Catching up

I realize it has been a substantial amount of time since an update has been posted here! A great number of things have changed since November, 2017.

In the time which has passed, we have moved due to a job change and have now been on the West coast for over two years.

You’re now almost 3 1/2 years old. It’s amazing how the time has gone past so quickly, and yet it’s easy to look back and remember all of the big moments.

You’ve had your first steps, your first day at a daycare away from home, and meeting new friends at school and in the neighborhood. Recently we’ve started to learn how to read and getting excited at learning what the words look like for some of our favorite things (such as CAT)!

Baba and I love you greatly and enjoy seeing our happy and thoughtful girl growing into a great young lady!

While this post is short tonight, I wanted to be sure to get a note out regardless.

As we say to each other at night:

I love you Kaili!

I love you too!

10 months in

Kaili Month 9

Today, Kaili is 10th months old!  Click the photo above for a mini album of photos from about the past month of Kaili, Baba, and Dada!

The past few months have been a whirlwind for sure.  Kaili, you’ve really sprouted up especially once you neared 9 months of age.  You were doing an awesome and quick army crawl, but just before 9 months of age you very quickly figure out how to properly crawl.  Ever since then you’ve only gotten better at it and moving ever faster.  In the past few weeks you’ve even started to go up to objects and pull yourself up.  Even more recently you started to sit on your legs and keep yourself upright, then go back into a crawl to move around.

At least a few times a week we play on the piano.  You really enjoy when I play the melody for Old MacDonald, one of the few things I know how to play!  I’m slowly trying to learn some piano basics while you play with the keys in front of me.  Fun times with Daddy!

Baba likes nap time with you and reading you books.  It’s especially cute when you both cuddle in bed for a short nap together!

You usually sleep pretty good through the night although you do need a snack at times.  You’re still drinking a lot of formula, but Grandma Xu feeds you rice with shredded chicken and you also get some other good foods.  Yesterday you even had some macaroni and cheese that I made.  There’s nothing like Kraft box mac and cheese – and that may be a good thing!

You haven’t gotten any teeth yet, but that will probably be coming up soon enough.  You’re also becoming quite the babbler with real words not far off!

It’s hard to believe you’re already 10 months old, Kaili!  It’s fun seeing you grow up and being together with you and Baba – the world is ready for us all to explore together!



Eight Months Old 

Today, Kaili is eight months old!  Our little girl isn’t so little anymore!

Lots of good ways to hold the keyboard while working… #keyboard #babygirl #baby #workinghard

A post shared by KeithMcD (@keithmcd) on

The last eight months have gone by quickly with the last week being especially momentous.  Kaili made her first words yesterday and is also starting to crawl forward!

Kaili is in a pretty good routine now getting a bottle at about 9 pm and then sleeping until about 1 am. Another bottle tides her over until about 7 am or so on most nights. On occasion I will still get a hint of the food coma smile, but those cute events are becoming less frequent. Apart from eating 24 ounces or so daily via formula, Kaili is also eating second stage baby food daily. She loves chicken, vegetables, and some fruit but some fruit is quite tart for her so she gives some funny faces.

Several Weeks ago Kaili started moving, although it was backwards instead of forwards. Since then, she has rocked back and forth a lot and frequently picks herself to look around – especially when she’s in her crib!  In the last few days though, Kaili has improved her crawling forward movements. Yesterday she quite quickly was crawling forward to reach my phone and glasses. She’s going to rule the house soon!

Lastly, Kaili has started talking!  It started with babbling quite a lot with some fun growling mixed in. At first she was making sounds similar to ‘ma’ but yesterday it culminated into the actual word ‘mei mei’ which in Chinese means little sister. It’s frequently used by Chinese to call younger girls that. Here’s hoping she makes ‘baba’ or ‘dada’ her next words. I’m going to try my best for that outcome!

It’s exciting to see Kaili growing up. She’s gone from this teeny tiny 5.5 lb baby who was so small and fragile to a growing baby girl who is now crawling and trying to speak!  We can’t wait to see what’s next for Kaili’s development!




Bob looking after Kaili during a nap
Bob looking after Kaili during a nap
Naps are something adults do not get enough of but kids are experts at taking. During the day, Kaili will take a few naps to recharge and be ready to play even more. 

I’ve started to wonder, though, about what a baby may be thinking about after they wake up from that nap?  More specifically, when they wake up to find themselves in a completely different place from where they were before!

Kaili after waking from a nap
Kaili after waking from a nap

Yesterday, Kaili fell asleep for a short nap after eating a few ounces of formula. I then packed her up gently and securely into her car seat and off we went for some grocery shopping. On the way to the first store, she woke up and cried some but then had the above expression. What was going through Kaili’s mind?  Was it just shock from having woken up, or is it more confusion on how she got to where she is now?  It must be startling to have fallen asleep in someone’s arms and be put down somewhere comfy and then to suddenly wake up in a moving vehicle strapped into a car seat!

Babies, frankly, are pretty helpless for a while after birth. They must be constantly tended to with feedings, diaper changes, interactions, and moving from one place to the next. They do have their own little ways of giving back to the parents and caretakers though. Whether it’s by holding their feet during diaper changes, by starting to crawl or roll over, or by starting to babble and make raspberries. Or, more simply, it could be just those little hands roaming across your skin playfully, or by flashing you a tiny post-feeding smile as if to say “Oh yeah – that food was soooo good. I’m happy and I want to say thanks with my cute smile!”



Three months old!

Today, Kaili turned three months old!  Although only three months old, she’s now been to four other countries (Canada, Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium) and traveled to Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and New York – wow!

This weekend we visited the James Garfield house in Mentor, OH and went on a hike through the North Chagrin Reservation.  It was a truly beautiful weekend with perfect weather!

Kaili is progressing well and is now easily tracking us while we talk and making cooing sounds back.  We need to increase tummy time to further help with neck control, but if sitting up, Kaili is able to hold her head pretty good!

Kaili – you’re quickly developing and growing more and more into our little girl!  We can’t wait to see what you do next on your path and to give you all the support possible!



Eindhoven in a Week

This post is more an overview of our week in Eindhoven. It was a much less action-packed time than the previous weekend, but still quite enjoyable!

During the week your Baba was gone during the day as he had a very busy work schedule – which was the entire reason we were able to visit the Netherlands!  He picked up breakfast at our hotel, the Holiday Inn Eindhoven, then drove to work in Best – about 15 minutes away.

On Monday, I strapped you into the baby carrier and went for breakfast. You grabbed the attention of all the wait staff – you’re just too cute to ignore!  After breakfast, I sat in the lobby and started writing the previous post on your site while waiting for the luggage to arrive. I was ecstatic to see it being brought in and immediately went to sign for it from the delivery man. After unpacking, we went outside for lunch and a walk around the local shopping plaza. We saw the statue for Frits Philips, the son of the founder of Philips. Philips is a huge name and brand in Netherlands. After walking around some more, I settled on something familiar – KFC. I had the B.O.S.S. (Big Original Sanders Sandwich) meal. Afterwards, it was back to the hotel to nap and then I had to work as well. In the evening, we went to Ilio’s – a Greek restaurant with Baba and two of his colleagues. I was worried the food would be tiny portions but it was plenty of food and quite delicious. They even gave us shots of Uzo – way too strong for my taste!

On Tuesday, we once again had breakfast together.  I worked in the morning this time which meant I was working at around 3am Eastern!  At about 2pm, we went out for a walk near the shops again. I was surprised to see that a large number of street vendors had setup shop. People were selling lots of food and fruits and vegetables in one section, bolts of fabric in another, and pretty much anything else interspersed. Among the food, cheese seems to be a particular interest among the people here.

I ended up making my way to the grocery store chain Albert Heijn. I wanted some Sprite and also wanted to see what else was interesting. I found some delicious looking pastries and some sugar bread which I bought along with 1.5L of Sprite. It seemed like a good price of just over €6.5. Next I went back to the street vendors. There was one who was selling some food I wanted to try. However, it was 3pm by this time and all the vendors were tearing down for the day.

After going back to the room, I fed you again and got some more work accomplished. We then went for dinner at Sopranos – a Mediterranean restaurant. Tonight we went with the colleagues from Monday, along with another colleague and her husband. I really enjoyed our conversations along with the abundance of food!

On Wednesday, the weather turned quite gloomy. It rained quite heavily almost the entire day. You were a bit fussy during breakfast, so I took the rest up to our room and ate there after I’d fed you. After I ate we slept until about 2pm!  My lunch today was leftovers from Sopranos the night before. I then went into a conference call for work and simultaneously was keeping you happy!  You decided to be wide awake at that time. 🙂

In the evening, Baba cane back and we all went to Best for a dinner with a colleague we had met the first night in Eindhoven. She was wonderful to chat with and the food was quite good. I had delectable ribs. The challenging part of the meal was ordering – the entire menu was solely in Dutch!  I ended up using Google Translate’s live translate mode. My phone’s camera was instantly translating whatever I was looking at. After dinner, we dropped the colleague at the train station then headed home. After we both did some more work, it was off to sleep!

On Thursday the weather broke!  You were better during breakfast although you were definitely looking around more. Again, the wait staff enjoyed looking back at you!  After eating it was back to the room. I was getting quite tired quickly so put you in the Boppy pillow next to me on the huge bed and held you while I drifted in and out of sleep. You decided I didn’t need too much sleep, however so you woke me up at about noon. I fed you some while the room service changed ou the bed clothes.

We then left the room to visit the Philips Museum!  The museum itself is located in the original building owned by the Philips brothers where they experience experimented making light bulbs. The museum was actually pretty small but had some interesting exhibits showing Philips products through the years. They also had some interactive exhibits to demonstrate potential of the future.

Afterwards it was back to the hotel for work. Later we went to dinner at a Japanese Sushi bar then called it a day.

Friday brought even more adventures!



The Path to Eindhoven

On Sunday, we left Amsterdam and made our way to Eindhoven – our home for the next week!

Instead of taking a more direct route, however, we went a bit out of the way to visit a few more areas. I really wanted to visit the iconic Dutch windmills and found that just south of Rotterdam, in Kinderdijk is a UNESCO World Heritage site!  However, since we would be passing through Rotterdam already, we stopped at the Markthal (Market Hall). It’s an incredible building with a massive atrium where merchants sell local foods mostly. There is also a small Asian market inside. We had a small sushi lunch after we had picked up some delicious stroopwafel. A stroopwafel is two very thin waffles with caramel between them.

We next took a quick photo of the Kubuswoningen (Cube Houses) which were practically next door. These were created in the 70’s and have a very unique design and structure to them. Having seen both items, we made our way to the windmills while passing by the large Erasmusbrug (bridge) and De Rotterdam. It then started to rain and was raining pretty good by the time we arrived at the windmills. After packing you up securely in your carrier, then under my coat, we took a few quick photos of the windmills and then had a coffee in the gift shop. We decided to buy tickets for a boat that drove along the canal which was flanked by many windmills for a closer look without needing to brave the rain and wind!  Hopefully we will be able to return sometime to tour them better!

Once we left the windmills, I took a nap in the backseat while we drove to Philips in Best so your Baba could see where it was for the drive on Monday. We then drove to a nearby shopping mall where we had to buy a dress shirt for Baba and some needed supplies since our bag still hadn’t made it!  It is challenging buying the necessities when you don’t even know the language!  For instance, I had to Google some text on the formula to make sure I was actually making it right. I also found (later) that what we had thought was shaving gel was actually just face wash – oops!  No wonder it wasn’t helping on shaving!

Once we got to the hotel, we checked in and had dinner with two of Baba’s colleagues at the hotel restaurant. Finally, we went to our room to finish up the evening. Gladly, we learned that the luggage had made its way to Amsterdam and would likely be delivered to our hotel on Monday!

What a day!  The rest of the week we will be taking much more easy. Baba will be working so you and I will go out for lunch and short walks, but otherwise we will chill in the room and I will work in the afternoon. 2-6 pm in Netherlands is 8-12 am in Ohio thanks to a six hour time difference!

Love you,




Yesterday we arrived at the airport and ended up finding that our luggage was lost!  Hopefully it will arrive today, but in the meantime we drove to our hotel to get started. Yes, Baba is driving for the first time in Europe!  It’s a great thing he learned how to drive manual – most of the cars are manual transmission here. Once we checked in, we opted to take the train to Amsterdam instead of driving. After a short 20 minute ride, we arrived at Amsterdam Centraal – a major public transit hub. It is also a huge tourist area as we quickly discovered!

Upon leaving the station, we were greeted by beautiful views of Amsterdam. One thing that really struck me is the sheer number of bicycles. It is astonishing how many people ride bikes everywhere. Also, the marijuana. Wow – lots of marijuana here!

We made our way through the winding streets and swaths of people to the National Monument. This is a public square filed with even more people and almost as many pigeons!  Next we went to Pott Change to convert some currency into Euros (€). While there are many places that will do this, my research showed Pott Change to have one of the best conversion rates. The quoted rate was drastically more favorable to us than in any of the airports by a lot.

To really see the many many canals in Amsterdam, we took a ride on the Lovers Canal Cruise. There are many options with varying prices. Some let you on and off over a 24 hour time period while some just make a loop. Ours made a loop and provided snippets of history re-recorded. Our cruise was just over an hour long as well. We passed by Anne Wright’s house, history related to Rembrandt, and buildings with historic significance. A prominent item were the many boathouses. It was stated that new ones aren’t allowed, but the current ones have a vast range of shapes and styles.

Before we went to have dinner, we found the red light district. While we obviously didn’t go into any shops, it was a very vibrant and interesting area!  Finally, we searched for where to eat. I prevailed and we ate at Pancakes Amsterdam. These aren’t your American pancakes though (however those are on the menu if desired). Mine was a large thin pancake with grilled chicken, cucumber, and tomatoes embedded. It was quite delicious!

We wrapped up the evening by taking a train back from Amsterdam Centraal to Hoofddorp. It was a short walk from there back to our hotel for the evening. We made several calls but made no progress in determining the status of our missing luggage. Hopefully we will see it soon!

More coming soon when I talk about our journey on Sunday!



Jet Setter In Training

Kaili, you are already on your way to experiencing all this world has to offer – and you don’t even realize it yet!  

Yesterday was a big day when Baba, Daddy, and you traveled from home, to Toronto Canada, and finally to Amsterdam Netherlands!  Actually, it was your second time visiting Toronto – you were also there May 21, 2016 when you were -9 months old!  Just over six weeks old and you’ve already had two flights and visited two countries!

We had help from some fantastic ticket counter staff at both Air Canada and Jet Airways to resolve the fact that we did not have an infant ticket.  Air Canada moved us in the plane and even gave us an additional seat to where we were able to strap in the car seat!  Amazingly you slept the entire flight not even noticing we had even moved!  During the flight your Baba was even able to get some time in reading his UDI regulations – that’s some riveting reading. 

The Jet Airways ticketing staff of Vivian and Samiya. They worked for about an hour and then rushed us through to security to ensure we made the second flight.  Vivian was visibly excited when she finally got their system to issue us a ticket too!  The crew on the flight were all very kind and accommodating – we were able to get a bassinet for you so you had a large spot of your own!  Everyone was fawning over you and of course – commenting how cute and well behaved you were. We sat next to a wonderful couple from Sri Lanka who live in Toronto – fantastic people to chat with and learn about each other!

You did infinitely better at flying than I thought possible!  Keep it up for the next several decades. 🙂

Until next time,

Love you!


One month old

Today, our girl turns one month old!  It is amazing that it has already been one month, but here we are!  At times it seems like years have gone by, then other times it has only been a few days.

You have grown a lot as well!  You are now able to hold your head up more if you’re on our chest being burped. As well, you are definitely checking out the world more and looking at what is going on. Physically, we estimate you to now be just over seven pounds. I also think you are longer now as you seem taller in your car seat.

The next month should be another interesting experience as we all continue to grow as a family.  We can’t wait to see how much more you grow and develop on your journey to a strong young lady!