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Monday, May 30, 2011

So How's that Baby Coming Along?

I'm now four months through my fourth pregnancy.  I think I can now consider myself a fairly seasoned pregnant woman, having spent two and a half years (of my six years of marriage) pregnant.

So when friends ask me how the pregnancy is going, sometimes I have to stop and think for a minute and remember that yes, I am pregnant again, and it's going fine if I forget that there's a baby the size of my fist currently residing in my abdomen.

With my first pregnancy, Kathleen, I couldn't wait to fit into maternity clothes and felt like I had to wait forever until those parachute-sized shirts fit, and some of them never quite did.  Sophia landed me in maternity jeans before the end of two months, but with Edwin I managed to hold onto my normal pants, with some modifications until over halfway through.  I waited until the absolute last necessary minute before I started wearing those maternity clothes.  This time I'm hoping the extend my record even further.

During Kathleen's gestation, I checked the pregnancy book at least twice a week to see how my baby was developing.  This go around the only time I've ever checked it was to settle a dispute Brandon and I had about the size of the baby - apricot or small cantaloupe?  He won, and I haven't opened it since.

I got blood work done in the US before we left so that I wouldn't have to bother with it here, but I've yet to go to the Embassy clinic and confess to the doctor there that I'm pregnant - again.  Maybe I'll get around to it the week after next.

We haven't decided on a name for either gender, and haven't even talked much about it.  I could get an ultrasound whenever I feel like going down the Nile Diagnostics clinic and paying for it, but I'm considering not even bothering until I return to the US just to avoid the hassle.

I'm very thankful that I've been blessed with very easy pregnancies, and this one has been no exception.  Which is good because by the time this baby arrives I will have packed and moved out of three apartments, moved into three apartments/houses, flown on two transatlantic journeys, visited or lived in five countries, been evacuated for three months, on home leave for six weeks, and taken care of three children under five the entire time.

So, the pregnancy is going well.  Having three children already helps the time pass quickly, and moving in the middle keeps my mind off the constant mantra of how many months, weeks, and days until I stop increasing daily.  I'm looking forward to the baby coming, especially since it will mean that we're almost done with the Year of Craziness.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Swim Baby, Swim

Swimming season has officially begun (it was one hundred degrees today), and so the girls have started swim lessons during the week.  Last year I left Edwin with Rere at home and participated in the lessons with the girls since Sophia was only two.

This year, however, both are old enough to have lessons without my presence, so Edwin gets to come to the pool with us and have swim time with me.  Last year when we started taking Edwin swimming, I'd dunk him a few times every time we went swimming so he wouldn't be scared by going under the water.  He was young enough to not know the difference, and so the strongest reaction he ever had was surprise.

So this year when I plunged him under the water, he looked around, wiped his face, and then broke out in a wide grin.  And he hasn't looked back.  Now, at the ripe old age of seventeen months, he practically belly-flops off the side of the pool into the vicinity of my arms, often regardless of my nearness.  The last time we went to the pool, he thought it was great fun to flop himself into the baby pool face-first and then wait, quietly floating, until I came over to give him my hand so he could stand up.

I'm happy that he's so comfortable with the water, but he has no natural caution to keep him safe and I have to watch him like a hawk.  And I think he makes the lifeguards incredibly nervous too.  But when it comes to his turn for swim lessons I think we can skip the part about putting his head under the water.

Monday, May 23, 2011

So Much for Being Proactive

I've never owned a refrigerator.  Or a furnace, or air conditioner.  I have owned a washer and dryer, but those for less than two years.  My responsibility when it comes to appliances (and cars, for that matter) usually amounts to crossing my fingers, screwing my eyes shut, and hoping that nothing goes wrong with them until my turn with them is over.  Not very adult, but so far it's worked.

So when the refrigerator started collecting water in the bottom a few days ago, I didn't worry about it.  Refrigerators do that sometimes, and then they usually stop.  No problem.  Brandon mentioned it, and I theorized that the freezer was going through a self-defrosting cycle, so he stopped worrying too.

But this morning, when Rere showed up, she worried.  Because that's what she's paid to do. If it weren't for Rere, half of the things in this apartment (other than the AC) wouldn't be working.  And so when she suggested giving her friend in maintenance a call, I shrugged my shoulders and said why not, not wanting to be bothered about it for the next three weeks.

Twenty minutes later facilities was here, and ten minutes later they had taken my refrigerator apart.  They couldn't find anything wrong, put everything back together, and told Rere to give them a call that afternoon if the water showed back up.  It did, so by three o'clock a new refrigerator was brought by, and by three forty-five Rere had cleaned it and replaced my food.

I came home from swim lessons with the girls to a new refrigerator - narrower, shallower, shorter, and with one less row of shelves than my old one.  We had just finished cleaning out the leftovers and our refrigerator had been in that blessedly empty state, cleansed of its old odds and ends and waiting to receive new leftover deliciousness.  The new one, despite this lack of food, was full, almost overflowing.  I cursed facilities for their old, crappy appliances that they always pawn off on me, and schemed how I could at least get some more shelves.

This evening at dinner, I noticed water on the table.  I picked up a plastic half-gallon water container, one of several we keep filled in the refrigerator for ready cold water.  I wiped off the water that was pooling around its base.  And then I noticed the crack, so small I had overlooked several times.  But not small enough to keep the water from leaking out... for at least a week now.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sophia turns three

Wednesday was Sophia's third birthday.  We celebrated the day by eating breakfast in our pajamas, going to the Commissary for a treat, and starting out the swimming season at Maadi House.

We had her favorite dinner, eggs benedict, and then had cake and presents.  I had worked the night before and that afternoon to make the cake she had specifically requested.  But even before the presents were opened, she and Kathleen both declared that they were not interested in cake.  By this point I shouldn't be surprised, as most times nobody wants cake after the presents are opened.  But still I make cake every time.

I find it strange to have Sophia turn three already - she was my Foreign Service baby, born right before we realized that Brandon might have a shot at a job other than lasagna making, and she really hasn't known anything but this crazy life.  One of the more common conversations is how old somebody will turn in what country.

I'm grateful to have Sophia in our family, brightening our days and so adorably lisping out her verse when it's her turn in scripture study.  I just can't believe she's three already!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Evacuation: In Review

Now that we're safe, sound, and back home, I feel that I can look back on the evacuation with some objectivity.  Being evacuated is something that I never would have ever chosen to do.  But with that said, it was manageable.  I think that if I had been separated from Brandon for the entire three months, I would have been saying something else entirely.  But, I wasn't, and I'm grateful.

Although we've only been back for a handful of days, our time in Virginia is starting to fade in the fuzzy unreality of events completed.  This is my reality, and living in the US was just some strange, long dream I woke up from in the Cairo airport.

But, despite the overall unpleasant situation - away from home, living in a random apartment, unstable situation, maxed-out credit card, husband gone - I can't say that the entire three months were complete misery.

I enjoyed being back in the US with a car, a GPS, somewhere to go, and somewhere to park when I got there.  We've been going to the same park every Saturday since we've been here, and the girls were absolutely thrilled about the change.  Every time I'd announce we were going to a whole new park the girls were happy for the rest of the day.

On the surface when I didn't think too much about our situation, life really wasn't too bad.  I didn't have any housework, any appointments, and pretty much every day was filled with whatever I liked (as long as it included three children).  We went to the zoo, the aquarium, lots and lots of parks, friends' houses, relatives' houses, and to grandma and grandpa's.  Spending the first three months of my pregnancy on evacuation wasn't the worst thing because I already had excuses not to cook, and once Brandon left, I could sleep in as long as I liked.  Once it got warm, a friend and I decided to have as many picnic meals at the park as we could.

But, of course, when I thought about the reality of the situation, it wasn't quite so rosy.  I didn't bring anything to do with me, and after awhile the feeling of sitting and twiddling my thumbs began to drive me crazy.  Not knowing exactly when all of this was going to end, was frustrating (although I had a pretty good guess which turned out to be true).  The endless, expensive trips to Target for things I already owned grew a little old.  And when my husband got sent back, things definitely took a turn for the worse.

But, the evacuation, like most things in life, ended.  Which is something to remember in any unpleasant situation - all things end eventually.  And when you're done, you're that much more grateful for the pleasant situation that comes in its place.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Home. Safe, Sound, and Incredibly Happy

Right now, I can hear Brandon's voice echoing down the hallway.  Interspersed with his mellow tones and Kathleen and Sophia's excited voices chirping at him.  "Okay! We'll be mustangs!  And we'll pull you across the prairie!"  It is so wonderfully nice to hear that again, after three months of bedtime without Daddy, and a month entire with no Daddy at all.

Tuesday while I read blogs and relaxed from our flight, he bathed the children. While I fell asleep on the couch, he got them ready for bed and put them down.  And then we spent the evening catching up and eating chocolate.  Forget globetrotting, exotic vacations, amazing locales.  I just want to be home, and with my family.  It doesn't get any better than this.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

In twenty-four hours...

I'll be flying over the Atlantic, hopefully asleep (maybe with the aid of medication).  But right now, my apartment is a mess, with dinner still sitting on the counter.  The girls' clothes are strewn over the floor, I have a load of laundry yet unfolded, and I can't find my iPod to charge it.

And what have I done about it for the last few hours?  Nothing.  What have I been doing instead?  Reading a really good book.  Because by tomorrow evening, my things will be packed, we will be on the plane, and dinner won't matter any more.  Whether or not I kill myself to do it tonight.

And so, I'm taking the last few precious hours of alone time to relax and read a book.  Tomorrow will take care of itself, right?