Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing mommies out there! Being a mom is definitely one of the hardest jobs I have, but it’s also the most rewarding and humbling experience that I have the chance and honor of experiencing. Life has been very challenging and difficult lately, and a lot of times, it’s very easy to feel defeated, diminish my self esteem, have self doubt, and lose hope. Sometimes the dark clouds roll in and the storm hits, and you just don’t know when the sun will come back again, and it’s hard amd very scary to brave the thunder and lightning due to the risk of getting hit or blown away. Sometimes, I just want to throw my hands up in the air (like you just don’t care..jk..) and give up and just accept that personal happiness is something that wasn’t meant for me. When you become a parent, you sacrifice a lot of yourself for your children, and we often think that as long as they are happy, you are happy. That’s only true up to a certain point. In the end, we are still our own person, and if we ourselves are not happy, deep down in our soul, then how can we possibly be the best we can be for them? There’s a difference between sacrificing for the better of our children and completely losing yourself in your children. I think it’s very important to still be your own self, and have your own life, outside your kids. There needs to be a healthy balance, so that your kids not only see you as their loving parent, but also as a loving person, that would hopefully inspire them to be one day. One day, my kids will grow up and leave the nest, and create their own families, and I don’t want to be lost when that happens.
We face many difficult challenges in our lives, and are dealt with many difficult decisions to make as well. What I do to try to get past those obstacles that life throws at me, is to just think about what kind of person I want Lily to be, what kind of man I want Leo to be, and make my decisions based on that. Lead by example. If I want Lily to be kind, generous, forgiving, patient, and compassionate, then I will be all those things for her so she can witness it and experience it, as her norm. Parenting is a constant battle of patience and testing of the emotions. You have to pick and choose your battles, and ask yourself what do you value more, what’s the lesson you’re trying to teach, what do you want to achieve? I’m no expert, nor am I a perfect parents, but I feel it’s a series of trial and error really haha. So I just have to trust my gut instincts, and hope for the best… Anyways, with everything going on in my life, it’s hard to stay confident in myself. You never know if you’re doing a good job, or the right thing, or doing what’s best for your kids and yourself. However, I’ll look at Lily, and notice the little things she does, her occasion head lean on my shoulder, and hugs and kisses for no reason, and just look at what a kind, compassionate, caring, polite person she is, and that gives me validation that I’m doing something right. When things were getting really hard for me a month or so ago, I got this random message from a stranger who stumbled upon my blog. Below was her first message to me, and then a snippet of an ongoing conversation I had with her via email.
“I just want to thank you for your blog that you post about your son leo. My son also has tetrasomy 18 and i read your blog for motivation to get me through my pregnancy. It gave me hope that my son would make it and that he would be okay. He is now 3 months old and he is doing great and you inspired me to continue on with my pregnancy when the doctors told me he would never make it. thank you”
“I think your a hero for choosing to keep Leo and writing about it . . . I am so glad i didn’t listen to the doctor and abort him because he is perfect to me . . . If it wasnt for god & his fathers faith that everything would be okay and with out your blog i might not have had Angel.”
I immediately bursted into tears when I read her message. It was like my soul was revitalized, reenergized, and I had validation from a complete stranger, to keep on being me. I felt incredibly humbled by her words, and it just felt really…good, and amazing, to know that I was able to help someone, and even save a baby’s life. Who knows if I’ve helped anyone else that hasn’t even reached out to me, but wow…I was floored and so happy, that I was able to actually make a difference. I really genuinely want to help people, and I’m so glad that I’m able to with my blog, and documenting my life journey, as well as Leo’s. This gave me a lot of my confidence back, and encouraged me that I’m doing the best I can right now, and to keep on at it. I also received a care package in the mail from a friend, thanking me for all my advice that I gave her last year, when she just had her newborn and things were really hard for her. I was again hunbled by her kind words, and didn’t realize how much I’ve affected her and helped her. I feel very happy that I was able to help and make such an impact in her life. I believe in good karma, and so I will continue to spread the love and care into the world, and hope that this world will be a better place for my kids and myself, because I can make a difference, and you can too! Sounds like a promo ad, but it’s true!
So whatever happens in life, you just have to be true to yourself, and just try to be the best version of yourself possible. I live my life for my kids, but also for myself. I’m the one who has to walk in my shoes, and so I’m the one who has to live with myself. If I’m not happy with who I am, then I try to make myself better so that I am happy, and my happiness, will be reflected on my kids. If your life is dark and miserable, that shadow will cast upon your kids as well, so let the light shine bright and guide you. Kids will bring you so much joy, pain, happiness, anger, frustration, but most of all, love. As for my babies whom I never got to hold, I live the best life I can for them. I can’t teach them anything, or inspire them, or take care of them, because they are already in heaven and don’t need any of that from me. They are the ones who’s actually watching over me, taking care of me, and inspiring me. So as their mother, I plan to be happy, and be a good person, for them, to make them proud. Thank you everyone for all the well wishes, flowers, sweet treats, jewelry, and gifts. I’m definitely the lucky one to have such amazing kids. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommies out there. <3
Happy 11 Months old Leo! I can’t believe this is your last month before you turn 1 years old! Leo weighs in at 19.2lbs and stretches about 29 inches long! He is still such a happy mellow calm baby, and is always a joy to be around. Earlier Leo had a really bad stuffy and runny nose that lasted a little over a week, so that was really rough on him (and me), but he managed to stay in good spirits most of the time though. The only time he was really showing any misery was when he would try to drink his bottle and his nose would be so stuff he couldn’t breathe, and then throw up all his milk a couple times too, so he would cry pretty hard, poor baby =(. I’m glad he’s all better now and and breathe a-ok! Leo really likes to look at himself in the mirror and always has a big smile on his face when he sees the handsome little guy smiling back at him. Leo is still a very good sleeper and takes to take a couple long naps a day and then do a good 12-14 hour stretch of sleep at night! Good job Leo!!
He likes to roll all over the place and kick his feet like crazy. He really wants to move around, and I feel like he really wants to crawl, it’s just a matter of getting his core muscles and arm muscle tones strong enough so he can do it. Practice practice practice. Leo still hasn’t made much progress in terms of eating solids, but he’s getting more use to the zvibe tool. Hopefully his mouth muscles will loosen up and as his core muscle strengthens, hopefully everything else will fall into place. For now, I’ve been trying to feed him homemade pureed pees and black beans, but so far he still pushes the food out and doesn’t eat. We just have to keep on working at it. Also, his physical therapist suggests we get Leo to do a brain scan, so see if there’s anything going on neurologically that’s preventing him from achieving certain gross motor skills. He tends to hyper extend his arms and extend them backwards rather than pulling his arms forward for balance. She thinks it could be neurological, so I’m going to set up an appointment to get him scanned just to make sure. This worries me of course, but it’s better safe than sorry, and better to know more so we can prepare and work with what we know. Overall though, Leo is improving on his sitting, he’s able to sit tripod style for about 5 minutes on his own now. His side sitting is getting better too and I can let go for maybe 15-30 seconds or so before he starts to tip over. He is babbling a lot more and says “mmm” a lot, I’m pretty sure he’s trying to say “mama” =). The physical therapist also tried some musical therapy to help him concentrate during therapy. Sometimes he’ll try to resist and fight her, and so she played some therapeutic rhythmic drumming music, and it instantly calmed him down, and he was able to do the task at hand, and even sit up on a box all by himself for about a minute!! Plus, doesn’t he look so cute with those headphones? So now I will add 30 minutes of rhythmic music to his daily therapy, it’s suppose to help the brain develop too. Overall, he is making baby step progresses, which is also good. The therapist said, once he learns a skill, he can’t regress, so it’s just a constant forward moving action, so that’s very encourage. Keep it up my little prince, mommy is so proud of you!! I love you to pieces!!
Lily is so wonderful, spunky, sassy, smart, funny, and amazing. She continues to shower her baby brother with love and attention and likes to keep an eye on him for me when I need to shower or do things around the house. She is also my little sous chef, and loves to help me chop whisk and prep for dinner. She really likes to go shopping now and would always pick something out for me and then look for something for herself. She is a addicted to candy, she has a major sweets tooth, got that in her blood from her mommy…haha. She really likes to eat fish, shrimp, cheese, bread, eggs, tofu, noodles, broccoli, peas, string beans, carrots, and steak! She loves to snack on potato chips, cheesy popcorn (Pirate’s Booty), and peanuts. Lily also went to the dentist this past weekend and actually let the dentist count and check her teeth for the first time, and she did so well! When he asked her to open her mouth bigger, she listened and did it, so good Lily! No tears or anything! She has 10 teeth on top and 10 teeth on the bottom, and he said they all look straight and good! Woohoo, good job Lily! Amazing too since she eats sooo much candy! Lily loves to help me water the plants and plant succulents in my balcony garden, and she also likes to help Leo read books. She even grabbed his hand to help him feel the textures on the pages and help him turn the page all on her own too, because she sees me doing it, so she does it now too. It’s so sweet and heart warming to see her do those things! I’m so proud of you Lily, I love you soooo much! You light up my life, I cannot be more lucky to have you at my baby girl!!
Check out some videos of Leo!
My Dearest Angel1,
You would have been 2 years old today. You would probably be running all over the place, talking, (and if you’re anything like your big sister Lily) eating all sorts of candy and snacks, and gifting the world with your uniquely wonderful personality. I should be celebrating this momentous day with all my friends and family after spending a good amount of time planning this special day just for you. Instead, weeks, days, and hours before this day, I spent it juggling emotions of sadness, gratefulness, loneliness, humbleness, and grief, to name a few. You should be getting showers of wonderful birthday wishes, comments on how fast you’re growing, how amazing and wonderful you are, and receiving lots of love, surrounded by lots of smiling happy faces. Instead, I might receive one or two “thinking of you” messages, and other supportive related wishes from those who are in tuned with my life, paired up with sympathetic hugs and pep talks. That being said, I’m very appreciative of any support and love I get on this day, but that’s just me, to better cope with my grief. I don’t need a room full of people, fancy party decorations, cake and presents to know how much you mean to me, and I don’t need the world to acknowledge your existence to remind me of how much I love you.
Today though, is for you, so in my heart, I celebrate you. Every year, I will try my best to spend these important dates, doing something that makes me happy, for you, to create some joy that you would have added to my life. I know your soul is watching down on my, so I will make you proud. It’s painful to imagine what you would be like at this age because it reminds me of what I’m missing, and what I didn’t get to experience with you. However, I imagine it anyways and for a brief moment, I smile and my heart feels warm and happy. But soon after, I quickly feel the pain of the dream. In a weird way though, it brings me closer to you, probably because I’m able to feel real tangible feelings for someone I never got to hold. I will never forget you. Happy 2nd birthday my angel, I know you would have created so much happiness in my life, so I wish to make myself and everyone around me as happy as I possibly can, to spread the love you have given me deep in my heart. I love you with my every being.
Love you always,
This is a my very special DNA keepsake beaded jewelry that I got made by the super special and talented Kelly from Sacred Legacy Arts. The two outside beads are her memorial beads with the Forget Me Not flower inside it for miscarriages, for those who don’t have anything tangible to represent their lost babies. The green and blue bead has some of Leo’s hair in it, and the purple and pink bead has some of Lily’s hair in it both with gold shimmer. These beads are super special to me, because I am able to literally able carry a part of my babies everywhere with me. I’m so happy I stumbled upon Sacred Legacy Arts, it’s amazing what she does for others, and giving us this opportunity to have such a wonderful keepsake item that means so much more than jewelry to us mommies. Thank you so much Kelly, I will wear it around my neck, close to my heart, always!
Happy 10 Months my petit prince Leo! Leo now weighs about 18bs, and stretches about 29 inches long! Leo had his follow up check with his urologist a few weeks ago and overall everything looks good. He said to massage the two incision spots on his belly 30 second rotations each way every time he gets a diaper change and the scar should go away! He has to come back in a year for another follow up, so hopefully everything stay good and healthy. Leo is starting to play with his toes more now and he loves to roll all over the place. He is holding onto his toys a little longer and really likes to play with crinkly texture toys. His top two teeth are very visible now so his teeth count is at a whopping 4! He’s starting to drool more now because of all his teething. When Leo starts to suck his thumb, that’s a sign that he’s getting tired and sleepy, it’s really cute! He’ll rub his eyes and them use his arm to cover his eyes and fall asleep that way. He is being more vocal now too and making lots of different noises. He likes to blow raspberries now and is beginning to lick things and slowly put things in his mouth, mostly his bibs. Leo also really enjoys books and on a few occasions he was even able to turn the page all by himself! He is very curious and loves to observe his surrounds. Leo has a sweet gaze and will entrance with his beautiful eyes and sweet little smile. Big sister Lily is still the best at making him laugh, but he is always so happy and smiling, he is literally a bundle of joy!
Leo had his 6 month assessment from the infant education program a few weeks ago. I was actually a little surprised by how delayed he was in a lot of areas, I thought he was just a little bit behind in some gross motor skills but I didn’t realize he was delayed in other areas as well. The assessment stated that Leo’s delays are attributed to a couple neuromotor factors such as low tone and decreased strength. It was reccommended that his schedule gets changed to 3 hours of therapy a week instead of 1 hour a week, where it’s 1 hour for PT, 1 hour for OT, and 1 hour with his infant educator. The Regional Center decided to go with 2 hours of therapy, 1 hour PT and 1 hour OT and forego the infant educator for now. When I first saw the results to Leo’s assessment, I was surprised by the numbers and felt bummed, scared and worried for my Leo. I think it’s a normal reaction, since I don’t want Leo be too delayed, if at all, but after some time to process all the information, and understand the questions and tests that were involved in order to do the assessment in the first place, I wasn’t as worried anymore. I can’t get caught up in the statistics and numbers, I have to look at what’s right in front of me, and look at this from a different perspective. Leo isn’t struggling, yes he is delayed, but he isn’t struggling, he is healthy, and most of all, he is happy. Leo has his own journey that he is living and he is living it wonderfully. He will crawl, stand, and walk, when the time is right for him; he will talk and eat when he is ready to do so, and he will continue to grow and develop the best he can, and that’s all I can ask and be grateful for. Leo is my little miracle, and every day with him, every moment, every milestone, is more than a dream come true. I want the very best for him, but he is already the very best son for me!
Leo started his first Physical Therapy session with his new therapist Kerry on Monday. I really like Kerry, she has a lot more activities and exercises that we can do with Leo at target and strengthen his core muscles. She really put Leo to work and he didn’t really like it, poor baby, and even started to cry! Leo hardly ever cries so it was really sad but funny and cute to see at the same time. His bottom lip in his pout is just way too cute, I couldn’t resist and have to show you all haha. It’s all good for him though, so he will thank her later!! It was a very helpful first session and I feel like as long as Leo keeps at it, he will probably make a lot of progress real faster! Kerry was very motivated as well to get Leo to reach his milestone goals, so that was very encouraging to see. Behind those tears and pouty face, I think Leo really liked Kerry though because right off the bat he impressed us all by sitting unassisted for what probably felt like 2 minutes!!
Normally he’s done maybe 30 seconds or less because he would get so excited and want to move around and he’ll lose his balance, but in front of Kerry, he just sat so stable and straight, it was amazing!! You are still doing really great Leo. Don’t let numbers and statistics dictate what you are capable of. You will push boundaries and achieve great goals for yourself, and you can do anything you put your mind to. I have faith in you my little Leo, you already make me so proud, and I know you will always be my beacon of hope and my bright light! I love you so much Leo!!
Leo had his first occupational therapy session today with his new therapist Christine. She was really nice and really good with Leo. We didn’t deal too much with feeding today, more of just physical therapy so that Leo can build a relationship and trust with her. While playing through therapy, she’ll occasionally touch his mouth and face to get him to get use to her touching his mouth, so later when she works with loosening his mouth and cheek muscles, he won’t be too closed off to it. She said later one when he does start to eat, to let him be messy and explore his food, let him feel the texture with his hands, smell the aroma, point out all the different colors in his food, and then let him taste it and really exaggerate how good it taste. It’s all part of the experience of eating and she said to make the process fun for him. She seems very knowledgeable and I feel like Leo is in great hands!!
Also, Lily is so wonderfully amazing. Lily had her Children’s Night at LePort recently and once again I’m also so blown away by all that she can do. I’m very impressed with her beginning writing skills, her starting to sound out letters and trace in cursive, her dexterity with level of focus and concentration with her work too. It’s really great to see her so confident in the classroom and excited and happy to do her work and show off her skills. I’m so proud of her in every way, I can’t believe that beautiful smart silly funny little baby girl is all mine. Lily also had a field trip to the Discovery Science Center and I think one of her favorite part about field trips is being able to ride the school bus. Every time she sees one she gets super excited! I got to go with her on her field trip and it’s very nice how empty it was and it felt private and so Lily didn’t really have to wait to do anything she wanted, she got to roam free and do whatever her mind was curious about. Her favorite was this recycle game that they had on the second floor, she must have spent half an hour there! You can view pictures from her field trip to the Discovery Science Center HERE. I love you so much my Lily pad!! Check out this video of Lily at her Children’s Night at LePort back in March.
Lily continues to be such an amazing big sister to Leo as well. She’s still constantly so loving and caring towards Leo, always wanting to give him kisses and play with him and making him laugh, she’s still the best one at making him laugh. He loves her so much too and every time he sees her he loves to just watch her and gives her the biggest smile. Lily is always so happy and silly, she lights up my life. She still likes to be very helpful and likes to do a lot of things herself. She even helps me out with cooking now too, from cracking and stirring eggs, chopping fruits and veggies, to watering plants. She’s my little sous chef, my little personal assistant, my partner in crime. She really likes music and loves to sing and even makes requests to hear certain songs. Whenever a song comes on the radio that she likes, she would ask me what song it is if she doesn’t know it, or tell me that she likes this one. She also enjoys watching a lot of movies and shows on netflix, I recently took her to watch Zootopia and she loved it and watched it many times after that (handicam version at home haha). She said she loves the song in it and would watch the music video over and over. Lily also enjoys coloring and drawing, she’s very good at writing her name, and she likes to cut and glue paper, the Kiwi Crates are still a big hit with her! I like them too since it’s a great way to have bonding activity time with her that’s also educational and fun. Lily loves to play pretend food prep for me as well and play with little random knick knacks, stick them in her purse, take it out, and put it back in, and repeat haha. She has a very big imagination, is very observant, smart, and intuitive. I love you so much Lily, you are always making me proud and happy, I’m a very lucky mommy!!
Time for some video fun of the kiddos, enjoy!
Happy 9 months to my Little Prince Leo! Leo weighs in at 17.65 lbs (18% he’s growing!), stretches 29 inches (74% what a tall boy!), and head measures 18 inches (17%). Leo was such a champ too and had 2 shots, and a finger prick. He didn’t cry for the finger prick but of course he cried his eyes out for the shots, but quickly calmed down after a minute. He didn’t get fussy afterwards and just slept and was so sweet and happy for the rest of the day, like no big deal. Leo recently started to repeat actions with intention, and he is working really hard from switching objects from one hand to the other too! I never really noticed those motor skills with Lily, but since Leo is doing all this therapy, I didn’t realize all the tiny little developments at a baby goes through! I knew there was a lot but I never really thought about it until now. Leo is getting stronger with his sitting, he still doesn’t sit by himself for too long, but he’s getting sturdier and trying to look around more and branching out to other movements while sitting as well. He rolls all over the place and loves to kick and is putting more pressure on his legs now too. Leo babbles a lot now and is making more different sounds, and he is laughing much more now too. Lily is the best at making him laugh, and she enjoys doing it as well! Leo got 2 medication prescribed for his eczema on his legs, one is a normal cream and the other is for infections and boy do they work! Where was this months ago? It worked so much better than aquaphor, cheaper too, and his skin is almost back to it’s baby soft skin that he had back at the hospital!
Leo still isn’t taking solids, so we are waiting to hear back from the regional center about his new therapy schedule. His PT said he has a 43% delay on gross motor skills and wants recommends 1-2 hours of therapy a week, his OT recommended 1 hr of therapy a week, and his teacher recommended 1 hr of therapy as well. Obviously 4 hours of therapy a week is a lot for a baby so they are trying to figure out what would be the best schedule for him. No matter what, Leo is still making lots of progress. His tummy time is looking so much stronger each week and he is developing, at his own pace. Dr Wang said that his motor skills and muscle tone is like of a 5 month old, so maybe in a month, he will automatically take solids and make development wise it’s too early for him. That’s what I’m hoping for… Overall though, Leo is a a super happy and healthy baby. He is so mellow, calm, and playful, he is the other sunshine of my life, the first being Lily of course =). Leo already has 2 teeth on the bottom of his jaw, now he has another tooth that’s trying to make it’s debut on the top jaw! Exciting! Hopefully he will start to put those chompers to good use soon, because who wouldn’t love to eat food?? Happy 9 months my little prince Leo, keep up all your hard work, and keep being your happy sweet self!
Lily is so amazing. Her vocabulary is constantly growing, she uses words like “actually”, “probably”, “recognize”, and “disgusting” haha, etc. Her language is so strong, she speaks in full on complete sentences and lately she likes to start off all her thoughts with “you know…” haha. She is so observant and intuitive, she is super smart and thoughtful too. She’s very polite and loves to be helpful, not just at home, but at school and when we are out too. She likes to dress up and pick out her outfits for the day. She likes to wear jewelry and accessorize. She likes to carry a purse and bring her toys with her everywhere she goes, and share with everyone. Lily is expanding her food palette now too, she really likes broccoli, avocado, and Brussels sprouts! She is eating more meat too and sometimes will be hesitant at first but will eventually try new foods too. I’m glad she’s being more open and adventurous with not just her foods, but with daily activities too. She likes to jump of curbs and over ground cracks, she likes to point out the colors in the sky and point at school buses and motorcycles that zoom by. She constantly talks about how when it’s her birthday, she will be 4 and then 5 haha. She also is no longer drinking pediasure and graduated (finally) to whole milk, but with some chocolate syrup added…it’s still a huge milestone for her. She continues to love her baby Leo and loves watching him, making him laugh, and giving him kisses! I’m so proud of my princess Lily pad, keep on smiling and being your unique amazing self!!
Here are some video fun of the kiddoes!
Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when it’s to someone you love. I never had the privilege of great grandparents, and I only had one grandmother up until the 3rd grade, so I feel like Lily and Leo and super lucky to have 4 grandparents and 3 great grandparents. Sadly though, we had to say goodbye to one special great grandparent this past weekend, and that was to their Bà Cố (great grandmother on the paternal side), Khoa’s Bà Nội (grandmother on dad’s side). I’m lucky to be a part of the last 10 years of her life, she lived a very full and happy life up to the age of 95! I don’t have many memories to share, but I do remember Lily visiting her a lot at Co Mười’s house a lot and Bà Nội would love to hold Lily and play with her. She would always be so excited and happy when Lily would come to visit. I was also very happy she got a chance to meet Leo and even hold him as well. She loved all her kids and grand kids and great grand kids very much, and she’s the glue that held the great big family together. Looking back we always wished we had more time, put in more effort to visit and make more memories, but I guess it just makes you reexamine your life now and remind you to put in the time and effort to those who mean most to you, because there’s no guarantee of tomorrow. We were lucky enough to say our last goodbyes in person before she passed last friday evening, right before she peacefully passed the next morning. So many people came to the viewing and the funeral, to pay their last respects, and you can just tell that she touched so many people’s lives. Everyone had nothing but wonderful stories to share, and so even though the day was sad, it was a nice celebration of her amazing life. Lily and Leo, if you ever want to know more about your Bà Cố, your dad, and aunts and uncle have many wonderful stories to share with you. Although you are probably too young to remember her in the futur, she won’t be forgotten, and I hope this post will be special to you two, so that you’ll always have these photos and memories with your great grandmother. Rest in peace Bà Nội, we all love you very much.
This is the beautiful poem that was the funeral program, and was beautifully recited by Aidan and Brooke as well:
We though of you with love today
But that is nothing new.
We thought about you yesterday
and days before that too
We think of you in silence
we often speak your name.
All we have now are memories
and your picture in a frame.
Your memory is our keepsake
with which we’ll never part.
God has you in his keeping
we have you in our hearts.
In life we loved you dearly
in death we love you still.
In our hearts you hold a place
no one can ever fill.
It broke our hearts to lose you
but you didn’t go alone.
For a part of us went with you
the day God took you home.
Also, here is a wonderful slideshow that Thai Anh, (Khoa’s cousin) made that played during the funeral services as well, HERE.
RIP Bà Cố/Bà Nội
07.24.1920 – 02.20.2016
Happy 8 Months Leo! Leo is about 16.8lbs and stretches about 27 inches long! He still drink a little over 5 ounces (165cc) at each feeding, 4 times a day, and is still sleeping very well through the night (about 12-14 hours straight!) Leo likes to babble a lot, most ba ba and on three very distinct occasions, he said mama! He will also say “ma” a lot too along with other sounds. He is finally reaching for his toes and is getting better at sitting by himself but he still needs assistance or else he’ll topple over after a few minutes. He is recovering very nicely since his surgery has well, he still has some stitches but it will go away soon. He likes to suck his thumb a lot now, probably due to teething. He has two very prominent teeth on the bottom but more will probably start peeping out soon since he is starting to drool more now too!
Leo still hasn’t been taking solids very well, so he had a consultation with an occupational therapist, Jan, to help work with his feeding. I’ve been trying to give him puréed squash, but she suggested maybe trying peach or maybe something a little bit citrusy or cold even to wake up his taste buds so he knows that food is in his mouth, rather than something more subtle and luke warm. She also said his cheeks are very tight so we will have to go back to massaging his cheeks and mouth as well. Overall though, Leo is growing each day and is constantly making progress, slowly but surely! He is also starting to kick a lot more and rolls around all over the place now too! Some times it looks like he wants to crawl as well but doesn’t know how to quite get to his planned destination yet. He is better at holding onto a toy and shaking it up and down to play with it as well! He is getting sturdier and his neck is getting much stronger too.
Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! Happy year of the Monkey! Lily loves wearing her áo dài and Leo looks so handsome in his blue outfit as well! Lily is getting much more cooperative when it comes to me taking pictures now! Also, check out Lily getting pampered for her photoshoot (which she ended up not taking a picture for but still got paid! haha) for MGA Little Tikes HERE! She’s very into girly stuff these days, so this was a nice day for her! However this will be the last time she’ll be working for now, we will give her a break until she’s not as camera shy around strangers. Back to the Lunar New year though, Leo got to celebrate his first tết and he sure can back with lots of lucky li xi! Lily thinks all the money is suppose to go straight to her piggy bank and when my dad asked her what he will do with all her money, she says “nothing! You put it in your piggy bank!!” I trained her well hehe. Lily and Leo are always so happy and wonderful. Lily talks so much and is so brilliant and smart, she never cease to amaze me. Leo is so mellow and happy, he is truly a gift that keeps on giving. With this new year, I hope it brings new fun adventures, I hope it allows me to embrace change and hardships with confidence, and mostly, I hope it brings lots of love and happiness. I am still very sad that Luna is no longer with us, but it just further strengthens my life philosophy; Life is too short and precious, live your life how you want like how you want it to be, be the person you want to be, and always love and treat the people that mean most to you like there’s no tomorrow. You can see more pictures from our Tết festivities HERE.
Here’s some video fun of the kiddoes:
My little Leo’s journey in life continues today with his surgery and he didamazing. We checked into CHOC and registered and shortly after they led us to Leo’s pre-op room. It’s a good thing we fed Leo at 1am since his surgery ended up starting at 11am, but he did not fuss, and was in happy spirits with big smiles. It’s pretty cute how they had all these little toys all laid out for him to play with and they had Baby Einstein’s Lullaby on the big screen in his room too, which really captivated Leo and almost soothed him to sleep. Several nurses came in to check Leo’s vitals and measure his weight, height, saturation and blood pressure, and the anesthesiologist and Dr. Khoury came in to give us information about his procedure and answer any questions that we may have. Then they gave us a little baby hospital gown to put Leo in and then they wheeled him off into surgery.
After waiting for 2 agonizing hours, Dr Khoury finally came out to tell us how Leo is such a champ. The procedure was done laparoscopically and went smoothly. The nurse walked us into the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) and saw our precious little boy peacefully sleeping. He has a few incisions and all the stitches will dissolve on it’s own so we don’t have to come back to remove anything. They stuck an IV originally in his foot but for some reason it didn’t work so they moved it to his little hand, but at least they did it after they put him under through the tiny baby gas mask so he didn’t feel a thing. Leo loves to sleep so it took awhile for him to wake up, so we sort of had to wake him up ourselves. He was a little drowsy when he woke up and seemed a little confused and dazed, but he was very relaxed and calm and so good. He drank 60cc of pedialyte and kept it down no problem and then went right back to dreamland. So after an hour in recovery, he was free to go home!
Leo rested very comfortably and peacefully at home and recovery will take a few days. He can’t use a jumper for about 3 weeks and he will have a couple follow ups. He drank his milk just fine and was still very mellow but overall he just slept and rested. It was pretty stressful and worrisome having to be strong for my little man, and a few times I had to fight back the tears when I saw him get wheeled away and seeing all the wires connected to him. Just seeing the little hospital crib and monitors instantly brought me back to the days where he was in the NICU. When he was finally resting at home, I was just watching him sleep and I just felt so relieved and just let out all my emotions. The doctors, nurses, and staff at CHOC are super wonderful and amazing, even while waiting during Leo’s surgery, I felt very taken care of; they even offered us juices and snacks, so fancy! Leo was in great hands and I cannot be more thankful to them. You never stop worrying when you’re a parent, but I feel so lucky that Leo is such a little fighter and is so brave and did so well. Leo’s been through so much already and he’s only a little over 7 months old. If he can get through these little battles, I just know he will be destined to do great things in his life. Leo, you are so amazing and such an inspiration. When you look at me with your precious innocent eyes, and smile at me with your bright loving smile, you just warm my heart and show me that anything is possible.
I love you so much my little prince! 💙😍✨
On January 9, 2016, we lost our precious doggie Luna. She wasn’t just a dog to us, she was our first addition to our family. She was one of us, and buried herself deep into our hearts. Luna’s been losing a lot of weight for the past month or so and we didn’t know why, but she was still her happy peppy self. Earlier this week I noticed she didn’t seem to be as happy, and would have moments where she would just throw up and sleep a lot. She would have periods where she’s very energetic but something seemed off, and I felt like she wasn’t ok. On Friday, I noticed her having trouble walking and she wouldn’t eat her food so Khoa took her to the Cottage Pet Hospital right down the street where they kept her overnight with an iv and they did blood work. Saturday morning, they told us that she had kidney failure and it’s been slowly degenerating. The vet said that we couldn’t really have known unless we did constant lab work to monitor her levels, but we wouldn’t have known to do that anyways so they said it’s just unfortunate. They think it’s probably hereditary. Her outlook didn’t look hopeful and she would maybe have about 1 wk left at best…
Luna couldn’t even walk anymore and wouldn’t eat anymore too. She was crashing fast and so we had to make a very hard decision. There was the option of a kidney transplant but the chances of even get a kidney and having it even work and keep her healthy long term was very low. We didn’t want her to suffer anymore and so we painfully decided to let her go peacefully and painlessly. We got to be with Luna for a bit to have our last moments with her, it was very bitter sweet. Lily didn’t quite understand what was going on so she wasn’t really sad. I don’t think she understood that this was a permanent goodbye. She didn pet Luna and took a picture for the last time with Luna and gave her a kiss. She’s really sweet though and sees me crying and being sad, so she would come over and just give me kisses, doesn’t even say anything, but just gives me kisses to make me feel better. It sometimes hurt more though when she does try to help by telling me “Don’t worry mommy, Luna will get better and be like woof woof woof!” So that’s how I know she doesn’t understand that Luna’s not coming back, but it’s very sweet that Lily tries to comfort me. Leo got to give Luna one last hug as well. Khoa and I had our moments with Luna and then Khoa took the kids to the car. I stayed with Luna and held her paw, and she looked at me with her innocent eyes while I happened. It was so heartbreaking to watch, but I didn’t look away from her eyes. I wanted her to know that I’m with her all the way to the end, and wanted her to take me with her into her dreams. I couldn’t fight back the tears though, I’ll never forget the scene. Just like that, in a couple minutes, she was gone, to a much better place where she can be free and happy. I imagine doggie heaven is the same heaven that people would go to, so I know Luna is now with my angels, and together they will take good care of each other.
Luna was only a little over 8 years old, she only lived half the potential life span of a Maltese. I knew we would have to say goodbye one day, but I didn’t know it would have been this soon. It was so sudden and shocking, it just happened so fast and came out of nowhere. She was taken too soon from us, but I hope that the time she did have with us, was filled with everything she could ever want. She was our first “baby”, our furbaby, and we loved her dearly even though she was somewhat neglected once lily and Leo came, she was still loved and will be missed greatly. You truly don’t know how much you loved something until it’s gone, because man does it hurt, I really really love her. She was very spunky and quirky, always so happy and in your face with all her love. She was an automatic vacuum whenever food fell to the ground (safe food that is) and I’ll miss her weird taste for cucumbers. I’ll miss her annoying barking every time someone’s at the door or walks by the house, it’s so painful now when the doorbell rings and it’s just silence, I can’t help but break down into tears each time. We adapted our lifestyle to accommodate her, like closing doors to bathrooms so that she can’t get into the trash, and now… That’s not necessary anymore. I walk into the house and there’s no cute little white fur all to say hello to and greet me first thing when I open the door. My couch cuddle buddy is no longer hear to warm up my feet or my side, or be used as a pillow. She can be “special” at times but she was always so cute. I’ll miss all the wet puddles she makes on the floor from her dunking her whole face into her water bowl to drink water, and I’ll miss hearing the jingle of her name tag in her collar as she shakes her body and moves about, and I’ll miss tripping over her cause she’s always precariously walking right behind me. I’ll miss hearing the loud crunch of her chewing of her food and I’ll miss her hearing her let out a big sigh when she’s sleeping and dreaming. I’ll miss her big goofy smile with her tongue hanging out the side of her mouth, her enthusiastic tail wag when I compliment her and give her treats. She was a pretty fast learning at tricks too, my favorite is shaking her hand, her cute little paw. She loves being petted and would push her head under your hand so that you’d pet her. She’ll lay her sweet head on your lap and soak in all your love. She was a big trooper for all the silly Halloween costumes I would get for her, and she was spiked by all the raincoats and sweaters and scarves that I got for her as well.
She was a very sweet and loving doggie, and even when she misbehaves and we get mad at her, we can’t stay mad for long because how can you stay mad at such a cute loving pup. She loved us all unconditionally, and she was so loyal and truly is my furry best friend. She would follow me everywhere, even to the bathroom and would lay right by the shower everyday while I shower. She would comfort me at good times and bad and she was always there whenever I needed a hug. She touched everyone’s heart, not just mine, and I know she will be greatly missed by all. I’m terribly devastated and sad, the heartache is way more painful than I expected. I suppose that’s good because that just shows how much she was truly loved. We love her so much. She’s in a better place now, so for that we are happy. If anyone would like to share their pictures with Luna, feel free to add it to our album HERE (click on “edit”, then “add to album”).
You don’t ever really think about this day when wanting and deciding to get a pet, even though we all knew that we will face this day one day, but now that this day has come, the heartache and pain from this loss makes me want to never have a dog again. That being said, I don’t regret my decision of having a pet, because Luna enriched my life more than I knew. She taught me how to care for another living being, to have responsibility and selflessness. She was always there for me and comforted me and kept me company whenever I needed her. She loved us and gave us the gift of countless fond memories. She was mine since 2 months old. I’m blessed to have her in my life for as long as we could, and I will cherish the memories. Everyone should all give their furry friends a giant hug and kiss every moment they get, because you never know if that moment will be the last. I miss you so much Luna. One day we will all be together again, until then, my angels will take good care of you. I love you Luna, so so much.
Rest in peace my precious Luna
September 20, 2007 – January 9, 2016
Happy 7 months old my precious Leo! Leo weighs in at 16.15 pounds (11 percentile) and stretches about 26.5 inches long (20 percentile)! Leo is still wearing size 2 diapers but will soon move on up to size 3 probably in a couple weeks, and he has also been upgraded to the size 3 nipple flow! Leo is babbling a lot more these days too, he likes to say “aba baba aaaaaa ummm” haha. He’s very social and likes interacting with us and if you walk away and he’s not done playing with you yet, he’ll say “AHHHH!!” and pout and tell you don’t go and to come back!” How can you leave that cute little face? He also has 2 cute little baby teeth growing on the bottom and he’s starting to drool more due to teething. He’s also sucking on his thumb a lot too because of it, and he makes it look so tasty! Leo still love the floor gym and he recently started playing in the jumper as well. He seems to like it and doesn’t mind staying in it for a long period of time, which is great for his neck strength and seeing the world in an upright position. We plan to start Leo on solids now so stay tune for that update!
Leo’s old teacher from Sunny Days got a new job opportunity somewhere else, so we are sad to see her go, but we got a new teacher Megan! Leo is doing really well with his therapy but will also be getting some extra help with a physical therapist to help with some gross motor skills soon. Leo is really good at rolling over without getting stuck, and he can roll back onto his side too. It looks like he wants to start crawling soon too cause he’ll kick his feet and reach for toys in front of him, it’s really cute! Leo is getting pretty solid at sitting up and can last for a few mins now before tipping over! He is also holding onto his toys a little longer too and shakes his toys a little bit! It’s very amazing to watch him grow and progress. I’m always amazed by him and by my Lily pad, they never stop surprising me!
Merry Christmas! Leo got to celebrate his first Christmas and he was spoiled with lots of love and gifts! It wasn’t Lily’s first Christmas but I do feel like she enjoyed this Christmas the most, which makes sense since she knows a lot more now and what to expect. One of Lily’s favorite presents this year was the power wheel that I got her, you can see her driving it in the video below like a pro! She’s such a fast learner, I’m so proud of her skills! Leo didn’t know how to open presents yet but he love watching all the festivities and was adored by everyone! I can’t help but get emotional that we got to celebrate the holidays with Leo this year because just a year ago, we were told that this would be impossible. I’m so grateful for my amazing Leo and I feel so blessed and lucky to be able to celebrate all these big and small occasions with my prince Leo (and my princess Lily). You can see more pictures from our Christmas festivities HERE!
Happy New Year 2016!
Happy 6 Month my petite prince Leo! Leo weighs 14lbs 8 ounces, stretches 26 inches long, and has a 16 inch head circumference. He is now 5 percentile in weight but about 60% in height! What a tall boy!! He totally just stretched out this last month! Leo also was a champ when he took an oral immunization and 3 shots to his thighs. He only cried for a few seconds and then stopped quickly after. He didn’t get a fever and was very chill, mellow and happy for the rest of the day, and slept a lot. Leo’s neck is getting stronger and more stable each day, and he’s able to sit unsupported for a few seconds too, maybe a minute long at most before he starts to tip over haha. He likes to roll over a lot now, back to belly, and doesn’t get stuck anymore, and he likes to kick his feet a lot like he’s trying to crawl!! Leo has also been off his medication for a few weeks now, and maybe threw up a couple time since. Leo has an appointment next week to meet with a urologist and he will then have an ultrasound to check out the progress of his southern areas, and if there still isn’t much progress, he will most likely have to do surgery. I don’t know anything really about the details of the surgery, but I know he will get through it like a champ.
His teacher from Sunny Days feels like he’s still a little bit “behind” in terms of his gross motor skills, so she recommended a physical therapist who would be more specialized and help Leo with certain things that he needs help with. His neck strength is improving but not fast enough, so that’s mostly what he needs to work on. Overall though, I feel like due to his diagnosis, we are just more aware and have the advantage of having all these resources and aids for Leo, so this allows us to give him the best care and attention he can possibly have. Many without this diagnosis could be behind in certain develop and be perfectly “normal”, every child develops at their own rate, it’s not a contest, so I don’t view these “delays” that Leo has as any fault of Leos or make him in any way “behind” in development. Leo is simply developing at his own pace, and we are providing him with all the resources we can to give him the best possible chance of success. =)
Leo likes to coo a lot and he observes my mouth a lot and it looks like he tries to copy my mouth and repeat the sounds I make. His focus is very good and he loves to smile and laugh too. He is such a happy mellow baby, we are super blessed to have two mellow easy going kids! Leo sleeps on average 12-14 hours through the night, eats 4 times a day 155cc each time, and usually puts himself to sleep when he’s tired too. He loves music and is a social butterfly. So if you quietly approach him and let him take you in, you’ll give you a sweet warm smile! He is so amazing and I still count my lucky stars at how incredible he is. I’m so proud of you my little prince Leo, happy 6 months son, keep reaching for the stars!
Check out this cute video of Leo!
Lily is also now 3.5 years old!! Lily is constantly growing in her vocabulary and her growth and maturity in her cognitive skills and mannerisms always surpris and impress me. She definitely says the darndest things but she’s also super sweet and thoughtful at the same time. I cut my finger once and she told me a few days later while I was chopping and cooking dinner again, for me to be careful because she didn’t want my to cut my finger again. She’s so sweet! She is also very clever and sometimes too smart for her own good haha. She’s constantly paying attention whether it looks like it or not, but she’s always alert. The other day Khoa asked me if I wanted to go to the mall after we had lunch, and I said it depends on if Lily is sleepy and falls asleep on the ride home, and I looked behind me to check if Lily was sleeping and she lit up all wide eyed and said “Mommy I’m awake, I want to go shopping!” haha. She is also still an amazing big sister to Leo and constantly wants to be around him and smother him with kisses. She is very good at eating new foods and is eating everything we eat now. It’s so convenient to not have to make her separate food that is “safe” knowing she’ll eat it, but instead, I don’t have to take that extra time to make her special food because now she will eat whatever we are eating! It’s awesome!
Lily is super spunky and fun and always soooo happy. She loves to sing and dance and do arts and crafts. Starting in January, she will be continuing her soccer classes in her after school program, but she will also be starting Spanish! She already picked up the word “adios” so I figured, lets expose her to Spanish and see how she does! I hope she enjoys it! She’s still doing some signing and I try to refresh her memory on some old signs in hopes that she would retain it and eventually communicate with Leo once he starts to pick up signing as well! That’ll be exciting to see them communicate with each other soon! Lily is also a very big little helper around the house. She likes to dust and clean and whatever I’m doing, she wants to do too. Lily is very into the girly things like wearing dresses, headbands and jewelry, but she also loves “boy toys” like cars and dinosaurs and light sabers! We introduced her to Star Wars this past weekend and watched episode IV and V and she loves it and is also a huge fan of Yoda! haha! She currently is a huge candiholic yet loves carrots and apples and cuties as well..so I guess it balances out? Overall she’s still such a very good kid and although she’ll have her moments, she’s still very good and well behaved and I feel so lucky everyday to have such an amazing little girl. It’s never a dull moment with my precious Lily pad. Her smile just lights up my heart, I love you Lily!!!!
I will never forget my angels and no matter how much time passes by, the pain does not hurt any less. I am able to function and go about my days okay, but on specials like this, I can’t help but feel sad and feel the pain like it was just yesterday. However, I am very grateful for days like this, October 15, because it’s not a day to grieve, but a day to honor my angels, and all the other angels that left us too soon. This day is for them, because they are special, they are loved, and they will always be remembered.
Now that Lily is older, it’s harder to go about these things without trying to explain to her the purpose of our actions. When she saw the candles, she immediately asked if it’s her birthday. Not wanted to distort reality for her, I said no and that the candles are for mommy’s angels. She didn’t understand and just kept asking if it’s for her birthday. So I just ended up saying that we can sing happy birthday to her if she wants and she can blow out the candles, but the candles are still for our angels. She still didn’t understand who these angels were, but one day she will. Until then, she participated and I let her hold my hand while I lit the candles. Once they were lit, she asked if we can sing Happy Birthday, so we did. Unexpectedly though, during the song, I got overcome with emotion, and couldn’t sing the song without breaking down in tears. My angels never even got to celebrate a birthday, let alone a birth day. I was immediately filled with sadness and the pain flooded my heart like a broken dam. Lily saw me cry and tried to distract me by asking for candy, asking to eat a snack, asking to go somewhere else and do something so that I’m not just sitting there in my sadness. She is very intuitive, but sometimes, I just need those moments to just let it out, grieve, and then breathe again.
Earlier this year and end of last year, for a good while, I thought I’d have to light 3 candles this year for PILR day. I’m so grateful and overjoyed that it’s not the case, and that my precious Leo is truly a dream come true. Just like Lily, he is very special, but my experience with my pregnancy with him, and my journey to get here, makes me feel like he is proof that life is beautiful, and truly amazing. We learn to rise up from our sufferings, and become stronger, and better people. Life is too short, make the most of it and live. I choose to not let my hardships swallow me and pull me into the darkness. Although at times, the darkness does seem safe and comfortable, but it’s not living, it’s just being. I choose to be alive, and shine in the light, and make my angels proud of their mommy, and be the best person I can be for all my children. I dedicate my life to them, but also, to myself. I deserve to be happy, to be loved, and I will do so by loving my loved ones, and being kind and generous every chance I get. This world is not a vicious, cruel and evil place, it’s just filled with many obstacles, and we just need to fight through them and stay in the light.
I am truly grateful, and appreciative, for all the love and support I’ve received on this day. Just a simple act of lighting a candle, for the Wave of Light, can mean so much to a person in grief. This topic of loss is so taboo, and I wish it wasn’t so hush hush all the time. It makes the grieving process that much more painful, to feel so alone and lost. I’m happy that there’s a day like today to bring awareness to such a tragic life experience, but we are stronger together, than a part. It feels nice to belong and to be a part of a community. It’s sad that the commonality is such a heartbreaking event, but it brings comfort to me knowing that all our angels are in heaven, playing with one another. I can’t wait to meet them one day. I miss them terribly, but I will continue to strive, for them. I love you my angels.