Monday, 11 October 2010

"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." - Dr. Carl Sagan

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! I can't believe it's half-October already!

Last week my mother came to Korea ~ YAY! Both the hubby and I agreed we never thought this day would come. haha! But she's here! We actually asked her to come so that I could go work full time for a few weeks on an annual work project I didn't want to miss out on.

Having my mother in the country is exciting! I get to show her where I live, and the people I'm sharing my life with. I get to teach her about Korea and let her bond with her grandson. But at the same time, let's just say it's interesting living with my mother again. ^.^ Still I'm grateful for this time ~ not only my time with her, but the time for her and the Pumpkin Head to get to know each other!

She arrived last week, and we've yet to do anything touristy or Korean! The morning after she arrived, the husband got food poisoning and spent the day in the ER! I then hurried off to work and left her with the baby alone. On her first day. With no prep. >.< Then our weekend trip to the sea was canceled, but we did enjoy a nice Sunday morning at church and lunch with friends after ~ Western-style lunch at that! We did finally pause for a moment and got a family photo though, so all was not lost!

This week I'm reminded to give thanks. Daily I struggle with stress and worries, and I fear I spend more time on things that haven't happened than what I'm thankful for. So my October resolution (sure, that can be a thing!) is to dwell in thankfulness and not in worry.

Tonight as I sat around our living room with the husband, the Pumpkin Head (not to be confused with the pumpkin pie!), my mother and some good friends I couldn't help but feel fully blessed. I honestly feel like God knows the desires of my heart and provides what I need. And I'm reminded of a verse in Colossions, which says,

"15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

As I go back to work this week, with my mother here, and I'm away from my baby, and my body grows weak and tired it will be too easy for me to let the stress sink in, but instead I choose to be thankful this week! The husband has recovered from his sickness, my mother is here and helping and I surely could not ask for a more awesome little boy! And while I'm working, or sitting in a bathroom stall and pumping my milk, or rushing home to spend time with PH, or waking up early and staying up late just to get a few more chores done ~ I will remember I'm doing all this in the name of Jesus and I am thankful! ^.^

Thursday, 9 September 2010

because sometimes you really need a moment...

I'm not a fan of allowing babies or even kids to watch TV, but we all need a moment to use the toilet or eat our lunch... so here are some of my fav. distracting videos that keep PH occupied.

#1) Yo Gabba Gabba's Party in My Tummy ~ totally addictive! You'll find yourself singing this around the house. Also PH's favourite!

#2) Wee Hands' Alphabet Song ~ I LOVE this song, and the video is colourful and not too fast, and cam help you learn your sign language alphabet! At 2.5mins, it's good for sneaking a quick potty break when your little one is fussy or experiencing separation anxiety.

#3) More Milk Please! Quick but catchy ~ this one helps you and baby learn the signs for the three words!

And finally, at 10 mins, this one is slow and not ADD-inducing, which is better for when you need more than a minute or two to eat lunch...

Monday, 6 September 2010

Making Baby Jook!

So I decided that my little Pumpkin Head had tested enough store bought baby foods that it was really time for me to make my own. I'd intended to do it from the start, but things are always a little daunting at first. Plus, it's time to make a conscious effort to save money, and provide a healthy start for my little PH!

So yesterday I decided to make some home made Jook (juk/ Korean rice porridge) from what I had around the house. Rice, chemical free carrots, broccoli and squash.

So I began by making up a pot of rice. I then took some of the rice and put it into a pot with extra water to make it softer.

I peeled and chopped chemical-free carrots with my food processor. I then added the chopped bits of carrot to the rice and water. I did the same with broccoli and squash.

Next I added the veggies with rice and water mixture to heat and soften.

I left the mixture to cool, then pureed it adding water until it was a good consistency.

Finally I put the food into sterilized baby-food jars, sealed them, marked them with the date and froze them.

Finally I gave some to PH to try... gotta love his reactions to new things! >.<

the Pumpkin Head in a few years!??!

so I did this picture morphing thing, with two poor pics... and this is what came up...

creepy, eh???

nourishment isn't just for the body

(Koh Samui, Thailand, 2007)

I read all the twilight books. There. I said it. I read them, and what's worse, I liked them!

I like a little "cheese" now and then. I often find myself defending the latest movie, book or TV episode by saying that it's just a bit of junk-food for the mind. No harm, right?

Until I end up feeling empty. My attitude changes. I start to crave the escape, and dread whats real. I can't be the only one who feels this way.

I feel like our culture today has an emotional and spiritual equivalent of the obesity epidemic. We're cramming crap into our bodies and minds then wondering why we're afflicted with so many physical and mental ills.

Diabetes, heart disease, low endurance, high cholesterol, malnutrition, cancers, attention disorders... mental illness, depression, loneliness, unfaithfulness, divorce, suicides, etc...

What we put in directly affects us. We know this. Yet why is it so easy for me to sit back and watch an episode of Gossip Girl and eat nutella off a spoon (um, not that I've done that before...>.<)??

I feel at times what Peter must have felt at Gethsemane. I hear Jesus calling me to sit with him a little while, but like he says in Matthew 26: 41, "The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

The good news is that God is not only forgiving, but He also sustaining. He gives strength to the weary and exhausted, increases the power and endurance of the weak (Isaiah 40:28~31). He gives peace and rest to those who go to him when they are tired and burnt out (Matthew 11:28, Hebrews 4:3, John 14:27).

A little junk food is fine now and then, we know that the key with food is moderation ~ and that's the same with our spiritual lives as well. If we're only taking in the junk that our culture has to offer, it will never be enough to fulfill us, we will always feel something is lacking.

Jesus warned us that the world would give us trouble, but he also reminds us that he has overcome the world to give us the peace and fulfillment that our souls crave. My challenge is to remember to draw near to him when I feel burnt out, and leave the Grey's Anatomy reruns for another day...

Jesus said in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Thursday, 2 September 2010

6 months of pumpkin-headed goodness!

Our little PH at 6 months is nearly 9 kilos (nearly 20lbs) and about 70cm (maybe 28inches?). He can sit for a little while before getting distracted, and loves to stand with little help. He's started to pull himself up to sit and stand, and can't stay still! He rolls around constantly and "worms" his way across the floor to get things. He tries to crawl, but can't stay up on his hands and knees yet. >.<

He loves his reflection and always wants to play! He laughs hysterically at daddy (who wouldn't?!? :p~) and is incredibly ticklish! He loves when mommy and daddy sing songs and read books, and he loves to sing or talk along. He can be VERY chatty, and can often be found telling Cooper the dog long stories!

He moves quickly across the floor already and, as his first 2 teeth are coming in, he's always looking for something to chew on! Be it toys, furniture, feet or even the dog! He also loves to eat ~ everything! He often cries when the food is gone ~ but at least is quickly distracted. ^.^ He eats two meals a day now, and the odd rice cracker (which he often shares with the dog!).

He's become besties with Cooper the dog, and watches him intently. When the dog comes into the room he smiles and laughs. He follows him and tries to attack him with petting, and licks! He even likes to share his food... and Cooper has learned that food is often on the floor around PH and tries to lick stuff off his hands and face.

Gosh... time is going by SO quickly!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

cloth diapering and holding pee...

OK, so I had started cloth diapering at home...

but with only 2 covers and 10 inserts it hasn't been as consistent as I'd hoped. In addition, the weather has been so poor, that I can't dry anything outside, meaning that the covers take a day to dry... boo! So I've been CDing at night, and some of the day, but not as much as I'd hoped.

All the reading I've done has not helped me as much as I'd hoped, and so I've asked a friend who is coming to Korea from the States to bring me a variety of the diaper covers out there. I've ordered I think four different kinds to try, then I'll better be able to make a decision.

I have decided that the diaper I have that fits him best, I actually don't like! >.< the inside is absorbent bamboo, not the fabric that repels water and can be wiped up. Which means that after a big pee it can't be used again.

Now how does the Pumpkin Head like it? Well, he seems unbothered by the bulk and added time of mummy and daddy trying to figure this out. However, he does NOT like the wet feeling and has started holding his pee for a fresh diaper. >.<

This is the same kid who hasn't peed at night since about two and a half months old, because he didn't even like a wet disposable. He also holds his pee quite often when we go out, and as soon as we get home will have a VERY wet diaper.

Is this something to be concerned about? Is it anxiety? Or does he just not want to sit in a wet diaper? Will he cause some sort of damage or give himself a bladder infection? Or will he be easier to toilet train???

As always, the questions are endless.

I do know that I'm looking forward to my new diaper covers so I can test them out myself ~ then I'll know of which ones I want more.

Plus, shopping is fun!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

cloth diapering ~ day one

So, we began the cloth diaper journey.

All along I've been very much pro-cloth diapering in theory, and the husband has been wary. So recently at the baby fair, we decided to buy a bit of a sample pack and give it a try. For an insane price (VERY much more than we'd pay back home, and even that adds up!) we bought a pack of 10 inserts and two covers ~ thinking we're not making a 100% switch, we're testing and getting the hang of it.

The kid wasn't sure what to make of them. He got bored that they took longer to put on, and tried to crawl away as I was trying to figure things out... he also didn't seem to like peeing in them!! I suppose he can really feel a difference in wetness ~ which explains why and how cloth diapered babies toilet train faster. It also makes me question getting a potty already for when I know he's going to poop, then undressing him and sitting him on it before the poop begins...

I think the kid will train easily. He already is very sensitive to being wet. In fact, he will not pee all night, and wakes with a dry diaper each day. Seriously! About 5-10 mins after waking, he will have a MASSIVE pee and fill his diaper. This will make cloth diapering at night easier, as there's no worry of him soaking through, however, it will also make that first pee a mess! So I'm still working on ideas for that...

Other questions still on my mind are cleaning them ~ American standards say wash your diapers in hot water, that's the sanitary thing to do. But all my reading says that the hot water in a washing machine isn't effective at killing germs and really is only there to rinse the soap more efficiently. I've also read that sunlight can naturally kill germs, so washing in cold water isn't an issue if you line dry in the sun.

In Korea, we only use cold water to wash, and we rarely use a dryer. In fact, a dryer is a luxury. Our HE washer-dryer combo has an electric drying function. I'm not sure how much energy it uses to dry, but I'd rather not use it. However, with the rainy season, followed by monsoon season, followed by all the other unpredictable weather here ~ I don't always get to dry my clothes outdoors. Much of the time I dry everything on a rack in the house.

On a side note, our diaper inserts are made from organic bamboo ~ which, from what I've read, seems to be cold wash only... but it's not like I can read any Korean websites or info, and I know no one who cloth diapers here... >.<

So, my questions tonight: what will happen if I wash everything with cold water? What if I can't dry them in the sunlight? And do diapers have to be washed separately from other baby items?!?

It's times like these I love and hate google ~ questions lead to answers, which lead to more questions...

Thursday, 19 August 2010

my parenting and diapering dilemmas...

So I've finally bought my first cloth diapers. I got a small pack from a baby faire here in Seoul... so I've not totally converted, I'm just giving it a try... though it is something I was hoping to do from the start and totally support the idea.

The problem in Korea is little information, little resources, and, well, everything is in Korean!!

I've been trying to surf sites to find out what I can, but I haven't had much luck in finding a site that I like. It seems so many people have their own opinions, but, call me a snob, it makes me feel like they're unreliable when there are so many spelling, grammar or factual errors on a website! (Ok, that's a rant for another day...)

In the mean time I'm full of questions like:

how do I wash them?
I only use cold water, will that clean them well enough?
do they need to be soaked before washing, or will that break down the fabric?
will rinsing them well before wash be enough?
how many do you REALLY need?

On top of that, I have a million other parenting dilemmas at the moment.

High on the list is that my dear little Pumpkin Head ~ though such a sweet and happy baby to all he meets ~ is a closet high needs baby! I mean, he's great during the day, and outwardly has no stranger anxiety or separation issues ~ until bedtime. He only wants to co-sleep and still wants to nurse to sleep (and often a few times over night). Even if I get up to go for a moment, and he wakes and sees his daddy, he'll cry!

Lower on the list, but still on my mind is toilet training. You'll think I'm nuts thinking about it already ~ but gosh! it seems like such a looming and daunting task! And switching to cloth diapers makes me wonder just how soon it can be done. The truth is that I can tell when PH is about to poop. He gets gassy and grunts before his poops ~ and I think there's enough time to put him on a potty. Is it worth trying early for poops??? He already holds his pee all night and pees a few minutes after waking ~ again, time to move to a potty?

The answers never get easier, I know...

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

who doesn't have twitter!?!?

Apparently even communist state North Korea has twitter now...

Seoul and Washington are watching closely as N.K. using social networking to spread it's propaganda. South Korea can't block people from seeing or following the tweets, but S. Korean's legally aren't allowed to comment... so they're trying to figure out what to do next. Meanwhile, Washington is welcoming any comments from N.K. as they're usually so tight-lipped.

It makes me wonder who their target audience is, and what they expect from this.

Take a moment and read the article... or check out twitter or YouTube ~ something I've yet to do, but sure enough, my curiosity will get the better of me sooner or later...

Thursday, 12 August 2010

saving costs and risking lives...

The recent bus explosion in Korea has sparked a number of concerns recently.

In the past I paid little attention to the fuels used for vehicles, until last year we bought a car that runs on LPG (liquified petrolium gas) which is a mixture of gases like butane and propane. It produces less smokey emissions though it's debatable as to how much CO it lets out. A plus is that it burns more cleanly than other fuels and is non-toxic and non-corrosive... and, let's face it ~ this matters, has a MUCH lower tax rate so it is considerably cheaper.

Something that also caught my attention after learning of different fuel sources was that most city busses in Seoul run on CNG (compressed natural gas). Korea's government uses catch phrases like, "low carbon, green growth" quite often, and I had been impressed with their determination to use other fuel sources as well as to lessen the emissions.

HOWEVER~ I recently discovered that Korean buses used existing fuel tanks on the bottom of the bus when converted to CNG. As we know gas rises, but the government didn't want to spend the money reconstructing buses, and therefore knew the risk they were putting the people in ahead of time!

I wonder how much they're facing in law suits and other losses now...

Sunday, 1 August 2010

THE BEST $20 Ever Spent!

So I mentioned before that we bought a used jumperoo off of craigslist, and I do believe it's the best baby item we've bought so far! (well, until I bought my Manduca last week ~ perhaps it's a draw...)

In the beginning the Pumpkin Head (PH) didn't know what to do. He didn't have the leg strength to stand on his own yet, and wasn't very coordinated. He wasn't quite sure what to do, and often just stood there and chewed on the red fabric of the seat area while somehow managing to get both his arms caught inside...

I tried to make it more interesting so I added a mirror to the one post, and often found him not jumping, but just standing staring into the mirror ~ and at times making faces at himself!!

This first video was taken July 1st:

After a while he finally got the hang of it...

Now he LOVES the jumperoo and could stay in there for quite a while! It's actually developing his muscles faster than I could ever imagine! what's better, that there's a toy that keeps him occupied so I can do chores and such,

Happy little boy...

Or diabolical genius!?!?

Monday, 26 July 2010


So, I'm not great at keeping things updated, but I'm trying!! Here are some highlights of our summer so far...

Getting out and about and visiting friends!

We've had some great chances to visit with friends in Korea, here visiting, and some we haven't seen in ages! Plus some great times hanging out and exploring with our small group! The kid outgrew his first carrier, and has been loving his Moby wrap, staying close to mommy... and getting to explore while not being too far away from MILK!!! (don't mind my "hat-trying-on-face" haha!)


Though the Canadian and American Paediatric Society both recommend exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months, the kid had been showing signs he was ready for more than milk. First, he's always hungry! Also, he watches us eat and has been smacking his lips and reaching for our food while we're eating. One day he actually grabbed a chocolate from my hand as I was unwrapping it! >.< So we started him on rice cereal and since then he's also had apple sauce, sweet potato and pumpkin! Last night was his first pumpkin and HE LOVED IT!!! He's an eating machine... which brings us to highlight #2:


So, believe it or not, the kid was a bit short for his age ~ I know, hard to believe! He had actually been measuring well under the 50th percentile, in fact, since he was born he was mostly around the 20th percentile for height and 50 for weight! But he hit a HUGE growth spurt recently and is now around the 75th percentile! YAY!!! His legs are finally growing and making him look more like a little human than a big-headed cartoon character! hahaha...


We bought the Pumpkin Head a jumperoo, and once he got the hang of it he fell in love with it! At first he didn't know how to stand on his own when being held, now after using this, when we hold him he only wants to stand! "Forget laying, sitting is boring! STAND ME UP!!!"

The Drive-In Theater

So I didn't get any pics, but after weeks of grumbling that we couldn't go to the movies anymore we finally remembered there's a drive-in theater FIVE MINUTES from our house! How we let it go so long, I don't know... but we went and it was AWESOME! We saw Eclipse, and I don't care what you think, Twilight movies are like eating jellybelly and ice cream in your pajamas! Meaning they're like candy ~ light, no substance, but dang it feels good!! hahaha...

We put on our comfy clothes, popped popcorn and made lemonade and brought pillows, then cuddled up in the car and watched the movie. A slight bummer, the heat and humidity was SO BAD that we broke down a few times and turned on the car to run the AC ~ I know, terrible... but there was a diesel SUV next to us with his on the whole time, and other cars were doing the same as us... it was too hot that night. Next time we'll go on a cooler night so we can keep the windows down. (if you don't live in Korea and think we're wimps, remember Korean summers is like 1000% humidity and we do have a baby!)

OK ~ those are my highlights of the day. I'm going to sort through some photos later, so I can give a better glimpse of how the PH is growing!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

New Interest ~ Teething Jewelry!

OK~ I've decided to go with the Manduca, but I want ALL the accessories (more than I'd realized when I made the decision!) so I'm searching for the best price online now...

In the mean time, I've found something new I'm eyeing... teething baby-safe jewelery!

I first saw some of these necklaces and bracelets at a maternity boutique when I was back in Canada last summer. At the time I thought it was a bit odd, but a cute idea... now that the Pumpkin Head puts EVERYTHING into his mouth I'm a bit more keen on the idea!

While looking up websites I came across this ABC article attesting to the growing trend. These days there are quite a few companies who make these items and are selling in smaller boutique shops and online. Most carry bangle-style bracelets and necklace pendants ~ but man, I really want some sort of earring!

I used to be a necklace person, then a few years ago I had an allergic reaction to something and stopped wearing all jewelery for a few weeks... after that I would rather wear bold earrings and no necklace (plus I think it makes my neck look longer). :p~

Some people warn that these items encourage babies to put jewelery into their mouths ~ and that could be a valid point. But at this age, PH doesn't understand the word "no" and will put things in his mouth anyway ~ so it may as well be safe and soothing for him. Plus, even if I wear no accessories, he'll find SOMETHING to suck on... >.<

Anyway, this is what I've got my eye on:

This is a set from the "Teething Bling" line from Smart Mom, and is made from a food-safe, phthalate-free, federally-approved silicone.

Kinda cool, eh??

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Choosing a new carrier

The past few weeks have been pretty good and we've been focusing on becoming more active. So odd, we go through phases of being home-bodies or out ALL the time. I'm not sure if we've ever had a perfect balance.

Nonetheless, we've made some discoveries about life with a wee one recently. First of all, using a stroller in Seoul kinda sucks ~ baby wearing is the most convenient thing to do! Plus Pumpkin Head would rather be carried and rests better that way (in addition to all the other benefits of baby wearing). Finally, I'm the only person I know who does this, but I can nurse him while on the go when I've got a good carrier (I just lower one of the straps and use my nursing cover ~ something I need to rave about soon!).

So about carriers, the cheap (Safety First) baby carrier we bought from costco is crap. Well, for twenty bucks we knew it wasn't the best ~ and we definitely got our money's worth from it! It's perfectly fine for little ones, but Pumpkin Head is not little... And the Moby wrap is great and PH loves being in it ~ BUT it's a HUGE pain in the butt to do up in public when PH is screaming and needing to be nursed or carried ASAP. Living in Asia I've discovered I have this gross fear of what could have been on the ground and I don't want my Moby to touch the floor.

So, I'm on the hunt for a new carrier. I'm looking for a soft structured carrier and right now my top three choices are the well known Ergo, the Pikkolo and the Manduca. All three have pros and cons, but are pretty much the same idea. So at this point I'm weighing the pros and cons including costs and shipping.

The Ergo Baby Carrier ( is the one people generally know, and it's pretty common in Korea. I can buy it on Gmarket for less than $100 ~ the Ergo site has the originals priced at $110.

#2 ~ The Pikkolo carrier is about $130USD and up. The perk of this one is that the straps and cross at the back and it's easier to buckle up alone. Many of the carriers sold in Korea are complicated or need 2 people! >.< I've tried on a friend's and loved the feel of the weight distribution, but I didn't like that the waist strap was not flattering on my butt! :(

#3 ~ The Manduca Carrier. German made and uses an organic cotton / hemp blend. It seems to have all the advantages of the others, plus I hear it can cross at the back and it has a zipper that opens to increase the body length ~ which is a plus for older or taller kids, and PH has height potential! I've tried this on in the store and liked the feel! The straps are thicker and has more padding than the other styles ~ though some say too much. It also has safety buttons on the clips, though the husband didn't like it (mostly cause he couldn't figure it out and took a chunk outta his finger!). It is available here, but at double the cost of the Ergo...

So, this is what's consuming my time these days... any thoughts out there???

Friday, 2 July 2010

June recap!!


so I look at my blog each day and think I should write something... then I think I can't write anything new, until I write all the cool things that already happened... but then never do that!! >.<

June was a great month for us! Liam is getting SO big and he's really changing every day! He laughs SO loudly now, and is always grabbing things and putting them in his mouth.

He's been loving spending time on his play mat, and gets very excited when he get's a toy into his mouth or jingles the frog enough to make music!

This mat was a gift from Jason & Amanda... and he uses it ALL THE TIME!! ^.^

Though he's not rolling over often, he constantly lays with his butt and legs in the air, then rolls from side to side.

May and June brought A TON of mosquitoes... One morning Liam woke up with ELEVEN (11!!!) bites ~ mostly on his head! ㅠ.ㅠ so we finally bought and put it netting over his crib. Awesome part ~ NO bites since... strange part ~ Coopz thinks he's too far from Liam and can't keep an eye on him, so he tries to bury his way under to be closer!! hahaa... one morning I woke up to Liam happily chattering away to Cooper, like usual, and Cooper under BOTH layers of netting!!

This month we also took a three hour car trip to the OEM retreat... Oak Vally Resort was gorgeous. It rained, and we didn't really do much, but we all enjoyed our time there. A highlight was hanging out with the other parents and babies!

OK... that's all I have time for at the moment... but stay tuned for more updates!!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

i carry your heart

i carry your heart with me
by E. E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me
(i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it
(anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate
(for you are my fate, my sweet)
i want no world
(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Saturday, 5 June 2010

theories and love

Gosh it's been forever, and there's so much I'd like to share... but where to begin?

Well, I suppose I should start by gushing about my little boy... he IS the cutest thing in the world, and so very happy. How did we end up with the happiest kid in the world? I'm not sure at all... Ryan and I aren't that bad, but we definitely tend to ride the boarder on the happy -grumpy scale.

Liam has just gone to bed, and I'm pretty excited because I know it'll be at least 8 hours until he's up. Not only does he sleep the night, but he wakes up happy and is able to wait to eat until he's been changed and I've got us ready. Before he would be frantic, hungry, and irritable. But what has changed?? I have no idea.

I've read a bunch of books and search all the baby websites for info. I've read so many theories on parenting, and many of them conflict. Feed on demand, but make a schedule, stick to it, but be flexible, don't go off the schedule, but teach your baby to be well adjusted, nurse him often, only breastfeed, you don't need formula, feed when he's hungry, don't overfeed, comfort him when he cries, crying is good, don't mute your child, offer the breast, don't offer the breast, don't let him fall asleep nursing, create a bond.... some of these things are natural, some common sense, and some confusing...

And I think we've probably tried all of the suggestions. We've gone through a stage where I was up nursing him often, where I nursed as long as he wanted, where I limited the time at the breast, where I scheduled his feedings at 3 hours, then at 2 hours. I've given him formula after nursings or at separate feeding times to keep him full. I've tried not giving formula and only offering the breast. I've tried pumping several times through the day, pumping after feedings, pumping ten minutes on and ten off several times to increase my supply... and honestly, not one thing has worked alone.

I've co-slept, put him to bed in the same room, in a separate room, put him to sleep awake, put him to bed asleep, put him to bed partially asleep...

And after all of this, Liam is happy. He laughs and giggles all the time! He rarely fusses, and when he does it's over small easily fixed things, like needing a diaper change ~ once fixed he's calm.

I suppose my point tonight is that there are so many ideas and opinions out there, and not one works for everyone. You can test them, try new things, stick to them... but you'll never really know what's best ~ except for this: Love and prayer.

I hope to pray for my little boy and love him unconditionally each day. At this point that doesn't seem like a difficult task... haha, hopefully I'll remember this commitment when he's a teenager!! (not that I'm really worried)


Tuesday, 23 February 2010

my C-section experience...

So here's what happened...

If you read the last post, you'll know that we had agreed to have my water broken after I had been 3cm dilated and 100% effaced for several days. Liam was being measured at 4kilos (nearly 9lbs) but his head and shoulders were very large, so there was a fear of him getting much bigger. In fact, his head was already measured as the estimated 42 week size!! >.<

With this in mind we agreed to having my water broken early to progress things. They soon started me on Oxytocin to speed things up, and the contractions came very regularly. After nearly 8 hours of back labour I was dilated well, the contractions were on top of each other and yet the baby wouldn't turn and descend. We tried waiting, and I even got an epidural (that didn't relieve any pain!) but finally the doctor recommended a Ceasarian. He basically told us that we could just sit and wait with this pain, not knowing how long or even if the baby would turn and descend and still with no guarantee that he would fit, or we could do a C-section.

Ryan and I talked about it, and I feared the idea, but at the same time I feared injury to the baby or I more and I'll admit the pain was making it hard to focus. We decided to go for it and they wheeled me to the OR and slammed my bed into the doorway causing all the people in the hall and OR to just stop and stare at me ~ in the middle of a contraction! >.<

Once in the OR they began to prep me. They bound my arms and body down, and the anesthesiologist administered a stronger dose of the epidural to numb me. However, it still didn't work, I was still in pain, and I managed to get my arm free a few times to struggle. The doctor came in to begin and started with a test cut, at which I screamed! I suppose they didn't believe me that I was still in so much pain, I'm sure they assumed I just felt pressure. At that point the doctor decided to use a general anesthetic and they gassed me.

I recall them having to intubate me several times, as each time I'd gag up and spit out the tubes (I really was becoming a troublesome patient!). When I became to come to, the nurse was smacking my cheek and calling my name. She told me to wake up, to which I replied that I was awake I just couldn't control my eyes yet. She then asked me if I had a manicure. How odd, I thought at first, maybe she was just trying to get me to talk... then I understood as I began to control my eyelids better and saw that my fingertips had all turned blue.

Turns out there were a few complications. They had some difficulty with the bleeding, so they literally bound a sandbag to my body. I was also having trouble getting enough oxygen. The tube in my nose wasn't working well enough, so I decided to help things out by taking the tube to my mouth and inhaling. This helped a great deal and they soon wheeled me to the post-op recovery.

Waiting in the hall were Ryan, Jason, Eunji and her husband Dave. It had been quite a while longer than they expected, and they had only just heard that there was some trouble waking me up from the anesthetic. They all looked so relieved! Soon after they began to tell me about the baby, whom I had yet to see! Ryan made it into the OR just in time to cut the cord and be ushered out. The baby was big and loud, and perfect. He showed me a printed photo of him. I was told that because the baby was having some difficulties with his temperature that they couldn't bring him out of the nursery. At first I was a little upset, I mean, mothers dream of the first time holding their babies, right? But then I actually felt alright with it, as I was tired and already loved him so I didn't have any doubts about connecting ~ though I was a little bummed not to start breast feeding right away.

Some time after 10pm they finally prepared me to go up to my room. As they wheeled me past the nursery, the nurse held up the baby in the window for me to see. All the others in the hall stopped to look and coo and congratulate us. Until now, the baby had no name but I looked up at him and saw that he was a trouble-maker from day one. That's when we decided on the name William ~ our little Liam.

So, nothing about this pregnancy went to plan. The timing, the sickness, the pain and discomfort and finally the labour and delivery. You'd think I'd have a negative opinion after all of that, and yet I'm so hopped up on mommy hormones I couldn't care less. My baby is perfect and we are both healthy. Praise God, He is good!

Our growing little Monkey!!

 Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

The arrival of Liam Rushton!

Having finally decided on a doctor just days before, Ryan and I set off at about 5am Tuesday morning to the hospital.

With all the excitement, anxiety and discomfort, I'd only had about an hour of restless sleep. In the morning Ryan dropped me off at the hospital and headed to work. (boo for work) At the hospital I found out I was still only 3cm dilated, so they broke my water and started an IV. Soon they had added Oxytocin to make things progress faster.

I was lucky to have a few friends come and keep me company through the day. Ryan came back early from work, Eunji came and brought snacks (which I wasn't allowed to eat! >.<) and Jason came to make me laugh... on which I promptly instructed him ~ jokes were OK at the end of a contraction to make me forget the pain, but at the beginning just made me want to smack him! haha... He was really there to see if I was going to swear at Ryan (and I did, just once... but not the "YOU DID THIS TO ME" that Jason expected ~ it was during a contraction when Ryan calmly looked at me and said, "Just breathe..." to which I exclaimed, "What the heck do you think I'm doing?!?!" **heck may not have been the actual word).

I had many ideas of what childbirth would be like, and many of them were completely realistic! I knew there would be pain, fear, exhaustion and confusion as well as a plethora of other emotions and struggles. Still, I imagined trying to get as far as I could without drugs, using other methods like walking, stretching, using a birthing ball, etc. What I didn't anticipate was after having my water broken everything was a messy struggle (sorry for that image). I walked to the bathroom often just to get up and be able to sqat... but this was so far from the Korean norm that they soon gave me heck for being up so much ~ another thing I hadn't expected, for the Korean standard to be that women just lay there and take the pain (well, with the epidural) until it happened.

Eventually the pain became too much to bear and I asked for the epidural. I wasn't pleased with myself, but it'd been more than 7 hours in active labour. I was confused because in the morning the doctor told me that things looked good and the baby should be here in the early afternoon. I'd even called Ryan to cancel his last classes and come back to the hospital... but now, there was no baby just a lot of pain.

By 3pm I was dilated, the contractions were on top of each other, the epidural wasn't working for me and the baby hadn't descended. At this point the doctor was blunt, he said we could wait for several hours to see what happened and even then he was skeptical that the baby would fit, or we could try a C-section.

A Ceaserian was never part of the plan! In fact, that was why we'd agreed to induce early, to ensure that the baby would fit without injury to either of us. However, after a few more contractions and back labour we said OK to the C-section. I'd love to say from there things were easier, but they were not. I'll write my next post about my C-section experience... but for now, know that I got to experience more than a few complications... >.<

Finally, at 4:32pm our baby was born! Ryan made it in just in time to cut the cord and be ushered out of the OR. It was quite a while later that I was out, and then I was in recovery and the baby I'd yet to see was in the nursery where he was being treated for some breathing struggles (nothing serious).

Finally at about 10:30pm they were moving me up to my room and as we passed the nursery a nurse brought our baby to the window for me to see (his temp. was irregular, so they didn't want to take him out). At that point, exhausted and a wreck from the day I looked up and saw the little, beautiful and absolutely stubborn trouble-maker and it was love... I also knew he'd be a "William."

And that was little Liam's first day.

Monday, 15 February 2010

37 weeks, and what a mess!!!

(written at 37 weeks, but forgot to post! oops!! >.<) So last week we'd been excited to have found a nice delivering hospital... and preemptively bragged. On Wednesday we went to see the head doc. at that place, and he simply told us to go find another hospital. We were not impressed, and I did in fact have a mini-meltdown. How could this be?? I could go into labour any day and we had no idea where! We were stressed not only about hospitals, but we also still were basically broke, didn't have insurance, and also hadn't applied for our foreign IDs! Surely this was the most difficult week for us so far. We spent a lot of time stressed, arguing and worrying about what to do... admittedly it took us a while to bring it to God. >.< Not a proud moment, but definitely a learning moment for us.

The next day we and a good friend made some frantic phone calls, and we got in to see a new doc. at a new hospital. I had been complaining the night before that doctors these days weren't what they used to be, and deep down inside I had secretly hoped for Bill Cosby's Dr. Huxtable to deliver my baby. Well, this new doc could very well be my answer to secret longing! ^.^

We went to visit him and he was very talkative and informative - a pro for me, as I'm an anatomy info. junkie. He did a sonogram and we discovered Baby Rush is now 4kilos (!!!!) and everything looks good. As we were talking I mentioned that I hadn't had a pelvic exam in a long time, but I'd been having some discomfort down there. He said with no contractions it wouldn't be necessary and that he'd do one next week... but, being Beth, I argued with a doctor. I wanted an exam that day!!

So, the doc took a look at things and exclaimed, "whoa!" Then went on to explain that without any contractions that I'd become 100% effaced and was 3cm dilated!! Wowzas... he then said it could be any time, and with the baby being so big and fully developed (full term) that he'd be willing to break my water to speed things up!! Wow...

After that news, we were off to our baby shower, which was a blast and such a blessing to us!!!

We celebrated with several friends at the local Christian school, and really just enjoyed the company and encouragement. Of course they took the time to pray for us, which really gave me peace about things knowing that we were covered in prayer. They also blessed us with many great gifts and a fun night.

Seeing as this post is actually old, I'll stop now so I can move on to more exciting things!!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

36 weeks... when will it end???

Pregnancy is a roller-coaster ride of hormones and emotions.

One minute all you can think of is the miracle of life and that there is a human being growing inside of you... you can feel the kicks and hiccups, you can see a foot, knee or little bum wiggling or poking out, you can imagine holding this little creature when he comes out...

At the same time, it's terrifying... I want him out. I never want to go into labour. I've changed my mind, I'd rather adopt.

On the bright side, one of the big concerns was gestational diabetes - which my doctor yesterday confirmed I do NOT have. ^.^ Praise God for that news!! She said I was having some issues with insulin... Ugh! my brain fog has caused me to forget the exact wording. But basically knowing how to eat better to keep my blood sugar stable and then exercising more often when needed has prevented this from becoming a problem. Yay!! I did get high sugar the other night from ice cream... so I do need to remember, ice cream in the afternoon = no problem, ice cream in the evening = harder to control.

Luckily I've been in the habit of walking Cooper up into the mountain park at night and stopping in the exercise park for a while. Korea is full of these little exercise areas everywhere! In the middle of the park (or on the side of the road even!) there is sports equipment for the community to use. Mind you it's metal equipment, outdoors, in winter... but it works! Plus I can feel my tolerance building, and feel a bit more prepared for labour. A bit... >.<

This week we've also (finally) made a decision about where to deliver. With insurance still an issue (it could take a few more weeks to be active) we've decided NOT to go to the major hospital nearby. Instead we've chosen a new, small woman's hospital recommended by a friend. There are pros and cons...

The cons are:
1) it's further than the hospital (which is 5 mins away from home) and could take 10-20 mins to get there, depending on traffic.
2) while the doctor speaks English, the staff do not speak well. From our experience last night, they understood most of what I asked, and I understood most of what they answered, BUT I will need to make sure a few friends are available for emergency translating. A major issue, but compared to the pros, still worth it.

The pros:
1) Clean, quiet, new, relaxing, and well equipped rooms and atmosphere.
2) Cost, even without insurance, this place will cost a fraction of the price of the large hospital. In fact, this place is cheaper WITHOUT insurance than the hospital is WITH insurance.
3) The doctor seems more focused and caring, and there are few patients at a time.
4) After delivery care is very good. There are usually only a couple baby's at a time, max, so there is a lot of attention to each mother and each baby. Also the food is good, the rooms are all private, clean and well stocked. Each room is beautiful, with a bed, sofa large enough for a father to sleep on, TV & cable, mini fridge, breast pump, bassinet, and other furniture. The bathroom is large as well, with a better shower than we have at home, a bidet, and is very clean. They also have a sitz bath.
5) Gifts. Yes, this is a huge pro! They give gifts upon discharge... samples, clothes, blankets, etc. My friend said she received over $100 worth of gifts.
6) Photos! The hospital collaborates with a photo studio and will make a professional photo album for you. Pics included are pre-baby belly, a family portrait after delivery, 50 days and possibly 100 days. I've seen some of their photos, and they're beautiful!

So there you have it. Ry and I will be going back next week for a check-up and to meet the other delivering doctor on staff. IF there are any concerns, we can change out mind... but we're pretty sure we'll stay there.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Bible Study Review: Fireproof Your Marriage

(written for our church newsletter, but still worth sharing...)

Last year my husband’s parents sent us the Fireproof Your Marriage Bible study set. We’ve since had the opportunity to use the study with our small group and were quite surprised by how much we enjoyed it and grew from it.

Fireproof isn’t your typical Bible Study. It begins with a full-length movie; a Kirk Cameron movie at that. Many people will remember him from his early acting days on Growing Pains, or even more recent, lower budget Christian movies like Left Behind. With this in mind, our small group laughed at the thought that this movie could lead to serious discussion and growth.

After some gentle persuading, our group sat down for an evening to see what this study had to offer. The movie began with typical, low budget style: unknown actors, unoriginal characters and cliché writing. We groaned together with the predictability and laughed often at how over-dramatic it could be. We soon found ourselves wrapped up in the story and characters, relating to their struggles and becoming hooked… we wanted to know what would happen! At the end, despite our preconceived ideas and comparisons to Hollywood movies, we were actually impressed.

The theme of the movie is a couple who have grown so far apart they consider divorce. Captain Caleb Holt is a firefighter who believes the saying, “never leave your partner behind.” While his work life advances, his home life deteriorates and both he and his wife have forgotten their true “partners.” The challenge comes when Caleb’s father asks him to take 40 days and follow a book called The Love Dare (which is a real book, also reviewed in this newsletter issue). The Love Dare is a book for couples with a challenge each day to do something selfless and show love to your partner. Caleb accepts this challenge, and therein lies the struggle (and often humour) of the movie.

It’s important to watch the movie first to understand the context of the study as each session of the study shows a clip from the movie which illustrates a key point. The sessions begin in prayer then onto some general discussion to warm up. Second is the movie clip, followed by some simple questions about the movie characters and a short passage to read together.

Next we dive into Scripture; and here our small group found ourselves talking for hours about what it these passages mean and how to apply them. There are Scripture passages and questions specific to men or to women, which gives us a chance to look at these situations from another perspective, and even challenge for each person. For example the first week asks us to “resist the urge to point fingers at each other. Focus on finding and correcting your own flaws so you can personally become more like Christ…”

The sessions include themes like:

-God’s love for you and how it enables you to love others,

-marriage as a lifelong covenant,

-breaking free from temptations,

-forgiveness, and

-understanding unconditional love.

For anyone who is married or planning to be, this study can be very beneficial. What is also great about this study is that you can do it as a couple or a small group, though I believe the conversation is much easier and full of insight as a group.

We are called to love our spouses and reminded repeatedly in scriptures that love is the greatest commandment. This is especially difficult in marriage, and we need to take the time to consider how to become better husbands and wives. By learning to love our spouses selflessly we follow God’s command for us and bear witness to the world what marriage truly means.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

being a healthy "branch"

So much on my mind... so much on my heart... and I often feel too tired and overwhelmed to sort through it all. >.< The last week has had so many "big things" to keep my mind occupied. On a physical level, I've been monitoring my blood glucose level as my doctor had concerns about high glucose and gestational diabetes. Much of my days have been spent thinking about sugar, measuring my blood, worrying about what to eat (when I really don't want anything at all) and so on... I had a second appointment today and was nervous that my results may not be up to par ~ and was surprised to hear him say that everything looks perfect! He advised me to continue to monitor my blood glucose level each day and to continue eating healthily and staying active.

I can't understand how people can neglect to take care of their physical health. I can't understand people who know that their health is declining and yet do nothing. For me, I may not have always made the best choices, but when it comes down to it I want to be healthy and I will do what it takes. Even more than that, I want my children to be healthy and I will do what it takes. Being careless with your own health is bad enough, being careless with the health of your child is... well, to me, nearly criminal. I just cannot fathom it.

This leads me to think about my spiritual health. When we do not nourish our bodies, it is easy for different body systems to malfunction and become impaired. Our bodies are not as strong as we imagine they are, we are breakable, we are mortal. So too is our spiritual self. When undernourished or forgotten it is easy for it to break down and become weak. No one wants to be weak... so how come it's so easy to neglect?

Prayer, studying the Word and fellowship all help to build up our spiritual selves and allow us to grow. This year I really want to take the time to work on these things and not let them fall to the back and be neglected.

John 15:5 says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

Nourishing our bodies and nourishing our spirits follow the same principles, when beneficial things go in we flourish and grow. When our body is fueled by nutritious food it will perform well; and when our spirit is fueled by God's Word and prayer, we will bear much fruit.

In addition to these thoughts, the past few days have also been difficult emotionally. Baby Emma has passed away and a community is in mourning. This morning was the burial, though I wasn't able to be there.

In times like these it's easy to see the darkness in life, the injustice, the death and destruction that comes leaving many to feel hopeless. It it all the more important for us to stay encouraged and stay strong. Our Father mourns with us, He doesn't conspire against us.

In this time it's important to draw near to God, cry out in prayer, be encouraged by His Word... and when you do this you're not only honouring God, but you're also becoming a light to others in a dark world.

I pray I can continue to grow closer to my Father and grow in understanding of His plans; To seek what is good and beneficial and to be as healthy as I can be, both physically and spiritually; and that I can be a light in the world and help bring glory to God.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

pondering miracles...

Today I'm left pondering miracles, healings and resurrections...

As a Christian we're taught of the many great things Jesus did while on Earth, as well as the glorious power of God. It is not at all uncommon that when someone becomes ill, people pray for them to recover quickly, or to be healed and restored to health. Even when faced with serious illnesses people pray in faith for miracles ~ and this is common.

Even people who are not grounded in faith and who may not know Christ will stop and pray for great miracles when faced with illness and death.

So why then do we not pray for resurrections? Why when this is mentioned do people doubt or question?

In John 11 we learn the story of Lazarus.
"1Now a man named Lazarus was sick." When Jesus heard this he said, "4This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." Jesus told his disciples that they should go to him in Judea, but his disciples had fear as they had already faced persecution there. Jesus told them, ""Lazarus is dead, 5and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."

When they arrived they were greeted by Lazarus' sister. '21"Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask." 23Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" 27"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ,b]">[b] the Son of God, who was to come into the world." '

Though at first she didn't understand, she never doubted Jesus.

When they took Jesus to see Lazarus' tomb, Jesus wept. Many people wondered why Christ hadn't come to heal Lazarus before death. Jesus asked to enter the tomb, despite the odor or death and the doubts of some of the mourners.

"40Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" 41So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." 43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."

We read of another resurrection in Mark 5.

Mark 5:35 "While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?” Their faith had expired when the girl died, they lost all hope of seeing a miracle. Then (Mark 5:36) Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

5:41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” and (verse 42) Immediately the girl stood up and walked around.

We see here that people had faith Jesus could heal illness, but then doubted that he could resurrect the dead. But really, how can we distinguish what miracles are "rational," "believable," or "common" and which are not? Are any miracles described as "rational," "believable," or "common?" No, because then they wouldn't require faith.

In James 5 James writes, "13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

We are called to pray continuously, to pray in faith and to bring everything to our Father... so why not bring our deepest requests, fears and sufferings to him? Why not pray for miracles?

If we can believe in the works on Christ and his disciples on Earth, and if we can believe in the power and glory of God, why can't we truly believe that all things are possible through our Father?

For more listen to John Piper talk about (briefly) about miracles on YouTube: