Friday, July 30, 2010

Precious Time

There are many things about Chris's job that we're thankful for. Let's face it, there are some great perks and the travel opportunities for our family are right up our alley. But today, as I pushed Ceiba in a swing at the park, soaking in the sunshine and a refreshing cool day, I was greatful. Greatful for the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom at an important time in her life.

About two months before Ceiba came home, the company I was working for decided to close our small office after a buyout. At the time, it seemed catastrophic, as we were supposed to begin working from home, but then lost our jobs. In reality, it was perfect timing. I got the chance to "nest" prior to Ceiba's arrival and was able to be home with her right away and during a busy time while Chris was in the police academy. Though it didn't work out forever, the 5 months I was home full-time with her was absolutely priceless.

Which is how I feel these days. It may not be forever that I am home with her, for financial reasons or honestly because I do miss and enjoy working outside the home and bringing home a paycheck. It's a big change to not monetarily contribute, though I know my being home is a contribution to our family. Chris even joked the other day how he hasn't been in the grocery store since we moved out here in March. He said he missed it a little, so the following night we all went to the grocery store after dinner, just for old times' sake. But the laundry, bills, grocery, dinner prep time (even new recipes every week) I'm able to do during the day really makes for more quality family time. Sometimes that is a dip in the pool or walk to the park. And sometimes it's just early pj's and a movie with all of us in a sea of pillows and covers on our bed. But it's "us" time, and it's relaxing, and it's rewarding.

I was the youngest of  4 girls and got the luxury of extra time with my mom at home while my sisters were in school. Memories of sitting on the kitchen counter helping crack eggs for a recipe, feeding animals on the farm or kneeling on the brick patio pulling weeds with my mom will be a part of me forever. I want those special kinds of memories for our kid(s).

Am I the world's most patient parent?... no. Do I always come up with the most creative things to do?... not always. Am I calm, cool and collected?.... ah, nope. Seriously, you must not know the real me!

But we do crack eggs. And we do have art time...with paints...across the entire coffee table covered in paper. And we do water flowers together. And we do even nap together, just on the days with thunder when there's no other way to get her to nap. And we do have a million hugs a day. And we do smile and giggle... a lot.

And we do squeal and smile when Papa walks in the door, having missed him all day long. And we do REALLY thank him for letting us enjoy this precious time that'll only happen once upon a child.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Apparently she just needed to turn 3 to start swimming. It's official, she's a fish.
Chris and I joked that she needed to learn to snorkel by her 4th birthday, so one of us doesn't have
to sit in the sand on vacations. We're on our way!

Ceiba's 3rd Birthday

Amazingly, Ceiba turned 3 this week....even after she did this....

If you can't see well, it's crayon...ON...THE...WALL. Arg! Welcome to parenting Chapter Tres, right?
I dont' remember ever writing on the walls, but then again my memory was probably blocked out from the subsequent beatin', had it occured. Exageration. She just got a stern talk and was made to help me clean the walls. So crayons are now temporarily used with supervision only. Bless you Crayola for washable- GENIUS!

So we made through that and on to a terrific 3rd BIRTHDAY! It went a little something like this:

While sleeping, Ceiba's presents got wrapped. She woke up happy.

We played with friends at a new creek, got her favorite lunch and picked up goodies in the mail.

Mama attempted a cake (with 5% of her kitchen accessories) while Ceiba napped; she later tried to sneek some icing. When Papa got home, we had Ceiba's favorite dinner. Tradition in our family!

She was ready for "Fire Papa!". We (I and a near whisper male voice) sang, & cake was had by all!

Ceiba had a great time opening her birthday presents and playing! She sang and played her keyboard all night!

Now we get up everyday and have to "feed moneys to the pig, Mama!!!"
She just keeps getting more fun!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Transfer Season

It's that time of year when Foreign Service life is a buzz. Many are transferring posts, intermingled with vacations and home leave. There is so much excitement and angst in reading about all the moves, sights and craziness associated with the trek.

Today Ceiba and I went to the Immunization Clinic at FSI (Foreign Service Institute). We received round one of 4 rounds of vaccinations. Never know when a rabid monkey might chomp on your finger, but sure would rather get 3 shots now, than 30 in my stomach later (used to be right?). Four for me and one for her today, and we have another 3 appointments before we leave. My...shoulders...hurt :(

I also called the travel agency today to plan our flights. Fun for me, as I love that kind of thing, weird as it is. Due to the 18ish hour flying time, we are entitled a stopover of 24 hrs. So we'll have our first Middle East/ Near East stamp on the ole passports, in addition to Bangladesh. Unfortunately, looks like the 170k+ frequent flyer miles will not help us out to upgrade to business class, ug. I know, we are spoiled, but once you fly posh it's hard to go back. And now we have a toddler to add to the mix... and 6 carry-ons, 5 checked GIANT suitcases and likely a cooler of CHEESE and saugage (we are hoosiers!).

We're just over 2 months until wheels up and pecking lines on the notepad one by one!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Gosh, where have we been? Away for a Wonderful Week In Illinois!

We just returned to DC from a wonderful week in Illinois! It will be our last trip before heading overseas in October. Our niece's graduation party beckoned us, and we used it as an excuse to visit with friends and family. It was a really great trip!

My sister's family put us up for the week- our own little chalet in the basement, equipped with bedroom, bathroom, den and bar. (Sorry to our nephew who got kicked out of his room!). And Chris's parents had an extra vehicle, which we used all week - it even had a carseat. So THANKS to everyone for making it an inexpensive and great week!

Here are some highlights from the trip:

No trip to STL would be complete without a drive to the ZOO.
We spent a few hours at our favorite place and got to catch the
stingrays while they were in town.

Snippits from Samantha's Graduation Party.
My sister Sheila made it into town, and we got to catch up with a lot of family.
Our great friends Chris & Ann came by twice to see us, even brought us root beer floats (YUM).

Ceiba REALLY enjoyed playing with her cousins!

We had an ice cream cake for an early HAPPY 3rd BIRTHDAY!

And Mama's favorite... a quick fishing trip!
Uncle John took the day off to run us up to Carlyle lake.We SMOKED 'em!
SO much fun! He had to keep a foot on the cooler to hold them in.
Might have gone in the Guiness book, if we'd had more time!!
Even got to fry fillets up for dinner.

Our house is empty. It now smells like the materials it's built from instead of the people who lived there... us. The deer come up to the house, wasps now run the greenhouse, and owls perch on the deck, as no one's there to frighten them away. The scent of fresh linens, dinner cooking and candles burning in the house are gone. It smells lonely. I miss our land, but remind myself of the exciting future.

We have been trying very hard to stop calling Illinois "home". Occasionally, we digress, but all and all we are doing well to remap ourselves. Home is now wherever we three are living. When we pull up to our apartment, since the first day we moved in, Ceiba yells "home!". That's comforting to Chris and me... very. Who knows how many "homes" we'll have in the future, but we surely are happy to be all together, though not a day goes by that we don't miss Illinois and our loved ones.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

National Botanical Garden

Well, if you are new to reading this blog, it'll be quick to see that I...LOVE...PLANTS!
If I play my cards right, maybe in my next life I can return as a botanist. Not the petri dish or laboratory kind, but the hang from the trees like Sean Connery in Medicine Man kind. That would absolutely rock!

Ceiba asks for the "choo choo train" every time we pass the metro station. A recent thunderstorm rewarded us with BEAUTIFUL weather this week, so we decided to venture downtown yesterday on the metro to see some greenery.

The National Botanical Garden is not huge, especially compared to the Missouri Botanical Garden which we are used to, but it is gorgeous... like could-stay-all-day gorgeous. And like most things D.C., it is free, which is also great.

You knew this post would surely be filled with pics, so here are some. Most were taken BEFORE my Minolta fell from the stroller to the concrete while trying to take timer photos of Ceiba and I. It is now at the shop for (hopefully not outrageously expensive) repairs... ug. And of course, not likely to return in time for DC 4th of July pics. Guess the point and shoot will get a work out!

If you are in the DC area and have time, I'd say the National Botanical Garden deserves some of your time.
The conservatory is stellar, and the grounds are immaculate.