Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Because It's Never Enough

To say this PCS/Medevac has been challenging is the world's biggest understatement. So many things have gone wrong that I've lost count. And just when I got word yesterday that Charleston (where our central Finance department is located) had accidentally applied our entire voucher reimbursement to our advance (leaving me with no money to pay our February rent) - to which they replied, oops, sorry but nothing can be done now - this happened:

Luckily it's just a sprain (she came down on her ankle the wrong way during gym class), but she will be on crutches for the next 3-4 weeks. So now I have 2 kids to care for around the clock and 2 that can semi-care for themselves. *sigh*

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Finally Not Pregnant!!

Baby N born 1/21 at 413pm weighing in a 6lb even, 19 3/4" long with a sweet little face that truly makes everything worth it! :)

After such a difficult pregnancy, my labor and delivery was super easy. I was up all the night on the 20th in a very long, slow labor (although I didn't know it at the time). My contractions were coming very sporadically, like every 30-45 minutes or so, so I just thought they were super shitty Braxton Hicks. They started at about 9pm and kept going but didn't get any closer together, so eventually I gave up hope and went to bed. The night was awful. I woke up every 45-60min to have a super strong contraction, try to pee and then stay up to try and time the next one except that the next one wouldn't come. I had a regular dr appt the next day with my midwife, so I just went in as usual. When she did her normal check to see if I was dilated, I was shocked to learn that I was at 5cm! My midwife recommended that even though I wasn't having regular contractions that I go ahead and be admitted to L&D. I would have gone home and tried to wait it out except that the snowstorm was hitting, and I was afraid that once active labor started I wouldn't be able to make it back to the hospital! Turned out to be a good decision because after monitoring me for a while and my contractions not going anywhere my OB broke my water and N was born about 45 min later. It took a total of 2 pushes and he was out! By far the easiest delivery I've had. Almost makes me think I could do it again! (don't tell Husband I said that ;) N is just perfect (not that I'm biased!). He looks just like A did when he was born, and I am so in love. I was worried about caring for a newborn again after so long, but it turns out some things come right back to you while others … (BF - no problem; remembering how tightly to put on the diaper - er, we're learning that the hard way).

Friday, January 17, 2014

Angry Pregnant Lady

So it's hit that point. I am the "Angry Pregnant Lady." I'm so, so over being pregnant that all sense of humor is gone. Husband keeps trying to make jokes, and I mostly just try to prevent myself from causing him great bodily harm. If you've ever wondered why enormously pregnant people are very angry try to picture living the following dream every night:

- Wake up at 3am partially from strong contraction and partially because I'm pretty sure I just peed a  little in my sleep
- Take about 10 minutes to get roll sloooooowly out of bed and make my way the 5 steps it take to get to the bathroom
- Pee about 3 drops
- Lumber back to bed and take about 10 minutes to get back in (pausing for 2nd contraction)
- Half-asleep Husband mutters, "WTF are you doing? Just go to sleep." Then flops over onto my body pillow and starts snoring
- Take another 10 minutes trying not to choke him with rage.
- Try to fall back asleep only to realize that I still have to pee.
- Take about 10 minutes to get roll sloooooowly out of bed and make my way the 5 steps it take to get to the bathroom
- Pee about 3 drops
- Give up on sleep and lumber downstairs to time my contractions
- Make it all the way to the couch only to sneeze and accidentally pee myself again
- Lumber back upstairs to clean up
- Half-asleep Husband mutters, "WTF are you doing? You are killing me!" Then rolls over easily and promptly falls right back asleep
- Seethe internally for about 10 minutes while picturing all the ways in which I could hurt this man I love
- Flop down on the bed and try to roll to my side only to find I am trapped like a turtle on its back
- Alarm goes off and I start to cry a little
- Loving Husband says, "I don't understand why you look so tired? You went to bed at 9:30 last night!"
- Efforts to smother him with my body pillow are futile since I cannot roll over off my back

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Travel Back Post - Bohol

Our last internal Philippines trip was to to the one big tourist spot we hadn't hit so far: Bohol. Known for its Chocolate Hills (still green when we were there) and Tarsier monkeys, Bohol is touted to be a very different destination with unique features that you won't find in other places in the Philippines. We did this trip at the very end of Oct/beginning of Nov in anticipation of my (later canceled) TDY to the Marshall Islands.

We loved, loved, loved the resort we stayed at, The Peacock Garden, which is German-owned with great food and beer. The grounds were lovely and quiet, and the staff were well trained and attentive - definitely one of the better customer service experiences we've had in the Philippines.

As for Bohol itself, I can definitely say the beach is nothing to write home about compared with other locations we've been to. It certainly can't hold a candle to Boracay or to Palawan. While I enjoyed seeing the Tarsiers, it wasn't an experience that particularly blew my mind either. It is a short trek and the area is roped off, so it wasn't much different than going to a zoo, which was not exactly the natural habitat experience I was expecting.

I also wasn't blown away by the Chocolate Hills. Granted they were still green when we were there, but, while lovely, it didn't strike me as a natural wonder I just had to see. Additionally, it was about a 2 hour drive from our hotel on a VERY bumpy road. Being nearly 8 mos pregnant, it was super uncomfortable. Then once we got to the Hills it was a mere 300+ stair climb to the top of the viewing point. Ugh! The view was gorgeous, and maybe it would have been more mind-blowing if we had gotten to see them when they were brown instead of green, but I cannot say that the view was worth the effort.

We did like the Bohol Bee Farm, an organic farm that also doubles as a hotel. The hotel seemed a little rustic for my taste, but we spent a few hours there just touring the farm and enjoying the delicious organic food.

The hotel also offered other tours to destinations like local churches and an underground cave, but they weren't really all that exciting. A lot of these extras are just stuff that the locals have cultivated as ways to make money since the real draws are the Tarsiers and the Chocolate Hills. The kids did enjoy visiting the Butterfly Gardens, though, which was a nice diversion during our long drive to the Chocolate Hills.

All that being said, we certainly enjoyed the trip. The resort itself was worth the trip alone, but if you're just visiting the Philippines, I'd have to recommend other destinations above Bohol.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Travel Back Post - Malaysia

Well, really we went to Legoland with a one-day stop over in Kuala Lumpur. This trip actually took place in late October, which we found to be a great time to visit the area since it wasn't high tourist season but the weather was still pretty good. Husband had been to Borneo a few months back on a guys trip with our friend I and step-son T, and he came home just raving about how awesome it was, so we had ben wanting to go for a while. We also figured this was a perfect time to take the younger, lego-obsessed ones to Legoland, which is really aimed at the 5-10 year old set. C did not join us on this vacation as she had a school trip that conflicted, but she was patently uninterested in traipsing around Legoland anyway, so I don't think she considered it much of a loss! Next time we go to Malaysia we'll spend more time really seeing the country itself (and eating its amazingly delicious food!) which will be much more up her alley.

We spent two full days traipsing around Legoland (not something I would recommend for other preggo mamas, as it was blazingly hot and no rides allowed*, so I spent most of the day lumbering around sweatily from bench to bench while Husband got to go on all the rides!) and just one day in KL. I have to say, though, this is the perfect age for kids to go to Legoland. The kids had an absolute blast - they were never bored and there was no complaining in spite of the heat. Also, Asia is totally the way o go when it comes to theme parks. It has been our experience, and Legoland was no exception, that theme parks in Asia are far less crowded, slightly less expensive, and just as much fun as the ones in the U.S. It really makes me excited for the prospect of living near Hong Kong Disney!

I wish we could have sent more time in KL (next time, for sure). The city is just lovely. It's clean, good infrastructure with nice roads and public transit, and easy to get around. We, of course, were there on the only day of the week that the Petronas Tower was closed to the public so we only got to see it from the outside, but we did go all the way to the top of the KL Tower. I wish I could say that we saw much more of the city, but after all that walking around in the heat (plus there was a lot to do at the KL Tower) we were all pretty much done. Also, our flight from Johor Bahru to KL got delayed for about 5 hours (and there is nothing more exhilarating than killing time in an airport with 3 kids past midnight), so we didn't even get into KL until quite late the night before. It would have been great to see more of the city, but this trip was really all about the kids.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Sooo Tired of Being Pregnant

So the other big reason I've been neglecting my bloggity blog is that I feel like 'm just terrible company right now. This has been, by far, the most difficult pregnancy on my body. I'm not sure if it's because I'm older* or because this is pregnancy #4 or if it's just because it has been so long and I've completely forgotten what it's like to be pregnant (was it always this hard?). Whatever the reason, my heart is definitely two sizes too small, and I am just kind of a miserable bitch. With only 3 weeks or so to go, let's just say I am so over this pregnancy thing. I can't wait to meet little No Name. He's going to be kind of cold for a while since our UAB isn't going to be shipped until our orders come through** and most of my baby stuff is in our UAB shipment, but I did get a stroller/car seat and a breast pump, so he will at least be able to come home from the hospital and won't starve to death. Score!

*soooo much older :( 
**hahahahahahahahaha (that's the maniacal laughter that runs through my head every time I think of all the craziness that has surrounded this medevac/move)

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Long Time, No Blog

I know,  Know. I have been neglecting my blog terribly, but between my parents coming to visit, my medevac, and arranging for the household move (Husband came with us on PCS orders so we ended up doing a complete pack out even though I will be returning to Manila after the baby is born)…well, it's been a bit busy to say the least. As you may have guessed, we are currently in the US at our new home base in Falls Church. I've been busy with moving into our new house, getting the kids ready for their new schools, preparing to work a detail at FSI while we wait for the baby to come, and, of course, that whole holiday thing. There's soooo much to blog about. I still haven't put up any of our Malaysia or Bohol pictures, much less the Cambodia and Singapore trips I took with my parents. Then we went to NYC for Christmas (we figured it would be pretty sad to arrive a few days before Christmas to an empty house so we dragged our jet lagged butts off to the city for a few days). Now we're basically settled back in the NoVA area and getting ready for a new chapter. We'll be here for about a year (barring my own short return to wrap up my posting to Manila) before we head off to our next Post in Hong Kong. I promise I'll start playing catch up on all the stuff I've missed…at least until the baby's born :)