Monday, December 27, 2010

'Twas the Season

Christmas has come and gone, and I still have to finish sending out some Christmas cards to family.  But before we head into 2011, I want to write down a few memories from this Christmas season that I don't want to forget.

Audrey decorated our tree again  and actually spaced out the ornaments this year.   My how she's matured!

Marcus was rather indifferent about all things Christmas last year, but this season, he became quite obsessed.  In the morning, he'd proclaim "Christmas tree on!", and then I would have to turn on the lights.

In spite of the rico suave expression on his face below, he was totally thrilled to see the huge tree at Fashion Island which was a little bigger than our own 3-footer at home.

Charlie Brown was another obsession, which meant that he and Audrey could recognize Vince Guaraldi on the radio from the first measure.  Same goes for Tchaikovsky and the Nutcracker Suite.  This was also the year that Audrey finally realized that Charlie Brown did not write "Hark the Herald, Angels Sing."

The kids each had holiday craft parties at school and I had to hold back the tears seeing my babies all grown up doing things like that.

It wouldn't have been appropriate to have tears streaming down my face while the children were merrily decorating, so I held it in like a big girl.  I managed to snap these photos while only crying on the inside.

It was particularly rainy this season, so we kept warm at home and treated ourselves to some hot chocolate.

Marcus was really into decorating our gingerbread house and Audrey was really into decorating the inside of her mouth.

And our gingerbread house this year turned out to be our best ever, even if the candy was covered in saliva.

Same goes for our Christmas cookies.

The kids both participated on our church's Christmas presentation.  Audrey and her group sang "Away in a Manger" and Marcus sang "Hark the Herald."

He came home one Sunday knowing all the words and then for the next few weeks, thought he owned the song.  Since the group sang it faster than his words could keep up with, we encouraged him to sing it with "oohs" and "aahs".

We attempted to do our advent reading from Creation up to Jesus' birth.  Hopefully next year, we'll make it past day 11.

We read about Jesus' birth on Christmas morning and while Mike was reading in Luke, Audrey had an epiphany and shouted, "Hey!  That's from Charlie Brown!"  Then, Mike read the passage in his best Linus impersonation and it sunk in to Audrey that Jesus was the true meaning of Christmas.

And then of course, we had to sing "Away in a Manger" and "Hark the Herald" just one more time.

Presents followed.

And the children approved.

Even the parents got to receive.

And this gift must be one of my faves of all time.

But I think the gift I'm most thankful for comes from the Lord.  Derek had failed his newborn hearing test in his right ear three different times.  A few days before Christmas, we had to take him in for a very involved test to figure out why his right ear was not responding right.  Our pediatrician even warned us at this point that we might need to take him to an ENT, and to be prepared for a hearing aid or other interventions if his hearing loss was fixable.  But after the exam was over, the audiologist said, "I was able to perform the test and I have the results.  His hearing is normal!  There may have been something that was blocking his ear before that is not there any longer.  Merry Christmas!"

Just another reason for our hearts to be full and to be thankful for this little one that dropped out of Heaven and into our family.

Merry Christmas to all from the Lees!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Problems I'm Glad To Have

1.  Not being able to take a nap because Marcus, who is laying next to me, can't stop giving me the play-by-play of everything he's watching on his DVD player.  Never would have thought I'd get annoyed that he was talking too much!!

2. On a similar note, Marcus is CONSTANTLY saying "Mommy, Look!" when he wants to show off something, which is ALL the time.  So all day long, you here me saying, "Yeah, Marcus. Good job.  I see.  Great, Marcus.  Sure, uh huh.  Very cool, Marcus."  I try to be as enthusiastic as possible, especially after the 900th time.

3. When I pick up the kids from school, it is absolute madness in the car.  Good madness, I would say.  Derek is usually overtired or overly hungry and hysterically crying.  Audrey (and her carpool buddy Grace) are usually yelling some kind of crazy jokes at one another, or screeching some  kind of silly song.  Marcus thinks his sister is a riot, so he's cackling and yelling "More! More!" and screaming joyously in between.  Sometimes, just because it's not loud enough in the car, I'll join in with a silly tune from my childhood to let the kids know that their mom is cool too.

The other day was the best.  I guess I sang "Lollipop, lollipop, Oh, lolli  lolli lolli..." one too many times because Audrey's crazy laughter turned into drama queen sobbing because, "Mommy, (sob sob), stop making me laugh.  You're making my cheeks hurt too much."   Meanwhile, Derek was still crying like mad, and Marcus was still screaming, "More!  More!"

4. With the little one around, our germophobia is on high alert.  Everytime Audrey sees Derek, however, she MUST kiss him and smother him, while I'm thinking of all the yucky kindergarten microbes she's planting on him.  But it is so sweet to see her all over her little brother.  Her voice goes 12 notches higher and she'll even stop her sweat-inducing activities just to cuddle with him.  Very sweet.

5. Derek is growing and gaining weight quickly and sometimes he resembles the mayor in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  He outgrew his newborn diapers after a few weeks and now the size 1 diapers are already getting snug.

6. Marcus is pretty "whatever" about his little brother.  But it's better than what I had imagined it to be, considering how much Marcus loves his Mommy and doesn't like to share her with anyone.  I'm hoping they develop a bond in the next few years.  Here's Marcus trying his best to interact with his brother.  Or maybe he's just interested in his brother's bouncer chair?

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.  He DID ask me to put the baby in the chair after all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another Newborn Baby Boy

When Mike went back to work after a 2-week break, my parents came to visit from Hawaii to spend time with their grandkids and to help me adjust to being a mommy of 3.  I loved seeing my dad walk around with Marcus and play music with him and seeing Audrey play endless rounds of Hide & Seek with Grandma & Grandpa.  The sweetest was seeing my mom bond with Derek as she used her Grandma magic to soothe him and help him sleep.  Something about being held by her made him the happiest baby in the universe.

Derek is almost 4 weeks old and he's doing a great job of stealing our hearts.  What a gift he is!  I cannot and must not complain about the lack of sleep or the craziness of having the 3 kids because the Lord has given us this most precious little one and so far, has answered so many prayers.  When I hold him, I can't help but pray in tears and thank God for His graciousness, His gentleness, His lavish love in giving us Derek.

Taking care of another newborn baby boy brings back so many memories of when Marcus was little.  Putting Marcus' old clothes on Derek reminds me of when I held him and stained those onesies with my tears while trying my best to cast my anxieties at the feet of my Lord.  I remember my mom came with me to his very first ophthalmology appointment when he had his unexplainable head tremor and when we thought that he could have been blind.  And now seeing my dad walk around with him and hearing my mom say that he is a totally different boy than 5 months ago because he's talking so much now, reminds me of how far we've come in this journey and how faithful the Lord has been in keeping us near the cross.

This time around with Derek, I'm not as scared and anxious and fearful as I was with Marcus.  Instead, I'm filled to the brim with extreme gratefulness.  I don't think I could be this thankful if it weren't for the valleys we've walked through with Marcus.  Derek's got an older brother to look up to and to learn from, and now he's got parents who cannot take his little life for granted.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Derek Isaiah Lee

Our son was born on October 26th, 2010 at 7:20 PM in Newport Beach, CA.  He was a whopping 8 pounds 10 ounces and 21 inches long, which explains the discomfort I felt on my petite 5 foot 2 inch frame!

The night before our induction, I was sleeping and praying simultaneously.  The Lord knew the desires of my heart for the baby inside me, yet I had to ask the Lord to strengthen my heart for the worst, if it was what He willed.  Labor took longer than expected and during that waiting time, I kept thinking that in just a few hours, our lives could change drastically forever.

I felt prepared to have my son intubated if needed, or to bring him home with oxygen equipment, or to enter the world of Down Syndrome, or to rush to get him an MRI due to some other obvious signs of Joubert Syndrome.

But for some reason, that is not what my Father willed.  He willed for the Neonatology team to examine him and then then take my hand to say, "Your son is perfect."

He is one week and one day old today and we are little in shock.  So far, he is like any other healthy baby.  Derek is using his eyes to look around and his muscle tone is very strong; both very good signs that he may not have Joubert Syndrome.  And yet I look at our beloved Marcus, who couldn't use his eyes adequately for months, and who still struggles with low muscle tone  and I think that he is perfect too.

Our Derek, whom we thought was an "accident" when we found about the pregnancy early this year, is a truly undeserved gift from the Lord.  Mike and I have three children now.  I can't believe it.  I had so longed for the chance to have more children after learning of Marcus' diagnosis and the genetic risks involved.  And for some mysterious reason, the Lord heard these cries of my heart and answered so lavishly.  This humbles me completely.

I can't help but lift up these 3 precious souls to the Lord and beg him for His grace to raise them and love them in the love of Jesus.

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