Friday, May 16, 2014

Pregnancy Post: Hopefully the last one...less than a week to go!

Well, I say that! Good gosh, someone just save me! That's what I think most of the time...especially as I waddle along in this ridiculously humid Hong Kong weather. Or as I try to make it up our stairs...did you know I have 3 LONG flights of stairs to make it up to our master bedroom. Jack has said that the stairs are my "enemies" and he honestly couldn't be more right!

Jason said I walked down the stairs the other day with such a scowl- and I know I did - sometimes I can feel the horns rising out of my head when he asks me "did you really get up at 3 a.m?" Yes, I did my love!

I really have enjoyed my pregnancies and I do love being pregnant but the last 2 weeks have really been pretty miserable. But...I'm sure anyone that has been pregnant before knows this. No sleep, huge belly that is constantly in the way, lovely braxton contractions, everyone always asking when the baby is coming (as if you know?), and really just the waiting (I'm so impatient sometimes).

So in light of that topic of being patient, it's quite ironic that my devotion with the boys the other night was "Patient Penguins". And what does God say, "Love is patient and kind", 1 Corinthians 13:4

The devotion talks about the Emperor penguins and their process of having babies. Interesting enough it is the fathers that keep the egg warm...and for 54 days...all the while huddling around with the other dads and NOT EATing! Then when the egg hatches the Mom comes back. Now how does that work out? I told my Mother about this and we laughed hysterically thinking about Jason having to do this- I mean can you imagine any of your husband's doing this? Absolutely not. Jack said Dad wouldn't last one day without food! 

However, that night as I lay in bed (being miserable) I thought about this devotion I read with the boys and it made me cry. So I prayed and I asked God to help me to be patient because God does bless us when we wait patiently and what more perfect and greater blessing than our baby boy that will be here soon. I do so love the way God reminds us about his Word.

I did think it was go time on Saturday- I got really nauseous and was having cramps and just felt it could be time. We were actually watching the Thunder game (upstairs on my computer through NBA TV- yes it's that pathetic- because Honkers sports station wanted to play ping pong and rerun football games!- honestly!). When I told Jason this he laughed and said, "yeah but there's 4 minutes left in the game, can it wait til then". I laughed because I knew he was joking- why do men do this? It's why there are so many pregnancy movies out there because guys really do say things like this- and I'm sure some of them are quite serious. You know my Dad actually asked my Mom (when she was in labor with me) if my Uncle could come in and watch? Crazy!

Anyway- nothing happened and that was almost a week ago. False alarm! Boo! 

That being said- I am really trying to be patient- but don't think that I'm not trying to do all the old "wives tales" and "myths" about spurring on labor- I've tried pineapple juice, spicy foods, walking, stair climbing, etc., I haven't done all of them but I'm working on it! Alright, I'll try to stay patient. After all, I do know that God does have his oh so perfect timing and so does this little angel. :) 


This was taken on Tuesday- belly belly! 

And this was taken today- Bosco and I went on a long walk-inclusive of hills and stairs! 

End of Rugby Season!

Well rugby has come and gone...though it was the longest season...we started in September! It's been a fun journey though. I never really paid very much attention to the game before- well one, it's not that big in the States, especially in Oklahoma. But it's a great sport and I've actually come to really like it, though (like Jack and Jason) I'm still learning the rules.

Jack had a great season! We started out pretty well, but he certainly needs to be pushed a little bit. I know all kids are different in terms of when they start to get competitive (if at all), but it's funny to see him out there. Apparently Jason picked "daisies" in the outfield til he was about 8 so I imagine it will click pretty soon. And it actually did towards the end of the season- and you want to know why- because they started learning tackle. The kid wants to tackle. Probably good though- that's what his Daddy did and he certainly has the body for it.

Our last tournament (they call them festivals here) was great and Jack's drive and push in the game has greatly improved. He, of course, loves it when he does well. But I laughed when looking at some of the pictures because the boy is going to have to learn HOW to carry the ball close- or it's going to get swiped every time.

He's still pretty hesitant too when he gets the ball- sometimes he's just not sure what to do with it or where to go so he doesn't run full speed. Once that all falls into place, he will do excellent- whether it's rugby or american football (and yes, I said American Football because you HAVE to clarify over here- otherwise when you say "football" it means "soccer" to everyone else that's not American). Note: why is it that as Americans we are the only country that is off on so many things? Example: temperatures, weight measurement, etc.,? It's frustrating!

Anyway- were definitely looking forward to this next year of rugby- and that means lil' Henry will be playing as well. Now I'd watch out for that kid because he already has a wildly competitive streak!

Little sideline chat with Dad- I just love this picture! 

Little practice before the tournament began

Look at that ball all the way out there- :) 

Run Jack Run! :) 

Hip Hip Horray and Cheers for the Flying Kukris! 

End of the tournament and getting a good chat from Coach Joe

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Pregnancy Post: Experiences of Having a Baby Overseas

I've been meaning to write this one for awhile- there are so many things that I want to be able to remember- so I've been randomly jotting them down as notes in my phone (because you know how forgetful pregnancy mind goes?).

Having a baby overseas...and I will say this is now my second such a trip! I always have people telling me how brave I am, or what a trooper I am, but I guess I don't really see it as that. I just see this (or Shanghai) as being our home and that's where I need to have the baby- plus other woman do it everyday (it's not as if I'm the first one!). But I will say that it is a totally different escapade- especially when I compare it to my birth with Jack in the States.

I think the main thing that is difference is not having family and friends with you- your so used to having this close knit unit- that's there at a drop of a hat to do anything for you. Not that I haven't had a good support system here in HK or Shanghai, but I think as a woman, you want your family- your Mom and your Dad- to be there as a support for you during this time. So that absence does make the experience a little difficult- I mean, after all, it's a special time in your life, so not sharing that with your loved ones can be tough. However, saying that, I will say that Jason has been my rock and obviously having him with me (through the whole thing) has been truly amazing. It's actually been special in it's way that we have this to share just together.

Another major difference is the culture in general- from outsiders passing you by in the streets, to even your doctors and nurses that care for you. And yes, you may be in an international hospital, but they are STILL Chinese and STILL have their own perception and way of doing things- that are VERY UNLIKE what we are used to in the States.

I mean it's enough in itself that we get stares (because we are foreigners) but then try adding a belly- oh the stares! It's literally as if I'm an unknown alien from another planet. Surprisingly enough though, I don't have too many random people coming up to rub my belly (which is a good thing). And here in HK, they are very polite and I'm usually always offered a seat on the train (no matter how crowded it is).

However, the doctors offices are always a trip. And it's always funny trying to explain to them that yes, I did have an almost 9 lb. baby (one nurse said, "oh, such a big baby, that's okay you have big hips"). And here in Asia they are NOT big on anesthetics. NOT AT ALL. I'm not exactly sure what is going to happen with this lil' one, but with Henry- all I will say is that about 30 minutes after I had my c-section, my body was ON FIRE. Complete burning like I've never experienced and when I asked for pain medication, they gave me tylenol. Really? Thankfully I had a friend that had already mentioned this to me (she worked in the medical field in Shanghai) so I had brought a prescription from my doctor back in the States. Now I'm not a big meds user but when you have a baby, I'd prefer to have it as painless as possible (just my opinion). But that being said- most Chinese don't use anesthetics to have their babies- nothing like what we are used to in the States.

So with that being said, here are some of the funny things that have happened along this pregnancy journey that I don't want to forget:

*3 Words: SMALL CAR SPACES. That should be enough to say- it's incredibly difficult sometimes finding parking spaces here in general and worrying about not hitting the car next to you because the parking spaces are so TINY, but imagine having to get out with a big belly. It's a joke. And there are no saved parking spaces for "Mommies to Be". In fact, at my last appointment, I got the last parking spot and literally had to suck in (is that possible??) as I was getting out. And there was a guy walking by that stopped to stare in wonder as how I was possibly going to do this. Miraculously I made it out.

*NO FILTER. It's incredible sometimes what some people tell you- either in passing or those that you kinda know- but they just say what's on their mind. I had one guy exclaim and say "Oh your so big are you having twins" and this was 2 months ago- I don't even think I was that big then.
And a few weeks ago up at our country club, I had some Chinese man stop me and tell me to be careful walking along the pathway (it was wet). Yes, this was nice and all, and he continues to go into this story about how he always tells his pregnant daughter this, etc., Then he asks me if this is my first, and I reply, "no, it's my 3rd". Hmmmm, his reply was, "Oh gosh, no problem for you, the baby come right out" and as he says this he does his motion with his arms together then splitting. Full demonstration for me about how easily this baby is going to come out. It was creepy and hysterical at the same time. How do you reply to that?
I've also had my helper tell me that the helpers in our complex say that I look so good as a pregnant woman (well now they finally believe it- it took months after my growing belly for them to think I was pregnant- maybe they thought I had been drinking too much beer). They've told her I look so good from behind that you can't tell and that I'm still "sexy". This is funny to me because most women don't say that about other women, but Asians love that word and have no problem describing another woman as "sexy".

*My Massage Guy. And yes, I have found me the most fabulous massage guy. I found him right after Christmas at this spa in Central and trust me, if it didn't take me 45 minutes to get there, I'd probably go more often. He's fabulous though. I'll say I got my feet massaged once a week in Shanghai whilst pregnant with Henry but this guy is the best.
The first time I went in he starts poking on my legs and feeling around on them really weirdly and I'm thinking, oh gosh, what have I gotten myself into now. But by the time he was finished with the first leg, he pulled both of them up together and showed me the difference. Whatever he did, he had literally drained some of the water retention and redness out of my legs. Not to mention it felt amazing. I told Jason after my appointment that I was ready to move him into our house.
So the next time I saw him, he was so funny and cute he said, "Ah I think you look more beautiful than last time". All I could do was laugh. I know what he meant- he was trying to say I had the pregnancy glow, but that's how he interpreted it. I guess some would get upset- what I'm more beautiful today than before, but I know what he meant so that's what made it so cute. But then at this appointment he thought I only had a few weeks to go- and he was shocked when I told him I still had 3 months to go. Again- apparently my belly is huge comparative to Chinese standards!!?!

*Scaring the Locals. That's what Jason likes to say I do because I'm not the typical Chinese that sits at home and doesn't lift anything or takes it easy, I suppose. (and not that all Chinese do this) BUT they do have an entirely different take on how pregnant women should behave, the clothes they should wear and what activities to do and not do.
They do believe that you should cover yourself entirely because you don't want to be cold- even if it is hot and humid out! Do you know the looks I got in early April when I stepped out in a sun dress- most of the locals here were still in sweaters and jeans. Shame shame on me- oh wait, I was dying if I stepped out in the hot sun!
And they do believe that you shouldn't really do too much strenuous activity- especially working out. My bootcamp instructor was so funny because he actually asked one of his classes about me being in bootcamp and one of the Asians in the group said I shouldn't do anything. So you can imagine how I've frightened quite a few of the locals while I've been running in the park or treadmill or taking tennis lessons.
They also believe that pregnant women shouldn't drink cold drinks. Now they believe this in general really (as per why you don't find too many places that serve ice with their drinks) but they believe in a pregnant woman it can be too shocking to our system. So you can see how me walking around in a sun dress with a cold drink is very disappointing and terrible to most around me. Shame shame on me.
I've also enjoyed my first class treatment at some of my grocery stores I go too- after a year or so of visiting now all of a sudden I'm getting curbside service. I think they are terrified of me having a baby right there- although it doesn't help that I bend over in pain sometimes because of my braxton hicks contractions. Again- scaring the locals is what I like to do! :)

So these are some of the tidbits about having a baby overseas that I would like to remember. I'll definitely tell you that you have to have a sense of humor, you have to be trusting in God and you have to have a good support system. It's not always easy and there are a lot of frustrations along the way (as there are living abroad), but in the end, you get this precious baby and that's all it's about anyway. Women have babies everyday- in worse circumstances and environments around the world- I'd say overall it's been pretty surreal to step outside the box and undergo such an adventure.

Now...let's see how this next delivery goes...and then what I have to say about that... :)

And here's a picture of my buddy Wilson- my massage guy- isn't he cute!?! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hong Kong: Sampan boat in Sai Kung

Ah our first boat trip in Hong Kong! Seriously something I would recommend- and you can go in a little cheap boat or you can go completely extravagant and be cruising in royal accommodations across the Hong Kong waters! I researched all of this for ages- and just last week Sai Kung came out with an article in their magazine on all the boat rentals- wish I would have had that then. HERE is a great article from the magazine- will give you enough information, depending on what exactly you are wanting to do. 

I knew (once again) that we needed to get there early- especially because it was Easter weekend. So we arrived about 10 a.m. I had no boat hired, but there are tons of stalls located along the waterfront with locals just begging for your business. My advice is to get a few (3 to 4) prices from varying vendors and then make a decision. It's also wise to know where you are wanting to go, though most of them have maps showing where they can take you- and they know the most popular destinations/islands. 

I haggled (which I hate doing- too many years in Shanghai) and got us a pretty good deal (I think). Of course the guy kept telling me it was more expensive because it was a holiday (whatever, I didn't care!), but we got 4 hours of a sampan boat to take us to 3 different islands for $1000HK. Not a bad deal I thought- since there was 5 of us. And, of course, I had to have some comment from the guy- he said, "You no go on fast boat, you only need slow". "Too fast and you bounce and not good for baby". Yes, thank you! :) 

So we got our deal- then off to the Seven Elevens to get a few more snacks and drinks and to a few of the surf/sun stores. The boys, of course, needed a few beach toys (probably not- but Nana thought so). 

Then off on our adventure! Can I just tell you that I think our driver looked to be about 85- we were wondering if she was even going to make it. But the boat was fun- it's not comfortable by any means- I sat on a towel on the bench, then at one point moved to the floor. Which is fine- we went slowly- but it's so neat to see all the different islands and explore that area by boat. Hong Kong is really quite beautiful- something I never really expected! 

Our first stop was Kau Sai Fisherman- not a lot to see there, but interesting. It is a tiny little village (I'm sure only about 20 people live there), but there is a temple and pretty views. We were only there about 20 minutes. We let the boys run around and took a few pictures. 

So on the way, we went by Hap Mun Bay (Sharp Island)- the guy had told me that's the best place to stop and get in the water (so of course we wanted to go there last). So when our driver asked us if we wanted to stop there first, we said, no. Well you can imagine as we left the island, for some reason we started heading back to Sai Kung...and it had only been an hour and a half. We still had 2 1/2 hours left. So I pointed and told her on the map that we wanted to go back to Sharp Island. Oh dear! She got so upset- and she only spoke Cantonese. So she's yelling and Jason's yelling and I'm trying to tell her (in my mandarin) that we still have 2 1/2 hours left and we want to go swim at the beach. Ugh! The boys kept talking about how mean she was. So thankfully I had the guys number (that spoke English) and he translated to her what we wanted. (SO NOTE: make sure you have FULLY communicated with your driver before you leave!). 

All sorted- we got to the island and unpacked all our beach gear and picnic lunch. And that's where we spent the next 2 1/2 hours- having lunch, wading in the water and laying on the sand. You can rent an umbrella and a few water toys, but not as accommodating as Shek O Beach....and not near as big. But it was a great afternoon. 

The boys loved swimming out to the dock with Daddy and hanging out (like it was their own special landing) and jumping off. It wasn't too crowded when we got there, but certainly was by the time we left (about 2:30). They do have restrooms and a snack bar (though mostly asian snacks) so I would definitely bring your own food and/or drinks. 

It was a great little adventure- not too long- and perfect for small kiddos...and a pregnant mama! :) 

Here are some of our pics from our outing: 

Our driver- he he! :) And the inside of our boat- not luxurious by any means! 

And my little boat boys- :) 

@ Kau Sai Fishermen Village 

The boys dock- I swam out there too- big belly and all! 

View of the beach- and all of the Chinese children that were petrified to even put there feet in the water! 

Henry was laying down on the bottom of the boat- and demonstrating his sit up skills. 

And our boat off in the distance- she just waited out there for us til we were ready! :) 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Pregnancy Post: 37 WEEKS!!!!

Ah in the final stretch- and oh how the belly has grown since my last posting at 28 weeks. Needless to say I haven't had a whole lot of time (and sleep deprivation adds to this!) to document this last bit of pregnancy.

What I can say is that I'm ready for this lil' man to come out! I don't know if it's because I'm older (I had Jack almost 8 years ago) but at night I feel like I have a giant boulder attached to my stomach. So I toss and turn all night trying to find a good position, then sometimes end up on my back and wake up with these painful stitches in the bottom of my stomach. Ugh. But I will say (one thing positive) it's kinda nice getting up early in the morning- then I have some quiet time before everyone else wakes up- granted that 4:30 is a bit extreme some days, but 5:30 is doable.

I've actually got quite a little "spot" that I've got now too - it's pretty sad. The boys have two big bean bags in our living room and one night I curled up on one while we were watching a movie and fell straight asleep. It was SOOOOO comfortable. So now on the weekend when we're all here having "quiet time", I curl up on those and fall asleep. But it's a process- I feel like a dog- I have to get in there just right before it's perfect, then it's absolute heaven. AND you don't even want to know how terrible it is to get up- very sad and pathetic I'm sure to watch but this mommy doesn't care one bit!

I did have an appointment last week and everything looks perfect. Baby is, of course, down and in position. He was at my last appointment too. I tell this to Jason and he says, "what does that mean". Well, what do you mean "what does that mean?". I said, "well, dear, the baby is preparing himself for delivery". His reply was, "I'm not prepared yet". I can't even tell you the response I gave him...he's not prepared..."his bags aren't packed" (that was his first response when Jack was born). This is just another reason why men shouldn't (and couldn't) have babies...they can't handle the pressure. God has his reasoning for everything right...including who has the babies! And honestly- this is the man's 3rd baby-shouldn't he know what to do anyway?

We do often have the conversation about the movement inside the belly- for some reason it's so weird to Jason and he says he can't imagine it. Well, of course, I don't think I ever could either. It's definitely one of those things (movement of a baby inside of you) that's hard to describe or think about, unless you get to experience it first hand. But it's one of the most amazing and most incredible things and I'm so thankful that I do get to feel him moving around (even if sometimes it is quite painful).

This baby is quite the active one. Jack was active (Henry not as much) but this one I feel is like a little alien constantly trying to claw his way out. I've actually gotten so used to it that I'll be in the middle of a conversation or doing something and he's rolling around- jabs here and there- and I just go on with things. Maybe he will be a little less active when he comes out... :)

The boys are still quite sweet with the belly and are constantly running up and kissing it or patting it. I think they (along with me) are quite anxious for his arrival. We still are having fun with the "name game"- though I will not take any of their suggestions. Jack likes to yell the name to make sure it sounds good when it is yelled...take it from the mind of a 7 year old. And still no name yet- we have a few we like but nothing set in stone, and won't be til I see my lil' angel's face....which I can't wait!

Jack has also been really helpful in assisting me in preparing for his youngest brother. He help me put the pack n play together- which was a task- it has everything and anything attached to it. Him and Henry both like looking at the clothes and little baby toys- they especially like hearing which ones were theres as babies. We do have just about everything we need- no bags packed yet, but I suppose I could do that this weekend. Otherwise, we are ready for baby!

I have started having the wonderful braxton contractions in the last 3 weeks- and let me tell you what a stir I cause in public places. Especially when I'm bending over to get a carton of eggs and grab my back side (right there on that sciatic nerve is his favorite spot to hit!). I've gotten curb side service at 3 grocery stores now (something I haven't gotten in the whole year I've been here). I know they keep thinking I'm going to go into labor any minute and they want to get me out safe and sound.

I've still been quite the champ as far as working out, though it's not near as strenuous. I did pick up tennis lessons in March and April, but just gave those up this last week (thought I would enjoy some time home alone since both Henry and Jack are at school all day!)- plus it's hard on my legs. I mainly do walking and cycling, then alternate with one of my workout videos- Denise Austin GET FIT FAST DVD (I've actually had this one for ages) and I do my Yoga Dvd Website Here (though I just bought it on iTunes and do it through my AppleTV). I mean I definitely still enjoying walking and lifting weights- I don't want to get too out of shape, but I do love that prenatal yoga. I've never done it with my other pregnancies and it's so very good for my back and I love the stretches. Now granted I have to make sure I don't have a certain 4 year old underneath me when I'm doing some of the poses (which he so loves to do), but it's a lifesaver. If I've had a really bad night of sleeping and I wake up just aching, then I do that and it honestly does wonders....highly recommend prenatal yoga for anyone!

Ah so such is life, especially when you are SO close to that due date. Jason has a quick trip to make this coming week and then I think I'll be doing everything and anything to get this lil' one out...partially because I'm a bit miserable (this HK humidity is an absolute mess!) but also because I'm getting impatient. I'm so ready to meet this little love of ours... come on baby boy...we are ready!

Picture taken on March 28th- just a few days before my mother in law arrived- @ 32 1/2 weeks

Swimming at at beach here in HK- yes I broke out the big belly in a two piece. No other options- and it's quite weird lathering it up with sunscreen! @35 weeks

This one cracks me up- it's so big the way it sticks out right here- big beach ball attached! 

And today- technically about 37 1/2 weeks! It's a beach ball! 

Hong Kong: Victoria Peak

AND...another fun outing while Jan was here...another adventure for our Spring Break...the fabulous outing and views of Victoria Peak. A MUST SEE for when you come to Hong Kong. HERE is the official site for seeing everything they offer on your adventure up, including all the restaurants, activities and how to get tickets.

I honestly thought it was going to be more of a trek (yes this coming from the tired pregnant lady) than it was but it was really quite easy to get there. We drove 1/2 way to TST, then hopped on the train to the HK Station and then took a taxi from there ( which was only about a 10 minute drive). We were there earlier though- if you're going to do anything in HK, I highly suggest starting in the morning- after 2 p.m. and it's going to be crazy! 

The drive up is gorgeous- all the beautiful sites of HK and hillside views- it was breathtaking. I can only imagine some of the outrageous and extravagant houses that are up there- or the views they have of the HK skyline. Once we got there we walked around for a bit in the shopping mall- just seeing what they had. Then we took a walk out to the main square and down just a bit to the main viewing area.

The view right when you walk outside of the main mall. 

That beautiful HK skyline- though it wasn't the clearest or brightest day- nonetheless breathtaking! 

And our family of 5- we managed to squeeze in shot amongst all the "selfies"

Jason, his Mom and Henry
After our view of the Peak (there is more up the hill to see but we opted for our one view we had), we headed back to the mall area...I mean it was almost lunch. We shopped around for a bit, and they also have a little "market" place that sells Chinese trinkets, including fake goods and all the silk goods. Honestly it's fun shopping and you can find great souvenirs, but I did PLENTY of that shopping in Shanghai so I'm a bit over it (even after not doing it for 2 years). 

We then went for lunch- and no, we didn't do the recommended dumpling place up there, but Bubba Gump's Shrimp Shack! Great food. Great view. Great drinks. Perfect. We got there before 12 so we got a table right by the window- and had a great lunch! It's definitely nice to get away from all things "Chinese" every once in awhile and I can't see that anymore than "Run Forest Run". 

Had to visit the Superhero store! 

And the market area- filled with tons of shopping! 

Yes, they have a Madame Tassauds Wax Museum and Jan and I had to take a picture with Edward! :) 

Our view from our lunch! 

After lunch we were ready to head home, so since we took a taxi up, we decided to take the peak tram down (that was interesting too- because you face forward but are going backwards). So I would actually recommend taking the tram up so you're not straining your neck. Regardless the boys loved it and it was a great way to see more of the city. 

Then- on to a bus- then- on to a ferry- then about a 10 minute walk back to our car. So you know, we thought about it and through the course of the day we actually took 6 modes of transportation- car, train, taxi, tram, bus, and a ferry. Wooo- we definitely would never do that in Tulsa! 

We were all ready to get home by the end of our day because the sun had come out and it had warmed up quite a bit. Nonetheless, another great outing and I so love that the boys get to experience all of these fantastic sights and adventures in Hong Kong! 

On the peak tram- little blurry pic! 

And a view from the tram! 

And on the bus- they thought they were quite special that they got to sit in the front. 

Our ferry ride home- and Jason checking out the view of Honkers! 

And, of course, a stop at the Spiderman 2 display @Ocean Terminal.