Chinese Books

Drake will be starting Chinese school this month. I never thought I would be signing up my own child for Chinese school to be honest, as I hated it as a kid and swore up and down I would never make my child go. But truthfully now that I am older, I see the value in making sure my children understand a little more about their culture, especially as I am the last to be able to pass this on once my mother is gone. What I really hope that Drake gets out of Chinese school is the ability to converse a little with me, and to come to know and appreciate his heritage. My own Chinese is quite poor — I can neither read or write — and my conversational skills are limited at about a kindergarten level. I really have no idea how Drake will fare at Chinese school with my inability to really help him.

I have looked into some basic Chinese books for beginners that we can look at and learn together. Ni Hao Kai Lan has made him aware of Chinese and that words sound different in another language, and I hope he takes that curiosity and interest with him when he begins Chinese school.

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What You Should Buy At J Crew Factory, Right Now

We really love J Crew in our home, for very specific things when they go on sale – because it’s just not always in my price range. But they also have their Factory store. The prices are much cheaper and the styles are usually one off’s from the actual J Crew store. So you often you can grab a similar style but maybe it’s made in a different color, fabric or a slightly different fit – it’s basically the budget friendly version of J Crew. Here are a bunch of my current J Crew Factory favorites, which also happen to be on sale 30% off if you use SALE30 (which is good till Sept. 23rd!).

no.1 baseball blouse – no.2 two tone sweater – no.3 baseball cap – no.4 striped button-up tank – no.5 bomber jacket – no.6 pleated midi – no.7 waffle cowl scarf - no.8 zip baseball sweater – no.9 paisley tee

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Choosing the right preschool for our daughter

The other night I went to the curriculum night at our three-year old daughter’s preschool, and I can honestly say I learned so much and found the time I spent listening to the teachers completely worth it. It was parents only, and since we didn’t have a babysitter for the night, my husband left work early and stayed home with the girls.

Unfortunately, it was pure chaos at home during the hour and a half I was gone.

When I came home, the kids were going crazy – they both told me they cried, and my husband texted me while I was driving home saying HJ was having a tantrum looking for a red rubber band. Then as soon as I got home and we were ready to do our tag-team routine of putting the kids to bed one-on-one, my husband had to get on an emergency conference call for work and the kids decided they need a snack, and basically my youngest daughter didn’t sleep until 10 pm.

Still, I’m glad that I went because it really reassured me that the school is a good fit for our daughter. Being a former teacher, and having done an overabundance of research into preschools in the area due to our older daughter’s developmental delays, I know that I definitely tend to err on the side of too much information when trying to make a decision about something important such as choosing a school. I felt like I had looked at every preschool option available, from the local park district, to the Montessori programs, to private religious preschools, and nothing seemed to be what I was looking for.

However, I had somehow overlooked this preschool which is about 10 minutes away from our home until a couple moms in Lila’s gymnastics class mentioned how much they loved it. The school is actually well-known for their summer camp program, but I hadn’t realized that they also offered a private preschool and kindergarten enrichment during the school year. Also, it turned out our next door neighbor had taught there for years and was close friends with the director.

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Spilling the Beans

When it came time to share my pregnancy news with our family and friends, I knew it would come in three waves. First, we’d tell immediate family, because we were living with my parents and I knew I couldn’t keep that secret. Second, our extended families, most likely at Christmas when we were all together. And finally, we would share with the general public (we’re social media people), after the first trimester was well over.

Telling our parents was an idea hatched at 5:00am on a Saturday. I’d taken my first digital test, and the result was clearly positive (after about a week of using up my Wondfo stash). Mr. O and I couldn’t sleep anymore, so we snuck upstairs and headed for the 24-hour Walmart. Like giddy kids awake before the adults on Christmas, we made a beeline for the baby department. Throughout our infertility, we had avoided this section like the plague; now we were practically running. We chose a ‘Here Comes Trouble’ t-shirt for my mom (with monster trucks; she loves them) and a onesie for my MIL, bought oversized gift bags and a ton of pink and blue tissue paper, and then….sat idly in the car until we knew someone would be awake.

We told Mr. O’s mom first. She unwrapped the onesie, examined the ‘Going to Grandma’s’ slogan emblazoned across the front, and looked up at us, puzzled. Then she screamed, jumped out of her chair, and gave us both hugs.

My parents were a little tougher to tell. They opened their gift bag, took out the tiny t-shirt, and smiled blandly. “Oh cute,” my mom said, “a shirt for the dog.” My sister (who was also present) noticed me shaking my head frantically, and then, what felt like hours later, the three of them clued in. Cue tears, shrieking, and hugs all around.

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Charlotte Mae’s Birth Story

I had a scheduled section with our oldest daughter because she was breech. It was a wonderful birth experience and I went into my pregnancy with Charlotte knowing that I wanted a repeat c-section. My OB and I discussed birth options at my 8 week appointment and while I was a VBAC candidate, I much preferred a c-section.

The morning of my c-section was bittersweet. I had a hard time saying goodnight to Chloe the night before. She had been my sidekick for nearly three years, and I was having a hard time imagining her not being my only anymore. Just like last time, the biggest advantage of a planned c-section was the calmness that surrounded it. My husband and I were able to get up and shower the morning of surgery, and weren’t in any real rush. I was in minimal pain, (I’d been having prodromal labor for weeks!), but excited and anxious to meet our sweet pea.

My c-section was scheduled for 9am and we had to be checked in at the hospital by 7am. We live about 45 minutes away without traffic, so we had to leave by 6am. It was a very early start to our day and we hardly got any sleep the night before, partly due to nerves but mostly because of excitement. My mom got to our house by 5:45am to watch Chloe. We gave her a quick run-down of how we expected the day to go. Chloe woke up at 5:30am, which came as a huge surprise to us. She slept through both of us showering and me drying my hair, but it’s kind of like she knew something was going on and needed to see us. I was secretly okay with this, since it meant I got in a few more hugs and snuggles before we left the house.

A special lunch date on Saturday, three days before sissy was born

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Date Night Swaps: How To Go On a Date Without Paying a Babysitter

On our first wedding anniversary after Charlie was born, Bee and I went out on our first real date in almost a year.  We had a great time, watching a Broadway show and grabbing dinner.  It was a big splurge, but felt worth it.

What we hadn’t counted on though, was the cost of babysitting.  We don’t have any family nearby and babysitters cost $15-20/hour where we live.  We asked our nanny to stay late for our date, and had to pay time-and-a-half for overtime.  When you added it all up, that single date night cost us over $100 in babysitting alone!  And that’s not even counting the cost of the cab we had to take because we raced home immediately after the show was over!

So, we learned our lesson.  For the next few years after that, we didn’t go on a single date night except when Bee’s mom was visiting.  The cost of babysitting was just too high, especially when we realized that we still had to pay for dinner, a movie or whatever else we had planned.  It was easier just to stay at home.  If we ever wanted to go on a date, we took time off during the day while the kids were in school/daycare.  Or more likely, one of us stayed home with the kids while the other one went out to dinner with friends.

Then years later, we discovered two tricks that have allowed us to have evening and weekend dates again… this time, with zero babysitting costs!  

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Throwback Thursday – September 20th 2011

We launched Hellobee on September 20, 2011, so we’re coming up on our 3-year anniversary this Saturday! Some of you have been reading since the very beginning, but we’ve also had many new members join along the way that may have missed some of our older posts. So we’re going to highlight some of those posts in a new regular feature!

Back when we first launched I was the only person blogging. It’s funny to look back on some of those posts because it seems like I wrote them so long ago. At the time I was 8 months pregnant, and Olive would unexpectedly arrive 5 weeks early just 2 weeks after the launch.

This feature is pretty straightforward, but I’d love to hear any feedback you might have whether it’s topics of interest or how many posts we should link to each time!

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