December 30, 2011

Nine Months (and some obstacles)

Our little Anna Bean is 9 months old! As you can see, she is getting around quite well. Pulling up, climbing on top and over boxes, and "cruising". We are very proud of her tenacity!

She's doing great on the sleeping front- is now offiically taking two naps and sleeping 8-10 hours at night, waking up early morning for a feeding, and consistently arising for the day at 7:30.

This month has had its difficult moments. We've been battling atopic dermatitis/eczema stuff on her little skin which has caused her to be terribly uncomfortable and itchy, and we had some scary run-ins with the allergy monster. This is what took place after eating less than one ounce of yogurt:

Not cool. Her face is still lingering red and she woke up numerous times crying last night. Then we had a major breakout of hives after eating some green peas. Needless to say, both dairy and peas are crossed off our food list for now. We are also avoiding other legumes because she might react to them as well (garbanzo beans, other beans, lentils, etc). And because allergic reactions can get worse after each exposure, our doc gave us a referral to an allergist, plus an Epi-Pen Junior script. Ugh. I'm not gonna lie, it's been quite frustrating and tiresome dealing with it all. It feels like we are on a constant elimination diet- right now there are something like 7 foods I'm not sure if she is reacting to, and another 8 foods that we are actively avoiding. You'd think it would be easy to pinpoint food issues but it is VERY DIFFICULT because the reaction can vary, the foods can vary, and the timing is inconsistent. I'm constantly trying to figure out what's causing her problems, what she's eaten, what's changed, etc.

Sometimes I think about her surgery date coming up in 2 months, and I want to scream "WHY?" Why does Anna have to go through this in addition to her leg? Why can't it just be easy for her like other babies? Why can't she eat whatever she wants? Why, Why, Why? Am I complaining too much? Feel free to cyber kick me if so. Despite my ranting, most of the time I really am positive and thankful. I try to stay focused on the amazing qualities Anna was blessed with. And the fact that she is here and alive and a miracle! She is truly a special girl.

Ben and I do not believe these reactions are from God. He is not the author of sickness and disease. We are committing ourselves to prayer for our baby girl and everything she's dealing with. Any and all prayer from others is much solicited and much appreciated, as is any reassuring advice (like "don't worry that happened to my baby and now she eats whatever she wants!" :) Anna and her Mommy thank you in advance!

Christmas in Florida

December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

And here's Anna at the Shriners Christmas party with Santa. She didn't even cry.

(Some out-takes from our Christmas photo shoot)

(I think it's hilarious how she looks like she's posing in this one)

December 20, 2011


Lately I have been hit hard with the reality of my own brokenness.

The realization that I still have much in my broken past that haunts me
and occupies unwanted space in my soul.

The reality that I have some character traits now, as an adult,
that are not as they should be.

I guess that's what happens when you become a parent.
When you are staring face to face with the possibility that this precious life entrusted to you just might turn out...
a lot like you.

And how scary that is.

Is that what I want?

Please, no.

Change me.

I want to be the version of myself my Father saw when he knit me together.

Where is that person?

I look in the mirror and see a mess. It's all there staring back at me:
Fear. Insecurity. Selfishness. Envy. Ingratitude. Judgement. Intolerance. Bitterness.

Each one picked up along this broken path of life.
Broken responses to broken situations.

He looks in the mirror and sees beauty.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.1

Everything. Beautiful.

Give me your eyes God. Your strength.


These few days alone a lot of pent-up emotions came flooding out.
Tears that hadn't been cried.
That I didn't even know were waiting to be let out of their temporary homes in my soul.

A mess.

I pull up my knees and lay my head on them. When I close my eyes, I feel my heavenly Father's arms wrap around me and hold me on his lap.

My Father's lap.

A place I never knew in the physical. A place my heart still longs for.

And my God will supply all your needs.2

All my needs. Every one.

Thank you for loving this beautiful mess. Without you I am dust, the walking dead.

You are my life, my soul, my everything.

1- Ecclesiastes 3:11
2- Phillippians 4:19

December 19, 2011

japan girl bridal party

I've never been into Google Analytics in the past, but based on the humorous entries from friend Erika, I thought I would give it a try. It's a device that tells you how people came to your blog, particularly when through search engines.

Apparently the other day someone from British Columbia happened upon a particular post...

...when they searched for "japan girl bridal party."

Yes that's right. And this is what they found:

Sadly I don't think they found what they were looking for. Especially since Stephanie isn't even Japanese. She's Chinese. So are Jenny and Melinda, and Diana is Taiwanese. Nope, not a Japanese in the bunch.

Apparently Google is not very accurate in their image labeling.

December 16, 2011

Daddy on Duty

I dedicate this post to my lovely wife Lisa, who allowed me to step into her shoes this weekend. (And what big shoes for such dainty feet.)

My last four months of rotations often made for long workdays with little time spent at home. That coupled with constant studying when I was home resulted in Lisa shouldering much of the parental responsibility. When the semester came to an end, I was gifted a long Christmas break, but Lisa's duties didn't change too much except that she was able to share some responsibilities with me. Finally it hit me, "Why not give Lisa the chance to get away for a couple of days and breath some fresh air (ie. air not tainted by dirty diapers and the distinctive smell of formula)?" I didn't really think she'd take me up on it but she did and here I am alone with Anna. And boy did we pick a great time for her to go.

Anna woke up with a runny nose this morning. Anna NEVER has a runny nose. And Alice, she wouldn't wake up yesterday morning and after trying to resuscitate her for awhile, I ended up getting her towed. The car docs have already diagnosed and treated her, but not before charging us an arm and a leg and not soon enough for me to bring her back home before Monday. So I'm without wheels this weekend, stuck at home with a sniffling baby who also happens to be teething again today after taking a week off.

Normally, when Anna teeths, she sucks on her fingers like a vacuum cleaner trying to swallow a sock. But today I caught her chewing on the corner of the kitchen rug. And during a brief phone conversation with a friend, I was startled to find Anna gnawing on my arm as if she had found a drumstick on a deserted island. Then she snuggled up to my chest, and that feel-good moment ended real quick when I felt her teeth penetrating the fabric of my t-shirt. I yelped and instinctively covered a nipple in case she drifted while grazing. Fortunately, she didn't draw blood and she didn't have fangs when I checked her canines. So at least she didn't appear to be morphing into Vampire Baby although when I looked out the window, I did shudder to note that daylight was fading fast. And her bedtime was still a couple of hours away. Oh dear.

But by day's end, I had survived. Barely. Somehow I managed to find food for Anna to eat, clothes for her to wear, diapers to change her into, and adequate entertainment, all in a fairly timely fashion. Still, I ate lunch 3 hours late, found myself constantly without a rag or Kleenex to wipe Anna's Niagara Falls nose, and didn't even have to cook a meal [ate leftovers-thank you Lisa:)] or run a load of laundry. Or do any of the other million things that Lisa finds time to do. How in the world does she do this every day?

Then I think about the times (every other day) I chide Lisa for allowing the dirty baby bottles to stack up next to the sink. Or about the times I think I'm doing Lisa a favor by telling her that she shouldn't skip meals or ever forget to drink fluids. Or when I discover food on Anna's clothes and wonder why her mommy didn't notice it. I could go on and on.

I'm glad Lisa took a break, but I wish I had offered this, say, back in August. Before Lisa left today (was it today or was it eons ago?), I knew being a homemaker wasn't a walk in the park. I could sense the exhaustion emanating from her face and body after a long day, but I couldn't relate until now. Now I understand why Lisa sometimes was eager for me to clock in as soon as I walked in the front door after a day's work. Oh yes, if I looked in the mirror today at, say, 6 o'clock, I would have seen a desperate man wondering where the heck his mate was.

Today has been an adventure and my wife hasn't even been gone 12 hours yet. Thank you Lisa for all that you do. And I truly say that from the bottom of my heart. I can't promise you I won't ever chide, scold, or complain again about some menial task not performed to perfection, but I do give you permission to slap me back to the reality of today if I do. That said, you better be back here by Sunday night!

Love you babe, Ben

December 15, 2011

'Tis the Season

Because I'm feeling so festive, here are my favorite Christmas tunes this season!

This is my favorite. While I like Chris Tomlin, I don't typically go crazy over him. However, this CD is awesome. It's so worshipful and makes me really, really happy.

Burl Ives is the best. Who doesn't like him? He's classic Christmas.

When else do you get to listen to the most beautiful instrument ever- the harp?
It's also great background music for reading.

Love this guy and love this CD.

The Nutcracker score immediately makes me nostalgic from all those years of dancing in the ballet. It wouldn't be Christmas without it. Here's a pic from my first nutcracker (Party girl-1995) and my last (Arabian-2001).

In other festivities, Anna brought home her first little craft from church "school" today. Keeping with my scanning spirit, I'm saving stuff like this digitally (unless it's some masterpiece art which I suppose then I might save the original ;). Perhaps I'll put it all a little photo book for Anna someday.

Merry Christmas!

December 13, 2011

My Little Fighter

Finding a way, even if it means balancing on a short leg with a pointed, four toe foot!

She amazes me! My daily inspiration.

December 12, 2011

Good Times

This past weekend we were able to go to a friend's lakehouse for a few days. We met up with my good friends Stephanie and David, and good times were had.

David and Stephanie recently celebrated their one year anniversary. When I found out they brought their laptop complete with wedding pictures, I gave them no rest until they let me transfer some of them to my computer. While they are a year late, it was nice to reminisce about that beautiful day in the Dominican Republic and a simply stunning bride and groom!