My Baby Shower ♡

I had my baby shower this weekend, hosted by the Dr. and Mrs. We are having the first grandson (and great-grandson) in the family. My baby shower was at Grand Finale Restaurant.

The restaurant is beautiful, with an English tea garden décor (Google image the restaurant if you want to see what the restaurant looks like). My mom-in-law had reserved this place for our engagement party last March — how sweet that my baby shower is at the same restaurant the following March! (We are having a honeymoon-baby, since he will be born within our first year of marriage.) ♡

The restaurant has an upstairs, an enclosed patio area, a private room, and a courtyard for diners; as well as their main dining room. It’s a “fancy” restaurant; some place that you would go to for a special occasion or a romantic date. It’s also a lovely place for a bridal shower, baby shower, or rehearsal dinner. They have a website and their menu is online as well.

The ambiance is like an English tea party, which is why it’s a perfect place to have an event like the ones I’ve mentioned; very lady-like… pink roses and floral arrangements throughout, brick walls, gallery paintings — sipping a nice glass of red or white wine… you know, stuff like that.

I am so grateful for such a wonderful mom-in-law for hosting such a lovely shower for me — most people just have a baby shower at someone’s house, or a public park, or rent a room at a community center (and even then you’re just getting chips and sodas, not an actual meal).

I made the invitations myself (of course!); I got the kit from Gartner Studios. It was perfect because the cards (and matching envelopes are blue), with two birds on the bottom right corner — it actually coordinated with our wedding invitations and engagement party invitations (continuing our whole entire wedding theme, ha!); and my mom-in-law got a cake designed to match our invitation. ♡ She is AMAZING, we had 30 guests altogether — even our floral centerpieces were beautiful and smell like spring and a flower garden.

Our baby is so blessed to have such a wonderful family and great friends. We are so grateful.

With Grandma (Grandpa was with us in spirit). ♡

Grand Finale Restaurant in Ohio (our shower menu)… the pink carnations and lilies smell like a spring flower garden in our private party room. ♡

The restaurant is in a very high-bracket realty neighborhood, with some very gorgeous homes in the area. Our waiter and waitresses assigned to our event were very attentive. The food was also very good (my pasta was delicious); they also have their own parking lot, which is always a plus. This is a very nice place to host a social event or go for a special occasion dinner.

Thank you to all our family and friends for the diapers, toys, clothes, car seat, walker, nursery furniture, etc. There’s just way too much to list, but we are so thankful for everything. ♡


Moby Dicky’s Review

Moby Dicky’s is located in Hendersonville, TN (part of the Nashville metro-area).

It is a really nice, upscale sports bar/grill that specializes in seafood. It’s not a chain restaurant, so that right there is always a plus. The inside isn’t very big, and parking is hard because the lot is small and they appear to always be packed.

There’s an outside dock that is a dining area to expand the seating, with a fire pit and a sectioned off patio lounge area to the left, and a gorgeous view of a lake — very romantic and scenic. Great place for a date! The bathroom (the women’s one anyway) was also very clean as well; and it’s a single, private bathroom (meaning it’s not the typical stall bathrooms that most restaurants have) — that could either be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you feel about it.

The food was really good and tasted fresh; I had their clam chowder and a Caesar salad with grilled shrimp. Dinner for me, my husband (he had the grouper), and our daughter (she had chicken fingers), including appetizers, drinks, and tip came out to about $75. There’s a full bar counter with big screen TV’s through, and in the patio lounge area too.

The food was good, and the service wasn’t bad (but could have been better). Our waitress bought out our appetizers without giving us any plates to eat them on. Then she was MIA for quite some time while our drinks needed to be refilled. Still, it wasn’t bad service, just not very attentive — my hubby still gave her a generous tip though, because he’s nice like that (I would have probably gave her $5).

Anyway, I highly recommend this restaurant if you’re in the area.

Disney on Ice

We had a family day this evening at the Columbus Civic Center. We saw Disney on Ice. Usually only Ava and I go to these kind of performances, but Danny went with us too since we are leaving soon.

The show is a little over 2 hours long. The tickets could only be purchased through Ticketmaster (so they were pricey with the fees that are attached to the actual price of the tickets; the price for just the seats for three people were actually very affordable and inexpensive, it’s the ridiculous service charge fees per ticket that cost the tickets to almost double in pricing). There was also parking on site for only $5, which I thought was a great price for parking to see any show.

The show itself was cute and entertaining. Ava loved all of the songs and ice skating techniques and special effects; it started off with The Lion King and ended with Frozen (I wish they had the Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty performance too); the costumes and props very also very good. I thought the best segment was Frozen, and so did Ava.

Breast Pump Through Tricare

If you’re a spouse of an active-duty service member (or you’re in the military yourself), Tricare will pay 100% of the cost for a breast pump for expecting or new mothers. (Thank you Obama — this has been the law since 2013.)

I have Tricare Prime. Their policy on breast pumps are:

You need a prescription for it, and you’re only allow one pump per pregnancy (but you get up to 3 years of supplies for your pump, like storage bags for breast milk, etc.). The prescription also must state what kind of breast pump you’re eligible to get; whether it’s manual, electric, or hospital rental.

The best thing about Tricare’s breast pump coverage is that you can choose any brand you want, and from any retailer or supplier that accepts Tricare. It doesn’t matter if it cost $50 or $500, or if it’s a store-brand pump or a Medela, Tricare will pay for the whole thing.

I Google and went with a company in Ohio called 1NaturalWay; I read a article, and they had a sponsorship blurb in the article. I then read the reviews on their FB page.

It was easy enough to use, and fast service too… I already had my prescription on hand, so everything was done all in one morning. Shipping is free through regular USPS with tracking, arrives within a few days to a week (depending on where you’re shipping); definitely faster if you’re shipping in and around OH area — I did it Friday early morning, everything was approved and ready to ship by the afternoon, and delivered on Monday.

My only complaint is that I had four different people emailing me to send my prescription through various methods, and each time I submitted it, I got an email congratulating me and telling me my order has been approved by my insurance.

If you have your benefit number, you do not need to put your sponsor’s SS# (which, if you’re in DEERS, you should definitely not ever have a need to put it, since the beneficiary number is on the back of your military ID card) — just in case you’re worried or wondering about what personal info you need to fill out.

A bit of caution though, be sure of the brand you want, because you’re only allowed ONE pump per pregnancy; so if you ordered a Medela but decided the SpeCtra is better, you’re out of luck (and money) because Tricare won’t pay for another one — not even if it broke on its own, that’s something you’ll have to go through the manufacturer, and hopefully they have at least some sort of typical one year manufacturer’s warranty that will cover it. (In case you’re curious, I got the SpeCtra S2.)

Best Hubby Award ♡

My hubby is AMAZING. ♡

I got food poisoning. I can’t be sure, but I think it was from Subway’s (in Columbus, GA, off of Veterans Blvd — the location with the 31909 zip code). I ate a foot-long tuna on Monday, by the next day around 10AM, I had severe abdominal pain. I seriously thought something was wrong because it hurt so bad.

It was sporadic, and because I’m entering my third trimester, I couldn’t be sure if it was my intestines or my uterus that was in such excruciating pain. I figured I’d just let it pass, but then I had diarrhea and vomiting too in the afternoon (and I haven’t thrown up in like a month). The pain was so intense I was worried about the baby, but I waited it out until the next day.

By Wednesday morning I was still feeling the sporadic, severe pain. I couldn’t even take Ava to school because I was so ill. Danny took her to school, and then he drove me to the ER on base. When we went to check in, the receptionist told us to go to Labor and Delivery. We stayed there until a little past 11:15AM.

I can’t believe how incredibly lucky I am to have such a great guy. I definitely don’t deserve him. I am such a spoil brat, and I know it too!

When we came home I fell asleep and he went in the afternoon to pick Ava up from school (an hour round-trip each time). Last night he went out very late at night, because I was on the couch in such agonizing pain, to buy me my favorite drinks and fruits.

The doctor says the baby seems fine, and says my symptoms seem to be either a gastrointestinal infection like food poisoning or the stomach flu. He says there wasn’t really anything he could give me for it, that I just had to let it run its course; plenty of liquids to replace the lost fluids from the diarrhea and vomiting, and bed rest.

Everyone keeps saying I need to gain more weight, but I’ve always been petite to begin with; and that makes me wonder, do they tell overweight women to lose weight like they’re always telling me to gain more? Anyway, my hubby was worried about my lack of weight gain so he bought me a month supply of this drink that they give people in developing countries and geriatrics to help them gain weight. I didn’t think I like it… but it kind of tastes like Ensure or Slim Fast, are those even around anymore???

My husband is so wonderful. I have been such a “dependa” during this pregnancy, and he really does baby me. He’s cooked, cleaned, goes to work, pay the bills, takes care of me and our daughter (and he has one of the most stressful occupations in any career field) — I love him so much.

The Breadwinner (Film Review)

This movie is currently streaming on Netflix. It is a deeply, culturally significant movie. I actually watched it because it was “trending” on Netflix (along with Goodfellas and The Godfather trilogy).

The Breadwinner tells the story of a young Afghan girl and her family living in Kabul, Afghanistan during the Taliban control (so in the 90’s decade era); after the Soviet-Afghanistan War, and leading up to 2001’s “war on terror”… it does differ from the book. (The book was published in 2000.) Some of the plot and characters from the book are also different from the film as well.

I’ve never read the book, so I’m just reviewing the film — it is one of the BEST featured films I’ve ever seen, especially for an animation. It’s up there with my list of favorite movies (I will get to that list one of these days, ha!).

Parvana is a pre-teen girl who goes out with her beloved father, Nurullah, on the market streets of Kabul to sell their valuables and earn money by reading/writing for illiterate Afghans. Her father lost the lower part of one of his leg in a previous war and walks with a wooden walking stick. 

Her father was a teacher, and so his daughters and wife are educated. Her mother, Fattema, was a writer. Her father tells her about the war with the Soviets, the coup d’état of the former government, the civil war in Afghanistan, and the Taliban coming to power — but says he remembers a time when there was peace.

Nurullah tells Parvana creative stories about their people that are banned by the Taliban. A sudden commotion caused by a stray dog brings the attention of Parvana and Nurullah to the disillusioned fanatic, Idrees, who was a former pupil of Nurullah.

Idrees is accompanied by an older man named Razaq, who also has a more tamed and reasonable personality. Feeling he has been slighted by Nurullah, Idrees brings the Taliban to arrest Nurullah while the family is eating their dinner.

The family is left without a male in the household, except for the toddler son, Zaki, who is too young to be of any use to the family. The next day, Fattema and Parvana tried to go to the prison to get Nurullah released. The eldest daughter, Soraya, stays home to watch Zaki. Taliban law prohibits a woman outside her home without a male relative accompanying her, so it’s very dangerous for both Fattema and Parvana to be seen unaccompanied outside.

Fattema is in a full burqa outside, while Parvana only wears a hijab because she is still a child. A Taliban stops them while they are walking on their way to the prison; Fattema gets beaten in the street by the Taliban for being unaccompanied, and told that her efforts to free her husband are useless.

Parvana helps her severely beaten mother home. After realizing the reality that they cannot survive without a male presence, Fattema has Soraya write a letter to a distant cousin in Mazar-e-Sharif asking for help. Desperate for food and money, Parvana cuts off her long hair and wears her dead older brother, Sulayman’s, clothes.

She is finally able to go to the street market and store to buy food for her family. On the streets she sees an old schoolmate, Shauzia, who is also pretending to be a boy; but unlike Parvana, who has a loving father, Shauzia speaks with resentment about her father. She informs Parvana that she hides whatever money she can from her father, in the hopes of moving to a coastal town one day.

Shauzia and Parvana work laborious jobs for money, on top of Parvana selling her family items on the street. One day, while trying to solicit her service for reading/writing on the market streets, Razaq asks Parvana to read a letter to him. He believes her when she tells him she is the nephew of Nurullah. The letter says that his wife, Hala, has been killed by a landmine while on her way to a wedding. Sad and shocked, Razaq quickly gets up and leaves.

Parvana tells a story to Zaki and Shauzia about a boy on his way to defeat a monster elephant who has stolen the villagers’ planting seeds; the stories calm Zaki and Shauzia. She names the boy after her dead brother, Sulayman. (The movie interchanges between the present setting and Parvana’s stories.)

While the girls are working at a laborious job one day, Parvana sees Idrees, who also recognizes her. Fearing they’d be caught, Parvana hits him in the face with a brick so that they can escape, and they hide in a narrow cave opening. They are saved when the Taliban are ordered away, apparently a new war has started (presumably the US-led coalition “war on terror”).

Parvana had also began to teach Razaq how to write. After feeling she can trust Razaq, she tells him that Nurullah has been arrested. He advises her to go to the prison on Wednesdays and ask for his cousin, who will help if he can.

When she returns home, Fattema informs her that the cousin in Mazar-e-Sharif has written back and has agreed to help in exchange for Soraya’s marriage, and that they will be leaving. Parvana tells her mother that she will go with them after she goes to the prison on Wednesday, to at least tell her father where they’ll be. Her mother reluctantly accepts her daughter’s determination.

Parvana goes to tell Shauzia that they are leaving soon for Mazar-e-Sharif. Shauzia is initially resentful, and tells Parvana to be realistic; that their lives won’t be any better in another place with the cousin, at least not after Soraya’s wedding. Parvana tells her to come with them, but Shauzia says that her father would find her and kill her if she ran away. She gives Parvana the money she’s been saving so that Parvana would have enough to bribe the prison guards to see her father. They say a heartfelt goodbye to each other.

While Parvana is traveling to the prison, a man sent by Fattema’s distant cousin arrives early to take them to Mazar-e-Sharif. Fattema says they have to wait for Parvana and refuses to go, but the man informs them that the war has started and they must leave immediately. He snatches Zaki, and forces Soraya and Fattema into the car and drives off with them.

Unaware of what’s happened with her family and the new war, Parvana makes her way to the prison where she sees Razaq. He informs her that the war has started and she must leave. She finally confesses that she is really Parvana, the daughter of Nurullah. Razaq agrees to help her. He tells her to get out of there as fast as she can if he doesn’t come out by sunset.

The car that Fattema and her children are in breaks down, and Fattema starts a fire under pretense. She tells Soraya to take Zaki and run away as fast as she can; with a lit stick, she stands up to the man and tells him that they are not going with him. The man finally backs down and drives away, as (presumably American) aircrafts start bombing Kabul.

While the military aircrafts are bombing the region, Razaq manages to rescue Nurullah at his own personal risk (having been shot in the shoulder). He puts Nurullah on a wooden wheelbarrow slab, and Parvana wheels her father heading for home. Fattema catches up to Soraya and Zaki who are also heading home; the movie ends with their fates unknown.

I watched this movie with Ava. She had a lot of questions, and I answered as informed as possible. As a social studies teacher, I do not want to be one of those batty idealists who thinks Jesus is in the White House because there’s a white guy there… and because I’m not a racist, ha!

I told her as simply as I could about religious fanatical zealots; about Afghanistan and Islam culture, war, why people do the things they do, etc. I mean, we’re a “Catholic family”, and even I think that the Eucharist is some ritualistic voodoo chanting nonsense — you’re supposedly drinking and eating the “blood and body of Jesus Christ”, tell me that doesn’t sound like some sort of shamanism to you! (It’s like drawing a biblical Middle Eastern guy in all those Renaissance paintings as a white man!)

But I digress — this is a great movie!

Almost there …

My third trimester is starting, hooray!

I am not as nauseous and sick as I was before… now I only throw up occasionally.

The other day, I took my glucose screening test. The nurse asked me what I ate. I said I had McDonald’s with a Powerade. She said, Are you sure you want to take the test? Because if it comes back high, you’ll have to fast and take the 4 hour test. I should have listened.

I hate going on post because I always get lost. I figured since I was there, I’d take it anyway, despite the Powerade — I was confident that since I usually eat healthy anyway, the McDonald’s wouldn’t make a difference. I was wrong.

The doctor called to tell me that my glucose screening test was high, and that I had to take the glucose tolerance test instead.

So I got lost driving for like 45 minutes, made it in there after 8:30-ish, and didn’t eat anything since the night before. The nurses said, We told you to take it another day instead! (This is true, I remembered for my son and daughter, I had taken it in the morning and had not had anything to eat or drink before taking it.)

They took my blood, and then I had to wait about an hour before they gave me that super sugary drink that tastes like Kool-Aid. After that, another hour for my first blood draw, and an hour after that, and the last hour after that (1 hour, 2 hours, and 3 hours intervals). I finally left a few minutes after noon. I hadn’t eaten all day either (and they took so much blood!).

Of course, my results were fine. (I mean really, I’m like almost 7 months pregnant and only weigh 125 lbs.! I knew I didn’t have gestational diabetes!)

I had a non-invasive genetic screening test done in November. Surprisingly, Tricare paid for the whole thing! (A lot of insurance companies won’t.) I had went to a civilian perinatologist for it. They had 3D/4D ultrasound capabilities and a genetic counselor on site. Tricare paid for it because my regular OB/GYN had deemed I was an “at-risk pregnancy”, so I was given a blanket authorization for all services (including testing) from the perinatologist.

I was worried about chromosomal abnormalities, especially since a woman’s chances of a baby with Down syndrome is 1 out of 350 at 35, and the ratio gets even slimmer with maternal age. My screening came back low-risk; but I was informed that a screening test is NOT the same as a diagnostic test. I did not want an amnio or a CVS since there is a risk of miscarriage with both tests.

However, my baby has two soft markers that I am worried about, at my second trimester ultrasound, an EIF and a short femur. I was told that the soft markers shouldn’t be a cause of concern because one, I am short; and two, EIF are somewhat common in babies whose mothers are Asian. I usually follow-up on these conversations with the fact that my father-in-law is a pediatrician. (Seriously though, how wonderful is it to have a father-in-law who is a pediatrician, especially when you’re pregnant!)

How wonderful would it be if Grandpa could be the baby’s pediatrician, am I right? I had actually asked my hubby if his dad was his pediatrician, and surprisingly he said no… I supposed it would be unethical to have your own children as your patients though. (Although my hubby’s pediatrician did come to our wedding; he works at the same clinic as my father-in-law.)

But I had loved my son’s pediatrician and my OB/GYN in NYC. He delivered my baby instead of some random doctor on-call in the labor ward; and my pediatrician came to the hospital to check my baby (again, instead of some random doctor that was on-call duty at the hospital). For my daughter, her pediatrician in NC was actually in the delivery room with me! After my doctor delivered her, her pediatrician whisked her off with her father to check her.

That’s one thing that I worry about… this will be my first time having a delivery at a military hospital. So I know that I will end up with whoever the doctor on-call is, which makes it very impersonal; the same for the pediatrician… and some Army hospitals don’t even have a pediatrician on-site, you just see a primary care “physician” instead (who sometimes isn’t even an actual medical doctor, but an advanced practice registered nurse instead). Like, my PCP is actually a FNP (family nurse practitioner), and not a MD.

Anyway… I guess I’m just praying that whoever delivers my baby isn’t some newbie on the job getting his feet wet for experience.

St. Valentine

It’s St. Valentine’s day… and Ash Wednesday! (What a day to be a Catholic — Easter this year is also on April Fool’s Day).

Happy Valentine’s Day to me! ♡

It is wonderful being a woman when you’re with a great guy ♡… and my hubby got a 6-day weekend courtesy of the US Army at Benning, ha!

CPT. America

Congratulations to my hubby — he has earned his German proficiency badge, gold level.

To add on to his stellar Army career: the Army called while we were on our honeymoon last year to give him the Bronze Star Medal for his deployment in Afghanistan; he has completed Air Assault and Airborne, Ranger, and served with a LRS company; and he was recognized by the commanding general when he was at Fort Hood for earning his EIB (because he came in first for the 12-mile ruck march and Objective Bull)… oh, and earning his MBA.

Two more jumps and he’ll qualify for Jumpmaster (I am hoping he’ll be able to get his jumps in while we are at Campbell); I know he was disappointed that he wasn’t able to get two more jumps in before heading to Afghanistan — he would have gone to Pathfinder School if he hadn’t spent a month doing the selection process for SFAB at Bragg; but thank God because the branch manager called to tell us he has a choice of his top picks (Campbell or Hawaii).

We are all so proud of him. ♡