Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bermuda snippets - Has the hurricane passed?

Woke up Wednesday morning to the first clear, sunny skies I have seen in days.  Is it possible the storm has passed us by?

I hope so.

Like a seasoned islander,  I prepared for all possibilities, stocking up on water, food, ensuring window shutters work, viewing what outdoor furniture needed securing.  I would say "stock up on alcohol" but since I'm still pregnant, I took that off the list. We had flashlights, candles and batteries. The car had gas, the outdoor grill had a full tank.

What I had no control over was what the recent weeks of rain did to our house.

Came upon this in the basement:

image

Rain water has been soaking through foundation and accumulating in the ceiling.  It all came down yesterday in a wet pile of grit and drywall. 

To the credit of the landlords, they came out this morning with a crew and immediately cleaned it up.  As the owner and the property manager of the complex battle it out with the insurance company, I am reminded that this isn't the first time we've dealt with ceiling collapses.


CC 004

This happened in 2006, while we were in our home in NJ. 

CC 007

Big chunks of this, soaked through from our attic air conditioning unit, collapsed the ceiling drywall atop our bed.

CC 002

Debris and reinforced concrete also landed on top of the bassinet, which was located right next to our bed. Luckily, by some strange fluke, I had kept Mina next to me in a different room that evening while I watched tv. Had she been sleeping at her normal time, that concrete would have landed right on top of her. 

Flash forward to this morning - thanks to the hard work of the homeowners, the mess is temporarily dealt with.  (On a completely unrelated note, I learned that as tenants here, we are referred to as "the occupiers."  That just makes me laugh.)

image

While I await more rain ahead. Hurricane Cristobal is bypassing us to the west for now.  Although rain is expected this evening.

Ripples on the pond still calm as the hurricane passes along the west. Fingers crossed.

I finally got outside long enough to give Oscar a walk and admire the Fairyland Pond. Little ripples drift across the water as the wind breezes through the mangroves and Palmetto trees.

Baby continues to relax as the final day approaches.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Awaiting Cristobal

Hurricane season continues in BDA.  These past two weeks have been such a wash out.  Rain, grey skies and wind continue to dampen the island.  Generally, living in Bermuda is a very nice thing - when the weather cooperates.  It is a veritable paradise of colors and sunshine and beautiful beaches.  When it doesn't though, it kind of feels like you are stuck on a rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with no help in sight.

This week looks no different and we are currently tracking the progress of tropical storm Cristobal.  He may make landfall by this Wednesday with expected high winds of up to 50 mph.

That means the causeway to the airport is closed, electricity will likely be out and I will be a nervous wreck praying I don't go into labor.  I'm sure even if I do the hospital will manage the delivery just fine ... but for once I really wish I could deliver a child drama free.

image

Drippy window view from the balcony.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The baby's nursery - Beach theme.


They say "nesting" is one of the hallmarks of pregnancy. That, plus an enormous belly that sticks straight out and shifts around night and day of its own volition. With baby three, I've been in full nesting mode all spring and summer.

 I had hoped to get his room ready before August, since Bermuda summers are notoriously hot and humid.  That is draining no matter what condition your body is in.  I can assure you mine is in pretty miserable shape right now.

I only finished this last week, but since the baby is still not here, I am ahead of the game!

I failed to take any BEFORE pictures, which completely defeats the purpose of a redecorating post, but I know what it looked like. The only room available in our rental house was the one we were using as a guest room/office. It was a hodgepodge of mismatched furniture, drapes, and disorganization.  I hated it.

First step - picking a theme and color. I went with coastal/beachy as it seemed a natural fit for living in BDA.

Untitled

The walls are stark white, which is not what I wanted.  Despite protests from Jeff (if we paint, we have to re-paint it white when we leave) it was time to paint - Benjamin Moore, Ocean Breeze. Pembroke Paint matched the color.  I found a painter via a friend's recommendation. Normally, I would do the painting, but I thought it best to avoid the fumes and step stools.

The say there's minimal fumes, but I still think there some.  Better safe than sorry.

Untitled

The second big issue was storage. Having gone through the kid rodeo twice now, I know how critical organization can be. The room is relatively small, but it has a good size closet. I had hoped to either create a closet storage system or find a dresser, used.  Bermuda has a Craig's List type service called "Emoo" to resell items.  I've used it quite a lot to buy and sell things. I hoped I'd find something appropriate.

Closet storage systems that I liked were too expensive here and not worth the investment given we will eventually be moving when Jeff's work permit is up. Jeff was attracted to the cheap plastic bins that stack atop one another, which didn't appeal to me. So - the search for a dresser began. I kid you not that I have been looking since March.

I finally found this one at a consignment store. Its dimensions fit the closet, it was made all of wood, and I figured I could resell it once we leave the island. Resale is a big factor to consider as an ex pat.  It doesn't always pay to reship this stuff back to the states.  Apart from potential damage and cost, you have to think about how the furniture has soaked up the humidity and mold spores.  The last thing you want is bringing something back to your home in the US, that's releasing moisture and is warped and smells.

I wasn't expecting to find an enormous living cockroach in it, but such is Bermuda.  They are everywhere. It also wasn't cheap, like you would expect from a consignment shop, but I negotiated delivery down and saved Jeff the agony of throwing his back out again.  Plus, I knew I could make it work.

Untitled

Cleaned up and defumigated, I think it looks lovely.  It has a lot of deep storage, so the baby's clothes can be organized by month while hanging items can be right above.  There's a lot of space on top for baskets to store blankets, wraps and bibs, as well as decorative items.  I may replace the knobs if I can find something more beachy.

There was also a bonus!

Untitled

Unbeknownst to me, the dresser had a mirror that wasn't displayed when we saw it in the store. The shop owner sent it along with the delivery. I plan on using it in my daughter's room to create a vanity table. She's been admiring the very fancy one I have and promised we could create something for her. One more project to look forward to!

image

The walls were bare, so I pondered how to decorate them.  After searching for ideas on Houzz.com, I pictured framed shells/ burlap, bursts of orange to pop.  Luckily, while I was in the states, I spent a morning at Home Goods.  Beachy must be a popular theme this year because coastal decorating items stocked the store.  I bought two framed shells to bring back, baskets, and bedding for the guest bed.

image

The other major decor item was this canvas portrait.  I took this picture of Jordan over Easter weekend when we went kite flying on the beach.  To me, it encapsulated the best part of living on this island, and the colors were an exact match for what I wanted in the room.  I had hoped to find a place on the island to create the canvas in the dimensions I wanted, but alas, that did not happen.  So, onto Shutterfly - where I designed it and had it shipped to my parents house in NY (ignore the red shag carpeting in the room - that's their project to work on.)

While I was in the states, I picked it up, and brought it back to BDA as a checked item.  It was worth the duty we had to pay.

Untitled

I also wanted something to personalize the room.  On Etsy, I found someone (Mangoseed) who creates hand made signs from beach driftwood and tin.  They are so gorgeous.  I got a Theo sign to hang right above the changing table.

upload

This is the finished product overall.  The crib is a lent item from a friend.  The bedding is in the aqua/white and coral theme.  The guest bedding is from the Home Goods collection with some re purposed pillows.  The rug was ordered locally from Souza's.  They were fantastic and it arrived in less than 2 weeks.  Their customer service was top notch.   Drapes were ordered from Bed, Bath and Beyond as well as the shell finials that you can't see too well.  I tried to find locally, but failed.  Another duty item.  Sigh.  I also loved the wall decals of fish and coral.  Unfortunately, the walls in our house are textured concrete, so the decals do not lay flush the way I would like. 

Oh well.

Untitled

Overall, I love this room.  It's bright and colorful and decidedly beachy - which I think makes sense given our locale. Unlike the nurseries I designed for Jordan and Mina, this one has no glider or such, but I can see myself using the guest bedroom to crash on when I have late night feedings or need a nap when the baby does.

The baby won't care what the room looks like, but I know I do!  Given how much time I expect to be spending in here, I think it's worth it to create a serene environment that makes us/me happy.

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.

image






I packed.  A lot.

Camp 2014

They had fun!

image

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. 

image

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.

Untitled

Mina learns about the boats she will sail at orientation.

upload


Untitled

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?

image

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.)

image

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

image

Which obviously includes chocolate covered pancakes.

image

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.

image

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

Friday, August 15, 2014

Will I ever fit into my skinny jeans again?

image

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.


.







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.

1-DSC_0021

Most of the décor was already in place.

1-DSC_0018

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

1-DSC_0012

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

1-DSC_0036

Glittery options were available.

1-DSC_0026

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

1-DSC_0055

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.)

1-DSC_0049

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.