Friday, December 28, 2007

Gracie the Photographer

It's hard work taking pictures of Grace because she has never enjoyed getting her picture taken, but she loves looking at our camera's viewfinder. We thought she might enjoy having her own camera, so we got Gracie a kids' digital camera for Christmas. It's really neat! It's definitely kid friendly, has room for its own SD memory card, has video capability, a photo editing CD, built in templates, its own USB cord, and all that... Of course, the quality of the pictures isn't what we'd want or expect for a regular camera, but for a kids' camera, it's totally fine. She loves seeing her own pictures. The following slide show consists of Gracie's first snapshots! It's interesting to see things from her perspective... Who knows, maybe this is the start of a lifelong love!

Our Holiday Season

We've been so busy this holiday season that I've fallen behind with my posts... Sorry! I'll start with Dec. 18. It was an important day for our family as it was the first year anniversary of Jason's dad's passing. It's hard to believe that it's been a year already. If you didn't get a chance last year to hear about his life, here's a link to our tribute to him: Tribute to an Amazing Man. Jason's mom wanted all of us to do something together as a family- we went bowling! It was Gracie's first time. Of course we had to put up the gutter bumpers, but still, the kids had a lot of fun. Gracie's first bowling score: 58.
A few days later, we headed up to the family's Shaver Lake cabin to celebrate Christmas. I got to have my White Christmas after all! The ground was snow covered, perfect for playing outside in. We went sledding, made snow angels, and even "snowtwins."
Even before we had kids, Jason and I have made Christmas Eve "our family" time. This past Christmas Eve, Jason made a fantastic meal that has become our family tradtion- Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Shallots. It was sooo good! Jason and Grace spent time putting together a gingerbread house. Afterwards, our family went to our church's Christmas Eve service. This particular one will be memorable because Jason, Jeremy, and I got dressed up to play Joseph, Baby Jesus, and Mary for one of the songs. It was Jeremy's second time- a few Sundays ago, he played Baby Jesus for our church's choir's program. He slept through both times! After the service, we went home to open presents. Gracie enjoyed that, also because she got to open up Jeremy's presents, too, so it seemed like she got to open up everything! It was such an enjoyable evening. In the morning, we opened our stockings and had a wonderful breakfast before heading up to Jason's mom's house for the day.
On Wednesday, Jason and I decided to do an overnight trip to Sacramento. I'm taking my 5th grade class on a field trip in May, and I wanted to explore a little bit for myself. We decided to make an overnight trip of it. Both Gracie and Jeremy stayed overnight with Jason's mom and then his sister watched them all day Thursday. In Sacramento, we were able to go out for a nice dinner and relax at the hotel (actually, I watched about 3 hours of the "Flip That House Marathon" on HGTV... we only get a few T.V. stations at home, so Jason and I love being able to watch stations like that when we're able to). On Thursday, we slept in (yeah!). We found a little bistro for breakfast in Midtown. We explored both the Discovery Museum (Gold Rush Center), and the California State Railroad Museum. Of the two, we both really enjoyed the Railroad Museum. Next, we walked to the State Capitol, and got stuck for about a half hour on the grounds because there was a funeral procession for a fallen sheriff happening all around the Capitol. It was a non-stop procession of motorcycles and police cars from all over the state. With the constant flow of the procession, there was no way for us to cross the streets, so we just stood and watched. Of course we couldn't leave the area knowing there was an IKEA nearby!! This was my first time away since having Jeremy... We're told that both kids did great! I was emotional leaving them and was so happy when we returned, but I also knew that it was important for Jason and I to spend some quality time together without them. The trip brought back memories of a time when Jason and I would spontaneously take trips somewhere just because we wanted to. We can't be as spontaneous as we used to be, but it's nice to know that we can still do getaways. We're so thankful to his family for watching our kiddos so we could take this trip.
Anyway, that just about sums up our holiday season... Hope everyone had a blessed Christmas! Make sure to check out our photo album for pictures!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Jeremy Update

I took Jeremy to the doctor for a wellness check earlier this week, and as promised, here's an update: he is now 12 lb. 11 oz. (75th percentile for weight compared to others his age), and 23 inches long (50th percentile for height). Of course Jason was hoping that he'd be in a higher percentile range for height- gotta have one of our kids nice and tall for volleyball! Ha ha ha... Jeremy started smiling about a week and a half ago, and he started cooing earlier this week. Here's a short video of our sweet little boy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Children's Christmas Program

Jeremy is 2 months old today... We go in to see the doctor tomorrow for his shots and wellness check. I'll post more details about how he's doing at a later time this week.
This past Sunday, Gracie "sang" in our church's Children's Christmas Program. Last year, she ran up on stage behind all the other kids and was oblivious that there was a congregation full of people watching her. I remember seeing her climbing up on the choir risers and running around while the other kids sang their Christmas songs. We knew something like that was bound to happen since she was only 2 years old!

As a 3 year old this year, we also didn't expect for her to simply stand and sing all of the songs. We wondered what she would do to make the moment memorable. Take a look- unfortunately, the picture is blurry but we'll make sure to remind her when she's older of the year when she lifted up her dress and showed everyone her underwear!
As well, Jeremy received his first Christmas gift during the program- his first Bible! Jason shared with the congregation the meaning behind Jeremy's names (Jeremy- means "The Lord is exalted;" Edward- named after Jason's dad; Anh Hao- is Vietnamese, given by Jane's parents, and means "hero"). It was a special morning!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

We "Elfed" Ourselves

Our friend, Tracy Neufeld, sent us a hilarious video that our family cracked up over. We personalized it for the four of us and Gracie, Jason, and I have been watching it over and over again... It is so funny! Gracie keeps asking to watch it "just one more time." Enjoy the video (Click here: Isaac Elf Video).

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I'm Free... to Eat What I Want... Any Old Time!

Okay, cheesy title for this post... But I want to give an update about the state of my gestational diabetes. As soon as Jeremy was born, my doctors assumed that my body systems would return to normal. Just to be sure, I still had to get another glucose test to confirm it at my postpartum visit.

The glucose test was awful! You're supposed to fast for 8 hours prior to the test, so by the time it is all done, you're starving and feeling light headed...I had to do the 2 hour one, where they draw your blood every half hour. Altogether, it comes out to 5 needles! Unfortunately, due to the phlebotomist's incompetence, I ended up getting my blood drawn 8 times! I had so many needle holes, I actually imagined what it'd be like to be a druggie.

When I went to my postpartum visit at the Diabetes Center, my doctor informed me that the hospital had lost one of my test results. Imagine that- 8 needles and they still didn't get it right. I would've had to get the whole thing done again, but my doctor said that since my other tests' results were ok, he would just assume that the missing test result would indicate the same. Phew! It is now official- I no longer have gestational diabetes. However, I am now at a greater risk for developing diabetes later in life... It was suggested that I continue checking my blood sugar several times a year just to be informed. At this point, my diet choices and exercise are the best ways to lower my risk. The chance of developing diabetes gives me extra motivation to be aware of my diet choices and to lead an active lifestyle.
This past weekend, some of my girlfriends came over to help me celebrate Jeremy's birth and the end of my gestational diabetes. In addition to eating desserts and hanging out, they spent time creating pre-made scrapbook pages for Jeremy's scrapbook. Before Grace was born, one of my baby showers was a scrapbooking one where my friends created pre-made layouts for Grace's scrapbook. I so greatly value those pages! Now I have over 10 layouts ready-to-go for Jeremy's book. Thanks so much, dear friends, for your help!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sisterly Love

I am still amazed at how Gracie has fully embraced her role as Jeremy's big sister. She is so loving and thoughtful. Last night while we were getting dinner ready, we looked up to find her "reading" Christmas books to him. Who knows what it'll be like when they're older but for now, it is so heartwarming to see our active and at times rambunctious toddler gently caring for and loving on her baby brother.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Our Thanksgiving

We went to Jason's mom's house in Coarsegold for Thanksgiving and spent the whole day there. Now that Grace is older, her cousins actually play with her (as opposed to her just trying to keep up with them, or playing on her own) and she is able to do many more things with them. They played games, colored, watched a movie, and made crafts together. Jeremy, on the other hand, slept for most of the day. I always look forward to the meal because it's so delicious! Jason's mom is an awesome cook. Click on the Photo Album for pictures of our family's time together.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jeremy's "First Bath"

Up until tonight, Jeremy's baths have consisted of Jason holding his head under the bathroom sink's faucet so I could wash his hair, and then I've used a wash cloth for his body. Tonight, we gave Jeremy his first bath in a bathtub. Grace was so eager to help out! We gave her the job of continually pouring warm water on his body, but I don't know if he was crying because he didn't like the water, or because he was cold. Grace was so cute- she kept telling him, "Don't cry, Jeremy, don't cry." I can't post more pictures- gotta give our little guy a little privacy!
On another note, I want to vent... Jason took Grace to get her bangs trimmed today at a hair salon near our house. Take a look at the result... Is that just unbelievable or what?! I was so upset when they got home. We paid money for THIS?! If I wanted an uneven cut, I would've done it myself! I really want to get out the scissors and even it out, but I also know that there's a good chance her bang line might end up even higher. Just great- right in time for the holidays... Okay, okay, just remind me that there so many more important things to be concerned about! That's why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday- it's a time to really reflect on the important things in life. I have so much to be grateful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Jeremy's 1 Month Old!

Day by day, it doesn't seem like time goes by quickly, but overall? Wow- how amazing that it's been a month since Jeremy entered our lives. Not much to report, really. His life really does consist of sleeping, eating, and getting his diaper changed. In these last few days, he's started to stay awake a little longer after some of his feedings. Hopefully, the amount of time he sleeps at night will continue to increase so that we can get a little bit more sleep and don't have to get up every 2 1/2 hours. Check our photo album for a few pictures of our growing boy. Since weight gain was a concern of ours in the first few weeks, it's great to see that he now has a double chin! As well, below is a short video of Grace singing to Jeremy. She often does medleys. Tonight's medley consisted of a Dora the Explorer chorus, Eensy Weensy Spider, and the alphabet. The video is only of the alphabet. Well, kind of. It's her own version of the alphabet (she really does know the right tune- we have no idea where she picked up this version). Enjoy!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Our First Sporting Event with 2 Kids

We decided to go watch Fresno Pacific's volleyball team play today. They are a top notch volleyball team and it is always a thrill to go see them play. Jason and I both love volleyball and hope that our kids will grow up to love it as well. Anyway, going to a game seemed easy enough. However, it was harder than we thought it'd be. We've never been really good at being punctual, and now that we have two kids it definitely takes us even longer whenever we need to go somewhere. Jason was Mr. Speedy, getting us to Fresno Pacific from our house in less than 15 minutes- we were there in time to hear the National Anthem. When the announcer announced each of the starters, each player threw into the crowd a little volleyball that she personalized. The guy sitting next to us caught one of those volleyballs and gave it to Grace. Grace, in turn threw it in front of her, hitting a woman in the head several rows in front of us. Oops! She was nice enough to give the ball back to Grace. All Jason can say is, "Wow, she threw it pretty far!" Gracie seemed excited about going to watch what she calls "wallyball," but it wasn't long after we got settled into our seats that she began to get squirmy. She was all over the place- man, that girl just can't sit still- ever! Despite being distracted by Grace, we were able to enjoy the Sunbirds' defeat over Concordia, 3-0. Yay, we survived our first sporting event with 2 kids (granted, Jeremy slept during the entire trip- from our house to the game, during the game, and then back home)!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Yesterday, we took Grace and Jeremy on our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. Gracie enjoyed running around and looking at all the pumpkins. Jeremy was asleep the whole time. Jason picked out one pumpkin for carving, and Grace picked out her own pumpkin. When we got home, Jason helped Grace experience her first pumpkin carving. She did not like putting her hands into the pumpkin to scoop out its contents, so Jason did most of the work.
Today, our family went to our church's Fall Carnival. It was another chance for Grace to dress up as a butterfly (though she thought it was her birthday again), and for Jeremy to be a caterpillar. After grabbing a bite to eat, we had cotton candy, popcorn, decorated cookies, and played several carnival games. She's definitely all sugared up now! Jeremy on the other hand, was asleep the whole time we were gone, and as of this moment, is still sleeping. You know what that means- I'm going to be up all night with him since he'll be wide awake when I'm ready to go to bed! Check out our photo album!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gracie's 3rd Birthday!

Happy Birthday to our sweet Gracie! It really is hard to believe that she is 3! She has been looking forward to this day for weeks, so she woke up full of excitement. Her special day started off with pancakes that Jason made her for breakfast (in the shape of Mickey Mouse).
Since her birthday is so close to Halloween, this year's party was also a costume party. Weeks ago, I had asked her what she wanted to be for her birthday and she said, "A butterfly." Ever since, she has talked non-stop about getting to dress up as butterfly. I tried to incorporate butterflies as much as possible into her party. The first thing the kids did was work on a butterfly craft. Lunch was served next. Jason's mom helped a great deal in getting the meal ready. We had farfalle (butterfly shaped) pasta with tomato or cream sauce, green salad, fruit salad, veggies, and butterfly shaped toast. Gracie opened up her gifts next. So far in her life, Gracie hasn't really been exposed to "frilly" things. Her costume is the first time we've ever really seen her in frilly clothes. I guess things are about to change because today she got some pretty girly things, such as a Barbie, miniature Barbies, a frilly ballerina dress for dressing up, and even lip gloss! As well, she got many Dora the Explorer items, board games, cute clothes, among other things. As she was opening up her gifts, Jason and some other guys hid plastic butterflies around our backyard. After all the gifts had been opened, each kid got a butterfly net and was sent hunting for butterflies. They had so much fun! Our time ended with singing "Happy Birthday" to Grace and having her blow out her 3 candles. We are sure that Gracie will remember this day for a long time to come! Make sure you check out pictures of her special day in our Photo Album.
Gracie came into our lives 3 years ago...

Our 3 year old sweetie

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Time with Grace

The weather in Fresno this past week has been so nice! Today, I took Gracie and Jeremy to Oso de Oro Park. We met up with our friends, Christa and Jamie, and Grace got a chance to play with Isaac, Violet, and Charlotte. I was also able to sneak away and spend a little bit of time alone with Grace (Jeremy was fast asleep and Christa and Jamie took turns holding him). Grace and I went on a short walk to go watch ducks in the pond and we came across some geese. She had fun following them around until one turned around and started following her. That certainly freaked her out! Aside from that, I was glad to have some time alone with her. I know that even though she's been completely accepting of Jeremy, any feelings she's had about his birth have been directed at me. She has had many moments of not wanting anything to do with me. For example, she has refused to give me hugs or kisses, refuses to tell me that she loves me, tells me that she's mad at me, or that she doesn't want me... It's been hard to hear but I'd prefer that she take it all out on me as opposed to Jeremy. I know that in the long run, things will be fine between us. For now though, I'll just continue to look forward to times when the two of us can be alone together.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

An 8 Pounder

Yeah! We did it! Our doctor had set the goal for Jeremy to gain his birth weight by today's visit. He actually surpassed the goal of 7 lbs, 14 oz. and is now 8 lbs! It seems like such a small thing, but after all we've been through with feeding/nursing issues, it's actually a big deal for us. With a fuller tummy after each feeding, Jeremy is much more content. As much as can be said since he's a newborn, he's been pretty easy going and laid back, unlike Gracie who we remember as hard to please, "high maintenance." So far, everything about these two kids is different! Wonder how it'll be as they grow up...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Whew- Made it through Week 1!

It's been a long and exhausting first week as a family of four, but we're all doing pretty well. Gracie has surprised us, really stepping up in her new role as "big sister." She is extremely loving and wants to help us with EVERYTHING. When Jeremy cries, she runs to look for his binky, or brings us diapers and tells us he needs to be changed. She loves to kiss him and hold him in her lap. When I look at her now, she somehow seems so much older...
Jason was able to take time off work to help with Jeremy, but he went back to work on Thursday. Jason's mom came and stayed with us Wednesday and Thursday night. She has been extremely helpful, particularly since Jeremy has had trouble nursing. On Tuesday, we took him into the lactation center and found out that in five days, he had lost over a pound off his birth weight. He still has jaundice and has not been eating well so we've had to make changes to his feeding. When we went to have him weigh in today, we were so relieved to find out that he's back in the 7 pound range. Our goal is that he will be back at his birth weight within this next week. It's been overwhelming! I had to start supplementing his feeding with a Supplemental Nursing System and formula. Jeremy takes over an hour at each feeding, and since he's supposed to be fed every 2 1/2 hours, you can imagine how much rest I'm getting! As well, Jeremy had his first appointment with his pediatrician today- he had "guy" stuff taken care of. So, not only is he having a hard time feeding, now he's also going to need time to heal. Every time I hear him crying, it makes me tense up inside and want to cry with him.
Anyway, despite everything, I have to say that as of this moment, I'm feeling much more optimistic and less stressed out. I am so grateful for all the friends who have come by to spend time with us. I haven't been able to really be out and about, so it's been nice to have company. We're also so thankful for the wonderful meals that people have been bringing. Click on our "Photo Album" for some pictures of things that have happened over this past week.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

It's a boy!

After much anticipation, we are thrilled to announce our baby's arrival... It's a boy! Jeremy Edward Anh Hao Isaac joined our family on Thursday, October 11 at 3:50pm. He weighed 7 lbs, 14 oz. and is 21 1/4 inches long (in comparison, Grace was 7lbs, 11 oz., and 19 3/4 inches long). His arrival was long awaited since I was supposed to be induced at 6am. The hospital was so busy with births that nothing actually got underway until around 11am. When it was finally announced that we had a boy, I was so overcome with emotion that I cried for a good 10 minutes. Jason and I are filled with joy and are so thankful to be blessed with a son. Overall, Jeremy and I are both doing well. Jeremy's blood sugar was tested many times while we were in the hospital and thank goodness, he has shown no signs of having any complications as a result of my gestational diabetes. As for me, well, let's just say that I've eaten a lot of sweets in the last 24 hours! We were released from the hospital yesterday. It is a little surreal to be at home with 2 kids! Thank you for extending so much love, encouragement, and prayers for all of us over these past few weeks/months. We can't wait to introduce all of you to our sweet little Jeremy! Until then, you can view some pictures if you look under the "Friends and Family" section of our blog, under "Our Family's Photo Album."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

We're ready... I think!

Well, since I was hoping to be induced today (Wednesday), I really worked at trying to get everything on my "to-do" list done by yesterday. Of course there are always going to be things that need to be done, but my priority items are done. Our baby room is pretty much ready- I figure it doesn't need to be 100% completed since the baby will be staying in our room for at least a few weeks before Jason moves it to its own room. Here are some pictures.
I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and would've been induced today, but St. Agnes is scheduled to be really busy today with births, so my doctor moved me until 6am tomorrow. Last night, I sat for quite a while wondering what I should do with my "last day." So, my goal for today is to try and prepare mentally and emotionally for what's to come tomorrow and then for the fact that we're going to have 2 kids! I've been listening to praise & worship music and I have been reading verses about trusting God- I really need to let go of my fears and anxieties! My desire is to be filled with peace. New life is truly miraculous and a blessing, so I should be focusing on that, not everything else. I don't have control over any of that anyway...
Thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement these last few weeks... I am greatly appreciative. And just so you know- after the baby arrives, please feel free to call, email, and/or visit- I'm the kind of person who really needs to have the company... Just think- next time I blog, it'll be to introduce you to our new baby!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

For those of you who don't know, today is Thanksgiving in Canada. Thanksgiving, whether Canadian or American, is one of my favorite holidays. Even though our family won't be celebrating with a delicious turkey feast, it is most definitely a great time to reflect on everything that we have to be thankful for. It's hard to see sometimes in the busyness of life, but we are truly blessed... Here are some examples: I am thankful that- Jason and I were able to go out on a date on Friday night just the two of us (much thanks to Aaron and Christa, who were so willing to watch Gracie for us); for a husband who hasn't complained (yet) for the ever growing to-do list; for being able to get a lot of work done around the house to prepare for our new addition; for the opportunity to realize how something like eating and food can be taken for granted; for the chance to "slow down" my pace of life during these past few weeks; for an incredibly cute daughter who is truly so much fun and a joy to be around (usually); for friends who have shown encouragement, care, love, and concern during these tough few months; for a "new" car (we got Jason's mom's car- she just bought a new car, and we just happened to need another car since Jason can't use his truck for times when he'll need to transport 2 kids!)... I will also be very thankful if by the end of this week, we have a new healthy addition to our family... I have an appointment today, but I won't see the doctor until tomorrow. If everything goes as it should, the plan is still that I'll be induced on Wednesday... Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers this week!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Cut, cut, cut!

I finally made it a priority to take Grace to an actual salon today to get her hair cut. I've cut her bangs since she was 18 months, but it's always been at least a 3 day process. I cut it one day, then notice how uneven it is the next day, so I trim it again, and then trim it again on the 3rd day. Even then, it doesn't always look right. With Grace turning 3 in a few weeks, we thought it was time for her to finally get the rest of her hair cut. It was starting to look stringy.
I took her to ScissorHands, which is right down the street from our house. The amount of time we waited for her turn was longer than the actual hair cut. When I cut her hair at home, I usually give her a lollipop every time I make her sit for me. Actually, it ends up being several DumDum pops by the time I'm finished. Today, she only got to eat one. The stylist made it look so easy- and Grace was totally cooperative, which resulted in her hair being done in no time at all. Great job, Gracie! Okay, this picture doesn't really show anything dramatically different, but at least her hair is trimmed and not so out of control!