Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Puppy love

serene's handmade puppy purse
serene's handmade puppy purse
Serene has an affection for puppies (or small dogs that look like puppies). Ever since she was about six months, she lights up at the sight of the furry creature. She will always unabashedly attempt to pet a dog with a silliest laugh or smile on her face. Admittedly, she'd often end up slapping its face or grabbing its tail, but her affectionate intentions are apparent. So much so that her sixth word spoken was "pah-pee" (puppy). I've also noticed her inclination to accessorize since she was about ten months. She will often go to her room, fish out her mommy-made scarf and put it around her neck, then pick up her sand bucket and pull it up onto her shoulder like a purse so she can amble around and play in style, all while looking simultaneously cute and ridiculous.

As I was brainstorming a gift I could make her for Christmas, I thought about making a puppy purse. I've been seeing cute kitty and fox-faced purses, socks, and similar accessories for kiddos, so I whipped up a simple puppy-faced purse for our little love. I used off-white vintage feedsack for the front and back of the purse, lining the inside with a bright pop of cotton fabric. I used tan felt for a spot of color on the puppy's face and then embroidered a simple, jolly face on the front. I found some wool felted ribbon in my stash and used it as the purse strap. It was a simple project that took me less time than I thought it would, especially since I sewed it while Serene colored and played one afternoon. I'm debating whether to stuff the little purse with goodies like a stocking since we don't have stockings up. I'm thinking Serene would love finding snacks, a headband, or a small toy within when she unwraps it.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Looking back at the first trimester

littler love at 13 weeks and 3 days
Friday, November 21, 2014

Praise God the first trimester is over! Let's be honest: I am beyond blessed to have a teeny human being growing inside of me, but I am not one of those women who love being pregnant. I am on the opposite end of the spectrum. I dread the fluctuating hormones, the persistent hunger, the overwhelming fatigue, and the ever-growing belly. Going through the the first trimester again this time around reminds me how it wages war against my body and emotions, and my flesh almost always wins. Our littler love's first trimester symptoms were similar to Serene Joy's, except the fatigue and nausea hit even more forcefully this time around. When I was pregnant with Serene, I could usually rest after work at my own whim. This time around, I had a rambunctious one-year-old to chase after, thereby causing my body to wage war against my will. I spent much of the first 3 months throwing up, feeling queasy all day, and not being able to get up from bed. So thankful for my attentive husband who helped out with Serene so that I could rest. He overcompensated for all the ways I fell short during that season. I had a case of baby blues too, coupled with mild depression over weaning woes. Even though I knew this was but an ephemeral phase, a momentary affliction, I was immersed in a despondent, foggy, hormonal haze that prevented me from wanting to do anything.

When we went in for our first trimester ultrasound on Friday, November 21, all of that subsided. As we saw our littler love moving calmly across the screen, the sheer wonder of a wee human creature being fearfully and wonderfully made overwhelmed me to tears for the second time around. Our littler love kept choosing to burrow his/her head into my right pelvic area. Which explains the dull ache in that area for the past couple of weeks! Alex and I couldn't stop grinning as we listened to the little heartbeat. Even Serene seemed fascinated (probably more by all the fancy equipment in the room). They found me measuring 13 weeks and 3 days that day, putting our littler love to be due May 26, 2015. I feel like time is flying by, and our littler love will be here before we know it!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Reminiscent

huntington library outing 2014
huntington library outing 2014
huntington library outing 2014
huntington library outing 2014
huntington library outing 2014
huntington library outing 2014
huntington library outing 2014
huntington library outing 2014
huntington library outing 2014
huntington library outing 2014
huntington library outing 2014
huntington library outing 2014
huntington library outing 2014
huntington library outing 2014
huntington library outing 2014
huntington library outing 2014
We hadn't an inkling we were going to the Huntington Library last week until a couple of days before, when a friend bestowed upon us free tickets. We had been there one other time - when we got engaged three and a half years ago. Therefore, it was a doozy to go and rehash that whirlwind of a day, except with Serene Joy in tow this time around. Alex sped walked the whole time, bent on retracing our steps on the same path we took that afternoon in July 2011. He also took the liberty to remind me how I grumbled about the blistering heat the entire time that day. I was in such a sour mood that he had to nab a spot quickly to pop the question before I reached the peak on my sin-o-meter, he teased. Apparently, I had no idea what he had in store for me. And obviously, God showered me with undeserved mercy and kindness that day.

I found the trek rather pleasant this time around, for it was a balmy and beautiful Southern California December afternoon amongst natural splendor. We even attempted to take a picture on the same exact bench at which we got engaged, but Serene was much more interested in exploring the bubbling stream before us than in sitting still for another picture. So grateful for Alex, whom God uses to astound me every single day. He is ever patient, sacrificial, and loving, even amidst my most shameful moments. He's been especially sensitive to my crazy feminine emotions and hanger (hunger + anger), and so helpful with Serene since we found out we were pregnant with our littler love, particularly back when the first trimester seemed to be an ongoing battle. We are so blessed to have Alex to lead our little family. So thankful for his steadfastness, his integrity, his love, his silliness, and his willingness to serve us in any way possible - all of which are evidences of God's grace in him and to us! Never would I have imagined we'd be where we are now that day we got engaged, but I love God's sovereignty, Alex, and our little loves so!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

O Christmas tree

christmas tree decorating 2014
christmas tree decorating 2014
christmas tree decorating 2014
christmas tree decorating 2014
christmas tree decorating 2014
christmas tree decorating 2014
christmas tree decorating 2014
christmas tree decorating 2014
christmas tree decorating 2014
As we picked out a Christmas tree last week, Alex and I kept laughing because Serene moseyed about the trees on a mission to touch and embrace every fir she encountered. The process of procuring and decorating our Christmas tree went more slowly this year, but was exceedingly endearing. We spruced up the tree with mostly handmade ornaments from the past two years: feedsack fabric ornaments and paper doily snowflakes made during our first married Christmas two years ago; a paper heart garland from our wedding; vintage message-in-the-bottle ornaments made last year; and fabric toadstool ornaments on clearance from here last year. Serene just wanted to play with the decorations the entire time, and once they hung on the tree, proceeded to destroy. We spent most of the rest of that day and week disciplining her and teaching her not to touch the tree. Thankfully, she doesn't approach the tree much anymore, though it's probably because she's much more keen on unearthing the gifts underneath. Every Christmas is so special, as we reflect on all the goodness with which we've been blessed that year. Grateful to be celebrating our third married Christmas, Serene's second Christmas, and most importantly, lest I forget in the holiday hullaballoo, another glorious year to celebrate Christ's birth.

Friday, December 5, 2014

"I'm a poppy?"

seed packet pregnancy announcement
Friday, September 19, 2014

Ever since Serene turned 4 months old, Alex would joke about having another baby. I would laugh in reply, adamantly claiming I wasn't ready to give birth again. But as the months passed, Serene got older, blooming into more of a toddler and leaving her baby-ness behind. We revisited the topic more frequently, and prayed that God would grant us another child according to His timing. Since I was still breastfeeding, my period didn't return until Serene was 8 months, and they were irregular.

On the morning of September 19th, I woke up to find that my period hadn't arrived. It was at least a week late by then, so with a pounding heart, I took a pregnancy test. I squeezed my eyes shut partly in fear, in case it'd turn out negative. It was positive. I peed on another stick to ensure I wasn't seeing things. Another positive. As we ate breakfast together, I attempted to behave normally. Alex left afterward to do some work. After I put Serene down for her morning nap, I drew a vintage seed packet announcing the news.

When Alex got home, he ate a late lunch and then proceeded to study. "I made something for you," I said. I handed him the card. He took it and smiled. "Hong's seed quality," he read. He looked at the picture, as if trying to appreciate the art. "I'm a poppy?" he asked, confused. He handed it back to me. "Do you get it?" I asked, laughing. "I'm not trying to say that you're a poppy!" "Read the bottom lines," I urged. " He stared at it quizzically. "Are you pregnant?" he asked slowly. I nodded, grinning. "Wowwww," he uttered, awestruck. "I drew a poppy because the little baby is the size of a poppy seed right now," I explained. Then we laughed as joy and apprehension about taking care of two teeny human beings overwhelmed us. So we prayed for tons of grace and thanked the Lord for this miraculous gift - the gift of another child, a sibling for our then-11-month-old Serene Joy, and another testament to God's goodness.

See the announcement here.