Friday, March 30, 2012

back to the fort

Since our days with Nan-Nan are numbered, we've been hitting a few tourist spots this week. Today we made an early morning trek (to avoid temps in the 104+ range) out to one of our favorite sites: Golc@nda Fort. Here are a few pics if you're interested. It's even more beautiful than it looks:)

Our trusty tour guide:

Baby Break. Silas was a trooper..but I was definitely feeling like worst-mom-of-the-year when the 11 o'clock sun started heating those stones up!

Family photo op - wow, it's nice to have someone to snap pictures for us!

Taking in the sites:

Hubs wins the award for most stairs climbed/heaviest load to bear!

Visitors sure are a good reason to explore the city a little more!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

we lOve nan-nan

Have I mentioned lately that I'm starting to understand why asians like living arrangements that are multi-generational? We are loving the extra set of hands. It'll be a rude awakening when my sweet mama boards that plane in another two weeks. Here are a few of the many reasons she is a most welcome visitor:)

1. I haven't touched the washing machine since she arrived. And that's no small statement. She's in a constant cycle of washing and hanging, folding and sorting. What a huge help with new baby...who seems to create more laundry than the rest of us put together!

2. Family outings are a lot more possible with a spare adult to chase the toddler and hold the baby. Though we are a bit more squished in the back of that rickshaw...she's been a real trooper!

3. Jude wakes up in the morning and calls "Daddy! Momma! Nan-Nan!" In fact, sometimes he just calls "Nan-Nan." He is seriously lovin' the grandma-time on the playground and otherwise.

4. I finally feel like I fit into asian life. My mom accompanies us everywhere. And that, my friends, is just as my neighbors think it ought to be. I know when she leaves there will be much consternation over the state of our lonely household. And my neighbors won't be the only ones feeling it!

love you mom:)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

the aftermath

Silas was two weeks old yesterday. Hard to believe that he's only been in our house for such a short time. He feels like a permanent fixture in our daily lives already.

The aftermath of the birth has been more difficult than I anticipated...but in different ways than I thought it would be.

At this stage, the little man is super-sleeper. Most nights he only wakes up every 2-3 hours to eat and then he tucks back into his little basket to hibernate. He isn't especially fussy. He sits contentedly in his little chair much of the time. And since he's a little lighter than his predecessor, the baby carrier is working out much better for me this time around. He even endured a 3 hours shopping trip with my mom yesterday...without a peep. All that to say, Silas has taken it easy on me right from the start.

After delivering a toddler the first go-round, I admit that the aftermath of physical recovery from this birth has been much quicker and easier. Besides my energy level and a few aches here and there, I'm feeling better than I did in the last month of pregnancy! I confess that 3 days after having that baby, I started thinking about how nice it would be to go for a run. Yesterday during nap time, I dreamt I was in a half-marathon. (That I hadn't trained for:) Don't worry. I haven't laced up my shoes yet...but I can assure you that it's been many moons since the thought of a run was remotely appealing. So that's progress:)

The difficulty has mainly been in a variety of ailments that have popped up that are unrelated to the birth. No doubt, my lowered immune system has been the primary factor in these battles.

A few days after delivery, I picked up a stomach bug. After 6 months on continent, I'm not too careful about water and food. That was a mistake post-delivery. And I payed dearly for it for 4 days. It was miserable. Accompanying the bug was a fever of 101-102 that lasted for 3 days. We were, of course, concerned it was an infection related to the birth. That worry exasperated the ordeal. I was so relieved when the doctor finally ruled out all things birth related and said it was just a virus.

The ailment of the week this week was an obscure rash that started on my foot and slowly spread to cover my legs. It was mysterious. It was insanely itchy. And it was rashes are often connected to dengue fever here. After tossing and turning for a few hours that night, I got up and sent an email to some praying friends. And would you believe, within 2 hours of asking for their prayers, it had almost disappeared. By morning, there was no sign it had ever been there. I felt like I was watching a miracle take place as it dissolved. God really does hear. And I was thankful his answer was relief for me.

What has primarily been on my mind as I've waded through these waters? (Besides "how on earth am I going to make it with 2 kids?":)

The gift of this little life. And the mingling of joy with pain. I'll take the lowered immune system and a few weeks of weird ailments. Silas is worth it. This thought has been magnified for me particularly with this new addition because last summer, some dear friends lost their little one when the wife was 37 weeks pregnant. I delivered Silas at 39 week. She was not far from my mind. No doubt, she dealt with the aftermath of birth...but with no little hands to watch tighten around her finger. No little baby noises to wake her up at night.

The thought has both increased my prayers for the mothers I know who have lost little ones, and heightened my gratitude in this season. The perspective shift has done me good. It has made my light suffering sweeter and richer. And my prayers more rightly humble. Thankful for the providence that is wiser, and more fitting for my good than what I would choose. The aftermath has been good for my soul. I am thankful.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

a silas party

Some sweet friends threw a welcome party for Silas this weekend. It was adOrable! Who can find a fondant cake in asia?!?!

Check out the cute punch bowl that doubled as a take-home gift for big brother. He'll be lovin' that duck in the pool this afternoon!

Silas felt very welcomed;)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

the clean air of gospel living

Read this quote yesterday and felt so heartened:

Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work.

Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone.

by Rachel Jankovic

Read the whole post here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

i love fabric

You would think I would be able to find cute and colorful fabric on every corner here. I certainly thought that would be the case. Not so. The clothes are colorful, made from spectacular fabric but I've yet to find a fabric shop that really strikes my fancy. What I wouldn't give for just one more trip to old Hobby Lobby.

Some kind friends sent me a yard of striped fabric in an incredible care package. It arrived just a few days before Silas. I'm sure I'll find any number of uses for it. But first...the backdrop for a little mini-photo shoot.

Have I mentioned to you that every time I try to take pictures of these little men in my life, I have a new and profound respect for baby photographers?

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I would be curious to know if workers in mosquito netting factories run a higher risk of early insanity.

If you ever decide to join together two mosquito nets to add height and make it less inconvenient to get out of bed and check on babies....ponder long your endurance.

In the end it was worth it.

Last night was the first time in months when I didn't feel like I was caving.

And lest I be reprimanded for not including a new pic of he little men in this post:

Jude's chair now makes its way into the living room fairly often. It is a preventative measure...otherwise, he tries to "share" Silas's seat.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

23 out of 24

I'm pretty sure that yesterday Silas slept for around 23 out of 24 hours, minus feedings which are spent in a dazed state. This kid is a sleeper.

Not that we really mind...he's cute either way:) I'm sure the phase won't last long and I must confess we're rather enjoying it around here.

As for big brother, he doesn't mind the extra time for fun. One of his girlfriends donated her old pool to our porch.

Nevermind that it is a large pink flower. Jude loves it.

And since it's 104 degrees here during the day, the adults in the house don't mind it either. We can watch him through the glass the a/c:)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

8lbs, 7.5oz

Just one time while living overseas I'm going to utter this complaint publicly: I wish Americans would get with the program on weights and measures. I'm not bitter. I know they teach us about conversions in high school, but let's be just don't think in metric terms unless you use it on a daily basis.

Hitherto, this has primarily been a problem for me in cooking. Rarely a recipe that I do not have to google a converter to complete. I just cannot force myself to think outside of teaspoons or cups. I am adjusting to kilometers over miles slowly but surely. It is not without effort though.

But when they weighed that baby in kgs, I felt all flustered. I know how to convert it. But precision is lacking.

So now I feel confused about what to say when people ask Jude's weight. If he had been born in America, they would have simplified it for me, right?

Do I say he was 8lbs, 7.5oz?

Do I round up since it is 7.5 and say he was 8lbs, 8oz?

Then I confess to feeling like a liar...adding those .5oz myself without some sort of doctor's permission.

Could a medical professional help me here? Would a hospital in the states have rounded it up?

Oh, the angst of new motherhood.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Silas Story

Men-folk warning: This is one of those blogs you probably won't care to read...unless you want details about centimeters dilated and epidurals. Just sayin'...feel free to skip:)

Monday morning of last week, we had a doctor's appointment scheduled at the high risk hospital. My doctor referred me there so that I could have a better chance of a normal delivery. They have a shoulder-distortia specialist on staff. (See what comes of a nearly 11lb first baby?:) Did you even know doctors with that specialty exist?

At the appointment, we reiterated that we would much prefer inducement to waiting for delivery and running the risk of a c-section based on the baby's size. Here, c-sections are recommended for asian women at 4kgs. A week earlier, Silas was reading about 3.8kgs. She said I was around 1 or 2 cm dilated. Better than I hoped. Then she agreed to fight, we didn't have to pull out all our arguments. Just an, 'ok. let's go ahead.' Happy. Nervous. Excited.

In typical asian fashion, she said we could just come on over to the hospital whenever we were ready to get things rolling. Monday night, Tuesday morning. Whenever I'd had a chance to have my dinner and take my tea. Hilarious. No appointment needed. Just show up.

And so...we took my mom over to see the old city in case we didn't have another chance. David went to the grocery. I fixed spaghetti while my mom played with Jude. We ate, we packed, we tucked big brother into bed. And at 9:30pm, we checked into the labor ward. It was such a different experience than rushing out the door for Jude. More time to get nervous, to prepare. I couldn't take a nap that afternoon...and I knew we couldn't wait until morning. I wouldn't sleep anyways. Silas was a'comin.'

It is, apparently, cleaner to remove shoes and wear communal flip flops when entering any ward here. I don't know why the communal flip flops gross me out so much. They do. I packed socks, thankfully. Hubs bought me Return to Cranford to celebrate the occasion. My mom gave me both seasons of Downton Abbey to keep me entertained. But, I needed something with a little more pep and action on such a night. Not so complicated and concentrated. My movie of choice for the delivery? The Fugitive. How can you ever get bored with Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, right?

At 11pm, they stripped my membranes. At 3:30am, not much was happening. I alternated between sleep and The Fugitive. Harrison Ford was making a lot more progress in his endeavor than I was in mine. I was starting to think that an asian inducement might take 4 days.

By 7:30am the hospital brought around a traditional indian breakfast...of idly and spicy curry. My last meal before birthing:

Around 8am, my contractions were 5 minutes apart. They broke my water and by 9am or so, we were looking at 2minutes apart and no more movie. At 9:30am I asked for a walking epidural. My doctor asked if I was sure...seemed pretty close and she thought I could make it. I told her I was over all that...and just to bring my new best friend, the anesthesiologist on into the room.

Let me park here on epidurals. Some of you may remember that with Jude I was hoping to deliver naturally. In mid-labor, I thought to myself, why on earth am I doing this without pain medication? And I never looked back. (Especially after that 11lb baby was weighed.) I didn't even slink past my friends from that natural child birth class afterwards. I just looked them straight in the face and said...I'd do it all over again. I loved that epidural. This time I decided to have a 'walking epidural.' I was really glad to have that epidural, girls. But I have discovered that I just do not want to walk after I birth babies. I prefer loss of feeling. And next time, I'm going all walking epidural for me. Just give it to me straight. Say what you will. I just really wanted to express that. I can tell you frankly that I expressed it quite loudly to my husband and doctor during the delivery.

Back to the story.

After that point, it's a bit of a blur to me. I remember yelling things at David. I remember that his hand was a little wounded from an overly zealous squeeze or two. I remember looks of shock on quiet indian faces at my outbursts. And then I remember that sweet little bundle they put on my chest...crying and squirming. And we were in love.

I was thinking a few days before the deliver about how odd it felt to have another baby on the way. I admit, the word 'invasion' popped into my head. We were a happy little family. Jude is a joy. We felt complete in so many ways. I wondered how more love could come, more room for more happiness together. I wondered if there was a place for him. And I felt a little unmotherly about the feeling. So I prayed and asked that God would do that miracle for us. That He would give more love. Because He is love. And isn't that the amazing thing about Him? It just never ends. When you think it is too full, it pours over and spills out. You find the cup expanded and the fountain unending.

God is good. This is his gracious gift. We are grateful.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Welcome to our World

I intended to blog yesterday, and the day before....but, as you might imagine: we've been a little busy around here! Can't believe what a difference another little one makes in our routine little life. Here are a few of Silas's first moments in the great big world.

First kisses from Mom:

Meeting big brother!

Bath time was a little vigorous:

Introducing NanNan.

The car ride a hot taxi. Welcome to your asian life:)

We couldn't be happier to meet him!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Meeting Silas

We welcomed Silas Christopher at 10:41am on March 13. (asian time:) All are healthy and happy. More pictures and details in the days to come!

Thank you for the prayers!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Just In Time

My sweet mom arrived on Saturday. We can't believe how much help an extra pair of hands are around here. And it's a good thing. We're about to need them!

After consulting with our doctor today, we all agreed that an induction was the best way to proceed. "Little" Silas continues to grow and we're approaching sure c-section size with each day that passes.

Tonight, while NanNan holds down the fort, David and I are heading to the hospital to welcome our first international baby!

Hope to introduce him to you soon!!!!

In the meantime, prayers appreciate:)

Friday, March 9, 2012

prettier than pink

I consider myself a novice when it comes to all things decor. And novices make mistakes.

As it turns out, bright pink in the master bedroom was a mistake.

I thought I was being bold. But after 6 months, I finally admitted to hubs that I really hated the pink. Bedrooms should be relaxing. Bright pink is not relaxing. (Let me interject here that it appears dining rooms do not abide by the same standard. I continue to love the coral.)

Hubs assured me that he'd invested only $10 and an hour in that pink wall and he would just love to re-paint it. (I'm pretty sure he wasn't exactly partial to the pink.) It took me a month to decide on the color. I went with a faithful shade of green...perfect for baby rockin'.

I took those pillows off the plywood headboard I previously fashioned and drew a little design on the board inspired by BHG. That sweet husband of mine lugged an 8 ft piece of plywood in a rickshaw down the road. He explained in a crazy language his wife's newfound desire for a blue curved headboard. And for a whopping $1, an asian actually managed to cut it according to my instructions.

A little paint, a borrowed sewing machine and a few hours later....I love the re-do.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

holi moli

If you've watched any modern movies about our new home, it probably included a scene about Holi, the festival of color. Today is the day when anything goes. All social mores that are usually so stiffly in place are thrown to the wind, and merry making of every sort reigns.

The most lively of the activities centers around color.

Our usually reserved neighbors are, at this moment, pelting each other with colored powder and spraying water guns filled with brightly dyed liquid. It's a crazy day here. Last night there was a huge bonfire puja (worship) service honoring the goddess Holika, in whose honor the holiday stems.

We've already been "colored" a time or two today and I admit, we're sticking unusually close to home:)