zoo" from our friends Shawn and Liz. It is the story of a little girl named Lily who accompanies her Mom on errands through Boston. On their way she befriends a number of animals - sculptures scattered throughout the city. We read it often and it's definitely had it's time in the 'favorite book' seat. Even now, we still come back to it as one that she particularly enjoys reading.

Every since we got it I've wanted to take Lily out to follow the trail of the Lily in the book and find all the animals. Well, we finally got around to doing just that last week on Veteran's Day. Lily was home from school, Gordon had taken the day off to spend some time with Quinn before day care started up for him, and the weather was pretty nice for a November day. So off we went!

We took the T from Porter Square to Copley - Lily was excited because she loves the train. I was VERY happy that Gordon was with us to navigate the times that we couldn't find the elevator (Park Street) or there just wasn't one (Copley). Quinn fell asleep on the train ride, but here he is looking ready for an adventure:

Lily's first stop is the Boston Public Library where she meets a lion. Apparently I wasn't paying attention to the book, because I missed the fact that the lion is actually INSIDE the library. So after circling it looking for the lion, we had to give up and move on since the library was closed for the holiday. Not the best start, but thankfully Copley Square and our next stop is right across the street. Here's a photo of the library - see? no lion there! We've promised Lily that we'll come back to find him another time. (and now she asks me every day - "can we go find the lion today mommy?")

So next stop - Copley Square. Here, Lily's Mom "gazes up at Trinity Church" while Lily races the tortoise and the hare. Our Lily was a little disappointed to discover that the tortoise and the hare aren't real. "But Mommy - how do they race?" She got over it though and had fun playing with them them anyway. Funny side-note - while we were there another little girl came over with her Dad. And we overheard that her name was Lily too! Made me wonder if they had the same book.

All three of us decided to hitch a ride from the tortoise. He wasn't going anywhere fast anyway:

After saying goodbye to the tortoise and the hare we continued along Lily's trail to the Boston Public Garden to visit with Mrs. Mallard and her babies. I've been wanting to take Lily here forever anyway - I'm ashamed she's nearly 3 and it was her first visit! The garden looked really cool in all its fall finery. I also am ashamed to admit that at first we couldn't find the duck statues -what kind of Bostonian am I? (one that lives in Somerville, I guess) We did find her though and Lily was very excited to meet Ouack - her favorite of the 8 ducklings. Here she is sharing a pensive moment with Mrs. Mallard:

And here's Quinn, getting to know Ouack:

Our last stop was the frog pond statues in the Boston Common. I had no idea that there was also a playground here. It was the perfect place to end our little outing. In the book Lily does go on to Old City Hall to ride a donkey statue. Our Lily was not happy that we didn't make it to Mr. Donkey. But he was just a little too far and we needed to eat and get home for nap. So we compromised with some playtime in the playground instead.

Meeting Mr. Frog

As a final treat we ran into our good friends - one of whom happens to also be Lily - at the tadpole playground. The perfect way to end our little Lily adventure.

Two Lilys

Our day ended at Honk Kong Eatery in Chinatown where we ate roast duck and roast pig and yummy vegetables on rice. We all had a great time and hope to do it again in the spring/summer when the frog pond fountain is open and we can also find the lion and the donkey. I'm so glad we got ourselves out and into the city. We really don't do it enough - and it's such a fantastic time when we do - yay Boston!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Despite our troubles trying to cloth diaper Lily - we've been successfully using cloth with Quinn for - well 6 months now. It helps that we got a bunch of hand-me downs from our friends (thanks Sandra and Vita!) and that The Diaper Lab moved just a couple of blocks down the street from us.

I've been wanting to write this big old post about our cloth diapering experience with Quinn - but it just hasn't happened. And I think part of the reason is that it really hasn't been a big deal. We haven't really settled on a diaper "system" with him - we've just gone with whatever we've been given. He's usually in pre-folds - from Green Mountain - courtesy of Sandra and Roberto. We also got some Thirsties Fab Fitteds handed down from Rocket and we love them. So much that Q is still wearing the XS size even though - ummm he's really a small now. Given that we live so close to The Diaper Lab I find myself wandering in there every couple of weeks and picking up a diaper to try out. I just got a cool new Baby Kicks fitted for over-night that I'm psyched about.

Right now, he's at the edge of busting out of the small pre-folds so we're at a decision point as to what to do next. We'll probably end up getting some more pre-folds and maybe buying some fitteds too because they are really easy for diapering on the go. The real test will be his family day care. Kathy is totally willing to use cloth - but I need to be willing to keep up with the laundry when I'm working again. Stay tuned!

Anyway, the reason i'm finally writing this is that on the spur of the moment I entered some pictures of Q in the Diaper Lab photo contest. One of them was chosen as a finalist in the "people's choice" competition. He's pretty much getting trounced, but if you have a sec head over there and vote for him! Do it now though, because today's the last day (yeah, go me for getting the word out huh? ha ha). No matter what I think he's totally the cutest cloth-diapered baby in Somerville!

For fun, here are the photos of Q looking quite fab in his Thirsties (okay well really Rocket's Thirsties....) The first photo is the one that was chosen for the contest.

Quinn: 6 Months

Three days ago Quinn hit the 6-month mark. I'm still not sure how that happened. It feels monumental - he's halfway through his first year now and SO much happens in that second half. It's hard to believe that soon our little guy will be working on crawling and walking and then will become a toddler... OK OK I'm getting ahead of ourselves... but he just got here SO QUICKLY!

Six months also means that I'll be heading back to work. Soon. Like in 1.5 weeks. I have many emotions about going back. Part of me is relieved to be getting some solid blocks of adult time back - especially since Quinn still hasn't gotten the hang of the "napping for longer than 45 minutes" thing. I'm looking forward to having a chance to just be inside my own head for a little while everyday and to use my brain again. I'm also afraid that my brain no longer works. But I think most of all I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with missing Quinn. We've been quite literally attached at the hip since he was born. It's going to be very weird to spend such large chunks of my day without him.

So! instead of thinking about that - let's talk about what's been happening for Q in the last month.

  • He's been making up for lost time with Papa


  • He's started eating solid food - and boy is he a fan! So far he's had: rice cereal, oatmeal, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, avocado, prunes and pear. He was lukewarm on the avocado and the prunes gave him hives instantly. Everything else he's loved.


  • He went to his first "big kids birthday party" for a friend of Lily's. He is so so so into his big sister. I'm pretty sure if she could lactate he'd forget about me altogether. I've noticed that he's a little crankier when Lily's in school and brightens up as soon as we go get her. The louder and crazier she acts around him, the happier he is. He loves it when she sings to him. She loves making him laugh.


  • He's logged some good swing time at the parks thanks to some very pleasant fall weather and the awesome new park near us. [although the photo below was taken at Lexington Park - an old favorite]


  • He's still a big fan of the Exersaucer and has chosen some favorite toys. Shown here is his rattle giraffe. He likes to eat him. But really, he likes to eat all of his toys. His latest favorite is a small T-Rex stuffy he got from our friends Robin, Jeff, Cybele and Jake. Gordon enjoys the irony found in a little baby eating a T-Rex.


  • He's becoming really talky. He makes tons of adorable noises. He'll take little breaks from nursing to look up at me and tell me something. Then goes back to the task at hand - filling his belly. He talks with Lily. One morning they both woke up around 7 and were content to hang out in their room together just "talking" back and forth. Lily even moved to the foot of her bed so she could be closer to him.

  • He can very nearly sit up on his own. He does it for pretty long stretches, but still topples over eventually. The picture here was taken on his 6-month birthday. This new skill is serving him well in his tower-toppling exercises. He is no longer as susceptible to injury due to mommy-spaciness.


  • His sleeping habits are largely the same. He's had some nights that have been not so good, but has lately settled into a pretty consistent "bed at 7, eat at 3, wake at 6:30" routine. He goes to bed really easily at night now. He still naps in 30-45 minute chunks. Although one day last week he took a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. I am still hopeful that it was a preview to what is to come. He has not done it again since - yet. Do not laugh at my optimism.

  • He tightens his hold on our hearts more and more with each passing day. Gordon and I both love making him laugh. We love being the lucky recipient of his smiles. We love listening to him coo at us to get our attention. We feel so lucky and so blessed to have this little baby boy in our lives. Our family feels that much more complete now.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Halloween 2009

Somehow we just celebrated our FOURTH Halloween here - where did the time go? This year I had aspirations of doing a "family-themed" Halloween costume - like maybe we could all go as characters from "Goodnight Gorilla" or something equally as charming. But then Lily announced "I want to be a ballerina - a fairy ballerina" and that ended that idea.

So I scrambled around and with the help of a friend's daughter's dance recital outfit, some funky Children's Place tights and set of wings, managed to throw together a pretty cute fairy ballerina ensemble. Then I literally collected every cute baby costume I could get my hands on for Quinn. He was a dragon one day thanks to a second-hand shop, a chili pepper two other days thanks to a friend and a chicken for trick-or-treating thanks to another friend. It's just too fun dressing a baby who has no prayer of making his own preference known. I couldn't stop myself. At one point Lily did request additional costumes for herself as well, but i managed to distract her - "Look! a pretty tiara!"

Halloween started a day early with a trip to Gordon's annual Halloween party at work. Here's a picture of Chili Pepper Quinn enjoying the festivities (and the attention):

On Halloween day we dragged everyone outside for a front yard photo shoot before the sun went down:

Our fairy ballerina demonstrating the art of twirling:

Everyone knows that fairy ballerinas LOVE chickens:

Me, looking boring with my cuties:

And now, Daddy's turn:

Fairy ballerinas also love to EAT chicken!

Halloween night we went out trick-or-treating on our street - a very happening place on Halloween. There's always a festive note to the air as most people hang out on their front steps handing out candy and chatting with each other. It feels a little like a block party. Lily was shy at first, but soon warmed up and enjoyed going from house to house collecting her loot. Quinn came along in the stroller and ended up sleeping most of the evening away. When he wasn't asleep he had this look on his face that was a bit like "tell me why I'm dressed like a chicken, again?"

Lily enjoyed getting the candy, but like past years hasn't been super into eating it. In fact her favorite score from the evening was a package of peanut butter crackers. She wanted to eat them as soon as we got home - and did so, after doctoring them up with a little jelly. Before coming inside, she and Gordon sat outside to hand out candy to anyone still out trick-or-treating. Sadly, there was no one left. But Lily was determined to share her candy so they eventually found some guy walking down the street talking on his phone. Lily ran up to him and gave him some items from her stash.

Post trick-or-treat, trying to give candy away

This Halloween our house got a visit from the Switch Witch - a shy, little which who loves candy. She comes by at night when everyone is asleep and takes the candy you've left out for her, switching it with a new toy. Lily was very into the idea and left a big pile of candy for her. She even allocated some of her candy to Quinn so he could participate. The next morning Lily found some wikki stix, a new book and some scary stickers. Quinn found a great new baby toy - it quickly became a favorite. Thanks to the Somerville Mom who posted an email about her to the message board!

Notes and candy left for the Switch Witch

Friday, November 6, 2009

First Foods

I mean to post something the first day that Quinn had a taste of solid foods.. and of course I didn't. Because I had no pictures! What's the sense of a post without pictures! Sigh. So now I have pictures, and I'm finally posting them.... weeks after they were taken. Yeah, I rock.

Anyway, the point is that Quinn is eating solids now. And honestly, I wasn't in a rush for it this time around. I mean it's really much easier to just sit down and unhook my nursing bra than to puree squash, freeze it, defrost it, pump milk for cereal, wash up the mess that ensues. (Ok so not all that is done at each meal... but you get the idea I hope.. otherwise you just think I'm a lunatic). But this boy - he's really into food. Soon after he hit 4 months he was reaching for my plate whenever I ate. Reaching for it and often getting his hand full of whatever I happened to be eating. Then he started watching me eat with such intensity that he would cry, literally cry, when the food was gone. It was like he spent my whole meal hoping I'd give him a morsel and the disappointment was just too much to handle when he realized that wasn't going to happen. So although I was all prepared to hold off on solids longer this time around - I just couldn't do it to him. We caved.

One complicating factor was Q's digestive works. I know, I know - TMI and all that - but really, what's a blog about babies without some talk of poop? So Q's been an infrequent pooper. And honestly - it's been great! We've used cloth diapers with him (yeah, yeah, got this whole post about THAT in my head too - whatever) and the fact that he only pooped once every 10 days or so was - just. awesome. But I worried that once he got solids he might get uncomfortably backed up. And at first, that seemed to happen. So we gave him some cereal for a day or two and then backed off when he seemed extra gassy/unhappy at night.

But eventually we got back to it and now he's eating once/day. We're staying away from potentially binding things like bananas and apples. He's had squash, sweet potatoes, rice cereal and oatmeal. We tried an avocado once but it just wasn't ripe enough. I also had the genius idea to give him prunes - to help with the pooping. And really, it was a good idea - and did help with the pooping. But it also gave him hives - like immediately. So... yeah, we'll back off on that for now. Any other suggestions for food that helps keep things moving?

And now that I've embarrassed him sufficiently by discussing his poop - let's talk about the eating. Really, this baby likes to eat. Lily enjoyed solids and all, but Quinn is a whole different story. The minute he *thinks* food is coming he starts getting all worked up. Pretty soon he's crying and you're begging the microwave to just HEAT FASTER. Then you get the bib on him - and he calms down a bit - and starts shoving it in his mouth hoping there's already been some food spilled on it that he can suck up. This activity buys you some time in the "getting the food ready" department.

Then, when you get to the business of actually feeding him - he goes bananas. Arms start flapping - he reaches for the spoon and does a combo jam your spoon-hand towards his mouth while bringing his face to the food. Immediately the food is gone and if there's not more soon -he'll cry. He likes to keep one hand on my spoon-hand the whole time - as if he wants to keep track of it in case I try to get away or something. If there's a lull in feeding he sucks anything that missed his mouth off of the bib or the bar in front of the Phil & Ted's Me Too clip on chair or the counter. He cries when the food is done - I'm still not sure how much would be "enough". Thankfully I've been successful with distraction techniques to ease the sting.

Gearing up for a bite

Already suspicious, there had better be more coming lady!

and yummm

Again, could you hurry up with the next spoonful please?