Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hear ye, hear ye - we've got news.

As all of you have probably heard from word of mouth and various social medias, I am 12 weeks pregnant with number 3. We are thrilled. This will most likely be our last child, though I would totally consider a fourth I think it’d be pushing Mark’s limits of reason, and so I’m already thinking sadly of “my last pregnancy,” “my last baby” and how all very bittersweet each stage is going to be. I’m due March 9th but since the boys were born 2 and 3 weeks early I’ll be surprised to make it past the end of February.

The majority has spoken, meaning everyone but me, and they want a baby girl. I’m a bit worried about having a little girl – I’m not all that girly and also quite cautious about societal expectations of beauty and femininity, especially the way young girls are sexed up from such an early age – plus I have a basement full of boy clothes I’d love to put to use again. But on the other hand I’d like Mark to have the “Daddy’s Little Girl” experience and the boys are rallying hard for a “sister baby.” And in the end we get what we get and will adore him/her.

I’m feeling as well as could be expected. Luckily I’m not a puker. I get nauseated frequently, I’m sometimes put off by certain foods and I’m tired, especially mid-afternoon. But mostly I am doing very well.

The other big news? We are going to Guatemala for a week in November. Yes, I’ll be 6 months pregnant. No we haven’t been before. So why Guatemala? A few reasons. A close friend since childhood recommended it last winter. His father went to visit and loved it so much he bought a house on Lake Atitlan. My friend explained how amazing and inexpensive it was and how much I would love it. And as soon as I looked at pictures of Lake Atitlan I was sold. I would be going. The question was when. Once I had Guatemala on the brain I remembered that a neighbor had adopted her daughter from Guatemala so I sent her an email requesting information on her experience. She said “GO!” She sent me hotel recommendations for Atitlan and the city of Antigua, she was incredibly encouraging. I was so fired up about it Mark bought me a guide book. But then I got worried. Worried about not knowing enough Spanish. About it being a stressful trip to take with the kids, especially when all trips were stressful with 2 small kids. And so we set the idea aside and ended up in Williamsburg, VA.

But talk of a vacation arose again after we got pregnant. We want to take a last vacation as a foursome. There were little plans like the Poconos (not enough) and big plans like a resort in the Bahamas (easy but insanely expensive and not really who we are.) And then I picked up my Guatemala travel book again. And I read this:

“Traveling with Children
It can be exceptionally rewarding to travel with children in Guatemala. Most locals have children at an early age, and as families are much larger than in the West, your kids will always have some company. By bringing your children along to Guatemala, you’ll take a big step toward dismantling the culture barrier, plus families can expect an extra warm welcome. Hotels, well used to putting up big Guatemalan families, are usually extremely accommodating.”

That sold me. I started looking at airfare again and when I found our flights for $1000 less than the last time I looked, I snapped them up. And did I mention that it is extremely inexpensive to stay and eat in Guatemala? And so we are able to take a BIG vacation without spending BIG bucks. And we're now studying travel Spanish.

So Guatemala! Everyone has their worries and words of caution. As do we. Though I want to be a carefree world traveler I’ve always been far too cautious to go anywhere without a lot of study and consideration. We are doing our research and making sure we make the right choices for our family. We will spend most of our time enjoying the scenery and quiet of Lake Atitlan – an incredibly lake surrounded by 3 volcanoes. It’s not the right trip for treks to Mayan ruins and tours of the rain forest. We’ll spend 2 days doing light sightseeing in the city of Antigua, described as the most beautiful and well preserved colonial cities in our hemisphere. And we’re going to places that our friends have enjoyed and recommend heartily.

When we went to Morocco for our honeymoon, a Muslim country in 2002, we got a lot of grimaces from friends and family. And though the reading we did put our mind at ease and excited us for an other-worldly vacation, we still had our own concerns that we had to repeatedly reassure. Fears of being treated badly because we were American, and concerns about illness. But of course our trip was fantastic. It was one of those life and personality defining moments. And that is the main reason for Guatemala – we want our kids to be excited by the world, the differences in people, cultures, religions, foods. We want them to want to see everything and meet everyone. To hunger for new experiences and new understanding. And that starts with us. And it starts now.

It won’t be an easy trip. Our first day will probably be 12 hours of travel starting at 4am - a taxi, 2 flights, a 3 hour shuttle ride, and a 45 minute boat ride before arriving at our hotel. And then there is the management of wee people. That’s always the hard no matter what the locale. But when we get back – we will have been to Guatemala! Wait til you see the pictures!


lonna said...

It seemed to me like you really had Guatemala or something more exciting than VA "stuck in your craw", as my mother's southern family would say. I'm glad that you were able to make it work. I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Ray, but it sounds like he would enjoy anything, but I think that Noah is going to be just captivated by a new world. Of course, that will mean lots of recreation of volcanoes and whatnot when you get home, but that's really the point, isn't it? Congratulations both on number three and successfully booking the trip at an affordable rate.

Grandma said...

Yes - I would like a little girl - especially for Mark but I'd love another one of your adorable male offspring as well!! I Googled Lake Atitlan and it looks beautiful. But, as a grandma, I am also concerned for your well-being. Please be just a LITTLE BIT distrustful - I know it's not your nature...

juliloquy said...

So excited for you! It sounds terrific, and I'm sure you'll have very little to worry about. Can't wait to hear all about it and see pics.

And hey, if you're looking for a closer sort of trip, we'd love to have you visit us in Frederick. Just ~3 hrs away and a place to stay. (Miss you)