Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

A New Beginning

March 28, 2013 11 comments

My wife and I are celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary today. I was hoping to take her to some fancy restaurant after dropping our kids off at our in-laws, but instead we’ll be heading to a restaurant close to my in-laws and hopefully won’t be getting the dreaded, “HURRY UP AND GET HOME” phone call with kids wailing in the background.

In the Bible, the number 8 is associated with new beginnings and resurrection: 7 is the day of completion and rest, so 8 is the first in a new series, and Jews were to be circumcised on the eighth day. As we celebrate 8 years of marriage, it feels like God is giving us a fresh start and it’s hard to keep track of all that’s running through our thoughts and prayers.

And this is why I decided to take up this blog again. Safe to say that blogging got tiring for me because I wanted to be a “good” blogger who not only wrote material but also engaged my readers and other bloggers. Far too many times, I found myself thinking about a clever tweet relating to parenting without actually doing any parenting or thinking “This will make a great post” instead of enjoying the moment with my family. My tendency to get addicted to things didn’t help matters. I checked my iFriend all the time: “Hold on hon, I have to see if anyone tweeted me.” In fact, my relationship with my phone has escalated to the point my wife calls it my ife now (as in wife). She jokingly says that but there’s certainly truth in there that even a husband as dull as I noticed.

I don’t know if this blog will be any “good” but I do want it to be something I can look back on and maybe even my kids can read in the future.

Now back to my wife. The reason I mention the Biblical meaning of the number 8 is because God really is giving us a new beginning and resurrection. Dreams I’ve long forgotten are being restored. Emotional and spiritual wounds and scars I’ve tried to suppress or didn’t even know were affecting my present are being healed. My kids are growing up way too fast – D1 is 5, the age at which I had my first crush – and my wife and I have been praying for wisdom on how to raise them. I used to have a neat 5 and even 10 year plan for life but almost all of that is changing. As much as I’d like life to be formulaic and predictable, it isn’t.

And that’s why as we celebrate our anniversary today, I’m grateful for my wife. The future is uncertain and raising kids can be scary and frustrating at times, but I’m glad we get to take this journey together. She makes me want to be a better man for her, for my kids, and for everyone we meet. She encourages me when I’m down and reminds me of Christ’s example of humility when I’m proud. She lets me eat her last bite of cheesecake. With a woman like that by my side, I think I’ll be ok in trying to be the best dad I can be.


Random Update

August 27, 2012 16 comments

I don’t know about other parents with 3 kids, but after having S1, I’ve had as much success at gathering my thoughts as D1 and D2 have at gathering their toys: the moment they’re gathered, they’re all over the place again, to the point you just say, “This is futile.” So while I’ve had plenty of blog fodder over the past 3 months, e.g., D1 saying S1’s package looks like a bun and me no longer being able to look at a pork bun the same way again, I’ve had difficulty putting 2 or more sentences together in a coherent manner. The result is a random update for you readers:

  • Remember my goals for my 30th year? Well, I sucked something awful at them until this post, and since April, I’ve lost 24 pounds. I was 206 on 4/17; 182 this morning. Been doing a low-carb diet, going to the gym 3 times per week and running with the wife 2 times a week.
  • People ask me if having a son is any different. Yes. He has a junk and said junk is in fact easier to clean. Also, diaper changes are always an adventure because you never know when he’ll make it rain.
  • People warned me, but still, the first time he peed on me, I was shocked by the force and speed the urine traveled towards my face. I mean, it’s akin to a tiny, plastic water gun shooting with the pressure of a fire hydrant.
  • Going to the gym isn’t very fun some days but my kids motivate me. Not just so that I model an active lifestyle for them and do my part to ensure I’m around for a long time, but also to intimidate potential suitors. I know it’s still years, if not a decade(s) away (hopefully), but I want to be able to say to that kid, “I’ve been training years for you, punk.”
  • I used to hate running. Mostly because I couldn’t run very far or fast. Now, I love it. I’m still not particularly fast, but somehow, my wife and I ended up running almost 7 miles in 86 minutes a few weeks ago. You never know how far you can go when you’ve got an encouraging wife by your side.
  • Even more motivating when said wife gave birth less than 3 months ago.
  • Since we’re homeschooling, my wife didn’t need to go back to school this August. I thought she’d be somewhat sad. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Having been a high school teacher for 7 years, this was the happiest I’ve ever seen her in late-August.
  • Instagram is hard to use for stalking random people for people with fat fingers like me. #SorryIWasJustStalkingYourPhotosIdidntMeanToLikeThem
  • We’re still living with my parents. It’s both a blessing and a challenge. I’m sure the feeling is mutual.
  • I wore a pair of short-shorts (5″ is pretty short for me) for the first time last week for a run. Felt like I was running naked. Good thing my thighs are so pale – they’re super reflective. Safety first.
  • With 3 kids, there’s always at least 1 person crying or whining in the house at all times.
  • I may or may not contribute to said whining. *ahem*
  • D2 has NO interest in potty training.
  • Our trashcans are constantly filled with crap. Literally.
  • If you eat a bunch of chia seeds and there’s no bathroom near you a few hours later, you’re going to have a bad time.
  • My wife was away for a 3-day trip. They were in their PJs/underwear/diapers/naked for most of those 3 days.
  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: teething is no fun. Yes, S1 is teething at 3 months. *sigh*
  • I’m busier than I’ve probably ever been. I’m more scatterbrained than ever. The number of things I forget is usually greater than the number of things I remember. But I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy or laughed as much as I have in the last 3 months. Having 3 kids isn’t easy but it’s a joy.

What about you? How have you been?

Categories: Family Tags: , , ,

Indoctrinating My Children

July 17, 2012 9 comments

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve probably wondered if I would actually go through with it. Sure, I believe it…with all my heart. And I’ve been a devoted follower for so long…But to manipulate impressionable children? To abuse my authority and the fact that my children will believe most everything I say?  What if when they get older, they decide it’s not for them and turn away? “I mean come on, Pop…don’t you think it’s a good idea to let them decide on their own when they’re old enough,” you might ask.


Yes, I’m indoctrinating my children, brainwashing them even. And I do it unashamedly.

D2 in her O’s gear

That’s right, I’m raising Orioles fans. And I’m kind of wondering if this might be considered cruel and unusual punishment because frankly, the Orioles have been bad for a long time. And it hasn’t only affected their fans; it’s also affected their players.

But it wasn’t always this way.

While I did miss the glory years & world series championships, I grew up watching Cal Ripken, enjoyed the opening of Camden Yards, The Streak, Brady Anderson–who I thought looked like Luke Perry on steroids–and his sideburns + jump cup adjustment, Calomar, Murray’s 500th, Jeffrey Maier, and going wire-to-wire in ’97.

Since he was busy with work, my dad was never able to take me to a game. But I remember sitting at Camden Yards, enjoying funnel cake and thinking, “Man…when I have kids I’m going to take them to ball games.”

My wife thinks baseball is boring. I know right? I wondered how that could be possible too. But there are two surefire ways of convincing my wife to do any activity with the family: 1) say that it’s making memories for the kids and 2) make sure the kids look really cute in matching outfits. The fact that the Oriole’s Dugout Club  is a great deal doesn’t hurt either. So I bought the family matching jerseys and hats and did my best to get them excited for their first game.


“ME!!!” the girls would shout in unison. They’re at the point where they do this for everything. “WHO WANTS TO BRUSH THEIR TEETH?!?!” “MEEEEEE!!!”

“See D1, and D2, isn’t the Oriole cute?” Seriously, the logo redesign really helped as the old bird was kind of boring: I bought D1 an Oriole’s hat with the plain bird a few years back and she never wanted to wear it.

So needless to say, after enough brainwashi…errrr, convincing, they were really excited for their first game. So we got all dressed up and they looked pretty cute if I do say so myself. And it didn’t hurt that the O’s were in FIRST PLACE!

After the 3rd inning or so, D1 asks me when we’re going to go home. Coincidentally, that may have been the inning we finished our hot dogs and funnel cake. We were able to make it through 5 innings before the kids started getting really restless. Still, those 5 innings of spending time with my family and root, root, rooting for the home team were awesome.

While it is challenging taking 2 kids and an infant to the ballpark, it’s been a great way to spend time together as a family. Sure, the O’s are starting to come back down to earth (sending 3 starting pitchers to the minors? That’s a clown rotation, bro) but making memories is well worth the cost of admission (and parking. Don’t ever forget the parking).

And while you may disagree with me indoctrinating my kids into loving the Orioles, I think we can all agree on teaching my kids about the goodness of funnel cake. Oh how wonderful are your ways, oh funnel cake! How majestic is your splendor! How delicious is your taste!

What about you? Do you feel bad for making your kids root for a losing team? What are some fun family activities you do in the summer?

Family of 5: The First Days

May 31, 2012 23 comments

My biggest apprehension as we were expecting our third child was how D2 would react to her new brother or sister. You see, when D2 was born, I had one of my worst moments as a dad. Rereading that post today still brings the sawdust into my eyes as all the emotions flood back. And unlike D1, who loved daddy and mommy pretty equally, D2 clung to her mommy. In fact, my mom tells me that D2 is just like I was as a toddler: clinging to her everywhere she went, even to the bathroom. So we did all we could to prepare D2, but definitely had my fears.

Thankfully, those fears were never realized as D1 and D2 LOVE their baby brother.

D1 w/ her baby brother

Note the pigs MK would be proud of.

D2 sniffs and/or kisses her baby brother

And yes, those are a box of Chilean Asian Pears in the background. I don’t know why I find them amusing.

Maybe it’s the fact that D2 copies EVERYTHING D1 does, and D1 loved her brother from the minute she saw him. Or maybe D2 just naturally loves him. Either way, we haven’t had to deal with any jealousy or baby hitting issues. Yet. Now if only we could get D1 and D2 to stop fighting…

On Tuesday, we had our son circumcised. Since he was born in a birth center, he wasn’t circumcised there, so we had to get it done somewhere else. We debated between a hospital/surgeon (covered by insurance) or a mohel (may not covered by insurance). A mohel would’ve been anywhere from $450 to $600. However, I recently spent $370 on a lens. I’d say his penis being in the hands of someone who literally handles a handful of penises per day was worth a few hundred more than a lens. You’re welcome son.

The mohel we used was very professional and the process was quick – the actual removing of foreskin took maybe 2 minutes. But when he put the clamp in and made a cut and some blood ran down my son’s shaft, I nearly fainted. As funny as it might be to see someone get hit in the nuts, every man cringes – when you see blood emerging from the male organ, most men faint. It’s the bond we have with our packages.

When he showed me the finished product, it looked like he cut off the tip. I nearly fainted again. He said it looked good; I’d disagree. Bloody junk is not a good junk.

But seriously, having a boy has made my blog very junk-centric. When we had D1 and D2, there’s really no reason to discuss their lady parts. I’m eagerly looking forward to the amusing spam comments coming from all parts of Europe.

Categories: Family Tags: , ,

It’s a Boy!

May 30, 2012 25 comments

My wife and I welcomed our son into the world this past weekend! Mom and baby are doing well, but naturally, no one ever asks how I’m doing. So I’ll go ahead and tell you anyway.

Contractions became regular around 10:50pm – about 10 minutes apart and 20 seconds in duration. I think for D1, I timed contractions to the tenth of a second; for ?3, I got close enough. My next note is at 12am – “starting to get more intense.” About 12:15, her contractions were now a minute in length and about 12:45, we left for the birth center. We got there an hour or so later and she was 6cm, 90%, and -1 station. Around 2:10am, she was 6.5cm. Having only progressed 0.5cm in 30 minutes, I figured we were in for a long night, so I guzzled a 16oz coffee refusing to be as sleepy as I was during D2’s birth.

30 minutes later, my wife had a crucial contraction. The midwives and nurses were attending to other mothers in the birth center and I had a more than a mild freakout thinking that the baby would be born right then and there. Thankfully, only her water broke and the midwives entered the room. 4 minutes later, ?3 was crowning, and 2 minutes and 2 pushes after that, my son was born.

My wife told the midwives she didn’t want them to announce the sex of the child and she wanted to look for herself. Amusingly, she took her glasses off during the pushing and my wife, God bless her, is pretty blind without her glasses. So when ?3 initially emerged, she was inching closer and closer to his/her crotch to figure out what the sex was, exclaiming, “I…can’t see….what is it???”….”I think….it’s a boy? Is it a boy?!?!”

He weighed 7lbs14oz and was 21″ in length. He found the boob pretty quickly and had a good old time nursing. We took a nap and my mother-in-law arrived around 5:30am with food. While the midwives were making sure my wife was ok and I was packing the car, my son pooped all over my mother-in-law. Yup. A pile of meconium on her dress.

Numerous people have asked me, “So are you happy it’s a boy?” Yes, but no more happier than if it had been a girl. When I said I just wanted the baby to be healthy, I really meant it. My parents on the other hand? They were definitely happy we had a son.

Frankly, changing his diapers is a bit of a pain. Parents of sons often told me how changing a boy’s diaper is easier – that may be the case later, but right now? Not so much. You see, I too am a penis-carrying male, and as such, I’m super gentle when I wipe my son down since I know what it feels like when your testicles experience even the slightest bit of force. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t shocked at how big his sac was. It kind of reminded me of that dog in the Van Wilder movie.

I’m definitely tired but I’m far more in love. And also, a little addicted to how he smells.

Tomorrow: how D1 & D2 reacted to their brother and how a mohel nearly made me faint

Categories: Family Tags: ,

An Update on My Family

May 24, 2012 14 comments

Good morning Readers (or those who forgot to unsubscribe). It’s been a while – so much so that I had to sit and think for a few minutes what my wordpress password was this morning.

So let’s get down to it.

What’s going on Pop?

A lot. It’s been more than 2 months since my last blog post.

– First, Baby #3 or ?3 as Poppy coined him or her is almost a week overdue. Listen kiddo, your mom’s a patient person and all but this isn’t cute. Just kidding. Sort of. Our bags have been packed and the infant car seat has been installed for more than 2 weeks. We can’t wait! I’m sure I’ll regret saying that in a day (or is it a week?) or so when I’m sleep-deprived and wondering what we were thinking when we let our kids outnumber us, but nothing a little newborn baby smell can’t solve. Seriously. Sniffing a newborn is intoxicating.

– I sprained my ankle more than a month ago playing basketball with church members. When I came home limping, my wife’s jaw dropped and she said, “You have got to be joking.” Yup. My very pregnant wife had to take care of both the kids. This effectively ended my weekend warrior career. In my defense, I sprained it when I got bumped and landed on someone’s foot. You’re right – that’s a terrible defense.

So my very pregnant wife had to drive us to the ER to get me x-rayed. We must’ve been quite the sight: a preggo pushing a guy around in a wheelchair.

While at the ER, my wife felt something itchy in her hair. ACK!!!! DOG TICK!!! We had more than a mild freakout at this point. Thankfully, it didn’t bite her.

– After we got home from the ER around midnight, I started having serious stomach pains. You see, about 7 years ago, I had symptoms of pancreatitis for 3 months. After being misdiagnosed numerous times, they finally found it was due to a duodenal duplication cyst and they removed it. I also had my gall bladder removed as a precaution. So my very pregnant wife had to drive me back to the ER. This time, she pushed me around in a wheelchair while I was carrying my crutches.

Basically, the Dr. and nurse blew me off at this point. I can’t say for sure why, but I’m guessing they thought I just came back for pain meds. Maybe that’s cynical but they seemed more annoyed by me than wanting to find out what was wrong, especially with my past history. Anywho, they discharged me after giving me pain meds and not doing anything beyond a blood test and putting me in outpatient care.

The next day, I wasn’t able to keep anything down – not even water. So I made an appointment to see the doctor a soon as possible. Thankfully, she was much more understanding and concerned.

– So for the past month, I’ve been going through a series of test. They couldn’t figure out what caused it from the tests they ran so my doctor decided to order a capsule test. My insurance deemed it cosmetic and not medically necessary so they rejected it after they initially approved it. So I have no idea what caused my pancreatitis symptoms to return. Thankfully, after about a week or so of eating nothing but jello and broth, I was able to hold down some solid food.

– That medical scare put the fear of God in me. Turning 30 (more like feeling lethargic and fat, not necessarily the fact I turned 30), spraining my ankle, and pancreatitis reminded me that I’m not guaranteed to be here to grow old with my wife and raise our kids. And since my wife will be homeschooling starting in the Fall (read: we’ll be a one-income family), I decided to finally get serious about my health.

But weren’t you serious about your health this year?

I said I was. But I was terrible at it. In fact, from the beginning of the year until I got sick, I was slowly getting depressed. I tried to eat healthier and exercise, but it seemed fruitless. Here I was, supposed to be getting excited about ?3 but instead, I’m sitting in a wheelchair in an ER waiting room, crutches in hand, with my pregnant wife sleeping in an uncomfortable seat, feeling sorry for myself.

So I decided to make a change. For real this time. Better late than never.

My wife and I finished watching Fat, Sick and Nealy Dead, which we started back in February but never finished. I had a Vitamix at home, so rather than buy a new juicer, I decided to do a 15-day juice fast using the Vitamix.

Not going to lie. It was tough at first. I think my daily caloric intake was less than 1,000 calories, which was nothing when compared with my typical caloric intake, which was closer to 3,000. But after 3 days or so, I felt great!

I lost 12lbs over the 15 days and in the 3 weeks following, I’ve lost 5 more pounds, mostly through diet (lot less meat and eating out, smaller portions) and exercise. Other than this point – ironically, a sprained ankle derailed my fitness goals at that time – I’m probably in the best shape of my life. Which leads me to my next update:

– I’ve been enjoying taking my kids to Pump It Up. I prefer Pump It Up over other bounce places because the adults can play too. I may or may not get winded trying to keep up with D1 but I love being active with my kids. A few months ago, I would’ve rather preferred taking a nap over taking my kids out to do something active.

While I’ve neglected this blog for far too long, I’m back to where I began: I want to be the best dad I can be. Go, Pop, go!

P.S. Bring on the sleep deprivation!

Categories: Family Tags: , , ,

The Great Muffin Craving of 2012

March 1, 2012 12 comments

Like Michael Scott, I’m not superstitious but I’m a little stitious. When my wife and I were expecting D1, both our moms unleashed a slew of Korean pregnancy superstitions on us. Three of them they stated repeatedly

  1. If the pregnant mom doesn’t get the food she’s craving, the baby’s eyes will be crooked
  2. Post-birth, the mom has to have a diet subsisting of seaweed soup (miyeok guk 미역국)
  3. Post-birth, the mom has to be kept warm at all times to prevent achy joints and arthritis later in life

The last one, my wife and I saw firsthand when we visited my cousin who had given birth in the summer, shortly after we found out we were expecting. It was a sweltering, humid day in Maryland (which is pretty much every day in late-July to early-August around here) and the house was horribly uncomfortable – we figured the air conditioning was broken. After greeting us, my cousin went to her room to try and get some rest on her bed. Her mom sees her and JUMPS up in shock and runs over to her. Alarmed, we followed behind her. She grabs a damyo (a thick, fuzzy blanket Koreans use in the winter) (It’s probably not spelled that way commonly, but damyo is funnier in my mind) and throws it on my cousin. It also turns out that the A/C wasn’t broken; my aunt wouldn’t allow it to be turned on. My mom nodded approvingly.

Most pregnancy superstitions (how the woman is carrying the baby determines the sex, for example) seem silly. But the first Korean pregnancy superstition I listed above? I followed that without fail. Not because I loved my unborn child (which I did); but because I love food. So not only does it win me Good Husband points, I also get to eat food.

For example, this past weekend, my wife was craving Bon Chon chicken. It’s a 40 minute drive. I definitely earned some Good Husband points for that one. Plus, I LOVE Bon Chon. This is the rare win-win for a husband. And yes, I bought 2 large orders just in case she wouldn’t leave any leftovers she was really hungry*.

So yesterday, we were heading to our car after doing some shopping at Sam’s Club and my wife says, “I’m craving a chocolate muffin.” If you know my wife, you know that she’s a fairly healthy eater. In fact, you could argue that if it weren’t for me, she wouldn’t eat junk food at all. And you’d win that argument handily. She even had a plan: rather than buying 4 massive chocolate muffins they have available at Sam’s, she decided we’d go to Panera and get one. Panera-lover that I am, I had no problem with this.

Except, Panera had no chocolate muffins.

She suggested we try Dunkin Donuts.

Alas. They only had chocolate chip muffins (horrible first world problem, no?).

The rain began pouring down. If you know Maryland drivers, you know that driving ability is inversely proportional with precipitation.

I love my chocolate muffin kid; I will not be deterred.

We tried another store. No luck.

My wife said, “Let’s just go home…”

I love my chocolate muffin kid; I will not be deterred.

We drove to another county** to a Giant. The rain was still pouring and I couldn’t find a close parking spot – I hadn’t planned for rain so I was wearing my regular shoes.

I love my chocolate muffin kid; I will not be deterred.

I told my wife to wait in the car – she’s at the waddling phase (those were her words, not mine).

I ran in and headed toward the bakery. There was an older lady (all of my grocery store confrontations tend to be with older ladies for some reason) leisurely perusing the baked goods with a tong in her hand. GASP there was only one chocolate muffin left and the old lady was using the only pair of tongs. I may or may not have very gently nudged her aside and grabbed the muffin with my bare hand. Pretty sure she looked at me with one of those, “WHY I NEVER…”

I love my chocolate muffin kid; I will not be deterred.

Like a proud hunter returning home with a prized game, I returned to our vehicle triumphant.

So there you go, kiddo – this is how much daddy loves chocolate muffins you.

And yes, she did share some of the muffin with me. Even a piece of the top. Now that’s love.

What about you? What pregnancy superstitions did your parents tell you? Did you have any cravings during pregnancy?


* Thankfully, my wife will usually share at least a bite of what I bring back for her. Usually.

** We live on the county border. Very convenient for when I want to make blog posts sound more dramatic.