Saturday, December 29, 2012

The day Samuel turned 2

The past couple of days have been busy in the Askew household.  Sam is turning 2 and we had planned to have a few friends over to celebrate his birthday.  Naturally, there was a lot of cleaning, tidying, and food prep involved.  We were ready.  Until this morning.

Sam falls asleep in his own bed, in his own room.  However, between 1 and 2 am, he wanders into our room and ends up in our bed.  Last night was no different.  What's different was that this morning at around 4:30 am, he started vomiting.  Then again; and again, and again.  In between throwing up, my little boy whined and cuddled with mommy and daddy.  It broke my heart.  Why does he have to get sick now, on his special day.  Not on his 2nd birthday.  Maybe it was something he ate, maybe it'll go away.  But it didn't.  He kept throwing up that we made a decision to take him to the ER.  The Dr. said he has a stomach virus and it's contagious.  Naturally we contacted our guests and cancelled his party.

We took him home a few hours later.  Thankfully with the medicine, the vomiting abated.  He was able to keep down sips of apple juice, which seems to be enough to keep him hydrated.  We took a long nap and when we woke up, he seemed better, except for the redness in his bum due to wet poopies.  And we changed him every 20 minutes or so and his bum got worse and worse that with each diaper change, he is screaming after each wipe.

This is what Sam had to endure today, on his birthday.  It's taking a lot for me to not break down and cry every 30 minutes, but every time I hear him cry, my heart breaks more and more.  Josh picked up his cake from our friend, Charmaine, who very creatively and lovingly created a train-shaped cake for Sam.  It is beautiful.  I will save taking a picture later, as we will be celebrating Sam's birthday next weekend.  Luckily we can freeze the cake and still eat it later.

Right now, my little guy has stopped vomiting, has been drinking lots of fluids, and playing intermittently with his toys.  He's kept some food down, and I am praying that he continues to improve throughout the night.  I was so sad about the events today, but it also made me realize how lucky I still am.  There are parents out there who lost their child in a senseless shooting, and they will never see their child celebrate another birthday.  I am still lucky that even though Sam got sick today, on his birthday, that there are still other birthdays.  So instead of having a party, we cuddled and hugged all day and I cherish these days more than anything.

After Thanksgiving pictorial.  Enjoying his sucker.

Not feeling well.  In the car after our ER visit 12/29/2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

Time flies

At about this time two years ago, as I was getting up to go and eat dinner, my water broke. After almost 9 hours of labor, Sam was born. It's still hard to believe. It still feels surreal sometimes. Having Sam was a long journey, a challenging one with a lot of heartaches and disappointments. But here we are today. I will always be grateful for this day, this moment. God is good.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

This year, we are spending Christmas without family, just the three of us. However, more than the gifts, our family is thankful for the life borne today. We are thankful for Jesus.

Sam was happy to see Santa's gifts it took him a while to open other gifts. Thank you to all our family and friends for the wonderful things you have give us. We hope that everyone had a very merry Christmas like we did.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Halloween, Thanksgiving, and more

The last couple of months have been busy.  Halloween and thanksgiving went by, and everytime I started to try and write a blog, something comes up.  With Josh in school, I have found very little free time in the evenings to catch up with my thoughts.  Thankfully, school is now finally over and I can catch up with blogging.  So just to be short and sweet, Sam enjoyed his second Halloween (first official since he actually got to go and trick or treat). 

He was a really cute dragon and I enjoyed taking pictures of him.

We had the opportunity of having my family come over for Thanksgiving.  We also made time to take pictures courtesy of Inga Vintere.  

It's 9 days before Christmas and I am glad to have all my Christmas shopping done. But with that excitement and anticipation of seeing the look on Sam's face when he opens his present, there is a deep sadness within me, thinking of the families of the 18 children that were killed in Newtown, CT.  There are no words to explain the sadness and the ache.  I can only imagine what it would feel like for the parents of those children to wake up on Christmas morning and not hear the excited laugh and squeals from their children.  I cannot fathom the evilness and monstrosity of that person who would harm innocent children.   I am only praying that God will appease the affected families' hurt and pain, and will ever be grateful for my little boy.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fall is here!

Time went by so quickly I can't believe fall is here.  I was just observing last week how the leaves are starting to turn, and yet it was still warm and humid.  Up until noon yesterday, it didn't feel like fall.  Then all of a sudden, the cold front arrived with all its wind gusts and cold fury.  To someone who's lived in VA most of their life, 50 degrees is mild.  To someone who grew up in 80 degree weather all year long, 50 degree is freezing.  I love fall though, and I do like the cold better than the hot weather.  It's much more fun to get warm and cozy, drink hot chocolate or apple cider.  Fall makes me look forward to Halloween (which I don't really celebrate), carving pumpkins (which my husband loves to do), going to pumpkin patches, or going apple picking, etc.  And then there's thanksgiving, then Christmas.  And then, a new year begins.

The fun thing about fall are the festivities.  This weekend, we had a great time going to the Fall Jubilee in downtown Manassas.  Sam loved the ride and we were just happy to see him have a good time.  He was really excited on the way to the festival, not even knowing what to expect.  He was all smiles and it just warms my heart.

He rode this dinosaur ride 3 times!
After church today, we had the opportunity to ride the commuter train to Clifton, VA to their fall festival.  Sam loves trains and he was crazy, out-of-his-mind excited to ride on it.  When we got to Clifton, he didn't want to get off the train and even threw a fit about it.  Once he was calm, we were able to walk around, and even have some fresh kettle corn.  We rode the train back and Sam was content and so tired from all the excitement that he fell asleep on our way home.

Inside the train on the way to Clifton

Walking around (or running) at the festival
This weekend has been a busy one, full of family activities.  Our lives have been hectic, but I am grateful for this moments, and I will never forget that unbridled joy in Sam's face when he gets to spend time with his dad.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

More house stuff

I have been obsessing about our house since I got home for Hawaii.  Something about having toddler makes me neurotic about my house.  My son likes to play, and he likes toys.  We try not to spoil him, but he does have a lot of toys.  He has toys in his bedroom, in his play area in our basement, and in the living room on the main floor.  Basically, he has toys on all three floors of our house.  I get very upset when there's so much clutter.  Not only do I pick up after a toddler, I also pick up after an adult:  a male adult.  It's very exhausting.

So today I spent 2.5 hours at Ikea, gawking at what living spaces and bedrooms and living rooms should look like.  I could've died with envy right there and then, but I kept encouraging myself that someday I will have that.  So after my trip to Ikea, I got the inspiration to clean up when I got home and de-clutter my toy infested living room.  So here's what I came up with:

The lamp was my $20 find at Ikea.  I just needed something to accentuate my bookcase which is not much a bookcase as much as it is a toy storage.  I am happy though that at least for 30 minutes, my living room stayed looking like this.  My son is about to come home from playing outside to change that.  But at least for a little while, this made my day.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Renovation progress

About six months ago, Josh started renovating our kitchen. It has been a long and arduous process.  To be honest, I didn't like the house when Josh decided to buy it.  Not only because I wasn't there to see the house for myself, but I disliked the fact that it was this horrible yellow inside the entire house and that there's only 1 bathroom to share among 3 bedrooms upstairs.  But Josh wanted the house, and he liked the location, and that we had a small budget to work with, the fact that I can't be included in the purchase because I lived in Hawaii then...well, I didn't have much of a say.  So as a good wife, I supported his decision to purchase the house.

The first time I stepped into the house, I was thoroughly dismayed.  It was not at all what I expected.  I don't claim to be the cleanest person in the world.  But I could swear that the previous owners were the filthiest people I haven't and never wish to meet.  Suffice it to say, I spend several months going from room to room cleaning the entire house to a point where I can say I am comfortable to live in it.

One of the major areas that I pressed and prodded Josh to renovate is the kitchen.  I'm not going to go into details, but the kitchen was pretty nasty.  We agreed to renovate when we get our tax return.  We didn't get much in refund but thank goodness for Home Depot.  So here is the kitchen before (these are pictures Josh took before he purchased the house:

 And these are the pictures after our renovation:

It's still a work in progress.  It's hard for Josh to find time to finish it between work, school, and Sam.  But it's more than what i could wish for.  I'm still working on organizing it, especially the pantry but in time, everything will be where I want them to be.


I meant to blog about my birthday.  Except there was really to say other than I am a year older.  No big celebration, no flowers or balloons.  Just the usual family day.  Nothing really exciting.  Every year, as my birthday approaches, I keep thinking that when I was young (before 18) all I wanted was to become 18.  At 18 you become an adult, at least legally.  When I turned 18, I wanted to be 21.  Everyone knows why being 21 is significant...not that everyone abide by it.  After I turned 21, I wanted to become 25.  Car insurance gets cheaper and I can rent a car on my own.  After I turned 25....I wanted to go back and be 18 again.

I don't know if everyone feel the way that I do, but sometimes I feel like I just want to run in circles around that age.  I don't fear aging...I'm not afraid to get all wrinkly and gray.  I enjoy being a wife and a mommy (although the latter has been increasingly challenging for me as of late).  But somehow, before my birthday approaches every year, I try to remember the days when I was younger and carefree.  Maybe because then, I didn't have to stress so much.  I feel like as you get older, the stress mounts because there's just much more to stress about.  You stop thinking beyond yourself that at some point, you forget about yourself.

This year, as I turned another year older, I have decided to go back every once and a while and think about myself.  So the first thing I did on my birthday is to go to the container store and bought items to organize my pantry.  That's for me, for my sanity.  So I thought of myself.  And every once in a while (on days where Sam just drives me and slams me on the wall), I will think of myself.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Nap, nap, nap

Today was a rough day.  And it's not even done yet.  It was a late start prompted by a very late bedtime last night.  I do realize and understand that it must be tough for Sam to adjust and establish a new routine.  I wish I could make it easier for him, because that means my life would be easier.  Our struggle today involved nap time.  I've heard people having issues with naps, but today, I went through it myself.  Routinely after lunch, Sam and I cuddle, watch a little TV until he falls asleep.  Today, he refuses.  No sir, he wanted to eat, play, throw things, but not nap.  So after a lot of pushing, pulling, jumping and head butting mommy, he finally gave up, cuddled with the sofa, and passed out.

4 hours later

So here we are 4 hours later, he is softly snoring and I am decompressing from all the frustration of the day.  And it's not even over.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Home sick

I've been back home for a little over a week now.  Since I had surgery, my parents thought it would be a good idea for one of them to accompany Sam and I back home; and so my Dad came back with us.  It was such as blessing having him help me through the 9.5 hour flight.  I don't think I would have handled Sam by myself.  Sam has grown and has become a lot more active (even in his sleep!).

The past weekend, we took Dad sightseeing in DC.  He was particular about the places he wanted to see.  The rest of the time, he spent fixing our house.  He's going back to Hawaii tomorrow, and with him leaving, I feel like a part of me is leaving too.  The first time we left Hawaii to move to Virginia, I don't remember feeling home sick.  Sure I was sad to leave my comfort zone, my home, my job, my friends....practically my life, to start anew with my own family.  When we visited earlier this year and came back last March, it felt like coming home.  But this time, it felt harder.  I've always known that having your family around is great.  Having help with Sam is awesome because I can get breaks especially when i'm just too tired to deal with his orneriness.  Most of all, I think that I feel the way I do because of Sam.  I saw the sadness in his eyes when we left Hawaii this time.  He's happy at home...but his joy was different when we're in Hawaii.  Maybe it's because we're surrounded by family; whereas here in Virginia, it's just Sam, Mommy, Daddy, and a handful of friends.  Dad coming with us made it a bit easier, but with him going back tomorrow, I feel this overwhelming sadness.

Papa and Sam at the WWII Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background
I am hoping that Sam and I will adjust easily and go back to our old routines.  I am grateful for the time that we spent with family and hope that we will have the opportunity to do so again.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Family, Friends, Surgery, and 9 Years of Bliss

The past week has been a crazy week!  What was supposed to be a "quick" visit with my family ended up being a 2-month stay.  Our visit started really fun and enjoyable.  My sister, Jenny, and I were able to do a few things together, including a visit to the KCC farmer's market where they had some awesome coffee, loco moco (a local dish with a hamburger patty and over medium eggs on top of rice then smothered with gravy) that makes my mouth water thinking about it, and kimchi sausage (who would've thought!).  I had a nice lunch with friends from work, and a great stella and dot party at home hosted by my sister's friend.  Overall, it was going really well.  
Lunch with friends from work at Ichiriki

At the farmer's market with Jenny

I had known for a while that I have gallstones.  When we were visiting last March, I went to the ER for severe abdominal pain.  At the time, the doctor felt that there was no rush in getting the surgery and I was told that it is elective.  Since we were about to go back to Virginia, I opted not to seek treatment and put it off.  Josh and I talked about how we're going to do it without family support in Virginia, but we decided that eventually, I am going to have to come back to Hawaii to get the surgery so that my family could watch and take care of Sam while I recover.  That plan was not part of this was supposed to be another trip, sometime in the future.  But God, in his impeccable timing, decided that it was time.  That I should not wait any longer or continue to suffer the agony every time I have a gallstone attack.  So last Monday, July 16, I landed in the ER again.   Well, not initially.  While at work (yes, I work part time every time I come to Hawaii for my old boss), I started feeling the ever familiar stomach pain.  Since I anticipate that I could have the pain anytime, I always have my pain and nausea medicine with me.  I took one of each and decided to go home and let the pain pass.  My mom, however, felt I should go to the doctor.  I don't like going to the doctor, maybe that's why I ended up with this.  But at that time, I felt it necessary to go.  While at the doctor's office, I started having cold sweats and the pain intensified.  I started feeling dizzy and I was starting to feel faint.  When they finally took my vital signs, I alarmed the medical assistant, as well as the doctor for having my blood pressure at 70/44 and my pulse in the 50's.  That is way below my normal of 110's/60's and my heart rate is usually in the 80's.  I didn't think I was dying, but it sure felt like I was going to.  The doctor hydrated me, put my feet up and told my mom to take me to the ER.  So I landed again in the same ER where I found out I had gallstones.  Luckily I didn't have to wait long to be soon, and soon enough I was being told that I'm not going home that day because I have an infection and I'm going to have surgery.

I had my surgery on Tuesday.  The nice thing about being in the hospital was that when in pain, I can always ask for medicine.  And they sure give the good stuff.  Morphine was the medication of choice...or at least that's what the doctor order.  The pain disappears into oblivion as soon as the morphine hit my veins.  While waiting in the holding area in the OR, the anesthesiologist introduced himself and started talking to me.  He was explaining what he was going to do, medications he was going to give me, how he's going to put a breathing tube in my throat etc.etc.  I remember telling him that I wasn't feeling any pain at the moment.  Only that I was extremely hungry.  That was the last thing I remembered.  I woke up feeling groggy and my throat sore in the recovery room.  

That wasn't the end of it.  I had to have another procedure done to remove the remaining stones that were stuck in a duct between my liver and small intestine.  The lucky thing is that I didn't have to be cut open for this.  It's amazing what technology nowadays can do.  They were able to remove the stones using a scope that went through my mouth into my stomach.  Sounds morbid, yes.  But also amazing at the same time.  

Flowers and balloons from family and friends....I felt loved

Since my hospitalization, I barely got to spend time with my little boy.  But he was able to visit me for short periods (even though he's not allowed).  Of course, he didn't like mommy's hospital bed very much since it's not comfortable.

After my discharged, my sister and I got to spend some time with Sam at my parent's time share.  He's growing up so fast that I am amazed every day.  And as usual he loves his shave ice.

Yummy Passion Orange Guava Shave ice
The week was not only of my recent adventure with the scalpel though.  The highlight of my week has been yesterday (07/22).  Josh and I have been married 9 years.  Seems long if you look at the numbers, but to me, it feels like it's only yesterday.  We've gone through so many moves, so many changes, our lives have been in limbo for the last 9 years.  It has not been the easiest, but through it all, we've made it this far.  And although we are far apart (as we seem to be most of the time when there are special occasions), I always feel his love for me so much more as if he is just right next to me.  And for that, I will always be grateful that God gave him to me, to be my husband, partner, and best friend.  So here's to many more years of marriage.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July in Hawaii

Sam and I arrived 5 days ago here in sunny and breezy Hawaii. I was so glad to leave the sweltering heat of Virginia and definitely enjoying the cooler temperature. Sam has been having a blast hanging out with his grandparents, and of course, he is spoiled with attention and toys. Though the weather has been enjoyable, I am not faring so well with my health. Not even a day after our arrival, I caught a cold, and now suffering a terrible cough as well. I guess better to get sick here when I have enough people to care for Sam while I lie in my sick bed. I've got so many things planned...people to see, places to go, restaurants to eat. Being here makes me realize what I love about home, but it also gives me an understanding of why it was a good thing to move as well. For as much as I love having all the help I can get, moving away has helped me become self sufficient and able to manage my own home. It has helped me grow and become a stronger person. I just wish the distance was not so far as to deprive my son the company of his grandparents, especially Papa, who he loves so much.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day

This past weekend was quite busy for the Askew family.  Saturday morning was somewhat of a mad chaos since Sam was up at 4 am and refuses to go back to sleep.  By the time Sam fell back asleep, it was time to wake up. We had an appointment at 9:30 am for brake replacement in Quantico, which is about 45 minutes away.  It took a 3 hour wait before we can finally get the car back, go home to quickly change, then attend a birthday party.   Then back home to have dinner with friends.  Through all this, whereas my patience with Sam wane as the day progress, he remains calm and watches Sam with content.  I had planned to give him a day off on Sunday...I figured with all the stress and sleepless of our house renovation, that he deserves one day of uninterrupted sleep.  But even that, I couldn't give him since my gallstones preferred to act up on Saturday, leaving me drugged up and drowsy.

We went to our friend's church on Sunday and they were so gracious that they provided lunch for us.  After lunch, we had planned to get his father's day gift, which is a stand-up clothes steamer (to steam his clothes before work instead of ironing).  Instead, we ended up going home and taking a long nap. After a long satisfying nap, we took Sam out for ice cream.

Eating ice cream at Nathan's Dairy bar is probably our favorite activity with Sam.  Not only is he usually behaved, he screams "ice cream" a lot, which pleases me as he is starting to increase his vocabulary.

We finally ran our errands before the stores closed and ended our day snuggling at home watching game 3 of the NBA finals and eating take out Bon Chon fried chicken.  I spent the rest of the time snuggled in the couch after a dose of percocet (my stomach has not settled and the pain is not something I like to battle with), while Josh took care of Sam by getting him in his pajamas and putting him to bed.

I had good things planned for father's day...I was hoping that Josh could take a break; instead I felt like I gave him more to do.  But through it all, he didn't complained and when I apologized for my lacking, he just gave me a kiss and said it's ok because he had a lot of cuddle time with Sam.  Of all the things that I love about my husband, this is why I love him most.  No matter the work I put him through, no matter my nagging, no matter my misgivings and shortcomings, at the end of the day, he always tells me it's okay.  It reminds me of his vow, when he said that he will stand in front of me to protect me, stand behind me to support me, and stand beside me all the days of his life.  And in almost 9 years of being married to him, I love him so much more.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Family visit

The past week has been quite hectic.  What's with the renovation and trying to get it ready for my in-laws visit, each day was spent cleaning and finishing the bathroom and kitchen so that it is functional.  We really enjoyed their visit and I was glad that Sam was not being shy or difficult.  He immediately got comfortable with them as if he's seen them everyday.

Last Sunday, we enjoyed a picnic at the Gray Ghost winery.  Sam enjoyed his cookies and playing with dirt -- his favorite toy :).

Monday was DC day.  We started off at the Jefferson memorial and worked our way to the World War II memorial.  We walked a lot that day and I am surprised that I managed to walk the entire mall without falling on my face.  Sam got to watch the ducks with his Aunt Leslie.  It was a tiring day but he had a great time hanging out with grandma.

 We ended the day with dinner at Okra's.  Sam was a bit cranky by that time, either from hunger or just being tired.  Grandma, Aunt Leslie, and Sage left on Tuesday.

We enjoyed the visit and we can't wait for the next one!

Friday, June 1, 2012


"Patience is a virtue."  Who hasn't heard of that.  I must not be virtuous because my patience keep waning each day.  Or is it because my son just pushes my buttons so well that my patience are all worn out and thin.  I used to pray for more patience.  I keep asking God to extend my patience to deal with my ever ornery son.  My friend Monica said I shouldn't pray for patience though because God will try me more.  She said I should pray for grace.  So I pray for grace, and more hair.

I'm sure my son is not aware of how much he's putting me through.  I can tell you that as of right now, he's taken all of the wipes out from his container and he's chewing them with gusto.  I pretty much submitted myself to many times outs because I could swear there are times when I just want to throttle him.  I can't wait for him to grow up, to be able to communicate, and to understand limits because right now, he does what he wants because it's what he knows is right.  At the end of the day, despite the many frustrations and tears, despite enduring the screaming, whining, and countless mess, I love my little boy dearly.  Now if anyone could spare more patience, please donate them to me because I definitely need more.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Texas trip and the desperate need for mommy time

Sam and I have been away for the last couple of weeks visiting family and friends in Texas.  It was the first trip Sam and I took by ourselves.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  Then again, it was only a 2.5 hour plane ride.  We had a great time.  I attended a wedding with my mom, took Sam to Fort Worth zoo, and met up with Benilda and her 3-year old daughter Elliana. Sam got to meet relatives he's never met before.  He saw his grandma, cousin John, and Auntie Bhel from Hawaii.  All in all, it was a good trip, but we were glad to come back and be with Josh after two weeks.

Here are some photos from our trip:

 The Inay family

 All dressed up at the wedding

 Sam and Uncle John

 Stuck in a hole at Nordstrom

 At Fort Worth zoo with Grandma and Great grandparents

 With Grandma

 With Uncle John 

 Having a laugh with mommy

 Big smiles!

 With Elliana

With Auntie Benilda, Elliana, and Nana

With the events of the past two weeks, some adjustments were again in order for Sam.  While in Texas, we had issues with eating, and right after coming back, we're having some woes with sleeping.  Sam has been through so many changes lately that, although frustrated, I can't say I blame him.  His environment changes so often, the place, time, and people around him seems different and new at least every month.  I haven't been able to give him the consistency and stability that he probably needs while growing up.  But that's the hardship we have to face since our families are in so many different places.

Tonight is the first night in a while that Sam's gone to bed before 10 pm.  It took an hour to get him to finally fall asleep.  In the past two months, we have been battling not only with him going to sleep early, but also to get him to sleep through the night in his own bed.  Needless to say, this mommy feels like she is taking care of Sam 24-hours a day.  I shouldn't complain because I know that all of these are short lived.  I know someday he will no longer want his mommy, much less need her.  However, I have noticed that not having a break or the time for myself has kept my patience short and my tolerance even shorter.  So tonight, I am grateful to have this time to myself to write this blog.  

I hope that in the next couple of days, that Sam will finally get into a rhythm and give his poor mommy a break before insanity kicks in.  I fear though, that it will also be short lived because we are bound to Hawaii again in July.  The joys of traveling.  Sigh.