I suppose I need to jump on this bandwagon...
Seven Quick Takes: The God Reads My Blog Edition

State of the Cheungs

I'm going to insert a pause in the near-irrational Blathering excitement (although, please note, I FINALLY decided what I am going to pack, which has been a dilemma of Mammoth and Life-Impacting Proportions) and tell you that we are having a rough-ish time in the Cheung household. These kids, they are not making it easy.

I can think of a million and a half reasons why either the kids are being difficult or seem like they're being more difficult because Phillip and I are stressing about other stuff. Like impending upheavals to the world as we know it, aka Grad School. Truthfully I think it's a combination of both. Phillip and I have a lot of nervous-making stuff going on, but our typically-good sleeper kids have been nightmares for the last two weeks. The boy won't GO to sleep and the girl won't STAY asleep. I don't know how many times in the last two weeks we've had to stash Molly in another room so Jack can cry it out at bedtime, or run into their room at 3am to play musical bedrooms with Molly so SHE can cry it out. We've been staying up late and getting up early, my lower back is killing me because Molly isn't happy unless she's being carried or practicing walking, I am so very much in denial about the amount of time Phillip is going to be around starting next week and why don't I have any fun shoes to wear this weekend?

Most of this boils over into a conversation we've been having near-daily: when we're going to move out of this house. You should have seen my normally calm cool cucumber of a husband yank off his socks and throw them on the floor instead of lazily sliding them off with the opposite feet. "We! Are! MOVING!" he announced, and began munching his Lays potato chips with a little more vigor than usual.

I don't know if YOU do this, but in the CHEUNG household it's a common theme to assume there is One Magic Solution to all of our problems. For the last couple of days that solution has been More Than Two Bedrooms. Well, since we technically have more than two bedrooms right now, I should amend that to Three Bedrooms We Can Actually USE As Bedrooms. We do the cry it out thing and we have yet to be successful at having one kid sleeping peacefully while the other screams bloody murder in the same room. It's just not happening, no matter how many times my mom says, "Oh, they'll get used to each other."

(And maybe they are TOO used to each other, since Molly now naps in the office because she and Jack would play peekaboo in their cribs FOR HOURS at nap time. NOT OKAY.)

The third bedroom is two floors away from mine, and therefore is unacceptable for nighttime baby containing. No matter what my husband says, this is the case and I will not budge.

Last night I carefully tried to tell Phillip that moving to a three bedroom house doesn't mean our kids will fall asleep at 8 and sleep till 7 every single blessed night. And I honestly don't see what it will do for the girl who must be hefted around like the oldest daughter of the emperor. Or for the boy who won't eat anything that isn't tubular and orange.

But we take turns at Most Frustrated and Most Desperate. Normally it's me, so I ought to give Phillip his once-in-a-blue-moon pouty meltdowns. And I'm the one who came up with Get New House Quick Scheme. We're thinking about putting the house on the market in the spring, hopefully have it sell by the end of the summer and renting for a year. We can't really buy another house yet, for reasons mostly having to do with still having another year of grad school, but this way we can get more space without having to wait until Phillip is done with school. We THINK. Sometime after the holidays I intend to do some intense internet research and find myself a realtor who Knows Things. I need to know if this will even WORK, for starters.

I love our house. It's new and beautiful and I didn't even mess it up too much with my horrid paint jobs and constant mind-changing about where things should be on the walls. It's the PERFECT HOUSE - for people who don't have kids. Or people who have one tiny kid. Or even just ONE kid. But it's hard with two, and I'm trying to stop feeling guilty about saying that. I mean, you guys saw the pictures of my kitchen! How can I complain about a house that has that kitchen! But while there is enough TOTAL space, it's space that's laid out in a really frustrating way when you are wrangling two people who need constant supervision. There are two flights of stairs. The main floor is one big room, with no corner or alcove where I might stash a sleeping baby. The hallway upstairs has no extra space, no area where the kids can really play or (again) where I might stash a sleeping baby. Space is tight in both the bedrooms upstairs, and whatever extra space we had in the office is now used up by the pack 'n play. And the yard, which I originally loved because it wasn't fenced off into a little pen like every other townhouse on our street, is impossible for Jack to really use BECAUSE it isn't fenced in. Not that I would let him play out there by himself anyway, even if it were fenced, because I spend my time two floors away from that yard. IT'S JUST NOT WORKING ANYMORE.

How did this turn into a rant about my house? I'm sure I have MUCH more complaining to do about the nightly 3am Musical Bedrooms game.

Anyway. That's what's going on with us. We are tired. Don't cross us. And I promise not to talk about it this weekend. MUCH, anyway.


Gina Davis

Ok I'm going to admit that I am an avid reader of your blog and have been chicken to post a comment as it felt evasive since I know you in the "real world". But our lives are so similar that it feels great to see someone else struggling with babies that won't eat, husbands that work late constantly for "updates", and of course our ability to obsess about the small stuff.

That being said-I think a new house can solve a lot of problems. We just sold ours and bought a new one that has everything we wanted in a house. The lack of a 2 page list of things that needs to be done to the house left us with time to actually spend with our family. The increase in size allowed us to have a place that everything goes so we don't always feel cluttered and surrounded by toys and the neighborhood is filled with little kids ridding thier bikes. The best thing about it is I can stop obsessing about when we should sell the house, where we should move and what schools Owen should go to. That weight being lifted alone made it worth all the effort. That being said selling a house is no fun and Anthony and I learned quickly that the right agent makes all the difference in the world. Our first agent was a nightmare, didn't return our calls, took days to get back to prospective buyers and basically sucked. Our next agent was a wonder woman, always answered her phone, loves kids and answered all the tough questions with a bat of her eye. She also has a blackberry so you can easily keep in communication that way (our first agent took 1 week to answer an email).

Have Phil ask Anthony for Jill Estes email and phone number when you are ready, she is AWESOME.


One thing I would say is that if you guys do buy a new house it is important to think a little more long-term, since you are (I believe) planning on having more babies. So, you know, if you buy a three-bedroom house that will work for now but you'll be back to the same not-enough-bedroom issue once another child comes along. And then you'll have to deal with it, or move again, which is stressful in and of itself and that's before you think about wasted mortgage interest and closing costs and agent commission and all the rest.

I mean, I'm sure you already know this. But if I were you I'd be looking for at least four bedrooms.

Good luck! And I agree that a different house will definitely help even if it won't magically solve every problem you have.

C @ Kid Things

We are in a constant state upheaval because we seem to be of the mind that the grass is always greener... The house we currently live in is the longest we've been settled anywhere, at 2 years (we rent). However, we're looking for some place closer to my husband's work, bigger. Sigh. Moving sucks.


"We take turns at most frustrated and most desperate." YES! This is what I think I learned about marriage this year. Only one person can hold that position at a time. As long as it's just one person...everything works out.

Enjoy this weekend. Deal with the grad school/house brouhahah latah.


Olivia has been having random nightmares too. She will wake up screaming for me after her NAP, for heaven's sake. I don't know what to make of it. But I know that if I were dealing with TWO with the same issue, we'd be getting a new house too.


Oh GIRL! So sorry. We have a three bedroom house, but my husband REFUSES to give up the third bedroom, whether it be a guest room/office. He's all "I NEED A HOME OFFICE OR YOU WILL NEVER SEE ME WHY DON'T YOU WANT TO SEE ME?!" Ok FINE WITH THE GUILT! Plus he has one billion books.
Good luck with that in LA, Manda. UGH.


I will be HAPPY to sit and discuss this issue with you. I believe DC and Seattle have comparable price ranges (i.e. nothing I can actually afford) and although we have three bedrooms on the same floor (tiny bedrooms, though!) it is the lack of space on the lower level that is eating at me. I really want to get out of this house, too. It's not looking likely until we replace the kitchen. WOE.


I completely get it. We have a 2 br/1 ba house and it is DRIVING ME CRAZY. And we're only TRYING to have a 2nd kid, so I'm sure actually HAVING 2 is way worse.

I've pitched your "sell the house and rent for awhile" idea to my own husband. He's actually considering it. :)

You only need a 4br house if you're going to have more than 3 kids and one of the rooms won't hold 2. You can always put 2 kids in one room, divided by age or gender depending where they are in development. (The infant gets their own room while in infancy, but later things move around so that the sole-gender child has it, or whatever). Or you need a home office or a dedicated guest room.Just my $.02


Add a 2 car garage to your wish list. As you have more kids, and they get older, their stuff gets bigger. I try and be grateful for even having a house, but I can't suppress my dislike for it! We do have one story and 3 bedrooms (love that), but only one bathroom and no garage, den, or covered porch for storage. Meaning guests are subjected to a tub full of toys, the toy car is parked in the kitchen, and the strollers rotate between the trunks and bedrooms. Our living room is just a giant playpen. I totaly get the whole living room + family room thing now. I also think that bigger houses seam cleaner because the mess is dispersed in a larger space. I need a new house, too!


How is it that I am so behind on my Maggie reading that I am only reading this now? At any rate, I CAN TOTALLY RELATE. The overriding thought in my mind EVERY SINGLE DAY is that when we move everything in Troy World will be better. The boys will sleep better. I will sleep better. My house will be cleaner. I will be more patient. There will be less clutter. The list goes on. A lot of the items on the list are true...but many of them will remain the same, just as you say. That said, it doesn't make it any easier, really. We are ready to go and the impending addition of Nathaniel AMBROSE (no more apologies) combined with the whole Husband Working From Home (translation: from the kitchen table) Thing is making me lose my mind. We did find a house that we like...but the kids rooms will be on separate level from ours and I just don't know if I can deal with that.

Let's all just move. That will solve our problems. Actually, let's all move closer together! Ha! Another problem solved! I am a GENIUS!

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