Sunday, December 30, 2012

Facing a fear

If you're my friend on Facebook, you may have seen some pictures taken yesterday.

John and I decided to take the kids on a day trip. We wanted to get out of the city, and there are great places to go. John thought Tagaytay would be good and looked up ideas on what to do.

After eating brunch at Antonio's, we headed just down the street to Residence Inn. There's a hotel there with an amazing view of the lake and Taal Volcano, but there's also a zoo. It's small, smelly, and the cages are horrible.

However, the kids had a good time, and we got really close to some animals. Really, really close. Petting the tiger wasn't really scary, it was fun actually. I was excited to do it and even bought the photo.


This is taken with my camera by one of their employees. 

After going through the aquarium, we saw a similar encounter with a very different animal. A long, skinny, slithering kind. I guess you'd have to call it a reptile...a snake. A python to be exact. I have a strong fear of snakes. I had a nightmare once about being in a room full of snakes and not getting out before being bitten. The room went black before I woke up. I still shudder when I think of that nightmare.

This snake was rather tame and just laying there. I told John I kind of wanted to hold it, but that I was really scared. He pointed out that I should do it exactly for that reason.


The lady thought we'd want the face to be facing the camera. In all honesty her moving the snake made it worse.

So I payed the P50 ($1.25) and scooted my way down the bench towards the snake. The woman working that stand was just throwing the snake around like it couldn't kill me!


Maybe it didn't want to eat me, but I certainly wasn't thinking that way. But I held it, and John took pictures. And I was terrified. Like...couldn't-stand-straight-for-about-30-seconds-after-I-walked-away terrified.



But I did walk away. And I faced a (strong) fear. And I felt really good about that.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Test

This is a test. I'm posting this from the blogger app on my iPad. And now I'm going to sleep.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Adventures

Christmas break started on Friday at noon. Malachi’s home for three weeks. I love Malachi so, so much. And I’m happy about the perks of Christmas vacation.
But I think sometimes, Simon values his time at home without him. Or maybe Malachi values his time at school away from the youngins and with kids his own age. Either way, the two have them have been fighting a lot today.
Sunday night a mom from Malachi’s grade texted and asked if Malachi and I could join them for the Hi-5 Holiday concert. And of course we couldn’t pass up free tickets, especially since it was Malachi’s girlfriend that was inviting us.
At home in Manila and Hi-5 021
Mom and Son going out for their second concert.
Malachi really enjoyed it. And besides his girlfriend being there, he met another friend. They had fun dancing and singing. They would even dance in the aisle (we had aisle seats).
I think it was a memory Malachi will hold onto for a while. On a side note, I wonder when Malachi’s taste in concerts will change. Will I enjoy the concerts as much (or little)?
At home in Manila and Hi-5 030
In other news, Coen had quite a fall yesterday. I was trying to rest and there was a knock on my bedroom door. Lucy had Coen and said she was so sorry but that Coen fell (The helpers here are so apologetic when one of the kids falls. I think they fear that they might lose their jobs. It would be so unfair to lose a job if a boy falls.). There was a prominent scratch and a large goose egg on his forehead.
Coen was most upset by the fact that he wasn’t still outside playing. He didn’t want to come to me, and all he wanted to do was go back outside. I told her that if he starts crying and won’t stop, or if he starts walking funny to let me know. Otherwise, he seemed fine. We continued keeping an eye on him that evening. Nothing was wrong with him. He ate fine and acted fine.
I checked on him twice in the night to make sure his color was good and that he was breathing fine. Both times he passed. I was going to the Medical Clinic on the compound today for another reason so I brought him to have him looked at in case there was something that a medical professional could see that I couldn’t. She said we handled the situation perfectly and that his pupils were responding to stimulation. He checked out just fine.
At home in Manila and Hi-5 038
A little out of focus, but happy to smile for the camera.
At home in Manila and Hi-5 041
Good view of the bump and emerging bruise. The bruise isn’t much worse than this, today.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Haunted House in December

When we asked Malachi in October what kind of party we wanted for his birthday he said “Halloween.” It was before Halloween, and neither of us thought he would stick with it after the excitement of the holiday was over.

We were wrong.

It’s what he continued to want, even after winning 1st place in the village costume contest for 6 years and under as Zombie Malachi.

Halloween 2012 017 I think we dreaded doing it, and we put it off. We went on our anniversary trip and when we got back his birthday was in less than ten days and we hadn’t started planning it.

By the time we did start planning it, it was too late to have it in November and send out invitations with an appropriate amount of time before hand.

So we decided on a Saturday in December. And we decided on a morning party so we could avoid making a big food spread, and so we wouldn’t disrupt the littles’ nap schedule.

We started planning and prepping and on Thursday started changing our multipurpose room into a haunted house. We were pretty proud of of what we produced.

Malachi's Birthday Party 124

Malachi's Birthday Party 125

Malachi's Birthday Party 126

Malachi's Birthday Party 128

Malachi's Birthday Party 101

The room was very dark, but we have a good flash. Also, the kids had already been playing in it for a while before John took pictures. The spider piñata was just a spider hanging out in the big red spider web before we took it down to use.

Malachi and his friends LOVED the haunted house. Loved. It.

It was so much work, but it ended up being worth it. And though we were sad that only about 10 kids were coming, it was a perfect number so that they could all be in the house at the same time.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Weekend of Body Fluids

and introducing our household help

It’s been gross and has involved all three children. Let’s leave it at that. The title is catching, though, isn’t it?

I like to think that I’m a good employer. I really hope that I am. I have an amazing live-in helper, Lucy. She was referred from a friend at John’s work who hired her to help over the summer. When the summer was over, they didn’t need her anymore and we snatched her up.

I couldn’t have asked for a better match. She’s been here for over three months now and she’s definitely part of our family. My children love her, and she loves them. I feel completely comfortable leaving all three of them with her because I know that she’s more than competent at taking care of them. We were even comfortable leaving them with her while we hopped over to another island for our anniversary.

We have a driver, as well. We’re his first Embassy family, and he’s fitting in well. He got his clearance from the Embassy and now has a badge, which makes entering both compounds much quicker. Manila’s roads and the drivers are unpredictable and to put it bluntly, crazy. They’re drivable, but out of the three drivers in our family our driver does it best. We ran into horrible traffic one day on the way to a movie. We left with only 20 minutes until the start time (a very bad idea, normally), and we got there in time to see the whole movie. He can be pretty amazing. There’s only one tiny scratch on our car, and it’s from our gate, so we’ve as of yet had to deal with an accident. It’s so common that most people I know have been in at least one, sometimes two incidents. Most are small and usually involve a public transportation vehicle.

We have a part time helper that comes in three days a week. We hired her a couple of months ago, and she was told by her son she couldn’t work for us anymore. She came to help out during our anniversary trip and I asked if she could come work part time for us. Her son doesn’t know, and we’re not telling him! It’s nice when she’s here to help with the ironing and floors and bathrooms. The days she’s here are great for shopping or sending out Lucy to do something. She doesn’t live far, but she doesn’t like traveling in traffic, so she stays at our house two nights a week.

We have a pool guy that come MWF between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. He’s only here for about an hour, but he cleans the pool and surrounding area and balances the chemicals. We had an issue with the pH balance and he was able to fix it right up. We were very happy to not have to call a “professional” service.

Our gardener comes on Mondays and sometimes he’ll come on other days to water the gardens or help out with other outdoors projects, like hanging Christmas lights. His other two employers are across the street and down on the corner, so he’s never very far. 

It’s a lot to manage, but Lucy is great at helping me out with that. The driver gets managed mostly by John because I feel that’s more appropriate. Though, we really don’t have many problems with him. Sometimes I can tell that I’ve texted him to pick me up from a shop or mall or the school mid-cigarette because he and the car smell like smoke. I very much dislike those moments but they’re not so common that I’ve had to say something. And I don’t feel like I can tell him that he’s not allowed to smoke the whole day he’s working.

I hope they think of me as a good employer. I try to be. I would be totally lost without Lucy. She’s absolutely precious to me and I’m so happy we have her in our family.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Kids are Great

I’ve been quiet. I feel like there isn’t much to blog about. But that’s not true. There’s plenty to blog about. But I haven’t been very happy lately. Things at Post are different than expected. Harder than expected. Life is not bad, it’s in fact quite good. However, the fact that it’s taking me a lot longer to start work than I thought it would is holding up some kind of ability to be happy.

I realize that I shouldn’t rely on working outside of the house to be happy. But it’s provided happiness for me for the last five years. I like being a part of providing finances, and I like going out and doing something I think is meaningful (finger scanning (like printing but with scans) might not sound meaningful, but scanners help keep out terrorists, too).

Anyway, I realized that writing has been therapeutic in the past. So, I thought I would begin writing again. Also, it helps keep the family members informed. Especially the family members that aren’t on facebook.

So. What can I write about? Well, as I said…lots.

***Warning: Not Sexy (read: gross) Potty Training Talk***

Simon is potty training! We started this what feels like ages ago. He’s mastered peeing in the potty, and he’s doing really well going out in public which took a bit longer. But #2 has been more of an issue. We feel so bad for him that he’s scared to do it. He wouldn’t go in the toilet. He wouldn’t go in his special nighttime underwear (pull-ups). He goes for days (read: four to six days) holding it in and then it’s just painful for him. Then when he could hold it no longer he would go in his regular underwear. Today he finally did it in the nighttime underwear while he was playing in his room with Coen. I wondered if there was something about his being around us that made it scary. Maybe it’s embarrassing and he just doesn’t know the difference between the two feelings yet. Anyway. I hope we figure out a way to help him go more regularly. I hope we figure it out soon because this is no fun!

 Random 019

***Potty Training Talk Done***

Other than potty training he’s doing well. Simon’s in the 3T clothes now, which our nanny and I dug out of the closet. He’s working on saying those L’s in his words and improving! No more hearing “sweeping” when he means sleeping, please! He’s so jealous of Malachi going to school. We’ve heard good things about AmeriKids (daycare/preschool at the Embassy). So we’re going to look into putting him in once I get settled at work. He’ll love going to school with a backpack just like Malachi. If only he got to ride a bus, then he would be in toddler heaven.

Malachi is doing well. His after school activities this semester were Cartooning and Chinese. He’s decided he’s not much a fan of either and wants to do something else. So we signed up for Tae Kwon Do and Aquatics for the next semester. We’ll find out on Monday if we got in. I hope so, because he loves these activities (he did Tae Kwon Do in Costa Rica). His swimming has improved a ton since we started living in a house with a pool. Nonetheless, he wants to do swimming at school. Since they call it Aquatics instead of swimming (there’s no swimming alternative), I wonder what it will look like. 

I went to Malachi’s first ever choir concert. It was so fun to go and brought back memories of having my own choir concerts when I was young. He played his part very well, and I have a video to prove he can walk in circles acting like an elephant. It’s one I might use to embarrass him later in life. He’ll be on winter break soon. I have no idea what to do with him for a month. We’ll have to figure out how to fill the time.

At home in Manila 003

Coen is doing quite well. They all are, I guess. He’s growing so big and practically skipped the 18 mo. clothing stage and wears the 24 month clothes that Simon was just in (or at least it feels that way). His vocabulary is huge, like Malachi at this age. We’ve been compiling a list of his words. They include (but are not limited to): shoes, moon, fox (his favorite animal, a stuffed one from Great Aunt Janice), bye bye, mommy, daddy, hot, bite, oh oh (“yes” in Tagalog, which he’s possibly saying other words in and we just don’t know it), please, and apple juice.

He’s starting to run and is doing ok at keeping up with his brothers. He especially likes to pillow fight with the other boys. Today he even picked up a pillow and hit his daddy. It was awesome. He loves to be outside. Anytime a door going out is open he runs for it. If he doesn’t get to stay out, or has to come in before he’s ready, then he lets you know he’s not happy.

Random 002

So, as the title says, the kids are all great. We all are really. If only I could start working…like…now!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Space Traveler

Simon: Where am I going today?

Me: I don’t know, maybe no where. Should we go somewhere?

Simon: Yes.

Me: Where should we go?

Simon: Space!

Saying cheese. He loves saying cheese.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Coping

A thought occurred to me the other day as I spent it hiding in bed watching TV and sleeping. It’s how I spent my last month in Costa Rica. It’s also how I spent my first two months here.

It occurred to me that to cope, I put myself in my bed and hide. I hide from the outside world and all the stress that waits outside of my bedroom door.

My bedroom becomes my haven of peace and quiet.

I’ve slowly started emerging from it, and yesterday and today I’ve even not run to it. Sure, I’m on the computer, but baby steps.

In other, totally vain news…my clothes are getting tight. I started stress eating again. I hope that I can get it under control. I just bought nice clothes for work during home leave and want to either, A. fit in them, or B. slim out of them. Also, I want to be thin. I haven’t been thin since before we moved to Texas. Before I got pregnant with Coen (right before) I bought jeans the size that I was in when I got pregnant with Malachi.

I can sort of squeeze into them and be really uncomfortable, but they’re not wearable. I need to get into those jeans again, and go down at least one more size, but I would love to go down two.

I would be so happy with myself if I did that.

I’ve talked for years about getting a tattoo, and I’m getting more serious about it. I’ve enjoyed my nose piercing and want to explore with a tattoo. I want one that really speaks to who I am inside and out. I’ve had an idea in my head, but haven’t been able to get it on paper.

I’m saying now, that it’s going to be a goal of mine before I leave Manila…tattoo.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

36 Hours of Hell

The news coming from Cairo and Benghazi was horrible.

I saw the video of the protesters in Cairo ripping up the US flag, and I cried. I cried for a couple of reasons. The flag is a symbol of a country that I love. One I love so much, I uproot myself and my children every couple of years in service to said country. I also cried because I imagine that the people who were protesting in Cairo were genuinely hurt by the actions of a few individuals in the United States. I wish that had never happened.

And then I heard about the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. This attack seemed so much worse, and resulted in the death of a US citizen. And I got sad. And then more news was confirmed. The US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens and three others were confirmed dead.

Well the news said so, but friends on facebook said that the Department hadn’t confirmed. We wanted to wait for the Department to confirm it before over reacting. But more and more (trusted) news sites came out with the news of the deaths.

How sad for those close to the Ambassador and the others. How sad for the whole Foreign Service community.

I spent hours watching facebook and the news. My mood got darker and darker. I went to bed at some time, but just bawled while John held me. I didn’t want to sleep. So I went to the office and spent time on facebook and watching the news. It was so horrible, and everyone from my Foreign Service circles agreed. Finally at 1:30 a.m. I forced myself to go to bed. After I sort of slept for four hours and helped Malachi get off to school, I didn’t want to do much. I looked at facebook and the news again.

I forced myself to stop. It wasn’t helping my mood, and there wasn’t any new information. Although, the Secretary did make a statement, it only confirmed what we knew and brought no happiness or hope about the situation.

I tried to escape reality by watching Downton Abbey episodes from the second season on Amazon Prime Instant Viewing. But with my craptastic internet that was often a frustrating ordeal. I stuck it out and finished the season, though it took much longer than it should and random sentences and tense moments were often interrupted.

Once I was out of Downton Abbey episodes, I was out of ideas for a distraction. I could read, but I didn’t have my Kindle with me. I went to sleep a very unhappy person.

When the kids woke me up at 4:40, I was more down than I’d been all day. I was in a horrible mood, and the news wasn’t getting better. After John got home, I went out to the living room to be with him and the kids. And not long after was sent to my room again. I was so unhappy and was not a good addition to the family at the time.

I went to the room and sobbed. I shouldn’t be allowed to be happy with my children and husband, I thought. It’s not fair to the wife of Sean Smith, and to all the others who were mourning their lost loved ones.

When I made my feelings clear to John, he asked me if my being depressed helped Sean’s wife. How does it help any of the mourners? The logical part of me that was being pushed deep inside of me knew this of course. Shoot, they don’t even know I exist. I just needed someone to tell it to me, and help me recognize it.

I took a shower. I washed the grease off my face and out of my hair, and I washed the bad mood away. I made a decision, I was going to be happy. I was going to enjoy the rest of the night with the boys and have fun with John. I was going to laugh and I was going to smile.

And I did. I kept all of those promises to myself. After dinner the boys went to bed. After the boys went to bed John and I watched Liar Liar with Jim Carrey. And I laughed. A lot. I hadn’t seen that movie in years and it was so funny. We realized how many movie quotes we say that came from that movie.

And the next morning I was remembering Chris and Sean (and the yet unnamed other Americans) but I went about my day in Manila with a Dr. appointment at Seafront, a run to the main Embassy compound for lunch and paperwork, and an appointment for spa pedicure and manicure. John and I had a date coming up and I wanted to look good.

And I was happy. I was tired from not sleeping well for a while, but I was happy. I could remember Chris, Sean, and the as yet unnamed two others, and still enjoy the perks of my husbands job.

And I’ve had my moments of depression since then when looking at all the news of all the attacks. And I’ve even had a bit of fear since the attacks spread to SE Asia. But I feel very safe in The Philippines. I’ll send Malachi to school and John to work knowing that the Filipinos love Americans.

I’ll send Malachi to school and John to work knowing that people like Sean, Chris, and the two others served our country so that I could do so.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Good Meeting

I had a good meeting with Malachi’s teacher. You can read about the adventure in getting there here.
His teacher, Cara, or Ms. Cara to the students, is really nice. She’s young, probably about my age. She had great things to say about Malachi. She said he has really good manners, she’s very impressed with him.
He has trouble with concentration sometimes but has figured out that positive reinforcement works really well with him and is using that to her and his advantage. She knows who Malachi needs to be separated from to be able to work better (hint: it’s the girlfriend that I’ve already mentioned).
Cara said that he’s good at making friends, and has two girls and at least one boy that he’s frequently spending time with.
She noted that he’s a bit of a picky eater. I corrected and I said he’s quite a picky eater. This is a problem that we faced last year, and I still don’t know how to solve it. We’ll have to do more brain storming.
There doesn’t seem to be any academic hesitation at all with Malachi. I learned a bit about their grading system and it’s different than I’m used to, but it sounds like it’s better than what I saw last year.
This was just another instance at the school to make me love it even more.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Travel Stories

The FS BRU that’s happening next week is about travel stories. We traveled a lot through the summer, and I mean a lot. And our kids are amazing.
My kids were in five countries, and 17 different U.S. States in less than 4 months. They traveled over five thousand miles while we dragged them on road trips from Dallas to Minneapolis, with stops in Kansas City, Missouri and Des Moines. And then just five weeks later we left Minneapolis and went to Falls Church, Virginia with stops in Chicago, Cleveland, Niagara Falls (Canadian side), New York City, and Philadelphia.
US road trip Map
My kids went from their comfortable home in Costa Rica, to traveling all over the States with grace. Then they excelled at long distance travel when we flew from Dulles to Tokyo, Japan (13.5 hours) and were complimented when we arrived. They were amazing tourists in Japan, and then arrived in Manila after another 4.5 hour flight.
world travel map
My kids were amazing. A.Maz.Ing. There’s no other way to put it.  It gives me a bit of a confidence boost thinking that they were amazing partly due to the fact that we’ve done good parenting. That makes me feel good. But they’re good people. And their personalities are good. I’m so lucky to have such happy and well behaved children. Did they have moments when they weren’t amazing? Yes, absolutely. But they were fewer and farther between then they should have been. And neither parent wanted to pull hair out.
My kids have always been great travelers. I have pictures of all the kids traveling throughout their lives. Unfortunately they’re on an external drive that I have, and the cord for it is missing. But I promise, I have proof that the kids are good travelers.
It’s a good thing, too, because John and I love to travel. We hope to pass that on to the kids.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Night Out

Husb and I had a night out last night, and we enjoyed each other’s company, even if there were things/places we didn’t enjoy.
We had tickets to see Potted Potter, but I purchased them online so we had to go somewhere to spick them up. Husb found out that we could do that at the Concierge desk at the Shangri La hotel which is about a five to twenty minute drive from our house depending on traffic. We had possibly the best taxi ride we’ve ever had, and it took us about fifteen minutes to get there. We walked in and I immediately loved it, it was beautiful. The staff was very friendly and helpful and we had our tickets within five minutes of walking in. We had time to kill before the show so we decided to go to the Lobby Lounge and have a drink and snack before the show. There was a live jazz band and we sat near the stage. The atmosphere was very relaxing, and we each got our cocktails and appetizers and had a great time. The cocktails were delicious and the food was less amazing than we hoped for, but still good.
After we paid the check we realized that we had to move fast to get to our show. We went outside and didn’t see a taxi, and we didn’t see an available taxi on the street. So we started walking, and kept on walking, and twenty five, frustrating and tiring minutes later we walked sweaty and out of breath into the building where the auditorium was. I was afraid they wouldn’t let us in because we were a few minutes late. But we weren’t the only ones. We got into a long line with everyone else who was late, and easily found our seats. The show started about fifteen or twenty minutes late, but was pretty funny.
Potted Potter is all seven Harry Potter books in seventy minutes. We thought it would be funny, and it was pretty funny. But the target audience was younger than we thought it would be, and the funniest parts were the unscripted parts. Some of them would have been easier to understand if we knew Tagalog, or the local culture more. We did laugh, but we thought it would be different. I do recommend the show to die hard Potter fans, especially the young ones (it plays regularly in New York, and I think in West End when they aren’t touring).
After that we headed to Greenbelt 3 for some after show drinks. We started at Café Havana and enjoyed the live music, but didn’t enjoy the drinks. We left there and wandered around for a bit trying to decide what to do next. We ended up at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and he got a double hot chocolate that was tasty, and a slice of blueberry cheesecake that was ok. I had a cool and refreshing bottle of water.
After some relaxing time to chat there we headed home because I was falling asleep and it was late. Finding a taxi at that time to take us to our village wasn’t easy, but eventually we did. We had forgotten our keys, so we had to have our live-in let us in, and we felt so bad. But she smiled, said the kids were fine for her and we all went to bed.
It was a great night out.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The FS BRU

The Foreign Service Blog Round Up is up at Jill's blog. You can see what people around the world think of where they're living. Check it out.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Aww...

My facebook status today:

RSVP'd for our first birthday party. Apparently Malachi's "in love" with her (Sara - weird, right?) and she with him. I was sending our live-in shopping and he requested she buy Sara a ring that she can wear, possibly with a barbie. In order to not pay Philippines prices on these presents in the future, I might just have to stock up on Amazon.

Now I have to go to the party and size her up, see if she's worthy. Oh the troubles of having an affectionate little boy. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Check-Ins (or…how many acronyms can I use in this post?)


Embassy Manila does check-ins on Wednesdays. Today was the first Wednesday since we got here that the Embassy was open. Sure, it was windy and rainy, and the waves threatened to flood Roxas Blvd again.

However, the bit of rain we experienced last night and today did not stop all of us from filling up conference rooms in five different buildings (NOX 1, The Chancery, GSO, CLO, ARC), with five different presentations. RSO seemed to be the most popular presentation, and CLO the least popular (sadly).
It was all very informational. Paper work was filled out, ETA’s given for both HHE’s and our POV.
I said many times today that I was very happy that I’d been at Post for three weeks already (three weeks today, wow). It was so overwhelming with all the information we received that any time sooner would have been too exhausting. It was exhausting enough today even though I’m now resting, and done with jet-lag and feeling quite settled.
Instead, when people asked how I’m doing I answered (truthfully) “well…really well.” I’m feeling better. I’ve had my few times of mini-breakdowns and childish moments when I get selfish and want to (and may have) hide in my bedroom for a few hours.
The Deputy HR Officer called e-Qip this morning and found out that they’re still adjudicating my clearance renewal. However, I handed in the final paper work two and a half weeks ago, so it should be done very soon. The NIV section is desperate for finger printers, so I imagine they’ll have me in the day after my clearance is announced (if not the same day!).
So, now we’re almost all checked-in and the paperwork for our car is moving along. As long as all goes as planned, we should have all of our things in hand by the end of Sept./beginning of Oct. This is good news to me!
The answer is ten, btw.

Monday, August 13, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different

I have thought a lot about this subject, having mothered three infants. But now, you all will know how I really feel about it.

Breast is best.

I would never argue that formula is better. In fact I hate formula, it’s annoying to have to have it, it stinks, and it’s expensive.

I could not breast feed. I tried. I tried very hard. But with each and every child the feedings took an hour to an hour and a half and they wanted to eat every two (sometimes three, those times were amazing, thank you Coen) hours. This meant a 30-60 minute break between feedings. It also meant not much sleep. None of my boys were breast fed past three months (Malachi and I suffered together the longest, Simon lasted six weeks, Coen five (though Coen was breast fed the most because he was not supplemented at all, and the others were)).

I couldn’t handle the stress, and I couldn’t handle the idea that they were not getting enough and that’s why they ate for so long. What I wouldn’t give for a 10 or 15 minute feeding! I did all the things right, and followed all the suggestions.

But I’ve had body issues. And I don’t mean self-esteem issues. I mean, I’ve had problems with that part of my body (of which I will not go into detail). The problems were solved with surgery, and I hadn’t thought about it much since high school. I was meeting with a nurse practitioner a couple of years ago and she suggested the surgeries might be the cause for not being able to nurse effectively. It made sense and it helped me deal with the guilt I was having from not being able to nurse Malachi and Simon long. It helped me greatly (though not fully) when I had to stop nursing Coen.

The pressure to breast feed Malachi, especially since he was a preemie, was great, from so many different directions. It caused so much guilt and pain when it didn’t work out. Both Malachi and I spent most of his first three months crying. It was a horrible time, and I got so little sleep that I don’t remember much of it. I’m sad now, that my memories of his first three months are laced with tears and stress. I vowed I wouldn’t live like that with my second and third. It wouldn’t be fair to myself or my family members. So I quit much sooner with Coen and Simon. Both times it was choosing what was best for the whole. Everyone was much happier, though the guilt was pretty strong until I finally let go.

I don not feel guilty that I couldn’t breast feed. Yes, I agree, breast is best. I would have nursed all of my kids for 6-12 months if I’d been able to. That would certainly have been ideal. But it was not possible. And I am not going to dwell on it.

About Manila

The topic of the FS BRU (hosted at Jill’s blog) is: your current Post, the good and bad.

I’ve been here a couple days short of three weeks, so in my limited experience I’ll tell  you what I think.

The Bad

The People: Are there any people groups that doesn’t annoy you somehow? I haven’t found one yet. A few times we’ve had people say they’ll be here and don’t show up at all. One time a babysitter came to our house half way through the movie we were at (thanks to our sponsor’s daughter that saved the day). A few times we’ve been pleasantly surprised by people being on time. The people are unashamed. They’ll come to the door if they need work. I’ve put my helpers in charge of answering the door bell. I may have found a gardener that way though!

The Traffic: Oh the traffic. It’s bad. Think of the worst traffic jam you’ve been in, then multiply it by five or ten times the amount of cars. Then slow it down until you’re moving at about a mile an hour. That’s traffic here. People tell you it’s bad, and you try to prepare yourself, but it’s just so bad. There’s no preparation for it. It’s hard for people who get car sick easily. It’ll be so nice to have a car where I can sit in the front seat instead of the backseat of a taxi.

The TV: This is petty, and I know it. But when we had a bunch of networks from the US in Costa Rica it helped us stay connected to our home country. We don’t have any of that here. It makes me sad. We’ll find a way to keep up with what’s important (I guess this could actually be a benefit), but it’s just something we like to do with our evenings, and it’s been made a bit harder (and more expensive).

The Shopping: I know now, why people send their helpers shopping. The shopping here is crazy – why anyone would want to go out and do it, I don’t know. The stores are chock full of people. Even if we knew what we were doing we’d still have to spend two to three hours with the shopping. The lines are long, the stores are huge (hello variety), and the aforementioned traffic all cause your short trip to turn into a long one.

The Weather: The weather has been a bit of a pain in the a$$. Granted, we got here in the rainy season. Still, we haven’t had a typhoon yet, and there’s already been crazy weather. There was a typhoon near Taiwan that was causing it, but it’s a reminder that we’re on an island near lots and lots of water. The Embassy is literally on the bay and the wind can cause flooding in that area and make the roads dangerous or fully impassable. I’m sure I’ll complain about the weather plenty, I don’t think I need to go on about it. Just know…it sucks.

The Good

The People: The Filipinos can be so sweet! They can also be very helpful. The people that we’ve met from the Embassy community have also been very nice. Remember the neighbor who came with her kids and the cookies? She’s now a friend and is one of the emergency contacts at school. Everyone we’ve met from the community has been so nice and very helpful. We’ve even done dinner out and movie out with another couple who are young and have a son a few months older than Coen. The friendships of these people have helped make the last (almost) three weeks much more bearable. Oh – and taxi drivers tell me if they don’t know where I want to go! This is such a relief after spending way to much time in China trying to find our hotel because the people would just point us in a direction wanting to not embarrass themselves for not knowing.

The Food: This is something we’ll get to explore much more after we get our car, but what we’ve done has been fun. The selection of restaurants in Manila is staggering. We’ve only seen a small section of Manila too. I imagine it’s much greater than we know. We’ve had good Thai (and ok Thai), interesting Hungarian, and McDonald’s (which we had delivered to the house – can it get any more fattening than that?!).  Our live-in has made Lumpia (think Filipino egg rolls), bugogi, and today she made a soup with a plant in my yard and egg whites. It was ok. It’ll be really good on days when I just want a bland soup.

The Housing: Refer to here for a brief description of my house. I have a pool! Enough said. Disclaimer: not everyone has a house, some families are in apartment buildings. Not every house has a pool. Still, the housing here is pretty nice. Right on par (maybe a tad bit better (pools!)) with Costa Rica.

The School: I want to live there! The school is so nice. The campus is extremely pleasant to be on. It’s very green and has a big playground that I can bring the kids to. The library is enormous (think: two or three stories) with books for babies even, and parents can check out up to 10 books at a time, and can go when ever they want! Get hungry when you’re spending time at the school, just wandering and enjoying the view? Go on over to the middle school/high school cafeteria where you can have your choice of a few different types of Asian food, some vegan choices, and of course a dessert spot too. My middle school and high school cafeterias weren’t that awesome. Malachi’s teacher is so nice, and everyone on staff/faculty that I’ve met has been nice, professional, accommodating to our situation (Malachi’s Epilepsy, our arrival the week before school starts and not being able to get everything done on time, etc.). I could go on, and on, and on about the school, so I’ll stop myself. 

The Help: The help in Manila is world renowned. When we got our assignment in March ‘11, a girlfriend of mine asked if I would send her my nanny’s sister. There’s no shortage of helpers here. We hired the second person we interviewed to live-in with us, and the third, to be our part-time helper. Both of them take our requests and completes them. Neither of them needs directions. They work well independently and together (it seems), and they just do what needs done. My house is clean (except Sunday, the day we’re on our own), and my sheets, and clothes, towels, etc…they’re all clean! All the time. It’s cheap too! I’m not putting numbers online, but lets just say, it’s cheap!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What to Say?

We’re really getting into the swing of things here in Manila.

Malachi had to miss two days of school this last week because of the rain and consequent flooding. John had to miss three days of work because the Embassy was closed due to said rain and flooding. It turns out that there was a Typhoon near Taiwan that decided to find a comfy spot and stay put. We had Monsoon weather due to it, and the weather didn’t leave for three days. Once the Typhoon got bored and hit land at Shanghai, our monsoon weather stopped, and we got a break. We’ve even had a couple of days with a decent amount of sunshine.

Malachi and I missed his first day of school last week. It was pre-storm, or maybe just during the beginning of it. We had to go to the Medical Unit at 10 a.m., for his school physical, and Malachi’s appointment at school was at 11 a.m. The first day of school for 1st grade was an hour long event to meet your teacher, see your classroom, and meet some classmates. We were both sad to miss it. With traffic as bad as it is, and with us not leaving the Medical Unit until close to 11:30 a.m. there was no chance we’d make it on time to the school. On a side note – I had rides from motor pool that day in armored vehicles! Those were my first trips in armored vehicles and it was cool. I feel like it’s unnecessary in Manila, but who am I to say?

We spent our “days off” getting to know our live-in. She’s amazing. Ah.Maze.Ing. She doesn’t tire of taking care of us (or at least she hasn’t). Even so, I’m trying to make sure she’s not overwhelmed, for fear of losing her. I look like a giant next to her, she’s so tiny! She’s my age, but is unmarried and doesn’t have kids.

We hired a second helper on Friday. When I start work and school, my involvement in the house/with the kids is going to drop drastically. We’ll need the extra help for help with the house while our live-in does the kids. We’ll also need someone to do shopping because here it’s a very time consuming task. Even if we knew exactly what we wanted, and were able to go to a store knowing where everything took shopping would take at least two hours. The stores are crowded, the lines are long, and traffic is busy.

John thinks he’ll get to work a full week this week. If the weather is good enough for that, then the weather is good enough for the school, for sure. A whole week of “normalcy” would be great.

John and I still need to have our briefings because they’re all on Wednesdays and both Wednesdays we’ve been here the Embassy was closed. We’re crossing fingers for this week. We both need badges. I’m excited to go spend some time at the Embassy and see where I’ll be working and who I’ll be working with.

I’m going to draft an entry for the FS BRU next. The topic is your current post (5 good and 5 bad things) since it’s bidding season and it’s what people want to read anyway. I hope my 2 1/2 weeks at post provide some insight.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Mall, UAB, First Day Of School

We’ve had a busy few days! The monsoon weather has only slowed us down a bit.

Coen and Mommy riding the Carousel

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Daddy and Simon right next to us

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Malachi with Optimus Prime

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The elevator is for freakishly tall people only

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Coen doing his thing

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Malachi and Simon enjoying the triple chocolate crepe with chocolate ice cream

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How happy I look when UAB comes

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Malachi’s a bit impatient and starts opening the box himself

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Malachi has been dropped into the box with paper and isn’t upset by it at all.

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The dining room after the UAB boxes have been opened and emptied with a fraction of the items

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My fridges have been set up

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The live in showed up the same day. Malachi made an activity list for her to do with him: TV, gams, fresbee

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Malachi waiting for the bus (note: hair is wet from shower not rain). The umbrella is a laser.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Malachi’s School

Malachi’s school is a beautiful campus. It’s a large campus that houses Elementary School, Middle School, and High School. His previous school did as well, but this school is in a much bigger city.

Malachi and I went today to have interviews with the guidance counselor, and do a few pre-school things. We have more to do tomorrow including a school orientation, getting our badges at security, handing in our paperwork at admissions, and getting his teacher/classroom assignment. On Monday he’ll go to school for one hour and have a class orientation.

Then Tuesday they start half days. The next Monday they start school full on. We signed up for bus service today, which is necessary since we don’t have a car, or someone to drive it yet. 

Security seems really tight at the school. I love that. I tend to be security minded, and while Manila seems to be fairly safe I always wonder if our family is a target due to my husband’s work.

John gets to come with me tomorrow to see the school and go to the school orientation. I hope he’ll like it as much as I did.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Disappointed

I think I’m going to get used to disappointment here. I hope I become better at taking it than I am now.

I hate it when I make plans and they get cancelled. No matter what the reason, I really hate it.

Today I was going to go out at 10:30, drop off the littles at a friend’s house and bring Malachi to the Medical Unit for his school physical. After I dropped him off with the same friend the littles were with, I was going to join John at the Consulate and have lunch with him, after which we were going to go do our GSO and CLO briefings.

But it’s rainy season in Manila. And there is a lot of rain lately. And apparently last night there was so much rain that the area by the Embassy is flooded.

After thinking that my husband was at work I got a call from his office sponsor and found out that the Embassy is closed. I waited for John to come home. But instead he called to say that he was at his desk because they weren’t informed that it was officially closed on the way to the office. In order to get there, they got out of the their car and walked. They ran into flood water, so they walked around the flood water and got into the Embassy by going through scaffolding and a construction area. That’s when they were informed that it’s officially closed.

The ride that I assumed I had, I no longer had. So, even though the building that the Medical Unit is in was in an area that’s not flooded, I no longer had a way to get there. Also, the briefings that I was going to go to, were surely cancelled.

So, in one ten minute phone call, my day unraveled. As previously stated, I hate when that happens.

I know I’ve only been at Post a week (it’s one week today), but already I wish I was getting out more. I was very much looking forward to today (my hair and makeup were done before 8 today). And now I’m disappointed.

There’s no one to blame. It’s no one’s fault that the rainy season takes its toll on the ground here. But it sucks. And it sucks for my husband who will have to walk in-land (the Embassy is right on the water) and then catch a taxi. And it sucks for him that he got the brunt of my crabbiness because I didn’t want to throw it at my kids, and he was the nearest target.

I hope his shoes don’t get ruined.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The boys at home in Manila

 

Sorry about the poor quality. My flash was only on for one photo. The boys are still really cute though!

Coen: Oo! A camera!

Oo! A camera!

I’ll come play with it!

I'll come play with it!

Simon: Come here, Brother!

Coen: um…

Simon: Come here! Coen: um...

Coen: Ok, I guess.

Simon: I love you, Brother!

Coen: ok...I guess. Simon: I love you brother!

Coen: Your love hurts!

Coen: Your love hurts!

Coen: That’s better.

Simon: TV.

Coen: that's better. Simon: tv.

Coen: I wonder if that’s finger tastes as good as he’s making it out to.

Coen: I wonder if that finger tastes as good as he makes it look.

Malachi: Yeah…I know I’m awesome. I’m totally

rockin’ the hair.

Malachi: I know I look awesome.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 4


So I’ve had some fun writing the first three days in different styles. I was feeling creative yesterday when I woke up at 2:40. One of the first things I thought was, “She woke up at 2:40 a.m.” That’s when I decided to write it that way. The entries are long though, and now that I have internet I have less time to spend writing such long entries. Also I’m sure that for anyone but the ladies in my family it’s boring.

So, for my first Saturday I’m going to do a quick (as quick as possible) summary.

Woke up at 4:00 a.m. rejoicing that I slept that late, did the math, only slept 5 ½ hours. I hope I can sleep longer  tonight. I laid in bed for 40 minutes trying to go back to sleep and give up.
Malachi got up at 5 and the littles at 5:30. Everyone slept in! I let John sleep in and he gets up at about 6:30.

I skyped with our nanny from Costa Rica and my mom. After breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast, we head to the pool. We enjoy the pool for about an hour before going in so I can warm up.
Coen goes down for a nap and we get ready to head to S & R. I call the maid that came over the other day to see if she’ll come watch the kids so John and I can go together. She says she’ll be over at 11. 
Our sponsor says he’ll be over at 11.

11:00 comes, as does 11:10, 11:20, 11:30, and 11:40. We don’t have our sponsor’s phone number and when I try the maid’s number I can’t reach her. At 11:43 our sponsor shows up in a taxi because his car is being worked on.

We decide that we want to go together and bring the kids. After arriving and getting our membership, $25/year, we thank our sponsor for bringing us and watching the kids and release him since we’ll take a while. We weave through the store doing conversions and dropping our jaws to the floor when we realize how expensive things are. We start making a list of things that we’ll have to buy online.  

The kids become unbearable, so I take the littles to get lunch and get us four slices of pizza and a hot dog. John finishes the shopping and checks out. During the shopping we were concerned about putting all of our stuff in a taxi and getting it home. It was a lot of little stuff (S & R has normal sized items!). I was super excited to see that S & R has bags! We spent $450. It’s expensive to fill a home with stuff.

We get home, and while John unloads the taxi, I put the littles down for their nap. I putz around and then set my alarm for 4:30 and go to sleep. At 6:30 John wakes me for dinner. Either I slept through my alarm or my phone died. 

John has made spaghetti, which was a big fail. Not due to his cooking, but due to my choice in Spaghetti sauce. Philippino sweet style sauce in the bag was so bad I didn’t eat it, Malachi was gagging at the smell in the kitchen, and Simon wouldn’t touch it. John tried it and didn’t like it. Coen ate it, but he’ll eat almost anything, especially if it’s not good for you. Malachi was sent to bed when he couldn’t even be in the kitchen and not gag.

I cleaned, John did something, and the littles played. At about 8:00 they went to bed. Since then I’ve been doing laundry, writing for my blog, and putzing around. John’s looking online for ideas for furniture to be made. Besides the super stressful visit to S & R it’s been a really good first Saturday at Post.  

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Her 3rd Day


She wakes up at about 2:40 a.m. for the second morning in a row. She thinks to herself, again, that she needs to try to stay up later that night so she can sleep later the next morning. Getting about six hours of sleep is normal for her, but waking up so early takes a toll on the body and mind.

Her oldest son, who is six, wakes up at 3:00 a.m. and sneakes into her bedroom, scaring her. She whispers to him to meet her in the TV room and as she slips on some yoga pants, he runs quietly down the hallway that is beautifully made of Philippino wood, down the only two stairs in the house, and into the room currently being used for the TV. She grabs her magazines and laptop and after closing her bedroom door to allow her husband more time to rest, meets her son who has already started a movie.

At or around 3:30 a.m. her middle child awakens crying desperately. She runs to him to try to let her husband sleep and find out what is wrong. She picks him up and hugs him instead of trying to comfort him in bed. She also notices that her youngest child is moving around in the tent that is being used as his bed until a crib can be delivered to her house. She brings the two of them into the room with the TV and closes the door again.

After the first movie finishes, she starts a second one for the children. After what feels like quite a while she opens the door and goes to the kitchen to find the sippy cups for the two younger children, who she affectionately calls “the littles.” She notices on the oven clock that it’s 5:27 and after a few more minutes in the TV room sneaks into her bedroom and finds her husband awake.

After checking with the husband she showers in the bathroom that the littles share because she still doesn’t have a shower rod in her bathroom and the first bathroom she used wasn’t working out.

She joins her family in the kitchen for breakfast and helps her husband organize a few things before going outside to sweep some of the leaves, flowers, and grass off the short driveway and out of the car port. She notices that though it’s not a hot yet, the humidity is causing sweating for her and the littles who have joined her outside.

After her husband leaves for work she spends her time occupying the kids and playing referee. 

Everyone in the house is getting to be crabby and by 9:00 a.m. she decides that the littles are both going down for a morning nap instead of just the youngest. Then after the oldest child is disappointed that his new friend can’t play he starts crying, and can’t stop, she decides that a morning nap is a good idea for him as well. 

She reads her magazine and waits for the doorbell to ring indicating that someone is there with a crib or there to install cable and internet. She decides that she’s going to fall asleep if she continues this way and gets up to write her blog. One of the men from the cable company calls to indicate that they’re on the way and will be there in thirty minutes; ten to fifteen minutes later they arrive.

As she writes, she realizes that in five minutes she needs to wake up the kids, and thinks that this break has been too short but if she lets them sleep long in the morning, then they can’t sleep long in the afternoon. She knows that she wants them to sleep long in the afternoon, so she can get a bit of a nap as well.

The doorbell rings. She runs to it excitedly, eager to see if it’s the crib she’s been waiting for, or if it’s the cable guys. It’s the cable guys! She shows them where she wants internet and cable and lets them work. After 10 minutes the men from the embassy come with a crib, a fifth chair for the kitchen table, and a microwave.

The cable guys can’t get the TV to work in the living room. They tell her to call customer service about that. They get the TV to work in the room the TV was originally in. She patiently waits for the internet to start working.

The internet starts working two and a half hours after they arrive at the house and she rejoices unabashedly and starts connecting with family and friends again.

After feeding the kids lunch and putting the kids to sleep, she cleans up and lays down to read. Her oldest son decides that he doesn’t want to nap and lies to her and says that he already has. They go to the TV room together and she uses the internet again while he watches the Disney channel, or some think like that.

The rest of her afternoon is a bit of a blur because she’s so happy to have internet and TV that she’s not counting every minute any more.

After her husband gets home from work she gets ready to go shopping with her middle child. She has asked her friend from DC if she can borrow her friend’s driver and car to go to the store. She loads the middle child’s car seat and the child into the car and sets off for the first time since arriving at Post.

She’s proud of herself for the trip, but is overwhelmed by the amount of people that are there. She goes home later than she wanted, but quickly feeds her son his sandwich and chips and puts him to bed. She enjoys the internet more while her husband is enjoying the massage in their bedroom. When he comes into the office with the massage drunk look, she heads to the bedroom in anticipation of a massage to help relieve stress from the last three months of travel and transition.

She enjoys the best massage she’s ever had. She considers this thoroughly as to not say it lightly and after considering it for quite a while, during and after the massage, she can honestly say that it’s the best massage she’s ever had. She schedules the masseuse once a week.

She enjoys some reading and falls asleep, two hours later than the previous two nights.

Reflections on Day 2


Written on 7/26/12

You don’t have paperwork for your new home alarm and you don’t know the code, so you alert the whole neighborhood to that fact. You call RSO and they have an FSN call you back and when you can’t work together over the phone to fix it, the FSN will come out and tell you that the batteries are low. You will consider asking if he replaced the batteries, or is going to, but decide not to and wonder why after he left.

If the smoke alarm goes off in your kids’ room at 4:30 a.m. they will wake up. You’ll be really happy the kids slept that late and wonder how late they would have slept until if that hadn’t happened.

You’ll allow your children to watch a movie after your husband goes to work his first day. Then another movie, and then they’ll start the first movie again. You’ll allow it because what else are they going to do when you don’t have much in your house except dangerous appliances and a few small toys they brought in the plane?

You’ll ask your sponsor if his maid knows someone who can come watch the kids while you go somewhere that has wifi. You’ll go to your sponsors’ house to use the internet (because you have a good sponsor within walking distance that gave you a key to their house and also sent his maid to watch the kids). You’ll forget to bring your wallet, so you can’t shop. You’ll forget to write down what you went there for in the first place, and you’ll rush home worried that something is going wrong at the house/with the kids.

You’ll put clothes on the kids, get them in the strollers, and go outside to go explore and then are approached by your sponsor’s maid with a friend whose employers are on R&R and can iron your husband’s shirts (because you are not great at it and don’t want to do it). You’ll ask said maid if she’d go on the walk first and then come to the house promising payment for as much time as you have her. 

Then you’ll look down the road to see a very white family walking down the road smiling.

You'll meet the other EFM and her kids who live about a five minute walk from your house, and are coming over to bring cookies and introduce themselves. You invite them on the walk and then are instead invited back to their house where there are toys and there is air conditioning (which of course there is not outside). You eagerly accept their invitation, and smile when you realize that your six year old is already talking excitedly with your new friend’s kids. You ask if it’s ok to bring the maid that now seems to be following you where ever you’re going to take her.

You'll go over to the house and somehow two hours go by in which your new friend has made lunch for you and your kids and you’ve bonded over shared experiences in the Foreign Service. You leave at nap time and bring the maid and your kids home. You finally set up the maid to iron your husband’s shirts and notice that she’s doing a much better job than you did at 5:30 a.m. that morning.

You'll put your kids to bed and then get some more organization done. You then sit down and start blogging and wonder if the first half of the day is taking so long to write about…how long will it take to finish the rest of the day?  

**six hours later**

You’ll let your children watch more movies after their naps (which you woke them from after three hours had gone by) to make sure everyone stays happy.

You’ll jump off the couch when the doorbell rings announcing the arrival of your husband from his first day of work.

You’ll discuss your days with each other and decide to order Hungarian for dinner after making the kids sandwiches. You’ll call City Delivery after many tries and wrong numbers and after calling the restaurant directly and them telling you to call the delivery service. You think you ordered the right thing, but you think it’s possible that the wrong thing will come.

You’ll put the kids to bed and then a few minutes later you’ll receive the order and not tip. Then you’ll wonder if you were supposed to tip and hope that the delivery guy understands that you’re a newbie. Especially since you didn’t even know what a centigram was.

You’ll pull out the Hungarian food to realize that you indeed did not make yourself clear and that your husband has less food than he wants. You will selfishly eat all of your own food only giving him one bite.

You’ll clean up dinner, and then watch as your husband starts to clean the pool and while getting him a towel decide to go in with him.

After swimming you desire a warm shower (it is rainy season here, and the pool is a bit chilly), but you almost flood the guest bathroom that you’re using until you get a shower rod for your shower and decide to forget it.

Then you sit down to blog.

No? You won't do all of that on your second day at Post? Oh…must just be me.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 1 (randomness from day 1 at post)


(written on Wednesday 7/25/12 at 8:00 p.m.)

We arrived at our house today. Doing a rest stop and two days of leave in Tokyo first was a wonderful idea. Though we’re not over jet lag, we’ve made a lot of progress and the kids napped shortly after we came from the airport.

The house is big! It’s by far the biggest that we’ve ever lived in. There’s a hallway that runs from the front door to Malachi’s bedroom that is the longest hallway we’ve seen in a house. Almost all the rooms are big, and the one that isn’t big, is still sizable. The kitchen has room for a table and we’re thinking of having an island made to make up for the lack of counter space.

There is a ton of storage space here! Every bedroom has a closet, and the office/guest room has a large built-in. There’s a walk-in closet in the kitchen as well as a fun pantry in the wall that’s a bit mysterious. There are even two large closets in the hallway! There’s no lacking for space for my towels in this house!

There’s no crib! Oops. This is my fault. I meant to request from housing to have a crib in one of the rooms instead of a bed, and I forgot. This is going to be one of John’s jobs tomorrow. Hopefully they can fulfill this request quickly. Coen isn’t a huge fan of the tent that we have (soooo glad we have the tent!).

The laundry room is outside. This bothers me, but hopefully I won’t be doing much of my own laundry after a little bit. I’m going to call the internet company tomorrow and I’d love to have internet before the weekend.

I gave a very short list of groceries for the sponsor to buy, and I know for next time to make it a bit longer. During the boys’ naps John went out to get some things at a store that’s within walking distance. Though it wasn’t overwhelming for him, it was a bit much, and unfortunately the store he went to didn’t have fabric softener. Bummer.

Our sponsor had us over for dinner. His wife arrives tomorrow from R&R so it was just him and his college-aged daughter. Their nice people and about a 3 minute walk from our house. It’s nice to have Embassy families this close.

There’s good security in the village (gated community) that we live in. I doubted it when I saw pictures, but I don’t anymore.

I really like my house. Though I would be even happier if there was one more room (family room would be awesome), it’s so much space and we’re very happy with it.

The kids were ready for bed by 6:00 tonight. It made dinner a bit hard and frustrating. They were in bed before 8:00 and fell asleep very quickly.

Everyone is happy to be finally in one place for a while. Although, Simon has asked a few times today if we’re going to a train, or a plane. I don’t know if he gets that we’re home.

I love that we’re home. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Better Mood


I’m excited for the next week. Our car was taken today. That was the last thing that needed to happen here. We leave on Saturday for our mini-vacation in Tokyo. John’s been planning a super fun time there, and has even gotten a babysitter for one night, so the parents can have a night out. This is super special to me, I miss having dates with him.

We found out that we’re going straight to our own house!! This is super exciting news. Thanks to the previous tenants leaving post early, they were able to do what was necessary before we arrive. Our sponsors live just one road over from us, so we’ll be walking over to their house for dinner that night. Learning these things makes the arrival more exciting for me.

Today and tomorrow John and I are trying to fill our time, and well…keep the kids occupied. Today we took the metro over to Ballston Mall and had Noodles & Co. for the last time. It’s not an especially amazing place to eat, but you know what? ALL of my kids eat there. That is not an easy thing to do! Because of that it’s high on our list of places that we will go to.

Tomorrow we’re going downtown to see some memorials. Ones that we didn’t make it to last time we lived here, and have only driven by this time. After naps we’ll be doing final Skype visits with people.
Right now, I’m in a good mood. Let’s see how we’re feeling on Sunday after our trip to Japan. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

So much to blog about...

...so little motivation.


It's curious that my motivation has been lacking since blogging has proved to be therapeutic for me. However, my energy has been going to being the stay-at-home mom to the three amazing boys we have.


I feel like they've enjoyed their time in D.C. Unfortunately because of the ages of the littles it's hard to do too much without another adult around. So, we haven't been in the pool a lot. We haven't been downtown much to go to museums, and we have spent a lot of time in the apartment. It's not how I planned spending our month in the area, but it's how we've stayed safe and (mostly) sane.


We have pack out on Monday and then they're taking our car on Thursday. I think I will miss my car more than my other Earthly possessions. I'm absolutely in love with it. If you're shopping for something for a family take a look at the Mazda CX-9, it's awesome.


We leave for Asia shortly after that. I say Asia because we're doing a rest-stop and a couple days of leave in Tokyo first. We're staying at The New Sanno because we're on orders, and it's saving us a ton of money. Probably enough to eat while we're there. 


We're hoping to go straight to our house when we arrive in Manila, but we probably won't. I hope we get into it before our UAB arrives, but I'm not convinced we will.


I miss my family. I haven't seen them in over a month. And I won't see them for a long time. I fear that all of the moving around is hurting the children. I know that these feelings are normal for people in transition, so I'm trying to push through them. However, it's difficult to do. Today we said goodbye to John's parents, and they were saying they may not make it over until next November. We've never gone so long without seeing them.


We think we're going to like Asia, and so we think we may be spending many years there in the future. I'm wondering if it's going to be harder than I thought to live so far from the States.


I got a job at the Embassy. I'll be taking finger prints of the visa applicants. It's supposed to be mind-numbing, it sounds perfect.


School starts in about six weeks. I hope I do well.


My thoughts have been random. I have many more running through my head ready to make it to the blog, but alas, I have run out of time.