Leaving Thailand and Letting Go (for now)

I recently realized that reading, whether novels or blogs or non-fiction, has immense power for me. Most simply, it’s the power to feel united and to expose the constant truth that we are not alone. This Christmas, I asked for a few kindle books as gifts and one of them I received was “At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe” by Tsh Oxenrider, one of my favourite bloggers. I wasn’t sure if I would relate to it since we’ve always taken a pick a place and root down approach to traveling and seeing the world in short snippets is more exhausting for me than appealing. What I didn’t realize was that it meant that her book was essentially a book about transitions and goodbyes – very relevant to my life right now. 

She explains her daughter’s thought process:

Can I pick out a painting for my room?” Along with her scrolls from Xi’an, she’s also collected a batik print from Kenya. I go ahead and nod, bending our souvenir rule. “Wherever my room will be, “ Tate explains, “I want it to look like this year.”


I felt so connected to that last sentence that I was suddenly crying, overwhelmed with truth. I laid on a cloth mat in a sweet village in the mountains east of Chiang Mai and let myself sob, let myself actually feel the loss of leaving Thailand. I let those words run through my head like a meditation I could feel, wherever my rooms will be, I want it to look like this phase of life, wherever my space will be, I want it to include this part of me. What is so striking to me is that both sides of the sentence ring so strongly in my heart. I don’t know where my home will be! But wherever it is and in whatever form it is, I want it to represent the part of me that has come to love this place so much. I want to take physical pieces of it home – to wherever home will be – because I don’t know when we’ll be back and I know I can’t fully take along the smells and sights and pace of life.

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21 Month Update

I can’t believe how far into the twinblings’ second year we are, and it boggles my mind that my next developmental update post will be at the two year mark! Since my last post about the girls three months ago, we’ve seen tremendous progress on language and we are also starting to see bigger emotions. This has been a fun but also challenging quarter as Lilly and Audrey passed through the 19-21 month span of their lives.



As I detailed in this post, we have put a lot of effort and time into treating Audrey’s walking, foot overpronation, and low muscle tone in the past few months. I am such a huge fan of Audrey’s physical therapist, and she is coaching us on many exercises and activities to help. Some of the things that she encourages are for Audrey to walk on the couch and other unstable surfaces to force her ankles to do extra work, and to climb up slides. This has been good for Audrey and also for me because I have a tendency to really worry about the girls taking a tumble or falling down, and the guidance of the PT has really calmed my fears and allowed me to see that the girls need to learn some physical and other boundaries on their own.

We also have Audrey enrolled in swimming classes, and a gymnastics and open play class through the park district at least partly because of the encouragement of her PT. Our nanny is also fabulous about taking the girls to indoor open play spaces with lots of different surfaces for Audrey to play on, and our PT tells us that the bounce houses that Audrey loves so much are also a great way for her to improve strength in those weak ankles. So it’s a win-win!

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Our family trip to San Diego

Our family came back from a trip to California a couple weeks ago.  It was a wonderful escape from the cold Chicago winter, especially that particular week when Chicago was hit with a lot of snowfall. We had a great time, despite the girls and I catching the flu mid-week. The first part of our trip was in San Diego. I absolutely love San Diego; it never disappoints and is such a fun place to visit with little ones. We were there for 3 1/2 days which was not enough time to enjoy everything we wanted to do, but we still managed to see a lot and have fun out in the sun.

Coronado Central Beach

As soon as we landed in San Diego, we settled into our hotel and drove straight to the beach. Coronado Beach is considered one of the top family beaches in San Diego so we took full advantage of it being so close to our hotel. I don’t think I realized how much Lil’ Pizza loved the beach until this trip. She was in her happy place, running in and out of the waves and across the sand. It was so much fun going at low tide and finding so many little “treasures” on the sand.

Lil’ Pizza loved collecting shells at Coronado Beach.

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Link Roundup – February 23, 2018

2018 is just zipping by with March just 3 days away already! Here are some (mostly) parenting related articles we found interesting this week!



A powerful letter captures a teacher’s existential crisis: Would I die for my students? via CNN

Teaching While Afraid via The Atlantic

Why I will never carry a gun in my classroom via Washington Post

Why Even Young Students Benefit From Connecting Globally via Mindshift

What’s the Right Age to Read a Book? via New York Times


19 Women on Early Signs of Pregnancy via The Cut

New Research Shifts Thinking On Pregnancy Dilemma: Induce Labor At 39 Weeks? via WBUR

The Importance of Infants’ Exposure to Micro-Organisms via New York Times

A mother Googled her toddler’s symptoms — and believes it may have saved the child’s life via Washington Post

Pediatricians Call For Universal Depression Screening For Teens via NPR

These Antidepressants Are Most Effective, Study Says via Time

Men need to talk about periods — now via Salon

Toddler Milks: Filling A Nutritional Need Or A Marketing Niche? via NPR

P A R E N T I N G 

The Boys Are Not All Right via New York Times

The Lost Art of Roughhousing via Deep Roots at Home

How to Raise More Grateful Children via Wall Street Journal

There’s a new way to get your baby to sleep: The responsive method via Motherly

20 phrases to use when your child isn’t listening via Motherly

What Helps a New Driver? More Driving via New York Times

Hosting an out-of-town Baby Shower

For some reason most of my closest friends live far away, but I didn’t think twice when I told my best friend I would be more than happy to host her baby shower! (She lives about 6 hours away from me.) Although this meant I would have to make a short trip away from my 3-year-old and 4-month-old, I figured I could probably ship most things through Amazon. I was super excited about this baby!


My friend is a designer at Google, so after I started browsing Pinterest I started to get pretty nervous! The one good thing was that most of her guests were not married and didn’t have kids. They had no idea what to expect so the bar was set pretty low. I knew it was a little risky to completely rely on Amazon reviews to shop for baby shower items, so I had the bigger supplies shipped to my friend’s house and took the rest with me in my carry on. Here are the items I ordered online to be shipped to her house:

  • drink dispenser
  • cups, plates and utensils
  • baby shower napkins
  • decorative poms
  • small helium tank (so great how you can order this on Amazon!)
  • balloons (various sizes)
  • cake topper
  • fake green ivy
  • fabric markers for the onesie game

Since my friend is a designer, most of her guests were also designers so the onesie game turned out to be pretty amazing!


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Changes in flight travel from just a year ago

We came back from a family trip to San Diego and Los Angeles about a week ago. The beautiful backdrop and weather of San Diego started our vacation off almost picture perfect. Unfortunately, the girls  and I caught the flu midway into our vacation. Nonetheless, we still managed to have some fun for the remainder of our time in California.

While it’s only been a year since the last time we traveled as a family on a plane, there were some notable changes that made our flight experience different from the last time. There are frequent changes being made with airline companies, so I highly recommend checking with your specific airlines and airports so that you are up to date with their current guidelines, especially when flying with children. In the fall, I flew out of O’Hare airport by myself and remember seeing signs around the airport about how only the newest version of the Illinois driver’s license would be accepted for domestic flights. I had already renewed my driver’s license, but Mr. Pizza hadn’t so it was a relief to find out online that there was a grace period of a few years before the change would take into effect.

When we went on our family trip last year, we ended up taking the BOB double stroller because we thought it would be useful in the PNW. We were able to take the BOB stroller all the way to the gate without any issues. We took a different major airline for this trip and was told to check in our Joovy double stroller because of the 20 lb limit.  I don’t know how much the stroller weighs, but I was surprised that I needed to check it in since it is considerably lighter than the BOB double stroller. Although I was nervous about the idea of walking to our gate with two young kids, they did perfectly fine. It helped that the flight to California was early on in the day when the girls were both in good spirits. On our return flight, which was later in the day, I did wish we had our stroller because I ended up carrying Gracie all the way to baggage claim. If using a stroller to navigate around the airport is especially important to you when traveling with multiple kids, it might be helpful to invest in a light umbrella double stroller to avoid checking it in. I don’t think you would run into many problems with most single strollers but once you are using a double stroller, it is helpful to know the guidelines for the specific airline if you do not want to check it in.

This was right before we were told that we needed to check in the stroller.

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Navigating Childcare, Part 3 – Hiring a Nanny

Last fall, I started a series of posts about how our family has navigated childcare. In Part 1, I outlined about how our family figured out childcare when we only had 1 infant. And, in Part 2, I wrote about how our family switched our childcare care approach when we added a 2nd baby and decided to hire a nanny. It took me a few months (4 to be exact), but I’m finally resuming this series with a deeper dive into hiring a nanny.

I didn’t know it when I started this series back in October, but this discussion is very timely for my little family as we just found out we’re losing our beloved nanny who’s been with us for the past 2 1/2 years! We are of course so sad and more than a little stressed to be losing her, but our family’s needs have changed (as they are prone to do) so this is actually a good time for us to re-evaluate the best childcare solution for us.

But first, let’s talk about how to hire a nanny. We’ve had great success using Care.com to post ads and communicate with potential providers. We found our current nanny that way, and we actually also found the wonderful SAHM who watched our first son that way too (more about that in Part 1 if you’re interested). We are tentatively planning to use Care.com again to find a new nanny (assuming we go down that path). There are, of course, many other ways to find a nanny – using an agency, posting on neighborhood or community message boards and Facebook groups, word of mouth, referrals, poaching from your daycare, etc. My general, relatively unhelpful advice is to use any/ all medium(s) you can manage and feel comfortable with. Your end goal is to find the right nanny for your family and to do that may require you to sift through a lot of noise, but it’s worth it when you find the right fit for your family (and equally important is that the nanny finds the right family for her).

It is vitally important, however, that you know ahead of time what you are comfortable with and capable of paying, and you clearly communicate that to candidates at all steps in the process, along with any other hard requirements you have whether that’s first aid/ CPR certification, clean driving record, availability, or something else. I’ve found that many candidates on Care.com mass apply to jobs without actually reading through the requirements, and the only way to mitigate that is to be very clear from the start about what the job requires. When we lived in Colorado, we looked into hiring a nanny and advertised a pay range of $10.00-15.00/hour – most candidates who replied to our ad listed their minimum hourly rate as $20.00. While I truly believe nannies deserve to be paid a fair wage, we simply could not afford $20.00 an hour for 50 hours a week (if you’re doing the math, that’s $1,000.00 per week BEFORE nanny taxes).

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