Juggling Work and Family

January 30, 2015

Here's what Monday-Friday typically looks like for me.

7:00 am - Erin wakes up. Ken is already at work by this time. He wakes up around 4:30am to get to work by 7:00 am (he commutes from LA to OC!). So I get the mornings with the little one. I get her changed and ready first. I give her some milk and a morning snack and get myself ready for work. I get her lunch ready and get the car packed. (Monday's are always the most chaotic) We usually have about 10 minutes to just sit and play before actually heading out. She's been such a staller (is that even a word?) these days. Takes me about 5-7 minutes of convincing before she lets me put her shoes on. 

7:45 am - We leave for daycare. I get the joys of dropping Erin off at daycare. Not.Kool. Doing the drop offs suck. It's harder to say goodbye. Every now and then Erin has little meltdowns when I drop her off and that just breaks my heart.

8:45 am - 5:15 pm - Work 

6:00 pm - I get home as early as 5:40 pm or as last as 6:00 pm. Ken does the pick ups at daycare around 5:15 pm. Lucky. He gets to see happy Erin. He's usually finishing up making dinner by the time I get home (he's Mr. Mommy).

6:30 pm - Dinner time. Erin is always antsy about eating dinner. She's so eager/impatient to eat so if we happen to eat after 6:30 pm, we have ourselves a VERY hangry child.

7:15 pm - Bath time/Wash up. We get Erin ready for bed. We play with her a little and read her a few books. This is really the only time both Ken and I have to interact with Erin together.

7:30 pm - Bedtime for Erin. I get Erin's lunch ready for the next day. Since Ken cooks dinner, I'm in charge of clean up.

9:00 pm-10:00 pm - Both Ken and I start winding down around this time. Ken tries to sleep by 9:30 pm and I usually sleep around 10:00 pm. These days we've been watching an episode or two of Friends before sleeping.

I went back to work full-time when Erin was just about 3 months old and she started daycare at 6 months. It's crazy to think that we've had this routine for almost a year now. I'm lucky because I don't ever have to take work home and over-time isn't required, but It's still tough trying to spend good quality time with Erin and/or Ken during the week. It used to make me so sad thinking about how I get to see my co-workers more than I get to see my family, but that's just how it has to be right now. What sucks the most is that I've missed many of Erin's milestones (e.g. first time crawling and taking first steps). Her caretaker at daycare got to witness a lot of firsts for Erin. No fair.

But to be completely honest, I actually like working and I don't think I'm quite ready to let it go, if ever. But working while being a wifey and mommy definitely has its challenges. There's so much I need/want to do, but I can't seem to find the time to do it and when I do have some spare time, I end up just vegging out. Here's just a few items on my to-do list:
  1. Watch X-men: Days of Future Past and Godzilla
  2. Take a cardio barre class
  3. Start mommy and me classes with Erin
  4. Start running again
  5. Do some crafting
  6. Clean out the closet and donate to Goodwill
  7. Hit up some yummy restaurants with Ken
  8. Watch Season 4 of Game of Thrones
  9. Organize Erin's room
  10. ...and the list goes on.
How do moms do it all? The crazy part is Ken actually wakes up earlier than he needs to so he can hit the gym (?!). No way I'm doing that (HAH).  I'm still learning to balance it all and it's been a learning experience. I think there's been progress though (Korean dramas have set me back a little so I'll have to cut down on that). I'm definitely motivated to do more this year so we'll see how things are like when 2015 comes to an end.
*I'm just trying to imagine doing all this with more than 1 kid. Props to all the working parents out there!

My big girl at daycare.

My mornings with Erin :)


Camping with an 11-month old

January 27, 2015

Last July our family went on a week long camping trip to Lake Tahoe. It was the first long drive we took with Erin. Longest car ride before Tahoe was maybe 1.5 hours. It took about 8 hours to get to Tahoe. We started the drive at midnight and got there early afternoon. To our surprise Erin was really good the entire car ride there! We had high hopes for the trip. We weren't sure how Erin would handle a new environment, sleeping in a tent, eating outside, etc. We were hoping and praying she'd adjust well and enjoy the change in scenery. She did exactly the opposite. Of course.

She has a lot of anxiety at her age already. I can go on about this, but I'll save it for another post. She gets overwhelmed easily and has quite a bit of separation anxiety. She's not the most outgoing girl, but she'll start warming up to once you've given her some (a lot) time. She knew immediately she was not home. She refused to interact with anyone (including dad) or do anything. She practically lived in the Ergo. Camping with her was a challenge. I didn't end up getting to do much because I was still nursing and she would not associate with anyone else. It didn't help that she wasn't walking yet either. My arms were dead by the end of the trip.

This was our giant 10 person tent. Lots of room for just the 3 of us.


Erin and the Ergo.


Tahoe was absolutely beautiful.


The Fam.


The Giant and the princess.


Chilling in the hammock.


All the kiddos. (Erin had a great time)


Deciding if she likes sand or not.


Now that I've gone camping with an 11-month old, here's what I would've done differently:
1. Bring a large tarp. Erin was only crawling at 11 months and I could tell she wanted to explore but I wasn't going to let her crawl around in the dirt. The only other option I had was to play with her inside the tent and that would be no fun, we'd be missing all the nature. So next time I go with a non-walking kid, I'd bring a large tarp to lay somewhere flat and put a blanket on top to cushion it. This would allow a child to sit, crawl and just play in the open.
2. Bring more food for the baby. At 11 months, Erin was eating a lot of things. I still had to make sure things were soft enough for her and small enough for her, but she ate mostly everything. I only brought with me a few containers of pureed food hoping that she'd eat whatever the other kids and adults planned on eating each mealtime. But of course Erin wasn't open to trying a lot of the things we cooked so she didn't really eat much during the whole camping trip. I know now to pack more and better next time.
3. Leave my baby. I felt so bad for my kid so I decided to stick by her side, even though that would mean mommy couldn't do ANYTHING. I was so jealous of my husband, he got to go rock climbing and mountain biking! (His version of our Tahoe Trip is very different from mine) Even though my kid may be having a hard time adjusting, I'd make sure to have a little me time and do something away from the baby next time. A few hours away won't hurt the baby.
4. Bring a manual breast pump. Lesson learned!

*On a positive note, I got to spend lots of time with my baby girl! She really is a funny girl and even though I was tired and a tad bit grouchy, I had tons of fun hanging out with her. Better to start em young. Hopefully with age Erin will get better with adjusting to new environments and people. Camping in Tahoe is a must!
We'll have to see how our next camping trip turns out.

Baby Registry

January 26, 2015

First time mom here.

Creating a baby registry isn't as easy as it sounds. You really have to sit there and look through ALL the baby stuff and pick out what you think you might need. If I could go back and re-do my registry, I'd add the items below. I ended buying all of these after having the baby.

1.Brica Mirror 
This mirror is great. We have a pretty tiny kid so she'll be rear facing for a while. It's nice being able to see what she's doing back there and she can see me too.

2. White Noise Machine
We didn't buy this till after Erin turned one. We told ourselves that we'd train Erin to be a heavy sleeper and we wanted her to get used to sleeping in any noise condition (noisy or quiet). Unfortunately, we live in a very old townhouse. 4 levels! Erin's room happens to be right above the noisy garage and right under our noisy bathroom. With loud plumbing, extremely creaky floors, a loud husband, thin walls..we decided to try out this white noise machine. I'm not sure if it's actually making a difference with Erin's sleep, but it does drown out a lot of the unnecessary noise. Overall, I like it.

3. Earth Mama Angel Baby New Mama Bottom Spray
The first few weeks Postpartum were no fun. I was dealing with a Third.Degree.Tear. Not kool. I researched online and I stumbled upon this spray. It's all natural and it smells so good. I think it really helped with the healing process and I'd definitely recommend it.
4. Books
I didn't even think to register any kid books. But books are so important! We've been reading to Erin since she was just a few days old. I'd definitely recommend registering some books if you don't have any already. Some favs of Erin's during the first 6 months were: "Where's baby's belly button?", "Where's Spot?" and the Going to Bed book.

5. Electric Food Mill
I didn't register any food related items. We ended up giving Erin solids at an early age of 4 months. She refused the bottle during daycare so we started giving her solids so she'd have something in her stomach during the day. This is a pretty basic food mill, but it works great. I used this to puree everything.

6. OXO Tot Freezer Storage Containers
These are great for storing/freezing baby food. The 2 oz ones worked well for me. They are microwave safe and great for on the go. 

7. Aden + Anais Dream Blanket
I love these blankets. They aren't too thick or too thin. They come in cute patterns too. I've got quite of a few of these. They're great for traveling or just to keep in your car in case of a cold day. 

8. Zipper PJ's
Babies poop A LOT. I didn't realize how much till I had one myself. For the first few weeks of life, Erin probably pooped about 3-5 times a day (many of those times were during the night). That was when I realized how thankful I was for zippers. Zipper PJ's all the way. They are easy to take off and put on. These are especially helpful when you're doing a late night diaper change and you don't want to completely wake up the kid.

9. Boppy Nursing Pillow
I breastfed Erin till she turned one. I had my highs and lows breastfeeding throughout the year. Overall it was a positive experience. The first few months were pretty dang challenging though...and to add to that, I didn't have this pillow! It seriously was a game changer. I don't know why I didn't bother buying a nursing pillow in the first place. Before I bought the pillow I was using my legs as a rest or I'd stack several pillows to rest on..but that eventually took a toll on my back, neck and arms. That's when I decided to buy the pillow. I absolutely loved it and I'd recommend every nursing mama to get some sort of nursing pillow. 

*10. Manual Breast Pump
I didn't actually get around to buying it this time around, but I really should have. Since I was working full-time I kept my electric pump at work. What I realized was that sometimes on the weekends, Erin would eat less during a few nursing sessions and I'd be left with full and uncomfortable breasts. These manual pumps are light and easy to travel with. So I'm definitely getting this for baby no. 2. 

A few things I registered that I didn't use/need.
1. Booster Chair - Didn't end up using this one. We got a Inglesina (absolutely love it) from my sister and we ended up using it all the time (still do).
2. Diaper Genie - We just use a regular trashcan.
3. Crib Mobile - It ended up breaking after a few months and we didn't end up replacing it.

Meet the Princess and the Giant

January 23, 2015

Meet my giant, aka Ken.
He's a whopping 77 inches tall (6'5)! (Taking photos with him is always a struggle) Don't be fooled by his size though cause he's quite the gentle person. He loves food, the niners, taking photos, mountain biking, singing..the list goes on. You can see and hear him from miles away.

Meet my princess, aka Erin.

She's a whopping 30 inches! Don't be fooled by her size though cause she's got quite the personality and sass. She loves dancing, eating snacks and reading books. It's the cutest seeing Ken and Erin interact with each other because they're such extreme opposites when it comes to size.





aren't they the cutest?!

What's currently in my diaper bag?

January 22, 2015

I've got a 17 month old right now. I still need to carry around a hefty diaper bag with lots of random things for the little one.
1. Spare clothes. My girl is quite messy, but what 17 month isn't? She's really into feeding herself right now which means more mess for mommy/daddy.
2. My go to snack, Plum Organics fruit bars.  Erin loves these fruit bars. I give her one of these If I know we're going to be eating a late meal. Keeps her happy and content.
3. Costco diaper wipes. I love these because they're unscented and they aren't too expensive. Gotta love costco.
4. Goldfish. All kids love goldfish. The crunchy with the saltiness, Erin loves them. These are especially great for when we're sitting in traffic.
5. Diaper changing pad. No explanation needed here.
6. Avent insulated straw cup. I've tried out a few other insulated cups but for some reason this was the one Erin and I liked best. It's a little on the heavier side, but it does the job. Keeps her milk cool and no leaking.
7. Diapers. I'm a pampers girl all the way. I've always had leaking problems with Huggies for some reason.

17-Month Update - Erin

January 21, 2015

I wanted to start monthly updates for Erin..but I never got around to it, so I'll start with month 17.
Baby girl is not a baby girl anymore. She's our toddler girl. It's amazing how much she's changed since her first birthday. Physically she hasn't changed much. She's still pretty tiny, weighs just over 18lbs. Her height is somewhere around 30 inches.


Food: She went through a no eating phase right around her first birthday. But a few months ago we noticed she was eating a lot better and eating more in quantity. We need her to eat, gotta fatten this girl up. She loves meat..like loves it. What a true Korean right?. She'll be happy eating meat and rice everyday if we'd let her. Oh, and get this..she loves veggies! We're so thankful we don't have to force feed her vegetables. Her favorites at the current moment are: meat, pasta (red sauce spaghetti and mac n cheese), rice and soup, pizza, veggies (peas/carrots/corn) and bagels. She's still drinking whole milk, maybe 12 oz a day. She's also like mommy and has a big sweet tooth. She'll eat anything that looks unhealthy. Great.
*She doesn't like fruit. Who doesn't like fruit?!


Sleep: Oh sleep. Sleep was great right around the time she turned one. She was finally sleeping through the night and things were good. But around 14 months she hit some sort of regression or something and things went downhill from there. She woke up frequently screaming and crying. I'm pretty sure many of those times were due to nightmares or night terrors. Didn't realize that nightmares started at such a young age. Poor thing. Both Ken and I attempted to re-train her to sleep in her crib, but we eventually got tired and worn out and that's when Erin started sleeping in our bed. Yep that's right, we started co-sleeping. At 17 months, she starts off in her crib..goes down around 7:30pm and sometime between 11-2am, she'll wake up and end up in our bed. I'll admit that at first, there was a lot of adjusting. Girl takes up a lot of space and moves like ALL the time. But, I do love seeing my baby. She's so cute when she sleeps. We're not sure how long we'll have her in our bed. Not sure when and if we'll sleep train again. But for now, we're open to having her sleep with us. As for naps, she's down to one nap, However, there are days when she'll have two naps. No complaints about her naps, she's always been good about napping.


Hobbies/Play: Erin loves dancing. Started at a young age. She was pretty obsessed with "Shake it off" by TS, but now she's addicted to "Let it go". She's got a specific dance for the song and it's pretty dang adorable when I see her do it. She's also really into peek-a-boo/hide and seek (still). She's also into knocking things over and throwing things (yay). Oh and she loves balls! But I do think we've got a smarty pants on our hands. She loves books! We read maybe 10-15 books to her daily (sometimes the same book over and over). I love that she loves books. Kids books are so awesome! Here are some of our faves:


Up: That's her go to word right now. Don't know where she picked it up, but she says "up" for everything. We're really trying to encourage more talking. We noticed she's been doing more gesturing than talking. At the moment she knows: mom/umma, dada/appa, mama (food), up, kkakka (cookie/cracker), kkokko (bird) and I love you.


She's growing too fast!


Highlights of 2014

January 19, 2015

Not in any particular order:

Lake Tahoe: We survived an 8 hour drive there and back.

We visit SF.

Erin's first flight.


January 16, 2015

(originally posted 1/16/15)
I knew I've always wanted a daughter. But, I want to emphasize on the word "a". I come from a family of four daughters. We're all so different and similar at the same time, it's weird. But with all that weirdness comes the drama, the difficultly and all the emotions (no thank you). I'm not all that sensitive myself.  Some people even joke and call me a robot. But as it turns out, my daughter is quite the sensitive one (so is my husband). For some reason, I imagined I would have a daughter similar to me. Someone who would be independent and just explore on their own and listen well. Someone just real chill. Erin turned out to be the quite opposite of that. She's Ms. Sensitive and clingy and if she could, she'd be stuck to me all day long. Of course I'm flattered about the idea of how much this little girl loves me and wants to be with me but I'll admit that sometimes, I just need a little room to breathe. But, through the past few months, I've learned how grateful I am to have a daughter like Erin. She's teaching me SO much patience and she's teaching me a whole new meaning of what loving someone means. She's the sweetest girl and I'm so thankful to have a daughter. It's true what people say about mom's needing to have daughters. Especially this mom in specific. I definitely needed a daughter like her. Daughters are so special and I'm so open to the idea of having more than one!  I'm sooo looking forward to seeing our relationship blossom!





My Birth Story - Erin Montana Kim

January 9, 2015

(originally posted 1/15/15)

I've been meaning to write down my birth story. Thought it'd be nice to write it down while I can still sorta remember things. So where to begin..

I had a EDD of August 9, 2013. My pregnancy wasn't bad at all (first trimester was the worst) so I continued working full-time till the day I went into labor, which happened to be August 9, 2013. A week before my EDD, my Doctor told me that my fluid levels were looking lower than what she wanted to see so we decided to schedule inducing me. I was set to get induced August 9, 2013. The funny part was that on that day I felt what felt like kicks all day. I just assumed that it was the baby moving around, just being real active. But apparently I had been having contractions all day. I checked into the hospital around 10pm and they confirmed that I was indeed having contractions. We agreed that I would still get induced because I was not dilated at all. The doctor told me at this rate it might take over 24 hours till I'd get to start pushing. At 12am, I was getting petocin and was not looking forward to a long labor.

A few hours passed and I could start feeling pressure in my uterus and back. It wasn't too painful, just uncomfortable. By 4am, the contractions were getting more painful and I wasn't able to rest at all. The petocin intensified my contractions and sped up my labor, so I was dilating a lot faster than people were expecting. I was already almost 5 cm dilated by 4am. I asked for something for the pain so they gave me some painkillers through the IV. It was around 5am that I felt my water broke. After that, things progressed rather quickly. The contractions were getting worse and I was exhausted. That's when I decided I wanted an epidural. I got the epidural before 8am and I will admit, it felt good. I got to relax a little and just prepare myself for meeting this baby. It was only a few hours after that that I was fully dilated and ready for pushing. I'm not sure if they gave me less of the medication, but I could feel everything...just not the pain. I felt when my uterus was contracting and knew when to push and when not to (I was expecting to feel absolutely nothing). I started pushing around 11am and little Erin came out just before noon. Thinking my labor would be more than 24 hours, I was completely thrilled that it only lasted 12 hours! Although I was aiming for a drug free birth, I don't regret anything at all. Both mom and baby were healthy and happy.

Erin Montana Kim, Born: August 10, 2013; 6 lbs 11 oz

Some highlights I'd like to mention:

  • Seeing Ken's face when the baby came out. Priceless. I'm pretty sure he had to hold back his tears.
  • Holding Erin against my body for the first time.
** Did I mention I got a third degree tear. Not kool. But no hemorrhoids, Hooray!
**Oh, and I'd like to mention that a lot of the pain during labor was felt in my lower back *back labor). Was not expecting that.

Just a few days old. =)
(The giant and the princess)


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