30 April 2007

Crocodile tears

Clownin' around.

Daddy doing push-ups with Faith as Grace counts them off.
This morning we went to the doctor to get our immunization shots for the girls. They had to have two shots each (one in each leg) and cried big crocodile tears. I felt so bad for them. Luckily, we don't have to go back for a couple of months. We are now clear from the chicken pox, measles, mumps and rubella! Faith is holding steady at 26 lbs. and Grace is 24 lbs.
Since we last went to the doctor about a month ago, the girls have grown in height. Faith is now up 1.25 inches to 31 inches and Grace is up 1.5 inches to 29.5. On another note, the girls are feeling much better today! As you can see, by the afternoon, they were having lots of fun with Daddy.

29 April 2007

Our first colds

Cousins Christina and Shawn reading Grace a story.

Uncle Rich always brings us the yummiest snacks!

Grace, Halmoni (Grandma in Korean) and Faith with their new singing bear.

Faith caught her first cold since she's been home and inevitably Grace had it too within the next day or so. We've had runny noses and coughs all week but the girls are starting to feel better today. Morgan's brother, Ben and his family stopped by for a visit on Saturday as well as Rich, Emily and both sets of grandparents. It was wonderful to see everyone and we all enjoyed the short visit!

27 April 2007

Officially introducing...

It has taken me a while to get the girls' announcement cards made and sent out but finally, here they are! Our daughters have enriched our lives and brought so much joy to us and all those that meet them. They are precious gifts from God and we are humbled by his goodness and love everyday. Life is good!

*I used a company called The First Glimpse. Alicia, (the owner) is amazing and I would highly recommend her for any type of card making. http://www.thefirstglimpse.com/.

22 April 2007

13 months old

Faith & Grace can't wait for their backyard to be done.

Welcoming daddy home from his round of golf.

The girls are 13 months old today and have been home now for almost 7 weeks. Funny, it kinda seems like we've had them longer. I guess it's true what they say... you sorta start to forget what life was like without them. We are having so much fun! They're learning things like belly button, ears, nose, ball, book, and monkey noises. Everyday, it seems like they're growing right in front of my eyes. We try to make a conscious effort to enjoy the moment each day because they'll never be this small again. Before you know it, this time will be a distant memory.

Faith is standing very well on her own and Grace is coming along too. They've both been side-stepping their way across walls so they'll be walking in no time. We're really in no hurry for them to walk though. It's hard enough to keep track of two curious and crawling little ones!

As far as we can tell, they seem to be enjoying their new home and family. I've noticed that they are starting to hug us back and hold on tight when snuggling in our arms. They give us wet kisses everyday and laugh with delight while doing it. There's nothing better than the sound of giggles and laughter from two children who can't wait to hug you, at the same time! Now, that's a double blessing!

19 April 2007

Sleeping Beauties

When I came in to check on the girls right before their afternoon nap, here's what I found...
It's a guarantee that if there's a pillow around, they'll both end up on it. Also, if they ever sleep on the floor, they must be touching each other. Normally, they nap in their cribs but they looked so cute, we just left them there. Aawwww!

Ephesians 6:4

Faith loves to fly high with Daddy.

Grace gets her turn, too.
Morgan received this email from his good friend, Ben last week and I thought it was a great reminder regarding the enormous responsibilty we have as parents. This is similar to the Daddy Wisdom entry I posted last week but more importantly, with a biblical perspective on what God says about raising children. This commentary was written by John MacArthur.
He is an Evangelical author, the Pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA and the President of The Master's College in Santa Clarita.

8 Way Parents Provoke

In Ephesians 6:4, Paul writes, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” To “provoke . . . to anger” suggests a repeated, ongoing pattern of treatment that gradually builds up a deep–seated anger and resentment that boils over in outward hostility. Such treatment is usually not intended to provoke anger. Here are eight ways in which parents can provoke their children to anger:

1) Well–meaning overprotection is a common cause of resentment in children. Parents who smother their children, overly restrict where they can go and what they can do, never trust them to do things on their own, and continually question their judgment build a barrier between themselves and their children—usually under the delusion that they are building a closer relationship. Children need careful guidance and certain restrictions, but they are individual human beings in their own right and must learn to make decisions on their own, commensurate with their age and maturity. Their wills can be guided but they cannot be controlled.

2) Another common cause of provoking children to anger is favoritism. Isaac favored Esau over Jacob and Rebekah preferred Jacob over Esau. That dual and conflicting favoritism not only caused great trouble for the immediate family but has continued to have repercussions in the conflicts between the descendants of Jacob and Esau until our present day! For parents to compare their children with each other, especially in the children’s presence, can be devastating to the child who is less talented or favored. He will tend to become discouraged, resentful, withdrawn, and bitter.

Favoritism by parents generally leads to favoritism among the children themselves, who pick up the practice from their parents. They will favor one brother or sister over the others and will often favor one parent over the other.

3) A third way parents provoke their children is by pushing achievement beyond reasonable bounds. A child can be so pressured to achieve that he is virtually destroyed. He quickly learns that nothing he does is sufficient to please his parents. No sooner does he accomplish one goal than he is challenged to accomplish something better. Fathers who fantasize their own achievements through the athletic skills of their sons, or mothers who fantasize a glamorous career through the lives of their daughters prostitute their responsibility as parents.

I once visited a young woman who was confined to a padded cell and was in a state of catatonic shock. She was a Christian and had been raised in a Christian family, but her mother had ceaselessly pushed her to be the most popular, beautiful, and successful girl in school. She became head cheerleader, homecoming queen, and later a model. But the pressure to excel became too great and she had a complete mental collapse. After she was eventually released from the hospital, she went back into the same artificial and demanding environment. When again she found she could not cope, she committed suicide. She had summed up her frustration when she told me one day, “I don’t care what it is I do, it never satisfies my mother.”

4) A fourth way children are provoked is by discouragement. A child who is never complimented or encouraged by his parents is destined for trouble. If he is always told what is wrong with him and never what is right, he will soon lose hope and become convinced that he is incapable of doing anything right. At that point he has no reason even to try. Parents can always find something that a child genuinely does well, and they should show appreciation for it. A child needs approval and encouragement in things that are good every bit as much as he needs correction in things that are not.

5) A fifth way provocation occurs is by parents’ failing to sacrifice for their children and making them feel unwanted. Children who are made to feel that they are an intrusion, that they are always in the way and interfere with the plans and happiness of the parents, cannot help becoming resentful. To such children the parents themselves will eventually become unwanted and an intrusion on the children’s plans and happiness.

6) A sixth form of provocation comes from failing to let children grow up at a normal pace. Chiding them for always acting childish, even when what they do is perfectly normal and harmless, does not contribute to their maturity but rather helps confirm them in their childishness.

7) A seventh way of angering children is that of using love as a tool of reward or punishment—granting it when a child is good and withdrawing it when he is bad. Often the practice is unconscious, but a child can sense if a parent cares for him less when is he disobedient than when he behaves. That is not how God loves and is not the way he intends human parents to love. God disciplines His children just as much out of love as He blesses them. “Those whom the Lord loves He disciplines” (Heb. 12:6). Because it is so easy to punish out of anger and resentment, parents should take special care to let their children know they love them when discipline is given.

8) An eighth way to provoke children is by physical and verbal abuse. Battered children are a growing tragedy today. Even Christian parents—fathers especially—sometimes overreact and spank their children much harder than necessary. Proper physical discipline is not a matter of exerting superior authority and strength, but of correcting in love and reasonableness. Children are also abused verbally. A parent can as easily overpower a child with words as with physical force. Putting him down with superior arguments or sarcasm can inflict serious harm, and provokes him to anger and resentment. It is amazing that we sometimes say things to our children that we would not think of saying to anyone else—for fear of ruining our reputation! In closing, consider the confession of one Christian father,

"My family’s all grown and the kids are all gone. But if I had to do it all over again, this is what I would do. I would love my wife more in front of my children. I would laugh with my children more—at our mistakes and our joys. I would listen more, even to the littlest child. I would be more honest about my own weaknesses, never pretending perfection. I would pray differently for my family; instead of focusing on them, I’d focus on me. I would do more things together with my children. I would encourage them more and bestow more praise. I would pay more attention to little things, like deeds and words of thoughtfulness. And then, finally, if I had to do it all over again, I would share God more intimately with my family; every ordinary thing that happened in every ordinary day I would use to direct them to God."

18 April 2007

3 day road trip

We had a busy long weekend. We attended a sweet 90th birthday party for Annette, one of Morgan's friends and clients on Saturday in Sherman Oaks. What a blessing it was to see all of her family and friends pay tribute to such a remarkable and spirited woman. She loved meeting the twins and they loved her, too.

Since we were out that way, we decided to stay in Malibu, visit some friends and go to our old church on Sunday morning. We did just that and it was wonderful to be back. So many of our friends from church had prayed for us throughout our whole adoption journey so it was great to have them finally meet Grace and Faith. Unfortunately, it was too cold to go to the beach this past weekend but no worries, we'll be back in the summer.

On Monday, Morgan played in the annual Masters College golf tournament with some friends while I hung out with my friend Deborah and her kids, Emily and Matthew. Thanks for your hospitality and a fun afternoon, guys!

The girls did great on their first road trip. As we drove home Monday night, we just marveled at how blessed we were and how amazing the girls have been. They just rolled with all the changes, despite their schedules being thrown-off and sleeping in different environments. What we learned from this trip..."It is not easy packing to go anywhere for 3 days with twins!" After doing 6 loads of laundry and grocery shopping yesterday, we are pleasantly back to the comforts of home.

Annette meeting the twins.

The birthday girl.

13 April 2007

Pool Party

Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom had us over today for our very first pool party. Since they couldn't make it to the girls' birthday party, Mary surprised us by baking Faith & Grace their very own cake! Not to mention, the girls received two of the most precious sundresses!
The twins just loved their first time in the pool. Faith is so fearless that she even went underwater. It doesn't surprise us though because she also puts her head under the running water at bath time. Grace was happy just lounging around in her floatie. Thanks for a wonderful time, Mary & Tom! We appreciate it so much! It was also great to see our cousins, Brigid and Kristopher who were visiting from Paso Robles. We look forward to seeing you again, soon! After quite the delay, our own pool and backyard will resume completion next week. We hope to be enjoying ours with family and friends by Memorial Day weekend.

Daddy and his girls all suited up for the pool.

Who needs water toys when you have tupperware?

Grace and Faith.

Cool shades/floaties.

Daddy and Faith.

Mommy and Grace.

Faith trying on Grandpa's sunglasses.

Birthday cake (x2!)

12 April 2007

Party of four

Singing along.

Checkin' out the band.

Grace.

Faith.

We thought that it was about time that we go out to dinner as a family. We picked the same restaurant where we celebrated the twins' arrival with our friends. We also picked it because it's a casual, family restaurant with a loud band. The girls absolutely loved the music and danced almost their whole way through dinner. It was a whole new experience for us too!

We had so much fun and the girls did great!

11 April 2007

Daddy Wisdom

Last week, Morgan brought to my attention an article he had read on MSN called "Embracing the Uncertainty" by Hugh O'Neill. It encouraged Dads to embrace the chaos that comes with fatherhood, ultimately, making it a richer experience. Here's an excerpt from the article...

"The whole gig was disorienting. I was a bingety-bangety guy who could find his way to the bottom line in a flash, but suddenly there was no bottom line, just a welter of laughs and dreads and I-don't-knows and maybes. There's a good reason John Wayne played only soldiers and cowboys, and never a dad with kids in tow. For soldiers, the enemy is clear; for cowboys, the frontier is thataway. But fatherhood is no country for certain man. It's a land of inklings and hunches and half-formed hopes. It's a kind of emotional jazz. You'll be better at it and enjoy it more the less clarity you require.

Now, I got smart about this late. I stood stubbornly by my original specs for being a man for too long. I was rigid, too determined to make sure that A+B=C. So I missed some of the good stuff, and my kids missed my best too."


It goes on to say...

"I am dead set against the idea that a man should let on to his kids that he knows nothing. Dad shouldn't just be some fool who lives with Mom. The kids need a figure of some command in their life. But there are no holds barred on what confusions and uncertainties a man might confess to himself. And the secret to being a good father and enjoying the gig is to tear yourself loose from that which you think you know, and to savor the confounding surprise of people blooming right in your own back-yard. Let it go, my brother. It will be all right. Don't be so sure. Forgive. The only certain thing is that you love them fiercely, and that you've taken on some durable obligations. Everything else is up for grabs.

You know how we chase those adrenal experiences: standing at the top of a mountain, jumping out of a plane, driving faster than we should? You know how we're attracted to those feelings of being just this much out of control? Well, try fatherhood without having a lot of ideas about it. It's not unlike free fall. "Sell your cleverness," wrote the 13th-century mystic Rumi, "and purchase bewilderment." That guy must have had kids."


Other things that we both found interesting:
Avoid comparing your kids (easy to do with twins!). Because we as adults, like to generally put things in handy categories, we are often the ones who create inaccurate conclusions. These lies can find their way into what kids think of themselves and keeps us from seeing each of them clearly.

Resist Conclusions. Our assessment of how our child is may or may not be right. Just remember to frequently question that appraisal. For as long as you can, let your kid just be a kid, not a certain type of kid. Your child is in process. Let that process work. Hold your fire.

Trust time. The bad things in life usually appear quickly and the good things take time to unfold. Resist the quick fix and be patient. Sometimes, the best strategy is to just love them and wait.

Most importantly, embrace the frazzle and have fun! After all, they are on loan to us!
I am so blessed to have a husband who is always willing to learn more about his role as a father and as a husband. There are many guys out there that are just too proud or too lazy to hear any advice, much less try to apply it. Being that Morgan is the type of person who always strives to do his best at everything, he feels that there is always room for improvement and wants to learn more. He is a great Dad (and hubby!) and all of his girls love him madly. I couldn't ask for a better partner!

08 April 2007

Easter Sunday

For the first time today, we went to church as a family. We were told the girls did really well in the nursery while we were in the service. They had lots of toys to play with and got used to seeing other babies. They even went for a buggy ride. Here is a picture of them in their cute Easter dresses. They were sent by my very good friend Amy, all the way from Bellevue, Washington! Happy Easter, everyone!


07 April 2007

Spring Picnic

Our community had its very first spring picnic today, located at the park behind our home. It was a great chance for us to meet more of our neighbors as well as their families. Some of our family was able to join us as well. There were many kids there who enjoyed an Easter egg hunt and a bouncy house. Although our girls were a little small for the egg hunt this year, they sure liked playing with their eggs.

Grandma and Grace.

Uncle Tom and Grandpa relaxing in the shade.

Aunt Mary and Grandma.

Uncle Rich, Faith, Grace and Auntie Emily.

Grace's egg broke open and she found candy that she wasn't allowed to eat :(

Faith says, "Look mommy, I have two eggs!"

Gracie, Mommy, Daddy and Faith.

06 April 2007

Good Friday

Good Friday as Christians is the day we commemorate the death and crucifixion of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So why then is it called good? Well, it's good because Christ died for all of our iniquities and our sins. God sent His Son to die in our place so that we, who believe and trust in Him would have everlasting life with Him in heaven. As a Christian, one cannot really celebrate Easter Sunday without remembering the three days prior, when Jesus bore our shame on the cross at Calvary.

In doing some research, I found out that the name "Good Friday" came from the earlier English name, "Godes Friday," meaning "God's Friday." In much the same way as "God be with ye" was shortened to "goodbye," so did "Godes Friday" become "Good Friday." Other languages refer to this day in different ways. For example, in the Holy Land, Good Friday is known as "Big Friday." In Armenia it is called "High Friday." In Russia, "Passion Friday." In Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Hungary, "Great Friday." And in Latin America, "Holy Friday." I thank you, Lord for dying for my sins and for your example of goodness, love and forgiveness. As we near Easter, we not only look forward to the Easter egg hunt and the Easter bunny; we look forward to the most important reason behind our celebration of Easter, Your Glorious Resurrection.

*Wow, this is my 100th post on the blog! I didn't know that I had that much to say but I'm happy that we have recorded this chapter in our lives. Many have asked me, "How long will you keep the blog going?" Right now, I'm not sure. We'll just have to see how it goes.
I guess this has served as my scrapbook and I love to record and try to capture different moments in our lives. I'm also attempting to work on a hard copy scrapbook for both Faith and Grace so that they can have something tangible too. I'm finding though that I'm not so creative when it comes to that and it's taking me a little more time.

Date night

Last night, Morgan and I had our first "date night" since we became parents of two! We have been home with our girls for exactly one month now. My, does time fly when you have kids! Now, I understand when people say, "Kids grow up so fast and where did all the time go?" Morgan's Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom live nearby and they kindly offered to watch the girls once we put them to bed at 7:30. Our dinner reservations were at 7:45 so it was perfect! We really enjoyed the couple of hours we had together and told ourselves that we are going to do this at least once a month! We are so fortunate to have family near us to help out once in a while. I won't lie, it was also nice to be served and not have to think about what I'm going to make for dinner!

Although I didn't really feel like we needed to get out, I knew that it was probably something that we should do in order to maintain a healthy and strong balance in our marriage as well as our family life in general. It was kinda nice to put on makeup, let down my hair (instead of up in a pony tail) and wear something other than shorts and a tank top all day long. Thank you, Mary and Tom! We love you and appreciate you so much. Oh yeah, they said the girls did not wake up once while we were gone. Atta girls!

03 April 2007

Piggy Banks

Saving our pennies.

Grace and Faith with their piggys.

Grace loves hers.

Faith does too!

Yesterday in the mail we received two of the cutest personalized piggy banks for our girls! Each piggy bank is a handmade original from Korff Ceramic Originals. We hope to instill smart savings and investing practices to our children as well as teach them about giving to the Lord and those who are less fortunate. We are in the process of opening their college funds now since seventeen years will probably fly by! There's no time like the present!
Thank you to our friends, the Lam's!

01 April 2007

Attachment

Sweet Grace.

Fearless Faith.

Grace waving "hi."

Grace trying out Faith's crib.

This week, two things have changed for the girls. The first thing is that they are not taking their full one hour nap in the afternoon like they used to for the past few weeks. They go down at about 3:30 and only sleep for about 30-40 minutes. That means, instead of going to bed at 8:00 every night, they are going to bed between 7:00 and 7:30! More mommy and daddy time in the evening, yeah! They are still sleeping 'til 8:00 in the morning, which is just awesome! The second thing that we've noticed over the last week is that when we put them in their cribs, they do not cry at all! In the past, they may have cried for just a few minutes before falling asleep. Now, they stay up to play in their cribs before dozing off! We can hear the quiet music that they've turned on their aquariums as well as their dolls rattling around. We've also noticed on the video monitor that sometimes in the mornings, they get up a few minutes before we go in to wake them and they just sit quietly and play until we come in. Simply amazing! We hope and pray that this means our girls are feeling more secure with us everyday.

Adoption agencies do their best to inform and educate you on attachment and there are many resources available to help families through this process. Even though at this age, our girls will not likely remember anything as they grow older, believe it or not, they still suffer loss, grief, and the trauma of losing life as they knew it before. In order to promote attachment, it is often recommended that only the household family members be the ones to hold, bath, feed and change the baby for a couple of months. We didn't really want this to be the case and thank God, we didn't have to go to these measures. Since we are both home everyday with them, we felt it was OK to have family and friends drop in to say hello once in a while. We hope that each day, we are making them feel confident that we are their forever family, that we love them and will never leave them. Attachment happens only when we earn their trust and this takes time. Of course, we are no professionals, but we think that the girls are doing wonderfully! Thank you so much for your love, support and most importantly, your prayers for a smooth and healthy transition for all of us!

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