Ben & Spring's

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's time to count God's blessings again!

October is the month of thanksgiving. Let’s take a moment to recount what great blessings we have received this year. In 2008-2009, we saw the greatest recession since we’ve started our careers. Thankfully, we’ve been rather unaffected by the downturn. We can imagine the stress of welcoming a baby and dealing with layoffs at the same time.

Last year this time, we were attending prenatal classes on weeknights, shopping for cribs and strollers on weekends. We were so anxiously anticipating the big day! Ellie will be a 1 year old in a month, we look back at the anxious moments before and after Ellie’s birth, we are once again reminded of the fact that life is largely out of our control, but we know who holds our future!

We both took time off work to hang out with Ellie. Spring stayed home for the first 9 months, and it was a huge adjustment. Spring’s parents really helped Spring got through the tough times. Due to the erratic sleep schedule of Ellie’s, Spring was often sleep deprived. Having her parents here allowed Spring to take precious naps in the afternoon. Ben’s parents lovingly prepared meals and various Chinese “Bo” Bun” for Spring… there can be no price associated with the acts of kindness and love that our parents showed in times when we needed it the most. Friends and church commented on how rejuvenated we looked soon after Ellie’s birth, our parents were definitely a big reason for that. Ben couldn’t really do much for Spring during the day, so he makes a point of showing approval for whatever Spring buys from the mall. =)

This year we’ve also got our basement done! Days into the renovation, we knew we made the right call to hire professionals rather than doing this on our own. The basement is now a comfortable area with a bedroom, a bath and a little living area. Uncle Simon and team got this done so quickly, just in time for Ben’s parental leave! Plans to develop the basement were alwasy in our mind, but we didn’t expect to realize it so soon, a testament of God’s exceedingly abundant provision.

Ben’s parental leave started in August, but the month of August was so eventful that life didn’t get back to normal until September. Ben was definitely not used to having to take care of someone requiring this level of continuous attention. It made Ben appreciate the work of all mothers that much more.

September 2009

Although the basement was done in July, we haven’t got the chance to clear out the stuff we put in the garage back to the basement. Finally, we bought some shelving units and hooks to organize our garage. It feels so good to see a somewhat organized garage.

By the middle of the month, Ben's already looking forward to going back to work!

Ellie is crawling and walking (assisted) really fast. She’s always eager to explore different places in the house, kind of like when we first got our driver’s license.

Lesson of the month: We realized we haven’t really had to work as a team until Ellie was born. Lots of little conflicts here and there, but we think we’ve got it figured out.

August 2009

Ben went on parental leave starting this month! We were really fortunate that Spring’s parents have agreed to take care of Ellie for 1 week, so we can take a quick trip to the Czech Republic for a much needed break. Spring’s Mom has a busy life as is, and for her to take on Ellie is an illustration of her unconditional love. Even as we got on the plane, it still felt unreal that we were taking a trip: just the two of us… it was like honeymoon all over again! Ben’s Dad pulled a few strings at the airport and we got upgraded to first class! Prague & Budapest were rustic and beautiful, but it was Cesky Krumlov (a small Czech town) that won our hearts. In Krumlov, we stayed at a nice little B&B, which backed onto the river. Walking the riverbank with a cup of coffee in hand was quite refreshing. We stumbled into a local pub serving hearty local food and beer at bargain price. It was so good that we went there twice in 24hrs!

After the trip, Ben has to start getting used to life as a stay-at-home Dad! With his sim-race all setup, and hi-fi equipment and workout stuff in the basement, Ben’s ready for the challenge.

Ben helped out at the first basketball camp held at the third phase building of Westside. There were 13 participants. Thankfully, they were all disciplined young people and took instructions quite well. Elizabeth prepared a very nice Gospel message presented at lunch times. May the seeds grow in their hearts. =)

Spring's really excited to go back to work. She looks forward to going back to her former team. Spring is just very thankful for the opportunity to go back to an analyst role in an familar environment. She's happier and felt life is more balanced this way.

There's a mini family reunion on Spring's mom's side. It was busy especially their visit was the same time as Ben's basketball camp, but we had a good time together. It was nice for Spring to see Brian and Natalie again and it was Spring's first time meeting Madeline and Marc. Spring was glad to spend some quality time with Natalie. Spring felt the 2 of them never really bonded until now.

We made a trip to Edmonton to go to the waterpark. Ben went shopping with Ellie, while Spring went to the waterpark with the teens. It was one of those things that Spring had always wanted to do but never had the chance to. She had a lot of fun with the teens... Spring was able to keep up with the teens, or maybe even played harder than they did.

Ellie was still pulling herself across the floor before we went to Prague and she now crawls! Ben took her for her 9-month check-up and to our surprise, Ellie's weight dropped to 5th percentile. She hasn't gained any weight in the past 3 months! Dr. Stevenson needs us to keep a journal of how much she ate. Our assignment for the next 2 weeks - beef up our baby!

July 2009

The basement is done done done! But this month will be so busy that we'll have to wait until probably after the Prague trip before we could clean the space up and arrange furniture the way we like it.

Spring went to the dentist and she has a CAVITY! Impossible!!!!!!!!! She hasn't had one since... she came to Canada! See what pregnancy and being a mom have done to her... Her hearing is getting worse from all the crying, back pain, hip pain, tail bone pain and now cavity! Actually, the dentist says her teeth don't look dense enough so she needs to get a bone density test to see how her bones are doing.

Ellie had an allergic reaction a couple of months ago so Dr. Stevenson referred her to an allergist. She took the allergy test, turns out she's allergic to eggs and dairy! Poor baby, no birthday cakes, no brownies for her! Spring's taking the news quite well, but Ben, surprisingly, felt really sorry for Ellie. Ben loves to eat so he's imaging how Ellie would need to refrain from all kinds of good food. Hopefully she will outgrow it, we're praying for her every night.

Ben and I decided to drop Ellie off at 152 so we could go for a quiet dinner by ourselves. We ended up getting a parking ticket... oops, our oversight. Since Spring has so much time on her hands now, she decided to check out the appeal system. Shortly after that, Spring happened to get a speeding ticket so she ended up going to court twice this month.

Spring helped with VBS this summer. Spending a week with kids reminds her of why she stopped children ministry a few years ago. Amie said Spring was pretty good with kids, but Spring knew that it wouldn’t last for more than a week.

John Fellowship's been coming to our home every Friday for dinner and fellowship. Though busy, it's fun to have them around and hang out with them. Ben Wong lived with us for a couple of weeks before our trip. We enjoyed our nightly prayer time.

Wow, what a busy month!

June 2009

Baby Ellie went car shopping with Grandpa this month. Her grandpa also promised to pass down that car when she's read y to get her license. Isn't she a wealthy 7 months old?!

Spring's sister, bro-in-law and Annette came visit. They were here for Father's Day and the Birthdays of Spring’s mom and Ben’s dad, how thoughtful of them to come at this eventful week! We had a good time just hanging out and doing boring stuff.

Our basement development is underway... Spring initially wanted Ben to take up this project, but she's now glad that we hired someone to do it. The extra money is well worth it! Ben's surprisingly excited and diligent in the basement planning process, much because the basement is his play area! As for Spring, she can't wait for the basement to be done, put her organize-freak cap on and have everything labelled and tucked away. While we're brainstorming how the hi-fi setup should be in the basement and on the main floor, Spring's surprised to find out how geeky Ben really is! He knows so much about music streaming, which involves everything from PS3, to computers, to DACs, to modems… etc.

May 2009

We couldn't recall much of what happened in May, strange. Must be a sign of aging! Spring also started having freckles on her face - another sign of aging!

We went to Lucita's high school grad near the end of this month. The atmosphere reminded us of 11 years ago, our own high school graduation, how everyone's so excited and wanted to take picture with each other. We weren't even dating yet and our counselors also came to congratulate us. And now, we are married, and have become parents and counselors ourselves.

Ellie started solids! She's such a good eater!

April 2009

Ellie was able to sit up on her own for a few seconds now. We’re also working her leg muscles with our new toy – jolly jumper!

Ben was really busy this month wrapping up the last assignments of his class. Life's the same for Spring, a little bored especially on days where she’d stayed home all day.

So far, we have only played tennis a couple of times… Give us warm weather so we can play tennis!

March 2009

We can feel Ellie's 2 bottom teeth coming out. Good job baby, keep growing! Ellie's starting to have mood swings, she's laughing one minutes and crying the next. Hopefully it's because of teething, if not, we got some serious disciplining ahead of us!! She was so well behaved in Toronto, everyone loved her! She would play by herself when everyone's too busy to look after her and whenever Gong Gong picks her up and sings her a song, she would be smiling and laughing. Gong Gong was sooo lummed!! Unfortunately, Gong Gong lost the magic back in Calgary...

As suspected, Ellie didn't recognize Ben after the 2 week vacation in Toronto. However, it only took her less than a day to realize she's back with Daddy. We went to Canmore and Kananaski the weekend we came back to spend some quality family time together. Praise God, it was a nice day and we had such a good time.

Ellie likes to stand and work out her legs, her fatty thighs are so cute!! After the Toronto trip, Spring started making sure she gets at least 20 min of tummy time - gotta compensate for the lack of tummy time in the past. Hopefully Ellie starts rolling over and crawling soon.

Yair Yair and Mar Mar came back after her 1 month HK trip. We were excited to see them again after a month. Ellie, again, as expected, couldn't recognize Yair Yair and Mar Mar at first but quickly warmed up to them by the end of the night.

Spring had great family time in Toronto. There wasn't much to do in Toronto, except sampling all kinds of good food, but she spent a lot of quality time with sis and Annette. Baby Annette started sleeping through the night while we're there, good job Annette!

Ben made a comment one day about Spring's dark circles and bags... that's when we realized that Spring hasn't had quality unbroken sleep for the past 6 month. Spring had to take a lot of washroom breaks at night in the last 2 mths of her pregnancy, and after baby Ellie arrived, she hasn't had a single stretch of sleep longer than 6 hrs... moms are amazing. Spring couldn't remember what those deep sleeps that she used to have every night felt like anymore.

Ben had been super hectic this month - school, fellowship, sunday school... Spring's so proud of Ben because despite of his busy schedule every night and weekend, Ben's been so patient, not stressed out at all and taking things so positively one at a time. Praise God for giving him peace and wisdom in handling his responsibilities.

Audi had another accident this month... sigh... a nail popped 1 tire and the shops said the tire was damaged beyond repair. We ended up getting 4 brand new tires because it's AWD! Praise God that despite the recession, God's provision is still so sufficient in our family.

February 2009

We're thankful that Ben’s company isn’t affected by the recession. For Spring, it’s truly a good year to be on mat leave!

We’re currently saving up to develop the basement, which will give Ben and Ellie extra play area. Baby toys take up so much space!

Baby Ellie had her first nights away from home this month. The first night was for Ben’s company event at the Rimrock. We dropped Ellie off at Ben’s parents’ so we could spend a night at Rimrock then go skiing the next day. Ellie refused to take the bottle and starved herself for 11 hours before taking a small amount… that got us and the grandparents really worried! We were going to go home the next morning because Ellie was being difficult, but she got better the next day so we decided to stick to our original plan and skied for the day. It reminded her of the last time she skied... when Ellie was just conceived but we didn’t know! A year later, we have a healthy Ellie, so thankful ☺ Although Spring was physically “idled” for the past year because of pregnancy, she managed to “conquer” the slopes the same way as before. She was proud of herself! Ben, as always, stayed with Spring to make sure she’s looked after.

Then we took Ellie to John Fellowship’s Winter Camp. Wow, we have never held her so much! We didn’t want her to cry and disturb others so we held her so much! The teens were also glad to help Spring in taking care of Ellie so she got some relief ☺ Spring also enjoyed some private talk time with Kwan Si-Mo, those were very precious opportunities. Ben on the other hand proved that he can still match with the teens and stayed up with them playing basketball. Ben’s basketball skills is still up to snuff, way to go hubby!

January 2009

Week 6 is the magic number!! That's when Ellie started smiling more and sleeping longer at night. We realize she's growing up really fast - she's no longer tiny and she's becoming such a cutie! Ellie's so good around Ben, Spring thinks Ellie will be daddy’s girl. Ellie also started gooing and cooing, we’re both learning a new language.

Now that Ellie's sleeping longer in the evening, we're getting more time to ourselves and our evenings are becoming more like the evenings before Ellie’s birth - nice!

Spring's parents are back from Toronto, she missed having them around.

December 2008

We celebrated Ellie’s 1-month birthday, which also means Spring can now go out! Spring enjoyed getting out and catching up with friends. Ben is also enjoying his time off and spending more time with Ellie. We were happy to see Ellie smiling more, she was such a frowny baby in the first month!

Spring’s parents went to Toronto in mid-Dec. Praise the Lord that they did not miss their flight despite arriving at the airport very late because of the traffic jam from the heavy snowfall. Toronto also had snowfall warning so if they missed their flight that day, who knows when they can fly to Toronto…

Annette Hung was born on Christmas day ☺ Sis had to be induced but Annette was born on Christmas day after sis went through great pain. Congrats to the Hungs!

November 2008

The arrival of Ellie is of course the highlight of the month. After 20 hours of labor, Ellie finally arrived. Spring was right – it’s a girl!! Let’s not talk much about the labor as nobody wants to recall painful memories… Spring could only say that Ben and her mom were huge support to her, couldn’t do it without them beside her.

Being a mom is a huge adjustment for us, especially Spring. Our lifestyle is completely transformed, from do-whatever-whenever-we-want to 100% baby-driven. From sleep pattern to eating habits, everything centers around the baby. The beginning was frustrating for Spring as she was still trying to insist on having baby Ellie to work around her schedule. Another challenge is learning Ellie - figuring out her personality, what she wants, her sleep and feeding patterns. Having to stay home for a month also adds to the mental frustration. From being very independent and rarely staying at home to staying home all the time…

We want to thank everyone who has congratulated us. Some came to the hospital, some sent caring txt messages, some called, some emailed, some did all! You guys have no idea what your love and care mean to us. I miss all of you and can't wait to see you again in mid-December!