Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Alexs Walks in a Winter Wonderland!

The exciting news is that Alex has been taking her first steps these past few weeks. She's especially cute when she walks, as she beams with pride in her new mobility. Now, her mommy & daddy need to worry about what other mischief she can get herself into...

I have to admit, this year has flown by with such velocity. It's all a wonderful blur. This is why I'm grateful to Alex's dad for blogging here as regularly as he has, to record some milestones.

These days, I just marvel at how much of her own person Alex is. Sometimes, she has such a reserved personality. Like here, where she's in her car seat, just looking at me with such a serious expression.

Other times, she's just plain goofy. If she likes a tune, she'll most likely dance to it. She loves her music class, which meets weekly and involves lots of singing, playing instruments, and (guess what) dancing!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Alex's First Birthday At Last!

Guest post from Daddy

Alex is one year old! It's hard to believe a year has gone by so quickly! She is looking more and more like a little girl and less like a baby all the time.
In Korean culture, the first birthday is a very important event to celebrate. Back in the old days, a lot of babies didn't make it to that age due to disease, war, and other calamities. So whenever a baby did make it to that age, it was a time to celebrate! There were several traditions that were followed. The baby would be dressed in a traditional Korean outfit called a hanbok. Relatives and friends would all come to the house to enjoy a feast. Then came the big moment: the baby would be seated in front of several different objects, each with a different symbolic meaning. Whichever object the baby picked up first would be a prediction of what the baby's life would turn out like. The tradition is still carried on to this day, and Catherine and I wanted Alex to participate as well.

Catherine and her parents planned the party, and they did an amazing job. We gave the party on Sunday, November first, which was actually four days before her real birthday. Catherine's mother made all sorts of great dishes for the partygoers. Catherine bought a great cake for Alex, and invited dozens of her friends to celebrate Alex's big day.

After everyone got here, the moment of truth arrived. Alex was seated in front of three objects -- a pen, a book and some money. If she chose the pen, it meant that she would be creative; if she chose the book, studious and good in school (and possibly a scholar; some of these objects have different meanings); and if she chose the money, she would be rich. There was also some rice in front of her. That was meant to be a snack, but later we learned that rice can also be used in the ceremony; picking it means you will never go hungry.

So what did Alex choose? The book! We are looking forward to having a great student in the family in years to come!

A little later, Catherine lit the sole candle on Alex's birthday cake, and helped her to blow it out (you can see the cake and candle in the lower right of the photo below). Everyone dug in.

Alex got an amazing haul of presents from friends and relatives. She also received a bunch of balloons that are still around even weeks later. And a few days after the official party, she actually turned one year old. We had a small birthday party with just the immediate family, and took Alex to Red Robin, where she had her favorite food, french fries. Not exactly traditional, but she loved it! She even got some ice cream for dessert.

Catherine and I are looking forward to the seeing what the next year brings for her!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Alex is 11 months old now!!

Yesterday, October 5th, was Alex's 11 month birthday. She keeps getting bigger and feistier all the time!

The last time I blogged, she hadn't even learned to crawl properly. Right around the middle of August she finally figured out how to crawl forwards, and ever since then, she has been a tornado, crawling everywhere, getting into all sorts of mischief! Her favorite trick is to remove the special plastic guards from the DVD player that are supposed to prevent a baby from playing with the buttons. Baby proof indeed! So much for that idea!

In the past week, she has suddenly become obsessed with standing. She crawls over to a table or the couch and hoists herself into a standing position. The second she becomes fully upright a big grin always creeps across her face. She then tries 'cruising' by walking while holding onto whatever she is up against. She still can't stand without holding something or walk without help, but it sure looks like she'll be there soon!

Just one month before she is a year old. Wow, that will be something!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Alex at 9 months

Time really has been flying by! It's hard to believe that Alex recently passed her 9 month birthday. She has now been outside of the womb longer than she was inside it. Lots of changes to report since my last blog entry.

For one, Alex is busily trying to learn how to crawl. She's getting closer all the time. She rocks back and forth and lunges forward, but hasn't quite figured out what to do from there. As a result, she usually just backs up at that point. She's really good at crawling backwards, so we have to be a bit careful leaving her anywhere where she might get herself into trouble by doing that.

She's also sprouted several more teeth in her mouth in the past couple of months. She loves munching on snacks. Her favorites are any kind of bread or pasta, or veggie sticks, which are a puffy snack food we buy at the local grocery store.

She's usually pretty good when we take her to restaurants; she especially likes sitting outside if it's a nice day. If we give her bread pieces to munch on, she's happy. In the below pics, you can see her eating at an outside table at Atlas, a restaurant in the University Village.

She's also become a big time flirt, and loves to talk to people who are nearby. At restaurants she constantly turns around to talk to or stare at people at the other tables, or the waiters. When we ate at a Thai restaurant the other day, she made friends with everyone on the wait staff by the time the night was through.

Her vocabulary is also improving. She loves to imitate what we say. Among the words we have definitely heard from her are 'whale', 'circle' and 'purple'. She says 'wow' a lot, too. She loves to imitate daddy's facial expressions. The other night we got into a contest where we both took turns sticking our tongues out at each other, over and over. She couldn't stop laughing at this fun game!

She has a zillion toys, but loves daddy's toys the best. Here you can see her mischievously playing with daddy's new laptop.

All in all, she's becoming less a baby and more a little girl every day!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sweet Li'l Sun Lover

This will be a quick post, as Alex's mommy is a bit sleep deprived. Nonetheless, I wanted to share a few notes... 1) Alex loves her books (see below). 2) Alex has been loving this wonderful weather. 3) Alex is smiling up a storm. 3) She begins her swim lessons this Tuesday! We bought her first swimsuit yesterday, & seeing her in it alone will make these swim lessons worthwhile.

Alex still loves to clasp her hands together, like a little lady. Gazing at them with delight, she'll often smile widely.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

So Much is Going On These Days!

Boy, in the last few weeks, so much has changed in Alex's life!

For one, she has started sitting up much more easily than before. She still falls over on occasion, but she's capable of sitting there for many minutes at a time, playing with toys or just watching the world. She still isn't crawling, but she has flipped herself over a few times. She really loves music. She has a xylophone that she beats on all the time, and whenever you sing to her, she joins in (well, as close to harmonizing as she can do at this age, anyway!).

Her vocabulary continues to improve. I swear she is now saying several words. Her grandfather visited recently, and would say 'OK, OK, OK' to calm her down. Well, now Alex is saying that, and quite often, with the same intonation and everything! We have also heard her say 'cat' and, honest to goodness, 'I love daddy'. One time she said that and it was so clear that it nearly knocked me off my chair. Now, whether she understands what she's saying is another matter...

She has two prominent teeth on her lower jaw, and several more starting to erupt in other parts of her mouth. She has also started to eat food for the first time. Just a couple of weeks ago we gave her her first meal, some rice cereal. Later we tried sweet potatoes and pear sauce. Weirdly, she seems to really like eating this stuff, and asks for more, but when we put it in her mouth, she always makes a really sour face. Every time! But then seconds after she swallows, she reaches out to the spoon to get the next helping.

She's starting to really like sitting in her high chair while we eat. As long as the tray is on it, with plenty of toys to distract her, she's happy. Of course, those toys end up on the ground pretty quickly, but mommy or daddy are there to make sure she gets them back quickly. I can't wait to see what her next new tricks will be!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dreamy Days in Early April

In the last couple of weeks, Alex has shown a clear interest in "talking" to us. She says, "Ah boo ah boo waa boo" quite a bit. I just wish what it meant! Thankfully, we're starting our signing classes next Thursday evening, and will hopefully start to communicate with her better in that manner.

Alex is also starting to gain upper body strength, enough to sit up for a few seconds without assistance. However, she ends up bending too much forward or sliding to one side. No doubt, she will be sitting like an old pro in no time.

Her facial expressions are more animated than ever, and she is loving her hands so much. Often, she'll hold them in front of each other & gaze at them with delight. Alex also loves to put them in her mouth or hold them close to her face, to make sure that they're easily accessible (I suppose).
When it comes to sleeping, she does great (most of the time) at night, sleeping usually about 10 - 11 hours in a row. Her 2.5 hr naps during the day, however, are less predictable. Perhaps she has spring fever?

She did catch her first cold last week, but is now over it for the most part. Yay! Happy and healthy is the way we want Alex.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Alex's First big trip!

This is another post from Dad Eric!

In mid-March, Alex took her first ever trip out of Seattle! In the pre-baby days, Catherine and I liked to go down to San Franciscso at this time of year to attend the annual Asian American Film Festival there. Catherine has several cousins in the Bay area, and they wrote to ask us if we were going to come again this year. At first we thought we'd better not; after all, Alex is only a little more than four months old, and we felt perhaps the trip would be a bit much for her. Also, just how much would we have to bring? How would we be able to transport all the stuff we use every day? What if she had a meltdown in the middle of the flight? But we talked to several other parents with babies Alex's age who have made trips already, and felt like we could do it, too. So we booked our flight!

The trip down proved to be pretty easy, actually. We brought the stroller, the car seat, our usual collection of diapers, pacifiers, changes of clothes and bottles, and a few other supplies. Probably half of what we took was Alex stuff, but we managed to get it all on board, and didn't even have to check any bags in! We were fortunate that they had a special security scanner where they processed us, because I had to put about six things through the scanner by the time all was said and done. But Alex was great on the flight! She handled take off and landing like a pro. We had to change her once on the flight, but we flew Virgin America, which has changing tables in the bathrooms. Except for a little fussing mid-flight each way, she was perfectly fine. What a relief!

I ended up seeing two movies while I was there, but mommy decided to stay with Alex instead of going (our original plan was to leave her with cousins during the movie, but we decided she's still a bit too unpredictable at this age, and didn't want them to have to deal with her if she became upset). As usual, we stayed in Japantown, which is where the film festival takes place. Here you can see me and Alex posing in front of the pagoda in the center of Japantown.

On Saturday, we met up with three of Catherine's relatives. Her cousin Esther was there with her daughter Rebecca, and Cousin Steve and his wife Judy came with their daughter Abigail. Abigail is only a few months older than Alex. It was kind of a cold and rainy day, so we stuck to inside activities. First we went to the Conservatory of Flowers in one of the parks and saw the model train they had there.

Later, we all went to a French restaurant called Zazie, which is in the Haight.

On Sunday, we walked all over San Francisco with Alex. First we had a nice breakfast in a place off of Fillmore, then walked through Pacific Heights and window shopped. Catherine bought a nice scarf. Alex had fun most of the time, although it got a bit windy towards the end and she got a trifle cranky at that point.
The week was a lot of fun, and hopefully we can go again next year when Alex will be old enough to enjoy it more!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nika the Nanny

Alex has been blooming more than ever these days. I think a lot of this is owed to her wonderful nanny, Nika (shown here, holding Alex). They get to spend many hours together, playing different games.

Some of the more notable advances in Alex's development include her grasping at objects (see how she's holding her bug toy in the photo?), holding her head up on her own, and doing tummy time (where she's in a puah-up position with her head up) for several minutes without fussing.

Unfortunately, she is also in a phase where she does not like to be held by anyone besides me or her nanny. Even when her father picks her up lovingly, Alex starts to protest with tears. It's also important for Alex's daddy to start spending regular amounts of time with her, so that she associates him with fun and happy times. Slowly but surely, if this happens, Alex will love hanging out with both of her parents!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The 100 Day Birthday

On February 12th we celebrated Alex's 100th day birthday. In Korean culture, this is considered to be an important milestone. In the old days, babies frequently died of illness or other health issues before reaching that age; so when they did reach the age of 100 (days), it was considered pretty special.

For Alex's celebration, we broke it up into several parts. On Monday, Catherine's Korean American friends Monica and Grace came over; we had a little cake to celebrate. Monica had been one of the first people to see Alex after her birth, and had brought with her seaweed soup, which according to Korean culture is a great dish to give a mother right after giving birth.

On Thursday, February 12th, came the big party. Catherine invited several babies and moms from one of her new mommies groups. We put some balloons up and got Alex another cake (lucky girl!).

Alex and the other babies had a great time! I think she really liked the cake, too! I can tell you, we are all looking forward to what the next 100 days will bring...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Best Days Yet!

Ok, maybe "the Best Days" is a bit of an overstatement. However, I'm so enjoying these days with our babydoll, Alex. She's truly blooming, although she's got to deal with the annoyance of teething.

Here's my most favoritest picture of her yet.

Even when Eric & I are out on date night, I close my eyes for a few seconds and imagine what she's doing. Of course, I'm hoping that she's having fun with her wonderful nanny, Nika... perhaps on one of her zillion playmats or watching a rattle with those big eyes.

I am so in loooove with my baby! sigh...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

January: smiles and cries

This is another guest post from the proud daddy!
In the past few weeks, Alex is smiling more than ever. Her vocabulary is also improving by leaps and bounds. OK, she isn't actually saying any real words (although it sure sounds like she says 'Hi' every now and again) . But she sure makes a lot of different sounds. One particular cute habit she has is to let loose a rather loud, high 'whee' sound if she wants attention and we are not looking at her. As for the smiling, she usually is in her best mood right after she wakes up; at that point, she sometimes smiles almost constantly. One of the big challenges has been trying to get a pic of her when she smiles. It seems like every time we get the camera ready, she stops smiling the instant before the shutter clicks. But in the last few weeks we finally got a few photos of that elusive smile, although they came out a bit blurry.

But the last few weeks have also had plenty of tears. Alex has started to teethe; we can even see the little teeth starting to push up through her gums. It's a bit early, but every baby is different, and she seems to be ahead of the curve on this one. Maybe she didn't like it when I playfully made fun of her for not having any teeth? Anyway, with teething comes a lot of crying, and her sleep is sometimes not as smooth as it was before.

She is also getting more into playing with her various baby Einstein mats. She especially likes looking into the mirrors and grabbing onto the various hanging toys. One thing she really likes to do is hold onto a set of baby keys; one night she held onto them the entire evening. She is also starting to respond to a vigorously shaken rattle. This is a pretty good way to calm her down when she gets upset, actually.

Her 100th day birthday is soon coming up. That will be a big milestone for her, and I'll be sure to report all about it after it happens!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Week with the bebe

This is another guest post from the daddy!

This week I'm taking the entire week off from work to spend time with the little darling! A few days ago, we took her to the lactation specialist, who told us that Alex is now just over 12 pounds! Woh, that means she's grown nearly five pounds since being born.

Alex is starting to become more responsive, and she seems especially happy in the morning after a nice night of sleeping (well, most nights, anyway!). She not only smiles a lot, she also likes to engage in a little baby talk banter with mommy and me. If you imitate what she says, she seems to get a real kick out of it. She also, I swear, seems to be able to say a few words. I know it seems like it's way too early, but honestly, it does sound like she can say 'hi' and 'love'. She hasn't said 'daddy' yet, though... I'm working on it!

We are going to be soon having a baby sign language class, which we will be hosting in our house! It's pretty amazing that babies can learn how to tell you things using their hands months before they can speak those thoughts. Supposely, if they can tell you what's wrong, you can help prevent them from getting too fussy. Here's hoping!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Alex is two months old!

This is a guest post from Alex's proud daddy! Alex is two months old today! She has grown so much in the past month it's getting ridiculous. The last time we weighed her, she had just reached 10 pounds, including her clothes and diapers. That was a few weeks ago, and I'm betting she's even bigger now! I know that when I carry her around, she sure gets my arms tired! And we have finally graduated from using the smallest diaper size to the next biggest. It won't be long before we start using the 3-6 month onesies.

Now that we've been with her a few months, she's starting to get into some predictable patterns. She seems to sleep most of the night, although she usually wakes up once or twice for a brief feeding. Night time before she goes to bed seems to be her fussiest time. That's when she'll cry quite a bit. We both take turns trying to soothe her. Sometimes she just wants to fuss. But we've noticed that she likes to hear me sing to her; usually after a couple of songs, she'll fall asleep. We also have to give her a few different medicines for acid reflux. Reflux makes it hard at times for her to eat.

Best of all, she's starting to interact with us a lot more. She likes to smile, and has started 'talking' to us in her strange baby lingo. I could swear I can make out her saying 'hi' to us at times. She's a happy bebe when she's not refluxing.

More later!