Thursday, July 28, 2011

The weather post

Is the weather insane the whole world over? Heat waves, typhoons, flooding, wild fires . . . it's a bit mad. The earth is all topsy-turvy. Makes me think more about global warming and the damage we've done.

We here in South Korea are trapped inside a heat
wave~torrential downpour cycle. There is massive flooding around the country, which has resulted in landslides and deaths. There was 400mm (16 inches) of rain between Tuesday and Wednesday.

When it's not raining, it's scorchingly hot and humid. There are also very high winds, which remind me of typhoons in the Philippines.
Thankfully, we haven't had any flooding in our little town, and hopefully the river won't overflow (and the hills behind our house will stay up).

The heat makes for uncomfortable napping - so if Elijah sleeps for more than 40 minutes, it's a blessing. Poor lad. He's got three fans on him, but the air is just so heavy, damp, and warm.

Suffice it to say, it hasn't been a very nice summer.

I'm wishing we were at the cabin in Maine!

Hopefully you all are staying cool/dry/safe.

[Elijah wistfully thinking of the cool lake in Wayne]

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Nothing better to do

[who could resist this face?]
I have nothing better to do than to lay in bed and nurse my drowsy baby.
I must confess, however, that I get momentarily frustrated when he won’t stop suckling (in his sleep).
I feel impatience... because surely I have to go do ______.
But then I tell myself, “I have NOTHING better to do than be here for him now.”
My floors can stay un-vacuumed, the dishes can sit in the sink, the dinner can be late, emails can go unanswered, and Facebook updates can stay un-commented on.

Why? Because I have nothing better to do than care for my son.
From what I’ve been told, children grow up too fast. I am trying to cherish these moments with him, before he doesn’t want to be nursed to sleep or have mommy hold him.
Am I spoiling him with love and attention?

Can a child be spoiled with too much love?

It seems that in this day and age, our babies are supposed to be ‘trained’ to be self-sufficient from an early age. They should sleep alone in big cribs, sit quietly in swings, bouncers, or lay on play mats. Granted, I do put Elijah in his swing and bouncer, but I hold him a lot more.
And I do understand that there are boundaries and that patterns (including bad habits) set in early childhood can last a lifetime.

However, with my tiny (or not so tiny 14.5lb) 12 week-old son, I believe in responding to his cries immediately and doing whatever I can to keep him comfortable and happy (although I am not afraid to let him cry sometimes).

Honestly, it’s easy to get frustrated when he won’t sleep, or wakes up as soon as you lay him down, or cries for no reason, or insists on being held (a specific way). I have to keep reminding myself that I really and truly have nothing
better to do, and it makes it easier.
I can vacuum and cook later (or I might just let Gary do that – awesome guy that he is).

Anyway! Elijah is 12 weeks old today… 3 whole months.
He’s starting ‘talking’ a lot more. He smiles and giggles, and tries to shove his whole fist into his mouth (which makes him gag). He’s been rolling over from tummy to back since 6 weeks, but not from back to tummy. He does well lifting himself up while on his tummy, but doesn’t enjoy it much. Do any babies?
Elijah is starting to enjoy his baths as well, which is fun. He
also loves playing peek-a-boo! It never fails to make him smile and coo. He is tracking objects well now, and imitates our expressions. He loves it when we stick our tongues out at him.

Having a baby reduces you to making silly faces and funny noises and not caring. It's great.

He won't be small for long, and I am so very grateful that I can stay home with him right now.
It's funny, looking back, how upset I was at not having my contract re-signed last summer (school cutbacks - they did keep Gary on though). Yet at the end of the summer, we found out I was pregnant. I did tutoring all year, but it was great not having to teach the high school boys!
So for now, my awesome husband brings home all the bacon, and I get to stay home with Elijah (and take lots of pictures).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The silk, linen, and nylon anniversary

Time really slips by.

It does not feel as if four years have passed since Gow and I were married, and six years since we met/got engaged.

Yeah...we got engaged within a month of meeting.
Very quick, but "when you know, you know".
We did wait 2 years before actually getting married though.

Beijing - April, 2005.

Gary had been traveling through China, and I had been visiting my parents. We met in a youth hostel dormitory a few days before we left for our respective countries (USA-me, UK-him).
We spent 36 hours together, and before departing, Gow asked if I would come to England the following week. I agreed.
One month later, in Turkey, we decided to get married.

I went back to California and finished up a summer class before moving to England. Within 6 months, we headed to China where we would live and work (and plan a wedding). forward to July 21, 2007.

We were married by my wonderful aunt, a Presbyterian minister on my grandparents' lawn. Gary designed both my dress and his shirt.

It was a small wedding, but my entire extended family turned out!

It was a very special day, complete with violins, a mini-concert given by my country/western father-in-law, and a pinata.

Happy Anniversary dear husband of mine. You rock my world, and have done since the day we met.
I am looking forward to celebrating a zillion more anniversaries with you.

For nostalgic purposes - link to my old MySpace blog. Full story, but quite long.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A superlative husband

I just have to say, I have an amazing husband.

I already knew he was great, otherwise, why would I have married him?

But it is now that I realize just how blessed I am to have him.

He is a fantastic father - through the dirty diapers, screaming fits, and bouncing to sleep. He is so attentive and organized, scheduling Elijah's injections and appointments. He also surprised me by decorating the nursery while I was in America for Poppy's funeral. I came back to find a cute room, complete with little outfits in the drawers and on hangers in the closet!

However, he has done far more than that for me and Elijah. Gary takes such good care of us... of me. Since Elijah was born, Gary cooks all our meals, goes grocery shopping, cleans the apartment, walks the dog, goes to work, AND does 9 hours of additional classes every week. He is a superstar. Absolutely amazing.
I do what I can, honest. But being a first time mom, it's pretty overwhelming. I don't know how moms with more children do it. I am sure I will eventually be able to juggle housework and child care, but at this moment in time, I am so reliant on my dear husband.

I am blessed beyond measure. I have a beautiful son, and a superlative husband (and a sweet dog). We live in a comfortably spacious apartment in a lovely part of town. We have lush hills behind our building, and a beach 15 minutes away. The school where we work (well, just Gary now) is 5 minutes away and has been wonderful to us. We are able to take extended vacations to see our families all over the world, and have them visit us.

Anyway, I am grateful for so much in my life, but today, I want to tell the world about my husband.

I love you.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Tiniest Sleep Fighter

Oh my beloved son, why do you hate sleep so? You sleep so well at night though, so I shouldn't complain.
Elijah usually sleeps between 10-12 hours every night, with several "dream feeds" scattered throughout (Dream feeding = nursing while the baby is still sleeping). But during the day, we are lucky if he sleeps an hour at a time. Currently, he is staying awake for a total of 9-10 hours. While he is so tired, he just won't stay asleep, and it's a massive undertaking to get him to nod off.

(Grandma patiently bouncing)

Elijah must be swaddled, and then bounced on my exercise ball for a minimum of 20 minutes. This is the only way he will give up and let sleep take him. Usually, I end up bouncing him for 30-40 minutes. Or more.
He shows sleepy signs after about an hour of being awake...yawning, yelling (he makes these cute little squawks), rubbing his eyes/face. But when we try to get him to sleep, the PROTESTS begin. Oh my. You would think his personal freedom and way of life was being threatened!

(Grandpa doing The Superman)

Even now, he is such an individual. He knows what he wants, and how he wants it done. You must hold him a certain way... The Superman.
Nothing else will do. Unless he wants to sit up, then he will squawk until you hold him upright. But he must be facing the world. Woe to you who try holding him close...that is, unless he is in the mood for some cuddletime.

(telling Dad a story)

He does like 'talking' though, and is very expressive. He is really quite vocal!

I guess you could say he is a difficult baby.

But even through all this, I think about when he will stop needing me, and draw him closer and keep gently bouncing even after he has fallen asleep. I cherish the moments when he lets me hold him. I don't ever want to forget how he feels in my arms. I love his softness, how squishy he is, and how he molds to me. I adore his sweet, spontaneous gummy smiles. I love holding his little head when he's nursing, and how it fits in the palm of my hand. He is so precious to me, my tiny son.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Baby Boy

On May 1st, 2011, Ej was born. It was an incredible experience, and he has totally changed our lives in every way. He wasn't due until the 11th, and so we consider it very special that he was born that particular day...*Poppy's birthday.

Ej was born via waterbirth (which I highly recommend) at Mediflower, the only all-natural clinic in Korea.
Dr. Chung was the attending, and was assisted by a midwife and our doula Rachel (from Morning Calm). Elijah was 3.58kg and 54cm long. He was unbelievably beautiful, and very calm. He didn't start crying or screaming until he was 3 weeks old. Then he didn't want to took him 5 weeks to calm down.

He's now 10 weeks old, and in my opinion, the most beautiful and intelligent and advanced baby ever. Elijah has the most beautiful smiles, which make even the longest days and nights worth it.

I can't wait to watch him grow up. Motherhood is certainly the most exciting adventure of my life.

*Poppy - my dearly loved grandfather

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The grands

My mom and dad were just here. It was wonderful!!! But it also made me profoundly sad that we don't live near any family.

The name of this blog is apt. No permanent address. I've never lived anywhere long enough for it to be considered permanent. I guess living in the Philippines counts...but we didn't stay in the same place. Poppy's house in Maine has been my 'permanent mailing address' for years, but I have only lived there for a sum total of 3 years. Now that place is gone as well.

My parents DID just buy a house, so that will become our home. Well, our new mailing address at least.

I really want to put some roots down. I want Elijah to have a home and a yard and friends he'll keep his whole life. Being a TCK (third culture kid) from a rural Philippine town, I missed out on that stuff. Not that I regret my childhood at all, I just want my son to have a bit more stability.

Anyway! What an intro!
I wanted to talk about my parents coming to visit! They got to meet Elijah for the first time, and he loved them. Mom and Dad were so helpful as well... I got to take NAPS!!! It was amazing. Naps, showers, walks...even a trip to the store. Made me realize that it really does 'take a village' even at this early stage. Elijah is only 10 weeks old, but the extra attention and love made him blossom.

The point? I miss my family. I wish we all lived close enough to stop over for tea or a quick chat. Can we buy some land and start a family commune?

So it begins

Well, I have been reading random blogs lately, and have decided that I want to try it as well. Especially since family and friends are far far away, and I am so rubbish at keeping in touch... well, unless Facebook counts. I'm a good Facebooker.

Anyway, since Elijah is growing and changing so much, I thought this would be a good place to share stories and pictures of him.

Hope you enjoy this blog!