Wonder Boy Update

It’s been almost 5 months since my last post on Big D.  He is now 11 months old.  He continues to amaze us.  Is it just that he’s our first typical boy and we’re not used to his boyish ways, or is he really a spectacle?  I guess I’ll never know.


At his 9 month appointment, he weighed over 23 pounds and he currently wears size 5 diapers during the day and size 6 at night.  Is that okay?

Whenever Mike’s in the next room with Derek and I hear “WHY?!  Derek, WHY?!” I smile because I know he’s either scaling a dresser while holding onto the knobs or he’s trying to bite off a piece of furniture.  Is that what typical boys do?

What I’ve dug out of his mouth so far:  crayon, pieces of a rubber handle, wood bitten off a basket, and a piece of my index finger.  He is also very close to chewing off pieces of our leather couch.  What’s with the biting and mouthing EVERYthing?  Is that normal?




This is how Marcus plays with blocks.


This is how Derek plays with blocks.  First, the cigar hold.


The blue block + cute face combo.


The red block + crawling combo.  A definite favorite.


The red block + TV combo.  Another favorite.


Going in for the circle block grip.


The circle block freestyle.  A crowd-pleaser.


Derek,  no matter how weird you may be, no matter how heavy you are, no matter how many trips to the ER we will have, no matter how many times you grab yourself when I’m changing your diaper, no matter how hard you cry when interacting with Caucasian men, no matter how many foreign objects we’ll have to pump out of your stomach, no matter how many nails you break off from violently scratching things, I LOVE that you were meant to be in this family.


You sure are loved, Big D, Lil’ Biggie, Big Poppa, Biggie Piggie, Baby Der!


Dreams Do Come True

Whenever I ask Marcus if he had any dreams the night before, he always says, “yes” and he always says he dreams about music.  I’m not sure if he knows what dreams are, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he really did dream about playing all his favorite instruments like a pro.

A couple weeks ago, we took the kids to see the Pacific Symphony perform a free outdoor concert in our city and take part in the interactive musical playground.  Needless to say, it was a dream come true for our little Mozart.


We approached a violinist who I thought could have been David Arquette with a curly mustache.  Marcus saw David’s violin and then, of course,  had to pull out his own.


David started playing a piece for Marcus


And Marcus thought it would sound better as a duet.


After that, he looked around and realized that this place was THE BOMB.  I didn’t get it on camera, but his knees were bouncing and the hugest toothless grin plastered his face.  In this picture, he’s probably thinking, “I can’t believe it.  It’s just like my dreams!”  There may have even been expletives involved.  The boy was excited!


Up next, real life, man-sized trombone.


Look at his form on the trumpet!  You better watch your back, Wynton Marsalis!


I think the highlight for him was playing the violin because he talked about wanting to play it again for the rest of the night.


Meanwhile, Audrey made a tambourine craft while eyeing the 2 bounce houses she was excited to sweat in.


Audrey’s dream come true = football field-sized bounce house built on top of a trampoline, with alternating Icee and cotton candy stands inside + built-in air conditioning so that she can expel liters of sweat to her heart’s content.  Either that, or to be the first 6 year-old contestant on Wipeout.


She looks like a bizarre combination of Ramona Quimby and Mike’s dad in this picture.


BTW, all the swimming this summer made Audrey several shades darker.  She looks like the offspring of a bi-racial marriage.


I don’t know Derek well enough yet to know what his dream come true would be.


But something tells me that baby body building might be involved.


And snacks.


So our summer evening out at the concert was a fun time for all of us.  We had full tummies, a camera full of captured memories, and happy kids.  I’m not sure what Marcus dreamt about that night, but I think I have an idea.


What The Kids Have Been Up To This Summer

It’s mid-August already and I almost want to take myself out to a nice dinner and pin a ribbon on my own shirt to congratulate myself for surviving the summer with the kids.  I’ve felt both “Oh my goodness, when are these kids going back to school?!” and “I never want to let my babies go!” simultaneously, many times day.

I’m terribly backlogged with my picture editing and posting, but here’s part 1 of what the kids have been up to this summer:

We’ve been trying out underwear

Violin practicing (no, my son doesn’t have 4 arms)

Observing the violin practicing

We got to enjoy a free outdoor concert.

And made good use of the grass

Audrey agreed to let me cut her hair, since it was getting a bit too long.  I searched through magazines and hired a stylist to give me some inspiration for my daughter’s new ‘do.  (j/k) Here’s what I came up with.  This style is called “Accidental FOB”.  It will be the new craze amongst 1st graders this year.

Yep, the first cut was way too short and I couldn’t undo it, so now she looks like a girl whose mom may not speak English very well and may wear high heels to Disneyland.  She also is now the real-life version of Ramona Quimby.  But it’s okay because she did NOT flunk her swim lessons this year!  My firstborn is swimming!

The summer has been both restful and full.

I’m thankful.

(photographer:  Marcus Lee)

Attack Of The Brothers

Big Brother:  Yes! She is pinned down, in perfect position.
Lil’ Brother:  I just pulled her hair.  She seems okay though.
Sister:  (nervous laughter)  Heh heh.  I sure love my brothers.

BB:  Let’s see if she’ll tolerate me sitting on her now.  Derek, watch and learn.
LB:  I have so much to learn, Big Brother.
Sis:  Uh, this is kind of uncomfortable.

BB:  Okay, Little Brother, I think I’ve found her threshold.
LB: Boy, that was a great move, Big Brother.
Sis:  That really hurt and I’m sad now.  I thought you loved me.

BB:  I do love you, Sister.  I really do.
LB:  Hey, I didn’t do anything wrong…right?
Sis:  Waaaah!

Sis:  Why do you boys always torment me?
BB:  Sister, we love you.  Tormenting you is how we show our love for you.

Sis:  Well I don’t LIKE that!

BB:  But, I like it.  (pause) I like it a lot.

LB:  Wow, I think I’m going to enjoy this brother business.
Sis:  Hmph!

We are brothers!  Yeah! Brothers!


I Still Have My Baby

Now that Marcus is 4, he thinks he’s all grown up.  His “Mommy” has turned into “Mom, “Daddy” to “Dad”, and even “Thank you” has turned into “Thanks!”  By next year, he’ll be smoking cigars while sporting a goatee.

So with his new vocabulary and Audrey’s funky looking teeth, I’m painfully aware that the kiddos won’t stop growing.

But I still have my baby.

I still can’t believe I have another baby.  Lord, thank you!

The big kids are equally as grateful for the little one.

Even Marcus, who idolizes Audrey, has been more into his baby brother.  “Where’s Derek?”, he randomly asks during the day.  When I tell him he’s napping, he tells me to wake him up to play.  We’ve also witnessed him plant spontaneous kisses on the baby and once found Marcus try to rescue him from being tangled inside a blanket.  Makes my insides melt!!

This one’s definitely not a baby anymore.

And my girl SO isn’t a baby anymore.  Well, I take that back.  She asked to get in the crib too and I said no because I was scared her 53-pound booty would break the whole thing.  So she pouted and cried and I gave into her moaning and then let her in.  Then I took this picture and got grossed out that she’s so old and big now.

I have a feeling that Derek isn’t so interested in being the baby.  I’m pretty sure he wants to be a part of the Big Kids Crew.

Even if it means just vegging in front of the TV with Marcus.

If Marcus looks up to Audrey, then Derek’s hero will most likely be his big brother.

He’ll be giving Derek tutorials on how to tell potty jokes, how to intentionally aggravate their sister, and how to wrestle with Daddy.

Boy, has he got a lot to look forward to.

But no matter how much he learns from the others, I have feeling this one will always be my baby.

Remember This

On my wedding day, I kept telling myself, “Remember this.”  I didn’t want the day to pass without me being fully aware of the day Mike and I became husband and wife.  So now, I have the sweetest memories of that day that even the photographer couldn’t capture on film.

Three kids later, my memory-making muscle is always being exercised.  Like every parent, I want to make memories for my children that they can keep for a lifetime.  But lately, I feel like I want these memories for myself as much as I want them for Audrey, Marcus, & Derek.  Time is flying so quickly and I don’t want to forget that I was once a mom of 3 young children who were blissfully content and loved being a part of this family.

It’s been a season of reprieve for our family, and whenever we get those windows of peace, I just want to soak them up and whole-heartedly thank God for them.  This past month, we had the chance to take a few outings.  I couldn’t get the best angles with Big Poppa strapped onto my chest, but I did my best.

So…I want to remember…

How Audrey asked if she could wear this unique outfit on our outing to a nature trail at Newport Back Bay.  She’s at a stage where she must wear a skirt at all times, Duggar style.  She also did some interesting layering with her tops.

and then added shades.

I want to remember how Marcus “Whoa-ed” while admiring the view

and did not want to stop hiking up and down, up and down, up and down the trail,

giving Daddy a workout, as usual.

I want to remember how many times Audrey said, “Look!  Look!” at the aquarium.

And that although he was battling a cold, Marcus enjoyed himself too

and still wanted to walk around and give Dad some more exercise.

I want to remember my model parenting:
Me:  Audrey, take a picture in the shark’s mouth.
Auj:  I don’t want to.  It’s scary.
Me:  Audrey, put your face in the shark’s mouth NOW.  Obey.

I want to remember how stoked the kids were for their first swim of the season.

And how Marcus was sporting his new shades, male model-style.

I want to remember how bad of  a swimmer Audrey still was, after flunking her swim lessons last year.  This girl thinks she is HOT STUFF when she puts her head in the water for a few seconds.  She says she doesn’t need lessons because she already knows how to swim with a vest on.  (????)

I want to remember how Derek woke up from a nap one day and found himself at the beach for the first time.

And Big Brother thought Lil’ Biggie looked pretty cute.

I want to remember how Audrey had a perpetual smile on her face the whole day.

And although he was only able to take catnaps, Derek was super happy to be in the sun too.

I want to remember how much the kids liked picnicking on the sand.

And how Audrey could have jumped waves for hours.

I want to remember that although Marcus was scared of the ocean,

he was King of the sand

and couldn’t be happier.

He loved ordering his father to “Get more water….pleeeeaase.”

And Mike fulfilled his wishes again and again and again.

I want to remember how stoked I was to still be married to this guy

And thankful to add more pages to my mental wedding album.

Big D: Wonder Boy

When Derek was born at 8 pounds 10 ounces with man-hands and man-feet, I should have known that he would be something of a phenomenon.  Today, at 6 months old and 20 pounds, he’s proven to be our wonder boy.  Almost everything about him is different than I’ve experienced with the other two.

First of all, he’s by far the earliest teether of the 3.  He started around 3 months old and now he is going on his 7th chomper.  I will be feeding him a T-bone steak tomorrow.

When he’s especially hungry and wants to nurse, he opens his mouth as wide as possible, shows me his fangs, does a crazy little head shake as if to go in for the kill, and latches on with his teeth before sucking.  The sound effects that come from his mouth make it seem like he is eating me alive.  During the nursing session, he lets out a few cleansing man-farts.  When he’s done, I put him over my shoulder and he releases a beer-belly belch followed by a wet burp which leads to a stream of spit-up that runs down my back.  When I stand up, I look down and see that I’ve just sat in a puddle of breastmilk.  My pants are all wet.

Clothes are a bit of an issue.  He grows at a rate faster than my ability to find suitable clothes for him.  For a while, his onesies were off-the-shoulder with only 1 out of 3 buttons closed on his crotch.  I finally pulled out the 6-12 month size, so he’s a bit more comfortable now.  No more off-the-shoulder or boatneck onesies, but they are V-neck from time to time.  And sometimes, they show off a bit of baby cleavage.

He doesn’t crawl on his belly yet, but he’s managed to get around for a few months now…on his back.  Think inchworm, but upside down.  He gets into a bridge pose balancing on just his head and feet like this:

Then he straightens out and bends again.  That’s how he travels from one end of the rug to the other.  Here’s a frontal view:

Bird’s eye view:

Sometimes he’ll do a one arm stabilizer:

Since he was born, he’s made us wrestle him for everything.  From diaper changes to changing his clothes, he makes us pry his extremities open.  Sometimes he is so strong and I’m so tired that I just want to forfeit and let him win the arm wrestling competitions.  What makes diaper changes even more challenging is that he feels that he must squeeze his nether regions whenever his diaper is open.  He squeezes so hard that it looks like he’s trying to make lemonade.  Needless to say, this gets a bit messy when I’m changing a poopy diaper.  Add to this his love of doing back bends.  I get sweaty at each diaper change.

Since he outgrew his infant carseat at birth, getting him in the car has been sort of an issue.  Due to his girth, it is quite uncomfortable for him.  Therefore, he likes to stay sitting upright.  I have to push him down with all my might or do a tug-of-war with the seatbelt adjustment strap to make him recline like he’s supposed to.  Even then, I sometimes give up and he’ll just ride across town sitting up.

Who does he inherit these traits from?  He seems to resemble someone else quite notorious:

O Derek, I love to wrestle you and shovel food in your mouth really fast.  I love having to pull my hair out of your grip of death.  I love how you almost bite our fingers off.  I love how you sweat like your sister and your father.   I love that now I know what it’s  like to bathe a seal. I love how you giggle when I put you in your bed.  I love how you give us your generous smiles.  I love burying my face in your rolls.  I love that you are so happy and that you love being in our family.  I love that God created you in my womb and sent you to us even when I couldn’t dare to even ask the Lord for another child.  I love that I’m so undeserving of you.  I love you.