Trains, Planes, and Rains

2015-02-09This post is quite late, since we’ve had a flurry of activities lately around here. Our family began 2015 by celebrating new marriage and helping to launch a new church plant in Bellevue, and January just flew right by!

We tagged along with Andrew down to the San Francisco Bay Area for a week while he needed to work down there, escaping some of the cold and showers up here in Seattle during that time. In addition to the adventure of flying, another of the most thrilling parts of the trip for Timothy was living so close to a Caltrain station for a week, hearing and seeing the trains go by frequently. While it got old for us adults (especially when trying to fall asleep at night!), it was a consistent source of excitement for Timothy. It was so fun to see this trip in part through the eyes of a toddler discovering much of the world, and talking about it back to us. The children and I were guests at a BSF program in the area, and all really enjoyed our classes.Fun playground across the road from where we stayed It was great to have BSF still be a part of our week even though we weren’t home. We all enjoyed the sunny weather, time with many friends, and great food during our visit. I will not however, miss the terrible traffic down there. 😉

Grace is growing into quite the social little gal, and we enjoy seeing her interact with new people with varying degrees of enthusiasm. She is super interested in everything around her, and is becoming too busy for all the hugs and snuggles we give her sometimes. She is a frequent and enthusiastic clapper, especially to music. She continues to enjoy new foods and is taking well to drinking water from straws and cups. Her two little teeth are emerging more and we’re just waiting for the next ones to pop through soon. Grace hasn’t expressed any interested in walking so far, which is much like Timothy at this age. I think it’s probably because there’s still so much to be explored and touched (thrown around, really) on the floor and low shelves, and she’s not into keeping up with big brother yet.

Happy 1st Birthday, Grace!

SweetGracesmilingDearest little Grace Elizabeth,

Our family’s been so blessed by you this year. Papa and I have immensely enjoyed you as our daughter and Timothy’s sister. We’re thankful to God for making you just the way He did and giving you to us exactly when He did, too. I can’t believe it’s already been a year with you, but in some ways it feels even longer since we can’t imagine our family without you! Some stats from your first year: you rolled over at about 4 months, sat up sometime during 6 months, scooted at 7 months, crawled quickly at 8, cruised at 9 months, had your first two teeth emerge at 10 months and climbed up the stairs at 10 months, too. You also took your first plane ride like a champ at 11 months. We are waiting for you stand independently before you take steps in the coming weeks (maybe months?). We love your delicate little hands, wispy long hair, lashes that curl on the outer edges of your eyes, frequent big smiles, and contagious giggles.

Some of your favorite foods this first year include nori (seaweed snacks), blueberries, oatmeal, pumpkin, millet, sweet potatoes, bananas, kiwis, black beans, bread and pears. You enjoy playing by yourself quite a bit, but you also love it when other people, especially Timothy, are around even when it means you’re sometimes getting shoved or squished a bit. Your favorite toys are the baby piano, stacking cups, Timothy’s George monkey, play kitchen, your soft books, and whatever “Gaw Gaw” is trying to build with his Legos. You also enjoy any household objects we let you play with, too. I’m pretty sure your first words were “Baba”, “Dada”, “Papa”…basically all the ways you can refer to your father, which was pretty special for Papa. 🙂 “Bye-bye”, “Yeh Yeh”, and what sounds like “more” in Cantonese followed soon after. You also say “Mama” now, and it’s so heartmelting, maybe more so since it’s not often you say it. You also seem to want to skip sign language and go straight to talking when you’ve been asking for more food lately in Cantonese instead of signing. In addition your cute little gazes and smiles, you have a funny little hello wave where you stick your hand out as if reaching for people.

You absolutely adore Papa and he is quite smitten with you as well. It’ll be so sweet to see your relationship grow in the months and years to come. We love how excited you are to see him everyday. You also love “Gaw Gaw” and we’re so happy to see you and Timothy enjoy each other so much this first year together. It’s so special how the two of you can quickly help each other feel better when one of you is sad, simply by being present. You are super happy when you see photos of our whole little family together, and you enjoy reading and singing through books with us. When we dance, sing and jump around all crazy, it makes you smile and laugh. You squeal for bubbles, enjoy playing with water, and love slides and swings. It was so cool to see you catch on quickly to slides and notice you lean forward to initiate the thrill. It’s been a gift to watch you thrive in your BSF class each week.  I love that you enjoy Cantonese Story Time, especially when loudly clapping for the songs we sing. You’ve been humming and singing along with us for your sleeptime song of “Be Thou My Vision”, and it’s very loud at times. I can’t wait to have you make more music with us in the coming years.

Our first year together after your birth was so full and difficult in many ways. You made your appearance 8 days early, smoothly, calmly and quickly – we thank the Lord for that, too! Like your brother, you also have symmetrical double hair swirls, which we find fascinating and adorable at the same time. You were born a bit on the small side but gained weight well in the early months. When I was pregnant again, we didn’t know for a little while, but you weren’t getting enough milk so you lost weight between 3 and 6 months. It disheartened me that you needed a lot of formula to get back on track, but I’m thankful for how God provided for your growth in that way even though it was not what I’d planned or wanted for you. We lost your little sibling unfortunately, so that was painful for me to grapple with as I also struggled with your growth curve this year, too. Many people tell me you’re tiny, and it makes me want to burst into tears sometimes…there are those times when I really do sob while holding on to you tightly. Baby girl, you’ve been so tough and cooperative and are back on track with gaining weight and eating most everything we feed you so well. Praise the Lord for that! You’ve also been a decently good sleeper and napper, and we are SO THANKFUL for that gift. While, it’s been such a relief to have an easier sleeper, and you probably also benefit from having us not be as nervous as we were with Timothy. 😉

The Lord has used you to bless our family in ways better than we hoped or imagined in this first year. I never would’ve imagined how much your story so far has helped me to see the world more soberly and compassionately, while also longing more for Jesus. Your sweet and flexible disposition has been so helpful in this otherwise difficult year and we’re grateful for God’s graciousness in making the transition being a family of 4 smoother than we’d expected. I have also felt more helpless and inadequate as a mother than I’d ever felt before with only your big brother in my care. I think this is also God’s grace to me through you to show me that I deseperately need Him to fill and work through me because I cannot do anything truly fruitful on my own.

I pray that as you grow physically, your spirit would be increasingly awakened to thirst for the truth of the Bible instead of the many lies culture will feed you about God, the world, and yourself. I pray that you will find your deepest sense of belonging and worth in your Heavenly Father’s affection and sacrifice for you through Jesus Christ. I hope you will be strong in your convictions and in guarding your heart, as well as compassionate and caring toward others. We look forward to getting to know you more this second year and the years to come.

Happy first birthday to you, our precious and sweet baby girl!

With a full and grateful heart,