Copy Cat

I've said it before, but here is a 1 minute demonstration of how good Connor is at mimicking (and boosting his own ego by clapping for himself and doing a little celebratory dance). 


Tis the Season

Wow it has been busy. I know the holidays are all hustle and bustle for everyone, but to make things even more intense, we decided to take a road trip. It was a 9 hour drive to the DC area followed by another 5 hour drive south to North Carolina. The trip in total was a little over a week, and in that time we did so much!
Did a LOT of sight-seeing

Spent time with some friends

Quality time with our cousins

Became Santa professionals

We made it home 2 days before Christmas and spent our Christmas in the comfort of our own home. I am blown away by how many presents the kids got. We have much to be thankful for, including loving and generous family and friends.

Opening some of the MANY gifts they received
What a difference a year makes! Last Christmas, Connor was a mere 5 days old and we were scrambling around, sleepless, trying to figure out life with two. This year we were able to enjoy our kids and see the excitement on their (Riley's) faces, reflecting the magic of Christmas. 


Happy 1st Birthday, Connor

I was very emotional about my sweet baby boy turning 1. I just find it incredibly unbelievable. He is still such a baby (albeit a giant baby).

We happened to be in North Carolina visiting Eric's sister when it was Connor's birthday. She helped make his first birthday so memorable.

Bday pancake from Auntie Andrea

Andrea and I put together this
little photoshoot
At 1 year of age, Connor is just Mr. Smiley and Mr. Giggly. I don't know how to put into words what a happy guy he is. He is starting to babble quite a bit. He is a master of mimicking sounds. He is able to say "ma", "dada", "Grandma", "Indy", "uh-oh" and "bubbles". He is an eating machine, and he makes it very known when he is hungry. He's still not walking yet, but I am convinced he can win at a crawling contest. He is a snuggler, loves to hug and kiss everyone. He is also super sensitive-- he will get his feelings hurt if Riley won't play with him (which she never does).

Connor was an unplanned baby and I often find myself marveling at how this surprise just fit so perfectly in our lives. He just completes our family. I am so excited to watch our buddy grow up and see what kind of man he will turn out to be. Happy first birthday to my baby boy Connor Dao. I love you buddy!


Fishing Riley

My cousin Jackie sent this fishing puzzle to Riley as a Christmas present last year. Riley didn't really understand the concept of the puzzle until recently, and an added bonus is how many of these animals she can name. Love my smart cookie!


Quick Update

How on earth did I let a month go by without updating? There isn't a lack of events here, I will tell you that. We just came back from a week long vacation in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The kids are rockstar travelers-- both did so well on the plane and adjusted to sleep schedules instantly. It wasn't always like this, but I am happy about where we are now.

Here's a quick update on us:

Connor is starting to spend
more time in daycare

He is so curious and loves new toys

Riley is currently obsessed with princesses

She very happily helped me bake a cake


Showing Off

Okay so the post title is a little redundant. Who am I trying to kid, this entire blog is dedicated to showing off my kids.

I really don't know how else to put it except that these two simply amaze me.

With all the success that we had with "Baby Signing Time" with Riley, we decided to try it out again on Connor, and he is starting to show that he is catching on. Here he is doing his sign for "all done":

And Riley, well she is a total ham (wonder who she gets that from?). This girl loves to sing and she is not at all shy about it. I got her a microphone for her birthday, and it is getting so much action from my little diva-in-the-making. Here she is singing her version of the Bumblebee song:

It is just so awesome watching these two little beings learn new things every day. It is such a blessing to be a mom. It is a blessing to be their mom.


Deuteronomy 31:6

When we attend church on Sundays, the kids get dropped off-- Connor with other infants and Riley with other 2 year olds. I was very impressed to find out that Riley has a curriculum in her class at church that even involved some homework. They sent Riley home with a verse to memorize, and that is exactly what she is showing off in the video below:

"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid. For the Lord, our God, goes with you."

I am so proud of her ability to memorize the verse but also the enthusiasm she has to recite it (every night, multiple times). At her young age, she's already inspiring me to be a better Christian, even if she has no idea she's doing just that.


Baby Teeth

I don't know if you can see, Connor now has a tooth! He is so funny about it-- always feeling it with his tongue and fingers. Connor is definitely my curious little guy!

Connor is just a few days short of being 10 months old. This has been a big month for his growth and development. I am starting to see him burst with personality and I love it all. He will clap his hands and cheer whenever anyone asks him to. He really excels at mimicking the sounds that we make. He is starting to become a pro at pulling up on furniture and is cruising. I love watching him go from crawl to sitting up position.

But don't let those sweet eyes fool you. I am predicting now that Connor will be my "strong-willed" child. He is happy 99% of the time, but if he doesn't get his way, that 1% is completely miserable.

He is a loving boy. He smiles at everyone. His face lights up whenever Riley is in the room-- he is always trying to get her attention.

I love this kid so much.


Oh TWO-dles!

My sweet Riley is now 2 years old. Can somebody, anybody tell me how this is possible??? She has transformed into an incredibly silly, sassy, curious, inquisitive singing and dancing machine. This girl is so ridiculously smart. She is so loving (except to Connor sometimes, but we're still working on that). It's  impossible not to laugh when you're around her. And I cannot believe I am blessed enough to be her mother.

My entire family flew out to Indiana to help Riley celebrate her birthday. We made some awesome memories and they played a huge hand in making Riley's second birthday so awesome and so memorable.

Went to the zoo on her actual birthday
Got to visit Indy's Children's Museum 

Threw her a party with her favorite--
Minnie Mouse
I know Riley is too young to notice a lot of things, but I can tell you that I truly felt the outpour of love coming from friends and family this past week. Our house received multiple packages every single day from family and friends all over the country. My siblings stayed up late to help me make the party space look simply perfect. We are so blessed to be surrounded by so much goodness, and I am so thankful that Riley really just had the time of her life among all her loved ones.

Here are some of Riley's 2 year wellness stats:
weight: 26 lbs
height: 2' 11"
head: 19.75" (last time this measurement will be taken)


Connor 9 Mo Wellness

Destroying the check up table at
the Pediatricians
This is the first time I went to a wellness exam that did not require any tears. Connor was a super stud- 2 shots, and all smiles!

Here are big man's numbers:

height: 29.25 in @ 82%tile
weight: 20.5 lbs @ 46%tile
head: 18.25 in @ 79%tile


Fruit & Flowers

Eric and I celebrated our 4th anniversary this year. We celebrated at the Melting Pot. Eric's thought behind that was that we would be dipping fruit into chocolate for dessert (following with the "fruit and flowers" tradition for the 4th year of marriage). When they brought out our dessert, we laughed a little about the fact that the only fruit on the plate were strawberries and bananas. But hey, I wasn't mad about having to eat brownies, rice krispy treats, marshmallows and cheesecake.

Now I will be the first to admit that our past two anniversaries have been a little lazy on my part. I will totally use the "pregnant card" and blame it on the hormones and lack of energy. So I knew this year had to require at least some effort on my part. I pulled in two of my most resourceful family members to create for Eric a meaningful gift that I thought he might enjoy. I emailed Eric's 91 year old Grandpa for marriage tips and advice. And with that, I recruited the help of my cousin Jackie to take Grandpa's words and form it into the shape of a pear. It turned out exactly how I imagined, as did Eric's awesome reaction to it:

And in true Eric fashion, he managed to one-up me again. His gift to me was to make me a bridal bouquet and for us to use it to renew our vows at our home church. When Eric and I got married, we hadn't fully dipped our feet into our Christian faith. And we have both really grown in our spiritual walk, and it's really impacted us as individuals greatly, but it has truly made a difference in our marriage as well. So now that we are happy in a home church, it was appropriate and meaningful for us to declare our commitment to each other, in front of our family and in the presence of God.

I will say this, 2 kids and an out-of-state move within 2 years is crazy, to say the least. Adjusting to such big and rapid changes has been exhausting and challenging. I am proud to say that our marriage has not only survived, but has grown in strength and in love (and in fath). It is a crazy life, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world and I am having so much fun trying to figure it out with Eric and our silly children.


Uh-oh, Connor!

This whole time I thought Connor was just a pretty face. It turns out this kid is also pretty darn smart!

I spent yesterday afternoon shopping and Connor was my sidekick. I dropped my keys and said "uh oh" and was caught off guard to hear Connor mimicking me. I thought it was a total coincidence so I said it again and sure enough he copied me.

Here is my little genius at 9 mos old:


Green Hat, Blue Hat

Riley continues to amaze me more and more each day. She is growing up so fast, she talks so much, still loves to sing and dance, and she will not go to bed without one or ten bedtime stories. The girl loves to read! She gets so many books from her aunties and definitely picks her favorites (books, not aunties.)

Here she is reading one of her favorite Sandra Boynton books:


Good Big Sister

I know I've said it before, but we really are seeing huge improvements as far as Riley and Connor's relationship (or rather, Riley's attitude towards having a baby brother). She will be the first to say "go get him?" when he is crying in the morning. She hugs and kisses him goodbye when she heads to school. She will initiate playing peekaboo with him and loves to make him laugh. And just the other evening, while we weren't watching, she grabbed a hold of his spoon and tried to feed him:

Connor on the other hand always lights up when his sister is just in the same room as him.


Dexterous Connor

Boy this week has been a big one for my Connor man. He has perfected his pincer grasp, which is not surprising seeing as how he loves to eat. And now that he can feed himself, he is one happy fellow:

And here he is demonstrating how impressed he is with his new skill-- by cheering himself on:

Baby clapping is one of my favorite things-- there's just something so darn cute about it.


Labor Day Weekend 2013

My good friend Will married the love of his life this past Saturday, and Connor was my travel buddy as we made our way to California to attend the wedding but to also spend some quality time with friends and family.

Now it was no random selection for Connor coming with me, as opposed to Riley. Although both do well on the plane, Riley is now at an age where she tells me when she's had enough. So I picked the non-speaking, easily cuddling baby and Connor proved my choice to be a good one. He did so well on both flights, I was so proud every time someone complimented on how good my baby was (although I am truly aware it was all luck!)

We stayed with the Lam family, and I just loved how much Connor loved his cousins. All Aidan and Brooke had to do was walk into the room and Connor would immediately start giggling:

Connor got to spend some time with his great grandma, which was so special:

Will and Nancy tied the knot in a beautiful outdoor venue, followed by an elegant reception at The Villa in Westminster. My heart was filled with so much joy seeing how completely happy Will was that night. I am so thankful to have witness what was without a doubt the best day of his life:

I got to catch up with some of my long time friends, some that I've known for over 20 years!

It was a great trip, but we certainly missed Eric and Riley, who were at home also having a fun weekend. I am thankful for a husband who I completely trust with our children-- not having to worry about how things are going while I am away.

It was a great weekend, and as always, I miss California so much already.


It's a Small World

Riley is still completely obsessed with music. On our recent trip to California, I taught her "It's a Small World" in preparation for the only ride she wouldn't be afraid to ride. That turned into an obsession. My sister suggested I let Riley watch clips of the ride off of youtube, and here you can witness just how crazy she's become about "Its a Small World". Background percussion is provided, courtesy of Connor:


Colorado 2013

Once again, my children have simply amazed me. We flew them to Denver, drove them through mountains to and from Gunnison, and were away from home for 10 whole days and they did so well! We did a lot of sight seeing, visited friends and family, and Riley and Eric were part of Aunt Sue's wedding. It was busy busy, but lots of fun.

Here are some (of the many) highlights of our trip:
Riley and Luke became best buds

Got a pleasant surprise during a hike in Crested Butte

Aunt Sue and Uncle Jamie-- the look of love

The Continental Divide on our way back to Denver

some hot springs-- beautiful!


California 2013

The summer California trip was my most anticipated trip, this year and every year. It's no surprise to anyone how much I just love being in my hometown with my favorite people. This year was no exception.

I have to note that the kids travelled so darn well. I knew without a doubt Connor was going to be a breeze on the plane, so before we took off I loudly declared that he would sit on my lap and Riley would sit with Eric. Well, Riley had other plans. She immediately called for "mommy! mommy!" (which was strange because she's usually daddy's girl) and I thought I was going to be in for a rough flight (and rough for those in our row). I underestimated my little girl-- she did great! A few episodes of MMCH and some snacks and she was smoooooth sailing. *phew!

The 5 day trip passed by way too quickly. But Connor got to meet most of the family at Anh Hai Doan's wedding and Riley got to spend some quality time with her cousins, Aidan, Brooke, and even Lily. It was just the sweetest thing seeing Riley play with her cousins. Aidan and Brooke were so mature with her and Connor. At 4.5 years old, they stepped up as "big cousins" and took such great care of Ri and Connor. Riley has since asked to see them even now, which breaks my heart, but it also warms my heart to think that a relationship between them is already budding.

Our whole family at AHD's wedding

Connor finally meets YY
(who he gets his middle name after)

My dad taped grapes up for
Riley to pick and eat

The adorable next generation

I am digging deep for the words to describe what a great vacation this was for us. I love that the kids got to spend quality time with their Ngo side of the family, and I love that the family was equally as excited about getting to know Riley and Connor. My family is the best.


I like to move it, move it!

At 6.5 months, Connor is starting to figure out how fun it is to move. He is just starting to army crawl, and if he's anything like his sister, it means he will master it by the end of this week. And from experience I know that my leisurely days of setting him down and walking away are over: time to freshen up the baby proofing!

Here's a little clip of Connor having fun and "crawling" towards me:


Galway 2013

With the purchase of the new car, Eric and I had this strong desire to break her in and just take her everywhere. He brought up Galway, NY, where his grandpa has a lake house and where Eric spent many of his childhood summers. We drove up there once from DC and it really was a lovely little getaway. But when Eric brought it up this time, I wasn't quite as gung ho about driving from Indiana... with the babies... and Indy. But I eventually sucked it up, and we went, and although the trip had moments I was expecting (crying, whiny babies unable to sleep consistently in new places) it overall went a thousand times better than I ever anticipated. And at the end of the trip, when Eric's grandpa gave me a big hug and thanked us for bringing his great grandchildren out to spend time with him, I knew that going was the right choice. I am very thankful that Riley and Connor got to spend time with their great grandpa, who happens to be one of my favorite people.

With step-great-grandma, Bernice.
She was totally ga-ga for him

Riley got to ride Great Grandpa's boat

Connor sits in Riley's chair while she naps

Lexi came with us, thank goodness!

She wore this face most of our trip
Our 10 year old niece, Lexi, came with us and thank goodness for that. She was amazing with the kids and I know I would've thrown many meltdowns without her help. Grandpa sent all his friends and family a sweet email about how much he enjoyed our visit, and that alone made it worth it to me.


Proud Mama

I hate how bad I've been at updating. My little monkeys are seriously amazing me everyday. I know I say that all the time, but they change so much so quickly, I have no other way to describe it.

I was trying to distract Riley with these letter magnets one day and she surprised me by stating the letter I was holding. I picked up another and sure enough she got it right. Luckily I had my camera handy and was able to catch what is currently my favorite video of my little brainiac:

Connor is also growing up way too fast. He is starting to show more of his personality- he pays close attention to new things and loves to grab at any object within his reach. He is also loving the freedom of using his legs. We decided to pull out the old walker, and he had a great ol' time in it. Here is a sweet little clip of our big guy in the walker:


Connor's half birthday

Where the heck did time go? How is it possible that my baby boy is 6 months old? Connor is getting into the stage of testing out his voice. This entire time I marked him as my quiet baby. Boy was I wrong. On that note of being wrong, I definitely jinxed myself from the previous post, as that one night was the ONLY night he has slept through the night. He is eating like a champ still, finished all of the recommended stage 1 foods. He is very friendly, smiles at just about everyone.

Connor had his 6 month wellness exam today. Here's where big boy measures up:

length: 27.25in @ 82%tile
weight: 17lbs 12oz @ 58%tile
head: 17" @ 31%tile

A wellness exam meant shots for my poor Connor. He showed the office how loud he could cry for about 3 minutes, and then he was back to this as soon as we got home:


Next Time Won't You Sing With Me?

At 20 months old, Riley is starting to recognize some of the letters in the alphabet. I first realized she knew some letters while we were walking at a park. The park had "A, B, C" painted on the ground, and she stood on top of and said "B". I was dumbfounded, so I pointed to "C" and asked her what that was, and sure enough she got it right too.

Here's a little clip of Riley "finding letters" with her dad:


So Much Personality

I will be the first to admit that I have been so lazy about blogging. But the kids are growing up so fast, and a couple of weeks without blogging means a lot of changes!

At 20 months, Riley is full of love and life. She is constructing longer sentences, and can clearly communicate what she wants (but more often, what she doesn't want). Her favorite food is applesauce and yogurt melts. She loves to sing "Happy Birthday" to everyone and everything. She is obsessed with riding her bike trailer with her dad. She loves Minnie Mouse, and we all have to do the "hot dog dance" with her. She is strongly opinionated about everything, including fashion. Who knew all that could be crammed into a one-year old??
The art of accessorizing

Riley-Minnie sandwich

At a few days shy of 6 months old, Connor finally slept through the night FOR THE FIRST TIME last night! I don't know if I can possibly convey how excited I am about that. He is such a sweet boy, he rarely cries more than a little whimper, and when he does, we can't help but laugh. He sticks his lip so far out and looks completely ridiculous, but so cute at the same time. He was always a champ at tummy time, but now we are working on sitting up and he is doing great. This boy might look like his dad, but he definitely has his momma's appetite-- he loves to eat. He's had green beans, peas, butternut squash and acorn squash. I still think its amazing at this age, when I can list everything his tiny little body has eaten. 

The past 6 months have been some of the best but some of the hardest of my life. We have been running on very little sleep, and with kids there is no downtime. We have grown eyes on the back of our heads and our eyes are never off our children. Eric and I have been functioning like machines, doing what needs to get done. But I am happy to say that I am starting to feel like we are finding a groove and things are getting a lot better. The new baby haze is slowly fading and I am finally snapping into moments of enjoying my children. They are doing so great, and I thank God for blessing me with these two beautiful babies. 


Peas On Earth

I will be the first to admit that this video of Connor eating peas is very boring. Combine that lack of excitement with my obnoxious baby voice and I, too, am confused as to why I even posted it. But while feeding my son today, I had one of those moments when I just realized how amazing it is to raise a baby. I can't believe that I am teaching him how to eat, something so simple and part of our daily lives, and here I am, teaching him how to do it. I'm picking his first foods. I'm setting his daily routine. I spend every minute with him. Every little move I make will contribute to the person that he will eventually become. This thought is equally scary and wonderful.

Ok, didn't mean for it to get so deep. Enjoy the video of Connor eating peas, haha.


They see me rollin'

At 4, almost 5 months old, Connor is quite the chatterbox. He will babble my ear off all day long, but with that sweet little voice, I don't mind at all. He's rolling from front to back and vice-versa, but only in one direction. He's our little Zoolander-- really, really ridiculously good looking and not an ambi-turner.


Riley All-Star

Riley continues to amaze us nonstop. During dinner, she started singing in toddler gibberish. It wasn't until she said "wah wah wah" that Eric figured out she was singing "The Wheels on the Bus." We tested his theory by singing, and sure enough, he was correct! She must've learned this song at school because we had no idea she even knew this song.

Here's my little American Idol:

Here's a little clip of her playing with my make-shift doodle thingie (thank you, Pinterest!) and pointing out some shapes. She is starting to say a lot of 3-4 word phrases:



Every first Friday of the month, Cool Creek Nature Center holds an event for children ages 1-7 called "Pajama-rama". The kids come dressed in their pjs, enjoy some cookies and milk and learn songs and poems about certain animals. We decided to take this opportunity to make a Mommy-Daddy-Riley date this month.

Date started with sandwiches at the park

Riley playing with the "ocean"

Whale PJs were a total coincidence

Putting her whales in the "ocean"

admiring the turtle in the tank


Yuck! Eww!

In this video, I'm pretty sure I was telling Connor how disgusting his drool was. It got a giggle out of him which then escalated to a full-on crack-up session. Totally worth it!


iPhone, Dog, Milk

S/he is crying because:
the iphone is "MIIIIIIIINE!"

"the dog is sitting on me."

she wants more milk, but doesn't want me to have her cup.