The Home Stretch

Despite the increased acid reflex and sleepless nights, I'm still holding up okay. I was thrilled to be treated to a henna session on my belly. I was feeling bad for not taking any good maternity photos with the second one. After all we made a huge effort to catch the perfect photo with Kai in my belly. The artwork was designed by Karen B. of Traditional Henna.

Taken after henna session

photo taken 2 days after session under a low lit lamp
the flower is related to the new name we picked
If the baby doesn't come tomorrow as Kai predicts, then we have one more chance to celebrate hubby's birthday and head to the beach this weekend. Next up, we'll see if the woman who stopped me on the street to tell me our daughter will come on Valentine's Day is right.


Get Your Ice On

For parents with children or not, I recommend having a night out at the Little Ice Rink in Alameda. Recently, our family had an outing on a Friday afternoon with Kai, his cousins and grandparents. Oh how I wish I could have joined them on the ice! It is a happy place with children testing out their skills and bright orange plastic seals that act as skating aides for first timers. My little one was adamant about not sitting on the seal at first and he wanted to be a big boy and stand. Well there was fall within a few minutes and lots of tears. But he tried again and had a ball for the hour and half session. My in-laws and I sat on the bleachers sipping hot chocolate and eating cookies from the food stand. It’s amazing how children will skate with clumsy feet, fall and then get right back up with big smiles on their faces. Even if you don’t love going on the ice, it’s a pleasant way to people watch and spend a winter night. Friday nights offer a disco night for those parents who want a date night! Hours and location here.


It's been a long time and happy holidays!

Dear Readers,

I know it’s been a very long time since my last post.  There are good reasons.  After taking a short sabbatical, I jumped back into full time work and became pregnant.   I know in the past, I was on the fence about having a second kid but I'll go into more detail in my next post.  Good news is that I’m eight weeks away from having a baby girl and publishing my first novella.  It’s hard to balance finishing up a book, work, a toddler, and pregnancy…so that’s why I’ve haven’t had much time and energy to update Mama Lounge.

I am making a commitment to breathe life into Mama Lounge again as the new year unfolds. Besides I’ll need space to share what it’s like to have a boy and girl plus share all the new things I discovered this past year.  Thanks for being patient!  Happy holidays to you.



Help save Oakland libraries

As I'm writing this, my husband is at the Oakland Main library scanning archival images for an upcoming exhibit on Jose Rizal .

There is a proposal to close 13 out of
17 Oakland libraries along with adult literacy services.

Libraries are cornerstones of communities. There is no other place where people can access books, movies, periodicals, and computers for free. When people are unemployed and without the Internet, the library is a job seeker resource. When a new immigrant with little income needs to find a book in their native language, the library has it.

Imagine what's going to happen to all the people who depend on library services in their neighborhood. Where will they go?
Visit Save Oakland library to learn more.

mama-lounge on the go


Ten Day Countdown and I'm Back to Work

kai took this incredibooth photo on an outing

 OMG, I can't believe that I'm going back to work in ten days!   For five months, I've had the honor of staying home with Kai and writing short stories.   One season later I find myself in that bittersweet state again.  Thrilled to have an exciting new opportunity but definitely sad that I can't sit in my PJ's for half the day and write fiction.  As a mom, I've cherished my time with Kai to help him transition to preschool, make a big leap in potty training, and perfecting oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.   As a wife, I've enjoyed keeping the house neat, traveling, and gardening.  I will have to now relearn balancing work, family, and play. 

Mama lounge will keep going but I'm going to add a new feature.  Since I will begin working in the mHealth field, I will feature new technology and services that can benefit families.  Thanks again for supporting me throughout my life transitions.  This space means a lot to me.


Spring at Lake Temescal

Ducks frolicking in the meadow.

It was quite the morning with a fussy toddler not wanting to finish breakfast. We still managed to get out the door and make our way to Lake Temescal, my favorite park in Oakland. Despite Kai throwing up his yogurt in the car and having to clean up the mess with wipes, we went to the lake anyways. It was lovely in the sixty degree weather. We found our patch of peace after weaving through the groups of jogging moms and strollers. If you haven't visited this spring, I highly recommend it.

The colors at the lake are breathtaking.

my phone camera did good

mama-lounge on the go


Dandelion Wishes

Dandelion seed heads are a symbol of childhood.  I have memories of closing my eyes and blowing the seeds into the breeze each summer.  Recently, Kai has been making wishes with them too.
From Dandelion Watch
 If you ever wondered about this plant which most people dismiss as a weed, here are some interesting facts.  The name comes from the French term dent de lion which means tooth of a lion.  The jagged leaves are popular in salad and are high in calcium, iron and Vitamins A and C.

The white airy seed heads are a part of the life cycle of the common yellow dandelion.  According to Wildman, "Each seed has a tiny parachute, to spread far and wide in the wind."  

Before you decide to mow all the yellow flowers off your lawn, check out Universal Preschool and their list of fun ideas to make use of these whimsical flowers.  Better yet at your next dinner party, make a dandelion salad.


Zurich Airport Playroom and Nursery...Wow!

On a recent trip to Spain, we had a quick layover in Zurich.   I know the Swiss are known to be clean and neat, but it seems that they also know how to accommodate the little ones.   At the airport there are two playrooms that are amazing.  If every airport could offer something similar, I think families with small children would fly more often.  This playroom provided a much needed break after a eleven hour plane ride.  It's also super clean and staffed by friendly ladies who will remind you to catch your flight.

there are multiple rooms to relax in

foosball for the grown ups

multiple diaper changing stations...spotless

food station

nap room


Prayers to Japan

AP Photo
There was a picture today in the San Francisco Chronicle of a Japanese baby girl who was being checked for radiation levels. It made my cry knowing this little girl had endured tripled trauma in a matter of days.  

This reality is certainly not far fetched for any of us, especially living in the earthquake state of California. Last night, we talked about our emergency plan with my parents.  I hope that everyone will pause and make sure there are multiple emergency kits in your home and car.   If you have a child at daycare or preschool, be sure that your child has a kit there as well.  I highlighted tips on family emergency planning in this previous article.

My heart goes out to the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami disaster.


Yum..what's for breakfast?

A friend recently posted on FB that she was in a breakfast rut with her three year old son.  It made me think about the question I ask Kai each morning, "What do you want for breakfast?"  This morning Kai replied with "sticky rice".   It's true Kai craves sticky rice about once a week. I know several friends who have picky eaters and are always searching for ways to mix up the food offerings at home.   For the next week, I'll post ideas for different meals.  Today, let's start with that most important meal of the day breakfast.

I think that there is a lot of pressure on moms to magically cook something different every day.  It's easy to fall back on Trader Joe's staples but that gets boring.  Here's our breakfast rotation:

1) Sticky Rice (ie. glutinous rice) which can be made instantly from this box with no preservatives or MSG or bought from your local dim sum shop.  There are both sweet and savory versions.

2) Banana  Flaxseed Pancakes.  Kai always helps me make these and he eats about three mini pancakes. These are great because you can make a big stack and save it for the next day.

3) Vanilla yogurt with bee pollen, blueberries, and mango.

4) Wheat toast with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Simple and delicious.

5) Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch.  This is a store bought cereal that Kai picked out.  It was a nice break from Trader Joe's cereals and it's organic.

6) Leftover Homemade Pho Ga.  Vietnamese Chicken Noodle soup that either my mom or I made the night before. This is great especially during the cold season.

7) Soft Scrambled Egg with Tomato and Garlic over Brown Rice with a hint of oyster sauce (this can be bought in any Asian market)

Breakfast is different in every culture.  For some people eating cereal every day is fine, but there are a lot of families like ours that needs just a little more to get us going. 
once in awhile, we grab a blueberry bagel and enjoy it outside



Last night we offered traditional foods to the kitchen goddess. I made a black mushroom chicken soup with bean thread noodles, veggie eggrolls, fried tilapia, and banana tapioca pudding. We said our prayers and made wishes for the year of the rabbit.


Celebrating the Year of the Rabbit at Home

Antique Shelf with Cherry Blossoms from Our Yard

Tet is the most spiritual and celebrated holiday in my family.   This Rabbit year is especially dear to my heart because both my husband and I are rabbits.  We are beginning to decorate with lots of red and gold to bring good fortune into our home.  This week I will share photos of our traditions and home life for this occasion.
Yellow chrysanthemums under artwork by Megan Wilson

Lucky Bamboo with Li Xi


We Heart Sloths

Our love for sloths has grown.  The furry creature found in the Rainforest has fascinated my husband for a long time.  Recently we picked up a copy of Eric Carle's book, "Slowly, Slowly, Slowly," said the Sloth that revealed interesting facts about them.  Sloths sleep more than cats do, up to nineteen hours a day and they spend most of their lives hanging upside down. They're considered the slowest moving mammal and enjoy a peaceful life feeding off leaves and fruit.  In Carle's book,  the sloth reminds us that moving at a slower pace is actually a more peaceful way to live. In every photo I've seen of sloths, they're smiling.   It's sad to think that both the two and three-toed sloths of South America are endangered as the rainforests continue to be destroyed.

Courtesy of Trek Earth


Teary Eyed at His First Day of Preschool

I'm talking about me being teary eyed.  I've seen parents cry at weddings and graduations, but it must happen throughout their child's life.   J and I dropped Kai off at his first day of preschool and watched as the teacher said "Let's say hi to our new friend, Kai."  While he tried to follow the group stretches, my eyes swelled up.   Maybe it's a symbol of time...he's growing up and I'm getting older.    The love parents have for their child is immense and there's else like it.  Now I can understand why my mom still cries when I hit a new chapter in my life.  Your kid is always "your baby".  Sniff, sniff.

Time Flies...Kai at One Week


Upcoming Giveaway-- Win a Hide and Seek Placemat

Dinner time is a big deal around our house.   Hubby, Kai, and I like to take our time with dinner and make it a ritual.  In the new year, we are looking to upgrade to more modern dining room furniture and make our dinners even more creative.  Our wish list includes a dinner bell,cool placemats, and reupholstered chairs.

In the upcoming giveaway next Wednesday, January 12,  you'll have the chance to score the Twist Hide and Seek Placemat from CSN Stores.  Hint:  Begin thinking about your favorite winter time recipe.  More details to come next week. 

Hide and Seek Placemat