Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Outcome of Overnight Duty with Grandma - Did We Make It?

After doing overnight duty with my grandma and my two kiddies, my conclusion is that some of the sweetest moments come from challenging yourself.  I'd say our two night, three day stay went much smoother than expected, thanks to the food my mom prepared and many visitors!  The task of caring for an 11 month old and 3 year old AND an 100 year old may sound a bit crazy.  Yes, there were some tiring and "dangerous" moments but consider this, even old ladies at 100 are quite capable and helpful if you give them the chance.

How Old Ladies can be Helpful
When I had to run out to the car during the day to get something, I was ready to carry Baby Samuel out to the car with me. As I put on my shoes with baby in one hand, my grandma suggested that she could hold my squirmy boy while I ran out to the car.  Some people might have yelled at me for taking the risk, but my grandma has more "muscle" then many people may think.  I might add that she also has 7 decades of experience as a mother, grandmother and great granny.  To be safer, I did run out to the car quickly.  And when I returned, I was amazed that my active boy who I can rarely keep in my arms was cute as could be with Mama. I even had time to snap this picture!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Overnight On Duty with Grandma and Two Little Ones

This next few days I am on overnight duty hanging out with my grandma and two kids!  It will be my first time doing this overnight on my own.  Now that my grandma is sleeping and Maddie is completely out (YAHOOOOO!!) And now that Samuel, my 11 month old is down (after 20 minutes of hearty screaming), I am free. The sound of crickets and almost silence is like gold.

Taking care of two is no walk in the park for me. And taking care of two and caring for Mama, my grandma, gets a little more difficult.  Mama's 100, Samuel's 1 and always hungry and Maddie, well she's 3, very vocal and already quite sassy for her age.  Today I've been thinking through how to manage these next few days. Yes, I know most blog posts teach you about how to prepare for camping trips or cruises with kids, but this one is really all about sleeping over at my grandma's with the two little ones.  Suggestions are welcome!  Here we go, off the top of head, here is how I've decided to prepare for the next few days:

1. LOTSA of crafts - This one's for Maddie, who's three. I've brought scissors so she cut colored paper, coupons, everything she only imagined.  I've brought hot pink, fluorescent yellow and orange paper to cut and make paper chains. I've brought all my card making supplies with the decorative tape so she can rip them up in millions of pieces and make art.  Usually I try to avoid them, but today I packed crayons and yes THE MARKERS, and her beloved watercolors.  And finally if it all fails, I am bringing out the Elmer messy glue.  She has never seen it before or touched it. May the creativity serve as a distraction when I need to get something for my grandma or give more food to my baby boy.  Or may it give me some rest when I'm too tired to read more books.

2. A lot of FOOD - Good food can make up for everything.  My mom saved me on this one and yesterday cooked up dishes of food for my grandma to eat the next few days.  Since I'm already going to be prepping kiddy food and baby food, it is a relief that my mom prepped food that my grandma likes.  With dentures, my grandma's diet is different from everyone else's and sometimes she is hard to feed and sometimes please.  For Samuel, I'm hoping lotsa food will keep him satisfied. Usually ti does! He will eat everything and so I've brought sweet potatoes, eggplant, oatmeal, bulgur, blueberries, a gazillion Cheerios, his beloved fresh mozzarella and more.  I brought all his favorites and did as much as I could to pre make his meals so when he tells me in baby talk that he's hungry, all I have to do is take it out of the fridge.

3.  Have company - I am not a good hostess, but I do like people.  I've found as a mother of two little ones that caring for the kids is so much easier when I am around others. #1- I yell at my kids less and I'm on better behavior. #2 - They have a new and more impressed audience when they do "new" things that I've seen probably 20 times already.  #3 - Some people like carry baby or play with them and it gives me a little extra break to do other needed tasks.  Finally, while not all elderly like company, my grandma repeatedly reminds me that she hates quiet.  Sure she can't speak English fluently but noise and people are her language.  She LOOOOVESS it when we have lotsa people around.  So this few days, I have extended an open invitation to have many visitors.

4. Pray and Sleep - It's something I need to remember but I need to pray for God's help to have patience and love for my children and my grandma each morning.  My grandma loves to talk to me but the reality is that conversations must be right next to her ear otherwise she can't hear my response.  When you're reading a few feet away to your child and you have to get up constantly to answer a question and then you sit down and read a page and Mama asks me something else, things get a little tough or tiring. No need to go into too much detail and finally, sleep is an amazing powerhouse to gain energy.  With that being said, off to bed I go.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

To my Under Appreciated Husband - Happy Anniversary!

It is so easy to under appreciate the people closest to you.  I do it often.  As I was thinking of what I should do for my husband this anniversary, it hit me that he probably would really love it if I just treated him better.  Maybe you can relate.

As a mom of two young ones, I have found myself overwhelmed by physical work (washing dishes, clothes, cleaning up toys, washing the high chair tray, repacking diaper bags, making and freezing baby food, carrying my children, going to the store, restocking the refrigerator, going back to store realizing I forgot to buy something on my list. The list goes on and never ends....)  Actually about a month ago I went to the doctor because I had two cyst-like bumps. They were diagnosed as "ganglions." How frightening right?! The cause of these ganglions, my doctor said, was probably from physical stress aka caring for my kids.  Back to being overwhelmed.  Aside from being physically stretched, there is an emotional toll too. Within the same hour I can have intense guilt, extreme anger and lotsa warm fuzzies and hugs all at the same time. It is so ironic and yeah it can be a bit too much at times.

All I have to do is trip on a toy, look at the clutter on our kitchen table or see someone's plate of old food sitting on the table and my good pleasant demeanor can quickly turn to edgy, irritated and all that ugly stuff that your family gets to see.  My poor husband.  Its about time you got the inside story, the behind of scenes of how awesome he is and just how good he is to me.

To start off, Kevin wooed me early on in college when he cooked food for me. I lived on the first floor of my dorm and he used to bury homecooked Chinese food in the snow by my windowsill.  After college, on a number of occasions he cooked food for my grandparents while "mannying" my niece Julia.  Despite the fact that he couldn't speak a lick of Chinese, let's just say his food was really good, because he won my grandparents over quickly.  To do this day, my 100 year old grandma will tell people that "Kevin hoh sic zhu yeh ga (aka he is a good cook)." He pays attention to the details and cooking I would say is his spiritual gift.  What makes Kevin amazing is that even after a full day's worth of teaching and dealing with rowdy second graders he will often come home and cook up a really good meal for our family.  I know some men whose cooking skills only were used during courtship and then I know some other men, who though are incredible, only can cook easy mac or Ramen.  God was really good to me.

I am pretty proud and blessed that Kevin is good with kids too!  With his students, he'll climb the ropes with them in PE class, give them special recess where he makes up creative games to play with them and for the past few years, he has taken his class fishing at the end of the year.  Kindergarteners know his name and he has had kids say they want to be in his class.  If you know anything about teaching, teachers work really hard.  Sure they get summers and holidays off and technically can get out early, but try teaching for a year and then you'll know why a good number of teachers leave the classroom.  Its no walk in the park and its not cuteness and playing games all day long.  The multitasking, the grading, the curriculum, the standards, the parents.  Another reason why its not often that you see a man in the classroom, especially at the elementary school age.  Yes, my man teaches all subjects and is with his class all day long. He works hard!

Like I mentioned before, I can get irritated at him.  But when it comes down to it, I really have to thank God for giving Kevin to me.  Shoot! During his summers, I work more and Kevin stays home with the kids.  He keeps them safe, he feeds them and almost every week so far, he has taken my Maddie who's 3 and Samuel, who's 10 months to the zoo.  In hot summer weather??!?!? With two kids? For literally 3-4 hours at a time?  When I'm home with them, I take my kids to the grocery store to get them out of the house.  Or at most to the pool which is 3 minutes away.  He takes them to the National Zoo not with a double stroller where there is so much walking.  "Its for my kids" he says.

If I married myself, our family would be completely different. But thank God I married Kevin. For my impatience, anger and argumentative behavior, my man has a calm and cool temperament, thats slow to anger and gentle even if he is not pleased with the way things are going.  I'm chatty, he's a super good listener.  When my grandma needs someone to keep her company because my sister is out, Kevin is a team player and has never once complained when it means we have to change our schedule.  Sometimes he'll even keep her company when I'm not available. Last year when my sister and I wanted to go out to see a movie on its last night in the theaters, Kevin offered (I didn't even ask!) to watch my sister's four kids along with ours (only 1 at the time) and so singlehandedly played games with 5 kids and kept my grandma happy while my sister and I went to the movies.   He does hard work and watches the kids for me so I can run, so I can have quiet time and when I ask for help, he blesses me by doing whatever he can to make my load lighter.  He puts Maddie to sleep every night.  And makes life fun.  I could go on and on, but to my amazing, handsome, funny, creative, smart and hardworking husband, thank you for being amazing, faithful and really good to me. Our Old Country Buffet and Sarku dates are perfect and I'd take time with you anyday over any smancy fancy restaurant.  May I pray for you and thank God more for you this year. Love you babe.  I am SO blessed. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Life Now

I haven't been blogging lately. But deep down, I have felt the tug to keep writing. Part of me is very busy reading, playing, listening, disciplining and feeding Maddie. Chasing, tickling, carrying, picking up and feeding baby Samuel.  Oh my goodness, I'm tired! So I do have valid excuses not to blog.

At the same time, I remember that I love to write. I need to actually. And I remember that Dad, he loved and wanted so much to be able to write.  I didn't have his brains in common. And I wasn't much like him otherwise, but I have always liked writing just as he did. Many of you knew that he wanted more time, mainly because he wanted to write more.  That was the plan.  

Since my blog is "about being old", I can tell you that my reluctance to blog is partly because I've come to experience why being old is not fun at all.  Losing a parent is not something I expected to experience in this decade.  Not at all.  But in honor of my dad and for my own sanity, more frequent dates with my blog is something I'm going to try for.

Some of you know that I worked with Dad to start his own blog, www.yangraceperiod.com. We spent awhile trying to pick the perfect URL and we launched the site about a month before he passed.  Despite his weakness, his pain and his decline, it was special that Dad was excited about starting the site.  I remember his passion and desire to be able to live longer so he could write more. More about what God had taught him in life. We managed to work on one post together. He brained and inspired it and I just put together the words.  Please do check it out when you get the chance (Boxing It). I also wrote a tribute for Dad's memorial service that I invite you to check out as well.

More next time. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

My Time with Grandma (Now with Kids)

Here's my precious 2nd!
My blog posts has diminished to only milestone posts and exhaustion is the main reason. I am determined to keep trucking.  So as many of you know, Mama, my grandma is one of my best friends, I'd say. Sometimes I like to say she is one of my girrrrlllfriends or you could also say she's my other sister.  I see her as often as I see my sisters and she makes me laugh just like friends do.  She's turning 100 this year!!  Oh yes.

In the past few years and months I have noticed that my interaction with my grandma has decreased.  I see her just as often if not more than before I had kids, meaning 3-4 times a week or even more. Unfortunately, I don't talk with her as much or have as many of the deep kinda conversations we used to have.  I literally used to call her to talk randomly or sit next to her and chat.

What happened?? To be honest, she started bugging me to have children.  I listened, of course, and had my first. And soon after, she told me everyone should have at least two kids. Come a few years later, I now have my precious second. Here's my analysis of the situation.

When I had my first, my attention for Mama, my grandma, started shifting to my daughter.  I'd have to feed or change a diaper so things did change.  During naps I still could have some quality time with Mama.  As time goes on, Maddie now wants my full attention and pulls me to play with her or help her eat, etc. etc. leaving it hard to converse or having any meaningful conversation.  Partly because talking with Mama requires that you sit next her due to her hearing.

With two kids, there are more diapers to change and less time to talk.  Attention as well as energy is given first to my kids naturally and thus hanging out with grandma or at least talking with her the way we used to isn't so easy anymore.  Even when I have a spare moment, I find that while I have the time, sometimes I don't have the energy to speak loudly or I'm on the couch just trying to take a nap. Is there any solution?

Maybe its just a part of life. Like when you kids you can't hang out the way you did when you were single.  Or how you don't quite have the time to stay up watching movies all night when you become a parent.  Though I feel guilty at times not to have as much attention for my grandma, I'm not sure but maybe she isn't all too disappointed.  After all, she did request me to motherhood and maybe just knowing she is so loved is good enough for her.  For now, our 1 on 1 dates and old crocheting and chit chatting times are from the past and have been replaced with periodic kisses and hugs, snuggling with her new great grandson, watching my kids and my other nieces and nephews living life and playing around her and things of that nature.   Much love to you on this Valentine's Day!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Special special special!

Our sweet Baby Samuel turned 12 weeks this week!  From the time I found out I was expecting I knew he was going to be a special baby.  And since he's been born, he's only confirmed it ten million times more.  He is the sweetest cutest little thing! Translation: He's already become a momma's boy.=) He's just soooo cute.

Last July when I found out about my dad's cancer, that's when I started wondering if I should have baby #2.  I wasn't really ready for another one but God gave me a change of heart from "uhhhh NOT YET!" to "uhhh maybe??"  Children truly are blessings and very cute, but from having my first sweet cute Maddie I've found that cute can also be defined as lots of hard work and patience.  James 1 says "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God..."  So unsure and afraid, I had a heart to heart talk with God last year asking him to give me another baby, maybe...if he thought it was a good idea.

I found out I was expecting this past January and all throughout the pregnancy I prayed asking that God would allow Dad to meet my baby.   By God's grace, it is a miracle that Dad is with us each and every day and after NINE months of pregnancy, Dad was able to meet his namesake, baby Samuel=).

So the name "Samuel" was chosen mainly because we want our baby boy to love and humbly follow God just like my dad does.  One of the verses that was imprinted in my heart as a child was 1 Samuel 16:7, which was another reason why we chose this name.  When I was younger, my dad had me memorize this verse which says "Don't judge a man by his face or height." Other versions say "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."   Even if he is the handsomest boy out there (and yes he is=)) Kevin and I want our baby to know that a humble heart for God is most important.

Speaking of name choices, months before, I was hanging out with my nieces and nephews (all under 9) showing them how baby moved all the time in my tummy.  He really did!  I asked for some name suggestions and my 4-year-old nephew suggested the name "Flash". Thankfully, my 5-year-old niece also looked at me and said, "Samuel's a very nice name!"   It was so funny because "Samuel" was already a strong contender.  That same day, my nieces and nephews even asked baby what name he liked the most.  Thankfully my boy did not respond to "Flash."  But when we brought up the name, "Samuel" from inside the womb, baby gave a strong kick, no joke!

God's timing is also so very perfect.  In the days before Samuel was born, I asked God if he would allow the baby to come before Wednesday, September 10th, since my dad would be starting another round of chemotherapy then.  Things weren't looking good for Dad at the time as with each round of chemo, his symptoms were getting worse.  On Wednesday, September 3rd, I attended our church prayer meeting and I shared my prayer request with three other ladies that I was hoping baby would come before September 10th.  My water broke just a few days after those prayers and after many contractions and long hours of pushing, and then surgery, I was so grateful and in awe of God's timing when our baby Samuel arrived Tuesday at 1:00am, just in time to see his grandpa before chemo and the rest of his big awesome family.  GRAND entrance, drum rolll, meet my baby boy Samuel.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Waiting Out the Long 9 Months

I am almost almost there and very ready and feeling big enough to welcome baby #2 into this world.  Whereas sometimes it can feel like you're waiting forever, this pregnancy really has gone by ever so quickly.  My #1 "big guy" as she calls herself vies for my attention so much so that for much of my pregnancy, I've forgotten I was pregnant at all.  At one point, I remember contemplating how much fun it would be to bike to work only to remember that I was 5 months pregnant.

April festivities
This time around, though I haven't journaled as much, I have been just as intentional in making sure I celebrate every month.  Sometimes it just means I hang out with friends or I do something little but I need reminders throughout to help me remember how blessed I am to be able to carry a healthy and oh my goodness, extremely active baby.  What I love about celebrating each month is it gets me excited rather than bogged down by the nausea, the loss of motion, the urge to pee every two seconds and so on.  Okay so nothing gets you excited about those things, but at least it helps you with the wait.  I can be pretty grumpy so thank goodness for these monthly celebrations/events that helped me through.

Mother's Day when we all escaped
April - I refused to let pregnancy keep us from having doing things so this month, Kevin and I took Maddie and my still small potato baby in the womb camping at Greenbrier State Park.  Fun, tiring and relaxing all at once.That same week, Kevin and I came back and had our first baby reveal party. My sister was the only one who knew the gender of the baby and baked an awesome cake to help us find out the gender!

Mads and her cousin getting ready for their 1st canoe ride!
May - Celebrated my bday, went out with my sisters and my mom (JUST us, no kids) for Mother's Day dinner. My sister and I also snuck out of the house and went to the theater to watch Mom's Day Out thanks to be my awesome husband who willingly babysit Maddie and my sister's 4 kids + my grandma.  I also ran a 4 miler on Memorial Day!

June - Last race of my pregnancy. Ran the FC
A 5k Endurance Run
July - Beach trip just with my girlfriends (There were many naptimes, a lot of eating, and just lotsa laughing. So good for the soul.

August - Had family vacation with the family thanks to a family friend at the Chesapeake Bay. And yes, I went canoeing with big belly and even took Maddie out for her first canoe ride!

And now comes a few more days, weeks or maybe a month of waiting. We'll see!