September beginnings

We took advantage of the final days of the summer farmers markets around here as fall weather took over last month. Our children are continuing to grow in their friendship and it’s been so sweet to see them love each other so much at times as a sibling pair. They especially enjoy holding hands across the aisle in the car, giving each other hugs and kisses (most of the time), and sharing food with one another (mainly Timothy giving to Grace, though; she’s a big eater!) We continue to be excited about meeting baby girl, and are savoring how Timothy tells and shows us everyday how very thankful he is for another sister. The excitement and endearment has been passed on to Grace, too. It’s been such a joy to watch Timothy grow as a big brother.

A short visit from my older sister brought along some sweet time with Aunty Sophia for our kids and some nice sister time for me, too.  After our visitor, we jumped right into the full swing of school, Bible study, and a more consistent weekly routine.  I turned 30, and was struck by immense gratitude for the opportunity to be my little ones’ primary teacher, a part of the new Revelation study at BSF, and serve our local church. It was nice to reflect and look forward to all the Lord has for me this year and in this new decade, and am eager to learn more from others, especially older folks as I stumble along in so many different roles.

Is Autumn almost here?

Grace loves swings, too!August was a fun-filled month of play dates, park picnics and family time for us. Grace has recovered well from her surgery and has become so much more active this month! It’s already been over half a year since we met our sweet little girl, which is hard to believe. Time definitely has flown faster with our second child since we don’t have as much time to slowly savor the early stages of development.

Even with the challenges of this age, two is such fun stage for us with Timothy. He’s learning a lot every week and it’s a joy to witness. He sings along to many songs and memorizes lines from books. He initiates pretend play and continues to imitate us and what he sees in books. Timothy makes so many loud observations these days that it really keeps me on my toes explaining things to him in Cantonese. He’s also taken to letting me know whenever people aren’t covered up with clothing, which makes for very chatty visits to the beach and park this hot summer! One of the newer sweet things Timothy does is call “Mama?” randomly throughout the day wherever we are, so I can answer with his name. We do this back and forth several times at varying volumes since he seems to just enjoy the call and answer with his mama. It’s silly, but endearing moments like those make me so glad to be at home. Timothy got to see his Grandma Tam this month and Grace got to meet her for the during her visit here. It was fun to hear Timothy use his Cantonese with another adult in-person.

Little construction worker

Timothy is still fascinated with vehicles of all sorts and had a blast at both Kirkland’s Summerfest and Redmond’s Big Truck Day this month, getting to ride on lots of big rigs. Thursday mornings are still an event around here since our kind WM recycling truck driver stops to greet Timothy. Sundays are also a highlight as we worship with our church family and Timothy gets to watch the band play, sometimes bringing along some instruments from home, too. It’s fun how he re-enacts the drumming, guitar-playing and standing by a “wonderful cross” at home “like at church”. Some of his other oft-used English phrases these days are, “Timothy so funny!”, “Timothy too fast!”, “Timothy disobey…” “Nooo”, and “Jesus died on the wonderful cross to save us from sins”. It’s crazy what he winds up memorizing. While I find the “nooo” annoying, we’re trying to redirect it to be “no, thank you” and be glad that he didn’t figure out the English “no” till very recent months. Timothy often announces to Grace what “big brother” is doing and it’s endearing to watch him snuggle, talk with, and sing to Grace the way he sees Andrew and me treat her. At the doctor’s office the other day, he told Grace reassuringly that she didn’t need to be afraid when he saw her begin to look sad for her physical exam. Usually he says that to himself (like a self-pep talk) because that’s what I tell him about the car wash, our blender, and thunder. I almost burst into tears at his sweet encouragement to his sister!

More fun at Grass Lawn

Grace is growing quickly this month and is definitely on the move. She’s fast with rolling and pivoting to get to things she wants to examine and mouth so we need to keep a close eye on her. She is still very mellow and easily pleased though, and we’re quite thankful for that so far. Grace’s SUPER happy to see her Papa come home each day and it just melts my heart to see her gazing affectionately at him often, as if she doesn’t want him to leave again. She uses her cute little hands to explore all of our faces, and it’s one of the most precious things to watch her pet Timothy’s smiling face. One of their favorite activities together is Grace “chasing” Timothy up the stairs with our help. We can’t get enough of both their beaming smiles during the chasing game. Grace continues to be smothered with hugs and kisses from her big brother everyday. I continue to enjoy her big smiles, funny giggles, and rapt attention towards Timothy in all his busyness. The way she lights up when he dances and entertains her is too adorable to watch. I love that they’re already starting to play together a bit. No one else can make Grace laugh harder than Timothy right now, and he is happy to oblige.

This month, we wrapped up a 12-week summer book and Bible study with other mothers of young children. I was humbled and convicted to be more diligent during these formative early parenting years, as well as very prayerful in how I shepherd our children. The book work/Bible reading, weekly fellowship for us mamas to discuss, and prayer times were salve for my soul in this season. One week, we had 5 slumbering babies upstairs with a bunch of busy little ones keeping the babysitter busy downstairs in the family room, and I thought to myself, “How incredible is this season of craziness with wee little ones?!?”. I continue to be thankful for our home and the opportunities we have to be hospitable. We plan to keep opening our home to a women’s study, but I’ll take a break from leading this fall and look forward to being led by an older woman from our church. I’m also excited for next month when we begin our weekly activities of going to Classical Conversations and Bible Study Fellowship. As Timothy approaches school age, I hope these activities are a good primer for when we start some more structured homeschooling preschool times at home this school year. For now, we’re definitely focusing on obedience and basic communication!


July highlights

Very sunny morning concert
Very sunny morning concert
"A bird feather, Mama"
“Mama, a bird feather!”

The Seattle area has had several weeks in which we struggle some to beat the heat, but it’s been fun to enjoy more water activites and the outdoors when it’s not too hot outside in the mornings. (Yes, I’m a Pacific Northwest wimp now when it comes to the “hot” weather). Maybe I should take some cues from Timothy who doesn’t ever complain about sweating. 😉 We’ve enjoyed a few of the morning summer concerts in Kirkland nearby and are thankful for the many beautiful parks and playgrounds accessible to us. Timothy is an avid explorer of the outdoors and Grace is a calm and patient observer so it works out well for all. It will be so fun to see the two of them running around next summer and discovering new things together.

Our little girl continues to be a sweet, mellow, happy and giggly. She is rolling a lot and enjoying baby toys and books. Grace also loves seeing and talking to her big brother. I’m delighted to see her bring many smiles to Timothy’s face. It’s one of the cutest things to see her use her little hands to explore her brother’s face when he lays next to her for hugs and playtime. Timothy is still mostly very gentle and affectionate with Grace and is a good sport about all the drool, while she is a great sport about all the toddler squeezes and smooches.

Waiting patiently for surgery
Waiting patiently for surgery

Grace’s surgery was Thursday morning, and it was a point of both built-up anxiety and relief as we ended the month. The procedure went very smoothly and Grace appears to be recovering well so far. We’re grateful for the skilled and kind medical staff at Seattle Children’s Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center close by. They took good care of our baby girl and we were able to return home with her within hours of arriving at Children’s in the morning. My heart was twisted when I watched Grace with the slightly oversized mask squish her face as she fussed a bit before getting drowsy, and had leave her little helpless unconscious body on the big operating with only a tiny hospital gown on her. The Lord was faithful to bring encouragement and peace through His Word and our community, though. It was a short operation and the experienced doctor and nurses were also reassuring and helpful. Timothy immediately give his sister a snug hug upon seeing her emerge from the recovery area with me later and was happy to see Grace doing well. Thank you to those of you who encouraged and prayed for us through this experience!

I love that he instinctively reaches to hold her hand
I love that he instinctively reaches to hold her hand

We continue to enjoy Timothy’s chattiness and activity around here. I’m pretty blown away to hear him use so much new language quickly lately. He likes to practice sentences in both Chinese and English; it’s encouraging to see him understand both so well. We’re also amused to hear him practice his language and talk himself to sleep at night sometimes. Some of the other cute things he does right now involve his ukulele. He holds it upright to play like a cello with a wooden spoon as his bow and he loves to rock out on it as a little guitar like us. Timothy also wanted us to make a big cardboard cross (he calls it “wonderful cross”) so he could stand next to it and play instruments “like church”. He’s an intense drummer these days. On the domestic front, he’s busy letting us know he’s doing things just like Papa or Mama in the little play kitchen. Whether it’s making crepes (complete with generous pours from the maple syrup jug) or cutting up fruits and veggies on his little cutting board, it melts me sometimes to watch him working away like a little man! The children and I also visited Remlinger Farms in July with classmates from toddler group. Timothy enjoyed the little kid rides and rode a horse for the first time. While he was on horseback, we also watched the much larger horse in front of us drop a huge steaming pile, making that the most memorable part of riding horseback for him, of course. He also distinctly remembers the spot on our car where a bird left a present earlier this week when we returned to our car after a summer concert. And so the potty talk fixation begins… 😉

Riding on little Raisin
About to go for a ride on little Raisin

Papa Andrew is smitten with his lovely daughter so our photo gallery is quite large this month. =)

A June of celebrations

Lots of water fun this month!
Lots of water fun this month!

Timothy turned 2 this month and it was such a joy to seem him understand and be excited about celebrating this year. I love hearing him sing “Happy Birthday”. He anticipates getting to eat cake at any celebration now. =) He had a lot of fun with his little friends over for cake and some fun. It was a nice week of celebrating for him with cupcakes three times – on his actual birthday, for celebrating with his toddler group classmates a few days after, and at his birthday party with friends that weekend. I hope he doesn’t expect so much cake every year, although it was actually fun to do some cake-baking this time for me. It’s funny how having children helps me enjoy things I used to avoid, like baking. 😉 The little guy continues to learn new vocabulary at a quick clip and build more complex sentences. He can now even distinguish between his left and right in both languages! I’m suprised since I get mixed up on that pretty often. He’s so eager to explore outside, throw balls (or really anything), ride his bike, and pull wagons in the nice weather.

We enjoyed a quiet Father’s Day together. It’s been an amazing blessing to watch Andrew’s involvement and intentionality with his son and daughter. Grace’s sweet gushing smiles with her Papa make me cry; they’re just too precious. It’s beautiful to see her affection for Andrew already and I love when she holds on to him tightly with her dimply little hands. I pray that she gets a deep sense of a father’s protective and empowering love as she grows up in our family. Timothy asks often about when Papa is coming home to play with him, and talks so much about their activities together nowadays. He pretends to drive to work with a backpack, just like Andrew. He loves telling me what things he’s doing just like Papa or with Papa. He’s still very much a mama’s boy for now; it’ll be (bitter)sweet to watch him grow into an all-about-Papa stage later.

Andrew and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and enjoyed a nice night out with some delicious sushi. It’s odd how it doesn’t seem like we’ve been married for half a decade(!), but it feels like we’ve had our children for a long time! I’m thankful for the gracious, clever, industrious, gifted, faithful, sacrificial and generous man Andrew is, and look forward to many more years with him as my husband and partner in life. It’s been an incredible journey so far and I look forward to building a legacy together. I pray that I will grow as a wife to be more of what he needs and wants, by God’s grace and strength. Here’s to the next 55 years! =)

Sweet Grace
Sweet Grace

Now 4 months old, baby Grace continues to be an immense blessing to our family. We love snuggling her delicate little face and making her giggle and coo at us. She loves watching Timothy be run around and their little sibling “conversations” are very cute. She is a champ at occupying herself with her cute little hands is getting good at grabbing toys to nosh on lately. Grace also enjoys watching her brother’s charming dance moves and basketball dunks. Her happy smiles and easygoing disposition brightens our days so much. However our hearts have also been heavier since learning that Grace needs surgery soon for a condition she has that won’t heal by itself. =( We’re thankful for the experienced and excellent doctors who will be caring for her, though. It’s so sad to me that our baby girl needs surgery at such a young age, but we’re trusting Jesus will continue to take care of her and help us rely more on Him in this health challenge for our family.

Summer is in full swing here and it’s been so nice! We’re enjoying nearby splash pads on the increasingly warm days and the many farmers markets that take place throughout the week nearby. It’s so fun to point out the amazing creation God has made and see Timothy take it all in with his penchant for learning and ability to express himself. Grace seems to enjoy the outdoors quite a bit too and while she’s a great sleeper at home, she’s also quite a trooper when we take the occasional nap on-the-go. I look forward to outdoor concerts and more summer activities in the coming weeks!

April showers, Easter, and flowers

This past month gave us some good time to be on our own as a foursome. We enjoyed a fun week with Andrew home after Grampa Ma left, and I’ve been learning the ropes of caring for two at home by myself recently after many weeks with help. Meals, nap management, laundry, cleaning and lots of play/reading time fill my days and I find them passing much more quickly and enjoyably than I did during Timothy’s early months. Amazing what some experience and adjusted expectations does. 😉

Some of Grace’s best expressions and “conversations” are towards her brother, and he is so cute with her. I’m so blessed to get to watch them grow in their interactions with each other everyday, and am pleasantly surprised at how much attention and care Timothy shows Grace. He asks often to see her, hug her, hold her hand, sit next to her, give her (wet) kisses and lay next to her. Grace is proving to be even more mellow than her brother thus far, and is sleeping pretty well already, so we’re quite grateful for that! She continues to be a great sport and makes us all gush with her happy expressions, frequent “talking”, and playfulness already.

To my delight, Timothy has been super affectionate with me lately and I love this season of our relationship. He demonstrates more understanding of rules, relationships, and even differences between Chinese and English; switching languages in appropriate situations. He refers to himself almost exclusively in the third-person so we’re working on that, although it occurred to me that he learned to do it from me! Oops – it’s so hard for me to kick this habit even though he’s learned all our titles and his own names. We’re also working on using other words for agreement since the only word Timothy has used to mean “yes” for months now is “sí”…but hasn’t taken to any other Spanish words I’ve tried to teach him; funny little guy. Adjusting to our new normal also means that any outings I get to take with only one of the children feels like a bit of a treat and turns into a little Mama date time. Timothy seems to appreciate these outings even though he is often eager to get home and see his baby sister.  

Spring has brought rains and lovely blooms our way, along with some sunny afternoons to enjoy outdoors. Our fruit trees, tulips, lilacs, and rhododendrons have been in full bloom and it’s especially satisfying that Timothy points them out and enjoys them this year. We’re continuously thankful for where we live and it’s been fun to see the neighborhood kids engage Timothy when they’re out playing as he tosses balls to them and learns to catch. He is also intent on watching buses, trucks, diggers, cement mixers and Waste Management vehicles at work, recreating scenes at home with toys lately. Timothy’s imagination is starting to show and it’s amusing to see his sense of humor continue to emerge as well. Toddler and baby giggles are such music to our ears.

We celebrated Easter with our church family and some very dear friends. As we teach Timothy about our hope in Christ and the power of His resurrection, it’s been humbling for me to also show him how much I need to hear and receive that truth on a regular basis – that I’m a selfish sinner who needs forgiveness and daily (hourly!) help from my Savior. What a beautiful picture it has been to see Timothy begin to understand reconciliation when he apologizes or when I ask for forgiveness. To me, those are some of the most meaningful hugs and kisses we exchange. This has indeed been a tiring and trying season of transition and growth, but I’m also grateful that I get to grow so much and serve the Lord through caring for our family. April was a fast month for us and it’s hard to believe that summer is just around the corner already next month!