Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mr. Mom

My husband is so great. So last night on my way home I got a text asking me if I wanted onions on my salad. Wow. Making a salad! I said, "Green."

I got home and the house smelled of apples and cinnamon. Stuart was in the kitchen slicing vegetables for our salad to go with the mashed potatoes and apple baked pork chops he'd prepared. What a great guy!

I rushed upstairs to shower while dinner finished and then got to greet my boys with dinner on the table. It was kind of funny too because earlier in the day Stu sent me a text saying how well-behaved our son is and how great it is to hang out with him. But by 3:30, he's a terror and is just ready for something "new" (something I've said to Stu a hundred times, but now he understands, hehe).

Then he said the sweetest words ever: "I never gave you enough credit for doing this." Ahhhh... there is nothing better in the world than having someone understand you. :) He couldn't believe how exhausted he was from taking care of a toddler all day. (Told ya! :)) What a great opportunity for our family. Not only have we both had the opportunity to be the breadwinner, but now we have both had the opportunity to be the stay-at-home-parent. And Stu can appreciate how hard it really was for me staying home all the time in Abu Dhabi (I said, "Imagine doing all of this with no vehicle, no yard, and not leaving the house but once a week..."). And now that I'm working again, I know all too well the feeling of "missing it" being gone all day and then feeling too tired to really play when I get home. I am so proud of Stu for taking the initiative to take care of Kaden and the house AND dinner because I am gone all day.

On a side note, he also went to RC Willey yesterday and bought a 52-inch Sony Bravia LCD TV, a surround system to go with it, and a new dining room set (to be delivered and set up on Wednesday! Yay!). Today he has his sights set on a stand for the TV "stuff" (you know, DVD player, Wii, Xbox, etc.). I am hoping he picks one that is reasonably cheap. Heh. We HAVE stayed far under budget for everything we'd planned (the cars, living room set, bedroom set, etc) thanks in large part to my super skills (i.e. standing in line at RC Willey for 2 hours on Black Friday), so that makes me feel much better.

The caffeine Nazis will be happy to hear that this morning I made MYSELF a decaf Hazelnut latte instead of giving in and heading to McDonald's for a caffeinated one made by someone else. :) Soon I will have steamed milk, not microwaved, and real espresso, not just super-strongly-brewed decaf coffee. But it is still yummy! :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Daddy's First Weekend Home.

Our first weekend with Daddy home went great! We stayed super busy and it was full of running around AND relaxing and, mostly, just spending as much time together as possible.

Stu is so happy to be home, just like I knew he would be. He got his truck all ready to go (changed fluids, rotated tires, etc), got a phone, and today called me to clear spending almost 3 grand at RC Willey! Lol. He sure is taking this living life to the fullest thing pretty seriously. But, on Wednesday we will have a 52 inch TV in our living room, a surround sound to go with it, a new dining room set…. All so that we can watch local programming because Stu doesn’t want to spend the money on DirecTV, lol. Silly boy. I think he’ll be changing his mind after a few more days of him and Kaden having nothing else to do but watch movies. Hehe.

Friday night we had some friends over for snacks and to welcome our boy home. It is always nice seeing everyone and maybe next time we’ll actually pull out the games we’d planned on playing. Haha.

We got to go on a date to the movies this weekend! It was our first alone date in over a year and it was nice. We also got up early on Saturday morning and headed off for Cracker Barrel for a super yummy breakfast (with sweet tea for Stu). It was fantastic.

We got most of our Christmas shopping done and Stu has been pretty motivated to get the house done and organized so he keeps putting himself to work on that. Which, of course, is fine by me, because I hit my threshold for organizing last week.

We made a homemade pizza last night and then decorated the tree and went for a drive to look at Christmas lights (if you’re in Boise and haven’t gone up to Quail Ridge yet to see the crazy guy with the lights, do so, it was indeed crazy). We brought thermoses of hot chocolate and a snack-sized bag of marshmallows for Kaden, which he thought were the best things EVER! He kept falling asleep on the drive so we headed home after a bit and Kaden played with his cool new Cars bike he got from Kyle and Melissa for the millionth time already before we all headed off for bed.

It is so, SO hard to get up and go to work when there are two sleepy-eyed, jammies-ed, cuddled up, warm boys just sitting there. I was kinda late, but they’re lucky I got here at all. :) Oh, and fat-free vanilla yogurt with French Vanilla granola was just as heavenly as I’d imagined it would be. Thank you, Winco, for your practically free food.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Homecoming: How Sweet it is.

He’s home! He’s home! And I actually still can’t believe it. After everything that we went through yesterday, I didn’t think we’d ever get to see him walk through those glass doors at Boise Airport!

So, as some know, my Mom was also supposed to fly in yesterday in the early evening. She called me a half hour before her plane was supposed to board to tell me that because of dense fog in Boise, her flight was cancelled (for a few seconds I thought she was joking as Stu pulled the SAME joke on me before he got on HIS flight!). I walked out of my office to the huge picture windows in the breezeway and sure enough, I couldn’t see a few dozen yards. Crap.

So, after getting ultra-bummed, I had to accept that she really wasn’t coming and move on with my plans without her (she’d played quite heavily into my weekend plans and now they have to be changed. Poo.)

So I left work bummed about my Mom, but also worried because Stu said he would call me when he landed in Chicago. Being that it was nearing the time he would have been boarding his flight to Boise (after a 5 hour layover), I was nervous/irritated and trying to figure out what logical reason he would have had for NOT calling me when he said he would (topping my list were: he was detained by customs for possession of pirated material, he had a stroke in Abu Dhabi and never actually boarded that plane and was dying in an Abu Dhabi hospital, or that he fell asleep waiting for his connection and was about it miss it and sleep in Chicago overnight ß I’m pregnant, what do you want from me?).

So after going grocery shopping I finally made it to Marcia’s where I had to break the news about Momma E to my son, who then decided he didn’t want to talk to her on the phone if she wasn’t coming to see him (spiteful much? Lol). I rounded up the phone numbers to United Airlines, Chicago O’Hare and Boise Airport and started making calls. Southwest had told my Mom that all flights coming into Boise were being diverted and that they would probably not tell me that until minutes before their expected arrival time (WHAT??). So I called United and they assured me that Stu DID, in fact, check in (so he wasn’t dying in Abu Dhabi at least) for his Chicago to Boise flight. That made me feel SLIGHTLY better and then irritation won over (“Then why the Hell hasn’t he called me?”)

After two hours of stressing about the fog and watching every flight before his get cancelled or diverted (as Southwest prophesized), Kristin finally called Boise Airport for the last time and asked if it would land or be diverted. He assured her that “it will land in 30 minutes”. Woohoo! So we let Jo and Aaron know and then headed off to the airport.

Upon arrival, our meager little welcome home party seemed just that when we realized a bunch of guys that were coming straight out of basic training were arriving too, and all their families had come out in full force with signs and balloons and great grandmas, despite the after-11 hour. One girl was obviously being surprised. She had a scarf tied around her head, an ipod in her ears, and ear muffs over those. We were almost as excited to see her reunion with whoever was meeting her there as we were for our own (almost, heh).

Kaden was none-too-excited about the hour and would only look any one of us in the eye if we reminded him that Daddy was coming home. He would perk up a bit and tell us that Daddy would be coming through “those doors”. Sure enough, a few passengers start trickling through and then Kristin and Jo assure me that they could see Stu (I’m blind, as some know), in the outfit I described he’d be wearing. Eventually I saw his pretty face too and couldn’t contain myself. I had to rush up and tackle him. :) I said, “I’m so glad you’re home!... Why the hell didn’t you call me?” He seemed shocked by the fact that because he said he’d call me, I’d expect him to and he assured me, “Well I would have if something went wrong.” Greaaaaat.

We got to see the reunion with the blindfolded girl and her boyfriend. Very cute, and then we proceeded to the baggage claim. Kaden latched onto his Daddy and kepy pointing his little finger into his chest and telling everyone, “It’s Daddy.”

I’ll tell you what, homecoming is great. I was nervous and slightly apprehensive about it. I mean, he HAS been gone for a long time and would he still like me?, heh. But as soon as I saw him and smelled him, that all washed away and it, of course, felt absolutely right. AND, I forgot how good looking my husband is! My memory-face of him is just that: his face. I didn’t think about his whole body and the way he walks and moves and smells. That sounds weird, but he has such a distinct, yummy smell that I definitely missed it. I couldn’t stop looking at him while we got his bags and (unsafely) in the car on the way home. I love this man.

When we got home I felt elated. Our home has just not been home yet without Daddy. Our family isn’t our family without him and him coming in and getting the grand tour just made it feel so much more like “ours”. I was so giddy and smiley that I never thought I’d be able to sleep. Kaden kept smirking and saying “Hi Daddy!” and didn’t want him to put him down for any reason.

This morning when Kaden woke up, he called for me as he always does to go get him from his room. Then as soon as I opened the door he said, “Where’s Daddy?” and the two of them got to cuddle and read books while Mommy got ready for work. I haven’t seen my baby boy so happy in a long time. He kept smiling and hugging his Daddy and petting him. Sweet boy.

And I’m at stupid work while my boys are home playing and unpacking. Stu is going to be exhausted later, but I offered to take Kaden to Marcia’s so he could sleep, but I couldn’t have resisted that bright happy face either if I were him. :)

I only have to work a half-day today because I worked an extra hour a day the whole first part of this week in anticipation of this day, so I get to go home in a few hours and see my boys for the whole weekend! I am so excited to get to know Stu again and share everything we’ve been through and done in the past two months, including all the new words that Kaden has learned!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! I certainly will.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Has being a parent made you a better person?

As today was my 5th morning in a row waking up before my alarm (or, in the case of the weekend, waking up at all) to comfort a crying and frightened child, I began to think about all the ways being a parent has changed me.

As all parents are undoubtedly aware, there is a distinction in my life of “before Kaden” and “after Kaden”. And it occurred to me that I really like my “after Kaden” self much, much better. Being a parent has made me a better person and I finally figured out why: for the first time in my life, I love another person more than my own life. That sounds decidedly trite, but it’s the defining factor in what changed me so much.

After putting my wants (quiet hot baths, alone with a book until the water got cold) and needs (sleep) aside to get up every single day for a solid year to feed a helpless, crying baby in the middle of the night, my perspective on life really changed. I know every parent has to do this, but I find my life now surrounded by people who are not parents (grouchy, unkempt 18-year-old college kids, heh) and I feel wise (read: old).

This morning Kaden cried out for me as he has every other morning this week, and my feet were on the floor before I’d even realized I was awake. I didn’t bother feeling sorry for myself and that hour of missed sleep, instead I greeted my sleepy boy and asked him how his sleep went. All HE wanted to do was cuddle with me in “Mommy’s bed” and read his books (I had to get ready for work). So today I am sporting a messy bun and the bare essentials of my make-up routine so that I could read “Miss Honey’s Busy Day” one more time before work.

I find myself being much better at my job and I think it’s because after having to multitask to get anything done for the past two and a half years, as long as my coworkers are not hanging on my leg and whining at me, it feels like their requests are laughably easy to handle. I’m more focused when I’m working on a project and I get it done in record time… because let’s face it, my “real” life has precious little time available and everything still needs to get done.

And the biggest change has been that I am easier on people now. After comforting a toddler who’s had a stressful experience, I realized that most people could really just use a little more compassion, especially other parents. You’ll never see ME rolling my eyes on an airplane because a Mom can’t get her toddler to sit still or stop crying.

Maybe if everyone, even nonparents, had to comfort a child with the flu while THEY had the flu, the world would be full of compassion (and better people). :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Trash v. Treasure

It's much more official today: Stu is coming home. The reason it is more official today is that he had the TV and Internet turned off and is coming home after work tomorrow to pack and clean and be ready to go! Scaaaary. I remember that feeling a couple months ago as I was packing that felt like I was forgetting EVERYTHING, but at least I could just have him send me the stuff I forgot or didn't have room for. If he doesn't send it ahead, or pack it in his luggage, it's staying there.

So right now, he has invited Qadir, our watchman, up to the apartment to go through some of the things that he can't or doesn't want to take (our folding beach chairs, a wicker shelf in the bathroom, kitchen utensils, food, shoes, etc). I think it's the perfect way to get rid of some of those things because otherwise, in a week or so, the company will send someone in to throw away everything that isn't "theirs" and what a waste. I've complained a lot about Abu Dhabi's lack of good, accessible charity services and it seems like such a waste to throw away perfect good usable things, so I am so glad Stu thought of Qadir.

I've talked to Qadir on many occasions about his home life and his life in Abu Dhabi and I know he will be grateful for anything we could give him, even if it isn't important to us anymore. His little accomodations consist of a cot, a hot plate to cook his food on, a small bathroom, and whatever he has come across as he has been here. He has maybe 5 different outfits total. And he always had various people staying with him in his already limited space. When fellow Pakistani's were on hard times, he always welcomed them.

He has a son back home in Pakistan who is exactly Kaden's age (and a daughter who is two years older) and he because of his age, really latched onto Kaden when we first moved there and Kaden was barely 7 months old and had just learned to crawl. As I watched my own son grow before my eyes over the next year and a half, I also watched the heartbreak in Qadir's eyes every time he would tell me, "now my son is this big too". I can't imagine missing my kids' lives so that I can provide a meager life for my family.

We also got pretty attached to Qadir's brother while Qadir was on his one vacation (every two years) to Pakistan. He was so respectful to me and always came to stand watch when there were workers in my house, "for security" for said (he didn't trust them alone with me). He spoke almost no English and I speak no Urdu, but we developed a good bond during his couple months there. He has since gotten a job as a delivery truck driver in town. I hope they can find the means to get back home and live alongside their own families and not have to resort to living and working in a foreign country in a 6 x 10 closet, just trying to keep their families fed.

Let's remember that even in America there are so many people who are in need this holiday season and take the time to do your part for your community.

For those in the Boise area, you can contact the following places to find out how you can help:

US Marine Corps Toys for Tots
Boise Rescue Mission
Channel 7's Season Of Hope
December Food Drive at the Morrison Center
Kissin 92's Keep Kids Warm Campaign
WOW Country 104.3's Hope for the Holidays

Monday, December 14, 2009

Home Sweet Home.

Kaden and I have officially survived our first two nights alone in our new house. The first night was more freaky than the second. I didn't sleep well and kept waking up a bit disoriented. But last night I had to get out of bed to check the front door lock again and then I slept pretty well until Kaden started crying at 5:15 and wouldn't go back to sleep. Ugh. I think he must have had a nightmare or something because normally his night-time (and yes, 5 AM is STILL night time) wakings just take me going in there and reminding him it is still dark and night time and he goes back to sleep. Not so this morning.

But speaking of Kaden, He has been doing so great with his words and communication. He used full sentences all the time now and he comes up with new words every single day. Here are a couple of my favorites from the past few weeks:

He thinks the word "scary" is pronounced "seggy" and it took Marcia and I a week to figure out what "Seggy" meant before we realized he was telling us when things were freaking him out. Which is adorable, btw. My little man rushing to me and saying "it's seggy!" Cuuuute.

The other word, which is starting to fade, is his word for Christmas, which is "crimson". So he helped me set up the "crimson tree" and I couldn't help but laugh. But last night we were reading about Frosty and he said "criss-us" which is a lot closer to the real world, and certainly not as cute. :)

This morning was great though. Because it was my first day of getting ready for work in the new house, it was even better than I'd guessed. Marcia decided she'd come to me instead of me bringing Kaden to her, so I didn't even have to get Kaden dressed and fed and out the door. I got ready, made myself some tea for my Starbucks to-go mug (which was like "new" after two years in storage, hehe), I didn't have to warm up my car or scrape my windows, and I was 2 stoplights closer to work than normal so I slid out into traffic and was already half-way there. :) Lovely.

I was also the first one here by about 2 hours, which is kind of nice. I'm not really a morning person and it takes me a bit to get going, so having that time to myself was definitely nice. A good start to a Monday. :)

Guess what??? 3 days!!! Squeeeeeee. I can't believe I get to NOT be a single Mom again in just 3 days! When I won't have to handle everything myself. I am constantly thinking of things that are just so much easier with my husband around. Like bath time. I have to shower WITH my kid (playing with his toys on the far side of the shower) because he will get into everything or possibly even escape if I tried to shower and leave him unattended. And bathing him is a chore too without a bit of help. I was sitting on the couch, all cuddled up with Kaden watching The Incredibles last night and the light over the table was still on from dinner and shining right in my eyes and I thought how nice it would be to say, "Babe, will you turn off that light on your way by?" Instead, anything I want done, or that NEEDS done (the kid has needs, regardless of how crappy or exhausted I feel), I have to do myself. Last night I HAD to make dinner even though I would have been fine snacking myself full, because Kaden needed to eat more than a handful of M&Ms and Triscuits, like I would have done if I was alone. It definitely makes me appreciate having Stu in my life. Even when he drives me crazy. :)

I tried to get as much done this weekend so that when my Mom gets here on Thursday (and Stu gets here Thursday night) they can feel somewhat at "home". But it snowed again this weekend and when Kaden and I did venture out, I slid half-way through an intersection. Freaking snow. But I got as much as had occurred to me to that point, only to realize yet again that I missed a bunch of things. It's soooo hard re-outfitting an entire house again. (Like, of course I remembered a shower curtain for the kids' bathroom, but did I remember HOOKS for the shower curtain??? No. So there it sits on the counter awaiting another store trip for hooks (and the other 15 things I realized I forgot). But I have to work late every day this week so I can take a half-day on Friday and spend some time with my family, so I will be home late, dinner will be later, and there is just not enough time left of the day to also go shopping. So we will see how much I get done between now and then. I also still need to finish unpacking things like my (walk-in) closet, which is a 3-foot-high solid mound of clothes and comforters and jackets, etc. I have been sorting them slowly but surely, but there is always something else that needs done more.

Anyway, so here I am at work, fairly bored, worrying about all the things that are NOT getting done. Heh. Perhaps I should work instead. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Moving In.

Starting this weekend, Kaden and I will officially get to live in our "new house". Yay! The washer and dryer arrived today and I hope to get a shopping trip done tonight before the snow storm comes into town (or I might find a reason to procrastinate that, heh).

It is now only 6 days until Daddy and Momma E come (home) to visit! Kaden doesn't really understand what is going on, but I'm hoping he can get settled into his new room and environment before we screw it all up again with Daddy and Momma E around. Haha.

So I have been making a grocery list (and slowly, a menu plan for next week, ugh) and HOLY CRAP is there a lot to buy when you have NOTHING in your house/pantry. Poor Stu is going to have a coronary when he sees THAT bill. Heh.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Field Trip... er, Meeting.

This morning was interesting. I got to attend a meeting at the State Department of Education (and meet all those lovely people), but I found out that the Dept. of Ed. lives in the same building that I used to work in at the AG's Office! Talk about nostalgia as I walked in those doors for the first time in two years. The AG's Office has since moved, so I couldn't stop in and say hi, but it was so scary to be right back there once again. It felt sort of symbolic, my life has come full-circle (but a much prettier, better funded, nicer circle) since I last walked out of those doors. It felt good.

Then I got to come back to campus at 10:30, which if you ever get the chance to do, don't. There was NO parking so I had to park in the over-priced garage again. But it is good to know, in case I ever need to leave at weird times during the day. I need to really get a schedule of classes so I can plan my arrival to the times some classes let out so SOMEONE must be leaving their spot and I can grab it up.

Work is going pretty slow today. I didn't get an email with attachments that I need to start my next big project and I finished the last one a bit quicker than I planned so I am kind of out of stuff to do in the interim.

8 days until Stu gets home! Yay! And then him, Kaden, my Mom, and I can decorate the tree and go see Christmas lights! :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Spirit?

So, for those of you not obsessively counting, it is just 11 days until Stu gets home for good! I can't WAIT to have him back and have our lives go back to a more busy version of our "normal". I miss everything we used to do together including just watching movies or talking over dinner about our days (and now that mine are infinitely more busy, I miss the conversation even more).

You would not believe how depressing it is to get out Christmas stuff all alone in a cold and empty house. Pathetic, huh? Marcia and Deven went grocery shopping yesterday and stopped by the house (which I'm still not living in, bastard delivery guys) to pick up Kaden while I was hauling out Christmas stuff. I set up the tree with Kaden and he thought it was awesome but once he was gone I started unwrapping ornaments and decor and I just couldn't bring myself to decorate the tree or hang lights by myself. So I decided we'll wait for Daddy to get home and then we'll all decorate the tree together. My Mom gets here the day before Stu, too, so I can decorate a tree with my Mommy for the first time in like 6 or 7 years too!

Work is going better now. I finally understand my job and I have been given some fairly complex and time-consuming projects for the next month so it is nice to feel like I'm actually there to do something and not just to kill time. The weekend went nice and slow too, which was nice after feeling like I'd just lived through the longest week of my life. Kaden likes me again on the weekends, which is nice because he's been mad at me after I get home from work and I think it's because he feels abandoned. Today at least I got a chance to love on him some and say goodbye before I left, so that might help.

Anyway, I am just truckin' along now. Hoping the next 11 days go by super fast and then I can play with my Mommy and hubby and feel more Christmasy. :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Job.

I know. I KNOW. I have been a huge blog slacker lately and I sure have heard about it. Lol. The problem is, at Marcia's, the "kids" computer is upstairs and Kaden is generally getting into one thing or another either up there with me, or downstairs without me (infinitely worse) that I really don't have much time to get on and spend any time on there.

So now I have a job again. :) Which means I do have some down time and you can probably expect more blogs again. Hehe. It's gone well so far. This is only my second day and I am just stumbling through all the new processes and freaking acronyms I need to know to actually do my job. I was given a list with "common acronyms" that was two columns and 8 pages long! Are you freaking kidding me? Is there any really good reason we can't just call it "No Child Left Behind" instead of "NCLB"?? A good reason? No? Ok, just checking. I'm calling it "No Child Left Behind". :)

I love love love my boss so far and the other woman I will be working closely with. I am the sole support for my boss who supports the whole state, so she is gone ALL the time (this week is only IN the office about 6 total hours), but my not-boss brought me hot chocolate today! What a doll! At first I was thinking that working in the same office as my painfully quiet office pal was going to wear on me, but she is friendly enough and the quiet is actually a nice change from the constant noise that I'm used to with a two-year-old. I have done more reading (work-related) in the past two days than I have for pleasure in the past month and all without someone asking me for a sippy cup of milk or to change their diaper. I'm telling you, being a working mom has its benefits. :)

But it has been hard to be away from my Kaden. I've almost cried when I had to leave both mornings now and when I get home there is just not enough time left of the day to really spend quality time with him. Meals have to be made, showers taken, etc. I felt very rushed last night and I really just wanted to sleep. So we will see how it goes.

I can't WAIT for Stu to get home! Just two weeks and two days until he gets back finally and it couldn't come any sooner! I miss him so much and I miss our little uncomplicated simple life. I know it will be a bit more complicated and busy with working and going to school in addition to normal life, but I can't wait to have my best friend back.

Ok, more to do so I will go for now. I'll really try to be more diligent about blogging. :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday.

So this was my first real experience with Black Friday (other than picking up a few needed items once or twice) and I did it alone with a two-year-old! Heh.

First let me start off by saying what an angel baby Kaden was. (Mommy and all of our line neighbors thank you for being such a good boy!) We headed off to RC Willey to get a reclining couch and recliner living room set (doorbuster, only 9 available... I got the last one). We rushed off without breakfast and I grabbed two Nutri-grain bars and a sippy cup of milk on the way out the door. The store was so cramped (they opened at 8 and I got there at 8:07) that cars were parallel parked out almost to the street and J105 radio station was there and even Larry Gebert from Channel 7! (I got a terribly blurry pic that I'll post momentarily).

Where's Larry? :)

So instead of following everyone else's lead and rushing the store like a madwoman, I approached the nearest stock boy and asked if they still had any of the doorbuster microfiber reclining sofa sets left. He said, "Let's go check. We have to hurry." and he proceeded to RUN to the living room section (Run.) while I bounced along after him with my too-heavy parka-clad kid on my hip. We got there and he pushed an idling man out of the way to grab the last ticket and announced, "We got it!" Me: "Yay. Er... thanks." After he gets me all set up (yes, we want it treated and delivered), he points me to the checkout line. Holy. Shit.

The checkout "line" went all the way around the entire outer perimeter of the store and almost doubled back on its self at the front. This may not be news to those who often brave Black Friday sales, but this was a first for me. Feeling Kaden's weight on my hip and staring at the unmoving line, I first pondered crying, then just leaving. But it was a REALLY good deal. So I waited. And waited. And waited. And about half-way through the waiting process, the lady standing behind me said, "Ok, you just have to go get a stroller from the front of the store. Your arms are starting to hurt ME. I'll hold your spot in line." We laughed and I agreed. With shaking arms, I towed Kaden and my starving, pregnant, fatigued self over to the strollers and loaded him up.

I stole a balloon for my kid. It turned out to be a great idea.

Here's the coolest part. The strollers are shaped like little cars, so Kaden spent a good 20 minutes examining the wheels, headlights, steering wheel and seat before he was ready for the next activity. I kept ahead of him by thinking of fun things to look at, talk about, and play with (thank God for that little pad of paper and pencil I keep in my purse and the lady with the candy who came around twice). Sparing you the boring details, we sat in line for over an hour and a half before we made it to the checkout. The guy there took care of it in minutes and then brightened my day by asking, "And did you want the DVD player and the movie Up for 10 dollars more?" Me, stunned: "Is that an option?" "Yeah, if you spend over $499 you get this DVD player and the new Pixar movie "Up" for 10 bucks." Me: "Right on! Of course I want them." It should be noted that I JUST looked at the movie two days ago but it retails for $21.99 and because I hadn't actually seen it yet, I didn't want to risk it being crappy for 22 bucks.

Kaden, "I want to go home."

We decided after that line we'd better head home, but Walmart had a few more deals I wanted to look at. I got there and basically everything was gone that I wanted of the doorbuster deals, so we decided to call it a day and went home for a snack. I was only a few bites into my snack, though, when I discovered Home Depot's washer and dryer sales. By golly we need those! So I packed Kaden back up and we spent another hour looking at washers and dryers and finally picking one out for several hundred bucks less than I intended to spend. Good news. :)

Kaden, bless his heart, fell asleep as soon as he got back in the car and stayed asleep after we got home so I took him upstairs and tucked him in. Now I plan to have a bit more apple cider and read the paper while my monkey finishes his nap.

How did everyone else do today?

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Great Day.

If there was ever a day to blog, it is this day. First of all, my day started off totally stressful. Kaden and Cocoa (the dog that lives here) do NOT get alone by any stretch of the imagination. So my morning was spent trying to keep them both quiet, and away from each other (Kaden pisses Cocoa off and then Cocoa bites Kaden... little fucker). As soon as possible I took Kaden off to the park. The bummer started when I got a call in the early morning from BSU offering me THE job I had wanted all along. Unfortunately I'd already accepted another offer from the prison (but let's face it, who really wants to work at a prison?) so I told her as much before hanging up and feeling let down.

I talked to Stu while we were at the park and that helped some, but I'd already decided not to go to school this coming semester because working until 5 every day and then going to school until 9 every day, all while being pregnant and trying to fit in family time didn't seem like it was going to work out very well.
But then, low and behold I get another call from the BSU lady begging me to take the job and pointing out all the ways and reasons I can still refuse the other job (the major points being that I haven't actually started there yet, so I don't really have any loyalty to them, and that, uh, it's a prison...). So I called the prison back and gently let them know that I would not be taking the job.

But here's the best part. The job with BSU has the added benefit of deferred tuition which means that I will get to take classes for 5 bucks a credit (or 15 bucks a class... instead of the several hundred I have been paying thus far), plus I will work on campus where as a perk I can take class when I need to (if I need to take class from 11-1 every day, I can) so that I can actually finish my degree in the nearer future instead of some distant time that I can't even glimpse yet.
As if this wasn't more settling news all by its self, I also got a call back from a lady we applied for a rental house with, that I expected to be turned down for because we offered to pay $75 less per month than they were asking (which was a completely fair price for the size of the house, we just couldn't afford it). Instead she said the owner accepted the offer and that "it's all yours!" I will post pics of the house and backyard (which was the selling point for me). But it is a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath house with a "bonus room" that is the size of the master bedroom, walk-in closet, and master bathroom combined. It's freaking huge. I am so excited we got it because we were about to settle for a TINY 3 bedroom 2 bath on a teensy piece of land for 25 bucks less than what we're going to be paying for this monstrosity. I can't wait!

To top off my super day, I am going on a date with Melissa to see New Moon (FINALLY)! What a day, eh? :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My New Prius!

So, I don't know what's with my blogging funk. It's not necessarily that I don't have the time to blog anymore (it may be truer than before, but surely I could find ample time). I just have kind of been feeling less than stellar. Maybe it's that I still feel totally out of my element and that's a hard way to continually function day in and day out. It could be that I miss my husband like crazy and it makes me tired just thinking of how much that really is. But in all honesty, it is probably just hormones. I'm up then down, then exhausted then full of energy (just ask Marcia and Deven... two nights ago I laid down on the couch for 3 minutes and passed out asleep dead to the world, today I made dinner then cleaned it up and did the dishes, switched the laundry and then was bouncing in my seat trying to think of more to get done). I am sure once I settle into a better routine (uh, like with a JOB!) that I will come back around to having something clever or witty to say.... but sadly, that day is not today.

On a more positive note, and the reason for opening this window (instead of climbing right into bed after I put Kaden down for the night) is that I bought a car today! There were a few things that were monumental about it. First, the car cost twice what my first "new" car cost, and I thought THAT was a lot! Haha. And second, I wrote a check for the full amount and drove away with it as MY car. I will be mailed the title and it will be all mine. It took me all 5 years to pay off my last car and I'd never even had a chance to see the title to it because by the time I paid the last payment, we were on our way to Abu Dhabi and they mailed it to my Aunt. Sighhhh. So THIS car really feels like mine. Plus, it is a hybrid (and '07 Toyota Prius for those without Facebook, hehe), so I can drive around feeling like I'm "doing my part" in the green effort (when really I just want to pay for gas much less often).

Anyway, that's about all I'm good for these days and I apologize for that. Maybe when I have my own computer and can dedicate more time to staring at an empty screen (or when Daddy is home again and I can pawn getting up with Kaden off on someone else) I will produce my typical, longer blogs. For now, I am going to go start a new book Marcia gave me about having sex with cannibals (which I really hope is NOT what it's about, but I'll let you know) and then I need to get to bed straight away because the Monk will be up early no matter what time I finally turn in.

Monday, November 9, 2009

In Case You Haven't Heard...

Here is Kaden with his Papa for Walmart's poster advertising photos with Santa.

For those who have been living under a rock (i.e those without text/Facebook, hehe), I found out today that I am pregnant with baby number two! Yep, that whole week of trying really paid off! :) Stu and I are excited, and of course nervous, as I am sure anyone who is going to add a whole new family member to their family would be. I can't wait to begin this new journey of our lives.

One Happy Mommy. :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy 46th Anniversary Mimi and Papa!

Today we all relaxed and lounged around all day before Deven and Papa took Kaden to the "Wee" (playground) for a little while and then we headed out to dinner.

Douglas treated us all to a dinner at El Gallo Giro (the best Mexican food in the Treasure Valley) to celebrate Mimi and Papa's 46th Anniversary, which is actually tomorrow.

It was so good as usual and we all had such a good time laughing and hanging out. It's really too bad they are all leaving tomorrow because it has been so much fun the whole time they've been here. Hopefully we will just get opportunities to visit more often from now on.

Here are a few pics from the night that I took with my cell phone, so the quality isn't very good. Enjoy!

Kaden having the "cake" that Mimi and Papa got for their Anniversary.

Douglas and Mimi

Mimi and Papa. Happy Anniversary!

Marcia and Deven.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thank a Veteran on the 11th.

Well once again I have been FAIL blogger. I apologize for that but I know once I get my own place I will have my schedule more constant and then I will be back in the blogging world again.

This week we went out to dinner to El Giro Gallo with Melissa and Kyle for Kyle's 26th birthday. It was all super yummy of course and we had a great time.

Then Mimi and Papa got here on Thursday afternoon and then Doug came on Friday. We've been having a great time catching up and having fun.

This morning we headed to the Veteran's Day parade downtown (Deven, Papa, Kaden and I) which was actually pretty freezing and Kaden was kind of miserable. Check out the pics on my Facebook though if you're interested. I have never seen so many marching bands at one place before and it was great!

Then we came back home and I headed back downtown after Kaden's lunch time with Mimi and Doug to go to the Saturday market. We got several bottles of wine, some cinnamon pecans, crepes, and vegetables. It was really nice walking around down there and getting back into the feel of Boise again. I sure did miss it. This really is such a great town.

Not sure what is on the menu for tonight. Deven and Mitch are heading to a Hockey game but I don't know what I'll be doing.

I'd like to express my condolences to Lindsay about Stanford. :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween et cetera

I’m starting to get quite a bit of slack for neglecting my blog lately so here’s what’s been going on since the last blog.

First, I didn’t get the job I really wanted, which totally sucks. But I have another interview set up for this coming week with an actually better job as far as pay goes. The hours still won’t be what I wanted, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Kristin and I took our boys to the pumpkin patch this weekend to pick out pumpkins which was pretty cool expect that it was freezing and my Kaden screamed for the last 20 minutes because he was cold and tired and cranky. It was one of the hundred times I keep thinking how much easier my life is with Stu around. He could have carried the pumpkin while I carried Kaden instead of me trying to balance both or alternating between poor Kristin lugging my pumpkin while I carried Kaden and me holding my pumpkin while I nudged Kaden on his butt to keep him walking in front of me. Either way, it wasn’t quite the outing we were looking for.

I also got to go to Kyle and Melissa’s last weekend for a barbecue and to chat and catch up which was wonderful. I’ve hung out with Melissa a couple times this week and it’s so nice having my best friend back within hang-out distance.

I headed over to Jo's the night before Halloween because we were supposed to be carving pumpkins, but we got to chatting and hanging out and it got pushed back and then it was past bedtime and we had to go. But it was really nice to see her whole family and talk with everyone since it's been so long that I've been able to sit and talk with them. I even talked to Mike about what actually happened with Ann (first-hand is always scarier than second) and we talked about her and favorite memories, etc. She is still not doing well and they had decided to remove life support when she suddenly made a turn for the better so they are still in limbo now playing the waiting game. I cannot imagine what that must feel like. It's hard enough for me and she isn't my own Mom. So keep the thoughts and prayers coming. They certainly couldn't hurt.

Halloween was pretty fun. I made dinner enough to feed an army (sloppy joes, corn, and mac and cheese) and Kristin, Kaden, Andy, Taylor, Melissa, and of course Marcia and Deven were there to eat and then take the little kids trick-or-treating (my Kaden’s first time ever). Kaden was totally confused at first, but soon got to hang of it and I was proud that our boys made it all the way around the big block before they were tired and ready to come back in. They got quite a bit of candy and we called it a night pretty early (because who knew that just taking 3 kids trick-or-treating could be so exhausting?)

Today Melissa and I went to Flower’s play (Frankenstein 1930) and it was totally cute. I was pretty impressed with the actors and it was definitely worth going to see. We had a good time. Then we headed to Fred Meyer to get a Crock Pot and Basketball Hoop that were on sale (yay for sale ads again!). It ended up being an adventure because they were “out” of them at the store we went to, so after 20 minutes of the stock boy looking and checking the back, he called 4 different Valley stores and they were all out of it too. We agreed that we were defeated and were leaving when the guy ran back up to us to tell us they’d found one (in the Barbie section on the top shelf in the very back) so we got the last one and Kaden LOVED it!

We picked up Papa Murphy’s on the way home, which, for those who are service members, you should know, they give 50% off the first pizza!!! So we got two pizzas for one and a half, which was great. We got back home tonight and I made crab dip and then we had the pizzas and then Melissa and I hung out until bed time. Now I’m trying to plow through this so I can get to sleep. I’m still feeling really crappy and though it has been a pretty fun day, it was also definitely a long one.

For those who are friends of mine on Facebook, I posted a new album with pics from Halloween as well as our first week back in Boise if you want to take a look.

Monday, October 26, 2009

First Few Days of American Life.

Sorry I have been off the grid the past few days. Adjusting has been, well, quite an adjustment. I have had a terrible time of adjusting my sleep schedule and up until this morning was getting no more than 5 hours of sleep per night (and that was the long night) since I got here. I kept waking up between 3 and 4 every morning. Unfortunately, today I would have been able to keep sleeping, but Kaden decided to wake up screaming bloody murder at 6 AM so I had to get up too.
Yesterday Kaden and I got to ride with Flower (she has her learner's permit) to her school (yes, on a Sunday) to drop her off for play practice (at 10, which lasted until 9 at night... on a school night). Then we went shopping and Kaden was such a good boy that I got mini pizzas for us for lunch (which he LOVED). We got back and after Kaden had his yummy lunch, he got to go to the park with Uncle Deven and Aubrey. He had a great time and then while he napped, I got to go to Kyle and Melissa's for a barbecue. They're new house is so huge and so nice and it was wonderful getting to see and hang out with them. And Max (their pit bull) only jumped on me twice, hehe. I can't WAIT for Stu to come home and have playdates with them often. There was super yummy food and we watched the Dolphins lose, much to Kyle's dismay. :) It was great to chat for so long and catch up with everything that has been going on in their lives since we've been gone.

I came back while Kaden was just up from nap and enjoying some lasagna and garlic bread for dinner and then we tried to watch Cars but our DVD skips on their player, which sucked. We made it to bed around 10.

Today I have that second interview at Idaho State University, which is the job I am hoping to get. And I also have another interview at the Department of Corrections. That job is M-F 8-5, so it would but a big strain on working out a school schedule, so that one does not sound as good for me right now. Same job description at both though, so that part wouldn't really change.

I do hope to have a job soon though to have a bit more structure in my life. I feel sort of disjointed having so much free time and unscheduled time. It's weird. Maybe a job will make living in America again feel more permanent. So far, it's kind of this odd vacation I feel like I've been on.

I miss Stu like crazy. I keep trying to rationalize ways he can come home early, but he thinks we should just have him finish out the contract and then come home (which DOES make the most rational sense, but I'm ruled by my emotions a lot lately) (And no, I'm not pregnant. Stupid ovulation schedule.).

Anyway, so here's hoping I get that job and that things go smoothly (and quickly) with regard to the upcoming holidays and Stu's coming home.

On a terrible note, my friend Joslyn's mom contracted swine flu and got pneumonia as a result. She then had a heart attack the other night and was put in a hypothermic coma to protect her and the doctors have been trying to draw her out of it for a few days now, to no avail as of yet. Jo said yesterday that they are preparing them for the worst and that they are to make plans to say goodbye. I have been wishing (I'm not a reliable "pray"-er and I think I'd just screw it up) my hardest for the best for her, so any good thoughts, prayers, etc. could do nothing but help. They have been through so much in the past few years, the last thing they need is to lose her Mom. Ann is a wonderful woman.

Here are some pics of our first few days here:

Me, 3:30 in the morning, the night we got here after WAAAAY too many hours of no sleep.

My first time driving in WAAAAY too long! :)

Kaden's super cool new Cars room.

Kaden all bundled up and ready to play outside!
Aunt Marcia rocks!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hell On Earth (Er, Hell In The Air)

So, I’ve kind of been putting off writing this blog, both because I’m still drunk feeling from so much sleep deprivation, but also because I’d really rather not even think about my trip and maybe the memory of it will fade and it will never really have happened. Yeah, it was pretty much that bad. I was really hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but it was even worse than I anticipated.

We started off the day easily enough, getting up at 6:30 and having a simple breakfast before heading off to the airport. It was really hard for me to leave Stu. As excited as I was to be going home, I was equally as upset (or more so) that I was leaving my husband and my best friend on the other side of the world. Because we’ve been living overseas for so long, with few friends and no family, Stu and I really learned how to become a well-oiled working unit. We are best friends as well as partners and I can’t remember the last decision I made that I didn’t talk about with Stu first. So just the thought of not having him by my side was pretty emotional for me.

We got checked in and Stu left us as far as he could go, which was the entrance to immigration. I was crying before I even got to the counter and the Emirati guy looked me over then looked at Stu and he said, “That is his father?” And I said yes and he told me, “It is even harder for him, you know, to watch you leave, he just has to hold it inside because this is what a man must do.” Which of course, didn’t help, and I sobbed my way through the terminal (quietly, lest I draw even more attention to the lone white girl) and then proceeded to walk laps around terminal 1 (for those who have been Abu Dhabi airport, there is a huge circle which each of the gates connect to). After 2 hours and 46 laps, it was time to board.

Kaden flat out refused to wear his seatbelt and screamed at a pitch dogs probably can’t even hear, as I held him down and tried to keep him from arching his back and flopping himself out of the seat. Needless to say, it was not a happy take-off for me or any of our fellow passengers. My child.

He got a kick out of the entertainment system again for about an hour and then was crabby because it was nearing nap time. I’m going to pause right here and say to those of you who suggested Benadryl, you suck. I gave him some and an hour later, not only was he NOT sleeping, he was like a monkey on crack, bouncing around in his seat and freaking out. This went on for the remainder of the plane ride. We went for about 50 “walks” (our flight was 16 hours) to the bathroom and to say hello to his favorite flight attendant (a fugly looking French gal who appeared to be on her 5th 16-hour flight in a row, poor girl). I will spare you the gory details, but let’s just say Kaden was NOT on his best behavior as he promised to be and neither he nor Mommy got any sleep at all until he finally fell asleep AFTER the captain came on to tell us we would soon be landing. He slept for an hour total. Ugh.

Chicago. Let me preempt this by saying what a great airport Chicago O’Hare is. Not only were the people refreshingly polite and helpful (one of the ground staff helped me get all my carry-on luggage situated on me and then handed Kaden to me because my gate-checked stroller had to go through the baggage claim (fuckers). So I hauled my now-drowsy lead baby to customs, which went surprisingly fast. Unlike Raleigh where they only had two kiosks open to deal with a flight of several hundred people, Chicago was well-staffed and we got through pretty quickly. I was directed to a line that was diplomats or active military and then a nice Marine allowed me to go ahead of him because I was a pack-mule. The guy at customs welcomed me “home” (thank you!!! :) ) and then asked about what myself and husband did in Abu Dhabi. It took literally 15 seconds (while I watched a group of 10 Pakistanis get lead into a separate screening room, then later saw them leave said room and enter their new terminal some 3 hours later) and then I was off to claim my baggage.

I’m not going to lie, this part sucked. They had told me there would be porters who work for tips but I couldn’t a-one, so I kept dragging Kaden and our over-packed carry-ons around hauling bags out of the carousel and onto a cart. I pushed both the cart (loaded down with 200 pounds worth of crap) and the stroller to where I needed to get my boarding pass for my next flight. Etihad had checked my bags on to Boise, so I just had to drop them off there, which was nice.

Then started to process called keeping-a-sleep-deprived-monkey-on-crack-happy-for-the-next-4-hours. I sat down a grand total of maybe a half hour in 4 hours waiting for our next flight because every time I stopped walking the stroller around Kaden would start to cry or whine and I was just so exhausted I was far happier to walk my feet raw than to deal with a stressed-out crying 2-year-old.

We boarded the next plane and got all seated and ready to go on the flight to Boise. Kaden fell asleep as soon as his seatbelt was on and everything appeared to be looking up. Wrong. Our plane broke. The captain came on and said there was a reading in the cockpit that said there was hot air leaking into places it shouldn’t be and that the mechanics were going to run tests to see if the problem was a computer problem or if the problem actually existed. After about 45 minutes of aiting on the plane he came back on to tell us that the computer was right, there was hot air leaking into the wing and it was a fire hazard and that he didn’t want to add more excitement to our lives, so this plane was unflyable and had to be towed to the airplane-fixing shop. We got off the plane again and waited around for them to see if they could get us another plane. An hour later the pilot was standing a few feet in front of me (Kaden had just earned his wings and was hamming it up to the pilot) when he got a text that made him say “shit” (obvious follow-up question from me: “What?”) . “Well, we’ve got another plane, but it doesn’t land here until 11:45, which means we wouldn’t land in Boise until well after 2 AM.” (“Shit”, indeed.)

A bit later it was confimed that we could have that plane, but that it was hurrying up and would land at 10:45 instead. It landed at 11:15 and we were all boarded and ready to take off by 11:30 (we’d already had practice so we were pretty good at it the second time around). It’s funny the camaraderie that takes place under stress. You feel like you get to know people when you go through crises with them (however minor). My seat buddy was an elder Mormon man (naturally) from Boise who was an eager listener and questioner when it came to the Middle East. We talked forever and he even offered to have his wife drop us off at home when she came to get him (as we found out they live a mere couple of blocks from Marcia and Deven). A very nice man, which came in handy when my son, now definitely NOT sleeping, entered the second plane and again refused to buckle up, flinging his body around and screaming at the top of his lungs. Luckily, though, after 8 hours in the airport, following such a long flight, his resolve was not as strong as mine and he gave up and collapsed asleep against my lap for about an hour. He woke up and was in a pretty good for the rest of the 4 hour flight and even got to watch the lights of Boise on our approach.

I tried to cut out the meat, so it really sounds like a decent and short enough trip, but I’m still trying to recover. Heh. We got to the airport and Marcia and Deven were waiting for us and even Joslyn got her pregnant body up and to the airport at 2 in the morning to welcome us home. :) It was so nice to see happy, familiar faces after such a long time of no sleep. We got our bags and barely all fit in the car (the stroller was practically on Marcia’s lap) and got home, where it was DEAD SILENT outside, which was an eerie thing after so long of constant noise. Kaden got to meet his new bedroom which Marcia had completely done in Cars stuff! The bedspread, curtains, even the walls are all Cars themed. It is soooo cool and Kaden just loved it.

He looked slightly terrified when I put him to bed in his new scary room, then he asked for his Daddy, which nearly made me collapse on the floor and cry that I wanted his Daddy too, but I held it together long enough to put him to bed. After calling Stu and leaving like 3 voicemails (the Vonage was down, of course, so I couldn’t actually hear him) I finally made it to bed by about 4:45 AM.

Unfortunately I had an interview scheduled for 10 AM the next day (today) so I only got about 3 hours of sleep when Kaden woke up crying at about 8 AM. He was in a strange place and completely exhausted, poor kid. But he got some breakfast and chatted with Aunt Marcia while I got ready (“ready” used lightly, I threw my hair in a bun, put on wrinkly clothes and smeared a ton of concealer under my puffy, bloodshot eyes before heading downstairs for my own cereal.

Marcia offered her car but I got her to drive me to my interview (hey, I haven’t really driven in a year and a half and I didn’t know where I was going, it felt intimidating) with Kaden in tow. They occupied themselves while I interviewed by heading to Winco for a few supplies and then Starbucks where Kaden got his own water with a straw.

My interview went very well. They seemed pretty impressed with me (especially the part about me being there some 8 hours after my plane landed and almost no sleep) and liked my answers to their questions. But of course you only ever know your own take on things, so we will just have to wait and see how it went.

Kaden and I went back down for nap at about 1 (2 for me because I was IMing with Stu, hehe) and became dead to the world. I had asked Deven to not let me sleep past 4 so I can try to get our schedules back on track but Marcia came in at 5:30 and said Deven had tried to wake me up but I wouldn’t hear of it. I had even missed two calls and 3 texts with my volume on my phone on full and I still slept like a rock.

Sarah and Ella came over in the evening to say hello and bring Kaden a present, but I felt like I’d been hit by a Mack truck by then. I hope tonight’s sleep goes well and tomorrow we’re feeling better. Kaden is already in bed and I am heading there too now.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Farewell Abu Dhabi!

It’s finally here. Today is my last day as a resident in the United Arab Emirates. And I am up, greeting the day (after about 5 hours of sleep), while my boys are sleeping peacefully. :)

I’m not sure what to do today. Last night we talked about going to the beach for the last time, but then I thought of all the sandy clothes I’d have to hurry-wash (no such thing in my 5-hour-per-cycle washer/dryer). Plus, who wants to travel with sunburn? So, Kaden needs shoes that are not sandals and his sandals that he has now smell like stinky feet because he always sweats in them, so new shoes are in order. So are some Goldfish crackers to help keep Kaden happy on our trip.

But now I am feeling slightly panicky, like I’m forgetting to pack or do something. Last night we were watching The Amazing Race on AFN (LOVE that show, if anyone wants to do it with me, I am so there!) and they were in Dubai. It was cool knowing how to get to all the places they needed to find while they got lost and stressed and didn’t understand the taxi drivers, but it also reminded me that we never went to Wadi Wadi or Altantis like we talked about going. Crap. Now I’m out of chances to do it. Stu asked me last night if there was anywhere I wanted to go today or anything special I wanted to do, but I got sad thinking about it and he said, “We can’t go everywhere.” True dat.

So instead, I think we’ll enjoy our day as a family because we’re going to be without Daddy for a few months (see how if I say it like that it doesn’t seem too long? Don’t be fooled, I’m scared shitless and I have NO idea how I am going to survive a week, let alone 3 months without my Stuie).

Poor Stu just doesn’t understand the concept of my being sad about leaving. He told me can’t empathize because, “I hate this fucking place”. He reminded me that it is happy that I am leaving and I’ve already been excited about the things I’ll be able to do once I get back (stay tuned for my short list), but even still, apart from feeling almost paralyzed with the fear of travelling alone with Kaden for so many hours… I know I did it once, but I’m still traumatized by it and I’m terrified to do it again. I still feel like it sucks that I’m leaving. I’m going to miss my girls like crazy. I anticipated those get-togethers for the entire month leading up to each them. But I will have my own friends back and will surely make new friends eventually.

So, to end this on a positive note, here is my list of 10 things I want to do when I get home:

1. Eat a pizza that has REAL sausage on it, dipped in Catalina dressing (my tummy is growling just imagining it)
2. Text my new number to everyone I’ve ever met and enjoy a solid week of unadulterated texting fun!

3. Go to Walmart and buy everything I need in ONE place, for HALF the price it is here, INCLUDING pork sausage and pork chops and bacon and…

4. Take Kaden for a walk around the neighborhood without being leered at, propositioned for sex, or getting heat stroke.

5. Walk up to anyone, anywhere, and know that they will both speak English, and understand my own English.

6. Get a house, set up utilities, chat with my neighbors, and acquire appliances and NOT HAVE TO CONTACT MY EMPLOYER TO DO SO.

7. Feel politically incorrect about making generalizations about certain groups of people again. (i.e. Filipinos like to sing American songs in high-pitched, off-key voices, Emirati women KNOW they’re better than you are, regardless of who you are, and Emirati men wear dishdashas while they drive around in their white SUVs that still have plastic on the seats, Pakistani and Indian men do not understand why eye-raping a pretty (or painfully ugly) girl is inappropriate.)

8. One word: Drive-thrus

9. Eat quality Mexican food

10. Finally have my friends and family back within visiting distance!

Kaden at the airport, ready to head to Abu Dhabi.

Kaden the first night we were here. (on the roof)

My boy now!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Welcome Baby Felix!

Congratulations to Charmaine and Chi Wai on their brand new baby Felix Gar Ming Alfred Choy! He was born at 2:50 AM (Abu Dhabi time) and weighed 8 pounds, 2 ounces. Mom and baby are both reportedly doing great. :)

Girls' Goodbye.

Yesterday we had a little get-together at Kundi's as both an opportunity for me to say goodbye as well as a chance for Kundi to see the girls again as she was in Zimbabwe for a few weeks to mourn her mother's passing and missed our monthly get-together.

It was billed as a pot-luck and once again we shone. :) Asma'a came once again, with her beautiful 7-month-old daughter Misk in tow. Misk is so stinking cute. I wanted to kidnap her to America with me with her full-head of curls and olive skin. It made me want to have another baby so bad! Sweet girl.

Anyway, in addition to the food, the always-thoughtful ladies also got me some going away presents! I didn't expect anything like that and it was all so thoughtful. Lindsay knew I needed stitch markers, so now I have them :) as well as new knitting needles that have interchangeable points so you can swap them out for the correct size you need. How cool! She also threw in a stitch counter and they all signed a card for me, which was included with the gift from Hala that was a beautiful book of Abu Dhabi photos. I looked through it there and back home with Stu and we kept saying how we'd been everywhere in it and how wonderful it will be to have a visual aid to tell our stories of our adventures once we go home. Such thoughtful women, they will truly be missed.

We took some fun photos too which I'll have to get from Hala and post on here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Reality Is Setting In.

We just got back from dinner with "the boys": Matt, Mike, Dan (and Brigitte), and Steve at the Lebanese Flower. I was looking forward to this dinner as a chance to say goodbye to the food as well as the people, but I didn't expect to feel quite as sad as I did.

The actually hanging out was great. Kaden was kind of a shit, but we DID hang out for 2 hours, so who can blame a two-year-old for hitting his threshold? Lol. We got to laugh and joke and share stories as we always do, but the goodbye part sucked.

I hugged Dan first and was feeling pretty good about saying goodbye... but by the time I got to Matt, I almost lost it (but kept myself in check because he asked earlier in the night if I was going to cry). He was wearing a blue shirt tonight and it reminded me of walking through the mass of people coming out of Abu Dhabi International Airport on my first night here. After a solid day of flying with a 7-month-old, with as many issues as we had, I was just about at my wit's end when out of the crowd of veils and dark skin, came a well-over-six-foot-tall white boy. :) I knew Matt was himself the minute I saw him and hugging him tonight reminded me of that first night, hugging him as he "saved me" from the strange new world I'd just stepped into. (He made me feel even more at home as he blasted Christina Aguilera's "Dirty" on the radio as we flew at deadly speeds back to his apartment before Stu's flight arrived.)

I'm definitely going to miss Mike's infectious happiness and the all-around good-hearted nature of these boys. And Mike is right, "This sucks."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Welcome Baby Adelyn!

Miss Christy finally had her beautiful baby girl at 9:17 PM on October 14th. She was 8 pounds and she is absolutely beautiful! My Mom was there for the birth and said Christy was trooper and she did amazingly well. Congrats Christy and Kyle!

Here are some pics of the new addition to the family and her amazing Mommy! :)

Sticker Shock.

So, last night I got a call from a college in Idaho asking me if I would be interested in an Administrative Assistant position (I'd tell you which one, but I don't want other people Jonesin' for my future job, hehe). The job is a State job (which equals State benefits), is only 30 hours a week and is in the evenings and on Saturday, which would free up my whole day to go to school. Which in my mind sounds pretty perfect. :)

So it brought a few things to light: first, Stu realized for the first time exactly what going to school full time and working meant. He said, "But I'll never see you." I asked him what he expected and he was at a loss for words. "The next two years are going to suck." Indeed.

So then we did the math and with the hours and the pay, my monthly salary would come out to $200 less than Stu makes EVERY WEEK! We put what I would be making for the WHOLE month into savings EVERY WEEK right now. Wow. So, I'll get to work my butt off 30 hours a week, missing my evenings with my family, for the price of living here, making what we do in a week. It really reminds us how much more money we make here. While I still think going home and living a real life, with friends and family, is what is most important, it sure IS hard to walk away from that kind of money. Stu quipped, "We're going to be poor again like normal people." Lol.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Leaving For Good.

So as most of my lovely readers know by now, Kaden and I are heading back stateside on October 21st. It sure feels like it has been a long time coming! Poor Stuie has to stay here for a bit longer (we'll have to wait and see how things play out to determine what exactly a "bit" means). But these past few days have been just so weird. It's such a different experience thinking of something in the abstract (we're leaving at some undetermined point) and then actually putting it into practice (we're leaving in 6 days).

Last night we went shopping at Hamdan Center, which, as you'll recall, is a little series of sort of dodgy local shops downtown that sell souvenirs and cheap knock-off designer duds. We had a few more things to pick up and walking through a place I'd been so many times had an odd air of nostalgia to it that, before, had always been a curious stench of unwashed bodies, old dirt, and bad cologne. And then while driving home, it had already gotten dark, and the city really is beautiful when the dark veils the bad aspects. We stopped for shawarmas at the Lebanese Flower on the way home and they were as good as ever.

As I was emailing Marcia this morning I had a thought: This is the first time I'm leaving from a place I've lived for quite a long time, to which I never intend to return. When I left Coeur d'Alene, I was ready to be free of it, but I also knew I'd be back many many times in the future to visit. When I left Arizona, my aunt and uncle basically came too (within a short time of me leaving) and I see my grandparents plenty. When we left Boise, we left fully intending to return. But now, for the first time, I am leaving a place where I have friends and favorite places and a routine and weather I've become accustomed to, and I'll never be back.

I can't WAIT to start a new life in Boise, because that's what it will be. We couldn't have come here, experienced all we have, and expected to return to the "same" life we left, but I think we are better for it. I even have plans already for when I get back (thanks, Jo, hehe), but it doesn't quite feel right.

I'm meeting up with my girls this weekend at Kundi's and then maybe with the boys too for a "last meal" at the Flower and while I'm so excited and anticipating going "home" (to Boise), I find myself unable to swallow this lump in my throat, imagining never being here again.

I'm so glad I kept this blog all this time so I can always look back (read back) and remember all the things we've done and experienced here. Stu said yesterday, "I can't believe we went to Rome!" Someday it might be, "I can't believed we lived in Abu Dhabi." or "I can't believe we went on a desert safari on Christmas Eve." (which I still think is one of the best and most awesome memories I have from here).

I know I will look back fondly on my life here. When I drive home in the snow from a whole day of work and school and flop into a chair without a plan for dinner, I know I will look back on my life here and miss when I was stuck inside all day with nothing to do EXCEPT make dinner. :) When that day comes, may I find myself smiling at the memory.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

This and That.

We had another good weekend here in the UAE. :) Thursday night we ordered pizza, which is Kaden’s FAVORITE food, so he was a happy camper. We also got to talk to Momma E which was very nice and then we ended our night with a movie and cuddling.

Friday was our monthly Amiras meeting and as usual, coffee with the girls was wonderful and a nice change of pace from my typical routine of boys-everything. It’s nice to gossip and talk babies and knit and all wonder of non-male-oriented things. Charmaine is THIS CLOSE to popping and I just can’t wait to meet her new little man.

Me, Charmaine and Rama with Charmaine's new baby blanket that her knitting froup from Australia made for her and sent along with her Mom. It made all of us cry as she unfolded it and all the little tags hung off of it indicating which member knit which piece. So sweet. She sure is loved!

Today we had pancakes and then headed off to Heritage Village to get some more magnets for Mimi. It turned out there was something going on later in the day as everything was blocked off with Police barriers (which we drove around, hehe) and they were setting up portable metal detectors (who knew?). But Kaden got a chance to visit the old, decrepit camel that lives there, which made his day. One of the little Ethiopian ladies who runs one of the shops gave him a little camel trinket and he blushed. Hehe. We left the house at 9:30 and by 10:30 we were all sweaty and starting to get sun burns so we said hello to the ducks and then headed home (with shoes full of sand that Kaden ATE on the way home! Ewwww)

I started a new book which mercifully doesn’t suck as bad at the last 6 books I’ve read or started to read and gave up on, so I plowed through half of it today. I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner (and garlic bread, Kaden’s favorite, and veggies that we all took bites of at the same time to make “veggies sooo nummy!”) and we watched The Kingdom for the 200th time before starting the bed time routine.

For those inquisitive minds, we’re still waiting to hear any word. Underwriters suck.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fast Fast!

Dancing Boy.

He got embarrassed and I haven't been able to catch him dancing again because every time I bring out the camera he stops what he was doing, but here is a little taste of my little dancer boy. Lol.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Stu!

Yesterday was Stu's 26th birthday and Kaden and I made him a cake and then Kaden painted him a masterpiece complete with handprints and everything. He has a great time and then got to wash off in the bath. Daddy loved his painting and his new toy (Xbox 360 with several games).
As soon as Stu walked into the house after work, Kaden started singing Happy Birthday to him like we had talked about earlier and it was the cutest thing ever! Then he got embarrassed and ran off. Lol.
I made Thai Coconut Chicken Soup and vegetable fried rice for dinner and then we enjoyed the cake afterwards. We ended the night by watching Jumper with popcorn. Stu said it was a pretty good birthday. Here are the pics!
Kaden thrilled at the idea of painting on a real canvas. :)
Finger painting! (thnaks, Aunt Mo for the painting supplies!)
Concerned about the mess her was making. Hehe
Wondering why Mommy kept taking pictures of him.
After the painting, in the tub, he wrote the word "Go" (see it???) on the bottom of the tub. Genius baby! Hehe

Dadddy's cake.
Daddy holding up his amazing painting and his other new toy and cake.

Blowing out his candles! :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

This Week in Abu Dhabi

So, we've been working with our lender(s) to try to get this pre-approval process done and over with, but because we paid off all our debt and now have nothing, we have no credit lines to show that we can pay our bills. Unfortunately all of our bills we do pay on a regular basis (the ones in Abu Dhabi) do not report to American credit (duh). So we're hoping the manual underwriting process works in our favor. Otherwise, it is getting a little close to the end of the year to hope to close before we plan for Stu to come home. In that case we may have to rethink our grand plan.

Sooooo, we (meaning Kaden and I) may or may not be coming home soon. We would still need to come back before Stu to get a house ready to live in (rented or purchased, we need somewhere to live) and would YOU want to set up a house with high-stress Stu? Yeah, me neither. Haha. So we will just have to see what happens in the next few weeks (this process takes longer too... another fun part). Very worst-case scenario, it's still only two months away, but best case scenario is probably two weeks (or more).

But, on to more fun things. Kaden got to go to Toys R Us yesterday, which he calls "The Apple Place" because it is right next to the fruit and vegetable market, (where they sells apples) so that's what he associates it with. He had a great time and he's even getting the hang of the bikes, even though they're a bit too big for him. I can't wait to get a my baby his first bike! How fun!
In other news, Stu's "big boy" (says Kaden) 26th birthday is on Monday. His awesome wife got him an Xbox 360 and 4 games. :) Kaden said he didn't want to get Daddy anything, so we will be working on his gift (and attitude) at the beginning of this coming week.
Here are some of my Monk in the tub being a little ham. (And Mommy's super awesome I'm-indulging-because-I'm-stressed-and-I-can dessert of coffee with whipped cream and a Brownie)

"Gimme hug Mommy!" (And of course I obliged... sweet soaking wet baby!)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Musings About Perspective, Part 3

I know I’ve kind of been off the grid for a few days, weeks, whatever. Sorry about that. I’ve been pretty busy doing the hurry-up-and-wait thing, which sucks. After deciding I would go home early to buy a house, we’ve been stuck in this weird place of rushing to get everything to the lender, and now just waiting for a go-ahead from her. Part of why I haven’t been blogging is because I feel kind of weird about the feelings I’ve been having regarding leaving and I’m not sure how to word it right. (But you know me! I’m going to give it a go regardless :))

On one hand, I’ve been excited to leave here since I arrived, just persevering for the most part. But as soon as I’m faced with the opportunity to finally go home, I’ve become accustomed to being here and I… ahem… like it. I didn’t expect to accept my life here as anything other than a temporary hardship for our family until we can get back home and start living the life we’ve been striving for. But something happened in the past few months, and that something is apparently acceptance (the elusive 5th stage, for those who are keeping track, heh). I don’t have that NEED to get away anymore and I think I finally understand how some people come here and stay for years and years. It always used to shock me when I met people who’d been here longer than a year or two, but now I understand how this lifestyle can become commonplace in your mind, and not just weird. And you can get to a point where you like it.

So now, it basically sucks. Because instead of rushing away from here without looking back, before I’ve even left I’m already regretting leaving the things I will miss. People aside, (which is going to be the hardest part by far, leaving my friends) I know I’m going to miss the weather, hot as Hell though it may be, I haven’t felt cold in MONTHS other than just turning to the A/C too far down. I’m going to miss the malls and all their excessive splendor and décor. It’s become habit to head to a mall and have dinner somewhere. Going to dinner is a different experience in America. I love that, but this fits, too.

And I think that’s finally the bottom line. With acceptance came a strange sort of longing for my life here. Yes, I can’t wait to get Verizon back and be on the messaging front lines once again (and make up for lost time, hehe. Prepare yourselves!). I can’t wait to drive myself, without the threat of death every time I belt up. I can’t WAIT to be nearer to my family and all my friends that I missed so much. I can find everything I need to cook my favorite dishes at one store, etc.
But each of those things, that used to feel so important, now has a counter to them in this life.

I’m used to Etisalat and their fees and poor customer service. I’ll probably never get another text in Arabic again after I leave here. :) I’ll probably even miss the adrenaline rush that comes with buckling up here, and the excitement of going to Spinneys for the “good stuff” as a treat, not just being able to get it easily from any old store.

I certainly won’t miss washing dishes by hand. I won’t miss my combo washer/dryer that doesn’t actually dry. I won’t miss my life being covered by a haze of sand 24/7. I won’t miss being glared at, or feeling uncomfortable in a tank top or shorts. I definitely won’t miss the excessive prices on everything from food to clothes.

But again, this fits, too. Who knew? :)

The biggest thing is leaving Stu. Looking back over the past two years is a trip. We were completely different people when we got married. I know we loved each other then, but we’ve come full circle as far as maturity goes. We’ve developed from single, selfish-minded people into a unit. We’re always “we” and “us” now and it’s so much better for both of us. And I KNOW that. We’re so much happier than we were when we ever were back home and that has all been because of this experience forcing us to lean on one another exclusively because we didn’t HAVE any other friends or family to turn to. In retrospect, coming here was probably the best thing we could have done for us as a couple and as parents, let alone for our bank account. So leaving, quite literally, my other half, here all alone and going to America all alone with our son is scary for me in ways I’ve never considered before. I’ve never loved this man more than I do today. And it keeps getting better with each week that passes and we make more memories and jokes and fun.

All this time we’ve been planning when “we” were leaving and I always pictured us doing all of this together. But once again, life has its own way of doing things, and I think me being forced to do things on my own without being codependent will make me a stronger person, and Stu relying on himself instead of having everything done for him will help him appreciate the things I do a bit more (not that he doesn’t, but the guy hasn’t had to wash his own drawers for over two years now). So again, this can be such a good thing for our relationship. How many couples have the opportunity to take a step back from their marriages and re-appreciate what they have in each other? (I still think it sucks though and I’m going to whine a bit more about it from time to time)

Here are some pictures of this week. Thank you Marcia, Mo, and Mimi for boxes! It was great to get them all at the same time! Kaden is having a hay day with his new Cars stuff and we’re LOVING our snacks. And Mo, thanks a MILLION for the new crafting projects to keep up busy for the next few weeks! Great idea!

Kaden leading the way at the park.

The fountain at the park (and Kaden getting more sunblock on... always with the heat, hehe)

After our Macaroni Grill experience, I invented this mushroom sauce for whole wheat pasta that is seriously sooooo close to the sauce on the ravioli at MG. I'll have that flavor yet! Stu said it made the top 5 of his favorite meals that I make. :)

Kaden with his new Cars bowl. He loves it!

Asking Daddy if it is McQueen in his bowl.

New Cars sunglasses! One cool kid!