Juggling two under two…and Easter Sunday

Today is Easter Sunday. A day that celebrates Jesus’ resurrection, his victory over death and our sins.
Just two months ago, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter. Ever since then, our lives had been taken by whirlwind, so very exhausting, emotionally and physically. This birth felt very different from the first a year and a half ago, it was less exciting and with more anxiety. We worried about who was going to take care our firstborn while in labor, the logistics of arranging for childcare, and how we can take care of them both. Therefore, when I met miss K, my heart was a tangled mess.
Then she turned out to be a very different baby from M. Very in need of warmth, and is very clingy. On top of that, a gassy, colicky baby. Needless to say, there are lots of crying on her part, and also lots of crying out of frustration on my part.
Big brother M has been doing relatively well, he welcomes the arrival of his little sister, but he is also entering the terrible two phase. He craves constant attention, whines and cries when things don’t go his way, and is constantly pushing our limits.
There are days that are so peaceful with smooth BF sessions, perfect nap times so I can focus my attention on each of them. Then there are days when everything is going wrong, both crying and screaming at me, and I scream back out of frustrations. No patience nor love left in my tank.
It is in those days of chaos I see how limited my love is for my children. I turn into a snappish person that yells at both of them, my heart full of bitterness and resentment, and then guilt. How can I feel this way toward my beautiful children gifted by God?

Humbly, I see the end of my humanly love. The best I can give is so very limited compared to God’s unending love. I need to love with His love and not rely on my own.

So today is Easter Sunday. Though I am not emotionally exuberant, I am very thankful for what Jesus has done for us. Conquering my humanness, my limitations, my bitterness and resentment, and my guilt. The end of me means the beginning of Him in me. I want to experience Jesus’ victorious life in me, in my family life and beyond. Today, I celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.
Thank you Jesus, for without you, there is no hope.

Crazy mommy imagination or true compassion?

I was extremely tired this afternoon, after morning Gymboree class with Matteo, and a big lunch. Matteo was zooming about in the living room enthusiastically, bringing me books he wanted me to read aloud. I couldn’t help dozing off each time he took off to find another book. Finally, I told him “mommy is so sleepy, can you read these book by yourself?” He complied but could only last about 5 minutes. After the third time, he climbed on to the sofa, and cuddled up next to me(after looking for airplanes out the window), and signed that he was sleepy.

Not believing him (since he was 1.5 hour away from his nap time), I asked him if he was sleepy. He signed the sleepy sign, and rubbed his eyes. I still did not believe him, though I was really hoping it was real. I thought, maybe I will let him play another 45 minutes, then put him down for nap. While I was thinking to myself, he got off the sofa and started putting away his books one by one. A routine we do right before each nap. Shocked, but I followed his lead and helped him clean up. Then I asked if he would like to change diaper and go upstairs, while fully anticipating him not going through the rest of the sleep routine. To my surprised, he led me to changing station, got changed without fuss, and afterward, walked toward the stairs. The bedtime routine went smoothly and he waved bye bye as I exited his room.

I went straight to my nap spot on the sofa, turned on the monitor to see if he really was tired….he ended up entertaining himself for one full hour before falling asleep. I was in and out of sleep during the hour, but I could hear him babble throughout my nap.

At this point, my heart was swelling with love and awe. While I was not sure Matteo was even capable of being considerate, I definitely felt cared for by him. His willingness to go to bed not sleepy, and play on his own for one full hour without complaining, seemed so beyond his age.

Later when he woke up, he remained quiet in his crib until I went into his room. His cheeks were rosy, his eyes were smiling at me. My whole being just melted all over again.

imageMaybe it was all in my head, but the love I felt from my 14 month old son was insurmountable.

Growing up too quickly

Tomorrow, M will be 14 month old. And in two more months, his little sister will join our family. Time seems to fly by and there are so many moments I want to hold on to before they are forgotten.

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So this post will be simply that, moments and antics that I must remember.

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1. Just today, M discovered the use of pockets, and started storing blocks in his and mine pockets.

2. Just last night, M farted while lifting one side of his butt cheek during dinner. K and I busted out laughing as soon as we saw/heard it. A learned behavior or instinct?

3. M has the capacity to share his favorite thing now. i.e. Fruits, and stuffed animal. Although he needs to feel like he had enough to eat/ time spent with the item before sharing with others.

4. M is able to show care to younger babies. At Gymboree, during busy box time, he brought toys to a baby girl who had yet learned to crawl. He also brought suitable toys to Mirai during a play date at home. imageimage

5. Yesterday while I was scratching my eczematic skin above my eye brow in front of M, he looked at me and pulled my hand away to stop me from scratching.

6. He deals better with transitioning from one event to another if I let him know ahead of time. Same with discipline. Once I tell him what is acceptable/or not, he usually accepts the disciplinary action that follows his rule breaking willingly.

7. He likes being able to choose during meal time. If the main course is not exciting, he’d rather finish his dessert/fruit, and then the main course. If I insist on him eating the main course first, it usually ends up ugly for both of us. I am learning to let him show me how he likes to eat.

8.  I added some board books regarding having a new baby into his book collection. Although he doesn’t seem to pay too much attention when I read these books to him, he kept bringing these books for me to read. And he started to rub my belly more often.

9. And yes, he loves reading books. And he loves music. He took the ukulele from the shelves and started strumming/picking after I show him how.

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…..this is it so far, all these little milestones happened in the last month or so. It blows my mind how a little person can comprehend so much, and become his own person within such short period of time. I am more and more in love with him as I walk along side him.

What a precious season of my life. So thankful to be able to witness all these little things daily.

A steep learning curve & a recipe

Learning curve

Continue reading

The birth story

M 4mo4wk

Dear M,

I cannot believe how time flies. It seems like yesterday you were just born, and now you are almost 5 months old. I want to record our time together not just with pictures and videos, but also  with words so that I can remember how we felt along the way. Since mommy started late, I better start from the beginning.

When mommy was pregnant with you, I had very minimal discomfort. Very minor nausea in the first trimester, and I never threw up. That was probably why I gained so much weight! Total of 35 lbs! Before you were in my belly, I have always wanted to have a daughter, but strangely enough, after you were conceived, that feeling was totally gone. I knew that you would be a boy even before we found out, and my heart was overjoyed. Surely enough, the ultrasounds revealed your gender, and we couldn’t be more happy. It did not matter which gender, the moment we saw your little body, we were smitten.  There were a couple hiccups during the pregnancy, each time mommy was very scared of losing you, but each time, God made it okay. Btw, your nick name was also hiccup, since you were always hiccuping whenever we saw you through the ultrasound. After you were born, you, to this day still have frequent hiccups, which your grandma thinks to be after my gene. Mommy was a very happy pregnant lady, and ate really well. I tried to give you a full preview of all the yummy food we enjoyed except for things that were not safe. You would often respond with flips, kicks and bubbles inside my belly after some meals. You seemed to really liked ice cream, smoothies and cakes. That, my dear, is a trait from your dad. I, who never had a sweet tooth, began to bake excessivly during the pregnancy. See how influential you were even when you were in my belly?

The night before your birth, mommy decided to celebrate daddy’s birthday early, thinking we would probably neglect daddy after you were born. That was the last night of our family of two. You were born the following night, 10/3/2013, at 8:45 pm at Washington Hospital. Your birth was very smooth, and mommy was able to push you out within 30 minutes of trying. Even though it was very unglamourous, and painful, the thought of meeting you soon kept me going. I lost a lot of blood giving birth, but none of it mattered, all that mattered was we finally got to meet you. The moment you came out, you cried ferociously. But you immediately calmed down as soon as you were placed on my chest. You weighed 6lb 3 oz, much smaller than we imagined considering how big mommy was in the last trimester. It was love at first sight for us, we fell madly in love with you. Our hearts were filled with joy, love, peace, and gratitude. At that moment we knew your name would be Matteo, which means ‘Gift of God.’

You truly are the most precious gift that God has given us, besides salvation through Christ Jesus. It is our hope that you one day may also experience the grace of Jesus. And we cannot wait to see how that unfolds!

Mommy has babbled on for quite a while, better get back to house chores. Until next time~

Love, always
Mommy

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Bring hope to Moore, Oklahoma

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Image from Convoy of Hope

It’s devastating to lose everything, one’s home, belongings, and “home” as one knows it in an instant. That’s what the tornado has done in Oklahoma this past week. Looking through pictures and hearing reports of the current situation makes me shudder. How does one go on, and start over from piles of rubble? Today as I was driving to grocery shop, a woman from Moore, Oklahoma called in to K-love radio station. The radio host asked her how is she dealing with the aftermath. She answered that despite losing everything, she has been encouraged by the help people are offering to one another. Anyone whose home that was not destroyed, opened his/her home to those who has lost it all. Then, the host asked how we can pray for them, the woman answered, “to know there’s hope, and to keep the faith that God is watching after them” (paraphrased). Would you be one to also bring hope to this town that has lost almost everything?

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Image from Convoy of Hope

Convoy of Hope is at Oklahoma distributing food, water and other essential items to affected areas. They will also stay to help with debris removal so residents can start over again. Would you join them in bringing hope to this part of our nation. Go to their blog for more details on what they are doing in Oklahoma.

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Image from Convoy of Hope

Pomegranate Aqua Fresca & Honey

Has it been warm in other parts of America? It has been warm in the ever mild coastal California. We rarely see temperatures in high 70s or mid 80s during this time of the year.

Hubby and I have been doing lots of TLC around the house to get ready for our baby, and manual labor in warm weather for a pregnant lady is not funny. We needed something cool, refreshing and yet not sugary. Besides the sugar restriction in preggo diet, I have never really like sugary drinks, so I came up with this delightful concoction.

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Not only is it thirst quenching and refreshing, we got to use up all the frozen pomegranate in the freezer (DH has seeds aversion, he dislikes eating any berries with seeds. i.e. raspberries, blackberries, and pomegranate despite how nutritious they are).

Pomegranate Aqua Fresca

Ingredients:

  • Frozen pomegranate (or mixed berries) 1 cup
  • Honey 2 tbsp
  • Loose jasmine tea leaves 1/2 tbsp
  • Hot filtered water 4 cups
  • Cold filtered water 4 cups
  1. Fill a glass jar / pitcher with the frozen pomegranate, jasmine tea leaves
  2. Add the hot water into the jar, and wait for 2 min
  3. Add the cold water into the jar, stir well.
  4. Add the honey into the jar, stir until the honey dissolves completely
  5. Refrigerate.

The reasons for step 2-4 is the following. I added the hot water first so the tea has enough time to brew. By adding the cold water and honey later, the drink retains the full benefit of honey without destroying its structure and enzymes (see below excerpt on Honey). The end result is a fragrant pomegranate tea with very little hint of caffeine. Very delicious and guilt-free!!

“Excessive heat can have detrimental effects on the nutritional value of honey. Heating up to 37 °C (99 °F) causes loss of nearly 200 components, some of which are antibacterial. Heating up to 40 °C (104 °F) destroys invertase, an important enzyme. At 50 °C (122 °F), the honey sugars caramelize. Generally, any large temperature fluctuation causes decay” ~ Wiki

Wishing you all a good day

Enjoy~~

xoxo, Mary

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