Sunday, June 28, 2009

great day

Sunday was a great day. All the elements of a good day came together for me yesterday. Bella slept in her crib for the first time the night before so Justin and I had our bedroom back! We all slept better. I made waffles for the family for breakfast. Justin let me take a nap while Bella slept in the morning. Then he took us to a Vietnamese restaurant he found for lunch. Addie was well behaved and ate well while Bella slept in her car seat the ENTIRE meal! When we got home Addie napped and Justin took care of Bella while I got a foot spa at Blue Mountain. When I returned we all got ready for a dip in the pool. For her first time, Bella loved the pool and was so relaxed she started yawning. Later I made dinner and then we put the girls to bed. Addie and Bella were asleep about the same time and Justin and I got to read. Usually I give up on reading for pleassure until my babies are at least three months old. I'm just too tired. This was total luxury! Bella loves Addie and smiles at her all the time. Here they entertained one another while Addie sat on the potty and Bella got some time in the bouncy seat.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Found these two priceless pictures. The first is of Addie with Talina and Pete's dog Cash. She loves big dogs and I'm afraid we are going to have to get one some day!

The second I took at the start of our traveling adventure at PDX. At this point I still had some energy. All that stuff was ours! I knew I was in for the long haul but I had no idea how yucky it would be.

Aussie Rules Football

While the girls and I were gone, Justin joined an Aussie Rules Football team that plays weekly at the Manila Polo Club grounds. This weekend we joined him to see what it was all about. Plenty of big burly Aussies and Kiwis ran around in short shorts and sleeveless jerseys shouting things in their cool accents. The game is a mix between American style soccer and football. Watching the girls and trying to keep Addie from going on the field after her Daddy proved to be so much of a challenge that I barely got to watch the game. I did catch Justin kicking a goal! Next thing I knew Justin was writhing on the ground scream profanities and then being carried off to the sidelines limping. Now my accident prone husband has a bum knee. Add that to the list of injuries he's received while playing adult just-for-recreation-sports. I'm trying to convince him to blog about his snorkeling incident. That was another doosie.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Little Mommy

Addie mimics me by taking special care of her baby doll (whom she so appropriately has named Baby Bella-sounds like Bedda when she says it though). She rocks her baby and shushes her. She puts her in the swing, bouncy seat, and on the blanket to change her. I've noticed that when Arabella is crying, Addie pays extra attention to her baby doll. She is very tender and sweet and it melts my heart.

Happy Anniversary

Just a quick shout out to my hubbby of four years today. I hated being away from you so I hope that we never have to be separated for any length of time again. I love you.


It's utterly crucial to have good friends when living overseas. One of mine is Sunny, Mom to Stella and their new little baby boy Tiger. The girls are the same age and now our babies are the same age. We have lots in common and lots that isn't and it just works. She's a cool laid back Mom and I guess I kind of am too. When Addie and I left for the States the girls were just starting to play nicely with one another without us having to facilitate much. Since being back we couldn't wait to get together. The girls now play really well (with the occasional fight over a tiny baby or special tutu). It's so nice to have someone to talk to. We use up plenty units of time when we get together which helps our days go by faster. Both Sunny and I count down the hours until our husbands get home in the evening. I'm just so glad I have someone who understands me and what I am going through.

Today the girls had a tutu dance party and sat on the potty together. If that isn't friendship I'm not sure what is.

life as usual-or getting there

Justin took a few days off to be with us upon our return but he is back to the office now. We are trying to get back to life as usual here in Manila, now with our new addition to the family. Surprisingly it didn't take us long to get used to the local time zone again. Bella quickly fell into the sleep-when-dark pattern and Addie played so hard she's crash at 6:30 PM the first few days. For me, I didn't really feel the jet lag because, well frankly, I'm tired all the time right now. It's the rainy season here so the rain is keeping us indoors, which is fine with me because I'm even sweating in the air conditioning from holding a hot little newborn. Here are some pictures from the past few days. Nothing too exciting, just life.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

getting comfortable in Manila

Bella's world was turned upside down when we returned to Manila. The first night after our flight (we arrived 2am Manila time) she just screamed and didn't want to be put down. I can only imagine how confusing it must be for her to be surrounded by all new smells, sounds, sights, and people. As you can see she is quickly getting comfortable in her new home. Last night she let Justin and I sleep just a tad. It was glorious. Even more glorious is my sweet husband sharing some of the burden in the middle of the night.

Bella in the bath

We gave Arabella her first real bath this morning in her little bath tub. She didn't giggle like Addie did during her first bath but she didn't start screaming either,which is positive. She just relaxed and enjoyed the warm water. It seemed to calm her. She smelled so wonderful afterwards. I love how chubby she's getting.

back home

We made it! The girls and I are back home with Justin in Manila. Everyone is out of sorts with the time change. Out-of-sorts doesn't really describe my exhaustion. I have never been this tired in my life. The travel from Portland to Manila was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life, minus actually giving birth to the two munchkins who made the flights so difficult. Bella did really well, Addie was tougher to entertain. To make matters worse Bella decided she prefers breast milk from the bottle now, so I had to manage pumping on the airplane (I am now acquainted with airplane bathrooms on a whole new level-Gross)! Carting all our gear around with two kids and then a flight delay on our last leg really pushed me over the edge. When I saw my sweet husband waiting for us in Manila I couldn't help but burst into tears from sheer exhaustion and relief to finally be in his arms.
Justin and Cora greeted us at the airport. Addie was so excited to see her Daddy and Yaya. Bella immediately had smiles for both of them. Lucy got plenty of hugs from us and she appropriately peed on the floor when we got home. That's the kind of welcome home excitement I love. Justin is loving the time with his girls. It's so wonderful to be together again, even if we are all tired.

Side note: I can't believe how hot it is here in Manila. I miss the cool, crisp Washington mornings already.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

the stars have aligned

This FedEx package was the last (and most important) piece of the puzzle we needed in order to get back home to Manila. It finally arrived this morning! Arabella now has her passport and travel visa. Our medical clearances are complete and all three of us have a seat on a horrendously long flight to the Philippines this Thursday. I'm so glad the stars have aligned.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Addie asked for her picture to be taken this morning as I photographed Bella taking her first bottle. Addie smiled and said "cheese". She loves posing now. I love this picture of my girl.

the trials and tribulations of nursing

I start this post off by first saying that I am a huge breastfeeding advocate. I firmly believe that breast is best. I am also really proud that I was able to provide Addie a full year of breast milk before she switched to cow's milk. I am very committed to breastfeeding my children. The truth is that breastfeeding takes a serious commitment. The trials and tribulations begin when I start to stress over breastfeeding: are we nursing too frequently or not frequent enough, how come she refuses the right side, will the milk dry up? The list of worries goes on and on. Funny thing is that this being my second baby I've nursed, this time around has been a piece of cake, but I still worry about keeping my supply up. When you add no sleep, barely getting a decent meal, and stress in the picture it all adds up to a nursing nightmare. You read that keeping your milk supply begins with getting "enough restful sleep". Fat chance with my baby girls. I constantly ask myself how my chubby little baby can be that hungry all night!

I was forced to pump with Addie because I went back to work full-time. With Bella, I am lucky that I get to stay home but I've still decided to introduce the bottle and pump after an undetermined amount of months so I can have a little bit of freedom and my husband can help with the feedings at night (with a baby who wakes to eat every 2-3 hours this is crucial). I'm struggling with when I should start pumping full-time. I love nursing Bella. It's such a wonderful connection but I wonder if the stress is worth it. Happy Mom= happy baby right?

Long story short (too late), Arabella took the breast milk from a bottle this morning. She just started sucking away. She didn't even care that I was right there. In fact she stared right at me as she chugged 3 oz of milk. At least I know the transition (whenever it will be) won't be hard on her.

jeans on babies

I can't be the only one who thinks jeans on babies is adorable. I also feel this way about cargo pants, sunglasses, jackets, and tennis-shoes. For some reason seeing a tiny baby in these things makes me melt.

trying to get home

We are "hoping" to leave on Thursday to go back home to Manila and Justin. I say hoping because we are still waiting on Arabella's passport with her travel visa. I'm so frustrated with the inefficiency that has been displayed in getting my daughter the correct documentation to get home. "It should take two days for processing" has turned into 10 days. I hate to say this but I shouldn't be surprised that it would take longer than expected at the Philippine Embassy. Inefficiency is the way of life in Manila. Anyway the visa taking longer than expected is just the tip of the iceberg. I am tired and stressed from being the squeaky wheel on the phone with people on the East coast. Stress and breastfeeding don't work well for me and it usually ends in lots of tears. Pretty soon I'm going to start smelling like a big pile of syrupy pancakes from all the fenugreek and blessed thistle I'll be popping. The bottom line is that my husband keeps me sane and helps keep things in perspective for me. He's my calm. Right now he's far away.
I'm allowed to whine once in awhile right?
On the bright side Bella is cooing and interacting with me all the time. She smiles and talks to me and it melts my heart. She's such a precious baby.

Friday, June 12, 2009

You know your a new Mom of 2 when...

-in the morning you wash your hair in the sink and skip the shower. Then later at bath time jump in the bath with your toddler to freshen up.

-you rub nipple lanolin on your lips as you run out the door as a replacement for chap stick.

-leave the house with a sweater on paired with flip-flops.

-eat the leftover lunch your toddler left on her plate and hope your appetite holds until dinner.

-you have a backache.

-most likely there is spit-up pooled in your cleavage (dried or fresh).

-you are bouncing back and forth whenever you are standing, even if you aren't holding your newborn.

-you aren't sure if the yellow smear on your shirt is watercolors or baby poop.

-you are asking God for silly things like; 30 more minutes of sleep, or a moment alone to go pee.

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried folks. This is my real life. I'm loving it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rootbeer floats

I have craved root beer floats my entire stay in the States. I love them!!! They scream SUMMER to me. It's such an American dessert. This evening Addie had her first root beer float and devoured it. We sat on the front porch and watched the world go by with out treats. Addie was filthy and sticky and loving it. She was padding around in the yard barefoot and you can see what got stuck in her toes. I love seeing Addie filthy dirty after a long hard day of playing. Her cheeks are flushed and her eyes are bright and she puts a ring around the tub after her bath. As you can see, Bella enjoyed the porch too. Check out that head control!

Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)

also known as a pulmonary flow murmur. This is what my (otherwise) perfect baby girl has.

Our trip to the pediatric cardiologist today went well all considering. Unfortunately Arabella has more than an innocent murmur. ASD is when the small holes or shunts in the heart that are naturally present in utero don't close like they are supposed to. Bella has a little hole that has not sealed. The flap of tissue that is suppose to adhere to the other side of the hole is still flapping around letting the oxygenated blood flow out so it gets pumped back into the lungs, even though it's been refreshed with oxygen. This is of course inefficient and causes an extra whoosh sound that is heard as a murmur. Bella's hole is about 6-7 mm which is small to moderate in size.

The good news is that this is a murmur that probably won't cause her any harm. In fact we will hopefully never see any symptoms of the hole at all. In many cases (especially when the flap of tissue is present) the hole closes on it's own in the first few years of life. Even if it doesn't close it won't necessarily cause her any trouble. The worst case scenario is that the hole doesn't close but just gets bigger as her little heart grows and starts to cause an enlargement in a ventricle of her heart; we start to notice that she's short of breath during activity and more tired than other kids. This is when at 3 or 4 years old she would have a non-invasive surgery on her heart to close the hole using a catheter through her vein in her groin. Hopefully it will never come to that.

The really good news is that the cardiologist said this is nothing to be alarmed about. We should treat Arabella just like we treat her sister, no restrictions are needed, and just go on about life. We just get a check-up annually to see where we are and go from there. Since Bella is growing so well now it indicates to us that she will most likely outgrow the hole.

So the news isn't thrilling, there is still an error in my beautiful, perfect, little baby, but we can deal with it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

bikini in action

Happy Birthday Cousin Emme

Sunday was our cousin Emme's second birthday! She and Addie have developed quite a little friendship during our three months in the northwest. It's so sweet to see them play together. Aunt Jan threw a wonderful dinner party/birthday party for the entire family. It's a treat for me every time I get to see this side of the family because it happens so infrequently. The last time Addie had seen all these faces was when she was 7 months old two Christmases ago. You'd never know the way she so quickly adopted everyone as her new best friends. She was definitely displaying her happy wild side. All my cousins took a turn holding Arabella. She was in good hands and happily was passed around most of the evening so I could enjoy good food and even better conversation. It was a top notch affair.
The Birthday GirlGrandpa and Uncle JerryThe young cousins. Addie hamming it up.The grown-up cousinsAddie and Emme at dinnerBella and I in a quiet moment