Wednesday, December 31, 2008


A TV character once said - I think it was on Ally McBeal - that if reflecting on the past year doesn't make you cry either tears of sadness or tears of joy, then it has been a waste. I can honestly say, based on that criteria, that 2008 was anything but wasted! I figured I'd do a quick year-in-review post. This is mostly for my own need to look back, but read on if you care to.

January: The highlight of our year came early! My due date was January 25th, so after a feast of hot wings on the 24th (putting my faith in the old wives' tale about spicy food inducing labour...), my active got labour started around 2am on my due date. After a long and frustrating (and at times scary) labour, Norah Catherine Wei-Chu Kwok was born at 3:37pm on Saturday, January 26th by c-section. I was blessed that my mother was able to board a plane once she found out I was in labour, and she was at the hospital with me (along with Francis and his mother - but that was to be expected) for the last several hours of my labour, and she stayed for several days after to help out.

February: I turned 29. To be specific, I turned 29 sitting in the waiting room at the ER with an IV lock in my arm, awaiting the results of the blood test that would tell me if I did indeed have a post-op abscess. Luckily, I did not. I did, however, have 2 other breastfeeding-related infections which required 3 kinds of antibiotics. My parents and grandmother came to visit, so Gooey could meet his first grandchild and Nana could meet her first great-grandchild. Later in the month, Francis, Norah and I packed for our first family trip - a ski weekend at Mont Tremblant with Francis' parents, his brother, his sister and her husband and baby. Looking back I must have been CRAZY to agree to go away for a weekend with a 3 week old baby, but I'm glad I did.

March: We spent March Break in Halifax, introducing Norah to my family. She was 6 weeks old when we first took her on a plane - I was 14 the first time I flew! Norah was baptised on March 30th - Divine Mercy Sunday. We had wanted her baptised as soon as possible after she was born, but the new pastor at our parish doesn't allow baptisms during Lent. It was suggested we go elsewhere, but after working at that parish, at that particular Mass, for 4 years, it meant a lot to us to have our beloved community be witnesses to such an important moment in our daughter's life. My sister, Jenna, and my brother-in-law, Damian, are Norah's godparents.

April & May: Drawing a total blank here... I honestly can't remember anything newsworthy from these two months - which likely means I'm over-looking something significant. *Sigh* My brain is not what it used to be.

June: This was another big month. Francis found out he got a full-time permanent teaching position at the high school where he had been teaching as an LTO for the year. We were both thrilled, as the new job would mean being able to buy a house, and the school itself is such a great place for him to work. We went to Halifax near the end of the month, to prepare for Jenna's wedding. It ended up being a rollercoaster trip, however, as a week before the wedding we lost a cousin and a second cousin, both suddenly and tragically. We weren't able to attend Shana's funeral as it was in St. John, but Tommy's funeral was... well, I don't even know how to describe it. It was, I suppose, exactly how it should have been, under the circumstances. Undoubtedly one of the hardest days in many of my relatives' lives. The wedding, however, was a beautiful celebration and the affirmation of life and goodness that many of us needed. Jenna and Patrick were glowing, and we were overjoyed to welcome the good Mr. Craine into our crazy family.

July: We spent a day in Barry's Bay celebrating Jenna's birthday and Norah's half-birthday. It was wonderful to see my sister in her own home as a married woman!

August: Our good friends Tracey and David got married, and Francis and I were honoured to help out with the wedding: me as Matron of Honour, and Francis as a musician at the Mass. We had our first real family vacation, just the three of us. We spent a few days in Toronto, wandering around down town, eating amazing Chinese food and visiting with friends and family.

September: On one spectacular day near the end of the month, we found out two big pieces of news: we were expecting baby #2, AND our offer had been accepted and we were soon to be home-owners!

October: We took posession of our new house on October 17th. I figure having a mortgage was the final piece in the "grown-up" puzzle. We did some preliminary moving and painting for the next couple of weekends, thanks to the help of Francis' family and some good friends.

November: We finally made the big move to living in the new house full-time. Emptying out the old rental place was a big pain in the butt. We did a LOT of purging - many bags of garbage/recycling, bags of things to give to SVdP, and a lot of bigger items that we gave/sold to some friends. And yet, when we started unpacking at the new house, we realized we still have too much stuff! I think more purging will be among our new year's resolutions...

December: Norah's first Christmas: celebrated in Halifax. Norah's first tooth: showed up on Christmas morning. My uncle died: on Francis' 27th birthday. Norah's second tooth: showed up on New Year's day. Norah's first steps: also New Year's day.

So it's been a wild and wonderful year for the Kwok family. Parts of it were hard, but that's how life is, so we've chosen to learn and grow from the challenges, rather than whine about them.

We're looking forward to even more fun and excitement in 2009 when we welcome two new nieces and/or nephews, at least one more first-cousin-once-removed, and of course our own new bundle of joy!


Elena said...

What a great idea for a blog post. I enjoyed catching up on the year and your family. The family shot at the end is beautiful and Norah is a wonderful mix of both of you. Dave is back to work today and we are swinging into the rhythm of a new year - may it be blessed. Perhaps I'll write a smilar post. Can I steal the idea? (Oh no, the word verification is taking!)

Comeau Family said...

Wow, it's so inspiring that you've thought of something to be grateful for for each month of the year. I never thought of doing that. We tend to take everything as a big whole, maybe missing the individual events that create the big picture, but you've taken the time to look closer. Hmmm, it's still early enough in the year for me to reflect in my mind on the months of last year...

Thanks for the encouragement you've been giving about breastfeeding. The problem isn't solved, but it's stable and even improving (I think/hope). It's just such a menace, so hard to get rid of, but we do our best. My midwife suggested a "deadline," suggesting that maybe I could formula-feed, but that just isn't an option for me. No way I'd give up, especially not now after enduring all the rest. I LOVE to nurse!! Reading your post about your own BF problems really encouraged me a lot. You had months of difficulties and still managed; I'm going to do the same. It must have been an emotional thing to wean your firstborn!

I'm praying for your new baby to have a happy and safe birth!