Monday, April 29, 2013

Sibling Love

People have been asking how Jet and Roxy have been in regards to their new baby brother, well, as the video below shows, they LOVE him to pieces. This video was taken of them meeting him for the first time and the excitement and happiness you see has not waned a bit, it's actually grown! It is such a blessing to see your kids love each other so much, I pray that this continues for the rest of their lives. Enjoy the cuteness!

*sorry that the sound is muffled, I didn't realize that I had a finger right over the mic!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Home Sweet Home!

I cannot even believe that it's been 1 week exactly since Slade was born and our foray into a very difficult trial would begin. In the midst of it all, our faith was tested: does God really work all things for good for those who love Him? It can be easy to say you believe that but when you face a moment when you think you may be losing your child, does that truth anchor your soul? For me, it was a difficult roller-coaster ride of doubt, fear, anxiety, and tears; I certainly didn't feel like this could be for our good, but faith, as so many things are in our relationship with God, is a choice and not just a feeling but a resolved trust that God is telling you the truth, a truth that can never be altered or changed by anything we face in life. And these times when you feel your world is crumbling down around you is exactly where God works. And not just in an answered prayer kind of way, though He definitely chose to work through those means in this circumstance, which we are beyond thankful for but what if He had chosen a different path for us? One where it involved a different answer, a different outcome? Would He still be just as good? Just as powerful? Just as loving?

I am realizing that it is not ultimately about how our circumstances turn out that is the litmus test for God's goodness and love and the praise due Him but it is when we cast ourselves on Him, in complete and utter helplessness, surrender, and need, with faith even the size of a mustard seed, is when He works, that's where the miracle happens, that's where we see Him making possible out of the impossible, where mountains are moved and trees are uprooted, where He in His great wisdom and love, makes us more like His Son and that we can trust, is always good and for our good, and always makes Him worthy of our worship and praise.

Once again, we cannot say thank you enough for all your prayers, words of encouragement, love, and support. It means more to us than we could ever say and we praise God for blessing us with such amazing family and friends. We love you all so, so much!!!

Pics from the last few days:
On our way home! 
We finally got to put Slade in his "Going Home" outfit and into his carseat that sat empty waiting for him.

His brother and sister LOVE him so much and their excitement over him is off the charts.

They just wanted to keep holding, kissing, and hugging him.

Meeting Gong-Gong (Chinese for "Grandpa")

And Po-Po (Chinese for "Grandma")
And can I give a massive, major shout-out to my parents? I don't even know how we would have done it going back and forth to the hospital if it wasn't for my parents being here, taking care of Jet and Roxy. They were such a blessing to us since we knew our kids were in great hands and that we didn't have to worry about what was happening on the homefront so that we could focus on Slade. We are so thankful and love you so much Mama and Baba!!

He honestly needs to win the "Best Big Brother Award." 
He is so sweet with his little brother, speaking softly to him, wanting to hold him, pet his head and giving him compliments all the time like "Him is so cute," "I love Baby Brother." I could just die from the sweetness. What a blessing to a Mother's heart to see her kids already loving each other so much.

The biggest smile of pride and joy

And this little girl deserves the "Best Big Sister Award."
 She constantly squeals in delight every time she sees him and always wants to hold him, kiss and hug him, and likes to feed him imaginary "treats," and cries whenever you take Slade away from her.

I melt.

Meeting Pop-Pop!

I love Roxy's look of pride on her face - we are so blessed with our three kids!

Mementos from our time at the hospital. 
I will show these to Slade one day and tell him the story of God's great work in our lives during this time.

Sweet Slade

After the crazy haircut they gave him at the hospital, it was only fitting that we would use this opportunity as an excuse to give our son a rockin' mohawk.

Stud muffin

"I pity the fool!"

Slade has been doing great since being home and we are now learning how to adjust to our new normal. We're buckling up and getting ready to enjoy the ride!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

4 Days Old

Today was Slade's official due date and in a way, it does feel like we've actually "received" him today since they gave us the green light today to take him home tomorrow!!! His MRI results came back with nothing to be concerned about and they are confident in their decision to release him straight home rather than back to the referring hospital so that is amazing news! They were actually even willing to let us take him home tonight but gave us the option of staying at a room in the hospital with him in order to feel comfortable with having him unmonitored through the night so we decided to do that and were told by the doctors that after one last meeting with them in the morning, we'll be able to leave here as early as 9:30am.

Slade has also been eating like a champ and is doing everything a healthy, thriving baby should be doing so we are so thankful for that.

Matt and I want to thank each and everyone of you who have been faithfully lifting Slade and our family up in prayer, for your sweet messages, emails, and texts and that just because we maybe couldn't respond to each of you individually, know that we read every single word and were greatly encouraged and strengthened by all of your love. We both kept marvelling with each other at God's kindness and grace to us to bless us with such amazing family and friends. 

As we prepare to bring Slade home please pray that our hearts will continue to trust God, especially now that we're on higher alert with Slade's challenging start on life, that our hearts will not be ruled by fear and paranoia but that we will have total peace and calm in caring for him, knowing that each and every breath Slade takes, or even Jet and Roxy for that matter, are all given by our great Creator and to know that He has numbered all our days and to strive to live each day faithfully honoring Him, finding freedom, confidence, and joy in His sovereignty. 

We love you all so much and can never thank you enough for all the ways you have strengthened our hearts in the last few days. We thank God for you.

Pics from today:

This is what he was doing when we first came to see him today.

Tired but happy Daddy

He looks so much like one of those old school Chinese babies, especially with that hairdo.

Such a happy day! 
Can't believe that he's our third - we are beyond blessed.

First meeting with Uncle Adam. 
Adam and Ive have been such a major blessing to us during this time. They live close by the hospital and whenever we needed it, they would let us crash at their place late at night, drive us around, feed us, and made sure we were comfortable. We love you guys so much!

With sweet Auntie Ive

Slumber party with Daddy - yaaayyyy!!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

3 Days Old

Today was a great day of much progress! Results from last night's EEG came back normal and clear and we praise the Lord for that answered prayer. Another praise is that I've been able to try nursing Slade a couple times and today on his third try he did really well and was feeding properly which is such a blessing since that is one of the pre-requisites for letting him go home, that he is able to feed well.

The doctors have also decided to go forward with giving him an MRI and while we were originally told that it could take up to a couple of days to get that done because of the long waiting list, we found out not too long ago that they were able to schedule him in for 6:30pm tonight. Hopefully we'll hear the results from that within 24 hours. According to one of the nurses I was talking to today, these are all good signs that they are moving quickly on Slade since it could possibly mean that they think he is one of the stronger, healthier babies who could be dispatched soon and are therefore trying to move him through sooner than later.

So we continue to take things day by day as the doctors and nurses continue to update us and give us direction as to what they think is the next best step.

It is always so hard to leave our sweet Slade each night since it goes against every ounce of my mommy-ness to be apart from my newborn but it helps to know that he is being well taken care of at one of the best children's hospitals in the world.

Thank you again for all your continued prayers, if you think of it, please pray that his MRI results will give the doctors further knowledge and wisdom (whether it reveals something or not) to know how to continue to best care for Slade and that when it is safe, for us to be able to bring him home soon.

We continue to praise God for all your words of love, encouragement, and prayers. We are richly blessed by all of you.

Much love,
 the Sylvesters. 

Here are some pics from today:

Monday, April 1, 2013

Slade Asher Sylvester

Because so many of you have been faithfully praying for us and want to know how our sweet Slade is doing, we thought it'd be best to put the update in one spot for everyone to get the latest. Plus, you can see pictures of our cute Baby Boy!

So to catch everyone up to speed, our second son, Slade Asher Sylvester, was born at 11:06am on Saturday, March 30th, 4 days before his official due date. He weighed 8lbs 3ozs and was 21 1/2 inches long. Around 4am that morning I woke up from contraction pains. Not sure if they were just Braxton Hicks or if they were real; I used a timer app on my phone and within an hour and 2 conversations with my midwife, we knew I was in labor and Matt and I were in the car and our way to the hospital.

Once we got there, my contractions were coming very regularly and it didn't take long for me to become fully dilated. I told my midwives months ago that I was really hoping to utilize the great gift of the epidural, especially after I had experienced doing a homebirth with Roxy (whose birth story you can read here) which I am very thankful I got to experience but now that I did, I was ready to go back to the blessing of modern medicine. But my midwife thought Slade was ready to pop out any minute so she had me push. But no matter how hard I pushed, he wasn't really budging and I kept begging for the epidural. They said the anesthesiologist was in the OR and would come as soon as he can, I thought they were fibbing and were trying to stall so that I would just go forward with the pushing but I was in so much pain, much more than I felt with Roxy during the homebirth and I felt like I was going to black out it hurt so bad. I think they saw how I was losing it and went and double-checked and when the anesthesiologist finally came, it was like seeing an angel appear!

Right after he administered the epidural, my body calmed down and while I could still feel sensation in my legs and toes, I couldn't feel the pain of the contractions so this bought me some resting time. At around 10am the midwives had me try pushing again but I still wasn't making progress getting Slade to move. Finally, my midwife got the OB/GYN and had him come assess me. He said to give me 30 minutes more of trying to push and if nothing happened, to call him again. We tried, and still nothing, so he came back and this time pulled out the vacuum. Within 10 minutes, Slade was born.

They put him on my chest and he cried and then got quiet. I held him for what felt like just minutes when one of the midwives looked at him, checked his heart rate then grabbed him from me, put him on a little table and hit the emergency button. The room was flooded with what seemed like 15 people all at once surrounding him, with one nurse coming up to block my view and trying to distract/calm me down by letting me know they were checking on him. I could tell something was very wrong but had no idea what was going on. This was by far the scariest moment of my life.

They were able to revive him and I heard him crying again. After examining him, they said they needed to bring him to the NICU for further monitoring and just like that, my newborn son was whisked away. It would be hours later that I would be able to visit him in the NICU and by this time, they said he had experienced a second "spell" (that's what they were calling it), where he would experience apnea and stop breathing, teamed up with sporadic shaking of his legs which they thought might also be seizures.

So they administered all sorts of medicine to him and after calling the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, decided it was best to transfer him there where he could get more specialized care. Sick Kids came to pick him up within an hour and Slade had another spell. Matt and I soon followed once I went through the discharge process at the hospital.

Later that night at Sick Kids, they scheduled him for a CT scan and during the examination he had another spell.

So here's the current news: ever since the CT scan episode, Slade has not had another spell - praise the Lord! And so far, all the results from all his testing (blood work, CT scan, x-rays, etc.) have all been clear. Before we left the hospital today, he was getting a detailed EEG done and hopefully we'll learn the results of that test tomorrow. So best scenario is that Slade's body was just responding to a bit of trauma of being birthed the way that he was, having a bit of a reaction within the first 12 hours of his life and now has gotten it out of his system and is okay now - this is what we are hoping for.

So as of now, we don't know how much longer he'll be staying at Sick Kids, and whether he'll be discharged straight from there or whether he'll be transferred back to the hospital where he was born for some extra monitoring before he can come home, everything is up in the air at this point. 

The last two days have been the toughest times we have ever experienced. There have been lots and lots and lots of tears, battles with fear, and testing of faith but we are experiencing God's grace and mercy in such a raw and deep, cut to the heart kind of way and we praise Him for who He is and for the plans He has for us, plans for good and not for evil. 

And we thank and praise God for how He has been answering so many prayers already and how He has been showing His love and care for us through all of you. Matt and I have been so overwhelmed with all your texts, emails, messages, and prayers and we thank God for each and everyone of you.

Will try to update on here when we can, Matt and I love you all so much!!!

Our sweet Baby Boy in the NICU at Markham Stouffville Hospital

Since I barely had anytime with him after he was born, they let me hold him for a few minutes before transporting him to Sick Kids. It was while I was holding him that he had his third spell.

Can you spot him in there? I couldn't even believe that that was my son getting whisked away in this huge massive machine, I just sat there and cried and cried. Matt was driving back to the hospital after running home to pick up some stuff for us when he saw them pass him in the parking lot and he just started bawling.

I felt like I was watching a medical t.v. show and that this wasn't real.
But I must say that everyone we were interacting with, from the doctors, to the nurses, to the transporters, all of them were amazing and were so kind and compassionate, which was such an extension of God's grace to us during a very scary time.

Here is Slade after newly arriving at Sick Kids.

Proud but sad Daddy

I just wanted to scoop him up and hold and kiss him so bad. It's so easy to take simple things like that for granted until you have it taken away from you.

We love you so much sweet Baby

He held my finger so tight

This was the next day after he was born, he woke up to say hi for a few minutes and was probably wondering what in the world was going on!

They had to shave his head to find places to insert an IV. It took them a couple of tries and now Slade has a very interesting haircut but he's still as cute as ever. Good thing he's got a lot of hair to spare!

That little triangle piece of fabric on him is called a "cozy cloth." They have found that a parent's scent has a comforting affect on babies so they make these little pieces of cloth for you to wear against your skin for about 20 minutes and then you leave the cloth with them so that they can sense your presence even when you're not around. This hospital and what they're doing with little touches like that is amazing.

Handsome little man

I got to hold him for a long time today - what a gift that was to my heart! 
We did Kangaroo care/skin-to-skin time.

See what I mean about his hair? I guess it's fitting right? A tough haircut for a tough boy!

This was from today when they were hooking him up for a 20 point EEG, which we hope to hear the results of tomorrow.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

"We're going to have a baby..."

Another boy it is!!! We are so excited that Jet will get to be a big brother to a sister and a brother and are happy that Roxy will be well protected on both sides by brothers. We can't wait to meet the little man, due date is set for April 3rd but because we make such big babies, the midwives will probably do whatever they can naturally to encourage my body to go into labor a bit earlier, so he could be here at the end of March which isn't too far away - wow!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Way Overdue

I know, I know, it's been months and months since I last touched this thing and I probably wouldn't be posting on it now if it wasn't for some of my friends through Instagram asking me to post the recipes of some Chinese food pics I had posted on there. Being a Mom to two little ones, it is much more convenient for me to post quick, visual updates on Instagram than it is for me to blog so that's why it's been a little quiet on here.

First of all, for those of you don't know, we are expecting Baby #3!!! We are due on April 3rd and will find out next week if it's a boy or girl. We are so excited for this little one to join our family and we love that our kids will all be close in age. Yes, it gets crazy at times and yes, I am tired, A LOT, but we wouldn't trade these little ones and this special time for anything.

Here is Baby's first picture from our first ultrasound:

Second of all, Jet and Roxy are growing so fast! Jet talks up a storm and is constantly making us laugh with his funny personality and shocks us with his crazy memory and recall. He is full of energy and is all boy. Roxy is running around and is starting to talk more and more each day. She is adorable and sweet but is also fiesty and sassy. They're typical siblings who fight over toys and whatnot but they love each other and always want to be around each other. If one of them doesn't see the other one, they'll ask where they are. It's so sweet to see their relationship develop and I am so thankful for what it is so far.

Here are some recent pics of the munchkins:

He LOVES garbage trucks and could watch videos of garbage trucks all day on Youtube

Looking stylin' thanks to Uncle Adam and Auntie Ive who are always hooking him up with the latest fashions

Little Roxy-Rox in the morning

Loves the bath and bubbles


Never too young to start brushing

Her kissy lips kill me

Is very concerned about personal hygiene

First jack-o-lantern

Sick Jet being comforted by his sister

My little Monkeys

Matt is doing awesome and has been blessed in his real estate business. We are so thankful for how God is constantly providing clients for him and we don't take any of it for granted. Matt works hard for our family and is faithful in our church; he is a fun and goofy Dad who also knows how to lay down the hammer when needed. I love him more and more each year.

As for me, I am getting and feeling bigger and bigger. I am just a little over 19 weeks and have been feeling the Baby move around a lot more lately, which is my most favorite part of being pregnant. I still feel a little nauseated, mostly in the evenings and some days I feel exhausted but in general, I am doing well with the pregnancy. Taking care of our family and home keeps me busy, including ministry opportunities at our church and I am so thankful for everything in my life and feel so blessed. And I cannot wait to find out if we're having another boy or girl, I considered doing a surprise delivery for about uh, 1 second, but we just can't wait to know.

So needless to say, life is good here in Canada. We have our times of struggle and we have our times of victory but the Lord remains in control and good through it all and we rejoice in that fact.

So now onto the recipes!
The first is for sweet and sour chicken or as they call it here in Canada: chicken balls. Here's the link to the one I like to use:

The chicken

The sauce

Now here's a major warning for the recipe for the stir-fry/chow mein and fried rice, it may be a little tricky and probably won't be too helpful since I don't use a recipe for them, I just kind of toss it all together but here are the ingredients that go into each one (use your best chef instincts and play around with the amount to suit your preference):

Fried rice:
- cooked rice (we use brown rice)
- frozen peas and carrots mix (or whatever veggies you want to use)
- scrambled eggs
- chopped onions
- dark superior soy sauce
- garlic powder
- salt 
- freshly ground pepper
- vegetable or olive oil

Now the main key ingredient in this fried rice and in the stir fry recipe to follow is the dark superior soy sauce. This is different than the regular soy sauce and you may have to visit the Asian section or actually go to an Asian store to find it but it will be one of your secret weapons in Asian cooking. It has a stronger more complex flavor than regular soy sauce and the coloring it adds to your dishes is beautiful. I prefer the one from Pearl River.

Heat oil in pan, saute the onions. Throw in the cooked rice. Sprinkle with ground pepper, garlic powder, and a little bit of salt. Then add the soy sauce and stir. Then add in the frozen veggies and scrambled eggs and stir until the frozen veggies are warmed through. And there you go, you've got yourself easy and tasty fried rice. Top with chopped green onions if desired.

(In this picture, I didn't mix the noodles into the stir-fry but pan-fried them to give it some crunch and I had added chicken to the rice to make chicken fried rice. The great thing about these dishes is that they're so versatile and can be altered in whichever way to suit your liking).

The chow mein/stir-fry:

- chow mein noodles (the kind you have to boil not the ones that are ready to eat)
- chopped onion
- minced garlic
- your choice of veggies
- salt and pepper
- dark superior soy sauce
- rice cooking wine (I use Shao Xing rice wine)
- brown sugar
- chicken broth
- cornstarch
- vegetable oil or olive oil

Boil and cook the chow mein noodles according to directions, set aside.

Heat oil in pan and saute onion till translucent. Add minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add in veggies (you can add in the veggies in stages, according to the firmness of the vegetable. For example, I'll throw in the carrots and celery first, then halfway through will throw in broccoli and zucchini, and if you're doing something leafy like bok choy, you'll want to put that in very last since the veggies will cook at different rates and you definitely do not want them soggy - not appetizing), season with pepper and a little bit of salt, then add in a few splashes of soy sauce and a couple splashes of the rice wine and a couple cups or so of chicken broth and a couple teaspoons of brown sugar. Cook until veggies are just cooked through (don't overcook!). On the side mix the cornstarch with some water and add in and mix till sauce has slightly thickened. Then add in noodles and stir altogether and that's it!

Now I know I am not giving measurements so in regards to adding the soy sauce, add a little bit then stir and then if you think it needs more, add more. This is a really potent soy sauce so a little goes a long way so just be sure to not pour in a ton or it will ruin the dish.

Sorry that I can't give you a more precise recipe but I trust that you guys will rock it anyway!

Enjoy and let me know how it goes!

Don't know when I'll post next, but all the best until then...