Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas !

Merry Christmas everyone. I came across this song that really spoke to me and I wanted to share it with you. It's playing and you can follow along with the lyrics below.

"Cry In My Heart"

There's a cry in my heart
For Your glory to fall
For Your presence to fill up my senses
There's a yearning again
A thirst for discipline
A hunger for things that are deeper

Could You take me beyond?
Could You carry me through?
If I open my heart?
Could I go there with You?
(For I've been here before
But I know there's still more
Oh, Lord, I need to know You)

For what do I have
If I don't have You, Jesus?
What in this life
Could mean any more?
You are my rock
You are my glory
You are the lifter
Of my head
Lifter of this head

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New photos

I just posted some new photos on the blog.

Thank you, Kathy & Hannah!

Our single but very busy ladies from church volunteered to babysit our girls while Tim and I spent a Saturday morning browsing through Ikea. Kathy and Hannah are familiar faces from church so the girls were thoroughly entertained. Thank you for sacrificing your Saturday morning to watch the girls ! They even put all the toys away before they left. Aha! You thought I didn't notice !

We don't have a photo of Hannah but we are equally appreciative of you !

Monday, December 22, 2008

Joy Luck Club

Tim and I enjoyed a leisurely Sunday afternoon at the David Henry Hwang Theater (in Little Tokyo) watching a play, The Joy Luck Club. I've seen the movie a few times and I walked into the theater with great anticipation. The cast was made up of an Asian-American theater group-East West Players. Their talent really exceeded my expectations. Their performance was impressive. During the intermission, we also visited an art exhibit in the gallery located in the same building. The theme of weeds ran throughout the artwork which didn't impress me as much as the play. We both walked out of the theater telling each other that we should do this more often. Here are a couple of pictures from the day.



Sunday, December 21, 2008

Apple Picking

We visited an apple orchard recently. The braeburns were delish! Faith was busy picking the apples and Erin was busy eating them !










Saturday, November 29, 2008

An Evening of "Joy, Peace and Realizing the Beauty of Trials"

I'm a little bit behind with my posts so bear with me. So, going back a few weeks....I attended a women's tea/fellowship at Grace Community Church. If you remember many months ago, a pastor at Grace helped us through the muddy challenges of the mourning process. He has been keeping us in his prayers and invited me to attend this women's gathering. The speaker for the event was Toya Tyler...she is mom to Kiara, the little girl who occupied a room next to Elyse in the BMT Unit. If you remember back in June, Kiara also went to be with the Lord. Despite how much she must miss her little one, Toya remains strong in her faith in our God. She is not only unwavering in her faith in the Lord but she is so grateful for so many opportunities for her to share the gospel. She's not shy about sharing how God lovingly carried her family through their trials.

When I arrived there, there were many ladies greeting all the attendees. There were unique mugs to fit every personality for tea. There were mini macaroons that were calling out to me. I probably had far too many of these but oh well...when do I get the opportunity to chat with some ladies and munch on goodies all evening. So, I got up and got another plateful, sat down and chatted away with the ladies at my table. We introduced ourselves and quickly discovered that one of the young ladies (I happen to sit at the single ladies' table)is a nurse at CHLA's BMT. She told me that she started working there right around the time Elyse was admitted. She also said that she had been praying for our family all this time since Elyse passed. I was moved to tears. I really am so thankful for all the love that surrounds our family. It truly warms our inside to know that there are people who not only remember us but pray for us.

We sang "As The Deer" and "You are My Hiding Place." It was the first time in a long time I heard these songs. When Toya took the mic, she really was exuding joy and peace that can only come from her faith in the Lord. She explained that "True joy is the experience of well-being, not because of circumstances, but because of the deep down confidence that God is in charge of everything and that it is all moving for my good and His glory." (Grace to You - "Fundamental Christian Attitudes:JOY," John MacArthur). And "Spiritual peace, the true deep-down peace is the confidence that everything is right between myself and God. It is the presence of a calm assurance built on the knowledge that my sins are forgiven, God is concerned with my well-being and Heaven is ahead. It is the peace that God gives to His beloved children." (Grace to You - "Peace in Every Circumstance," John MacArthur)
She quoted a verse from the Bible: "My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives I give unto you, neither let your heart be troubled nor let it be afraid." (John 14:27). Regarding trials, she said, "God uses them to prove the genuineness of your faith and increase your joy and spiritual endurance." (Grace Today Devotional, John MacArthur). She also gave us this verse: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance." (James 1:2-3).

Toya held my hand and took the time to encourage me. She is a great source of encouragement and strength. I suppose we connect on a level that only BMT parents who lost their little ones can. Thank you, Toya, for your inspiration.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Visit to Rose Hills





We finally made it Rose Hills on the 8th. Faith and Erin spent the morning with grandparents while Tim and I had a rare day out alone. The air in the car as we drove to Rose Hills was of quiet anticipation. Very few words were spoken but we both knew exactly what we were feeling as we were nearing the place where her physical body was laid to rest. Random memories constantly circled my mind as I tried to keep my composure in the car. As much as I know that this is just a temporary separation, I was overwhelmed with the numbing reality that I cannot hold her, feed her, or care for her in any way as I do for Faith and Erin. This was the first time we returned here since her funeral/burial services so we had a bit of a tough time finding the grave site. We didn't want to waste any more time trekking up and down the hill so we asked a guide for the exact location. When we finally found the site, we both stared down at the headstone and read what was on it. "Little one, we will see you again in heaven." We cried a little, put the flowers in water and sat in silence for a while. Tim, always wanting to comfort and encourage, gave us both some words of hope for now and for the future. We had lunch, just the two of us, and went to pick up our girls. We were happy to see Faith and Erin in such good spirits...enjoying their time with grandparents. That day I wondered how and when we'll tell Faith and Erin about Elyse. I suppose God will grant us wisdom when it's time.

Friday, November 7, 2008

God of Comfort and Strength

After reading our latest entry, our dear friend Song emailed a few verses to us that encouraged me today. I hope you are also encouraged and strengthened by the Word of God today.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9)



Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)



Psalm 46:1-2
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. (Psalm 46:1-2)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

1 YEAR - REMEMBERING ELYSE

We thought that everyone would be curious as to how we spent the past year and how we plan to remember Elyse on the anniversary date of her Home-Going. Honestly, we don't remember the details of the past year, but it felt like it was a tug-of-war trying to deal with everything for the first 6 months. We were pulling on an incredibly heavy rope to overcome doubt, emotions and the emptiness of "living-without" one of our little girls. What we know with certainty is that we have come this far by our Faith in Jesus and with the support of close friends pulling with us from behind. On October 6th, our dear friends Tom and Laura invited a few people to their house for a cozy dinner to remember Elyse. No one mentioned Elyse or the reason for the dinner, but we all the reason behind Tom and Laura invitation. Thank you Tom and Laura.

I would like to share a few emails we received in remembrance of Elyse's home-going.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Susan, Tim,

We wish we could share even a bit of your hearts as we remember today as Elyse's memorial day. We haven't forgotten nor have we words to express our deep desire to be of some comfort to you. We'll be around through our time here, and we'll be around when we all get to go home. We love you.

Tom & Laura

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hi Susan,

I was just reading over Elyse's story once again and realized that October 6th will mark one year since she went to be with Jesus. I imagine that this is a bittersweet time for you and Tim. The first anniversary of Chloe's death was painful for us, as we were flooded with memories of the suffering she endured. Yet the sweet memories were there as well, as I'm sure they are with you, too. May the Lord wrap His arms around you in an extra-intimate way during these days as you continue to move through your loss. In some ways I don't think we will ever get to the "other side" of this experience of losing a child--at least, not until we're in heaven, in the presence of the Lord. May He strengthen you and uphold you.

Tammy (Gonzalez)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Tim and Susan,
My thoughts are with you and your family today and everyday. I will never forget your precious baby Elyse. She will forever be in my heart...

God Bless you all.

Love your friend,
Debby
*(Message written on a card from Debby Bradley)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you for your kind and heart-felt words. Your words have truly given us strength throughout the year. Please don't fault us if we lean on you all for a few more.

Susan and I will be remembering Elyse by visiting her at Rose Hills this Saturday. It will be the first time we will be returning since the funeral. In Korea the saying is that if your parents die, you bury them underground, if your spouse dies, you also bury him/her underground but when your child dies, you bury the child in your heart. There is some truth in this saying since Elyse is remembered in our hearts everyday and for this reason we have not found a particular need to go to Rose Hills. The other reason why we have not visited Rose Hills is that seeing her grave is a stark reminder that she is no longer here with us, whereas remembering her in our hearts allows us to keep hoping for the day will see her again in heaven. Please pray for our visit this Saturday, that the resurfaced memories will not hinder us. We have a lot of growing to do. Though we know that she is in heaven with the Lord, we are nervous about this Saturday. With your help, we will move forward.

Thank you all for keeping up with our post each month. It strengthens us to know that we are sharing our lives with friends that care. We will be posting new pictures of Faith and Erin soon.

- The Yu Family

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Good night's sleep + Caffeine = More Energy

Last night was the first night in a long while that I got a good night's rest. For the past few weeks, both Faith and Erin were waking up crying at odd hours...2am...4am...5am...Sometimes both would wake..some days, they would take turns...some days, one of the girls would wake because of the other one crying. I've been so exhausted not being able to get a good night's rest. I've never been a coffee drinker. Occasionally, I'd drink a frappuccino from Starbucks or coffee with friends if others are drinking. Every morning I'd wake up terribly groggy from all the nighttime wakings so I decided to give myself a caffeine boost to get through the day. Coffee makes my heart beat double time so I tried to curb my intake to a moderate dose. So today, I woke up feeling very rested and had a cup of coffee with my breakfast. With the caffeine surge, I was ready to conquer the day. We badly needed to reclaim our living area as just that....a living area...not a play area for the kids. Until today, almost every toy was in the living room. I moved some of the toys upstairs. I'll have to eventually move most of the toys upstairs. Tim and I also took pictures of baby gear that we'll put on craigslist to sell. It's amazing how quickly they grow and develop into little people. All of our baby gear is like new so if you know of someone who is shopping for used bouncers, crib, boppies, mobiles, walkers, bumbo, bassinet, etc.....let us know ! We'll let you know when we post our craigslist ad. We just need to organize the photos, set prices and post the ad.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Mother's Day Spa Day in October???

I've just returned from Glen Ivy Day Spa and I wish I was there again already. Back in May, for Mother's Day, Tim surprised me with a spa gift certificate. It just sat on my desk for the last 5 months. I guess I was trying to carve out a few hours to go and I just didn't make enough of an effort to do so. Well, I finally went and it was a very nice way to spend a Saturday morning. I even strolled through the mall (by myself, in peace, without having to chase after the girls), took a deep breath, and just enjoyed myself. I don't take advantage of these mini-getaways as much as I should. Everytime I go to the spa, I feel like I just don't do enough to take care of my skin...not that the aesthetician made me feel this way...but I really should spend a few extra minutes taking care of my skin every day. Do I dare say....at the age of 36, signs of aging are showing more than I'd like. I can't stop time but I can certainly do my best to age gracefully and healthfully, inside and out.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ruth Graham

Sorry, I haven't posted in a while. Raising our two tots becomes all-consuming sometimes. But, I'm happy to report that I've been consistent with working out. I definitely feel stronger and lighter on my feet. I generally have more stamina. I've become more prudent about what I eat. Going to the gym gives me alone-time that I desperately need. All in all, I'm really seeing the benefits of exercise.

After church this past Sunday, our pastor opened up his home to church members for a fellowship gathering. It was a very relaxing time for all of us. Faith and Erin had a great time playing in the backyard. They were thoroughly exhausted when it was time for them to sleep. After they went to sleep, I was drawn to listening to some music, particularly Fernando Ortega...he's a classically-trained pianist who is a christian singer. Our dear friend Debi, dedicated "Jesus, King of Angels" to our family at Faith and Erin's birthday party. I need to buy the CD. But, in the mean time, I went searching on youtube to hear the song. You can listen to the song here. I just continued down the list of Fernando Ortega videos. I came to "Give me Jesus" [Ruth Graham Tribute]. It's a very meditative song. Lately, I've been preferring quiet meditative songs with minimal instrumental accompaniment. Click here to hear the song. The video is a tribute to Ruth Graham, wife and confidante to Billy Graham. After many years of illnesses, she passed last year. I heard recently that Billy Graham was hospitalized but I had not idea that his wife had already left his side. Well, after watching the video, I wanted to read more about her life. I came across this website dedicated to her. It plays beautiful hymns that we all know as you view her photos through the years. She was born in China to medical missionaries. She went to a boarding school in modern-day North Korea. She met her challenges with such awesome courage leaning on strength from the Lord. You can read more about her life on the website as you listen to the wonderful hymns. As a wife and mother, I am inspired and challenged by Ruth Graham's example. I hope you are too. And as I think about Elyse, I wonder if they're acquainted with each other in heaven.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

One year approaching

As the one-year mark of when Elyse returned home to our Father is fast approaching, I find myself flooded with memories of Elyse everyday. Some days I am swept out into the ocean where the rough waters seem to engulf me and after wrestling with the waves I find myself somehow back to shore. I remind myself that she is no longer suffering and in the arms of God who can love her like no other. This assurance is very comforting.

A few months ago, I mustered up the courage to pick up Elyse's belongings..from the hospital, that is...There was a children's CD that was given to us from Renee and Jeremy, a music duo who came to the BMT Unit every Thursday to share their music with patients. I remember their first visit...As I held Elyse in my arms, we listened to "Miracle." Elyse wasn't feeling well that day. Listening to the song, I was praying for a miracle, that her recovery would be quick and she would beat all odds. Today, I took out the CD and played it. The first track was "Miracle." As I was watching Faith and Erin playing and laughing, I was fighting back tears. I will always miss her. I'm glad that I have these songs to remind me of her. Please Click Here if you want to listen to some of Renee and Jeremy's songs. My favorites are "Free," "We are One," "Sleep My Love," and "Shoorahlaywho." I hope you enjoy the songs.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Still going strong

It's been a few weeks since I decided to commit to a workout regimen. I'm happy to write that I've stuck with it for the past few weeks since my last post. Because my time at the gym is really limited now, I am really enjoying my time there. When I had all the time in the world, I wasn't particularly enthused about being at the gym sweating it out. My drive to the gym is literally 5 minutes and that means 5 minutes of listening to music that I enjoy and NOT the Wiggles or any other children's CD. The drive back is equally enjoyable...though short-lived. Well, besides the drive to and from the gym, group classes are really energizing. I found a great class using free weights to tone and strengthen muscle. It is fun and intense. If these classes don't get me in shape, I don't know what will. Those of you reading this...if you have a membership to a gym and haven't been going....you really should go, you'll feel so much better ! Let's get moving !

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Getting back in shape

I am currently on a mission to get back in shape. We were having lunch at a restaurant a few weeks ago and a very nice lady asked me if Faith and Erin were twins. I smiled and answered, "yes." And then she asked me if I was expecting another one. I smiled and answered, "no." I think she was muttering something under her breath to make me feel better. I wasn't horribly offended. She had reason to ask. I had completely finished my plate of food (not even a trace of sauce anywhere on the plate), had appetizers and had a taste of Tim's lunch. I was also wearing an empire-waist top that accentuated my tummy. It was actually something I wore often during pregnancy. The fact that I'm still wearing maternity clothes says a lot, I think. I have to get in shape. If I don't do it now, I think I'll become complacent and just be ok with it. I can see it now...my closet full of empire-waist tops and dresses in every style and color. I refuse to allow this glimpse into the future to come to pass.

My skin (and probably my muscles underneath) was stretched so far during my pregnancy that it's taking some time for "things" to return to normal. I think it's wishful thinking that my body will ever be the same again. Nevertheless, I have to do what I can, right? As for the wrinkly skin on my belly....well, I doubt exercise will help but like I said...I'll have to do the best I can and see what kind of results I get. So, according to my husband, as I build muscle with exercise and lose fat with a controlled diet, I will definitely see results. Yesterday I was on the elliptical machine for about 10 minutes and I was huffin' and puffin'. I focused on my upper body with weights. Today I stepped it up and went up to 12 WHOLE MINUTES on the stairmaster. I gave myself a pat on the back and moved on to lower body training. If anyone can offer any advice on getting back in shape after a multiples pregnancy, please do. I am all ears....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Food Chart

I received this very informative food chart from a fellow triplet mom. Sometimes I get in a rut when I think about what to feed the girls. This chart is actually helping me think of new foods to serve them (with their nutritional benefits in mind!).

FOOD CHART

Apples
Protects your heart
prevents constipation
Blocks diarrhea
Improves lung capacity
Cushions joints

Apricots
Combats cancer
Controls blood pressure
Saves your eyesight
Shields against Alzheimer's
Slows aging process

Artichokes
Aids digestion
Lowers cholesterol
Protects your heart
Stabilizes blood sugar
Guards against liver disease

Avocados
Battles diabetes
Lowers cholesterol
Helps stops strokes
Controls blood pressure
Smoothes skin

Bananas
Protects your heart
Quiets a cough
Strengthens bones
Controls blood pressure
Blocks diarrhea

Beans
Prevents constipation
Helps hemorrhoids
Lowers cholesterol
Combats cancer
Stabilizes blood sugar

Beets
Controls blood pressure
Combats cancer
Strengthens bones
Protects your heart
Aids weight loss

Blueberries
Combats cancer
Protects your heart
Stabilizes blood sugar
Boosts memory
Prevents constipation

Broccoli
Strengthens bones
Saves eyesight
Combats cancer
Protects your heart
Controls blood pressure

Cabbage
Combats cancer
Prevents constipation
Promotes weight loss
Protects your heart
Helps hemorrhoids

Cantaloupe
Saves eyesight
Controls blood pressure
Lowers cholesterol
Combats cancer
Supports immune system

Carrots
Saves eyesight
Protects your heart
Prevents constipation
Combats cancer
Promotes weight loss

Cauliflower
Protects against Prostate Cancer
Combats Breast Cancer
Strengthens bones
Banishes bruises
Guards against heart disease

Cherries
Protects your heart
Combats Cancer
Ends insomnia
Slows aging process
Shields against Alzheimer's

Chestnuts
Promotes weight loss
Protects your heart
Lowers cholesterol
Combats Cancer
Controls blood pressure

Chili peppers
Aids digestion
Soothes sore throat
Clears sinuses
Combats Cancer
Boosts immune system

Figs
Promotes weight loss
Helps stops strokes
Lowers cholesterol
Combats Cancer
Controls blood pressure

Fish
Protects your heart
Boosts memory
Protects your heart
Combats Cancer
Supports immune system

Flax
Aids digestion
Battles diabetes
Protects your heart
Improves mental health
Boosts immune system

Garlic
Lowers cholesterol
Controls blood pressure
Combats cancer
kills bacteria
Fights fungus

Grapefruit
Protects against heart attacks
Promotes Weight loss
Helps stops strokes
Combats Prostate Cancer
Lowers cholesterol

Grapes
saves eyesight
Conquers kidney stones
Combats cancer
Enhances blood flow
Protects your heart

Green tea
Combats cancer
Protects your heart
Helps stops strokes
Promotes Weight loss
Kills bacteria

Honey
Heals wounds
Aids digestion
Guards against ulcers
Increases energy
Fights allergies

Lemons
Combats cancer
Protects your heart
Controls blood pressure
Smoothes skin
Stops scurvy

Limes
Combats cancer
Protects your heart
Controls blood pressure
Smoothes skin
Stops scurvy

Mangoes
Combats cancer
Boosts memory
Regulates thyroid
aids digestion
Shields against Alzheimer's

Mushrooms
Controls blood pressure
Lowers cholesterol
Kills bacteria
Combats cancer
Strengthens bones

Oats
Lowers cholesterol
Combats cancer
Battles diabetes
prevents constipation
Smoothes skin

Olive oil
Protects your heart
Promotes Weight loss
Combats cancer
Battles diabetes
Smoothes skin

Onions
Reduce risk of heart attack
Combats cancer
Kills bacteria
Lowers cholesterol
Fights fungus

Oranges
Supports immune systems
Combats cancer
Protects your heart
Straightens respiration



Peaches
prevents constipation
Combats cancer
Helps stops strokes
aids digestion
Helps hemorrhoids

Peanuts
Protects against heart disease
Promotes Weight loss
Combats Prostate Cancer
Lowers cholesterol
Aggravates
Diverticulitis

Pineapple
Strengthens bones
Relieves colds
Aids digestion
Dissolves warts
Blocks diarrhea

Prunes
Slows aging process
prevents constipation
boosts memory
Lowers cholesterol
Protects against heart disease

Rice
Protects your heart
Battles diabetes
Conquers kidney stones
Combats cancer
Helps stops strokes

Strawberries
Combats cancer
Protects your heart
boosts memory
Calms stress



Sweet potatoes
Saves your eyesight
Lifts mood
Combats cancer
Strengthens bones



Tomatoes
Protects prostate
Combats cancer
Lowers cholesterol
Protects your heart



Walnuts
Lowers cholesterol
Combats cancer
boosts memory

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

18-month doctor's visit

Just in case you're wondering...Faith's follow-up labs came back normal. A few days after Faith's fever finally broke, Faith and Erin were due for their 18-month exams/shots. So, the doctor assured us that Faith's liver enzymes and WBCs are back to normal as they should be. The girls seemed to tolerate the exams better and the shots....well, no one likes to be stuck with a needle. Their height and weight are in the lower percentile but Faith and Erin are very healthy nonetheless. I suppose genes play a part in their growth rate. And quite possibly...the fact that they're multiples could also play a role in their rate of development. Well, as long as they're happy and healthy kids, I really shouldn't be too concerned about their growth.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One trying week

Last week was a bit of a trying week. Monday...Faith spiked a fever with no other symptoms. Tuesday...took her in to see the doctor. Doctor's orders were to continue giving Tylenol to bring her fever down. He mentioned that it could possibly be Roseola, a very common childhood viral infection. But this couldn't be confirmed unless her fever subsides after 3 days and then a rash appears. Wednesday...fever wouldn't break so Tim gave Faith a bath to cool her temp. When we took her out of the tub, her lips and fingertips were blue and she was shivering. We called her doctor and the nurse told us to take her to urgent care right away. After looking her over and listening to us, the doc. said that her temp. cooled down too quickly and that next time we should use a wet towel to cool her body. Her color came back and we were relieved but her fever was still a mystery. The urgent care doc. suggested giving her Motrin and Tylenol to combat her fever. By Thursday, we were hoping that her fever would break but it didn't. Her ped. wasn't available so we saw another doc. who examined her very thoroughly. Diagnosis: a viral infection - an exanthem of some sort. By Thursday night, Tim and I had been up multiple times every night since Monday. I'd say we were pretty exhausted. As much as we hoped that Faith wouldn't be seriously ill, we were haunted by the memories of the first week Elyse got sick. Friday morning...we thought that her fever finally broke until she spiked another fever in the morning and a rash appeared mainly on her trunk, arms, neck and face. When I called the doc., he wanted to see her again. This time, he wanted to do a blood test. This whole pattern since Monday was all too familiar to me and my heart just sunk when he ordered a CBC and a hepatic panel (checking liver enzymes). As many of you already know, at the onset of HLH...common symptoms are enlarged liver and spleen and high fever. The doc. told me that the results will be available stat. He called me with the results: white blood cells a bit low and one of the liver enzymes was a bit high but platelets, red cells were all normal. After consulting an Infectious Disease specialist, the doc. called me back. He said that those lab results are typical of a common viral infection. We discussed what Elyse's initial lab results looked like for the sake of comparison. He reminded me that Elyse's liver enzymes were out of control. Listening to the doc. quelled my worries about Faith. We were to take Faith into urgent care on Saturday if she continued to have fever. At 11pm, she spiked yet another fever. We quickly gave her Motrin and Tylenol. I was sitting in front of my computer doing some research on fevers, rashes, viruses, etc. and I decided to chart Faith's symptoms since Monday. As much as we wouldn't want to see Faith admitted, I knew that we were possibly headed that direction if her fever continued through the next day. So I wanted to be ready and organized to speak with the doctors. Well, she slept through the night and her fever FINALLY broke ! We couldn't be more relieved, to say the least. Our ped. called on Saturday to follow up. We were glad to give him a positive update on Faith. He wanted to repeat the blood test to ensure that liver enzyme and WBC returns to normal. So we took her in on Monday. The phlebomotist was excellent and found a good vein rather quickly...(this always makes it somewhat bearable to see your child poked with a needle). Results are pending. The doc. should be calling us with the results tomorrow. Faith looks great and is back to her old self...playing peek-a-boo, laughing and sharing toys with Erin.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Disciplining your kids

I wanted to share this article with moms and dads:

click here for the article

Friday, June 27, 2008

Our favorite kid-friendly places to eat

When we dine out as a family, the best place to eat is the most kid-friendly place to eat. Souplantation is one of our favorites. Ever since another triplet mom made the recommendation, we've been taking our girls there at least twice a month. It's healthy, doesn't break our budget and free for the girls. Needless to say, the variety at a buffet really makes it easy even for the finicky eater. So we grab mac&cheese, foccacia bread, some type of soup with lots of vegis, chicken noodle soup, and fruit for the girls. Their hands are wiped clean and they don a catch-all bib for their feasting. I have to say...I'm seeing less and less food end up in their bibs so they're getting better at feeding themselves.

Yesterday we discovered how kid-friendly Claim Jumpers is. They offer complimentary kid plates of cheese, apple sauce (which tasted more like pie filling than apple sauce), orange slices, and a roll of turkey lunch meat. Granted, it's not a gourmet meal for the kids but it's free. It gives them something to munch on while we wait for our food. They also provide table toppers for the kids. The only thing missing was a disposable bib.

If anyone out there in our cyber comunity can recommend other kid-friendly restaurants, please share with us ! Hope you all have a good July the 4th !

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Faith and Erin cooling off in the pool

We're hoping for this heat wave to let up soon but in the mean time Faith and Erin are cooling off in an inflatable pool these days. It's a good alternative to our community pool for now. I've added some pictures. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tim signing in for Father's Day

Hello everyone, it's Tim again. I've been visiting Elyse's site to read Susan's blog every week, but I thought that I would chime in once again with my thoughts for father's day.

Faith and Erin are now walking, dancing and saying "Abba" (Korean for Daddy). It cracks me up to see these little human beings walking around and touching everything within reach. Faith is the more experienced walker so she wobbles less as she walks around, while Erin takes multiple mini-quick steps while striking a superman pose with her arms. Just imagine how Speedy Gonzales would have walked as a baby and you'll have a fair idea of what Erin looks like when she's walking. Oh, and they sway and nod their heads to any beat or music that they hear. Of course they say Um-Ma (Korean for Mom) and lots of other words and do many adorable things, but personally I like hearing "Abba" the best.

Why is it so great? I guess it's because I can see that they understand that I am their dad. I'm sure moms could relate also. Faith and Erin put so much of themselves into it as they point, stretch out their hands and grin from ear to ear as they call out to me. Then they wait for my response, which usually mirrors their excitement topped with a goofy expression. It may not seem like a significant exchange, but let me tell you, we speak volumes to each other.

Then I started to wonder if God, our heavenly Father feels the same as I do when He hears his children calling out "Abba" to Him. Maybe He doesn't need to hear a lot of words and drawn out prayers. Saying "Abba" can speak volumes if it is combined with the love and excitement we have in our hearts towards Him.

Happy father's day.

We are thinking of you Gary and Toya.

-tim

Friday, June 13, 2008

Family in mourning

While Elyse was in the BMT Unit, one of her neighbors was a smart and vivacious 5-year-old girl who was discharged after almost a 3-month stay in the Unit shortly after Elyse was admitted. I remember the day when her parents were so happy to take her home. When Elyse's condition was deteriorating, her mom and I talked with tears in our eyes. It's been almost a year since her bone marrow transplant and we just received word from her parents that she went to be with the Lord 2 days ago after being readmitted for a common cold she was fighting. Her parents are bold and amazing people who even shared the gospel with the hospital staff. I know that their faith in God will carry them through this difficult season but they also need our prayers. Please remember Gary and Toya in your prayers. We will be attending their daughter's memorial service at Grace Community Church next week to offer our support to the family.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Socalhistiowalk 2008

Some of you may remember....we attended the Socalhistiowalk last year. It's a HAA (Histiocytosis Association of America) fundraising event. Just to fill you in....for those of you who are not aware...HLH is considered an "orphan" disease because it strikes too few people to generate government funding for research into its cause, treatment, hopefully a cure and ultimately prevention. So, fundraising is done independently. If you're interested in finding out more about the HAA, here is their website: www.histio.org
For a list of all fundraising campaigns, please click "Special Events."
For this year's event, I was asked to write about Elyse's story for their brochure and submit a photo of her as well. Going through the chronology of events and searching for a photo of Elyse still and, I suppose, always will gnaw at my aching heart on some level. I will always miss her but I am also very proud of our Elyse for the way she moved and inspired so many people.

Last year's event took place just 2 weeks after Elyse's passing so we were, at first, hesitant about attending. At the time, we were in a state of shock, struggling with acceptance and just so grief-stricken that we thought it would be pointless to attend. After some nudging from another HLH family, we decided to attend. It was comforting to be surrounded by people we can relate with. We were also humbled and moved by brave and dedicated parents who continue to fight this horrible disease in so many ways.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

First week without our nanny

Faith and Erin have turned 16 months old now and this is the first week that we are without our nanny. She was with us since the girls were 1 month old so we will miss her dearly. She loved the girls like her own. While she cared for our little ones as a mother would, she also kept our house very clean and organized. I expressed my gratitude to her for all the love she poured out to Elyse, Faith and Erin. It was quite an emotional goodbye for both of us. She became quite attached to the girls, I would imagine. Mentioning Elyse again opened the floodgates of memories. During my stay at the hospital after giving birth, one of the nurses mentioned that it seemed like Elyse was my favorite and that I'm allowed to have favorites. Of course I never did have favorites. I still don't. They are all very special in their own way. Even during their sleeps, they all did something different. Elyse always smiled in her sleep as an infant. Faith would get startled easily in her sleep. Erin grunted and stretched a lot. I'm looking forward to reuniting with Elyse when I get to heaven someday but for now Faith and Erin depend on me for everything. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed this week without an extra pair of hands. I'm sure I'll get used to working efficiently on my own once I give myself some time to adapt to yet another chapter in our lives.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

another round of colds

Some of you may know Faith and Erin were hit with another round of colds - sneezing, coughing, wheezing, fever...the whole nine yards. Probably the worst cold to date for both. This meant sleepless nights for mom and dad. As much as I wash my hands and theirs, use hand sanitizers and such, I can't seem to prevent those icky viruses from invading our household. Of course, keeping germs away completely is almost impossible. So what do I do? I'll have to just come to terms with the fact that getting sick is just part of growing up for the little ones. I suppose this is how they build their immune system. I read in the American Academy of Pediatrics' Caring For Your Baby And Young Child that babies will typically get sick with a common cold 8-10 times before turning 2.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Our Friend Kayti

A few entries back, I wrote about our dear friend Kayti who was preparing to undergo surgery to remove a tumor from her spine. Well, I've been receiving regular updates on her progress and she is doing well. She'll continue her physical therapy at home after she's discharged tomorrow. Kayti is a fighter so I'm sure her endurance will carry her through this difficult time of recovery. But most of all, the Lord will be her strength and hope to push ahead. Please remember Kayti in your prayers. Thank you everyone.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

As much as I try to block out certain memories of Elyse sometimes just to keep my sanity, there will always be one reminder after another. Mother's Day is one of those reminders because Elyse was in the hospital right around this time one year ago. She was only a tiny 3-month-old baby diagnosed with a rare blood disorder. Her prognosis was uncertain. We didn't know if she would live or die. I lost my voice from a cold and was exhausted. Mother's Day was the last thing on my mind but Shannon, my sister-in-law, was thoughtful enough to bring me a Mother's Day gift to the hospital. Looking back, I was so grateful for the blessing to be mom to Elyse, Faith and Erin. After all, I yearned to become a mom for years. Thank you, Shannon.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Remembering Elyse once more

I took the girls to the soft play area at the mall today before lunch hoping to work up their appetite. The girls have been a bit finicky lately....more on that later. So the girls were playing and this little girl walks up to Faith and is just so affectionate. It's really just heartwarming to see kids so innocently trying to communicate with each other - reaching out to hug and touch their faces. She seemed to be close in age to our girls. The mom came over and we started to talk. She asked me if I was Elyse's mom. She read about Elyse in the Koream Journal and forwarded our story to everyone she knew. I was humbled by her kindness and compassion. Sharing how I am doing lately was kind of therapeutic. I felt a sense of release. Perhaps this is what I need to do more often. Thank you Anne !

Monday, May 5, 2008

A trip to the park

The morning hours almost always go by pretty quickly but the late afternoon hours sometimes can drag on. So I took the girls to the park today around 4pm. We were there yesterday too. The park is walking distance but it's on top of a hill so we drove. Faith was busy walking and exploring the playground. Erin did not let go of my hand and wanted to be walked everywhere. Faith prefers the slide. Erin loves the swing. They truly are so different.

Faith is quite the social butterfly. She waves "hi" to most people she sees but especially to other kids. We met a mom with two boys- one was 8 months old and his brother was 2 1/2. Faith waved to the boys and the mom took notice. The mom asked me a familiar question, "Are they twins?". I just said "yes" but I told her that they're fraternal. She had a very easy-going sensibility about her so I felt comfortable telling her about Elyse. I told her that they're actually triplets and I lost Elyse at 8 months old. I went on to tell her a little bit about Elyse's journey...our journey. Talking about Elyse even with a complete stranger made my heart sink. A sort of dull ache I always feel inside intensified with every spoken word about Elyse. She mentioned that I seem to be handling the situation very well. I told her that I have my moments....some days are harder to get through than others. I'm not sure if I could have kept my voice steady and not choke up if I had this conversation even a few months ago. So I think I am doing better today than 7 months ago. Everyday I continue to live but always with Elyse on my mind. I miss her.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What's for dinner tonight ?

Well, I decided to tackle dinner last night. Guess what ? No broken glass this time. :) I remembered not to put a lid on top of steaming-hot-just-cooked food. Oh, I didn't have a lid to put on anyways. The whole family enjoyed chicken marsala and mashed potatoes and I even had the leftovers for lunch today.

A dear friend in need of prayer

Throughout our journey while Elyse was with us, we met and heard from so many compassionate supporters. Kayti Chung heard about Elyse's story through Facebook and immediately organized a bone marrow drive in Philadelphia and registered 147 people. She even came to visit us here in California. We were so happy that Elyse, Faith and Erin got a chance to meet Kayti. It happened to be meal time when Kayti was here so she even fed them cereal. Well, Kayti is fighting her own battle right now. She has to undergo risky surgery to remove a tumor that's intertwined in the spinal cord in the C1/C2 area. It has no boundaries so the whole "thing" can't be taken out. Just to give you an idea of what she's going through right now...she lost feeling in her left arm...she has numbness in her left leg and tremors in her left hand. Her surgery is set for May 9th so please pray for God's protection and healing for Kayti.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The past two weeks

It's been a while since I've written a post. I actually turned on my computer several times these past few weeks with the intent to blog but ended up crawling into bed exhausted. Lately I've been feeling so spent at the end of the day....maybe because the girls are much more mobile now. The girls are almost 15 months now. Time flies ! Faith has been walking now for over a month now. Erin wants to be walked by us with just one hand (not two !). Feeding times have been challenging sometimes. I've noticed that Faith is a finicky eater. I try my best to vary their menu but I can't seem to keep up with Faith's choosiness. It's really a hit or miss on some days. Erin, on the other hand, doesn't know when to stop eating. As soon as she finishes her meal, if she spots a box of cheerios or rice puffs anywhere, she'll make it very clear that that's what she wants. It's fascinating to see how different they are.

A few weeks ago, Tim and I bumped into Maria, a nurse at the Day Hospital (at Children's), while we were out shopping at Target with the girls. For those of you not familiar with Children's...Day Hospital is where we took Elyse for chemotherapy. She almost called me Elizabeth...probably because she remembered Elyse. I thanked her for her compassion towards Elyse. Elyse was one of just a handful of babies on chemotherapy treatment at Children's so she received a lot of love and special attention from dedicated nurses. She mentioned that it's nice to see me outside the hospital. Urgh...the waves of emotion just has no end. The vivid memories of Elyse crowded my mind as I was driving out of my parking space. My heart ached longing to hold her once again. It was one of my more difficult days.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Shattering Day

 
As much as every minute with our little ones is so precious, I admit, I look forward to their nap times when I can carve out an hour or two to read, surf the net, or snooze. This past Wednesday was a bit of a hard day. For their morning nap, Faith woke up prematurely crying (I'm not sure why!!??...maybe teething). Her crying woke Erin. That was the end of that nap. For their afternoon nap, Erin wakes up prematurely... maybe 40 minutes into her nap. She woke up crying so this woke Faith. Once a sleep disturbance wakes them up they will not go to sleep again for a while. I had to keep them up until bedtime which is at 8pm. So since Tim came home early that day, we changed shifts and I went out for some grocery shopping while he spent some time with the girls. I had my heart set on making some chicken marsala for dinner. I went to Whole Foods to pick up some marsala wine, mushrooms and prosciutto. I always use Tyler Florence's recipe for chicken marsala...it's fast and delicious. Check out the recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_24021,00.html
You're still probably wondering what the story is behind the photo. Well, here it is. Earlier in the week, I bought some green beans at Trader Joe's so I was planning on serving that with the chicken. Chicken marsala was done when I was getting ready to drain the boiled green beans. The chicken was steaming hot and for whatever reason I decided to put a lid on it while I prepared the green beans. The lid, made of glass as you can see, shattered instantly. I thought these glass lids were tempered and heat-proof. Well, evidently, they're not...not completely. Tim and I were just staring down at the pan with the lid handle resting so comfortably right on top of the chicken and we were both thinking....there goes our dinner. At this point, I was starving. Tim heated some dino nuggets and we both chewed some while comtemplating what we should now have for dinner. We ordered some hot wings and Tim quickly put together some beef stir-fry with the green beans. Not bad...the chicken marsala would have been good too. Well, I'll have to make it on another day. Hope you all try the recipe.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Taking comfort and having hope in the Word of God

It's been about 5 months since Elyse passed and there are days when certain sights, sounds and smells can trigger a string of painful memories. Times like these make our stomachs twist and turn. Mourning the loss of our Elyse has its ups and downs. We have our good days and bad days. Throughout the process we have sought guidance and comfort from each other and from several books on grieving. After reading 'Safe in the Arms of God' by John MacArthur, I thought....hmmmm...wouldn't it be great to talk to someone who can offer biblical counseling in much the same way the book does. I contacted Grace Community Church where John MacArthur is a senior pastor. The staff pastor there connected us to a wonderful pastor who was willing to meet with us for a few sessions. Our first meeting yesterday was encouraging and gave us hope for the future. It was also painful to recount what happened to Elyse. We were reminded that despite the pain we carry we should still strive to be good stewards of God. Also, despite how difficult it may be, we should trust in God's sovereignty. He offered this verse...

"He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he." (Deut.32:4).

He also offered several verses of comfort,"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."(Philippians 4:6-9)

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:15-16)

The pastor also gave us a book entitled 'Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts' by Jerry Bridges. I just started reading the first few pages and I would recommend it to everyone who is experiencing adversity in their lives on any level.

We shed some tears but we left the meeting encouraged and strengthened by the Word of God. We are looking forward to meeting with the pastor again sometime in April.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A busy week

I hope you are staying healthy. Tim caught a nasty cold bug last week and is finally feeling better. By Wednesday, Erin was having the same symptoms. So while Faith spent the morning with our nanny, Tim, Erin and I went to urgent care. Turns out, Tim has an ear infection along with a cold. Erin's diagnosis: possible strepthroat. She was put on antibiotics. Wednesday evening, Faith has a runny nose and fever. Thursday, I'm back at the doctor's office with Faith. Her diagnosis: probably caught the same thing that dad has. On Saturday we noticed red dots on her body. I talked to an on-call nurse and was told to have her seen by a doctor at urgent care. So I was back at urgent care with Faith on Sunday afternoon. Faith's diagnosis: the same virus that made her sick caused the rash also. I am looking forward to things normalizing again.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

New Pictures Added

Faith and Erin are growing so fast. Hope you enjoy the new photos.

-Tim

Rearranging the nursery

 

I am really happy that the girls' bedtime has been moved up to 8pm. One night last week, Tim and I watched an entire movie (from beginning to end !) without interruption. That was quite a treat. If you haven't seen 'Pursuit of Happiness', I highly recommend it. It was heartbreaking to see what Will Smith's character had to go through but what a tremendous success story. It was inspiring.

When we had Elyse, she spent her nights in our room and Faith and Erin slept in the nursery with either my mom or mother-in-law. With Elyse no longer with us, Tim and I decided to handle Faith and Erin's nighttime wakings on our own. At 8-months-old, they were still waking up night after night. To avoid one disturbing the other, we started to have one sleep in our room and one in their nursery. This seemed to help a bit. When we started to sleep-train, we decided to finally have them sleep in their own room. Initially, I was worried that they would continue to wake each other but it's really not a problem anymore. Their nighttime wakings have decreased probably due to their regular wake/sleep times.

After Tim and I was done rearranging the nursery, we were overwhelmed with sadness remembering what the nursery originally looked like with three cribs. We have so many things in 3's as you can imagine - 3 mobiles, 3 cribs, 3 boppies, 3 bath robes, etc. I suppose some of the baby gear we don't use anymore we can either donate or sell them on craigslist. It's heartrending to think about parting with anything that Elyse used or touched. I hope that this subsides over time. After all, they're only material things with sentimental value because I give them that value. For now though, this is where I am.





Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Picking up the pace

I've been thinking about going to the gym for a while now. I finally went today and it feels great ! It's been about 2 years since I stepped inside a gym so it really felt good to do something good for my body. When I started fertility treatments, I didn't want to jeopardize a possible pregnancy so I was extremely careful with my body. When I found out I was pregnant (with triplets!) after four years of trying, I became even more cautious. By the second trimester, I was too heavy to exercise. After a 2-year hiatus, I decided to go easy on myself and start slow - 15 minutes on the elliptical machine to get my heart rate up, 30 minutes for my arms/upper body. I heard the cycling classes are really challenging but a lot of fun. I'll have to work my way up to those cycling classes to avoid passing out I'm sure.

Friday, February 22, 2008

12-month doctor's visit

We took Faith and Erin to their 12-month checkup this week. I must say the last two doctor's visits were especially difficult. We were able to take all three of our girls to their 3-month and 6-month visits. Their 9-month visit was without Elyse. This week's visit was again without Elyse. Sitting in the waiting room was excruciating. Memories of the last time we brought all three girls simply flooded my mind. Taking three babies out in public always attracts a lot of attention for obvious reasons. For their 6-month appointment, I remember walking into the waiting room with Faith and Erin in the double stroller and Elyse in the baby carrier(I wanted to keep her close since her immune system was suppressed)....people immediately turned their heads and smiled or took a quick glance and looked away. The next thing most people do is whisper to each other about how many babies there are. That day one woman even came up to me and asked, "Are they all yours?". I said, "Yes." She shared with me that she gave birth to twins but one didn't make it. I thanked her for her openness. It is still truly a struggle to come to terms with the fact that Elyse is physically not with us anymore. We miss her dearly. She was such a gentle soul.... As for Faith and Erin, we needed to reschedule their 1-year shots because of Erin's temperature. She had a slight fever from a cold she probably caught from Faith. It's definitely a challenge to keep them from catching colds from each other. As for their height and weight, they're on track...although they're certainly not big babies.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

1st Birthday

I finally had some time to post photos of their first birthday. It is hard to believe how quickly they turned one. Faith and Erin looked beautiful in their Han-Boke (traditional Korean dress)that Susan's mom got for them & the red outfits that Aunt Song made for them. We are so blessed to have so many friends and family members looking out for them. Though both of them may not remember any of this, they will have photos, a video and messages in a bottle to describe what their first birthday was like.

I wanted to remember Elyse during the birthday celebration and had my mind made up to mention how grateful we were to everyone there for supporting and lovng Elyse so much while she was with us. But, when time came to stand in front of everyone to thank them, just the thought of mentioning Elyse's name stirred up so much emotion and memories that I could not go through with it. Birthdays are happy occasions and tears would not have been appropriate. I was so thankful to our friend and pastor Chris Lee who did a wonderful job of expressing what Susan and I intended to do.

I hope you enjoy the new pictures.

-Tim

Monday, February 18, 2008

An A+ for Faith and Erin !

Faith and Erin have been doing better each time they soothe themselves to sleep. We're so proud of them. On Sunday, because of a get-together at my parents' house, we were running a bit late for their bedtime routine. As soon as we bathed them, we put them in their cribs. They were all smiles when they got into their cribs and even when we left the room. There was absolutely no protesting. We were just ecstatic to have complete silence in the house almost immediately after they were in their cribs. I wonder how they'll do tonight....

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Progress update on sleep-training

Babies really do adjust well to change just as I've been told by many moms out there. They are quick to let go of old habits. It has been almost a week since Faith and Erin got a crash course in sleep-training. The length of time it takes for them to go to sleep has definitely shrunk. I've been keeping them on a consistent schedule and routine. Between 6:45-7:00am Wake, milk; 8:00am breakfast; 9:30am-11:30am nap; 12:00 milk; 1:00 lunch; 3:00pm-4:30pm nap; 5:30pm milk; 6:30pm dinner; 8:30pm milk; 9:00pm sleep. I would definitely like to make some additional adjustments but this is their schedule for now. I'd like to have them go to bed at 8:30pm. Maybe I need to shrink their nap times.....or maybe I need to wake them up earlier, maybe at 6:30am....and put them to bed 15 minutes earlier each day...I don't think they're ready to take just one nap yet. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. For bedtimes, both Faith and Erin are now going to sleep on their own in about 10 minutes after some protesting, crying and rolling around in their cribs. When Tim and I leave them in their cribs for their nighttime sleep, they start crying immediately with their arms stretched out to us. This separation is probably more painful for me and Tim than for the girls. It breaks my heart to leave them crying and screaming. It feels like I'm subjecting them to cruel and unusual punishment. Just a couple of minutes after we leave the room, crying dies down and they each try to find a comfortable spot in the crib to lie down and soon fall asleep. I am just amazed. Naptimes have been more of a struggle for Erin. While Faith is falling asleep in about 10-15 minutes, it takes Erin about 20-30 minutes to fall asleep. I'm hoping that this will whittle down to 10 minutes to 7 minutes to just a few minutes (and without crying).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Letting go

Since Elyse passed, I've been placing all of her belongings on my desk next to the crib she slept in. She really didn't own too many things....how much can an 8-month-old leave behind, really. A few weeks after she passed, I took out a onesie she used to wear a lot from the drawer and added it to the pile of things on my desk. I bought this for her because she outgrew all her onesies. Taking steroids causes excessive weight-gain. The collage of Elyse's belongings slowly accummulating on my desk included a notebook we kept since she was admitted to CHLA, her CHLA ID card we showed to registration before getting her vitals taken at triage at every chemo appointment, her ID band from Northridge Hospital, BMT pictures, clothes we received as gifts that I'll never see her wear, a lullaby CD she started listening to at the hospital when she was first transferred to CHLA, a notebook I started for BMT and post-BMT recovery notes, condolence cards from her memorial service, etc. I thought that I can't just leave her things on my desk forever. I have to admit...seeing her things on my desk everyday made me feel like a part of her was still near me. After four months, I finally decided that I should put them away in a box for safekeeping. I purchased a colorfully-striped fabric-covered box for Elyse's belongings. A few weeks ago, I finally mustered up the courage to put away her things. It was one of the more painful tasks. It was definitely a process of letting go.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sleep-training

I can't believe Faith and Erin are already one. They are such bundles of joy ! (most of the time...).however, when they struggle to go to sleep for naps and bedtime, joy quickly turns into anguish for both me and the girls. You know what I'm talking about, moms. So a few weeks before their first birthday, I realized that they really needed to be trained to fall asleep on their own. We thought this past Saturday night was a good time to start because it was an exhausting day for them (per all the experts (moms!!) i've talked to). We braced ourselves for the worst - continuous crying for 1-2 hours, crying 'til they throw up, etc. Saturday night we gave them a bath and then their milk. They both fell asleep drinking their bottle. So that was easy. Sunday night - the same thing. Tim and I looked at each other and smiled. Monday morning, training was underway. At around 9:30am, Faith and Erin were in their cribs. I turned on their lullabies CD, kissed them goodbye, left the room and closed the door. They struggled for about 20 minutes and went to sleep. For their afternoon naps, the same thing. For bedtime, they were up for about 20 minutes and fell asleep. Today was a different story. It took them 40 minutes to fall asleep in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon. I'm curious about tonight. I'll have to push forward with their training and schedule even though their crying is sometimes hard to bear. Any advice on sleep-training would be greatly appreciated ! I ordered Dr. Ferber's book and anxiously checked my mailbox everyday only to receive a defective copy...it was missing the first 10 pages ! So I had to order a replacement copy. It's on its way. My advice to first-time moms out there - train your babies to sleep on their own early on ! It's a good thing.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Turning One

Sorry for the double blog entry, especially when they have two very different tones. Faith and Erin's first birthday is stirring a lot of emotions in us. We are so happy to be celebrating Faith and Erin's birthday, but the memories of Elyse simply makes us cry to know that she did not live long enough to see this day.

Memories of Elyse have been visiting me more often these days. Especially when I am driving alone or in the evening when the sounds and distractions of the world fade away. I guess Susan and I put our "game faces" on during the holidays to get through the craziness, but now the hustle and bustle is settling down and the reminder of what happened is slowly sinking in again. We are doing a lot better than 2 months ago, but the pain of our loss is still fresh as you may have read in Susan's blog entry.

I find myself wondering what Elyse would be doing now as I see Erin sitting up on her own and as I see Faith cautiously balancing herself and preparing for her first step. A part of me tells God that this is so unfair, but another part is comforted as I remember that Elyse is alive in heaven with her true Father. This must be one of the most powerful things about having faith in Jesus, that we do not truly die, but we will all be reunited with our loved ones someday (1 Corinthians 15:35-58).

I've read two books on the subject of losing a child and I am currently reading my third book. It is comforting to get a strong Christian's point of view on losing a child and I wonder when I will be able to give such a powerful testimony. I know that there is a time for everything under the sun and it is a time to cry for now, but what a comfort we have in Jesus!

-Tim

A Message in a Bottle


Faith and Erin's birthday is just around the corner and we wanted to do something memorable for them. We searched the net and found and interesting idea to give them a message in a bottle from friends and family members (including our blog family), which they will read on their 18th birthday (2025).

Please give us your messages by commenting to this blog. It can be a poem, drawing, bible verse or a link to your youtube video (if you think that it will still be there 17 years from now). We will print your messages with your name and include them in the bottle.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Gift of Comfort

 


I received the most thoughtful and comforting gift from Lisa Ager, a mom of five (identical triplets and two older children WOW!). Lisa heard about our journey a few months ago through a local triplet group in northern California and have been following Elyse's story ever since. When Lisa heard about our story, she wanted to purchase a necklace with our girls' names on it. Coincidentally, a new member of the triplet group started a business called Very Swank (www.veryswank.com) and she and her partner wanted to so generously donate a necklace. I received the necklace in the mail the day before Christmas. As I was opening the package, I could not hold back the flood of tears. Looking at the beautifully engraved letters "f-a-i-t-h" and "e-r-i-n" and then "e-l-y-s-e", I was filled with sadness that I could no longer look into her eyes or have her near me....for now, that is. I went through my usual cycle of emotions when I'm reminded of Elyse. Ever since Elyse was called to heaven, I've been feeling such an overwhelming emptiness in the space in my heart that Elyse occupied. When I put on the necklace and saw the three names side by side, I realized that the gap in my heart will take some time to heal but I can always keep her together with Faith and Erin close to my heart. Thank you for this very special gift of comfort, Lisa and Very Swank!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone.

As we look back at 2007, it feels like we've gained 5 years in life-experience and aged that much in the process. We've climbed to the highest mountain and walked through the "Valley of Shadow of Death" and found that Our Shepherd was waiting for us in both places. What comfort we have in His presence. We also found our friends there also and we would like to thank you all for taking the journey with us.

We've read that time will heal our wounds and though this is generally true, there is something that heals deeper than time. It is the knowledge that there is a place beyond this world called heaven and we can all enter through Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

With Elyse's Home-Going, Heaven has become more real to us and death has truly lost it's sting. We have a new perspective on death and heaven (read 1 Corinthians 15). It is not the end, but the begining of eternity in a perfect place with a loving Father. We have a precious daughter waiting for us when we are called to go to our eternal home. This may sound strange to those who have not experienced what we have, but I can't wait to go (don't worry, we are not suicidal...you get the idea). In the end, we will have clear answers to our "Why Questions." Or, we may just say "Why of course that's why" when we simply see Jesus for the first time as the Pastor of Zig Ziggler stated in the book "Confessions of a Grieving Christian."

Faith and Erin are 11 months now and we are amazed at how each of them are developing by the day. They are understanding words and associating certain motions to them. They are a joy to be around and we love them dearly. We hope to be good parents to the both of them. Thank you for your continued prayers and visits to this blog site. It is comforting to park myself here for a while, it almost feels like I'm visiting with friends while I am here.

I hope that 2008 will be memorable and full of goodness and blessing for all of you. Thank you and Happy New Year once again.