Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010!

It's 12:29am here, which means it is now 2010! I was expecting to ring in the New Year with just myself and a sleeping baby. Much to my surprise, I heard the lock turn in the door at 11:52pm and Jesse was here, middle of his shift, to ring in the New Year with me! He was able to stay for our midnight kiss and then had to hurry back off to work, where he was doing checks for drunk drivers and underage drinkers. I really am so incredibly fortunate. This was our 5th New Year that we've celebrated together, and not once have we had to spend it apart. I can only hope that next year will make 6.

The weather was ridiculously cold and windy today. I think the "Real Feel" temperature today stayed between 10 and 15 degrees Fahrenheit. On top of that lovely weather, something happened with our pipes and we have zero hot water. I'm not sure what happened because they are indoor pipes and are fully insulated. We'll have to call our realtor tomorrow… hope the office is open since it is New Year's Day! I can only go so long without some lovely hot water.

I have totally slacked on my Couch to 5K goals, and I am pretty irritated at myself for that. I've lost something like 45 lbs since having Cori, and I still have a ways to go before I'm at my goal weight. I KNOW I CAN DO IT. I just have to make myself do it. I need a motivator!

With that, I'm off to check my farm on Farmville (lol) and then wait for Jesse to get home from his shift. Love you lovely blog readers!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Who We Are

After reading the blog of a good friend of mine earlier today, I realized it would probably be a good idea to tell a little about who our family really is. :)

Jesse and I met in November 2004 online (AOL!), and started sending emails to each other twice a day - before school, and just before bed. We later progressed to phone calls, and he finally asked me out in February 2005. Our first date was on February 13, 2005. We dated for a couple of weeks, broke up for a few days, and got back together on March 13. We dated another few weeks, broke up again for a few days, and got back together again on April 26. We were "promised" to each other on June 4, and the promise was that we would one day end up in Colorado together. That has yet to happen, but we both still have faith that it will. I moved in over the summer of 2006 with him and my brother, which was the summer before my last semester of high school. We were engaged almost two years after we started dating, on Christmas Day 2006. Shortly after I left for college at Myrtle Beach in September 2007, we called off the engagement. It was my decision, and one I'm still glad I made. My worst fear was divorce and I had to be sure that what we had was true love and that we weren't just staying together because it was comfortable. I dated a couple of guys during the time we were broken up, and Jesse ran off and enlisted in the Army. He shipped off for Basic on Halloween, and thus began our letter writing relationship. When I came home for Thanksgiving that year (after making several stupid mistakes while away at college), I felt so empty. My best friend wasn't there, and I missed him. We decided, via snail mail, that getting back together was a must. He came home, much to my complete surprise, on December 19 and he gave me my engagement ring back. He left again on January 3rd, and we were back to our letter writing relationship until April 3rd. In those letters, we managed to plan our entire wedding, and we were married on April 13, 2008. We flew to Korea together on April 19, only to have to deal with a paperwork mix up that sent me back home on April 26. I got my own apartment, enrolled myself in school, and found a part time job to keep me occupied. On October 3, he came home on leave, and we finally were able to move back to Korea together on October 15, 2008. We got our first apartment alone, and started exploring the area. Because I'd been told I had infertility problems, we decided in November to start trying to conceive our first child. On January 10, 2009, we got our positive pregnancy test, and thus began our family of three. :)

So, now that you've read the history - here's a little about us individually.

Jesse has been in the Army for a little over two years. He's an MP, but has a much more specific job than just "cop". He investigates traffic accidents and when he's not doing that, he's half regular cop/half pencil pusher, depending on what needs to be done. He has a fairly good schedule. It has definitely improved over the last few months, and while he still gets some on-call shifts, it is nothing like it was during my pregnancy. Anyway. He is best friends with my older brother, Zeb, and they love to play Xbox games together (specifically CoD2:MW). He's not much into NFL or NBA, but he does love MLB and NCAA sports. He's in love with the Boston Red Sox and the University of Michigan Wolverines football team. He is just a few classes away from getting his AA in Criminal Justice, but has switched gears and is now pursuing a degree in History. He goes to American Military University, and will be starting classes in a few weeks.

Cori Aletta is our beautiful daughter. She was born on September 23, 2009 at Hyosung Hospital in Daegu, South Korea. She just turned three months old last week, and is seriously the light of my life. She loves to smile, coo, and nom on her fists. She's constantly trying to sit up, scoot, and stand by herself.

Then there's me. I'm Hilary and I'm a stay at home mom (SAHM). I do enjoy it, and it is certainly better than being a stay at home wife. I was ready to commit myself after a year of staying at home all day by myself. Now that I've got a beautiful little girl to take care of, it has gotten much better. The only thing that would make the situation better would be if we were in America and could actually go fun places to occupy our time during the day. I like being crafty - working on scrapbooks, knitting, sewing, graphic arts, things like that. I've recently gotten more into photography (who wouldn't when you have an adorable little model like Cori?!). I don't claim to be any good, but it's fun and I like learning different techniques. I've taken two semesters of college, but quit when I realized I was throwing money into a black hole over classes that were doing no good to me or my future career plans. I don't know what my passion is yet, but I'm constantly trying to figure it out. I can't wait to get a degree under my belt. I love to learn new things - words, history, facts, whatever. I just love to soak up as much information as I can. I started out as an Early Childhood Education major, switched gears to an English major, and lastly changed to Criminal Justice. Who knows what direction I'll actually end up going in?

As a family, we live in South Korea. Jesse has lived here for almost two years, and I've been here for just over a year. We don't really like it, but we try to make the best of it. We only have to deal with living here for another 9 months because we will then by PCSing (moving!) back to the states. We're hoping to end up within driving distance of home, but we should find out hopefully around March or so.

Anyway, that's us. We aren't the perfect family, but we sure are happy and make the very best of what life gives us.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Long December

I miss blogging in a real blog, as opposed to just a thread on a forum, so I need to get more active around here. I have a blog from when I was 14 or so that is so interesting to go back and read. Although I like blogging on a forum, I know down the road, I would never go back and read through it. I need a more of a blog formatted blog. :)

I'm on a lot of different forums, and honestly they have kept me sane over the last two years. I have made great friends and learned so much. I've been able to vent, celebrate, and share so many things. However, the entire dynamic of each forum has changed so much from when I first joined, and I just feel so disconnected from them for the most part. I grow tired of the know-it-all attitude that seems to envelop many of them, and the cliquey drama of others. I thought I'd be sad when I wouldn't have as much time to spend on them once Cori was born, but it's really been a bit of a relief. I've started straying away from the military-based support sites, and have been drawn more towards the parenting sites. I guess that's what happens when you become a mommy. :)

In less than four weeks, Cori and I will be on a plane crossing the Pacific, heading to America. I'm going to miss Jesse so much, but I am so very excited about arriving in South Carolina. It's been a long 9 months since we've been home, and it will be a great welcoming. I can only imagine the anticipation my family must be feeling about meeting Cori for the first time. I'm sure there will be many photos to document the event. I'm not too worried about missing Jesse - I know I will, but we've gone much longer, and I will be busy much of the time. I am worried about Jesse missing us though. Two months (plus a week or so) is a long time to be away from Cori, and I don't want him to miss any milestones she may hit. I am just so thankful that he has been here thus far, and after vacation, will continue to be here until past her first birthday. Once we get stateside, his schedule will be up in the air.

Speaking of going stateside, the impending move has me worried. When we leave, we will be losing COLA, Hazard Duty Pay, and Advance Incentive Pay. That's roughly $500. When we move to America, we'll have application fees to pay, deposits to pay on our house/apartment, electricity, gas, etc. Plus, much of our furniture is government loaned while we're overseas, so we'll have to get that kind of stuff for our house too. That is all going to add up so fast, and I'm just pulling my hair out over it. I really just want to make sure we are more than covered in our savings account because I don't think we want to live on post at all. Of course that will depend on the area, but we are definitely crossing our fingers for Fort Stewart (hopeful!) or Fort Jackson (yeah, right - sweet dreaming).

It felt good to get all of that out in one blog post, as opposed to several one liners. :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Couch to 5K

In an effort to drop the baby weight (plus some), I started the Couch to 5K program lats week. It's a program by Cool Runnings that gets a non-runner running a 5K in just 9 weeks. It's a simple program with huge results. I'm in week 2 right now, and absolutely loving it. For the first time in my life, I get excited about going to the gym and I'm feeling so motivated.

Since giving birth to Cori, I've dropped 38 pounds, and I now weigh 186. It's not a weight that I'm proud of, but I gained a LOT of weight during pregnancy and I was already at my heaviest when I got pregnant. I'm determined to get back down to 155 or 160. In about 25 minutes, I'm going about 1.3 miles between jogging and walking, and burning about 160 or so calories with an average heart rate of about 175. I keep the incline at a grade of at least 2% and climb about 170 feet or more each time.

I am so excited to see those numbers increase as my weight drops over the next two months! :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Introducing Cori Aletta

Cori Aletta has finally made her appearance!

She was born on September 23rd at 14:29 KST. She weighed 3460 grams (roughly 7 lbs, 10 oz), and was 50 cm long (just under 20 inches). She has a head full of dark hair and is just absolutely perfect.

I tried to remember everything as best I could, but I was pretty out of it with lots of intense contractions.

I had my 41 week checkup on September 22nd at 9am. My doctor decided then to go ahead and induce me since I'd been having painful labor contractions for about a month. I was almost completely effaced, but not dilated. My doctor decided to put me on Pitocin and see how my body and the baby reacted. If i didn't progress, he was to send me home and I'd continue to wait it out.

Around 10am, I was put on Pitocin. The contractions came soon after, but they weren't anymore intense than what I'd already been having for weeks. At about 3:30pm, I was checked and at 2 cm, but still not fully effaced. He decided to turn the Pitocin off and gave me a vaginal suppository to help finish effacing me. I was 2cm when the doctor checked me for the last time on evening of the 22nd. When he came back in on the morning of the 23rd, (I believe it was about 6am), I was checked and at 4cm, still not fully effaced. The contractions were horrendous in pain by this point and so close together that I was having trouble breathing through them.

Four hours later, I was checked again and still at 4cm. I was extremely disappointed because of the excruciating pain I'd been in for hours now. Much to my own disappointment, I decided to ask for an epidural. My husband tried coaxing me out of it, but I was in so much pain, I had to give in and ask. My doctor said that he highly discouraged me from getting it because it would drastically slow my progress. I didn't care at that point and kept begging for it. He kept putting it off, and about an a few hours later, he finally agreed to give it to me. I was still at 4cm when I received the epidural. All the epidural did was slightly numb my toes and slightly took the edge off of the contractions. I was still having to breathe and concentrate through the contractions and I could still feel pretty much everything.

Thirty minutes later, when the doctor came in and saw that I was still breathing very heavily, he asked me if the epidural had worked. I told him I didn't think so, and he started touching different parts of my lower body to check my reactions. I felt everything, so he agreed to give me one more dosage. I had the same reaction as before, and could still feel every little contraction. This was somewhere around 1:15pm, I think, and he told me I was 5cm dilated.

Another thirty minutes later, he came in to check for dilation. After he checked, he went over to the phone and called a nurse in. He was speaking Korean, so I had no idea what he was saying, but I was pretty sure I had heard the word "push". When he got off, he came over and said "Okay, you are over 9 cm, almost completely dilated and ready to push." I looked at my husband, looked back at the doctor and said "I'M 9 CENTIMETERS? I was at a 5 just 30 minutes ago." He replied with "Yes, you progressed extremely fast. You will be ready to push in just a few minutes."

The nurses came in and they all started prepping the room at this point for delivery. My doctor told me I was probably going to push between 1 and 2 hours. He told me that as soon as I felt the urge to bear down to just let him know and do what my body told me to. I was already feeling the urge to start pushing, so I did.

After just ten minutes of pushing, she came out and was placed on my chest. I could never put into words the emotions I felt when I looked down and saw this beautiful being laying on my body. The doctor clamped the cord and handed the scissors to my husband to cut the cord. I held her for a few minutes, and then she was whisked away to the nursery. My husband and I have never experienced such joy when we saw her and no words would ever describe our feelings.

Since I tore quite a bit, it took the doctor about 40 minutes to fully stitch me up and for me to expel the placenta. I was moved to recovery soon thereafter, and a couple of hours later, our beautiful baby girl was brought to us.

She seemed to have a perfect latch and suck the first day that she was born. After about 24 hours of birth, the nutrionist decided that since she had lost a few ounces, she needed to have formula supplemented. Breastfeeding went downhill from there, and I am pretty angry with the nutrionist. We are trying to get back on track, and hopefully it won't take too long.

We are both healthy and doing great at this point. We came home this morning, and are just trying to settle in at home. Thank you all for the support you have provided me. :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June 16, 2009

It seems like we have don't have much going on, but when I really stop to think about it, we do. We're in the middle of a "hurry up & wait" situation right now. Jesse was offered an incredible opportunity last week, with many pros and cons. He would be able to stay in his ideal job, but we'd have to stay in Korea for an extra two years. We had to fill out some paperwork in a hurry, and now we're just waiting to see what's going to happen with his orders.

If his orders in Korea are lengthened, we will be here until April of 2012. It's not exactly the perfect situation, but there are enough pros that we felt we should at least try for it. If his orders aren't lengthened, we'll be heading out of here right on schedule, in April of 2010. Where we'll go from here, we have no idea. We'd like to be stationed pretty close to home, so Ft. Stewart, GA is on our 'dream sheet'. However, we both have wanted to live in Colorado for a very long time, so Ft. Carson is on there as well. I'm honestly not too picky about where we go from here... there are a few places I just have no desire to go, like Texas, for example, but it'll have to be home no matter where it is.

In other Army news, Jesse was selected to go to the Soldier of the Month board again, only this time it's an actual promotion board up in Seoul, in front of the Command Sergeant Major. He's very excited, but also very nervous. He's had a lot going on at work, so while he should have gotten his promotion in April, he is still not-so-patiently waiting on it. Hopefully it comes through soon because God knows he deserves it. He's hoping to potentially pin on Sergeant by the time we leave Korea. I believe he can do it!

Things really are going great. Time seems to be flying compared to how slowly time dragged by before vacation. May went by like a flash, and here we are, already halfway through June.

Cori is kicking, punching, and moving up a storm everyday. Today, I was actually entertained for about 20 minutes just watching her roll around in my stomach... pretty surreal to actually see something moving inside of me, that's for sure. ;) Jesse still reads to her every night, and we are both so anxious for September to get here. Her nursery is all done, and everything is just about ready for her. Just about 3 more months until it's time!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Update - 04/09

(Some might be wondering where the rest of my blog posts went. Since my 365 Project didn't last long, I went ahead and deleted those posts, so I could just turn this into a regular blog.)

It's hard to keep up with everyone like I would like to, so instead I decided it would be best to just write an update for Jesse and me.

We took a two week vacation this month, and just got back to Korea a few days ago. Vacation was incredible, exactly what we needed, but definitely not long enough. We got to see our family, but time seemed short with everyone since there were so many things to do, places to be, and people to see. We were finally able to shop for the baby, and that was definitely exciting. Not much beats seeing Jesse coo and giggle over adorable little baby girl clothing and gear.

It was so nice to just be somewhere where we both totally feel at home. Things are on our schedule (for the most part ;]), and we don't have Big Brother telling us to be in by curfew. There are places to go, and we can stay busy all the time.

We have both made the decision that there's no way either of us wants to continue this Army journey once this contract is up for Jesse. This life is probably amazing to tons of people, but it is just about the antithesis of the life we want for ourselves. We want to move back home to Greenville, SC and live near our family. A few days a couple times a year just isn't enough to see our family. We've got our own little family now too, and we can't imagine our big family missing out on our little family anymore.

Some of my best memories are big family get-togethers, sleepovers with cousins, and always having family around. We can't imagine our daughter (and any future children) not having the same opportunity as that. I'm sure we could make life happy anywhere we happened to be since the three of us would have each other, but I don't think any life we could have could compare to the life we have in SC. I guess a lot of people feel like there just aren't any opportunities back home, but we could make things work and will no matter what we have to do. Living near the people we love is what's most important to us.

Jesse and I are already brainstorming jobs and careers we could get into once the Army life is over. For now, Jesse is considering becoming a paramedic, and he seems pretty excited about it. He's done with being in law enforcement, but more than anything he wants to help people and feel satisfied at the end of the day, like he's made a difference. I'm sure we'll both cook up lots of job ideas before we finally settle on something, but we just want to be figuring out our post-Army life now, so we aren't caught off guard when that joyous time comes and he's out. Right now, Jesse has 3 & 1/2 years left on his contract, and when we leave Korea, he'll be exactly halfway through his contract, with just 2 & 1/2 years left to go. We considered going somewhere far from home as our next duty station, but after being home, we've realized we just can't do that to ourselves. Instead, we want to try to be within 8-10 hours driving distance of home, if possible, and stationed somewhere where one or both of us can further (or finish up) our education.

Neither of us (nor our families) can deal with too many more emotionally draining goodbyes. They never get easier, but instead feel like they just get harder, and I can only imagine how much more difficult they will be once we have a baby. The looks in our family members' eyes when we have to hug goodbye stay on my mind constantly and it tears me apart just thinking about how hard it is to know it will be months and months before I can see those people again. It's just not something we can continue to do.

If it's even possible, Jesse is even happier about this decision than I am. He hasn't liked the Army life since he joined, and it seems like he constantly regrets his decision to enlist. He makes what he can of it, and tries to do the best job he can, but that doesn't seem to make him enjoy it any more.

Anyway, I'm sure details of what we want to do will change as the new couple of years go by, but I think we have a pretty good foundation of what we want to do.

As for our little Cori Aletta, she is doing fantastic. I am almost 19 weeks pregnant, which means we are just one week away from being halfway through with the pregnancy. We got the results of the blood screening for any genetic disorders, and the results were totally normal, so there is nothing to worry about. I started feeling her kick for sure this week, and have felt her for the past three days. Most of the kicks are just little flutters, but I've felt a few stronger kicks too, and it is such an amazing feeling. Jesse can't feel the flutters, but he can feel the stronger kicks, just barely. Jesse's been reading to her, and he is just the best daddy already. I couldn't ask for a better husband, seriously.

Our first wedding anniversary came and went on April 13th, and it was a great day. I honestly can't believe that it's already been a whole year. When we were apart, time dragged like there was no tomorrow, but since we've been able to live together here, time honestly has felt like double time compared to the first 6 months of our marriage. Things are just amazing between us, and we're looking forward to tons and tons more anniversaries. :)

That's all for now, I suppose. <3