my baby love

Can't get enough of baby !  These two girls want to hold him all the time.  One of them is addicted to his cheeks :-)  She wants to touch them all day and night.

Day numero 4


Baby Boom was welcomed home by 2 squealing happy kids.  They wanted to touch him and smell him and hold his hands.  According to Bee, baby smells like candy.  Love chimed in that he's yummy in the tummy.

Love nicked named him Boom Boom months ago. We registered him as Nolan Elias.  One of the name we picked for Bee but she turned out to be a girl so that name was shelved until now :-)  We're at day 4 with Nolan and so far so good.

One of the question I get asked a few times is how are the girls doing ?  They are adjusting well as far as adjusting go.  Meaning they accepted him but might be too early to tell if there's any jealousy yet.

First time meeting baby at hospital was hard on Love while it was the happiest day for Bee.  She's been waiting to meet him.  Love on the other hand was a little apprehensive.  She stood and looked at him from a far.  I gave baby to my mom to hold and asked her to come over so I can hold her.  She didn't rush over but she did come and hug me.  I know she needed time so I didn't rush her.  We talked about their day and playing around with my cool moving bed.  Bee asked about why I am at hospital still and not at home, I told them about our day.  Bee asked where baby came out of and I told her.  She made a face, looked at me and said gently "Mommy, don't tell me about this ever again!".

By the end of the evening, Love warms up to baby and was petting his cheeks a few times.  That's a good sign to me.  Before leaving she asked if baby is coming with me when I come home from hospital.  I asked her "do you want him to come", she said "yah, he's our baby!".


At home, the girls check up on him often.  Love is addicted to petting his cheeks.  Even in his sleep she wont leave him alone !  her love language perhaps !  Bee wants to hold baby when he's up looking around.  She said "I want to help so you're not tired".  Sweet !  Bee is very attentive and gentle with baby.  It's quite a joy to see her holding him.  We spend a lot of time talking (mostly the girls) about what baby is doing and why he has no teeth and why he can't eat and when can he play and when can he talk and why he likes breast milk over food and why he's so small and why he sleeps so much...and the list goes on :-)

When baby and I do skin skin time, the girls too stripped off their top and sat next to me :-)  They help us with diaper change and bathe.  It's a whole family affair :)  If baby is up they would talk and sing to him.  We've been keeping to our usual schedule with the girls so there's little change to their daily routine.  I know things will change once this baby is no longer a "new born".  We have some time until then, for now we will just keep doing what we're doing and taking things in stride.

Sleep was another question I get asked and was one my biggest concern as both C and I didn't get much sleep the first night.  However once we're home we managed to put in a few long stretches of sleep between the two of us.  It helps that my mom looks after our dinner.  We're blessed as it's one less thing to worry about.  Both nights now, baby sleeps 3-4 hours, then woke me up for a diaper change and feed, then back to sleep for another 4 to 4 1/2 hours.  Newborn are quite easy to satify, I find.  If they're full they'll sleep.  And if they cry after a full feed then it's wet/dirty diaper.  It's either one or the other.  Milk came in early and plentiful so it does make things a lot easier.

Last night the girls want to sleep in same room with me and baby so C an I decided to fit everyone in.  The girls slept til 7:30am, right through baby's cries.  C woke up twice and nudge me up to ask if I need any help.  I wanted to tell him, if I'm sleeping, it's a good sign I don't need anything.  Instead I told him to relax and sleep.  I know he's being considerate, because if I'm too tired and passed out, I would appreciate this nudge from him very much.  Overall, we're sailing through our first few days on peaceful water.

What is it like at our house right now ?  NOISY !  Like always.  With 2 playful little girls, I don't remember when it was last quiet around here.  This is something baby will have to adjust to !  I make sure since day 1 there's always noise when he sleep so he's can learn to block them out. Right at this moment, baby has been sleeping for over 2 hours with the TV on, daddy is chatting and playing with 2 girls (volume level = loud), and in the background of it all is the kitchen fan humming away with the clanging of pots and pans (prep. for dinner).  He slept right through it all !  Yay !

What are the current challenges for us ?  Keeping the mittens on his hands and cutting his nails.  His fingers are so small, so fragile, but the nails are sharp !  I'm scare I might cut into his skin.  As for the mittens, he moves his hands so much it's so hard to get them on.  Keeping them staying on is another challenge.  That's about the level of difficulty we're facing at the moment.  He's a good sleeper, pooper, pee-er and eater !

Looking back, I remember how our first week at home was so crazy with Bee, our first baby.  We were trying to do everything by the book and it was so stressful and exhausting.  Our days and nights were all a blur.  The purple mark under our eyes tells the stories of our sleep.  Then with the 2nd baby, things were a bit easier because we know what to do, what to expect, what worked for us and we also pay little attention to what "experts said".  It makes for less stress :)  Now here we are again, going through it all again, but equipped with much more experience.  It will be an interesting ride for sure as each kid is different.  Especially with this one being a boy.  

As we ease in this new chapter of our family life I pray daily for guidance and wisdom from the Lord.  I love my kids so much and because I love them so much I also feel the need to give them over to the Lord's care.  I can't hide them away from the world but I can pray over them.  I pray the Lord will watch them and protect them.  I pray He will guide their steps and give them peace and strength as they grow each day.  Amen.

Labor Day

first skin to skin contact
I wish I journal about my previous 2 birthing experience but I never got around to them.  With Bee, being a first time mom, there was just no time to write.  With Love, 2 days in the hospital, waiting to go from 5-7cm, with no sleep, drained all the energy I have and took days to recover.  When things settled in I was no longer in the mood to write about it.  With this pregnancy, I really make an effort to write more about it.  It's my last chance after all !  I decided to take some time to write about this birthing experience since the whole ordeal is still fresh in my mind and our little guy is a good sleeper !

..............................................................

Just like that, days and weeks of sitting around impatiently waiting for a sign, and it came at the wee hour of morning.  I was woken up by a cramp in my lower adomen.  I don't get menstrual cramp but I assumed this is what it would feel like as it's quite low.  I thought the cramp was caused by the way I sleep.  I've been getting all sort of pains and discomforts these past weeks so to me it's one more to add to the list.  I gently rub my tummy then went back to sleep.  About an hour later, I was up again with the same cramp.  3:59 am announced on my cel phone.  Again I went back to sleep.

5:15 am, cramp lasted for about 30 seconds.  Could this be the sign I'm looking for ?  I am uncertain.  The past days have been confusing.  I have been feeling tightening around my tummy regularly, some light, some painful ones.  Yesterday I went into the hospital with what I deemed are labor contractions.  They were 5-7 min. apart regularly for an hour so off we went.  In the birthing unit, I was assessed and was between 3-4cm dilated.  It's still very very early the nurse said.  She discharged me and told me to walk a lot to speed up the process.

We went home and went to the park.  I was really tired but managed to walk a few laps around the playground. Nothing happened that night.

The cramp today is bearable but it did repeat itself 3 times, even after changing sleeping position.  I decided to call the birthing unit for advice.  The nurse on the other line told me to take a warm shower and see if it helps.  If it keeps coming back, then I should come in for an assessment.  The warm shower and rocking side to side didn't help as the cramp came during and after the shower.   I sat around for another 20 min. to feel things out.  It's not painful so maybe I'll wait til morning.  But....but what if this is contractions and things progress fast.  I don't want to take chances so I woke C up to take me in for assessment.

We got to the hospital around 6:30am then went in to Admitting.  Once paper work are done and they tagged my arm, we were taken up to the birthing unit before 7am.  The nurse assessed and admitted me because I was 5cm dilated and my contractions was every 4-5 min.  Very early labor but it is the start of things.

It turned out those light cramps were "contractions"...I didn't experience them with my previous 2.  With Bee and Lovebug, it was the regular tightening (like Braxton Hicks) every few minutes that caused us to make a trip to hospital.  And I was admitted both times as I was 5cm dilated.

In my birthing room, I was told to walk or bounce on the ball if I'm up to it, but don't over exert myself as I need energy for later.  I sat around for 15 min. then thought maybe I should try walking.  While I circled the room, C went to get coffee and breakfast. From 5cm to 10cm is quite a way to go.  Hopefully this baby will arrive today.  I really dread being in this waiting space.

8:30am and here I am still walking and praying and playing Candy Crush to kill time.  Contractions are still happening, less like cramp but strong tightening around my whole abdomen, but they're not painful.  Without any level of discomfort I'm not progressing into stage 2, which is active labor.  This sucks.

I sat on the bed, staring at C who's staring back at me.  "anything ?" he asked.  "same as before, nothing has changed" I said.

At around 9 am I got one major cramp that I have to ask C to rub my back.  I looked at him and said, "I think it's happening".

The nurse came in and asked me if my contractions changed much.  I told her I just got a painful one.  She said after a few more of those she'll check me again.




At 9:15, I have gotten 3 intense contractions.  I went to lay on the bed and the pain subsided.  The nurse checked me and I was near 7cm.  The nurse said just a bit more to go.  I noticed that when I lay on the bed, contractions was light and bareable.  It feels nice.  Then it dawned to me, if I want to get into active labor, I can't lay down.  What to do ?  face the pain or run away.  Either way I know it will come so may as well deal with this head on. I can do this !  I'm a warrior !!!

I asked the nurse to get the laughing gas ready, in case I need it.  I got on my knees and hung onto the end of the bed and rocked side the side, like I'm waddling.  Within mere minutes I can feel a strong tight painful contraction, as if the baby is ready to push his way out.  I grabbed the laughing gas from C's hand and inhale.  But I keep inhaling it and not breathing out so I felt light headed.  I almost pass out.  C was like "YOU have to breathe out, you need oxygen, breathe breathe".  I'm doing this all wrong already.  Damn it.  I decided to lay down and wait for the nurse to come in (she comes in every few min.).

I told the nurse what's happening and she called the doctor and another nurse to come in.  This is it, I knew it.  My baby is coming.  I pray and brace myself for the pain to come.  The doctor and nurses were all looking at me, waiting for a strong contraction to assess the situation.  Nothing was happening.  I just lay there without any contraction at all. Not wasting anytime, the doctor told me to lay on the side to encourage it.  I listened and surprisingly, within a few min. of me turning on my side, I feel tighten all over and I cry out in pain.  That ONE single contraction is mind numbing exploding gut wrenching painful.  I curled up like a ball, my fingers and toes are curled up too.  I want to cry but even tears elude me.  I looked at C and said "I can't do this, just cut me up".  "You can do it honey !  We're so close, you did it before" then put the laughing gas in my mouth.  I push it away, I can't inhale or exhale now.  I'm in too much pain to do anything. 

The pain subside, I quickly catch my breath because I know another is coming in less than a min.  I asked the doctor if I can have med. or can she cut me open because I can't do this.  She said "you're doing so well, you're so strong, you can do this"..."NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I can't...it's too late anyway...this baby is going to come if I like it or not right ?"  I cried at the truth of it all and let myself get swept away in agony pain.

This next part was a blur of events.  I remember some exchanges but mostly, I remember the pain of pushing.

"Suck in the air then breathe out!  put your mouth in it.  Inhale ! inhale !  Breathe breathe breathe !" C yelled.  I pushed his hand away.  "I'm going to pass out" I yelled.  The nurses said "No gas, no gas.  Push down on your tail bone.  Push only when you have a contraction".  I struggle for oxygen.  I can't pass out right now right here.  But the pain will end if I faint !  But what if something happen to baby ?  Screw it, I need to be awake.  Inhale, inhale, inhale I told myself.  "I can't push anymore.  Just cut the baby out" I told the doctor.

"Push push push, come on, you can do it !  TUCK your chin in !  you're doing so good" the nurse on the left told me.  It's not like I have a choice.  Even if I don't push my body automatically triggered my brain to.  The contraction at this point feels like it's out to kill me, the action of pushing, while it's pain X a trillion, feels better.  It overrides the internal pain.  I think it's because the pain is in one spot, it's contained, and a physical pain.  So I determined to put my focus on that.

There's really no down time between advanced contractions, maybe 10 to 5 seconds.  The doctor told me after my first push attempt is that I need to fit in at least 3 or 4 push with each contraction.  When the 2nd contraction start I pushed with all my might and his head crown.  At the 3rd one, C was smiling and happily announced  "He's OUT he's out, his head is our, just another push honey and his body is out".  I told C, "It's so painful, I don't think I can push him out"...then I push without contraction and the doctor noticed and said "DON'T push if you don't have a contraction.  If you must, try tiny push if you have to do it...small push push push".  I noticed without the contraction, the push is like driving without gas, it does nothing.  I need the pain to get the adrenalin going to push.  When the 4th contraction come, in my agony, I remember to push hard down towards my bum.  I push with all the air I got.  Chin tucked in and teeth were grinding until the last push.  He came out  and it was instant relief.

C was emotional, I was emotional, and the baby was warm and slimy.  The nurses and doctor congratulated us and went on being busy with all the other stuff that needs to be taken care of.  At that moment everything is secondary, there's a naked baby on top of me.  He's beautiful.  I'm so happy to meet him finally.  He's perfect, so precious, so worth all of this.  Thank you Lord !

Would I do this all over again !  Absolutely not !  3 is a perfect number for our family.

mixed emotions

39 weeks : baby is about the size of a mini water melon
The last few days of pregnancy bring many joy (baby full term) and anxiety (when is baby coming ?) at the same time.  It will be the last time I'm with child so I'm trying to embrace this tender sweet moments we have together.  Remembering every kicks, hiccups and stretches.

As I do love being pregnant, knowing at anytime now I could meet my darling baby face to face bring on a bout of excitement and anxiousness.  The feeling is like the nervousness of a girl who is waiting for her turn to go on stage.  The butterflies, the wobbly legs, feeling like they will give out underneath me any moment, and praying earnestly that everything will go smoothly.  

Sleep eludes me these days.  I feel shortness of breath like never before and when I walk downstairs I feel pain on my bladder.  Talk about bladder, I've never been going #1 and also #2 so often for as long as I remember.  Too much info I know but I want to write this down so I remember.  Apparently it's my body ridding of all things in preparation for labor !  Hopefully baby will make the grand entrance this weekend.

I was thinking to myself how I forget a lot of details that linked to contractions and labor.  Maybe it's meant to be so women can keep the human race going.  For my sake, I wanted to write down what I remember about this pregnancy.  At each trimester/stage with this one, it feels like a light bulb lighted up in my head and I was like "oh I remember this with the previous 2 pregnancies" !  Let's see, at around month 3, the all-day nausea would start and it was a killer, especially when I'm still working.  I can't eat, has no appetite for food, and any food smell makes me gag.  My office is near the staff's lunch room so it was months and months of queasiness.  In addition to the nausea, with this pregnancy, I also have to deal with dizziness, hot flashes (from low blood pressure), and yucky metallic taste in my mouth all day.

Doctor prescribed me Diclectin twice a day to help manage the nausea but it only helped a bit.  Doctor said I can take more as needed but once I took 4 pills, I got so drowsy I had to lay down for most of the day.  So much for that !  As for prenatal vitamin, I couldn't take it daily due to the iron content, which makes me sick with a bad headache that I can't function.  I took it on the weekend only.  I was so worry it might affect the baby but my doctor told me it's OK, just make sure to eat varieties of food and drink milk and juices.  I had a lot of smoothie and meal replacement drink.  

At month 6 it gets a little better for me and I can finally eat.  I ate beef most days for iron and started to take prenatal vitamin every other day.  This is the best stage of pregnancy for me.   I can eat (yay) and life was almost normal again.  I was out and about a lot and did all the things I usually do.  It's also nesting time for me too so our house usually go through some changes.  With the first pregnancy, I made C re-painted our whole house, bought new furniture and sold our dining set without talking it over with him !  I must have been really whiny and annoying and probably weepy during this time for hubby to be so patience and understanding with me.  With the 2nd pregnancy, we got new sofa and rug.  With this 3rd one, I made C built a tree house facade for the girls' bunk bed !

Appearance wise, my tummy is the same shape like the previous 2 pregnancies !  I gained 35+ pounds, tummy is round and has a dark brown running straight from top to bottom.  Craving is the same for all 3, white baguette and chocolate.  I ate a lot of french baguette !!!  It's what kept me full most days !  I can eat the whole loaf with condense milk.

When month 9 comes around, food aversion would return and I found myself picking through my meals, eating a bit here and there.  I do drink a lot of milk though so maybe the fat in it is keeping me full.  Food is the last thing on my mind.  I find myself most days trying to remember what contraction feels like.  Was it pain from back to front ?  Strong tightening of the stomach ?  How did I recognized it with the previous 2 pregnancies ?  I have little memories of it :-(  I do remember that it it's a tight feeling in the back and the feeling of want to go #2.  There was no physical sign of it at all.  No bloody show, no lost of mucus plug, and no feeling of "lightening" (when baby descent into birth canal).  I have no idea how I know when to go to the hospital both time.  I guess when it happened then I will know.

As for labor, I remember Bee was fast and painful !  we went to the hospital at 11am and she was out before 3pm.  All the actions happened between 1 and 2 pm.  Contractions wasn't too long before I told the nurse "I'm have to push her out now" and before the doctor, Dr. Silverthorn, made his way into the room, the baby was already out.  I did remember the feeling of being burn down there, which I learned later on that it's call the ring of fire.  I was up holding precious Bee.  She was 6 lb 8 oz of love.  The nurse asked me to get up for a quick shower and next thing I know, I fainted.  Everything went dark and then when I opened my eyes, I saw a whole bunch of eyes were staring down on me and C's face (on the left side of me) was white like ghost.  Apparently I passed out for a good 15 min.

Lovebug was a long labor.  I went in at night, around 9pm.  I was 5cm dilated so they decided to keep me there.   For 21 hours I barely made it to 7cm.  Nothing was happening.  Hours on the bouncy ball did nothing to me.

Dr. Connie suggested we speed things up.  She hooked me up to oxytocin but it didnt work.  Then she broke my water, and still nothing.  No intense contraction.  I started to feel worry for baby.  So much water lost and still nothing ?  What's going on ?  Another doctor came in the room with an ultrasound machine.  She told me baby's head is still high up so she needs break my water again and this time she will be putting her hand in "there" to help guide the baby down into the birth canal.  Sounds all too scary for me but I didn't feel like I have much of a choice.  My baby isn't locking in so this is the only way.  

Once the water broke again (I'm surprised there's that much water in there) intense contraction started right away.   I remember looking at the second hand on the clock for breaks between the painful contractions, and after about 25 min. I was ready to push and shortly after that precious Love arrived. 7 lb 10 oz of love.

I hope this baby will be easy too.  I know no labor is without pain but I'm hoping for one with very little pain.  I heard stories of women who literally just cough them out.  I would love to have one like that.  I should start praying for such delivery !

Location location location

My dream house !  Yellow paint and tire swing !!!
Our current house (sage color) is our third dwelling and while we are quite happy with it, there is one regret.  I wish we bought the house based on location instead of what it looks like.  I watch a few of those Love it or List it shows and the first thing the realtor asked the couple is "what are your must haves" and most often the first item on the list is Location.  With house you can always renovate but when you buy in a less desired location you are stuck !  Sure you can sell and buy again but there's just so much hassle in moving !  not to mention the the cost of land title transfer and lawyer/notary fee.  Learn from my mistake !  Also don't take too many people with you to the viewing.  Just you and your spouse is all you need ! It's your house, you will have to live with the decision make.  Too many people = too many opinions that will cloud your judgement.  I've been there.  I dislike buyer regret. It keeps me up at night (our previous place).  At least this current house I am in has most of what I want, the yard, the space, and the neighborhood is great !   I just wish it's closer to work.

how to secure your facebook account and settings

Facebook are constantly changing their policies hence user account settings are constantly being updated also.  I noticed last year that there are a lot more options to customize your account and news feed.  Having some free time on hand, and thinking about the friends I helped with their FB settings, I decided to write up a post on how to secure facebook account and make it somewhat "private" !  It's interesting to know how many people thought their page is private when in fact it's open for all the world to see :-)  Hopefully this post will be helpful to you !

First thing first, after you log into your FB account, let's set your account to private - as in only people who are your "friends" can see your page.

*NOTE:  all the settings are best done from a desktop or laptop.  Mobile devices are limited on the options it provide.


SECURITY & PRIVACY SETTINGS

Let's set up the privacy of your page !  After you log into your page, take note of the top blue menu bar of your page.  This is where all your account access and settings are located.  Click on the down arrow icon at the far right corner (also known as Account Settings in the picture below)


A drop down menu will open up, click on Settings (near the bottom of the list), then a new screen will open up like the one below.  On the left menu panel, select Security.

I circled the 2 settings I set up but feel free to set all the others (do take sometime to read the explanation next to the option.  If you don't know what it is, best to ignore).  The reason I selected those is because I know a few friends who got their accounts hacked.  The Login Approvals and Trusted Contacts will help me gain access to my account should the hacker changed my password or log in from an unknown browser.


Once the above is done, move onto Privacy settings.



In here you can set up how you want your page to look like to your Friends and others.  Click on Edit on the right side to set the settings.  

Most account options on Facebook has 4 settings: Public (everyone can see your timeline - what's on your page), Friends (only people you're friends with can see your timeline), Only Me (only you can see) and Custom (different viewing options).  I suggest you set all settings to Friends to keep your page viewable only those you're friends with.  I have mine set up as Custom because I have a friends and family groups and I like to keep them separate at times.  You can also use this Custom setting to block 1 or 20 friends from seeing a certain post or picture.

Next up on the menu panel is Timeline and Tagging Settings.  This section is where you set up others' rights on your timeline.  Click on Edit on the right side to select the setting you want.  I set mine to all Friends as I only want my friends to be able to post a message or a picture on my timeline.  

For the Review posts _ and Review tags _ setting options,  make sure to set it to ON.  This is to ensure that you get to review posts and pictures of you first and then you can decide if you want to approve or hide it from your timeline.


Want to block a friend from viewing your facebook page ?  the Blocking setting is for that.  Click on Blocking in the Settings menu, then add the name of the people you want to block to the Blocked list.  Some of you who read this probably wonder, who uses this ?  You'll be surprised !  many people are friends with people they don't really want to be friends with :-) but too nice to deny their friends request.  This is the solution to limit access to your timeline.

Last thing to do now is to clear all info. on Apps Others Use.  Click to open Apps, and on the pop up window, unchecked all the boxes here.  What are these ?  when your friends download an app, that app would ask to pull info from all of their friends (you included) and your friend most likely would click "YES".  All info from your page will be pulled by the Apps' developer and they most likely use it for advertisement, stats, track usage, or other things.  Avoid to release as much info. as you can !



MANUALLY APPROVE POST AND PICTURE YOU'RE TAGGED IN

If you want to have control of what is shared on your page's timeline by other friends, this is a good setting to enabled on your account.

To do this, on the top blue menu bar of your page, on the far right hand side, click on the down arrow icon (also known as Account Settings).  On the drop down menu list, locate and click on Activity Log.

A new screen will open up, on the left menu panel, locate and click on Timeline Review to see all the notifications on your page.  On the same line as the Timeline Review title, there're 2 icons on the right side.  One is a wheel icon and one is a magnification glass, click on the wheel icon.

This icon will open a pop up window.  On this window, click on the down arrow and select Enable this control.  When you're tagged in a post or a picture, you will be notified and you can decide if you want to approve - Add to Timeline - or Hide (not show up on your timeline).



HIDE YOUR FRIENDS LIST

If you're like me, I like my Friends list be private so friends and strangers don't know who I'm friends with.  To do that, after you log in, click on your name at the top bar to open your page:



Once you're at your page, click on Friends to view your Friends list.  At the top right corner of this list, look for a pen icon that looks like this:

Click on it and select Edit Privacy.  A window will open up and on here, click on the down arrow to select who you want to see your list.  To make it private, select Only Me.




That's about all for SECURITY AND PRIVACY settings I can conjure up at the moment !  hopefully this is easy for you to follow. 


Another thing to keep in mind when on FB is, any where you see an arrow sign, when you click on it a menu will open up.  In the image below, the first down arrow allows me to make my picture Public or Friends or Only Me.  The picture of people next to the arrow means only my Friends can see it.  If it's a globe picture next to the arrow then it means my picture is avail for all to see (Public).  

The second arrow on the right side opens up a menu to allow me to edit my post (text) or delete it all together.



Below is a little "bonus" :-)  I was so annoyed with my news feed (the Home page where you see all updates and shares from your friends) so I went and changed some settings and it is so much better now !  Enjoy !


NEWS FEED PREFERENCES SETTINGS


Recently my news feed is filled with way too many re-shares and posts of strangers and groups and companies that my friends "like".  I hate this new settings on FB.  That everything my friends "like" shows up on my news feed.  I don't really need to know every single one of their "like" do I ?  Anyways, fed up with more ads and self help articles and less about the people I want updates on, I decided to customize my news feed.

To do this, go into Account Settings, then click on News Feed Preferences.  On the pop up window, you can select who you want to see most (they get first prioritize on your news feed) and who you want to see less/nothing from (unfollow them).  This is done in the background so the people wouldn't know if you prioritize them or unfollow them.  I have a few over-sharers that I feel hi jacked my whole news feed so I have to unfollow them.  


If you don't want to completely Unfollow someone, another way to do it is to manually hide certain post from them.

On your news feed, at the corner of the person's post there's a grey down arrow.  Click on it to open up an option menu.  On here you can select Hide Post, Hide All from "friend's name", or Unfollow them.

*I used a group as example to get the screen capture below but it can be done for individual too.



HOMEMADE | Case of headlice and tea tree oil prevention

Couple days ago I got the memo from Bee's teacher and I freaked out !  No no no, this can't be happening.  An active case of head lice in her classroom, the newsletter said.  I can't imagine Bee being bit by those critters :S  then I thought about if she got it, we all will get it because we co-sleep !!!!!  Thought of my thick long hair being infested and that I'm about to give birth anytime now, I really can't deal with this now  :(  I am tempted to keep Bee at home until the issue is cleared at school, but for how long ?  that's not sensible.  Seriously, how could this happen ?  We went through 4 months of school lice free !  What happened after the holiday that brings on the bout of this scary critter ?  People traveled during the holiday, yes that must be it.  And if not, there's no point of trying to figure out what happened or find out which kid has it !  The creepy bugs are here and we have to find ways to keep all of us from them !!!!

I did some research around and here're what I found:

- Head lice is not a case of poor hygiene, lice actually prefers clean hair, but they generally like all types of hair !
- They live and feed on the scalp of our head !  And can live 24 hours off the host (us)
- They can't fly or jump, they crawl only (thank God !)
- Lice spread through direct hair-to-hair contact or indirectly by sharing things like hats, combs, hairbrushes, etc.
- They give birth to eggs, called nits and they firmly attached to hair shaft
- They don't spread diseases and don't live on pet (human only)

What are the signs and symptoms of head lice ?

- Tickling feeling of something moving in the hair
- Itching caused by lice bites
- Sores on the head caused by scratching

How did my kid get head lice?

- Head-to-head contact with an already infested person is the most common way to get head lice.
- Head lice can also be spread by sharing clothing or belongings (hats, hair bands, combs, hair clips, towels, etc.) or lying on bed, pillow, sofa or carpet that has recently been in contact with an infested person. This happens when lice crawl, or nits attached to hair hatch, and get on the shared clothing or belongings and furniture.

I grew up in Asia so lice isn't a new thing for me.  Despite knowing what they are, and probably had a farm of them on my head when I was young, I am still gross out by the thought of them.  I never want to see them ever . I am abhor by the thought of them crawling on any of us.


I remember reading somewhere about tea tree oil spray so first thing I did was get the tea tree oil.  C spoke to the pharmacist at Walmart and she suggest we mix together 1 part tea tree oil to 10 part water in a spray bottle.  Shake well before use then spray all over Bee's hair before she goes to school to deter the lice away.  The pharmacist also suggested we put Bee's hair in a tight braid everyday until the issue is cleared.  Done and done !  As for the smell, it is a bit strong but within 15 min. it's not very noticeable anymore.

I've been checking Bee's head everyday after school and praying each time that I don't see anything out of the norm.  I explained to her what we're doing and advised her not to share her hairband or touch her head with other friends.  She listened well as she's been declaring to me once she's home from school "We didn't touch head with anyone today!" .  She meant her friends and her didn't touch head.  So far so good.  I haven't been given a "cleared' notice from the school yet so right now everyday feels like we're playing russian roulette.  That and the tickling time bomb of baby in my tummy right now makes for very anxious day.


repost : 10 most toxic items from dollar stores


I came across this post that was published early 2015.  I'm guilty of buying some items at the dollar stores.  There are a few items I often go there for, wooden craft items, stickers, balloons, table covers, and gift bags.  I have always known that quality there are questionable because to keep prices that low, manufacturers must have to cut corners.  I'm wondering about their paper products now...

Below are the list for 10 most toxic items from dollar stores.  I still think there're some decent items we can get from dollar stores, like tissue papers, paper decorating banners, gift bags, etc.  I would be more mindful when I shop there though.  Even with big box stores, I wonder if ALL of their toys and plastic items are safe.  I guess at least there are some quality check being done by them in comparison to probably none from the dollar store.  *sigh*...If we can avoid all plastics that would be the way to go but it's hard to (I say this as I look at my kids playing with plastic lego :(


The 10 Most Toxic Items At Dollar Stores

The low price is not worth your health.



By 
When it comes to safety, dollar-store deals might not be a bargain after all. Recent testing of their products found that 81% contained one or more hazardous chemicals. The tests, conducted by the consumer testing group Healthy Stuff, found chemicals associated with cancer, obesity, diabetes, asthma, thyroid and kidney diseases, learning problems, lower IQ, birth defects and early puberty. Here are 10 items you're better off buying elsewhere.

1. Electronic Accessories
Extension cords, USB charging cords and cell phone charger cables from dollar stores 
tested high in chlorine, a sign that the items were made with a plastic called polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. PVC is made from vinyl chloride, a cancer-causing chemical that has harmed workers and contaminated communities close to the factories. Pick up these accessories from electronics stores instead.

2. Plastic Kitchen Utensils

Those black slotted spoons and spatulas may contain high levels of bromine, a component in brominated flame retardants, or BFRs. Though these are added to make the products resistant to fire, they've been linked to cancer, birth defects and impaired brain development, and have been banned or phased out in the U.S. So what are they doing in kitchen utensils? Suppliers are likely substituting cheap, hazardous recycled content–probably from old electronics–for virgin plastic. Products made with such recycled plastic can be contaminated with BFRs, and our regulatory system misses them. Instead, choose stainless steel.

3. Flannel-Backed Table Covers

Protecting your table from scratches and stains, these bright, reusable covers seem like a good way to add a festive feel to your feast. But recent testing uncovered high levels of lead, a
neurotoxic metal that is especially harmful to fetuses and children. It can reduce IQ and cause behavioral problems. Vinyl tablecloths aren't a good alternative, because they're made with cancer-causing vinyl chloride. Instead, look for a reusable, washable cloth table cover or a disposable paper or plastic one.

4. Metallic Christmas Garlands

Saving on once-a-year items makes 
good financial sense. But these have tested high in bromine, indicating that some are made with recycled plastics containing BFRs. These can seep into household dust, possibly causingthyroid problems, memory impairment and other health issues. In general, clear and translucent plastics don't have the hazardous recycled content, so look for see-through garlands or paper varieties, or make your own out of good old popcorn and cranberries.

5. Silly Straws

These have tested high for levels of DEHP, a phthalate (pronounced "thal-ate") 
used widely in consumer products, usually to soften brittle plastics. Some phthalates interfere with the body's endocrine system, and studies have linked phthalate exposure to asthma and allergies, prostate and testicular cancer and type 2 diabetes. Six phthalates, including DEHP, have been restricted in children's products–but silly straws aren't technically children's products, so they can legally contain high levels of DEHP.

6. Vinyl Floor Coverings

Flexible, adhesive bath mats from dollar stores have tested high in both phthalates and chlorine. Jeff Gearhart, research director of
Healthy Stuff, is especially concerned about the impact of phthalates because they're used in so many different products. "Exposures are from multiple sources and affect multiple parts of our bodies," he says. He recommends avoiding products that have the word "vinyl" on the label.

7. Holiday Light Strings

Handling such products as you style your tree could spread toxic dust to your hands, and then you might ingest it. Hard to swallow, considering the high levels of chlorine and bromine (and therefore PVC and flame-retardant chemicals) in these have been linked to cancer and 
thyroid problems. When buying holiday lights, check the tag to make sure they are RoHS-compliant. ("Restriction of Hazardous Substances" is a European toxics standard that limits some flame retardants in electronics).

8. Metal Children's Jewelry

All that glitters is not safe: Recent tests showed earrings from dollar stores with high lead levels, exceeding Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations. Lead can leach out of jewelry when children suck or scratch it, and ingesting even tiny amounts of the heavy metal can harm children's brain development. Since most products never get screened for toxins, and can slip through even when they surpass federal safety standards, skip jewelry like this completely.

9. Metallic Beads

Mardi Gras may mean Fat Tuesday, but throw in some dollar-store garlands, and it's Toxic Tuesday instead. These necklaces tested high in bromine, indicating that recycled plastic was probably the filler ingredient for the beads. Gearhart has estimated that "a single year's inventory of Mardi Gras beads may contain up to 900,000 pounds of hazardous flame retardants and 10,000 pounds of lead." Unless you are partying in the French Quarter, just say no to metallic beads.

10. Window Clings and Removable Wall Stickers

Whether life-size photos of favorite sports stars or colorful holiday graphics, don't be tempted to redecorate your children's walls or windows with these. They tend to contain PVC, which the American Public Health Association has called "among the most hazardous of plastic materials" and urges action to phase out the material from homes, schools, hospitals and daycare centers.


Discount retailers can do better–Walmart and Target are responding to consumer demand for safer products, requiring their suppliers to phase out the most harmful chemicals–but so far top dollar store CEOs haven't responded to requeststo get toxic chemicals off their shelves. What should dollar stores do about toxic chemicals in their products? Click here to let the CEOs of Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and Dollar General know what you think.

bonding time


Heading into the last stretch of my pregnancy so C's been taking over all the night routine.  He bathe, floss, brush, dress and read to the girls !  After he takes the garbage out and walk Toby.  I must say I miss brushing the girls terribly !  They often would make me pause between brush, "ma, stop, can I ask you a question ?",  and ask something silly or say something silly that makes me laugh.  I enjoy being in the kids' presence very much.  I feel they grow so fast to my liking.

Lastest fad of sayings in our house:

Bee:
- I love you to pluto !  how far is pluto ?  really far right ?  that's how much I love you.
- You're the best cook ever.  I like all your food ! (she doesn't eat everything I cook)
- I love you to the galaxy
- I love you to heaven
- Mommy I need to ask you a question...(she say this to delay something, like dinner time, or bath time)
- Jesus can help !
- We speak Chinese ! (we speak Vietnamese)
- Why you and grandma yelling at each other ?  (I explained to her when we speak Vietnamese we are just loud, not yelling)

Love
- Stupid is a bad word.  Some kid gonna timed out !
- Stupid means no brain on top (Bee told her that !  They hear the word Stupid on TV)
- Is this this way mommy ?  This way ?  or this way ?  (when dressed herself, she asked what side is in front and what is back when there's no label or tag)
- I love you to rocket ship.
- I love you to pluto far far away
- Stinkle stinkle little star... (I love how she say twinkle)
- Why can't we touch the sky ? We need a ladder!
- Awh, you mad at me
- Awh, you don't love me
- Awh, noboby love me
- Poo poo face
- I am mad at you mommy !  because I am not your mommy ! 

Week 37



Baby is now full term and is the size of a winter melon, according to most baby websites.  I think I frequented over 10 different sites to see what they said about baby at week 37, to see if there's anything different.  The suspense of when baby will make an entrance into our world is killing me.  The anxiety, the anxiousness, the excitement of our meeting, the anticipation of contractions...it`s not fun at all.

I haven't have much sleep the past couple of weeks.  Even while working, I was functioning on 3-4 hours of sleep.  I felt fine though.  I still have lots of energy but moving around is starting to get difficult because baby head is down.  I need help getting up and rolling out of bed  :-)

I`m on "vacation" this week, and then mat leave will kick in the week after.  I should be resting and getting ready for baby but I just can't.  I find myself looking for things to do !  I find myself login into work, re-organizing stuff around the house, reorganizing my closet, and have to stop myself from wanting to vacuum all the time.  I feel at lost when I`m not doing concrete work, it feels like my day has no purpose.  When baby come it will be a different story but for now, I am not liking this very much.

Where are the kiddos ?  one is in school and one prefers to play on her own !  Lovebug was all about Lego and Playdoh.  We get to play a bit here and there which helped me with my sanity.  We napped together and also went out and play with the little snow that fell last night.  Come to think of it, I really only have about 3 hours where I wasn't doing anything...yet it felt like it was a long period of nothingness............When everyone is home I'm a happy clam !!!  Hubby told me he's happy to see me at home too, he said "It's nice you're home, because it's less worry for me, because I know you're safe!".  I know what he's saying, I don't want to go into labor in public either !!!  I just need to myself busy for the next short while...

Vietnamese spring rolls cha gio recipe



We're planning on a quiet night in on New Year's eve.  We already have the virgin bubbly and dessert but don't know what to eat for dinner.  All the Christmas meals are still fresh in our head and we long for comfort food.  C suggested I make spring rolls because he likes the way I make it.  Spring rolls wrapped in crisp lettuce sounds wonderful so I said to him that I'll do the mixing and if he does the rolling and cooking, this can be done.  I'm almost 38 weeks pregnant, cooking isn't something I enjoy too much at the moment :-)  I just want to eat and sleep !


Less than 2 hours of prepping, rolling and cooking, we were rewarded with tasty crunchy spring rolls with tender hot meat filling inside !  oh how I miss eating them.  It was so worth the effort.  Hubby and kids happily gobbled them up !  


Here's the recipe !  It's my own recipe as this is how I remember the taste of spring rolls in my childhood years.  Hubby and the kids likes it and even my picky mom said it's good.  I wanted to write this recipe for my girls as I hope they can make it and pass on to their kids.


As taste are subjective, feel free to experiment with chicken or turkey, add in a little shredded jicama or taro, or omit some listed here as you like.


INGREDIENTS: 
*makes about 50 of 4" X 1" rolls


-  2 lbs of lean ground pork

- 1 pounds of tiger prawn, chopped finely into small pieces (little more or less is ok)
- 2 cup of shredded carrots (loosely measured, don't pack it)
- 2 bundles of dry bean thread noodles (also know as angel hair or glass noodles), soak in boiling hot water for 3 min. to soften, makes about 2 cups, use scissor to roughly cut it into short length, about 1 1/2 inch
- 1 cup of wilted bean sprouts (soaked fresh bean sprout in boiling hot water for 5 min. Then pour into a strainer, rinse with cold water to cool then use hands to squeeze water out of the bean sprout.)
- 1/3 cup of thinly chopped wood ear mushroom (other names are cloud ear fungus or black fungus)
- 1/2 of a medium white onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of black pepper
- 3 1/2 tablespoon of good fish sauce (Red Boat or 3 Crabs brand)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of white sugar
- spring roll pastry wrapper (pack of 50, brand I used is called Spring Home, bought frozen, takes about 2-3 hours to thaw in room temperature)

Cornstarch sealant (glue)
- 3 tablespoon of lukewarm water
- 1 table spoon of corn starch 



In a bowl, mix well the carrots, angel hair, bean sprouts, and wood ear mushroom together.  Then add in the prawn, pork, pepper, fish sauce, salt and sugar.  Mix well with your hands.  I have yet to find a way to do this without using my hands.  Fork and chopsticks just doesn't mix it as good as I like.


Once mixed, set up a rolling station !  in a bow mix the lukewarm water with the corn starch, this is your sealant for the spring rolls. 


Open the pastry pack, peel out 1 sheet of spring roll pastry and lay flat on plate (the pastry should look like a diamond in front of you).  Take a spoonful of the meat mixing and put it near the mid mark of the pastry, even the meat out to about 2 1/2 in length.  Fold up the bottom the pastry, it should look like a triangle.  Roll it once then fold in the two sides to close it like an envelop.  Roll it up to where the 2 sides end, you should now be left with a section of pastry, looks like a triangle.  Now dip your finger into the bowl of cornstarch "glue" wipe across the top two section of the triangle (like how you would seal an envelop).  Roll to the end tip and the cornstarch should seal the spring roll.  


Do this until you finished with all the meat filling.




In a deep fryer (or a deep pot), fill with enough vegetable oil to fry the spring rolls.  If using pot, fill it with at least 3 inches of oil.  When oil is bubbly hot, with a thong or a pair of wooden chopsticks, slowly lower one spring roll at a time into the oil.  Don't over crowd the pot, the spring rolls won't cook evenly.  Keep turning them over until all nicely golden brown.  Usually it takes about 5-7 min.

TIPS:

- to test for when the oil is hot enough to fry, use a wooden spoon or wooden chopstick.  Put it into the pot and if bubbles form around the handle then it's ready !

- you can freeze the rolled spring rolls for deep frying later on.  Just make sure you freeze them in single layer.  You can stack them in layers if you separate each layer with plastic cling wrap.  If you are using other brand of pastry wrapper, make sure the rolls doesn't touch each other.  This is to ensure the pastry wrap doesn't get stuck to each other and be a mess when you deep fry them.  
When ready for frying, remove spring rolls from freezer and you can deep fry them in their frozen state, no need to thaw.  Add about two min. to cooking time.

- I've also deep fried all the rolls at once, save some for dinner and freeze whatever is left when they cooled down.  Since they are already cooked, you can freeze as it, stacked up, no need for single layer or keeping them separated from each other.
I freeze the cooked spring roll to avoid deep frying again in future that's all :) Laziness I guess :)  I like to snack on only a few at a times and I don't foresee myself heating up a pot of oil just to cook like 10 spring rolls!  

When anyone of our family members want to snack on them, I just pop a few in the toaster at 350 degrees for about 12-15 min and they're good to go !  Depending in toaster brand and model and the quantity you want to heat up, it might take a few min. less or another 5-7 min. to completely heat up the spring rolls, so taste test your spring rolls for hotness.