Our newest little addition:
I'm exhausted, but it was all worth it. And I finally had my unmedicated birth! I have only good things to say about all of that.
Our newest little addition:
Posted by Ana at 16:49
It's Mother's Day, a day I've hated for years and years. I've had such a difficult and painful relationship with my mother, a mother who betrayed me in the worst way as a child. I've been able to move on and forgive, but there's no repairing the damage. So, Mother's Day was always the day I skipped church and avoided the cheesy platitudes around me.
Today, though, my heart is full. I'm a mother to two little boys, and one more little soul on the way. Deciding to have this baby was a difficult one for us, and it almost didn't happen. It's sort of a setback in some ways, and a financial burden of unknown consequences.
But as I watched my boys today, as we spent the day without their dad who has duty aboard his submarine for the next 24 hours, as I felt this child kick and grow within me, I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude that we'd decided to take this chance once more.
I never really thought I'd do this whole stay-at-home mother gig. My own mother had done so, and I don't think it made her particularly happy at all. I was terrified of repeating her mistakes, or finding myself unable to give my children what they needed most. I feared that since I lacked a good role model, I had no ability to be a good mother at all.
However, I married a sailor, and when we decided to have kids, I fell into this role because it was the only one that made any real sense. It's been a real challenge, but I'm so grateful for the last eight years of watching my children grow. I ache to hold this last little one, and know that we did the right thing by taking the chance to add another to our family.
Most of all, I'm so happy to discover I am not doomed to repeat the mistakes of my own mother, that there is a way to grow out of it and be someone completely different. Today was a good Mother's Day, a day that wasn't full of flowers or fancy presents, but was full of love from my little boys.
I am a lot of things, and I know that when the kids leave the house, I will find other things to fill my time, other ways to give, but I know that nothing I will ever do will ever be as powerful or have the greatest potential to change the future as what I do at home as a mother. I know this because I am acutely aware of what happens when your own mother isn't there when you need her, when she wounds instead of heals. There are some scars that never go away.
Posted by Ana at 21:07
So. I've been gone from here for months. And they were eventful months, but I'm not going to try to catch up, nor do I even want to write about most of it. Suffice it to say, I'm glad to be on the other side for the most part.
The thing I'm NOT on the other side of, though, is this pregnancy. I'm 35 weeks, and hoping it won't go on for any more than four more weeks. I've been contracting off and on since about 28 weeks, so maybe I'll get lucky. Or, maybe not. Cervix check next week for some more concrete information. All I know is that I can't sleep any more, my feet are swelling (sigh - didn't have that problem with the last two pregnancies), and this bowling ball in my stomach makes it really hard to do anything requiring bending.
All that to say, I'm excited to hold this baby in my arms. Scared, yes, but excited. It's been over five years since we had a newborn in the house. Our life is very different - all babyproofing is about three houses back from the one we live in now. We can take the kids to movies and ride almost all the rides at Disney World. No one wears diapers during the day, and can hold it when they REALLY need to go. I don't know how this is going to go, but I think we'll figure it out somehow.
As for homeschooling - we've got to test this month. I can't put it off anymore. The results are due August 1st, and with this baby due, I want it out of the way and in the mail before I have to deal with another kid around. I found a place that has both paper and online testing, so I think we'll do it on the computer. Most of the testing Wyatt did in the Bahamas was on a computer, so I'm thinking that will be the easiest solution for all concerned (I wasn't looking forward to teaching him how to fill in the bubble).
Also, when this is out of the way, I can feel okay about quitting school for awhile. The plan is to take about a month off, then keep up a lighter schedule of math, spelling, and reading through the rest of the summer. Then we'll get back on track with a fuller schedule than we had this past year as we figured out what the heck we were doing.
Unless, of course, we end up moving again. Which might happen. I'd like to shake my fist at the Navy right now. Not that they care what I think, of course.
On the plus side, I think I've FINALLY worked out all child care options if the baby doesn't show up in the week I have in-house help. It's really rough to move and then find out your pregnant. So many details to work out with so little information and help. We'll figure this out, though. One day at a time.
Posted by Ana at 11:48
This whole homeschooling thing has been really up and down. The first few months were pretty rough - I didn't know what I was doing, struggled to find the right rhythm, and match what we did to how Wyatt learned. I also worried about keeping him on track, especially since it's pretty hard to find any decent list of what is normally expected of the typical second grader (and every state seems to vary, so this makes it harder, since we won't be staying here for more than a couple years).
Fast forward to today, and things are a whole lot more pleasant around here. I'm in the middle of deciding on a very different approach to spelling because all the traditional approaches I've used with Wyatt (and were used on him in school) have proven to a big waste of time, it's been absolutely exciting to research it and find something that makes a huge amount of sense to me as a person whose B.A. is in English (and most of those classes were in the teaching track). We should be starting that program next month, although we're already working on phonemes he still struggles to recognize despite being a very good reader.
Our other subjects are also coming along. I've got a math program that's clicking with both him and myself (huge plus!), and we've finally worked in some science and the occasional civics lesson. And, he's doing a cursive program he likes, so yay for that.
Despite how well the curriculum progress is coming, though, I've still been plagued by this nagging sense that I have no real way of knowing how well he's doing. Oscar's reading is exploding, but since he's technically not old enough for kindergarten (though he could totally handle it now), I'm not fretting about him. I know that teaching him to read, plus what he's picking up through Wyatt's work, is more than enough for a preschooler. Wyatt, though, that's harder to determine.
Yesterday, I had my 20 week ultrasound, and we took both boys with us to it. They were completely fascinated, and had a million questions for the tech. Wyatt was picking out the spine and had comments on the blood flow and how he understood that to work. Oscar at one point read the word, "Foot" when she typed it on the screen to highlight the view of the baby's foot. She looked at him, asked him how old he was, then looked at us in surprise when he told her he was five. She then asked where they went to school, as she'd never had kids come in with so much interest and so many questions. I told her we were homeschooling them, and she said, "Ah, that's why!"
I honestly have no idea what her background is with homeschooling so can't comment on just why she answered that way, but the whole exchange gave me a feeling that we were on the right track with them, something I have yet to feel in this whole process. I have worried a LOT about how they will come across to others. Homeschooling is tough mainly because you take on responsibility for ALL their education. Even if you are outsourcing some of it (and I just signed them up for a LEGO STEM class, so we are definitely going to do some of that!), there is still no passing it off on a bad school system or whatever.
So, I know we're on the right track. Still lots of work ahead, but I feel better about this decision. I still couldn't tell you if we'll do it more than a couple years, but I do think we made the right choice to do it for now.
Posted by Ana at 19:46
Just a quick update to say, yes, he's home! He came home a couple
weeks ago, and we then had the opportunity to go see his sub before they
drove it to the shipyard. The family day ended up on the same day of
the USS Enterprise's decommissioning ceremony, so traffic was a little
crappy on base, but it was okay. The boat was actually docked right next
to the carrier, too, so we saw a little of that action on the walk in.
They didn't put in the spiral staircase, so we had to climb straight down the ladder to get in. This didn't bother me, but I was really worried about how the kids would do. I was happy to discover that Wyatt, with just a little coaxing, handled it just fine. Oscar had to be hauled down by his dad, but he's small enough that that was no problem.
Then, we got to spend a few hours wandering around the sub, checking out what every thing is and how it works. We had lunch there, too, and I was so excited to watch the boys get to finally experience what life for their dad is like. They had him hoist them up onto his rack, which was on the very top this time around. Oscar got scared pretty quick, and Wyatt proclaimed it not really to his liking.
All in all, it was an awesome experience. It'll be years before the chance comes again, so I'm really glad we were able to make it work out. We're juggling one car, and Oliver had duty that day, so I actually just drove up, had dinner with him, then left him back on the boat the night before (they had pulled in that afternoon) so we could come back the next day. It was sad not to have him home his first night (or second), but it was worth it.
Leave is coming up now, too, so yay for finally having a break from this Navy stuff for a bit!
Posted by Ana at 00:13
I'm definitely feeling this baby moving around inside, which is really bizarre because I'm only 13 weeks. I saw my midwife this week and she said for a third baby, that's totally normal. So, okay! It's weird because clearly the kid has tons of room to swim around in there - she tried to get it on the doppler and, after finding the heartbeat almost immediately and losing it, it took awhile to find it again. I brought the boys with me, and Wyatt stood right up next to me, listening in with a big grin on his face. It's really cute to share this with them - he was too young when I was pregnant with Oscar to understand what was going on.
In other news, I'm trying hard to be patient, and it's a struggle right now. I can't say anything else about it, but, yes, it's all about a missing spouse! Argh. I know that us moving here rather than going to GA, then moving up a few months later was better. Truly, it was. Between the pregnancy (that we knew nothing about when we PCS'd), to getting homeschooling going, to just things like the second car that we was shipped here, but we would have had to drive up for the second move, it was all better. But, wow, I'm sick of this separation! All I have to say to people who choose to geo-bach on purpose - you are crazy. That is all.
We did turn today into a library day. Wyatt found some Magic School Bus books there, and was so excited about it. He'd watched some of the show at school, and eagerly sat down at a table and read through one of them while we were there. Happily, I just picked up the entire series over Black Friday when Amazon had the set down dirt cheap, and I also got a good price on a science kit based on the series that will be sent out monthly, starting in December. I've been kind of stumped on science for awhile, so I'm excited about it. We'll try to find corresponding books through the library, and I'll buy a few if I have to, then have the related DVD to watch as well as the experiments in the kit to work through.
We picked up donuts on the way home, had a snack, then turned school into a math (can't slack on that one!)/reading day, with some Magic School Bus DVDs at the end (he was SO excited to come home and find out I had them - I had debated waiting for Christmas to give them to him, but now I'm glad I didn't). It was a good day, which hadn't started out as such. Here's hoping the end of the week is just as good.
Posted by Ana at 20:57
We're so close to being back together as a family, but not quite there... It's a lot harder to have patience with it when you are so close to the end. On the plus side, I'm nearly twelve weeks and the morning sickness (why was this ever named morning sickness? For me, it gets worse as the day goes on, but I'm usually fine when I wake up) is fading away slowly. I'm looking forward to the middle trimester; it's always the best one for me.
I'm actually hoping to run again when Oliver gets back. I haven't been able to do much since we moved as the boys are past the age of strapping into a stroller - not that I even own a jogger, anymore. Sold that puppy to someone in the Bahamas! Once you have multiple kids, and have chosen homeschooling for awhile, a jogger just doesn't make sense anymore.
Oh, and in the interest of cramming this post full of baby-related stuff, I got a crib! And mattress. For fifty bucks! A friend here had a relative that was getting rid of it. It was barely used, just been in storage for a couple years. I'm thrilled; that saves us several hundred dollars. It actually looks very similar to the one I gave away before we moved, not that I would have cared much what it looked like; it's just a temporary holding pen for a couple years that pretty much no one will see but us, after all.
Finally, the homeschooling gig is slowly coming together. I've even got Oscar doing reading lessons again. I had to buy another program, but he loves it, and no longer fights me, so it was worth it. It's been interesting bouncing back and forth between them, but I'm just trying to assign Wyatt something independent while I work with Oscar.
I have also started Wyatt on a new math program. We're going to keep up with some of the other stuff, but I don't think he's being challenged enough, and I need something with a little more structure as math is a weakness for me. We did the first few pages today; it took him forever because he kept distracting himself, but I think it might work out. Crossing my fingers on that one.
I'm doing very free-wheeling spelling lessons, though. The program I initially tried was a bust; it was rule-based, and he couldn't seem to recall any of the rules it was teaching, so I gave up, did some research on how kids learned to spell, and am doing something entirely of my own device now. I think it may be working, too - he used to write scribbles whenever he was playing and needed something written for whatever reason, but now he is actually writing words, and is far less stressed about whether they are spelled right or not (which I think was a huge impediment to writing before). Which is not to say that I've taught him that spelling right isn't important - more that it's okay to be wrong, and how to find the answers when he is.
Now, I just need to figure out how to be more organized. Everything is in a single bookcase right now; it's togther, but that's about all I can say about it. It's getting too chaotic, and I need a better way to let the boys know what is expected from them each day. I've got a few ideas, but think I will wait for Oliver to return so I can go out and search for the right supplies on my own. I will get a LOT more done that way!
Posted by Ana at 21:40
I am absurdly tired right now. Sort of sad since it's only 1430, and
the kids were nice enough to let me sleep in a couple hours while they
watched Mythbusters on Netflix. I really don't think I'm as worn out
with this pregnancy as I was with Oscar, but it wipes me out halfway
through the day. Just to trick-or-treat, I had to lay down for awhile in
the afternoon so I could muster the energy to walk around the
neighborhood with the boys.
Oh, yes, the cat's out of the bag - we're expecting again! Considering how much I hate being pregnant, and a lot of other things, I'm pretty sure this time it will be the last, but we're happy about it. Once again, I'm doing a first trimester without Oliver, but such is life for us. He should be back here in another month, just in time for me to stop puking. Clearly, he is not sad about this, haha.
Anyway, the baby's due on June 6th. I can't exactly say it was a surprise to find out I was pregnant because, well, we DO know how babies are made, but we weren't exactly trying, either. Mostly playing Russian Roulette with it because we couldn't make up our minds. Hideously romantic, I know.
I had an ultrasound and determined I am not, thankfully, carrying twins. I'd had some irrational fear that that would happen, so it's good to know we're in the clear there. I also had all the initial tests, was told I have some kind of thyroid issue, so my midwife wants to put me on meds for the pregnancy, and maybe beyond. I have to admit, I'm kind of surprised by this. I have no weird symptoms, no family history of thyroid issues, and wonder if this is all some kind of test fluke, but we'll see, I guess. I go back in a month, so I'll have a nice long chat about it then.
In other news, hurricane Sandy almost rained out Halloween. Luckily, at least for us, that didn't happen. We mostly ended up with a day stuck in the house while the streets around us flooded out. Our housing area, though, seems to be on higher ground, so nothing bad here. We didn't even lose power, unlike a lot of my relatives farther up the coast. I certainly am thankful about that one.
We did nearly have a minor tragedy, though. Oscar had some very specific ideas about the Captain America costume he wanted for Halloween. He didn't want the redesigned movie one, but wanted the old school one with "wings" on the helmet. He also didn't want the muscle ones, which I have to agree look incredibly stupid. So, I had to go to the internet. After one cancelled order because of not enough stock (that took them four days to tell me, grrr), I tried again, only to have Sandy delay it. It finally showed up on the 30th, just in time for the church's trunk or treat, that was more like a "walk around the cultural hall and get candy" event because of the cold front that swept in after the hurricane left.
Posted by Ana at 15:06
I had an interesting conversation with Oscar yesterday. We were having one of those "What does
I have actually wondered before whether or not this is how their line of thinking went, so I wasn't entirely surprised by the question. It was, however, a confirmation that cops and robbers is a game that can be very much misunderstood by kids.
Posted by Ana at 18:40
So, Virginia. Here we are. Well, most of us. Oliver is cooling his
heels in Georgia, trying to finally check into his boat. I am fairly
sure it's going to happen today, which is a huge relief.
We actually drove him down there so he could report on September 17, after spending a week in VA getting our housing worked out (and got lucky enough to have our stuff arrive the day we did, so they delivered it before we had to drive to GA - I was SO happy about that!). He didn't actually report to his boat, though, but a sort of transitional command that vets people and makes sure all is in order before they move on to their actual commands.
For the most part, this is no big deal. They spend a couple days running around doing paperwork and double checking everything, then that's it. Unfortunately for us, it turned out to not be so simple. From the medical records we accidentally left in VA (I had to drive back and overnight them, only to have them get temporarily lost in the Navy's mail system for almost a week), to the lack of a barracks room that Oliver had to practically beg for (something that should have been a given when he showed up because he had been ordered to move his family to another state), to the submarine physical that apparently had to be redone, to the total backup of the eye doctors there in Kingsbay because one was transferred unexpectedly...
Slowly, he's been working through the whole mess. The medical records were found, an eye appointment unexpectedly opened up, and we are no longer looking at a November time frame to get him to his boat. The physical is finally almost done, and hopefully we will get some more concrete information about when he'll be joining us here.
I have more to say, but am not ready to say it, so you'll have to wait, but our life has been so crazy lately! And it's going to get crazier. I'm still trying to figure out this whole homeschooling thing. It's been tough with the move and transitioning, plus missing husband, but I'm at least working out a math, cursive practice, spelling program, and reading time day that mostly works. I just recently worked a little science into it, and will hopefully improve on that as we get farther on and have less pressure on us. There's a library near our home, with a couple more with in a half hour that we can also use. I'm going to work out a few field trips when I have the energy for it, and we're definitely going to do some schooling this summer to make up for the last few months.
So far, I think we all like it okay. Wyatt, while missing his old school a bit, has told me he's glad to be homeschooled, so that makes me feel better about the decision. I like teaching him, although I'm sort of surprised at times at the gaps I'm finding in what he knows. I don't know if that's a warped expectation from me, or if his schooling on Andros was a little more uneven than I realized, but we're working on it.
I really want to start up the Spanish program I ordered for them, but am struggling with how to fit it in. I hope I can find a way to do that soon. So much to think about!
Anyway, I'm going to keep blogging for now. I keep thinking about quitting, but since I have gotten terrible at journaling, find Facebook a poor way to look back and see how things were in life, and now actually have something to talk about, I think I am loath to quit. So, for you three people who still read this, thanks for hanging around! It's always good to hear from you!
Posted by Ana at 12:13
I haven't been posting much on here. I think about it, then I just don't. Maybe blogging has run its course with me - I actually came close to picking up my years-long neglected paper-and-pen journal the other day. I don't know. We'll see.
Anyway, life is changing very fast right now. Or, it will be changing dramatically when the movers show up next week to start packing up our stuff. I took the boys over to the school to return the last of our books to the library there, and had a chance to say good-bye to several people there, including Wyatt's Kindergarten and first grade teacher.
After doing that, I walked home feeling reflective, and here I am, typing on the blog again.
We've spent three years in the Bahamas. It's been a life-changing experience. As I prep for this move, I'm startled by how more relaxed I am about the details. This despite what has been a constantly changing set of orders, one of which came a week ago and has us moving to a different state than we expected.
Our last move, the lack of information freaked me out, and I was so worked up about whether or not the way we were used to living would be possible here. Thinking about the contrast, I realized today that while I've moved around the US quite a bit, each move only required small adjustments in lifestyle. It wasn't too noticeable, or really required that much out of me.
Living here, though, has required us to do just about everything differently. I no longer expect things to happen instantly, no longer fret when I can't get something I was so sure we needed, and no longer agonize over uncertainty or change. I actually thought I was a pretty flexible person before moving here, but realize that really wasn't the case at all. Maybe I was flexible by American standards, but that is about it.
We're going to be homeless by the end of next week with no housing lined up due to the last minute orders change, and Oliver is going to be living in a different state than we are for several months. We don't know how we're going to manage that, financially or otherwise, but I know we'll figure it out. It may not be pretty for awhile, but stuff has a way of working itself out even if it isn't "perfect" the way it happens.
I'm going to miss this place, even as I'm very happy to be moving on. I think that's the best time to go - when you have a lot of reasons to move on, yet you know you will be sad to say good-bye to certain people and places. That's where I'm at.
I very much hope we get another chance to live overseas some day. My first taste has only made me want more.
Posted by Ana at 13:59
We've got orders. They came at the end of last week. It was very nice to actually see them, read them....and realize this move is going to be way more complicated than we'd thought. Because nothing is ever simple here. Nothing.
I am sure we'll figure it all out, but trying to talk out the details was making my head spin the other day. We've got all the things about getting out of here to worry about, then a small storage shipment from WA to track down, a car to ship, and then the issue of only a couple months before we move again waiting for us, which definitely affects what housing we will choose.
So, I've emailed the ombudsman of the boat he's heading to, and am trying to figure out stuff on that end. Oliver will run around here and do all the paperwork, while I get the house ready to meet the movers.
Speaking of that, I went out to our shed (detached from the house) where we keep the bikes and other outside stuff this weekend. I caught sight of a mouse running around, so got pretty aggressive about cleaning stuff out and making a dumpster pile. We've had a mouse problem in the house, and trapped six mice before it seemed we'd solved the issue, so I'm not at all happy to see any mice near our trailer.
Working in the shed, I didn't find any real evidence of a mouse den, other than a plastic bag that had been shredded, but there were plenty of lizard eggs, a cockroach, and a couple of ant nests in bizarre places. I didn't do a full clean because we still have time (and the bugs will just come back and I'll need to do it again), but I did notice that a window fan, taped into its box, that we'd put out there because we have central air and don't need it, had tons of dead ants under the packing tape sealing the tape. This struck me as rather bizarre, as did the ant nest I discovered between the boards we had put on concrete blocks for a makeshift shelf out there. Another bin, with tools and things like sandpaper that we rarely use, had a lot of ants crawling in and out of it, so I'm not looking forward to cleaning that one out.
Ah, life in the tropics!
Posted by Ana at 09:56
Oscar told me yesterday that he wanted to move to a hotel so he could
go bowling. I looked at him curiously, and realized suddenly that he has
absolutely no memories of living in the States. He had just turned two
when we moved here (literally days after his birthday, we got on the
plane), so Washington is just a blur. As a result, he associates things
like going to a restaurant, a toy store, mini-golf, and bowling to time
spent in a hotel. If we aren't in a hotel, we don't do those things
because they don't exist on our island.
It's curious how you can see things through your kids' eyes in a totally different way. I am wondering how he will adjust to life in the country he was born in, but doesn't remember. I suspect it will be fine; maybe harder for me, actually, since living here requires a lifestyle change that is very profound. I've got to go back and figure out how to do things all over again. My perspective is nothing like it once was, and I mean that in a good way.
Living here has been frustrating and maddening at times, but it was so, so very good for me.
I'm really tired of waiting. It feels like I'm stuck in limbo right now - waiting for orders to finally arrive, waiting for the move to come, waiting for my son to finally be done with school so we can start figuring out how this whole homeschooling thing is gonna work out...
It's going to be fine, and we're not talking about a lot of time, really, but it's tough to be sitting on the edge of so many things. There's only so much housecleaning; curriculum studying; house-staring online (since I can't exactly do anything else without a concrete date to work with) that one can do. I am having fun pitching stuff, though, and doing that reminds me that we've wasted far too much money on stuff. So, I'm not spending on much other than food right now, and I've convinced the boys to get rid of three bags of toys in exchange for two new Hero Factory guys. I'd say that was a pretty great coup there.
I'm trying to enjoy the last months we have here. It poured rain this afternoon, in a crazy, puddle-producing way that also knocked out the sketchily connected wifi tower on our street. When I went outside afterwards, I noticed a ton of snails making their way across our sidewalk, all of them headed in the same direction. (Is there some kind of snail convention I don't know about?) I called the boys outside, and we spent quite a bit of time watching them. I never realized snails could move as quickly as they did. I love stuff like that - this island is full of weird moments like that.
So, whenever I get exasperated with the waiting, I try to remind myself that there are a lot of thins I will miss. Not the least of them being Oliver home every night. That's gonna be a hard one to give up.
Okay, just kidding - it was just the latest info on the ordmod. They're coming, though. It'll be nice to finally start looking for a place to live for real. Only a few months left to go here.
Posted by Ana at 13:33