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Denver to San Diego and Back

Two years ago, we packed up our cars in Denver to set off into the San Diego sun. Friends joined us for the 3-day drive, as we hit the obligatory Instagram spots–Antelope Canyon, Moab and Las Vegas–before arriving at our new home. Well, new-old home. New for me. Old for my husband. We moved into the house where Danny spent his high school, college and ‘don’t know where my life is going’ years before optometry school. Although Danny had not lived in San Diego for the past seven years, this was where he called home.

Here, we live with Danny’s mom, brother, his girlfriend and two other roommates. While seven adults living together is certainly a ‘full house,’ it isn’t uncommon for Californians, where the housing market is brutal. Rent and mortgages eat into monthly incomes and families struggle to save.

Our first year in San Diego was whimsical. We were riding the engagement wave and planning the wedding of a lifetime. We were busy spray painting centerpieces and practicing our first dance.

Shortly after our wedding, we found out we were pregnant, which started the next chapter of San Diego life. No more wine and sushi for me. And as an act of camaraderie (and his disinterest in raw fish), none for Danny either. We continued plugging along with our jobs but decided it was best to wait on buying a home in America’s Finest City with baby on the way. We were optimistic, happy and in love.

Being blessed with a smooth pregnancy, we were doomed to have a newborn that would challenge us. With little sleep and no space in the house, things got hard. Without a nursery for Cadence, she has always slept with us. But she quickly outgrew her snuggle nest (on the bed with us) and her bassinet (next to our bed). Soon, we’ll be packing away the pack-and-play. And then where shall she go?

When Cadence turned six months, we decided we needed to move out. We eagerly researched homes and mortgage loans, but our aggressive search only lasted a few weeks. To our humbling dismay, we realized we didn’t have the financial means to buy a home in San Diego. Let’s say we moved into a half-a-million dollar home (on the low end), we’d be stuck with monthly payments we couldn’t afford. And we checked our privilege. We are two able-bodied, educated, working professionals with two incomes–not to mention one of us is a doctor. Doesn’t that mean anything? Oh yes, it means a heap of student loan debt. Don’t get me started on how he trapped my ass (in the words of Ali Wong).

The bank did approve us for $500k+ but we would essentially be living out of our means without the ability to save. We asked each other, do we want to stay in California and hustle? Or move back to Colorado and actually be able to enjoy our lives as a growing family?

The answer was simple. Yet it was hard.

The culmination of many conversations, amongst ourselves and with friends and family was the decision to move back to Denver.

So here we go. Two years later, we are coming full circle and planning our return trip. Still in love but humbled. And since we now have a beautiful baby in tow, there will be less scenic stops this time.

Thank you for all the life lessons, San Diego. You’re beautiful and we will be back for you.

Baby Updates

7 months and so cute

Winter is coming and Cadence received her two-part flu shot from Kaiser. Luckily Danny can take her because I hate seeing her getting poked!

Here she is holding her own bottle now like a pro! She’s drinking about 6oz per feed (every 3-4 hours). She is so stinkin’ cute! But still wakes up once or twice a night for a bottle. We can’t seem to ween her off it.

We were contacted on Instagram by a teething toy company to have Cadence do a photoshoot for the product. Of course after 100 photos and 30 minutes, zero smiles. I don’t know what it is about having a camera in her face that immediately makes her stoic. She just stares. Luckily, her face is cute. Haha! This is an awesome silicone teether that babies can get fruit and veggies from called Moss & Fawn.

After the photo shoot, we stopped by the San Diego Public Library and visited the children’s section. Danny and I have been seriously talking about writing a children’s book. We are thinking a book for Asian American kids. Been doing some research and I’ve found quite a few already! Going to order them for Cadence! Also love the books highlighting girls in a positive light!

Baby Updates

6 months… super late

Falling behind in posting but during Cadence’s 6 month mark, she spent 10 days in Denver. She is starting to crawl now, specifically if you put a cell phone, laptop or her penguin stuffed animal in front of her. She’ll army crawl for it!

Teething has been rough. We got her an amber necklace but not sure if it’s working. In Denver, she stopped eating for a few days and also got a cold. She was refusing milk and food, unless it was cold. So we had to make sure milk and food went in the fridge first. She cried a lot at night — to the point where I had to drive her around one night at 2am so she wouldn’t wake up the whole house. Poor babe. Definitely not feeling well on this trip.

Flying back to San Diego with her was quite an adventure. Our 8 p.m. flight was delayed 30 minutes, just long enough for her to become overtired and cranky. Shortly after takeoff, Cadence had a blowout diaper with poo all over her back. Following, she threw up all her milk on me… Twice. We basically landed in San Diego with Cadence wearing a hoodie and diapers. No other clothes were spared in her vomit attack. Luckily, I sat by a mom, Debra, who helped me out the entire flight. Forever grateful.

Cadence continues to bounce a lot in her bouncer. Her legs are very strong now and she cracks up every time she is in it. Ba Noi helps take care of her twice a week and she gets lots of giggles from Cadence. Halfway to 1 year and we are loving her determined and social personality.

Baby Updates

5 months with our happy girl

August was a hot month with an extra big electricity bill for all the A/C we’ve been blasting here in San Diego. Baby turned 5 months and we got an annual pass to the San Diego Zoo. It’s been a nice family activity to push Cadence around the zoo when the days cool down.

Cadence loves blowing raspberries, giggling and rolling over

Cadence is rolling like a pro now! She’s also doing great eating solids! She began with sweet potatoes, avocados, apples and carrots. So far, no allergies! We tried to give her pieces of avocado to eat herself (baby led weaning) but she had no idea what to do with it. So looks like we’ll keep spoon feeding her for now!

Daddy feeding Cadence avocados at 5 months

On August 11, Cadence went swimming again with her friend Hailey (who is 2 weeks younger than her). We met up our friends at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay pool. She did a great job in the water again. We’re planning to enroll her in swim lessons soon (or have a friend teach all the babies).

Swimming at the Hyatt Mission Bay Pool – Haha! Love her face.

I’m feeling the mom guilt as I’m trying to find that work-life balance. (What does that even mean?) Always reminding myself to be present because work can wait. I pause and soak her in. I take that moment to remember my baby: her smile, her smell, her little toes. I hold her a little longer, sing to her and watch as she drifts to sleep. She won’t be this small forever, but she will always be our baby.

Baby Updates

4 Months and This is How We Roll

At 4 months, we got a new baby! Cadence is super responsive now. She interacts with us a lot more when we are making faces at her. All that tummy time practice has paid off and she is rolling now–from her back to her tummy. We’ve upgraded her to a Pack N Play next to our bed and retired her snuggle nest and bassinet. I find myself constantly rotating out her clothes. She is growing fast and we’re already putting her in 6-12 month outfits.

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Cadence is rolling from her back to tummy now!

Danny and I finally went on a date without Cadence. On June 24, 2018, our cousin Tony and his 10-year-old daughter Meagan came over to babysit. For two hours during lunch, Danny and I feasted at Gen Korean BBQ. They tell you not to talk about your baby when you go on dates… for us, we just didn’t talk at all. This is usually the case when we our stuffing our faces at all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ.

A week later, we celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary (July 1, 2018) in Colorado Springs. We were spending the July 4th holiday with my family at the Great Wolf Lodge. The hotel is a water park resort for kids. My nephews had a blast! And we took Cadence into the swimming pool for the first time. She didn’t cry, so we assumed she enjoyed herself. After 30 minutes in the pool, she immediately fell asleep. She was so exhausted!

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Cadence’s first time swimming, just a few days shy of 4 months old!

While my parents helped watch Cadence, Danny and I went to the Broadmoor Hotel, where we went on one of our first dates. I can say it was romantic to retrace our footsteps and fall in love with each other all over again. Four years really isn’t that long ago so all the memories are still with us. We’ll have to do it again in four-ty years.

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Celebrating 1 year of wedded bliss, 4 years of dating and 4 months of being parents

Continue reading “4 Months and This is How We Roll”

Baby Updates

3 months and growing fast

I have to say, it’s cute that I ever thought I’d have time to keep up with a family blog. I’m soooo tired. Kudos to the moms that are able to find time to write, take beautiful photos and edit videos. But at this point, this blog will just be to help us remember Cadence’s milestones.

At three months now, Cadence is smiling, cooing and giggling. Her neck is fairly strong and she pushes herself up during tummy time. She looks as though she will roll over very soon! The issues she had with gas and colic seem to have gone away and now we are experiencing sunny days with Cadence. Besides her inability to have a normal poopy diaper (only blowouts), we love where she’s at right now!

Cadence at three months – starting to smile and coo

She is starting to use the Mama & Papa seat to sit at the table with us during meals. No solid food for her just yet though. She’s just drinking pumped milk every day and one bottle of formula at night. I question how long my pumping journey will go but telling myself to go one day at a time. Continue reading “3 months and growing fast”

Baby Updates

2 Month Baby Update

This post originally began as Cadence’s one month update but time flew by and I wasn’t able to finish the post in time. Now Cadence is two months! And just like that I’m back to work. I was only able to take 8 weeks for maternity leave! Wah! Here’s the little babe:

Sleep.

The first night we took Cadence home, she slept great! We have her in a cosleeper next to our bed. We were supposed to wake her up every 3 hours to feed but generally, she would wake up on her own for feedings. After the first night, sleep was a little rough for the coming weeks. At around 7 weeks, Cadence started sleeping longer, waking up only once around 1am – 2am to feed. Because my milk didn’t come in until day 5 or so, we were already having to feed her formula and she was taking a bottle from the very beginning. So Danny and I would take turns with the night feedings. I so appreciate him for helping with these especially after hearing that other dads didn’t have to when mothers were exclusively breastfeeding. Also, Danny only took one week off in the beginning and immediately went back to work so I knew he was often exhausted in the middle of the night too. Continue reading “2 Month Baby Update”