August Adventures

Little Grace has now had a grand total of six little teeth emerge and is really making herself known in our little family with her emerging independence and sometimes sassy attitude. She’s talking a lot this month and mimicking many new words and phrases in both Cantonese and English. Some current favorites are signing and saying “Jesus is wonderful”, yes in both languages, “I know”, “oh no”, big brother (Gaw Gaw), draw in Chinese (劃畫), asking us to put on her shoes or sleep sack, pick her up or give her grapes in Chinese, referring to herself as little sister (Mui Mui), “blueberry”, and calling out for me (Mama) repeatedly and randomly so that I can respond with her name. It’s like what Timothy does with his precious little call and response games, and it’s still so cute to me. She and I had more time alone with each other this month while Timothy had sports camp and swim lessons, and I’ve enjoyed these times with our little girl, especially as it helps me to take closer notice of some of her changes. She does a lot of playing pretend by herself and some with Timothy. It’s pretty amusing to watch them cook in the play kitchen and eat each other’s creations. Grace’s more apparent spunk and independence is helping us to see more clearly how different she is than her brother.

Between play dates, lots of workbooks and park outings, the children and I also made it through two different work trips Andrew had to take in August. Timothy and Grace ebb and flow throughout the days in their relationship and varying stages of getting along, which certainly have some days feel too long or fly right by. Some of their sweet brother-sister moments make me tear up and savor this endearing season. Other challenging moments can be exasperating as I face my selfishness while attempting to teach them to love one another selflessly. Timothy’s big brotherly affection has been apparent lately as he’s been eager to greet and snuggle his new little sister everyday, all day. We’re happy to be expecting another baby in early January (probably arriving in late December) and are thrilled to have another daughter. As we approach the year mark since finding out we lost the baby in between Grace and this next baby girl, I struggle to embrace the joy of this blessed season of welcoming new life after loss. It’s difficult to share our news without the pangs in my heart of missing a child, especially knowing that so many others have suffered similarly devastating losses and the mixed bag of emotions when it come to sharing in others’ joys. It’s also impressed upon me the how short and fragile life is, and how my job is to impress that upon our children’s hearts even as we soak in this precious and fleeting season. Their expressed fears and tantrums (and mine, too) are hard, but the delightful moments of relational harmony, snuggling, playing, learning, reading, singing, giggling and dancing sure brighten up our home.

Cold days at the beach

We took a trip down the Oregon Coast and enjoyed some family time together despite the weather not cooperating for most of our visit. Around power outages and heavy rains, we checked out the Tillamook Cheese Factory, took a steam engine train ride, ate local ice cream, played on the beach, and visited pretty Cannon Beach. It was a nice way to end the month, but we’re glad to be back in our own warm home since autumn seems to be coming in strong with cooler temperatures and some much-needed rains. My upcoming 30th birthday also signals the start of an exciting new BSF study in Revelation, a more formal weekly routine of homeschooling and activities, and a new decade of growth for me. I’m floored by how much our children have developed this summer, and am excited for this season and rhythm it will bring for our family before we welcome a new little one into our home. Thanks for keeping up with our growing family!

A Sunny April

Appetites have been growing around here for outdoor fun, new foods, and lots of family time. Timothy is busy exploring and picking up new things, learning how to be a big brother with an increasingly opinionated little sister, and making our family laugh. Grace is standing a little bit more each day, super busy exploring, enjoying new foods, and babbling tons. Some days, I’m quite overtaken by my own selfishness, and the children’s forgiveness and graciousness help me to see how much I desperately need what I am trying to teach them. On a related note, our family also attended our first homeschooling/discipleship conference last month. While it was a bit daunting to take in so much information, it was quite nourishing for my soul to sit under the teachings of Pastor Voddie Baucham, Dr. Tedd & Margy Tripp, and Rachel Jankovic. We also had a fun visit from Andrew’s sister in April and even went to Bainbridge Island on a lovely day together. We enjoyed the ferry rides, beautiful beach, and great food. It’s neat to see our children enjoy their time with extended family and we look forward to more this year.

March Musings

It was a good month around here with the weather warming up, lots of weekly activities, and Spring upon us. Although some days still feel long with a toddler and baby keeping me on my toes (and knees for prayer and cleaning!), I’m impressed with how precious this time is while they’re still little, and how quickly it’s passing as they grow just a bit more each week. I’m thankful to be with them during the day to catch the sweet moments of sibling tenderness among the many teachable times. Andrew and I have been taking some opportunities for more one-on-one time with the children, and it’s been fun to enjoy those special times with us. Timothy often asks for our entire family to do everything together, but it’s also been great to hear him excitedly recount some of the outings he has with Andrew.

Grace is learning more words and showing avid interest in almost everything, especially new places and foods. Her newest words are “bye-bye”, “yes” (in both English and Cantonese), “baaa” (sheep sound), and “voom” (when playing with vehicles). She makes efforts to sign for more food, and to reach out for hugs now, too. She’s also a very fast crawler and cruiser now, getting into anything her little fingers can reach to shove into her mouth. Grace also enjoys cooking up (or just causing) a storm in their little play kitchen. Meanwhile, Timothy continues to insist on helping in the kitchen, trying veggies as I chop them, and especially likes making cookies with me. His imagination, humor, and communication is growing so much, and it’s especially cute to see how he likes making us laugh with his jokes. I also love he plays getting ready for work by filling his backpack with play food and jumping into the Cozy Coupe or waiting for the bus, just like Papa. We continue to enjoy hearing him “read” (memorized) large portions of or entire smaller books. Timothy is continuing to spell a lot, and at time it seems like he really knows how to read words, but then it’s evident he’s actually just recognizing familiar words and logos (like Costco!). He takes many opportunities throughout the day to smooch and hug his baby sister, sometimes even when she really doesn’t want it, though. He’s also pointing out in recent months that she’s not walking yet, and that he wants her get older and start doing it soon – funny! If she’s anything like him, it’ll be a few more months of waiting. I’m willing to hold off on that extra busyness anyway. 😉

We visited the cherry blossoms nearby at UW on a nice warm day and were glad to see Timothy and Grace enjoy themselves. Andrew and I hadn’t seen the blooms in years so it was nice to do a picnic dinner there, take some photos, and watch our little guy run happily around the Quad. Grace tried to eat some of the leaves and fallen blossoms, but that’s about par for the course these days with her exploration. 🙂 Our own fruit trees are blossoming well this year and we look forward to hopefully enjoying the fruit they bear later in the fall. Big brown snowshoe hares have also been appearing around our home lately, to our collective delight, especially since this is our first Spring without a bunny of our own to watch hop around outside.

Holy Week is upon us and it’s been so neat to see Timothy start to recount more of some parts of Jesus’ journey to the cross and the Resurrection. While he seems more obsessed with the little trinkets at this point, I still enjoy using our old set of Resurrection Eggs with him this year as we navigate his Bible together. As we look forward to joyously proclaiming the most important event in history, I’m eager for that hope to penetrate my heart since my due date for the baby we lost has come and gone recently. I’m amazed at how God is bringing comfort, truth and conviction through His word and people. Our heartaches aren’t for naught and they’re ultimately not even about us, which is surprisingly encouraging to my introspective and selfish soul. While I stumble along in learning to treasure Jesus, celebrating the journey to the cross has been especially meaningful this year. I pray that Easter means so much more than candy, baby animals, and cute pastel outfits for you, too! 🙂

Happy Easter!

Short and packed February

While adjusting back to the cold and wet PNW weather, I survived some days of solo parenting when Andrew went back to the Bay Area for the rest of his work trip at the beginning of February. We were very eager for him to come home and for Grampa King to arrive by the end of it, though!

With birthday parties and baby showers the first half of the month, we had some fun and busy weekends celebrating life. It’s been neat to see Timothy enjoy it so much when we host people in our home each week and on some weekends. thoroughly enjoyed taking in the Lunar New Year celebration nearby, along with two other lion dances locally to ring in Chinese new year. He continues to sway and stomp along to music performances with gusto. I appreciate the freshness of each holiday with little ones since we get to explain and introduce celebrations to them as they ask observe and ask questions. The children continue to enjoy Cantonese Story Time and BSF each week. Grace is still an enthusiastic participant at both activities and cooperates quite well. I love watching them both dance around enjoying music and look forward to making more music together as a family when they’re older, too.

Our sweet little girl turned one and we enjoyed celebrating her first year. She’s become quite vocal and eager, and continues to be interested in everything, especially what Timothy does. Grace is quite excited about playgrounds and parks, so we’re already looking forward to the summer with her when she’ll likely be walking. For now, she is a fast and very busy little cruiser. New words this month were “amen”, “milk” in Chinese and a faint breathy “hi”. She signs for “milk” and “more” now (although it looks like “all done”, which can be confusing). Her frequent babbling, waving, and clapping elicits some funny imitation from her brother, too. Grace loves crawling around brother’s bed and pretending to lay down with him before nap times. Playing chase up the stairs has become even more exciting as she’s gained speed lately. After many months of not seeming to care much about my whereabouts or attention during the day, Grace has become more clingy and needy. It’s both busier and sweeter, and I’m glad to know that my baby girl doesn’t only prefer her papa during the day.

Timothy is becoming quite the kitchen helper with peeling garlic, stirring ingredients, pushing blender buttons, inspecting produce, pouring ingredients, and taste-testing. I appreciate his eagerness to help even though the messiness is sometimes hard for me. He continues to love learning letters and numbers. His avid interest in Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Noël Piper, Sandra Boynton and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom books has really helped with his English. We’re surprised to already hear him spelling words he sees and memorizing sounds that some letters make. Then there are also the many times when he mixes words and sounds up for his silly talk…sometimes seemingly regressing into babble. 😉 He is also translating a lot between Cantonese and English, sometimes seemingly for our benefit but probably mostly because he’s thinking out loud. It’s so interesting for me to watch him think through and find the vocabulary he wants to use to talk about what he sees, hears and interprets. I keep bumping up against my language limitations more often now and think that we’ll probably be speaking a lot more Chinglish around here in the months to come.

Our morning times when Grace naps are pretty special so I’m not sure what I’ll do when she permanently drops that morning nap. For now, I’m quite enjoying these times together. Our little man is still quite a mama’s boy and I relish his hugs, kisses and snuggles before he grows up much too quickly. I’ve been trying to be more organized with Timothy’s morning learning times during the week when we don’t have planned activities somewhere else. He thoroughly enjoys Play-Doh, our sensory bins, alphabet and number manipulatives, short videos, and lots of books and several Bibles. I need to let him draw and “write” more in the coming weeks, too so we can continue with numbers, letters, colors and shapes. He’s been on a kick of wanting two of many things (we have him eat two bites to finish meals when he wants to be done) because, as he says in Chinese, “I’m two!”. He’s been telling me that he really wants another little sister so he can have two of those, too. So precious… but my heart does ache a bit as I watch pregnant mamas anticipate their spring babies. We’re continuing to trust the Lord with that loss, and be thankful for this opportunity to lean on him in our weakness and hurt.

We hope it warms up more soon as Spring finally arrives, especially for those of you stuck in the snowy and frigid northeastern part of the continent. Thanks for keeping up with our family!

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,