Sunday, October 28, 2012

Titus' Birth Story

A few of you have asked, and I'm sure others are also interested in hearing about how Titus's delivery went and how we are all settling in.  I'm still behind on sleep so some of this might not flow that well, but I will do my best. ;-)

Our night actually started out pretty rough with Emilia.  We all went to bed at a decent hour, but she was really struggling to stay asleep.  Kept crying out, getting up, etc.  Jason thinks she may have "known" something was about to change, but whatever the case, she had us all tired already! 

Around midnight, I started having contractions.  They were already about 5 minutes apart and lasting for over 1 minute each.  After 1 hour I called the hospital to see when I should come in.  They said after a 2nd hour of the same, I could come in the be checked out.  I waited another hour before waking Jason.  I spent that time finishing with last minute packing, between contractions.  They felt just like I had read they would- bad cramps/diarrhea-ish.  {Yes, this is my 2nd child.  Why don't I know what contractions feel like?  I was induced and had an epidural with Emilia.  I didn't feel a thing.}   They were strong, but not too bad yet.  Squatting and rocking from side to side helped the best.

When I went in to wake Jason, I told him, "It's time to get up".  He had this grumpy look on his face as he checked his clock.  It wasn't until I said, "I'm having contractions", that he realized I didn't mean he needed to get up for work at 2 a.m. ;-)  He went next door to wake our neighbor, Amber.  She is Emilia's favorite friend here, so we knew if she would be OK waking up to anyone besides us the next day, Amber would be the best choice.  Once we had Amber settled and J packed the car, we set off for the hospital.

My packing list looked much different this time doctor here recommended bring my own pillows (if I wanted to have one at all), a fan (bc the Labor/Delivery and Recovery departments do not currently have aircon), sanitary supplies, diapers, wipes, etc.  I also had no extra items for entertainment (magazines, books, etc.) because my doctor was pretty clear that we would be discharged after 6-8 hours as long as everything looked OK.

Jason's favorite part of this story happened next...  We were driving to the hopsital and Jason was speeding.  The speed limit on island is 35, and most people usually go around 40.  Jason was up to 51 by the time we passed the cop car.  Jason, thinking out loud, said something about getting pulled over on the way to the hospital and what he'd say to the cop.  WELL, he got his opportunity!  We got pulled over shortly after and my husband's cunning words got us out of the ticket.  He said something like "Can we do this at the hospital?  My wife is in labor!"  The cop was really understanding and just told us to use our hazards and watch our speed.  As we drove off, Jason realized he probably could have been a little nicer about the whole thing.  But he was still stoked to have that as part of the day's events. ;-)

We made it to the hospital's Labor & Delivery department just soon enough to hear a woman screaming her head off.  {Talk about welcoming for an anxious person...}  I was set up in my room quickly and was hooked up to the monitors right away.  I asked the nurse about being able to walk around, etc.  She said they had to monitor me first so they knew whether it was time to call the doctor.  After 2 hours of contracting at home- walking, rocking, squatting- this laying in bed stuff was no fun.  They were definitely more uncomfortable and it was harder to breath through them.  I was already effaced 90%, 4-5 cm and had a "bulging bag", so they called my doctor.  I'm pretty sure the nurses intended to keep me locked to my bed the whole time.  But I knew from earlier conversations with my doctor that he would let me do pretty much whatever I wanted.  So, at his direction, they unhooked my monitors and brought in a birthing ball.  That ball was WONDERFUL!  Labor progressed pretty quickly.  The pain intensified and Jason's poor hand/fingers felt my increase in pain with each contraction.  ;-)  He was a really great coach.  I was a little nervous about how focused he would be and luckily he proved me WAY wrong!  He could tell when I needed him to help me remember to breath, and other times when I just needed him to be quiet while I worked through the contraction.

Around 5 (I think), my doctor came to check me again.  I was at 7cm and he suggested breaking my water to speed things up.  This made me pretty nervous because I wasn't sure exactly how much quicker things would progress (pain wise).  But, we decided to go for it since I was already strapped back down anyway.  I'm glad I did since Titus was here only 54 minutes after that!  (O:

Everyone was super helpful when I was pushing.  They had these arm bars for me to pull on.  That really helped focus my energy while pushing.  Jason was SUPER helpful too, propping up my back each time.  I kept pulling my head back, which isn't what they wanted me to do.  My nurse was really encouraging and my doctor was great.  All in all, I pushed for right around 30 minutes.  I don't really remember that part being painful...mostly just Really tiring.  I was so tired by then that I didn't feel any pain.  It just took everything in me to hold my breath and push because I just wanted to rest.  I am SOO thankful that I only had to push for a short time, I don't want to think about those poor girls who push for hours!

The doctor says I tore again this time- about 1.5 inches.  Even with that, my recovery has been much easier and quicker than last time. I was surprised by how quickly I was up and around, especially with leaving the hospital only 8 hours after giving birth.  I was pretty worried about that part, since we spent 3 days in the hospital after Emilia was born.  But, the recovery room was super tiny and also had no we were all ready to go home ASAP!  I am still a little sore, but mostly I feel pretty good.

We have a good support system in our little teacher apartment community and I'm so thankful for that!  Our next door neighbor, Amber has helped so much with Emilia.  She takes her to the playground, lets her come over and play, and even dropped her off at church for me today.  Another neighbor, Michelle, also helps entertain Emilia and loves to cuddle Titus when we need a break.  We also have several other neighbors and friends who stop by to visit.  I never would have guessed I would be OK with so many people in my house, but it is really nice to have people over.  (O:

About Little Man:

Titus Mark Warren was born at 5:54 a.m. on Tuesday, October 23, 2012!  :)  He weighed 6lbs 9.5oz and was 21 in long.  {We had to convert from cm and grams, as listed on his little bed tag; that was different!}  He has a full head of dark hair {just like his sister did}.

He is one very relaxed little guy!  I have to wake him up to eat most of the time and even then, he rarely cries.  He has much more of Jason's personality in that regard!  I will be glad if he continues to be calm and laid back as he grows.

Last thoughts about labor and delivery with no medications and no aircon:
*I am so glad we brought our own box fan!  {I think that's why I looked pretty decent in my first photos with baby!}
*While it was hard, it was not as bad as I had anticipated.  I am glad I did it and can mark it off my "bucket list".
*I probably will not choose to do it that way again, if I can help it.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Update :: 39 Weeks!

Whew.  I can barely believe how quickly time has flown by this pregnancy.  My due date is in 4 days!!  I wasn't nearly as faithful with keeping up on pregnancy updates as I intended...but it turns out there aren't exactly that many things to update about on a weekly basis!  {Or maybe I was just lazy...}

There are a few things I can tell you...

My weekly doctor's visits has been fine.  Apparently my doctor doesn't measure dilation or effacement at the weekly visits.  He said he doesn't think I will make it to next week's appointment (yay!!), but if I do, he will measure me then.  It is so different than in the states when I was measured often.  But it kind of keeps me from thinking about it too much.  When I knew I was dilating a little more each week, I got anxious.  This time, I am relaxed and just taking each day as it comes.

I guess I did OK gaining a little extra weight as the doctor ordered-- he never said anything else about it.  I'm proud to say I only gained about 21 pounds with this pregnancy!  I am *really* hoping this means it will be easy to drop the baby weight {and then some...} once Titus is born.  My double jogger is all ready to go!  ;-)

Wednesday morning I started feeling (what I believe were) contractions for almost 2 hours, about 5 minutes apart.  But I tried laying back down and they slowed to 10 minutes and then went away completely.  Boo!  I can tell he is getting into position though.  I have felt movement much lower than he has been this entire pregnancy.

My legs and feet finally started swelling.  Again, this is SO MUCH later than when I was pregnant with Emilia and I'm so thankful!  Jason and I just started noticing the swelling this week.  My nurse said to keep my feet up as much as possible.  I have found that pretty hard with such an active 3-yr-old, but I'm trying.  Jason does a good job of playing with her when he gets off work too.

I'm not sure how this happened, but I completely forgot to register at the hospital!  Thankfully, my doctor mentioned it at my appointment yesterday.  So Emilia and I went up there and took care of it.  I also asked to see the Labor & Delivery department...I wasn't so sure I really wanted to know ahead of time because we have heard the conditions aren't that great.  But, my fears were laid to rest.  Yes, everything is old and there are none of the comforts one would expect {like aircon...}.  But from what I can tell, everything will be fine.  I didn't get to see the nursery or recovery sections, but that's OK.  (Nurse staff is low, so I couldn't find anyone to help me...)  All in all, I know God is in complete control.  This is HIS timing and HE will see us through.  I still get scared thinking about doing this with no medication, but I know I can do it with HIS strength.

One funny thing I don't think I've mentioned yet-- I can actually SEE the end of my belly button!!  Some of you know this is quite the feat.  I have a crazy deep belly button when I'm not pregnant and with Emilia my stomach grew out differently so it stayed pretty deep still.  This time around, I am ALL belly.  I started noticing it several weeks ago and it keeps getting more shallow!  It will never "pop" like some preggo mommas, but I'm impressed!  Haha!

Emilia seems ready for her baby brother to get here too.  It's hard to tell how she will really react.  But she loves talking about him and I know she will be a great helper.  I have already started mentioning to our friends that I really want them to still say "hi" to Emilia first when coming to visit, to hopefully help with jealousy.  I also intend to let Emilia introduce Titus to new visitors.  Before leaving the mainland, we let Emilia pick out a little blankie to give her brother.  Last week, I purchased a gift "From Titus, to Emilia"- a pink ukelele!  I have read about several parents doing something similar and I think she will love it.  Jason and I both know we will have to make a conscious effort to give Emilia one-on-one time once he comes.

On a similar note, we have a fun afternoon planned for Emilia!  I wanted to do "one last thing" as a family of three.  So I found out about the "local discount" at a local water park.  The rates during the week are pretty good so we are taking her today after Jason is done at school!  This water park is part of a hotel called PIC.  They also have great dinner deals during Happy Hour (5-7), where all the menu items are 1/2 off.  So we have been there a couple times for dinner.  We always have to walk past the water park to get to dinner and Emilia ALWAYS asks if she can go swimming there.  So we knew this would be the perfect way to spend our afternoon.  We haven't told her yet.  I am SO excited to see her face when we tell her!  (O:

I have been Pinning some newborn and sibling photo shoot ideas.  I really *hope* I have the energy to capture these precious memories!  I plan to do a monthly photo like I did with Emilia.  I feel more confident in my photography skills this time around, so I also plan to do several more newborn photos of Titus and Emilia with Titus.  I have a friend on island who is also a photographer and she is going to do a mini family session for us too.  So don't you worry, there will be PLENTY of photos very soon!!

I think that pretty sums it up.  Lots going on, but I always forget when it comes time to post!  Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement throughout this pregnancy!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rainy Day Fun {Embrace the Camera}

One thing Emilia and I love about Saipan is the RAIN!  It rains almost every day, at some point in the day.  My main reason for liking it is that it cools down the apartment quite a bit.  Emilia's main reason for liking it is the puddles!  I am so glad I decided to ship her rain boots over when we moved because they are getting a lot of use!  (O:

(I'm not exactly excited to share my slightly swollen ankles, sweaty hairline or the weird belly angles of these photos...but it's all part of embracing the camera, right?  Even the not-so-glam days...sigh.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Apartment Tour :: Living Room

I am sure some of you might be wondering what our Saipan home looks like.  Today, I am going to show you around our living room.  With such a small apartment, things tend to get cluttered pretty quickly.  So, I intend to photograph a different room/area each time and continue to show you around our home!

Walking in our front door, we are standing in the kitchen.  That is where I am standing for this first photo...I left the kitchen out of the pic because that area is always the most cluttered.  You can see a bit of our dining area, which is just past the kitchen, as we walk towards the living room.
If we are home, the front and back doors are always open to pull air through the house.  At least one or more box fans are running at all times too.  There is an AC (called AirCon here) unit above the window, but we rarely run it due to high electricity costs.  We do not get much natural light through the house because we leave the storm shutters closed and locked most of the time.

Here is a closer view of our "seating area" (haha).
The futons are a rough, black fabric.  Thankfully, the couple who lived here before us, left a couple sheet sets for us.  So, we used the plain teal to cover the couch and one chair and used my Saipan Quilt over the other chair for now.  My mom is going to sew better covers for soon as I get her the measurements, that is.  We ordered a white sheer curtain from Walmart and put one of the other sheets left for us behind it for a little added color.  (We really lucked out how the quilt and sheets all coordinate!)  The cross wall hanging is something we picked up at GBIM's Mission & Ministry conference the week before we left.  It is a hand-painted cross with Joshua 24:15 written in Chinese.  You can also see a little peek of our favorite rug!  There is a market every Saturday and we found a lovely Filipina lady who makes the comfiest rugs out of jersey cotton.  We are going to special order 2 to go with our color scheme and will either gift the Saipan one or move it somewhere else in the house.  (The best part- it was only $6!)

Here is a view from the couch(ish).  The TV stand came with the apartment and we ordered the bookshelves from Walmart.  (I am SO glad Walmart ships here- it has helped us make this apartment feel like a home at a reasonable price!)
I found an awesome deal on the baby swing pictured, very lucky find!!  (O:

So, that's that.  This is our living room.  We spend lots of time hanging out here and I love how it finally feels like "ours".  Stay tuned for the next area of our home...hopefully soon! ;-)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Relinquishing Control :: Laundry

As Emilia gets older, I have tried to give her additional (age appropriate) responsibilities.  Now, with the weeks counting down to the arrival of our 2nd kiddo, I am looking for any and all chores I can have Emilia start helping with.  Lucky for me, she LOVEs to help!

My latest chore started as just somewhat appeasing her by letting her "help" while I fold clothes (then refold hers when she is off playing...)  But then I decided to fully relinquish control.  Emilia now proudly folds and puts away all her own clothes!
Honestly, I still cringe a little because my OCD tendencies take over.  Everything has a place and organization is key.  This is what her shirt drawer and shorts drawer look like since she has taken over putting the clothes away:
...not exactly as orderly as I once had them, but they are still put away!  And she is SO proud of herself.
Not to mention, it cuts down on the laundry *I* have to put away each day.  That will be wonderful once Titus is born.  I am still working on my desire to sort them back out as they once were...but, the feeling fades each day.  (O:

Sometimes little ones just need to feel important and needed.  Emilia taking pride in this chore is worth a little chaos in her dresser.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Forever Young Infininty Scarf Tutorial

I love the song "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan.

But, I have a confession...I never actually knew this song until the TV show Parenthood used it as their opening theme song.

Nonetheless, love is love.  I love it.

So much so, that I decided to incorporate it into one of my handmade Christmas items this year.

Enter:  The Forever Young Infinity Scarf

Yes, infinity scarves have been done before and will continue to be done forever, I'm sure.  I didn't say this was a brand-spankin' new idea here folks.  But I did take two ideas previous pinned here and here (Thanks again, Pinterest) and meshed them into my own creation.

I have somewhat of a list going of friends and family for whom I want to make some sort of Infinity Scarf- whether the Kid Art one posted previously, or one with writing like today's scarf.  So, last night while catching up on the most recent episode of Parenthood (thank you Hulu for keeping this island girl up with the times!), it hit me!  I knew I wanted to use the lyrics from the song "Forever Young" for one of the scarves.  I even knew exactly who I wanted to give it to.  (She doesn't read blogs, or Pin anything, so I'm safe in posting...mwahaha!)

The steps are super easy, as you probably already know:

Cut your shirt to the desired width (I chose a thinner width for this scarf and *still* fit the lyrics to the song twice!), put a piece of cardboard inside to prevent bleeding and get to writing:
*I think I have decided that it is best to turn the shirt inside out before writing.  Both the scarves I have done this week seem to curl to where you cannot see the side you draw/write on.  I'm going to test this on my next one, but just something to think about*

Once you are finished writing, stretch the heck out it.  The longer you stretch it out, the skinnier it will be.

I really like the skinny look for this scarf.  I think a bulky scarf with this much wording would be too over powering.  But now, it is the perfect accessory to complete an outfit.  I can't say we wear many scarves on Saipan, but my friend doesn't live here and I can see her using this to dress up a tee, go casual with a cardigan or anything this fall.

I really love to give thought out, hand made gifts.  I hope you are inspired to start working on a creation of your own!

"Forever Young"

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kid Art Infinity Scarf Tutorial

Christmas has been on my mind a lot lately.  It may seem early (even for me), but when you add in shipping time from Saipan, as well as the shopping and shipping time from my Mom/Sister when I need certain craft items, it's really not that bad.  Also, I have this unrealistic hope of having most (if not ALL) Christmas gifts ready before Titus comes at the end of next month.

This year (as much as it pains me since I love gift giving), we are going minimal on gifts.  The reasons for this are pretty basic--Saipan has very little to offer as far as gifts go (except for extremely touristy items, which no one wants), we have limited funds with which to purchase gifts, and I have way too many Pinterest craft ideas on my "Want to do" list.

So, Emilia and I have been working on the projects that involve her.  She LOVES to help on a project and she is getting to the age where she actually IS a help.  ;-)  Originally I saw this idea on Pinterest for personalized handwritten scarves.  I loved the idea right away because they aren't completely legible when worn, but they would have special meaning to the giver and the recipient. 

My next challenge was finding a way that Emilia could help make them for certain family members.  Some of my family members are more crafty/artsy than others, so I knew they would appreciate (and actually *use*) this gift.  Since Emilia cannot write yet (except for her name), I decided to lay out all our colorful permanent markers and let her go to town.  She had a blast!


1 Plain White T-Shirt (we used XL)
Permanent Markers of your choice

Step One:  Cut your shirt just below the armpits

Step Two:  Let your kid go to town!  *Important suggestion which I didn't initially do...lay down a piece of card board, or you'll end up with this:
Step Two Redo:  Lay down a big piece of cardboard on the floor, and let your kid go to town! 

Step Three:  Cut the bottom hem of the shirt off:

Step Four:  Stretch, stretch, stretch!  I had a 3-year-old helper, but if you don't, but one end around a chair or your feet or whatever works for you.


She wanted to test it out..I think it got her approval! ;-)


This type of gift might not suit the taste of everyone (or anyone) on your list, but I know it is going to be very well received by the family members we are giving them to.  (Sorry for being so vague...they don't usually read this blog, but just in case!)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Newest Nemesis

You know how in the states, if you see a few ants in your house, you're a little grossed out but you just clean or spray them and go on with life.  Life in Saipan has taken the gross-factor out for me.  They. Are. Everywhere.

But our ants aren't big, fat and noticeable...they are sneaky little guys, small and hard to detect.  That is, until you find the line of them across a wall, in the trash can, in your sink, the list goes on.

No longer can we leave a few dishes in the sink over night.  (This lesson we learned yesterday...the invasion was crazy.)

No longer can I skip wiping down the dining room table or sweeping after a meal.

They even infiltrate our dirty laundry basket.  (Super gross, yes).

When we find a couple walking around in the bottom of the box of cereal, rice, whatever, we seriously evaluate the situation before throwing the food item away.  One, because food is so stinking costly here.  And Two, there are always a few ants in everything-- the number of ants determines whether we pitch it or continue to eat it.

Recently, I asked Jason's mom to ship some of the storage containers we had left with her.  She went above and beyond- sending us all sorts of airtight containers, in all shapes and sizes.  They have helped dramatically- storing our rice, cereal, sugar, flour, snacks, etc.  Basically, everything we haven't already stuck in the fridge or freezer for safe keeping.

I'm not really complaining; we are used to it by now and just go on with life.  But I think it puts into perspective that not everything about island living is "sunshine and oceans".  We are blessed with many great things about Saipan, and we give thanks to God for each and every one of those blessings.  I just wanted to share a quick story about something that's less-than-ideal.  Like I said, we aren't complaining, just sharing a bit of our experience.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Visiting Sugar Dock

We don't post a lot about visiting the beach on Facebook, mostly because some people may think all we do is hang out in the ocean.  This could not be farther from the truth.  In actuality, we have been maybe 5 times since moving here, and at least 2 of those were trips that just Emilia and I took so she could search for shells.  We are too busy with daily life to visit the beach all that often; so when we do, it's a rare and wonderful treat.

Yesterday was one of those treats.  Jason came home from work and asked Emilia if she'd like to go swimming.  You would have thought we had offered her the world she was so excited.  From the moment J asked her, she didn't stop singing and dancing with joy.  Even though I'm in the middle of coming down with the nasty first-weeks-of-school-cold that all the teachers had, I decided to go along.  Nothing beats the joy on Emilia's face when she splashes around in the ocean.

We are also grateful for any family time we can squeeze in.  Jason is still getting into the swing of things with teaching 4th grade, as well as all the extra hours outside of "school hours".  Most days he is completely wiped out by the time he comes home.  So it was nice to get out together, even just for an hour.

There is a section of the beach very near our house called Sugar Dock.  It's not the prettiest beach of the island, but it works for quick visits like yesterday's.

Here is my 33 week preggo belly shot, as also posted on Facebook:

Here are a few other quick shots that I didn't post on FB.  I feel I can trust those who visit my personal blog to know that this is a rare occurrence and you know we are about so much more than "chilling on the beach".


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Update :: 33 Weeks!

I am very sorry for my lack of updates on both the Saipan and pregnancy fronts.  We are still working to make our new apartment into a home and playing with Emilia takes up a lot of time.  (O:

Would you like to know how things are going at 33 weeks?

*I only have 7 weeks to my due date-- WOW!  Time has flown by!

*Baby is roughly the size of a pineapple and growing every day.  I feel him moving all throughout the day and it is so sweet.

*I have only noticed 2 new "stretch dots", as I call them.  Nothing larger than a dot so far, for which I'm very glad.

*My weight is still in check.  In fact, at my check up last week, my doctor actually told me I needed to gain between 4-6 pounds between now and my due date.  Let me tell you- this is the *First* time in my life I have been told to Gain Weight!  His exact works: "Now is not the time to restrict what you eat".  How is that for awesome?  What's funny- I haven't been limiting myself at all since we've been here.  We definitely eat more fresh fruits and veggies daily, as well as drink much more water and walk quite a bit.  But, we also frequent the Shell Gas Station for $1 ice cream and snack on cookies, etc.

*I made it all the way to this week before any of my pre-preggo skirts/shorts/bottoms started getting a little tight.  Lucky for me, Saipan dress doesn't go much past athletic shorts and tanks.  I also have several skirts I made out of over-sized tee shirts.  They have been such a life saver out here!  They keep me from looking totally scrubby every day, but still moderately comfortable.

*Sleeping is becoming a chore.  Rolling from one side the other now involves practically sitting up and switching sides.  Any momma who has gone through pregnancy knows what I'm talking about.  Nothing horrible, but it is getting noticeably annoying.

*The two boxes of baby stuff we shipped from the mainland made it safe and sound last week, thank you Lord!  I have been busy finding places for all the onesies, burp cloths, cloth diapers, toys, etc.  I found a great deal on a baby swing on island and Jason's mom purchased a pack n play and baby care cart for us.  We plan to use the pack n play instead of a crib, to save room.  It fits nicely in our "sleeping room" and surprised me with a cute little giraffe design on it.

*I have asked my doctor all sorts of questions about the hospital care here on the island, as there are several issues currently circulating.  He has assured me that while some conditions are not ideal, I will be safe to deliver here.  There is no risk to me or the baby with a natural deliver, nor if I must have an emergency C-Section.  He did emphasize that the hospital is no where near the comforts of the mainland.  The beds in Labor and Delivery are, in his words, "archaic", but functional. I was also glad to hear that there are nearly no restrictions on how I may labor- as long as it isn't medically dangerous, I am free to walk the halls, use a birthing ball, or even "stand on my head", as my doctor said.  ;-)

*Another pregnancy side effect (haha) is an even worse memory than I cannot think of any other updates right now.

I'm not sure if there will be much else to update over the next few weeks, but if there is, I will do my best to post more timely!  I will also try to post an update belly picture soon.  (O:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

You KnowYou've Started Adjusting to Saipan Life When...

--You no longer take a ice cold shower each and every day, just to cool off
--You can successfully plan the veggies for dinners based on what the Farmer's Market has to offer each week
--You only run ONE box fan until almost noon (down from 3...)
--You sweat less, or at least notice the sweat less
--You don't steal away into the bedroom while your daughter naps Every Day, just to soak up that 1.5 hours of Aircon
--You call A/C Aircon
--You prefer coconut tortilla bread with peanut butter to actual toast
--You start unplugging ALL appliances when they are not in use, to save on electricity
--You actually get somewhat dressed up for church and don't hate every minute of it
--You haven't cried in over two weeks
--Even your daughter has started asking for water instead of milk or juice (Praise Jesus!!)
--You finally start branching out in what you order when out to dinner
--You are actually getting things done around the house, despite the sweat
--You have more than 7 things to put on a list like this

Friday, August 3, 2012

Life on This Island :: Laundry

This is the first time in my life that I haven't had a washer and dryer in my home.

(Spoiled American, I know.)

Thankfully, our little apartment building has an itsy bitsy laundry facility, with 2 washers and 2 dryers at $0.50 a pop.  The washers are older than dirt and have only the most basic settings.  (I am already worried about how cloth diapering will work with this set up...)

We have decided to primarily hand dry our laundry here.  It helps save cost and, for the most part, does well.  Jason has two lines rigged in our spare bedroom (Remember, Emilia's bed is in our room to cut a/c costs.  So the extra bedroom is basically one huge closet!)
*I think I remembered the leave the undies out of this shot...* ;-)

We also have a small line outside:
*The tricky part about the clothes on this line is if/when it rains each day, they get damp again.  So they take much longer to dry out here.  It's nice to have for overflow though.

This is our neighbor's set up.  They are probably moving off campus into their own house fairly which time I sincerely hope to inherit their rain-free zone. ;-)

Why all this talk about laundry, you ask?  Two thoughts hit me as I was doing today's loads:

1.  What a blessing a small laundry facility and hang drying is.  This means I can only do two small loads every day or two, depending on drying time.  I will never be caught up on laundry and that is A-OK!

2.  It doesn't matter if I go to retrieve me freshly cleaned clothes while it is raining outside.  They are just going to hang dry upstairs anyway!

Now, how is THAT for optimism?! Maybe I am adopting more of the "island mentality" than I realized. ;-)

Monday, July 30, 2012

We are finally here!

We arrived on Saipan Tuesday evening (Tuesday morning for any IL folks)!  We arrived around 10:00 p.m. Tuesday, dropped our luggage off at the apartment and were taken to a LATE dinner.  By that point, Jason, Emilia and I were all pretty well brain-dead, but we were glad to not eat airplane food.

The first nights were pretty rough for Emilia.  No matter how tired she was from the day, she would wake up around 3:30 ready for the day.  A couple of those days, I was able to convince her to stay in her room quietly, and she made it until about 5:00 before coming back in to get me.  I know it's mostly due to jet lag, but I think she is also still adjusting to the warmer climate.

Because electricity is so expensive, we do not use AC during the day.  We only run it for about an hour before we go to bed, in the bedrooms, just to take the humidity out of the air a little.  We are SOSO thankful that we were able to purchase two fans from the previous apartment occupants (Grant and Kara)...they are definitely a necessity for keeping relatively cool, at night and especially during the day.  I have been told by a 2nd year teacher that they pretty much move their fan to whatever room of the apartment they are in.

Emilia and I try to spend as much time outside, in the shade, as we can.  During the day, it is usually a little cooler outside than in our apartment- even with our front and back doors open.  It has been challenging to keep her occupied and entertained when I have to rest so frequently, but we are working on it.

I know I am truly blessed to be able to stay home with her every day, but I agonize over what to do with her each day.  I'm not sure if it's more difficult this time because she is older or because I have to try and make sure we stay cool whatever we are doing...but I already feel like I'm failing her somehow.  I am hopefully going to look into a part-time preschool option that will give her some social interaction.  That has been a little tricky so far too...none of the other teachers in the apartments have any kids so we spend most of our time just the two of us. So far it has been fun, but I know she needs (and WANTS) to be around other kids.  She asks almost every day if she gets to play with any new friends today.  That makes my heart hurt a little.  But I know it's only a matter of time before she gets to make new friends and have someone other than me to play with.  ;-)

We attended church services for the first time yesterday and they were really great.  The English speaking service is at 10:30 a.m. and everyone was very friendly.  There were several familiar faces, even more so for Jason since he has been here before.  Emilia fell asleep in my lap and totally missed Children's Church.  She was pretty bummed about that.  We went to lunch with a group of the teachers and then took E to the park in the afternoon.  The Filipino service is at 5:00 p.m. and it was also very welcoming.  They invited us to dinner afterwards at a local, authentic Japanese restaurant.  Our group was very large, so it took well over an hour to get our food.  But it was really fun getting to know some of the congregation and there was a little 9-yr-old girl who played with Emilia the whole time (yay!!).  We got home pretty late, but that helped Emilia sleep in until 7:30 so I'm good with that!!

The other thing we've done so far is move E's bed into our bedroom so we are only running 1 AC unit at night.  We were given this suggestion by another family who used to live in the apartments.  While it is not ideal to have Emilia sleeping in the same room as us, it will really help keep our electricity costs down, which is totally worth it.

I apologize for the randomness of this post...I still haven't quite figured things out but I wanted to give a little update.  I am also sorry if any of this sounds like complaining; it isn't meant to.  I am just logging some thoughts from the beginning of this journey.  I know God is moving in our lives and hearts and it will be good to look back and see how far we've come.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

First Box to Saipan :: Check!

Today marks my first non-working-outside-the-home day, yay!  The stress hit me as soon as I left work last Friday...there is a LOT left to do and not much time to do it.  I didn't waste any time getting started on my To Do List this weekend and I'm pretty stoked about the progress I've made so far.

Toward the top of my list was packages to ship to Saipan.  We have certain items we want to take with us (towels, sheets, toiletries, Emilia games, etc.) that I planned to ship early.  This way we will *hopefully* have these packages in our apartment when we arrive.  Yes, this is really early.  We do not leave for Saipan until July 23rd.  But, we leave for North Carolina next Friday for a month-long cultural training so I don't have much time.

The first box was easy.  We are taking 2 pair of sheets for our bed and 2 pair for Emilia's bed.  I also have a new, bright, cheery, colorful, *thin quilt bedspread for E, as well as 2 sets of towels per person.  I was pretty proud of myself for managing to fit all of this into one box!

Rolling saves quite a bit of space.

I showed my MIL the exciting news and then she made my day!  She suggested trying one of her Space Bags.  They are plastic bags that you fill, seal closed and then vacuum the air out.  Magical!  We went from this:


It might not look like that big of a deal, but it really made some extra room along the sides.  I went from only having room for the items I listed previously to being able to include several bathroom items, toiletries, a few card games, an over-the-door towel rack, and so much more!  These were all other items I would have had to ship in a separate box.  How exciting to fit so much more in this box and cut a little cost!  Yes, this box now cost more to ship, but again, it was all stuff we were shipping either way.  Check out my final box!:

I am so glad all of these items are on their way to Saipan and will be waiting for us when we arrive!  We are just one tiny step closer to this long awaited adventure!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Maternity Clothes on a Dime

Now that I am starting to outgrow {or fit too tightly in} some of my regualar clothes, I have started pulling out the ol' maternity clothes tubs.  I have a very limited selection of summer maternity wear, for a couple of reasons. 

The last time I was pregnant:
1.  It was mostly during winter months.
2.  I wore scrubs to work every day.  Therefore needing much less "real people" clothing.
3.  I was lazy.  {Read- most nights I came home from work and transferred directly to sweats.}

I have pulled out what I can from those tubs and I'm stretching {figuratively and probably literally} my creativity and resourcefulness with my other clothes.

Outfitting one's closet with maternity clothes can be tiresome and expensive.  But it doesn't have to be.

My absolute, hands down favorite article of clothing, which I am certain will stick around for almost my entire (if not entire) pregnancy are the Old Navy Jersey Stretch Tanks, or Tamis.  This tank has modest chest coverage and is also longer than other tank styles.  I am someone who wears a tank under my shirt every day, so I definitely love these.  I own a ridiculous number of these in every color they have stocked in the past few years.  Before pregnancy, I rarely wore these on their own because I don't like my clothes fitting too closely to my body.  (I'm sure they looked fine, I'm just weird.  Plus, lots of other people wear them alone.)  But, since my belly has started making its grand appearance, I have stepped out of my comfort zone and I'm sporting these by themselves!  Usually I layer 2 together for smoothness and an extra pop of color.  They go so well with my newly made t-shirt skirts for a comfy, on-the-go look.  I know I will be especially grateful for this large collection once we hit Saipan!

Challenge #1:  Go through your tank collection and see which ones might work throughout your pregnancy.  Depending on the material, you may have to worry about stretching some out.  But, the ON Tamis have been through many shapes and sizes with me and always go back to their original form.

Another regular item I have enjoyed turning into maternity are a couple nicer style sleeveless tops which are supposed to tie in the back.  I picked them up on Target Clearance last fall in preparation for our Saipan move.  Lucky for me, I can fit in them right now. (Yay for wearing loose clothing pre-pregnancy!)  One little trick I tried the other day and LOVED- instead of tying in the back, I tie in the front, off to one side.  This helps accentuate my little baby bump instead of just looking chubby!  I have received numerous compliments on these tops and I also look forward to wearing them regularly again one day!

Along with these couple tops, I am also glad that tunic-style tops are still in fashion.  Talk about getting good mileage out of a piece of clothing!  Something that is supposed to look loose and flowy while not pregnant means you have lots of growing room in the same shirt.  Chance are it will still look cute as your bump starts to fill the space.

Challenge #2:  Test out some of your favorite tops that could possibly be styled or accessorized differently to work as early to mid-maternity shirts.  This could buy you a few months of extra wear before having to make the switch to "real" maternity clothes.

By some miracle, I am still able to fit into all my pre-preggo pants, shorts, skirts, etc.  (It's not really a miracle...I am keeping a closer watch on my food intake and exercizing much more consistently this time around).  I am in love with any yoga band bottoms I own.  Unlike my jeans and other bottoms that zip/button, yoga bands do not cut into my tummy and always help round out the bump.  I may be the only person left on earth wearing gauchos, and I'm OK with that.  I have loved them since the first day they appeared on the racks and I have never looked back.  Combined with my t-shirt skirts and other skirts with similar waist bands, I can coast through my pregnancy in comfort and style.  (Not to mention, they are airy and cool.  Major pluses when moving to an island...)

I also have a little trick for extending the life of pants when they start feeling uncomfortable while buttoned.  My friend taught this one to me during my first pregnancy, and you may already know it.  Take a rubberband (or toddler hair band, in my case), loop it through the button hole of your pants and secure around the button.  That little bit of "give" takes your fav jeans a long way.  (Keep an eye on your zipper though, mine tends to creep down throughout the day...)

Challenge #3:  Try on your pants/capris/shorts to see which pairs fit everywhere BUT the closure and test the rubber band theory for a little extra life.

Another one of my favorite tricks is to purchase one size up in a few clothing staples.  I have been stocking up on ON tanks in one size larger so they will fit later in my pregnancy.  The added bonus being, after the baby comes and before I can fit my pre-maternity clothes, at least I'm OUT of maternity clothes! ;-)

Challenge #4:  Keep an eye out for good deals or sales on your favorite staple items and put back a few in one size larger for the end of your pregnancy.  Old Navy has a $2, $4, $6 tank sale going on this Memorial Day Weekend.  I just scored several new tanks to add to the rotation, and I will be able to use them post partum too!

I know I will sooner or later end up in all "real" maternity clothes, but I am glad to get some extended use out of some "regular" favorites in the mean time.  Do you have a favorite trick or tip for making regular clothes work as maternity?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Update :: 18 Weeks

Seeing as I completely forgot to do last week's update, I guess we can add forgetfulness to the list...(O:

I don't really feel like there is much to report, but I will try.

*Weight: gained 3ish pounds, still doing OK.

*Exercise:  I try to attend Zumba at least once a week and add in walking the park on other days as I can.

*Clothes:  I am surprised and happy to report that most of my pre-maternity clothes still fit!  There are 2 pairs of jeans/jean shorts that I have had to do the old "hair tie around the button" trick, but otherwise they are holding steady.  I have started adding maternity tanks and tops to the rotation for a little variety.

*Food:  No new cravings.  I have noticed that I think all milk smells slightly spoiled (when it is not)...which is weird.  I don't have a complete aversion to milk (yet), but I have been drinking less of it- especially plain white milk.  I guess this is a good thing, since I'm "off milk" once on Saipan anyway...but still a bummer.

*Preparations:  Thanks to my wonderful friend, Elise, I am now almost fully stocked on cloth diapers!!!  She was able to attend the Cotton Babies $1 Diaper Sale this past weekend and was kind enough to take my "Wish List".  She was even able to snag several in my favorite colors- kelly green and orange.  Yay!  Thanks friend!! (O:  I still have a gift certificate from my coworkers to use at CB, and I am researching diaper inserts, etc.  Feel free to throw any suggestions/opinions/advice my way! ;-)

I received TWO gift packages yesterday in the mail, speaking of cloth diapers.  One was from an old high school friend- she sent me a package of the cloth diaper kit she purchased and never used.  I am glad to help put it to good use!  Also, my Aunt Emilia sent a whole cloth diaper making kit!!  It is the cutest set I have ever seen.  My mom had asked about a pattern for them because she wanted to try to make some and so I was excited to tell her I have Everything she needs to make 3!  Thanks Tracey and Aunt Emilia for your love and encouragement!! (O:

*Other Prepartaions:  I was finally able to confirm with United Airlines that each Jason and I can check either a stroller or car seat, free of charge.  Jason can check the stroller and I can check Emilia's car seat, both for free!  Whew!  Now the debate about whether to purchase a double jogger here or wait to see if someone has one on Saipan continues...I can honestly say this is my only packing/planning Saipan worry at the moment.  I honestly do not know which option is the right one.  We are still considering the Baby Jogger Double City Mini...and it's hefty price tag.  I have found a few online for cheaper than retail, but it is still a big investment.  And a hard one.  I believe my friends who tell me it is a worthy investment, but I cannot help but feel guilty for spending that much on a stroller.  Each time I think about what to do, I get anxious and decide to leave that decision for another day.  (haha, good ol' avoidance...)

*Emilia:  We ask her often if she wants a brother or a sister.  Sister has been winning over the past couple fact, Emilia says she now has a "Sister Baby in her belly too".  Our discussions to the contrary are not changing her mind.  She also thinks she can see the "Sister Baby" by looking down my throat.  ;-)  We find out the gender in two weeks...I'm praying she will be excited either way!

*Belly:  It is officially out there and *finally starting to round a little.  Thankfully!!  I think my belly is a little lopsided and definitely LOW.  My SIL has also joined the races and is betting on a Boy.  This pregnancy has been different from Emilia in so many ways, she might just be right!  Only time will tell! (O:

*Pictures:  I haven't decided yet how often I will take updated "Baby Bump" photos...but the first one may come in the next few weeks.  I can't remember how early friends started posting pics of their bellies....but I wanted to make sure it was at least noticeably preggo before posting. ;-)

That's all for today.  It turns out I did have some updates to share! Have a lovely day! (O:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Google+ Users Beware...

I am behind on maternity posts and life posts, but I just couldn't stand it any longer.  I have to work on "fixing" my blog is my story.

I joined Google+ last week because after Picnik shut down, their site said to go to Google+ for free editing software.  {I couldn't find the software and ended up using PicMonkey.  It isn't as fabulous as Picnik, but I just wanted to be able to add text to my photos, so it works.}

Anyway, at the suggestion of my husband, I started deleting the photo albums which had somehow magically appeared in my Google+ account...he said it's in Google's privacy statements that any photos I use on their sites are now available for their use.  Jason is really big about not having our family's photos blasted all over the internet...

It turns out they already had rights to my photos since Blogger is part of Google...too bad I didn't find that out before deleting all the photos which were linked to this blog!!!  Now I am slowly trying to go through each post from the past year and relocate the photos used for the posts.  I still have a number of viewers each day, mostly to my craft posts.  And I really really hate that the photos aren't there.  How unprofessional.

Please bear with me as I try to add all my photos back to the blog quickly.  {I have also learned that I need to better categorize my photos all in one place...lessons learned}

Friday, May 18, 2012

Midnight Kisses

My daughter has always had trouble with sleeping at night.  There are very few nights when she makes it until morning without waking and calling out for someone.

This fact became even more evident once we moved in with Jason's parents during our transition to Saipan.  We have been living with them since December 2011, and she still wakes up at least once, most nights twice-3 times each night.  Sometimes needing to go potty, wanting more milk (which I don't give in to), having a bad dream, being scared, the list goes on.

It makes me tired.

As the sole bread winner for our little family at the moment, all I want is to sleep a whole night through, sans midnight wake up calls.  Waking up at 5:00 a.m. to get ready for work every day makes me tired enough.  But, I also know that Emilia is going through a lot of changes right now and really has no idea exactly what is happening. 

I try to be her constant.  I try to always be comforting and supportive, instead of annoyed and irritated.  She doesn't understand these changes and doesn't always know how to express her confusion and frustration.

So, last night when she started calling out for me at 1:45 a.m., I faithfully drug myself out of bed and made it to her room without tripping over the dog, or shoes, or anything (small victories, people).  I peeked in her door and asked what she needed...

"Momma, I heed a kiss"

What sweet words from my little girl.  This was one request I was happy to fulfill.  I leaned over her bed, and gave her lots of little kisses.  Once I stood back up, she rolled over and went back to sleep.  That was that.

Do I still wish she could sleep all night?  Yes.  Am I looking forward to finally getting settled in Saipan and getting her back on a regular sleep schedule and retrain her sleep habits?  Definitely.  Would I trade her precious request for Momma's kisses at 1:45 a.m. for anything in the world?  Not on your life.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Small Style :: Refashion Victory

As it goes with almost any crafter I know, the "crafts to do" pile is ever-growing and the "crafts completed" pile stays rather short.  It doesn't help that we are in the middle of packing, shipping, selling and storing all our belongings for the move to Saipan.  Add to that the sewing machine I am borrowing from my mother-in-law is older and I have trouble getting it to cooperate with certain stiches (read: I don't know exactly how to operate it except for straight lines...).

That being said, please share in my excitement over the toddler tee to dress refashion I actually completed recently!  This was one of many projects I hauled to my momma's house (and her fancy-pants sewing machine) a couple weeks ago.  I am proud to say I completed every. single. project. I brought with me that day! (O:

This is Miss Emilia on Mother's Day:
Her dress and hairbow were both handmade by me. 

The tshirt necklace was made by Emilia and her Aunt Clare. ;-)

The only part of her outfit that wasn't handmade are these adorable pink peeptoe sandals.  They were part of a sweeping victory I had last year at the Gap Outlet.  I purchased over 10 pairs of sandals and flip flops for under $2 a pair!  (I had to wait SO LONG for these to fit, haha!)

Daddy can always make her laugh and smile. (O:

(I'm not exactly sure what this pose was about, other than being done with my mini photo shoot.)

If you are interested in making one of these adorable little dresses for your little sweetheart, this is the PIN I followed for easy instructions.

My sister is much craftier than I, so she already knew how to make the necklace.  But, for those of us who need to see how it's done, this tutorial seems pretty easy to follow.

I am linking up to Mama Loves Papa's Small Style again this week.  (O: