Last time we were back in Taiwan, Zoey was only 3 and Nathan was 18 months old. I didn't explain too much to them that Taiwan is my hometown - that I was born in a hospital here, went to school here, ate different kinds of food as a kid, rode in a scooter all the time when I was their age, and didn't speak English growing up.
It's a little different this time around. The kids are older and their school experiences make it interesting to see and hear about the time when their mama was little too. Growing up, my parents both worked full-time. I spent the first 15 years of my after-school life at my grandparents' house as all the schools I went to are within a 5-8 minute walk away. It brought back so many distant memories when I took my kids on the route I walked everyday to school and bought them the same breakfast, snack and lunch that I LOVED as a kid (all still from the same places/vendors just down the street!) Of course, a lot has changed in this neighborhood too. Like that old, beloved McDonald's that got torn down and moved for the new subway system they were building. I had my first fancy birthday party there in 3rd grade (note: it was considered really expensive to eat at McD's in Taiwan back in the day, and birthday parties were a big deal in my family!)
Anyway :) I love that I get to re-experience the old and discover the new in my childhood stomping ground with my kids. It almost feels a bit surreal. I also feel officially old.
Here are some pictures to share with you all::
Our flight took off at 2am on Monday so we had the kids sleep at their normal bedtime that night and woke them up at 10 to head to the airport. Strangely, Izzy resisted any sleep beforehand and I was stressing out big time because of it, fearing that she'd fall asleep before we board and be wide awake on the plane. But thank God, she was a happy camper all night and fell asleep without any trouble after we took off. A huge praise: our flight wasn't full so Izzy got her own seat despite being a lap baby!! It was a huge relief and I was seriously so thankful for God's gracious provision at the moment we needed it the most. The big kids were so good the whole time - they loved the flying experience. It had been 2.5 years since our last Taiwan trip so everything feels very new and fun and exciting for them.
The toughest part about flying alone with 3 kids was potty time. Like, when Izzy finally fell asleep with her head on my left forearm, and right then it was when Nathan had to go #2. In those moments I was definitely not the most patient self. There were also many times I had to apologize to the big kids for not being able to help them much, and had to tell them to figure things out on their own (mostly just TV stuff haha, but still)
All in all, everything went smoothly and we were all in happy spirits when we landed! Praise and glory to God for watching over us and answering our prayers, and of course a huge thank you to everyone who remembered and prayed for us.
Some pictures before we boarded and during our flight:
I turned 23 weeks yesterday! I still feel super nauseous often, haven't been able to sleep without sleeping pills, keep getting sick, cry a lot, and have major heartburn/indigestion problems. But I treasure each and every day I get to spend with this baby inside of me. When I think about how fast these big belly days go by, all the discomfort and body aches seem minimal. Baby's doing well and pretty active - moves around a lot, especially at night :) From our 20-week ultrasound, everything looks perfect and healthy, too.
We didn't announce it publicly on social media, but we found out we are having a girl! The kids were so cute and giggly when we told them the news. Nathan's told me a couple times that he can't wait to have another mei mei (little sister) to hide under the dining table with. It's a thing between him and Izzy right now, as Zoey has zero interest in it haha. Even though Gary and I really hoped to give Nathan a little brother, and to know that it will never ever happen for our family took some time to process, we are extremely grateful for a healthy baby and so happy that Izzy's getting a baby sister. The bonds between sisters are so so special, and I'm excited that our 3 girls will get to experience that with one another.
17 more weeks to go!!! :) :)
...is exactly how I feel about this cute picture, taken just earlier this afternoon. The kids and I leave for Taiwan this coming Monday at 2 in the morning, and I've been feeling butterflies in my stomach like never before. The pregnancy hormones at 22 weeks are no joke. I know this because I'm usually the "up for a challenge" type of mama, feeling brave in most situations with my kids, feeling strong and entitled to this strange courage out of nowhere because, well, as a mom that's just what we learn to do. But not this time. I already feel defeated and my heart is occupied by solely anxiety and fear...and on top of everything, being sick in bed all day today surely doesn't help.
But I'm trying to get better, to feel optimistic and to really lean on God for all my fears and worries and weaknesses. The kids are so, so excited, too and that's very sweet to see. Especially the older two, since it's been two years since they went back. They remember all the families there and cannot wait to watch movies and eat candies on the plane. I bought them new headphones and also prepped 3-4 new toys/crafts as surprises for our long flight. I'm packing light and am keeping all of our stuff into just one suitcase.
Please keep us in your prayers and most of all I don't get nausea which I still have way into the 2nd trimester. I promise to do an update once we are in Taiwan and also any tips I find helpful and practical! :) thanks!