Tuesday, March 10, 2015

February 2015

Despite the frigid temperatures, and the kids already missing 5 days of school, February was a month with many firsts, and many fun moments.  Most of these events pertained to Jenna.  She's had a busy month!

Jenna and Jared went on their first Daddy-Daughter Dance!  This dance was hosted by the Hoffman Estates Park District, and we've been wanting to do this for a long time!  The dance was held at the Poplar Creek Country Club.  Jenna was so excited, and she kept counting down the days weeks before!  I bought her a gorgeous peach dress from Janie & Jack, and when she put it on for the first time, she didn't want to take it off.   She danced and twirled, and was in her own little world!  It was fun to see how excited she was to get all dressed up, but even more excited that she got to go on a "fancy" date with her daddy.

The song "Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman came to mind, and prior to going to the dance, Jared and Jenna had a brief moment when they danced to this song in our living room.  It was cute because Jenna wanted me to announce her entrance to Jared.  I did so, and when she walked out of her room, she was beaming!  And she went straight to her daddy who affirmed how lovely she was!  Oh my heart!  I can just see this scene replay itself on her wedding day!  (sniff!  sniff!)

So, I went crazy taking pictures!  And after we took pictures at home, we drove over to Jenna's best friend's house, and took pictures there as well, because Sarena and her daddy were both going to the dance.  It's so great that the girls' "first date" is with their dads!

Jared said that Jenna had a lot of fun that night!  When she went to bed that night, she was still smiling from ear-to-ear, and wanted to wear her "princess dress" again the next day!

Another fun thing that happened in February was the Jenna lost her first tooth!  She's been waiting for this to happen so that I could take her to Build-A-Bear, like I did with Joshua when he lost his first tooth.  She lost her tooth at Sarena's house (and she lost her 2nd tooth at Mimi and Papa's house!  So, we're just hoping that we'll be around when she loses her 3rd one!).

In keeping with tradition, I took Jenna on a Mommy-Daughter date on a Thursday afternoon.  We went to Build-A-Bear at Woodfield Mall, and she got to pick out her bear.  She also got to put her tooth into the stuffing of the bear.  She picked out an outfit (my Little Ponies, of course!), and she got to name her bear, "Sparkles".  I love this tradition, and I'm glad I'll get to do it one more time with Becca!

After getting her bear, we went to McDonald's for lunch.  It was so fun to spend time talking and just being together.  I love everything about all our Mommy-Daughter time!

We also celebrated Chinese New Year in February!  It's crazy to think that just last year, Joshua, Jenna and I were in Singapore celebrating CNY with my family!  In keeping with tradition, the kids doned their tradition Chinese outfits, which my mother sends to them every year.  Aren't they just cute?  We gave the kids red packets, and had a yummy meal of Chinese food!

Chinese new Year really is about time with family.  Traditionally, it would be new year's eve night that most Chinese families would host a "reunion dinner" with family members.  There are typical traditional dishes during this meal, but I have no idea how to make them, nor get my hands on any of the ingredients!

I try to do the best I can to celebrate my Chinese heritage, especially during the season of Chinese New Year.  Even if it's for a day, I do want my kids to embrace this part of their heritage, and with each year, hopefully, they'll learn a little bit more about the Chinese history and hear stories about their own ancestors (what little I know of!).  It's such a colorful and beautiful heritage, and I just wish I knew more!  Perhaps as the children get older, we can research and learn more about our precious history together!

Since Chinese New Year is about family, we invited Jared's parents and my cousin, Ivor, and their kids, over for dinner.  It was a wonderful night of being together, reconnecting with my cousin and second-cousins.  My heart was full, and I praise God for the opportunity to celebrate, even if it's just a small slice of the real thing!

Friday, January 23, 2015

From last year...

I know I've neglected updating this blog.  But here's something I found from last year that I think is appropriate.  Here's hoping I'll be more diligent in posting here so you can see what our little family is up to!  Blessings to you!

(Sorry about the weird highlighted text.  I was cutting and pasting it from my journal entry.)      September 17, 2014

Today is the first day that all 3 kids are at school and I’m marking this epic occasion by sitting at Starbucks with my venti decaf mocha non-fat, no whip.  God has also blessed this September morning with gorgeous weather, and I’m sitting alfresco at The Streets of Woodfield (or as the hip teenagers call it,“The Streets”!)

I have to confess that when I dropped Becca off at Conant a few minutes ago, I didn’t want to let her go.  Granted, this is technically her second week of preschool, but last week didn’t count because I was with her in the classroom.  This week will be her first full week, without me there.  She’s been having a difficult time transitioning into new situations, which is rare for Becca.  Anyone who knows her knows that she’s probably the most social of our 3 kids.  But even last week, I had a friend take her to gymnastics, and she refused to go in without me.  So, she sat out for about 20 minutes until I got there.

I feared today would be the same.  But my brave, little girl gave me a big hug and looked me in the eye.  Her eyes told me “Mommy, I’m going to be brave.  I’m going to be okay.”.  And those of you who know Becca, her big brown eyes can speak a million words, and pierce the very soul!  I embraced her for a long time, and then I released her to her high school helper.  Her hands left mine, and reached for the hand of another.  At that transaction, my heart knew that this was just the beginning of me letting her go, that I can no longer control or watch over her, or even guarantee her safety.  But the truth of the matter is, God is with her and He will go with her to all the places that I can’t.  He will be her guardian, her playmate, her confidante, her protector, her boo-boo-kisser.  And in that, I find comfort.

So it is with all my kids.  I thought I would take to new milestones easily, because I’ve had to go through so many with Joshua.  But it doesn’t get any easier.  In fact, as the last one completes each milestone, there is a sense of finality because there will be no more.  No more changing diapers, no more midnight wake-up calls, no more high chairs, no more riding in strollers (unless you’re 8, and whining at Disney World that you’re tired of walking!), no more bottles to prepare, no more pureed or chopped up food, no more onesies, no more bassinettes and cribs.  No more shopping in the baby section, but instead, having to walk across the aisle at Target to shop at the big kids section.

While each season comes with both blessings and trials, I’m learning to embrace and enjoy each season.  To grieve that which has come and gone, but also to celebrate all the moments in the present.  Maybe that’s why Jared and I are such looneys when it comes to celebrating even the smallest of moments, like when the kids went pee-pee in the potty for the first time, or when Jenna tries a new food (that’s a big cause for celebration!), or when Joshua scores goals in soccer.  Celebrating the moment is and always will be part of our family’s DNA, and for that, I’m very grateful.

If I spend too much time grieving, then I’ll miss out on the blessings of the new season.  And there is so much to look forward too!!  In this season, with Joshua being 8, Jenna 5, and Becca 3, we have so much fun together!  It’s easier to travel (especially on an overseas trip!).  I love our conversations, the silly questions, their innocence, their wanting to help and please mom and dad, but also wanting to flex some independent muscles as well.  I love seeing their learning grow exponentially, from reading to riding bikes to asking a million questions about tornados and fireflies, and Jenna wanting to learn how to bake and cook, even though she won’t try a lick of anything!  I love seeing how Becca tries to emulate her older siblings, and use phrases like “Everything is awesome if you’re part of team!”.  I love how our kids enjoy art and creating, but at the same time, enjoy a wrestling match and climbing trees.  

I love seeing glimpses of Joshua’s quiet confidence, leadership, and work ethics. I pray that God will use Jared and I to hone and nurture these traits, so that Josh may grow up to be a man of strength and integrity.  I love seeing Jenna’s focused abilities (especially with puzzles!), and her graceful movements, and her love for the arts.  I remember my sister-in-law, Rachel, saying that she can picture Jenna dancing in front of the throne of God.  Oh what a vision!  That is my heart’s prayer for her, that she would dance with abandon and worship her one true King!  I love seeing my baby Becca’s feistiness, her determination, no-holds-barred attitude to accomplish the things that are important to her, and to make her voice known.  I pray that she will be a mighty warrior for God’s Kingdom, fighting for those who cannot speak, fighting the injustice that plagues our fallen world, and to fight the good fight for His glory.

As I look at each of my children, and how God has gifted and blessed them, I pray that in each season of their lives, from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, that God would open my eyes to SEE them.  To see how I can nurture their gifts and talents, to show them that they can live an abundant life for His glory.

And at the end of the day, may they know how much I truly, deeply love them.  That my love for them will transcend time and seasons.  In my heart, they will always be my little Joshua, Jenna, and Becca...the little ones who goof around, wrestle, scream and yell, but also passionately embrace and smother me with kisses.  They fill my heart with the core of who they are, and I carry this fullness with me from season to season.  My cup indeed will continue to overflow.