One year

The sun peaks through playfully on the covers
we keep to whispers,
remembering the day, the night
the covenant

our baby nurses,
her eyes heavy
her breathing slows, deepens

Staring at her eyelashes,
her soft baby rolls,
We breathe her in
and we know,
this is what it means
when Two become




Letta's birth

A few weeks before my birth I got a phone call from my dear friend, Blythe.
Blythe mothers four beautiful souls, all born in the water.
Her words and voice played a special role in my birth.
She reminded me that birth is spiritual-
a place to meet God.
Any woman who has birthed knows that you visit a deep place within yourself;
a place you need never go except when bringing life into the world.
In this place, He meets you, prepares you, empowers you,
s a n c t i f i e s 
I meditated over this weeks prior to my birth.

and here's the story.....

Thursday night was cool but not cold, a light jacket was all we needed to enjoy the clear night.
Micah sat and read while I bounced on the birthing ball.
40 weeks and two days pregnant. I didn't expect to have her that night or even that weekend.
But, about 10 minutes into our little night out in our backyard, I felt an odd sensation.
I immediately stood up from the ball and thought, I just peed myself...

"Micah, I think my water broke."


I was not immediately excited, but rather focused.
I am going to have a baby in the next 24 hours. I need to do the dishes. And sleep.It was around 8 o'clock,
A few minutes into doing dishes, I looked at Micah.
He seemed focused too.
Then I got just a little excited

"We're going to have a baby in the next 24 hours!"

We finished dishes and started packing up things to take to my parent's house.
I planned to have my birth in my old bedroom downstairs.
(My own home would have been my first choice, but my insurance didn't let that happen.)

We got into bed around midnight and I hoped to sleep and rest up before the big day.
That. Did. not. Happen.
Contractions picked up and laying down was not comfortable at all.
I tried the different positions I had been practicing in bed,
no no no.
I needed to get out of bed.
Went to the kitchen, made a PBJ, and walked around the house.
Dark, lonely, pre-birth state.

Around 4am, I just couldn't take the anxiousness.
I didn't want to be at my house anymore, I want to be where I would be birthing.
I woke Micah up and told him we needed to go.
 (sometime in all of this I threw up all over the bathroom, just a few inches away from the actual toilet bowl... my amazing husband cleaned it all up while I labored / washed off in the shower)
I slept the half an hour drive to my parents' house, waking slightly through each contraction.
"dream contractions"

After arriving and getting settled, I told Micah to go back to sleep to rest up for the active labor.
my sister arrived, we went downstairs and again, I slept through more of the labor.
I'm not sure what time it was, 8 am or so, I decided I could not sit/sleep through the contractions.
In fact, I didn't know what I could do.
By this point my contractions were what I would call,
Not the birthing ball, not standing, not laying, not kneeling, not sitting, not moving
....not much left..
the shower! 
I could not hold the shower spout so my lovely dear sister helped me through dozens of contractions holding the water to my back and changing water pressures.
instead of "just getting through" or tensing through the contractions,
I let them overtake my entire body
knowing, that each contraction was preparing my body for the birth.

After a few more hours,
I had to get in the tub.
I didn't know how much longer it was going to be,
I thought a lot longer, but i just needed to be in the water.
As soon as I got in, I was desperate to get out.
the contractions had changed and I waddled to the bathroom

"Micah, I think I feel like pushing"

I was confused... how can I feel like pushing so soon?
My midwife was not planning on arriving anytime soon
and it felt too soon to start pushing. but then again, I had no idea.
Micah's mom came down and told me that if I felt it was time to push,
I was probably ready to.

Quickly, between contractions I called Blythe,
"I'm at 9cms,  I'm about to start pushing and I needed to hear your voice!"
Her words were a jumble of cheering and laughing and crying.

I stepped back into the water and began the most intoxicating work I've ever done.

Pushing was by far my favorite part of labor.
Having a purpose and mission during each contraction was empowering!
I pushed for a little under two hours, though it felt like 45 minutes.
At the very end, I knew my control would be crucial in preventing tears.
I closed my eyes, believing and knowing I could take this as slowly as possible...

her head was out!
I reached down into the waters and touched my baby's hair
we were so close!
Slowly, very, very slowly..
breathing and controlling my urge to push when I was not supposed to
And then it was time
Last push and she was out...
quite quickly and slipped into papa's hands along with the hands of our caring midwife.
I reached for her immediately and hugged her to my chest
All 7 pounds of slippery, birthy goodness of a newborn
"Oh my baby, oh my baby" I said over and over

I could hear my mother and sister crying and laughing
My mother-in-law asked for her name

Baby Letta"

Named after my mother's grandmother.

The rest is a warm collection of sacred emotion and intimacy.
But then again, so was the entire experience.
Having finished the written account, I realize words cannot adequately describe

the miracle of birth.

Second & Third Month

Dear Letta,


No more a newborn but, my, are you  
d a r l i n g

you're a little busy girl
exploring with your eyes.
I can only imagine how you see the world.

Your eyes melt me when you look at me while you nurse.
Your soft coos have become more chatty...
I love our afternoon chats!
You beam.
And now half giggles too.

Your hands grab at my hair, shirt, and boobs.
You know exactly how to get your fist in your mouth and you chomp on your hands,
fingers, or somewhere in between.

Tummy time is becoming a daily staple.
You're very close to touching the wooden ring we've hung for you.
You still love being carried in a sling.
You know papa's voice.
We learned to never eat coffee ice cream. ever. again

You've officially grown out of your newborn cloth diapers.
Mama is going to store them in a nice little box for your future pal.

everyday, I see something different and new in you.
aaaaand i fall madly in love over and over.
your papa feels the same way.
everynight, he looks at you while you sleep and I hear him
"I love her"



First month

Dear Letta,

your newborn days are running away from us
faster than I thought.
To others, you may still seem little and new.
But I already notice your stare changing,
Your neck gaining independence from my steady hand,
the way you sleep and wake more confident of your new home,
and of course, your many new rolls of soft, perfect baby chubs.

but you are still my newborn-
your soft coos,
delicious milky breath,
sleepy, dreamy eyes almost always,
my baby baby.

before you came,
i loved waking up next to papa-
watching him sleep and dream.
now i get to wake up next to both of you,
oh what bliss!
my two most beloved ones,
sleeping so close to me.

i used to wake in the night
and feel you kicking and moving inside me.
now, you are wiggling next to me on the outside.
sometimes you laugh in your sleep
and i try to imagine what you find funny.
"they" say it's just muscle reflex or gas.
oh no, no.
i think you are dreaming and laughing!
(maybe about the time i accidentally squirted breastmilk in your face
or when you pooped on me because i thought i could feed you without a diaper on.)

you are a hungry little eater.
mama is so happy you feed so well!
at first, I was a little confused and papa and I kept asking,
"she couldn't be hungry, could she? she just ate..."
but after a little while, we stopped wondering and just knew.
you eat just about every hour, unless you are sound asleep.
this gives mama lots of time to snuggle close to you
and cuddle your face and relax while the world carries on.
our sacred feedings.

not only do you love to eat,
you like to suck.
at birth, you had a tiny little lip callous 
so you must have started sucking before we ever met.
at three weeks old, you found your thumb in your sleep.
suckle suckle, suckle suckle.

only dreaming about how much more you'll grow....




it was our first date, if you can call it that.
we did things a bit backwards,
so we had already talked marriage but hadn't gone out yet.
(whatever "out" means)

so there we are, sitting at a little cafe in Queenstown,
five days after meeting each other,
knowing marriage is ahead,
trying to figure out what is now.

i tried to scare him.
silly, i know.
trying to scare a guy who flew across the world
to meet a stranger
and tell her he is going to marry her.
but i though i'd try.

"so, you know.
i want kids.
right away." i say


"i'm ready.
i mean, not today.
but when the time comes,
when we...
get married.
i think,
it goes together-
getting married and having children."

"me too."

that was all he said.

my love,
father of my sweet cherub

here's to the man who, in the last three weeks, has:
soothed a sleepy baby with lullabies,
mastered a leak-proof prefold cloth diaper roll,
given countless kisses and snuggles,
napped a many afternoons (and evenings) with a warm little body on top of him,
delivered countless forgotten burp cloths to a very forgetful mama,
sucked boogies out of the tiniest nostrils,
caught our sweet baby in the water as she was birthed,
and created many sacred moments with our Letta

we love you, papa.

mama & baby letta


a letter to self

Four days after Letta's birth,
I found an envelope that had been delivered a few days earlier.
It was marked "International Par Avion Air" from New Zealand.

I sat and started to open it, wondering what it could be.
maybe a graduation announcement from the Crossing?
or an update letter?

but the moment I opened it, my heart felt a little heavy.
i could see the notebook paper, neatly folded.
i could see my own handwriting
why does it have my handwriting??

then i remembered.
then i wept. and read. and wept.

exactly one year before the day my baby girl was born, i wrote myself a letter.
i sealed it in an envelope and gave it to my director in NZ.
"I'll send it to you sometime.
when i feel it's time" he said.

i forgot about it.

one year later... 
i see, in my own handwriting, her birthday.
and words i needed to read.

May 25, 2011
dear katrina,
....remember not to forget...
He is all. He is in you.
He is faithful. (though you are not)
Lean on Him, give into Him.
Die to yourself (He has crucified your flesh)
every moment.

Behold! the new has come.

you have been blessed beyond measure by the Giver of all good things.
He is faithful and His blessings are to bring Him glory.
He has chosen you to bring Him glory... do it! always!

Give Him your time. Spend time with Him and in His word.
He wants to change you, so yield. Yield.
Don't worry, it's not too late.

This life is not about you, so relax.
Let. Christ. Live.
live in me, Jesus.
(let Him conquer you over & over)

Keep focus. He is all. Christ our life.
stop everything for Him.
let Him live.
listen to His voice in His word.

He will never leave. He never forsakes.



a year ago

May twenty-seventh, two thousand eleven.

SFO airport... still hours till my flight home,
hours till Him.
tired after a 13 hour flight from NZ,
i should try to nap.
I woke up, startled from a weird dream-
my name was being called from the terminal speakers.
wait, is this a dream?
"Katrina Ong, please report to your ticketing counter"
no, this is definitely not a dream.
i grab my bags and start speeding walking,
where i am going, i have no idea.

i have a feeling, a slight feeling amidst the chaos,
He is here. somewhere.
i pick up the nearest phone
"uhm... my name was called from the speakers, where am i supposed to go?"
"ma'am, you need to leave the terminal and go to your ticketing counter.
they might have found questionable materials in your luggage"
oh no,
i got it all wrong. He isn't here at all.
racing, racing.

i finally find the counter and before i approach,
i see what i think is a glimpse of a uniform.
then gone.

i wait
in line

i hear Him,
"what are you waiting for?"


we are both stunned, but i manage to hug him.
awkwardly. (we are still new to each other)
words and looks exchanged, people shuffling by with luggage and tickets.
everyone with somewhere to go.

but we stand,

i stand,
he kneels.

in the middle of the San Francisco airport,
i say "yes"

we sit, outside, watching shuttles and car,
with a mini bottle of free champagne
and plastic cups

we sit, knowing without saying,
it is perfect.
after all, in an airport we first met,
we said yes,
and in many airports, we will spend many hours to come.

then reality hits,
"wait, how are you getting back home?
are you on my flight back?"

 .....memorial day weekend, flights fully booked for 48 hours.

"sorry ma'am, we can give him a pass so he can say goodbye to you at the gate"

"WHAT?!? i've just spent 4 months away from him,
he flies down here to propose
and you expect me to leave him here for two days?!?!"

(ok, i didn't say that, i just thought it)

at 4:30pm, in rush hour traffic,
we begin our 15 hour drive home in a rental car.

well, darling, let's start off with an adventure.
our life together will be full of them.

One year later,
15 hours means something a little different.
One year later,
we meet the most precious gift from our Father,
our soft, lovely girl

Letta Evangelyn Hanae

Born at three fifty-six in the early evening on May twenty-fifth, two thousand twelve.
Seven pounds, twenty inches. perfect creature.


thirty nine weeks

dear baby,

so close.
so close till i see your pretty eyes and nuzzle your soft neck.

i asked papa,
"what is one thing, i know there are so many, but one thing you are looking forward to about baby?"
after a few minutes of silence,
i continue to finish the dishes,
i hear him,
"baby smell"

we can't wait to smell you, breathe you in.

come when you are ready,


you, me & baby

Nesting. mmmmm. I love the sound of it, the feel of it, the smell of it.
Sounds like crispy twigs being brought to and fro from the beak of a mother bird,
feels like a soft, clean heirloom blanket placed in bassinet,
the smell of the old and new joining together for something special.

Mentally, I've been nesting for my little one since early second trimester.
Physically.... not so much.
I could write a very very long lists of why's and this and that came up and other such excuses
but I will spare you.

Slightly more than a month till She arrives...
enter: emergency nesting mode

Yes, I had good intentions to work for a few solid hours.
Why am I sitting down to write now?

It all started with a bundle of letters.
I innocently dumped a package of letters on the floor to declutter and organize.
Said letters were all from my time away in New Zealand, from so many loved ones.
Thank you for writing to me, you may not realize how much it meant to me.
sifting through, tossing, keeping, tossing, keeping on and on
till... a white unmarked envelope
inside, several letters
love letters

pregnant me spent the next hour sobbing on the closet floor
and i mean, sobbing. streams of snot and all.
reading love letter after love letter
from Him.

and I am amazed
truly, deeply u n d o n e
by the gift,
the favor,
the miracle I have been given.

I, so undeserved, somehow chosen
to breathe, know, love, create with
this man I call Husband

at the time the letters were written, we had only dreams,
wonderings and vignettes
of what 'us' would look like

now, it's everyday.
i live it

somedays, I feel a little half empty
"what did we do today?
did we talk about anything??
another movie?
what are we doing....?"

but, today, I read and I know.

Every dream, every notion,
every thought of what this would be like-

it could never add up to even the emptiest of days.

is a m i r a c l e

i love you micah


twenty to twenty-five

darling girl,
you love to move!
as the weeks and even days pass you seem to get stronger.
i love getting to know you through your movements.
all the late nights that papa had to work, you kept me company...
my little buddy.

last night, for the first time, you were pushing two places at once...
i woke up in the dark of night, my hand was already resting on one of the spots.
you gently nudged me, over and over..
"mama, let's play"
i tried to picture you, sprawled out kicking with a little foot and punching with a little hand
my little gymnast.

mama and papa don't have a name for you yet
but we know
and we pray

He will name you.



Kale & Potato Soup

Yum! I love this soup.
A few months ago, our good friends had us over for dinner and served this delicious soup.
I had never tried kale before and was immediately hooked.
Kale is incredibly nutritious and an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K.
This soup is easy to make, very affordable, fresh and (did i mention) DELICIOUS.

So, here is my first recipe of many to share with you!

Kale and Potato Soup
Adapted from recipe at Passionate Homemaking

What you'll need:

1/2 bacon
1/2 lb chicken Italian sausage or any sausage of your choice
4-6 potatoes, diced
1 onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken stock (or water added to 4-5 cups stock)
2 cups whole milk, half & half, or cream (I use 1% milk mixed with cream)
5-6 leaves of kale, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Before we start, I have a few notes:
- the ingredients in the picture don't exactly match the original recipe I am providing because I cut the recipe in half, which is enough for two with lots of left overs. The original serves 6-8.
- bacon! bacon is a great addition to this soup. this was my first time not using bacon, so it is not pictured but I will give cooking instructions as if it is left in because it's great in this soup.
- sausage- original recipe calls for fresh sausage you can crumble while you cook. tonight, i went with Aidells all-natural smoked chicken sausage, so i just sliced and tossed them in.

Alright, back to cookin'

Cook the bacon however you like to. Cool, chop, set aside for later.
I like to bake mine:
- place bacon strips on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil. bake in non-preheated oven at 400F. take bacon out at desired crispness... 15-20 mins.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, cook onions, sausage, and garlic until sausage is browned. You can use the bacon grease, oil, or like I did tonight, butter (shame on me, i know.. i am out of olive oil)

Add potatoes* and stock and bring to a boil.
*I usually use yukon spuds, but tonight went with red.
Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 mins, until the potatoes are tender.

Add bacon, kale and milk. Cook for about 5-10 mins.
Season to taste with salt and pepper (and sometimes I add a little garlic powder)
It may look like a lot of kale at first but it cooks down to look something like this...

Bon Appetit!


First Trimester

your papa and i sat on the bedroom floor, pregnancy test upside down till the three minutes had passed. mama was full of butterflies, and then full of smiles when she turned it over...
"you knew..." papa says, smiling that smile of his.
yes, mama knew. papa knew too.
we prayed for you little one. and you came.

we told your grandmas and grandpas by putting a sesame seed in a bowl for dessert.
"this is the size of your grandchild"
you were so little then.

for the first few weeks, you woke mama up early each morning for a snack.
"please, mama, another blueberry bar!"
you were very sweet though and always asked kindly and it didn't last too long.
then you moved onto ketchup... on anything.
your aunty cass bought us a big bag of ketchup chips from Canada. you ate those up quick!

at eleven weeks, we hear your lovely heart beating for the first time.
gentle like breath on a cold morning,
but fierce like tiny horses galloping wildly.

in november, mama starts to show-
you must be growing well, my darling.
in fact, your growing inside of me is so lovely and mysterious-
mama will easily start crying these days.
poor papa found mama crying on the floor in the closet with a bowl of cereal.
"are you okay?" asks papa
"i choked on a bit of cereal" says mama

a few days before Christmas, mama feels you moving and swimming around!
what a gift! i love you my sweet. you and papa are the greatest christmas gift.
i couldn't ask for more.



Our Darling

Please, allow me to introduce you to our beautiful baby girl...

I suppose you can say my hiatus from Kubo&Co. was primarily due to the fact that this little angel has been growing inside me. So many changes and wonderful discoveries in the last 20 weeks. I hope to share these things with you shortly.
For now, here is her first photograph.

One year ago today, I awkwardly hugged this baby girl's father for the first time.
Now, I cannot quite remember life before falling asleep beside him each night.
He is my shield. My gift.
And now, here is another gift!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
He is the Great Giver and we thank Him and give Him all glory.