Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ice Cream

The night before Nathaniel's third birthday, we all went out for ice cream after dinner. It is a tradition that started in 2009 when Hubby and I went to our last date before we officially became parents (I was being induced the next day). It is a little family tradition we have kept but really, any reason to eat ice cream is ok in our book ;)

The (only) Cold Stone Creamery in our city is a very special Cold Stone. If you look closely at menu, everything is $4.99. You want an ice cream in Like It size with two mix-ins? That will be $4.99. Love It with waffle bowl and four mix-ins? $4.99! Milk shakes? $4.99! $4.99! $4.99! When we first discovered this, we went a little too often. And I've bragged so much about it to my family that when they visited us, it's a no brainer that we had to go here.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cleopatra Bangs

While we were in Indiana for Thanksgiving, Nathaniel and his cousin Daniel had their hair cut together. Cookie Cutters (hair cut salon that specializes in children) usually does a great job cutting Nathaniel's hair but they just messed up big time this time. The lady gave Nathaniel what I have dubbed, the Cleopatra bangs (see last photo). I hate it. I think it's worse than the chili bowl the base in Monterey, CA gave him. It's just plain horrible and I cannot wait till it's long enough so we can fix it :(

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

This year, there are so many Christmas tradition and activities we just poorly did or did not even do at all. Going back to work (and planning Nathaniel's birthday party) has proven to be more challenging that I thought. I wanted to make homemade batch of cookies with Nathaniel for Santa but since I worked Christmas Eve, we had to settle to presenting cookies from the frozen dough we bought from a fundraising event. Our Elf, Krispie, did not make an appearance until four days ago. Nathaniel wanted a blue Christmas (the actual color) from Santa and the blue lights Santa added on the tree last night are barely visible. Our Christmas packages for our family in Indiana were just mailed this past Saturday. Oh, Hubby's gift? It will be arriving after Christmas (and that's with Amazon Prime!). And we still have yet to see Santa...

Every year, I am learning. And if I continue to work and maybe (hopefully) another little one added in the mix, I want to be finished with all the major details of these last of the year events a lot sooner---like before Halloween. And I love gifting homemade gifts (but just doesn't seem to ever have enough time) so that means I have to start a lot, lot sooner.

Anyway, I realize that the true meaning and spirit of Christmas is being with family (and friends). And in that aspect, I am very, very happy and satisfied. So I pray you, my dear reader, are surrounded with love and joy, too. And know that our heart is heavy for those who cannot spend this wonderful holiday with their family.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Poison Control Center

This morning is a first for everything. I had to call the Poison Control Center because I had stupidly left these medications on our dining table last night. Last night, Hubby was in our bathroom (where I keep these) so I asked him to bring them on his way out. My eyes were super itchy and I needed to take my allergy meds now instead of my usual time (right before bedtime). Then I stayed up way too late wrapping presents (could barely keep my eyes open!) and forgot to put them up. So this morning, I woke up to the sound of Nathaniel, next to my bed, playing with the bottle cap. He was holding the Claritin bottle and it was unopened. I ask him to bring me my prescribed Folic Acid and my heart sank. It was loosely capped! :( I drilled him a billion times and every time, his answer is yes to taking the Folic Acid tablet.

I immediately called the Poison Control Center. I was notified that Folic Acid is non-toxic and should be fine if he took a few (or even a lot!) of that. Now, Claritin is something to worry about. They usually  require us to go to the emergency room if a child takes more than four pills. Thankfully, Nathaniel didn't and we are all convinced (PCC included) that he really didn't take any of them at all. I had to keep a close monitor on Nathaniel and refrain him from taking a nap for the next several hours. PCC called us two hours later to check up on Nathaniel and were given the go to let him nap if he wants to since the critical stage is over and he seems to be doing fine.

If you have never called Poison Control Center and do not know their number, it is 1(800) 222-1222. Please keep that number nearby even if you do not have (little) children at home. My experience with them was very pleasant and were very helpful with the situation and with calming my nerves! Nathaniel is fine and I think I will survive from my heart attack this morning.

Definitely major Mom Fail this morning, ya'll.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday, Nathaniel!

Originally written on December 15, 2012. His actual 3rd birthday.

Nathaniel turned three years old today! We celebrated his birthday with family and friends with a Spider-Man party, of course. I cannot wait to share all the little details of his party but for now, we are enjoying this little boy and the company of my Mom, sister and kids, and friend Sheila. They are visiting us from Indiana this weekend, especially just for Nathaniel's birthday! We are so blessed and thankful to have a very loved boy.

Nathaniel has a very strong willed personality and I struggle everyday with finding the right balance of disciplining and correcting him without crushing his joyful spirit. He is the sweetest boy I've ever met and often says how much he loves us. He is always hugging and giving us kisses. It isn't always raising Nathaniel but I could not imagine being a Mommy to anybody else. I am so, so thankful that God chose me to be his earthly parent.

1. What is your favorite color? Blue
2. What is your favorite toy? Spider-Man
3. What is your favorite fruit? Strawberries, cookies.
4. What is your favorite TV show? Spider-Man
5. What is your favorite movie? Spider-Man
6. What is our favorite thing to wear? Spider-Man
7. What is your favorite animal? Monkey, giraffe, our dog Riley.
8. What is your favorite song? Spider-Man song
9. What is your favorite book? Spider-Man, Captain Flinn and Pirate Dinosaurs
10. Who is your best friend? Lance, Brooklyn, Adam.
11. What is your favorite food? Mac and cheese, plants
12. What is your favorite drink? Milk
13. What is your favorite sport? Baseball
14. What do you pray for at night? Spider-Man
15. What are you afraid of? Aliens
16. What is your favorite game? Play with toys
17. What is your favorite thing to play outside? Baseball
18. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas Time
19. What do you sleep with at night? Mr. Calimlim (bear), Spider-Man blanket, picture, and pillow; Mr. Bee
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Spider-Man

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Spider-Man Gum Paste

Nathaniel is taught never to spit out food. So when he insisted he really, really wanted to eat the Spider-Man gum paste figurine on his birthday cake, we knew this was going to happen. However, we did not expect this hilarious facial expressions/reaction.

His cousin Daniel wanted Spider-Man too so we gave him the arm. He instantly spat that out! Soon, the other children who wanted Doc Ock and Green Goblin changed their mind ;)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Three Feet, Two Inches

At three years old, Nathaniel stands at three feet and two inches. He is a pretty tall 3 year old and often gets mistaken for a four year old. (I really hope he gets his Dada's height and not mine!). His vocabulary doesn't help either since he talks very, very well. Nathaniel speaks in complete, complex sentences and answers questions with "probably" and "possibly."

Hubby made this life size ruler last summer and I can't wait to share a tutorial about how he did it. It's perfect for our military lifestyle since it can move with us whenever we relocate, oh... about every 2-4 years. Sometimes as short as 6 months to a year!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


I am so thankful that both of our jobs allowed us to go to Indiana and spend the Thanksgiving holiday with our family. We were originally just going to be there for four days but it worked out that Dean was in Levantine class so he had the entire Thanksgiving week off. I am also thankful for the warm weather that day that allowed us to enjoy the outdoors without freezing our fingers off. For the second Thanksgiving in a row (2011: Carthage, MO in Dean's grandparents), we played football outside to burn off some of the Thanksgiving-food calories!

Monday, December 3, 2012


I am working on Nathaniel's July-September 2012 photo book and I came across these. They were taken in August but I never shared them. As a mother, I am in love with the top photo. It is so very rare that I get photos of Nathaniel looking at the camera. But as a lifestyle photographer, I love the bottom one. It is just so genuine and so Nathaniel.

Which one do you like?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sunrise & Sunset

Both photos straight out of the camera.
All God.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My First Babies

My firstborn with my first fur baby.

I am looking forward to the sweet days where I will be smiling instead of crying every time I think of Pepper. I really miss him.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pepper: 2004-2012

April 4, 2004 to November 23, 2012

Here was Pepper doing what he loved the most: exploring the outdoors. This morning, he went outside for the first time in almost two months. And after I was done taking a few pictures of him, he walked towards me (which is what he was doing in the photo) and then went back inside the warm house. I really think he did this just for me: so I could capture the "real" Pepper.

Pepper was a great cat. And he was deeply loved. I just really hope he felt that we gave him a good life.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pepper: Chronic Renal Failure

My dearest beloved 8-year old cat was recently diagnosed with chronic renal failure. And he is dying. He is severely dehydrated and only weighs 5lbs. We have to help him clean his dry coat because he is too weak to do it himself. He is also incontinent and Mom has been very patient with him and I am so, so thankful for that (he lives with my Mom here in Indy). We brought him back to the vet last Saturday as soon as I arrived in town (literally an hour from the time when we arrived) and the veterinarian gave me four options:

(1) Do nothing, in which he will die in a few days---we may witness it, we may not. But in between, he will be very ill, will most likely have a seizure and be in pain before he goes into coma and die. Not even an option.
(2) Give him IV fluids since he is so severely dehydrated. Start a new strict diet, which can only be purchased at the vet office and continue IV subcutaneous fluid injections at home. He has a 50/50 chance of responding to this treatment. And if he does, we can choose continue to do this.
(3) Hospitalize him for 3 days where he will receive continuous IV fluids and receive medication to stimulate his appetite. Best option for him but again, it is not a cure. There is no cure. This just gives him the best chance to live "longer." And it is also very expensive. It will costs us $400 and even though Hubby is more than willing to let me spend the money, I'm not so sure. Eventually, we will be back to where we started.
(4) Say goodbye and put him to sleep...

I chose option #2. But the thing is, I left the vet office starting to mentally prepare myself that I will be putting my first own pet this Friday. I chose the immediate IV fluid option because I wanted him to be in a somewhat decent state while we spend his last few days and the holiday with us. But Pepper is a fighter and he started responding to the treatment. His appetite has greatly increased. He is able to jump on the counters again. And he is beginning to look "normal." I was instructed to give him 100ml lactated ringer subcutaneously when he stops eating. I still have yet to do that. He asks for food and actually eats an entire can a day. So now I don't know what to do.

Our friend Hannah brought a very good point and I have been thinking about it ever since: I need to make my decision by outweighing the quality of life versus quantity of days. Is Pepper happy? Does he want to keep living like this or does he just want to go? I am so heartbroken and my eyes hurt from constant crying. Ultimately, there is no cure for chronic renal failure. My cat Pepper will die.

If I decide to put him down on Friday, the rest of the family can be there too to say their goodbyes and to give me support. I will also be able to bury him right away in my Mom's front yard by the garden, where he loves to spend his days just watching the birds.

If I decide to let him continue to live like this, I will be taking him home to Georgia. My Mom does not want to see him during his end of life and I completely understand. I truly believe Pepper can benefit from the current treatment methods and may live a few more months. But he is still incontinent, which means he has to stay in a cage whenever we are not with him. That could mean 10-12+ hours on days that I work. He has been staying in the cage on his on will but as a rescue animal from the humane society, I just don't like that idea. Pepper was born in the human society and I hate for him to spend his last few days/weeks/months back in a cage. And because he was born in the human society, I truly believe this is the reason why Pepper loves the outdoors. Even though he has stopped going outside, I'm sure once he is well enough, he will want to again. But I cannot let him go out in an unfamiliar place and possibly let what happened to our late cat Jack happen to him, too (thus the reason he stayed with my Mom). The expense is something I also need to consider (special diet, IV bags, tubings, needles, etc). As much as I don't want it to be, this is a pretty huge factor. Right now, the 1 liter IV bags costs $20, more for the tubings and needles. And his special diet food is $2/can, which he about consumes one can a day.

I have been going back and fort with my decision and I am just so exhausted. I really, really do not know what to do. Please pray for strength and compassion. And that whatever my decision is, it will be not based on selfishness and my happiness but for what is best for my cat Pepper.

P.S. I love that photo of me and Pepper. I am so thankful my husband took a second to snap that photo of us as we were napping.
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