Sunday, April 24, 2011

somewhere between 3 and 4 months

I'll tell you the difference between my third pregnancy and my first two. I have no idea how far along I am right at this moment. Justin reminded me the other day we should take a picture of my belly for the new baby and I had to roll around in my head how pregnant I was already.

I know I'm pregnant enough that I can't get any of the buttons done on my shorts or any zippers pulled up on my jeans. My belly band usage is in full force now. I know I am pregnant enough that I don't feel nauseous much any longer; only when I'm crazy hungry. I'm pregnant enough to need some of the back relief exercises I use as well as the little wedge pillow at night. I'm up every few hours at night to pee. My real maternity clothes still kind of hang on me. That's how pregnant I am right now.

I have a four month check up sometime in the first week of May and Bella's birthday is this Friday. That's as close as I'm going to get to pinpointing how far along this pregnancy is! My lack of following the days one by one doesn't in any way reflect my excitement level for this new baby. In fact, I love thinking about the little bundle in there without counting the days. I've got other stuff to count down to right now.

No Easter Bunny this year

Adelaide started panicking the day before Easter about a big bunny stopping by our house to drop off eggs and candy. There were tears and pleading and lots of panicked looks when she'd hear a tap or a phantom knock on the door. It didn't help for us to explain that a cute little real-live bunny is the real Easter Bunny and not the big bobbled headed, over-sized costume Bunnies she has in her memory from last year. I threw the big guns at her; "If the Easter Bunny doesn't come to our house, you won't have any Easter candy." Her quick response sealed the deal; "But we already have enough candy in the pantry!" We promised her the Easter Bunny would not visit our house, even when she was asleep. She made us text him to be sure he would skip us.
I guess you could say we were off the hook. I hadn't dug out the Easter baskets from last year and half of all the plastic eggs were missing in this toy box or that one; so I avoided any Easter prep at all. We dyed bright colored eggs for the fun of watching them change color and then promptly put them in the refrigerator to sit for the next week or two before we throw them out or Cora takes them home to the kids in her neighborhood.

Grammy and Grandpa sent a box of Easter goodies and gifts the week prior so the Easter Bunny was kind of out of work at our house anyhow. Who needs the Easter Bunny when you have grandparents? The girls woke up to a nice little pile of jelly beans, art supplies, and cute socks (what is an Easter basket without cute girly socks?). They were happy as clams. Bella ate half of a chocolate Easter bunny WITH the foil still on as well as an entire bag of jelly beans before her breakfast. Addie painted ceramic magnets as we all watched Bambi! "Where's his Mommy?" was a frequent question that I had to answer without looking my daughter in the eye. The horrified look on her face was enough to bring me to a mess of hormonal tears.
In our typical fashion my husband and I got the girls dressed and ready for 10 o'clock Easter mass at our church only to drive by a packed parking lot, congregation, and sign that stated the Easter mass schedule was special and the next mass wasn't until 11 o'clock. U-turn back home for snacks. Five minutes into the 11 o'clock service Addie was scared of the glowing picture of the resurrected Jesus and asking when the service was going to be done. Bella wanted to check out the bathrooms. We somehow made it through communion and then high tailed it to our brunch reservations.

Easter brunch at the Peninsula Hotel is accompanied by a huge ballroom kids Easter extravaganza. On the way to the hotel we made the mistake of telling the girls we were on the way to an Easter party. Addie immediately starts panting in panic, afraid that the evil Easter Bunny or some other over sized big-headed character will be waiting there to haunt her. Justin tries to recover the situation by telling her we are going to the Easter Bunny's castle for lunch. She practically spins her wheels to go home instead of this party. She's questioning us incessantly the entire ride to the Peninsula. When we arrive, we tell her it's a hotel. Justin explains that the Easter Bunny's castle was a joke to which she replies; "Dad, why did you joke on me? I wasn't laughing, I was crying!".

We make it through our over priced buffet meal only having to pay for the adults, which was a relief since the children had two bites of cheese and a strawberry. Then we are off to the noisy Easter affair with too loud Lady Gaga playing. A pirate MC is at the mic and as quickly as we enter the ballroom the girls and I ushered into another room for an Easter egg hunt for the 1-3 year old kids. We grab baskets and then try to rush into the tiny room where 800 other toddlers are with their parents and Yaya's. We come out empty handed. Not an egg to be found. I guess it was a big joke to put 20 eggs in a room and then wish the 800 kids good luck.

In the end we missed out on some of the fun due to big lines and a little sister who was in desperate need of her nap. I made it up to Addie at home when I proved I can do better arm painting then any of those guys they hire for those parties. She agreed!Here are a few pictures from the Embassy Easter party that was two weeks ago.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

the end is near

Our apartment is beginning to give me flash backs of our tiny little 950 sq ft townhouse in Arlington before we moved to the Philippines three years ago. Piles are starting, colorful sticky-notes are tacked on things, and empty diaper boxes are getting filled with winter clothes and baby items that I didn't think I'd have to see for a while longer. Even the suitcases are getting filled with maternity clothes and stuff. Lots and lots of lists are being made.
The movers come to survey the house next Wednesday and then ultimately pack up all our possessions on May 24th! It's exciting and stressful all at the same time. If you would have asked me 6 months ago how I felt about moving back to the States I would have gotten teary eyed and wistful about leaving the Philippines and our apartment we've called home for the past 3 years. I would have told you that I was dreading repatriating back to the US and all the logistics that come with that. I would have told you that I was sad to rip my children away from the only place they've ever called home.

I'm glad that I've had the past 6 months to prepare and mentally get ready to return home. I'm happy to say that I'm ready to say goodbye to Manila. I'm ready to have our next adventure in Africa, but mostly ready to have 6 months in America with our family and friends to familiarize ourselves with American life again as well as introduce our children to the country they come from.

I feel almost as if Manila is pushing us out; getting under my skin and grating on my nerves more and more. The oily layer of pollution I found covering our wedding quilt that hangs on the wall above our bed helped solidify my readiness to leave. That, and Addie's teacher contracting Dengue fever, the mystery bug bites on Bella's butt, and the horrendous smell of dried fish (the apartment unit below us re-fries for EVERY MEAL) that waifs up through the exhaust fan and permeates my home and churns my pregnant belly. These things all have me excited to breath in some fresh American air because if that's what's been collecting on the quilt above my bed, Lord knows what's going in my lungs all night.

I'm ready to stop scanning the kitchen and bathroom floors for cockroaches whenever I enter the room. I'm ready for incandescent light bulbs, flushing my toilet paper down the toilet, and cheap Tampons (although I could argue that I've had more months pregnant in the Philippines than not). I'm ready for courteous drivers and traffic laws that are enforced, blue skies, grassy spaces, and other Americans to chat with while in line at the grocery store.On the other hand, I'm very sad to leave Cora and Garry. They are like family. Yaya has been spoiling the girls a little and I see an extra fervor in her imaginary play with them. She's teary eyed when we mention how close the end is coming. Our two children are not the first kids she's cared for like they were her own and had to say goodbye to. She's debating whether or not to find a family without children next time to spare herself the heartbreak of kissing the child one last time as we head for the other side of the world, possibly never to see them again. She's a Saint for giving herself to families like she does and I honestly think there will be children that will miss out on her love if she chooses not to work with kids again. Right now I am sad to leave these people we love, not the Philippines.
Addie is struggling with the idea that she's saying goodbye to her friends. Many of which are headed to other countries or back to the States themselves. She's very concerned about her toys getting packed up and sent to Africa. She had lots of questions about what will come with us (Lucy? Of course.) and what will stay (that nasty bag of old used wooden kebab skewers I found in the pantry that Cora saved for God knows what reason? Of course not) and how everything will find us again. When I explained that a boat will take our things to our new home in Africa she processed that information and then determined that many of our things could not possibly fit on a boat. A boat the size of our apartment building my darling. A humongous boat! You will not leave anything important behind sweet girl.Pregnancy tends to focus my attention forward (about 40 weeks forward to be exact). It's been good timing to help me not dwell on the past few years and all that we will miss about our home here but instead get excited about the future for our growing family and all the new things we will experience. We cannot wait to welcome a new little one into our family and then promptly initiate him or her properly by forcing the impossible eyes-open infant passport photo right before hopping on a flight around the world! Cause that's the way we roll.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

new furniture

A few months ago I drew out some ideas for furniture and met with Mr. and Mrs. Cortez who have a lovely little furniture business in Pampanga. They helped to choose wood and stain and convinced us it really is better to have the entire piece solid mahogany. They delivered the finished product yesterday and we were more than pleased with the final product. I loved being able to tweak the dimensions and such on pieces that we'd seen in catalogs or online in the States. Amazingly, even at nice stores that charge too much like Pottery Barn and Ethan Allan most furniture is made with composite wood-and they charge more! It's definitely lighter but we wanted something solid.

I'm so happy to have a place for all the girls toys now. The drawers are big enough for Addie to get in! The best part about working with the Cortez family business is that we have friends who recommended them to us after spending months and months researching their kiln drying practices and making sure their standards would allow the wood to make the move back to a dryer climate in America without splitting. Our friend even drove to Pampanga to tour the Cortez family manufacturing site and get a demonstration of the wood drying procedures! Talk about thorough!

We felt like real grown ups sleeping in a real bed with a head board and a foot board. Look at us-movin on up!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hello, it's me again

I've been very very absent from the blog the past few weeks. My pregnancy has zapped all my energy and all my motivation. It takes every ounce of my will to take care of Addie and Bella all day long. By the time they are in bed I am ready to do the same. I think I need to up the iron intake like when I was pregnant with Addi and Bella. I feel like I want to sleep all day long.

Justin has been on other continents for two and half weeks out of the last four or five (I can't recall which now) so I've been flying solo, which isn't entirely solo when Cora is there to help out Monday through Friday, but as any other parent knows; when one parent is gone the children start getting clingy and behavior starts to dip a bit. We've been staying busy for the most part but after awhile the girls just want their Daddy! I think they could tell Mama's patience was wearing thin towards the end of this last trip.

I turned 31 last Thursday, which was marked my the girls and I baking a cake (Bella playing with the egg shells in the photo). Once my children entered my life the excitement of birthdays completely shifts to them. My birthday is hardly party worthy when I have two gorgeous girls to shower with love and excitement on their special days. All I need on my birthday is a homemade card from my daughters and a big hug and a kiss from my husband. Neither of which I received this year but honestly, no big deal. I got lots of love from my friends and family and being with my two favorite little blondies all day was pretty great. I wasn't going to make a cake initially, I thought I would wait until Justin got home but when I asked Addie if she was going to sing me "Happy Birthday" that morning she said she wanted to wait until birthday time later when we had cake. That's when I knew I wasn't going to get a Happy Birthday from her unless we had cake. Off to the kitchen I went. We ended up eating the poorly assembled (but delicious) cake and then had a dance party in the living room. I don't get too sentimental about my own birthdays. I recognize that in the big picture of life, I am still relatively young. Even though at 20 I could hardly picture myself at 30. I knew I would have a family but other than that I couldn't see that far into the future. So far I've only lived a year into my third decade and it's by far better than the previous one. I'm more comfortable in my skin, I am happy, and content and secure in my wonderful marriage. I couldn't be happier or more content in my role as mother to my two little girls. Then there is the third baby on the way. Pregnancy generally makes me feel alive and peaceful; this time is no exception. I'm very lucky and thrilled to be me right at this moment in my life. I'm not wishing to be younger and I'm not wishing away the years to come. This point in life is pretty wonderful. I know that later on down the road I will look back on my 30s as the time when we were growing as a family, moving around the world, cultivating Justin's career, and raising our young children with all our efforts and energy. I have a feeling this decade we will be busy and happy and tired and crazy; but mostly full of life at it's best moments. Normally, I don't give March 31, much thought every year. I probably gave it more thought this year since I was alone.

The great thing is that Justin returned home on Saturday to a very excited household of girls who welcomed him home with hugs and kisses. The girls didn't even let Justin take a shower in peace after his long flights. They literally stood there in the bathroom giggling with excitement as he washed off the earthy spicy smell of Africa and the middle east.
We celebrated my birthday on Sunday by going out to dinner and retrieving a huge stack of boxes that had been collected in Justin's office while he was away. Good things come to those who wait because Justin surprised me with a new camera lens for my Nikon. I am so excited to start learning to use it. My initial attempts are not quite perfect but I think with time I should be able to get some nice portraits of Addie and Bella.We have about 8 weeks left in Manila before we pack up and head back to the States. It's coming up very fast and I am starting to get very anxious about all the things I still need to do before we leave. I had all sorts of things I wanted to get done and most likely they will not all be completed. I guess I need to prioritize.