Thursday, December 18, 2014

Three Month Theo

Theo's turned three months on December 2.

 We celebrated with more of the same - eating, sleeping, walking, reading, attempting to find a schedule, posing for pictures.. We have a very glamorous life, you see.

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It's wonderful to see him wake up from that newborn baby daze and begin interacting with the world. I can say the same thing about myself. I'm finally starting to emerge from the zombie like state of the post partum haze. I could still fo with more sleep though. Once I get a full night, then I know we are back in business.

It's that time of the year.

He's finally fitting into things beyond the onesies.

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Not sure if he is as amused as I am about posing all the time.

Post walk snacking.

Some milestones - he's been smiling for awhile, but now he's laughing too (such a joy!), he loves his hand and will try to eat that at the same time he is nursing from a bottle.  He can go 5hour stretches at night now ... (7pm-12:00) Once in awhile it might be 5 1/2.  He is getting better head control now and can roll over from belly to back.  He hates that though since he doesn't know how to roll full back, and he lays there like a little turtle on his shell.

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The big kids continue to be super helpful.  Mina always chats with Theo and Jordan asks to feed him all the time.  People were right, it is nice having big kid helpers in the house.

Is it morning yet? #partyallnight

Friday, November 07, 2014

Two Months down, 17 years and 10 months to go.

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Someone hit the two month mark in November.  We are all smiles about it.

2 month checkup

Still happy at the doctor's office, right before his first immunizations.

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A little work and play time at home while the big kids are in school.

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The three amigos. 

Right now, I'm still in a daze from having this baby.  He is not sleeping more than three-four hour stretches at night, so neither Jeff nor I have slept well.  I'm kind of getting used to that feeling, as much as it's possible to get used to lumbering along like the walking dead.  I've resumed drinking caffeine, so my daily coffee cup in the morning is my saving grace.

The kids have been relatively good about welcoming the newest member of the family.  Jordan has really risen to the occasion of being the big brother - entertaining Theo every morning at the breakfast table with his particular blend of wacky clown like antics.  Mina has been treating Theo at bath time with washing and picking out his outfits.  Both of them are trying to encourage story time at night, when it's possible to get Theo on some kind of rhythm.  That's the hardest part.

He has no schedule, no particular routine yet.  I'm trying, but he is going to do this his way.  We take our daily walks, our nightly baths.  I try to have him see the kids in the morning to establish a daytime/nighttime distinction. I try to follow his lead and put him down for a nap when I see him yawning or beginning to fuss from tiredness. But, he's only two months old.  It's still all up in the air.  I'm also not going to make myself crazy with this one. 

I want to enjoy my last time up at bat.

The fun things are starting to happen - he's been smiling back, making baby cooing noises, trying to repeat sounds that we make like "ooh and oooo."  That is really cute.  I love the way he stares intently at my mouth when I talk to him, or the way he gazes into my eyes while he's eating.  It's such an adoring look - the kind that unfortunately won't last long.

We spend most of the day at home, although we have some social times, here and there - walks, chats with neighbors, a rare night out at dinner.  It's nice being comfortable enough with the third that I feel no pressure to run out and join mommy groups or organized activities.  None of those are for the baby.  I used to make myself crazy with Jordan and Mina, dragging them to all kinds of things they can't even remember anymore.

Right now, it's just me and Theo.  We eat, play on the tummy time mat, read baby books, make noises at each other, take walks where I drone on about the outdoors, and practice napping.  It's such a short spell this newborn phase. 

I forgot how slow the day goes by, yet all at once - it's over.


Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Ten

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Ten years ago, a little girl was born.  She was named Breanna. 

I think of her all the time because my son has her heart. 

Today, I make a point of remembering her here - to share the memory of the gift she gave us.  It helps remind me, and those of us who love my son, Jordan, just what a difference one person can make.  She was born today, ten years ago.  Though she only lived for two months, she blessed us all in her short time here on Earth.

As I think about how much my son has changed and grown in ten years, I can't help but wonder what Breanna would have been like.  Would she be a fashionista, like my Mina?  Would she have insisted on dressing herself and brushing her own hair?  Would she have sung along to Taylor Swift or Katy Perry?  Would she be laughing with her friends and giggling during sleep overs?    Rolling her eyes at her older brother or storming off to her room when she was upset?  I imagine her mother must have thought these things a million times over.  She must also have wondered what kind of big sister Breanna would have made to her younger siblings. 

I'm so sorry she won't ever know that joy.  My heart hurts when I think about how she was taken.

I do know she won't ever be forgotten - ever.  When I look at my son, I see ten years of miracles, wrapped up in a big, loud personality.  Somewhere in his laughs and jumps and flips, there is the spirit of a very special little girl.  I hope, as he soars in the air on the trampoline, or flips over on the rings, her spirit laughs a little bit too. 

He has her heart, and her joy.

When I see my son, Jordan, I see Breanna's gift.  When I see how blessed our family is, I think back and wonder how different our lives would have been had Breanna not been born.  Her butterfly effect rippled across so many lives. 

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For her, and her mother - Nikki, I am forever grateful.  Prayers for you, getting through today.

Happy Birthday Breanna, rest in peace.

Breanna Maree Loomis
November 5, 2004 - January 25, 2005
Heart Angel January 26, 2005

Monday, November 03, 2014

Halloween 2014

It was my favorite time of the year ... Halloween!  It took me till the end of the month and two hurricanes later, but I finally pulled the decorating bin out and gussied up my home. 

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We (i.e me) bought some pumpkins and set out carving (ok, Jeff carved) on Halloween eve.  We don't carve earlier than that because the heat, humidity, and ant assault would destroy the gourds if we did it any earlier. 

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Finished products.

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Last minute costuming - Jordan as the demonic chef!  For the record, he wanted to go as a "carrot."  When I looked at him blank faced, he laughed and said, "Ok, how about a kiwi?"  This is what I countered with.

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Face-painting I can do.  Kiwi costuming - no.

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Mina made it easier for me - Anna (Frozen) to coincide with her friend's Elsa.  Look at Jordan hugging her for the picture.  That cracked me up.

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No, the makeup did not scare the baby.

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Speaking of which - here he is.  My little skeletor.  Look how chunky he is getting.  Two months old, just had his doctor check up and passed with flying colors.  Look at those chins!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Escaping Hurricane Gonzalo

In the four years we have lived in Bermuda, we've been lucky to avoid any major hurricanes.

Our luck ended last week when the island was hit by back to back storms.

First, Tropical Storm Fay - with wind gusts over 100 mph.

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Then, while the island was still recovering, we watched Hurricane Gonzalo make its approach up the Atlantic Ocean.

Projections put Bermuda on a direct hit this time.  That is rare, but we weren't taking any chances. The possibility of going without power for weeks was enough motivation to purchase tickets to get the kids off the island. We figured we could manage without power, and the baby would be ok with me, but Jordan and Mina would be better off with Grandma back in the States.

We bought tickets Monday night, for a flight Friday morning. This was under the assumption that the storm would hit on Saturday.

As the week progressed, it became clear that the storm was moving faster then expected, and the Friday flight would be cancelled.  We resigned ourselves to bracing out the storm together, and hopefully getting a flight off the island when the airport re-opened.  It wasn't the storm itself we were worried about, you see.  Bermuda homes are built to withstand the hurricanes.

It was the subsequent loss of power that had us concerned.  Friends who survived Hurricane Fabian (the last big one to hit the island) warned us that power was out for almost a month!

Loss of power means not just lack of electricity.  It means no showers, toilets, refridgerated food, internet, phone, or most cooking.  Multiply those needs by two big kids stuck indoors, and there was our motivation.

We scrambled to get baby Theo a passport.

This was no easy task, as he still did not have a birth certficate.  (See earlier post about this nonsense.)  However, Jeff worked his magic and managed to convince someone at the Registrar to take pity on us and print one out.  We gathered all the important papers and made it to the American Consulate to attest to our citizenship and claim Theo's American status.

Voila!  Passport pictures obtained too!

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Then we learned that the airlines would be bringing in additional flights Wednesday and Thursday morning. With the help of American Express Travel, a new service Jeff learned about (no, they are not paying me) we managed to change Jordan and. Mina's tickets to Thursday, AND get two more for Jeff and me.

Off we go.

Escaping Gonzalo

Fashionable travel wear.

Chilling in Miami.

No direct flights to NYC - so Theo enjoys his first layover in Miami.

Staring contest with the deer

It's ok.  We perservered and were rewarded with a beautiful fall trip.  Jordan admiring the foliage and fauna.


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Baby passing with good friends while the big kids enjoyed a fall festival.

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Best part - Theo got to meet the Grandparents!  Hi Grandma B.

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And Grandma H, who hosted all of us at her home in PA.

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We were also lucky to be in town while Uncle Osman was making his annual fall east coast visit.

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Bonding, the techie-techie way.

As it turned out, the Category 3 hurricane found Bermuda well prepared. Our house withstood too much damage, and apart from a busted grill, we are ok. There is continued leaking in the basement, but what else is new.

For most people on the island, power was restored over the course of a few days. There are still some unlucky souls who do not have it back, and to date that means over 12+ days. They haven't had it restored since the first storm, so my heart really goes out to them!

I'm glad we had the unexpected trip back to the US. Fall is my favorite season of the year, and it's best appreciated in the northeast. The fall colors, the chill in the air, the mad frenzy of all things pumpkin - I love it.

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Plus we had some good bonding too.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A temporary calm - Surviving Tropical Storm Fay and preparing for Hurricane Gonzalo.

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This past weekend, the island got hit with Tropical Storm Fay. They keep calling it a storm, but the wind gusts of over 100+ miles an hour did some major damage. This storm caught most of us completely off guard.

These are just some scenes from my neighborhood.

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Debris along our walking route.

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Palmettos hanging dangerously from electical wires.

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Tree branches scattered everywhere.

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Our neighbor's Poinciana tree completely uprooted.

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What neighbors do.

This tree landed across the road, and as soon as it was safe to be outside, neighbors came out with buzzsaws and hacked it up. They moved the limbs out of the road to await cleanup when the storm was finally over.

Across the island, it was reported that more than 27,000 people lost power. That's about half the population, including us. Many got it restored the same day, but unfortunately we had to wait till Monday. Not too bad - about a day and a half.

However, because we weren't prepared, we didn't do the usual things like fill up the tubs with water, move outdoor furniture or shut the hurricane shutters. It wasn't as bad as it could have been; and we were lucky to live close to town where we can take advantage of showers at the company gym which relies on major generators.

 But it wasn't fun.

Well, maybe for the kids it was.  School was closed Monday and Tuesday.  At the time of this writing, I'm still waiting to see if it will be open on Wednesday.  Saltus had some damage, including some of the roof being ripped off.  Yikes.

What's even scarier is that another one is on the way.  Hurricane Gonzalo is scheduled to make a direct hit on Bermuda either Thursday night or Friday.  Very worried about this one.  Going without power for a day or two is manageable .. going a week or more with three kids is something else. 

We have been very lucky in that during our four years on the island, we've avoided any major storms.  This one might be our first taste of it. 

Wish us luck!

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Breakfast by candlelight during Tropical Storm Fay.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Jazz Hands ... and the absurdities of documenting your child's birth in BDA.

So, a month ago, I gave birth to my third child.  Since we live here in Bermuda for the time being, it made sense to just deliver him here. 

First, the baby in question.

Look!  Jazz hands!!

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You know how easy it is to get a birth certificate when you deliver in a hospital in the US, right?  You pretty much leave the hospital on discharge with something in your hand.

Not here.

(We left with the baby, which is a good thing.)

Four weeks later, still no birth certificate. 

We did just get this form in the mail.  Blank for us to fill out - called "Notice of Particulars of Birth."

Take a look at it for a moment and tell me if you notice anything odd.

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First, it's not a birth certificate.

Ok - no big deal.  Presumably we fill out the info and mail it to the Registrar and hopefully one day have something I can take to the American Consulate.  I hope I will secure an approval of a Notice of an American Birth Overseas, which I will then use to get the boy a passport. 

In case he ever wants to get off the island...

BUT...

Keep looking at the form above ...

Apart from the fact that we have to declare our marital legitimacy so the child isn't legally a bastard, we also get to make up our own racial color of the child.

The best part?  Wait for it...

There's nowhere for the MOTHER to sign.

Get it?

THE.  MOTHER.

I carried the boy for 40 weeks in my body, gained 30 pounds, delivered him in a burst of pain and drug-free glory.. and my signature isn't necessary.

Damn.

Apparently I lack the legal capacity to verify the birth of my child.

Oh Bermuda. 

I love you, but it's true. 

It's a whole other world over here.

ps - we debated for two days what the "racial color of the child" was.  Jeff dared me to put down any other race that would guarantee him an affirmative action boost for college application processes 18 years from now.  I told him it wouldn't matter by then since everyone will be brown like me by that point.

Such is what passes for levity in this house when no one gets any sleep.