Sunday, March 27, 2016

Baby "Zip!" Update...

Well, I have officially managed to go without writing a single blog update through this pregnancy!! (Poor second baby!) ;) Thankfully I have written a few notes in his medical book and been pretty good about taking bump pictures (more than I will post) so all is not lost! (And yes, this baby is a boy!)

Shortly after we found out about this baby, we were asking Joshua what we should name his brother and he signed 'banana'! So since then, this baby's been called baby Banana! And, due to recent frequent inquiries about the name we've officially chosen but are keeping a secret, we've taught Joshua to say 'zip!' and move his finger across his lips whenever anyone asks him what the baby's name is! I have to humbly say, it's pretty adorable!

Everything's gone very smoothly (and quickly!) with this pregnancy and it feels like a breeze compared to the various bumps along the way we had with Joshua. I've been blessed with pretty easy pregnancies both times and I'm so very thankful! I have only had minor discomforts/complaints. My limited mobility and difficulty rolling over in bed and limited lung capacity and a few rib kicks he and there is really the worst of it these days...and general third trimester exhaustion. Everything's been as it should be at my's head down (not that it matters time time around as it will be a c-section anyway) and apparently measuring big. (Joshua did too, but he was less than 7 pounds)

I'm a little hesitant to open this can of worms, but I will anyway...Here is Japan, it's standard that once you have a c-section you will always have c-sections afterwards. I have mixed feelings about that, but knowing that I don't really have any other options, I've accepted it. In some ways I think it's harder this time now that I've already had a c-section, and have a pretty good idea what to expect as opposed to last time where I went into it knowing nothing.

Two of the hardest parts for me (besides the physical recovery) is the fact that Bobby is not allowed in the operating room, and after a quick introduction after the baby is delivered, I probably will not see the baby again until the next day. We haven't had the full run-down on this hospital's procedures (it's a different hospital from where I had Joshua) so I don't know all the details yet but we did read that when I want to see the baby the nurses will help me (I guess maybe move my bed to the nursery or something?) but I'm still struggling to accept the way things are done here in those areas. Joshua did fine with going back and forth between bottle and nursing, so we are praying this baby will be the same.

Again, I hesitate to write about these things because I feel like people are going to suggest 'standing up for my rights' or however you want to say it, but we don't really feel that's appropriate in our situation. We have made the choice to have this baby in Japan and even though things are done differently than we might be used to, we want to be a good testimony and it's really not culturally appropriate to demand things be done our way...and besides, babies are delivered and cared for this way every day and have been for years...and turn out fine! It's really an area for me to turn over to the Lord and practice submitting my desires and my will to Him.

Oh, I guess one other 'complaint' I have with this pregnancy is how hormonal I've been feeling!! I don't remember it being like this with Joshua, but the last couple of days in particular, I have had ridiculous mood swings and lots of lows and crying over silly things (although some maybe not so processing the fact that things are not going to go as I desire them to go while I'm in the hospital, as well as fears about Joshua's adjustment to this new baby). Poor Bobby and Joshua have had to deal with a crazy pregnant woman! I suspect Joshua's been picking up on my feelings and he's been a little 'off' the last week or so.

Anyway, I think that's about it for a pregnancy update. I think I need to do a separate Joshua update another time because I sure do have lots to say about him and tons of pictures! So, stay tuned for that! (Maybe now that I've written that, it will happen this week!)

Oh! Guess I should mention that this baby's birthday is April 5th (at 38 weeks and 3 days)! I get admitted to the hospital on the 4th and will have surgery the next day in the afternoon! (Another example of how things are done differently here!) 

Thanks for sticking with me! :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Book Review

Long time no post...I know!

My silence is being broken thanks to a wonderful book I had the privilege of reviewing before it was released (in exchange for my honest opinion). I started following a blog ( a few months ago and have really appreciated the author's insights and wisdom, particularly related to being a Christian wife and mother. So when the opportunity presented itself to review her upcoming devotional book (that I would get a PDF copy of for free!), I jumped all over it!

I really liked how it was laid out...designed to be a 4 week (5 days a week) study with very short readings. It was the perfect length for me (short, but still containing substance) in this season of raising a toddler (and growing a baby) and I also really appreciated the response section at the end of each reading that contained further Scriptures and practical applications.

Since I had to read it through rather quickly, I am definitely looking forward to reading through it again, at a slower pace and really interacting with the response part in particular. I know it will be a really encouraging refresher to my quiet times, especially in the busy season I are coming up (more on that hopefully soon!)

Be sure to check out Asheritah's blog and this new devotional ASAP! You can find the paperback or kindle version on Amazon here.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Holding on to Memories

Well the other day I sat down to write a little post all about Joshua and what he's been up to, but just a  few minutes before I was about to finish, I ended up losing everything I wrote...and I was too tired and frustrated to write it all over again that day so now I'm going to attempt to recall everything I wanted to write!

I've been so terrible about keeping a record of things Joshua's been doing and milestones he's reached. I think we've got all the 'major' ones, but there's a lot of little details that I've unfortunately already forgotten!

But, with Joshua's 15 month birthday approaching, I want to sit down and get some things recorded for memorie's sake!

(One of his favorite places to hang out!)

Joshua is like a little sponge these days, learning so much so quickly and he understands SO much of what's going on around him! I absolutely love watching him grow and's fascinating! I've been trying to teach him some sign language and it's really fun! He catches on very quickly and it's given us a glimpse of just how much he understands in spite of being in able to communicate! 

The other day when I was feeding him, it was quiet but the birds were chirping. While he was eating he looked at me and signed bird, all on his own without me prompting! It was the first time he had signed it by himself after I had been teaching him for a few weeks. It blew my mind and really opened my eyes to how much he understands!

When I worked at day care, I knew I wanted to try using sign language with my kids because it was so cool! And now it's really fun to watch him learn and communicate! I bought a Baby Einstein DVD way back then and Joshua is currently enjoying it now :) We haven't done a lot yet, as I still have some more learning to do (YouTube is so great!) but some of the ones he knows are:

Daddy (he's holding out on Mommy both in sign language and words!)
Milk (that was his first one...I'd been doing it for weeks every time he nursed and finally one morning when we got him up, he furiously signed milk with both hands...and has ever since! Guess he was hungry!)
Sleep (his version cracks me up...I should take a video!)
And he has his own sign for his Papa D that he does every time we say his name or talk on FaceTime!

We're working on:
Please (he does it, but doesn't quite understand when to use it yet...'more' takes precedence!)
Drink ( I don't think he understands thirst yet so he hasn't really been doing that one yet)
Eat (he says "Mum! Mum! Mum! every time we sign/say eat or when he gets his eyes on a snack but doesn't sign it)
Thank You (he usually nods his head Japanese style and blows out his nose as he nods when we ask him to say thank you in both English and Japanese) 
All Done (he takes his bib off instead of signing all done!)

(I love seeing him 'get into' his books these days, flipping pages and chattering away)

We often listen to a Christian kid's praise music station and the 'Zacheus' song is a favorite of mine because I do a few actions with J. A couple months ago that song came on and before the words even started, he looked at me and started 'wagging' his finger like I do for the part that says 'Zacheus, you come down from there!' Once again, my mind was blown!

He's also recently started clapping when he hears the word clap in songs without prompting!

He has a favorite Japanese TV show called "Inai, Inai, Baa!" (Peek-a-boo). He loves one song in particular and knows some of the actions to that one too and will do them right before the characters do!

The channel that this show is on is unfortunately kind of unreliable and will often cut out. The other day it cut out in the middle of his show and he picked up the DVD remote that he plays with and very intentionally started pressing buttons and looking up at the screen, trying to fix it! I guess he was imitating me and how I always try to change the channel and try to get it back on when it cuts off!

He's recently started playing peek-a-boo by himself and says a hearty 'baaa!' when he "appears". He usually knows where his eyes, ears, nose, mouth and toes are when we ask him. He holds up one finger when we ask him in Japanese how old he is, and he raises his hand when we "take roll", calling his name. 

He also loves to play in the water and loves bath time and pool time.

He has really turned a corner in his eating these last couple of days. I still have to mix everything with yoghurt for his main meal, but he's recently been more open to trying almost everything we eat. Even if he spits something out the first try, he will often take a second bite and decide it's not so bad. Our most recent victory has been bananas! For the longest time, he would dramatically gag anytime we offered him banana or put banana in anything, but now he actually likes it! We're thankful because bananas are cheap here, unlike all other fruits! I'm so thankful for this answer to prayers and have officially stopped crying and worrying about his eating habits! ;)

He's gotten past the inability to stay awake for more than 2 hours at a time (finally!!) and has been on a really good schedule the last couple weeks getting in some good, long naps! 

He is just so much fun these days and he brings us so much joy!

(First trip to the hot springs with Dad!) funny story about that...Bobby was super nervous that J would decide to pee or poo in the water, but thankfully as far as he could tell, he didn't! But, that night when he came home and we gave J a bath, he pooped in the tub for the first time!! B said if that had of happened before his trip to the hot springs, he probably never would have taken him! ;)

But, we do have our moments of frustration when he can't communicate what he wants...or doesn't get what he wants. I feel like no one ever really talks about how much frustration thee is in this stage of development...both for parents and the child. I'm thankful that signing is helping with that, but it only goes so far! Discipline feels like a hairy subject because I know he understands a lot, but I can't seem to figure out just how much he understands in the area of discipline so I fear being too hard on him, beyond what he can, I'm praying for wisdom in that area!!

(All dressed up for the Hirao festival!)

He's still not walking yet...but loves to cruise on the furniture or with the help of someone's fingers. He's only stood by himself once for about 10 seconds a few weeks back, but hasn't tried since! He's getting braver with only holding on by one hand and sometimes uses his belly for support against the furniture instead of his hands so I have a feeling one of these days he's just going to take off and hit the ground running...and my life will never be the same! ;)

His "lovey" is his sleep sack! I tried giving him a lighter blanket for the sake of it being easier to transport and wash, etc, but for whatever reason, he holds on to his sleep sack every time he gets sleepy! He also has a stuffed monkey named "Squishy" from his cousins and aunt and uncle in Canada  that he sleeps with and plays with in his crib. When we ask him where Squishy is, he always looks around and finds him!

He recently started giving us hugs when we ask for them...we say "hugs!" In a big exadurated voice and stretch out our arms and he'll stretch out his arms and lean forward. I love that and can't wait for him to start being more affectionate! He has for a while now been giving us 'smoochies' when we ask for them...aka big wide open mouth slobbery kisses!

He's currently cutting one, maybe two molars, but seems to be handling it pretty good...better than I would anyway! He's had 4 on top and 4 on the bottom for quite a while now.

He loves pinwheels! (The rainbow things on a stick that twirl in the wind) Our neighbor had some in his garden for a long time but put them away when a typhoon was coming but never put them back out for some reason. Every time we went outside, J would point and twirl his finger to get us to take him to see the pinwheels! Finally the other day Bobby broke down and bought one for him and it was worth every yen for the smiles he gives us while he plays with it! He bought a cheap one for him to play with and a "nicer one" for our garden for him to look at.

He knows our routine pretty well...after eating dinner he signs 'bath' and when we sit down to eat he puts his hands together to pray (but only for a second!). At bedtime after Bobby reads the Bible story, J will usually put his hands together to pray then too. And after that he points to our "goodnight board" where we have pictures of our families and say goodnight to everyone. 

I think that's all for now. I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting, but oh well! Hope you enjoyed the update and pictures...sorry once again for being such a terrible blogger! I still intend to write a post on his first birthday...that was 3 months ago!!

(Oh, and as a random side note, I just discovered that the draft of my last blog got saved after all...after I finished typing this one out!! Oh was good to see what I forgot and add that in!)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Thailand February 2015

Well, it's about time, but here comes the long awaited Thailand trip post!!

This February, we were required to attend a training for Christar in Thailand. In spite of Christar often having conferences and meetings in Thailand, and Bobby having been with Christar for about 9 years (I think), we had never been to Thailand! We'd heard plenty a story from our co-workers about their adventures in Thailand, so to be honest, we went into this with much reservation! Every person we talked to that had been to Thailand ended up getting sick while they were there, so having to deal with that while taking care of a 9 month old was not too exciting! (Plus having to try to make sure he didn't get sick either!) Neither of us really enjoys travel, and even though you'd probably never guess it from the career we've chosen, we are not very adventurous!! 

We survived the trip ok...let's just say I hope I don't ever have to fly with a 9 month old ever again!! It was very different from his 5 month trip where he slept so much and was a lot les mobile! He did ok, but it was a long trip for both of us. We chose to do an overnight flight that was about 5 hours I think (plus two one hour flights on each end) hoping that with it being night time, Joshua would sleep better. We didn't get a whole lot of sleep, but like I said, we survived! (But arrived pretty exhausted!) J really enjoyed interacting with people in the airports, and as usual, he attracted a lot of attention! 

On the way home, in front of us there was a little 2 or 3 year old boy traveling with his mom and he got sick at least 3 times (including a few times all over his poor mom!) and in spite of his screaming each time he got sick, J slept right through it. I felt SO bad for that poor Mom and was praying for her the whole time!! It was a good reminder to me that things could always be worse!!

We arrived two days before the training started so it was nice to have that adjustment time. At first we were a bit surprised by the place we were staying (it was less luxurious than we had pictured...or what the website pictured I should say!) I feel guilty saying that though because it really was a beautiful place to stay. By the end of our stay it had really grown on us.

Anyway, in the first two days, we managed to get in on a chance to ride an elephant!! We had a good time, and it's now something I can cross off my bucket list, but we probably won't ever do it again. I won't go into details as to why though. Joshua seemed to really enjoy the rough rocking motion and slept in the carrier most of the ride!

We had a really great time getting to interact with so many other families in the same stage of life as us and share our struggles and joys together! We got to reconnect with some of the people we did our (my) initial training with back in the States before and after I joined Christar so it was especially fun catching up with them. The training itself was pretty was refreshing to hear English teaching from the Word and worship in English (although I missed out on a lot of that because of J's schedule). 

There was childcare provided and there was a great couple looking after the little ones! That was a real blessing to me and J seemed to really enjoy it at first. Toward the end of the week though, he was pretty ready to spend more time with Mommy and Daddy! (And I'm pretty sure the couple looking after the babies were more than ready for their break too!!) There was a boy about 6 weeks older than J, a girl about a month younger than J and a 1 year old boy so J got plenty of playtime! He was the only one who couldn't crawl though so sometimes he got a little overwhelmed when they all decided to come over and play where he was playing (and climb on top of him!) it was really fun for me to see him play with other babies his age because we don't get a lot of opportunities to do that here.

J had his first swim in a pool and LOVED it!! Even though the water was pretty cold, he didn't seem to mind at all! As a side note, I have to say that experiencing a baby's "firsts" is one of my favorite parts of being a parent! Watching a baby discover new things and explore the world around them is really fun and it really stirs up a lot of thankfulness in my heart!

After the training, we had a week of family vacation, staying at the same place we were at for the training. (again, neither of us wanted to venture out to a new place, especially since J had adjusted so well to where we were!) it was really refreshing to have that down time and process things we had taken in the previous week, and just enjoy hanging out together! We didn't really venture far from the resort and didn't do much sightseeing but we did spend a day at the zoo/aquarium because it was SO amazing! We had gone with everyone as an "outing" in the middle of the week to break up the training, but it was so big that we just had to go back!

Some would probably call us crazy for the lack of exploring we did, but for both of us, our idea of vacation is staying put, with no agenda! I'm so thankful we are the same that way because we were both able to get the refreshment we needed and we were both happy!

I think that's pretty much it, so now I'll just let pictures do the talking...

Where we stayed

We were so thankful J slept so well while we were there!

J's second elephant ride! ;)

Petting a giraffe was also crossed off my bucket list!!

Daddy even got to go to Pizza Hut!!

Bobby doing some serious negotiating with the taxi driver on the way home from the zoo ;) This guy gave us the option to pay him extra and sit in the air conditioned cab with him instead of the open back seat!

J LOVED the staff at the hotel restaurant...and they loved him! On one of our first nights there, the waiter held J and walked around the pool/ restaurant with him so we could have a quiet dinner together!! That meant so much to me and I was so thankful! We got spoiled with quite a bit of babysitting time while we were there and even got to go "out" on a date one night while our supervisor sat in the room with J while he slept! We just went to the restaurant at the hotel and had milkshakes, but we also played a fun conversation game that got both of us talking a lot (not usual for us!) and it was really fun!

So this laying by the pool dream I had before we got there was just a little different than I pictured...somehow I forgot to factor in that we'd have a 9 month old baby to entertain while we were there! ;) but, it was still a relaxing treat for just a few minutes here and there!

And to close, here's some glimpses to the beauty we were surrounded by...

We won't be rushing back to Thailand anytime soon, but in spite of our fears going into this trip, we ended up having a really good time and none of the three of us got sick!! I'm really thankful we were able to do this. It was a much needed rest for our family and we made a lot of special memories!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Why is keeping a blog updated so hard for me?!

Sigh, alas, another ridiculous amount of time has passed since my last post! What is wrong with me?! I used to love blogging, and I really love having a record of what we've been up to, but for some reason, it's just not high on the priority list these days! Sorry far away family and friends!

We're all doing pretty well these days...Bobby's a little extra busy this month because our co-workers are in the States for a month. That means he is preaching, leading the prayer meeting every other week as well as his regular Bible time teaching for the English classes our short termers are teaching. 

Joshua and I are in a pretty good groove these days...he's still sleeping through the night like a champ and naps at least an hour once in the morning and once in the afternoon, sometimes twice, depending on how the other two naps go. For the most part, I am enjoying being at home with him. He brings us a lot of joy and it's a true delight watching him learn and grow. We have our days...where we seem to get "tired of each other" but thankfully, those days only come now and then...but boy am I ready for bed time on those days!! I am continually reminded of how blessed I am to be able to be a stay at home mom...even though some days I'm ready to throw in the towel, I can't imagine having to go back to work and miss out on so much fun and making special memories with Joshua. We are truly blessed!!

He loves being outside, so if things get rough, I stick him in the stroller and go for a looooong walk and we're both feeling better before we know it ;) The other day rainy season started here so unfortunately we aren't able to get out as much these days. He got a pool from our co workers for his birthday and he's been enjoying that :)

I would say he's growing like a weed, but that might be an exaduration...when we had him weighed and measured at his 1 year shots appointment, he hadn't gained any weight or height since his 6 month check up!! It's kind of funny because he feels like he's growing, but apparently he's not! I'm trying not to be concerned...I think a lot has to do with the way he's not really eating solids. That's been a reeeeeeal struggle for me.

He has been eating basically nothing but baby yoghurt for the last several months (up until a couple weeks ago) and he has a real problem with textures! I've been trying more things recently with a few successes here and there, but it's still really testing my patience! I wasn't really too adventurous in what I was offering him because I think I was overly paranoid about what's ok and what's not ok for babies under a year, but now that he's a year, there's not too much I'm not open to offering him because I'm so desperate to find things he will eat!! He's slowly improving on chewing and swallowing, but for the most part, a lot of things get spit out. He likes to bite things, but then he doesn't know how to chew and swallow.

The other day he suddenly mastered drinking from a straw which had me so thrilled there was tears in my eyes! He never took a bottle and after unsuccessfully trying a wide variety of sippy cups, I was pretty sure he would never get it...but then one day he just did! Last night I offered him my water bottle which has a super long straw in it, thinking he would never be able to get anything out of it, and he shocked us both by taking a huge slurp of water on his first try!

He's gotten a lot more mobile since I last wrote...he finally started actually crawling on my birthday! He had been getting around where he wanted to get but it wasn't by crawling...but he's finally got it now. He doesn't move around super fast yet, unless he's going toward something he's not supposed to get! ;) That's been another patience tester for me! Right now his favorite spot is under the table where I keep my spices...

Anyway, even though that was just the basics, I think that's all I've got in me for now! (that boy wears me out!!) Will write more about our big move and his first birthday sometime soon!

We love him so much and are so thankful for our little gift from God!