Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy Half-Birthday Eliza

My princess is 6 months today! How did that happen?

Sweet Eliza, my how you've changed this past month! You got your 4 month shots a bit late because of our trip to the states but they didn't bother to weigh or measure you so I'm dying to know where you are in this. A few nights before we left the states, I stood on a scale and then held you and you roughly weighed 18lbs. Since then, you've started on solids and have been gobbling up the food! We have tried pretty much everything and you've loved it all. The only thing that has made you make a face, and a little one at that, was papaya but you still finished it. The only food that seemed to upset you a bit is peaches but there were a few other things going on... like teething, to know for sure if that was the problem.

You've been gnawing on everything and on Sept 20th, your first tooth popped through. I jokingly told Daddy that I hope the next one came in quickly because I thought you'd look funny with one and sure enough, 2 days later.. number 2 poked through. Now the sleepless nights and fussy days all make sense.

You've begun sitting up on your own early in the month and are getting stronger but you're still a bit wobbly. Just today I noticed a big difference in your sitting.

You've enjoyed being on your tummy quite a bit and last week you began getting into the crawling position. Daddy said you'd be crawling by the end of the weekend... and he wasn't too far off. On Tuesday, (the 28th), you crawled a few steps! You are now in the crawling position trying to gain balance on your toes. I'm afraid you are going to keep me busy!

You continue to suck your thumb but only when you're tired.

You are a very pleasant baby, very laid back and relaxed. Nothing seems to bother you too much... and everyone comments on how good you are.

You're smiles are heartbreaking, your giggles priceless....

You are well loved. Isaiah can't give you enough hugs and kisses but he does like to pick on you a bit. I give you full permission to tackle him when you are big enough. Isabella adores you as well and loves to carry you. You warm Daddy's heart with a smile every time you see him. Everyone loves your rolls, your beautiful eyes.

What I wouldn't give to bottle you up right now and keep you this way but I know God has exciting plans for you. I love you Princess!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy 2 Months!!!

My sweet Eliza....

2 months have already passed and we fall more in love with you as each second passes. What a blessing and constant reminder of God's love.

You are growing like a weed... at your appointment (which was at 9 weeks) you weighed 6.52Kilos! That's almost 15lbs! And your length was 56cm (about 22 inches) though I'm not convinced that's exactly correct. You are in the 97% for weight and average for height. There's no question if you are eating well and I think the rolls on you are adorable.
You are still waking at least 2 times a night which has been a struggle for me but at least I know you are healthy and growing. You eat on a 2 1/2 to 3 hr schedule and are awake for about 45-60 minutes total. You still eat quite fast, about 15 minutes... sometimes 20 if you've slept longer.
You started to smile at 7 weeks and cooing at 5. You are very happy and content. You don't require much attention though you love to be held, cuddled and talked too. You love your swing and can easily sleep a full nap in it.
You're a bit unsure of the snuggli and your brothers hugs. You do not like to be swaddled... I gave that up pretty early on but you do enjoy your bathtime.
You are still adored by your siblings and I'm so grateful for that and how they've responded to you. I pray you will be the best of friends as you grow up.
I'm still stunned by your dark hair. I remember preparing for your birth... I made the other two Big Sister/Brother t-shirts with them and a little blonde haired girl in them and bought a Sleeping Beauty doll because she had blonde hair and here you came with brown hair. I love it though because I don't get a million questions of 'where'd the blonde hair come from?' and people actually say you resemble me.
I know this month will fly by so I'm trying to take it all in and remember every sweet thing about you. I love you Princess E!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Today was a very special day... not only was it Mother's Day and I'm so thankful for the 3 sweet blessings that allow me to celebrate this day, we also dedicated Eliza Hope.

Pastor Mark asked if I would share a condensed version of her birth story, a testimony of God at work, and this is what I shared:

***When I think about all the events and details that went into Eliza's birth, I'm reminded of how truly amazing our God is and what a blessing it is to be His child and serve Him. We chose her name because of it's meaning, Eliza Hope which means "My God IS, Hope" and that meaning is what got me through a very tramatic labour and delivery.

My labour and delivery went extremely fast and as quickly as the excitement built in knowing 'this was it'... arriving at the hospital led us into a quick spiral of fear and uncertainity.

It wasn't long after I had been admitted that I thought I'd lost Eliza. I thought I would be leaving the hosptial having given birth but no baby to take home. But in the midst of this fear came an unbelievable sense of peace, that could only come from God. I was reminded that God had given us her, that He had given us her name and that He would protect her... in my mind I thought how could He not with that name?

After being confident that God was watching over her, I thought that it was me that was on my way to meet Jesus. I remember everything going very fuzzy and then seeing Isabella and Isaiah with Mike and thinking, "I'm going to meet Jesus. I love them very much but know they will be well taken care of." And just like that, I again felt an overwhelming peace about death and an excitement about meeting Jesus face to face... something that has always been a bit of a struggle for me.

And then I felt a slap on my face and realized this was reality and I had just given birth without any real recollection of it. I was congratulated on a job well done and told how I saved myself from having surgery. I was still a bit grogy and trying to figure out all that had gone on but I knew that God was there and that He had been with me through it all. I've never felt so loved by Him, I've never know peace like I did in those moments, and I've never been more confident that our God provides Hope and that He IS and always will be.

After the fact, I was able to see His hand in many of the smaller things. Having my family insist that I call Emelda for wisdom on when I should go to the hospital. If I had waited much longer, it could have been much worse. The fact that my labour and delivery happened so fast saved me from having to have a c-section and gave me the desire of my heart: a natural delivery without an epidural. And a little thing on top of that, I had a terrible cough that I could only imagine how painful it would have made a c-section recovery. Having Tim show up in the operating hall, I knew that God was not just watching over us girls but Mike as well as Tim was able to keep Mike updated on what was going on. Reading Eliza's discharge papers and seeing that her Apgar score at 1 minute after birth was a 9.... I still think that's amazing considering she was under fetal distress and born with the help of a vacuum.

I've been a Christ follower for 11 years and I've always understood that God is alive and at work today. I've always known that He provides Hope. But the birth of Eliza is a daily reminder of His hope. And in choosing her name, our prayer is that she will be one who brings the Hope of Christ to others. Little did we know that her birth story would be such a testimony to the truth of what her name means.***

After church we came home and rested and in the evening we had our usual, relaxing Sunday evening... friends over for dinner and a movie. The kids were in heaven having Auntie Frances, Becky and Arthur to play with. I enjoyed the wonderful dinner Mike cooked for us... amazing steak and baked potatoes! And Mike surprised with me some foot scrub and lotion (from the kids) for 'making me run after them so much.' (I thought this was clever.) And by telling me he ordered a necklace I've had my eye on for months now. It's a beautiful hand stamped necklace... 3 circles with 3 different Chinese lanterns and each one with a child's name on it. I can't wait until it arrives!

There is nothing greater or more fulfilling to me that being a Mom. The hugs, the smiles, the pitter patter of little feet.... Not every day is easy and there are many challenges along the road but it's so rewarding to see your child develop and grow, learn something new... see them blossom. I never knew such little people could bring such great joy and now I have 3... I'm spoiled!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

One Month

Children grow up way, way too fast....

Princess E is one month already. Where has this last month gone? I've surprisingly not felt sleep deprived and have enjoyed her first month, though there may have been a few nights where I wanted to pull my hair out.

I still look at her in awe... I'm still amazed by her brown hair... I'm still constantly reminded how blessed I am by this surprise gift and how she has changed my view and relationship with God. I will always look at her and think "My God IS" and not simply because that's what her name means.

This month has just flown by and I can't get over how much you've changed, how much you've grown, how strong you are getting and how fast you eat!

You are a very efficient nurser, taking at the most 25 minutes to eat though this past week, you've finished in about 10-15 minutes. What a blessing in the middle of the night! You eat every 2.5/3 hours and were very consistent even at night until the past two weeks where you've stretched your nighttime feeds to about 4/5 hours. You go to sleep quite early, around 9 or 9:30.... something I'm trying to change right now. And you're wake-up time is 7:30/8am. I don't know how much weight you've gained but I do know that you are approximately 24inches now. Unfortunately, they don't measure length at the hosptial here so I don't know how long you were when you were born.

You are very strong and curious. You are holding your head quite well and always looking around. You can stay awake and alert for quite some time unless we put in your crib... the only way we can quarantee a good sleep for you. You tend to fuss a bit, especially the later evening naps, but it's not too long before you are asleep and you do not like to be swaddled.

You do enjoy the swing and love to be held... though there are only two people who can seem to keep you sleeping for lenghy periods if being held... Uncle Tom and Natalie.

I still don't know who you look like... the brown hair still baffles me. I see a bit of Isabella when you are awake and a bit of Isaiah when you're sleeping. As far as Daddy or me.... I don't really know.

You're a doll.... loved by so many. You are blessed to have a sister and brother who adore you... Izzy loves to hold, talk to and kiss you. Isaiah loves to rub your head, give you kisses and most recently he's taking a liking to holding you too.

You are loved... my Princess E.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

2 Weeks

Eliza is now 2 weeks old, though by looking at her... many think she is at least that many months. I still find her quite small and though just a few ounces smaller than Isaiah was, she seems so much tinier. She doesn't have the rolls upon rolls on her legs and arms... just a big belly and multiple chins. :)

This week we've fallen more into a routine and shedule and therefore has been much more enjoyable. She eats about every 3hrs on the dot though in the evenings, I try to feed her about every 2.5 in hopes that maybe she'll sleep a bit longer in the evenings. She's given us one night of 5hours sleep but most nights it's still 3hrs and occassionally 3.5.

She is becoming more and more alert and when her eyes are open, she reminds me so much of Isabella. She's holding her head up for short amounts of time and when laying on her belly, she loves to look around. We've discovered that she doesn't like to be swaddled and when held, she holds her one arm up by her face.. just like Isabella did. One way she is totally different is that she burps incredibly well. Basically all you have to do is sit her up and out one comes. I'm terrible at burping babies so this has been such a blessing.
She is still adored by her siblings. Isabella jumps at any chance to hold her but Isaiah still seems a bit unaware of her... though he is does get curious when she cries or makes a sound.
She had her first major outing on Saturday for Isabella's Showtime performance. She did really well and was pretty alert for the whole performance. Isabella was quite proud to show off her sister and I think it meant a lot to her that Eliza was there. She had her follow up appointment at Ma On Shan clinic and they couldn't believe she was just 10 days old. She's gaining weight and slightly jaundiced but nothing to be concerned about. So no need to see a Dr again until 2 months!
It's been a long and yet short 2 weeks but I wouldn't change it for the world. We are very blessed!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Eliza's 1 Week Old

What an emotional week it's been but I've been reminded over and over of God's great love, compassion and care for not only me but my family and I'm continually awed by His grace and mercy and blessed by the hope that we find in Him.

Eliza you're one week and we can already get a sense of who God has created you to be. We know you're a fighter, you're curious and strong, beautiful and a delight. Similar to Isabella in some ways and in other ways, like Isaiah.

You're way more alert than Isaiah was... we've seen your beautiful blue eyes for minutes at a time. You're already beginning to hold your head up on your own, something Isabella did very early on as well. You're a pretty good sleeper as was Isaiah but not always the best nurser... similar to Isabella. You love to be held and like to sleep on your tummy too (though I'm only comfortable doing that during the day) as did both your siblings. You're darker skinned like Izzy but where did the dark hair come from? That was quite the shocker for Daddy and I.

Because you were started on formula, nursing has been a bit of a challenge but I feel that these past two days, we've established a routine that seems to work. I was concerned about you being jaundiced so was trying to feed you every 2 to 2 1/2 hours but you were just too sleepy. We've adjusted that to every 3hrs and you seem to do much better. You're pretty consisent throughout the day and night, though I dream of the day you'll give me a few more consecutive hours of rest like Isaiah did early on.

You are absolutely adored by your siblings. Izzy hates to leave you and wants to hold you all the time. Isaiah is still a bit unaware of what's going on though when you make noises or cry, he's always looking out for you and wanting to rub your head.

It's been an amazing week and I thank God everyday for you...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

ENT Update

Last Friday, I had a much anticipated ENT appointment. The previous one occurred when I was in my early 2nd trimester with Isaiah and that's when they agreed to test for my balance/motion sickness issues. Though they wouldn't allow for testing until after I had him and it turned out that I didn't get tested until this past September. The testing reported all things normal and the way public health goes here.... if there's not something serious, you basically get put at the back of the line which is why it's Feb and I'm just now seeing the Dr about the results.

So I walk into the appointment and the Dr has this dumbstruck look on his face and the first words out of his mouth are, "You haven't given birth yet?" I think he was a bit confused until he looked at his computer and realized that it has been almost 2yrs since I last saw him. He begins to discuss my results and tells me that I struggle with motion sickness and that I need to take medicine and look out the window more when in vehicles. I looked at him and politely said that I do those things, that I have tried everything ever suggested and that it's not a simple case of motion sickness when I can't be in a room with blinds, when even a quick motion with my head makes me nauseous, or when a simple moving of my glasses causes me to stop in my tracks. I don't think he agreed with me but was willing to make me happy and sent me down to physiotherapy for an evaluation, with the warning that again I would get put on the waiting list and probably wouldn't get in until May or June.

So I must praise God for this... an answer to prayer! It just goes to show that God does answer prayer but not necessarily in your timing. (I've been praying about this for almost 2yrs now) But anyway.... I went down to phsyio and met with a man to discuss my issues and the treatment I've had before. He was a bit more concerned (saying it could be a bit more serious and related to the brain rather than inner ear) and hooked me up with an appointment 'before the new year!'

Today I went in for my evaluation and the lady was wonderful. She did some basic tests and agreed that I would need more than standing up/laying down training. She said we'd have at least 10 sessions and then go from there. But she is also concerned about doing too much while I'm pregnant because she doesn't want me to lose balance and fall or anything like that. So I'm starting with two basic exercises at home for 2 weeks and then I will see her again and schedule future appointments.

I'm SO excited! Just the thought of riding the bus into town without the need to throw up is very exciting. I must thank everyone for their prayers and would ask that you would continue to pray that these sessions will be as effective as they were in the past.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Full Days and Goose eggs

Buddy chasing the recorded birds, wondering where they went.

Isabella's first full day went really well. I was a nervous wreck all day but was so grateful to see her smiling and the teachers so eager to tell me about all that she did and how much they enjoyed having her.

I was worried that she wouldn't eat lunch (being it's a Chinese school the food is obviously all Chinese and Izzy can be quite picky) but her teachers eagerly told us she ate 2 bowls of the rice dish (which happened to be black bean and tofu) and when I asked her, she said she liked it.

I was worried about 'nap time' as Izzy does not nap at home and they don't allow looking at books. She loved rest time. She loved the little cots (her exact words were, 'They were hard beds Mom but I liked it!') and actually slept. One of the other worries was that she would sleep and then take forever to sleep at bedtime.... but she was asleep at night within 15 minutes of putting her to bed.

I was worried about what children she would play with as I didn't know if she would be kept with the students in her class. She came home telling me about a little girl (who couldn't say her full name) who was very nice to her that she played with.

I was worried that she would complain about the day being too long, I was worried that she would beg not to do that again... I was just plain worried and at the same time sad to realize that in such a short time, she'll be in school all day, everyday. But alas... she didn't complain about anything. In fact, the only remotely negative comment was when I asked her if she'd like to do it again she said, 'Only if it's dress day.' But after explaining to her why we chose that day (they help her with her Chinese homework) she was totally okay.

I was SO proud of her... I can't even express how relieved I felt when she was smiling and joyful and anxious to call Daddy and tell him about her day. But my heart was sad to have her gone all day so I think for now, we'll just stick to one day a week. :)

After we picked her up, I took the kids to the playground where Buddy chased birds (and birds on recording) and Izzy ran around like a crazy girl. Then we came home and played in the bathtub, had dinner and then all crashed.

Today was a normal day... work/school in the morning, playing in the afternoon, dinner and something new we've started with Izzy... Izzy time (after Buddy goes to bed doing something with just Mommy and Daddy.) We are still pretty concerned about her confidence so we are trying to find ways to build her up and let her know how special she is to us.

The evening started quite eventful as Mike and Isaiah were playing catch and in an attempt to beat Daddy to the ball, he took a plunge off the couch. His teeth are still in tack (something I always check first after Izzy's incident) but he has a golf ball sized goose egg on his head. He seemed pretty shook up at first but soon calmed down to let us ice it, while he soothed his achy gums on some ice as well. After we got him settled and back to himself, we put him to bed and pulled out Zingo to play with Izzy. She's actually had this game for quite a while but she is not into playing games so we've never played. Tonight however was a different story. She had a blast and really enjoyed it, as did the adults. :)

I'm thankful that tomorrow is Friday because it means one week closer to meeting Princess Lily Bob... I'll be 33 weeks tomorrow! I also have an ENT appointment in which I'm hoping they'll discuss my results from my tests in September and offer me some physical therapy for my balance/motion sickness issues.

Buddy's goose egg.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

32 Weeks and Counting

It feels SO good to say that I am 8 months pregnant and to know I've only got 2 more months max, to go. This by far has been the easiest and most enjoyable pregnancy. (Izzy was easy up until we found out that we were moving across the world. Then chaos set in.) I've loved being able to stay active and to continue running, though our gym is not being renovated so I've stopped running (too embarrassed to run on the road this big) and instead am walking about 2 miles everyday which has been great anyway because I'm starting to have some lower back pain and loosening issues that make getting around later in the day fun to watch. I've enjoyed watching my belly grow and be relatively normal size though I am still self-conscious in comparison to the Chinese women.

But today was not an exciting one for me... I had my usual appointment and while I knew I snacked on sweets a bit more than normal over the past 3 weeks, I wasn't expecting the weight gain (I weigh myself every morning in hopes of controlling it) that the Dr's scale showed. So I knew I was in for a lecture on eating habits. But while that was depressing, what upset me more was that in a 3 week period, my stomach went from normal size to measuring 2 weeks ahead. Yikes... all I could think about was: did that happen from the extra sweets or is Princess Lily Bob turning out to be a big one too? I DESPERATELY do NOT want to have to undergo another c-section. The thought of 5 days away from my babies, months of recovery and not feeling like myself, and the 1st time you sit up after the surgery... literally make me want to cry. The nurse said not to worry yet, that she didn't feel my stomach was too far off to be concerned and that at 36 weeks, I'll have a more thorough exam with the Dr to discuss the baby's size. But she did suggest watching my diet and not eating sweets. Be pregnant and not eat sweets???!!! She must be crazy... oh no wait, she's Chinese and they don't like sweets. No problem for her, me on the other hand. Ugh.... but I will do anything I can to prevent a big baby and necessary c-section so Mike was a very gracious and loving husband and went out after dinner to by one of my favorite desserts as a 'last dessert' until Princess arrives. I went 40wks without Coke with Izzy... I can do this, I CAN do this... oh please let these weeks fly by.

So here I am at 32 weeks... wish I had a comparison to 32 weeks with Isaiah but I don't think I even want to go there.
Like my new hair cut? It's really nice to have something so simple and easy to do... many think curly hair is easy and to some degree it is but I really enjoy not having to mousse up my head each day and waking up looking somewhat normal.

I'm starting to get a bit nervous about the arrival of Princess Lily Bob. We've been struggling a bit with Isabella... a bit of willful disobedience, fighting with Isaiah, being demanding, etc... She doesn't want to listen but then when we have to discipline her, she's terribly sensitive. She's begun to run and hide in her room or constantly apologizing for little things. My heart just aches because I feel like I've failed her in some way and have hurt her confidence. Her personality is becoming a bit more like mine and thus we tend to butt heads a bit. I'm trying to be extra sensitive to her needs while building her up. We did adjust her bedtime and she now goes to sleep after Isaiah which has seemed to help... I think it helps her feel like a 'big girl' staying up later than him and we got her a CD player in which she listens to 'Indescribable' on repeat all night. Gotta love your child's favorite song being one that praises God.
We've also begun piano lessons and I'm trying to do some special things with just her but I worry how she'll respond, especially the first few months, when the baby arrives and I have to nurse and tend to her. Please pray for wisdom for Mike and I as well as for her. I pray that she would commit her life to the Lord and that her confidence would be in Him, even at her age.

The weather's been a bit crazy here the past month.... hot, cold, very cold, rainy.... This was a warmer but rainy day and she and Buddy went out to play in the puddles.

Isaiah is just as crazy as always. He is such a boy... not interested in anything but balls, wheels and tires. Well that and food. He's recently started undressing himself during nap time. We find him with arms out, socks off (and often tucked away in his shirt), sleepers unzipped, and on occasion diaper off (though I learned my lesson quite quickly on that one). He's such a helper, always wanting to sweep and vacuum. He likes to fold and put away his clothes too. He's not into getting his hands dirty though... doesn't like to finger paint or crumbs left on his hands. He's signing quite a bit now and climbing everything. Today I caught him on the ladder to our little loft library area. We have to keep an eye on him at all times. He loves to be outside and explore and he LOVES animals and will just sit on the ground next to a dog or cat and watch it. At times it's so hard to believe that he's not 18 months yet but at the same time I can't believe that he'll be 18 months at the end of the month. I hate to see him and Izzy growing.... if only they could stay small forever.

Here he is after his morning nap.... the sock is indeed tucked into the onsie. Though he always makes me smile when I go in to get him and I'll ask, "Isaiah, where's your socks?" He just looks at me with a big smile, then turns his hands palms facing upwards as he says, "I don't know Mom, they just disappeared." I imagine we've got some fun, fun days ahead.

Tomorrow we are starting Izzy in a full day at school. Just once a week is the plan but we'll see how the day goes. It was suggested that we get her a Chinese Tutor if we intend to keep her in local school for a few more years or she'll behind already so when we discussed it with her teacher.... we found out it costs about 10$ US to add the extra afternoon or about 25/30$ US for a 1hr private tutor... hmmm easy decision. At school they will help her with her Chinese and Chinese homework, plus she'll be exposed more. We've been talking it up all day and she seems quite excited about eating lunch at school. Please pray it goes well!

See this is what happens when I take a month hiatus on blogging... I've got too much say. Well off to bed!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Rooftop Lunch at the Taylor's

Back to school today... didn't start off so well but that's to be expected on 1) a Monday and 2) pants day. But we picked up a happy, cheerful little girl which again is the norm. Isaiah learned to climb Izzy's ladder in her room (now we really can't leave him anywhere for a sec) while Izzy was at school but while I know it means more craziness at home, it was cute to watch him.

In the afternoon, we were invited to the Taylor's rooftop for lunch and an afternoon of relaxing. It was a beautiful, warm day and nice to spend with the AIC staff. Joan, the kids and I decided to walk home and shortly after we got home, Hannah arrived!

We've had some great days to start off 2010... looking forward to what lies ahead!

Enjoying our lunch

Buddy liked the dogs but they were just after his food...
Auntie Dorie and the kiddos