30 September 2013

October, baby.

And what we're gonna do here is just ignore the fact that we have no way of posting "real" pics on the blog and so what you see here is iPad pics of actual photos. (see last post if you start feeling dizzy from the unfocusedness of these) This was me at the famous twin towers in the fair capital city of Kuala Lumpur where I plan to deliver i4. I promise that's me.

It's due date time people.

The other two times I've reached this momentous day and was still pregnant, I pouted. Like, full-on attitude, snippy with my husband, woe-is-me, pout.

Back in '08, with Isaac, I stayed inside all day. Anthony and my mom went to the mall and I refused to go. I'm quite sure it was on the logical and non-emotional grounds of, "This baby is neeevvveeeer coming. I've already walked the malls. It doesn't work. I'm staying home." Clearly. I was thinking straight.

Then with Immanuelle in 2011, things improved a bit and I got out of the house.  We went to see a huge Hindu shrine because my parents were visiting and they had never been to it.  Heck, I even climbed all 272 stairs and put on quite the upbeat face...despite "ALLLLL my other pregnant friends ALREADY having their babies and NONE of them having to wait the full 40 weeks!"And here, copied directly from facebook, is the photo from 2011 at said shrine... (my hair is longer)
And now here it is AGAIN.

I think I passed.  The only people who acted like children were my children. No pouting, no woe-is-me-ing...even on the inside. Scouts honor, y'all.

So even though I've dodged the wrench of whining drama,  I still say it's slightly annoying to watch your due date come and go. They don't call pregnancy "expecting" for no reason.  And then 9 months ago, what was the first thing determined that set up all these expectations? "What's the due date?"

But as my good friend April reminded me. "Due dates are fake."

I'm pickin' up what you're puttin' down friend. Buyin' it hook, line, and sinker.  Totally fake.

So in the spirit of trying to completely ignore that September 30th is here and is rolling right on by leaving me pregnant, like it wasn't supposed to be significant or something... for lack of photos, here's some of the thoughts I've been thinking while we wait for WHATEVER day i4 is destined to be born (FYI- I only partially blame all y'all who voted for an October baby in the last post. I DID give that option and how did you know you were tempting fate??)

* I'm thankful for yet another healthy pregnancy and am completely astounded at such a gift when such a thing is guaranteed to no one.

* I will write a C-section vs. Natural vs. Adoption post at some point... though mostly I'm curious to see how this birth turns out, first.

* I'm really glad we didn't find out gender this time. It almost makes waiting for the due date diminished and less miserable because the surprise of gender is the "bigger" unknown ahead of us.

* My children can destroy a new pack of crayons in record time. 2 brand new packs have been whittled to tiny paperless nubbins in what seems like hours. I am SO glad I have them with me to help pass the time.

* I wonder why I didn't get any of my mom's Teacher-skills. I mean, I get that not everything can be DNA-passed-down, but you'd think being raised by a teacher would have some sort of osmosis-y benefits. I'd get hives just walking past the Education building at UNF.  She plays with the grands and teaches them the whole time. She's gotten Isaiah to go under water with her- which is impressive in itself and even more so when compared to my epic-mom-fail attempt(s) at teaching them to swim. She fields all of Isaac's math equation questions (he does them all in his head!) and grabs those nubby crayons and draws a vase of flowers for him to try and draw himself. She's even got him to say his "TH" sound correctly.  It's a skill to behold!

* My husband is the kind of man who is easy to love.  He serves and loves me and our children with such steadiness and patience and joy.  Back rubs, foot rubs, trips down to the grocery store, pushing the stroller on walks on the the uneven sidewalks (instead of driving the car) so his pregnant wife can "walk" and get the baby out, going back up to the room just because I really want fancy-schmancy camera pics of my kids in the pool, etc etc.  He really takes the edge off the wait for i4. (him mostly, but also the Dr. Pepper he brings back from the grocery store across from the hotel)

*  Old Wives should not be believed, ok?  I have scrubbed the shower (in our hotel, totally serious), cleaned the windows, walked, squatted, ate and drank things, and followed doctor's orders to (lets keep things PG ok?) "Do what what got you into pregnancy to get you out of it." Maybe those tales are good at getting stains out of clothes or other such handy advice, but babies just show up when they darn well please! But you guys are more than welcome to leave whatever advice you've heard and if it's reasonable, I'll try it! Though I'm not paying import prices for castor oil.
17 floors up (there's a balcony you can't see, promise)
*  I can't wait to meet i4!

22 September 2013

Place Your Bets. And Maternity Pics.

First things First.

And just because the due date is September 30th ("30 days have September, April, June, and November"...for all you calendar flunkies out there) and I have gone over my due date everytime...

So let me just pause right now and proclaim from the World Wide Web that my husband rocks my face off. Or rather, he rocks it ON and helped me make 38 weeks 5 days pregnant look like it's a pretty awesome place to be.

He shot these and edited them today. His whole Saturday loving on me in the form of taking photos and editing them.  He even made lunch, let me nap, and washed dishes after dinner and is now (at mid-night) picking up my parents from the airport! Sexy, y'all. Fo reals.

When he was finished with these, I was surprised by how little had changed between what he shot and the editing... which I hear indicates that he's actually understanding photography and getting things right with the click of the shutter, not the click of the Lightroom editing tools (though he's getting good at those too!)

So, can I just say that I realize y'all don't need to see me 100 times in the same outfit with various and slight accessory changes? I do. Really. But I have never had a "maternity photo session" with any pregnancy other than the standard belly profile pic and Anthony has never done this "formal" of a photo shoot.  So the amount of pics here is a result of those two things...but what I post here is mostly just me impressed with my man and his skills!

I originally thought it might be fun to take pics down by the water in our city. Boat masts make nice backdrops and such. The Sultan lives right on the water and there's plenty of charm.  Friday, we had just a few minutes after taking the boys to school to go try it out as Anthony wanted to see how things looked a bit before the "actual shoot" Saturday morning. We liked how they turned out but realized we wanted the pics to be in a "real place" that we often go to and that represents where we live now, waiting for this sweet baby. The Marina is fine and all, but we don't hang out there...or sail...or know anyone who does.

but, here's the "sample" shots...

Not bad. Especially Birdie patting her "baby" belly too. We just decided that we wanted it to be more "real" of our time here.  So we changed the location to downtown.  In the old, cute, colonial, slightly grungy-but-changing-slowly-into-hipstery section of our city.  Despite the Chinese writing you see in the pics, its actually a great blend of the 3 dominant cultures in Malaysia... Malay, Chinese, and Indian.  We go there to get banana bread from the Hiap Joo Bakery and eat some of the best Banana Leaf (Indian food eaten on a banana leaf) in our city.  Which means the shop owners may say the next time we're there, "Hey! I saw you taking photos here of your wife!"

Things don't always go as planned. And that's not always a bad thing.

We had hoped to do these while the boys were in school so we wouldn't have to worry with keeping 3 small children off the busy streets. (Oh, and my hubs also managed to make it look like we had the place to ourselves despite the busy Saturday morning all around us. Lots of traffic and people.) But schedules being what they are, Saturday morning was all there was so i1, i2, and i3 were all there too.

Did it feel like a circus? Yes.
Did Isaac complain about carrying my bag? Yes.
Did Immanuelle feel compelled to stand by my legs every 2 minutes? Yes.
Did the boys asks for snacks constantly from the moment we arrived? Yes.

But did we get some shots of my other Sweets we wouldn't have otherwise? Yes. Absolutely!
We love our crew of little people. They really are so much fun. Heartstopping when they step off the curb into the streets despite your constant warnings...but when they're not doing that, total fun.

Naturally when small children and their Daddy are out and about together and those small children are begging to be fed, a stop into a bakery is a must. The Hiap Joo only makes banana bread at certain times of day...this was not the time...so we went to the Salahuddin Bakery instead.  I grabbed the camera, hoped the last setting Anthony had it on would work ok, prayed something would be in focus and caught these moments...
My hubs telling the boys they need to choose the cream-filled pastries while Schmirdle-Bird twirled in the shop. Then Uncle loading up the pastries for the boys.

Pastries in the bag- as opposed to directly into their tummies- made for an notable increase in begging for snacks. So we loaded up and called it a day feeling optimistic that something of what we had shot would work out like we hoped. (also gray shirts show sweat...and there's only so long I could fend off the sweat lines!)

But to keep it real, here are a couple of extras because neat, clean, make-up faced, traffic-free, accessorized, non-sweaty baby bellies aren't REALLY how we roll around here all the time. Hard to believe, I know.

This pregnancy and my first pregnancy with Isaac my body has carried the baby nearly identically. (possible indication of gender?!?!?! Thinking 'bout changing your vote??) Friends and strangers alike tell me regularly, "From behind you don't even look pregnant." So in the spirit of things Anthony got me to throw out the vibe and record this unique aspect of pregnancies 1 and 3.  No wonder I have a ton of lower back pain...ALL the weight is in my belly and in the front!

And then there was this moment.
The dialogue.
Isaac: "Mama. Why are those guys sleeping over there on the ground?"
Me: "Well, buddy, I'm not sure exactly, but that's where they ended up sleeping this morning."

And in a flash of childhood innocence and trust, they took that as a good enough answer and dropped the subject. I told y'all this was "downtown." Also told you Anthony did a good job of making it look like we had the place to ourselves. Wasn't joking!

And lastly. Though, Anthony and I spent over an hour laughing at maternity poses on Pinterest the other night and I determined to smile and convey what a happy time pregnancy has been for me, we did manage a couple of "serious face" poses.  Wasn't easy though!  I'm glad most of you don't read Chinese...as you don't really need to know the name of the Dry Cleaner shop or what time it opens... kidding. It's not a dry cleaner shop. Or is it??? (just pretend the calligraphy says something like "Elegance" "Natural" "Beauty" not "Foo See Yap. 1 day service. 9am-7pm")

Thanks for enduring so much gray tank top and white pants, y'all. Really. You are MORE than welcome to leave a comment and tell my hubs what a fantastic job he did on these.

And while you're at it, take a stab at i4's time and date of birth, weight, length, hair color, eye color, straight-or-curly hair, whatever you feel like guessing at! Even his/her name if you're feelin' really lucky!

No names leaked here, but this Mama's guess is...

Gender: Boy
Date: September 27
Time: 9:35pm
Weight: 3.6kgs (or about 8lbs)
Length: 19 inches
Hair: Dark and Curly
Eyes: Green

I am perfectly fine with all of that being wrong and completely off! We are excited to meet this little one and get to know all the little details. We are so very very thankful to God for a healthy pregnancy and are praying for a smooth uncomplicated delivery.

Thanks again Love for documenting this season of our lives so beautifully!
(especially since this is the LAST time I will ever be pregnant!)

16 September 2013

From Before to After: Master Bedroom

Y'all haven't missed anything.

We haven't moved.
Same house. 2 years.

It's just that I'm just now getting around to putting up "real" curtains in our bedroom. (blogworthy right?)

Are y'all disappointed about something? Anxiously waiting for a different sort of blogpost? Maybe of something on a smaller, sweeter, and 7 pounds-ish scale?

I get it. I'm 38 weeks pregnant. Full-term. Ready to pop and all. Y'all were hoping for newborn pics, weren't you?

The short version is, my womb laughs at due dates. 
Scoffs, even.  
Watches them come and go, leaving labor wards empty. (i4 Sweety, you have permission to make Mama eat her words)

September 30th is the due date
. The 2-week blog forecast is 99% chance of scattered nesting/decorating/i1-i2-i3/waiting-for-baby blogposts. Isaac the First was a c-section so it's not safe to induce. We wait. I paint stuff. I make to-do lists. I sew. I freeze meals. I clean things. Grandparents arrive. We wait some more.

Now that everyone is on the same wavelength (with less sciatic nerve pain, I hope,  for your sake) lets take things back circa 2011 for the "BEFORE" pictures...

June 2011. Let's call this one, "High Hopes."

Then... so you can see the step-by-step, non-haphazard way we added a bed frame, painted over the orange-water spotted walls, and got around to covering up all the storage-ness, here's some DURING or, for the forward thinking, PROGRESSION pictures... 
There's so much to love. No duvet cover, wires exposed (no that one isn't going into his diaper, though it looks like it!), a sleeping Zayah.  Who needs a bed frame for a nap?!  No way THIS room is getting confused for a Master Bedroom.  Nuh-uh.
 We'll call this one, "Laundry Day" because it sure as heck wasn't "Decorating Day." Taken by a toddler-Isaac somewhere around January 2012 or before, given the size of Immanuelle who stopped sleeping in our room around then.
Another moment captured successfully by Toddler-Isaac. SO glad he got the beige-and-green curtain fantasy in the frame.  There are just some things that need to be remembered.
October-ish 2012.  It was tough but I think, "Lazy and Not Decorating Bedroom" would be pretty on-target for this caption.
"Storage Glory" ... August 2013....and the crib is BACK in our room! The blue part of the walls was painted by this point as well as pallet-mirrors made for dressers. However, given the state of things that's just a desperate way of saying "PLEASE don't look at those awful curtains and ignore the craploads of exposed storage."
"The Last Stand"
August-September 2013. The state of things for over a week. Approximately 45 seconds after the storage boxes were opened to be whittled down to as close to empty as possible (so long extra crap!) Isaac cry-yells from the bathroom, "MAMA! I JUST THREW UP!"  Have mercy. We persevered. Boys started school, bottoms got sewn onto the curtains, my hero of a husband figured out how to rig up the curtain rods and we declared it "PRETTY MUCH DONE!"
I won't keep the AFTER shots from you any longer...

Morning Light
There are now black-outs behind the curtains, but I love morning light all the same. Helps me roll (literally) out of bed.
Beige lampshades that look oh-so gold in photos. Meh.
Nighttime with Lights On
And now the pillows look green?! {shoulder shrug}
Still a few things to add, no? Rugs. Rugs and Photos missing. And Artwork... And I can tell what y'all are thinking and you're right; actually, there WAS a full-length mirror on the blue wall by the wardrobe. It crashed (and I tried to re-purpose the wood!) but it has not been replaced. Yet.
One last one. Because looking at the same room at different times of day really IS interesting and it  DOES give you a glimpse of my life as we wait for i4...

And maybe rugs and artwork aren't what's missing...it's more like baby spit-up... and a diaper that didn't make it to the trashcan as soon as it was changed. Oo-oo! AND a passed out Mama holding a baby who both fell asleep at the midnight feeding. THAT is what will make it complete! (rather, it's what's sure to make it in the room before any new rug or piece of artwork!) 

08 September 2013

How to turn 4. Featuring Isaiah.

First, start the birthday weekend early.  Be the first one to have a birthday in your brand new class at your brand new school. You get a poster and a huge crown and people sing to you. Even if you're super shy, you will still think this is awesome.
On your birthday morning (though you may still have little interest in eating any kind of breakfast) have the standard hard-boiled egg, but have it on the "Special Rivers of the Day" plate and rock that sleepy face like it's your birthday.

Check in on Lego-cake and cupcake making in the kitchen. As Mama may, in fact, need you to lick some icing out of a bowl she's finished with. And since you're four and all,  no one will notice (right?) if you stick your finger in some icing that's already on a cupcake.
(at some point your little sister will notice that the cake is on the table and you are sitting watching Disney Jr and not noticing.  Just because she's only 1 and you're 4, doesn't mean she should be ignored. It IS cake. She has a point.
Next, don your crown.  Once friends arrive choose "Open peasants" over "Eat cake and ice-keem" to kick off the birthday fun.
...ask your Daddy to take a picture of you with your sword. He'll realize a smile on your face and a request like this from you means you're really really excited about that sword. He will gladly comply.
Everyone in the photo could've benefited from the knowledge that your 1 year old sister was in sole possession of and said "CHEESE!" appropriately.  How was she the only one who noticed your Daddy taking this?
After that, check and make sure you are bigger today.
Confirm the results.
This may be a no brainer, but next, go to Legoland.
Live up the chance to choose what YOU want to do at the park. As a 4 year old in a (growing ever) large family, the specialness of that opportunity won't be lost on you.
...make sure that some of those ride and attraction choices make your Mama's heart turn to pure goo.
Like this here...you can't see it, but your Mama's feet are becoming goo as quickly as you're throwing out that peace sign. You ARE in Asia. It is ALWAYS called for.

Next choose an age-appropriate place for dinner. Pizza? Of COURSE you pick pizza! You are 4 and there are only a couple of options. (and the other McOption was acquired through the drive-thru and eaten on the way to Legoland for lunch)
And lastly, if you were born a car-baby, continue that tradition. Even as a 4 year old your parents will still think its photo-worthy.

Happy Birthday Zayah! You rock Mr. Four Years Old!