Saturday, June 30, 2012

Returning to the Outdoor Movies, with Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Last summer, I took the girls to several outdoor movies. It was brutal - it was hot and I was swelling in the belly in my last trimester of pregnancy with TWINS. We had to grab seats pretty early on, even though movies didn't start showing until dusk, for decent viewing. Little did I know that Isabella had congenital glaucoma and wasn't enjoying much of anything.

This past Wednesday, the girls and I went with a friend to see an outdoor movie - "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," the original film. The girls were SO excited. I was, too. I loved that movie. And, I would not longer be attending, barely able to walk, feeling like my bottom is about to fall out.

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My sweet, sweet girls.

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Gaby treated us to some kettle corn. And cinnamon sugar almonds.

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Here comes the movie! Hooray.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

6 mos later, My 5 yr old braves a successful dental checkup

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Around 6 months ago, I took my Bella for a dental check up that didn't fare well. She looked at the chair she was supposed to sit in for x-rays with horror. No bite-wing x-rays got taken that day. Cooperation from the patient is necessary for bite-wing x-rays to be taken. She barely got into the chair for examination. She couldn't stand anything motorized. So, that day, the dentist brushed with a regular toothbrush, not an electric one. Nothing with noise or with a motor was introduced that day. This wasn't just Isabella throwing a tantrum; the look of fear and terror in her eyes said everything.

***
Some time after that, back in February of this year, she got diagnosed with congenital glaucoma or childhood glaucoma. That explained a lot of fears, anxiety, and inability to see. So serious was her diagnosis that she had surgery on one eye two days later (after the diagnosis) and surgery on the other eye a couple of weeks later. After her eyes had a chance to recover from surgery, in April, the eye doctor began to correct her severely near sighted vision. This vision correction, unlike the rest of us (who would see immediate results upon wearing glasses), would take months to years to take full effect. The brain and the eyes need time to mature. I brought up the vision difficulties, because I think that has a large part to do with her coping much better in today's check up.

***

Being six months older and being able to see much better, in my opinion, made a night and day difference in how she responded to the dentist visit this morning. Though Isabella requested sitting on my lap while her x-rays were taken, they were taken! She got into the dentist's chair without much effort and cajoling. The hygienist showed Isabella the water sprayer, the vacuum, and the electric toothbrush; and all were used on her without a total freak out situation. In fact, one of the assistants thought she was a rather mature 5 year old. Thank you, I said, nearly with tears in my eyes.

***

There's my brave little girl. Isabella's braved getting a root canal and crown, having two eye surgeries, and here she is now, doing well for a 6 month dental cleaning (truth be told, I hate dentist visits myself, but I won't be telling that to my children any time soon). AND, she has no new cavities. Hooray! Hooray for eyes, I say. Hooray.

Monday, June 18, 2012

This Father's Day and How Deep the Father's Love for Us

Father's Day is a bit hard, this year, not because of my dad and not because of reasons I care to discuss. Instead, I will focus on my father and on the heavenly Father.

***

Happy Father's Day, Daddy. You mean the world to me. In a sense, you are my hero.

You taught me so much about life. You taught me a lot of life skills, such as learning to ride the bicycle, cooking, balancing a checkbook, the list goes on. You showed me that caring for others, inside the family as well as in the community, is important. You modeled a mature, responsible man - working, taking care of the people in the family, maintaining the house itself. How you juggled all those responsibilities, especially now that I am a parent myself, is beyond me. Yet, you made time to show interest in my curricular activities. I remember, even though you had plenty else to do, you made time to sit and listen to me practice piano. You allowed me to pursue my dreams - whether that involved wanting to play the piano at the age of four and a half or majoring in philosophy; though you were concerned for my interest and well-being, you were careful not to ignore my desires and dreams.

I hope I can be a good parent, too. I love you so very much, Daddy.

***

VBS (Vacation Bible School) is coming up this week at our church. The girls are super excited about the anticipated fun. I, too, am pretty exuberant, though for different reasons from the girls and from what you might guess. Though the girls being at VBS will half the number of children I have for four mornings this week, I am eager for them to participate in VBS because that (VBS) was where I accepted Christ some years ago. I was around eight or nine years old. I was wearing some new dresses my parents got for me while in Taiwan. We did activities, such as paint flower pots; and we heard about Jesus.

Speaking of Jesus, Jesus and his Father (also our Father) are not fictional entities. Turning a blind eye or not seeing what the Lord has done for us is a grave mistake. This Father's Day, I am also thinking on the words of Stuart Townend's "How Deep the Father's Love For Us."

How Deep the Father's Love For Us

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch a treasure.

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulder
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers.

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

***

Especially since I became a parent, I have formed appreciation anew of the sort of sacrifice the Lord has made for us, so we could have a chance of being with him eternally. His love for us is beyond anything we could fathom, beyond love we could ever provide. Thank you, Father. Thank you for loving us that much.

Monday, June 11, 2012

All 4 kids at the table

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A few days ago, the twins started joining us for meal times, in addition to times in which they nurse. Like the other two, the twins love to eat. The twins have had exposure to (plain) Cheerios and baby food carrots so far. Christine prefers to feed herself. Christian wants to be fed and cannot be fed fast enough.

With four mouths to feed or to tend, I don't really have much of a chance to sit and enjoy food with them. But, hopefully some day I will.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

A Day at the Beach, er, at the Reservoir

 A couple from church, Betty & John, invited the kids and I to join them at Cherry Creek Reservoir for the day yesterday. These folks are brave to take on four children, five and under. They're super cute and all, but that takes a bit of guts and effort.

This couple have hearts of gold, loving on us as much as they do. Turns out they're much more seasoned and prepared than I could ever dream to be. For the day, I prepared the girls' (the oldest two) swimming suits, an extra change of clothes (including under garments), sunscreen lotion, hats, crocs, towels, a few snacks, and my camera. Betty and John filled in where I didn't venture - a tent, a large supply of food, large blankets, sand toys, the list goes on.

Here they are, setting up tent, so I could prepare to breastfeed the twins. Look at them, pros in action. I watched in amazement at how fast they were and what great teamwork was being displayed.

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The twins seemed to be having a good ole time as well.

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Christine's into exploration. Curious about EVERYTHING.



There's my second born coming around the corner.

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My oldest two could not wait to play in the sand and water.

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Do not be mistaken by the pink polka dotted hat. That little one is a boy. I just don't have that many boy hats. He's got three SISTERS. If you want to help resolve that issue, feel free to do so. Christian decided to take a nap in the arms of Uncle John, whilst his sisters played.

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Christine also eventually fell asleep in Auntie Betty's arms.

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The girls didn't want to stop and eat or do anything else but play in the sand and water.




Oh look who has woken up.


And is looking at me with those sweet eyes of his.


Hi, Christine and Auntie Betty.

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Hello joy.


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I agree, Christian: it's late afternoon, and it's time to go to bed.
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You don't agree, Christine? Why am I not surprised. You never, I mean rarely ever, want to sleep.



The girls were disappointed that it was time to go. I guess getting a sunburn didn't leave much of a lasting impression on them. They wanted to continue playing.


My first born could see me from a ways back, waving at her. She waved back at me!! For those of you who are just tuning into my blog for the first time, my first born was diagnosed with congenital glaucoma in both eyes and had surgery in one eye in February and the other in March. She has only had glasses for a month and a half or so, and we were told by the doctor that her brain and eyes could take months to years to adjust and benefit from the prescription. I am amazed that she could see me.

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Hi Isabella. HI!


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A new set of wheels

Victoria's new set of wheels, from A-ma and A-gong, for her birthday arrived three days ago, and friends from church (Betty and John) volunteered to assemble it for us. Sure! Will take the offer. And they brought it by the house, after church Sunday. Here it is; isn't it pretty and shiny?


We picked up bicycle helmets on Saturday in anticipation of the new set of wheels. Will take some time to adjust.


 Matches the tricycle the girls have. And, Christine & Christian can eventually use it, too! Wait, Christine and Christian, did you overhear that? Pretend you didn't.


Mommy doesn't want you to grow up too fast. All you kids, please don't grow up too fast. Love, Mommy.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Running, running, running, even on fumes

Yesterday was one crazy day. I wish I could say that is more the exception than the rule; but with four children five years old and under, that is not the case. Thursday and Friday were set aside to have insulation blown into the walls of my home. Since my 1960's home lacked any insulation whatsoever, I was and am looking forward to keeping more heat out in the summertime (especially in the bedrooms) and maintaining household warmth in the wintertime. These people cancelled last minute on Thursday, because they were finishing another job. I was told that a two-day job was going to be squished into one day.

Yesterday, Friday, I had insulation blown into my house all day; my eldest graduated kindergarten; and my youngest children, the twins, celebrated 8 months of life in the world. I fell out of bed running, getting people places and seeing things. Getting my brood and myself places on time is so difficult, because so many things have to happen - babies have to be nursed, diapers have to be changed, people need to be clothed, everyone needs to be loaded into the car. We were late to Isabella's school, but thanks be to God, we got a great parking space (which took me off guard) and we got there before the program started. Isabella was so excited to graduate from kindergarten and to see me take part in that.

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Then we had to hustle to nurse the twins and pick up my second born.  The people blowing insulation into my home requested the children not be present, for their sake. So, from there, we went on to a friend's house. The wife was hanging out with the kiddos and me, while the husband was at my house, making sure people were doing what they were supposed to do and not doing what they weren't supposed to do. I was grateful, from the report I got, that these people were very professional; they did a great job with insulating the walls and patching up the holes they made (I'm scared to count how many holes were made). And, knowing I had 4 small children in the home, they put most everything back in place. For that, I am truly, truly thankful.

Our friends, Betty and John, were so helpful and making such a stressful, hectic day, smooth sailing. Since the twins are nursing exclusively and they seem to be on yet another growth spurt, I had to match my food intake with whatever they needed. My friend Barbara fed me copious amounts of egg omelets, while I nursed the twins late morning and picked up Victoria. Not even half an hour after that, my friend Betty served up a roast beef sandwich, yogurt, and a homemade yogurt smoothie. I hadn't planned into my day how I was going to keep up necessary food intake for the day; and when I had a chance to run back home to grab food, I no longer had access to my refrigerator. The people working on my house needed more power; they borrowed the outlet where the stove was and the stove was blocking the refrigerator door.

***

My youngest children, the twins, turned 8 months, and I wanted to capture photographs to celebrate the occasion.

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This smile brings me great joy, especially since she keeps me on my toes now that she's mobile and she doesn't want to miss the world (affecting how much she sleeps a day). I love you, Christine and Christian. Happy eight months.

Seeing all the flowers in Betty & John's front yard was just icing on the cake to a day full of wonder, help, love, and beauty.

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My baby's kindergarten graduation

Yesterday, the first child to exit my womb, my baby, graduated from kindergarten. I'm stunned. Didn't she just start kindergarten the other day? I remember walking her into the school on her first day, after spending a majority of the summer, agonizing whether to let her go to such a faraway school. Over the summer, last summer, I was pregnant, to understate it; I was HUGE with twins residing in my belly.

***

Then, the start of kindergarten was quite a rough start for Isabella. The previous year, she had gone to preschool twice a week, for three weeks at a time. Now she was going all day, five days a week. Back then, in preschool, the whole class took a bathroom break at the same time. Now, students were expected to speak up when needing to go and take themselves to the restroom. Moreover, students had to participate in a full day's activity, with little rest. There was no "babysitting" taking place, folks; this was all about education.

That being said, the transition was rough on my little one. She had potty accidents of various sorts. This was unnerving, given that she's been potty trained for a long, long time, and even when she was potty training, not many accidents happened. But many moms told me this was a pretty typical kindergarten (full-day) kindergarten adjustment. REALLY? Why didn't anyone tell me ahead of time, so I wouldn't be shocked over and over again, over a 2-3 week period?

The typical adjustments to a new educational environment, it turns out wasn't all, for my Isabella. She had to have a root canal and crown on a tooth. The poor thing was only 4 1/2 at the time. I still get frantic over the possibility of getting such invasive dental work. Then, at the end of February (of this year) came the congenital (childhood) glaucoma diagnosis. The pressure was so high in her eyes, one surgery took place two days after we found out she had glaucoma and the surgery on the other eye took place two weeks later. She missed nearly a month of school due to surgery and recovery. I am merely skirting the surface with my descriptions here. The girl could have gone permanently BLIND, had this gone undiagnosed much longer. After her eyeballs had a chance to recover from surgery - from being cut in multiple places (I squirm and close my eyes super tight at the mere suggestion), the doctor began the process of correcting her vision. He told me that unlike most people, who benefit from corrective lenses (glasses or contacts) immediately, she could take months to years to fully benefit from corrective lenses. Her eyes and the part of her brain that communicates with her eyes have some maturing to do. This little precious girl of mine was somehow surviving school, for the lengthier portion of the academic year, seeing very little. Before she had glasses, Isabella couldn't even see me a yard away and would go into sheer panic when she couldn't see me. These days, her (vision) progress continues to surprise me.

Precious, precious Isabella could see me as soon as she entered the auditorium, with her classmates and teachers, in preparation for kindergarten graduation. Locating me put a big fat smile on her face. And on mine as well.

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She and her classmates sang a song on stage to start the program.

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Be still my heart, Isabella was just so excited, and she kept looking back at me.



The kiddos prepared for "graduation" with their caps.

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Isabella got a certificate for "best attitude." That certainly reflects reality. EVERYONE knows who she is, teachers that aren't hers, the office staff; and many of them of told me how much they love her. She is always busy chatting and capturing the hearts of the adults.





Here is Isabella outside her classroom, underneath her name (on the little bear behind her), where she would hang her school bag every school day.



Then there were some activities in her classroom.


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The room parents who sacrificed an arm and a leg for all of us, in that class, were recognized. Thank you, thank you, moms for all your help.

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Isabella's teacher, Ms. Li, even had presents for each student. A photograph of the teacher, assistant teacher, and all the classmates. What a wonderful idea.

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Isabella with her teacher, Teacher Li.

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Thank you so much, Teacher Li, for everything you've done for Isabella and for your heart and time. Thank you for loving on her.