Silliness, Sassy-ness and Sweetness in a Girl Turns Two

Time really flies when you have kids. Your baby wakes up one morning and is no longer a baby! Well, she’s kind of a baby/toddler/girl mix. The kind of girl who can now communicate in sentences like “I want more” or “Hi mommy” or demands to play the same Veggie Tales song twenty times a day. The kind of girl who is independent, strong-willed, and determined to carry her own backpack because she sees big sister going to school with a backpack. But then there are moments you realize she’s still very much a baby. Like when you can’t explain to her why you can’t eat a candle. Candles are not food. Candles are dangerous. 

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Or when you realize that she still has those delicious, baby cheeks. I think I took Annelise’s baby cheeks for granted. Because I don’t remember the exact moment in which her baby cheeks disappeared. So I’m making a commitment to appreciate the little things, like Katelynn’s baby cheeks and her pot belly. I know that soon (maybe in a year), those cheeks will shrink and her belly will go down and she will become a big girl like her older sister. Till then, I have to steal as many kisses on her cheeks as I can.

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Happy birthday to our spirited baby girl, wild child, daredevil, Miss Piggie who can out-eat adults, and the only two year old I know who still drools through five bibs a day! You certainly keep me on my toes – I’ve been chasing you around all year, catching you bathing in toilet water, eating dirt and sand, climbing on all sorts of things and getting stuck in chairs and shelves. Somehow in the midst of the chaos, all your mischief and adventures, myriad tantrums and crying, you have managed to steal my heart. I think it has to do with those irresistibly plump cheeks. Kissing them is pure bliss. 

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That Irksome Question…

That irksome question that people like to casually ask stay-at-home moms is, “So, what do you do all day?”

It almost feels like you have to defend yourself to be a stay-at-home mom. I think the question that they are really asking is – “Why are you a stay at home mom? / Why aren’t you out in the world doing something productive?” / “Aren’t you bored out of your mind staying at home all the time?” / “What do you really do with all that extra time you have?”

I usually go out with the girls to the library, park, a friend’s house for a playdate or the mall in the morning and come home in the afternoon for their nap. Here is a sample schedule for a day in which we stay at home.

7:00 am-8:00 am – Annelise wakes up and comes running to my bed. “Mommy, come on! Mommy? Mommy?”

8:00 am – I get drag myself out of bed. I change Annelise’s diaper, then Katelynn’s.

8:15 am – I take our dog Cole out to the yard for his morning pee and poo.

8:30 am – I make the kids breakfast and feed Katelynn and sometimes have to help Annelise eat.

8:45 am – Annelise spills her milk. I encourage her to be more careful while cleaning up the mess.

9:00 am – I make myself breakfast and eat try to eat in peace.

9:15 am – I wash the dishes.

9:30 am – If laundry needs to be done, I sort and do laundry (I have to do about four loads of laundry a week)

9:45 am – I change Katelynn’s poopy diaper.

10:00 am – If the house needs vacuuming (I have to vacuum twice a week because of the dog hair!), I vacuum upstairs while the kids are playing downstairs.

10:15 am – Annelise interrupts me, “Mommy, are you all done vacuum?” I will tell her no and encourage her to play with Katelynn. She refuses to and will simply wait for me at the stairs.

10:30 am – I am almost done vacuuming but I hear hysterical screaming/crying from both the girls. I run down the stairs to see what’s going on. They are fighting over a toy. I try to calm the girls down. I try to convince Annelise to play with something else. Sometimes she’ll push Katelynn to get her way.

10:45 am – I am disciplining Annelise for pushing Katelynn. She is not liking the discipline…It takes 15 minutes for her to calm down and apologize to me and Katelynn.

11:00 am – We go outside to our yard for some play time. I blow bubbles for the girls or we color with chalk on the concrete.

11:30 pm – The girls are fighting over a piece of chalk. I have a talk with both the girls.

11:45 am – I make lunch.

12:00 pm – I feed the girls lunch.

12:30 pm – I make myself lunch and eat try to eat in peace.

12:35 pm – Annelise wants me to hold her. I tell her she has to wait since mommy’s eating lunch. She sulks and goes to a corner to suck her thumb.

12:45 pm – I wash the dishes.

1:00 pm – I read books to the girls.

1:20 pm – I change Annelise’s poopy diaper. (Sometimes I feel like a professional poop cleaner…)

1:30 pm – I put the girls down for their afternoon nap.

1:45 pm – Annelise sneaks out of her room and says she doesn’t want to sleep.

2:00 pm – I put Annelise back down for her nap. She finally takes her nap.

2:15 pm – I have to decide whether I want to shower, take a nap, or fold laundry or vacuum downstairs. I need to take Cole out for his afternoon pee/poo.

3:00-4:00 pm – The girls wake up from their nap. I change their diapers.

4:00 pm – Time for their afternoon snack.

4:15 pm – Katelynn has managed to grab a hold of shoes and she is gleefully gnawing on one for the hundredth time. I tell her no and take the shoe away. She throws herself on the ground and starts wailing…as if it’s the end of the world. I ignore her and she eventually gets distracted by another object.

4:30 pm – Coloring time or an art activity for Annelise. Free play for Katelynn.

5:00 pm – Time to cook dinner.

5:30 pm – Annelise interrupts me, “Mommy, watcha doing?”

5:45 pm – Katelynn is crying because she’s hungry. I appease her with some cereal. Annelise wants some too. They gorge on Cheerios or goldfish.

6:00 pm – Dinner is served. Danny will feed Katelynn. I can semi-enjoy dinner. Annelise refuses to eat dinner. I have to scramble to find something she will actually eat (lately the only things she wants to eat are Cheerios, goldfish, fruit, kimchi, pickles, cheese, milk, bagels, yogurt, soups).

6:30 pm – Danny will do the dishes while I play with the girls.

7:00 pm – Bath time for the girls.

7:30 pm – Drama ensues because both the girls want to be held by me (not daddy) at the same time. I try to hold both of them on my lap but they are pushing each other while on my lap. (Sigh)

7:40 pm – Annelise is frantically searching for her bunny. She cannot sleep without her bunny. (Sigh) We search high and low for her bunny. I finally find the bunny downstairs. I make a mental note to purchase a back-up bunny in the case of an emergency in which we really cannot find her bunny. Of course, this is the 20th time I make this mental note.

7:50 pm – We brush the girls’ teeth and change their diapers one last time.

8:00 pm – We pray together and put the girls down for bed.

8:30 pm – Annelise sneaks out of her room and attempts to negotiate her bedtime…

8:45 pm – Put Annelise down again. She wants me (not daddy) to lie next to her in bed.

9:00 pm – I sneak out of Annelise’s room.

9:00 pm – Midnight – Cole eats his dinner. I am exhausted and want to sleep but I get my second wave of energy (I’m a night person!). These are the things I can get done while the kids are asleep – I can take a shower, read, fold more laundry, clean up clutter around the house, go grocery shopping, clean the toilets, watch TV, spend some time with Danny.

12:30 am – Katelynn wakes up crying because she lost her pacifier. I grope around her crib for her paci. I find it and place it back in her mouth. She falls back asleep.

1:00 am – I finally go to sleep. I should be sleeping right now but of course, I found something else to do – blogging….I will so regret this tomorrow morning!

This is what I do all day, every day. Sometimes it feels like the chores are endless. The dishes pile up, there is always laundry that needs to be done or folded, the toys are always cluttered around the house, and something always needs cleaning.

Sometimes it feels like the battles with discipline are endless. I am constantly having to remind Annelise to share and not push and to be gentle with her sister. I am perpetually taking random objects out of Katelynn’s mouth and telling her to not touch dangerous items.

I am a diaper-changer, a housekeeper, a chef, a wife, a referee between the girls’ squabbles over toys, a discipliner, a story-time reader, an art teacher, a bible teacher, an educator, a temper tantrum tamer, an entertainer, puppet show master, professional tickler, but most of all a mommy who has been blessed with the opportunity to love and care for her children.

I have been given precious time to nurture these relationships and to teach them the ways of the Lord. I have to remember this in moments where it really does feel like I’m doing the same thing over and over again.

Elsa?

Today, I was in the bathroom and I made sure the door was locked because if I don’t lock the door, I know that my daughters will come bursting in. And of course, my older daughter Annelise (almost 3) came running to the door and knocked.

Instead of our usual back and forth – “Mommy?” / “Mommy’s peeing, you have to wait”, something different unfolded.

“Elsa?”

I chuckled and replied, “Yes?”

“Elsa? Snowman?”

“Do you want to build a snowman?” I asked. She was re-enacting the poignant scene between the two sisters from Frozen.

I opened the bathroom door and was greeted with a very enthusiastic rendition of “Let It Go.”

Annelise then grabbed my hand and urged me, “Elsa, come on!”

“Oh okay….where are we going?”

“Build a snowman!”

“Okay, let’s go build a snowman!”

We gleefully ran around our magical, make-believe castle, searching for Olaf the goofy but lovable snowman.

Somewhere down the line, it hit me – my little girl is growing up. She has such an active imagination and is so impressionable and absorbs stories and information like a sponge. I had to hold back my tears as I tried to compose myself and continue to engage in her fantasy in which she was Anna and I was Elsa.

Sometimes as a mom who spends all day, everyday with my children, I don’t notice all the changes in them that take place everyday. It feels like I just blinked and life fast-forwarded and my oldest daughter has become so mature, creative and expressive.

As Anna and Elsa loved each other with a fierce kind of love, I hope that one day, my girls will build many “snowmen” and many memories together.

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Katelynn’s First Birthday

It’s been such a long time since my last post! It’s a been a very busy and blessed year. My youngest daughter turned one this January! I am going through a mixed bag of emotions – ranging from gratitude that we all made it in one piece and that Katelynn is so healthy and a voracious eater despite the nightmare of my pregnancy and relief (that she is sleeping through the night, no longer refluxy/gassy) to sadness (that she is getting bigger every day and now a toddler almost ready to walk on her own).

Then there’s the uh-oh feeling I get when I realize she’s starting to show her true personality now (complete with tantrums and angry arm flailing when we tell her no). When I see couples holding their newborn baby, I start to feel nostalgic – remembering the times I held her all day to keep her asleep.

Then I remember how hard it was and I feel relieved that we survived the chaos of Katelynn’s first year and my first year juggling two children! There were countless sleepless nights when Katelynn needed to be burped 10+ times due to excessive gas and reflux. Midnight was her average bedtime those first few months!

The hardest moments were trying to figure out how to manage my time between my two girls – nursing Kate took so much of my time/energy and Annelise would be so sad and jealous of the amount of time I spent holding and nursing the baby. I experienced a ton of mommy guilt but my heart feels more settled now. I realized that I cannot be the perfect mommy to even one child so how could I possibly try to be the perfect mom to two!?

We have finally gotten into a rhythm and a routine. I can bathe both girls at the same time (woohoo!). Katelynn can eat real food now so I don’t have to fix two different meals for the girls. Katelynn and Annelise have started to play together and can entertain each other for short periods of time. Life is still very crazy/frantic but a bit more manageable.

It’s good to sit in quietude and reflect on how abundant my life is. I’m thankful for the sweet and funny moments like when Annelise is belting out a song and Katelynn is dancing to her sister’s random tune. My favorite part of the day is when all of us are laughing together because of something random and silly. That and when the kids are sleeping so I can finally catch a break!

Happy birthday to our sweet baby girl who has brought much laughter, giggles, dancing, and chaos to our family!

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Baby bunching

Sometimes it feels like you blink and life just zooms by in high speed. How did I even get to this point? I’m 30 years old (which I used to think was ancient). I’ve been married four years already. And now I’m a babybuncher – (mom of two kids under age two)! Life has never been busier, crazier, challenging, and more joyous than now!

Raising one child is difficult. Raising two is even harder. And I have to say raising two under two is impossible! My older daughter Annelise is now 19 months and my second daughter Katelynn is almost two months old. My daily schedule involves nursing Kate every three hours, holding Kate for her daytime naps, changing many diapers, feeding Annelise three meals a day, bathing Kate or Lisi, taking Lisi to the park or library for story-time, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, taking our dog Cole out, reading to Lisi. It’s a non-stop, never-ending, go-go-go kind of day…every day.

Annelise keeps me busy during the day – she’s an active toddler who loves to explore the world – her favorite things to do are eating, reading, watching Pororo or Pingu, taking everything out of her drawers, and basically touching anything and everything. Katelynn keeps me up at night – she has her fussy period at nighttime and I either have to nurse or pump in the middle of the night. The interrupted sleep really has been making me exhausted. Thankfully my parents have been so wonderful in helping out during the day!

It’s impossible to give all my attention to both my girls all the time – that’s been the hardest thing about babybunching. I’m certainly not superwoman so when I’m nursing Kate, sometimes Annelise is crying because she wants my attention or she’s jealous. And when I’m attending to Annelise, Katelynn is crying because she wants to be held! All I can do is do my best with the limited time and hands I have. And I realize I need to pray for God’s wisdom and his grace because it really is such an impossible situation. As difficult as it has been, mommyhood is such a joy. And being a mom of two is double the pain but also double the fun.

The best thing about being a mom is that it forces you to sacrifice your time, your energy, your sleep, your everything. Because it forces you to give and give until you have nothing left in you – it’s such a blessing to experience and a reminder of how much God loves us. He gave and gave – until he died. What an inspiration and what a challenge for us moms to follow.

Katelynn’s First Moments – DIY Newborn Photo Shoot

My second daughter Katelynn was born early this year on January 8th at a hefty, healthy 9 pounds, 4 ounces! The fact that she is so healthy is truly a miracle and a blessing because I lost a total of 21 pounds due to Hyperemesis Gravidarum. If you’d like to read about my pregnancy journey, you can visit prisoner in my own body. Danny and I decided to set up our own newborn photo shoot to celebrate Kate’s precious first moments. We covered our boppy pillow with a baby blanket and used that to prop up Katelynn on her tummy for the photos. We decided to shoot her naked (so cute!) with just an adorable headband on. We covered her with another blanket so that she wasn’t too cold. We shot the photos in the morning, using natural sunlight as well as some extra lighting from our bedroom lamps. Of course we had to include our first daughter Annelise (18 months) in the photos. We encouraged her to pat and kiss her baby sister and we got some wonderful shots of sweet sisterly love in action. I love how our DIY newborn photo shoot turned out!

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