We went with some friends to do a plantation tour. It was probably the muggiest, warm day that we have had here yet. We started with Oak Alley, which is the most photographed plantation here. It gets its name from the fact that a French settler planted 28 oak trees equally apart about 300 years ago. The result is worth the trip.
Our next outing was to the Audoban Aquarium in New Orleans. There is a ferry not far from where we live that takes us right to it .
Shawn's mom came for a two week visit so we all played tourist together. She is on her way back home today and we will miss her. We have quite a long list of places and things yet to see. Be prepared.
After a couple of months of consideration and prayer, we have decided to accept the job offer from Louisiana. As some of you know, we were leaning toward the New Jersey offer (which was a temporary active military position and very tempting-but with unsure longevity). As time passed and we were able to gather all of the details, we realized that Louisiana is altogether a better career move. It is a complicated and somewhat long process to get into the government program but once you are in, it offers more security over all. So Shawn has officially transferred from the National Guard to the Reserve component in Belle Chasse Louisiana. He will have a full time government Public Affairs job for the troop command and then drill as a soldier once a month. We will be living on base which offers much for us to do as a family and allows for an instant family community. There are actually two naval bases there and we will be living on the joint forces base which houses groups from each branch of the military.
I admit living on the East Coast was more appealing as far as location goes. And on my list of pros and cons for Louisiana, my whole con side was filled with things like snakes, crocodiles, and the Bayou. It is a little comical but I assure you, I was completely serious while writing it. Having said that though, I must say that Louisiana is a beautiful, green place. When Shawn helped with temple dedications at the beginning of our marriage, I was able to fly out and meet him for the Baton Rouge dedication. We instantly fell in love with the people we met and their warm hospitality. It reminded me of being in Hawaii and it is one of our fondest memories. I cannot wait to visit the old plantations and I am determined to have the twins speak with a delectable southern dialect. We are really excited for the opportunity it is giving us for growth and variety in our life. Let's just say that little bit of gypsy that Shawn and I have in us will love the adventure.
Now for the nitty gritty. Shawn's report date is June 8th. Thankfully, movers are provided. They will pack us the 28th and load the 29th. Yes-that is next week. So.....I need to get organizing. Apparantly the movers will even pack trash if you aren't careful. I will not get into goodbye talk because this prego mama is compartmentalizing for the sake of survival.
And yes-it prompted the urge to buy paint (I didn't buy any-but the urge was strong). How can you not be inspired after being reminded of such a beautiful color?! Most of us associate robin egg blue with Tiffany Blue. But each time I see this color, my mind goes to Chinoiserie (especially used in an eclectic application), ceramic lamps, and a variety of brights like red and orange and of course, enameled jewelry. Anyway, it is no wonder that it has remained a popular color throughout time.
Last weekend little red turned 3. He requested cupcakes and pirates for his birthday. I was surprised at the pirates request because he hasn't been into pirates (except for confusing pirates with soldiers and vica-versa) up until now. I think Disneyland sparked an interest. He walked around most of the day yelling "Arrrrrgh! I'm a pie-wet!" I can't believe he is already 3. Time flies. We sure do love our little pirate!
The minute the sun was out, the kids grabbed "grown-up" hats and took their coloring out back for a nice afternoon. They also built a teepee with little help from us. It was fun to peek out on them and listen to their little conversation. Seth didn't like the big spiders (which were actually flies). Madeleine used to think spiders were flies as well. Hmmm.
And the follow-up from the ultrasound is good. Our boy is mostly head down while our girl is still breech. But he is the most important position to worry about since I am praying for a non-c-section and he leads the way. I had a good giggle with the ultrasound tech because our boy was trying to move a bit over into his sisters space and she would twist her bottom as if to reclaim it. It has already begun people.
I am finishing a round of shots today. My doctor has found better success at giving them to all mothers of multiples seeing that pre-term labor is so common. I will have my last shot today then my monthly ultrasound following. I can't wait to get another look at the little ones. The last ultrasound showed little Mr. in a transverse-lie position (he is baby "A" so this is especially naughty) and the little Miss was breech at the upper right of my uterus. I have daily talks with my son about his positioning and though there is time for change, the window gets slimmer more quickly with multiples. I have felt their movements change so the ultrasound may reveal some changes in positioning!?!?!
As you can see in this photo, I have total prego face. I take one Tums, per child, per meal. It does not matter what I eat. And I stay away from the obvious heartburn foods anyway. I rarely have heartburn when I am not pregnant and the Tums do serve as an extra calcium dose to help ease those wretched leg cramps that can accompany pregnancy. So I can't complain. Anyway, just an update.
Months ago we asked the kids what they wanted to do for our family vacation to celebrate Shawn being home, they immediately said Disneyland. We have taken them a few times just for a day while we visited family in California. This time they said they wanted to go to both parks and have time to ride everything. So that is just what we did. It really was nice being able to do the parks in the morning, return for lunch,swimming and a nap at the hotel and then jaunt off again in the evening. Shawn took the girls by themselves a couple of times so they could do the big kid rides and Seth and my prego self sat at the pool. One of the kids favorite things was to rush back to the hotel at night to find the treats waiting by their pillows from the hotel. It was a good trip. The kids were very understanding of the fact that I was limited-which I appreciated. I was thiiiiiiis close to renting a "Jazzy". Somehow my pride just wouldn't let me. Although, racing through the crowd and beeping the clown horn would have been fun.
Grandpa passed away last night. As I think on all the memories that fill my mind of Grandpa, I feel gratitude. A note to my sweet cousins; do you remember the magical gatherings as a family at the Kahala and Manoa houses? The days swimming in the Kahala pool while grandpa weeded his garden? The summer days on Maui driving around in the big Budget van? I feel so blessed to have these memories, which without him would not exist. I am mostly grateful, however, for the light he invited into our lives by teaching us the importance of the gospel, the many times he shared his testimony and the chance he gave all of us each year to share our own testimonies with each other. The phrase "Remember who you are" is forever etched in our minds.
My favorite memory of Grandpa was the visit we made to Hawai'i just before Grandma passed away. My girls sat in his office chattering away, asking question after question without letting him respond. Listening in was a heartwarming experience as he imparted wisdom to their young minds. As we visited with Grandma in the black leather chair, we spent a beautiful afternoon listening to stories of how they met and their younger years of marriage. His loyalty and respect for her is and was unquestionable. We will miss you Grandpa-remember who you are.
Shawn is home and safe! He arrived Thursday morning last week and it has been HEAVENLY! The kids were stuck on him for 36 hours straight, which was fun to watch. At the airport we were all stationed just at the bottom of the escalators at baggage claim. There was quite a big group and with all of our signs and excitement, other travelers must have felt a bit intimidated. Most of the wives stood together in a row, focusing on breathing evenly. We would see a bit of green or grey and start to jump then realize we had been a tad over-zealous. When the soldiers finally started to filter down, it was amazing to watch each family reunite. What a beautiful blessing we are given in family! Earlier, one of the local news channels asked me to wear a mic and told me to, "just do what you normally would." I warned the man that there would be gushing and very little audible speech. He was OK with it. We did a small interview after Shawn arrived, gave hugs and handshakes, then went on our merry way completely surrounded by our own little bubble of joy.
This time apart has been some of the most challenging and important time of my life. I have learned more about myself than I could have imagined. I grew to understand my weaknesses better and be less afraid of them. I have been able to marvel at the strengths of others. I have learned to be more confident about my strength in motherhood. I have been reminded in big and small ways that my Heavenly Father is the only constant ear in my life and have been humbled by His mercy toward me. I have felt gratitude for understanding the importance of sacrifice and what a fundamental role it plays in love. I realized how much I have taken for granted as a citizen of this country. Though my love for Shawn was certain before he left, I have fallen even deeper in love with the man who completely holds my heart. Looking back, though there were many dark nights, I wouldn't change a thing.
Kiosk sales people are a part of any mall experience and a group that I usually avoid altogether. Yes-they have a job to do and are very nice people, I'm sure. But the very phrase, "M'am, can I show you something?" sets my eyes into an automatic roll. The kiosks I most avoid are the ones that sell the products from the Dead Sea. You know-the salt scrubs, mineral nail buffers, etc. Mostly because years ago, I made the mistake of making eye contact and was sucked into a lengthy sales fest, of which, practically required a lifeguard and safety ring to pull me out. I admit I did enjoy the beautiful Israeli accent of the sales person. Anyway, flash forward a few years and here I am walking the mall taking care of some little errands when suddenly, I find myself approaching the Dead Sea kiosk. I immediately avert my eyes, and consider talking to myself just to deter them. I hear the sales lady calling after me and in my stone cold walk, refuse to turn around. Finally she says, "Miss-you dropped something!" Are you kidding me? Right here? In front of this kiosk? Mayday! Mayday! (I did like the fact that I was actually called miss instead of m'am.) Moving on. Eye contact was made. Soon I found myself in the middle of many familiar sales lines. "Personal space" did not exist. I was lectured about the importance of self-pampering and asked how I could possibly be a good mother if my cuticles were neglected?! I think I was called "honey" (which with the accent came out as hoe-knee) no less than 4,136 times.I spent 10 minutes feeling insulted while I was being educated on my "hippo-dermis" until it dawned on me that there was a bit more of a language barrier than I had originally discerned. In any case, after several attempts to get away and one desperate use of the, "Hey look! What's that over there?" trick(ok not really but it almost got to that point), I made it out unscathed. I am not saying the products don't work. It's just the pushy way in which they are sold. In any case, the promise of a scrub taking away stretch marks means little to someone who has had them since the age of 14.
As I was driving the kids home from school yesterday, this interesting conversation took place between my girls. Maddie says, "I think I want to be a boy." Trying not to laugh I let her keep going. Abi says, "But you are a girl." "Well I know that Abi- but today I just want to be a boy. Boys don't have babies." Then my little therapist asks her sister, "Maddie, why not?" "Well it does hurt Abi." Abi then confidently says, "Maddie, the shots don't hurt so bad when you are older. It might not even hurt!"
This is funny to me because of it's random nature but also because years and years ago, I remember hearing the news that my Aunt Patty was having her first baby. I didn't know exactly what having a baby entailed but just that it seemed scary. I remember consoling myself with the thought that it isn't scary when you are a grown-up. Grown-ups were brave and fearless and apparently didn't feel much pain. And my girls haven't learned all the details yet but they do remember coming to get blood drawn while I was pregnant with Seth. And that is what has stood out to them the most about being pregnant (if only shots were the worst of it). It was another good opportunity to explain the gift of having a baby- that it's worth every thing you go through. And that nothing can explain the moments when your new little one is handed to you. They liked hearing that. It was a sweet Mommy daughter moment. Then Maddie ends with. "I think I'll adopt."
I really have slacked on the blogging haven't I? But then again, I really didn't have much to report. The kids are still funny and life is still busy and we still miss Shawn. I would love to say that I have put backings on all our family quilts or canned 2 years worth of food storage or alphabetically labeled my entire house since the introduction of the new year. Alas, 'tis not so. However, I am happy of one accomplishment. I have officially ended my first trimester and am moving on to the second of the newest little Clark. Now the question is, redhead or brunette?