Monday, December 31, 2012

Bring it on, 2013!

So, 2012 didn't end in a bang or overcome by zombie Apocalypse. The holidays had shuffled off, and brought the promises yet to come in a brand-new year. 

Stu, and I are planning on just kicking back, drinking our bubbly, chowing down on cocktail shrimps along with our home-made baked pizza on the fired-oven pan while watching Ryan Seacreast filling in large shoes of Dick Clark for New Year's celebrations on TV. We like the sound of just relaxing especially after so much traveling for Christmas. We are also in the midst of transiting Forrest to his crib. We really don't want to disturb his routine by taking him out somewhere. We are only a few days into crib switch from co-sleeping, and it has been a big change for all of us especially for this mama.

I admit that I cried a bit when we first moved Forrest into his own bedroom. It is hard to be pregnant for 9 months, then having our little guy co-sleep with us in our bedroom for 4 months, and to suddenly have him move down the hallway away from us. A piece of my heart is no longer right there by me. It is why I kind of knew that it is right time for Forrest to be in his own room because it is getting to the point where it is more for me than it is for him. It is getting progressively easier with passing night to have Forrest in the other room for both Forrest and myself.

With all of this happening, I sit back, and think of seven important lessons I have learned in 2012.

1) Time and experience heals pain. Pain, whether it is physical or emotional, is inevitable. Allow pain make you stronger, and learn from it. It is not necessarily a bad thing in a long run. I've learned a lot about myself through pain. Being in labor, and delivering my son is one of the hardest things I've gone through physically, and I am amazed at how my body can handle the pain. I've discovered a new respect for my body.

2) Life goes on. Really do enjoy your life as much as you can. Ever since having Forrest, I look at the kids in my family, and see how fast they've grown; it is a humbling reminder that everything won't stay the same forever, and it is good to enjoy them as it goes.

3) I can let go of people that don't belong in my life. I'm not obligated to keep them. They don't deserve a spot in my life just because. If they've earned that spot in the past, it doesn't mean they get to keep it forever. I deserve to have people in my life out of love, not obligation.

4) When you love who you are, and when you embrace your self-confidence, amazing things happen around you. Enuff said. It is pretty amazing thing to realize that people like you for liking yourself, and it freaks me out a little bit too, being a hermit that I am.

5) I've learned that being the main character in my own story is way better than just being a supporting one. I always put people first, and it was always about them, and rarely about me. Allowing my life to be about me and what I want? Best thing ever.

6) Speaking my truth, about my past experiences, my deafness, my entrance in motherhood, and dealing with life, it all has its purpose. A wonderful purpose of letting others know that they are not alone. Sharing my story is something I have lost the fear of doing.

7) I have learned that I need to listen to myself more often. I've always had a habit of letting others people's opinions have more weight than my own, and that is no way to live. I'm much happier when I listen to my heart telling me what to do. It is when your life has become more authentic.

What have you learned from the year 2012? 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday Madness to Its End

Oooh boy! It has been awhile since I have last written a post. Thankfully, holiday madness has died down, and we are finally back home. After nearly two weeks of traveling and staying at other people's houses; I've come to a realization that there is really no place like home, and it is nice to be back home. 

Forrest had a great first Christmas with our family! He got plenty of clothes, toys, teething items, and hats!  Forrest was a champ in the car the whole time we traveled. It was really nice because it meant less stress! Forrest loved being with his cousins. He had biggest smile on his face every time he saw his kid cousins especially our niece. He loved her presence for some reason. It was fun, and sweet to witness that. Forrest got passed around, held a lot, and kissed by family members. He was sure spoiled.

I decided to take a break from technology while I was visiting our family. I barely texted, didn't really glance at Facebook, groups I'm part of, did not check my blog or read other blogs, and left my laptop behind. I did not really take any pictures. I simply stayed in the moment, and focused on what was going on at this very instance. 

Guess what? 

It turned out to be a really awesome idea.

I read 4 books in five days! Imagine that. Well, okay, I may have skimmed the first book (Insurgent by Veronica Roth), and enjoyed light reading of Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith. I admit that a part of reason why I liked reading the books by Alexander was because I liked British style of writing. I was thrilled to find out that there was more in the series, and that meant more books to read. I also started reading books by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston. My brother got me hooked to this series.

Then to my great pleasure, my book, Rapture in Death (In Death Series) that I had ordered through Nook finally came through. It was a huge hassle. I had purchased that book on a gift card, and the gift card was not working properly. That caused my book to go into a lock-down mode. I had to go through a hassle of consumer service both online, and in person at the store to get my book to be "unlocked". To make a long story short, the book didn't unlock itself until about a week and half later. Oy. Nonetheless, once I got my book to work; I was pretty excited.

As you can see, I definitely love the genre of Urban Adventure Fantasy type of books. The Furnace series , The Divergent, and The Hunger Games are more geared for teenagers, and I am not ashamed to like them. In Death series is more focused for adults; here's the secret, J.D. Robb is actually Nora Roberts, believe it or not. And yes, In Death series is not gushy lame romance books that she normally writes. If you like action, strong female character, crime, then you will definitely like this. You won't be disappointed.

Feel free to check out any of books I mentioned above.

Anyway, the last time I read that much books was probably before I got pregnant. While I was pregnant, I didn't read much because I was busy preparing for Forrest's arrival, and I did not have much of attention span to really relax. It reminded me how much I had missed reading, and how thankful I am to have a lot of Barnes and Noble gift cards to purchase E-Books! 


I also learned how to play Domino. I really enjoyed it! It was finally nice to find a game that I was able to co-exist peacefully with Stu. Ha ha ha. Matter of fact, we liked it so much that we decided to buy a game of our own for our home.

Stu and I got a lot of lovely things from our family. We really loved what we got, and can't just pick one as our favorite. We were more happy to see that Forrest got so much nice things to enjoy, and use.

We also had a lot of delicious food. I probably gained five pounds from eating. No regrets here. Yummy.

I also met up with a dear friend of mine, and met her husband. It was a wonderful lunch.

It's amazing how much things you can accomplish, and enjoy when you put all technology stuff aside for awhile. Try that, and you may rediscover things you've forgotten about.

Now we are finally back home, and we have decided that we wanted to stay in for New Year's instead of going out. We have had enough of traveling, and going everywhere. We just really want to bunker down, and relax with just three of us.

I'm currently tackling down the monster of laundry (imagine that, 2 weeks worth of clothes to be washed), and Forrest is napping for who know how long, so I'm trying to finish this post as fast as possible in record time.

It's Deaf Thing post should be posted hopefully by early next week!

I hope your holiday was as wonderful.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

4 Months Old

Dear Forrest,

You are 4 months old today. You are growing like a weed. You are now in 16-17 pounds range. There are four notches in your car seat for seat belt adjustment. You are currently now sporting car seat from the third notch. Mama thinks that you might need a new car seat by your sixth month at latest because you are outgrowing it, not by weight, but by your height! When you do outgrow your car seat, then it is okay because it will be passed down to your little brother or sister a few years from now...probably within two years! Your little feet are barely about to bypass the edge of your car seat! You are one tall boy. 

You are still wearing size 2 in pampers Swaddlers. Mama is considering about switching to a different brand or at least in other label for Pampers, such as Cruisers because you are so active especially with kicking your legs! You are still having poop leaks from wearing your Swaddlers. Mama has found a solution how to get mustard yellow poop off your Onesies! The secret? Dawn dish soap. No kidding. It works. Mama isn't sure if it's a norm for breastfed babies to have such leaky poops, or if you need a different diaper brand....that's why Mama is going to experiment and find out what is right for you!

Edited to add: Huggies brand size 3 seems to work alright in containing your explosive poops, and unfortunately, it does appear to be irritating your little bum. So Huggies is officially out as well as Luvs. We're back to Pampers, and we will try going up to size 3 instead of 2. If that doesn't work then Mama will have to look into Crusin' Pampers. 

You've been a regular ole drooling machine these days! You drool, drool, and drool. You're chewing on everything you can lay your hands on. Your favorite chew toy is not any of the chewing toys, but your own hands! You are definitely beginning to teeth. You have your hard moments because your gums are bothering you, and that makes you feel grouchy. When you are in that mood, you would rather lay on Mama, and have a lazy day with her. You are slowly gaining a good bounty of teething toys! Mama is looking into getting you an Amber necklace to help with your drooling and pain. 

You are still co-sleeping with your parents. Alas, the change is coming. Because you are sleeping through the night with an occasional wake up calls at 3-4 am to nurse, your parents are slowly introducing you to your crib with hope of having you sleep in your crib by end of December after all the traveling!

Currently, you are sleeping on reclined Infant-to-Toddler rocker since you are battling a cold. Sometimes, you would rather not to sleep by yourself, but in Mama's arms. Mama gladly sacrificed a few nights of sleep holding you as you slept. Poor kid, you. Mama and Daddy often have to squeeze Saline Drops up your nose, which is something you don't like, and suck out the boogers. Baby Vapor is a wonderful asset, and helps you to breath as you go to sleep at the night. Mama is hoping you will feel better in time for Christmas!

The idea of transitioning you to the crib is definitely harder on Mama than it is on you. You are able to take naps in your cribs without much fuss. Just slap on some songs, and you are out like a light. You love your mobile above your crib, and can easily be entertained until you fall asleep. When you travel with your parents, you sleep in your playpen without any problem. When New Years rolls in, you are definitely heading to your own big boy bed, and start sleeping there!

You are still being exclusively breastfed. Breastfeeding continues to be one of the most challenging experience that Mama has to go through. Mama worries that she may not have enough supply to keep up with you since you are getting so big! Thankfully, one of the mamas from the mommy groups gave your Mama a tip how to make sure you are getting enough, and it does seem that you are getting enough. Even so, Mama drinks Mother Tea occasionally, and it seem to be doing the trick. Mama had to endure yet another clogged duct, which is painful, and not fun to deal with, but it is okay because she knows what to do this time. Fortunately, Mama managed to get through it just fine. You continue to grow and benefit so much from breast milk. It's amazing to see how fast you've been growing from it! Mama is hoping to be able to breastfeed you for at least 6 months, and Mama's goal is just to make through every month with you.

You have gained some control over your tongue. For awhile there, your tongue was sticking out like crazy! Now, it is safely tucked in your little mouth. You are starting to exhibit some curiosity toward Mama's food. You reach and try to grab at Mama's snacks. If you are cleared by Dr. Johnson for your 4-month check-up then you may start sampling pureed food! Mama can't wait to try out the Baby Bullet to make you food!

Mama has been looking into high chair for you. Perhaps you'll be getting a big boy chair when you are able to sit up without toppling over, and being able to start eating pureed food!

You absolutely love your Jumperoo that your Grand-Aunt Ro had gotten for you. You enjoy bouncing, standing, and leaning forward to grasp on things. You no longer need a box underneath your feet because you are able to touch the floor! You are such a tall kid! Your favorite is the little teal bird hanging from the bar. You reach for it, grab it, bring it toward your mouth, chew on it, then let it go. Repeat. You can easily do this for half hour before getting tired. Sometimes, you just like to hang your head down, and chew on the seat. You tend to get fussy, and whine for Mama or Daddy when you are done playing in it.

Because of your daily tummy time, you are a pro at holding up your neck, and you have rolled over once or twice already! You aren't a pro at rolling over quite yet, and don't do it every time you are on your tummy. You tend to rock your little body back and forth or flip on your side. It is really awesome to see you doing this. Mama and Daddy are looking forward to the day when you finally learn how to roll around! 

You have recently started sitting in your Bumbo chair! You love being in it. You giggle, smile, and coo when you get approval from your parents. You are able to sit on your parents' laps without needing support to your neck. You like to lean forward to grasp at things in front of you especially Mama's hair.

Mama is looking forward to bringing you down to her hometown, and spend pre-Christmas with her side of family, then heading up north to the Farm with Daddy to spend Christmas with his family. It will be a lot of fun! Mama isn't sure what is the plan for New Year's. It will probably be a low-keyed event at home. You'll be ringing in a New Year's by sleeping in your big boy bed!

Mama and Daddy are anxiously awaiting to see what will transpire during Month FOUR! 


Mama and Daddy

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Newton Tragedy

A tragedy occurred yesterday.

Can you imagine hearing that your child will never be coming home? To look at presents underneath the tree or the unwrapped gifts waiting for every night with the lighting of Menorah...never to be opened. Not ever to hold a tiny body against yours, breathing into the fresh child like smell on top of their heads, and to feel their little hearts beat against yours. To ring in a New Year's without ever seeing your child smile, laugh, or talk again? To look at your other children, nephews, nieces, and cousins, or family members, and tell them that their brother or sister or grandchild or cousin or niece or nephew is eternally gone. To bury your own child? 

No, I can't fathom the lives that were lost yesterday, and the grief that has bloomed through the community. This is yet another sobering reminder that a human life is fragile, and precious. Every day, we hear, and see deaths on the news all over the world. It affects everybody; rich or poor, straight or gay, black or white, and a devout and an atheist. 

For this to happen again is heartbreaking. Perhaps, this is time for us to reassess what is going on in our country, and take steps toward preventive care. 

My heart breaks for those who are affected by the tragedy. I am very sad for them. 

Last night, Stu, and I went to Oshkosh Light of Festival; we introduced Forrest to Santa Claus for the very first time, and there was a mixture of quiet sadness, and muted happiness. We looked upon our son, and silently thanked the stars for our little boy. A little voice inside me was unable to help, but weep for lost lives of those children, and the broken families. I picked up my son, and embraced his little squirmy body against mine. 

As sobering, and sad this news was, it served as a profound reminder to hold on to those people you love, and to tell them that you love them.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Reflection Of My Pregnancy

Feel free to click on the picture to enlarge it! 

Isn't this cool or what? I came across to a collage picture on my fellow friend blogger's page: Chasing Moonlight and Roses, and had to ask her how she made hers. Graciously, she shared the Link to creating collages with me, and it was really easy to use...very user-friendly even for amateurs like me. Anyway, I was excited to be able to capture my whole pregnancy, and watching my belly grow for over 9 months. A random fact: We are pregnant for 10 months...not 9 months. Crazy. 

I really, really loved being pregnant. Loved it. It was so much fun being pregnant, wearing cute maternity clothes, feeling my boy kick, and squirm inside, and watching my belly grow. I might jinx myself for my next pregnancy, but I'm going to say it anyway...I had very, very mild morning sickness. Just nausea. No vomiting. What I had to deal with was bad case of migraine headaches that pretty much rendered me useless in the evenings. It was probably the only downfall with my pregnancy. I felt good. I looked awesome for being pregnant. I had no complications despite my blood clotting issue, and low blood pressure. I had a really wonderful doctor that monitored me for that, and I was blessed to be able to have a wonderful birth experience. 

The best part of this experience was having Forrest at last. He was definitely worth the journey. I knew I wanted to be pregnant again, and hopefully end up with a girl next time. I would have done it again in a heartbeat. 

While I would love to be pregnant again, I also have a list of reasons why I do NOT want to be pregnant anytime soon, and it is enough to keep my baby fever at the bay. I want to be able to eat my food that I am unable to during my pregnancy. I want to have my glass of wine (which I am still patiently biding my time for since I am breastfeeding Forrest every 2-3 hours--not enough time to have alcohol to be out of my system for the next feeding). I love the freedom that I have with my body now. I can fit through narrow spaces! I can enjoy my non-maternity clothes. I look forward to the day when I can wear regular bras--so sick of my nursing bras! I have yet eaten Sushi and I want to soon! I love being able to eat raw cookie batter--I did the other day, and it was glorious. While it is so much fun to be a mom, it is tiring to take care of a baby on demand 24/7. 

I have yet slept through the night...mind you, Forrest does sleep from 9 pm to 6 am with an occasional midnight snack, but I wake up at random times to check on Forrest to make sure he's okay, and I can't sleep just quite yet. Teething is a demon. I hate it when Forrest is not feeling well, and wish I can take away his pain. Diapers is expensive. Clothes too. I would like to have Forrest to be nearly done wearing diapers by the time I have my second kid. I want to go out on a date with my girlfriends or my husband, and feel completely secure leaving Forrest behind for a few hours at time. I have a few weddings to attend, and want to be able to fit in my bridesmaid dresses or cute outfits. I want to dance without feeling tired, or awkward. Face it, a baby is expensive! We want to get a bigger place before we start seriously considering to have a second kid. Our current place is just too small for a growing family like ours. Just thinking about trying to go shopping with a toddler, and a crying baby in the cart scares me at this moment. I'm not ready for that just yet! *winks* 

Most importantly of all, I want to be able to enjoy Forrest for a bit while. I look forward to watching him grow into a young little boy, and as selfish as it is, I want him all to myself. I'm not quite ready to share a part of myself to other little person just yet....

Stu and I already know that we would love to have two more. We have our heart set on having 3 kids. Why? Two is not quite enough. We both come from big families, and we know what it is like to grow up with at least 2 siblings in the household. Good memories, I tell you. Four is way too much...unless if we have twins for our last pregnancy. Then lord help us all. 

Because of our age, we are looking to having a second one within a year and half or two. I know for fact that I want to be completely done before I am 35 years old. I will have absolutely no energy for babies after that, and I want to be able to enjoy my kids as they grow older. And the idea of me being 60, and having a teenager scares me. Ha ha ha! I know for fact that my mom is already pressing for a second grandchild! I think she enjoys being a grandma...A LOT. 

We also know that for the second pregnancy, since it won't be our last one; we want the sex to be a surprise, and not find out until delivery. I've been convinced by some mommies, who have gone team green, and they were glad they waited until birth to find out. Then I convinced Stu to go Team Green for our second pregnancy, and he was surprisingly okay with it! 

Do I have a preference for the next baby's gender? A part of me would love to have a girl. Then again, I would also love to have a boy, and give Forrest a brother. Perhaps, it will be very different if it is my last pregnancy, and I don't end up getting a girl. It's my honest answer for you. As for now, I'd be happy with either one of them. I think it's easier for me to accept if I end up with another boy second time around because it won't be our last run. 

We also plan on being more prudent with timing. Our first pregnancy was very blessed. I got pregnant fairly quick, and sustained my pregnancy. While it was a huge relief to know that we both had no pressing issues that may have affected us to get pregnant, it was also a pain because I had Forrest at end of the summer, and that meant Stu was gone quite a lot for coaching, and teaching. I had no idea how we survived the first three months with Forrest. But we did. Thankfully. Because of this, we learned our lesson. Never have a baby at end of the summer! *winks*

I do hope that our second time around will be as blessed as the first one. I do have some worries about getting older, having difficulties with getting pregnant, and balancing motherhood with a toddler plus a newborn. I think this is normal worry though!

Do I plan to blog my second pregnancy? You bet! It may be tricky to find time, and energy, but it will be done. I am fortunate to have a really supportive and hand on husband and family. :)

It's the Deaf thing posts, and general blogging may be a bit behind in the next two weeks seeing that the holidays are coming up, but I promise to keep you guys updated, and posted!! Just be patient if you notice a decrease in my postings, okay? :) 


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Magic of Christmas

Recently, I mentioned about having Santa Claus in our household, and incorporating the magic of Christmas for Forrest then ultimately, having to break the news to Forrest that the actual person of Santa Claus is not real. Some parents are vehemently against lying to their children about Santa Claus therefore, they do not incorporate Santa Claus in their lives. Some parents believe that religion takes precedent over Christmas stories. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate or not celebrate Christmas for every family out there. 

I had never really believed in Santa Claus, yet I enjoyed the magic of Christmas. I loved waking up on Christmas morning, and running to our tree to see presents underneath the tree! It was magical how the presents had showed up underneath the tree. I was in second or third grade when I caught Mom putting gifts underneath the tree. I was not very disappointed about lack of existence of Santa Claus. My family had never emphasized much on Santa Claus, but they certainly promoted us to participate in the magic of Christmas. 

My family practiced the tradition of St. Nick and the filling of our stockings on the night of December 5th. Growing up, I loved this tradition, and as a child; I admit, it was all about gifts, but when I grew older, I came to embrace the idea of St. Nick's. 

For my family, we do want to incorporate Santa Claus, and have fun with it. While an actual living person that would be named Santa Claus does not exist, the concept of Santa Claus is based on a legend of Saint Nick, and he actually did exist. You can Google the legend of St. Nick online if you are curious. 

The idea I came to embrace was the meaning behind Christmas. I loved reading the books on Legend of St. Nick, and how he gave gifts to the poor. I loved the festive feeling that we get during Christmas season. People were usually nicer during this time of the year. The advent calendars, hot chocolate mugs with marshmallows  snow, smell of pine trees, crispness in the air, Christmas music and movies playing endlessly everywhere put me in a jolly mood. It was never really about getting. It was more about the giving. 

I knew that I wanted to pass this down to my son. 

Starting with Santa Claus. 

I plan on passing down the tradition of St. Nick's and the filling of stockings. I am going to read the Legend of St. Nick's to Forrest. It will be in all good fun. I am eager to have him learn about the meaning of Christmas. 

When it comes to time for Forrest to no longer believe in the jolly, white-bearded, fat man named Santa Claus; it is okay to no longer believe in the living person, and we plan on gently explaining to him that the actual Santa Claus does not exist today, and was once a man named St. Nick's. The reason why Santa Claus continues today is to continually remind ourselves what giving does to all of us. It is the magic that we should continue believing in. 

To me, that is not laying down elaborate lies to hurt our children one day when they learn that Santa Claus does not exist because in a very true, real sense, Santa Claus is real, and thrives on the magic of kindness, love, and faith. 

To lay out a plate of freshly baked cookies with a glass milk for Santa Claus to nibble on, tracking powdered hoof prints of Reindeer all over the driveway, and writing letters to Santa are a part of magic. It is wonderful to capture wonder in our children's eyes. It will become their memories that they will always cherish. To promote joy, and magic in our household is a must. One day, our children, all grown-up, will pass this down to their children, and share with us how much they had loved having this in their childhood. 

I know I most certainly did. 


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Passing Down Tidbits of my Childhood To My Son

I have been scouring for ASL DVDs for Forrest. There are several out there on Amazon, Harris Communication, and sites for the Deaf. I really want Forrest to be exposed to ASL. It is when it occurred to me that I wanted to find one very specific DVD called Sign Me a Story with Linda Bove

I grew up with this. I used to own the VHS. Oh my gosh, as a little girl, I absolutely LOVED this. I was enthralled by actors signing while playing out stories. Just loved it. I was not sure what happened to the VHS. It disappeared. 

Anyway, I thought of this recently, and knew I wanted one for Forrest. How cool was that--to share my childhood tidbits with him. I scoured online, with a help of a dear friend, and we were unable to find this copy on DVD. It seemed that it was only on limited few VHS out there. I did find the video on you-tube. I was excited to be able to at least view it again. 

Brings back the memories. 

I'm debating if I should purchase this on VHS then hopefully convert it to DVD somehow??

What are your childhood favorites or memories that you want to share with or pass down to your child?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's finally December!

We had a really great weekend despite me getting sick with a cold...thanks to Stu for bringing it home! *winks* 

Stu, Forrest, and I accompanied Bobbie, my mother-in-law, Spencer (brother-in-law), & Wally (his adorable girlfriend) to attend Dickens of Christmas at Ripon. I made sure that Forrest was completely bundled up in his little reindeer suit to ensure that he stayed warm. Sure enough, he stayed warm. Dickens of Christmas was slowing down when we arrived, and it was a good thing that we beat the bulk of the crowd. It was enjoyable to walk around in a nippy winter air, all bundled up in our winter clothes, and getting into Christmas spirit. Bobbie took a picture of us family, and I had to laugh my butt off. See why?

Yep, there you go. Our little guy was completely taken off guard by his grandma's camera flash! Funniest thing I have seen in a long while. I'm going to totally show this to his girlfriend one day, and embarrass Forrest. 

Now, here's a nice one of us family: 

On Saturday, while Stu was gone at his football banquet luncheon; I busied myself by creating our Russ Family Advent Calendar, and it turned out really awesome. I could not have been any more thrilled about how it had turned out. The best part was? Stu, and Forrest, in his own way, helped out with it. So it had pieces of family's touch to this. 

Advent Calendar Tutorial

I picked a bunch of festive looking sheets from scrapbook aisle at Hobby Lobby.
I measured the canvas and determined that 4x3 inches were going to work the best.
I ended up tracing squares on the back of each sheet.

After I completed cutting squares (pictured above this one),
I folded the edges and the bottom to create a pocket.
I used Tacky glue to make the edges and the bottom to stick together.
I left them to dry for about half hour. Then I used a Bronze Sharpie
to create numbers for the dates. I forgot to take a picture of that part, sorry!

I purchased about a foot of Burlap Fabric (kind of tough type of fabric).
I wanted a rustic look instead of it being ivory. I dyed the fabric with tea  and let it
soak in the pot of tea for about 2 hours to achieve that aged look. Here's tutorial to how
tea-stain fabrics! After it being completely dry from hanging, I measured it to fit the 11x14 canvas,
and cut it to fit.
Stu wanted to step in and help once he got home from the banquet. He took over and stapled the fabric onto the canvas. Sure thing, buddy!  We used the black school stapler instead of regular small stapler becausethe small regular stapler won't work at all. It doesn't have same power as the large black stapler does! 

You don't have to be fancy with the trimming.
It will be hidden from the view anyway!
Just make sure the fabric is fully secure.

Ta-Da. Now it's ready for the next step! 

You can buy 25 little tags at any craft store!
I wanted to achieve that aged look. Once again, I used
tea-staining process: Tutorial.

After it drying completely, Stu and I tied twine cords to the tags, and Forrest
might have drooled on some tags....and Layla chewed off an edge of a tag. We remedied that by
cutting off the chewed edge.... 

I used fine Sharpie marker and

scribbled an activity for each day! 
The end result! Our Advent calendar!
 I was so geeked with how it had turned out! The tags can be purchased again next year and recreated with different activities as Forrest grows older. That way, we can find appropriate activities for his age. And eventually  when we give Forrest a sibling or two; we can continue to edit, and change activities for the years yet to come. 

I am really excited to be starting some new and old traditions, carried on over from our families and our childhoods, for Forrest and our little family! 

I was in such crafting mood....that I ended up creating two more items:

Forrest's footprint from when he was 2 months old.
I used flour and salt then baked it at 300 degrees for 1 hour.
Then I just forgot about it until today. I decided to use bronze Sharpie and filled
in the print. It turned out really great!

My mom gave me this kit to create an ornament.
I tried to take Forrest's handprint, but he was not having any of it!
I ended up using his little foot to create a footprint. I filled in the
footprint with silver Sharpie marker to see the details better, and
dated it! 

Yes, it has been a really lovely weekend. Stu is away at a Packers football game with his coach buddies and colleagues. So it is just Forrest and me today. I am a lot better than I was yesterday with my cold. Nonetheless, I'm going to fire up my gas stove, and make a home-made Chicken soup! A perfect remedy for a cold, I tell you. Then either two things will happen or maybe both will happen, depending on how my little guy feels once he wakes up from his nap; we will decorate the house with Christmas stuff, or watch a Christmas movie that I bought for Forrest (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus is coming to Town). If Forrest is too cranky, then Christmas decorations can wait until tomorrow, and we'll just bunker down to watch one of those movies I mentioned previously! 

I'm so excited that it's December! Are you? 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Having no interpreter is an Inconvenience Especially in Life of a Deaf Mommy

Being Deaf does stir up some excitement in my life. Life is definitely not ordinary. A simple thing can become a big deal or dramatic in my life. Most of the time, I just have to roll with punches, and suck it up because things like this can be inevitable. Fortunately, I am pretty good at adapting, and plucking out tools out of my belt to quickly assess the situation before shit hits the fan. This is one of those moments when I am grateful for knowing how to write and read English well. It is also one of those moments where I feel injustice and oppression which infuriates me beyond words.

You see, my son, Forrest, had a skin condition. I was pretty sure he had Eczema. It was no big deal. I've had Psoriasis, albeit very mild case of it, all of my life, and I did anticipate some kind of skin issue to crop up with Forrest...and it did. It was no big deal. I used Aveedo Eczema therapy for babies, and it had been miraculous. Worked like a charm. However, due to Forrest's excessive drooling, he had developed red, cracked and bleeding sores on his neck. I wanted it to be looked at by our pediatrician, Dr. J, and treat it immediately to avoid an infection. I called Dr. J's office and learned that he was really booked for next few days in the week. The only opening he had was on the following day in the morning at 9 am. 

I debated briefly whether I should sign up for 9 am appointment or find other opening in next few days--if there was any or wait until next week. My guy was not feeling well. He was fussy, and crying quite often. He didn't want me to touch his neck. It was smelly. No way I was going to wait. What I resented in this very moment was that I HAD TO think about it. 

You see, as a Deaf mom, I demand to have a sign language interpreter to have a full access to communication for situations like this. I want to be able to fully understand, and obtain right information. Most doctors view Deafness as a medical condition rather than a cultural thing. It's just a part of their medical training, and a part of ignorance as well. Many doctors, in the past, expect me to be able to fully read lips without complications, wear some hearing aids, and be able to keep up with information. Many times, when I am faced without an interpreter; a doctor will just look at me with an expression of if not securing an interpreter was my problem...and talk without bothering to write down. I have asked them to write down the information for me. Nope. They continue to talk, and brush off my request. They don't have time to write. They feel I am an inconvenience to them because I chose not to speak, or attempt to read lips without asking for any clarification. Sure, try read lips and catch all fancy medical terms. Whatever.

Because of my experiences like this in the past, I often schedule my appointments in advance, between 48-72 hours, to secure an interpreter. Even so, I still show up to the appointments, wondering will I have an interpreter or not, and most of the time, I do have an interpreter. Sometimes, I don't. 

Anyway, my son was not feeling well. No way, I was going to wait 48-72 hours or next week to have him looked at. What if it gets worse? The receptionist on the phone put me on a hold while she called an interpreting agency. I fretted for a moment. She returned to me, and told me there was an interpreter. Great. Whew. Glad it worked out. 

I arrived the next morning with a fussy boy in my arms. Poor guy wanted to snuggle and browse his face into my neck. I savored that closeness for a minute, breathing in his fresh baby scent on top of his head, and approached the receptionist. I was running 5 minutes, okay. I tried to be on time. A long train caused me to be late. Oh well. That happened. I scanned the waiting room for a professional looking person. Nobody. I internally rolled my eyes. No interpreter? I asked the receptionist. She glared at me, and told me to go in immediately. I asked her where is an interpreter. She shrugged and shook her head. I glared at her, and said thanks. 

I entered the small patient room with a sweet nurse. I liked her. She had 3 boys. So she was very comfortable with handling Forrest. I began to write that I was sorry for not having an interpreter. Then it occurred to me. Why should I apologize? It was not my job to secure an interpreter. I did my part; I had requested for an interpreter, and it was the office's responsibility to obtain an interpreter. The nurse saw what I had began to scribble down on a piece of scrap paper. She smiled and replied, Oh that's quite alright. I bet you can't wait until Forrest gets a bit older and sign well so he can interpret for you?

I smiled graciously as possible and bit my tongue. I could have corrected her, but I didn't have time with a poor sick baby in my arms. 

Pet Peeve #1,570: Yes I do have many pet peeves. I do not find it appropriate to rely on a child to interpret for an adult conversation. Foreign speaking or Deaf parents have a right to get full access to communication, and should not rely on their children to interpret for them. It's the office's job to obtain, and pay for an interpreter. To assume that a family member should interpret for a Deaf or foreign speaking person is way, way flawed. I've had family members, bless their hearts, to try interpret for me in the past, and guess what? I hated it. 

Using family members are bad because they have A) withheld information maybe because they don't understand or feel you don't need to know, B) skipped out on information because the person is speaking way too fast, and they don't have sufficient language knowledge to fully interpret everything--face it, interpreting is A HARD JOB--even harder if this Deaf person is very heavily fluent in ASL and has limited understanding of English, C) face it, it's not cool to have a parent, or family member interpreting for you when you are 20-something and you are perfectly capable of handling it on your own, and D) it enables other people to view you as a lesser than an intelligent person. 

Besides, interpreters are here for a reason. Never will I use Forrest as my personal interpreter. It's just really tacky. It's not his job to take care of me. It IS MY job to take care of him.

The nurse informed me that Dr. J was going to be in a minute. I nodded my head. A minute melted into 5 minutes....ten minutes....fifteen minutes...and finally thirty minutes later, he showed up. The whole time I was bouncing a crying and hungry baby. I was not sure if I can sit down and feed Forrest because hello, I had no interpreter to notify me if someone was at the door asking if we were presentable. How lovely. I decided to give Dr. J a benefit of doubt; maybe it was not because I had no interpreter, but because he was busy. That happened. 

Dr. J arrived. I was a bit nervous. What if he was one of those doctors that insisted on talking instead of writing? Fortunately, my anxiety faded away when he pulled out a paper and smiled then started scribbling as fast as he could. I mentally sighed to myself. Of course, he was in a big hurry due to his schedule. That meant no time for me to write down the questions I wanted to ask him. If there was an interpreter present, all this writing back and forth in time constraint would have summarized in 2 minutes conversation instead of five to ten minutes of writing. Thankfully, Dr. J was a good sport about the whole situation. I appreciated that--it made my life easier. 

Unfortunately, he didn't inform me what kind of OTC medicine I can use for Forrest during our mad scribbling conversation. Fortunately, I had plenty of help from mommies out there to help me find a right medicine for Forrest's neck. 

Now, if this is just for me at my personal appointment, then I would not have cared as much about not having an interpreter. I have tools to fall back on. I can write well. I can understand English well. I roll with punches without really worrying about it. 

But when it comes to my child...that's a different story. I will morph into a mama bear. I do feel I am entitled to have full access to communication without relying on my child to interpret for me. To have that expectation that my kid is going to grow up to be my interpreter is what pisses me off the most. Again, that's not his job to take care of me. It is my job to take care of him. 

Some people look at this and tell me that it is not a big deal. 

Yes it is a very big deal. And yes, you do have to be Deaf to understand. 

This does not mean that, if you are not Deaf or have some kind of hearing loss, you can't empathize or understand this to an extent because I know you can relate on that very basic level of dealing with hassles. I do thank you for your empathy and support. It means a lot to me. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Was Good To Us

It is funny. Pre-Baby; I was able to pack a few things, and take at least 1-2 bags with me when I traveled anywhere. Post-Baby......well, let the picture speak for itself: 

You see, I had to pack everything in case if Forrest needed something, and then on top of that, we also had to pack for Layla, our dog, since she always traveled with us. We had no need to board or leave Layla with a dog-sitter when we visited our family, both sides, and Layla was probably spoiled rotten because of this. 

Yep, that's the basset hound thing........

So...Forrest, the dog, and then us. After visiting our family; we had a tendency to accumulate a few more things to our already mounding pile of things. I mean, hello; we just took a brand-new Jumperoo sauce thing for Forrest from our aunt, Ro (thank you by the way). I was surprised we managed to fit everything in my Jeep Liberty SUV. 

If we are planning for baby #2, then we definitely will need a bigger vehicle if we are already packing like this for just one baby! 

Please tell me that I am NOT the only one this happens to! Crazy how packing can get significantly bigger when you have a kid or two. 

Over Thanksgiving break, Mom treated me to a haircut, and new style. It was really sweet of Mom to put it on her tab like this. I guess no matter how old you are, you'll always be your Mom's kid, and she will want to spoil you once in while. Ha ha. Thanks Mom. Because of this, I got a new bangs along with some light layering. I felt like a new woman! And this meant....more fun hair accessories to shop and buy or make, thanks to Pinterest, for myself..well, after the holidays. ;-) 

Aunt Ro and I went shopping the other day for a Jumperoo. I wanted that for Christmas since Forrest exhibited a lot of interest in standing and bouncing. Aunt Ro found one for an awesome deal--she found one for $70 at Target (gotta love that store) when it was $90 over at BRU (Baby R Us). Sweet. On top of this, we also found bunch of adorable outfits for Forrest. Pictured above was one of my favorite outfits for Forrest. Personally, I liked stripes, and anything that wasn't either monkey or jungle-based theme creatures. So sick of that, really--boys needed cute outfits as much as girls did, right! 

Forrest was able to hold his neck up for a long period of time which he proudly showed off over Thanksgiving vacation. He cooed, giggled, and burped as he sat on laps of our family members. We all were oohing and ahhing over his ability to sit up with very little assistance since he was able to hold his neck up by himself. He really liked the attention, and hammed it up at every chance he got! What a flirt that he was. 

Thanksgiving was really wonderful. We had a really yummy lunch with Mom and Aunt Ro and my siblings.  We watched Dog Show. Call me a geek, but I really liked watching that stuff! My personal favorite was seeing a large Standard Poodle all poofed up with her haircut. I would totally love to own a poodle just for the purpose of me grooming her/him in the design haircuts...but Stu says no. What a pooper. *winks* Aunt Ro even had a chance to Face-Time via Skype with Lauren and Joey. So they were able to participate a bit in the holiday with us, see us, and say hello. Isn't technology amazing? 

Then we headed over to Dad's. Boy, Jess, Dad's fiancee, and her sisters made a delicious feast of food! There must have been at least 3 different meat dishes (Turkey, Ham, & Pork Brisket). There was stuffing, potatoes, corn bread, veggies, and bunch of delicious side dishes. On top of this, there was at least 8-9 different pies! O-M-G. It was a perfect reverence to National Glutton Day. Big Props and thank you to Jess's family for creating amazing feast. We were more than stuffed when we left. 

It was really great to see Dad recovering from his knee surgery. His knee looked SO MUCH better since the swelling and bruising went away. I bet in no time flat, he was going to be up tap-dancing before he knew it. The company was wonderful at Dad's house especially the kids. 

Holidays just don't feel right without kids around for sure. 

Stu and I went shopping for each other. We agreed that we were going to just buy one gift each one of us since we both wanted big purchase items. 

He got me the gift I've been eyeing...a Nook HD! So excited about that!! I ultimately decided to go with Nook instead of Kindle Fire HD because I felt that Nook had a better focus on books. Kindle was more geared for everything especially all those games and Apps (Stu really loves his Kindle for this exact reason). I also liked how Nook had voice-based books for Forrest! Good for his speech and hearing development. Anyway....can't really wait to start using this! Even though I got this....I still planned on buying paperback books...can't give that up too. 

I got Stu a really nice Sony Camcorder. I was even more excited about his gift because I finally got something he secretly wanted, but would not admit, and something he was actually going to use for his classroom. Stu recently learned how to become more technology-orientated at a conference he attended, and he really wanted to be able to incorporate that learning into his classroom. Of course, he held out for the longest time by saying he did not want anything. Now, that man was notoriously hard to shop for because he was not really a materialistic type of person, and didn't see a real need for things. Oh, I loved and hated that about him! Ha Ha Ha. Finally, Stu admitted that he really wanted a camcorder, but did not feel right to ask for it since it came with hefty price tag.

Well, what that man did not know was that I did accumulate more than enough of moola from grooming on the side before I got pregnant, and wanted to use some of that money to get Stu something nice. Well, this was a chance for me to do exactly that. So I bought him a Sony HD camcorder. 

That reminds me...I have to go back to Target and purchase warranty for the camcorder.

The warranty and camcorders were all out due to Black Friday...fortunately, I managed to snag the VERY LAST one for Stu, but they did not have warranty cards. I was told to bring receipt with me to Target, when I returned home, and purchase a warranty protection coverage card there. Okay....a bit of hassle, but no big deal too. 

I'm quite excited for Stu to receive his gift because he will really like it. 

Well, Thanksgiving was good to us this year. 

Now, Christmas, bring it on! By the way, Hallmark Christmas movie channel has been playing non-stop since we got back! I plan on decking out our house this week during Forrest's naps. The only thing that is Christmassy around here is our little Charlie Brown 4-foot tree. It does not look like 4-foot to me, but that's what the box claims how tall the tree is....*shrugs* It's cute either way. 


Friday, November 23, 2012

Amen, Brother

Just checking in to say......

Hope Y'all thanksgiving was thankful and wonderful. 

The best thing about post-Thanksgiving? 


Amen, brother. 


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

3 Months Old

Dear Forrest, 

You are 3 months old today. A lot has been accomplished in a month. You are beginning to hold your head up for an extended period of time, and standing on your shaky legs with help from Daddy. It is a game that you enjoy playing with Daddy. You would stretch and pump your legs furiously at Daddy's stomach until he secures your mid-trunk with his hands, then with help from Daddy you push up on your legs, and stand. Your whole body wobbles as you do this yet you smile and vocalize loudly. You can easily do this for good five to ten minutes until either you or Daddy gets tired of this game. You continue to practice tummy time, and you're able to lift your head higher and higher. You push on your little forearms and proudly expose your chest. You are able to grasp at things hanging above you especially your mama's hair. You grin and ahhh when you are able to pull your mama's hair. Your mama bears this just for you because it is so much fun to bring you joy. 

You are able to follow, with your eyes, your Mama and Daddy as they move around in your vision range field. You enjoy making sounds such as guttural ahhhing or ooohing like a bird, and squealing when you are upset.

You still haven't rolled over yet. It is okay. Your parents are not rushing you to achieve that milestone. When you are ready then you will roll over. 

You met your Aunt Lauren and Uncle Joey. You were absolutely a ham! You continued to be a great traveler in the car. No longer you need to stop halfway to be fed. You dozed during the 2-hour trip, and was happy with being fed when both you and Mama arrived at the destination.

 You are also a good shopper. You are content in your car seat or in the Moby Wrap while your Mama shops. You never make a peep. You enjoy looking around at your surroundings until you conk out. Rarely do you cry during the shopping trips. 

Mama weighed you, and you surprised her by being in 13-14 pounds range already! 

Your mama is still exclusively breastfeeding you, and you sure love the boob milk! You no longer need to be fed every hour or so. You get hungry every 2-3 hours. Breastfeeding is much easier for both you and Mama. The only predicament she has with breastfeeding now is dealing with longer stretches of not feeding you at the night. Other than that, Mama is beginning to feel confident and pretty good about dealing with issues that may crop up with breastfeeding. Clogged ducts still occur sometime, but it's nowhere as bad as it used to be. So your mama can't complain, really. 

Daddy tells you all of the time how big and tough you are getting to be! Your parents are happy with how you are growing. You still spit up occasionally. There has been both good and bad days with you spitting up. Mama has discovered that spicy food upsets your stomach so she has been careful with eating spicy food these days. 

 You now have graduated to size 2 instead of one in diapers. Mama was able to tell that size one was getting too small for you due to your frequent blow-outs and peeing through the diapers. There was a day when your poop exploded onto your shirts. She ended up giving up putting you in clothes and kept you in the diapers while wrapped in a blanket. There was an adventure when you had a blow-out and your Mama had to improvise by giving you a bath with wipes. Thankfully, she had a change of clothes for you to wear! The crisis was quickly resolved, and you went to watch your daddy's last football game. Once Mama was able to use up all the diapers in size one, you started wearing size 2, and sure enough, the blow-outs stopped! 

You are still co-sleeping with your parents, and you're finally getting into a routine. On most of nights, you go to bed between 9-10 pm, then wake up at 1-2 am to be nursed, and go back to sleep until 4:30 am. There has been some nights when you do sleep from 10 until 4:30-5:00 am, but they are far and few in the between. You are ready to wake up between 6 to 6:30 am. You play on your playmat while your mom drinks coffee and catch up with Facebook for the day. After that, you eat and go on errands with your Mama. You nap 2-3 times a day. Two of those naps are short about an hour and the last nap tends to be 3 hours long which is nice because it gives Mama time to do her projects, blog, clean, and prep in advance for dinner. You stay awake for 4 hours afterward, and when Daddy gets home, that is your playtime with him. Daddy and Mama eats dinner after your nursing session. You get bathed on the third evening of every week. At 8 pm, things finally winds down, you cuddle with either Mama or Daddy, and nurse for last time before your bedtime. You are put down in your little bouncer with a music going on in the background. Lights are turned off so you get to rest and fall sleep. That's your regular schedule. 

Edited to add: You've been sleeping longer and longer for the past few nights, yay! Despite this, you still take a super long nap during the day along with 2 or 3 shorter naps.  

There was a hiccup in your routine a few weeks ago. Instead of waking at your regular intervals, you woke up 4-6 times to be fed, and did not want to snooze right away. You napped very briefly and fitfully during the days. Mama was not sure what was going on with you then suddenly; you swung back into your routine and continued with life as if nothing had happened. Mama banked it on your growth spurt! You definitely did feel heavier after that crazy period.

You get to be bathed every 3 days. In the beginning, Mama used to bath you every other day, and she  has noticed that it caused your skin to dry out. Your cradle cap got worse instead of better. You developed dry scaly patches on your body despite having lotions put on your little chub body quite often. Mama decided that every other day was not working out for you especially with winter coming on. She ended up giving you baths every 2 days, and it was much better for your skin. Your skin got soft once again, and the cradle cap improved. 

Edited to add: Your skin got better, yet in recent days; your skin started to be dry again. Boo. Your mama may have to call Dr. Johnson to have you looked at! 

You enjoy your baths for the most part. You coo and squeal. You prefer your water slightly warmer than lukewarm. If the water is too cool for you then you cry in protest. So Mama tries to remember this every time she draws a bath for you! She can't wait for you to start using grown-up tub and play with water toys! 

You are starting to put your hands into your mouth. Your mama isn't sure why you are finding this so much fun to suck on your hands and on your blankets. Nonetheless, it is pretty adorable when you do this! Your parents are looking at getting you some awesome gifts for Christmas. Matter of the fact, just the other day, Mama and Daddy talked about all the things they will play with you; log cabin, lego blocks, board games, and car race tracks. 

It has been so much fun to see your little personality starting to come out. We look forward to what Month 3 will bring to us!

Mama & Daddy