Lined up duckies: Jia duck, Daddy Duck, and Mommy Duck

Sorry for the delay, we just got internet up and running today. 

We have packed up our cozy 4000+ sq foot home in Maryland, traveled 3000+ miles to California, unpacked, re-organized, and gotten “comfortable” in a short 6 days! It seems like it should’ve felt like a whirlwind, but really it feels like it has been a steady pace of chaos. I don’t even know where to begin this post, but basically we are living in Torrance, CA with a 1 mile trek to the beach (plus about 5 blocks of walking to the beach access) and have found ourselves in a really great apartment complex that is smack dab in what I feel is the best spot in the neighborhood. I’m sure there are plenty of neighborhoods in Torrance, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Hermosa Beach that feel similarly, but I’m really pretty happy with where we ended up. One block away is a big playground and even bigger park with a public library right next to it, a grocery store, pharmacy, and even about a half mile walk away are a bunch of restaurants and quick food spots. There’s some healthy hippie salad/smoothie joint I am eager to check out eventually. Why Torrance? The school district. And prices are reasonable considering it is in a great school district. 

Jia is really enjoying this transition. I was dreading our/Jia’s move here, imagining she would take about 2 weeks to settle into a new time zone, new apartment, no family around, new situation all around, etc. but she had just 1 night of rough sleep. By “rough sleep” I really mean she woke up super early but “slept through” the night from 8:05 PM till 4:30 AM local time. Not bad, considering she refused to nap on the airplane or throughout any car ride that afternoon/evening in Los Angeles. She’d been up from 6:30 AM EST until 8:05 PM PST (11:05 PM EST) for a total of almost 17 hours. And only waking up at 4:30 am happy? That’s pretty shocking. She was a trooper! We have been here now for 6 nights and only one rough night? I’ll take it! No crying on the airplane, just happily distracted with all the goodies I gift-wrapped for her in preparation, and enthralled by the passengers on the plane as we walked up and down the aisles when the seatbelt sign was unlit.

Thank you, Jia, my sweet, happy little baby! I’m so proud of you! You’ve really impressed the pants off of me! 

Lesson learned on our first flight: I’m going to need to re-think the packing situation for my solo (+Jia) trip to Charleston in a few weeks. As in, pack even a diaper bag in the checked bag and opt for bringing a traveling changing pack insert for a backpack/lunch/activity combo instead. Maybe for this Saturday I’ll post about “What I Did” for my first trip vs. “What I Should Do” as my pre-checklist. (Thank you to Joyce for traveling with me – I would’ve been way more stressed without you there with me, despite our rough days leading up to the trip! Really looking forward to your next visit!)

So here’s what I’ve learned about Jia over the course of this move:

  • She was really into licking her toes on the airplane. It was hilariously entertaining!
  • Welcome to the Dollhouse. Lamily, in particular! My friend Michelle from nursing school pre-ordered this doll from a kickstarter campaign back when Jia was a newborn baby, in the hopes that it would instill self-confidence and self-acceptance in little girls, rather than achieving for unreasonable and unrealistic Barbie-type bodies. So now that she’s hit her 18 months, it seems she’s taking to the doll and tries to put her shoes on Lamily. It’s funny too, because Lamily’s feet pop off and she brings them to me to put them back on. 
  • Full on says “Mommy” and “Daddy” not just “mama” and “dada” anymore. Yay!
  • We are entering the tea party phase. No, she’s not getting into politics. Rather, during bath time she uses this watering can that came in a plastic beach toys set she got from Godmommy Megan, to feed water to her duckies in the bath. She cracks up when we role play with the little toys too. Oh this age is so entertaining! Let me not forget these moments!
  • She’s stringing together a few words for sentences:
    • Ready? Let’s go, let’s go
    • Outside? Let’s go, let’s go
    • OK, let’s go (see a theme? I guess I say “let’s go” a lot haha)
    • All done (and pushes her plate away or hands it to me)
    • Ohhh Toodles! (from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse)
    • Mickey Mouse House
  • She lines up her rubber duckies. In fact, she LOVES rubber ducks now. She says “Duckie? Duckie!” and during bath time or just when she wants to play, she goes into the bathroom to ask for her ducks, and she carries all 3 out to play with (pictured). It’s really cute.
  • She got really attached to her A-Yeh (Jeff’s Dad) during the move. She would ask for him all the time and insisted on holding HIS hand, usually with Daddy’s hand in the other. The word “A-Yeh” means paternal grandfather (aka, Jeff’s Dad) in Chinese. He’d decided before Jia was born, that he wanted to be called the chinese version of grandfather, and Jia has finally taken to referring to him with this name and asking for him. Gran (Jeff’s mom) says Jia loves him so much because he would chase her around the house and was goofy with her when they watched her once a week in Virginia.
  • Later Naps: I noticed today (Tuesday evening) that she falls asleep within a few minutes of being placed in the crib, when I put her down for a nap at 12:20 PM, vs our previous 11:30 AM time. At 11:30 AM, it was a toss up of whether she would toss and turn for 30-45 minutes or zonk out immediately. This is good, because it’s the time that day care will be putting the kids to nap. Now if only she would eat lunch before her nap…
  • Elevator buttons are super entertaining and are called “PUSH!” and she loves to do so.
  • “Flowers” and “bees” are her new favorite things. Now that I’m required to walk the dogs on real walks, I strap on Jia backpack-style and take in the beautiful weather as we stroll around and I point things out to her. Flowers and bees are things I don’t need to point out; however, because she can spot them from far away. Am I the only one who gets freaked out as they hand their child a flower to later notice an ant crawling from it onto their arm? I just about spazzed out on our walk this evening because I was so grossed out by a bug on my angelic little girl. =P Now that I’ve written this bullet point, I think I’m the only one. Get a grip, Jeni.
  • Other words:
    • Snacks
    • Pool
    • Truck
    • Car
    • Froggie
    • Rabbit
    • Teddy
    • Mickey Mouse
    • Seat
    • Probably a ton others I can’t think of

Jia’s first preview day of daycare is 8/28 at an “open play” day where she gets to meet some teachers, play with the toys and whichever kids drop by, then 9/1 is the first official day of the school year. Since we’re going to be in Charleston for my brother’s wedding for 7 days, I’ll take her to daycare on the first day so she can play with some kids and experience as long as she wants to before I take her home (sort of a slow acclimation). That way she’ll be slightly familiarized with her environment for when we do the full-on whole day drop-off. Her first official full day of daycare will be 9/16, which is also Jeff’s birthday, so I guess that means I’ll have the day to bake a cake (which I can, since I have a full-sized oven now, yay!) or prep a real meal for dinner. Oh baking through tears, sounds like fun! Ha!


Getting her snack on any chance we got, since who knows how much a traveling toddler will eat. (Note: Car seat insert was only used for air flight and is not used when traveling in a car)


Pre-flying. We look pretty tired.

She opened Mystery Package #1 for the trip and had a ton of fun with these Target dollar bin soft blocks

She opened Mystery Package #1 for the trip and had a ton of fun with these Target dollar bin soft blocks


Toes are tasty!


Done with our 1st leg of the trip! From DC to Chicago!

Putting her shoes onto Lamily

Putting her shoes onto Lamily’s feet


Our neighborhood playground, 1 block away – AMAZING!


This water baby loves the pool! Luckily our complex has two!

That’s all for this week, I hope to be up and running with my research posts again soon. Till then, immunize your kids!