Sick Nick

Summer is officially over and we pretty much ended it with a bang.  Every weekend during this summer has been filled with fun and exciting.  The last few weeks were no exception to the rule.  Since the last update, we've been to Folsom Lake, the California State Fair, a family gathering in Folsom, and camping. Plenty of fun and adventure to top off the end of a great summer. 

Of course, this summer has also brought lots of pains and worries.  Michael missed out on both the State Fair and the highly anticipated camping trip due to illnesses.  In both instances, he had really had headaches.  The one during the State Fair was not too bad.  A typical headache for Michael, but the one during the camping trip was worrisome.  It started the Sunday before the camping trip.  He started getting this really unbearable headache.  It was Labor Day weekend, if I remember clearly.  I remember going up to Folsom to see Uncle Don's house.  He was fine that Saturday.  We had lots of fun and got to see lots of people that we don't normally see.  The kids had a blast playing with the football, bubbles (plastic ones too), and punching balloons (that hit Mackenzie in the face causing a big bruise on under her right eye).  The next day when he woke up, he was complaining of a headache.  We didn't think much of it because he gets a lot of headaches.  So the usually, some Motrin and ice bags.  Monday rolls around and he's still in lots of pain.  So painful that he decided that he's going to the doctor the next day when the office is open.  That's a sign of pain when Michael decides for himself that he needs to go to the doctor.  So, the next day, he went to the doctor and the doctor gave him some migraine medication.  He took some and it seemed to help.  Wednesday morning, he gets up and starts getting ready for work.  Half way to work, he turns around because the headache was coming back.  He took some of the medication that the doctor gave, but by 7 AM, he's waking me up to take him to the ER.  At first, I ignored him and told him that my alarm clock hasn't gone off yet.  Next thing I hear is, "I need to go to the ER."  That was a pretty effective wake up call.  Off to the ER we went within 10 minutes and we ended up staying there until 11 AM or so.  They gave him some stronger medication for the migraine (or at least that's what they all thought it was).  And like the day before, he seem to be better again.  Later that evening, he said that he can feel it coming back again so he decided on another trip to the doctor.  This time, they gave him a few new drugs to try out and an MRI was being schedule.  Now, this is Thursday and the next day was supposed to be our camping trip.  Worried like a paranoid person I am, I had lots of different thoughts going through my head about what might be the cause of this headache.  And somehow, Michael was able to convince me to take the boys camping and leave him at home. 

So, the next day, I packed up and headed towards Shasta.  During the trip, I checked on Michael every few hours and thank goodness, he seemed to be doing about the same and not worse.  He was given this one medication that only had 9 pills.  By Saturday afternoon, he was out of this pill and the insurance would not allow us to refill the medication because it was limited to 9 per month.  Boy, when I found out about this, I was ready to pack up the kids and go back home.  He convinced me to stay until Sunday and see what happens then.  To my surprise, he called me on Sunday morning and said that his head was not hurting anymore and he seemed to be doing much better.  I guess one of those other medications that the doctor gave him on his second visit was helping (one being an antibiotic).  So, we took our time getting home and we came home to a normal Michael again.  Although he did miss out on a great camping trip and a very beautiful waterfall. 

To complete this story, he did go get the MRI and the results came back this past week.  All seems normal except for signs of a sinus infection.  So, time to take a deep breath.

During the camping weekend, Mackenzie stayed with my parents.  This is the first time she's spent the night over there without either Michael or I. I wasn't sure if she was going to be okay or not.  From what I heard, my mother didn't get a lot of sleep, but besides that, she was pretty good.  She thought that we were at work the whole time.  When we got back, she seemed to have caught a cold.  So the next few days, she was a little grumpy and was sleeping with us a lot instead of in her own room.  I think that's how I ended up catching the cold also.  You can say I'm not young anymore because this cold has been bothering me for over a week now.  I don't remember the last time I had a cold, one where I've actually missed work.  After 10 days of coughing, sneezing and running nose, I think I'm finally getting over it.

The boys are doing great.  They are currently off track. They'll be back in school in about a week.  They are going pretty well in school.  Nicholas brings home progress reports every Friday and thus far, they've been pretty good.  Zachary needs a little help in some areas, but overall, not bad either. 

As for Mackenzie, we've been trying to potty train her for a little while now, but she doesn't seem to be ready for it yet.  There are days where she'll be really good at it and then there are days where she'll just not want to do it.  Oh, well, we'll just keep trying until she gets the hang of it. 

Well, I think this is enough for a day.  We hope everyone had a wonderful summer and we are really looking forward to Fall.

Site Update

Summer this year is going by really fast.  There's always something going on every weekend.  This weekend is the only weekend that we had nothing so I was able to spend time working on the website. 

Okay, let's start with the month of May.  During the summer time, we have a bowling discount at our bowling house.  So, might as well use it.  We took all the kids bowling one day.  Here are pictures from that day.  All the kids had lots of fun.  I think this is the first time Mackenzie actually got to bowl.  At first, she was not too keen on bowling, but after a little while, she liked it too.  She likes to watch the ball hit the pins and then say, "all gone." 

Also in May, my younger sister, May Lai came down from Portland for a visit.  I don't remember why, but we had a family gathering so here's some pictures from that also. 

Now, we move into the month of June.  June is Nicholas' birthday so of course, we had a party to celebrate it.  Thank you to those who took time out to come to his birthday party. Can you believe he's already 10?  It seems like he just started walking the other day and next thing you know, he's already in the 5th grade.  He's doing pretty well in school.  Just a little lazy sometimes and will forget his homework every now and then, but overall, not bad.  He's also very independent and doesn't require a lot of one-on-one time. Overall, he a very good boy.  He's also a very good brother.  Yeah, the boys do still fight a lot, but I guess that's why they are boys.  He's very good at taking care of his younger brother when Mom and Dad are not around.  I'm very proud of this son. 

Next, we have Father's Day.  This year, we spent Father's Day at Folsom Lake.  It was really cool.  The kids had lots of fun playing in the sand and riding in a boat.  Both the boys got a chance to drive it so they were very happy.  I hope every one else had a wonderful and fun Father's Day like we did.

Moving onto summer break for the boys.  This year, as their reward for working hard during the whole school year, we took them to Monterey for the weekend.  Now, before we went to Monterey, we stopped by Palo Alto to celebrate Carla's 30th birthday.  The boys got to sit in a cop car at the park and Mackenzie got to see lots of passenger trains go by.  We had lots of fun there and learned a lot about Carla that day.

So, onto Monterey we go.  We got there on Saturday night so we were fresh the next day for a day at the Aquarium.  We spent most of the day there.  The kids got to see a lot of different sea creatures, touch them, and draw them.  They enjoyed playing at the kids area, of course, and had a blast looking at all the different types of sea horses.  After the Aquarium, we went to the beach besides the Fisherman's Wharf and had a blast there also.  The only thing I didn't like was the pink umbrella.  Can you believe how hard it is to find a beach umbrella in June?  My goodness, I looked around for one before we went and during the trip and the only thing we found was this bright pink beach umbrella.  Oh well, at least it kept us shaded. 

Finally, we're getting into the month of July.  First thing in July is always Independence Day.  Lot of fireworks.  This year, it was at my brother's house and like usually, gotta have a barbeque.  Each family brought some fireworks and ironically, most of us bought the same family package so we had a lot of the same fireworks.  Next year, I need to get more of that snapping stuff.  The ones you throw on the floor and it snaps.  I bought 11 boxes and my brother-in-law bought another 6 and that was not enough to go around for all the kids.  They love that stuff.  This year's weather has been very strange.  It's July and the night time temperatures were still very low.  None of us expected it and we were all in shorts and t-shirts.  As you can tell from the pictures, most of us had to wear my brother's long sleeve shirts to keep warm.  Some of them were out with blankets all wrapped up.

Next, we have Zachary's birthday party.  This little one just turned 7.  Thank you to all who came and gave him presents.  It was a blast and hopefully everyone had fun.  Of all the kids, he's the one that requires the most work.  He's attention spam is very short so homework can sometimes be very frustrating.  It's not that he doesn't know it, it's that he doesn't want to do it.  Overall, his grades aren't bad, but still had room for improvement.  And overall, he's a good kid, but sometimes just a little impatient and has way too much energy.  To counter this, I've introduced both of them to karate in hopes of keeping their energy in check.  They've done it for a month now and have both earned black tips on their white belt.  Mom's  very proud of them both.  We're going to continue with it for at least 7 more months.  We'll see by then if it helps release some of that energy at karate and help calm them down at home. 

Jenny, one of my nieces and also the boys' baby-sitter, just left for Japan.  She's going there to teach and won't be back for a couple of years.  We're really going to miss her.  The boys will miss her a lot.  She was always so willing to take the kids out to the movies to watch the latest kid movies.  She really loves working with kids so I'm very glad she got a job that will allow her to work with lots of kids.  We wish her the best and hopefully, we'll be able to see her soon.  Good luck, Jenny!

Now that it's August, there are still lots of events coming up that we are looking forward to.  Event such as Calvin's birthday party, Bruce's wedding, and camping.  Last year's camping trip was fun so I hope this year's will also be as fun.  In other words, there will be plenty to write about during my next update.  Until then, have a nice summer!

Off track

The kids are off track now until June 1st.  Today, I am home with them waiting for my contract extension to go through before I can go back to work. 

Zachary does not seem to be feeling so well.  He been sleeping ever since we got home from school so that's like almost 4 hours.  I've tried waking him up, but he doesn't seem to want to wake up.  I'm afraid that if he doesn't get up soon, he's not going to sleep at all tonight.  But he has a fever right now so maybe sleep is the best thing for him.  He claims that his "brain" hurts. 

Nicholas is doing well.  He just finished cleaning his room (took him 4 hours to clean it).  His birthday party will be coming up in about a month or so.  Amazing where time goes.  Nicholas is going to be 10 years old in one month.  I can't believe he's that old already.  Next thing you know, he'll be off to college.

Mackenzie is okay.  She's learning a lot and saying a lot, but just like Nicholas and Zachary when they were little, she hates to eat.  Feeding her is a work-out every time.  When she doesn't want to eat, I have to put her in the corner, listen to her key for a few minutes and then ask her again if she wants to eat.  Hopefully, she'll give in and open her mouth.  If not, then we have to repeat the cycle again until she is willing to eat.  After a few bites, she might refuse again and we'll be at it again.  As for her speech, she is very good at talking.  She can comprehend a lot of things and can have a pretty long conversation with you if you are willing to sit there and listen to her.  She's also picking up on everything people say.  If it's something she wants to learn, she'll repeat it and pick up the word.  Yesterday, we passed by a manufacturing plant and she saw smoke coming out of the chimney.  She was calling it a volcano and that the volcano was going "ka-boom."

Michael and I are both doing well.  I was waiting for my contract to be singed, but I just got notified that it's been signed so I can go back to work tomorrow.  Oh well, I guess my long weekend is over.

This coming Sunday is Mother's Day.  We would like to wish all the mothers we know a "Wonderful and pleasant Mother's Day!"

A few sick kids

Nicholas finished his science project about a month ago and had it on display during Open House night.  There were science project from all 4th, 5ht, and 6th graders on display.  Overall, I think he did a very good job on his project.  Although I helped him with some stuff such as correcting his grammar, gluing the project together and taking pictures each day of the plants, he did most of the work himself.  We are really proud of him for completing the project.  During Open House, we took some pictures of his project and posted them under Nicholas for this month.  
Of course, if you think that was his only project, you'd be surprised.  He has another project right now.  It's about a city in California and his city is San Diego.  He's suppose to write a report on San Diego, the stuff around it and build a model of San Diego. 
Zachary also has a project that he must complete before the end of this year.  Just like Nicholas, he has to do a research paper on an animal.  His animal is the water strider.  He just started working on it last week and is doing pretty well so far.  As part of his project, he also has to make a diorama.  That will be the interesting part of this project.
Stay tuned after June to see the results of both projects.
Mackenzie is growing up really quickly. We are amazed at her comprehension and vocabulary.  She can sit down and have a five minute conversation with you about things.  One of her cuter phrases is "I happy."  She uses this when she eats something she likes (like Jell-O).  When she's done with it, she'll rub her tummy and say "I happy with Jell-O."  She likes to fight with Michael for "his spot" on the bed.  She's declared it "her spot" too so whenever she sees Michael walking towards his side of the bed, she'll run and get up there before he does and take up "the spot."  Of course, Michael takes his time when he sees this and let's her win so that they can have a little conversation about who's spot it is.  

We are still working on her room, although not really rushing it at all.  She's still moving around a lot and wakes up quite a few times at night.  She has a bed in her room now, but she doesn't like sleeping in it.  It's very strange to her.  We tried moving her there once during her nap time and when she woke up, she was crying because the room was unfamiliar to her.  
This past weekend, Zachary and Mackenzie caught something nasty.  Both of them were throwing up all over the place.  Zachary did not feel well the whole day and stated that he felt like throwing up, but never really did.  That changed when I tried to put some food (rice porridge) into his stomach because he hadn't eaten anything much that day.  As I'm feeding him, he let it all back out at me.  After that he threw up another time.  After some sleep that night, he stated that he felt better and ate like normal.  
Mackenzie was just unhappy and we couldn't figure why.  All the suddenly in her crib, she would start screaming and crying.  After a few more cries, it all flowed out.  So in the shower she went and got herself cleaned up while I changed her sheets.  Then a little bit later, she did it again and there went another outfit and another shower was required.  She started doing a little better as far as her attitude after the second vomit because she was happy again.  About an hour later, we tried to give her some Motrin because she was feeling a little hot and was ready to go to bed.  Bad idea.  Right after the Motrin went down, it along with all the Sprite she was drinking came back up onto her pink blanket and me.  Like Zachary, after a good night's rest, she seem to feel better. 
Of course, for the both of them, I didn't really dare push them too much the next day when it came to food.  They ate whatever portion they thought was good enough.  Normally, I would be pickier on stuff like that, but after all the barfing incidents the day before, I take whatever they can eat as good enough.

Mackenzie is 2

Welcome to 2009.  I hope everyone is having a good 2009 so far.  So, what's new this year?

Well, first we celebrated Mackenzie's 2nd birthday in January.  Overall, I would have to say that she had an okay birthday party.  She got lots of gifts and clothes, but I don't think her body had a good day.  First, there was the dislocation of her arm while her aunt Kellie was playing with her.  Oddly enough, we were just having a decision on how easily she can dislocate her arm and how she's done it twice in the last two weeks.  Likely, we've experienced dislocated arms many times through the years with all three kids that Michael was able to pop it back into place.  Then right before we were going to cut her birthday cake, she got hit in the face by Alex with what we think was a golf club.  A long time ago, Zachary bought himself a kid's golf club set and Alex got his hand on one of the clubs.  She ended up with a bloody nose.  She was not too happy about that.  It took a little time to calm her down and you can tell by some of the pictures during the cake cutting ceremony that her nose was quite red. 

Besides her birthday incidents, she's doing pretty well right now.  She's extremely advance with speaking.  She can speak in sentences and you will be amazed at how much she knows.  I wonder if it has anything to do with all those Dora cartoons she watches.  Last year, right before she turned one, she got this really ugly illness called mouth, hand, and foot disease.  I don't know how many of you remember her having it and how painful she was.  Well, about one month, she had the same thing.  Her whole mouth was filled with these white sores and she was in a lot of pain.  She wouldn't eat or drink milk because she was hurting so much.  This time, it seem to be a little worse because her gums were all swollen also.  We tried brushing her teeth while she was sick, and right as we touched it, it started bleeding.  We took her to the doctor and they were able to prescribe some medication to help numb her mouth and reduce the swelling.  The only problem was apply the medication because she wouldn't let us anywhere close to her mouth.  She barely eat, drank or slept.  At night, she was awake every other hour or so because the sores would start hurting.  She was a miserable little girl for two weeks.  And just when you think she's starting to feel better, she caught the cold and ended up with an ear infection.  That landed us another doctor's visit.  She got some antibiotics and after a few days, things really started turning around.  Her sores were healing and her ears were not ringing.  Of course, during this time of illness, she got whatever she wanted.  Now that she's all better, we're having some difficulty un-spoiling her. 

Nicholas is doing really well.  He's so big now.  I can't believe he's going to be 10-years old this year.  Right now, he's working on a science project for school.  The topic he picked was does a plant grow faster in light or in the dark.  So, we went to Lowe's and bought some pepper and tomato plants for his experiment.  He has to water it each day, take measurements, and what some observations about the plants.  So far, he's doing pretty well and should be on schedule to complete his project.  As for the rest of his school work, he's doing really well.  He doesn't require much help from us on his homework. 

Zachary is still the same old Zachary.  He's doing pretty well in school too, but requires a lot more help with homework.  It's not that he doesn't get it or doesn't know it.  It's his patience with sitting down and doing his homework.  There are many times when he just doesn't want to do it and we have to constantly remind him of it.  Most of the time, we have to sit next to him and softly push him along in order for him to complete his assignments.  I remember when Nicholas was in the first grade, he had to do a report about an animal.  I'm crossing my fingers that Zachary doesn't have to do the same thing because it's going to take a lot of work and patience to work with Zachary on a report.  

Michael and I are doing fine.  We both still work at CalPERS.  My contract is coming up soon so we'll have to see what happens.  I mean with the economy the way it is right now, it's nice to still have a job.

Well, this is about it for today.  We'll talk again another day.

Updated lots

Good day.  I spent most of today updating the website.  Oh my goodness!  There are just so many pictures and so many things to do in order to get this website updated.  We have so many pictures that we haven't published since August of this year.

We hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving was pretty simple this year.  We went over to my older sister's house for a late lunch/early dinner.  After that we hung around a bit and Michael and the kids went home.  I went over to my cousin's house and played MJ until 3 AM in the morning.  Of course by then, I couldn't sleep if I was going to go to Wal-Mart at 4:30 AM.  So, I went over to my mother's house and watched TV for 1 and 1/2 hour.  At around 4:30 AM, I got on the road and went to Wal-Mart.  By the time I got there, the parking lot was pretty much full.  I didn't realize that Wal-Mart was open 24-hours so I didn't have to wait in the cold.  Although the store was open, you couldn't grab any of the sale items yet because they had employees standing next to everything.  So, a little before 5 AM, the employees gave us the go ahead to grab whatever you wanted.  I grabbed the few things that I went there for and got out of the store by 5:09 AM.  Then it was time to head over to ToysRUs and stand in line with everyone else.  I ended up waiting for 1 and 1/2 hour before I got to the check stand.  By that time, I was really tired and so wanted to go to sleep.  I grabbed some donuts for the family as breakfast and headed home.  It was about 8:30 AM by then and right into bed I went.  I slept until 2 PM that afternoon.  The rest of the weekend was pretty much quite and normal. 

This past Wednesday, Michael broke some news to me that almost floored me.  Nicholas gets a lot of flyers from school about all kids of different sports.  Well, he got one that day about wrestling and he asked if he could participate in wrestling.  Of all the things he could try, he wanted to try wrestling.  Think about this skinny little kid who doesn't even weigh 60 lbs. yet wanting to participant in wrestling.  Well, he had his first practice this Friday and he still seems to want to do it.  He came home with a few bruises on his knee, but overall still in one piece. 

Zachary... what's new with him.  Nothing much.  He still doesn't like to do his homework and still loves to play and watch TV.  Overall, he's doing pretty well in school.  It is sometimes a challenge getting him to do his homework, but he's a smart kid. 

Mackenzie. Where even to begin with this child.  We finally got her off the bottle and her pacifiers.  She was having problems eating (like not eating at all) so we took her to the doctor to see what can be done about it.  The doctor told us to cut down on the milk and constantly give her food.  We tried that for a month and she did start eating a little bit, but still not enough for a 20 month old child.  Then, she got sick so we had to put the limit on hold and just gave her whatever she wanted.  After that, it was hard to go back on a limit.  Finally, after the Cabo trip, we just decided to take her off the bottle and pacifier.  It took a week or two for her to adjust to it, but now she's going great.  She's finally starting to eat normal food, like rice, bread, and meat.  She's eating more and drinking less milk. 

Well, I think I've had enough of the web updates so I'm going to stop here.  Just wanted to give everyone a quite update on the kids and how the family is doing. 


In the last update that I wrote, I mentioned that Lauren and Midge were moving down to Elk Grove and was going to live in our rental house.  Well, today, I’m going to write and say that they are moving back up to Oregon tomorrow so we will have an empty rental house.  Anyone interested?

Long story short, they don’t like Sacramento and the surroundings.  They are use to the mountains and the beauty that’s around them, like the river and the trees.  In Elk Grove, all you see are cars and houses.  They also like to be able to let the cats outside, but are afraid that the cats won’t be able to get back to the house (getting lost).  After some discussions with all the kids, they have decided that it’s best for them to move back to Oregon and maybe try this again in a few years. 

Remember, two updates ago, I wrote about Mackenzie catching some kind of illness called the hand-mouth-foot disease.  Well, we think she might have had it again.  Let me rephrase that.  I know she had it again, but I don’t think what she had (this time and last time) was hand-mouth-foot disease.  I think she might have been too dehydrated and just developed a bunch of cold sores in her mouth.  Needless to say, she wouldn’t eat for a week or so.  Actually, she doesn’t really eat at all even if she doesn’t have those cold sores.  I think it might have something to do with her mouth hurting, but also because she’s just stubborn.  The only way you can get her to eat food is to sit her in front of the TV, turn on Wow Wow Wubbzy and try feeding her. The first bite is always hard because she’ll resist you and is she good at saying “No” and turning her head.  She still won’t eat much at my parents’ house.  Michael created a DVD of Wow Wow Wubbzy and we took our DVD player over there to play it.  I even bought her a Dora chair to sit on so that the same environment would be simulated to try to see if she would eat. 

Okay, the top three paragraphs were from the beginning of the week.   Here’s the update from the end of this week.  She won’t eat PERIOD.  For the past month or so, I’ve been able to get her to eat at night while she sits in her chair watching Wow Wow Wubbzy.  In the last few days, she won’t eat at all.  We’ve tried many different things and food, but she’s just stubborn and won’t eat.  Two nights ago, I had this little battle with her to see who’s more stubborn.  I tried to give her some food; she won’t eat so off goes the TV.  Then she complains so I tell her that if she eats, she gets the TV back.  So, I turn the TV back on and try feeding her; same result, not going to eat.  So, off goes the TV again.  This goes on for maybe 10 minutes or so.  Next comes the time out punishment.  Either she eats or she can stand by the wall.  Every three minutes of so, I ask her if she’ll eat and every time, her answer is “No” and shakes her head.  This goes on for another 20 minutes or so.  Finally, I gave up and told her to stand there until she wanted to start eating.  Michael thought that the whole thing was cute because of the way she and I were having the conversation.  Eventually, Michael took a shot at it and got her to eat half a bottle of baby food.  

Okay, on to a less headachy topic, the boys.  Both Nicholas and Zachary are doing well.  They’ve been in school now for more than 1 month and seem to be adapting to 4th and 1st grade.  Zachary is adapting to eating lunch at school.  He’s learning to eat faster so that he doesn’t run out of time for lunch.  Zachary normally takes his little time at home when it comes to any meal.  At school, he’s only given 20 – 25 minutes to actually eat lunch.  The rest of the time is spent on play.  If he doesn’t finish in time, then he will either have to save it for recess later or throw it away.  Zachary takes a homemade lunch to school (a sandwich, a snack, and a drink) during most of the week.  Friday is the one exception because it’s cheese pizza day at school so he’ll eat that instead.  Nicholas is the opposite of Zachary.  He buys most of his lunch from school and only requires lunch from home either 1 or two days of the week. 

Michael is doing well too.  He’s started a new schedule at work.  He goes to work at 6 AM in the morning and goes home at 2 PM so that he can pick up the kids from school.  After that, he helps the kids with their homework.  Of course, in order to be at work by 6, he has to be up around 5 PM so he goes to bed earlier now.   It’s better that he does this crazy schedule instead of me because there’s no way I can get up every morning at 5 AM to go to work.  I barely want to get up at 7 AM each morning so 5 AM for sure is out of the question. 

Me?  I’m okay.  Since Michael goes to work early, I have to take all the kids to school and to my parents’ house.  We get up around 7 AM.  I’m trying to get the boys into a routine each morning.  Nicholas pretty has it down, but every now and then will forget.  Zachary… oh, Zachary!  That little one is just so like me in the morning.  Gotta drag him out of bed every morning and takes his little time doing everything.  I have to ask him every 5 minutes what he’s doing and if he’s done yet or else, we’d be late every day.

At night after work, I have to pick up Mackenzie and do any shopping that’s needed for the house.  Sometimes, I’ll stay over at my parents and eat dinner since most of the time, the kids and Michael would have eaten dinner by the time Mackenzie and I make it home. 

What have we been up to lately?  Not much.  We had a few birthday parties this month and we went to the State Fair on opening day.  The kids all had lots of fun, even Mackenzie.  She got to see a lot of different animals and actually pet a few of them, like a rabbit and a cow.  There is this ride over at the kids’ side that is powered by cow manure.  Well, at the end of the ride is a young cow and she loved running back to look at it.  Nicholas, Michael, my older sister, and three of my nieces went over to the “big people” side after dinner to try out those rides while the rest of us stayed at the “kids’ area” with the rest of the little ones.  Since there weren’t really a lot of people there at the fair, the kids got to go on the same rides multiple times.  I think the one phrase I said the most at the fair was “Again?”  I mean, there are rides that they went back to 4 or 5 times in a row. 

Some of you probably heard on the news about the riots and disturbances that they had on opening day.  We were there, but most of the issues were the main gate and most of us were fair from the main gate so we didn’t see or hear anything.  We just played through the whole thing.  My brother-in-law, John, did get to see some of the action.  He left and was going to come back around 10 PM and that was about when the issues occurred.  Also, Karen was leaving around 10:30 (since John couldn’t get back in) and they got to see some of the action.  As for us, we stayed at the park until the wristbands that the boys had expired (at 11).  Overall, they all had lots of fun and plenty of rest the next day.

In two more weekends, we are going to go on our first family camping trip ever.  We’re going with some family and friends and it’s going to be near the ocean.  Mackenzie will not be coming with us though.  She’s too young right now so she’ll be staying with my parents until we get back. 

After camping the next biggest thing will be our 10 year anniversary.  Can you believe it?  Michael and I would be married for 10 years come October.  Now, how many of you thought we were going to last this long with you first saw us together?  To celebrate that, we will be taking a vacation to Cabo, Mexico.  One of our friends are getting married there too so we’re killing two birds with one stone.  Of course, in between there’s bridal showers, bachelorette party, birthday parties, and Halloween.   It’s going to be one busy fourth quarter for us. 

Well, enough writing for today.  Sorry for not writing for so long.  My easiest excuse is that I have no time, but reality is that I’m lazy.  Hopefully, my laziness will not get to me too much where I don’t write again this year.  

Zachary is another year older

Zachary’s birthday has come and past.  We had a lot of fun, but it was one very tiresome weekend. 

At the beginning of the week, we had to worry about finish remodeling and cleaning up the rental house because Michael’s father and step-mother were moving in from Oregon at the end of the week.  Michael also had to stay up late on Monday to wait for them because they were driving down from Oregon that night. He needed to bring them over to our house so that the cats can be situated in our guest room downstairs and then taken to the motel where they stayed until Friday.  On Tuesday, we had to go over to the rental house to see the process of the remodeling and the clean up.  Wednesday was a quieter day (thank goodness).  On Thursday was a ‘long’ day.  We had people that were going to steam clean the carpets in the morning.  All the remaining trash around the house needed to be taken out, and the house needed to be cleaned.  I had to take some time off of work to finish the cleaning the house.  We worked until 9 PM or so because we went to pick up the kids from my parents house.  On Friday, Lauren and Midge moved in.  Michael spent the day at our house clean up and getting ready for the birthday party.  I asked own of my nieces to come over after work to help out with the cleaning and preparation.  Then Saturday was the day of the party.  Luckily, this time I ordered pizza so there wasn’t a lot of food preparation we had to do, just mainly making the appetizers.  Once again, I made way too much food and ordered way too many pizzas.  Luckily, there was Sunday to get some rest before having to go back to work on Monday. 

Zachary’s birthday party itself was fun.  He had a couple of classmates that came to the party and they all had a lot of fun swimming and playing.  Zachary got lots of presents and gift cards. We would like to take this opportunity to say “Thank You” to those who came to the birthday party and your gifts.  It’s been a long time since we’ve had all the grandparents at a birthday party.  Lauren and Midge were there for a little bit and so was Bryce (Michael’s step-brother).  Of course, we have the usual Irene and Richard, Michael’s brother Richard and Carla and my parents. 

Long time, no update!

Alrighty, I was just checking the website and noticed that we don’t have another journal out there for the year 2008 so here we go.

What’s new?  Let’s see, Nicholas is now 9 years old and Zachary will turn 6 next week.  Are they growing up fast or what?  They are both out of school now and are successfully moving onto the next grade level when school starts again in about 2 weeks.

Mackenzie is doing very well.  Sometimes in April or so, she caught an illness called the hand-mouth-foot disease.  No, this is not the foot-and-mouth disease that cows get.  It’s actually an illness that little toddlers get.   Basically, it’s a combination of sores on your hand, mouth and foot accompanied by very high fever.  She was miserable for about a week.  During that time, she couldn't eat, drink or sleep which caused her to be hungry and sleepy.  And when the little one doesn't get enough of food or sleep, she can be very grumpy.  One of those nights, she wouldn't sleep so I had to stay awake with her the whole night.  During the day, she was constantly held and refused to come down.  She had cold sores in her mouth, mostly on the roof of her mouth and high fevers. 

After she got all better from that illness, she wouldn't eat much solid food.  I guess she associated food with pain so she was always drink milk from a bottle.  During her 18-month check up, the doctor suggested that we not give her the bottle and use sippy-cups instead.  By doing this, she should eat more food because she’s no longer filling herself up with the milk.  Well, the very next day, the bottle disappeared during the day.  We only gave her a bottle at night right before she goes to bed and when she cries in the middle of the night asking for milk.  This has encouraged her to eat a bit more and is now pretty much back to normal. 

In the last month or so, she has begun to talk.  Her favorite word is “outside” because she loves to go outside.  She is not an indoor person.  At my parents’ house, she loves going outside into the garden, picking flowers, and playing with the sprinklers.  At home, she loves to drink water out of the sprinklers, pick the miniature roses, and ride the tricycle.  Other words that she can say are “dada,” “ky ky” for Nicholas, “ya ya” for Zachary, “po po” for my mother, “gong gong” for my dad and finally “ma me” for Mommy.  For the longest time, she was able to say everyone else besides me.  My mother has been spending some time with her practicing Mommy so she now can call me too.  There are quite a few more words that she can say, but I don’t want to bore you with the list.

You know she’s a girl because she loves stuffed animals, especially the ones that she sleep with, He He (a pink horse that she got from Lauren and Midge), Mo Mo (a fluffy little cow she got from Uncle Richard and Auntie Carla) and Bear Bear (a teddy bear that she got from UCD when she was in the hospital at two weeks old).   One thing she loves to do when she goes outside is pick flowers.  At my parents’ house, she would pick the wild flowers that are growing around the lawn.  At home, she’ll go pick the roses and all the other flowers in the flower beds.  She scares me when he goes and picks the roses because she doesn't know to avoid the thorns on the bushes.  She just starts grabbing and pulls as hard as she can to break the branch from the bush.  After she picks it, she’ll smell it and then bring it to us, if we are around.  And she looks so happy when she’s picking flowers, like a sense of satisfaction. 

Well, soon approaching (next week) will be Zachary’s 6th birthday. He just finished kindergarten and is exited to move onto 1st grade.  When school first started, we were afraid that he would not do well since he likes to throw those temper tantrum frequently.  Well, he’s a much more mature boy now, at least at school.  At home, he still throws those temper tantrum; however we are slowly teaching him why he shouldn't be acting that way.  His birthday party is next weekend and hopefully some of his classmates will come and join the fun. 

Zachary overall is doing really well in school.  He seems to pick up new concepts very quickly and is adapting to homework every day.  There are times when he doesn't like to do his homework because it’s not challenging enough.  Zachary is one of those who only likes to do something for a few minutes and then wants to move onto the next hottest and newest item. 

Nicholas just had his 9th birthday party a few weeks ago.  Can you believe he’s already 9?  And to top it off, he’s almost my height.  I've always said every since he was little that he would outgrow me by the time he’s 10.  Now, I don’t know if he’ll really outgrow me at 10, but it won’t be that many more years before he does.  He is turning out to be a very tall and handsome young man.  He still loves to play with video games.

Their newest hobby is skating and swimming.  For their birthday, we bought Nicholas new roller blades and Zachary new roller skates.  Michael and I also got a pair each.  The other night, the whole family went skating in the back yard.  It was an interesting sight because Michael and I have not gotten into skates in years.  It took a little adapting before we got the hang of it again. 

As a celebration of another good school year, we took them to the movies to see “Wall E.”  It was a pretty good movie.  Both boys enjoyed it and it was nice for us to be able to spend some time with just the boys.  I mean, we see them all the time at home after work, but they have their own things to do while we do our own things.  We don’t spend a lot of time together as a family doing something so it was a nice.  Mackenzie didn’t come along because no way was she going to sit through a whole movie without wanting to wonder off. 

Another year, another party

Happy 2008!  I know it's a little late, but since this is the first journal in 2008, I thought I would still say it.

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Christmas and New Year holiday.  We didn't do anything for the new year.  We just sat and home and watched TV. 

What's new?  Well, Mackenzie is now 1 year old.  Can you believe that it's been a year already?  Time just goes by so quickly when you are having fun.  We just had her birthday celebrate last Saturday and you can see the pictures from that party here.  She got a lot of cute and adorable clothes for this coming summer.  Lots of dress and yes, I did noticed a lot of purple in the outfits she got.  She also got a few new toys to play with.  She loves the musical car that her Uncle Richard and Auntie Carla got her.  She rides on it everyday.  She also like to play with the doll house that she got from Grandma Irene.  (Well, Zachary also plays with it a lot.) 

I would like to take this opportunity again to thank you to everyone who came and gave her a birthday present.  We really appreciate you guys taking the time out of your busy schedule to come have some fun with us.  I mean, some of you guys had other birthday parties to go to, came all the way here from the Bay Area, and some got up really early in the morning to come over to help out.  Thank you Jenny for helping me with the cooking.  And thank you Kellie for helping watch the kids.  I know you both are not use to getting up that early on a Saturday morning. 

For Christmas, the boys got a new trampoline as their present and all the kids had fun with it during the party.  Actually, it was more than the kids who had fun jumping in it.  Some of the adults, like Grandma Irene, Michael, Rose, Kellie, and Jason also spent some time jumping in the trampoline. 

How is Mackenzie?  Well, she's growing.  Two weeks before her birthday party, she  had the stomach flu.   Anything she ate either came back out from her mouth or quickly from her behind.  I felt so bad for her.  It all started one Friday night when we were at my parents' house.  She started by throwing up all over me.  Then next thing you know, she was crying because her stomach was hurting.  Throughout the night, she was either pooping or barfing.  It was really bad.  She went through more outfits in one night then we normally would have in a week.  We ended up having to stop feeding her milk because we thought that might have helped cause the stomach problems.  Michael had to take half the day off on the following Monday to take care of her because my parents got sick from the same illness.  That weekend, we were over at Karen's house to celebrate her birthday and Karen, her two sons, Jake and Calvin, ending up catching it too.   Eventually, Kellie also caught the bug.  Amazingly, Michael and I spent a lot of time with Mackenzie taking care of her when she was sick, but neither of us caught the bug.  It eventually went away after a week or so, but it was one very painful experience for her.

Oh.  You won't believe this, but she is finally getting some teeth.  There is one on the lower part of her mouth and one on top.  Both have come in a little bit.  Enough for you to be able to feel them.  I think a third one might be coming in soon to because I can feel it.  My goodness, after one year and she's finally teething.  It's really amazing.

She eats pretty much all solid food now.  We have stopped giving her formula and she's now on normal milk.  She eats normal three meals each day and gets the milk as a supplement.  She likes to eat rice quite a bit.  (You wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that my parents are the ones who is watching her.)

Nicholas and Zachary are still off track. They are going back to school on February 4.  I'm not too looking forward to that day.  Why?  Because that's when I have to start picking Zachary up from school and Michael picking up Nicholas.  This means, I have to go to work earlier so that we don't have to stay too late.  I have to start taking the bus to work in the morning.  The last bus that goes to work from our house is right before 7 AM.  For those who know me, you know I hate getting up that early.

Nicholas is doing really well in school.  He has gotten use to the homework every day.  I have also been able to get him into a habit of working on his homework after school before we get home.  He works on whatever he knows and if it's too hard, he saves that for me to help him.  It really help me because I have to help Zachary with his homework after work.  Speaking of which, Nicholas really likes to help Zachary with his homework.  I think it's the big brother factor.  He wants to help, but many times, he tries too hard and doesn't concentrate on his own homework.  Sometimes I have to separate the two of them into their own rooms in order to have both complete their homework effectively. 

Zachary is doing much better in school.  Rarely do we get a bad report from his teacher about him.  He is also very smart.  He picks up on things very quickly.  He still loves to ask questions.  The other day, he was asking a bunch of questions about green and red signal lights.  Once he gets started on his questioning, good luck stopping him.

Nicholas got a telescope from Lauren and Midge for Christmas.  The two boys really like it and they've taken it out once to look at the moon.  It's been raining quite a bit lately so they have not been able to go back out look for the stars. 

Well, I think this is enough for one day.   I hope everyone has a good weekend.

New Year

We hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Christmas holiday.  Well, today is the last day of the year so I thought I would write another family update one last time for the year of 2007.

All is well with us.  We had a very pleasant holiday.  We went to Irene's house the Sunday before Christmas and the kids got a lot of presents.  They also got to spend some time with their little cousins.  Jeremy and Brendan are growing up really fast.   Brendan actually weighs more than Mackenzie.  I took Mackenzie into the doctor's office this past Thursday and she was at 18 lbs. and 6 oz.

Christmas, on my side, was at our house this year and on Christmas Eve.  My parents and older sister had a wedding reception to attend on Christmas Day so we had to have the dinner earlier.  You probably asking, "Who in the world would have a wedding reception on Christmas Day?"   Here's the reasoning behind it.  People think that most Chinese people in our community do not celebrate Christmas (because most of them believe in Buddhism) and they have the day off so people will show up for the wedding reception.  My parents use to think that way to when we were much younger because we didn't celebrate American holidays.  Of course, things have changed as we have all grown up.

Okay, back to Christmas Eve.  I worked half day and went home to start cooking after work.  I decided to keep it simple this year and cooked a spiral ham.  We had dinner around 6 PM and after dinner, it was present time.  Every year, Michael gets a pretty big Christmas tree (one that almost touches the ceiling in the living room).  This year was no exception.  The tree we got was almost 8 feet tall.   It was so beautiful when all those presents surrounded the tree.  It looked like something you would see in your dreams when you were a kid.  Presents all over and they were all yours.  (I'm sure we all had such a dream before!)  Before we started passing out the presents, the kids said that they had something for us.  A bunch of them spent some time writing us a thank you note and things that they were thankful for.  Boy, did that warm up the hearts.  And lastly, they said thank you to us for hosting Christmas this year.  It's amazing how quickly these kids have grown.  They're capable of writing thank you notes when I can still remember them in diapers.

A few of the adults played Santa and started passing out the presents to the kids.  All the kids were so happy to get their presents and did not hesitate to open them.  By the end of it, wrapping paper was all over the living room and each kid was guarding their present like their own little gold mine.  It was really a wonderful sight.  That's one of the things I like about Christmas.  You get to see so many happy faces and every is laughing and smiling at each other. 

After presents, everyone went and did their own little thing.  The kids went to play.  Some of them (Nicholas and Zachary) decided to play with their presents that they just got.  Some of the adults went to play a friendly game of cards.  Others decided to take it easy and have a few more glasses of wine.  By 10 or 11, some of them left while others stayed behind to continue their friendly game of cards.  Let's just say, I didn't so well with the friendly game of cards.

By 11:45 PM, I made sure the boys were asleep while Michael took over my bad hand of cards.  After the kids were asleep, "Santa" appears with their presents and ate the cookies that they left for him.  Michael eventually went to bed, I would say sometimes around 1AMish or so.  As for mom, I didn't go to bed until 4 PM.  The card game ended around 3 PM and I took my mother home.  At 6:30ish, I got up to take my younger sister and her daughter to the airport for their trip back to Oregon.  Needless to say, I was tired, but when I got home, Mackenzie was awake so I took care of her.  You see, Michael had a few too many glasses of wine the night before so he wasn't really fit to take care of the little one. 

We didn't do much on Christmas Day.    Just relaxed and then went to my parents' house for a little bit. 

The most memorable moment of the whole event was when I was trying to ask Zachary to eat more of his dinner.  I was working on a salad and Zachary was goofing off so I immediately said, "Salad, finish your food!"  And boy, did everyone started cracking up.  My brother was drinking a soda and almost spit it back out at us.  I didn't realized what I said until everyone else was laughing non-stop.   The other moment was when Michael was playing the card game and my mother cut in front of him for the winning card.  I was not there, but according to all the witnesses, he screamed really loudly.  You see, he had an all black hand which would have had his pointed counted as double what the hand was, but because my mother cut in front of him, he didn't win.  All I know is that everyone was laughing about it and his reaction for 10 - 15 minutes after wards and my mother was still talking about it the next day. 

The kids, they are all doing well.  Mackenzie has the cold again and I took her in last week to have it checked out.  She has an ear infection on both ears and is currently taking antibiotics for them.  She really doesn't like the antibiotics that she's taking right now.  Last time she had an ear infection, they gave her amoxicillin.  She ended up with diarrhea because of it so this time, I asked the doctor for something else.  We've had to force it down her while with the other one, she took it willingly.  She doing much better now and seems to be recovering from this round of cold. 

What are we doing for New Years?  Nothing!  Aren't we boring people?  It's too cold to take the boys out to old Sacramento to watch the fireworks and Zachary will get scared because of the loud sound.  Mackenzie is also too young and she's most likely going to freak.  She doesn't like loud noises. 

New Year resolutions?  Get up earlier (good luck with this one), get more exercise (keeping those fingers crossed), and win the lottery!!!!  How about you?

We hope everyone has a safe and wonderful New Year!!!  Happy 2008!!!!

School update and Mackenzie

Zachary and Nicholas have being in school for about 1 1/2 months now and it has been crazy around here.  Nicholas is now in the third grade and things work a little differently.  He no longer has homework once a week where all of it is due on Fridays.  His homework is now a daily thing and he has to turn it in the very next day.  It has been somewhat challenging making sure that he does all his homework each day.  Before, when it was once a week, it was okay to miss a day here or there when something came up during the week, but now, no matter what we're doing, we have to make sure that his homework is done on time.  And his homework takes much more time  to complete now than it did in the second grade. Plus Zachary has homework also. Zachary's is not as urgent because he does have the whole week to finish his and they don't take that long.

Zachary has learned how to write his name and all the alphabets.  They aren't straight and pretty, but they are legible.  He is going pretty well in school.  He was having some problems with paying attention but we have been working on that and he's gotten much better at it.  He seems to like school and is picking up on things very quickly.  He got his first book order last week and he was very excited to show them to us.  He calls it his "free" books.  Yeah, it's free because he didn't have to do anything and got to bring books home.  He took an assessment test two weeks into school and his teacher said that he's quite ahead of his class because he knows how to recognize most of the alphabets and he can count all the way to 15 without any problems. 

Mackenzie is starting to crawl.  She also can sit herself up from a laying down position.  She would first get herself onto her legs and knees and from there sit up.  She loves to stand too.  She can pull herself up in the crib or when holding onto something like the coffee table.  I think in a few more weeks, she'll be extremely mobile.  She's also getting very curious in her walker.  If she's in the kitchen and you open the refrigerator, she'll come flying so that she can get her hands on the inside of the frig.  She's also likes to lock people inside the pantry.  She'll try to get in with you, but instead, she'll push it closed and stand guard outside for a few minutes hoping that you will open the door for her to get in. 

Kid update

The family is fine.  A few of them have a minor cold, but nothing dramatic.  Michael just put out new pictures of everyone yesterday so you might want to check it out.  Mackenzie can now sit up all by herself.  She's working on crawling too. We've fed her some solid food and she's getting better at eating it.  The first few times we tried, she didn't know what it was and kept spitting it back out, but now she just swallows it and asks for more.  She is also very clingy and picky when it comes to who holds her.  If she knows who you are, she'll be okay with you holding her, but if she's not seen you before or in a long while, she'll start crying.  When she's sitting down and you walk by her, she'll stretch her hands out wanting you to pick her up.  If you walk up to her and stand right by her, she'll actually hold onto your pants and try to lift herself up to you.  She has this really demanding cry and I mean demanding.  It really sound like, "I want to be picked up and you better pick me up NOW!!"

Zachary.  He just started school two weeks ago and so far, it's been okay.  I think it was the third day of school, but I get this phone call from the teacher saying that hit ran into another Zachary and got a black eye from it.  It was very funny because I left my cell phone at home and did not get the voicemail until after Michael picked him up.  So when I got the voicemail, I immediately called Michael asking about him and all Michael said was that Zachary said he ran into Zachary.  Since then, we haven't had any more "Zachary" incidents.  He still very impatient and is trying to learn to sit tight at school.  He's slowly getting better at it.  He had an assessment test last Friday and the teacher said that he's far above most of his classmate because he can recognize his letter and count all the way to 15.  The one thing that he's still not good at his writing the alphabets and his name.  Our fault for not asking him to do so when he was younger.

Nicholas.  He's starting to get use to the third grade.  His homework pattern is different and I hate it.  He has homework every night and has to turn it in the next day.  Although we carpool to work, we normally don't get home until 6:30 or so at the earliest.  Because we carpool, we don't get to work until 9 AM so we don't get off until 5:30 most of the time.  By the time I get home, make dinner, the boys eat dinner, and they do their homework, it's time for bed.  It sucks!!!  Michael and I were just talking about imagining life if I was still working up in Rocklin where I didn't get home until 7:30 or 8 PM.  Nicholas just has so much homework now.  I swear, they think all families have one parent that doesn't work so that parent has plenty of time to work with the kid on homework.  GRRRRRR....

Parties and kids

I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful 4th of July.  We went to a friend's house (Jason's) and had a BBQ.  Question.  Why do you think people like to BBQ when it's 108 degrees out just because it's a holiday?  I have to say that it was HOT, especially coming from the person who did most of the cooking.  The cool thing was that Jason has a pool so once I finished cooking, cooling off was simple and fast.  We had a lot of fun.  And I learned that Zachary could swim.  He can go short distances, but he was doing really good.  At least better than his mother who refuses to get anywhere near water without a floatie.  (I guess I should be somewhat ashamed of myself, huh?)  Nicholas isn't as good as Zachary yet, but I think they are both getting there.  In the evening, we set off the fireworks that we bought and then called it a day. 

This past Saturday was Zachary's birthday party and this time, I didn't do as much as I normally would.  With the new job, I couldn't take any time off so I ended up buying food instead of making it.  It really helped because it was a lot less work and thanks to my cousin, Jenny, who came over to watch the kids, I was close to being on time with all the food.  I tried to start a water fight, but failed miserably because I didn't fill up the balloons big enough.  Oh, well, I guess you learned something new everyday. 

Of course, each time someone HAS to get tossed into the pool by Michael. This time was no exception, but the down side is that it was ME!!  Yeah, he threw me into the pool.  I even taunted him afterwards to say that he only got me in half way and that my top part was not wet. Boy, was I asking for it.  He came right back out and threw me in again.  Being the competitive and stubborn person I am, I tried to pull him into the pool.  I tried and tried, but he's much bigger so I couldn't get him in.  Now, a little improvising was in order so I told him that he better get in himself or else I would be mad.  And just like that, Michael was in the pool, head first.  Although it was not as fulfilling as pushing him in myself, it was still nice to see him go in.

The kids had a lot of fun that day and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for taking time out of their busy lives to come play with us.  Zachary would like to say thank you once again for the gifts that he received.

Mackenzie is going great.  She can now roll back and forth without any trouble. She can also sit up by herself now.  Once you sit her up, she stays there and won't fall over until she gets tired or mad.  And it can get somewhat scary when she does that because you never know which way she's going to fall, face first or head first.  That's why I try to leave her in spots where there no table or sharp object next to her.  I think she's starting to think about crawling.  When you put her down and put something behind her legs, she'll start propelling herself forward.  She's not too good at it yet, but as time goes by, I'm sure she'll perfect it.  Now, on the other hand, she has gotten really spoiled.  (Probably thanks to me, he he. )  She likes being held and she'll let you know when you aren't holding her.  She will cry and cry until you pick her up, especially at night when she's sleepy.  And boy, does she know how to use her lungs!  Let's see, what else?  Oh yeah, she's now solely on formula.  Hopefully, this will help her grow quicker. Her two cousins are catching up to her quickly.  Each time they come up or we go down, Carla and I will place them next to each other to see how they have grown and as you can see, the twins are about the same size as Mackenzie. 

Zachary.  Well, he's now 5 and in about 1 1/2 weeks from now, he'll be starting kindergarten.  I personally have mixed feelings about it.  Half of me thinks it's great because he always complains that it's boring going over to my parents' house and that he has nothing to do.  School will keep him occupied.  The other half of me thinks that I'm going to be in trouble because he's going to be so bad at the beginning.  He still throws his little temper tantrums and cries a lot when he doesn't get what he wants.  I doubt that he's going to be changing that behavior in the next two weeks.  I'm foreseeing a few parent teacher conferences before things change.  However, on the good note, Nicholas has similar problems and after a few weeks of school, his behavior totally changed.  He was no longer the disruptive one and was always getting good behavior cards. I am hoping that the same thing will happen with Zachary.  

Guess what?  One of Nicholas' two front tooth is finally coming through.  We are so happy and excited about this.  I mean, he has been without those two teeth for over 4 years now.   I feel bad sometimes because if we would have been a little more diligent about him brushing his teeth when he was younger, he wouldn't have needed them to be pulled out so early.  I can't wait until he gets both of them back.  His dentist told me that those two should be the next ones to come in. 

Nicholas, like Zachary, will be going back to school again in a couple of weeks.  He'll be in the third grade.  Boy, does time go by.  It seems like yesterday when I took him to his first day of school in kindergarten.  I remember standing outside the window looking at him to make sure he was okay before leaving for work.  I remember the unwillingness to leave because I was so afraid that he would get scared and cry.  And that was over 3 years ago.  I wonder how I'll feel when I have to take Zachary to his first day of school.

Me and my new job?  It's been okay thus far.  I haven't seen much action yet but I just got assigned to a project so it should pick up dramatically starting next week.  I like it so far.  It's also very different to be able to carpool to work and not have to drive at all.  Not much here to talk yet so I'll stop here for now.

Back to work

Okay, I have gone back to work for more than 1 month now and boy is it tiresome.  As most of you know, I work very far from home so my days are like 12-hour work days.  It’s long and by the end of the day, I’m really tired.  After I come home, I normally have to make dinner and help Nicholas with his homework.  By the time things are all done, it’s normally 9 to 10 PM at night.  If you’re wondering what Michael does during this same time, he works on other stuff like the bills, cleaning up the house and watches Mackenzie. 

Since I’m the one writing the journals, I’m going to start of with news about me.  Well, I found a new job and will be starting it on June 25th.  It’s a contracting job with CalPERS.  CalPERS, you say?  It’s that where Michael works?  Yes, it is.  We will both be working in the IT department but just in different units within the department.  I’m very excited about the new job.  I won’t have to drive all the way up to Rocklin anymore which saves me a lot of time in the morning and at night.  We can also carpool to work so we will be saving a lot of money on gas and car maintenance.  We can eat lunch together, although I hear that Michael eats lunch around 11 AM while I usually eat lunch around 12 or 1 PM.  We have a couple of friends who also work at PERS so it’s going to be fun during lunch time.   

Okay, onto the more exciting one, Mackenzie.  She can flip now.  She can do a 360 on her flips.  I videotaped her doing that the other day and if I can get Michael to show me how to put that on the web, I will add that to the website.  She also can do a lot with her hands now.  She can now reach and play with her toys that are hanging from her car seat and from mat.  She also seems to pick on guys.  My father is normally the person who watches her, but for some reason, he can never get her to drink her milk.  Every time he can get her to start drinking it, but never finish it.  My mother would usually need to intervene before she will continue drinking.  She will cry even if my father is holding her, but once my mother picks her up, she’s fine.  My mother says that she’ll reach her hand out for her when she sees her passing by.  The same is with me.  When I am right next to her, she’s fine, but then when I walk away and ask my father to watch her, she will start crying.  She sometimes will do the same thing to Michael.  Michael will try and try to feed her a bottle of milk and she refuses to take it.  Then he hands her over to me and I will have no problem with her.  My brother and cousin all seem to have the same problem with her.   

The only male that I have not seen her have a problem with is Zachary.  She loves it when Zachary plays with her.  And Zachary loves to play with her too.  No matter where Zachary is (even when we’re not at home) or what he’s doing, he will every now and then stop and come over and play with Mackenzie.  He loves to put his head against hers and do an affectionate hug.  He loves to make her laugh.  He would grab a hold of her two legs and kiss the heel of her feet and then go “Who’s the baby?”  This normally makes her laugh and he would continue doing this for a few minutes.  He’s a very good big brother.  He will make sure that she’s happy when we’re in the car.  He’ll push the button to play the music on her car seat toy to make sure she’s happy.  Whenever she cries, he’ll help put her pacifier in her to calm her down. He’s even helped me with feeding her.  I would ask him to help me hold her bottle and he will patiently hold it there until she’s done.  And if you know Zachary, he doesn’t have a lot patience with anything.  During the weekends, when he wakes up, he would come into our room and watch cartoons with her.  Sometimes, he’ll stay for a few hours and would continue to come in and out of the room to check on Mackenzie.   

Nicholas just had his 8th birthday party and I would have to say that he had a lot of fun.  Quite a few friends and family attended this year and Jennie (my little cousin, not Mui), got tossed into the swimming pool by Michael.  She was naïve enough to stand outside right next to the pool. I personally think that she forgot all about Michael’s little prank every year.  Nicholas got a lot of presents and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to come to his birthday party.      

We also got a chance to see the twins again since Richard and Carla were here also.  Oh boy, have they grown.  They are almost as big as Mackenzie.  When we went down to visit them, I put Mackenzie right next to them and took some pictures.  Well, we did that again when they were here and boy, she’s only bigger by a few inches.  I am going to guess that by next month, when they come up for Zachary’s birthday, they are going to be the same size as Mackenzie.   

Oh yeah, last month, we celebrated my mother’s 60th birthday.  Well, in Chinese years, it’s her 61st birthday.  We took a lot of pictures and for the first time, we had pictures of the grandparents with all the grand kids.  If you want to see these pictures, click here.

We also went to Discovery Kingdom during the Memorial Day weekend thinking that the Thomas play land was open.  To our disappointment, it was not finished therefore the kids were not able to play there.  The kids however did have lots of fun at all the other attractions there.  Don't believe me, see for yourself. 

Well, I’m kinda lazy so I’m going to stop here, but be sure to check back next month because I’ll be writing about my new job and Zachary’s birthday party.

General Update

Boy, does time fly?  It's been over twelve weeks since Mackenzie was born.  And I only have 1 1/2 more weeks before I have to go back to work.  It sure has been a fun and wonderful twelve weeks thus far. 

Well, we went to visit Richard and Carla at the end of last month and got to see the twins for the first time.  They were so cute and adorable.  We took quite a few pictures of them and I have created a new page just for them.  If you want to see their pictures, click on this.  It's amazing how one can forget so quickly how small a baby was.  I placed Mackenzie next to the twins and she looked like a giant compared to them.  It was also the first time that we visited Richard and Carla's house.  They have a very nice and cozy house.  The house had many wonderful and nice decorations all over.  It really makes me wish I could decorate our house as nicely as Carla did to hers.  Overall we had a great time and the twins were wonderful.  Once again, we would like to congratulate Richard and Carla and hope you guys enjoy your new company.

Mackenzie.  Well, she's over twelve weeks old now.  She grown quite a bit.  She probably about 13 pounds now which is amazing since she was only a little over 7 pounds when she was born.  Since I've been staying home with her, I have been nursing her but work is on the horizon so we're trying to get her use to a bottle.  Let's just say, it's been a rough few days for her.  She's not use to it and refuses to take it even though she's really hungry.  The first night we tried this, she drank 2 ounces in 10 hours.  She was fussy the whole time, but refused to eat from a bottle.  Once she fell asleep, she eat another 3 ounces.  The second day, she went about 5 hours before she would take some milk and when she did, she drank quite a few ounces.  Today is the fifth day that we're trying the bottle and she's still somewhat resistant to it.  I tried this morning to give her a bottle, but she wouldn't take it until she fell asleep.  As we speak right now, she crying and complaining about being hungry, but refuses to take the bottle.  I still do nurse her, but only at night when both of us are really tired and sleepy.  Hopefully, she will adapt to the bottle soon or else my parents are going to have a fun time with her when I go back to work. 

Besides the bottle issue, she's doing great.  She likes to talk and smile at you when you play with her.  She's starting to learn how to grab things like the toys that are in front of her.   She still sleeps quite a bit during the day, but has adapted to a routine.  She normally will wake up around 7 AM, then take a nap at 9 AM until noon or so.  Then she's awake and will take short 30 minutes naps until 7 or 8 at night.  Once she's asleep at night, she will sleep for 5 hours or so (if she full).  Then she'll sleep again for another 3 hours and wake up again the next day around 7 AM again.  With her current routine, I do get more sleep than I use to when she was waking up every 2 hours at night.  I am not looking forward to going back to work with this type of interrupted sleep every day.  I really have no idea how I'm going to react to the lack of sleep every night.  There are days where I feel like a zombie because I don't get enough sleep.  Okay, enough about me.  Back to Mackenzie.  She hasn't learned to flip over yet, but she loves to sit up.  Every morning, I put her on the bouncer and she quietly sits there and plays.  It's really amazing how fast she has grown.

Zachary.  Well, he's been home with me ever since December 2006 and he's still not tired of me yet.  Zachary really loves Mackenzie and enjoys her company.  Every morning when Mackenzie is on the bouncer, Zachary would sit there and play with her.  He is learning how to "talk" to her and most of the time, she will response to him.  He is also very protective of her.  He does not like other people messing with her and will get very upset if others make Mackenzie mad or cry.  Zachary loves to hug or touch Mackenzie affectionately.  Sometimes, he's too affectionate.  For example, he likes to put his two hands on her face to talk to her and there have been times where Mackenzie cries because Zachary is being a little too rough.  Overall, Zachary would probably say that she's a keeper.

Zachary is going to be going to school this year in August and I'm not too looking forward to it yet.  You see, Zachary has this one bad little habit. He throws a really bad temper tantrum.  Whenever he gets upset, he will start one of these tantrums.  He'll start crying and sometimes won't stop even if you ask him to.  Then there are times where he will drop himself to the floor and cry at the same time.  We are trying to undo these bad habits before he starts school. 

Nicholas.  He's going great.  He's is doing great in school and seems to love school very much.  Since I am home after he gets off school, I am able help him with his homework and most of the time, he really doesn't need much help.  His current interest is still video games.  Once he's done with his school work, he's either on his computer, playing with a Gameboy, or playing on his Wii.  Sometimes, we actually have to tell him to stop playing and do something else.

Michael.  I would have to say that he's going great also.  Now that I stay home, I am able to make him dinner every night which is cool because when I was working, dinner was either really late or we would get something on the way home.  Also, every morning, I would make him his breakfast and pack his lunch.  If you ask him whether he has enjoyed my stay at home for the last 3 months, I am pretty sure that the answer would be "It's been great!"  This will be another thing I will miss when I get back to work.  In the past, I don't get off work until 6 PM or so and depending on the traffic, may not get home until really late. Sometimes around 8 PM therefore dinner is not ready until 8:30 or 9 PM.  I really need to try getting to work earlier so that I can get home at a decent time to prepare dinner.  Nicholas normally has to be in bed by 9:30 so having such a late dinner is never a good idea. 

I also need to get better at making dinners because Michael can no longer eat dairy or mayo.  When I am not home and he's hungry, he would make himself a sandwich.  Well, without cheese and mayo, a sandwich isn't really all that great.  This is why I need to get better at making food for him that he will eat and can heat up quickly when I'm not home.  Not to say that Michael cannot make his own food, but it's just easier if there is already food ready when you're hungry.  You're probably wondering why Michael can't eat dairy or mayo.  Well, he's been having some stomach issues and his doctor has asked him to cut out a few things.

April has been a busy month.  First there were birthday parties for two of my nieces, then there was Easter, and this past weekend, it was my nephew's birthday party.  Of course at the end of the month, it'll be my birthday also.  Well, this year's Easter celebration was at our house.  It was such a nice day that we decided to BBQ for the first time this year.  I believe everyone had a lot of fun.  There were a lot of kids here and we did some egg coloring and decorating first.  After that, the kids made Easter cards while the adults went and hid the eggs at the park down the street.  Once they were ready and the kids were done with their cards, we headed out for the park.  I was not sure how many kids were going to be there so I prepared over 300 eggs just in case.  The kids all had fun with the hunt and afterwards they got to play in the park.  Some of the adults even participated in a game of duck duck goose.  After that, we went back to the house and everyone just hung out and enjoyed their Sunday afternoon.  Michael took some pictures of all the activities and I have added a page for the April birthdays and Easter. 

Well, like I said, 11 more days and it'll be work time again.  Hopefully, I will find time next month to write another update and add more stuff to the website.  Until then, have a wonderful day!  

Snow trip, CNY, and another set of twins

It’s a little over 7 weeks now and Mackenzie has been a wonderful addition to our family.  She has learned the difference between day and night and is starting to sleep longer hours during the night.  Of the three kids, I think she is the quickest one to adapt to a night time schedule.  She will go to sleep around 9 or 10 PM and will sleep for 4 to 5 hours.  Of course, this is great for me because I can actually sleep for more than 2 hours each time.  After that, she gets up to be fed and then will normally sleep for another 3 hours or so.  During the day, she will take a long nap for about 3 hours and the rest of the time will take short naps here and there. 

Many people are amazed with her alertness at her young age.  She looks around a lot and can recognize voices.  She’ll turn towards the voice/noise and stares the person straight in the eye, especially if it is Mommy that’s talking.  She has this little radar for me whenever I’m anywhere near her.  She also has very strong neck muscles.  She can support herself up very well.  On her rocker, we normally have her in a sitting position and ironically, she gets upset if she’s not in the sitting position.  I really don’t remember Nicholas or Zachary being that strong at the same age.  Michael thinks that she will walk even sooner than Nicholas did. (Nicholas was walking around 9 ½ months.)

Overall, we believe that Mackenzie is developing very well.  I took her in for a check up about 2 weeks ago because she had a cold and she was already 10 lbs. 6 oz.  That’s a little over 3 lbs. over her birth weight.  We’re guessing she weight about 11 lbs. right now.  She has her two month check up next Thursday so we’ll know more than. 

How is Nicholas and Zachary adapting to Mackenzie?  Both of them are doing fine with Mackenzie.  Zachary loves his little sister.  Every chance he gets, he would go up to her and rub his face against hers.  There are times when I have to ask him to stop because she’s sleeping and he tends to wake her up when he does that.  There are other times when he will actually sit there and talk to her.  Yesterday, both Nicholas and Zachary were trying to talk to her using the universal baby language.  It was a very cute and adorable sight to see.

Nicholas does not hang out with Mackenzie as much as Zachary, but is doing his share as a big brother.  He helps with many things like carrying the baby bag when we are out or throwing away the diaper when she gets changes.  The newest trick he's learned is how to put the pacifier into her mouth iwhen she’s crying in the car.  I remember the first time I asked Nicholas to do so, he didn’t know that he could let go after she started sucking on it.  He held it in her mouth the whole way home from my parents’ house.  That’s about a 25 minute drive. 

Zachary will do his share of helping also especially when Nicholas is in school, but Zachary gives up a lot more easily than Nicholas.

Other events during the last month?  Well, there was Chinese New Years.  Since I did not have to work this year during the festivities, it was a lot more enjoyable.  We really didn’t do anything different from last year, but because I had a new born, I didn’t have to do as much work as I normally would.  We had our normally celebration at my mother’s house on the second day of New Year.  Of course, like normally, there were plenty of food and laughter.  For the kids, they got their usually amounts of red envelops and met many people that they probably will not remember until next year.  This year, Chinese New Years was a bit more fun for the kids because my brother built an arcade machine at my parents’ house.  Also, many, if not all, of my nieces and nephews have a Gameboy console so they were able to connect to each other and play two player games.  As you can see from the pictures I took, there were very into the Gameboy and the arcade machine.

The weekend after Chinese New Year (2/23 - 2/25), the boys went to South Lake Tahoe.  Mackenzie and I stayed home.  From what I heard, the boys had a lot of fun playing in the snow and they loved the kid games at Heavenly.  The trip was planned a few months ago.   We bowl with my sister and a couple of friends on Wednesday nights and they all decided to take a trip to the snow.   Since the boys have never been to the snow, we thought it would be a good experience for them.  They drove up to the cabin that they rented on Friday and stayed there until Sunday.  As you can tell from the pictures, the boys had lots of fun playing in the snow, building snowman, and sliding down the hill.  The cabin that they were staying in also had a hot tub outside and the kids enjoyed that too. 

They did have some problems trying to get back down to Sactown.  That weekend happen to be the weekend where it rained a lot down here in Sactown so it was snowing up in the high countries.  On the day they went up, the roads were clear so they had no problem getting to Lake Tahoe.  On Saturday, it was nice and sunny so they enjoyed their day at Heavenly.  However on Sunday, the day that they were suppose to come back down, it was snowing and windy.  I guess it snowed overnight and you can see from some of the pictures that their cars were all snowed in.  The roads were very bad so they decided not to come back down in the morning.  I was constantly calling them to see what the latest conditions were.  Eventually, they were able to leave that evening and got back into town around 1 AM on Monday morning.  Good thing we don’t do this often or else I would have a lot of white hair from worrying.

The weekend after the snow trip (3/3/07), we had a Red Egg and Ginger party for Mackenzie.  It’s pretty much a dinner party to celebrate the one month birthday of a newborn.  For dinners like this, you can either have it at your home or in a restaurant and since I was not going to be cooking for 50 – 60 people, it took place at a restaurant.  Traditionally, you would serve eggs that were dyed red and ginger that was marinated in vinegar.  Don’t ask me why eggs and ginger.  I only know that ginger is supposed to be good for women who just had a baby because it helps “heal” your body.  Well, I did serve the red eggs, but not the ginger because my mother knows that I can’t take ginger so she never prepared that dish while I was pregnant.  You see, the marinated ginger requires much work that starts probably around the 8th month of a woman’s pregnancy.  After the birth of the baby is when the ginger is actually cooked with pork and served.  It is also tradition that if someone comes and visits you at your home during the first month of your child’s birth, you should serve them some of this ginger.  Of course, I use the excuse that I married an American, therefore I do not need to follow all the rules so if you came to see me during the first month of Mackenzie’s birth, that is why you were not served ginger and pork.

How am I doing so far?  I’m doing fine.  Since Mackenzie doesn’t sleep through the night, I wake up whenever she wakes up.  You can imagine that with all the interrupted sleep during the night, I never feel like I get enough sleep so I don’t normally get up until 9 in the morning.  Life at home with Zachary and Mackenzie has been fun thus far.  I have always been the ambiguous type and thought that I would go crazy if I spent too much time sitting at home.  Thus far, these seven weeks have been enjoyable and I’ve gotten use to staying at home.  I always thought that I would get bored and not want to stay home anymore, but on the contrary, there is so much that can be done at home that I run out of daylight each day.  My only problem is that Mackenzie is still very young therefore I cannot devote an entire day to working around the house.  I spent whatever time I have free working on things while she’s sleeping or on the swing.  Some of the free time, I spend watching TV and relaxing.  And when I do get bored, I go out to my parents and stay there for a while.  So to conclude myself, life at home isn’t that bad. 

Finally, I have great news. My sister-in-law gave birth to twin boys on Tuesday morning.  I don’t have all the details as to their weight and height, but we do plan on visiting them this coming weekend so we’ll have more details and plenty of pictures.  Congratulations to Richard and Carla!!!

Trips to the hospital

Okay, it's been about 3 1/2 weeks since Mackenzie was born and boy, has it been an interesting time. 

Mackenzie is doing great now.  She's gained almost 2 pounds now.  She still sleeps a lot but does manage to stay awake for a few hours during the day.  She's normally awake in the morning around 9 AM and will then go back to sleep around noon or 1 PM.  Sometimes she'll wake up during the evening but it all depends on her mood.  If she doesn't wake up during the evening, then she will wake up in the middle of the night. 

Like I said, she is doing great now, but ask me that one week ago, and I would have said, I'm extremely worried about her health.  It's very interesting.  With both of our boys, all my issues with them were during the pregnancy before they were born where I had to be on bed rest and medication to keep them from coming out too early.  With Mackenzie, I had no issues at all during the pregnancy, but during the day of birth, we had a couple of "challenges."  It just seems that with Mackenzie, all our issues are either during birth or after she's born.  Some of you are probably thinking "What is she talking about?"  Well, let me fill you guys in.  Last Tuesday, we were a little worried in the morning because she felt hotter than normal.  Michael took her temperature and it was a little bit above normal at 99 degrees.  We didn't really think much about it at that time.  Throughout the day, I sensed something really different with her.  Like I said previously, she sleeps a lot, but will wake up at least once during the day for a few hours.  Well, on Tuesday, she didn't wake up at all.  All she did was sleep.  She would complain about being hungry, eat, and then go back to sleep.  I wouldn't be so concerned if she was a bit more lively while she was eating.  During the whole day, she was very lifeless.  It just didn't feel right.  At around 4:30 PM, I fed her and she felt really, really warm to me.  With all the other signs during the day, I started getting a little paranoid and was a bit worried.  I decided to take her temperature and to my surprise, it was at 101 degrees.  Well, according to all the papers that I received from the hospital, we're suppose to call the doctor if she has a fever higher than 100.4, so I did exactly that.  While I called the doctor, Michael went to the store to get some infant Tylenol.  Once I got through to the advise nurse, she told me that I should take her immediately to the ER so I called Michael back and we all headed towards UC Davis. 

As most of you know, I am a very paranoid mother.  Let's just say, I was very worried by this point.  The nurse told me that infants her age are not suppose to be getting high fevers like hers and to immediately take her to the ER really got me worried.  Of course, Michael was very calm about the whole thing thus far.  We got everyone in the car and started heading towards my parents' house where the boys would be staying.  After dropping off the boys, we headed to the hospital.  I don't know how many of you guys have been to UC Davis' emergency room, but let's just say, it's never a quick wait.  We got in line to see the triage nurse and that by itself, took an hour.  The last time we were there was for Michael's stomach problems and I remember waiting there for a very long time.  Being as worried as I was already, Michael and I agreed to only wait for one or two hours and if we did not get seen, we would go to another hospital (Methodist).  Once we got to the triage nurse, someone else came by to ask if we were the ones with the 2 week old baby.  We said yes.  They told us that they were already aware of us and was just waiting for a bed to open up.  This, of course, calmed me down a little knowing that they were aware of what was going on.  We were asked to wait in the waiting room while they got a bed ready for us.  We went out and waited.  While sitting outside, we thought about asking them if we could wait somewhere else.  I mean, there were a room full of sick people and we had a two week old baby whose immune system isn't really in the best shape. 

We waited for about 15 minutes when a nurse came out asking about a 2 month old baby and we said ours was only 2 weeks old.  The nurse, amazingly, also agreed that we should not be waiting with everyone else and took us inside to wait instead.  Long story short, she was really looking for us.  She got the month and week wrong.  Once they started looking at Mackenzie, she got all the attention of several nurses and doctors.  They started processing her immediately by taking her vitals.  They also told us that she most likely would be staying for two days because they are very conservative with infants that young and take no chances.  They also told us that they needed to take a bunch of blood and cultures to test them for any kind of infection.  Babies her age should not get fevers, but when they do, it's normally a sign of an infection of some kind.  The reason why we have to stay for two days is because the results from all the tests won't be back until 48 hours later. 

With that said, they started the poking parade.  First, they had to get some cultures from her (pee).  Then, they tried to take some blood from her.  The nurse started with the right arm, but because she was so small, that attempt was not successful.  Then they went for the right hand.  From there, they managed to get one small vial of blood, however it did not work for the IV that they wanted to insert.  So the next attempt went to left arm and by looking at it, the nurse determined that it was not possible to put the IV there.  So we moved onto the left hand.  The nurse poked another needle into the left hand and after a few pokes and prying, she decided that she couldn't draw any blood from this attempt, but it would work for the IV so the IV was placed there.  You can see from some of the pictures below that her left hand was quite wrapped up. 

As you can imagine, Mackenzie was screaming her head off with all the poking that they were doing to her.  I mean, even as an adult, I would be complaining if I was poked that many times, especially the way the nurse was doing the poking.  Mackenzie's veins were so small that it was very hard to get it right the first time so she was poking around under the skin after she got the needle in her hands.  It took quite a few pokes before she got to the vein.  For some with small vein, I totally can relate to what she was going through.  I remember with Nicholas, they were trying to put an IV in me also and that nurse was doing the same thing.  And boy, I can tell you, I still remember how much that hurt (and that was over 8 years ago!). 

For those who know us, I am the paranoid mother and Michael is the calm one.  But when it comes to pain and sympathy, we are reversed.  Michael is the one who normally gets emotionally and I'm the one who they call "cold blooded."  When the nurse first started with all the poking, she told us that they would need help from us to help hold her or comfort her.  Guess who volunteered, Michael or I?  By the time the IV was in her left hand, Michael was pretty much on his knees with tears coming down his face.  Michael could not stand watching them poking her so much especially with her crying so much.   Luckily, Michael had to leave because he had to take the boys home.  Nicholas had school the next day and only one of us could stay with Mackenzie.  So, Michael left to go home and pick up some stuff for me.

While he was gone, they did a lot more poking with Mackenzie.  Since they were not able to get much blood from her arms, they decided that they would try the foot.  They started with the left foot and got a few drops.  The nurse was hoping that the few drops were enough.  I was hoping that it was enough also because she had gone through so much.  They told me that now I just had to wait for a room to open up before we get moved.  Well, I sat there comforting her and right when I got her to calm down, the nurse came back and said that the few drops were not enough.  Since the left foot didn't work, they went to the right one.  They were able to extract another vial of blood from that and when the nurse was done, I started calming Mackenzie down again.  By this time, she was very tired and very unhappy.  I felt so bad for her.  Then to my surprise, they came back a little bit later and said that they didn't have enough blood yet and was going to try something different.  This time, they took these tiny little needles and poked the bottom of her foot and slowly squeezed blood from her.  They poked her twice there and took about 5 to 10 minutes to fill both vials with blood.  By this time, Mackenzie and I were both tired of them poking her.  You would think that after all that, they wouldn't have to poke her anymore to get blood, but with the way our day was going, would you be surprised if it was not.  Well, it was not.  It seems that the way they took the blood from the bottom of her foot was not good because the blood was contaminated so they needed more blood.  Can you say, "I give up?"  Well, since they have poked her everywhere already, the nurse went back to the right hand and FINALLY, they got what they wanted. 

I was hoping that we would be done with all the poking by now.  Guess what?  They were not done.  While I was holding Mackenzie at the beginning for the IV, one of the doctors was explaining to Michael about the need to get some spinal fluid.  Well, no one told me about this so imagine my surprise when I heard about more poking.  The doctor came back to explain to me what they needed and what they were going to do.  Before they started the procedure, they asked me if I wanted to step out or if I wanted to watch.  I decided to watch.  Basically, they need to get some spinal fluid to test for infections.  To get the spinal fluid was very similar to getting an epidural.  They cleaned her back, figured out where to poke the needle, taped her back up, and then proceeded.  You know how you have to sit in this very uncomfortable position when an epidural is inserted.  Well, she had to stay in the same position also while they were extracting the fluid.  To help her stay in this position, they had one of the nurses hold her down.  The best way to describe the position they had her in is to imagine her in a folded position where her head was touching her legs.  She was not happy at all, but she was also so tired that she actually fell asleep half way through this exercise.  Hey, at least now, I know what they were doing to me when I had the epidural and the spinal amnesia injected during my two deliveries. 

At last, there was one last thing that they needed to do and that was the least painful thing.  They had to extract some liquid from her nasal passages. To do this, they injected some saline solution into her nose and then quickly extracted it back out.  By the time all this was done, it was about 11:30 PM and they were finally done poking her.  She was tired that she fell asleep pretty quickly.  Now, all we were doing was waiting for the room to be ready for her.  By 12:30 AM, we were upstairs on the 7th floor in a room.  I called Michael to tell him where we were and went to sleep.  You can see from the pictures below where I slept and it wasn't all that comfortable. 

Since we didn't get in until after midnight, I wasn't expecting to leave until Friday morning.  Throughout Wednesday, she was doing about the same thing as she was on Tuesday, just eat and sleep and was very lifeless.  The only good thing was that she no longer had a fever.  She was also on antibiotics just in case she did have some kind of infection. 

By Thursday morning, she was doing a little better.  She looked a little more lively and she was awake for a few hours during the morning.  The doctor came in to talk to us and told us that we could go home that night if we wanted to. Even though all the cultures had not returned, thus far, everything looked good.  They asked us if we wanted to go home later that evening or early the next morning.  Of course, we chose later that evening.  I was so happy that we were finally able to go home.  Sleeping on a sofa bed isn't all that fun and it's next to impossible to get any sleep in the hospital.  Mackenzie wakes up every 2 to 3 hours and between that, you have nurses or doctors coming in and out. And to top it off, we had a room mate also and they had nurses and doctors coming in and out.  I was very tired and worn out by this time.

You would think that our luck was starting to turn with Mackenzie looking much better, but all that was gone by 4 PM that day.  One of the residents came in to tell us that we could not leave because they found some bacteria in her urine test.  They thought she might have a urinary track infection.  The good news was that she was already on the correct antibiotics and if she continued to do as well as she was, we would be able to be discharged on Friday morning.  Oh well, one more day to go. 

More luck going downhill.  During a normal routine check that night, the nurse noticed something wrong with her left hand.  The left hand was where the IV was.  When we compared her left hand with her right hand, we knew something was wrong.  Her left hand was twice as big as her right hand.  It was extremely swollen.  It was explained to me that the vein was punctured and the fluid was leaking in her hand.  Most of the fluid and antibiotic were now under her skin instead of in her blood stream.  The IV that was there had to be removed and they may need to insert a new IV somewhere else because she needed to have the antibiotics.  Well, during the visit from the resident to tell us about the infection, he mentioned that she would be given oral medication once we got home so I asked if it was okay to start the oral medication instead of putting another IV in her.  The nurse said that she would ask.  While we waited for the answer from the doctor, I was asked to put some warm cloth over her left hand to help the liquid absorb into her system.  Luckily, the fluid would not harm her and the antibiotic under her skin would still be effective once absorbed into her system.  By this time, I really was wondering if anything else could go wrong and was just crossing my fingers that she doesn't need another IV in her.  I guess someone was listening to me because the nurse came back to say that she could move onto oral medication and did not need another IV. 

Well, after all the downhill, things started to go uphill.  By Friday morning, she was looking and feeling a lot better.  She was up and moving around just like she was before all this happened.  She didn't have any fever so they were going to send us home.  All we had to wait for was the paperwork to be done which was complete around 2 PM however Michael had to pick up Nicholas so Mackenzie and I had to wait a bit more before we could leave.  We finally left the hospital around 4 PM and got home around 5 PM.

Well, since then, Mackenzie has not had the fever and is continuing to do perfectly well.  She's going to be one month old this weekend and it also happens to be Chinese New Year.  We will be going back to my parents' house for all the festivities.  Also, Michael will be taking the boys up to the snow next weekend while Mackenzie and I will be staying in Sacramento so be on the look out  for new pictures and another update in the near future. 

I think this is enough typing for one day.  Below are some pictures of her in the hospital.

It's a girl!

As you are all aware by now, Mackenzie was born on January 18, 2007 at 4:40 PM.  Now, some of you also know that this was not the easiest delivery we had.  This is how the story began. 

On Wednesday, January 17, 2007, I went in for my normal baby check-up.  I was exactly 39 weeks then. My OB/GYN checked me and told me that I was 3 cm. dilated.  Then he checked to make sure that the baby’s head was down near my pelvis.  Well, to both his and my surprise, the baby’s head was up towards my stomach.  I guess the medical term for this is that the baby was breeched.  He went out to get an ultrasound machine to confirm the breech and yup, she was breeched.  He started explaining to me the different options I had since I was quite far along already.  He told me that normally when they have a breeched baby, they will try a version first, but most versions are attempted around 36 or 37 weeks.  Well, I was way past that point, but because I was small and the baby was small, they may still try to attempt a version.  If a version was out of the question, then I would need to have a C-section. 

I asked what a version was and basically it was a method to turn the baby around to the correct position.  The risk of this procedure was that it wouldn’t work and that the baby may still revert back to the original position when it was time to delivery, in which I would still need to have a C-section. 

He went out to consult with other doctors on the best method and I requested that we try the version first, if it was still possible.  He came back to tell me that they would also like to try the version first.  I had an appointment on the next day at 2 PM to perform the procedure.  Now, my doctor did prepare me by telling me what it was, what the risk were, what the pains were, and what all the different outcomes may be.  First scenario, the baby turns and we all happy.  Second scenario, the baby turns, but reverts back when it comes time to delivery.  Third scenario, the version does not work and I will have to schedule a C-section.  He also told me that the C-sections for Friday and Monday were already all booked up and they may ask me if I want one on Thursday after the appointment.  Fourth scenario, the baby gets too “stressed” out during the procedure and an emergency C-section would need to be performed.  Of course, number four is the last thing I want to happen.

With this information, I prepared myself for Thursday.  Thursday was technically also my last day at work, and yes, I was still working.  Quite a few people, including Michael, thought that I was crazy.  I worked until noon and then got ready to go because they told us to be there around 1 PM even though the appointment was not until 2 PM.  We dropped off the boys at my mother’s house and told my mother that depending on what happen, the boys may be staying over at her house for the night.  The day before, I had already packed their clothes and essentials and dropped it off at their house.  From there we headed for the hospital. 

They prepared us for the procedure and were talking to us about what they were going to do and how they were going to do it.  Since my doctor already told me all the details to the procedure, I was quite mentally and physically prepared.  Michael did some researching the night before so he was also prepared (I think) for the procedure.  There were a total of three doctors.  Two of them were doing the actual procedure.  One had the head and the other had the feet.  The third doctor (the lead doctor) was monitoring the baby with an ultrasound machine.  They started by putting mineral oil all over my body.  The first time, they were going to try to move her counter clockwise.  They told me to keep taking deep breaths and if I was in too much pain, I should tell them to stop.  When the procedure started, I felt okay and I could feel the baby moving as they were pushing and shoving her around.    As the procedure continued and they got the baby half way, the pain started to kick in.  Let’s just say they were very comparable to intense labor pain.  I had to keep focused on breathing in and out so I tried very hard to concentrate on my breathing.  There were a few times where I looked at Michael and his face made me laugh.  I also had to stop that because that was not a good thing to do while they were performing the procedure.  As they got her head closer and closer to the bottom, the pain got worse and worse.  Then suddenly, I felt no pain at all and could feel the baby’s head back up around my stomach.  She went back to her breeched position. 

They let me catch my breath and asked if they should continue.  I told them that I was okay and they could continue.  They tried the counter clockwise direction the second time and to our disappointment, the same result.  According to the doctor that was pushing the baby’s head, when they got to this one position, the baby’s head dipped very low and the doctor kept losing her grip on the baby’s head therefore allowing the baby to go back to her breeched position.

Well, you would think that three times is the charm.  This time, they thought that they might go clockwise and see if that would work.  After a minute or so of catching my breath, they tried again, but not all threes are charmful.  The third attempt failed also.  By this time, I was very tired and in quite some pain.  All I remember them asking me to do was turn to my left side.  All I heard was turn her to the left to get more oxygen.  Next thing you know, I had this oxygen mask over my face.  As I was trying to figure out what was going on, they asked me to flip to my other side.  By this time, I heard the doctor tell me that they were going to need to perform an emergency C-section (a code “C”).  It took me a few seconds, but I finally figured out that the baby’s heart rate had dropped down into the 50’s.  At that moment, I also saw a flock of doctors and nurses file into the room.  Many of them introduced themselves to me.  (And they expected me to remember who all of them were?)  I remember looking at Michael sometimes during this whole thing and I remember seeing a very worried and concerned face. 

As they were getting ready to move me into the operating room, the head doctor stopped everyone and said that we may be okay.  The baby’s heart rate was slowing coming back.  Within a minute or two, the code “C” was called off and most of the doctors that flocked had in left.

This was the first scare that we had for the day.  As things calmed down, the head doctor stated that he didn’t feel comfortable sending me home after what had just happened and asked if it was okay if we had a normal C-section today.  The thought that was going through my head at this point in time “Of course it’s fine especially since you’re telling me that you don’t want me to go home!!!” 

So with that, they prepared us for the C-section.  The preparation was long and dreadful.  They had to first process a whole bunch of paperwork, asked a ton of questions, many of which were the same question, but just by different people from different departments.  The question of “How tall are you?” was asked about 4 times.  They also had to secure the correct personnel since my C-section was not scheduled.  Sometime during this whole thing, they took off my watch so I had no clue how much time has past.  Finally, they were ready for us in the operating room.  Michael had to wait outside while I was escorted inside because they had to put a spinal anesthesia in mind.  This is different from an epidural.  This was a direct injection into my spine.  It required somewhat the same procedures.  I had to sit in this one awkward position for about 15 minutes.  And to top it off, the lead anesthetist was not the one who was going to inject the needle in me.  It was a wonderful resident.  Let’s just say that she was not very experienced.  The first shot that they did caused quite some pain in my back and they expected me to not move at all when it was injected.  Needless to say, I moved.  Then they were trying to find the right pain and angle to inject the actual anesthesia into me.  Oh boy, that part was not fun.  This resident just couldn’t get it right.  After a few attempts, the lead Anesthetist had to attempt the injection and finally, they got it right. 

Once the injection was in, they made me lay down as quickly as possible. I can feel my legs being strapped down to the table and the flipped me in a downwards angle where my head was almost touching the ground and my legs were up in the air.  They said that this was needed to let the medication flow downwards from my legs to my stomach.  They, then, tried a few test on me to see where I was feeling things and were I was not feeling much.  Eventually, I was at the point where they were ready to begin the C-section.  As they flipped the table back to its normal position, I started to try to move my legs.  Of course with the anesthesia, I could not.  Well, let’s just say that feeling didn’t go over very well with me.  Then, they put this oxygen mask on me telling me that it would help me breath better.  Bad idea also.  Finally, they gave me these straps at the end of my hand.  They told me that they were not used to strap me down but for me to hold them if I wanted to.  At this point, I was lying like in a T position where my hands were perpendicular to my body.  Let’s just say the not being able to move my legs, the oxygen mask, and the straps at the end of my hands freaked me out. 

I started having a panic attack and quickly told them that I was not very stable at this time.  I wanted the oxygen mask gone and the worse feeling in me was that I could not move my legs at all.  They gave me some kind of medication to relax me.  They told me that this medication was going to cause me to not remember certain details of the operation.  I was fine with that as long as this nervous breakdown of mine was going to go away.  I was asked to take deep breaths again so I tried very hard to concentrate on my breathing.  Sometime around here was when Michael showed up next to me.  All I remember doing the whole time was breathing in and breathing out. 

They were right about not remember all the details of the operations.  I remember feeling these tugging motions around my belly.  The next thing I remember was someone saying the baby is out and then seeing a nurse walk by with the baby outside.  Then I heard them saying that they needed to take out the placenta. I remember hearing the baby cry outside.  At that time, I was thinking that that was one healthy baby because she was crying really loud.  Then they brought in the baby to show us.  They put her right next to me, near my shoulder if I didn’t remember wrong.  I saw her and was touching her head.  Truthfully, at this time, I was still quite out of it and all I was thinking in my head was “get this over with.” 

They took the baby back outside and Michael went with them.  I was still trying to concentrate on my breathing.  I think I was a bit more back into things because I remembered much more about this part then I did prior to the baby coming out.  I don’t know how much time had past, but I remember them talking about sewing me back up and counting the number of sponges that they had.  I remember thinking to myself that they better have all of them accounted for because I didn’t want any sponges left inside me. 

Finally, I was put back together and ready to be taken back to the recovery room.  Sometime between Michael leaving with the baby and me being ready for the recovery room, I heard about the baby’s second flirt with the devil.  I guess when they took her out of me, she was not breathing at all.  It took about 1 minute to get her breathing.  Like Karen put it in her e-mail, they rated her as a 1.  They were ready to take her upstairs to ICU for treatment.  However, after a few minutes (Michael said about 5), she was looking better and better and her new rating was an 8.  The explanation I remember was that she must have been affected by some of the medications that were given to me to relax me so once the medication wore off, she was doing better. 

Once again, I was not aware of what was going on so I didn’t have any heart attacks or panic attacks while this was going on.  Now Michael, on the other hand found out about this “little incident” when he walked outside with the baby after they bought the baby to me.  He noticed that they were trying to get liquid out of her lungs and them saying that she’s starting to do better.  When he first saw her, there were about five people around her instead of the normal 1 who would be cleaning her.  She was also very purple and under a warm light.  Eventually, she turned pink and was starting to do better, but he was very concerned as to what was going on. 

After the operations, I was taken to the recovery room to get my temperature and vital signs back to normal before they would move me into a room.  My temperature stayed low for quite a while so I stayed there for a few hours.  I do remember looking at the clock when we got into the recovery room and it was about 5:10 PM.  Michael said that he went into the operation room around 4:25 PM so the whole thing took about 35 minutes.  Mackenzie was born around 4:40 PM so it took the doctors about 15 minutes to do the C-section and take her out.  If you ask me or Michael, that 35 minutes seemed like an eternity.  

Well, that’s pretty much the way things went down from my point of view.  Michael, of course, probably has a different perspective on the chain of events and what happened since he was on the sidelines and probably much more aware of things than me.  I stayed in the hospital for little less then 48 hours.  I was original told that I would not be able to go home until Sunday evening, at the earliest, but because of my speedy recovery, I was released Saturday afternoon.

Okay, now if I had to pick a C-section or a natural birth since I had both, I would pick the natural birth.  Although the C-section was much faster, I felt more in control with a natural birth. 

As for my pains related to the C-section, not much.  I mean, there is the cut along my belly that feels sore and the cramping that comes naturally after labor, but that’s about it.  I was able to get up on my feet again the next morning after the operation and was walking around fine, just a lot more slowly and with extreme caution.  For these reasons, they let me out early.

Now, today is Monday and we have been home with the baby for two days now.  Overall, she’s a pretty good baby.  She doesn’t cry much and eats often.  Now, there is one thing that she’s really good at and that’s going to the bathroom (the big one).  I remember on Saturday morning when I was feeding her, I changed her 4 times.  I’m not joking. I had to change her 4 times in less than 30 minutes.  And each time, she pooped quite a bit. 

The funniest thing that has happened so far?  Well, that would have to be last night.  Like I said, she likes to poop a lot.  Well, last night after a feeding, Michael changed her.  He wiped her clean and while he was lifting up her behind to put a new diaper under her, she let some go.  I remember seeing this stream of watery poop shoot straight towards Michael.  It was a very hilarious sight.  Luckily Michael dodged out of the way, but our bed comforter was not as lucky.  I remember with the boys, we had to be very aware of which way their little private part was pointing or else you might get some surprises.  With her, we have to be very careful where her behind is pointing. 

I couldn’t stop laughing at the incident and boy did the laughing hurt.  The thing with this cut is that it hurts when I do things like cough or laugh so continuous laughing was painful.  But it was a very funny scene.  I also can’t yell or speak very loudly.

You would think that once you see something once, you would learn from your mistakes.  This morning, around 5 AM, I was changing her and yup, she did it again.  This time, her behind was aiming straight at me.  And yup, there was no where for me to go so my clothes and socks ended up being soaked in watery poop.   Once again, I was outright laughing my head off.  This woke Michael up and he had a few giggles with me while he helped me dress her while I cleaned myself.    I think both of us are going to be much more careful around her when we change her diapers. 

Okay, it’s about time I wrap this one up.  I’m sure for those who are actually spending the time reading this long narrative is thinking that it’s about time she stopped talking.  It’s only been a few days since this little one was born, but with all the “close encounters” we’ve had with her, I can tell you that she’s one precious little baby.  She’s adorable and fun to be around.  I’m so glad that in the end, everything worked out fine for us.  I have to thank whoever was watching over us during this whole event for one big happy ending. 

If I get bored at home during the next 14 weeks, I’ll write again with another update.  Do be on the look out for newer pictures.  Michael won’t have time to put up new ones every day, but maybe once a week or so.  Right now, we’re just both enjoying our time home with the little one and counting our blessings on this one.

See you all later.

New house is almost done

Okay, an update on the family since what I wrote on November 25th still has not been published.  We went to look at the house over the Thanksgiving weekend.  It was beautiful.  The house is pretty much done, but they have to go through an internal walk-thru before we can go through our walk-thrus.  All the carpets are in and so are all the appliances.  The only thing that was not finished was the chalet in the kitchen.  Nicholas and Zachary really liked the house. They like the fact that it has so much room for them to run back and forth.  I think that they will really enjoy the game room.