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Christmas Eve 2015

This Christmas I am so thankful for my family.  I love my two girls, my husband who takes such good care of us, and my mom who traveled all the way to Japan to be here for us when Valentina was born. And also for my sister who I talk to just about every day on face time.  

This transition from 1 to 2 kids has been really challenging for me.  I’m still struggling, but I’m pretty sure that when the girls are both off to preschool and elementary school, I’ll miss these days dearly so I’m trying to enjoy it. 

Happy 3 months to my Valentina baby!  There goes that fist.  Lately this girl is always holding out her fist and looking at her hand.  Oh!  A hand!  So interesting!  I have to do a better 3 month photo shoot tomorrow.  This was the best I could do before … Dun dun dun. 

Big sis took the stage.  

She’s a very loving big sister though.  

I always say this but Sienna is growing up so fast.  But the problem here is that it turns out I created a miniature version of myself, causing me to feel very sorry for 2 people that have put up with me for many, many years:

1. My mom

2. My husband (of 6 just years but we’ve actually been together for 15 years)

Sorry guys.  At least I got what I deserved.  A daughter just like myself.  K laughs at me all the time when I get frustrated with Sienna.

Anyway today was really special because I heard Valentina laugh for the first time. I was talking to her and saying goo goo ga ga and she was talking back to me.  This girl is so chatty and has this amazing ability to connect with you.  She loves to make eye contact and just talk talk talk.  But this time she started giggling.  And this happened after a big crying session whete she threw up a little bit so yeah it was pretty special.  

I love my girls.  I screw up a lot as a mom but they always forgive me and still seem to love me. They let me start over again so I consider myself pretty lucky.  


2 months old

This blog has definitely fallen to the wayside with this new baby and another project I have going on at the moment.  But the least I can do is blog about my girls and how they are doing so I can look back on these posts someday.  I’ve taken to documenting our adventures on Snapchat and saving my snaps each day, because it’s faster than blogging and a video speaks a thousand words.  Hopefully I’ll be able to put together some sort of compilation.  

Anyway last week was Thanksgiving  and a couple days before that, my Valentina wina turned 2 months old!  

At her 2 month appointment she weighed 13 lbs and the nurse kept calling her “big girl” and the doctor made a comment about her obviously not having a problem with feeding.  I love my chubby baby.  And Sienna was a really chubby baby too but she slimmed down a lot once she started moving. 

Valentina is starting to interact and smile and coo and gurgle a lot!  She’s so charming.  I don’t remember Sienna doing this as much but maybe it’s because Sienna got my attention 99% of the time and Valentina has to compete with Sienna for my attention.  And her big sister is much more vocal and demanding.  Sometimes Valentina gets fussy and I will pick her up and realize that all she wanted was for mommy to look into her eyes and say “ga!” And smile and talk to her!!  Aww… 

Valentina is pretty mesmerized by her sister.  She stares at Sienna and watches her a lot.  But she also gets so upset when she’s in a deep sleep and gets woken up by her sister’s shrill voice and shrieking laughter.  If anyone pushes baby Valentina’s buttons, it’s Sienna.

Of course this post is not complete without a rundown of the latest on Sienna!

Sienna is so so smart and articulate!  And so observant.  Lately she is into making videos just like Mommy.  She recently did a review of black natto and someone commented that she needs her own YouTube channel!  She’s such a star!  

Today Kevin asked Sienna what mommys favorite snack was and she said blueberries!  And what is Appas favorite snack?  She said ice cream!  We both cracked up bc this is so true even though we’ve never discussed it before. Her response was based on plain observation. 

When we go out, Sienna doesn’t really ride in the stroller a whole lot.  We use it to cart groceries and diapers, but she prefers to walk.  Such a big girl.

Sienna can put on her own pants, change her own diaper, poop in the toilet.  She’s also good at getting stuff for me when I’m feeding the baby.  She’s such a good helper when she wants to be.  I’m working on preparing her for Yochien in the spring, though, and they have a long list of demands in terms of independent behavior.  So we still have some work to do.  

As a big sister, I think Valentina’s newness has worn off and she’s not the center of her big sister’s attention anymore.  Sienna has realized that Valentina takes away my attention from her.  But overall she’s a good helper and a good big sister.  When Valentina cries she tries to sing her a song to comfort her.  She checks on Valentina to make sure she’s ok. She wants to know what’s happening with “my baby sister.”  I have said this before but I’m so proud of how Sienna has reacted to her new baby sister.  She really welcomed her into our family even though she is such a huge disruption to the life we had before.  Sienna is always willing to include Valentina in her play, and make her part of the story. She’s accepted her new little sister with such grace, and I’m so proud of her.  

Thanksgiving was this week and I’m late on my “I’m thankful” post, but I’m so so thankful for my beautiful family.

My husband who takes care of us, cooks for us, and makes sure we are happy.

My Sienna baby who sings when we are sad to cheer us up and brings laughter into our lives every day.

My chubby Valentina wina whose smiles and coos just make life worth living!

It’s not easy to care for these two girls but I’m so thankful to be able to spend these precious years with them when they are small and need their mommy.  And I’m thankful for a husband whose job allows me to do this.  And for his reminders when I’m tired and getting down on myself that these moments with the girls are so temporary and fleeting and are to be cherished… Because they won’t last forever and will be gone in the blink of an eye.  


My Girls


Time is slipping away from me far too quickly this time around.  It’s been 7 weeks since I had my Valentina and she’s already out of the tiny newborn stage.  She’s reached the fat baby stage where her chin is multiplying and has now overtaken her neck.  Her muffin top puffs out over her diaper.  Her cheeks are so so squishy but they’ve been that way since birth.  I’ve already had to put away the newborn clothes and get out the 3 month clothes, and she’s even wearing some 6 month clothes.  It seems like Valentuna is much bigger and heavier than her sister was at this age.

It’s hard for me to get one on one time with my second child without having her older sister chattering in the background or more likely, demanding something from me.  So our time is around 5 to 6 am when everyone is still asleep.  She seems to make an extra effort to open her eyes and give me smile after smile after smile while I look straight into her eyes and smile back.  This morning she was struggling to keep her eyes open but a few seconds after she fell asleep she smiled 2-3 times.  Those Valentina smiles are everything.   

Valentina seems to have so much gas.  She has the most powerful, stinky farts and the loudest Homer Simpson burps of any person I’ve met!  Not just loud for a baby but for a grown adult.  

Valentina is really good at tummy time and actually enjoys being on her belly.  The first time I put her on her tummy she didn’t even cry.  She has amazing head and neck control for her age. 

In the evenings around 9 or 10 pm, she likes to lay in her crib and kicky kick.  If you swaddle her during this time she’ll get angry.  Since before she was born, V has liked to kick her feet.  Right after she was born, my mom remarked that she was really active and strong especially for a newborn. She would kick and move her arms so much.  But that’s how she was inside of me, and I guess she didn’t change once she came out.  

Valentina has the saddest, cutest sad faces ever.  When something goes wrong, the corners of her mouth start to turn down into the biggest frown you’ve ever seen!  It’s so so sad and cute.

The sad face is very distinct from the angry face, where the top of her nose crinkles up so tightly and her eyebrows crinkle up and turn green.  When this happens, K says oh no! Not the green eyebrows!  
When Valentina gets angry, it takes some time to calm her down.  Sometimes it takes up to half an hour.  She hates being woken up out of a deep sleep by her sister’s squeaky chair.  Actually she doesn’t like that squeaky chair at all, even when she’s awake.

Valentina is also a fast milk drinker.  She’ll take anywhere from 5 to 15 min, tops and she will just pound it. I think that may be why she has so much gas – she takes in a lot of air when she’s chugging her milk.  This is very unlike her sister who would stay attached to my boob all day if given the option.  


Sienna has taken on her new role as big sister with so much more maturity than I expected of her.  I’m so, so proud of Sienna.  There are the occasional bouts of jealousy, but we are almost 2 months in and she is still really loving towards her baby sister.  

She’s become my best helper and she’s learning how to do things on her own.  She has learned to put her own dishes in the sink.  She can change her own diaper.  She poops in the toilet.  She can even put on her own pants, and we are working on shirts. 

For Halloween, Sienna wanted to be the big bad wolf from the 3 little pigs story.  But a happy wolf!  We practiced trick or treating at home the week leading up to Halloween, but Sienna understood what we were doing and got to eat her own Halloween candy this year. 

Sienna is so observant and smart.  And she’s so imaginitive.  Her favorite games mimic the Berenstein Bears books which have become her new favorite books.  She calls me Mama Bear, and herself Sister Bear.  She copies the little things that Valentina does, for instance mimicking her cry and pulling her own hair.  She’s still so in touch with other people’s emotions, especially mine.  When I’m a little bit sad or somethings not right, Sienna is the first one to ask me what’s wrong.  

Sienna starts talking from the moment she wakes up until the moment she goes to bed.  It’s a constant stream of nonstop chatter and singing all day long (and sometimes crying).  

She still has some vestiges of toddlerhood – the occasional tantrum and uncontrollable crying; the diapers – but behind my back, she’s starting to turn into a little girl.   

It’s certainly not easy being a mommy but it’s rewarding and totally worth it.



Here is the newest member of our family!  We waited so long for her… I thought she would come early at 37 weeks and even had grandma come to Japan early.  But this girl took her sweet time and I ended up having her a week past my due date.    The wait from 37 to 41 weeks was incredibly stressful to me for some reason.  I woke up every night and looked at the calendar and panicked because it was one less day that my mom would be here.  After my due date came and went, I started to stress about getting induced.  Then on the eve of my 41 week appointment, I went into labor!  It was a quick and painful labor but we had our baby girl!

It took some time to pick out a name.  Since we aren’t planning on having any more kids, I really thought long and hard about the name.  I wanted it to suit her personality.  I initially wanted to name Sienna Valentina, but I didn’t have the courage to do so at the time because it felt like it was too out there.  So K picked Sienna’s name.  Even though people made fun of it and criticized it before she was born, we named her Sienna anyway and it suits her so well.  I can’t imagine her being named anything else.  So this time around I  just decided to go for it and name my daughter what I wanted to name her.  

Valentina is such a sweet baby.  She’s really pretty easy and laid back so far.  She loves to be held by her big sister Sienna, and listen to her big sister’s constant chatter.  Sienna’s screaming doesn’t seem to bother Valentina either.  Valentina also loves to look at the light.  When the room is dimmed she always turns her head to the light and stares at it, mesmerized.  She is also a little Houdini and is able to escape her swaddled.  This morning I found her arm had escaped out of her shirtsleeve and through the neck hole. She’s patient and not too demanding, probably the consequence of being the second child.  She makes a lot of grunts and squawks and sometimes her cry sounds like a woodpecker.  

I didn’t think I could love another child as much as I love Sienna.  But somehow my heart has expanded to make room for Valentina, and I love her just as much as I do my first born.  

Things don’t always work out or go according to plan, but somehow it ends up being ok.  Maybe it’s not the ideal situation, but it’s still manageable and something you can deal with.   I guess the best thing to do is to look on the bright side and be thankful for the many blessings that you have.  I’m so thankful for my two beautiful girls, my supportive husband and most of all, my mom who is the best grandma and best mommy I could ever ask for.