Not that many people read my blog, but I’ve been re-evaluating the purpose of my blog, and why I’m writing for public consumption. IN a way, I’d like to connect with people with similar experiences. However, that doesn’t always seem to happen as I’m not able to commit to writing regularly enough. IN the last year, I have gone from blogging once every couple weeks, to months, to almost none as I have so much other things to tend to at the moment.

Anyway, while I mull over whether or not to keep blogging publicly (or at all), I’ll just say that the last few months up until Christmas have been extremely trying for us as a tiny, migrant family. Bry’s had to work overtime to look after both Benj and me while working. While I…pretty much could not do anything else but devote what little energy I had to keeping my job and showering love to Benj. Things are better now, much, much better.

We are now at the stage where we’re thinking of baby names, amassing more baby clothes, and enjoying my energy and mobility before it goes downhill again in a couple months!

Bebe numero dos, mommy and daddy (and your big brother) are looking forward to seeing you soon.

:-)

From looking at my “Archives” spanning from 2011-2013,you will realize that I have devoted many posts to sleep training my little one. Some more victorious than others. Because I’ve shared quite openly on Facebook as well as here about how we’ve been training Benji I’ve had many friends with younger kids than me write, text, Facebook, me to seek advice on the matter. After nearly 2 years, I can’t say I’m an expert, but I have definitely grown accustomed to trying anything – even if it entails a screaming kid going for 2 hours + – to get my kid to sleep. 

Because we’ve traveled extensively this year, both Bry and I have had to re-train our kid to sleep following each trip. We primarily use the Cry It Out method each time and I would say our success rate has probably been about 80% overall. Things were bobbing along fine until the 2 year old sleep regression hit us a couple weeks ago…

No amount of Cry It Out worked. 

We think the main problem is that Benji has learned how to reason and negotiate with us. He has also learned to keep himself up for extended periods of time, rattling the cot ferociously and slamming his head and body aimlessly around in there. He will also tell us what he wants “NO SLEEP!!!! NO CRIB!!!!” “MOMMY!!! DADDY!!!” As I’m still quite sick with limited energy, we caved in quickly and sought the easiest way out, bringing him in bed with us. The straw that broke the camel’s back came when I developed a bad stiff neck from him pushing and shoving me when in our bed. My Physiotherapist insisted that Benji must not sleep with me in bed, and that I needed lots of rest, gentle exercise and massage to get over it. 

So Bry started sleeping with Benji in HIS room, on the floor. Which worked for a week, and when I got better, we decided to do something. Seeing that Cry It Out was not an option, I switched strategy and went in when Benji started wailing, speaking to him in a firm tone “Benji needs to sleep in Benji bed! Mommy is just next door.” And then proceeded to try to cajole him to lie down in his crib to sleep. I reassured him several times that we were just next door, and even said a goodnight prayer with him again, reminding him that Jesus was watching him. Surprisingly, it worked. I left the door slightly cracked so he could see the light from the hallway, and hear me in the other room. 

Both Bry and I got to sleep together in our bed – just the two of us – for the next few days, throughout the night. After 3-4 days of bliss, Benji started acting up again…and a couple nights we bought him in, but on other nights, we would try to coax him back to sleep. We think that night terrors are also causing the wakings as I’ve heard him scream “No! Mine!!” or “No, sleep”…or just grizzle when he’s in bed with us. 

I think the key is to be persistent and keep trying to re-train him. Sure, some nights we take him in to bed with us, but we always tell ourselves to try again the next night. He’s now fast asleep in his crib…I’m not sure how long it will last and whether or not Bry and I can muster the energy to try coaxing him back to sleep at 2am but we will try!

Let’s hope this sleep regression is temporary…

The little sister got married last month in Singapore. Already naturally photogenic, she looked even more like an absolute princess in her wedding dress. The wedding was beautiful and simple, and the day went perfectly! I shed so many tears, it was a bit embarrassing!

My favorite quote from the marriage sermon was from Proverbs 4:23 “above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” Such a perfect reminder for all of us in the audience, too!

Benji was the Paige Boy and looked waaay too cute (in my very biased opinion of course).

Congrats, little Eu n Song, and God bless your marriage!!

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It’s been about 10 months since I posted anything on here. As usual, I ask myself: where did the time go? After our big around the world tour in 2012, we thought 2013 would be more relaxing and vowed to do less traveling. On the contrary, we did even more than before. I’ll probably have a bit more time later to write more about all those experiences.

I think it’s time now to do a quick Benji update: He’s turning two at the end of the month! Even though I’ve been quite ill the last month and a half with little energy and mood to spend much time with him, and he’s become more attached to me than ever (“carry me, mommy!!!” is his favorite/most used phrase at the moment), there is probably a moment every other day when I stop to bask in his cuteness and development, and wonder “How can it get better than this???” 

Can it? 

It gets overwhelming when I think about how much love I have for him. My favorite moment is watching him as he’s fast asleep, enjoying that cherubic face, remembering the laughter and fun we’ve had during the day, and dreaming of what his future will be like. Then I get all teary…thinking about how quickly he’s growing up and changing, and that these moments we have with him are indeed so precious and temporary. My prayer for him is that he will grow up to know our love for him, God’s love for him, and grow up to be a useful person in this world; be a light of the world and salt of the earth kinda person.

23.5 months…boy, that went by quickly!!!!! 

 

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Beautiful spices for the pho broth

Ever since fentastic mum’s blog post about cooking pho from scratch (thank you!!!), I have been dreaming about making some myself. Her recipe was chicken pho, but because Bry’s favorite type of pho is with beef stock, I looked for a different recipe and found one from Luke Nguyen who is an Australian celebrity chef. I figured: celebrity chef, of Vietnamese heritage and host of a cooking show dedicated to Vietnamese food…his pho recipe must be at least better than average.

And boy was it even better than better than average! And it’s really not difficult to make, at all!

Even Benji, who is quite a fussy eater, and who was trying out pho for the first time, LOVED IT and kept asking for more! There’s definitely going to be more pho in our household in the weeks to come.

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The meal

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Benji literally licking the bowl that had pho

Now that Benji is sleeping through the night again (Praise the Lord!!), I have more time and energy to do stuff for me!! The blog was left quite unattended for a few months, and now it’s time to do a quick round-up of what we’ve been up to the last few months. I’ve decided to write more down whenever possible, to keep the memories alive and eventually publish a journal for Benj for his 18th or 21st birthday.

November

We celebrated Benji’s first birthday! The Koreans do a big celebration for their kids’ 1st birthdays, a tradition called Dol. Typically, the kid and parents wear the traditional Korean outfit, a Hanbok. Other rituals include prayers, giving of Korean cakes to friends and relatives, song and dance, as well as a fortune telling ritual of predicting a child’s future career by getting him/her to pick an object from a few placed in their reach. But because Benji is only half-Korean (technically, half Korean-American), and his dad (the Korean) does not really care for traditions, we only incorporated the hanbok and fortune telling ritual for fun. :) We laid out a pair of sunglasses, a spatula, a stethoscope, a pen, and a book.

You must be dying to know what he picked: a pair of sunglasses! Which was meant to be a symbol for superstar. The next Psy, perhaps? The weather was quite warm that day, but we still had a great time celebrating it with a lovely barbecue at a nearby park.

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Oh, I also made my first cake. The cake recipe was taken from here (allergy-free recipe) (I’ve also made cupcakes from it for my coworkers, who have since demanded I share the recipe with them and made them a few times for their family/friends!!). And the actual cake idea was taken from this website. Overall, the exercise was a bit stressful since it was my first attempt at a cake, but thankfully everything went okay and the cake turned out yummy and almost like how it was supposed to look!

Two days later, Benji started walking on his own…and since then, it’s been mayhem!!

December

We were extremely busy with Christmas and hanging out at various parks with friends. We even made it to the beach once!

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January

Singapore!! Benji’s dad had to attend a conference in the States, and because peak season travel tickets to the US was ridiculously exorbitant, I decided to go to Singapore instead so the fam and friends could hang out with Benji (and me). It was a fantastic trip. I had a bit more freedom this trip than last because I’m no longer breastfeeding and my kind parents were more than happy to babysit him in the day and night while I went off shopping and meeting friends for coffees/late dinners. (Thank you, mom n dad!!!)

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After we returned from overseas, Benji, Bry, and I went for a short overnight trip to the Mornington Peninsula. We also went to the aquarium with some friends!

We’re really having fun with Benji these days, especially at the parks and playgrounds (and the beach!).20130131-134612.jpg

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This has been our best Melbourne summer yet.

Has it really been almost a month since my last post? Obviously, we’ve been really busy around here. Earlier this month, I singlehandedly took Benji on a nearly 8 hour plane ride to Singapore (and back). It was actually less scary than I thought it would be, although it was still very exhausting. Thankfully, he slept a little on our flight over and for the most of the journey back (thank you, Phenergan!). The 10 days we spent there were (as always) amazing! I wish we could spend more time with the folks, and in Singapore!

Anyway, this post is really to update you about Benji’s sleep. We have had a history of terrible sleeps with Benji, especially nighttime ones. If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you would know that we attended sleep school (which he flunked), Ferbered him numerous times, ignored, and read extensively on how to get our little man to sleep through the night. Each successful training period would very quickly be undone by sickness, and the most recent one, affected by his 12 month vaccinations done back in the end of November, all the holiday activities and travels, and a change in his daytime sleep patterns (2naps->1nap).

In the two weeks since we returned from Singapore, Benji went from waking up twice a night, to waking up nearly every hour. Very familiar – we last experienced that back sometime in August, where it got to the point where he was waking up once every sleep cycle (40 mins). This time, Bry tried Ferbering him (which got him to vomit), patting him, and camping out, but to no avail. We were exhausted and frustrated.

Finally, we decided to show tough love once again, and this time went with the Extinction method, starting three nights ago out of sheer frustration, at 4am. I remembered this moment vividly, as Bry kept getting cold feet, wanting to go in, only to be held back by my exhausted, half mumbles “just let him cry a bit more.” This “bit” turned dragged on until about 40 minutes later, when Benji stopped crying and put himself to sleep. It was a miracle.

The next night, he cried for about 15 minutes before sleeping, ON HIS OWN. He still woke up about 3 times in the night and whinged slightly, but each time, was able to put himself back to sleep within 10-15 minutes. Tonight, he cried for about 5 minutes before sleeping, once again, ON HIS OWN. How will he go for the rest of tonight? I’m not sure, but I have a strong feeling it won’t be as bad as it was pre-sleep training. Perhaps the previous sleep trainings helped him grasp the concept of self-soothe more easily. Or, maybe he’s more ready now than he was before. Whatever it is, we are thrilled and grateful that he’s sleeping better.

Now, fingers crossed he doesn’t get sick too soon after, so Bry and I can enjoy a few nights of good rest to catch up!

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