On March 31, 2013, Easter Sunday, you were baptized. It was far less harrowing for me than your circumcision. I’ve mostly gotten over that, though I did feel very apologetic for a while – much like I was when we had our dog neutered when I was in high school and it felt like every look he gave me was, “How could you let them do that to me?”
Your day began when I gave you a bath on Sunday morning, which you still really hate. You’re losing a lot of your chub and although I REALLY REALLY miss your rolls, I don’t miss the cheese I’d often find lurking within said rolls. So aside from you now actively trying to escape the tub, bathing you is far simpler.
We then dressed you in your transport clothes – as any parent with multiple children knows, you never transport your kids to an important event in the clothes you want them to be wearing at that event – and headed to church. Once there, we dressed you in the tuxedo onesie mommy made for you. Grandma and grandpa on mommy’s side were there, but grandma and grandpa on daddy’s side had to be at their church for Easter Sunday.
Daddy shared briefly with the congregation on what your name means and the significance of your baptism. There tends to be disagreement regarding infant baptism but for us, it basically means we will do our best to raise you in a loving, Christian home and when you’re old enough, you can decide if you want to confirm your faith. I also joked to the congregation:
“Don’t let that adorable look on his face fool you folks – I assure you he is a sinful, selfish being, and he needs Jesus.”
It was a joke, but there is some truth in there that mommy and I desire that you live your life for something more than just yourself.
When our pastor sprinkled water over your head and laid hands to pray for you, first you pushed her hands away, then you grabbed her hands and started clapping them for her, then you tried to eat her hand (you do this with EVERYTHING), then you started clapping her hands for her again. I know I should’ve been closing my eyes during the prayer but it was hilarious. And people in the congregation found it hilarious too – as the prayer continue the laughter was increasing as more and more people were opening their eyes to look.
So that was your baptism. It doesn’t mean you’re saved nor does it mean you’re forced to stay a Christian. It was mommy and daddy’s way of saying to God, our family, and church that we will do all we can to raise you with Christian values, and our hope is that the way mommy and daddy live out our faiths will be a testimony to you.
You’re almost a year old now and you’ve brought and continue to bring so much joy to our lives.
Since my family is leaving for a month-long missions trip to Thailand shortly, in all likelihood, this will be my last blog post of 2012. While I’m super excited for visiting our friends in Thailand (not to mention Mr. Donut), I’m positive the stress-levels in our home will be elevated as we have to begin packing and are attempting to send out our New Year’s greeting cards prior to leaving, so I thought it’d be a good time to reflect on what I’m thankful for this past year (in no particular order):
– For funny kids: particularly D1. Sure being a parent can be challenging
often at times, but it’s also incredibly hilarious. In Sunday school, D1’s teacher has been teaching them about the armor of God: belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the preparation of the gospel of peace, , shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit. So each week, they learn about the piece of armor and make it. The teacher then collected the item and held on to it until they completed the unit.
A few weeks ago, D1 told a lie to my wife. When she confesses to my wife that she did in fact tell a lie, my wife asks, “D1, why did you lie?” Her response? “Because mom, my teacher has my belt of truth.”
– For that first bite of rice not causing me to go all Nutty Professor: My goal weight was 175 and I met that in early October, mostly due to a low-carb diet and lifting weights. Once I met the goal weight, I figured it was time to eat some rice. I’m not gonna lie – I thought I’d go all Nutty Professor and all the fat would suddenly come back after that first bite. Thankfully, I’ve been keeping steady at 175 and I hope to do so for the foreseeable future.
– For my parents: we’ve been living with them for more than a year now, and somehow, we haven’t had any major blow ups. I’m grateful that they’d give up their freedom and comfort to house us. It’s easy to let myself become ungrateful and only think of the inconveniences living with them may cause – choosing to be grateful has been both challenging and a source of personal growth for me.
– For juicy baby fat: D2’s thighs were mighty juicy, but S1’s are even more amazing. For his last checkup, he was off the charts for weight and 90th percentile for height. The little guy’s 6 months old and weighs around 20lbs; D2 weighs about 25.
– For my wife: nearly 8 years of marriage and I’m falling more in love with her every day. This year marked a lot of change and challenges for her: quitting her job and becoming a homeschooler, caring for the kids while I nursed my sprained ankle and stomach issues, birthing and nursing S1, and encouraging me as I spent more time at the gym.
– For this blog and my readers: while I don’t update nearly as much as I used to (those who blog regularly with 3 or more kids, I salute you!), I’m thankful that this blog has been an outlet for my musings and helping me to become better at organizing my thoughts. The people I’ve had a chance to meet and converse with have been an invaluable resource & encouragement in my life.
As we look toward the end of another year, what are you thankful for?
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 peoplefor 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?
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!
I have a well-documented hatred for mosquitoes (here, here, here, here, here, and here). My hatred for mosquitoes has only grown since having D1 and D2. Not only because of the diseases they can carry but because D1 and D2 scratch the crap out of their bites. I’m not gonna lie – there’ve been instances where I’ll tell D1, “D1, stop scratching your mosquito bites!” only to have my wife tell me, “Uhhh, hun. You’re scratching yours…” ^_^
To make matters worse, my parents read an article in the Korean Newspaper that talked about malaria and other diseases mosquitoes can carry shortly before we left for Thailand (for those planning on traveling to Thailand with kids, malaria can be a problem in some areas according to the CDC). If you know anything about Korean immigrants, they believe everything the newspaper says (think Fox News). So for about 2 weeks, I kept hearing how we need to protect our kids from mosquitoes every.single.day. from my parents.
In previous visits to Thailand, I’ve found that mosquitoes love me. The locals say it’s because I’m fat (seriously, I’m an XL there; M to L here) and I eat a lot of sugar (guilty). The nice thing is, even mosquitoes in Thailand don’t mess with the heat, so you don’t have to worry about being bitten between 10am and 5pm. But after that, it’s like a high blood sugar buffet for those pests when I’m there.
So on Sunday, July 17, we were heading up to our pastor friend’s home for dinner around 7pm. D1 and I playfully ran ahead of my wife, D2, our pastor friend, his wife, and 2 of his kids. We raced up the hill, and as usual, she won. I opened the door to enter the house and told D1, “HURRY! Or mosquitoes will come in.” We enter the doorway and I tell her to take off her shoes. I go to close the door since we’re both inside and then D1 SCREAMS! I look down thinking that something bit her feet and see nothing. She continues to scream and I look over at the door and I closed the door on her finger. I figured it’d just be bruised and calmly opened the door.
Now my wife and I aren’t the type to normally cuss, but I definitely screamed *($##^* in my mind. Her hand was positioned in the doorway in such a way that my closing the door on it caused the fingernail of her right index finger to tear completely off of her finger and loosely hang on by a sliver of skin, and was bleeding profusely. I remained calm, or at least tried to, picked her up, and slowly walked back towards the rest of the group, who had just made it up the hill. I calmly call out, “I think I need some help.” Once everyone saw the finger, they knew we had to rush to the hospital.
*&%* You are such an *#$&ing idiot! I repeating to myself in my mind. Not even a week into the trip and I hurt D1 like that. We put an ice pack on the finger and rush to the nearest hospital.
But what was amazing was how the day worked out. We tried to put D1 down for a nap earlier, but for whatever reason, she would not nap. So by this point, she was so utterly exhausted that she slept through the entire ride over to the hospital. Thank God.
When we get to the hospital, the doctors decide to clip the little bit of skin and take the fingernail off. So far, she’d been a trooper but no one likes getting open wounds cleaned, and she about screamed her head off.
The doctor taped it up with a lot of gauze and told us to keep it dry and come in for cleanings daily for about a week. Great….keeping a toddler’s finger dry in the rainy season in Thailand.
On the ride home, she’s still exhausted and looks sleepy. I’m feeling horrible at this point and replaying that moment over and over and over and over. Why the #$& was I so concerned about mosquitoes?!?! I’m such an idiot!!! GAH!!!!
In the softest whisper…”daddy, I love you.”
If that’s not grace, I don’t know what is.
The doctors prescribed a crap load of medication, mostly antibiotics and pain meds. But since she missed her nap earlier, she was absolutely exhausted and slept through the night without any medication.
Thankfully, there’s a nurse on-site at the hostel we stayed at, so she was able to clean it – my wife ended up calling the saline solution she used to rinse D1’s finger princess water. That made the daily cleanings much more fun.
It was a challenge keeping the gauze dry and concern over it getting infected did wonders for my prayer life.
It’s sad for me to admit, but it took me injuring her, her courage through the situation, and the grace she showed me that began a change of heart in me.
Most parents will tell you that their parenting performance and patience often coincides with the amount of sleep they are getting. Or maybe it’s just me. In any event, I didn’t get much sleep because 1) the hotel room didn’t have a thermostat and the room was cold, 2) just outside of our room was a speaker system for the airport that blared as flights arrived and passengers boarded throughout the night, and 3) D2 somehow ends up sideways and/or performs innate wrestling maneuvers on me whenever we sleep on the same bed. Safe to say I was pretty exhausted.
We got the kids ready and headed to breakfast, which was included with our room reservation. For those of you who’ve applauded my wife and my
stupidity bravery for traveling internationally with two kids, this was the thought that scared me even more: we’d essentially be eating out for every meal for one whole month. You see, there was a time when my wife and I enjoyed going out to eat, but now, we rush through meals outside of our home as quickly as possible. If Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale brings out the crazy in shoppers, eating out brings out the crazy in babies. Combined with the fact that D1 has been getting incredibly picky with her food, I certainly wasn’t looking forward to meals. This was made even more depressing since the only thing my wife and I love more than the wonderful people in Thailand is their food.
In any event, we made it through breakfast and after some difficulty finding our gate, we boarded our flight to Chiang Rai.
Traveling with Kids Tip #1: Simply asking your child, “Do you need to pee?” is not sufficient. Remember how neurotic you may have been for your first child’s feeds, even spending money on things like the Itzbeen, and calling your pediatrician because your newborn hasn’t had a wet diaper in a while? This is how you need to be when you’re traveling with kids. If it’s been a while since your child has gone to the potty, you need to sit ’em down on the pot and use Jedi mind tricks, the shhhhhhhhhhhhhh or UNGaaaaaah sounds, or whatever else you can think of to coax them into answering nature’s call. Even if it’s the tiniest drop of pee, trust me, that tiny drop could mean the difference between making it to the potty the next time. Also, you haven’t really lived until you’ve had to climb a massive hill to your hotel with a child that just said she needs to poop, your legs and lungs failing you.
After 36 hours of traveling, we made it to Chiang Rai, Thailand! We were greeted by our pastor friend at the airport and all the madness of traveling with 2 kids instantly disappeared. D1 was super excited as she got to ride in a car without a carseat. We settled into our guesthouse, which we would call home for the next month.
The rest of our missions team was arriving in about a week and my family and I enjoyed a great time of enjoying the beautiful sights and catching up with old friends. We also got to enjoy this goodness:
Fresh BBQ chicken. The chicken in Thailand are puny compared to their American counterparts since they generally don’t use any growth hormones. The chickens sold at this particular shop are free-range and delicious!
This may sound like heresy but this tastes better than bacon, mostly because it’s smoked bacon with the skin on and cooked to crunchy perfection.
And of course, Mister Donut! The only thing Stateside that I know of that comes close to these donuts is Einstein Bros. Bagels – the donuts are made of some sort of rice flour so they’re really chewy and have all the fried taste without any of the grease.
Things were going wonderfully until I made a huge, huge mistake.
I awoke the morning of Saturday, July 9 filled with anxiety. On my way to our bathroom in the basement, I noticed all of our bags sitting in the living room: 1 suitcase full of our stuff, 1 suitcase full of our kids’ stuff, 1 suitcase full of gifts, D1’s book bag full of books, my bookbag, my wife’s bookbag, a Baby Taylor, our moneybelts, the ergo, a pack ‘n play, and a partridge in a pear tree. Were we moving out or were we going on a 1-month missions trip to Thailand? The packed bags confirmed that after nearly a year of planning, the day had finally arrived.
The kids were still asleep, so I didn’t even consider waking them up and I let my wife sleep in since she packed all of our bags the night before (two of the myriad of things my wife is better than me at are folding clothes and packing bags). So I took out our itinerary and read it over for the 50 millionth time.
Depart: Washington Dulles Int’l Airport 9 July 2011, 1:25 PM (EST)
Arrive: Seoul Incheon International 10 July 2011, 4:35 PM (Local time)
Depart: Seoul Incheon International 10 July 2011, 5:40 PM
Arrive: Bangkok Int’l Airport 9:10 PM (local time)
Depart: Bangkok Int’l Airport 11 July 2011, 8:15 AM
Arrive: Chiang Rai Airport 9:35 AM
That’s 21 hours of air travel and 12 hours and 10 minutes of layovers. From the time we planned on leaving our home until we arrived in Chiang Rai was about 36 hours.
My wife and I had already taken D1 on a whirlwind tour of Thailand and Korea in 2009, so the length of the travel didn’t necessarily worry me. What gave me pause this time was 1) we now have 2 kids and D2 just reached her I’m-mobile-now-and-I’m-going-to-go-everywhere-and-put-everything-in-my-mouth stage, 2) our family was under quite a bit of stress the past few months with moving out, running into difficulty selling our home, and acclimating to life with my parents, among other things, 3) D1 was now potty trained, which is usually a good thing but for travel? Diapers are a godsend, and 4) the entire family had a summer cold.
Additionally, in 2009, we went to Thailand on a family vacation to visit the people we fell in love with and became friends with after leading two missions teams in 2006 and 2007. This year, we were leading a missions team from our church – they would be joining us in Thailand a week after we got there. As team leaders, my wife and I certainly had our fair share of concerns on how this would work out.
Wife and kids finally awoke, we got ready, and headed off to the airport, all of our bags–and anxiety–in tow.
We were greeted at the airport by quite a few members from our church, who prayed for us as we embarked on our first family missions trip. We definitely felt the love, especially D1 from a certain boy her age from our church who kissed her repeatedly. Ridiculously cute at this age; a punishable offense in a few years.
The great thing about flying Korean Air is that parents with small children get to board first, along with the elderly, those needing assistance and pregnant women. Maybe it’s like that for all international flights? In any case, it’s super convenient to have all of your stuff put away and to get situated before all the other passengers board. Not to mention the food on Korean Air is ridiculously good and the flight attendants are super nice (I even saw a group of them assist a mother who was traveling alone with 2 sons, probably the same age as D1 and D2 by holding and walking around with the younger child).
Normally, we don’t let D1 watch much television but on this trip, we relaxed the rules. A lot. Which would continue to be a recurring theme on the trip. She pretty much watched Pororo for the entire trip. We also had fun with D2 and stickers.
The flight was decent, save for us getting the death stare from all the other passengers whenever D2 would cry and D1 having to pee at the most inopportune times, i.e., when the bathrooms were always all occupied. Needless to say, we had a few very close calls.
Once we got into Incheon is when the trip started getting interesting. All of us were tired and cranky – or maybe it was just me? D2’s no lightweight, so my wife couldn’t move that fast and I was the family pack mule, carrying most of the bags, so I held D1’s hand. Usually in airports, I like to rush rush rush rush rush but D1’s short little legs couldn’t carry her that fast. So on more than one occasion, I ended up dragging her along. Oops. All of us were really tired and could’ve definitely used some rest, but by the time we got comfortable at our gate, it was time to board our flight to Bangkok.
This flight was much more difficult, with D1 and D2 both taking turns throwing mini tantrums. As we neared our destination, both of them passed out. So of course, they were ridiculously cranky when we woke them up to get off the plane. The only thing less fun than carrying a 30+lb child through an airport is carrying a wailing 30+lb child through an airport.
Being the clever dad I think I am, I asked D1 if she needs to pee when we walk past a restroom, to which she replies no. Of course, when we have long since passed the bathroom, she screams, “PEE PEE!” I drop all of our bags and hustle to find the nearest bathroom. I find one, plop her down on the seat and immediately, ‘shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh’. *whew* Crisis averted.
We finally made it to our hotel for the night, Louis’ Tavern Transit Hotel, absolutely spent and ready for bed. But of course, the kids are in no mood to sleep.
At this point, I wish I had good thoughts toward my kids, but the only words I could think of to describe them at this point of the trip was ‘nuisance’ and ‘burden’. I longed for the days when it was just my wife and I traveling. When we didn’t have to worry about bladders the size of a pea and it was us complaining about the babies crying on the plane.
We finally got the girls to go down. Just before I passed out, I hoped tomorrow would be a better day. It wasn’t.