Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy 8th Birthday, Kennedy

To Kennedy on your 8th birthday,

I can't believe that it has been 8 years since you made me a mom for the first time. I remember spending months and months preparing for your arrival. It was very momentous for us! We had been married for just over 2 years. You arrived shortly before my 24th birthday. We bought a house and an SUV. We hit up garage sales and collected hand-me-downs for the big stuff, but you got a lot of new stuff, too. You were the first, after all!

I tell you these things because you are going to remember the arrival of another brother shortly after your 8th birthday. You're going to remember that we threw everything together in the last month before his arrival. You're going to remember how long we spent collecting whatever anyone was willing to give us for this little addition.

Sometimes, you complain about how hard it is to be the oldest. You make reference to the fact that we've "experimented" on you. You have had to suffer as a result of our parenting shortcomings, and we always reply with a quip about the fact that we, too, are firstborns. We survived our parents' "experiments," and you will, too. But, I want you to know that since before you were even born, we have done the very best that we could to give you the best life possible.

We may not remember all of the little details about the beginning of your life as well as we do those of your brothers. We certainly didn't document everything as well after your first year. And no, we had no idea how to operate a camera, but we still took the pictures!

You are the oldest and you are our only little girl, which makes you pretty special. You're going to be the best little mama to your new baby brother, and I'm excited to be able to stop reminding you that your not Cade's mom. I think you'll enjoy bossing around this little brother much more because he'll listen much better!

You have been a great big sister to Cade, especially this fall as he's made the transition to YISS. You've led him all around the school, picked him after the day has ended, and chatted with him about the teachers that you have in common. You've supported him as he's learned to read and helped him with math. I can hardly wait to see how you help your new baby brother in these areas in a few years!

You have the biggest heart, and you love so well! Your dad and I always receive compliments on how well-behaved, how respectful, and how happy you are (not that we can take the credit!). We are so proud of you, and we have been since the very first time you were placed in our arms.

I love you little girl and am so excited to celebrate you turning 8 today!


Friday, September 26, 2014

An Update

I just wanted to provide a quick update, since I left you with me on bed rest. 

It was back to the grind on Tuesday for everyone. Eric and the kids returned to school, and I returned to dishes, laundry, and cooking. I will admit that after two days of lounging, it seemed to require a bit more energy to do the normal tasks, but I'm back in the rhythm now.

My backache (the new lower one, not the long-time middle one) has eased for the most part, and while I'm not feeling great because I am 35 weeks pregnant, I'm feeling better than I was.

I returned to the doctor yesterday for my regular appointment, and she seemed confident that as I long as I was feeling okay, everything was okay. She didn't do another ultrasound since I'd just had one, but she listened to his heartbeat with the doppler, and he sounds healthy as a horse.

I got in a little trouble because somehow I managed to lose a pound this week. I blame the scale, myself. She asked if I was eating 3-4 times a day, and I said more like 5 or 6 times. She asked if I was exercising too much; I told her only if laying on the couch counts as exercise. Seriously, I can't explain it.

She also informed me that she will be out the country for my 37th week, so that's motivation to keep this little guy in there a little longer. Hopefully, he'll be ready to go as soon as she returns (wishful thinking, of course)!

Our crib and dresser arrived yesterday, and I have to do lists written for every week until I reach 40. I'm hoping that the magical due date means something to this kid!

There are still a few little things we need to pick up (like diapers, for example), but my Amazon order arrived this week, so I think we're finally starting to feel ready. Eric says that having a crib in the house makes it feel much more real. I wonder how long it will be before we stop calling the nursery the office. It would probably help if we could just call it "____________'s room," but that's difficult since we haven't filled in the blank. I think we're getting closer.

My photography class is now officially over, so I continue to grace you with the random iPhone pictures from our week! I'm not planning to do the photo a day thing next month, so I don't know what pictures I'll provide you with!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Another Experience

It's been another interesting week. Well, actually, most of our week wasn't too interesting. We were back to the regular routine with school, with a full 5 day week. They won't have another one of those for 2 more weeks. I stayed pretty busy myself with a mom's outing on Monday, volunteering at play group on Tuesday, and Bible study on Friday. Oh, the routine of a stay-at-home mom.

We finally had all of the office furniture removed this week, and it's amazing how a completely empty bedroom actually makes me feel more ready for this kid to arrive. Still no word on when the crib will be here, but I'm hoping for sooner rather than later.

This is the weekend of the staff retreat down at Taechon Beach, which we usually attend and enjoy (for the most part), but I just wasn't up for the challenge of a 4 hour bus ride, packing, lots of walking, and uncomfortable sleeping and shower arrangements, so we stayed home for the 3 day weekend.

On Saturday, Eric returned to the baseball routine after a 2 week break for Chuseok. Since the countdown is officially on now for this little babe and there are a couple of Saturdays that I have other plans, I figured this was may be our last chance to make it to a game this fall. Temperatures are in the high 70s and low 80s these days, so we were able to stay comfortable, as long as we were in the shade. Aside from a lot of walking, everything was fine.

The drive home, however, was not a lot of fun. Traffic was really bad, as it was the later game (and a long one that eventually ended in a tie), so we ended up driving home way too late in the afternoon for light traffic in Seoul. It only took us about a half hour to get there, but it took more than an hour and a half to get home. And on the way, we were rear ended by a taxi. Thankfully, we were in stop and go traffic, so no one was going very fast. There was no damage to the car and no one had any complaints--except for me--with another backache.

I knew that even though the accident was really minor, had it been a week day, I would have gone to the doctor just to make sure that everything was okay. But, it was a Saturday evening, and I didn't really think it was worthy of a trip to the E.R. Of course, I went home and Googled it, and the overwhelming advice was to to go the doctor--or at least call. It wasn't the advice I wanted, so I stopped reading.

The fact was that I wasn't feeling great. I had quite a bit of lower back pain and some lower abdominal pain, as well (though this kid continued to move a lot!). The discomfort continued throughout the night and into the morning, and so I did a little more Googling. After reading a little more about the things that can go wrong, it seemed that the responsible thing to do was go and get checked out. So, that's what we did.

I called our neighbors that we knew hadn't gone on the retreat (she's also 8 months pregnant, and I may be guilty of convincing her not to go) to come over and watch the kids while we headed to the E.R. It was a surprisingly painless experience. Sure, we didn't know where we were going. Sure, we used hand signals to communicate with people. The E.R. itself was full of awkwardness of not knowing where to go, but we were eventually led up to the maternity ward and there the doctor and nurse spoke English, so we had a pretty good idea of what was going on.

They monitored the baby's heartbeat and checked for contractions. Everything looked normal, but they did an ultrasound to check for placental abruption, just in case. All in all, I think the trip was reassuring for us in more ways than one. First of all, assurance that all is well with the baby made us both feel much better. For me, finding that everyone spoke enough English to get by and that they knew all of the right things to check made me feel much more confident. And for Eric, actually seeing the maternity ward and knowing that we will be able to make it there when I go into labor helped him to have a little better idea of what to expect. And the whole thing only cost us $250, which I figure is pretty good for a trip to the E.R.

I was put on a 48 hour bed rest, just to ensure that my placenta stays where it should, so I'll be relaxing a little more on this 3 day weekend than I'd originally planned. I'm grateful that it isn't any longer, though!

These pictures are from our last week in Washington. We took the kids to a children's museum on a particularly hot day. We drove up to Tacoma to meet Eric's aunt and let the kids play at the splash park. We went to the park with Lindy and walked down to the beach after having a picnic. Eric and Cade went on a backpacking trip in the North Cascades, while Kennedy and I went to a Seattle Reign game. We combined that with one last trip to see the cousins (big and little) in the north end, before finally attending the wedding of a good friend from college and doing our last minute shopping and packing at my aunt and uncle's house before flying out. Another great summer in the books!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pregnancy Questions

Well, these pregnancy questions posts have been going around the blogosphere, and with the lack of much else going on in my life, I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon. Besides, I did say I was going to document this pregnancy better than I did the other two (not hard, since I never documented a thing about them!)

How far along are you?  34 weeks...still 6 weeks left?!

Total weight gain?  26 pounds...it is what it is. I never gained more than 35 with the other two, and I'm on track for that, so I s'pose I'll be happy if I can manage it. (Especially considering I'm still hungry all.the.time.) You might notice the pattern of food pictures here...kinda hard to miss!

Favorite moment this week?  Well, okay, it wasn't this week. But, a couple of weeks ago the kids were playing with cars in Cade's room when I heard Cade referring to Jellybean. Each of the three them had a pile of cars and were racing them. I just thought it was so cute that Cade included his little brother in their game!

Movement?  Um, yes. All.the.time. And remember when I said he hadn't had the hiccups? Ha! I think he started the next day! Gets them about once a day. I feel like one of these days he's going to stop moving just because there's no room in there! The other night both kids had their hands on my belly feeling him hiccup; it was pretty cute but I wasn't quick enough with my camera!

Food cravings?  Fruity, gummy candy. Salty foods. Ginger ale. Exciting stuff!

Maternity clothes?  Ha! Since about week 10. Was that really a question?

Belly button, in or out?  I think I have the world's inniest belly button (and a tendency to make up words). I was thankful for it when my belly button was perfect for piercing when I was 16, and I've been happy to have it every time I've been well into the third trimester without having "popped."

I've been doing another photo a day project in September, so here are some lovely phone photos, for those of you who don't follow me on Instagram (or never remember to check it!)

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Work in Progress

This has obviously been kind of a busy week. With everybody home on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I didn't have much time for blogging. And then Thursday and Friday I was busy running errands, among other things.

We spent much of our Chuseok holiday relaxing, but we did manage to get a little accomplished, as well. The nursery is a work in progress.

On Saturday, Eric took the kids on a hike up to Seoul Tower again (I stayed home). On Sunday, Eric took the kids to Seoul Station to pass out food to the homeless there (I stayed home). On Monday, Eric took Kennedy on a pretty challenging hike on Bukhansan (Cade and I stayed home). Notice a pattern here? I'm not feeling too energetic these days!

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we worked on cleaning out the office to turn it into a nursery. We finally cleared off the desk and turned in the requisition to have the school come pick it up. And, Eric and I switched closets, so that he won't have to wake up the baby in the morning to get dressed. I've condensed my clothes down to one closet and now the baby and I each have one in the "nursery."

I also finally managed to sort through most of the hand-me-downs we've received and started washing some teeny tiny baby clothes now that we have a place to put them! We still don't have a crib or a name for this baby, but the big stuff always comes together in the end, right?!

I promised earlier that I wouldn't share the boring pictures I've been taking for my class, but I broke down and did it, because the alternative is no pictures. The first week, we just worked on exposure. Then, it was nailing exposure while focusing on aperture. And the hardest has been nailing exposure while focusing on either freezing or showing motion. We're not allowed to edit, so you get what you get with these images straight out of the camera!

Friday, September 5, 2014

At Lidi's

Things have been a little humdrum over here. That's not to say that nothing has been going on; just nothing to write home about. And so, I've struggled to get motivated to write at all. But, I do have these pictures from our trip home, so I s'pose I could write about that.

As I mentioned, we only had a three week overlap with my dad. Considering that was half of our trip home, it made sense that after he left, we would spend the majority of our time with Eric's mom.

Of course, she works while we're there, so we have to find ways to entertain ourselves during the day, which isn't too difficult.

Eric and the kids spent one day hiking with his aunt and cousin. We visited numerous parks. Seriously. I don't think I can count them all!

Each of the kids displayed some serious TCK moments. While I was shopping for maternity clothes one day, Kennedy looked through the racks of clothes to see in what country each of the items were made, All I could think was that I would never have considered that at her age! Cade--through the length of the summer--commented on the size of parking spaces in America, saying things like "Look Mom! I can open my door all the way and still not hit the other car!" It's the little things, isn't it, Cade?

Eric would have been content to go on a hike every day of the entire summer, enjoying the nature and vastness of WA, but he couldn't drag me on most of them.

On this particular day, he told me that it was only about a mile loop to walk at this park. But, I had left my tennis shoes in the car and flip flops weren't doing it for me at that point. So he and Cade went on ahead, again.

He took me on a date one night to a restaurant overlooking Tumwater Falls, where we had some really good food. Then we walked a bit downtown Olympia and ended up sitting in front of the lake watching the joggers go by. I was not up for walking around. Really, I just wanted ice cream.

Kennedy learned how to ride her bike without training wheels this summer (finally!), and we (finally!) bought Cade a bike for the States. They spent hours and hours riding around Lidi's neighborhood.

Eric also got them a slip'n'slide that lasted about as long as it took me to take this picture. I enjoyed my homemade cherry limeade and a book while the kids played in the sprinkler, after the slip'n'slide broke.

It is (maybe?) starting to cool down a bit here, finally. We had one day where the highs stayed in the 70s, which was nice. I'm still not feeling great, but at least we're able to count down the weeks now until we meet this little guy, and we are (ever so slowly) preparing for his arrival! This week we have Chuseok, so Eric and the kids have the next 5 days off from school. We didn't get Labor Day off, but I think this is a pretty good trade!
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