Monday, July 22, 2013

A Year Ago...

Last year this time, we'd just arrived in Amman.  Re-reading that post, I can remember that day, but only in a very hazy sense.  And Ramadan this year isn't nearly as strange, it's inconvenient when I want something from a specific restaurant and they're not open, but knowing what to expect I can just suck it up for four weeks (just two more to go!).  Last year we'd just arrived and didn't have a vehicle, didn't know where to grocery shop, etc. so life was just harder.  Thankfully having one year under our belts we're just sliding back into life here in Amman!

This past weekend we moved Benjamin's crib and sundries into the playroom to make it his "big boy room", and the other, slightly smaller room will be for the new baby when he arrives.  He has done really well with the transition so far, thank goodness. 

Benjamin's big boy room

Using the dresser as the changing table is very high, I'll probably start using the floor soon.

This used to be just the playroom, but the toys still fit.  I need to have them take away the extra mirror though.

The past couple weeks we've said goodbye to some friends who are leaving, and a few more leave this week.  It's hard to see awesome people go, but I'm hoping that we'll make some new friends and continue to create our own little community here.  And hopefully we can all be in DC at the same time, at some point in the future.  God has been so gracious in giving us meaningful friendships in such a short period of time.

There's been a customs strike in Jordan, so the police have been called in to help man the customs offices.  Not sure if it's made any difference to our packages getting delivered, but it does seem that this week things are arriving all the time, last week was pretty bereft of brown boxes. 

We've got lots of diapers!

I was craving pretzels last week so I ordered a gigantic tub which will hopefully arrive soon.  I vacillate between sweet and savory in my cravings, last night I made cheese dip at 10pm after eating ice cream earlier.  It's calcium, right?

Almost 34 weeks, in the empty-ish baby room.  Waiting on the crib to arrive.  (It'll be the same as Benjamin's.)

At the last Dr. appointment, the baby measured about 5 pounds!  Yay!

Not much exciting is happening these days, we're just laying low and I'm trying to take it easy, keeping my feet up as much as possible.  I did get a mani/pedi with a girlfriend yesterday, which was really fun.  I'm trying a bolder color than my usual pink or red, so we'll see how long I can keep it going.  When we were traveling back to Amman and I was all puffy and weird, I was so stressed that I bit my nails back down so I've got a long road ahead to grow them out.  But it's helpful to get the professional polish job, it definitely lasts longer so I hope I can get in the good habit of moisturizing my hands and leaving my nails alone. 

Electric blue.  Definitely out of the box for me.

Man, a whole year has passed.  We've got two more to go and I'm guessing they'll go by quickly as we adjust to life as a family of four.  It was hard coming back to Amman after being home for three weeks, but now we're in the groove and getting into a routine again.  Praise God, Benjamin is sleeping better and if he wakes up he doesn't take much coaxing to get back to sleep.  Fingers crossed we can all be rested up for when the baby arrives!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Home again

We're back, and it's been about a week.  Despite Benjamin's continued nighttime struggles against sleeping, we're glad to be home and back in the "normal" routine.  I got to attend book club on Monday night even though I never read the book.  I plan to in the future, though.  (It was Khaled Hosseini's latest, "And the Mountains Echoed".)  I feel very motivated to read the next one, for August, which is "The Orphan Master's Son".  I'm a couple chapters in and it's good, but a little disturbing.  After reading a nonfiction book about North Korea, fiction seems extremely plausible.

Emy has started working for us more hours during the week which is fantastic.  She's such a blessing and help.  I know it will be a sanity-saver in the first months after the new baby comes.  Parents of 2+ kids, I'd love to know your strategies for preparing to have more than one kid.  And it seems so weird that this baby isn't Benjamin, if that makes sense.  He's the one baby I know, his patterns and habits and personality, and looks even.  It's strange that this is an entirely different person who I'm going to meet soon.  (Although hopefully not too soon, I'm praying that he can wait until 40 weeks.)

In random news, Thomas has become a bit of a fashion plate.  He found some good deals on suits and work clothes while we were in SC and ordered some shoes and things online to round out his new look.  He's also getting some older suits tailored to update the silhouette, and it feels strange to have him be so put-together and stylish while I get larger by the second and wear the same five things every week.  And it will be at least a year before I plan to buy clothes, considering that I'd like to lose weight after dropping the baby weight, and who knows how long that will take with baby #2.  I feel like I'm definitely gaining more with this one, but I think that's normal.  My SC splurging was epic, but now we're home I'm eating more salads and cooking much more.  It was a glorious three weeks of stuffing my face though.  (stares wistfully into space)

Sunday night I tried finger painting with Benjamin, the previous attempt many months ago just made him upset, since he likes to be clean and sticky stuff isn't his favorite.  He started getting into it more this time so hopefully we can introduce more arty things.  I think I have some IKEA watercolors we can break out, which could be fun.


This afternoon Thomas came with my to my doctor's appointment and met the doctor for the first time.  After a couple ultrasounds Dr. Mashini told us that the placenta had moved and it didn't look like it would be an issue going forward.  I was so glad, and I'm guessing that as I get bigger and bigger it'll move even farther up and out of the "danger zone".  I'm so grateful and am praying that no other complications arise and that everything can happen normally.  I've been nesting a bit and putting away lots of baby clothes into Benjamin's room and putting his clothes away in the playroom, soon to be his "big boy" room.  I think we'll make that transition in a week or so.  And I'm trying to get our guest room/office in order for a visitor in a few weeks!  Can't wait!  :-)

Almost 33 weeks!
Another benefit of being home for a while, I finally got the shoes I'd ordered but were then lost in the mail.  So happy with them, even if they were criminally overpriced.  But I love them!  (See above pic.)

Someone was very snuggly today.

And I'm out.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

SC Trip #3

After eating lunch with my parents and sister, niece, and my niece's friend on Thursday, we drove to Charleston to spend a long weekend with my brother and his family.  It's a pretty easy drive, but there was a massive thunderstorm on the way down so we were a little slower than usual, but we made it and really enjoyed a relaxed time just hanging out with family.  Benjamin immediately loved my other niece and she played with him tons.  He was a little afraid of the family dog, a black lab, but she's older and very sweet and eventually he would try to give her hugs and kisses.

Leaving Moe's in North Myrtle Beach, Diet Coke in hand.

A fun park on Daniel Island, with a pirate ship to play on.

Checking out the ship.

Benjamin loves swinging.

Attempting to kiss to Gracie the dog.

My sister-in-law is an amazing cook and she fed us well, and one night we ate some good Mexican food at their usual restaurant.  It was fun watching my brother and sister-in-law deal with the parenting issues of pre-teens and teenagers, that stage of life seems far away but I'm sure the next 10 years will fly by. 

Sunday morning they all drove to the airport so the kids could get on a plane to camp, so Thomas and I had a leisurely time packing everything up and as soon as he started loading the car, the heavens opened up and it was a deluge.  We hung out and waited for the worst of it to pass, but eventually just got a little wet and set off for Aiken.  The downpour lasted a good half hour at least, it was a little hairy on the interstate, but once we got on the highway the weather was clear and it was a pretty drive to my hometown.

My parents beat us to their house only by an hour or so, they left that morning from the beach.  It was good to see them again and unload all our stuff for the last time.  I think the time in Aiken went the fastest, I had a busy schedule of meeting up with friends and Thomas ran some errands too.  We stayed from Sunday then left for Jordan again on Friday.  Tuesday I got to get a haircut, which was so luxurious.  We had a fun Fourth of July at my parents' house, they pre-ordered Carolina BBQ, and it was awesome.  My sister and her family came, and Thomas's parents also, so it was a fun family day and very low-key.  Benjamin enjoyed the bubbles that Thomas's mom brought and we had a few sparklers to wave around in between rain showers.

New 'do.

Concentrating on the bubble blowing.

So much fun with Grandma!

Sparklers, and my attempt to style the new haircut.  Still working on it.

Our saga of leaving began Friday, our flight from Columbia to DC was scheduled for 2:30.  We got to the airport at noon and checked in quickly, no line at all.  My dad drove us, he said goodbye and then headed home.  Thomas's parents came to eat lunch with us a little cafe in the airport before security, which was fun.  Not many people around, it was a relaxed time to visit and then we said goodbye around 1pm and went through the security process.  I'd forgotten about a Leatherman mini-tool in my purse, so thankfully the TSA guy handed it over to Thomas's parents.  I would have been sad to lose it. 

We waited at the gate for a good while, since the rain seemed to delay things.  Then we heard an announcement about lightning strikes in the area, and the plane refuelers have to wait 20 minutes for the "all clear" before they can fuel the planes.  Ugh.  Our layover in Dulles would have been about 90 minutes, and we left Columbia over an hour late.  The whole flight (an hour and a half) I was stressed thinking that we'd definitely miss our flight.  And naturally, we did.  But they rebooked us immediately onto a flight to Frankfurt (instead of Vienna, the original stopover point) which was actually boarding at the time.  Thomas stood at the counter with Benjamin and sorted out the baggage issue while I got drinks and a snack at Potbelly, one of my favorite sandwich places.  We got terrible seats because it was so last-minute, Thomas and Benjamin sat in the middle two seats of a four person row in the center of the airplane, and I was in the middle of three seats on the side.  Eventually a guy on the end next to Benjamin switched with me, it turns out he has three kids of his own and was very sympathetic.  It was a long flight though, and all the stress of changing itineraries really got to me. 

We landed in Frankfurt at 8am and had 12 hours to kill.  If we'd just been two adults we could have made it into town and seen some sights, but with Benjamin and all our carry-on junk, it didn't seem worthwhile.  Thomas hoped that the trip would have given him enough miles to upgrade into the lounge, but no dice.  We found some benches without armrests, the only positive part of the airport, and took some naps.  My feet and ankles had swollen like crazy, I guess I didn't walk around as much as I should have.  They didn't hurt but felt very weird and I was really worried about random medical stuff.  We didn't have access to wifi, and weren't going to pay to sit at the public access computers, so it was a very long day.  We ended up eating three meals there, before our flight boarded at 8pm.

The flight from Frankfurt to Amman wasn't terrible, at least we were all sitting together in a three person row.  It was extremely full and the four hours seemed to never end, but we finally made it back to Amman at 1am.  There must have been another flight coming through the exact same time, because the line for immigration was crazy long.  Thankfully we used the diplomatic passports and jumped to the front of the line, but still had to wait ages for our bags to show up.  (They all made it, thanks to that ridiculous layover.  I am grateful to not have to deal with lost bags though.)  At that point my legs and feet were still swollen and I felt terrible.  We went through customs with no problems and found our driver, who got us home in record time, only about 20 minutes.  I'm glad we came in at night, I was grateful to not be faced with the stark reality of desert life again right away.  We unloaded and got Benjamin into a bath and settled in bed, and passed out. 

Thomas went to work the next day, poor thing, and Benjamin and I both slept until noon.  We're still working on getting over jetlag, he'll wake up around midnight and fuss and fuss for hours.  Not the best.  I went to the embassy clinic yesterday and talked about my edema/swelling.  The nurse said to watch it and it should keep going down, and today it seems to be basically normal.  Even baking bread and washing dishes, being on my feet, it hasn't come back.  Praise God, I was so stressed about the baby and everything.  I'm so thankful that it seems to have been just travel related and not a harbinger of anything really serious. 

Puffy legs, taken 4am Sunday.

Pretty much back to normal, today.

I tried to force Benjamin to skip his nap on Sunday, but let him snooze an hour on the sofa.

We enjoyed our time in South Carolina so much, and are glad to have seen so many people.  I know there are many we didn't get the chance to hang out with, but hopefully we'll have another trip home in a couple years.  My plan now is to find somewhere in Europe for our next vacation, preferably one with a nonstop flight from Amman.  :-)