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So, if you’re a mommy blogger, or baby expert, or child behavior expert, or any other developmental specialist, please do not come for me. My little bean was born 2+ years ago, & I have barely “baby-proofed” my house. Of course (I mean, obviously…) the basic guidelines are in place. For example, prescription medications are on the highest shelf of a hard-to-reach cabinet, sharp objects are mostly out of reach of fast toddler hands, etcetera. However, I haven’t quite done ALL of the baby-proofing that parenting books & other guides tell you to do.

My house looks pretty much exactly the same as it did pre-child; still got tons of my mom’s meaningless crap random knickknacks strewn all over the place. We still have a lot of fragile decor displayed everywhere. I haven’t put any stick-on safety bumpers on any hard furniture corners. I also haven’t put up any baby gates (luckily, I live in a single level home with no indoor stairs) or safety latches on any cabinets or drawers. The most “baby-proofing” I’ve done so far is put a top-of-the-line (most popular on the market) baby monitor over my child’s crib-now-a-toddler-bed & plastic safety covers on the wall outlets/sockets.

I know that I still have time to “child-proof” my house, but whenever I look for things to make my house safer for my kid, I either end up getting the wrong product (wrong size, wrong fit), or Jian has some long-winded debate about its non-practicality & waste of money, & then there’s my mom chirping in the background that she doesn’t want our house to get overrun by too many children’s things. She also likes to argue that she won’t know how to use any of that stuff (like the safety latches on cabinets) & it’s all too complicated, so we might as well not incumber her life with all these newfangled (stupid, as she calls it) gadgets, therefore why bother? Besides, in her words, we never had these kinds of baby-proofing things when we were growing up in the 80s & 90s & we still turned out okay. I guess there will always be an excuse to justify not baby-proofing the house, which is mostly us parents being lazy & also giving in to grandma’s reasons for keeping things the way they are.

So far, we’ve had success in our child not harming herself in any way. We are extremely lucky to be in a position where one adult or another is able to keep an eye on her at all times. Jian works from home 4 out of 5 days per week, & my mom lives with us, so there is always a pair of adult eyes on our little bean. Right now our little bean is in her explorative phase, & like every other child she wants to go through all the drawers & cabinets. We have been lucky, so far, that when we tell her to put something down or to not touch something, she will do as we say, but we also follow up with a brief explanation as to why we gave her such a command. We try to explain…I guess you could call it child-splaining…to our little bean what things are & why they are not meant for her to touch or play with. We use simple terms, & talk to her in a calm, clear voice.

For me especially, I try not to use the phrase “because I said so” or other blanket phrases because that doesn’t really let her know that she’s not supposed to touch or play with the thing(s) you don’t want her to grab. I take the time to show her the item (just out of her reach, of course) & explain to my little bean what it is & why it’s not meant to be touched by little hands or played with…things like scissors, chopsticks, tools, etcetera. The little bean still gets to look at the item she’s so laser focused on, but then she also learns what it’s meant for & learns that it’s not a toy. So far this method has worked for our little family unit. Our little bean walks by the laundry closet full of spray bottles & detergent pods, but she has never once opened the sliding closet door & grabbed anything she wasn’t supposed to. I’ve shown her the closet a few times & explained that we keep soaps in there to wash clothes, & she hasn’t ever given it a second thought to grab anything.

One major thing that I was very concerned about when our little bean became more mobile was our fireplace. Everyone in our little household has been teaching our little bean about what is hot/cold & to not touch hot things (like coffee cups & the stove), but our little bean likes to play near the fireplace, especially on cold days. We live in an area where we regularly have to turn on our gas-powered fireplace on full blast during the winter season, & I’m the forever-worrier. So, I bought a good fireplace screen. It keeps a nice little barrier between our bean & the fire & teaches her about boundaries. So far it has worked, & has kept our little bean from getting too close to the heat. This was one of the best baby-proofing investments I’ve made.

Of course, all of this teaching our little bean about what are grown-up things & what are kids toys could easily fly right out the window, & she could end up trashing the entire house one day, but for now, I will continue to educate my child on what things she can & cannot touch. You know, I still have recurring thoughts about “baby-proofing” my house. I go back-&-forth in my own head about what items I can still buy to keep my child safe at home. I think about these things, & I become very indecisive about which things are still worth getting, or I think about Jian complaining about me spending too much money again…even though I am buying things for our child & not frivolous things for myself. For now, I suppose we are okay with not really baby-proofing our house. We live in a single-level Eichler home built in the 1960s. The house is very sturdy & already child-friendly. We should be fine…I guess. We’ll see. Until the next post, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

I’m so excited to learn that Japan has opened up its borders & eased its COVID-19 guidelines (for those who have been completely vaccinated AND boosted). I haven’t properly been back to Japan in over 6 years, & even during my last trip, I didn’t get a chance to spend time with my relatives. A lot has changed since the last time we all got together, especially since a lot of our next generation have gotten married & are having children (myself included). I would love for my cousins (& all) to meet my little bean & get to know her.

One of my biggest fears is that the connection/communication between my immediate family & my extended family based in Japan will end after my generation. My mother has made it crystal clear that she has absolutely no desire whatsoever to stay connected to her in-laws after my father’s passing. It’s been something she has been asserting even before my father had passed, that she has no interest in maintaining any sort of relationship with that side of the family. It’s so sad because everybody on that side of the family genuinely loves my mom, but she claims the language barrier is something she cannot get past. So, it’s now up to my eldest brother & me to keep the family together, language barrier be damned.

Of course the pandemic has given me severe cabin fever, & seeing the accounts I follow on social media freely traveling with their little ones in tow has given me a major case of FOMO. I have also been thinking long & hard about traveling ever since I got pregnant. I have been dreaming about jet setting (economy class, of course) with Jian & our little bean, & showing her the world…or at least what’s outside of our hometown bubble. Also having traveled multiple times already with my little bean on road trips has shown me that it is possible to go on more elaborate vacations with her. I know she would absolutely enjoy traveling with her parents. I mean, she already loves staying in hotels.

Speaking of hotels, we are leaving tomorrow & heading on another road trip to Los Angeles (*YAWN*). We will be staying at the same Culver City hotel that we previously booked on our last trip down south, The Shay. Oh man, considering we are collectively going through major economic downturns & a recession, the inflation spike has really punched hotel prices smack dab in the gut. Even with our super special friends-&-family-of-employees discounted rate, staying at our favorite hotel chain this time around won’t provide any cost-saving benefits for us, so we’re opting to stay at the hotel close to Jian’s office to use his corporate discount. We are trying to save money wherever we can, so we can save up for our big trip to Japan next year (& possibly splurge a little more while we’re there).

As you can probably tell, the three of us are going to Los Angeles to celebrate Thanksgiving with my extended family who all live down south. Every year we do the same thing, go to the same relative’s house, cook/eat the same food; the older generation play mahjong until all hours of the night, the younger generation get together to play trivia games & get shit-faced drunk.You know, I’m tired of doing the same shite every Thanksgiving holiday. My little 3-person tribe pack up & make the tedious trek down to Los Angeles to spend a few short, whirlwind days eating & watching TV. For my over 75-year old mother, as tiring as it is for her to travel to & from Los Angeles, she actually enjoys it. She loves spending quality time with her younger siblings & being spoiled by them.

If we’re being completely honest, I would rather be spending my Thanksgiving holiday somewhere else; it’s not just me, but Jian feels the same way as well. We really want to do some serious traveling, but Jian hasn’t accumulated much vacation days at the moment, so it’s not really feasible for us to go anywhere more than just a weekend jaunt somewhere close by. We are already feeling the burnout of traveling to & from Los Angeles, & we haven’t even left our house yet. It would be great if we had others driving up to see us every once in a while, but that’s a whole other subject that I will not get into.

Suffice it to say, the three of us (Jian & myself especially) are extremely ready to go on a proper vacation, perhaps somewhere overseas like Japan. We are also aiming to travel to New York City sometime in the near future, but for now, we are projecting our first big travel plans will be to Japan. We are already planning & mapping out all of the details with our best friends (who have an infant baby of their own), with spreadsheets, group chats, & all. I am more excited than you could ever know to be planning such a big trip. I was sort of hoping that Jian & I could take our little bean to London, but logistically, it would be more advantageous if we took our bean to Japan first…you know, because of family & all that jazz. Either way, I am beyond grateful & thankful to be able to travel at all, especially during these harsh economic times. I will forever be grateful for all of the privileges & blessings in my life, no matter what. No matter what or how I feel about Los Angeles & spending yet another Thanksgiving holiday there…

I. AM. THANKFUL.

So on that note, I am going back to ticking off the last little details on my To-Do list, finishing up the last bits of suitcase packing, & making sure all the windows, doors & gates are properly closed & locked. Jian is calling me to dinner for the 10th time, & I’m ready to go to bed. Until the next one, cheers & HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all who celebrate.

Today’s song of the day:

Ummm… I forgot to take photos of our campsite when we got to the Autocamp grounds. Well, I will repost the photos from my last blog post to give you an idea of what our Airstream camper looked like. The layout from the photos were exactly the same as our accommodations.

Let me first get this topic out of the way, regarding my compulsive behavior. I wouldn’t say that I am a total germaphobe, but I am mostly there. I get 75 percent uncomfortable when I have to share a public bathroom with others, even if it has a locker room style. If I absolutely have to share a public bathroom, I will, but I will take every measure imaginable to touch as few shared surfaces as possible. Even afterward, I will still feel uneasy & not 100 percent clean. So, you can imagine how elated (& relieved) I felt, knowing that I would be “camping” but with a private bathroom all to myself (plus Jian & the bean as well). Knowing that I’d have a private bathroom truly calmed my compulsive anxiety.

When we first decided as a family to go on a glamping trip, I was kind of hesitant. For as long as I could remember, I’ve always gone camping the old fashioned way with a tent & sleeping bags, etc. I have even gotten a lot of flack from some of my other friends that my version of camping still isn’t even considered ‘real’ camping because we are renting a private lot in a national park reserve with running water & access to public bathrooms. (Their idea of camping is parking your vehicle at the ranger station, & hiking into the woods to find a clearing for your tent. Then digging a hole in the ground for peeing, & jumping into the lake to wash yourself.) So, I was hesitant to try glamping. All of my friends who frequently go camping laughed at the idea. They said we might as well rent a luxury hotel room instead. Jian was determined to try it at least once, & with our little bean getting old enough to explore the outdoors more, it made sense for us to try glamping before thrusting the actual rugged camping experience on her.

The closer we got to our travel date, the more excited I got. I was doing a lot of research about the Autocamp experience, & I was so amazed by how they were able to seamlessly incorporate all the fun parts of rugged camping, but with the comforts of a modern AirBnB cabin. It truly felt like we were staying at an outdoor hotel, but with all of the basic elements of camping that made the whole experience both one-of-a-kind & fun as hell. We were excited to see so many other young families staying at the Autocamp site as well.

Our little bean had no problems adapting to the camping life. We were super excited to see her have fun & explore the great outdoors, but without all of the mosquito bites. Staying in an Airstream was really quite luxurious & an absolute treat. It has been a dream of mine to one day try out tiny house living, & staying in the Airstream camper was really a great way to experience that. The Airstream camper we stayed it really had all of the creature comforts of a hotel room but with all of the fun parts of camping sprinkled in.

Like I had previously mentioned above, having a private shower was an absolute luxury bonus. The shower was spacious & could easily fit 2 adults. The shower head was placed high enough so that tall folks wouldn’t have to crouch to wash, at least in my opinion. Having a traditional flushing toilet at our campsite was also an added bonus. There wasn’t a ton of counter/shelving/storage space in the bathroom to store your toiletries, but the bathroom still felt highly adequate. Other added bonus features in our Airstream camper are as follows:

  • Plenty of outlets & USB ports to charge-up & plug-in all of your electronic devices.
  • Plenty of overhead can lighting & Edison bulb pendant lighting throughout the camper. The Edison bulb lighting definitely gave the camper a rustic hipster vibe, but also gave the camper a warm glow & soft lighting.
  • All of the windows in the camper had full open-close capabilities.
  • TWO Dometic air vents (one in the bathroom, one in common area) for comfortable airflow.
  • Small yet powerful wall-mounted heater fan in bedroom to keep warm at night or in the mornings.
  • Powerful (& loud) air conditioner in common area.
  • Small wall-mounted TV with full network cable service.
  • The queen size bed was quite comfortable, with adequate bedding & decently firm pillows. It wasn’t the most luxurious, plush hotel-esque bed (it was a basic bed frame with a pillow-top mattress, no box spring), but it sure as hell didn’t feel like a fold-out sofa-bed or air mattress either.
  • Built-in bluetooth speakers inside camper (but we never used it ’cause we brought our own portable speaker).
  • The large 3-4 svelte person sofa was very comfortably cushioned. While in its upright position, it didn’t feel like a fold-out sofa bed at all. In its sleeping position, it turned into a full size bed that did’t seem too small for even the tall folks.
  • Our specific booking came with a private outdoor hot tub built for two. We opted not to use it because our little bean wouldn’t be able to use it with us, & I don’t like bathing outside where everyone walking by could leer at us.
  • I don’t know if the people who designed Autocamp purposely planted insect-repellant plants throughout the campgrounds, but we almost never encountered any mosquitoes, flies, or other creepy crawly bugs. We did, however, see more than a couple of bees living their best lives.

Although this trip was very short, just barely a three-day/two-night stay, it was still very memorable. We got to stay in a private Airstream camper for the first time & experience a small slice of tiny house living. Our little bean got to dip her toe in the camping pond a little bit before we thrust her in to the real camping pool full of pop-up tents, bugs & sleeping bags.

We have been talking about this trip ever since we came back home. We’ve also been talking up this experience with all of our friends. We’d definitely like to go back to an Autocamp campsite again in the future, but next time with all of our friends (& their kids too). Jian would like to try the Yosemite, CA location next. I think it’ll be super fun, especially if we go with other friends.

We don’t really have other big plans lined up for the rest of the year, except for the first public rock concert Jian & I will be going to in just a couple of days. Also, Jian is planning on doing another work-stay trip to Los Angeles again in September. Other than that, we haven’t decided what’s next. I hope I can post a review of my first major concert event since the pandemic here, but if I don’t…you can always follow me on my Instagram page, which is the main source of my up-to-date info & photos. Until the next one, cheers Runaways!

Today’s song of the day:

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