Monday, May 5, 2014

An Introduction.

My mind goes in circles every time I open this blog to start a new post.  Should I start with the birth story?  The facts (and fiction) of pregnancy and labor?  Or perhaps something a little less dramatic for a first blog back after a 3 month hiatus.  Like a how-to on one of the many craft projects I've recently done?  It's at this point I tend to glance over at my daughter for some inspiration.  MY.  DAUGHTER.  The magnitude of those words still surprises me.  Then I close my computer and think to myself, it can wait.  The blog and everything else can just wait until the next nap, the next day, or next week.  So while everyone else in my family is sleeping on this Sunday night, I am finally taking a few minutes to myself to write.  My mind is still going in circles, but I look at her again and suddenly realize what should be written first.  How obvious.  An introduction.

Miss Adelyn Kate came to us at 01:28 am on April 16, 2014 after 11 hours of active, natural labor.  She was just a little peanut (which has also become her nickname) weighing in at 6.03 pounds.  She was 19.25 inches long and had arms and legs for miles.

Her first name does not have some grand story I'm sorry to say.  In fact, it was chosen off of a random list Jesse found online about five days before she was born.  For the first 8 months, we were positive her first name would start with an H.  Possibly Harper or Halle.  I was really into the alliteration thing.    But Adelyn clicked instantly with us and even though we said we would decide 100% on the name once we saw her, I think at that moment we both knew what it was going to be.  

We had decided on a middle name fairly early on in the pregnancy.  Ayumi.  See that?  See how I'm keeping you on your toes?!  We wanted to use a Japanese middle name to honor the place where we met, got married, and where Adelyn was conceived.  Ayumi is the name of a wonderfully sweet, kind, funny, and caring friend that I had in Okinawa.  She was a huge part of making my last year there one of the best of my life, so once we decided to use a Japanese name hers came up immediately.  We didn't decide to change Adelyn's middle name until after she was born and we were still in the delivery room waiting to be moved.  I've loved the name Kate for as long as I can remember, and Kate was also Jesse's mother's name.  I mentioned using Kate as a middle name once or twice throughout the pregnancy and each time Jesse said no, let's stick with Japanese.  Because it would be using a name from his side of the family, I didm't push the issue when it seemed like he didn't like it or wasn't comfortable with it.  Post-delivery, Kate randomly popped in my head again but I didn't bring it up.  We had decided on Ayumi and I was completely happy with it.  But then Jesse, reading my mind, said "I know we decided a long time ago, but what do you think about Kate for a middle name?"  I told him how I had just been thinking about the same thing, and thus, it was decided.          
Little Addy did have a few issues at the hospital but overcame them like a champ and we were both released after 48 hours.  We realized very quickly we had been blessed with a great baby.  She cries when she needs food or a new diaper and that's about it.  Multiple people have commented on how calm and alert she is, including her nurses and the pediatrician.  I was so proud of her hearing that compliment from "the baby people" and so filled with gratitude that Jesse and I are her parents.  We've got a keeper ladies and gents.

So now here we are almost three weeks later.  Things are still going as smoothly as possible and we're still kind of thinking the other shoe will drop at some point.  I always hear these nightmare-ish stories of the newborns coming home from the hospital and the mom not showering or eating for 10 days, the baby getting colic or some insane dietary issues, and the dad not helping because he doesn't know what to do.  I'm thankful to say we have none of those problems and I'm growing more and more confident that they aren't going to come up. 

All in all, we're still early into this parenting thing, but I think we're getting the hang of it.  As I've promised so many times before, I plan to update this blog more regularly.  There's so much to write about now, I really have no excuse.  Until next time, friends.  


Saturday, February 1, 2014

You're doing WHAT when you give birth?

**disclaimer: This is LONG.  That is all.**

I'll be the first to admit, Jesse and I were basically winging this pregnancy for the first 6 months.  I don't mean that we were being irresponsible or ignoring the changes coming to our little family or to my belly.  We went to all of the appropriate appointments, I was (attempting) to eat right while taking it easy and I gave up the sweet, sweet nectar of life…wine.  No, what I mean is that we agreed we had more pressing issues that had to be dealt with before baby was going to make her appearance so those things had to take precedence.  Things like moving across the world.  Needing to find a home and vehicles.  Getting to know our way around a city we will be living in for 3 years. We decided very early on that we would deal with those things before we did baby things.  As it turns out, normal life goes on even when you're growing a human.  

Once we handled all of the moving, it was time to make some decisions about baby and how she was going to make her appearance into this world.  There have been several major things we've decided on in the past two weeks.  I'm proud to say Jesse and I have really worked as a team making these choices for our family and we both are 100% on board with these things.

1.  Our baby will be delivered by a midwife, not an OBGYN.  Maybe even by Jesse.

This was actually a decision that was made in those first 6 months.  I've never liked doctors or hospitals.  It's all very intimidating to me and while I appreciate what doctors do, I would like to avoid them until it's necessary to be seen by one.  The military has midwives (surprising, isn't it?!) and while I knew immediately I wanted to be seen by one of these women, Jesse was going to take some convincing.  It is a little…odd…to some people and it sounds like something out of the 18th century.  I get it.  But after our first appointment in Okinawa, Jess was completely on board and even commented how kind and patient Ms. Beard was (we had a LOT of questions).  We never felt rushed or like we were just another preggo couple.  We were important to her and that was important to us.  After moving and navigating the complicated world of military insurance, we discovered a few different midwife groups in Tampa that our insurance would cover.  We decided on a group based in Tampa but that has a very small office out of St. Petersburg.  Our midwife, Elissa, has recently had a baby herself and her personality is right up our alley.  We felt comfortable immediately and really liked the things she had to say and her whole approach to pregnancy, labor, and delivery.  And yes, she will be catching the baby but has stated that as long as everything is normal, Jesse can do the catching if he wants.  I know that freaks some people out, but man!  What an experience for parents.  He's currently very, VERY nervous about that possibility but definitely considering it.  

2.  Despite my lack of love for hospitals, our baby will be born in one.

Honestly, this wasn't a choice but a decision made by our insurance policy.  Tricare does not cover home deliveries or births in birthing centers.  And yes, I was truly considering both of those things in the beginning.  They will only cover you if you have a hospital stay of at least 48 hours for a vaginal birth or 72 hours for a C-Section.  (Sidenote: this is hilarious to me.  If I have a completely normal pregnancy and deliver my baby at home, it's much MUCH cheaper than a 2 night hospital stay.  Same with a birthing center.  They send you home after a few hours.  But no, Tricare INSISTS on paying for 48 full hours of hospital care).  In the long run, I think we would have decided on a hospital anyway.  Jesse was NOT comfortable with a birthing center or a home birth, and I think eventually my nerves would have gotten the best of me.  As someone explained it to us, you've really got to be all in when deciding on one of those kind of birth experiences and I don't think we both would have gotten there.

The reason we decided on the midwife group in Tampa but to be seen by Elissa at the St. Pete office was because of the hospital she delivers at.  It is a small, community hospital.  When we went on our tour of the Labor and Delivery wing, all of the rooms were empty.  This might scare some people because it means they don't do as many births as a large hospital, but I LOVED this.  It means extra attention from nurses, a calmer atmosphere, and if drugs are eventually needed, a doctor will be available almost immediately.  The main midwife office in Tampa delivers at a huge hospital that has a C-Section rate of somewhere around 45% (The hospital, not the midwife group).  That's a lot of ladies getting cut open.  The same doctors that administer baby drugs are the same ones on call for the operating rooms, so you may or may not get your drugs depending on what's happening in another wing of the hospital.  With an average of 6 births a day and one of the busiest ERs and trauma centers in Tampa, I just didn't feel like I would be a priority.  And dangit, pushing a baby out of me is a big damn deal!

Even though we chose the small community hospital, it has all of the big hospital bells and whistles for the L&D wing.  There are birthing balls and birthing stools.  Yes men, both of those things exist.  You're allowed to walk around the room or the hall.  You can take a shower if the water feels good and the monitors are battery operated - meaning they can strap it on your giant belly and you can walk around without someone pushing a cart behind you.  All in all, this will be the best place for us and where we BOTH will be comfortable.

3. Hypno what?  Hypnobirth.

See what I did there?  I put the semi-normal decisions at the top and now I'm getting to the HUH? stuff.  We are going to have a hypnobirth.  No, this does not mean I will be getting hypnotized.  There won't be a magician in the room swinging a pendulum in my face telling me to cluck like a chicken.  It means that we will go to hypnobirthing classes and learn how to chill the eff out during labor. 

I mean, really.  If you were given a choice, what would you rather have?  SURVIVING your painful contractions, screaming and yelling, and people in your face telling you to push to earn a rite of passage into motherhood?  Or a birth that you can remember fondly - smiling, laughing, being relaxed with the dad?  Listening to your body and telling others when the urge to push approaches?  Just saying….

Elissa actually got it in our heads that we might want to try a birth "method."  This sort of scared us.  Not that she suggested it, but that we were six months into this thing and we were JUST starting to discuss these kinds of options.  Yes, there are options when you give birth.  Who knew?!  These are the things people should really tell you when you get pregnant.  Hypnobirth helps you be more calm and collected.  It teaches you to breathe deeply, recognize what muscles you're using, and go to a place of peace while you're having "surges" (not contractions).  It teaches you what's happening, why, and how to not freak out.  And if you do freak out, it teaches you how to get back to the calm breathing and happy place without a panic attack ensuing.  It teaches you how to visualize what's going on and how to not be fearful of birth, regardless of us being taught for YEARS that birth is scary and painful but worth it in the end if you can just make it through.  Hypnobirths also tend to be MUCH shorter than "normal" births as well as less painful and overall a more joyous experience.  And man, we're bringing a kid into this scary, scary world!  Shouldn't we at least have the opportunity to enjoy the process?

Look, I'm not saying birth is going to be all sunshine and gumdrops in a field of pink flowers.  I'm not an idiot.  I'm just saying, surely there's another way besides letting the medical field hijack OUR baby's birth.  The scheduled inductions, getting pumped full of drugs at the earliest moment, and then "surviving the experience."  Modern medicine has it's place and I'm not opposed to using it if that's where I'm at, but birth has happened for oh, I don't know... 1000's of years.  With and without drugs.  Babies come out when they want to come out.  Can't we give them the benefit of making that very first decision in their life as long as it's safe to do so?  

Jesse and I are both very much on board with this plan.  We went to the informational meeting a few weeks back and were ready to sign up for classes then.  He is excited to be an active part of the birth (something he didn't experience with Sophia).  He's happy knowing he can help coach, massage, breath, and walk with me using the information we learn in our classes.  I'm thrilled to know that he WANTS all of that.  I want him in the room, but I want him to be comfortable in the room.  Having my husband there is a blessing, having him in panic mode would be a nightmare.  Taking these classes together will put us 100% on the same page, using the same language and techniques.

The first of our five classes is this Wednesday, I'll keep you posted on the weirdness level.    

4. A doula will be present during labor - not my mom or girlfriends.


A doula.  Dooo-la.  Doula is a Greek word meaning "a woman who serves."  In more modern times, it's a woman who is present before, after, and during childbirth to provide emotional and physical support for the FAMILY (not just the mother) - NOT medical care.  She helps position the mom, shows dad how to put pressure in the right places, and will come to our house while I'm in active labor BEFORE we go to the hospital.  She told Jesse at our meeting that he will be just as exhausted as me because she will put him to as much work as he'll let her.  She advocates for the family and helps ask the right questions when medical "necessities" come up.  Yes, she will have her essential oil voodoo and other random supplies to help along the process.  She will massage but it will be to benefit baby, not me, meaning it may or may not feel wonderful.  She's on call for us 4 weeks before the due date and available to answer questions 24/7 from now until a few weeks post-pardum.  She will help us with the hypnobirth breathing as she's familiar with the technique.  It feels right and we feel like this is the best decision for OUR family.  And the universe sure works in neat ways just when you need it to.  Our doula, or hypnobirth instructor, and our midwife ALL KNOW EACH OTHER.  Just try to tell me that it wasn't supposed to work out.    

I love my friends and I love my mom.  However, none of them live closer to Tampa than a 3 hour flight, and even if they did I think we would still go the doula route.  We don't know when baby is coming, so how can you ask someone to fly in, take off work, schedule vacation days for a day you can't be 100% sure of?  Stephanie, our doula, has been at over 400 births.  That's a lot of babies.  I'm pretty sure my mom has been at two - mine and my brother's.  My girlfriends, I have no idea.  Most of them don't have children of their own so perhaps it's not my job to show them what that will look like for them someday.  I know that people are concerned that my mother won't be present at the birth of her grandchild but as it turns out, I'm responsible enough to have a conversation with my mother about this.  And I'm truly not trying to be harsh, uncaring, or unfeeling, but it's OUR choice.  She will be coming AFTER the birth, once we are home and trying to adjust, to lend a helping hand.  Jesse eventually has to go back to work and work for him can mean anywhere in this country.  To me, having my mom here with me during THAT time that is more useful than another person in the delivery room unsure of what to do or what exactly is going on.  I'm not saying that she wouldn't be useful or that the familiar face wouldn't be nice, but it's just not the route we have chosen to go.

Also, let it be noted - A DOULA WAS JESSE'S IDEA. 

5. Our baby will be wrapped in cloth…diapers that is.

I know, I know.  I have completely convinced you I'm a hippie and I've converted Jesse to the dark side.  This was another of those decisions we made a while back, didn't think about for a bit, and have come back to.  We're still on board.  First of all, cloth diapers are ADORABLE.  Have you seen them?!  Second, they save a TON of money - I mean a ton.  A friend of a friend says she spends around $200 a month on diapers for her 6 month old child.  $200 a month!  That's crazy to me!  One cloth diaper runs you about $20-$25.  You do need a stash of about 2 dozen if you're going to be successful at it.  So let's do a little math, shall we?  Let's go on the expensive side and say I buy 30 $25 diapers.  That gives me a few extras in case I didn't have time (or energy) for laundry.  That's $750 to diaper your child.  Forever.  That's also about 4 months worth of disposables.  Ummmm, assuming my child wears diapers for let's say 24 months of her life (oh yea, ps, cloth diaper kids are generally potty trained faster), that's a savings of about $4000.  I know that diapers may not cost $200 a month for each family.  Some months are less, some months are more - especially as the diaper gets bigger, the pack size gets smaller, and the price doesn't change!  Yes, it's true I will spend more in laundry detergent, water, and electric bills to wash these things, I'm going to take a wild guess and assume the extra utilities won't add up to four grand.  Just a hunch.

PHEW.  So there it is.  Two very lengthy posts in two short days.  I know you may not agree with our decisions up there, and that's okay.  Everyone has an opinion and I'm happy to hear them.  We are beyond excited for this time in our lives and really can't wait to meet our little baby girl.  I'm happy that we are in control of our situation and that Jesse and I are on the same page.  Even if you think we're getting all crunchy granola, new age hippie on ya, hey.  At least we have a plan.  

Friday, January 31, 2014

A January Update

Hey out there.  As I sit in our rental home in Tampa, I am a little overwhelmed with all of the events of our PCS the last few months.  Let me recap.  

Jess, Biscuit, and I were booted from our house on December 3rd and were relocated to the on base hotel for a few nights.  We departed for (and landed in) Tampa on December 7th.  After 5 long LONG flights totaling somewhere around 38 hours of travel time,  we found our way to the on base hotel for about two weeks.  During those two weeks, we looked at approximately fifteen rental homes, googled about 200 others, got cell phones, Jesse completely in-processed at work, and we bought two cars.  After those fourteen-ish days, we scooped Sophia up and flew to Texas for Christmas.  In Texas, we stayed with "Grandma Gail" for another two weeks and then made our way back to yet another hotel in Tampa for three nights.  We finally moved into our rental house on January 5 and our small shipment of things like pots and pans, sheets, and blankets came on January 6.  

We were officially homeless for 34 days. I slept on an air mattress for the following 25 days while Jesse slept on the floor, and we've been living out of the same four suitcases for the last three months.  Our large household goods shipment that contained our beds, furniture, and majority of our possessions left Okinawa in late October arrived yesterday (17 days past the "deadline") which means that we were able to spend one night in our very comfortable bed before Jesse had to be at the airport at 6 am today for his first "Army Vacation" with the new job.  Oh, and I'm now a few days shy of 29 weeks pregnant.    

None of those numbers or events are exaggerated in the slightest.  

I thought we were prepared for this move, and we were.  I had never done a military move before (since Jesse and I met in Japan), and so you might even say I was over prepared, borderline obsessive.  We had just about everything we needed in those 4 suitcases to live fairly comfortably for an indefinite amount of time.  Everything went as smoothly as possible in Okinawa as well getting from Okinawa to Tampa.  The on base hotel in Tampa was more like a small house than a hotel, and it was nice to be able to do laundry in our own room, cook our own meals, and watch American TV shows we'd never even heard of.  

I had researched Tampa quite a bit before we moved so I thought we were also prepared in the area of house hunting.  There lies my biggest mistake.  Having never been to Tampa ourselves, we really had no clue what we were getting ourselves into.  We were used to driving max about 20-30 minutes to ANYWHERE we wanted to go in Okinawa.  The areas where we were looking to rent meant a 45-75 minute commute for Jesse every day.  Not to mention the zoning.  Rather, the lack of zoning.  Trying to avoid that commute along with about $4.50 a day in toll fees, we started looking at locations in South Tampa.  There are businesses next to 3 million dollar homes next to a trailer with 4 cars parked in the front yard - one of which is on blocks.  We were assured these areas were safe, just "quirky."  We were definitely starting to feel the reverse culture shock of moving back to the US after being away for so long.  I started crying in Publix because they didn't carry Japanese rice or dried red chiles.  

Let me just say, thank goodness we did our own research on the areas that some of these homes were in.  For example, we completely fell in love with one house that we were going to apply for.  It was a beautiful Key West style townhome, lime green, 3 stories, 2 car garage, all wood floors, gorgeous kitchen.  And it was in our budget!  For some reason, I got it in my head that we needed to look at crime rates in the area.  This was about twelve hours before we were going to apply and put down a deposit for the home.  Looking at crime rates and such might be common for most people when looking at renting or buying property, but before you judge me for NOT thinking to do this sooner, remember I lived in a country for the last four years where there is an average of less than 10 murders a year. Jesse lived there for seven years.  It wasn't even on our radar that we needed to check this kind of thing.  After finding what we did, I guarantee we will do this for any future move within the US.   

The first thing that popped up in google was the sex offender list.  I should have known then that we were not renting this home.  I felt completely sick to my stomach as I realized there were 6, 6! offenders and one predator living in a 2 block radius of our dream rental.  The house directly behind the property had a mother and son living in it that were BOTH on the list.  We could see their house from "our" master bedroom.  The sexual predator lived one block over.  I'm not even going to try to describe the state of these homes.  Let's just say when we did our "night recon," we were VERY concerned and Jesse was making me promise I wouldn't be going out after dark if he wasn't home.  Needless to say, we didn't apply for this house.  We were very, VERY frustrated by this point.

Thankfully, we did finally find a townhome that we decided to rent and bonus!  The community is sex offender free.  Jesse does have to drive a minimum of 30 minutes to work every day, but we are really enjoying our area on the weekends.  I've started going to yoga about 5 times a week, Jess has found a running trail he really enjoys and Biscuit is just happy to be in the same place for more than a few days at a time.  

Overall, I'd have to say the PCS was an okay experience, but not one I want to do again any time soon.  Moving back has definitely been an adjustment and quite honestly, I thought I would adjust faster.  I really miss Okinawa, and I know Jesse does, too.  While we still agree that it was time to leave Oki for the sake of our mental well-being, we are definitely on board if we get stationed there again.  If this post seems like it's coming from a place of exhaustion, then bingo! My current mental state is shining through on your computer screen.  It's been a rough few months, but we've obviously made it through.  January has been fairly good to us, and after having a frustrating December, I decided to start 2014 by committing to thinking more positively and looking for the good in all situations.  Yoga has really, really been good for me this month and time out of the house to myself has been a blessing.  Now that the dust has cleared (along with the moving boxes),  we can FINALLY concentrate on baby and getting completely ready to become parents in eleven short weeks.  The excitement and nerves are really kicking in, but we truly can't wait.  

Here's to a happy, exciting, and full year from our little family to yours!



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chef Hein…kinda.

I'm going to try to update this blog on the regular which means that you're going to get some random stuff.  Stuff about military life and military wife-ry, friends, family, pregnancy, cooking, recipes, etc.  Just thought I should preface that sooner than later before you get TOO invested in reading my ramblings.

I love to cook.  I really, really do.  The more I do it and get into it, the more confident I feel in my ability to create a nice meal from scratch - or mostly scratch.  I'm not churnin' my own butter or anything, but I'm doing what I can.

With that said, sometimes I get really frustrated.  I'm not one to make the same recipes week after week and while scouring Pinterest for new eats has it's joyous moments, sometimes I'm just…blah about the whole thing.  I also tend to ask Jesse at the worst possible time what sounds good for dinner which, I admit, is my own self-made frustration.  Apparently while he is running out the door for work at 6:30 am isn't a great time to ask what sounds good for a meal in 12 hours.  Who knew?  And while I have learned it's really not a great time I continue to ask him this question day after day, week after week.  Being the female that I am, I allow myself to get frustrated by his standard answer of "Anything!" or "I don't know, whatever you want!" or better yet, "Bye!".

So I've learned.  I've learned that making a weekly menu that includes a night or two of leftovers, or more recently meals out (since we are moving in SIXTEEN DAYS!), works better for the chef in our family…me.  This plan gives me the structure I need to happily hit up Pinterest once a week instead of daily for recipes, make one huge grocery list, and then be done with shopping for the week.  And trust me, once you've had the joy of commissary shopping on a payday Friday, you too will only want to go once a week.  Not working right now gives me the flexibility to spend more time in the kitchen on meals I've always wanted to make but never had the time for.  It's been a love-hate relationship with my kitchen gadgets, but I generally quite enjoy it.

I've also learned with Jesse that when he says he doesn't care what's for dinner, he really doesn't care.  I could make just about anything and he would gladly eat it up.  During these 19 months of marriage I've discovered that if I want to cook it, I don't need permission or agreement from him.  I can just say, this is what we're having, he says sounds good and shock! He means it!  That's actually quite a struggle for me to accept, but I'm trying to get better.

The whole writing of this particular blog happened because I had Shrimp Tacos a week or two ago with a good friend and have been craving them again ever since.  They were pretty spicy, and this baby tends to crave ANYTHING spicy.  I cannot get enough spice and nothing is hot enough.  I guess that's the Korean in Jess coming through.  Anyway, I made a modified version of my friend's recipe with Fuzzy's Garlic Sauce (if you don't know what Fuzzy's is, you need to find one, like now).  I added Queso Blanco on top of the tacos and on the side as a dip along with some chips and guacamole.  This might not seem like a big deal, but damn.  This was a good meal if I do say so myself.  This particular meal has made the blog because there were no leftovers.  NONE.  That never happens!  It also makes the blog because everything except the Death Sauce (like I said, SPICY!) and the chips were homemade.  You could say I was pretty proud of myself.  It might not seem like a big deal to some but this means I've FINALLY accomplished the incredibly difficult task of turning giant recipes into a meal for two.  And homemade for two at that!  Woo hoo! I'm not going to post the recipes because there are several of them and they are fairly long, but if you want one in particular (guac, shrimp, queso) leave a comment and I'll respond to ya.  

Not the greatest picture, but you get the idea.

Have a great Thursday for those of you just waking up and happy almost weekend for those in Japan!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Time to Play Catch Up

So with all of the changes in our life, I figured it was time for a new blog.  It's been a hot minute since I've updated any blog o' mine, so let's dive right in, shall we?  Forgive me if my writing is a bit rusty - I'm realizing my last blog was back in 2011.  YIKES.

Things are changing in a big way for the Hein's.  In lots of big ways actually.  For starters, we're moving to the good ol' USA.  Jesse's assignment in Okinawa has been extended four times, mine once and now it's finally time to move on to the next duty station.  We will be leaving Okinawa the first week of December and headed to Tampa, FL for the next 3 years or so.  We are excited for SO many reasons.  I will limit myself to the current top 5 as to not overwhelm you with the awesomeness of my new blog.

Exciting Reason #1.  We'll be about 8000 miles closer to Sophia.  We'll be in the same time zone, and we'll only be about an hour and 40 minute plane ride away instead of 16.  I mean really, who doesn't want to be closer to this precious kid?

Outer Banks, NC

#2.  Jesse is pumped about his new assignment.  He actually had to apply and interview for this job.  Who knew such things happened in the military?  For those of you who have asked, he will be working at MacDill Air Force Base.  Yes, our Army family is assigned to an AFB.  These things happen more often than I ever realized.  The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is located in Tampa, and this is where Jesse is going to work.  He'll be working on a team with fellow Green Berets, Navy Seals, and Marine MARSOC guys.  His team time is essentially being extended which is every Special Forces operator's dream so he's beyond thrilled.  Their team will have a somewhat slower pace than what he is running in Okinawa which is part of why I'm thrilled.  It's a win-win for our family which is not necessarily common in this lifestyle.  The job is very different, but he's excited for a challenge and our family is excited for the change.  He will still be traveling a lot, but only within the Continental US (CONUS) which is much easier than flying all over Asia.  While he's only home about 3-5 months out of every year right now, he should be home much more while we're stationed in Tampa.  I'm not sure how I'm going to adjust to having him around all the time… I'm sure there will be a blog on that later down the road.

#3.  Oh yea, we're having a baby!

Thanks to my wonderful friend MacKenzie for creating this!

Baby Hein is due on April 20, 2014 (Easter!).  We are very excited to add to our family and Sophia is excited to be a big sister again. Well, like any 5 year old, she was excited for about 30 seconds before she moved on from the "Mimi has a baby in her belly" news to what she was going to be for Halloween.  The relocation of our family couldn't be better with the timing of the pregnancy.  I'm out of the first trimester junk - HELLO nausea - and not quite to the 3rd trimester uncomfortable-ness I keep hearing about.  We'll have time to visit friends and family in Texas for Christmas, see Sophia for 2 weeks, get settled into a new house, find a new midwife, and nest all before baby arrives in April.  Before you ask, we don't know yet if it's a boy or a girl.  We've gone back and forth about finding out the gender.  I want a surprise, Jesse wants to find out.  There's a plan where we meet in the middle and we both get what we want, but we're working out the details.  More to come on that.

#4.  Family and Friends.  It will be so wonderful to live on the same continent as the majority of our family and friends again.  We will of course miss the friends we've made on this side of the world and the small bit of family that is out this way, but we are so happy to be back within a short drive or plane ride to see the rest of the people we love and care about.  It's strange to think that I've been gone for 4 years already and Jesse has lived here for 7!  It's going to be great to SEE people and hug on them after all this time.  iMessage, Skype, and e-mail have all been lifesavers, but there's nothing like Mimosa Friday's.  Lookin' at you MacKenzie.

#5.  Starting a life together in the US.  I was a rare breed in Okinawa - a single female contractor.  People always assume that Jesse and I were married before we came to Okinawa and that we have "stuff" and a "home" in the States.  Well we don't.  When they ask where we're from, we just kind of look at each other and go through the story.  We don't have a common hometown, a common high school or university, or even a common state of residence.  Okinawa is the only home we've ever known as a couple, so it is exciting to start a life somewhere we could potentially retire someday.

And there you have it.  So while I flew to Japan alone with 2 pieces of luggage, a backpack, and no sense of what I was in for, I'm leaving Okinawa an Army wife with a baby on the way, a step-daughter, and a tiny five pound dog.  We've acquired 5000+ pounds of "stuff" according to the Ninja Movers who put all of our things on a ship last week.  I speak a new language and it's not Japanese.  Military acronyms should be considered a language and should be part of a mandatory military marriage course.  I can't tell you how many arguments we've had simply because I could not understand what Jesse was talking about.  I used four or five of these in one paragraph up there so you can imagine what my day to day life consists of.  Things have changed friends and family and not in a small way.  While some people get very flustered and sad to leave one duty station, I can honestly say we are ready.  We're prepared, we're happy, and we've done what we wanted to do here.  Okinawa, it's been real but Sayonara!  I'll be even happier to say it in December.


I'm at 17 weeks now but I've been lazy about pictures.  Oops.