February 2007 Archives

Playing Together

We went over to Gill & Ella's for a playdate today and Anna & Ella for the most part played on their own/parallel-play until one toy came out that they were both interested in and they shared very well. Ella seemed to be trying to engage Anna in "conversation" a lot but apparently they don't understand each other very well. It was pretty cute to see these two interacting though so both Gill & I had to get a couple of shots.

Tiger Stamps, etc.

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There was a TV playing Tom and Jerry in the pediatrician's waiting room and Anna thought the show was exciting. Of course she loves mice & cats so that makes sense. The funny part of the doctor's visit was that her doctor said she was going to look for "Barneys" in Anna's ears and Anna has no clue who or what Barney is.

I do need to introduce her to some of the popular kids characters at some point, I guess, because right now Tigger is just some tiger (she has gotten Tigger stamps on her hand at music class twice now and I just say "oooh, a tiger stamp!) and Mickey & Minnie are some mice.

I don't want her to feel left out of kids conversations about popular culture just because I have a thing for not exposing her to licensed characters, television, and marketing in general! (She does know who Elmo is and who some other Sesame Street characters are because they are on her diapers and on some of the Earth's Best products we used at home, but she has no idea that they have a show on TV!)

I'm not saying that we're going to start plopping her in front of the TV or anything (I'm sure that will happen more often when Baby arrives and the grandmas leave, but even so, my lovely Librarian sister has pointed me in the direction of movies based on books (so far she only watches three Dr. Seuss "soft animation" books on the computer a few times per week) that I'll start with before going down the Walt Disney trail) but I might start choosing some books that feature these characters so she has a clue who they are. I'll have to scour Amazon and see if there is anything decent. Winnie the Pooh stuff should be easy enough so I might start there; I'm sure she'll love Piglet!

2 Year Appointment & Cough

Anna has been coughing at night for a little over a week now so I thought we'd pop in to see her pediatrician while we were waiting around for my OB stuff today. I really like her new doctor; I'm not sure where she is from but she spoke with no accent so either is from the US or has spent a lot of time there.

Anna was absolutely amazing through the entire two hours we were at the hospital! It may have helped that we were moved around a lot so we weren't sitting in the same spot those two hours, but, really, I think she went above and beyond the call of duty for a two year old. She read her books and played with her toys quietly and then was understanding when I needed to talk to the doctor and couldn't interact with her. But, the biggest surprise of all was that she let the nurses check her out and the doctor poke around without a fuss. She did scream and cry when she got her shot but was quickly over it when I reminded her that I had a shot, too (I had blood drawn but felt like it was similar enough that I didn't need to draw that distinction today).

They weighed her and measured and I asked if it would be all written down for me so I didn't bother to remember the numbers and then they didn't write it down! We go back on Saturday for a follow-up appointment so I'll get the numbers then. I do remember she is in the 25th percentile for height & weight and 75th percentile for head circumference.

30 Weeks 3 Days Pregnant

I got up early to have breakfast so that I could go to the doctor first thing before they got busy (my instructions were to eat breakfast and then have my blood drawn two hours later). My numbers were in the middle of the "normal" range this time (I asked this doctor—not mine again—to show me the numbers because I didn't like that they told me "normal" last time and then my doctor sprung it on me that it was actually a point higher than normal) but they want me to repeat this test when I come back in three weeks just to be on the safe side. I got to see Baby Girl again, of course, but only a quick glance.

I combined this visit with a visit to Anna's (& Baby's) pediatrician which I'll post about separately so we were there for about two hours total. Part of the problem is the process of paying for tests, etc. You check in and pay for your visit. Check in to another desk and wait for your visit. If any tests need to be run, you have to go back and pay for them at the first desk and then return to the doctor/lab to have the test administered. I don't understand why they can't just have you pay at the end when everything is done. I think my credit card was charged 3 or 4 times today (between my and Anna's appointments and tests/shots).

This past week I've been experiencing labor & delivery jitters. I think with less than 10 weeks to go until the due-date this is normal. I also think we need to go on the hospital tour so I feel more sure about what is going to happen (or at least where things are going to happen!). I have a list of questions for my doctor that I will bring with to my next appointment and hopefully I will like her answers!

I'm also really ready to get Baby Girl's room ready but that can't be done until either we move to our permanent assignment or until I get back from Colorado this summer! It is a very frustrating feeling; like I have no control over the situation. I'm sure Baby Girl will end up sleeping in the pack & play in the office after a few weeks just to get her out of our room. Anna slept in the same room as me until six weeks only because Craig was out of the country for weeks 3-6!

Also, Craig did talk to someone at work and although we have been told we qualify for our bigger place now, this person says we don't qualify until after Baby arrives. Same as with the Baby Shipment. This really makes no sense at all. It would be about three million times easier to move all of our stuff before Baby arrives than after. It would also be nice (especially for first-time moms who don't already have all of the baby stuff) to get that Baby Shipment before Baby arrives. As it is, she'll probably be 2-3 months old by the time it gets here! I am going to attempt to re-set my expectations really low and just plan on moving and getting the Baby Shipment after we get back from the US this summer. If anything happens before that then that is just a bonus. Still, the whole thing is rather frustrating.

Did I Miss Out?

We went grocery shopping this morning and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Pampers Cruisers and Baby Dry (in Anna's size) next to the local version of Pampers (Active Baby and Let's Go). I snatched up a package of each although I never used the Baby Dry at home. There was a big empty space on the shelf and I can't help but wonder if I missed out on some Swaddlers for Baby Girl (the New Baby just aren't the same as Swaddlers!)... Now I will be sure to walk down the diaper aisle each week just to check.

Bed & Dollhouse

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Two naps in a row in her bed! I had to wake her up from her nap today. After she woke up a little, she went straight to her dollhouse which I stocked with furniture this morning. She got the furniture from Grandma & Grandpa for Christmas and I couldn't stand having that empty house in her room so I gave in and gave her something new from the sea shipment. I'll try to hold off another two weeks for the rest of the stuff.

Relaxed (For Sophie & Lily)

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Swimming

The three of us headed out to the pool this morning since it has been so nice out. Craig & Anna went alone last week but Anna spent more time on the chairs than in the water. Today we convinced her that swimming is fun. Obviously, it has been too long since she's been in the pool! Hopefully we will spend a lot of time out there over the next few months while it is still nice out and before it gets too hot.

The Toddler Bed

Anna & I watched Craig assemble her new bed today. I washed her sheets and asked her if she wanted stripes or numbers and she enthusiastically chose the number sheets (she's her father's daughter!). I will take photos of her room when I get it totally set up (need some baskets or something to contain some rogue toys). She did well in her bed for naptime today. She didn't nap (but she hasn't been napping much the past week: 2 days out of 7—and it's not pacifier-related as this is not far off from her record with the pacifier)), but she stayed in her bed the entire time which is all I really hoped for. She talked and sang for two hours and fifteen minutes and then I went in to get her. It's funny to me when she is just so open to what I would consider big changes for her. I think it definitely helped that she got to sleep with "Orange Big Daddy Cat" and a few other favorite animals (as well as her usual pigs, duck, cloth-book, and blanket).

Unpacking

I feel like I've been unpacking non-stop (while the annoying thought of having to move everything again lurks in my mind each time I finish a box) and we've made quite a bit of progress. Hopefully we can get it all put away over the next few days. We've got to get these boxes out of our house though because they stink! I can't explain the smell, but it's not attractive.

I've been thrilled to use actual kitchen tools last night and today! I feel like I could have my own show on the Food Network! I'm not mixing muffin mix with a large soup spoon, for example (one time I needed two mixing bowls so I had to use a large pot because I only bought one bowl for the interim as Craig's company did not provide any baking tools).

Anna has loved finding all of her old toys and books. And I had some new books in the shipment that she is just loving (and so are we, it's nice to read something new six times in a row instead of something we've been reading ten times per day for the past two months!).

I'm excited to have more clothes (a lot of the maternity stuff I had in our luggage doesn't fit anymore/is out of season) but I also have a ton of clothes that don't fit that we need to store until they do. We also have all of our cold-weather clothes in case we end up spending some of this time in Korea. And the guest room is overflowing with stuff for Baby (and all of the new stuff that Anna hasn't even seen yet).

Fortunately (for me), a lot of what is left is Craig lifting things into high places that I can't reach or dealing with heavy stuff that I can't lift. My back and feet hurt after spending the past two days standing/walking on these tile floors non-stop!

Like We Never Left

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Unlike Erin, I didn't have to travel all the way to the US to pick up my Salmonella-Peter-Pan: I got mine at my local Mega Mart! Good thing I hadn't opened it yet because I kept forgetting to look at the numbers on the jar until we got a message from Craig's company tonight.

Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles!

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"They" came to take the excess furniture out of Anna's room at 9:30 AM. The sea shipment arrived at 10:00 AM. Qtel came at 2:00 PM.

The only mistake was that I was told they would put our furniture and things in the car port to take away on Sunday so we didn't have them put the TV out there. Then they proceeded to take away the excess furniture right away so we still have the giant TV in the way and I'll have to ask them to come back and take it out.

So far nothing is broken in the sea shipment (in our three previous moves with Craig's company the only time something has broken is from Korea to the US) and I have not shown Anna any of her new stuff. She is enthralled with her old stuff (namely her Little People zoo & barn, Little Tikes car, and all of her books and puzzles) so I think we should be able to save at least some of the stuff intended for Christmas until next month for her birthday if we are so inclined. We will set up her toddler bed tomorrow and hope she likes it enough to sleep in it (she liked it in the store when we picked it out in October)!

Gertie is uncertain what is happening.

Excitement

I don't think it's possible to convey how excited I am that we're getting our sea shipment tomorrow. I am a little worried it was all a mis-communication and it won't happen then I'll be really depressed. I am actually not counting on Qtel; the way I see it is if they actually show up it's just a bonus. Craig's company/the compound is supposed to come tomorrow (hopefully before the sea shipment!) to take out the excess furniture in Anna's room and the TV, too, so it will be a really big day if everything that is supposed to take place actually does.

After this weekend the only things I really want before Baby arrives is to move into our permanent housing assignment and for Craig to either get his car fixed or get a new one. We have been a one-car family this week and it has not been pretty. Perhaps someday (after everything is settled), Craig will post about his Korando experience, I don't have the authorization to discuss it right now as the whole thing makes Craig's blood boil.

Daddy's Girl

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This is the carousel we visit at Landmark Mall each week; it's the smallest one we've been on and only has horses but Anna loves it and talks about it all the time.

Anna has definitely been showing a preference for Craig lately (and daddies in general: instead of mommies & babies in books they are daddies & babies; she alternates bringing Daddy Cat and Piggy with her into stores, etc.—note that I was holding Daddy Cat on the carousel in the video above.). She gets so excited when he's watching us on the carousel and she sees him as we go past (I get to ride the carousel because Craig gets too nauseous on it—I guess that means I have to do the wild rides at theme parks later, too?). After the carousel we were walking through the mall and somehow Anna lost Craig's hand and grabbed mine, realized it wasn't his, shook mine away and ran to catch Craig. It was funny and a little sad for me at the same time but I guess I expected this phase to come eventually so at least I'm not surprised.

Ultrasound

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Baby's face at 29 weeks 3 days.

I called the ultrasound place at 3:30 but the line was busy for about ten minutes or so. When I got through, the receptionist told me I was "number eleven" and that my appointment would be between 6:30-6:45 but the doctor was behind so it might be a half hour wait. Coordinating with Craig was big hassle as he was in a meeting and his car is in the shop and I knew it was not going to be a good idea to bring Anna to a late appointment (bedtime is 7:30).

At any rate, I got there and ended up waiting a little over 30 minutes and then saw the doctor. She measured Baby and said that everything looked just right and she tried to get a 3D/4D scan of Baby's face but (how I understood it) there was not enough placenta between the ultrasound machine and Baby's face. So, I have to make due with the one shown above.

This machine was better than the one at the hospital but it is not what I was wanting in the 3D/4D appointment. I wanted video, several 3D/4D photos, etc. Of course I wanted to hear that everything looks good, but I wanted to see more of Baby! The doctor did confirm that Baby is a girl so I feel less paranoid about a surprise in the delivery room (not that I was really nervous about it, but it seems you always hear stories of that kind of surprise!).

After the scan was done, I was asked to wait ten minutes while the receptionist typed up the report for my doctor. Ten minutes later, I was called up to the desk to pay 300 Riyals so I handed her my credit card. They only took cash and I couldn't get out to an ATM (assuming I could find one easily) and back before they closed so I left the report with them and and will return in the morning to exchange the report for the cash. I guess that's part of my Americanism coming out: it didn't even occur to me that I might need to pay for the appointment in cash! At least they were nice about it (not like there was anything they could do at that point anyway, I just didn't have the cash!).

29 Weeks 3 Days Pregnant

Anna accompanied me to my doctor's appointment this morning and I was relieved that we got in right away and we were out within thirty minutes—unheard of at my Texas doctor's office! We got to see Baby again and everything looked good. I asked the doctor about going on a tour of the hospital and she said Craig & I can just come whenever is convenient and someone will show us around. So we'll get that taken care of sometime in the next few weeks.

Last time I did the glucose tolerance test, waited around for 30 minutes for someone to tell me the results were "normal" and everything was fine. The first thing the doctor mentioned this time was that my result was one point above normal and she would like to do another test to be sure I don't have gestational diabetes. I'm confused why the first person said everything was fine and if it wasn't why wasn't I told to come back earlier? I think my doctor just likes to be on the safe side. At any rate, I am going back next week to do another test. I am to eat breakfast and then get the test two hours after. Now of course I'm nervous about failing! I'm definitely cutting (way) back on sweets this week and need to get back into exercising. (My workout shoes & clothes are in the sea shipment!) I guess, at this point, that's the best I can do beyond hoping for the best!

I asked her if this hospital offers 3D/4D ultrasounds and she said no, but referred me to see someone she highly recommends. So I am to go this week so I can bring the results back with me next week. (There were some measurements at my 17 week scan in the US that they technician couldn't confirm because I guess the timing was off so she wants that checked.)

I called the ultrasound place and they said that I needed to call back at 3:30 this afternoon to see if there is a time available. They don't make advance appointments, just same-day appointments. If I can't get in at a good time today we'll have to try for Sunday afternoon or sometime on Monday since Craig is in meetings tomorrow and then we have the sea shipment to deal with on Thursday. I'll make another post after the ultrasound.

The Light

I have been (mostly) jokingly telling Craig that the sea shipment is all I have to keep me going in life. There are so many fabulous things in that shipment that my life (our lives) are just going to be "so much better" (not that they're even really that bad now, mind you!) when we get that shipment.

We have been told that our sea shipment will be delivered on Friday at 9:30 AM. Now I need to fill out a request for the compound to get the twin beds out of Anna's room and the TV out of our family room so that the furniture we brought fro Anna can actually go in her room and so we don't have two TVs (when we hardly watch one at all!). I just hope they can get the beds out before Friday so we can get Anna's room set up ASAP.

I am just so excited that our stuff is almost here although I do understand that we'll be having to move more stuff when we get our permanent housing and that we will have more stuff than space to put it in. I think one of the reasons this villa seems so big now is that we don't have all of our stuff; it's going to start feeling pretty small pretty fast!

I'll be pretty amazed if Qtel comes on Thursday as well as our shipment, talk about a major turn in quality of life! It's a good thing we decided to not take a trip because we would have been gone this weekend!

Now I'm going to need tips for transitioning from the crib to the toddler bed... I can only dream that it will go as smoothly as the pacifier-elimination.

Block!

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I was trying to see some pictures of fetal development so followed an old link (www.w-cpc.org/fetal1.html) I had from my pregnancy with Anna and instead of the cool images, I got this:

28 Weeks 5 Days Pregnant

As usual, nothing new to report. I realize this is a good thing!

Not that I'm wanting the next 79 days (or so) to go by fast, but I'm really getting super excited to meet Baby Girl! I can't wait to see what she looks like, get to know her, and experience all of the fun baby milestones with her. I think seeing our airline tickets with her name on it made a big impact on my thinking of how close it really is to her arrival.

I have another doctor's appointment on Tuesday and am trying to get a hold of the 4D guy to schedule that ultrasound but am not getting anyone to answer the phone. I'll check with my doctor on it on Tuesday to see if my hospital does it or if she has the current information for this other doctor.

I have gained 12.5 pounds during this pregnancy from the week I got the positive pregnancy test my most recent doctor's appointment. I'm almost a little nervous to see how much I've gained in the last three weeks though; I have a feeling I just got off to a slow start with the weight gain and these next 11 weeks will see the pounds pile on!

400

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This is my 400th post on this blog, wow!

I just got off the phone with Qtel (for what also seems like the 400th time) and now we are scheduled for Internet installation on 2/22. Please note that I called them to get this information, they did not call me to clue me in. Now, let's just see if they show up before we get our hopes up too high again. This time I think I'll try to schedule a playdate over here to help pass the time (I still don't think it's worth the risk to leave the house and hope to meet up with the installation guy on the same day, no matter what Qtel says).

Craig has been in a class all week this week so he hasn't been able to get in touch with the guy about our shipment. It was supposed to be in Doha last Wednesday so I am dreaming of getting it before, oh let's say Anna's birthday. I honestly never thought when we were leaving Texas that it would take this long to get our stuff.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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I have no idea why, but Anna started giggling at me when I started to take a picture of her making a stack.


Anna enjoyed wearing the heart jumper & shirt (from cousin Raisa) and her Little People pig needed to be in the heart pocket on the jumper all day long.

Anna & I had a nice Valentine's Day. We bought our plane tickets for this summer and then went to Mega Mart to get a few groceries to make my grandma's Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies. We did a bit more "heart art" (I'll post some pictures of Anna's art soon) and Craig brought home a box of chocolates from Carrefour (Anna recognizes the Carrefour logo already as she exclaimed "daddy went to Carrefour" when Craig walked in the door with his bag).

Playdate & Leaks

Anna & I had another playdate over here today and it was so much more enjoyable than the playgroup we have been going to each week. I really want to set up a playgroup like the one we went to in Texas but am not sure about the timing (first, I don't have that many toys right now but will when the sea shipment gets here; and second, I'm hesitant to get something started just to drop out for several months when Baby arrives and everyone goes home for the summer). The more I think about it though, the more I think I ought to just try to set something up through the local mom's monthly newsletter.

Two cloth diapers and two leaky diapers so far. I haven't determined if I needed to wash the diapers more to get the absorbency right (I just washed the diapers & cotton inserts twice but the hemp inserts four times) or if I needed to have more inserts. Anna is using one cotton & one hemp insert now so we'll see how that turns out (I'm trying to use as few inserts as possible because they are bulky and I'd like to have less laundry, if possible. I imagine it will take several days for me to figure out the right combinations for each diaper and some unrealistic-eternally-optimistic part of me thinks "maybe all of these leaks will make Anna want to potty train right away" since she really freaked out with both leaks. It's always nice to have a dream!

Diapers Arrived!

The cloth diaper order that I made last month finally arrived today! Customs actually opened this box but we were not charged any duties. (I am really surprised that the first three packages we have received were not charged duties.) So tomorrow will be spent doing a lot of laundry to get the diapers and inserts ready for Anna to test-drive. I'll be sure to give a full report after a week or two of using them. (Craig is not excited about the receipt of the diapers and told me I should move to Boulder.)

Big Sister Anna

I'm not going to lie and say that I think Anna "gets" what is going to happen around May 5 of this year, but she is so sweet I have to share this story. We were sharing some ice cream at lunch this afternoon and I said, "Baby Sister really likes this ice cream, she is kicking inside mommy's tummy!" and Anna put down her ice cream spoon to put her hand on my belly and feel! I know Baby kicked while Anna had her hand on my stomach but Anna wouldn't answer me when I asked her if she felt it or not.

Infant Martin

Craig is in the process of making our flight reservations for this summer and the agent told him we couldn't use "Baby" for Baby Girl's name on the reservation (although now I'm wondering what they would have said if we didn't know if Baby was a girl or a boy??) so Craig gave him a name and Baby Girl has a reservation with one of the names we have discussed. The agent assured Craig that we could easily change this if we need to (and why do I not believe that?).

No, I'm not going to reveal what Craig named his daughter today, sorry.

Sand Dunes & The Beach


Dunes off in the distance.

We went for a drive this morning to see some sand dunes and the beach. This time we went near Sealine Beach Resort. There were a bunch of ATVs ready to rent along the dunes. Too bad that is not a good idea for a pregnant woman and a toddler; hopefully Craig will get to go with one of his friends from work sometime (or any adventurous visitors!). We stopped off at the beach to stretch our legs before our ride home. The water was a really beautiful blue; hopefully we can come back again sometime when it's not so windy and we can see if Anna will step into the water a bit (she was not interested in that at all today).

Baby-Wearing & Profile

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Anna didn't want to take off her sling (with pig inside) at all when we showed her what it was for.


Profile at 27 weeks, 6 days.

I ordered a Hotsling for me & Baby Girl and thought the one they made for kids was so cute, I ordered Anna one, too. She took to it right away, even before I could put mine on (with baby doll inside) to demonstrate. Of course I am having a hard time determining if mine fits properly since my belly is in the way, but I think it will be right. I hope that this will help me keep up with Anna while keeping Baby Girl close to me! I do have the Bjorn and the Ergo carriers for when Baby Girl is older but I liked the sling idea for its lack of bulk and different positioning, especially while Baby Girl is still tiny.

ABC, 123

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If you ask Anna a question beginning with "how many" and it is not obviously a low number like 1, 2, or 3, she will reply "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 ,10." She also finally will sing the ABC song with me now that she's into singing (I guess that's all that was holding her back before because she has certainly known all of the letters for a long time).

She has really been "singing" songs lately and actually sounds like she's trying to carry a tune instead of reciting. During yesterday's "nap" she sang Old MacDonald with a variety of animals on the farm; Rock-a-Bye-Baby; Row, Row, Row Your Boat; and a couple of others that we listen to/sing on a regular basis.

She is also really into doing the Pat-a-Cake nursery rhyme (among others in her favorite Mother Goose book). She also recites whole books to herself during her "nap." (Her favorites are Bear Snores On and The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear but she throws in a few others from time to time—and I do mean that she recites the whole book.) I think the pigs in her bed (one big one and one to two little ones) must be demanding to hear everything she's ever learned during that two-hour window each day.

Service & Rumors

I bought a love-seat for Anna's room on Saturday and was told it would be delivered today at 1 PM. Can you guess what time it came? 1:15! I will take a picture of it once it is set up in her room. The chair I had in Anna's room in Texas will go in Baby Girl's room since it has an ottoman and I wanted something that would fit all three of us (me, Anna, & Baby Girl) in Anna's room.

Word is that Craig's company is moving everyone from two compounds (not ours) into a new one starting next month and that once those moves are complete, people in wrong-size housing are able to move to the new compound (that includes us, we qualify for a four-bedroom villa). So, maybe we'll be moving to our permanent villa in March/April? I just hope it is before Baby Girl arrives (except that we are actually closer to the hospital now). I just don't want to have to deal with packing & unpacking after she gets here since I know I'll be worn out! Of course we haven't been told anything directly, this is just the general word on the street. I'm afraid I'm already getting my heart set on this new villa though as there is a gameroom on the second floor which would be really nice to have!

Last we heard from Texas was that our sea shipment arrived in the UAE on January 28 and should arrive in Doha within a week. We haven't heard anything else but Craig is trying to get an update from his favorite customs guy today.

Now, I just have to summon up the will to call Qtel back (was told on Sunday that I would get a call within two days to schedule installation).

27 Weeks 3 Days Pregnant

Not much new to report this week besides the typical stuff. Belly is bumping into more things which, I guess, means it has grown a bit in the past couple of weeks (will try to get a new profile shot up this weekend). For a while now my belly button has been getting shallower and when I sneeze/cough it is an "outie." Just a matter of time until it is out completely, I guess!

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that we still haven't settled on a name. We'll just have to keep looking.

Mega Mart

I keep thinking I should post about the variety of places the fruits & vegetables come from but never get around to it. I had two exciting purchases at Mega Mart today so I'm finally going to make some notes about grocery shopping here.

I bought Tide Free (liquid) today! I sent several boxes of the powder to ourselves in the sea shipment (and a two in the air shipment) because both Craig & I have sensitive skin.I was excited about the liquid though because with the powder I had to do a double-rinse on Anna's clothes for a while (not any more and we are all actually feeling itch-free with the "regular" Tide that was given to us from Craig's work).

I did find some Crisco shortening today so I bought a big container. More than I will ever use but now I have it in my possession.

I have previously stated (I think) that grocery shopping here is fabulous. I must clarify that that is in comparison to Okpo, Korea; not Texas! If you require a certain brand of something it is best to buy a few containers of it when you see it because it is not always guaranteed to be in stock. Anna has been asking for goldfish crackers for weeks now but there just aren't any to be had. Aunt Jemima pancake mix hasn't been on the Mega Mart shelves for the last two weeks either. This is why I bought a 70 Riyal (just around $20) container of liquid Tide Free. I can't ship the liquid version in our Baby shipment, I know I'll want some for at least the first round of Baby Girl's clothes, and they were selling it.

I spend maybe 50% more on groceries every week here than I did at home and I am not discerning. I just buy what I want which typically means I am buying mostly imported food that is not cheap. I am ultimately too lazy (and uncoordinated) to do two separate days of grocery shopping to find a better deal at Carrefour (although that's where I have found the best sandwich bread).

I find myself continually surprised by all of the organic products for sale at Mega Mart. As well as the large sections for sugar-free stuff at both Mega Mart & Carrefour (Anita, I will get some Splenda for you when you get here!). I just really didn't expect that. I think of Rachel & Mat in the big soy milk section and every time I see the Panda licorice.

I'll try to update my list of fruits & vegetables on occasion, but here is the start of my list:
Oranges: you have a choice of USA, Spain, or Turkey
Bananas: USA or Phillipines
Sweet Potatoes: USA, India
Avocado: Chile, Kenya, Australia
Broccoli: Australia
Nectarines: Australia
Apples: USA

Sant Citgo

If you ask Anna where she's going the most common responses are:

"Sant Citgo" (San Francisco). (She likes to watch a video we made of her walking in San Francisco.)

or
"Landmark Mall" (to ride the carousel)

Pig

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Anna was finally willing to wear the tights I got for her last month now that it might be getting a bit warm to be in such thick tights. She also loved her new alphabet puzzle and sat down and did it the first time like she'd been doing it her whole life.


Giving the momma cat and baby cats a hug.


A portrait with Piggy (sometimes also known as "Mary").

For a couple of weeks Anna was sticking her fingers in her mouth and I wasn't sure if it was because she was teething or if it was a comfort thing (she has never really stuck her fingers, or anything but the pacifier, in her mouth and I think ultimately she didn't like that her fingers were wet. So when I repeatedly explained as I wiped them off that if she didn't stick them in her mouth, they would stay dry, she finally made the connection why her fingers were getting wet!). Then she started having to have her pig with her everywhere. She has slept with a pig and a duck since about last year at this time and has really bonded with the pig. Craig & I have been wondering if we are offending Muslims as we are out and about as she carries her pig with her on the carousel, to Starbucks, shopping at the grocery store and Carrefour, etc.

This afternoon Anna was playing with her momma cat & baby cats for quite some time when she started calling an orange cat I had gotten her from Target a long time ago the "daddy cat." Suddenly the orange cat (he is bigger than the momma & babies) was part of the cat family and needed to be with them as they got in and out of the basket repeatedly. Then she had the momma & daddy cat hug and she even stopped carrying her pig around for about two hours and just stuck to the daddy cat. Maybe Craig needs to get home earlier in the evenings?

Today at music class Anna was a shy lump for the first ten minutes or so (we didn't have class last week so I was prepared for a bit of a relapse). What I wasn't prepared for was for Anna to dump her pig in my lap and stand out on her own and dance with a scarf for an entire song. She was truly enjoying herself! (I know she likes the class because she talks about it fondly during the week, but this was the first time she's exhibited this outwardly during class.) It was so cute to see her relax a bit and have some fun. Our last class isn't until April 1 but I might need to consider signing her up for the next session so she can continue even when Baby Girl arrives (if she is still enjoying it at the end of this session).

Anna has been absolutely great about the pacifiers. They get mentioned from time to time (she said today after her nap "good job sleeping without pacifiers!") but she has not cried since that Friday's nap and the crying she did do for the three times she did was much less than I had anticipated.

Anna & I dropped off her application to the nursery school near us this morning. We won't find out until April/May if she gets in but I'm under the impression there aren't a lot of new kids on the list for fall right now (current students take priority, obviously) so she should be a the top of that list.

The only other thing I wanted to mention in this post is that Anna is loving her Richard Scarry books finally. She loves Lowly Worm and we sat down for at least 45 minutes straight reading The Best First Book Ever! today and the past three days. We have two more Richard Scarry books in the sea shipment so, of course, that adds to my impatience for it to get here (those and the rest of her library). I am so ready for some new books (even if they are our old books)!


Vacationing

We are trying to decide if we can squeeze in a vacation before Baby Girl arrives. We are considering Jordan, Egypt, Oman, and Dubai but we're really running out of time and I'm having a hard time finding good info online when much of the time lately we have had such a shoddy Internet connection.... I really need to get on Qtel to get our Internet installed but I think they've broken my spirit. I don't think we'll go anywhere (besides the US this summer) until next winter so it would be nice to see something now.

Pacifier Elimination: Third Installment

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The only thing that kept me awake last night was fear of Anna waking and Craig's monstrous snoring. She slept until her usual time this morning and was happy and content as usual.

Anna did have a harder time going down for her nap this afternoon but I blame the fact that we were at church for two hours (note, we are not going back to that church again!) and by the time we were finished with lunch, Anna didn't get upstairs to her room until after she should have already been in bed. I did go in and reassure her once for this nap and it has been quiet since.

I'll update again after another few nights unless things start turning really ugly!

Pacifier Elimination: Second Installment

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I put Anna to bed about 30 minutes ago. She asked for her pacifiers when I put her in bed and I reminded her that we threw them out and pointed out the things she does have in her crib and that she did a great job without her pacifiers at naptime today. She cried for maybe three minutes and then it was quiet. I did just hear her voice (talking) so I know I'm not in the clear yet. I fully expect her to wake in the middle of the night and get upset when she can't find the pacifiers though. Thankfully I'm armed with a nap this afternoon and Craig will be home the next two days if the nights do end up being as rough as I am preparing for.

Pacifier Elimination: First Installment

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This morning when I went into Anna's room, she did have the pink pacifier in her mouth (the unsabotaged one). I heard her a couple of random times in the night when she must have grabbed one of the others though. Nothing that lasted longer than 10 seconds (she's quick to find those pacifiers in the dark!). I told her that today was the day we had to throw the pacifiers away like we had talked about (my reason for her was to not hurt her teeth because her pacifiers are too small for her mouth: the truth!) and she gathered the three pacifiers, stood up in her crib, and then I carried her downstairs.

I set her down at the bottom of the stairs and she walked into the kitchen and dropped the first one in to the trash rather hesitantly. She paused (I'd say nervously but I'm sure I'm projecting some, too) and tossed the other two in then shut the lid for the trash can. As I started to walk to her to give her a hug and say something encouraging, she totally lost her footing, did a few side-steps and then fell so her head hit the corner of the wall where the wall meets the door (an inner corner, not an outer corner). It was like she was in a state of disbelief and couldn't stand anymore. After that, I held her on the couch for about twenty minutes which is highly unusual (that would happen maybe if she is sick).

After breakfast we went to Landmark Mall and rode the carousel and a car in the play area. Then we went to the toy store (Early Learning Center which actually has some decent toys (as in wood, not plastic)) and picked out a basket with a momma cat, two kittens, a brush, and a drinking dish for the cats. We also stopped at Hallmark to pick out a stuffed animal to sleep with: she picked out a pink horse.

The whole morning I think she has been kind of sad about the pacifiers and she mentioned something about them at the mall. It is rainy today so we couldn't go to the playground like I had hoped to do to help really wear her out before naptime.

I put her down about 30 minutes ago and she has been fussing off and on for a bit. But no major freak-outs yet. I think I read in one of my sleep books that learning to sleep without the pacifier is like learning to sleep without a pillow. It's just going to take some time! I feel like I can relate a bit as I have had to re-learn to just sleep on my sides while pregnant again (just when I had rediscovered the joys of sleeping on any of my four sides!).

Craig has a work commitment tonight (I think he signed up just so he wouldn't have to be here for the drama!) so I'm going it alone for her first pacifier-free night, too. I'm hopeful that with some extra cuddling and snuggling we can get through this relatively unscathed.

It is actually quiet in her room now so I'm going to try to relax in case it is just the calm before the storm. I'll be sure to update on how tonight goes if we live to see the morning.

**She slept for over an hour and I didn't go in at all to reassure her. Although she was a bit annoyed when she did wake up she was easily consoled. I'm feeling hopeful for these first couple of nights!

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