Sunday, July 28, 2013


I had a funny post* all ready to go about "embracing the bump, " which probably had way too many references to my lady parts to amuse the general public. But then I got this news and it broke my heart. Life is short and precious. You never realize it until it hits home so deeply. My heart is breaking and no words I can send seem like they are enough. It's hard to support the ones you love from half a world away. Hug someone you love close today.

*Funny in my opinion anyway

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Officially T2

Today marks the official first day of the second trimester. At least according to my What to Expect app it is. So it must be true, right? So why am I still so freaking tired!! Ugh! I'm so tired of being tired. I went from exercising 6-7 days a week for 60-90min a day to exercising, well, kind of whenever I have the energy. I can no longer get up in the morning, it is just too damn hard. I cram in a 30min walk & light weights at lunch (45min max) on days when I'm not feeling nauseous or light-headed. I do usually manage a workout on the weekends, but it just feels like such, well, work.

I am so looking forward to the "honeymoon" phase of T2 when the nausea and fatigue fade but the big boobs remain.* I'm still far too small for maternity clothes but have long since outgrown my normal clothes. Thank god for belly bands, but even those don't help solve the problem of regular shirts making you look like you've eaten a few too many doughnuts. We're not making any official announcements at work, which makes me a wee bit self conscious about people looking at my growing belly. This is mostly because I just don't care but also because I find that most people don't seem to know how to react when you say you're pregnant with #4. The responses have ranged from, "Was this an oops baby?" to uncertain looks while people wait for my cue to indicate whether or not we are happy about this development. The only people to react with genuine excitement are the couple of friends who knew we were trying and one friend who already has 6 kids of his own! It's a little off putting, actually, so I just decided I'm already cranky enough and I'd rather just not deal with it at all. I suppose people will figure it out on their own eventually. :)

*Don't judge me, for some of us, this is our only shot of big boob-dom. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Before There Was You

My Children,

When I was younger I had orange hair. Actually, at different times I had pink hair, purple hair, black hair, red and green hair, blue hair, and pretty much every color under the sun. I got most of my clothes at Good Will as a matter of principle and thought nothing of wearing clothes with cigarette burn holes and sweat rings. I almost never wore shoes, and I didn't shave for 3 years. I drove my mom's old Pontiac 6000 covered in vintage 1960s flower stickers, affectionately nicknamed, Bertha. I loved the Beatles and 311...and carried a secret torch for bad 80's ballads, which I sang alone in my car where none of my friends could see me.

 I was eager to be a grown up. I dropped out of high school at 16 and moved into my own place when I was 17. My roommates and I had all-night keggers...constantly, and I worked up to 4 jobs to pay the bills. When I was 13, I marched on Washington to protest the 1st Gulf War, and I once stumped for Jesse Jackson with my friend D and her dad. I thought I would join the Peace Corps and spend my life working to make the world a better place. I never dreamed I would join the military much less make a career of it.

Now I have Mom hair.  Cut into an "acceptable for the office" style and dyed a sensible color. On the rare occasions I buy clothes for myself, I shop on eBay or at the sale racks, but I am always conscious of the brand. My handbag is big enough to fit a small dog, and contains just about anything you could ever want or need: crayons, Angry Birds bandaids, iPhone and iPad loaded with apps for kids (none for moms), wipes, tissue, snacks. I work for the State Department (aka "the man"), and I do think that all my life's work has been to make the world a better place. And, I am exceedingly proud of that...and I still sing bad 80's ballads but now it's with pride with my friends at karaoke night.

Sometimes I feel that when I became a Mom, I lost a part of myself. Most of the time I don’t miss her, knowing that along with the slimmer waist and greater freedom, was also the inherent ignorance and selfishness that comes with youth.  The ignorance and selfishness that makes youth so much fun, I might add.  Is being a Mom always fun?  Not on your life.  Is being a Mom worth all the sacrifices we make? I deeply, deeply believe so.

To you I will forever be the person who puts bandaids on your boo-boos, makes sure you get the correct lunch at school, and that you brush your teeth at least twice a day. I am the one who helps with your homework, who drops you off at volleyball practice, and who nags you about finishing that same homework.  I am sure you will love that person, but will you really know who I am?

I never truly understood or appreciated my mother until I became one myself.  As a teenager it never occurred to me to investigate her beyond the surface level. She was my mom. A teacher, a cook, a cleaner, a sewer.  She worked, she baked, she made our clothes (and sometimes matching ones for dolls, or in my sister's case, for small unicorns).  She was my mom, but she wasn’t a person with a history, a dream, a set of beliefs.

Of course, I appreciate her now.

More than these mere words can ever hope to express, I truly appreciate my Mom. I can look back and see what she sacrificed for us.  And this is not to say that my Dad didn’t make sacrifices for us, because I know he did.  But I am a Mom, and I can see the path ahead for me.  I can see myself through your eyes, and I realize it will be some time before you see me as a person with an identity above and beyond your Mom.

And I can wait.  But sometimes I wish I could show you my life before, show you who I was when I was younger, before there was you, when I was only myself.

Monday, July 08, 2013

I Am Four

Or six, depends on how you count it. Either way it looks like there's a new Pu heading into the world. I guess we figure with one on the way out of the house, we needed to bring one in.

Had my 1st ob appt last week and also discovered that Husband's super sperm did not fail us. Turns out I'm further along than I had originally thought.* Baby 4/6 is due at the end of Jan not in Feb as we had planned for. This opens up a whole new set of challenges for us to figure our way through as we navigate through the decisions that face expat moms and FS moms who give birth abroad: do we stay here or medevac (medically evacuate)? What does this mean for our other children? If I medevac, do I take the kids with me or leave them here? What do I do about genetic testing? It's par for the course in the US that moms over 35 get certain genetic tests since the likelihood of having a child with special needs is much higher as you age and your eggs get old and crusty.** But they don't do genetic testing here in the Phils, so I'll have to take a trip to Singapore if I decide that's something we want to pursue. Basically, there's a lot to think about.

*which, on a totally vain note, made me feel so much better since I have already outgrown my pants!
**Or at least that's how all the pregnancy literature makes it sound. It's like you hit 35 and all your eggs shrivel up. 

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

I love the 4th of July. I have such amazing childhood memories of watching fireworks over the lake, hanging with my sisters and friends eating popcorn out of paper bags, playing with sparklers in the summer heat, and of course, fire flies! Our neighborhood used to have a 4th of July "parade" every year where all the kids would march around our little cul de sac in wagons and dressed to the nines in red, white, and blue. So very, very 'Murican! Of course, now that I'm a parent myself, I recognize that those memories were not nearly as sweet for the adults shepherding us around, lol.

Now that I work as a diplomat, 4th of July is more about sharing the joy of American Independence with our host country. It is, in fact, the biggest event the Embassy sponsors every year. This year I volunteered to deck myself out in real style and dressed up as Lady Liberty.

I was a hit, if I do say so myself. Uncle Sam and I were in high demand. The Philippines is no exception to the photography rule in Asia. If there's an opportunity for a photo, you better believe they're going to take it! :) I can't even imagine how many photos there are of me floating around Facebook now, haha. We must have had over 1,000 people attend this year's party, and I swear I took my photo with 998 of them! My cheeks hurt from smiling so much! But, it was also really fun. And I got to wear sandals since no one could see my feet under the robes. No standing in high heels for 6 hours for me! And we got to see fireworks this year! I love me some fireworks. Last year they got canceled because of the rain, and I was sooo disappointed. So I was really excited to see this year's show, and it was awesome. I only wish my kids could have seen it.

Today the CLO is putting on a family 4th of July party. We didn't have one of these last year, so I'm super grateful that they're doing it this year so the kids can celebrate too. There won't be any fireworks there, but there will be hot dogs, cotton candy, face painting, and bouncy houses! All worthy ways of celebrating the 4th.