First Trimester Musings | New Duty Station Announcement

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:: Our Big Island, Hawaii trip in 2016 ::
I will be about two months along by my first official OB appointment, next week, at Daegu Catholic University Hospital.  I remember how thrilled I was when I discovered I was pregnant for the first time, with Ava.  It was just hours before my husband was coming to pick me up from work, on his lunch break, to drive me to the airport for a long weekend visit to a friend of mine in Indiana.  Not my ideal scenario for surprising him with the news!  So I waited until I came back from my trip, and gave him a gift bag that had a box of chocolates inside, with a two-piece newborn outfit underneath the chocolates, and a positive pregnancy test.  I remember the excitement we both shared and driving to Fort Bragg that afternoon to stroll one of their wooded walking paths.  I also remember my husband saying a prayer of thankfulness and a blessing on our unborn baby.  It was a special memory that I will always have of our first baby.
Being pregnant with a second feels so different than the first.  Still exciting, just very different.  I told my husband by handing him a little box with a Christmas ornament that said, “Can’t wait to meet you in August”.  Our 2-year old grabbed the box before he did, and the note came out of the picture ornament and he didn’t even understand it when he read it.  Ha-ha!  But I showed him two pregnancy tests and that got the message across clearly enough.
I am so happy to think about our first-born having a sibling and friend and I cannot wait to see their dynamic together.  I realize it may be hard for her to adjust to someone new taking up so much of mama’s time at first, but we will get through that and I look forward to lot’s of mommy-daughter dates together.
I was never sick with my first and didn’t honestly experience really any symptoms at all until I was well into my second trimester, but more so in my third.  In my late second trimester I had really sore feet (probably due to improper footwear…such as flat sandals) and could hardly walk without wearing my Keen-brand shoes.  I also had acid re-flux in my third trimester that made it hard to sleep.
With this second pregnancy, symptoms have shown up much sooner.  Bathroom breaks are frequent, exhaustion is intense, I had morning sickness all last week (feeling a lot better this week), and have had some food aversions.  Strangest aversion is hot coffee.  The thought of it makes me sick, so I make my own cold-brew with this pitcher from Amazon. It’s only $18!  
Another thing about this being my second pregnancy, is that I am less nervous.  I’m sure that is pretty normal.  I’ve done it once before, so not immediately seeing my OB as soon as I find out I am pregnant doesn’t worry me, thinking about the baby and worrying over it happens less because life with a toddler keeps me busy–and I am thankful for that!  I also have online college classes starting again this month and that keeps me pretty busy as well.  Staying busy has been a good thing for me and I am looking forward to classes starting back.  I like having goals and seeing them accomplished, whether it’s cleaning my house or knocking out college courses!
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:: Holland, Michigan in 2016 ::
I already miss holding a little baby and keep feeling that Ava is growing up too fast.  <insert sad face>  Thank heaven for babies!  It’s exhausting work, but the more work we put into something, the more rewarding it is–can I get an amen?! 🙂
2017 was so full of blessings, with a pregnancy announcement being one of them, and my husband being promotable to Major being another!  I am SO proud of him.  With that news comes another PCS move and in only six months because of the upcoming promotion.  But it means we are heading back to the states, and this time to Charlottesville, Virginia!!  I am really looking forward to being closer to family and to spending the holidays with them this year.
God has been so good.

PCS Trip: South Korea

At 2:00am last week on a Wednesday, our little family of three, left the States for Seoul, South Korea.
We drove for 45 minutes to the airport, boarded a couple hours later, and flew on a 2.5 hour flight to Dallas, Texas.
Ava did pretty well and enjoyed being entertained by the stewardesses.  You can’t see them in the picture below but they were having fun watching her walk the back aisle and then collapse on the floor for a couple minutes before getting back up again and waving at everyone. 😉
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Once we arrived at the Dallas Airport, we had a few hours to kill before our last (16 or so hour-long) flight to Korea.  My husband took us to the USO, which was the best decision of our day. 🙂  We were warmly greeted and our 20-month old was given a little kitty beanie baby, which she was thrilled about.  They had all sorts of drinks and snacks, a playroom for Ava, a little theater room, small library selection, and a computer room, as well as free toiletry items in the bathrooms and free diapers and wipes!
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This was the setup for the last flight, which I boarded early to set up Ava’s carseat and get everything situated.  It was right next to the bathrooms which is a good and bad thing.  Good to be close for when you need it, but bad when you need to sleep and everyone else needs to use it.  It tends to be louder near the bathrooms (those things are loud when they flush! haha).
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Thankfully the seats had movie screens and a great selection of movies.  The flight was exhausting and sometimes felt like it would never end, but honestly, Ava did very well all things considered.  I used some Plant Therapy “Calming the Child” essential oil on her and it was a big help.  She slept twice on the plane for a few hours each time–praise the Lord!   The second time she woke up, she was so groggy, that she just quietly sat in her carseat, hugging her Hello Kitty blanket and watching 3 or 4 episodes of her favorite Disney show–Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. 😉  Towards the last couple hours of the flight, I ended up injecting myself with all the coffee I could find. Haha!
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Once we landed and went through customs, we got to the far corner of the airport where our bus was to be and realized we had missed it by 5 or 10 minutes, which meant we had to wait for 2 more hours.  We boarded the bus finally and I honestly don’t remember how long the ride was because I dozed off and on for the whole trip.  It was at least an hour I think?  We made it to Dragon Hill Lodge and got set up for the night after my husband had to attend a couple meetings, but I remember feeling a huge sense of relief that night, laying in the most comfortable hotel bed in the world (or so it felt after a 20+ hour travel day!) and thanking God that we made it safely to the country that held the next big adventure for our family.  PCSing (with a toddler) is never easy, especially when moving to another country, but it’s worth it!  Can’t wait to share our adventures with you all in the near future!

Vitamin Sea Detox | Strength Through an Overseas PCS

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What a week!  Two of my girlfriends from Indiana visited me and we hit up a bunch of different beaches and drove around the island like tourists–so much fun.  Although I am not one to spend more than and hour or so at a beach, I do love the relaxing vibe that the cool water, blue skies and soft sand put out….ahhh…so peaceful.  It was just what I needed!
My husband and I have gotten a lot done in preparation for our trip to Michigan and then our move from there to Korea.  The best part of the whole process has been how much God has been stretching me.  Turns out, being stretched as thin as a piece of paper doesn’t feel so good.  And there are some days when you wonder why you even woke up. haha  But to use a word I heard today that summed everything up…it’s been sanctifying.  To sanctify means to “make holy”, to “set apart”, or “consecrate”.  Funny thing, but my name (Beth) actually means “pledged (or) consecrated to God”.  Mind blown!  What an amazing reminder in the middle of our busy lives, whether they are chaotic, fast-paced, or both, that we belong to the King of Kings and that He is working on us to set us apart and make us more holy through our trials.  It’s important not to miss that.  We can choose to be made stronger through them, or bitter and weak.
I am thankful for this time in my life right now.  This time of change, of stretching, of challenges…it only serves to make me stronger and to help me grow.  I ask God to make me more like him and a woman after his own heart, and He gives me challenges to strengthen me.  It’s funny how we forget that and assume that challenges must not be from God because they are hard and difficult and sometimes we suffer during them.  God knows what is best for us and He will never walk away when we need Him.  Just something to remember as you PCS this summer, or as you are going through your own challenges and changes this year.
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Life Lately: PCS-Prep | Leaving Hawaii in 2 Months

All packed!  :PSMLXL

 
Hey everyone!  So you already know that we are moving from Hawaii to Korea, but we leave the island within 2 months and we still need our orders!  I know, I know…you’re going to say “that’s just typical Military life, hon” haha and while that is true, it doesn’t do anything to make a big move less stressful–especially an OCONUS (Outside Continental United States) move!  But you’re right, that is life and we do what we can in the meantime, right!? 😉
So in the meantime…
I’ve had a doctor’s checkup for my 17 month old to qualify as a EFMP Screening, a “well-woman” checkup for myself and also had to have the EFMP screening and paperwork signed-off at Tripler Army Medical Center.
I’ve never had to be screened for EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) before, but I assume it’s because of where we are moving to (didn’t need it for Hawaii but that is still in the US although not in the continental US).  There is more limited healthcare available to Americans abroad and the Army would need to know if they are not able to meet our needs (and potential disabilities) in Korea.  If that was the case, my daughter and I would not be approved to move to Korea with my husband.  Thankfully, that is not an issue and all of our medical records are clear and in order and the necessary paperwork signed.  Oh…still need to go to Medical Records and get a copy of my daughters and my records!  Note to self. 😉
The next thing I had to do, was to go to Waimanalo Post Office (after printing off the paperwork and getting a notary since my husband could not be there) and apply for a Tourist Passport for Ava–isn’t is crazy that a 17 month old would need a passport? 🙂  I took her passport picture at a Walgreens and brought that to the Post Office with my paperwork.  The passport cost about $105 and we had it sent to our home of record in MI so that we would have plenty of time to retrieve it before going to Korea (we are taking leave for a couple weeks to see family before the official flight to Korea!).  The tourist passport is mainly just so we can travel to other places from Korea (such as Japan) and I’ve heard it’s easier to just get it in the US where you are familiar with then to have to apply for it in Korea.
I’m still not 100% positive if Ava and I also need Government passports (I’ve gotten different answers from other military spouses and soldiers) so we will see!  That would be a 2-month wait though…ugh.
I also went ahead (since I can cancel at anytime if need be) and booked a weeks stay at a hotel in Seoul for when we arrive in July and overlapped the bookings with a potential month’s stay (yikes!) at a military lodge near my husbands next duty station.
Other than the yucky paperwork and appointments we have had to make to prepare for the move, I’ve been sorting through junk drawers and downsizing the closet wardrobes of things we don’t need and throwing out things we never use–it’s so liberating. haha
All of this while still trying to study for college CLEPs… 😛 I hope to squeeze one or two more exams out before we leave the island.
Well there you have it!  My life lately. 😉  Is anyone else making a big move this summer?  Or do you have any favorite moving/packing tips you’d like to share!  Please let me know!  I’d love to hear from you. 🙂
Well I just finished my apple fritter and coffee so I think that means it’s time to say goodbye until my next post–
Have a great Sunday everyone! 🙂

It’s PCS Season! | We’re Moving to…

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Korea!
We are moving in just under 3 short months and it’s honestly all I can think about.  It’s a combination of the usual PCS excitement (I’ve actually wanted to move to Korea so I’m looking forward to it), and the dread of flying SO many hours with a toddler. Help! Thankfully my 16 month old is a pretty good flyer but that doesn’t mean any child wants to sit in one place for 15+ hours!  How can you blame them?  Confession: I have already been brainstorming toy and snack ideas for the trip…yes, I always plan way in advance. 😉
It will be one busy summer this year!  But we will really miss Hawaii. 😦 I remember hearing a lot of negative things from other Milspouse bloggers about Hawaii before we moved and that made me nervous, but my family and I couldn’t have been more happy here.  Yes, it is an island but there is much more to do here than you might think.  We feel incredibly blessed to have experienced “HI Life” and to have met so many kind people that have truly embodied the spirit of “Aloha”.  So, while it will be hard to leave, that it just one part of our lives and our lives are full of change.  I’ve learned to embrace change and I’ve discovered that some of the most beautiful things can come out of it.