Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Conceiving, Carrying, and Everything In-between

Did you ever have to watch "The Miracle of Life" in high school health class? No? Today is your lucky day! It's on youtube right here! So, if you did, you probably remember well the scoffs and snickers while watching it, or your teacher being like mine and yelling "have some maturity!!" And you tended to join along with the other students, because after all, we're watching things like ejaculation and live birth and seeing what happens during sex is awkward, funny, and gross all at the same time to dumb high-schoolers.

I think about it now, and want to be that coach (did I not mention my health teacher was also a gym teacher? Well, that's pretty much a safe assumption) and yell "Don't you realize how many things had to be just right for this whole thing to be successful?! Don't you understand the hundreds of things that could have gone wrong that would have prevented you from being here?!"

It truly is a miracle.

You don't realize any of this until you are an adult. What do you know of your own mother's or your friend's mothers' struggles to conceive and/or successfully carry a baby? If my mom had had miscarriages or infertility struggles, I never would have known, because kids just aren't aware of any one else's struggles or needs but their own. No disrespect to children, that's just how they are.  I never would have known as a child, but I know now as an adult. And it's not with my mother this time, it's my own friends and acquaintances who are in that same stage of life as me right now.

A couple weeks ago, I accompanied a dear friend to her own ultrasound, since her husband was out of the country for work. A few hours later, I was to have my own 16 week appointment. In the ultrasound, we found out she had miscarried. Oh how much it hurt to have to see her go through it, and then only an hour or so later to be hearing a healthy heartbeat of my own baby. She might have asked, "why me?" but in that moment, I was also thinking, "why me?"

I am not taking for granted how blessed I am. It's just so hard to have to see friends struggling to conceive or struggling to carry a baby full term because I confess, I didn't have to wait too long to successfully conceive, and I have had a healthy pregnancy so far, which I pray continues. How do you be a comfort without unintentionally rubbing it in? I just try to continue being the best and most supportive friend I can be. And I keep them in my prayers that their prayers will be heard as well.

I'm not quite sure to wrap up these thought of mine, except to say again that it all really is a miracle.

Oh, and we found out today that we are having a boy. My husband couldn't wait any longer so we went to a Japanese clinic off base. The doctor spoke decent English, definitely enough to almost immediately say, "oh yeah, penis" as the baby appeared on the screen. Haa. It was all pretty crazy, but my favorite part of those appointments is hearing a strong healthy heartbeat. Grateful that my little guy seems to be doing pretty good in there.
Proud papi, showing off his baby's privates to family on facetime. Can you see the 3D shot of his face at the bottom? Technology is so amazing!

Anyway, thanks for reading. I love you all.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hong Kong Highlights

We had a great time in Hong Kong.
Foggy, but fun.
Out of all the temples in Hong Kong, this is my favorite ;) 
Afternoon tea at the Peninsula. I loved every minute.

Checking out my old stomping grounds at the Chungking Mansions ha ha. Remember this post?
 Night markets! I forgot how fun it is to barter. 
 Going out to the Big Buddha at a monastery in the mountains.

 And ending the trip at the Magic Kingdom: Hong Kong edition.

 ^^Sherry came along on the trip with us^^
 So yeah, we had a good time.
China is not Japan.

Let's just say that Japanese culture is much easier to live with. In Japan people wear surgical masks when they're sick in consideration to others. In China they wear them to not get sick from the people who cough open mouthed or hawk loogies in front of you. In Japan if there's a line they wait patiently. In China if there's an open space they think it's an invitation to cut in front of everybody and that's just the way it is. In Japan, cleanliness (esp in bathrooms) is at the top of the priority list. And in China? Wellll, not so much.

Chinese people are still very kind people and I don't want to sound mean toward them. But all those things really get on your nerves after a while. Like a lot. So we had a great time in China this weekend, but we were sooo happy to come back to the people here in Okinawa!

Despite the annoying quirks, Hong Kong is such a sweet city. And the geography of it is beautiful. I just love how it surrounds the beautiful harbor. It's a city that everyone should visit. It has been seven years since I was last in Hong Kong. I can't believe how fast the time goes! I'm glad I could go back, this time with my hubby. And we didn't have stay in the ghetto Chungking Mansions. How far I've come ha ha.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Annoying #hashtag Things


I for one think it's hilarious. But some people don't. I saw this article posted today about how all these issues "are more of an embarrassment to Americans than it is for Russia." Ummmmm, NO. This is totally an embarrassment to a government and olympic committee where the only word you ever hear describing them is corrupt. When has Russia ever NOT been considered corrupt? The writer of the article is choosing to be offended thinking that all these tweeters are attacking all those harmless Russian civilians that live there, which is obviously not the case.

I don't hate Russians. The ones I have met are incredibly nice. Same with Romanians. But the one things these countries have in common is complete corruption. I think that's why I think #SochiProblems are so funny, because all those crazy mishaps like several toilets in one stall, wires strewn about in hotel hallways, spray painting the grass outside the stadium, and so many other things left unfinished are things that are totally realistic for that area of the world.

Nope, #SochiProblems is not an embarrassment to America. We've managed to budget time and money to finish Olympic Prep many times, even amid attempts at corruption/bribery/embezzlement, etc. All of that has become an all too accepted way of governing and planning in Russia. That's all there is to it.

Next hashtag: #foodporn
UUGGGHHH I can't stand it. It seriously makes me so mad. Why do people think that comparing anything to porn is cool?

And you want to know what the most ironic thing is about all these supposed "#foodporn" pics? That the people that are using it are ones who take the worst photos of food possible! The pictures of food that you're like, "looking at that food makes me want to barf." Is that just me? Well, if it is, it must be all the pregnancy food aversions.

The only people that have perhaps earned the right to use that wretched hashtag are people like Pioneer Woman, but she is far too classy to ever do something like that. So can we please just stop with all the stupid hashtags with anything "porn" in them?? Thank you.

Last hashtag is one I made up. #pregancyguilttrip

Alright, so we all know being pregnant has its less than joyful moments: morning sickness, food aversions, just feeling gross a lot of the time. You get it. But honestly, the thing I'm starting to be most sick of is all the pregnancy guilt trips.

Most of this time it isn't even coming from people directly. It's all those studies on-line that are always like "this food item could possibly cause harm, but it's your choice." "Doing this activity might be bad, but it's not for sure, so it's your choice."

Great, so you tell me the horror stories and then tell me it's my choice. Talk about a guilt trip.

Then there are the things you could hear from other moms. "Are you having a natural birth? The drugs ruin the baby. But that's just my opinion." "Are you going to cloth diaper? No? You must hate your baby because disposables are terrible for their skin. But that's just how I feel about it."

Gee, thanks.

All the guilt tripping is getting old. I'm doing the best I can, people! And I know plenty of people who wore disposable diapers, or whose mothers had an epidural, or drank Dr. Pepper while pregnant, or ate deli meat, and they turned out JUST FINE. So let's just stop with the guilt trips.

And, that's about it for today. Thanks for reading!
xoxo Annie

Monday, February 10, 2014

Are you sick of my flower posts??

Because I still have more, sorry! This week it's the orchid festival, in a month is an iris festival I didn't get to last year, as well as the lily festival the month after that. Tis the season for gorgeous flowers in Okinawa. 

Up at the Tropical Dream Center (aka my favorite place on the island), they host the International Orchid Show, and if you thought it was pretty with orchids the last time I posted about it, you have no idea. SO many orchids. So many varieties. So beautiful. These pictures are just a small sampling of what there was. I loved every minute!

 I was wanting to go on Saturday, but Victor wasn't feeling it. Luckily I have these girls who love it just as much as I do to go with. This place is so beautiful.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Couples Retreating

This past week, we were able to go on a marriage retreat that is put on by the chaplains for military couples. It was pretty last minute and I was amazed Victor was able to get off work. Normally I don't think I would have cared to go (excluding the fact that it's all completely paid for and takes place at one of the beautiful resorts on the island), but this retreat was led by one of the LDS chaplains and was just for LDS couples, so it was nice to openly discuss gospel principles as it applies to strengthening marriages. 

^^wish I had this view everyday^^

^^Victor getting excited about my baby/fat bump^^

^^at this Japanese resort, they push two beds together to make a giant super bed! I loved it^^
 We had a lot of fun with our friends Anna and Logan. Of course the hotel provided pj's and board games so we had a pajama party jenga playing game night.

So what did I learn at this marriage retreat? Well, I realized yet again from various personality tests that I am strong-willed and stubborn (also "emotionally independent" and "socially selective." hmmm... pretty true) while Victor is peaceful and basically a saint for marrying me ha ha.

But for reals. It really was a good reminder of how lucky I am to have a husband like Victor. We came away with things we can do better, and we talked a lot about our hopes and dreams we have individually, as a couple, and for our future family. It's just such a blessing that we want the same things in life, and that we are willing to support each other in personal hopes and dreams. I'll stop this mushy stuff after I say that I am so happy to have Victor. We are blessed.

And yeah, the free food and hotel stay were pretty sweet too. It was a nice little mini getaway so we're glad we went. We're getting pretty good about getting the gov to pay for our vacations ;)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Our Fist Pumping Baby

Oh hey look! It actually looks like it could be a human! This was our first ultrasound picture, taken at 12 weeks. I was pretty worried it would be one of those experiences where I would be like "that just looks like a blob." But it wasn't, and it's a pretty good picture of this thing growing inside of me.

I was supposed to have this ultrasound at 10 weeks, but since I think I know it all, I put it off, because I was positive I wasn't as far along as they said I was. Well I was wrong. This goes down to that whole "you're pregnant even before the egg is fertilized" thing. Never realized that bit of science.

You want to know some other things I never knew? You always hear about women knowing they're pregnant because of nausea/vomiting, etc. But the dead giveaway is sore boobs. (Sorry for tmi, but this is real life, people.) SO sore. I felt like a pre-teen going through puberty again! How come no one tells you that?

And how come no one tells you that if you spend too long kneeling or something, the lack of circulation can possibly make you pass out?? That information would have saved me a lot of embarrassment before I woke up passed out in the sealing room in the Laie Temple with my vomit on the spotless white carpet. Oh, the joys of pregnancy!

But in all seriousness, I'm feeling really good. I have had a relatively easy first trimester, with no scares or complications, which I am so grateful for. And even though the thought of having children still scares me to death, I'm finding comfort in the fact that this is what I should be doing. I love this quote:

And seeing Victor's excitement and joy in all of this is making it very worth it. So thank you all for your words of happiness and encouragement. Love you!