As many of you know, I have 3 children.

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We found out we were pregnant with my oldest son the first weekend we moved to Honolulu.  We had just taken over Honolulu Eye Clinic, and out of nowhere, I came up with the idea to have a nursery in our office.  My husband thought I was crazy, but I figured, we are the owners, we can do what we want!  And, I also predicted (correctly, as it turns out), that Hawaii is so family centric, so focused on ohana, that I didn’t think patients would mind.  Plus, since I am a pediatric ophthalmologist, there were going to be kids crying from dilating drops anyway, what’s one more kid?

At the back end of the office, there was this room which Dr. Edwards was just using as a storage space.  I told Jeff I thought this would be the perfect nursery.  He didn’t have the vision I did and had a hard time imagining it.  He said “We’re going to put our first born in a storage closet?”.

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It was definitely a bit of a mess.  The 2 nice things about the space was that it was pretty large and that it was right across the hall from the pediatric waiting room. (which we stayed up until midnight before our first day putting together).

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Pediatric waiting room at Honolulu Eye Clinic

 

So, after craig’s listing everything in the room and reorganizing it all, we had a blank slate.  The room is actually bigger than the nursery we have at home. I kept everything pretty simple.  Just some paint on the walls and I found a comfy chair to nurse in off of craig’s list.  I was given a second hand pack and play which fit better in the room than a crib.  Then off to Target for a couple rugs and a changing table.

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Hard to believe it’s the same room ,right? I made some green curtains from fabric from Walmart to hide all the storage we still needed to keep in the room.DSC_0178I cut the top off cardboard letters and filled them with fake flowers from Ben Franklin.

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Lots of books from garage sales! You can never have too many books

It was so wonderful to have my kids close by when I was nursing.  It really helped me go back to work sooner, because I wasn’t worried about who was watching my children.  We were so blessed to find a wonderful nanny, Gabi.  And, I just scheduled a block in my schedule mid-morning and mid-afternoon to breastfeed.  It was ideal.  I never had to pump or worry about not producing enough milk.  Though the downside was that none of my 3 kids ever learned to take a bottle, they were very spoiled!  Our nanny would take the kids for walks, and when they were older to activities like Wee Play, Ohana Music Together, Children’s Discover Center, Aquarium, Hawaii State Library, Honolulu Zoo.  Queen’s is so well centered, that a lot of things were walking distance.  So, as the babies got older, they weren’t actually in the office nursery for that long, but they would come back for lunch and nap, and just seeing them at those times was wonderful too.  Gabi moved to the mainland when Nikhil was a little over a year old, and we were blessed again with another amazing nanny, Shawna.  She truly loved our kids as if they were her own.

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The other plus side of having a nursery in our office was that my children grew up with the wonderful girls we have on staff.  They call them their “Clinic Aunties”.  Again, another reason they could have been a little spoiled.  My kids love coming to the office because not only do they see us, but they adore seeing their aunties too!

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And, that’s what is truly wonderful about Hawaii – my patients loved seeing my kids, they wanted to see the nursery and be updated on how they were doing.  I have one patient who even made her appointment times with me around my baby’s nap schedule so she could see him!

My youngest child juststarted preschool last week – hard to believe!  So we will no longer need the nursery in the office and the plan is to turn it into an exam room next month.  I know, kids growing up is all a part of life, but clearing out this nursery definitely tugs at my heart strings.  And, no, we’re are 100% not having any more children!

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And for any other DIYers out there, here are some pics of our nursery at home.  It’s the same room, just decorated differently.  For Taj’s nursery below, my mom made the crochet airplane mobile with sewed in musical buttons.  I painted the canvas with Taj’s name in Tamil and his Chinese name as well.

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Taj’s cultural/travel themed nursery.

When we had Arya, we moved Taj to another room and I really DIY’ed everything from the crib bedding (thanks Mom!), to the felt mermaid crib mobile (made that while sitting in the doctor’s office during my pregnancy), hand stenciled curtains for Arya’s room with a coral paisley (absolutely never again – want to get back pain? then hand stencil curtains when you’re 36 weeks pregnant and then sew them with black out liner), paint stick mirror, gallery wall from old frames that I got for free from Pictures Plus and spray painted gold.  For some reason, I really love designing and decorating kids spaces.  I think they’re just so much fun and are meant to be creative spaces for your little one to grow.  It’s my stress relief from work!

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Arya’s gold glam mermaid nursery

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I know it’s been a while since I posted on the blog – the holidays were wonderful, hectic and crazy.  I did my usually DIY projects around the house to decorate and bring in the Christmas cheer.

I made these stockings last year, they took forever because though I’m a patient sewer when I am sewing eye muscles, I am a bit a impatient when sewing fabric!

 

I tried to take a little more time off this year to spend with the kids when they were home on break.

Taj at his Christmas show

Nikhil singing Christmas carols around his elementary school

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We worked on little projects together, such as making “Reindeer Chow” together to give my middle’s son’s preschool classmates.  Got the idea from this blog.

Making 20 of something is always more time consuming  than I expect it to be.   I thought making it in bulk would be easier, but the packaging took up time.  And, yes I know – are these 3 year olds really reading these labels?  Probably not.  Am I doing this for myself? Possibly.  But, I’m sure any Moms out there understand – there is this pressure to keep raising the bar with these kind of things and not in a good way.  But, I will say, the reindeer chow was darn tasty and even though I was trying to be low carb, I convinced myself this somehow fulfilled that criteria!

My older son is in kindergarten and the room moms asked for locally made presents for his two teachers.  I am ADDICTED to the Magnolia Mom blog and they had this great tutorial on making gingerbread cookie Christmas ornaments.  I actually found this modeling clay at Ben Franklin that was non-toxic so my son could help roll out the dough and cut out the shapes.

And the finished product.

We spent so much wonderful time with my in-laws family.  My husband has 3 older sisters – one of them lives just six houses down from us, but the other 2 live in California.  They traveled to Hawaii for their annual vacation.  That means 9 adults and 10 children!  We found this great high school senior who is an awesome photographer.  We’ve been hiring him lately to take our family photos.  Check out his website here.  I saw the idea for the signs on pinterest and though I was for about half a second contemplating buying wood, sanding, staining and then painting with chalkboard paint to make the signs as in the original idea, better sense actually prevailed for once and I went with simple posterboard and a chalkboard pen.

The entire Wong side of the family

 

We did a lot of things that I’ve just never had the time to do here in Hawaii, even though I’ve lived here for over 6 years!  When we first moved to Hawaii, we were so overwhelmed with getting on insurance plans, learning how to manage a practice, build our patient base that we never had much of a chance for me to truly explore Hawaii.  My husband grew up here and his family has been here for generations, but I am an East Coast girl and hadn’t even been to Hawaii before we got engaged here!  So, it was wonderful to take the time to do these things with our family.

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Koko Head Stairs with my in-laws on New Year's Day (my first time!)

I think that was the most important lesson from this past holiday season – even though I’m busy with work, I really think it’s about creating intentional time and moments with your kids.  Quality, not just quantity, right?

And, then last week, we went to Maui for the annual Hawaiian Eye Meeting.  The meeting conferences were from 6:30-1pm, so it left plenty of time to hit the pool and hang out with the kids.  So, we decided to take the children with us.  Here are we are the beautiful resort – look closely because this was the last 5 minutes that all kids were healthy.

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Yup, that’s right – the flu that’s been going around Oahu hit all of the children.  The first 3 days of the conference, our oldest son had it, then the baby for the next 2 days and then the middle child for the last 2 days.  They weren’t even sick at the same time.  And, if you can imagine – 5 of us crammed into one hotel room, cleaning up vomit off the beds, floor, etc.  Not exactly the vacation we were planning.  So, after this meeting we immediately decided to cancel our plan to attend another meeting in San Diego in April.  Just too hard.  I’m sure parents out there can relate – you come home from a vacation, needing a vacation from your vacation!  And, that was with just a 30 minute plane right.  As Arya gets older (she’s now 16 months old), it just gets tougher to travel!  But, when we moved out here, my husband knew we would need to do a lot of traveling to the mainland, since all of my family is there.  Before we were married, Jeff and I used to try to take one international trip a year.  We scrimped and saved as residents and fellows – lots of ramen, walking instead of paying the $1.50 to take the bus somewhere, you know all those things to save money .  My hope is that we will resume international traveling in the way of medical mission trips and I’d love to take the kids.  I think it’s so important for the children to see how life is in the developing world.  However, the thought of being outnumbered on a plane trip lasting over 15 hours with 3 kids scares my husband to death.  I think it’s just about adjusting expectations – you realize it won’t be pretty and it’s not the same as traveling without kids, but you’ll live through the plane ride and the end result will be to create memories that are amazing.  But, that was a bit of a tangent.

I’ll be back to a more regular posting schedule with an ophtho post about strabismus surgery next week.

 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted – mainly because of the holidays.  Everything just snuck up on me this year.  I still don’t know where the time between Thanksgiving and now went!  Some of my patients might not know this, but I love decorating and entertaining.  I’m obsessed with pinterest (as is every woman in America) and I love searching through there to find ideas for everything.  So, I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing for the last month (instead of blogging).

I had a potluck the week before Thanksgiving.  I scoured pinterest and came up with a chalkboard/burlap theme.  I love entertaining, but with 3 kids, I have to keep things somewhat simple and I don’t like spending tons of money on decor. Here’s the invite I designed.

I usually go super overboard with decorations, but I kept it simple.  I bought black Kraft paper from Etsy and used chalk markers to label the dishes.  

I read on a blog that you should put the napkins and cutlery at the END of the buffet line because why make your guests pick it up in the beginning and have to balance it with their plates.  So simple, yet GENIUS!  I saw this cute way to assemble napkins/cutlery together in a clear bag on pinterest (of course) and had to do it.  I purchased the eco-friendly cutlery on amazon and the clear bags from Ben Franklin.

For the table, I just spray painted some mini pumpkins in blue and white and placed them in a bowl with some votives I bought on sale at Soha ($1.60 each!).  I was going for a coastal Thanksgiving theme.

To be eco-friendly, I placed chalkboard labels on mason jars for glasses for guests.

For the kids table, my 5 year old son helped decorate by writing “Give Thanks” on the black Kraft paper which we put on small tables I bought at Costco to serve as a tablecloth.  Easy and a fun thing to keep the kids occupied while waiting for food!

And last, a super simple banner that I made from burlap, blue card stock and  left over ribbon.

Lots of simple ideas for a rustic potluck for tho holidays!  Hope you can use some of them!

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