Monday, August 27, 2012

Airplane Bag of Tricks

I have a phone call to make, a stack of papers to go through, and a giant document I'm supposed to be drafting for work, but I don't feel doing any of the above. I'm really tired of making moving arrangements. My to-do list is a never ending array of boring and painful tasks. Oh, and I seem to have lost my drivers license. I used it as a form of identification at some point in the last two months, but I have no idea where I put it when it was returned to me. Apparently, not in my wallet.

So, one of my many current tasks is to come up with an assortment of goodies for Miss M for the plane. The general rule of thumb that I've heard is a new snack and a new toy/game/trinket every hour for toddlers on long trips. This is what I have so far:


--Stencils (including these spiraly things that are allegedly very cool)

--Washable crayons

--Plain white cardstock (for drawing and stickers)

--Disney princess paint with water thingy (no mess)

--Neon pipe cleaners

--Personal DVD player

--Toddler games loaded on iPhone (two matching games and a math game are her current favorites, thanks to Creating Motherhood).

--A Leappad thingy my mother bought, which I have yet to figure out

This is what I plan to purchase, but have not gotten to yet:

--a Colorform like book I found in our local bookstore (think reuseable stickers which can be placed on different backgrounds)

--a doll that comes with clothes that can be put on and off (a friend has one and she was mesmerized)

--an iPlay "find it" bag (lots of little things to squish around and look for) --2 new movies

Ideally, I'd like to keep her entertained and well-behaved throughout the flight. I know she will probably nap for an hour or two during the flight, but I want to be sure to have plenty of things for her to do. A happy toddler means a happy mother! What else will easily fit in a carry-on and will entertain a smart 2 2/3 year old for a long period of time?

Sunday, August 26, 2012


We have less than five weeks until we fly back to the U.S., and less than four weeks until the movers arrive on our doorstep to pack up our worldly possessions. I have done. . .nothing, unless folding the clean laundry and worrying count as "packing." Now that we truly are in our waning days, I am finding that I more often than not have a pit in my stomach.

I am not worried about the move, per se. I'm excited to be done with my job here (I am currently finding my job to be particularly vexing, but that's another blog post; suffice it to say I will be happy to leave it). We have a month off when we get home, before I have to start work in the States, and I'm excited to visit friends and family. I'm excited to be moving back to the States, to a city where we will know loads of people. I'm looking forward to the job I'll be doing in the U.S.. It's just. . .there is so much to do between now and then, and so many decisions to be made. It's causing me anxiety.

The hard part is the sorting. I really shouldn't complain about the move itself, because we have movers. It's the deciding and the weeding out that I find so troubling. We have to decide what to take in our suitcases, first of all. We need everything for that month we will be home. Plus, that is all we will have with us for when I first start work, so I need work appropriate clothes, too.

Then, I have to figure out what we'll need with us for our time in the U.S., because we are not headed back permanently. We're only back for a little less than a year, and then we head to South America. Much of what we have with us will be shipped directly there, because there is no point in moving twice. That means figuring out what clothes we need to keep with us for SB as she grows. I think it will basically mean everything, because she is growing rapidly! She is months ahead of where Miss M was at this point.

But the hard part is the weeding out of clothes--mine, and T's, and the kids'. That carries with it a whole other pressure. I loathe getting rid of stuff on a good day. I am that "maybe I'll use it someday" woman, who hates to throw anything away just in case I might need it at some point. I save the pants that don't fit, because maybe I'll gain weight or lose weight and I will need them. (While I was typing this, T just came downstairs with a giant pile of clothes that I asked him to go through and he wants of get rid of all of it. . .which drives me insane, because some of it is perfectly good stuff, and he just wants to get rid of it because he wants to buy new stuff.) It's exponentially worse, though, when it comes to the kids, for entirely different emotionally-charged reasons.

I'm just not ready to let any of the girls' things go. I'm not ready to say "we're done family building." I'm not ready to close that door. It makes me feel old and sad and broken to say "we're done." At the same time, I also can't imagine having another child. I wish I were younger. I wish I felt like I had another pregnancy in me. I felt so rotten in those weeks after SB was born and it took me so long to get my body back together that it's hard for me to imagine going through a pregnancy and delivery again. Yet it's also hard for me to imagine that there will NOT be the possibility of a third child, a third happy addition to our family. So I am in this impossible place, where I can't give up this stuff, and yet it feels ridiculous to keep it. It's not like I can just stash it in the basement and think about it some other day. I am moving to a different continent. . .twice in the next year.

I always thought that if we had a family, we would have more than one child. I really wanted more than one, and we were blessed with Miss M and then SB. Before I was pregnant, during my pregnancy with Miss M, during my pregnancy with SB, I always thought that two was my number. While I was pregnant with each of them, I thought that I would eventually reach this place where I felt content with the two kids, where I was comfortable with our decisions, where I was just DONE. I really thought that I would just know. But I didn't get to that place after SB was born. Or at least, I'm not there yet. If I had six more months, or a year, or two years more, perhaps I'd get there. Perhaps I just need more time. But I am moving in five weeks. Less than five weeks. I need to make decisions about all of this stuff NOW. I don't have more time. Tick, tick, tick. . .

On top of all of this, I know pregnant people who could really, really use my stuff. I have three close friends here who are either expecting, or have newborns. I am 90% sure I will leave the baby swing and the bouncy seat with one of them, in fact. For whatever reason, I am not attached to those two things.

But the clothes feel different. They feel more personal. I have pictures of Miss M in the clothes, and compare them to the pictures of SB in the same outfits. They are in good shape. Many of the clothes are beautiful, and I love them. I would be delighted to have a third child wear them (in my head, my third child is also a girl, although of course we'd be delighted with a boy). This is hard. Ugh. . .anxiety.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


"Mommy," Miss M confided to me last night when I got home from work. "I got you a special card". This morning when she woke up she raced to retrieve it for me. As I opened it, she sat and beamed up at me expectantly, full of happiness and 2 year old pride. It was pure joy, and worth more than any material gift.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


This morning, Miss M told us that "SB is fascinating."  Her vocabulary is just enormous, and I have no idea where she is picking up some of these words.  It makes me laugh, every day.  Her level of detail, the things that she notices, the things she thinks--it's all just amazing.  She such a bright, funny little kid.

We move in something like 59 days.  I have done. . .nothing.  We have so much crap to go through and get rid of.  The movers are coming NEXT WEEK to figure out how long it will take them to pack us.  In a perfect world, I would have done all of my organizing and purging already.  Yikes.  Some rooms are worse than others.  Like, everything in the living room is going to get packed, but there is tons of crap in the bedroom closets that needs to be given away.  And the baby clothes. . .I'm not ready to part with them, but it's crazy for us to move with them.  But I'm just not ready.

I went back to my kidney surgeon this week for an xray and a followup appointment.  The kidney is mostly looking good, but there are a few pieces of stuff still in my ureter.  Argh.  So frustrating.  He thinks it will all come out on its own, although there is a small chance I'll need another procedure.  I told him I choose "it all comes out on its own."  Given where I was and how complicated the surgeries ended up being, I know this isn't a big deal, but I really was hoping to get the "all clear" this week.  I have to go back in a few more weeks for another xray.  Sigh.

We have Olympics tickets for THIS WEEKEND!!!  I am so excited.  It is weird to be watching Olympics in a country that is not my own.  The commentators here are hilarious.  They invariably always trash the American athletes and say how tired they look.  They also constantly ramble on about how their athletes might actually pull off a medal, no matter how far behind they may be at any given moment.  It's so patently biased that it makes me laugh.  American Olympics coverage definitely is more highly produced, and gets better close-up shots, than the camerawork and production that is done here.  There are more channels covering it here, though.  Anyway, it's been an interesting experience, and I am really looking forward to watching the games live.