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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Firefighter Costume

I'm not too big on Halloween and all things spooky (My husband teases me for the way I jump even at the scary parts of G-rated films!), but I just can't resist the sight of little kids dressed up in cute costumes.

I like to be frugal when it comes to things like this (after all, they only wear them for - what, a couple hours?)  Here are Jonathan's costumes from the past couple of years:

2011 (3 months old)
Scored this at a children's consignment shop for a few bucks.
"NASA, here I come!"


2012 (1 year old)
The original plan was to make a Charlie Brown costume...but the shirt I ordered online arrived too late.  As a last-minute resort, I scrambled to find matching daddy-son clothing.  I think I loved this more than any other costume!
"My daddy is my favorite superhero!"

Our church has an event called "Hallelujah Night" as a trick-or-treating alternative on the 31st.  The kids gather together, listen to a short message, sing praise songs, play games, and go home with a stash of candy.

This year (probably the last in which I get to decide how Jonathan dresses), he was a firefighter!


2013 (2 years old)

Here's the breakdown of the costume:

Hat
Free from the firehouse's community event a couple weeks ago.

Firefighter Jacket
Doubles as a raincoat on all the days following Halloween. (Our boy loves playing in the rain!)  Purchased at Costco (although I can't seem to find the exact one anywhere online).

Pants
Took some fleece pants we already had and added stripes of silver duct tape and yellow vinyl we had on hand.

Shirt
Bought a thrifted long sleeved tee for a couple dollars.  Using my favorite freezer paper stencil method (as learned from crafty mommy blogger Cheri here), I designed the shirt and painted it.  (Freezer paper stenciling deserves its own post, which is coming soon. Promise.)


A couple notes:
**If I weren't feeling so sick this week, I would have either purchased or made suspenders to complete the outfit.

**Also, I realize that using red vinyl for the pants would have probably looked better.  But since the yellow didn't clash horribly and I wanted to use what we had on hand, it worked. :)

**I'll be back tomorrow with a post about his little sister's costume :)



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Glad to be a Mom (GTBAM)

...when my 2 year old, big boy that he is, crawls into my bed to snuggle.

Photo credit: Augustine

This picture was taken by my husband last week, when the whole household was sick.  I was exhausted but I remember waking briefly and seeing Jonathan smile and curl up next to Abby and me.  And we napped like that for 3 glorious hours.  :)

Someday he will be too big to hold in my arms, or too cool to hold my hand.  So for now, I savor every moment like this.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hold Me.

It was a rough morning.  We were running late.  The house was a mess.  Jonathan turned a deaf ear to my requests for him to clean up his toys.  Abby spit up all over herself and me right as we were leaving the house.  Jonathan had a meltdown because he wanted to keep the screen door closed between us.  I (arms full of diaper bag and snacks and baby) opened it anyway.  His screams echoed down the street as I put Abby in the car.  He then refused to be buckled into his own car seat.  I finally managed to wrangle him into his seat and started driving down the street, exhausted, frustrated, and emotions strung high.

Jonathan screamed at the top of his lungs from his seat.  I cranked up the music to fight back.  My patience for his tantrums was running thin.  I was going to win this battle.

But then something strange happened.  Despite the loud music, I could hear him crying/screaming - not "NOOO!" - not "STOP!" -


...but "UP!"

And even though we were a solid thirty minutes late and everything in me wanted to remain firm and strict and teach him a lesson in obedience...

I turned off the radio, put the car in Park, hit the hazard lights, and got out of the car.  I climbed into the backseat of the van, unbuckled his straps, and just held my boy.

That was all he needed.  As soon as my arms wrapped around him, the tantrum was over; his anger dissipated.  His small body, rigid and tense just moments before, melted into my arms.

And so did my heart.

Because, as I rocked my not-so-baby boy, God gently reminded me of the times He's held me, too.  When all I do is scream and turn the opposite way.  When I resist His ways and insist on my own.   When the things I do don't even make sense and I don't care.  

When I deserve nothing but to face the consequences of my decisions...He extends grace.

No matter how grave the sin, every time I reach out and cried, "UP!" there He is.  Quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.

Psalm 139:7-10


Grace has been extended to me over and over again, as He has held me fast and forgiven me plenty.

As a parent, I look to the heavenly Father as my model; my Example -  He who loves perfectly and guides gently.  I only pray to extend that same grace to my own children...that it would point them to the Father that loves them and holds them too.


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The title of this post, ironically, is also the title of one of Jonathan's favorite songs. "Hold Me," by Jamie Grace (feat. TobyMac)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Generosity.

Sorry I've been a little MIA on the blog recently.  We've been a bit busy.


Neon is best.

Just the clothing...

In my first post of this blog, I wrote about my list of ten things.  

Well, I'd like to make a little update:


Here's my list:
1. Potty train Jonathan
2. Start blogging as Gummy Bear Mama
3. Write a draft for a children's book
4. Go running/walking every week & lose baby weight
5. Learn to make pho
6. Complete a project with the sewing machine
7. Download iPad app and make my own fonts
8. Fill up photo albums with all of the photo prints we already have
!!!  9. Raise at least $500 for Carlin*  !!!
10. Finish reading through the Bible and read through it once more

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*Carlin is the sweet 4 year old daughter of my friends Catherine & Michael.  She was diagnosed with cancer over the summer and has been bravely undergoing many medical treatments.  You can read more of her story here.  Thanks!

Photo credit: Augustine


All I can say is that God is so, so, so faithful.  But first, let me back up a minute and give a backstory.

About a month ago, we started thinking of fundraising ideas for Carlin.  The first thing that came to mind was a yard sale, so we set a date (no school on that Friday was a major plus!) and got approval from our church to hold it in our church parking lot.

Photo credit: Augustine


We prayed hard for good weather.  God answered.  :)


Photo credit: Augustine


This kiddo was a real trooper.  He actually came down with a fever the day before the yard sale, but kept smiling and had a lot fun that weekend.


Photo credit: Augustine




AND our Team Carlin shirts came in just in time for us to wear them to the yard sale! :)
Back of Team Carlin Fundraiser Shirt:
Nothing is impossible...the word itself says, "I'm Possible!" 


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The week before the sale, someone asked me what our goal was.  I hesitated because I had been reminded of a church yard sale from about five years ago.   Only about $200-$300 was made at that time, so I went into this yard sale with similar expectations.  


After all, the $500 goal was for the end of 2014 and seemed like a lofty one, at that.


How easily I forget that God loves to be generous.



And He works through generous people...

...like every single person who scoured their homes for items to donate (even brand-new and like-new items that could have been easily sold for profit)

...like every person (our youth group kids in particular!) who volunteered their time to help out.  They signed up for three-hour shifts, but most of them stayed the entire day!


...like the mothers who thoughtfully volunteered to spend both mornings in the church kitchen, whipping up Korean goodies to sell (and to feed the volunteers)!

Photo credit: Augustine

...like every person that came to the yard sale and/or gave a donation.
Photo credit: Augustine


...and like Rebekah (my eleven year old buddy who blogs over at Patience is Virtue).  She came a-knockin' on my door one night to donate an envelope full of her hard-earned babysitting money.

And she even apologized because the money was mostly in 1's!


Generosity like that of those above just blows me away.


But not as much as the generosity of our God.

He says:


Too often I tentatively open my mouth just a crack, timid to ask too much, afraid that He might not do as I expect, and fearful of anything unexpected that might potentially rattle my faith.

And every time He responds with lavish generosity, leaving me shocked and in awe.

It shouldn't surprise me by now, really, but it still does.

2,119
That's the magic number.

Not 200-300.

Not even 500.

But $2,119?   That's more than four times the goal I had set for the coming year!!!  Indeed, I am still learning to expect great things from God.

Incredible.  Unbelievable.   Lavish.   That's our God.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mirror, Mirror...

Growing up, I didn't have the greatest self image.  I fell prey to the comparison game, even from a very young age, and always worried I wasn't "enough"...i.e. I wasn't pretty enough, skinny enough, interesting enough, funny enough (and, as one of only a few Asians in my predominantly white town, even American enough) for others to like me.

Fast forward a decade or two and a whole lotta grace.

This past week, Abby turned four months old.  She's super alert and strong and holds up her head quite well.  She loves to sit in my lap to observe the happenings around her.  And she especially loves to interact with herself in the mirror.

I took this 10 second video about a month ago, but these days she is still just as fascinated (if not even more).

video
She lights up, as if to say, "Hey beautiful! There you are again!"  And she does this.  EVERY. TIME.

I love it.

I realized that I loved this not only because I love this girl... but especially because so often you will see the exact opposite reaction from girls when they gaze into a mirror.  "Ugh.  I'm so ugly!  Eww, what is this pimple?  I hate my  (any body part)!  I wish I had your hair!"

I'm sad to admit that most of these are direct quotes from my adolescence.

I'm a big proponent of humility and not thinking of yourself more highly than you ought.  But sometimes we go in the opposite extreme, which is also not so good.

After all,

Psalm 139:13-14

This is the verse I have been memorizing this week and it is my prayer for my little girl and all little ones (and grown up ones!) everywhere... that they would know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made.  God takes pride in His creation, which He crafted intricately and purposefully.

And every time we look into the mirror, instead of focusing on imperfections, we can smile and be reminded of a God who lovingly formed us with the greatest care. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Glad to be a Mom (GTBAM)

...when I accidentally launch a large blob of yogurt onto my shirt in an attempt to multi-task (eating + driving = trouble).

Just dab at it with a wet wipe and call it good.  Others will just assume it's baby spit-up. :)

And doesn't she look like she can keep a secret?




Friday, October 4, 2013

Blessed

Parenting is no joke.  

But at the end of the day, I am simply grateful for these babies.  So thankful that I get to spend every single day with them!

Girl time :)

Playing with Photo Booth...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Delight

I am a stickler for correct pronunciation.  Maybe it's the teacher in me, but I always feel compelled to correct someone when I hear something being pronounced incorrectly.

Except when it comes to my kid(s), apparently.

Yesterday Jonathan began correctly pronouncing "Brown Bear."  Until now (almost 27 months of age), he has been replacing the "R" in brown with an "L" sound, which is both amusing and endearing.  Most people would probably be quick to applaud their child's correct pronunciation, but I've been enjoying this mispronunciation so much that it saddened me a bit...after all, it had been a token, if you will, of his remaining babyhood.

While there is a part of me that looks ahead to the future in anticipation (e.g. when Jonathan learns to read, when Abby is able to go on piggyback rides, etc.), there is an even larger part of me that wants to preserve them, just as they are now, forever.

Like when Jonathan calls his favorite snack "aminal crackers"...
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...or when Abby's face completely lights up when we are being silly...
Photo credit:  Augustine


...or when Jonathan randomly puts on his shoes and a backpack and tells me he's leaving to go to school (his only concept of "school" so far is that it's where his daddy goes every morning)...



...or when Abby furiously gnaws on her itty bitty fingers...



...or when Jonathan plays with the guitar picks his Uncle Joe gave him...
Yes, he is strumming the guitar on his robot shirt...

...and uses them to play his plastic toy guitar (while singing songs he learned from the radio)...





...or when Abby sits on our bed like a tiny queen on her throne...
"Farm Boy, fetch me that pitcher..."


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I take delight in my kids through these different ages and stages.  They don't have to do anything particularly amazing or funny for me to love them.  I simply love to marvel at who they are and what they do.  I take delight in them and who they are right now, just as they are.

I am reminded of one of my favorite verses -  Zephaniah 3:17:


God's reminding me that He too delights in me (and you!) through all the ages and stages of my life.  I don't have to do anything particularly impressive or noteworthy for Him to notice me and love me.

He takes delight in me right now, even when all I see are the areas in which I need to grow.  Even when I mess up, lose my temper, or lose patience...

He takes delight in me.

All because I'm His.



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Name Recognition Caterpillars


My son, Jonathan, is 2 years old (26 months, to be exact).  Since his second birthday, he's been pretty interested in learning the alphabet and playing with puzzles.  I decided to combine the two activities to introduce name recognition.

I found this idea from Pinterest (scroll down to "#6 Bottle Cap Names") and thought that milk caps were more age-appropriate for my little guy's toddler hands.  I also thought it might be helpful to trace circles to help him place and match the milk caps to the letters.

He loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, so on a whim, I turned them into caterpillars.  



Want to make your own?  Here's what I did.

Materials Needed:
bottle caps* (one for each letter in the child's name)
paper
permanent marker 
markers
laminator
laminating sheet
scissors or cutting tool
clear tape

*Use caution with the size of bottle caps you choose, especially if your child likes to put things in his/her mouth.

1.  Trace (clean) milk caps to make caterpillars.  The caterpillars will vary in length depending on the number of letters in each name.  Since I had a couple yellow caps, I decided to make the capital letters a different color.  I used Sharpies to trace, but realized later than it would have been simpler and clean-looking to use regular markers.



3.  Fill in the circles with the child's name.  Again, plain markers will do just fine.  Since Jonathan's name has 8 letters, I cut the rows of circles into two paper strips and taped them together to make an extra-long caterpillar.  (I also made one for his BFF, Micah.)



4.  Use a permanent marker to label the milk caps with corresponding letters.  I prefer to write on the insides of the milk caps so they are less likely to rub off with use.



5.  Laminate the sheet of paper.  This step is optional, but preferred (since little hands will be playing with it).  Use scissors or a cutting tool to trim edges.  If you are making a long name out of 2 strips of paper, tape them together carefully.



6.  Guide your toddler through the activity.  



You can point and name each letter, discuss the difference between upper case and lower case letters, and count the number of milk caps.



Since he's two, I just let him focus on matching the caps to the circles.  For kids who are a bit older, you could ask them to place the caps in order, and maybe even have them practice writing their names afterwards.


(You might also consider underlining the letters so your child doesn't get confused between letters like "n" and "u" or "d" and "p"...)
"Does my name have a 'u' in it?"


Can you tell he enjoyed it?



His favorite part?  Shaking off all the caps once he was finished!



This activity is pretty adaptable. I think it could be easily used in the classroom (especially for centers) to teach and reinforce sight words!