Posts Tagged ‘baby’

This post is long long overdue, but I thought I’d try to squeeze it in while it’s still 2016. So I said awhile back that I’d post when #3 was born? Well, he’s here! Ezra Timothy Chen arrived on October 24, 2016, four days before his due date. He came out fast and furious, sporting a full head of hair, much like his two older brothers. I’ve been a mother of 3 for all of two months now and so far the transition has been okay. We were only able to survive the first few weeks because of so many dear ones who were there to help. Big shout outs to all the people who brought us food, watched our kids, did school pick ups and drop offs for CC and Turner, and got us enough diapers to last the rest of this year and beyond. Big big shout out especially to my awesome mother-in-law, who stocked our freezer with meals, entertained the boys with science projects and Chinese lessons, and made sure I didn’t have to cook, wash dishes, or do laundry for two and half weeks. If I was too sleep deprived to tell you all a proper thank you at the time, please forgive me. Every act of kindness to us, big or small, was much appreciated and our family of five couldn’t have navigated through these last two months without them. So I’d like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I had hoped to get my act together in time to send you all a nice family photo card, you know, the kind you start getting from people right before Christmas. Every year, when I start receiving those cards in the mail, I tell myself, next year we’ll take a nice family photo and send one back. But every year without fail I forget and before you know it, the year has ended. I was really hoping to get some photo cards printed in time for this year, but we have yet to take a family photo of all 5 of us that I feel is nice enough to print copies of. But then again, who says family photo cards can only be sent out in the month of December? I might still try to get some photo cards out, so don’t be surprised if you receive one from me sometime in March that says, “Happy New Year from the Chens!” (I’m half serious, so if you’d like one, email me your address!)

In the meantime, you’ll have to settle for some pictures from my phone. Larry got me a new iphone for my birthday, so I finally got around to uploading all the pictures from my old phone to the laptop so I would have space on the new phone. The boys and I sat down and looked through all the pictures and videos from this past year and it was fun reliving all those memories. So in lieu of our family photo card for now, please enjoy some of the most recent pictures from my iphone photo dump.

Happy new year from the Chens!


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I know I said I would try to blog more this summer. Yeah…that didn’t quite happen and now it’s October?!? Just to give you all an update on how the prego and cripple are doing –the cripple is now not so cripple and the prego is very very prego. Larry’s ACL surgery in June went well and with regular physical therapy and the exercises he does at home, he’s pretty much back on his feet. It’ll be a while before he can be back on the ultimate field, but at least now he can manage to walk quickly after our two boys on their scooters. The one highlight from his whole recovery process was that he was able to get a temporary handicap parking permit. It was nice to be able to park in those nice big handicap spots and at any meter without having to pay for as long as we wanted. We got spoiled all summer driving to the library instead of having to limp and waddle there. But alas, the permit expired at the end of September, and now all I can do is look longingly at those handicap spots as we drive by looking for parking.

As I said, the prego is now very prego. I’m entering into my 37th week, which is when the baby is considered pretty much close to full term. Turner was born at 37 weeks, and if what they say about each kid coming out faster and sooner is true, d-day (or should I say b-day) can be any day now. We have diapers and clothes and dug out the bassinet and the car seat, so I think we’re ready. I’ve been trying to remember what labor is like. It’s funny, a mom asked me how I’ve prepared for this delivery compared to my previous two and I told her with CC, Larry and I took an 8 week Bradley class. Every Thursday we would gather in our teacher’s living room with 4 or 5 other couples and do relaxation exercises and I would visualize my beautiful natural birth. With Turner, I think I managed to dig out my Bradley method workbook and actually went over my notes. With this pregnancy, the extent of my preparation has been watching the entire season of Call the Midwife (haha just kidding, I think I already watched the whole season before I got pregnant).

So I thought I’d crank out this post before baby #3 decides to come, because you might not hear from me for awhile after he shows up. Truth be told, I’m starting to get pretty excited. Excited to not be walking around with a bowling ball in my tummy. Excited to eat all the carbs and sugar I want (With this pregnancy I technically did not have gestational diabetes, but “gluclose intolerance.” Not sure what the difference is, but I didn’t have to prick myself 4 times a day, which was fine by me). But most of all, excited to meet this new addition, whose arrival I believe will bring about a sense of completeness to our family, at least for me. Maybe I’ll try to blog at least one more time, just to let you all know when he comes. So stay tuned!

Here are some random pictures from our summer –


Driving down to So Cal right after Larry’s surgery. We took the middle seat out so he could stretch out his leg.


One of the reasons we went down was to be able to see my sister and my nieces and nephew!

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I’m ashamed that my last post was 5 months ago. I’ve been a lazy bum, haven’t I? But here I am again, dusting the cobwebs off my wordpress dashboard, ready to update you all on the reason for my radio silence the last 5 months. Some of you already know, but for those of you who only follow me here, I’ve been gestating the last 5 months. Yup, that’s right, incubating yet another little human being, our third one due to arrive at the end of October. So I’m blaming my laziness on those darn pregnancy hormones, which I also use as convenient excuses for my  grumpiness, crankiness, forgetfulness, overeating, and indulging in ice cream whenever I feel like it. Amazing how a little bump can absolve you from all kinds of guilt.

We found out pretty early on that we will be having another boy. Since I’m over 35, they offered me a brand new screening test that can detect the gender of the baby from a simple blood draw at as early as 11 weeks. Many people have been asking us if we’re disappointed or if we’re going to try for a girl next time. The answer is no and no. Not gonna lie, it would have been nice to have a girl, a little mini me instead of three little mini Larrys. But all truth be told, I think boys are way more fun, and I’m okay with not having to deal with braiding hair, tying pigtails, buying princess stuff and the like. I guess I better get used to being outvoted 4 to 1 in this house.

Other than the arrival of the third and LAST Chen boy, there isn’t much else to share with you all. Life around here has been busy, but relatively uneventful. We plan to have a quiet summer at home. I had hoped to do some traveling this summer before the baby comes, but Larry had to go and tear his ACL and is in surgery getting it repaired right now as we speak (or should I say, as I write?). It could take up to 6 months for him to recover and be fully back on his feet, so we wanted to make sure he got it done as early as possible so he can be ready to be up at nights with the baby come October when it’s my turn to be bedridden. What a lovely couple we’ll make – the prego and the cripple – sounds like the title of a bad feature film.

I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. Back in March, Larry let me go to Boston for a week with the college students on their spring break trip while he stayed home with the kids. It was great and so much fun, despite the fact that I was in the very early stages of my pregnancy at the time. I had forgotten what it’s like to travel without little kids in tow. Amazing how much you can do in a day when you don’t have to stop for naps or deal with tantrums.

So this summer I’ll have to content myself with nesting at home. Hopefully I’ll get around to blogging some more. Feel free to come and visit us if you’re in the neighborhood. You’ll probably find us both on the couch with a bowl of ice cream.

Happy summer!






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This was one of my earliest blog posts soon after I had CC. I was reminded of it this morning when I was in the shower because it’s still true…except now it happens the minute Turner’s eyes close and CC gets picked up for school. I know if I can make it into the shower in the morning, it’ll be a good day. 🙂



Now that Christopher’s  nap schedule is getting more consistent, I can finally start showering every day again. He will usually wake up around 6:30 or 7:00, stay up for a couple of hours and take his first morning nap at around 9:00 and sleep anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. The minute his eyes close, I run to the bathroom and start running the hot water. As I step into the bathtub and feel the hot streams of water massaging my head and back, I’m magically transported to a place where there are no crying babies and no dirty diapers to change…a place where there is just me and the soothing sound of water.

When I’m in the shower, I feel like I’m finally alone with my thoughts. All kinds of thoughts run through my mind while I lather and rinse. Some days I use my time in the shower to make mental to-do lists, shopping lists and plan menus for the day/week ahead. Some days I find myself pondering and mulling over deep questions like, “What does it really mean for us to reign in life?” or “How do we practically live Christ?”  On other days, I’m lost in daydreaming. On a rare occasion the shower is my Holy of Holies as the bathroom resonates with the sounds of praying, praising and singing.

After what feels like an eternity, I start to feel my skin getting pruney and so I reluctantly reach to turn off the faucet. As I step out of the warm steamy sauna and towel off, I feel like I can conquer the world. I am ready. Ready to tackle the pile of dirty dishes in the sink left from the night before. Ready to fold the mounds of laundry. Ready to be a mom. It’s amazing what 15 minutes of hot water can do.

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Larry and I are still kind of in shock that there’s a baby in the house. Our second son, Samuel Turner Chen, surprised us by coming almost a month early. We were definitely not ready for him to make an appearance so early; in fact, he was born a day before we had planned to drive down to So Cal for a friend’s wedding. Thankfully he came a day earlier or else he might have been born somewhere in Kettleman City among the cows. Needless to say, we never made it to the wedding.

The original plan had been for Larry to go down to the wedding by himself, leaving Friday night and coming back on Sunday, while I stayed home. But as the weekend drew closer, I proposed to Larry that we both go, since I was feeling fine and didn’t see any problem with taking a short road trip. I had a regular appointment with my OB that Thursday, so we decided to run it by her to see what she thought. When I asked her about taking the trip, she said it would be fine. Then after she checked me, she said the baby was low and that I was already 1-2 cm dilated, which basically meant that I could deliver anytime. “It could be tomorrow or it could be 4 weeks from now, there’s just no way to know,” she said. She still gave me the okay to go, but advised me to take along my pregnancy records and make sure I map out all the hospitals along the way. I came home and talked to Larry about it. We vacillated between going and not going for awhile and then finally decided to play it safe and stay home for the weekend. That turned out to be a very good decision.

The next day, Friday, while I was out in the morning with CC, I thought I started feeling contractions. But I kept thinking they were just false contractions or that I was just being paranoid because the doctor had said I could deliver anytime. After we came home and I put CC down for his nap, the contractions started to get a little stronger. It hit me that this could actually be it – so I started frantically packing my hospital bag and texted Larry to come home. My labor with CC had been super fast and they say the second one is usually faster, so I didn’t want to take any chances. Larry came home and we started timing the contractions but they weren’t that regular and after lying down for awhile, they actually started to subside for a bit. I began to think maybe it was just a false alarm and reminded myself that my due date was still a whole month away. We had already made plans to go to Costco that afternoon with two of the students to shop for a 4th of July BBQ. Since my contractions had lessened, I didn’t think there was any need to change plans.

Larry had downloaded a handy app for me to time my contractions, so I had it open on my ipod the whole time we were in Costco. Somewhere in the meat section, I realized that they were starting to become more regular, 3-4 minutes apart. And they were getting STRONGER and it took more effort for me to walk and push the cart. As we made our way to the check out line, I told Larry we needed to get home ASAP because I really didn’t want to be in active labor in Costco. We rounded up the two students, who thankfully were already done shopping and told them on the way to the car that I was probably in labor. We asked one of them if she could stay with Christopher that night and she very graciously agreed to do it even though it was so last minute.

Oh, and did I mention that we were supposed to have a home meeting at our place that night too? I texted some people on the way home and arranged to have everyone go to another small group. We got home, I called the doctor, and she told me to get to the hospital right away. Larry and I ran around putting away food and gathering our things and just as we’re about to go out the door, CC threw up in the kitchen. If I hadn’t been in labor, I think I would have started laughing. Thankfully, he didn’t get it on his clothes too much so we didn’t have to change him. Larry brought CC down to our neighbor while I mopped up the puke on the floor and then we headed to the hospital.

We checked into triage at around 6pm and the nurse told me I was 5 cm dilated. We waited there for almost 45 minutes before another nurse came to take me to the delivery room. On the way there I told her about how my first child had come really fast, so she said she would check me again when we got into the room. She checked and I was already 7 cm dilated. They went looking for the doctor and tried to get things ready. By this point, the contractions were coming hard and soon after my water broke. Unlike my labor with CC which happened mostly at home, this time I screamed my head off. Fortunately, this part only lasted for about 20 minutes. The doctor came, I started pushing, and our little bundle of joy was born on Friday, June 29th, at 7:57pm. The whole thing happened so fast that the nurses had me filling out the paperwork after I had already delivered. I found it rather comical that I was signing a consent form for a vaginal delivery even though the baby was out already. It was all so unreal and it wasn’t until I held our little 5 lb 10 oz son in my arms that it hit me…whether we were ready for it or not, we were parents again.



Samuel Turner Chen

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Last night after dinner, as I sat on the couch folding laundry looking at my husband doing the taxes at the dining table, I had a sudden realization of how blessed I truly am. It might not be most people’s picture of a perfect Sunday evening, but for me, I could not have been more content. Just to be at home, doing our ordinary mundane chores together, with our little boy sleeping happily in his room…nothing could have been more perfect.

Earlier that day we had taken CC for an hour and a half long stroll, with a short pit stop at La Farine bakery for a slice of hazelnut truffle tart. Neither of us had planned to be out that long, but we lost track of time because it was one of those days when we could afford to lose track of time. We simply enjoyed each other’s company while walking down College Avenue and took turns answering our inquisitive little boy, as he pointed at things and asked “What’s that?” every five seconds. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon.

We came home from our walk all happily exhausted. CC got dinner, a bath, and went straight to bed. Larry and I had boxed macaroni and cheese and hash browns for dinner and then went about our chores, preparing ourselves for yet another busy week ahead. I was in bed by 10pm.

Sometimes when the daily grind gets overwhelming, I feel like the answer is to get away from it all. I convince myself that in order to recharge, I “need” to get away to some faraway remote spa for a weekend. My realization while folding laundry last night reminded me that many times it’s the little things that help recharge us. It’s the long walks, the simple dinners, the clean laundry, the taxes finally finished. Maybe the answer isn’t to “get away from it all,” but to be right in the middle of it all…with the ones you love.

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I had to go in to the dentist office today to get a procedure done, and while I normally HATE going to the dentist, it was kind of nice to get a break from watching Christopher and finally get to lie back and put my feet up. I don’t know what it is about those dentist chairs, but they are quite comfy, and if it wasn’t for the bright light shining in my face and someone prying my mouth open, I think I could actually fall asleep in those chairs. Anyways, while the dentist was working in my mouth, I got to thinking about how glad I was for modern medical technology. I’m a pretty big wimp when it comes to pain; I think whoever invented anesthesia should have been awarded a Nobel prize. Going to the dentist now is by no means as horrible as I remember it being when I was a kid. They really make sure you don’t feel ANYTHING, not even the anesthesia shot. The only discomfort is that sometimes you end up drooling over yourself because your mouth is open for so long.

With that said, and now with my face half numb, I started to wonder how in the world I was able to survive childbirth with no epidural. Larry and I had taken a 10 week Bradley birth class and our teacher had somehow convinced us that epidurals were the evilest of evils. I don’t think I believed everything she said, but for some reason I had the thought, “Yes, I want to do this.” Some women feel like they need to run a marathon…or climb a mountain; I felt like I needed to have this baby naturally and not have anything dull the pain of it.

I would probably have changed my mind had I endured most of my labor at the hospital rather than at home. Fortunately for me, I guess, I didn’t even have the chance to cave in and change my mind. By the time we got to the hospital, an epidural was not even an option. All they could offer me was an oxygen mask to help me breathe. Luckily for me, Christopher wasted no time in coming out. Within an hour, he was wailing away in my arms.

Larry likes to remind me that the first thing I said after Christopher was born was, “That wasn’t as bad as I thought.” As it says in John 16:21, “A woman, when she gives birth, has sorrow because her hour has come; but when she brings forth the little child, she no longer remembers the affliction because of the joy that a man has been born into the world.” So while it must have been excruciatingly painful, I honestly have no recollection of it. The joy of bringing forth a child, in the end, is the best painkiller of all.

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