Monday, June 18, 2012

It's a Blessing, it's a BOY!

Truth of it is, my husband is gone more than he's home. That being said, I've learned to appreciate the time he's home and not take it for granted! Becoming pregnant in the military isn't something that can easily be planned.  Some of us never know when our husbands will deploy or return, therefore it's even harder to plan for your hubby to be home for the actual birth of said baby. 
14 Weeks
(I haven't taken many photos, and really only share these with my mom and husband, but some of you have asked, so here's a few to show the progression of how large I'm getting ;)

Somehow though, Nick and I got extremely blessed and got preggo in the small window that he was home.  Overjoyed with the news of a growing baby, Nick deployed soon after we found out.  He left with the realization that he would miss a big chunk of my pregnancy, but fingers crossed that he would make it for delivery.  

Almost 2 weeks ago, we got blessed again...Nick sent word that by some miraculous stroke of luck, his boat would be pulling into port for 3 DAYS and it just so happened to be during the time I had a scheduled 20 week doctor's appointment!  That might not seem like any big deal to most people, but he wasn't supposed to come home for months, and his boat was pulling in just in time for him to make the VERY apt where we found out the gender of our baby!!!!  (Out here in Japan we only get one BIG apt! One real sonogram.)  This appointment was crucial and the only time we would be able to see our baby until he or she was born.  AND NICK GOT TO BE THERE!!!!!

18 Weeks
No words can express how lucky we both felt that he was home for that appointment, it's more than we could have ever hoped for.  The timing was simply too perfect!

20 Weeks
(And no I was not drinking...but I was at a Japanese Beer Festival with friends and sending Nick a joke!)
He held my hand as we watched the monitor where the Japanese technician showed us our baby..."See that?  It's a boy part!  Congratulations, you are having a boy!"  

With happy hearts, we were able to call our families and tell them the news together!  
And together, we got to decide and announce the name we've chosen for our son:
Vander Holman, after my grandfather, Charles Vanderbilt.  With only one son, who had only one daughter, there's no one to pass on the family name.  We love my grandfather and wanted to honor him.  He served in the Army many moons ago, fighting overseas in many of the Asian countries that Nick and I have traveled to.  It seemed fitting to name our son the very name that my grandfather's comrades called him...he was known as "Van" in the war, and that's just what our little man will be nick-named as well.  

Vander - meaning, "A Good Man"...very fitting indeed!

It's a blessing, it's a boy...
We can't wait to meet our sweet little Vander, and hopefully we will be blessed again and Nick will get to be there for the big arrival!!! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Thailand Anniversary

Ironically enough it was a little over a year ago when I first visited Thailand.
A shopping trip to Chiang Mai for Ichiban (the store I work for on base), that ended up being downplayed due to the devastation that occurred in Japan during the same time. Thus I never posted all the wonderful pics or elaborated on our super quick but super fun Thai trip!
(My two co-workers and I...measuring, recording and photo documenting the products we found on our buy trip)

A couple weeks ago I got the opportunity to visit Thailand again...this time to see my husband on a "port call". We were super fortunate in that this much needed visit (he'd been gone a month and a half and would be gone the rest of the summer as well) landed on our 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!! Such a blessing! 
This trip to Thailand was to the beach of Pattaya. Though many had told me of the craziness that goes down in those parts of Thailand, I was excited  to go to the beach, (any beach) as well as see my hubby!
Nick splurged for me, and put us up in a 5-star hotel! The Centarra Grand Mirage Beach Resort. We even got the Club suite room for all the extra amenities! I felt like a princess! (sometimes being preggo pays off...Nick's been spoiling me ;)

View from our balcony

With meals and snacks in the Club (compliments of our upgrade), several pools as well as the beach to sunbathe at, 8 different restaurants to dine at, and a full spa, I could've never left the hotel and been content!  (We almost didn't)

Dinner one night at the hotel (with a few of Nick's co-workers, but my friends too of course)...a Hawaiian BBQ buffet, complete with dancers.  It was so hot and sticky at night that a lot of our pictures came out foggy due to the heat steaming up the camera lens!
We could've done more siteseeing, but Nick and I took this small amount of time together to relax, enjoy meals by the pool and a bit of time at the spa!
Nick had a few work commitments while in port, so I spent the time he was away getting pampered at the spa....great services and even better prices.  Things are much less expensive in Thailand and we took advantage of the difference!  
We got a couple's full-body massage that was amazing! A nice anniversary treat for two!

We only went out one night for dinner.  Being that I was 18 weeks pregnant then, we were uber cautious of what foods I consumed while in Thai territory.  (Given that food poisoning isn't uncommon and I was very far from our Navy hospital, I didn't want to take any chances)

These crazy little trucks are how you get around in Thailand...they're very fast and very cheap!  (But a very bumpy ride, so hold on!!!)
Several friends recommended we eat at the Brazilian restaurant while there, so that's where we dined.  (I know it's not Thai food, but I promise we got our share of Thai at the many different restaurants at our hotel)
Dancing entertainment in Thailand is very common....these "ladies" (or uh, one of them was) made us get up and dance in between our Brazilian courses.  
The entertainment was fun, but the food was fabulous!  The different kinds of Brazilian BBQ'd meat keeps coming until you say STOP!  
 The last time I was in Thailand, I was there to shop, shop, shop.  That being said, I didn't have much desire to shop this go-round.  This time in Thailand I wanted to see the animals.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to ride the elephants which is the one thing I really wanted to do, and hadn't gotten to do on my first visit.  (Being almost 5 months pregnant and riding on an elephant might not have been the safest thing for our baby...) Instead, we went to the tiger zoo where we got to see tigers, elephants, pigs and crocodiles!  

A tiger show...

 The highlight of the day was getting to feed the baby tiger....
I kinda wanted to take him home ;) 
 A crocodile show...
(I could've done without these guys but the show was very entertaining.  One of the trainers even stuck his head in the croc's mouth!)

All Asian countries love chocolate covered bananas...sprinkles on top? Yes please!  
 And of course, it wouldn't be Thailand without an elephant show too!

 Maybe I didn't get to ride an elephant but I did get to feed them! 

The guys also fed the tigers...via pellet guns! 
 (You shoot at targets, and when you hit the target, raw meat drops into the tiger cage where the hungry tigers wait below to consume it)

A fun day at the zoo!

That night was our anniversary dinner.  We ate at one of the hotel's restaurants on a balcony overlooking the ocean.  We dined on lobster and steak while listening to the sounds of the waves...sweetly enough we had a very similar experience on our honeymoon 5 years prior!  It was perfect!
Our last night together we had dinner on the beach!  A Thai BBQ buffet!  An ideal last dinner in Thailand....all our favorites made fresh by chefs right there on the sand!
It was a wonderful few days in Thailand together.  A 5-year Anniversary getaway....
I still don't know how we got so lucky that the port call landed at precisely the right time, but I'm truly glad it did!