Thursday, November 28, 2013

What the what?!

In an introductory email to the children’s future school, I wrote the following:

“We have three sons, one who will enter 3rd grade immediately and one who will enter Kindergarten our second year. Our third will enter Kindergarten our last year there.”

After I wrote this, I dropped my head in my hands and realized how crazy it is. My last child will be entering school at our next post. He was born at our last post and he’ll start school at our next one.

It’s true what they say…the years really do go by too quickly.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Not as easy as we thought

John’s brother and his family are in town. My kids have two cousins. Adelyn, who’s close in age to Simon, and Odin, who is 18 months.

We were excited for the cousins to reconnect and play together.

Unfortunately they haven’t gotten along as well as we’d hoped they would. There are many times through the day where separation is required.

That being said, there are some amazingly cute moments. Mostly they’re quick and the camera doesn’t make it out in time. This morning, Simon wanted Adelyn to wake up and play and he was so excited when she finally did. The happy-play-time only lasted about 30 minutes until something happened.

Oh well. The adults are all happily enjoying each other’s company. We’re just learning how to manage the kids’ time to make sure relations don’t get bad.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

My first baby

If you remember, I was on bed rest and waiting for my last baby to develop just enough for him to be safe.

Wednesday pulls around. I am 35 weeks and 2 days into gestation. I’ve been told that I will start the pitocin at 7:00 a.m. which means that at 6:30 I’ll have to start the process of moving to the delivery room and getting the IV placed.

6:30 came and I impatiently waited about ten more minutes for the nurses to come and help me. I was so excited that this was the day I finally got to meet my baby.

The IV went in, and the pitocin started. And I laid there and started labor.

malachi birth blog

I think my nurse hated pregnant women. She started me on such a high dose of pitocin that I was in full-on labor in less than an hour. In two and a half hours I couldn’t move without assistance because of the pain. Even though I was only at a 2 they decided to give me the epidural.

I thought anesthesiologists were my best friends after that. I was pain free and it was amazing. For the next few hours I laid there and let my body do the work while my brain had no idea the trauma that was going on.


At about 7:00 that night they decided it was time to push. Though the work wasn’t very painful, it was hard work. I wasn’t in great shape and wished I had done more to build stamina.

After a fairly short (50 minute) push time, he joined us in this world. He was amazing. He looked like his father.

He was whisked away.

He struggled breathing a bit.

He didn’t have a name.

I was prepared for this possibility. I was sad, but not crying. I knew they would take care of my baby.

After everyone had gone, and John and I were alone. We named him.

We visited him in the NICU and saw him.


He was so small.

It seemed he had cords and tubes on every surface. I couldn’t hold him, only touch him.


I went to bed.

I had a baby.

My life was forever changed.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Next Year

We’ll be moving again.

Our next assignment is…

Kingston, Jamaica!

We have mixed feelings about this. It wasn’t on our original bid list and wasn’t high on our secondary bid list. But we think it has great potential.

We’ll be accepting visitors starting in September or October, 2014! Book your slots now – they’ll fill up fast!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bed Rest

Two days after we celebrated our 4th anniversary I was 33 weeks pregnant with our first child. A little boy, that we were so excited about.

I went to the hospital. There was a possible complication. That day, I worked an eight hour shift by myself at the front desk of a hotel. When I called the Dr’s office the nurse gave me a couple of at home tests. One we passed…one we failed. So we went. And we stayed. For two weeks.

I spent the first two days in and out of consciousness. I was in pre-term labor (I didn’t even feel the contractions) and to stop it they shot me up with Magnesium. Magnesium hurts…a lot. The pain knocked me out. I sort of remember a bad dream that the nurse that admitted me was stealing my baby. John told me when I gained full consciousness a couple of days later that I was crying out about it.

hospital blog1

The rest of the two weeks was fairly boring. I sat in bed with an IV for four more days and then was cordless for the rest of the time. I was on (fairly) strict bed rest. There was a shower scheduled for me with my awesome Dallas peeps.

To hedge the boredom, it was moved to the hospital. The Dr was nice enough to let me go to one of the waiting rooms in a wheel chair so that I could have it there. Though, a nurse did come tell me that it was going too long and we had to move one of the games to my room. My friends were so sweet to bring it to me. It was the perfect way to break up the tedium in the hospital.

hospital blog2 

John would work and go to school and otherwise spend the night with me. After a few days of this I sent him home for bed. He wasn’t getting any rest on that horrible excuse for a bed in my room. My mom and sister came down to visit and help at home, doing laundry and preparing for the arrival of our little one.


The plan was set on day three of my stay. Specialists came to my room and assessed the situation. They said that there was a small leak in my amniotic sac. It was risky for both of us. But him being born at 33 weeks was too risky. Hence – stopping the labor when I arrived. However, the risk of infection for both of us was too high to keep him in longer than necessary.

So they set the induction for 35 weeks and 2 days.

To Be Continued…

A day to celebrate

We didn’t know how to celebrate our anniversary this year.

We have traveled the last few years, but felt like staying close to home this year because we wanted to go to the Marine Ball (scheduled for the night before our anniversary). We had a blast at the ball and are so happy we went. We spent the night at the hotel (such a good idea) and slept in. I took a bath and read in a real bath tub! Johnathan surprised me by hiring our old driver for the day. It was so nice that we didn’t have to worry about driving (and parking).


at the ball

We wanted to do something fun. Dinner and a movie sounded lame. So it was decided that we would combine two activities. One that he would plan (the bag of fun) and one that I would plan (scavenger hunt). The week before our anniversary, I went to Greenbelt mall a couple of times and found different things that I could use: menu item, store signs, specific baby shoes, a dirty expat with a much younger Filipina (which was the easiest and quickest, btw. He read the card looked up, turned, and said “there’s one!”), etc.

We spent three hours at the mall with him figuring out clues and me doing crazy stuff to embarrass myself. The bag of fun included activities like: pretend sword fighting every time he said “en guard,” freezing in place every time he said “freeze,” finding a stranger and posing like a model in a photo with them, going into a store and speaking a language not from earth while buying something, etc.


posing like a model with a stranger

We were tired from walking for almost three hours, but at the end we were so happy. We had so much fun.  He then told me that we had something after that and told me what outfit to bring for it. We went to a older office building in Makati (on a Sunday, so not only is it old…it was practically abandoned), and up to the 8th floor. We walked into a photo studio and I was really touched, John hates (hates!) portraits. I knew that he was really sacrificing for me to do a photo shoot.

I was wrong…he wasn’t sacrificing at all.

He had brought along a huge popcorn bowl, a large bag of popped popcorn and plain white paper cups and straws for them. As we were getting acquainted with the photographer John asked him to show me his work. He makes surreal photos. He takes the person’s (usually just one) photo and photoshops them into the requested scene. He’s done a lot of athletes, but some non-athletes as well. When he’s done with the photo it has a elegant comic book-like look to it.

Here’s what idea they thought of for our photo, in a nut shell: we’re sitting in a movie theater and John is trying to steal my popcorn. After shooting for about 40 minutes with different ideas on how to convey it, we came up with the one that works the best and settled on our favorite shot. He reserved the studio for two hours, so he also took portraits of each of us separately and just some regular ones of us. He also wanted to get in on a few, so he asked the guy from the studio to grab a couple of shots.

We had such a good time. It was a creative idea and I can’t wait to see the final photo. The amount that we paid includes a framed print that he’ll order for us and then we’ll also get all the other shots that haven’t been touched up.

We left there and John told the driver where to go next. Unfortunately where to go next wasn’t open on Sundays. He wanted to take me to a speakeasy we haven’t been to yet. Since that one wasn’t open, we went to the one that we’re regulars at and sat and had a cocktail and shared arancinis.

After our pre-dinner drinks we went to Sala. It’s a fine dining restaurant that we’ve been eying since we got here. I had an amazing steak and John quite enjoyed his pigeon. We had a celebratory glass of champagne with dinner and with the two drinks and our busy day I was practically falling asleep at the table.

After our yummy dinner our driver took us home. And I was happy. Really, really happy. I told John at dinner that it was anniversary #2 for me as far as enjoyment. It was such a fun day. Hm…how are we going to top it next year?!

Monday, November 18, 2013

About 12 year ago


anniversary blog 1

I said “I do.” Not I will. I definitely didn’t like the trend of saying I will. I wanted to do the traditional vows and to say, I do. And I did.

anniversary blog 2

And it’s been good, and bad, and great, and horrible. We’ve had our highs and our lows. We’ve thrown around the word divorce a few times but we’ve said we couldn’t live without each other much, much more. We’ve been together for longer than we’ve been alive and we know no other way to live than with each other.

In the past twelve years we have moved six times, lived in Minnesota, Texas, Virginia, Costa Rica, and Philippines. We had three children, each in a different place. We have done school (one of us much more than the other) and started building a career and a half (being a Foreign Service spouse is practically a career).

We’ve survived grandparents passing, and missed a ton of cousin weddings. We’ve watched our friends marry and start their own families (because let’s be honest – not many people are crazy enough to get married at 20). We’ve made friends that we love and we’ve seen marriages disintegrate. We’ve watched life happen together, and that’s how we like it.

We had an amazing anniversary this year (my 2nd favorite). I’ll have to tell you about it…next time.