Monday, February 25, 2013

Gotch Day 2013

Today marks the day when 8 1/2 month old Olivia made the long journey home to Ottawa in our arms. 
It was 3 years ago that this little monkey turned our lives upside down for the better.  So much has changed of course over the last 3 years, but many things have stayed the same. She is still the same curious, infectious, charming, spirited baby that cried 90% of the trip going home. She will forever be our loveable monkey.  She continues to amaze us everyday by her spirit.  Everyday and every minute, our hearts are bursting with love. 

After we have reminisced about her arrival into our hearts, Martin and I took a minute to stand back. Good lord, 3 years - 3 babies. How did this happen?

Our First Korean Lunar New Year 2013

February has been quite busy for some reason this year. I'm thinking it's all the birthdays, travelling, and  holidays during the month. I wanted to share our first new year celebration with our friends. ON February 9th, we celebrated the lunar New Year - the year of the SNAKE - with our good friends the Kang family.  She invited 3 Korean adoptee families to come and celebrate with them on this special holiday. We were super excited as we never celebrated it before.

When we arrived to their house we had a traditional new year meal - rice soup (for long life and prosperity), noodles, galbi, and traditional rice cakes. It was the best Korean meal we have ever tasted. Then the kids dressed up in the their Korean hanboks to perform the blessing ceremony.  Olivia's teacher at school kindly found a beautiful hanbok for Olivia to wear for this special ceremony. The one she had was too small as she wore it for her TOL (1st birthday). Luckily, William's hanbok still fit.

In this ceremony, the children were asked to kneel and bow in front of their elders.  Then the elders would give them a blessing and "advise" them on certian behaviours or actions they would like to see this year. For example "Olivia you are a big girl now, we would like you to be a better listener".  As we said this, Olivia never maintained eye contact and was too distracted to see what was going on in the back. She didn't hear a word we said. Sigh. Maybe next year. For William - " William...we would like you to be a good boy and be nice to your sister.". His response - "Ya!" with a nod. least he bowed properly. hahahahha

After Olivia and William "paid their respect" to us we gave them some money for good luck (which were loonies that we took from their piggy banks because we didn't have any lying around).  Then Olivia and William were able to go see other adults and continue to ask for blessings (aka ask for loonies). hahahaha  All in all, it was a great experience and the kids had a blast.  Soon the kids were getting hot and tired and wanted to take off their hanboks to play.

Sunah then showed us how to play a traditional Korean game HYE-MI CHO, usually played on New Year's day.

Then things started to slow down. The kids were done and tired. Seeing that it was a Sunday night, we needed to go home and get ready for the week. It was a busy weekend, but made lots of memories and hopefully a new tradition.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

100 Days of Clara

Today marks 100 days of life for Clara. Normally we wouldn't acknowledge such a date but since having Olivia and William in our lives, it has become an important milestone in all our children's lives.  In traditional Korean culture, families would celebrate the "100th day birthday" because it was said that the first 100 days of life is the most difficult.  Olivia and William both celebrated their 100th day with their foster families and we are very thankful for that. In fact, I think we have pictures of Olivia's celebration with her foster family.

Clara has changed so much in the past few weeks. She is really recognizing familiar faces. She has such a cheerful disposition and is constantly smiling when sung or talked to.  She loves her sister very much and is delighted when Olivia interacts with her. She is not so keen on William's whininess right now and gets agitated with crying.  She is learning to grab hold of things. She is pushing her bottle away when she doesn't want it, and will hold it and pull it close to her when she is ready to eat. She loves her mobile in her crib. She loves to sit with us at the table while we eat our food. She doesn't like being left alone. This is a great stage because you can interact with her and she is starting to interact back.

We did no big celebration, but acknowledged it among our own family.  She is a miracle and a blessing and these past 3 1/2 months were wonderful.  Here is what I've learned in the last 3 months:

1. Newborn clothing - skipped it - she was too big - next time (which there won't be) - I wouldn't have bought so many clothes before she was born because she didn't end up using it. They really do outgrow things so fast. I've learned also that you want to put "big" on the baby because you don't want to fiddle around with their fragile arms and legs.

2. I always laughed when I heard my cousin bought a block heater for the bathroom when she bathed Zoey.  I found it odd and over mothering. But here we are - frigid winter in Ottawa - Clara hates the cold after the bath and I feel for her. A block heater would be nice for everyone in fact who comes out of a nice bath or shower.

3. Blankets - I laughed when I was doing laundry before Clara was born. I received so many blankets as gifts. Like many blankets do I need?  Honestly, I use these blankets for everything!  I have thin ones, think ones, soft ones, fluffy ones, waterproof ones. It's great! I use them for tummy time, sleeping time, car rides, spit ups, change cloths etc.

4. At first I thought it was a frivolous purchase, but in the end, Clara loved having her butt wiped with WARM baby wipes. Great invention for those wee hour diaper changes.  They didn't shock the heck out of her to wake her up.

5. Working those muscles that I haven't used before - mostly in my arms from carrying the ridiculously heavy car seat around.  Then you dont' notice it really, but all the baby carrying week after week as she gains weight. You also use those arm muscles while you do the TRANSFER of sleeping baby into crib/bassinet/car seat - cautiously moving you arms so you don't wake the baby up.

6. COUPONS - I am a big coupon collector now for diapers and formula. It's crazy how much things cost now!  And...I have signed up on every ballot CONTESTS/give aways there are for baby items. Free is always good.

7. Never never leave home without the diaper bag.  It holds contents for all kinds of disasters.  These "moments" always come up when you are not prepared.

8. FANCY clothes - you don't really use them from 0-4 months. Onesies are the way to go. I hated using onesies with Olivia and William, they were such a hassle for a moving baby. But for Clara, she lives in them.  I understand why you need to more than usual.

9. NURSING PADS  - Why don't they sell them at COSTCO? It's ridiculous the amount I use. Then they come individually wrapped - so you have to unwrap them and then you have these wrappers everywhere.

10. SLEEP DEPRIVATION -  They weren't kidding. Right now I am going on 4 - 5 hours sleep on average - and that's not straight. Maybe 2 hours here, and then an 1 hour there, and then another 2 here. It's insane!  I get that comment "when the baby sleeps, you need to sleep".  I literally pass out with Clara. I understand now that I have become HOSTAGE to Clara's power naps. At this time, she can sleep 30 minutes - 2 hours. It depends. And sometimes, she has to sleep on me because the moment I put her down she wakes up. When she's up, I can't put her down because she wants to be in my arms.

Martin told me one night that I had a "good night sleep" because I was snoring. Really?  That's called PASSED OUT FROM EXHAUSTION. hahahhaha  I have say though, there is a reason why women are more sleep deprived than men. It's because when women are sleep deprived they muddle through somehow and make it through the day - taking care of the baby and household duties. Men...well I think they become super grumpy and intolerable.  :0P

All in all, life is good. Life with 3 kids under the age of 4 is crazy but I'm loving every minute of it. I feel very blessed today and everyday.  I can't imagine it any other way.