Thursday, June 30, 2011

Red, White and Blue

Check out the Weekly State Department Roundup at Nomads by Nature on Friday.

Last year for the 4th of July event I worked. In San Jose there's no CLO event for the 4th, but there's a big representational event that I helped at. The CLO Coordinator was in charge of decorations, so, about three weeks after I started my job, I was at the hotel the day of the event steaming large flags that had been hung. After setup was done we went to the room that was offered to us to change in, and did just that.

This is a fancy party, so I wore a fancy dress. I met people that I never would have met, hotel owners, corporation big wigs, small business owners, etc. I stood in heels for hours because there was nowhere to sit. John and I are friends with the Officer who put the party together, so we stayed until the very end, the very, very end. We even shared a cab home with him.

This year, I'm not going. The event is this weekend, and I'm going to stay home and chill with my boys. My husband needs to work it, but he's driving himself so he can leave early and join his family chilling at home.

I don't think I'm ready to stand for hours in heels yet anyway.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vacation/Home leave

The topic for the Weekly State Department Roundup is Vacation and/or home leave. You can see it at The Wandering Drays tomorrow. Home leave, for those who don't know, is the time between assignments that you're required to spend in the U.S.

I haven't had a home leave yet, this being our first assignment, but I've heard people spend thousands of dollars. I know that with our plans (hotel in Dallas, rental car, Target!, food!!!, etc.) we'll be spending thousands of dollars. We're already planning on putting a certain amount of money away a month starting in November or December so that we have a bit saved up before we go.

I have had one vacation to the States since we got here 14 months ago. Before I got the tickets for my trip in January to MN I was really homesick. Going to MN in the dead of winter was better than not going to the States. Everyone in Costa Rica thought I was pretty dumb to go to MN in the dead of winter.

But I got to go to the States! I ate delicious food (although the weather did prohibit me from venturing out more). I got to visit with lots of family and friends, and my dad even got to meet Simon for the first time on this trip.

The thought of vacation takes on a whole new meaning when you're in the Foreign Service. Before we were in the FS vacations meant leaving the U.S. Now, vacations often mean going to the U.S.

There are vacations not in the U.S. though. John and I have always said that having kids wouldn't mean we couldn't do the things we want. For instance, yesterday we took a daycation to one of the closest beaches to San Jose.  We packed up all the kids and whatever was necessary for them, towels, and beach toys and headed out. We only spent a couple of hours there, but it was a good time. Malachi really enjoys the beach, so I'm glad we got to do that.

We've also been to the beach with almost every visitor (Allison, why didn't we do the beach instead?!). We went to the jungle to see sea turtles lay eggs, and we stayed at a house near volcano Arenal for a night and relaxed on the porch in hammocks and rocking chairs with our friends. We've had a lot of opportunities for travel just inside this country. We had hoped to see more of Central America while living here, but we may not be able to. We are going to Panama City with the kids in November for our 10th anniversary. We're excited for the city because it's supposed to be a lot nicer than San Jose (San Jose is a non city though), and we're excited for the Panama Canal, and we think Malachi will really like that as well.

But our upcoming vacation that I'm really looking forward to? In September we're going on R&R to the U.S. Honestly we were going to take our R&R to the United Kingdom, but tickets are so expensive to MN that we can't pass up the opportunity for the free tickets to see family.

I can't wait for food! FOOD!!! It'll also be nice to get a break from the rain. Sure it'll be fall in MN and it might rain a bit, but at that time here, it'll be raining almost constantly. It can't be that bad in the States.

September seems not far away...and yet...too far.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

So lucky

How'd I get so lucky? Coen eats every three hours during the day and only wakes up once or twice at night. He's awake more and more after feedings and even started making noises other than crying. After looking at pictures, it looks like his yellow tint has really gone down a lot.

It seems that the older kids are really starting to like him a lot. Simon even got to hold him today. 

Giving Coen a kiss.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A new normal?

I don't have much to blog about. Nothing spectacular has happened in the last few days. Malachi is getting much better, but is still coughing quite a bit since he doesn't yet know how to "cough it out." Coen's feedings are no less than three hours now - how did I get so lucky?! Simon's quite used to him now, I think. He says "hi" to him a lot and either waves or rubs Coen's head gently.

Life has been good these last couple of days. With nothing spectacular I wonder if it's just become...normal.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Coen's busy day

We saw the Pediatrician yesterday in the a.m. and Coen's doing quite well! He's only lost 4 oz. in six days - probably because he's eating so much. He's grown a centimeter, and his head shrunk two - apparently their heads are swollen at the time of birth. She thought he looked a little yellow, so she ordered a blood test. It came back borderline, so we were instructed to get him in the sun in the morning and have him eat lots. We'll do another test today to make sure it's not climbing. Other than that he's "perfect." 

I can tell you from my perspective that he's a poop machine! He's also pretty amazing and we're falling more and more in love with him. 

In the afternoon we went to the Embassy to get our packages and mail and introduce Coen to some people. He was a huge hit, and even met the Ambassador, but while Mommy was getting her tetanus shot, he was getting hungry and Daddy remembered that we needed to get home and give Big Brother his mid-day medicine. So Coen had to ride home in the car hungry. Eventually he fell asleep, but before that, if the car wasn't moving you knew he was there in the back seat.

He was so tired from all the activity yesterday, but he was a champ through it all.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Life with Three

Right now, life with three is easier than expected. Of course Coen isn't doing much, but I truly expected it to be much harder right away.

The last few days have been filled with feedings and diapers for me, and cooking and taking care of the older two for John. Coen is eating tons still, and is spacing out his feedings. Our bosses (my supervisor is married to John's boss) came today to see him.

I'm recovering pretty well. I've been able to even help around the house a little bit. Getting sleep is the hardest thing, although with him spacing out his feedings I got a bit more last night and should get more tonight - I hope.

Malachi is sick. This is horrible for him, but I feel bad because I can't just cuddle up with him. It also means he has to stay away from Coen. That's sad because he loves Coen. Simon may also have the same cold, we're not sure if he's sick or just teething.

Life with three should get very exciting in a few months though.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Longest labor, Shortest delivery

Coen Christopher was born on June 8th at 7 lbs 12 oz. and 20 1/2 inches long at 7:30 p.m. He was welcomed into this world by a team of Dr's and nurses and his parents in Costa Rica - our first (and last) International birth.

I was induced with both Simon and Malachi. The whole labor times (including delivery) were 8 1/2 hours and 13 hours respectively. With this labor, the time was at least 21 hours. I now know why my body is so exhausted compared to the others. Also, the epidural kept wearing off, so I still had a pretty painful delivery. My Dr. was amazing though, he was the perfect coach. That's one of the greatest things about delivering here. The Dr. was my coach through delivery not the nurses. 

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but he came out in two sets of pushes. It wasn't the normal three pushes in one set, it was more like one really, really big push for set one and then two or three not quite as big but still big pushes for the second set. And then he was out and crying, and he was amazing. They had to take him to another room for the tests and shots, and that made me really sad. I was jealous that John got to go with. He passed with flying colors and didn't cry from the shots.

I've written this over the last two days, I just have to wrap it up. He's nursing lots and keeping me up at night. Right now I feel completely wrecked. Hopefully I can nap today, maybe more than once. His cry is growing and he's getting louder. John's been amazing - he always is.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mid-Night Hospital Run

I decided that John and I needed practice going to the hospital. Well, really I thought my water was leaking and I was having contractions. We called P here some time before mid-night and when she got here we went to the hospital. 

The nurse on call did a fetal monitor which also monitored the contractions. Turns out I am having regular contractions, every seven minutes I have a big one and in between I have small ones. She did an exam and said that I'm not leaking fluid, I'm only dilated to 1 and he's not in position. I am partially effaced though - so I have that going for me.

So we were sent home. I'm supposed to try to get some rest, and maybe I can do that. I'm going to try at least. When I get up in the morning we'll count to see how far apart they are. When they're about 3 1/2 minutes apart I can go back to the hospital.

Right now the contractions are noticeable and the big ones are a little painful, but it's still very manageable. I'd like to think that I will eventually fall asleep.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Finding and Losing his First Love

Inspired by the informational and personal piece from Naomi about moving a teenager abroad, I wanted to write about my child's recent experience of life and love in the Foreign Service. 

Living in the Foreign Service certainly provides challenges, and one of them is the "transition season." That time of year (Summer in the U.S.) when those leaving/coming to Post do those things. This is my first at Post transition season and it's been challenging for me. Luckily the Foreign Service is small and there's a chance I'll see my friends again. 

One of my biggest fears for my children is handling the emotional stress involved in losing their friends. For Simon, this isn't an issue. I don't know if he has friends yet - is he capable of that? But for Malachi, when almost all of his friends are leaving this summer, I'm terrified. Malachi's a very social and friend/family-centric person. I guess he takes after me that way. 

Malachi's usually a very well behaved boy and Wednesday two weeks, ago I got an email from his teacher, basically saying that he was having a hard time focusing and it was a distraction for the students, and a hardship for the teachers. 

This was very un-Malachi so I immediately suspected that the anti-seizure meds had finally started to really mess with his brain and I imagined us having a very hard time with education either until his meds were done or for the rest of his educational career due to anti-seizure medications, which we certainly weren't giving up. We told Malachi that this behavior wasn't acceptable and that we'd be talking to his teacher every day to see how he acted at school. If he was a "bad" student he'd have privileges taken away, if he was a "good" student he'd be rewarded. 

The next day, I received another email from his teacher saying that he'd hit two boys from his class - one of them being his BFF.

I was utterly mortified when I read this. I couldn't believe Malachi had acted in such a fashion. I had wondered if Malachi was getting stressed out about the impending arrival, but at home he'd only been acting excited and happy about it. John and I agreed to have John have a very serious discussion about his behavior at school that day. When John came out, I'm pretty sure he had a really big grin on his face. 

When Malachi told him the story of what happened, John felt he wasn't getting to the bottom of it - the root of the cause if you will. He wasn't going to lead Malachi to admit anything specific, but realized that if he didn't bring up the baby it might not be talked about. So John flat out asked if Malachi was upset about the baby. 

Malachi says, "well...I wish it was a girl like [Malachi's classmate, and daughter of FS family] because I like her." 

He then went on to admit that they're really good friends, "but not like she kisses me or anything." We suspected that the behavior issues at school the three days had to do with the fact that he was in fact dealing with his first love. The misbehavior at school could have been showing off, and the aggression to the boys could have been because they were potential threats.

The next night he whispered a secret into John's ear (that he whispered so loudly that I could hear). The secret was that he wanted to marry her because she's so pretty (she's a very pretty Latina girl, btw). John later asked him if he'd ever confessed his love to her. When he answered no, John encouraged him to do so because he'd regret it if he never did. 

His behavior was reasonable at school the next couple of weeks. The teachers said that all of the students were having problems because of all the upcoming changes (school ending, people leaving Post, etc.). 

The parents of his first love left Post on Sunday. We spent Saturday morning with them in a pool at a hotel where they were staying. The two families went up to their room so we (the Roys) could change. We hung out with them a bit, and right before we left Malachi handed his love a note of scribbles and whispered in her ear. I asked what it says and he wouldn't admit it, but she had a big smile on her face and said "it says I love [insert name]." He was embarrassed but got over it. When we left the room he hugged his love "the most" and her sister "the least." And he admitted as much to each of them. 

That was the last time he saw them, and I imagine the last time he'll see her again for a long time. I wonder if he'll remember this later in life. 

Every time John talks about it he gets a huge grin on his face and is so proud of his boy for his first love. At first, I was so sad that my baby is growing up. Now, I love that he has that emotion to express for someone, and my grin is just as big as my husbands. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

June 10th

June 10th was the last day of school, I thought (it's actually the 9th). I told the baby that he could come on June 10th, or any day after. Recently when the pregnancy got difficult I began telling him that I'm full term on the 3rd and that he could come anytime after that. Today I found out why the pregnancy got so difficult. Here's my status update from Facebook: 

37 week check up: 
Ultrasound: check 
arrhythmia gone: check 
head down: check
size of abdomen (in weeks): 37 weeks 5 days
size of femur (in weeks): 38 weeks 5 days
size of head (in weeks): 39 weeks 3 days
weight of baby: 7.6 lbs
original due date: 6/24/2011
due date due to size of baby: 6/11/2011 

This kid is humongous! Do you "see" the size of his head?! I have to push that out of me! I could go into labor any day. My hopes are that he waits until the pump and diapers arrive. I also hope they arrive before next Friday.