April 07, 2016

Advice Wipes

I am grateful to have parents and parents-in-law who never dictated/instructed us how to raise our children. They let us learn this all on our own and trust our instincts, and only gave us advice when we asked.

I have long since stopped giving advice to any one in any thing, especially anything about parenting, unless they asked me. These are some of my experiences of a wake-up call:

1) Back some years ago, a mom with a second adopted baby cried out on Facebook that she is having a tough time. Having had a second baby myself, having known how dreadful postpartum depression is, having BEEN THERE and thinking that she doesn't even have to deal with the pains of recovering from birthing or engorgement, I eagerly jumped up and commented it will be okay and it will pass. A mutual friend commented that whoever says that don't really know what they are talking about ... how the heck should they know what they are talking about because they do not know what you are going through. Of course it offended me because I have had PPD, I have had a hard time recovering emotionally and physically, and I felt totally qualified to say IT WILL PASS, it will be okay. But then I realized it was not my place to say such things. It was not what that mom needed to hear from me.

2) In no way bragging, my kids were always good travelers when we used to live in Las Vegas. Our drive to my in-laws usually took 6 hours, and we have survived it without iPads or iPhones in the car (except for me, haha!). One day one of my close friends got a van with those built-in DVD players and she posted on Facebook how happy she was that her kids now can watch movies while they drive. I arrogantly commented, "I'd rather talk to my kids" and she casually responded, "ouch." I felt like slapping my face for hurting her and I immediately apologized.

3) If any of you remember my post some months ago about an "On This Day" post I made when my first child was a toddler, you will recall that I said the AAP suggests no more than 1 hr (or something) of watching tv for toddlers 2 and up and none at all for babies younger than that. I bragged, saying we have survived our days without TV, etc. On my "On This Day" repost, I said I was laughing at my past self (because ever since J was born, that parenting style went outside the window even though I only let C watch nursery things like the alphabet, colors, shapes, etc). I saw that younger version of me as an arrogant, pompous parent, and I was laughing at my her thinking "Oooh, you're in so much trouble."

So, yes, I have stopped (and still trying to stop) giving unsolicited advice to parents on how to raise their kids unless I was asked how I did certain things. The only thing that matters is that they love them and that they are doing the best they can in the best way they know how while dealing with their own weaknesses and shortcomings.

 Elder M. Russell Ballard has said, "There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family. Many are able to be “full-time moms,” at least during the most formative years of their children’s lives, and many others would like to be. Some may have to work part-or full-time; some may work at home; some may divide their lives into periods of home and family and work. What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else."  (Daughters of God, Apr. 2008)

January 13, 2015

Note to Self: The Last Time

My husband showed this post to me when we just had our 3rd baby, and I was going through a rough and tough time. Wanted to share it as well to you. (I googled the poem again):

The Last Time

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
you will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before,
when you had freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.
You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feedings and burping,
Nappy changes and crying,
Whining and fighting,
Naps or a lack of naps,
It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

But don't forget...
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed your baby
for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.
One day you will carry them on your hip,
then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake to this.
One afternoon you will sing "the wheels on the bus"
and do all the actions,
Then never sing them that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.
They will one day run to you with arms raised,
for the very last time.

The thing is, you won't even know it's the last time
Until there are no more times, and even then,
it will take you a while to realise.

So while you are living in these times,
Remember there are only so many of them
And when they are gone,
You will yearn for just one more day of them

For one last time.
- Author unknown

I've had some of these last times with my eldest and I do miss those times with him. I still have two young-uns to give me those again for one last time.

January 09, 2015

Salt Dough Footprint

Little princess' foot print.

This was my daughter's footprint at 3 months old. Hers turned out so much better than her brothers' foot/hand prints that I did years ago. I think it's because I didn't have a rolling pin back then, and I didn't have a good bowl/cutter to cut the dough with back then.

Same recipe, though.


1 cup flour
1 cup salt
1/2 cup warm water

  • Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Mix well.
  • Make a well in the middle of the bowl of dry ingredients, and pour in the water. Mix and knead into a dough. Add water until desired texture is reached. 1/2 cup for me was good enough.
  • Roll the dough into a ball, and flatten with a rolling pin until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Make the print. (For me, it worked better when I made the footprint first before cutting the dough).
  • You can use a clear bowl (to see if the print is in the middle of the cut you're about to make) or cookie cutters to cut the dough.
  • Either air dry the masterpiece, or put in the oven at 200°F for 1 ½ to 2 hours or more, depending on your oven.
  • When done, you can either leave the dough as is or paint it (some say acrylic is best).

Our oven back when I made her brothers' prints didn't warm enough at 200°F, whereas our oven now got a lot warmer at that temperature and "baked" the dough perfectly, so just keep watch of yours.

Be sure to make a hole before leaving the dough to air dry or "bake" if you want to hang it somewhere. My boys' prints went inside a shadow box frame (as shown below) - before they broke into pieces. I think I made their dough too thick. Hopefully our little girl's print will be just fine.

The boys' foot prints from years ago.

December 23, 2014

Christmas Crafts 2014

So I haven't posted for a while, and then I remembered the crafts I made this month (both by myself and with our kids). These are all ideas from Pinterest.

 Craft #1. Original source here.

Paper star
Craft #2. Original source here.

Paper wreath
Craft #3. Original source here.

Snowmen (and girl) foot prints

I was also considering making paper snowflakes with C, and a "snowman" made out of boxes, but decided we can do them next year. I think we did a pretty good job making at least 3 crafts. That is more than I ever did in the past Christmases we had.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

How was your Christmas?

September 18, 2014

38 Weeks

The crib is set up. The pack-n-play, too (because our room is small to put the crib in there, so her crib stayed in her room while her pack-n-play is going to be in our room while she's sleeping with us). I've taken the diaper box out (old diapers from J, they don't expire you know) and stored it in her room along with my personal nursing things. I've washed her "just enough" amount of clothes (we still need to get her some winter clothes, she only has mostly onesies and footed sleepers haha!), folded and tucked them neatly away.

My planner has been filled since last Sunday to the day before she's due to come - things I need to do/clean/prepare (freezer meals, anyone?) before the big day - if she does wait 'til that day. The hospital bag lay open on her crib, waiting to be filled with last items like toiletries or cellphone chargers. The rechargeable batteries have been collected and are now being charged for future repeated use (crib mobile, swing, vibrating chair, toys, etc).

I look at my planner and see that on a particular day, I have to clean this and that because it will probably be months before I get to do it again (*cough* the oven, for example, which was, and still is, really dirty when we moved in). "Ooh, maybe sterilize her bottles on this day so it's not so far away from her due date." Clean the bathrooms, clean the shower, clean the windows and glass doors (also dirty when we moved in, like it hasn't been cleaned for more than a year), clean the vents (also dirty when we moved in. They can actually catch on fire easily with the amount of dust stuck in them), clean the floors, etc. I am nesting, my heart and spirit are willing but my body isn't.

I am big. Well, at least my belly is big. I can't find a comfortable position anymore. Not sitting up, not lying down, and definitely not standing up. I can't count how many times I almost fell trying to go downstairs just because I can no longer see where I'm stepping at, and most of the time it's when I walked my son to school.

Yes, walk. I hate it now because it hurts me. Well at least I hate it FOR NOW while I'm in pain doing it, but I like the short moment it gives me each way to be with my boys and not anything else. Plus it's like a forced kind of exercise before I give birth, walking to and from school five days a week.

Sleeping is a pain. Literally. I've been having a lot of Braxton Hicks lately and aside from having to wake up every 30 minutes or so to go pee, sometimes the Braxton Hicks keep me up an hour or two a stretch on the nights that it visits me. I just look at it this way: I can go back to sleep right away. With a newborn, that's not the case. Especially if you're the one with the food supply. So for now I'll take the pains and discomfort and cherish how I actually have it easier right now.

It's kind of nerve-wracking thinking that next weekend is my last weekend with just our two boys and then our lives will change again. She'll join our small family and my routine will be thrown off. To be honest, I have mixed feelings at the moment. Knowing how I've been with my first two children, I am scared that I will be the same when she comes. You know, the baby blues. Emotional roller coaster, constant sickness (I think it was mastitis though I was never diagnosed because I never went to see a doctor each time I got sick), loneliness, fatigue, etc. The whole package.

And J. I wish I could spend more time alone with him now that his older brother is in school. I've enjoyed the short time (a month by the time I give birth) of alone time I've had with him - something we never really had since he was born. It made our bond stronger as a mother and son. I got to know him more. I wish I could do more for him - take him to places, run with him (I can't), play more "boyish" stuff with him, read comfortably with him, explore this new State we live in with him - now that we have the chance to be together, just me and him. But I can't. I am limited to my limited amount of daily strength that I need to share with all of my boys/man. At times I want this just-me-and-J-time to last longer - a couple of months more or so with me in full capacity to do a lot more than I can now with him - to make up for the three years that he hardly had any chance to spend one-on-one time with me. But that's not possible. How am I ever going to give him that alone-time attention again that he just barely got? I think in some ways I'm not ready to give it up just yet.

But despite all these fears and anxiety, along with the unknown of raising a daughter (it really feels like being a first-time parent all over again), I am ecstatic to meet our little girl. I am excited to hold her, to smell her, to let her share her innocence with me, with her Dad, and her brothers. I am excited to let her feel she is loved, and to feel her love as well. So many good things in store as she grows up with her brothers. What a blessing she is to us. C is very excited to meet her. He gives my belly kisses and hugs more than five times a day, and whispers, "I love you baby sister!" Lately he's been pretending that she answers him with, "I love you too!" J is now slightly aware he's about to have a baby sister, but still kind of oblivious to it. I'm surely gonna miss him a lot when she comes, the same way I missed C when he came. But I am ready and excited to welcome our daughter into this world.