Happy 4th birthday!

Sweet SP. You turned 4 today! Time has felt both fast and slow. This past year had some of the most challenging moments {in terms of managing your misbehavior and disobedience} and thankfully we have made it up to the top of the hill and are coming back down. 

In hindsight I know that the entrance of the little guy was so difficult for you and I wish I had been able to make it easier for you. To support you in your sadness and to build you up so you knew that whoever entered our family, you would not be lost or replaced. We are each so special because we are each a gift from God. 

{top frame: annual watching of your entrance into the world where you asked, "why am I all red when I come out?" Good question love.}
{bottom frame: (left) you are a month there. (right) a week before you turned 4.}

Despite the challenges we have had plenty of fun. You have such a zest for life and truly enjoy spending time with your aunties, uncles and friends. This is quite an answered prayer as we often pray for you to have a great love for Jesus and His people. 

You talk so much now (and so fast: you're a true New Yorker!) and your current favorite thing to talk about is anything related to Anna and Elsa! These are characters from the Disney movie Frozen. For your birthday we got you a book. You haven't put it down since you opened it. I love that about you. You cherish things and take care of them. 

Today we went to a nearby block party. You enjoyed bouncing in a bouncy house, getting a face paint of a butterfly princess, eating a hot dog, and playing a carnival game. I love that you have so much energy inside- you have been made just as you are by our great Creator and I'm certain you will do wonderful things for His glory. 

I love you baby girl! Thank you for this adventurous journey! 


{I want}

The "want" for what someone else has starts at a young age. My 13 month old and 3.5 yr old leave toys untouched until the other starts to play with it. Then suddenly it's the best thing and they must have it. 

Adults do this too. We see what someone else has and we want it. Bigger this. Better that. The newest. More of...

How do we get out of this unthankful habit? Perspective and remaining patient in the process. 


You are THREE

SP turned 3 last Saturday! Unbelievable how fast the time went. I made a dress for her to commemorate the occasion. :) Thank you SHY for walking me through it!

We enjoyed the day by going w a friend and her 3 yr old to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, saw some pretty cherry blossoms, got yelled at for having a picnic blanket on the grass and for eating food from "the outside", mosy'ed on over to the Prospect Park Zoo and saw lots of fun animals. SP kept asking to see the kangaroo and then was super disappointed when we finally did because the kangaroo was too far away to really get a good glimpse. It's hard for a kid to understand why she can't go inside the roped off area. I tried.

After a full day we headed back home and she chose qdoba for her birthday dinner. They have a great kids meal. :)

This Saturday she'll celebrate her birthday w some of her friends at the local Y. A room w her friends, toys, and cupcakes should make for a very happy SP.

At three, you love singing songs (current favorite is "ring around the rosey" since you sing it weekly in swim class), voicing your opinions, eating all sorts of different foods, hugging didi, reading books, saying you want "E" in your name (thus, Sophie), helping Momma around the apt, playing w play-doh, and doing the opposite of what we ask.

I'm very thankful for our "village" of aiyi's and soosoo's who have watched her grow and experienced her life w us thus far. Please stay near us! We need all the eyes to help watch and hands to help guide our little miss. (And now our little man too.)


Tie a yellow ribbon

Being a momma takes balls of steel. And I don't have balls of steel. I do have an amazing all powerful God though which is even better.

Today at MOPS, I was reminded that in Him anything is possible. It really is.

We listened to a message from Christopher Yuan. He is a Taiwanese man who knew at the age of 9 that he was gay. He came out of the closet when he was 22 and shared the news with his parents. His mom gave him an ultimatum to choose his family or to choose his sexuality. He chose his sexuality. At that time his mom and dad also had a terrible marriage and were heading towards divorce. His mom decided to make one last trip to see Christopher before she killed herself but the day before she went to see him, she went to see a minister. This minister gave her a small pamphlet about how Jesus loves us in spite of our sins and how nothing we can do can make Him love us less. His mom read this pamphlet on the train ride to visit Christopher and gave her life to Christ. That day she also chose to love her son in spite of his sin.

Christopher was in dental school getting his doctorate when he started selling drugs. He was also living a life of promiscuity on the gay scene. When the school found out, he was expelled.

From there he continued to sell drugs and have numerous anonymous sexual partners. His mom would send him cards every other day filled with verses, sermons, and hymns that she liked. Each was signed, "love you forever". He never read them and threw them out.

His mother prayed a bold and specific prayer that Jesus would do whatever it took to bring her son to Him and that all his friends would desert him. This prayer was answered one day when the Feds and 2 search dogs knocked on his door. They brought him to a detention center where none of his friends answered his collect call. His last call was home and his mom answered, "son, are you ok?"

He was sentenced to 6 years in prison and it was there that he learned more abt Jesus. The last thing holding him back from giving his life over to Jesus was his homosexuality. It was who he was. His identity. Then he read the verse "be holy because I am holy"- that was life changing for him. He realized that God didn't say be heterosexual because I am heterosexual or be homosexual because I am homosexual. He said "be holy for I am holy". He then chose to give his life to Christ.

He felt called to seminary and in prison applied to Moody Bible Institute. He was accepted and a few months after being released from prison (they lessened his sentence to 3 yrs), he began. After finishing at Moody, he went to Wheaton and completed his graduate degree.

Christopher's mother fasted every Monday for 7 years for her son. One time she fasted for 39 days straight. She asked many people to pray on behalf of her son. She kept running after her son despite his constant rejection. This is as much her story as it is his.

At the end of his talk, he read the last chapter of his and his mom's book. He shared how his parents came to pick him up from prison and upon arriving at home he saw a yellow ribbon. As he opened the door he heard the song "tie a yellow ribbon". His mom said it was playing on repeat since they had left to get him. She wanted that to be the first thing he heard upon coming home. When he opened the front door, he saw tons of yellow ribbons in the room. Each had a message written by someone that had been praying for him all those years.


I was so encouraged by his mother who chose to love her son despite it all. I was reminded that it is God's kindness that leads us to repentance. Not His anger. Not His wrath. In the midst of having some tough times with my SP, I was challenged to pour out more grace, more love and more kindness upon her. I was also challenged to pray ever more fervently for her (and us) and to persevere.

His story touched and spoke to me as I'm sure it will for you.

*what I shared of Christopher's story is what I remember from this morning so some parts may not be fully accurate. I tried to relay the general idea of his points.


We are blessed

Today was a hard day. SP has been having a hard time listening to us and doing what we ask. I know she's just about 3 and it's normal developmentally appropriate behavior but it's exhausting for me when it's 24/7.

On our way to BSF this morning, I was given an important reminder. "The Lord has blessed you greatly." This came from an elderly sweet "grandpa" sort of man who helped SP sit in the seat beside him. He asked me where my parents were from as my non-accent indicated I was from the U.S. I said Taiwan and he said his daughter in law is from Taiwan. Then he said WAS. His shoulders shook as he said she died. I asked how she passed and he said during childbirth. It broke my heart. He said his son doesn't have a wife and his now 7 yr old grandson never had his mother. He said that he prays daily for his son to find another wonderful woman so he can have a wife and his grandson can have a mother. Each time he mentioned or thought of the situation, his shoulders shook and he teared up. It's been 7 yrs and his pain is so raw- it completely broke my heart and I teared alongside him.

He said I have beautiful children and that I have been blessed greatly. He said it's evident SP loves her momma. After the morning we had, my ears and heart needed to hear these words of encouragement. I wish I had mentioned that I would be praying for his family.

God knew what my heart needed. The message at BSF was also encouraging.

God has a wonderful plan for each of us. God is in control even in our worst circumstances. Persevere w prayer and in His word.

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

And since its been such a long time since I last wrote, here is a much more grown up SP (one month shy of 3!) w her 5 month old brother. How appropriate as today is National Sibling Day. Love the love.


hurricane sandy

last year it was hurricane irene. this year, it's hurricane sandy.

it's really surreal to have so many natural disasters coming through new york city. hurricane sandy is definitely stronger and worse than hurricane irene was. it's a bit nervewracking but overall, we are praying for God to keep us safe. currently it seems like there is a lot of flooding in battery park area as well as on the east and west parts of manhattan where the east river and the hudson are.

it's also nervewracking since as of today, i'm 39 weeks pregnant. baby can really make his appearance at any time and i'd rather not be outdoors during this mess of extremely gusty winds and torrential rain. i would need to get to the hospital at some point unless we have an unplanned homebirth with no midwife, ob or doula present. ack. preferably not. i know there are lots of sisters and brothers praying for me and this baby (to stay in!) so i will rest in God's plan for us and not overthink.

it's been quite some time since i've last written. sophia is nearly 2.5 years old and we had some rough patches some months back as she was testing limits and pushing every button possible. thankfully, overall it seems to be better - of course the testing will probably be a life long thing but i know it's an important part of her development as well as my honing to be a better mom and person who leans ever more on God. so i am trying to embrace it.

since september, sophia and i have been busy. each day, we go to one activity in the morning and 2x a week (3x every other week), i drop her off to a 'class' where she is separated from me. she always did so well with separation but i think she isn't liking the consistency of the drop off's this year. i thought it would be better but apparently she just feels more separated. she will still separate relatively easily but it does make me a little sad to hear her say, "mama,  baobao ni!!!" (which is her way of saying, mama, hold me!!!" over and over again. i've mastered the unemotional drop off and thankfully, she's adapted pretty well as well.  she seems to enjoy art class, swim class and storytime the most since we stay with her during those classes. :)

sophia personality is really emerging as well as she gets older. she's got quite the sense of humor and often laughs as herself and us. verbally and developmentally, she is growing leaps and bounds. i know everyone told me that would happen around this age - but it's still amazing to see it for myself. everything i've said to her in the past 2.5 years seems to have retained itself and whether it's mandarin, english or spanish, she's not repeating and saying it back to me. very fun times indeed!

with the arrival of baby boy, i'm anticipating a challenging time where we will all need to adjust and adapt. praying lots for SP to fall completely in love with her brother and want to help take care, etc but in reality feeling like there will be a few rough months.

time to post this before we lose power. praying for us all as hurricane sandy seems to be very angry. hopefully it will pass soon and leave most of us intact.


{handmade} sandpaper alphabet and number set

a friend asked if i would make a sandpaper alphabet and number set for her daughter as she wanted to use it to teach her daughter how to write letters and numbers. she got the idea from the montessori school. since i love doing {most} things art related, i said of course!

the process of sketching, cutting and taping ended up being rather tedious but i enjoyed the process and love the final product. i used an exact-o blade to do the cutting, double sided tape to stick the sandpaper to the front sheet and a colorful patterned cardstock for the back sheet panel. {wish i got a photo of the back too!}