I am back, with twins almost hitting 3 1/2 years old

This past year has been a heck of a ride, indeed. It was hard, not in a sense that boys need as much physical care but just overall being in New Zealand and not knowing what we were doing for a while there. Anyway, at least I am very happy to say that we have found Tauranga the place we can call home. 

The trip back to the US was fun but extremely tiring. And I really have to think deep and hard about what the root causes of our problems, it can be a bit confusing sometimes or second guessing yourselves if you are doing the right thing, or just wonder and get frustrated with why the kids turn out to be complete crazy, screaming, wild animals, at times. 

With Lin and Li’s diet, we continue to make great progress, they are even healthier than before, I do not remember them having a fever in the past six months, or having any sort of problem eating, digesting, occasionally they have minor colds but they didn’t seem to bother them or break their routine at all. Of course when we were on the road (a lot!), it’s much harder to get the proper ingredients and have a decent place with decent tools to cook. 

However with their behaviours, it has been quite challenging, and we noticed a huge difference once we put them to Montessori preschool in early December (so scary 2013 will be history in a day), they fit in very well, and we love the environment they are in, the teachers there are so experienced and wonderful at communicating with them, they love their time and cannot wait to go, they are so focused on their games, and it’s hard to pull them out of the classroom. They immediately started washing dishes at home, going to the toilet on their own, holding their lunch boxes on their own…this brings me to the realization that we could have done a better job at home if we had more knowledge and guidance. Of course, as first time parents, we cannot be too harsh on ourselves but I really wish we did some things differently, such as not holding them as soon as they cried, and standing the ground and be more firm to establish who’s in charge, etc. But it’s not too late, because Lin and Li are still at the early stage to develop their personalities and there’s so much we can do to encourage them to grow good practical life skills and behaviours with positive coaching. 


They are such sweet boys in heart, I dropped them off this morning and they are perfectly happy seeing me leave, they usually take a plate, set the fruits on it, then sit down and eat. Then they go to the window to wave goodbye at me while I drive away. Today, Li said, “Bye Mama, I love you!”, it really melt my heart. They now can go to sleep on their own, so that’s a bit of extra freedom we get. I enjoy very much reading to them before bed, usually between 30 and 50 minutes, and enjoy watching them acting silly, say they see a frog on the book, they would say, “watch me Mama!”, then get down like a frog and jump around the bed. We went shopping last night at Pak ‘N Save, Li opened up my shopping list, and seriously read out, “香蕉,面包, 酸奶,ice cream!”. Well I wrote the list in English, although bananas, bread and yoghurt were on the list, there’s no way I would ever put ice cream on it – he was going through the list of things he wanted in his head 🙂

This morning Li was eating his breakfast and then we saw him chew his bread into hisImage name!!! I guess it’s time to teach them alphabet and writing, since toddlers usually go into a writing explosion before reading. They often look at things and tell me what they are, elephant, mouse, car, robot, etc. which is pretty amazing sometimes. As adults, we definitely do not have the same level of attention to details as children. It is such a fascinating age, with so much to explore and learn, I love this sensitive period, their age now is so critical, fast growing and need so much nurture and encouragement, great fun! 

Lin is just as creative as his brother, he absolutely loves robot, he loves drawing them and loves putting his name next to them. He also seems to tell me what troubles his brother is causing, whether it is screaming, spilling, running around, then he will say, “弟弟(younger brother) is not nice.” So cute…

Now I have Monday to Friday mornings all to myself, it’s,honestly,  really wonderful. I always wanted to home school them and I am not completely ruling it out but if there’s a right school for them, and the teachers there can do a better job in some areas better than I do, why not? I really need the time to run errands, since our diet requires so much more work in food preparation, but more importantly to have time studying, self educating and a little break for myself. 






Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Three to Two

Today I went to the doctor’s, quite moved when he commented on how few moms these days breastfeed their children for so long, not to mention twins.  But we both agreed it’s about time to wean the boys off breast milk due to the symptoms showing breastfeeding and the way they lay on me for long period of time have been depleting my health. Lin and Li will be turning three in two months so they do not absolutely need my milk from a health point of view.

Michael and I decided to spend the next two months, gradually reduce the feeding time, starting tonight. When it got close to bed time, Lin and Li used sign language and real words asking for milk, I gave them rice milk instead, they drank it right away but started crying a bit for mine. I held their hands and walked them to their bedroom with Michael, gave them lot of hugs and kisses, and told them that it’s time for them to have two feedings rather than three, and they will go to bed at night with daddy without mommy’s milk. They would not let go of me at first, and whined a bit, but after five minutes, they quiet down, both said good night and Lin closed the door.

I am so glad that we told them straight forward why they are not getting milk at night any more, and I was pleasantly surprised how much easier it was than I ever expected. It is one of those moments that I realized how much boys have grown, they can negotiate, rationalize, and accommodate now. After all, maybe I am the one who’s having more trouble with this separation – letting go breastfeeding – one of the best gifts I could possibly give to my children.

Leave a comment

Filed under 3rd year

My Little Monsters are Destructive

A short note to remind my boys, especially when they get older and read this post, that they have broken three Nexus 7 tablets in three months. Now the tablets are all still on the shelf, so no expensive electronic devices for Lin and Li until they know how to take care of their toys!

Leave a comment

Filed under 3rd year

Charles Visiting

ImageThe week having Charles’ family here at our new place was the best! We were pleasantly surprised that he’d hop over from Melbourn, where he’s on a project for work. Michael had just got his 70% work schedule approved so he only needed to take off Monday.

The week went by so fast, we drove to Wellington to pick them up, the bus schedule was too inconvenient for everyone, glad we did it since we all got to spend some there, Wellington is always fun. Unfortunately Li was running a fever and it was Imagethe worst car ride from the airport to the hotel. We decided not to rent a car, so Yiren and Lin sat in the back row, Wenqiong, Charle’s wife and I sat with Li in the middle row then Charles and Michael were in the front. They really got the worst welcome ever, glad that was the rock bottom though.




ImageEveryday was packed, we took them to Pukaha Mount Bruce, and were lucky to see the only white Kiwi bird in the world, Manukura. Kids all had fun there watching the rangers feeding the largest fresh water eel. We also took a trip to Foxton ImageBeach, the New Zealand beach is quite different from those elsewhere, very primitive and natural. Charles said it’s the nicest beach they’d ever been. We also hit all the main playgrounds in Palmy, and were lucky to get on the model train ride at Esplanade on Saturday. On Tuesday, Yiren was able to go to the playcentre with us, she usually gets up at 9am (how lucky for Charles and his wife) so it was a bit struggle for her. We still can’t figure out how Lin and Li’s sleep schedule adjusted to Yiren’s, it’s still a mystery! They usually get up at 7am but the week Charles’ family was here, boys both slept till 8 or 8:30am, but went back to their old habits as soon as they took off. I am still pondering…

The highlight of the visit was definitely the card games, because the kids woke up later, we were able to play card games till 2am. Charles and his wife, very experience Gong Zhu players, taught us how to play this Chinese game. We drew pigs and someone in the end had to crawl on the floor and make pig noise, then tell everyone, I am the pig! It was obviously very entertaining. I am just glad that it wasn’t me 🙂

179063_10151515145808890_106967073_nWe were all sad to see them go. It was one of the best time we had since we had children. I was expecting a house full of chaos, dirty dishes everywhere but it turned out with another family under the roof, everybody helps with the workload. Wenqiong and I were able to make the noodles from scratch (I’d never had the time to do that if I were home alone with the boys), she and Charles went out for dinner on their own Thursday evening, and I didn’t know that was the first date for them after Yiren was born. She’s a little adorable girl, and she was so easy! She’s not shy, not difficult, sleeps and eats really well, and doesn’t cry that loud. I can watch five of her no problem. Anyway, my point is this whole week of spending time together all the time made me think our modern lifestyle is really not practical – as parents, we have to do every little thing, which consumes most of our time, I wish sometimes we could go back in time, and really have the village to raise the children together, it just makes a lot of sense and much more beneficial for our children.

Oh did I mention that they came on a weekend when Palmy has one of its best event – Festival of Cultures, so yes we were really in luck for tasting international foods, performances and arts.

Leave a comment

Filed under 3rd year

A place we call home

cropped-307948_10151435609368890_881500062_n.jpgWell I shall start my story by announcing the good news first, this is our new home, and it’s finally a home that we are comfortable living in. I always took it for granted since the houses we lived in have always been nice, not until we got into the housing crisis which lasted two LONG months, had I realized the importance of having a stable and comfortable house to call home.

The newest rental we have is located near Victoria Ave and Park Rd, very close distance to city center, and within walking distance to Esplanade, Lido and even the Square. The owner is a builder who built it two years ago for himself, he acquired another house and moved in with his new partner so we are hoping that they have a long and loving relationship! It has an air-conditioner/heat pump, double glazing, ceiling, wall and floor (with polystyrene) insulation, underfloor heating, fully fenced, built-in night lights with sensors, central vacuum system, built-in sound system for living room, master bedroom, and garage, built-in multi-media closet, wall mount with an arm for flat screen TV, huge attic space for storage, etc. Overall, a very well thought-out and designed home. Michael used one of the four bedrooms as his office and everything just fit in quite lovely. Even our furniture, they look like they were made for this house, for it’s modern, clean color tones. One can only appreciate it so much if he/she lives in New Zealand and understands the housing situation here.

I immediately noticed that the boys and I can stay home instead of going out to be entertained, they can play in the yard, in the house and it’s comfortable with the air-conditioner on. At Balcairn Pl, it was so hot in the day we were heading to the beach every other day during the week then it got so cold at night , we had to use our portable heat pump. We sure got lucky with this one!






Filed under 3rd year

Foxton Beach

Jan 29th, 2013

Weather has been really hot so we decided to try out Foxton Beach. It turned out Foxton is even nicer than Himatangi, for couple of reasons, there’s a huge parking lot above the beach so there were much less cars ON the beach, safer for the boys, and there’re showers and water to wash after getting all muddy. It’s only about 35 minutes drive from city centre so about the same distance as to Himatangi.

Boys didn’t play in the water much, instead they were fascinated by the puddle Michael made, and they each had one.  I just enjoyed so much watching him run around and being silly. And I finally snapped a picture of me and Michael in the car 🙂



cynthia and michael

Leave a comment

Filed under 3rd year

Great Summer Fun

2 1/2 is a great age, boys are on a very good but different routine. They sleep exactly 12 hours a day (for 2-year-old it’s between 12~14 hours) 3 hours in the afternoon and 9:30pm to 6:30am. Lin and Li get the breast milk three times a day now, upon waking up, nap and before bed. It works out fine for all of us, which is great.

This summer holiday which lasted almost 6 weeks by now has been wonderful. It is getting more and more challenging on my part to keep them entertained. Lin and Li are not content being in the pram for more than a short ride, they want to walk, sit in the adult’s chair, and feed themselves. It’s an interesting time when they want to be independent but they don’t understand how to stay safe yet. I find it helpful to hang out with other children, not when they are playing since there’s still much parallel playing going on but more with older children. For example they would hold Stanley and Jack’s hands when we were crossing the street but not mine. Mom must be this annoying person who keeps them away from fun things all the time, so any chance they have to escape you can count on them to jump on it! As a matter of fact, it must be their favorite game to have mom chasing them for changing diaper, putting on PJs, and dragging them away from cars.

I’ve been taking them to the weekly holiday session at Milson playcentre, I do the new person fitting in thing and they jump right into playing there; Michael and I took them to Wellington the weekend before, they loved the StoryPlace at Te Papa and Junglerama followed by a feast at Nature Vegetarian Food; they spend almost every morning outdoor: Esplanade, playgrounds, Te Manawa; and on rainy days we go to the Lido or Lollipop. Palmy is really ideal for raising young children I would not want to be elsewhere for sure.

Today after work, we went to Downtown Shopping Center for dinner and bubble tea, boys climbed up on a tree for the first time, Lin now likes to pose for me in front of the camera 🙂





Pohangina Valley Blueberry Farm didn’t have as much berries as they did in previous years but still I was able to get enough for the year with the help of Michael and Elaine. Lin and Li are absolutely crazy about blueberries!



Esplanade can always be counted on, great gardens, great playgrounds, and great walking trails.

734596_10151384009578890_690879699_n 419701_10151384009048890_1952757366_n 269197_10151384010263890_1034465040_n


And sometimes they helped me hanging up the clothes…and play with their tablets.


Li at Milson Playcentre, fighting over the driver seat at Junglerama Lower Hutt, Snack time at the Plaza and at Te Manawa,

734494_10151384012193890_418236625_n 601050_10151384012153890_1967326590_n 523149_10151384013293890_444546752_n 424169_10151384010843890_1808092150_n




Filed under 3rd year

Himatangi Beach AGAIN

Yesterday I was brilliant to leave behind the most important bag, which was packed with everyone’s swimwear, boys’ diapers and towels. So boys got all wet in their day clothes…the car was full of sand and boys went naked all the way home. It was okay though that we kept it quite low maintenance. Today we decided to go again, with proper gear of course! Honestly I don’t think the boys (including Michael) cared a bit.

485992_10151381331723890_2025423695_n 428335_10151381331728890_341668048_n 184760_10151381332258890_1559639555_n 208411_10151381332158890_367814322_n 148383_10151381332373890_145581279_n 23217BE14A2281754C16DABD0C308787_500

1 Comment

Filed under 3rd year

Himatangi Beach

603037_10151379577678890_1176692700_n 379199_10151379577608890_1935822204_n 428044_10151379577773890_42842542_n 397478_10151379577748890_1015012202_n 269583_10151379577403890_1090436437_n 156364_10151379577853890_1035900722_n 149336_10151379577743890_1224297584_nI have to confess, maybe it was because I didn’t grow up near ocean and I’ve always been afraid of water in darkness, beach is not my cup of tea. My best memory of a beach was in Osa Peninsular, Costa Rica, I even stayed overnight right on the beach in a tent, the soothing sound of waves was nice and the view was amazing, walking on the white sand early in the morning, having the ocean on one side (after the sun was out, of course) and the rainforest on the other.

This best beach experience was replaced, now, at Himatangi Beach. I learned from Danielle the other day, that the closest beach from Palmerston North is about 30 minutes away. Keep in mind that the most inland point from the beach in New Zealand is 119.44km (or 74 miles) therefore per New Zealand standards, its pretty far (lol). It was one of those spontaneous moments that I called up Michael right around 5pm and asked if he wanted to go to the beach, he was keen so I packed all the clothing and the boys and went.

Himatagni was not the usual tourist spot, quiet, primitive, no shower stands, just a beach where you can still drive on, and take the dogs, kids, whatever. It was definitely the boys that made the whole time of one hour filled with joy. They were so excited, running wild, testing the water (literally), splashing mud around, picking up rocks and chewing them…and they did the sign language for swim just before bed, still begging!

Leave a comment

Filed under 3rd year

2.5 years old

Oops, how did I miss writing the blogs for so long? I don’t know. I guess we have just been so busy. Lin and Li are really little people now, they turned 2 and half on Jan 2nd, I did remember to measure their heights, they are at 92.5cm, but because we are moving house (it’s a long long story that deserves a bunch of separate blogs) I couldn’t find my scale so I would assume they are somewhere between 15kg to 16kg probably. 

Terrible Twos are wonderful age for twins. Even though they are stronger and even more active (if you can believe it and image if they eat sugar)! The school holiday is till end of Jan and I have been taking them to the Milson Playcentre. From Feburary Michael will be taking reductions of hours at work and he will be going with us as well. I am really excited. Boys are learning so quickly, they are addicted to their tablets, doing puzzles and games all the time, and they learned to say 公共汽车,even though their Chinese pronunciation is not perfect but they get so excited when they see one, or bicycle or motorcycle. They love to go outside and play so the word “play” becomes one of their favourite words. They have definitely become much more physical, fighting with each other all the time, and now I have to be careful because they can be hurt or I can be hurt quite easily, boys are rough! 

Michael and I took the boys to Wellington over the weekend, it was lovely. We found a great vegetarian restaurant in Lower Hutt after visiting Junglerama (a playland for kids). 519 High St, really delicious food and no need to worry about the parking. The next day we spent quite some time at Te Papa, boys really enjoyed the StoryPlace, it was nicely set up. 

We signed the lease today for the house on Park Rd, Michael and I really excited…finally we found a new and warm house. And most importantly we really like Carmen, she’s organized, responsive and kind. I think this will be really good year for us. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized