Timerland hiking shoes

Timberland Ledge Low Leather Hyper Mesh Gore-Tex®. My first pair of Timberland shoes. Bought it from timberland.com for about $65 to $70 on Sept 2011. It did not disappoint. The water proof feature works as claimed. I worn it for over 3 years, for mostly daily and some hiking. I would definitely buy it again.

Timberland Ledge Low Leather Hyper Mesh Gore-Tex®

Timberland Ossipee Mid Hiker Gore-Tex®. My second pair. I just started wearing it. I bought it in Jan 2012 at timberland.com for about $40. I lent it to my in-law for couple months. As my 1st pair timberland started worn out. I started this one. One thing is it’s a mid hiker or in other words, it’s a bit taller. I anticipate it may not ventilate as well as the 1st pair in St. Louis summer. But I plan to wear this one out before purchase a new pair.

Timberland Ossipee Mid Hiker with Gore-Tex®

Another thing I noticed is the price of hiking shoes went up quite a bit, and the quality seems declining. From some of the reviews I read from Rei.com about Northface and Merrell.

Btw, came across this top 10 hiking shoes list from outdoorgearlab. Amazon has a good list too.

Why I like JCC

I’ve been a JCC member since early 2012. Having been in St. Louis since late 2000 and in Creve Coeur since 2005, I found JCC is really a gem for fitness. For me it’s mostly about swim and walk on treadmill. But there is more. I met interesting people (seniors), or in JCC terms, mature adults :-)

Sometimes they would make me ponder about what I will do if I live at their age. I met 2 world war II veterans. One was 94 or 95 years old, he served in Africa (Sahara desert?), and he told me at one time he could not have showers for one month or 3 months, and the temperature there 130 freiheit. He seems think the British general montgomery is a wimp. I have not seen him for a while, I hope he is still doing ok. He basically does only walking on the track. Another gentleman let us guess his age, I got pretty close, 89. From the hint he gave. He said they have gatherings for WWII veterans. Each gathering he saw he fewer and fewer old friends.

This morning, I saw another old gentleman. He is waiting for my cubby. I asked him why, he said that number is the only number he can remember. It’s “123”. I laughed. Then another old gentleman said “don’t laugh, you don’t understand what we are getting”. I told them, I know some. Because once I lost where I parked my car at downtown. And I had to recollect which way I drove in to figure out which parking lot I parked. We all laughed :-)

I think besides the excellent facilities, friendly staffs (one person greets me on first name basis), the things I mentioned above is what makes JCC standout. Sometimes I saw they have Autism kids/adults come to exercise. This is just some scene I don’t see very often.

Yoyo told this story a while ago

sawyer and serenity going for special walk. serenity pick leaves. sawyer picked up egg and put in nest. sawyer pet chick to sleep. serenity bake some cookies.

serenity is happy. sawyer is happy. sawyer goes for medium one, serenity feeds the chick. Sawyer and serenity go to the park. goes to school in the morning.

plays ring around the rosie. there is one teacher her name is miss rachel. now it’s christmas, now serenity and sawyer at home opening the presents. serenity

got teddy bear, sawyer got tennis shoes. now serenity go meet princess (aurora sleeping beauty), sawyer go meets ninja turtle. sawyer serenity save their

presents. the end.

to be continued…

it’s 3 little bears. once upon a time, there lived 3 little bears, there is a daddy bear, mommy bear, and baby bear. bear are out side for a walk. the end.

Our car seats

Now we have 2 kids (one 7 month old baby, one almost 5), we also got quite a few car seats. First the infant car seats, we got a Graco snug and ride car seat for Serenity our old daughter. Something like this one, the seat has travelled to China and is still at her grandpa’s home. We are reusing the base with similar Graco car seat we got for younger daughter Sophia.


Looking back not buying the travel system like we got for sophia is a mistake. Because travel system is quite handy.


For toddler car seats, we got 2: the cheaper evenflo and the more expensive britax.



We like both: the former is smaller and easy to move around, the latter is sturdy. All these seats are easy to fit in my cars: 2001 nissan altima, 2006 subaru forester, 2012 camry and sienna.

I will talk about boost seat in the future :-)

The rodents are back to my Sienna Minivan

I talked about this last year, in this post and that post. The bad news is, they are back. Couple weeks ago, when I went to dealership and install the new battery on Sienna, the service advisor mentioned there are some biting on the cables, and I said “yeah I know, last year I have been here 3 times to fix the squirrel biting cable problem”. Looking back they already visited this year (2015).

My wife noticed the problem on Thursday afternoon when she saw the check engine and “Trac Off” light are on. So I brought the minivan to dealership on Friday, and they were able to fix it on Saturday. Needless to say, I am annoyed again. Service advisor’s advice is to put moth ball in the hood. This was essentially what I did last year. Not fail-safe and there is this moth ball smell which could be harmful to human. I did a little more research and reading (1, 2, 3), but I have not seen a perfect solution. Another possibility is the laundry dryer sheet, or spicy sauce. I may try the dryer sheet tomorrow. Here I wanted to summarize some of the possible approaches to prevent the rodents coming back. I hope this might be helpful for people in similar situation like me, last year once I recall the service advisor told me a customer came back multiple times due to this problem, in other words I am not alone.

1) Use repellent such as spicy sauce, moth ball (this is unproven and has side effect according to some);

2) Power wash the engine compartment, to get rid of the smell from rodents’ previous visits. Note there is different opinions on this topic (see one discussion here). I also noticed Waterway Car Cash offers this service. I never did that before and don’t know how they do this.

3) Don’t park in the same spot when parking outside. Keep in mind do this both in winter and spring: the rodents get in in winter because it’s warmer inside, and they chew the cable for fun, in spring it’s mating season for squirrel, the make nest there.

4) Last but not least, trade in the problem car or minivan. I did give it some thought, and I think if the problem persists, and since I could not buy a townhouse/single family house with car garage, that’s one option I may pursue.

Yoyo got sick : some thoughts on seeing doctors in the US

(2-6-15) So I guess this is common phenomena in 2 kids family. My older daughter recovered, and my younger daughter got sick.

(2-2-15) Yoyo got sick today. She has been coughing for a while, mostly dry cough, but it got worse last few days, and last night (this morning) she just could not fell back to sleep due to cough. Took her to see the pediatrician early morning as they now have walk-in option between 7:30 ~ 8:30 am for urgent (acute) condition. Personally I feel this is a bit like Urgent care centers. The cost is also the same ($50 per visit, this varies by insurance I think).

From Yoyo and my own experience, I felt seeing doctors in the US is really a hassle. In recent years I felt sometimes it’s more convenient to visit urgent care if it’s a really acute condition. Because to see regular doctor, we need to make appointment, and by the time we go to appointment, sometimes we already got better. But I think there is still benefits with regular doctors, in terms of medical records, and knowledge of medical conditions. More recently with my never ending cough, I feel a need for us to have more knowledge on medicine and health, as this is really our own body, and we have the most stake.

Also, not to pick on any one, just like to talk about the efficiency of this healthcare system. So the doctor prescribed something and since the nurse verified the pharmacy in the beginning, I did not ask for the paper prescription when we left: assume there will be an electronic message from the doctor to the pharmacy. Apparently it got lost. So when I went to Schnucks, and ask for it, they told me they did not receive anything. So I had to call the doctor office again, talk to receptionist. She told me nurse will call me back. I waited for a while, got the call. Verified with the pharmacist again, he said he got it. But appears he still need to dial a number to verify. About 15 to 20 minutes later, I finally got the medicine for Yoyo. The medicine (anti-biotic) is free, courtesy of Schnucks.

Last but not least, I recall when Yoyo was little (probably a year and half old), she got fever, and I could literally hear she breeze hard when she laid on the bed. Not a good feeling from a father’s perspective. She is much bigger now. Today even she got fever in the evening, her activity level is almost same as usual, her only complaints is she got headache and stomachache :-(

Got CT Scan yesterday

I have been coughing for over a year. It’s very hard to get insurance pre-authorization to get CT scan in the US, according to my primary care doctor. She said if I am willing to self-pay, it’s not too expensive. So yesterday I took the plunge, I went to Metro Imaging directly, paid the fee from my credit card, and got my scan. I used to see this CT scanner on movie/TV, and see my daughter Yoyo did it once. Now it’s my turn. A bit of mixed feeling though as I did not want to hear the bad news. The scanner looks something like this. It’s also interesting I used to work for Siemens :-)

Siemens CT Scanner

The good news is the results is negative (I got results right away, I think this is the way medical testing should be). The bad news is I still need to figure out why the cough persists? There are two theories: allergy or acid reflux (from stomach to throat).

    Couple deals : Charmin bath tissue and Huggies diaper

    Charmin and Bounty at Target
    $4.50 off regular price for 30 double rolls, $5 eGiftcard when one buy 2 (can mix and match). Here is the link to get to Charmin. Use Target Redcard to get 5% off and free shipping.

    Huggies Snug and Dry Plus at Costco
    $6 off large box (was $38.99 for size 3), here is the link to size 3. I ordered one box a week ago, and it arrived today. So far it seems work for my younger daughter. I recall we used mostly this diaper from Costco for our elder daughter. This promotion runs till Jan 25. Limit 2 boxes per order. Costco offers free shipping for this.

      Diapers, diapers, diapers

      Baby Sophia is almost 5 months old, and she is on size 3 diaper (16 to 28 lbs). I recall she was born at 7 lbs and 3 oz, quickly reach 10 lbs which also outgrew new born size diaper. Similar thing happened to size 1 diaper, she reached 14 lbs at 2 month mark, and now we have both new born and size 1 surplus diapers :-)

      Things slowed a bit since 2 month, she was about 15.5 lbs at 4 month checkup. Nonetheless we used all size 2 diapers (12 to 18 lbs), and started size 3 (16 to 28 lbs).

      As to diaper brands and type, we used huggies natural new born, pampers swaddler new born, huggies snug and dry size 1, a store brand size 1, huggies little smuggler size 2, and pampers swaddler size 3.

      Thinking switch to huggies snug and dry size 3 in the future, that’s what our elder daughter had most of time, and it sells for $39 per 210 at Costco. A bit cheaper than pampers swaddler.