Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Yes, This Blog Still Exists

Well, I've decided that my sabbatical from blogging is officially over! These past few months have been filled with many new milestones for growing little Hannah... and mommy learning to deal with a now toddling little one!

Hani- as we now call her quite often- started taking steps on dada's demand! What an obedient daughter, haha! For Edwin's birthday on December 20, he told her that she could start taking steps, so that day she decided to try a couple. Now, I've discovered that she really ONLY listens to dada  :)  When he says no to something, she will wrinkle her nose and face and start to cry! When mamma says no, it doesn't phase her. Hmmmm, trouble?

It is quite amazing to see the transformation from lying down or even crawling baby to walking.. baby. I feel like I can hardly call her a baby anymore! Now at 11 months, going on one year, Hannah is all around the house getting into anything she can. She frequently makes new discoveries, such as cupboards and items she can reach, things she can move to get to other things.... so we get to do a bit more creative rearranging in the house.

Hani has two favorite words/sounds that she has been honing for a few months now. She will say mammama when she wants something from me and dadadada when she is going after daddy. Otherwise she loves babbling and talking to herself or others. She is quite a loud little one and loves to stretch those vocal chords with screams and yells... usually when she is either happy or upset! In public she can be quite shy, though, burying her head in mommy's shirt, though she does like smiling at others.

Recently she has started to get over her intolerance of being held by other people, which has come as quite a relief! After not spending more than an hour away (a couple different times) from Han for all these months, and then coming back to a screaming baby, I now may be able to start having grandma and grandpa watch her for short periods of time. I try to remember that this is a phase and I WILL get a mental break in my life again! I love my Hani to pieces, but it is necessary to have a bit of a sanity break from all her activity once in a while :)

We are getting ready to make the big trip over to the US in April and are quite excited to see a lot of family and friends over there, many who have not met Edwin or Hannah! We will be in Oregon for almost a month- with a week's worth of time spent in Missouri to visit family there. I'm a bit unsure how Hannah will handle the 24 hour flight over and back, so I'm hoping to think it through enough and gain any tips I can before we leave!

With those updates, I will leave you with some photos! Thanks for not giving up on me and my sporadic blogging!! I promise to post soon, as Hannah will have an important announcement! :)

9 Months at Christmas

Mommy and Hani

Blurry but happy for 10 month old Hannah!

With her turtle toy!

11 Months and trying on some fancy dresses from Grandma :)

Daddy, come out!

Studying her bug toy

In her favorite suit, sitting on the steps at home

Monday, October 20, 2014

Months 6 & 7

Marking another late post for me! 

Our precious little Rascie (short for Rascal) Angel is growing fast and is now on the move... hard to keep up with her these days! These past two months have been busy ones for Hannah: learning to crawl, exploring many places in the house, learning to pull up on things to stand, and getting her share of bumps along the way. Mamma's only relief is when she can trap her in the high chair for some attempted eating! We've also been working on a better nap and sleep schedule. About a month ago, Hannah finally decided that 10pm was too late for bedtime and began sleeping at 7.30! This is a great relief for the evening, but it also makes for an early baby riser- which mamma is not always ready for if the evening/night was spent catching up on the undone chores. But, enough sleep deprivation will force you to eventually change, so I have tried to get into a better sleep schedule myself. Enough talk, here are some photos for you!

Hannah with a baptismal cross she received from one of her favorite Aunties

On her six month birthday, I caught her standing in her crib. Don't worry, since then, I have lowered the base, so she can't even poke her head over the top anymore.

6 months

6 months

Classic Hannah smile :)

Serious Hannah ready for church

7 months relaxing in her highchair 

7 months cute, even with cereal all over!

7 months

7 months with Mr. Bunny in recovery in the background... I'll tell that story later ;)

7 months with her 'crawling socks' on. Though she seems to 
get along just fine on the hard floor without them. 

Watch out house.

Friday, August 29, 2014

5 Months

Hannah is in her fifth month, 24 weeks old to be precise. She's been an active gal this month so far! She is now sitting up very nicely and tries her darndest at crawling. From crawl position on all fours, she does this little wiggle-scoot then head falls down and she pushes forward with her legs until settling on her belly in front of her toy of choice. It is all very cute and amusing to watch! Of course it has resulted in slow hair growth on the sides of her head, but no matter.

Hannah has also discovered a few tasty foods including: rice cereal, banana bite wafer, carrot, sweet potato, and banana cereal. She loves leaning forward to bite the spoon and does seem to love eating... although sometimes I wonder if she likes just chewing on the spoon better.

This month Hannah has been much more aware of everything around her, and as a result it seems she HAS to be occupied all the time. She loves being outside in the stroller watching the dogs and looking around. She also loves being carried around in her carrier to see what mommy is doing.

It is a joy to watch her grow, and though I usually don't see the little differences each day, I look at 'old' photos and see how much she's grown in these few months of life. Truly amazing! Life is so precious.

I see the camera...

Mommy's making a weird noise...

Oh, is that something I can grab?

Num, love my carrots, but I also love having control over this cup!

I'm going to love this dirty-mouth picture when I'm all grown up!

Mommy has an obsession with putting this ribbon on my head lately...

I'm cute!

Sleepy Hannah with sleep-deprived mommy

Gangsta-style ribboned Hannah with her farm animals!

Ready to go outside and see the woof woofs!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

4 Months Almost Past

I'm finally getting around to posting some photos of Hannah during her 4th month.... even though she's now closer to 5 months! She's getting more and more alert to everything around her. I just love waiting and wondering what new things she'll do next. Typically she's happy and content, but when she's hungry or tired, then you will see how well developed those lungs are as she screams at the top of them!

She discovered her toes this month and loves to play with them and try putting them in her mouth!

A nice walk and some play time in the water with the family!

Daddy and daughter! Hannah loves her Daddy!

One of my Malaysian sisters, Vino, and I being weird :) ... she was trying to push me in the water. 

Edwin has been continuing to work on building a structure for storage and as a car park. Getting closer to being done, he's enjoyed the work and done a good job!

Mommy and Hannah

Hannah likes to come out in her stroller in the evenings. We watch the dogs play and growl at each other, and watch Daddy while he works.

Hannah's playtime on the floor with her foam pad-puzzle pieces. 

More stroller time.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Two Years Gone By...

I was thinking today of independence- that is freedom in a country- as it was just the 4th of July. The 4th came and went here, as there are no spectacular shows of fireworks to celebrate. We did go out of town for a nice wedding, and my husband and I decided that was our celebration of USA's independence! Of which, by the way, we are both very thankful... and I am much more thankful today than I was over two years ago when I first came to Malaysia.

I haven't actually written on this blog in some time, as I've mostly posted pregnancy and baby photos for quite a few months. I am sitting down now as baby naps, and may soon wake up, to write a few lines on this important topic.

As of this past May 1, it has been two years since I came to Malaysia. In many ways I can't believe it's been that long, as I still feel I am very very new to the country! I am noticing, however, that I have slowly adapted to some things. It's the kind of adaptation that you don't see as you go along, but rather when you stop in the 'now' and look back to the 'then'. Part of that adaptation comes when you can wave at your neighbors, ask how their kids are doing; or when you are actually involved in friend or family issues that are going on and you spend time in your day mulling over solutions to the issues. In other words, when life is normal!

I have wanted to write about life in Malaysia, but always thought I would wait until I had some perspective. Well, then you find yourself wrapped up in culture shock and you can't figure out what to write about! Anyone who has moved to a new country, or a new culture can probably tell you that it took some time for life to be 'normal' again. I can't sum up the experience, nor can I put my finger on what exactly the differences are between countries and between lives. Therefore, you readers have to deal with my snippets of info as I write it!

I said I was more thankful today than I was over 2 years ago, for the independence found in the US. First of all, we are not in jail here, I will make that clear! However, there is a very different 'feel' in countries. My husband feels it as well. When you step off that plane in the US, you 'feel' a freedom that is not offered to many people in this country. President Obama was here just a month or two back, and though I am not a supporter (to say the least) of our current government, I agreed with something Obama said to the government here. He said (something along the lines of), any country who does not give equal opportunity to all it's members will never thrive as a country. In all of Mr. Obama's diplomatic words, he pretty much sums up Malaysia in that sentence.

We live in a world that is increasingly hostile. I am not going to pretend to be a master of the current issues... I am far far from it. But, I do feel that I have had the privilege in this country - stop.... yes, I did say privilege- of experiencing a bit of what some people deal with their whole lives. Indeed some do not know what it is to feel the 'freedom' that exists in the US. Some will never know. I had absolutely no concept, living in the US, of what other people in the world may be experiencing as their 'normal' life. Yes, I considered myself sympathetic and aware of situations. You grow up being aware of poverty existing somewhere out there, of conflicts between groups of people... but surely that doesn't REALLY exist. Or it only exists in the Middle East, which is far far away from us. Afterall, look at the carefree life that we are living right now!

Now, Malaysia is not in the Middle East, and there is no war going on here. But, there are realities in this country that I never had to know in the US. Granted, I was growing up, and you just don't have to be exposed to much when you are living in small towns, going to school, meeting friends. That is life as you know it. In Malaysia, there are three main ethnic groups- the Malays (Muslims), Chinese, and Indians. The Malays are the country's 'people', though they are not actually the native people here. The government is Islamic, and so the Malay people are given privileges that the other groups of people are not. This is what Obama was referring to when he made his statement.

My husband remembers a very different Malaysia growing up. People were friendly to one another and it didn't matter if you were Chinese, Malay, or Indian, you could go over to one another's house and eat and socialize. That can still be the picture today in some instances. However, as in many places in the world, there are issues surfacing to divide the country and the racial groups. For example: as Christians and Catholics here, we are quite the minority, as most of the country's people are Islamic. A recent case was going through the courts to decide if our Catholic newspaper could print the word 'Allah', which is Lord in the Malay language (actually it is an Arabic word, I believe). It was just ruled that no, Christians or Malay-speaking Christians (most people here speak or understand several languages) CANNOT print the word 'Allah' in their papers, as it will confuse the Muslim community and may become an issue of national security.

I shook my head when I read that. National security? Confusing the Muslims, when the Christian population is at ... 2 percent? Hmmm...  There are other 'unfairnesses' that this government supports to keep its people divided. How does this play out in every day life? In running our business, when I get a phone call- sometimes the first question is 'are you Chinese'? And if no... 'are you Malay'? No. 'What are you?' I have to laugh, as I say, I am American, and that throws them for a loop! But, in all seriousness... these people are calling for professional services, and they are asking what ethnic group I fall into. It is still very strange and maddening for us! But, that is the reality here. As a result, it is very difficult for some things in society to progress. And for our family, who identify ourselves as Catholic, not necessarily with an ethnic group, it can be all the more frustrating to serve the people.

Why are we here, you may ask? And yes, we ask ourselves that question from time to time. Afterall, we both love the US and would prefer to live there! But the Lord looks out for our sanctity, not our comfort. And we are here to serve the people... for now, for a time.. however long God is calling us to be here to try and make a difference. It could be 5 years, maybe more, maybe less, we don't know!

I am not writing these things to say Malaysia is a bad country, or Muslims are always horrible people. Afterall, we are called to live peacefully together and I have met some very kind and friendly Muslim people. But there are some definite things to be said about their religion that come as a warning to us who may be naive in enjoying our freedoms in 'the west'. I don't know the solution, and I won't pretend to know all the facts. I will just leave it at that.

And so life goes on, and we can and have had some wonderful times here and now. We have family and are even making some friends. Most of all, it is important as Christians, to remember that God will not call on you for more than you can handle. But it is important to realize all you have to be thankful for, no matter where you are in your life.

At that, baby is awake! She is making it clear that she is hungry and a ticking time bomb in her little rocker. So I will close this long writing! God bless the USA, and God bless our World! Amen.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Month 3

We are in our third month (almost 15 weeks) of having our little bundle home with us! Things have quieted down a bit, and Hannah seems to be well adjusted to home now. I try to be an 'organized mommy', establishing certain times for baths, when I cook meals, when to start the bedtime routine. Sometimes it works.... and most of the time it doesn't. I guess that's the story of being a mom! Although I do well with routine for many things- and I remember the day when I would never go out of my routine- I am learning more and more that babies just don't always know to follow those routine rules.

Hannah has become an expert roller to the right (including getting that bottom arm out). She now prefers to sleep on her tummy, which worried me for a while. Of course they tell you to put baby on their back to sleep- but what happens when they flip to their tummy as soon as you lay them down? Luckily I found out that I share this problem with about 3/4 (just guessing) of the moms out there! For any who don't know, it is ok for baby to sleep on the tummy if they are able to move their head side to side and if they are able to roll.

Hannah with her play gym

We celebrated Father's Day a day late, which also happened to be Hannah's 3 month birthday. We made Daddy a cake, put on her special 'Daddy makes me smile' onsie, and tried on her flower headband.

She's not sure what to think about her headband.

Waiting for Daddy to come home! Sorry for the angle of this shot,
it wouldn't rotate...

Not too pretty to look at, but I think it tasted alright! 
I am still perfecting my chocolate chip writing :)

We had some visitors last weekend and Hannah got to meet her 3rd cousin! These adorable gals are both half Indian, half 'European' babies :) and born within 2 weeks of each other. Actually Hannah was due to be born first, but she decided to come 9 days late. They enjoyed some crib time and even held hands! It was fun to watch them try to converse as well! Babies are just too sweet...