Posts Tagged ‘summer’

I know I said I would try to blog more this summer. Yeah…that didn’t quite happen and now it’s October?!? Just to give you all an update on how the prego and cripple are doing –the cripple is now not so cripple and the prego is very very prego. Larry’s ACL surgery in June went well and with regular physical therapy and the exercises he does at home, he’s pretty much back on his feet. It’ll be a while before he can be back on the ultimate field, but at least now he can manage to walk quickly after our two boys on their scooters. The one highlight from his whole recovery process was that he was able to get a temporary handicap parking permit. It was nice to be able to park in those nice big handicap spots and at any meter without having to pay for as long as we wanted. We got spoiled all summer driving to the library instead of having to limp and waddle there. But alas, the permit expired at the end of September, and now all I can do is look longingly at those handicap spots as we drive by looking for parking.

As I said, the prego is now very prego. I’m entering into my 37th week, which is when the baby is considered pretty much close to full term. Turner was born at 37 weeks, and if what they say about each kid coming out faster and sooner is true, d-day (or should I say b-day) can be any day now. We have diapers and clothes and dug out the bassinet and the car seat, so I think we’re ready. I’ve been trying to remember what labor is like. It’s funny, a mom asked me how I’ve prepared for this delivery compared to my previous two and I told her with CC, Larry and I took an 8 week Bradley class. Every Thursday we would gather in our teacher’s living room with 4 or 5 other couples and do relaxation exercises and I would visualize my beautiful natural birth. With Turner, I think I managed to dig out my Bradley method workbook and actually went over my notes. With this pregnancy, the extent of my preparation has been watching the entire season of Call the Midwife (haha just kidding, I think I already watched the whole season before I got pregnant).

So I thought I’d crank out this post before baby #3 decides to come, because you might not hear from me for awhile after he shows up. Truth be told, I’m starting to get pretty excited. Excited to not be walking around with a bowling ball in my tummy. Excited to eat all the carbs and sugar I want (With this pregnancy I technically did not have gestational diabetes, but “gluclose intolerance.” Not sure what the difference is, but I didn’t have to prick myself 4 times a day, which was fine by me). But most of all, excited to meet this new addition, whose arrival I believe will bring about a sense of completeness to our family, at least for me. Maybe I’ll try to blog at least one more time, just to let you all know when he comes. So stay tuned!

Here are some random pictures from our summer –


Driving down to So Cal right after Larry’s surgery. We took the middle seat out so he could stretch out his leg.


One of the reasons we went down was to be able to see my sister and my nieces and nephew!


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I’m ashamed that my last post was 5 months ago. I’ve been a lazy bum, haven’t I? But here I am again, dusting the cobwebs off my wordpress dashboard, ready to update you all on the reason for my radio silence the last 5 months. Some of you already know, but for those of you who only follow me here, I’ve been gestating the last 5 months. Yup, that’s right, incubating yet another little human being, our third one due to arrive at the end of October. So I’m blaming my laziness on those darn pregnancy hormones, which I also use as convenient excuses for my ¬†grumpiness, crankiness, forgetfulness, overeating, and indulging in ice cream whenever I feel like it. Amazing how a little bump can absolve you from all kinds of guilt.

We found out pretty early on that we will be having another boy. Since I’m over 35, they offered me a brand new screening test that can detect the gender of the baby from a simple blood draw at as early as 11 weeks. Many people have been asking us if we’re disappointed or if we’re going to try for a girl next time. The answer is no and no. Not gonna lie, it would have been nice to have a girl, a little mini me instead of three little mini Larrys. But all truth be told, I think boys are way more fun, and I’m okay with not having to deal with braiding hair, tying pigtails, buying princess stuff and the like. I guess I better get used to being outvoted 4 to 1 in this house.

Other than the arrival of the third and LAST Chen boy, there isn’t much else to share with you all. Life around here has been busy, but relatively uneventful. We plan to have a quiet summer at home. I had hoped to do some traveling this summer before the baby comes, but Larry had to go and tear his ACL and is in surgery getting it repaired right now as we speak (or should I say, as I write?). It could take up to 6 months for him to recover and be fully back on his feet, so we wanted to make sure he got it done as early as possible so he can be ready to be up at nights with the baby come October when it’s my turn to be bedridden. What a lovely couple we’ll make – the prego and the cripple – sounds like the title of a bad feature film.

I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. Back in March, Larry let me go to Boston for a week with the college students on their spring break trip while he stayed home with the kids. It was great and so much fun, despite the fact that I was in the very early stages of my pregnancy at the time. I had forgotten what it’s like to travel without little kids in tow. Amazing how much you can do in a day when you don’t have to stop for naps or deal with tantrums.

So this summer I’ll have to content myself with nesting at home. Hopefully I’ll get around to blogging some more. Feel free to come and visit us if you’re in the neighborhood. You’ll probably find us both on the couch with a bowl of ice cream.

Happy summer!






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We just got back from our epic summer family adventure to the East Coast and what an adventure it was! We hit three cities, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, in nine days relying on a single umbrella stroller, an ergo, and public transportation. The last time we were out on the East Coast was more than two years ago when CC could still fly for free. I was determined that we make it out there again before Turner’s second birthday in June. We had a long list of people to see so each day we set off to visit friends and every night we were in a different home enjoying food and fellowship around the table while the kids caroused happily with new found playmates. Some days we were so busy getting from place to place, catching trains and buses, that Larry and I felt like we were competing in Amazing Race, only with kids. (By the way, I think that would be a great idea for a show – Amazing Race, Parents with Kids Edition – I would totally watch it). We managed to fit in a little bit of sight seeing, but we didn’t stress out about having to see everything, and in all honesty the kids were usually more happy to just stop at a local playground or run around someone’s back yard than walking the Freedom Trail or seeing the Statue of Liberty.


Swan boat ride!

Swan boat ride!

Playing baseball in the park

Playing baseball in the park


Taking the T to Amtrak

We took the Amtrak from Boston to New York where my whole family lives and introduced Turner to his brood of cousins. I have two siblings who each have four children, ranging from 19 years old to 8 years old. It was a challenge, to say the least, to do things with a group of 10 children and 8 adults and there was a lot of chaos and noise, but it helped that there were so many extra people to take care of and entertain the kids. It was so heart warming to see all the older cousins take a genuine interest in our boys. Being with the cousins was by far CC’s favorite part of the whole trip and probably what he will miss the most.

photo 2

Our clan


Waiting for our flight

Waiting for our flight

Normally when we get home from vacations, I’m exhausted and happy to be home. But this time coming home was a little bit bittersweet knowing that it will probably be a while before we’ll be able to see our family and friends on the East Coast again. Instead of being exhausted, I feel like this trip has refreshed me in so many ways. Now I’m a firm believer that families should take every opportunity to travel, especially with young kids. There’s something so healthy and beneficial about seeing and being with people from another part of the country or the world. It’s also a precious time to bond as a family; CC and Turner spent a lot of time fighting, but also played together in ways we haven’t seen them do at home before. The biggest reason for us not traveling more is the expense, but now I think it’s worth it to scrounge and save to give our kids and ourselves this valuable experience.

What is your experience of traveling with small kids in tow?

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The prompt for this week is…



I have fond memories of the glorious summers spent in Boston when I lived there as a young single twenty something. That seemed like a lifetime ago. I remember summer days that were so perfect that you just had to jump in the car with girlfriends and drive somewhere. We’d take day trips to the Cape, Naragansett Beach, Rockport…driving with the windows rolled down and our hair flying in the wind, carefree as we were.

Those were the days when I could do anything in a tank top, shorts, and my trusty Teva flip flops (which I’m still wearing to this day). From lying on the beach reading Harry Potter to kayaking down the Charles. Or stopping at little roadside stands for fried oysters and ice cream. Or lunch at the fish shack in Rockport where they sold fresh lobster with drawn butter, 3 for $30. We’d come home with the warmth of the sun and of the day trapped underneath our skin making us giddy. That warmth in our skin and in our heart stayed even after the cold showers we took to rinse off all the salt and sand that caked our skin and hair and clothes. That warmth felt so good…but not so good the next day when our skin became as red as the lobsters we had eaten for lunch.

Those were happy carefree days and sometimes I long for them. The warmth of the New England sun and of the company of friends who became real sisters to me. Thirteen years later, I still feel that warmth underneath my skin.

It’s been so long since I’ve had fresh lobstah with drawn buttah….


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The prompt for this week is…



This is our last precious week of summer before everyone goes back to school next week. Okay so technically only CC is going back to school (half day preschool, that is), but since my husband works with college students, I feel like we perpetually operate on the University schedule. Next week will be official back to school week for all of us.

I’ve been wanting to blog about our last summer hurrah but just haven’t gotten around to it, so I’m going to be lazy and combine it with my FMF post for the week. Last weekend we had to attend a wedding down in the Santa Cruz area so a few families we knew who were also attending the wedding decided to get together and rent a vacation house for the weekend. Four couples, six children under 3 (and a baby on the way), two nights and two beach cottages. Doesn’t that sound like a load of fun? Sure, it was chaotic but all worth it. We’ve never vacationed with other families like this before and I’m hoping this won’t be the last time. It was fun, cost effective (vacation rentals are way cheaper than hotels and we made all our own food), and so convenient that we could walk down to the beach and come home for naps whenever we needed to. And it was great for the kids to have friends to play with and for me to have much needed bonding time with other moms.







But that epic trip was not the last hurrah for us. We got home from Santa Cruz, did some laundry, slept in our beds for one night, repacked and left for a camping trip with about 30 college students. I guess technically this was a work trip for my husband and me and kids just tagged along. I was kind of hesitant about going camping after such a great but tiring weekend, but I’m so glad we did. The boys had so much fun running and crawling around and they slept better that first night in the tent than they normally would at home. It was also nice to have so many willing babysitters around so it was actually a nice break for me.

As this last week of summer draws to a close, I’m glad we made time to do some fun things as a family. Having made these memories, I feel like I can now be ready for the school year to start. I’m actually looking forward to having more structure in my days and finally unpacking the boxes piled up in our new bedroom.

What will you remember from this summer?


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Next week will be CC’s last week of preschool and let’s just say I’m not counting down the days. It’ll be time to say goodbye to those quiet lazy late mornings when Turner is snoozing in his crib and I can actually have time to sip coffee and get into the Word. Goodbye to shower time, brush and even flatiron my hair time, pick up the mess in peace time, grocery shop with only one kid in the cart time. I’m really going to miss those three lovely morning hours.

Time to say hello to actually having a plan for the day and resisting the temptation to let CC watch videos three hours in a row. To evening showers and picking up the mess and doing dishes the night before so that at least I don’t begin the day with chaos. To finding creative ways to occupy an active three and half year old while his baby brother is napping. To getting used to spending personal time with the Lord with the theme song of Dinosaur Train playing in the background.

On the bright side, it will also mean that the boys will get to spend more time together going to places we haven’t been to for awhile. Here are some of our favorite spots, so if you’re a mom who will be going through school withdrawal after next week, come and join us!

  • Habitot awesome indoor hands-on play museum for younger kids in downtown Berkeley. I love how it’s not too big so it’s easy to keep an eye on all your kids even when they’re doing different activities. There are frequently deals on Livingsocial or Groupon for multiple visits and the Berkeley Public Library also offers free passes. You can also purchase a special summer membership which gives you unlimited visits until the end of September.¬†
  • Oakland Zoo – admission is pricey, but again library offers free passes. You don’t have to pay admission for the rides and train located outside of the zoo, just the price of the ride tickets.
  • Little Farm at Tilden – make sure you stock up on celery and lettuce before you go!
  • Lawrence Hall of Science – fun for all ages. Great indoor hands-on exhibits and fun outdoor play areas. Once again, look for a library pass!
  • Children’s Fairyland – such a fun place for the little ones – rides, animals, train, carousels, puppet theater, just to name a few. I scored a livingsocial deal for a year membership which I split with another mom, which gives me and the kids unlimited visits for a year for about $20. Sounds like a fairy tale to me!

What places will you be taking your kids to this summer?

Mission control at Habitot

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The week before Memorial Day weekend, we took a vacation to Santa Cruz…our last hurrah before we are homebound for the summer preparing for the arrival of Baby #2. CC and my mother-in-law came with us, so it wasn’t exactly a babymoon, but we had a great time and got some much needed R & R. We rented a two-bedroom vacation house right by the beach and it was definitely better than staying in a hotel. We were able to make breakfast and lunch for ourselves everyday instead of having to eat out all the time and we were able to lounge in the living room when CC was taking his nap in our room.

We took a pretty slow pace for our vacation which included 3 hour naps in the afternoons for all of us. That’s just how we roll; we’re not the most exciting people in the world. That was the nice thing about going to the Santa Cruz area, there was enough to do, but not so much that we felt like we had to be on the go all the time. And everything was pretty much a short drive from where we were staying. There are a lot of great places for little kids. Sadly, we didn’t make it to the beach that often, but that’s because I keep forgetting that the water at NorCal beaches are still too cold to swim in this early in the summer.

Here are some of the highlights:

Roaring Camp Railroad – old style open air steam train. You can take a 1 hour round-trip ride into the redwood forest while the conductor narrates interesting facts about the train and the forest. CC loved it. For some reason we always seem to fit a train ride in no matter where we’re vacationing.

The Mystery Spot – basically a little hill where they built a slanted house which mysteriously defies the laws of gravity. A little hokey, but worth going to at least once for $5. Supposedly it’s the most visited place in Santa Cruz.

Seymour Marine Discovery Center – part of UC Santa Cruz. Not exactly an aquarium but just big enough to occupy a few hours in the morning. We took the family tour and CC got to touch a shark and other sea creatures and stand inside a blue whale skeleton. We packed some sandwiches and had our lunch behind the center on a bench overlooking the coast.

Santa Cruz boardwalk – awesome little amusement park on the boardwalk. Free admission, you pay for each individual ride. They actually had quite a few rides for little tots. It was the first time CC was able to go on a ride all by himself.

Capitola Beach – small, not too crowded beach walking distance from our vacation house. CC and I dipped our feet in the water but it was still way too cold. He was happier playing in the sand anyways. Larry attempted to fly a kite. We had dinner that night in Capitola at a Mexican place called El Toro Bravo. I immediately recognized it as the restaurant a friend of mine and her husband had taken me to over 10 years ago on my first visit to the Bay Area. I ordered the same thing I got then – their crab enchilada. Yum! It happened to be “Kids Eat Free” night too, so we got a free full sized chicken quesadilla for CC which we ate for lunch the next day.


Other than that, we didn’t do very much except sleep and read. I finished two novels by the time we left and Larry finished one. It was nice to spend quality time with Larry’s mom too and have an extra person around to entertain CC. After a week home, CC is still talking about it. I’m so glad we can give him these memories before his little brother comes to steal all the attention.

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