Wednesday, November 25, 2009

6 months and counting

Somewhere around month 5, it became an absolute joy being Noelle's mom! She's past her stage of constant fussiness and is such a happy, sweet baby these days. Even though she is teething badly and has drool rash all over her mouth, and even though she seems like she is in a lot of pain sometimes, she is generally so fun to be with.

Her favorite things to do throughout the day are being on her belly, scooting around here and there, getting up on all fours, getting into things. She's sort of like, excuse the analogy, a little puppy! She paws at things, including my leg, and she'll put everything within reach straight into her mouth. Yesterday she held a miniature mouse (a finger puppet) in her teeth for quite awhile. It still makes me smile when I think about it.

In terms of feeding, she's now moved to the next level - solids! The doctor said that she is one of the more active babies that she's seen and is burning off a lot of calories. She said that I can step up the amount of food I offer her. So far, Noelle has had avocado, pureed pears, carrots, butternut squash, and her new favorite, yams! It's fun to watch her open her little mouth for "more" - and all the "ahhhhhs" (as in, "ahhh" open your mouth) make lunch and dinnertime such amusing activities.

She often needs to rub her face - her teeth hurt? her nose itches? she's tired? - and guess where all the yam ends up. Not just on her chin anymore but all over her hair and face and clothes and highchair!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Inside the head of a 5 month old

Today I placed Noelle on the bed, propped up on some pillows, while I used the restroom. It was a quick bathroom break, but I still needed to keep an eye on her since she's now gotten in the habit of rolling as a means of transportation. I played peekaboo with the door open - several times, mind you. She saw me appear in the doorway, then disappear, then reappear, then disappear, etc.

Then I paused for maybe two seconds, did the "PEEKABOO!" thing, showing myself, and she literally screamed (her baby scream) out of being startled so abruptly.

I was amused. You would think that she would've caught onto the game, but no, she was actually surprised that I could appear out of nowhere.

Lately she's so easily startled. Just the sight of me, if I don't approach her crib with loud footsteps or my voice to warn her that I'm coming, will cause her to jump in her skin - oftentimes with a gasp. Then she will cry, baby language for "You scared me, Mommy!"

What's even funnier is that while she is nursing, she will occasionally lose her latch and make a loud suction noise, at which point she jumps in her skin, being startled by herself!

I sometimes wonder what she is thinking, what her little brain is capable of understanding. Sometimes I underestimate her, thinking that she doesn't understand a single word I say. But in reality she is already able to cry, "Mama" and I'm pretty sure she knows what I mean when I tell her not to pull my hair (she lets go on command). But then sometimes I think I overestimate her. She is, after all, only 5 months out of the womb. I gave her some rice cereal yesterday and she threw it up in the middle of the night - she is still so young she can't even digest a tablespoon of cooked rice meal!

At the dinner table, she has lately started to lean forward, arms and little hands reaching towards the table, wanting to grasp the glass cup, the fork, the bowl. She will open her mouth until I put a spoon in her mouth - she just won't quit! She gobbled down the rice cereal and the pears I've been spoon feeding her and wanting more after I say, "All done; no more!" I wonder if she is truly hungry, or is she just wanting to be like one of the adults?

If only babies could talk...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nursing

The thing about breastfeeding is that your little baby is literally draining away all the minerals, vitamins, and fat from your body every time you feed her. It's been about 3 1/2 months and my hair is starting to fall out! I've heard (and seen, sorry!) of some women getting bald spots, getting brittle nails, and suffering from rickety teeth. And there's still 8 months to go. Wow! How do women who have 5 kids still keep their health?

On the PLUS side, nursing our little girl is really the sweetest thing to me right now! It's what I truly enjoy doing and really is so amazing that a little human being can survive (even GROW!), gaining pounds and pounds, off of nothing more than human milk.

It really makes me laugh some of the things that go on while she's eating...for example, she's really discovered the use of her nails. She really likes to scratch the sheets when she falls asleep for her naps. But when she's feeding, she has this habit of scratching my armpit or arm repeatedly, over and over and over. Meanwhile I'm dying, trying not to scream or make a peep because it's 3 a.m. and I don't want to give her the impression that it is okay to play and laugh in the middle of the night.

The girl's nails and hair are growing at a phenomenal rate, hence my theory that I am transferring all my minerals to her via breastfeeding. I cut her nails twice a week, and I can already put her hair in pigtails at 3 months. On top of that, she's drooling up a storm, sucking constantly on both fists jammed into her mouth, and crying when I touch her gums. Will my teeth start feeling rickety once hers make their appearance in a few months?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thoughts to Ponder

"Motherhood is not a romanticized ideal, it is a God-given task, suited to a woman's frame and accomplished joyfully by hard work through His grace and provision. Godly motherhood does not focus on the pretty little child, doesn't focus on infancy and childhood. Let me tell you, godly mothering focuses on adulthood from the start. It focuses on a long-term objective which is mature godly sons and daughters who will live to bring honor and glory to God. That is the calling of scriptural spiritual motherhood. That's what God wants. Those who don't know Christ, they can't even approach it right. Those who do, must."

John MacArthur, God's Pattern for Wives
http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/1944

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On Motherhood

I must admit that the last two months have been a challenging journey towards motherhood. You have a baby, and yes, that automatically makes you a mother. But being a good mother, that takes time. Mothering is an art; you learn, you practice, you make mistakes, you get better.

The first month it was just keeping our baby alive by feeding her and keeping her clean. Yes, she would cry and scream a lot, and so, the other priority for the first month was to keep myself alive by sleeping whenever she slept, trying to recover from childbirth.

The second month became a somewhat more organized attempt to establish a rhythm of living. I interviewed veteran moms, asking them about their routines, their ways of mothering, their tips for child-rearing. I read, and am still reading, a lot of books on babycare and parenting. Kevin and I have started reading Shepherding a Child's Heart, by Tedd Tripp, in anticipation for the moment our daughter enters a new stage of consciousness and begins suddenly to make choices. Parenting suddenly becomes a much more spiritual act than changing diapers and swaddling a squirming baby! But that is a topic for another post.

What I wanted to write about was that, at the start of this third month, my eyes have been opened to the diverse world of parenting styles. There is truly no single
right way to do anything when it comes to the way you choose to feed your baby (whether on-demand or by way of parent-directed-feeding), the way you choose to put your baby to sleep (letting her cry-it-out or letting her fall asleep in your arms), the way you choose to interact with your baby (carrying her in a sling all day or putting her to play by herself in her bouncy chair).

Being a new mom can be downright intimidating. You really have no idea what you are doing. Right from the start, the hospital tells you to feed your baby on-demand. Then the pediatrician comes in and says to feed her every two hours. Already you are paralyzed in confusion, and it's only the first day of being a mom! This very type of scenario - where I am paralyzed in confusion - happens all the time to me!

Thankfully God has given us the grace to hobble through these first couple months. We are still learning what works for us and what doesn't. I am especially learning that when it comes to caring for a baby, most of it boils down to simple matters of personal preference. It is very liberating to know that if there is no true biblical basis for any suggested parenting practice or style, then I really do not need to heed the advice.

To conclude, I wanted to give a verse from Isaiah that I like. God actually uses the analogy of a mother to describe the way He will be towards Jerusalem. God has made mothers with a natural and beautiful impulse to comfort and nurse their child. This relationship between mother and child is so full of beauty that He uses it to express the kind of relationship He will have toward Jerusalem.

Isaiah 66:10-13

10"Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her;
11that you may nurse and be satisfied
from her consoling breast;
that you may drink deeply with delight
from her glorious abundance."

12For thus says the LORD: "Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.
13As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Constant Companion


This is who I see on a daily basis. She's either sleeping, eating, crying, peeing or pooping. Lately, at 6 1/2 weeks, she has started smiling in her sleep.

She's beginning to love taking her baths. She likes being wrapped up in her towel while in the buff.


She absolutely LOVES to sleep on her belly despite how the pediatrician lectured her about it. She just can't seem to catch any zzz's for very long on her back.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mommy School

Now that I'm a mom, there's been a ton of new things to learn! Last month I started with reading a bunch of books on postpartum recovery for my own body (honestly, it was a shock finding out what a woman's body goes through after she gives birth!). Then I moved on to books regarding childcare (from the basics of caring for a baby to information on childhood vaccinations).

Isn't it funny that we go through four years of college education, staying up late and pulling those all-nighters studying for an exam on something like, say, Latin verb conjugations and noun declensions, but then years later realize it was a partial waste of effort and time since it has nothing to do with what I really wanted to be all along: A WIFE AND A MOMMY.

Here is a "Reading List" for Jean as she goes through "Mommy School":
(they also happen to be my favorite, or, the ones that I felt helped me the most)

A Natural Guide to Pregnancy and Postpartum Health, by Dean Raffelock
(This book is highly recommended, especially if you're really into nutrition like I am. I was spoiled by my mom and mom-in-law because in Chinese tradition, the first month after a woman gives birth is a critical time of recovery during which time relatives - i.e. mom and mom-in-law - make nourishing foods for her to boost lactation and facilitate in healing. On top of having special meals from my mom and mom-in-law, I also followed nutritional guidelines in this book, which I thought really helped me avoid common postpartum health issues like fatigue, postpartum depression, dwindling milk production, etc.)

The Post-Pregnancy Handbook, by Sylvia Brown
(Emphasizes recovery from a more natural perspective. Recommended exercises done while I was bed-ridden really did help me!)

A Parent's Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinations, by Lauren Feder, M.D.
(An overview of childhood vaccines. This book also happens to be written by Noelle's pediatrician, but I specifically chose a doctor who is OK with parents who choose to vaccinate on an alternate schedule rather than the CDC's recommended vaccine schedule. It's a controversial topic, but after reading books/lectures, I've decided for now only to go forward with four vaccines for Noelle: Dtap, Hib, IPV, and PCV.)

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Marc Weissbluth, M.D.
(Solidly and scientifically researched info on childhood sleep needs. This book is helping me sleep train my baby. She's learning how to fall asleep on her own right now, and yes, basically it means I have to let her cry herself to sleep. But it works! I'm also learning all about infant sleep and the importance enforcing and preserving a nap schedule.)






Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cloth Diapering?

A friend of mine has decided to venture into cloth diapering for her baby girl. Besides her, I know one other family who uses cloth diapers for their baby.

Before having our daughter, I had some romantic notion that cloth diapering would be so natural, so environmentally-friendly, so gentle on baby's little bum. There would be less diaper rash, less money spent on disposable diapers, less garbage around the house.

Now that we're 11 days into parenthood, I could honestly care less whether I have to spend hundreds of dollars on disposables, whether our trash cans seem to accumulate heaps of dirty diapers, or honestly, whether our little girl gets diaper rash sometimes. Just get the poo out of our way so the baby stops crying at the top of her lungs while we change her!! I really CANNOT deal with having to wash dirty poo diapers right now. I can hardly deal with changing 10 diapers a day, period.

But I know that once things settle down a bit, when a routine develops and we are getting more than 3 hours of sleep a night, I will want to try cloth diapers.

Several brands have peaked my interest: Gdiapers (Julia Roberts uses these, which is supposed to be some sort of a selling point for the company, I guess), BumGenius (recommended by a friend, Abi), and Gro Baby (recommended by another friend, Helen). They all have these outer "shells" with inserts that are either disposable or washable.

First up in the cloth diapering experiment will be Gro Baby, especially since they are giving away a free sample for blogging mothers! http://www.thenaturalbabyco.com/grobaby%E2%84%A2-ic-11_16.html

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jean's Journal entry amidst labor (The story of her unmedicated birth)

"May 19th, 2009

This morning when I woke up I was having a contraction with cramps. They were coming on and off for weeks (if not months – the Doc made me take Terbutaline to stop “premature contractions” at 33 weeks and then again at 36 weeks).

I went to a checkup at the doctor’s office at 11:30am as part of my regularly scheduled appointments, and he said I was 38 ½ weeks (due date May 26, 2009), 70% effaced and 2 cm dilated.

By about 3:30 p.m. I noticed they (contractions) were getting pretty close together. Lying down or doing things didn’t make them go away. I started cooking at 4:30 p.m., and that’s when the cramps and pinkish bloody show came. By 6 we were eating dinner and I really felt the contractions growing in intensity. We packed the car after dinner, watched a TV show. I took a shower, packed Kevin a sandwich, and at 8pm we headed to the hospital. I was afraid that my water had broken, and my contractions (3-5 min. apart consistently) were going to cause the baby to come.

They observed me until 9:30pm; the nurse said the baby was doing beautifully with the contractions. That was good to hear. We could go home to go labor more there.

Now we are at home – Kevin’s belly is satiated with In-and-out, and I’ve just gorged on meatloaf and a bagel. We are listening to Christian hymns and it’s wonderful to have such beautiful truth to meditate on. It’s about 11 p.m. at night.

Here’s some more I hope to think about:

“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God. The faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.” Deuteronomy 7:9

“My soul, waits silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.” Psalm 62:5-7"

"May 20th, 2009

I have given birth to a beautiful daughter! Here is the rest of the story of what happened:

We went upstairs to lay down at about midnight, and we were laying there until 1 pm and suddently I heard a POP!! My water broke!

Kevin leapt up from bed and we jetted out of the house to the Labor & Delivery Room. There was such a relief when it popped, but then suddenly the contractions seemed to get more painful. I started shaking. Kevin freaked out.

Somehow we made it to the triage shaking, I was checked to be 80% effaced and 3 cm dilated. I was bummed. It was so painful I thought surely I was going through “transition” already! Shouldn’t I be something like 5 or 6 cm dilated at least? The pain!

There was meconium in the amniotic fluid, so I had to have the baby monitored the whole time and they needed to put an IV in me. OK, no problems, I thought. Who cares when you’re in this much pain! Just make the pain stop!!! At least for an hour so I can take a break.

But it was unrelenting and I thought to myself that there was no way I would be able to bear this unrelenting pain if I was going to progress THIS slowly.

The nurse, Maria (she should be a doula), popped into the room and I took the chance (desperate as I was) to ask the question: “How can I make my labor progress?” and she said, “Honestly” trying to be as gentle as possible, “stronger contractions.” And I said, “REALLY?” Thinking how strong my contractions already were. She said, “You have to relax through them. The uterus and cervix is a muscle and won’t dilate unless you relax it.”

It was then I thought, “This is do or die. It’s going to be way worse than this and I’ve got to relax through more pain!!”

So I became dead. I zoned out. Put on monastic music & turned the lights off. At this point, Cecilia our doula walked in. The angel! God’s grace to me. My soul was really downcast at that point. To do it without pain medication seemed an insurmountable task.

She told me how great I was doing working through the contractions – that fed my spirit. I must be on to something right.

I was hee hee hee hooing – and she said I was doing it right. So did Maria. Of course I don’t know why it was right, it just seemed to work in their minds.

I used the birthing ball and swayed left & right. For my back pain Cecilia rubbed my back for 30 minutes to an hour. I felt the baby moving. Could the head really turn? I was having tremendous back pain because the baby’s head was in the wrong position to come out.

I was talking to the baby now, saying “C’mon baby, turn…. Come on, baby… “and then “Relax! Relax!” While screwing my head into a pillow.

Then it got tiring & I thought “Geez how long can I endure this? Marie & Marcus delivered at 12 noon the next day. She labored 8 hours & it’s only 3am/4am for me. Sheesh. I’ve been here maybe an hour. Two at most.”

So I said to myself, “Dude I need to rest. Let me just lay down. Yes, it’ll all go away if I just lay down.”

So lay I did – on my left side, in case the baby needed to turn. Little did I know that the baby already turned! Suddenly the next contraction hit like an 8 point earthquake – wham! "Whoa…"

“Let’s get up!” I said in my mind. This is definitely hurting way more than when I was using the birthing ball and dancing/swaying to Christian hymns.

But just then Cecilia says, “You are having stronger ones this way. You should stay!”

So in my mind I said, “OK! do or die.” I can avoid pain or I can welcome it and let it work to bring the baby closer.

Cecilia was saying all these things and it helped me to choose my baby. My baby or less pain? That was the choice. I wanted less pain, and that was my gut instinct, until Cecilia said that every contraction will bring me closer to the baby.

So then I continued. I tried to imagine water washing over me with every contraction. Let it work! I said. Suddenly, I felt pressure on the cervix. “Pressure!” I yelled.

“That means you’re dilating.”

“Yes!”

Cecilia calls the nurse to ask her if I can get checked.

She comes in. I am 100% effaced and 7 cm dilated. It’s 4am or something ridiculous. Kevin & Cecilia can’t believe it. 2am I was 3cm. 4am and I am 7cm.

I said, “Woohoo!” and everyone laughs.

I was praising God in my heart. He had given me the grace to go from 3-7 cm. What grace! Now just 3 more to go.

But then I started getting shivers. Like, “Lalalalalala” uncontrollable, ridiculous shivers. Am I in transition?

Cecilia tells me, “Jean, It won’t get any harder than this. If you can just bear this through, you will have your baby in your arms very soon!”

So my spirits soared! I let the pain come like a rushing wave to engulf me and take over. I couldn’t resist it, I had to say, “Yes, pain come!” It was so emotional to be that vulnerable.

Then the urge to push suddenly came upon me. Ahh! Could the baby’s head be here? The nurse said I was 0 station, fully dilated and effaced and I said, “Darn!” I won’t be able to push until +1 or +2 station!” How long can I hold it off, plus the doc is in bed sleeping!!!

“Get Dr. Wu here!” I yelled.

It was almost comical at this point. I was so happy with the progress, but felt like now I was too fast that now I have to wait on the doc! And poor Doc, it’s 4:30am in the morning. I thought, “I really should be nicer to him!” He has to do this every night, sheesh!! What a life – OMG.

15 minutes later I really couldn’t hold it – the baby was at the door! They kept telling me to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth – Lifesavers, those angels Maria & Cecilia. I was otherwise hyperventilating.

“Don’t push! Breathe through it!”

I hadn’t the faintest idea how: like what? It’s pushing itself, how do I hold it in? So I started clenching & then Cecilia says, “Don’t Clench!” So then I would let go, but then it would push! Ahhh!

“Mr. Doctor hurry up!” I screamed. Maria says something like, "He's on his way! Just hold on a little more!"

"I can't! It's coming out!"

Finally the doctor arrives! He checks me. I am 100% effaced, +3 station – dude! It’s all happening faster than you’re butt can get out of bed. I should've been able to push +1 station ago. Later, he told us he ran a red light. Haha. Livin’ on the edge! I mean, he’s pretty old! He says he’s been doing this for 40 years, so that means he’s at least 60 something.

Then he says, “I gotta change” So I said, “sure, sure!” in the sweetest tone. I amazed even myself.

Dude I can wait 2 minutes while he changes, what difference does it make?

Finally he’s in his scrubs – does he live in them?

And he comes up and I say, “Just don’t use episiotomy scissors on me!” That was part of my birth plan: no epidural, and no episiotomy.

And suddenly he says, "Ok, you can push now." I’m given the green light.

So I do and it feels good. And I push – like – maybe 5 contractions, 4 or 5 pushes per contraction, & she’s out!!

And the doctor says (at 3 contractions), If I just cut here, it could come out – and I’m like, “NO! I waited so long, I can wait a little more!” So he shuts up and starts stretching me & putting KY Jelly on me. And I said, “Thank you Dr. Wu.”

2 Contractions later & several hard pushes, the baby’s head is out, then hand, then butt – Kevin is crying!! He is crying so much because he sees the head!

And it’s a girl!

“It” turns into “she.” “Noelle” to be exact.

She is indescribable. An angel. She’s my daughter and she is sooo cute! I can’t believe God made her inside of me.

More on motherhood later. Now to learn how to breastfeed and to eat something. And to have the parents come visit. Kevin is at home sleeping and I am journaling. It’s 11am and men have been jackhammering outside my window since 8 am. Wow, I really wanna go home. The hospital is so uncomfortable."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Summer Harvest


You know that summer is here when suddenly your box of produce from the local farmers goes from slim pickings to ALL THIS FRUIT! It's the first fruits of the year, and these farmers spent all of last year pruning and tending and planting so that this summer we could enjoy the harvest.

What a wonderful picture in nature that God has given us to reflect the spiritual realm. When we sow to the spirit, we will reap spiritual fruit. It always means lots of hard work and discipline pruning away what is useless and sinful in our lives while simultaneously planting a desire for God based on all that is true about Him. And all this done under faith that something will come out of it all. Then you wait through winter, and it's slim pickings for awhile. But then God causes the sun to shine and the rain to pour, and suddenly you see sprouts and blooms and suddenly the fruit starts coming in yummy and juicy. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." (Gal. 5:22)

This year, we have the first apricots, peaches, and cherries of the season (the citrus has been around for awhile already). And we got a fresh bouquet of chamomile, too! Don't you love how you can see the faithfulness of God in our food?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What Kevin has been up to lately


ROCK CLIMBING! There they are at the top...


Here's Kevin with Ben, his rock-climbing buddy.

And here with the Morice family...

The Nursery is Done!


Thank you, Mom, for helping me paint the room blue and to aunt Alice for letting me have your sofa that I could DIY reupholster. It was fun!


Do you like the monkey mural? Kevin and I have named the monkey JO-JO, and it'll look after the baby while he or she is sleeping. I finished the mural way back in January. It reminded me of an art class project. I took an image from online, blocked it out on graph paper, then blocked out a grid on the nursery wall. Then I transferred lines from block to block. Does that make sense?


Fun times!

Note: while I chose light blue and yellow because of their pretty softness and neutrality for our surprise baby, Kevin thinks that it's really our subconscious UCLA-alum loyalties bleeding through...

Baby Shower

Here are a couple photos from the baby shower last month. Thanks so much, Judy and Kathy, for organizing such a loving and supportive event! And thanks everyone who attended. It was a special time.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

33 Weeks Pregnant


Do I even look bigger than two months ago? Photos don't do justice. I feel HUGE!! Yesterday Kevin and I were just walking around a store, and I had to sit down on a store display chair every 5 minutes or so. The baby feels like it's just going to drop out of me any day now and it's getting harder and harder to do anything.

Speaking of which, we've been a little nervous lately because I have suddenly been having a lot of contractions! The doctor got nervous, too, with the frequency that I have been having them, and he put me on some medicine to slow it down lest I go into preterm labor.

If you think of it, pray for me! I've had to suddenly restrict my activities and now I just spend most of my time either in bed or sitting down. Walking, driving, bending over, and lifting are just agony on the poor uterus, who is now toting around something like a 4 lb. baby.

But the baby is doing just fine! It's happy and content in mommy's belly, and seems to be preparing for a career in dance or acrobatics with the amount of kicker-cising it has scheduled for itself everyday. :) Thank God for that.

The Secret Ingredient Is...


In the last month, I went through a baking frenzy - I made muffins, tarts, empanadas, focaccia bread, power bars (a.k.a candy bars), and more. It was in my system, this need to bake all sorts of creative things before the 3rd Trimester fatigue kicks in. The criteria for my goods were that they had to be healthy and delicious. In other words, Kevin had to be able to eat them and like them.

I made these muffins with a secret ingredient. It was sitting on my buffet for awhile and I had to think of a way to use it up. Kevin couldn't guess what it was and neither could my parents when they tried these yummy muffins. I'm telling you, these are YUMMY muffins! They turned out moist and fluffy, with just the right amount of sweetness and crunch on top.

The secret ingredient is...squash! In this case, I used the Japanese Kapocha squash that you can get from any asian market. The muffin is sweetened with squash and honey, and it is topped with a brown sugar-walnut streusal topping that gives just the right crunchy scrumdiddliumptiousness when you bite into it.

Here's a link to the recipe I used if you're interested in a healthy, low-sugar sweet treat: http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2008/10/spiced-pumpkin-or-squash-muffins-with-a-streusel-topping.html

The only thing I changed in the recipe was I used white flour instead of whole wheat flour, although I plan to bake more with whole wheat flour in the future (a challenge, since whole wheat flour can make baked goods taste heavy and wheaty).

Monday, March 2, 2009

To Baby (My 1st Letter)

Dear Baby,

It's still very surreal that you are now in our lives. Mommy and daddy feel like babies ourselves, and having you feels like such a miracle.

I feel you kicking and moving inside my womb. You are about 28 weeks old. It's such a mystery how you came to be - God is truly sovereign in your life. You could have had problems in the first few weeks of life. God could have taken you to heaven while you were yet unformed. But He decided to give you life! You didn't miscarry. Baby, we hardly tried to have you, and here you are!

These days I am mostly wondering where is your head, and where are your feet inside my womb? Will you like eating cheese? Are you a boy or a girl?

I wonder what delivery will be like. What will I feel? What will you feel? What will it be like to nurse you for the first time?

You are such a miracle! How did you happen to us?

I pray that you will come to know and worship the God of the universe, that you will trust Jesus Christ, because, little baby, you will soon find out how much you'll need Him! We are such sinful creatures - welcome to the world!

The truth is, God brought you into the world because He has a plan for you. He wants to make Himself known to you, if you will seek after Him and obey Him.

I will try my best to love you as God would want me to. I will try my best to fear God first and not others.

I love you, Baby!

Love,
Mom

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Crash Course on Baby Supplies

Last Saturday, Howard and Grace gave us a three-hour crash course on everything we will ever need as parents of a newborn. We walked up and down the aisles of Babies R' Us, populating our baby registry with things like diapers, blankets, bottles, infant nail clippers, you name it.

Choosing the carseat and stroller was like buying a car - it was so intense! There's so many options, price ranges, colors, features.

By the end of our boot camp, Kevin and I were numb from baby supplies overload. But what amazed us more than the sheer amount of products available to the modern parent in America, was the staggering stamina of Howard and Grace! They walked up and down the aisles, explaining patiently and passionately what we will need our first year as parents, and all this while carrying or caring for their two kids who came along with us. I mean, they didn't even take a swig of water while we were in the store!

And did I mention their two kids? How sweet they are? They never mentioned their tired feet, but all I could think about was how my feet hurt so bad! Here they are, sweetly sitting outside Babies R' Us after our three-hour trek inside baby land.

All we can say is, Thank you, Grace and Howard, for setting aside your Saturday for us. We enjoyed eating the cheeseburgers and fries at your place, and we feel so blessed that you spent the afternoon with us at Babies R' Us. If it were up to us, it would have taken 10 times as long figuring out which car seat belongs to what stroller, and what level # of diapers we need for which age group. You made it so much easier for us! THANK YOU. We should also mention that spiritually, you've been a great encouragement to us as well. You are a living example of how to raise your children in the fear of the Lord, with humility and so much gentleness!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Lovely Valentine's Bouquet

This Saturday morning, Kevin went to go pick up our weekly box of organic produce. He drives about 15 minutes to a park in Sunland where tons of other families gather round a delivery truck that drops off organic produce just picked the day before from small farms in Central California.

We get the most scrumptious vegetables and fruits, all of them locally grown and seasonal, and it's always fun to see what kinds of dinners we'll have from the bounty of the land. Not only is the produce totally delicious, we've learned that they are more nutrient-dense than commercially grown produce. Plus it's cheap. Like, $33 for a big box that we can hardly finish, and we eat tons of fruits and vegetables for lunch and dinner. Beats going to Wholefoods or Trader Joe's anytime! http://www.abundantharvestorganics.com if you're interested.

Here's a handful of artichokes that we got, which I thought made a lovely Valentine's bouquet! :) Kevin wants to consume them soon, steamed and them dipped in mayonnaise.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Boy or Girl...

video
If you watch the video from this post you can see the ultrasound where we were supposed to find out the sex of the baby but weren't able to because the baby's knees were together blocking our view of the privates! This is from December around 18 weeks.

Regardless the ultrasound was amazing and we can only praise God for the amazing work He is doing inside Jean's belly.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

6.5 Months Pregnant

Kevin and I are so excited to meet the little baby inside. There's less than four months left before I am due (May 26th, 2009).

Now that I am 6 1/2 months pregnant, my thoughts toward my baby are totally different than before. I feel it kicking, sometimes hiccuping in the middle of the night, and I know that God has done something miraculous. There's a little human being right underneath the skin of my belly! I love the baby more and more everyday; it goes everywhere I go. Sometimes I think of the song from that commercial, "My buddy, my buddy! Wherever I go, he goes!" "Kid sister, kid sister! Kid sister and meeeeeee!"

Contrast that to 5 months ago when I still couldn't believe that there was a real human developing inside. I freaked out the first time I felt it move, felt its body poke out like potatoes poke the skin of the bag they're in. It was so foreign, this stranger inside.

But God changes all that, and a mother can only marvel.


"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be." Psalm 139: 13-16