December 31, 2015

We wanted to go on a little vacation before the arrival of baby Ava, but it had to be somewhere drive-able. We were considering Las Vegas, but decided that Legoland would be a better place for Erin. We spent two nights in Carlsbad so we didn't have to rush and could take our time. Turned out to be more than enough time for us. We had time to visit the outlets as well. I've been to Legoland once before when I was in high school, but it was the first time for both Ken and Erin.

Planning tips:
  1. Prices at the Legoland hotel are pretty outrageous, so we booked a hotel (Courtyard Marriot) about 2 miles away and shuttled (free) it to the theme park each day. 
  2. We bought park hopper passes through Ken's work (roughly $72/per adult), so we were able to visit the Aquarium as well. You will save money this way. Buying at the park is pretty ridiculous so make sure you purchase tickets ahead of time. They charge $93 per adult at the door (only for one park and for one day)!
  3. Bring snacks. The food there isn't all that tasty and it's overpriced. If no snacks, bring your own water/drinks at least.
My thoughts about Legoland:
  • Besides it being freezing cold while we were there, overall, it was a decent experience. I think Disneyland spoiled us. I had high expectations or something. Legoland is a very different type of theme park. It was definitely less crowded, not as clean or friendly, but super chill. 
  • I'd say the ideal age to bring a kid to Legoland is between 4-12. Erin was a little too young, but I think she still had some fun. She was just tall enough to ride on the little kid rides (34 inches). There are a lot of areas for children to just run around and free play with legos everywhere.  I liked that aspect of the park.
  • I only have one food recommendation, Granny's Apple Fries. Other than that, there's really nothing special or tasty at Legoland. 
  • Miniland is pretty awesome. They've got a Star Wars Miniland that is pretty darn cool. 
  • We stayed mostly in Heartlake City and Fun Town. It was the most age appropriate for Erin. Warning: there will be tons of kids just running around.  
  • Because it was still considered the holiday season, they had fake snow and some holiday performances. Erin enjoyed it.
  • The aquarium is very small. Took us maybe an hour to get through it. 
  • They advertise a firework show at night during the holiday season, but it's literally a maybe 3 minute show and it's nothing special at all. If you end up going during the holidays, I wouldn't recommend sticking around for it. Oh and during winter, the park closes at 7pm. A little too early in my opinion. 
  • Would we go again anytime soon? No, probably not. I don't mind waiting another 5+ years before going back. I think Erin and Ava would enjoy it a lot more when they're older. 
  • I'd also like to mention that Legoland isn't all that fun for adults. Or maybe it's just me??

Gift Ideas for 2 Year Olds

December 21, 2015

Christmas is just around the corner! Some last minute gift ideas for your little one.

  1. Puzzles. Erin has been really into puzzles lately. As soon as she turned two, it just started to click and she was able to figure out how to do them. I especially like the puzzles from Petit Collage. Very age appropriate and they've got some really cute designs your kids will love.
  2. Books. Erin still loves her books. I love the babylit series by Jennifer Adams. I almost have the entire collection. I just discovered the books by Ashley Evanson, which have a similar concept (early learning concepts with really colorful illustrations), but with a cities theme.
  3. Pretend play. Erin loves her babies. Pretend play is important for a child's development and I'm so glad she loves playing with her babies. We thought she'd love a little bed for her baby. She's getting one for Christmas. The Ikea one is simple and very affordable.
  4. Cash Register. Erin has been fascinated with our credit cards/money and always wants to hold it and "use" it. I think she's understanding that we use credit cards to purchase things, so I'm sure she'd love a cash register.
  5. Building toys. It was really kool watching Erin's lego skills progress. Trial and error. As time went on, she was able to build more complex things. Building toys are great for encouraging your little to think outside the box and build creative things. Legos aren't just for boys!
  6. Dolls (Tsum Tsum) What kid doesn't love Frozen? Erin is no exception. She loves all doll-like things in general. I got her her first tsum tsum (mickey mouse) a few months ago. She loved it. So of course, I got her a few more. At one point, every night she'd have to make sure she had each one of them in bed with her. I'm sure she'd be trilled to have a tsum tsum collection of the Frozen characters. She currently has 11.. I think.
Some gifts ideas if you wanted to splurge:
  1. Dollhouse
  2. Reading Chair
  3. Magnetic Tiles
  4. Tent/Teepee
  5. PlasmaCar

I hope everyone is enjoying their last week of 2015!

28 Month Update - Erin

December 17, 2015

Girl is almost 2 1/2! Time is seriously flying by. So much has changed since she's turned two. It's really amazing what she's capable of understanding now. 

A few fun facts about Erin:
  1. She is climbing everything. We even took her to the climbing gym and will probably take her again. She enjoyed it very much.
  2. She's talking in full sentences. She actually talks quite a lot. Her favorite thing to ask right now is "What's that noise?". It's been fun hearing her tell stories about what happened at daycare.
  3. This age has brought on bad listening. She is definitely a stubborn lady.
  4. Once she turned 2, she started sleeping through the night. Her bedtime however became 9pm. We hit a little bump in the road when she got sick in November, but she's getting back to sleeping through the night.
  5. She doesn't love vegetables anymore, but is starting to like all sorts of fruits.
  6. She still likes Asian food the best. She really likes eggs at the moment.
  7. She likes Disney characters, Elmo and friends, Puffins, and Bob the train.
  8. She's real big on scolding us and tries to reason with us as well.
  9. She's pretty darn scared of bugs.
  10. She loves singing. Her current favs are: Itsy bitsy Spider, ABC, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, It's a Small World and Let It Go.
  11. We starting to potty train, but she got the stomach bug mid November and doesn't "like" the potty anymore. I think she associates the potty with bad memories now.
  12. She still loves her books. Sometimes we purposely hide some books because she'll have us read the same one over and over (3+ times). Is that mean?
  13. She's still not climbing out of her toddler bed. I wonder when she'll try. 
  14. She really dislikes it when the sun is in her face. She'll say: "Too bright!" or "Go away!" I wonder if she picked that up from me. I guess I complain about it too when I'm in the car. Hah.
  15. She's currently obsessed with her Batman shirt. It was a hand me down from her cousin. 

2015 Advent Calendar

December 10, 2015

With Erin being older this year, I was excited to plan holiday activities for her. I knew she'd be old enough to understand a lot more of what we're actually celebrating. I made a little (to-do) advent calendar with activities I thought our family would enjoy. So far, it's been a success. I think the funnest activity for Erin thus far was making the gingerbread house. She definitely enjoyed eating the icing. Sadly, we moved the house too soon after finishing and it completely fell apart, so of course Erin started to cry. We'll know better for next year (we were newbs)! The hardest activity thus far has been the one where we wanted Erin to pick out something specifically to give to someone as a gift. Of course everything she pointed to she responded with "Erin's!". I think she finally understood what we wanted her to do, but she had to buy a matching one for herself. I'm looking forward to how the rest of the month pans out. It's been fun teaching her about baby Jesus and why we actually celebrate Christmas and it's been so nice doing these short activities with her daily. She's grown so much!
  1. Decorate the Christmas Tree
  2. Read a new book about Jesus
  3. Get a toy
  4. Make an ornament
  5. Visit Santa Claus
  6. Buy a gift for someone
  7. Make a gingerbread house
  8. Nativity sticker activity
  9. Put up some mistletoe and give out kisses
  10. Color a holiday scene
  11. Get a toy
  12. Go get some hot cocoa
  13. Go look at holiday lights
  14. Read the Christmas story in the bible
  15. Get a toy
  16. Read a new book about giving
  17. Help mom make gifts for daycare
  18. Make holiday cookies
  19. Make a holiday themed breakfast
  20. Watch a holiday movie
  21. Get a toy
  22. Make Christmas cards and bracelets
  23. Read a new book about Jesus
  24. Get a toy/open one present
  25. Christmas Day!
Here are some photos of what we've done so far:

Can't believe Christmas is almost upon us! Hope everyone is having a happy December.

DIY - Christmas Ornaments

December 2, 2015

What I purchased:
  1. Plant Terrarium Candle Holder (glass). I also used acrylic fillable ornaments. Much safer to use with kids.
  2. Aleene's Glitter Snow. I love this stuff.
  3. Holiday miniatures. I bought a lot of it at
  4. Ribbon. Joann's has a lot to choose from during the holidays for 50% off.

  • No need to purchase glue. The snow glitter can be used as your glue. It's wonderful stuff.
  • Use a paintbrush when applying the snow glitter. The snow glitter dries fairly fast, but it comes off easily when you use water.
  • Tweezers might be helpful.
  • You can make it more festive by spraying on some glitter and/or adding in some wording using alphabet beads. 

Finished product:

I put them in a box, tied it up and added a gift topper. These ornaments are great for holiday gifts, because you can make them in bulk, they're easy to make, and it won't cost you a fortune. I'll be making more ornaments with Erin this month as an advent activity. Stay tuned.

3 Years of Marriage

November 25, 2015

3 years of marriage! It's crazy to believe that its only been 3 years, because I feel like so much has happened already. We've got ourselves a full fledged toddler and another kid joining us very soon.

It's been a challenge celebrating our anniversary every year, because it falls around the thanksgiving holiday (can't find a babysitter, busy schedules), but I'm glad we found the opportunity to spend some quality husband and wife time this year (even though we sat in traffic for about the same amount of time it took us to actually eat our dinner). Hinoki & the Bird was yummy. I wasn't super duper impressed, but they've got some really yummy dishes.

Full and Thankful
Taking a picture of my favorite dish from the night. You must try the spicy crab toast if you ever go!

Last Year Left in my Twenties

November 18, 2015

Only one year left in my twenties! Crazy that I'm 29 now (I'd be getting a death stare from my husband right about now). My birthday weekend had a lot of hiccups, with a kid getting sick and me not feeling all that well either (I didn't get to eat at my favorite prime rib place!). These pictures pretty much sum it all up.

  • Erin got some sort of stomach bug so she spent a lot of time on the potty. Poor thing. 
  • I got thrown up on (while eating at Souplantation), wish I got a picture of it. 
  • She kept asking for milk and food, but we couldn't give her any. So sad.
  • She finally started feeling better on Sunday, so we made our way over to Din Tai Fung for dinner. She ate like a crazy woman, scarfing down everything and anything.
  • We celebrated my actual birthday at CPK. Erin was SO happy to be able to eat ice cream again, she practically ate the entire birthday sundae herself. 
  • Erin sorta sang the Happy Birthday song to me. 
  • My birthday ended with Erin's first bathtub poop. We were lucky this happened when she wasn't sick anymore and that it was a nice solid piece. Imagine if it wasn't?! 

Bring on year 29! Hoooray!

Climb on!

November 12, 2015

Erin's first climbing experience! I think overall she enjoyed it very much. The fear wasn't there so that was a plus. Of course she had a lot of help from her "coaches", but I think Erin did a good portion of the work herself (favorite part is when she puts her finger in a hole and uses it has a hold). Now if only we could have one of these walls in our apartment. We'll have to see if we have a future climber in our hands!

A Year of Disneyland

November 4, 2015

We purchased our annual passes October of last year. We opted for the premium passes (quite expensive), but since we don't live close to Disneyland and would only be able to go on the weekends, we thought this pass would be the most ideal for us (plus we got free parking). The other benefit of having the premium pass was that we got discounts on food and merchandise. Overall, our year at Disneyland was memorable. There were definitely some ups and downs (mostly due to the hot weather and/or a not so pleasant child), but I think I was ready to say goodbye. Here's a little recap.

Erin was about 14 months at her first visit.  She was walking and exploring so we thought she'd really like Disneyland. She was scared of almost everything. She definitely needed time to adjust. I'm sure it was overstimulating/overwhelming for someone her age (she had plenty of nightmares I'm sure). I could tell she was slowly warming up after a handful of visits. She'd walk around on her own, point to things she recognized, but I think overall she was too young. I blame myself. I was so eager to take her to Disneyland because it's so awesome and happy there (this is how I felt before having kids)! I eventually convinced Ken, but it probably would've been wiser and more appropriate for Erin if she was at least two. Lesson learned. I won't be in any hurry to take Ava to Disneyland. Side note: I'd like to mention that Disneyland isn't quite the same when you go with kids, especially kids under the age of three. You are limited to a handful of rides and you're sort of still working around their nap schedules, so it can get quite tiring.

Favorite Foods at Disneyland (not in any particular order):
1. Churro : Probably the yummiest thing at Disneyland. They're $4.25 now though. Crazy.
2. Mint Julep : We only discovered this towards the end. This drink is surprisingly tasty and refreshing! I definitely recommend.
3. Pizza at Village Haus in Fantasyland : Don't know why I like their pizza, but it's my favorite at Disneyland.
4. Dole Whip at Tiki Juice Bar
5. Monte Cristo Sandwich and Garlic Fries at Cafe Orleans : I wouldn't recommend eating the Monte Cristo on your own. It's heavy so its best to share it. The garlic fries are super yummy.

Favorite Attractions (according to Erin):
1. It's a small world : Probably Erin's favorite ride, because there's really nothing scary about it.
2. Little Mermaid : The only ride she'll want to go on at California Adventure.
3. Dumbo
4. King Arthur's Carousel

Attractions Erin did not like at all:
1. Pinocchio's Daring Journey : A lot of the rides at Fantasyland are scary. This one in particular is very scary. Erin did not enjoy it at all.
2. Finding Nemo : She was pretty terrified of this ride.
3. Winnie the Pooh : She wouldn't look at anything while on this ride.
4. Character Meet and Greets : Of course the life size characters scared her. She refused to smile or take pictures with them alone.
5. World of Color : She forced herself to keep her eyes closed during the whole show and eventually fell asleep. hah.

Some tips:
1. No need to get an annual pass till your child is at least 2 (my opinion).
2. No need to get there right when the park opens. The parking lot is the busiest around opening time, so I suggest getting there a few hours after opening to avoid the traffic.
3. Take lots of snacks. Everything is overpriced and surprisingly not that yummy. I brought a lot of snacks for Erin, especially if we were planning to stay all day. Erin isn't the best eater anyway and sometimes there really weren't a lot of options for her, so bringing snacks for her was important.
4. Go to Disneyland without your kid(s). This was something I didn't get to do. I was pregnant for half of the time and couldn't even go on most of the rides. But I really do recommend parents having a "date night" of some sort and going sans kids.
5. Use the baby care centers. Didn't know these things existed, but there's one in each park. They've got changing tables, small toilets and a nursing room. Really convenient and clean.
6. Force your child to nap. We saw a lot of cranky Erin during our Disneyland trips. A lot of the crankiness was due to being tired. When she was still one and I wasn't pregnant, I'd carry her in the Ergo to have her nap. When she got older, we had her lay in her stroller and would just walk around forcing her to sleep and most of the time she did. Nap time means you can't really do anything, but it's nice just sitting around and people watch or if its timed well, you can enjoy a yummy meal while they sleep.

Would I get a Disney annual pass again? Probably not any time soon. Prices have been steadily rising and it just doesn't seem worth it. Maybe after I've had all my kids and they're at least 5 years of age, I'll consider it. But, till then I think I'd be fine with just spending the money on a day pass or just paying more and going to Disneyworld.

Potty Training - Part 1

October 29, 2015

I have been dreading this moment since becoming a parent. I watched my sisters going through this with their kids and it didn't look/sound all too pleasant (constant wet beds, peeing in the car, poop found on the floor, etc).  Erin turned two about 2 months ago and she was showing most of the signs for readiness. She was going longer periods of time with a dry diaper, she was showing interest in the potty, she has consistent poo poo diaper times, and she would occasionally let us know before going poo poo.

Some things we purchased to prepare for the training:
1. Potty. We bought the babybjorn one.
2. Books. We bought two books about potty training. 1. Potty book and 2. Big Girl Panties book. She really enjoys reading both of them.
3. Underwear. I'd suggest getting some that your kid finds interesting. Nothing expensive or anything. We bought some frozen themed underwear and she gets excited putting them on.

Prepping for the training: I noticed that sometimes Erin would go for quite a while before letting us know she had a poo poo diaper, so that would lead to her having an "owwie" (getting a rash). I thought that that would be a good starting point, a way to sell potty training. My little motto to her was "No diaper, no owwie!". I'd tell Erin to keep repeating it, letting her know that having a dirty diaper will cause an owwie. It was cute because she'd chant the motto with her fist in the air. To further prepare Erin, Ken and I would read the potty books with her explaining that big girls wear underwear and that babies wear diapers, emphasizing that Erin was now a big girl.

First Attempt: The first real attempt at potty training was roughly a month after a second birthday. Being pregnant, I don't have the energy to devote a whole weekend, so I thought I'd start off slow with just a few hours after dinner. I put some underwear on her and left her pants off. I pointed to the potty and told her that she should only go pee and poo in there and not in her underwear. She'd nod yes. I asked her if she had to use the potty every 10 or so minutes. We loaded her up with lots of liquids and was sure she'd have to go pee soon. About an hour into it, no pee or poo. I thought it'd be ok for me to take a little break and shower, so I left Ken to it. After my shower, I asked Ken if Erin had used the potty and he just kind of stared at me. Apparently, shortly after leaving to shower, Erin had peed in her underwear while playing. I tried talking to Erin and asking her about what happened. I told her that she should've used the potty and that she should've told daddy if she had to go pee pee. She just sort of stared at me, not quite understanding it all. No scolding, just gave her a hug. First attempt: Fail.

Second Attempt: I attempted to potty train her again on a Sunday morning. I took her diaper off and put some Olaf underwear on her (kept her pants off). I pulled the potty out and placed it in a very convenient location. I told her that she shouldn't go pee pee or poo poo in her underwear, but should only go in the potty. She'd nod yes. I would say I asked her if she had to go potty every 15 minutes. She didn't go potty once. I gave her plenty of liquids too and it was after breakfast, so I had high hopes. She'd just sit there a few minutes and "pretend" to do something and tell me she was "all done". At one point, I just had her sit there for a while and told her she couldn't leave till she went pee pee. I busted out the m&m's and told her that if mommy sees pee pee in the potty, she'd get an m&m. It didn't work. Unfortunately, we had to leave for church shortly after so we had to stop the training. It was only roughly an hour and a half, but I was exhausted. Hah. It takes a lot of energy to potty train! Second attempt: Fail. 

Third Attempt: We didn't attempt potty training again till after a few weeks. This second time around wasn't an intentionally planned training, but one evening while eating dinner, Erin looked at me and said "poo poo". I immediately asked her if she had to poo and she didn't really respond, but I checked her diaper and there wasn't any poo poo yet, so I put her on the potty. I gave her a toy to keep her busy and told her to just sit there and play with her toy till she went poo poo. It was cute because she listened and didn't really take notice to being on the potty. After about 5 minutes, Erin said she was "all done" and we checked the potty and sure enough, she went poo poo in the potty. Both Ken and I were ecstatic and showed her much praise. We told her how proud we were and how she was a big girl for using the potty. She was definitely pleased and kept telling us she was a big girl. We rewarded her with a few m&ms as well. Third attempt: Success.

I won't gross you guys out with pics of her poop or her on the potty. Here are some pics from afterwards. She had her babies go to the potty and poop, just like she did (she's wearing her awesome climbing shoes).

I've definitely taken a more relaxed approach to potty training. Won't be attempting the hardcore 3-day training approach (I've heard many success stories with this approach though). It has a lot to do with being pregnant and not having the energy and I just don't have the time to dedicate 3 solid days to it (hopefully I can find time to train for at least a full day). I'm not in an extreme rush and I think Erin will respond better to a more gradual approach, just sorta following her cues. But, I've set the goal of having Erin at least day trained before the end of the year. Not sure how many parts of this training there will be, but stay tuned. I'll be posting a Part 2 soon!

Pumpkin Patch 2015

October 23, 2015

We stopped by the pumpkin festival at Cal State Pomona this past weekend. We've been wanting to take Erin to Tanaka Farms in Irvine, but it's just way too far so Pomona was our second choice. They charged at the door this year, so we might just make our way down to Irvine starting next year.

Erin wasn't really in a pumpkin patch kind of mood. We had to force her to come out of the stroller and walk around. Had some lovely meltdowns, but nothing a popsicle couldn't cure. She finally started warming up towards the end of our time there.  

Erin has been talking so much. We aren't sure where she's picking it all up, but it's pretty darn cute. Here are some of my current favs:

"Hey! Don't do that!"
"Oh my goodness!"
"Dada is working"
"Car is coming, scary"
"Hey, who did that?"
"Oh my, oh my"
"Oh, wow!"
"The sun's not out, rain is out"


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