Category Archives: Insights

Evelyn @ 2.7

Watching Daddy Cook

Watching Daddy Cook

It’s been a while since I wrote about Evelyn. Partly because of work and house stuff, but mostly because both Ethan and Evelyn has been keeping us well occupied over the last few months.

While I was going through the photos for Ethan’s post, I rewatched some of the videos that we took around Evelyn meeting Ethan for the first time. Her vocabulary since then is night and day! She doesn’t stop talking and always has something interesting the say.

Here are some of her choice moments:

*Evie trying to go downstairs to wash her hands after dinner, Daddy goes to help her down the stairs
Ev: No Daddy! I want to go down by myself!
Daddy: I am here to help you down, I don’t want you to fall.
Ev: No Daddy, you go back over there and eat.

*Ev gets out of her bed, throws open her door, and runs to our door
*Daddy opens the door
Ev: Oh no, Ethan is crying! I have to go and help him!
*Ev opens Ethan’s door, takes a step in and comes back out
Ev: Can you come and help me?

Ev: Can I have a cracker? I want a cracker mommy.
*Mommy pull out half a cracker from the bag unintentionally*
*Evie stares at it for three seconds*
Ev: This is not a good one. I want a different one.
*Mommy pull out another full cracker*
Ev: Yeah ok. That’s a good one.

Ev: It’s cold. I have to wear my scarf and my hat. But not my jacket.
Mommy: But you have to wear your jacket when it’s cold…
Ev: Snowmen don’t wear jackets.
Mommy: Are you a snowman?
Ev: No

Ev: Ethan’s eating a peach
Mommy: It’s an apple. We don’t have any peaches.
Ev: We have peaches at the dollar store. We have to go buy some. Ok?

It’s like her energy is unlimited. She can jump up and down on the trampoline for hours and then go running circles around us for many more after that. Maybe she is taking it from us or something… I have only seen her be really tired once. That was at the cottage, when she was too excited for her nap time, she almost fell asleep eating.

Her memory is pretty good… At the very least, much better than mine. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, but I have asked her where something was and she would be able to find it for me!

Since the last post a good year ago, she has done some pretty amazing things. Looking back at her just crawling around, it’s fascinating how fast she has grown!

  • She can walk and run around very steadily now. From the videos when Ethan was born, I can see she still had some wobbliness in her steps, but now, she is surefooted as ever.
  • Ever since she was growing up, she has been a tough independent girl. I am proud that she is still this way, she would pick herself up after falling and keep on going.
  • In terms of TV (courtesy of Netflix), she has gone through Daniel Tiger, Bubble Guppies, Curious George, and a few others. She is currently on Paw Patrol and Cat in a Hat. She’s allowed one or two episodes a night and she fully understands the storyline as well as remembers details which she likes to recount in detail to us. Her teachers at Daycare tell us that she would console her friends who are crying, saying things like, “It’s ok. Grown ups come back, don’t cry.” (Daniel Tiger episode)
  • She has fully embraced the big sister role. She loves to teach Ethan how do things, console and entertain him when he cries, hug and kiss him, as well as discipline him and feed him treats that we tell her not to give him, much to our chagrin. It has been really special to watch these two interact and it is very clear that they have a very strong bond.

Here are some pics:

More photos after the jump!
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Introducing… Ethan!

Introducing Ethan!

Introducing Ethan!

Helen and I welcomed Ethan into the world on January 27th. After a few hours of labor and few minutes of crazy scream pushing, Ethan took his first breath of air. Yes, I know it’s been about 10 months. It’s been really busy with lots of changes to everything in the past few months. I have been writing this post since January!

As second time parents, the past few months has been equally emotional as the first time around, but it is definitely not in the same way as it was with Evelyn. The sharp edge of the anxiety and frustration has been tempered by our experience and lessons learned with Evelyn. We know (mostly) what to expect and how to deal/cope with the new changes with regards to welcoming a newborn. Not in the sense of us reading about and understanding what it’s like from a book, but really experiencing the process and dealing with things that no one can really write about or describe. That being said, it doesn’t mean that we were totally prepared and ready for the new arrival either. While every baby is different with their own little quirks and preferences, small variations were expected and accounted for. What really caught us off guard was the logistics of handling two kids. If you think handling one was hard, two is definitely not just twice the amount of work! Sure, individually, the amount of work is the same, but handling them both, or having their schedules and personalities collide, you end up doing SO much more work and getting a lot less sleep.

Here are a couple more thoughts and insights that we gathered over the past few months:

  • The second is just as special as the first
  • Boy or Girl, when you first pick them up and they look at you, it made no difference, you are done
  • Boys spray…
  • The first few months felt like a year… (So by my count, I feel like we have aged like 3 years since he was born)
  • We thought that we couldn’t get any more tired than we did last time … we were wrong
  • The fact that this post didn’t come out until ten months later is telling…
  • We have forgotten a lot of things:
    • The weird sounds that babies make
    • How small they are, I thought Evelyn grew another two inches after we got back from the hospital cause we got accustomed to carrying a small little one for the two days we were gone
    • Oh, the poop… the endless supply of poop…
  • We are a little bit sad for Evelyn that it’s not just her any more
  • She doesn’t mind…

Here are some pictures we have accumulated since then.

More pictures below! Enjoy!
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Google Glass: Thoughts So Far

Over the last little while, I have been asked to do a surveys from Google about using Glass for the last few months. Since I was writing that up, I figure that I’d post some of my thoughts and questions on Google Glass so far here on this site as well.

What do you like best about Glass?

  • It is not an intrusive device for the wearer.
  • The ability to take pictures hands free (with a wink or voice).
  • The ability to command functions with voice.
  • The ability to share the world as you see it.
  • Hanging out with Family while on road trips.
  • Being notified of events as they happen
  • The Community – #GlassFamily

What do you find frustrating about Glass?

  • The battery life is not very good.
  • The device itself is not very rugged.
  • The lock/unlock/power button is on the inside of the frame.
  • The inside of the frame doesn’t seem very sweat proof.
  • XE16 caused a lot of problems, from random reboots, shutdowns, to overheating.

What new features would you like to see for Glass?

  • The ability to find other Glass Explorers in the area through the glass interface and display callouts about the explorer. (And of course, the ability not to be displayed).

What do you think it means to be part of the Glass Explorer Program?

  • It means to be able to take a beta technology, explore it’s real life uses and find interesting applications of this technology.
  • It means that you are an ambassador for Google Glass to everyone else and their notions of appropriateness/laws/rules.
  • It means that you are a Glass Evangelist, Champion, and Defender.


We are moving! – Part 1

So in addition to the updates I had mentioned before, we are moving! I had left it off of the other updates because it felt like that this deserved its own post, but I didn’t actually get around to writing it until now. Also, I think this is going to be a multi-part post.

House Shopping

House Shopping with Evelyn

Once Evelyn had arrived, we decided that it would be time to move to a bigger place. We had begun to outgrow our condo even without Evelyn, so now with her, it’s definitely time for us to look for a house. Initially, I had thought that we would be able to manage where we are for a few years, but with the stuff that we have been accumulating (all three of us), it makes it hard to move around without stepping on something or having a hard time trying to look for something that we so neatly packed away.

I have always worked by a particular concept about storage, space, and stuff, and it’s basically an adapted form of Garbage Collection in Computer Science. (Fitting, no?) The concept is that if the item that is laying around and in the way, assess whether or not it will be needed in the near future, and store it away accordingly. In effect, the things that you use the most will stay in the common areas, like the counter tops in the kitchen or the dining table that’s a makeshift desk, and the things that are not being used as much will be stored in shelves, drawers, and boxes. And anything else, like the things you absolutely don’t need at the moment, goes in the locker. Conceptually, this works because the things that you use often will be easily accessible to you and the things that are not really necessary will migrate to deep storage. However, the critical flaw comes when, just like a computer running out of space, you need to buy more space so more objects can fit into the system to run efficiently.

While total space is just one issue, another one is the area to store the frequently used stuff. Imagine if you use everything in your house frequently, you are probably not going to have much permanent storage space. Everything will need to be easily accessible at your fingertips, which also means that everything will not be packed neatly away. This generates an image of organized chaos when someone walks into your house. The first thing they’ll think of is “this place is a mess”, even if everything is placed in a location that makes perfect sense to you. It happens all the time, I would know exactly where I put my stuff on our working table (Yes, it’s a mess), but once Helen cleans and packs everything up, it takes me literally an hour to find it again. Now, when it’s a small table in an apartment, it’s not that bad, but if this type of space takes up a large portion of the available space in your house, someone is going to have an issue with it. For us, not only are we running out of total space, our ratio between frequently used stuff to total space getting to be a little unacceptable, even to my standards.

With that in mind, we were off to the market looking for another house with a bigger total area.

To be continued…


The Art of Changing Diapers

I have been wanting to post this for a while now, but I never got around to it until now.
When we were still new to changing diapers, we had tried a variety of different ways to do it.
In the end, you are really just trying to do the following:

  1. Open soiled diaper
  2. Wipe down and clean off baby’s skin
  3. Put on fresh new diaper
  4. Dispose the soiled diaper

But as simple and as straight forward as that is, there are lots of complications associated with these steps. At every turn, you can be thrown a curve ball and unless you are ready, it can result in more time spent at the changing station and a pile of clothes to clean.

I think, the proper analogy for diaper changing, is like a pit stop at a Formula One race – there is a limited amount of time to do the above set actions so that the baby can be back on it’s way of either feeding, sleeping, or growing. Any longer, and your cycle is interrupted and more effort has to be made to get back on track.

The Diaper Pit Stop

The Diaper Pit Stop

Keeping with that theme, here are some notes that I have gathered and what worked for me.

The “Check Engine” Light
One of the great things about the new diapers nowadays is the indicator. It does a pretty good job at giving a parent an idea if the diaper has been soiled. It reacts specifically to the chemical commonly found in the bio-waste. Filling a diaper with water will not activate the indicator. Another way to check is by smell. As parents, we seem to have the uncanny ability to be able to smell any distinct changes to the air around our baby. With the combination of smell and sight (the indicator) there should be no reason a baby should be in a soiled diaper for long.

The Blowouts
Blowouts are not pretty. It’s basically when the contents of the diaper starts appearing outside of the diaper. Now, there can only be three reasons for this:

  • The diaper is too small, it’s time to go up a size
  • The Leak Lock system was not engaged properly, and so the contents found a way out through the weakest wall
  • You were holding the baby right at the point of exit, which basically causes the waste products to travel in the only path it can – out of the diaper.

My Pit Stop Routine
Given the experiences that I have had over the last little while, here is my routine that seems to work out with the least amount of headache, at least, so far…

  1. Place baby on change table
  2. Undress the lower body of baby
  3. Place paper towel underneath baby’s bottom by lifting the feet and wedging the paper towel in there
  4. Grab a clean diaper
  5. Open it up so that it can be ready to be put on without further work
  6. Open the box of wipes so that they are easily accessible
  7. Open the current diaper
  8. Grab a wipe and clean area. Once finished, put the wipe(s) in the soiled diaper
  9. Pull the current diaper away and put to the side
  10. Lift feet and slide the pre-opened diaper to where it should sit with enough clearance for the tabs to come around the hips
  11. Let the area air dry a little
  12. Bring the diaper to a close and hook the tabs to the front, ensure that it is tight enough to keep the contents from coming out the back (but not too tight)
  13. Run your fingers along the edge of the diaper to ensure that the Leak Lock system is ok
  14. Pull the first paper towel out
  15. Redress as required
  16. Place baby away to their next activity
  17. Return to station to clean up the diaper by folding and sealing it with the tabs
  18. Close the lid to the wipes box
  19. Ensure that there are enough diapers for next time and refill if necessary

Special note: If baby decides to further contribute to the contents of the diaper while this process is happening, immediately seal it back up and let them finish. Not sealing it back up and letting them go with an open diaper will ensure that everything gets everywhere… i.e. Up their backs, onto you, and even on the wall (speaking from experience).

I hope this helps any future first time parents as a primer into the things to consider. Adjust as necessary and let me know what you add/remove from my process in the comments below!

Vroom Vroom