Thursday, August 21, 2014

Glimpses of summer 2014

Our pictorial summer.  Starting with my ever expanding belly.  Bermuda summers and pregnancy do not mix well.  Mental note to self.

Belly shot.

It was a milestone summer for other reasons too - both kids went to sleep away camp for the first time.  It was only a two week session, but it felt like a major moment for me.  Were they too young?  Would they be ok?  What if one of them got sick?  Would Jordan remember to take his medication?

Not sure if sleep away camp is something common in other parts of the US.  I grew up in upstate NY, and I can't say it was a big thing.  I did sports camps, but they only lasted a week or two.  Jeff says they are very common among the city kids he grew up with in Brooklyn. 

Everyone he knew went away for most of the summer.  Oddly he did not, but his mom confirmed that she did the same growing up.  My desire to do it stemmed first from wanting Jordan to have the gymnastics experience that he can't get here.  So when we discovered IGC, and realized it was in the Poconos, it seemed a no-brainer.  The challenge was finding a short program for Mina, close by.  I researched it, and we settled on Camp Lohikan, after getting some positive feedback from friends.

But, being the helicopter mom that I am, I felt it was important that one of us be in the US during the two week period.... just in case.

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I packed.  A lot.

Camp 2014

They had fun!

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Jordan had a fantastic experience at International Gymnastics Camp in Stroudsburg, PA.  He finally perfected his spins on the mushroom and got to meet other boys equally dedicated to gymnastics.  He met Olympic visiting coaches, got to stay up really late, and discovered the joys of a canteen account.

I had the briefest glimpse of what it would be like when both kids were no longer home. 

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When they returned to Bermuda, it was time to try new things.  Mina spent two weeks sailing with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.  And Jordan spent one week playing golf at Tucker's Point.  After that, it was all gymnastics training with the boys team out in St. David's.  Every. Single. Day.  And to his credit, he did not complain once.  So proud of him.

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Mina learns about the boats she will sail at orientation.

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While the kids were in the States, I stayed on the east coast to be close by.  I got to hang out for a bit with my niece and nephews!  Shake Shack anyone?

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One of our neighbors here in BDA left the island, and to commemorate, all of the neighbors bought a photo package as a send off.  Here are the Fairpoint kids hamming it up in the backyard (or as we say here - the garden.)

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Mina's birthday was a big deal, and since it occurs the same week as her dad's, we spent the week celebrating.

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Which obviously includes chocolate covered pancakes.

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A slight blip in the radar occurred this week when Jordan came down with a bad fever.  It lasted so long, he had to be admitted to the local hospital for IV fluids and antibiotics.  Three days later, he was ready for discharge.  Thanks again to the fantastic nursing team we had at King Edward Memorial Hospital.  They went above and beyond. 

Two weeks left before school starts, and the kids are looking forward to one last adventure with Grandma H.

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And I am looking forward to  something too.  Couple weeks left.....

Friday, August 15, 2014

Will I ever fit into my skinny jeans again?

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Irony - rewarding yourself for maintaining weight loss by purchasing two brand new pairs of Rag & Bone skinny jeans while on vacation in NYC ... only to find out upon your return home that you are unexpectedly pregnant with baby #3.

Surprise!

Now into Month 9 of pregnancy, the jeans have been safely packed into storage for a future date.  I don't know when that date will be, but thinking about it makes me incredibly depressed.

After baby #2, it took me a LONG time to get to the point where I was really happy with my body.  I never aspired to be skinny, and I was always active, but for too long I was content to be a comfortable weight, rather than the best for my body. 

A couple years ago, I got more serious about it and stopped counting points (nothing wrong with WW program, it worked for me once, but I was in a different place in my life now) or calories (drudgery) and just changed the way I ate and worked out. 

I dropped the last few annoying pounds by adding more protein to my diet, limiting starches to once in a while, and eating more fruits and nuts for snacks.  Instead of focusing primarily on cardio (running miles and miles every week), I started working with a trainer who pushed me to focus on weights and using my own body as resistance training with bands and loads of squats and barbells to carve out lean muscles.  I got over the fear of building big muscles and weight gains, and realized the muscles I was building were lean and toned. 

I was finally fitting into anything I wanted to wear.  I maintained that for over a year and a half and it was never a struggle.  I had my treats on occasion, I enjoyed my wine and cooked relatively healthy about 90% of the time.  The rest of the time, I indulged on special occasions and only worried about the scale if it fluctuated beyond my comfort range.  If it did, I cut back a little for a week and everything was fine - the result, I am sure of adding more muscle tone to the body which burns off the extra pudge from a way-too-happy weekend.

Fast forward to today, and I don't even know where to begin. 

My weight is all over the place, which is understandable.  The healthy foods I used to eat - lean omelets, chicken, fish, big salads .. all make me nauseous.  I try cooking them, take a few bites and want to gag.  What's making me happy?  Pasta, bread, butter, chocolate, tomato and mayo sandwiches on hearty bread, yogurt, avocados and peanut butter..

I'm still working out, but on my doctor's advice, following some medical issues,  I had to cut back on any kind of strenuous workout - no heavy exertion, no lifting, no running.  So, that isn't leaving me with much but some dutiful treadmill walking and light arm weights.   I watch runners blazing down the roads, as I trudge along, walking my dog, and I feel so sad.  Some of them I know, and I remember being one of those mother runners .. training for a race, logging in my miles, comparing notes.   I watch in envy as people team up for health challenges at the gym, eying their numbers on the wall, watching them come in for classes and workouts I used to love to do. Sometimes I'm standing there at the gym, looking in the mirror wondering, "why bother?"

The only reason I do is because I remember how incredibly hard it is to lose the weight after the baby is born.  I still remember how long it took me to fit back into regular size clothing after I had my second child.  I had gained 30 pounds, which was fine according to my doctor, but 30 pounds on a 5' 5" body  with a short waist winds up looking like chub after the belly deflates.  I wore maternity clothing for months after! 

So, I keep going to the gym.  I walk on the treadmill and sit down on the benches for light arm work.  I watch my heart rate and make sure it doesn't get too high.  I don't exert myself on anything, and as a result, even walking up the stairs now gets me winded.  Now in the final weeks, all I can manage is floating around in the pool and kicking gently.

I'm definitely doing what I can to make sure the baby is healthy, but I really want my body back. And then I feel guilty for even thinking this, because it sounds so selfish - worrying about my weight when it's the baby I should be focusing on. I especially feel guilty because if you've had a child who was born needing massive medical attention, as I have, you know that all that ultimately matters is the baby. Trust me, I know that. But I'm still human.

I suppose all there is to do is try to eat as healthy as I can, and then give myself a break. The weight will eventually come off, especially since I know what I have to do to make it happen. It's about being patient, I suppose. Enduring the sleepness nights and somehow trying to find time to work out, eat less and not be exhausted from it all.

Sounds fun.


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Friday, August 08, 2014

Mina turns 8!

Mina turned 8 this July in a frenzied week of celebrating, culminating in a spa party with a few special friends.  We found an amazing place here on the island, called "Inner Beauty Kids Spa."  They arrange for spa birthday parties on site as well as mommy-daughter manicures and pedicures.  Totally girly!  Mina loved it.  I loved the ease of managing an intimate birthday indoors, while in my third trimester.

I tend to go overboard with birthday parties, but this year, the heat, humidity, and late pregnancy hit me hard.  I knew, from looking at Pinterest inspired ideas, it would be easy to go over the top with this theme.  But I restrained myself. 

 KISS!  (Keep it simple...), I kept whispering.

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Most of the décor was already in place.

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Simple activities, run by lovely staff kept the girls entertained.

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The spa is small, which necessitated keeping the guest list manageable.

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Glittery options were available.

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The timing was pre-lunch, so edibles were light and of the finger-food variety.

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I made the cupcakes using the semi-homemade method (Dunkin Hines for the cupcake, homemade frosting for the top, cake toppers I made with art store supplies, sandwiches, cherries in cupcake wrappers, fruit kabobs, cake pop balls - ugh, disaster, but kids loved anyway.)

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A happy camper. 

I'm going to consciously stop using the expression, "I can't believe she's (insert age of child) because it's so cliché.  How else can I express it though?  One minute I was driving myself to the ER to deliver her (long story), and the next, she happily jet sets to sleepaway camp for two weeks by herself. She loves clothes and fashion and designing outfits.  She's a reader, just like her mom, and gravitates towards all sorts of books like Dork Diaries, to Roald Dahl, to fairy princess tales.  Sometimes, she'll take her entire collection of cuddlies, line them up, and read to them.  She still adores bunny rabbits, and her favorite one "Luvabul," which she's had since she was a few months old, is still alive and well.  She informed me Luvabul will be attending her marriage.  If she gets married.  She changes her mind about that frequently.  She plays piano, swims like a fish, and has started taking sailing lessons - such a quintessential BDA thing.

She never lacks for friends, and unlike me - she always knows what to say to people in any situation.  Her social skills leave me astounded.  I would be at a loss without her by my side.  She happily joins me in the kitchen to cook or bake, feed the dog or set the table.  And she does it with such a smile.  Every night, she cuddles next to me for lullabies, and hugs my ever expanding belly.  "It's just so cute I can't help it!"  She says with a grin.  She tries talking to the baby through my belly button and laughs at the silliness of it all.

It looks like she'll be the only daughter I'll ever have, and for that - I am  grateful.  I couldn't ask for a better one.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Throw Back Thursday

2008 was a good year.

2008

Mina in full learning mode at the Greenhouse Nursery Preschool in NJ.  She wanted to go there so badly when she saw her big brother being dropped off every day.  She started with a few days a week, for a few hours at a time.  She took to it right away - loving being surrounded by kids her own age, helping the teachers in the classroom, and doing all kinds of art projects every day.  Getting the kids into preschool early was definitely the right choice for us. 

April 2008

I think this is Mina at the Brooklyn Children's museum.  She was there with Jordan and her Grandma H, who took this picture. 

October 2008

Halloween, 2008.  My little busy bees.  Our old town always holds a huge Halloween open house at the recreation center.  The place is decked out in creepy finery, there's candy and pictures.  So much fun.  2008 might have been the last year I got to pick what the kids would wear.  This was the year the kids were into the "Bee Movie."  We must have watched it a thousand times.  Mina was my little Queen Bee, and Jordan (construction hat is missing here) was a worker bee.  I even dressed up Oscar in a bee costume for dogs, so he could join us on the Halloween town parade.  Yes, it's my favorite holiday of the year.

November 2008

November 2008.  After we got home from school, the kids decided they wanted to play outside in the leaves.  Jordan tackled the piles with gusto, while Mina was still figuring out what to do with it.  We had such a cute little block.  Lots of leaves, but I loved the fall.  In the background, I can see the yellow mums I would put out on the front steps.  So cute.  While we live here in BDA, we rent out our old house.  We've driven by it, on the rare occasion when we are back in town, and I never see the front steps done up like I used to.  It makes me sad.  We had a lot of good memories in that house.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bermuda yard sales.



This Saturday, I hosted a yard sale, along with several other neighbors, here at our condo complex.  I am a huge yard sale junkie, from years back, and I credit that to Jeff's mom - Grandma H.  I think she turned me on to them and I haven't looked back since.

I've hosted a few of them over the years, most notably the epic moving sale we had before we came to Bermuda.  The best "sale" of the day, actually involved a neighbor returning $300 he had found stuffed in one of Jeff's old opera textbooks.  Nice one.

Yard sales in Bermuda are another species from the jam packed ones I'm used to back home.  I think part of it is that the culture in the US is definitely more disposable.  We buy things, they break, we toss them.  We replace them with cheap goods fromTarget and Walmart, and toss out clothes, books, shoes, broken furniture, etc.  If we are ally feeling charitable, we call one of the Veteran donation centers and have someone pick up our crap off our front steps.

It's different here on Bermuda.

I don't claim to be an expert, having lived here for only a handful of years.  However, the attitude here is notably different.  Yard sales aren't full of things to be had for cheap.  Sometimes you get lucky and find some stuff.  But most locals hold on to things.  They repair them, they repurpose them, they pass them down to friends and family.  Stuff here is EXPENSIVE.  This is not a throw away culture.  You make do with what you have because the stores aren't always reliable for finding what you want, and importing things here is costly.   If you travel you can pick up things, but then you have to pay 25%  duties on it.

Your best bet here is to stalk the "moving sales" or "leaving the island" sales that crop up when ex-pats go home.  To save costs on the containers, many people will unload lots of things.  Its not cheap, but it is cheaper than buying brand new.

One of the neighbors joining the sale on Saturday is moving, and she has listed lots of stuff.  Because I placed the ad, I have been getting lots of emails about it.  The rest of us are getting rid of odds and ends, kids clothing, women's clothing, stuff that is occupying precious space... I'm trying to clear out the closet in the guest room so I can make it a proper nursery.



Bye bye Karl Lagerfeld tuxedo that Jeff wore to our wedding.  He hesitated when he saw it hanging there this morning .., I could see him picturing  whether there would be an occasion to wear it again... Or fit into it again.

My rule of thumb, "if you haven't worn it in 2 years, let it go."

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We had a lot to let go of.  This is just a fraction of what fit on the front steps.  The rest is tucked into corners and spilling out into the driveway.

Doing the sale with neighbors definitely is a good idea.  We had quite a bit of traffic.  The kids helped out by selling baked goods.

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Nutella bites

and a new recipe, courtesy of Bakerella - Lemonies!

The baked goods went faster than most of the yard sale stuff, which I was practically giving away.

The kids also helped out by buying things off of the neighbors' tables. Three Christmas wine glasses, anyone?

Having a yard sale takes a lot of work.  I've been setting things aside for months now, and organizing them.  There's also the cleaning, and lugging tables and heavy items up and down stairs.  There's putting the word out, which is a little harder here for some reason.  I used the local version of Craig's List, which is called "EMOO," as well as posting it on facebook and notifying friends. 

All in all, I am glad I cleared out some space and made a little money.  The remainder of stuff I am giving away via Bermuda Freecycle, donating to friends, and local charities.  I think some of the BDA mentality has rubbed off on me - I hate just throwing stuff into the garbage. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Throw Back Thursday - January 2006

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My FB wall is always flooded with #TBT pictures, but the ones I like best are those that put the picture into context.

This was Jordan's first birthday party - January 2006.  All parents remember their child's first birthday, especially when they are brand new parents.  For us, Jordan's first birthday held special meaning because he had survived his first year as a heart transplant kid.  It was such a big deal.  We were so weepy with gratitude and happiness. 

Those anguished weeks of being in a hospital sitting by his side, watching his still body on an ECMO machine were slowly becoming a memory.  There were months of uncertainty while we figured out how to give him medications, marking off the times on checklists, measuring how much he ate, how much he slept, around the clock, nursing him every two hours, driving him to clinic twice a week, crying along with him when he could no longer sit still through EKG's, Echos and stickers being pulled off his torso. 

Between struggling with balancing his medical needs, we tried so hard to treat him like a normal kid.

That first birthday felt like such a weight had been lifted. 

He made it.  And we were so happy to share that moment with our family and friends.   

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Be careful what you say on Facebook. You might offend someone.


The other day, I came across an article written by a woman who, although wistful at realizing she would never have another baby was happy enough with her life to pen an article entitled, "Twenty-five reasons I am glad I will never be pregnant again."

This is the article.  I think it's funny. 

Trigger alert - don't read it if you have struggled with getting pregnant. It's only funny if you've been through pregnancy successfully and have a healthy child.

The author has kids, and recalls some very funny, albeit embarrassing facts about her own pregnancy, which I thought were hysterical.  Third boob, anyone?

I posted the article on my facebook wall and tagged  one friend in particular who, like me, is also pregnant with her third child.  She and I have routinely complained about how much harder it is being pregnant when you are older and we joke about it in a gallows humor sort of way.  It's how we get through nine months of being overweight, swollen, and exhausted from the demands of two other kids.

I posted it publicly because many of my friends here are done having children.  They have been vocal about it.  Many have come right out and said, "I don't know how you can go through this again!"  "Oh man, stay away from me!  I can't even imagine being pregnant!"  "Uhh!!  This summer is going to suck for you!"  And so on.  I laugh it off because they're right!  They aren't trying to offend me.  They're just expressing an opinion.

I can't believe I'm pregnant again either, this summer will suck because this humidity is a soul sucking phenomena.  But, I can find the humor in it, and I am excited about having another baby.  I will survive and I'm grateful my body is still thinking it is young enough to have another baby.

All of the comments on my post were positive and people thought the article was funny.  The woman I had tagged, even wrote back and said she had started contractions that morning (not because of the article!) and she could think of even more reasons why she was looking forward to never being pregnant again.

However, one person posted something on the wall that totally blew me away.  She deleted the comment, so I don't have it verbatim, but in essence, she said:

"I know the article was supposed to be funny, but you should really think about people who can't have kids and how they feel."

Well, I was gobsmacked, as they say here. 

My first reaction was defensive, in that I never meant to offend anyone.  I certainly hadn't written the article or thought there was anything offensive about it.  I never post anything on facebook about religion or politics, which are known triggers.  I posted this article because it was something I, and many of my friends could directly relate to.  When you've been pregnant, even if it's a pregnancy you've long planned for - it's a tough experience.  Your body is no longer your own, and for ten months, (yes, I said ten) you struggle with physical and mental demands that tax even the best of us.  If you can't find humor in the situation, it will be a long, tiring ordeal.

I  didn't understand why she had to call me out publicly on the post like that.  Why not just message me privately?  Rather than seethe about it, I messaged her privately and the conversation went as follows.  I'll refer to her as FF (facebook friend, to protect her privacy.)
Me:   I don't appreciate your comment on my post because it was sharing a light hearted link with one friend in particular who also happens to be pregnant and we've joked about it a lot. I kept it open because a lot of moms I know joke about this including several who I've hung out with this month that have rolled their eyes and told me they would never want to "do this all over again." Am I supposed to be offended by this? I let it go. And quite frankly if you were offended by my shared link, you could have messaged me privately. I'm kind of pissed you wrote that. I hold back plenty of times when people post dumb shit on FB, whether it's about religion or politics or links to other stupid shit. I can't believe you felt the need to embarrass me like that
 
FF:  I hadn't realized it would've been embarrassing for you. I will remove it
 
Me:  Thanks. I'm sorry if I offended you or someone you know
 
FF:  You didn't offend me. I just thought I would bring light to a situation that a lot of women are dealing with, including me. Clearly it was a wrong choice
 
Me:  I get it. I've never dealt with infertility. I can only handle what's on my plate and try to make light of the situation I currently find myself in. It's gallows humor but that's always been my style. Did I expect to wake up at 42 at find myself pregnant? No. But if I didn't laugh about it, how would I get through the nine months. I get it. I'm lucky and I am grateful. But it doesn't mean I'm going to curtail my dark humor and cynicism out of fear of offending someone.
 
FF:  Got it.
 
Me:  Ok. We good?
 
FF:  This has actually been really eye opening for me. It makes me realize that people are completely clueless as to what women with infertility go through. A little empathy would've been great but now I know not to expect it.
 
Me:  That's a little harsh. I'm sorry you are dealing with infertility. I don't know exactly what you are going through. I hope that you are able to have children. I love mine and can't imagine what life would be like without them. I'm sorry if what I posted came across as an insensitive attack on infertile women or a lack of empathy. Sometimes we joke about the situation WE find ourselves in (ie being unexpectedly pregnant) because it how we (I) cope. It's personal, and directed at myself. Not you. Not any other woman who is not pregnant, who wishes she were pregnant or happens to be someone who just loved being pregnant and can't imagine any horror stories associated with it.
I hope you understand and I will keep in mind this conversation for future reference if I feel like complaining about being pregnant.

I never heard back from her.  I didn't pursue it further.  I've come to the conclusion that the above highlights one of the biggest problems with Facebook.  Apart from everyone knowing your business, people will only know the business you want them to know.  People who want to be offended will also be offended when you aren't sensitive to their personal business you were blissfully unaware of.  As in this case, I had no idea my friend was having trouble conceiving.  I knew she had recently gotten married, perhaps slightly later than many of us, for a number of reasons.  But I didn't know anything else.

I also don't know that I would have held off posting a funny article, and tagging a pregnant friend. 

Just because it's on Facebook, doesn't mean it's directed at you or you have to comment about it.

There's a private messaging feature for a reason.

I also think if someone does post something you think is personally offensive, how about giving them the benefit of the doubt - especially, when the only things they normally post is pictures of their kids and food.  Are those offensive too?  To people without kids?  To people on diets?  Where do you draw the line?

Anyway, I've chosen to "unfollow" her, so that nothing else I say during my pregnancy will upset her.  I'm also sick of looking at her pit bull dog rescue pictures which she posts at least five time a week. 

Not to offend pit bull owners.